Monday, February 12, 2007

"Smoke and Ashes" by Tanya Huff

This is the third book in the Tony Foster series by Huff, and it's fantastic! Tony is first introduced in the Vicky Nelson series by Huff, as is Henry Fitzroy, vampire/romance novelist. That's not a bad series, and if you like Tony, it might be worth your time to go back and explore his beginnings. However, it's not necessary to read those books to enjoy the Tony series. I would suggest reading the other two Tony books before this one, mainly to get a feel for all the characters involved. It's a bit like "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer", in that Tony has a group of people around him who end up helping him each time, a regular cast of characters. Well, not regular - they are in television, after all!

This time around, Tony has been promoted to TAD, Trainee Assistant Director, on the show Darkest Night, a syndicated work about a vampire detective. While excited at the new title, Tony quickly realizes that it just means more work, as his boss, Chester "CB" Banes, has yet to hire anyone to take Tony's old position. In the midst of the usual television set chaos, enter Leah Burnett, a stuntwoman who is much more than she appears. And older too, say about 3500 years older than anyone would guess. Leah was a handmaiden to Ryne Cyratane, a Demonlord back in the day who slaughtered an entire village and created a Demongate for himself. Leah is the Gate, with a tattoo of runes on her stomach that protects the Gate from destruction. Ryne missed his mark, though, as the tattoo literally protects the gate, ie Leah herself. She cannot die or be hurt, only by a demon or by her own hand. Since she decided she wanted to live despite her anger and grief, Ryne has been waiting a very, very long time for this Gate to open. And there are no demons to worry about, so Ryne has no access to this world.

Or didn't. Turns out, there's a Demonic Convergence about to happen, and Leah needs Tony's help/protection to ensure that she isn't snuffed out and the Gate opened. Oh yeah, Tony just happens to be a wizard. Well, a wizard in training, much like his position with the show. That's where the first two books come in, giving the reader a good idea of how Tony comes into his power, etc. He does his best to determine how to send all the demons popping up back to their proper hells, while not blowing himself out - turns out that it takes a lot of power to be a wizard.

There's really too much going on to tell you a proper synopsis. Suffice to say I read this book, almost 400 pages, in just about 2 days. It's good writing, Tony is a cool guy, and the rest of the characters are good, too. I would definitely recommend this and the rest of the series to those out there that enjoy a good "alternative reality" book!

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