Title:A Thread of Deepest Black
Author: Finn Marlowe
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: BDSM, Paranormal/Shapeshifters
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: An immensely enjoyable erotic novel, totally dominated by a big bad werewolf with a dirty mind and a wicked whip.
The seduction of his enemy is the ultimate hunt…
When his mortal enemy, the handsome and deadly Colton Dècarie, shows up on his doorstep asking an unspeakable favor, Killian Frost is cautious—and curious. What could drive a shape-shifter to beg a werewolf for an honorable death in the line of duty—defending humans from soul-stealing Lycans? Moreover, why ask Killian, who has kept his own feet off that dark path?
Colton’s conflicted heart can take no more of the violence that consumes more of his humanity with every hunt. Even now, Killian’s werewolf scent makes him burn with the instinctive urge to shift and destroy. Death would be a mercy, but the price is impossibly simple: one night of submission in Killian’s bed.
Yet as Killian extracts payment in flesh and pleasure, Colton finds himself giving all that’s demanded of him and more, feeling something he hasn’t felt in a long time. Alive. And Killian discovers the hidden cost of sleeping with the enemy. To keep the balance between light and dark, Bella Luna binds his Lycan blood with a quest to unravel a conspiracy threatening all his kind. If he’s brave enough, he’ll discover a love that means more than the power of a dead man’s soul.
“Give me one night in my bed and I’ll consider your request.” This opening sentence establishes the character of the dark anti hero Killian Frost; sexually dominant and intellectually devious. The request for death from blonde, pretty, shapeshifter Colton Dècarie, his traditional enemy seeking suicide by werewolf, is beyond shocking.
Killian seduces Colton into giving his sexual submission and then later introduces him to the pleasures of pain. This forms a significant part of the book and is played out in delightful detail. This inexplicable, world shaking event; sexual congress between two mortal enemies, fuels the events of the novel.
“Ill met by moonlight..”—La Bella Luna is a powerful force in the book’s mythology, When Killian and Colton first have mind shattering sex, both characters are changed by the experience. Killian, eyes flaring red, is filled with the additional strength of the instinctive need to hunt he has always denied himself; a symbol of his control. His change is represented by a silver stripe on his previously black as sin wolf’s pelt. Colton start to lose the desire for death forced upon him by his circumstances as an exceptional shifter.
They come together to form an alliance, empowered by the moon, in order to fight the underlying reasons for Colton’s need for death. To understand what has driven him to this desperation you have to deal with the world Killian and Colton reluctantly share.
The world, subtly built by Finn Marlowe in this debut novel, contains werewolves generally regarded as representing the dark side of the moral spectrum, and shifters, guardians who hold to the light and the good. However most of the “nasty”’ werewolves in the interests of survival have excepted a peace pact with the shifters and no longer indulge in their antisocial hunting of humans for their precious power giving souls. Any renegade werewolves are hunted by shifters and killed.
Shapeshifters are able to take various forms, but their default mode is as wolf. Colton holds secrets, has special powers, and the ability to make a mythic shift. This makes him even more fascinating to Killian, whose desire for control is intrinsic to his personality.
The balance of this world is threatened by the corruption of the shifter’s ruling council. This council of nine powerful shifters caused the death of Colton’s wife. Actually although this is meant to be the start of Colton’s emotional decline, I didn’t ever really get a sense of his relationship with his wife. Both main characters are bisexual. Colton is being sent out to hunt too often, enjoying killing and pain and his soul is becoming corrupted. This is why he wants to die. This corruption is symbolised by the colour of his blonde fur gradually changing to black. When he submits to Killian, the emotional release allows him to give up the dark threads of corruption.
The book then moves on to a sequence of travel, adventure, rescue and some really good bloody battles, which involve both characters willing to die for their cause.
(When Killian travels to the UK, I have to confess I started to hear Warren Zevon’s iconic growl of “Werewolves of London” as a constant soundtrack!)
Finn Marlow’s world has cohesion and is a neat amalgamation of accepted werewolf lore with some really nice additions, especially to the shifter morphology. The shifter’s life within a continual acceptance of pain, was sharply described. I got a real sense of the otherness of the shifters with their system of pain expressed by colours, “Just a tiny lick of red.” and “Did it burn. All the way to the white?” Another inspired touch was the regenerating anal virginity, much relished by Killian. There is a nice sense of emotional growth and symmetry, both characters have to beg for something important to them.
The language and imagery of the novel is clever and vivid, again using repetition of red and black to convey emotion. I particularly enjoyed the red ribbon Killian sends to Colton to entice him to his bed. This becomes both a real and virtual symbol of their union.
“Wound tightly on its spool was a length of dark red ribbon. Satin and slick, it looked like wet blood. The pad of his sensitive fingertip liked the feel of it……Just a suggestion of submission could be had from a yard of the stuff. Colton would figure it out.”
However the real power of “A Thread of Deepest Black”, comes from Killian Frost. He is an outstanding character. He reeks of visceral decadence. His internal monologues had an original voice that displayed his humour, arrogance, possessiveness and own impaired morality to perfection, embracing the power to hurt but not harm……“But I am not evil. I’m merely wicked.”
I enjoyed him very much.
BDSM involves whipping, not heavy duty. Fight scenes involve blood and occasional dismemberment.