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The Fire King: A Dirk & Steele Novel    by Marjorie Liu order for
Fire King
by Marjorie Liu
Order:  USA  Can
Leisure, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Still recovering both physically and mentally from the loss of her right arm, Soria is not happy when her boss calls her in on a mission. As a gifted linguist who is able to immediately absorb and understand even the most antiquated language or dialect, she is a valued asset within the Dirk & Steele organization, where operatives with paranormal gifts are the favoured recruits. Soria soon discovers that the man she's been assigned to help is being held captive by his own kind. Supposedly the last of his species, he's a pawn for an ancient and hate filled dragon shifter who would see all evidence of the chimera forever erased from existence.

As the progeny of two different shape shifter species, the chimera have always been considered an aberration. If mother and child even survived the birth, they lived the rest of their lives in fear of being discovered and destroyed, or recruited by humans to fight in the countless wars that raged millennia ago. In some rare cases, the creatures were even revered as gods. Such was the case with Karr, whose tomb has been recently uncovered in a remote cave bordering China and Siberia. Archaeologists are initially thrilled by their discovery, then horrified when the creature inside awakens. Now it's up to Soria to communicate with and earn Karr's trust as she helps him navigate a much-changed world - and evade those who would start their ancient war all over again.

If The Fire King is your first taste of Marjorie Liu's beautifully written and imaginative world of shape shifters you'll be eager to search out her other titles, particularly those belonging to her Dirk and Steele series - if only to discover previous or recurring characters' past exploits and back stories, including Soria's. Liu's lyrical writing style, her emotionally rich and diverse characterizations and her skill in creating a one-of-a-kind mythical universe that operates in the shadows of our real world will enthrall you. The Fire King is an exceptional blend of action, drama, fantasy and romance. Don't miss it.

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