The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott and Colette Freedman
Publisher: Tor/Forge/Dec. 2011
Kind thanks to Tor for providing a review copy
The Hallows. Ancient artifacts imbued with a primal and deadly power. But are they protectors of this world, or the keys to its destruction?
A gruesome murder in London reveals a sinister plot to uncover a two-thousand-year-old secret.
For decades, the Keepers guarded these Hallows, keeping them safe and hidden and apart from each other. But now the Keepers are being brutally murdered, their prizes stolen, the ancient objects bathed in their blood.
Now, only a few remain.
With her dying breath, one of the Keepers convinces Sarah Miller, a practical stranger, to deliver her Hallow—a broken sword with devastating powers—to her American nephew, Owen.
The duo quickly become suspects in a series of murders as they are chased by both the police and the sadistic Dark Man and his nubile mistress.
As Sarah and Owen search for the surviving Keepers, they unravel the deadly secret the Keepers were charged to protect. The mystery leads Sarah and Owen on a cat-and-mouse chase through England and Wales, and history itself, as they discover that the sword may be the only thing standing between the world… nd a horror beyond imagining.
Sarah Miller is having a really, really bad day. After helping an elderly woman during an apparent mugging, the woman convinces Sarah to take an artifact of hers (a piece of a broken sword) and keep it safe. Sarah’s not quite sure why she agrees to do it, but feels that it’s somehow her duty, and agrees. Turns out this artifact is part of a broken sword with ancient and deadly powers, and it’s also one of 13 Hallows that if brought together can bring about the destruction of mankind. The woman’s American nephew Owen, is also an important key to the story, and she’ll have to seek his help after a group of killers targets her entire family, seeking the artifact.
The Thirteen Hallows is a mix of horror, thriller, and fantasy that moves at a breakneck speed. I enjoyed seeing Sarah go from a timid 22 year old still living at home to a confident, strong heroine. We don’t meet Owen until a little over halfway into the novel, but I’ll enjoy seeing where their relationship goes. The main baddies (the man and woman trying to get their hands on all 13 of the Hallows), and their minions are seriously evil, nasty (and sadistic) indeed. They’re big into torture, and sex magic, and some scenes, while not gratuitous, are not for the faint of heart. It’s a race for Sarah and Owen, not only to discover the truth about the Hallows, and clear Sarah’s name, since she’s the prime suspect in a series of murders, but to escape the very people that are hot on their trail and will stop at nothing to see them dead. Their main goal is to bring the Thirteen Hallows together, which would be very, very bad (we’re talking demons getting loose kind of bad). The chapters are short, and bounce from Sarah and Owen, to the Keepers, to the bad guys, and back, and will keep you turning the pages. I kept wanting to read just “one more chapter”, which, of course, led to pretty much devouring the whole thing in 2 sittings. I really enjoyed the mythology behind the Thirteen Hallows and some of it really surprised me (in a good way), and made me wish the 2nd book was already out. If you’re a fan of thrillers with strong horror (and fantasy) elements and are in the mood for a fast moving, exciting read, you’re in for a treat with The Thirteen Hallows!