Anna and Charles Cornick are just settling in to their new life together when Charles’s father, Bran, the Marrok of all the werewolves, sets up a meeting with all the European werewolves to discuss revealing their existence. Charles finally convinces Bran to send him in his father’s place, so Charles and Anna head to Seattle, prepared for a confrontation. The other werewolves are not going to be pleased with Bran’s plans, particularly not the Beast of Gevaudan, Jean Chastel, who used to openly kill and eat human beings, and rules France to some extent after killing all the other Alphas, or the British werewolf Arthur who believes he really is King Arthur. When a pack of vampires attack Anna on a shopping excursion, the risks escalate and Charles must find the culprit before Anna dies and the Marrok’s plans for peace are ruined.
This is another enjoyable urban fantasy from Patricia Briggs. I felt that this was an improvement over Cry Wolf. There is a lot going on with the plot that is really interesting in context of the universe. Revealing the werewolves’ presence could have a huge impact on all the characters in both this series and the Mercy Thompson series, so it was very interesting to see what happened there. And of course that is certainly not enough, there are also death threats, mysteries, and murders sprinkled throughout the book, leading to one very intriguing and totally unexpected conclusion. If not brilliantly written, Hunting Ground is definitely well-plotted. The villains are all suspicious in their own way, but the overarching deal and the meanings of some of the events early on do not become clear until the end. There is also a nice tie-in with everyone’s favorite Arthurian legend since the British werewolf believes he is actually King Arthur reincarnated. This is a neat addition to an already complex world, but it doesn’t feel too out of place.
The relationship between Anna and Charles continues to develop in a lovely and believable way. They have learned to trust one another, mainly, but there are still small pockets of tension, just like any other real relationship. Anna continues to come into her own, realizing her strengths and beginning to break out of the super-submissive mode by recategorizing just what she is. Meeting her first fellow Omega wolf helps her a lot in this respect and I really look forward to seeing what she does next.
I definitely am enjoying this series. It may still take a backseat to Mercy, but it is another urban fantasy series to watch from Patricia Briggs.