House of Stone

demontTitle: House of Stone
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Author: Vaughn R Demont
Pages: 298 pp
Price: $5.49

House of Stone has been on my To Buy list for a while now. When I heard that Samhain was getting ready to shut down, and was running a sale on many of their titles, I quickly snatched it up. I am very, very glad that I did.

House of Stone can probably be best describe as an erotic*, same-sex urban fantasy/romance/coming-into-one’s-own adventure, with strong dashes of humor. Really. All of that is packed into the story. Our Hero is none other than Count Pembroke Kendrick Llewellyn Richard Firemane, Lord of the House of Stone, Knight of the Realm, Viscount of the Benedict Shores, and Custodian of the Azure Blade. Sure, the titles are impressive, but, in the grand game of Fae politics and culture, he is really a very minor player. His county is small and poor — he has to work in porn to pay the bills — and the only thing he really has going for him is his ancestral claim to the Azure Blade.

Then the Blade goes out — literally, no blue fire — on the morning of his wedding to a woman he has never met, which every noble in the duchy will be attending. Things go from bad to worse when he is attacked by goblins en route to the wedding. So now Richard has eight days to figure out what he did to un-earn the Blade and restore his honor, or be shamed in front of the Queen herself at the Solstice Tournament and lose his title, his lands, and his family name ….

Oh, and did I mention the demon hiding somewhere in the county, the vile Duke out to kill him and seize his estate, the child oracle who speaks in riddles, the annoying ghost of a long-dead sorcerous ancestor, and the fact that Richard is hopelessly in love with his half-blood butler, Simaron? And, really, among the Fae it’s that last one that will get him into the most trouble.

I had a heck of a lot of fun reading House of Stone. As well as the characters, I was particularly impressed with the world-building. Demont has created a new (for me) take on the Fae. They are actually born of human dreams; they live on human imagination and creativity. Yet, despite the fact that we sustain them, they still look down on humanity — and particularly upon half-bloods. Some of the slurs that Simaron has to endure are nasty.

I can’t really say much more without giving away too much of the plot. There are revelations abut the origin and nature of the Fae which tie directly into Richard’s quest to reclaim his birthright, and these in turn tie into the Fae treatment of the half-bloods. Which, in turn, ties into Richard’s quest and its ultimate resolution.

Definitely recommended to fans of Jordan L Hawk, KJ Charles, Zoe Archer, and Rhys Ford. Pick it up while you can. I assume rights will revert to Demont when Samhain finally closes its doors, but I have no idea if or when Demont will rerelease it.

*As in graphic, not-safe-for-work sex.

[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of EHS.]