When Whyborne’s sister Guinevere returns home for a visit, he is surprised when she asks him for a secret, nighttime meeting. Although she isn’t quite as awful as his father and brother, Whyborne and his sister have never been particularly close. When she mentions a ship that appeared in the harbor, abandoned by all its crew, Guinevere seems genuinely scared and so Whyborne and Griffin agree to meet her to learn what has her so concerned. When a murderer strikes, the men become even more worried and determined to figure out the story behind the missing ship and the underwater creatures they have seen nearby.
Along with Guinevere, some long lost cousins have also come to visit. It turns out the pair have a lot to teach Whyborne about his magical powers and encourage him to train and continue to develop his skills as a sorcerer. Whyborne knows how Griffin feels about his sorcery, but he also can’t help but enjoy the thrill he gets from exercising his power. After nearly losing Griffin and Christine in Egypt, Whyborne is determined to do whatever it takes to protect them, even if it means hiding his training from Griffin. And after a lifetime of always struggling to conform and still earning nothing but derision from his family and many colleagues, it is liberating for Whyborne to feel so powerful and strong as he exerts magical control over the world around him.
As Whyborne and Griffin continue their investigation, they begin to uncover more information about the strange sea creatures that seem to be attacking the ships. They also learn more about Whyborne’s ancestry and the sorcery powers that run in his family. The further along they get in the case, the more Whyborne begins to give in the allure of his own magical ability, keeping secrets from Griffin and getting caught up in the hunt. With Christine and the cousins’ help, the men continue to investigate the case. But as more murders occur and secrets are uncovered, the truth may be more horrifying than anyone imagined.
Bloodline is yet another hit from Jordan L. Hawk, continuing her wonderful Whyborne & Griffin series. I feel like this series just keeps improving, and once again Hawk has given us a fabulous mystery, great thriller, wonderful romance, and interesting paranormal all rolled together. What is so great here is that each book manages to give us the beloved and familiar story of this endearing couple, at the same time that each installment takes us in new and interesting directions. It is amazing that five books in everything still feels fresh and each one gives us new mysteries and develops the story of our two heroes in really fascinating ways. In this book, our focus is in two main areas: Whyborne’s sorcery and his family history. These two elements intertwine beautifully, and really give so much depth to the family backstory. Not to mention really helping to illuminate more about Whyborne and what drives him.
The issue of Whyborne’s sorcery is one that has building since the first book and we see it really come to the forefront here. Whyborne has been learning spells, magic that has often saved their lives. But at the same time, Griffin worries for him and fears that it is all too dangerous. We have seen the conflicts come up over past books, including Whyborne’s efforts to hide what he is learning from Griffin because he knows Griffin will disapprove. When Whyborne’s cousins, Theodore and Fiona, come into town, they begin to encourage him in his sorcery. At first it all seems benign, even as we realize no good can come of all the secrets Whyborne is keeping. But slowly we begin to see how this is all may be bigger than Whyborne can handle and how the power may be becoming too much for him. Hawk lets this play out brilliantly, and we can so easily see how alluring all this power is to a man like Whyborne who feels like he has never had any. He was bullied by his brother and constantly met with disapproval from his father. He must hide his true nature and his relationship with Griffin and feels so constratined to meet society’s standards. We can imagine the appeal of the kind of freedom his powers can bring him. At one point Whyborne thinks:
In that moment, I felt only elation. All the doubts that plagued me the rest of my life fell away. There was no fear, no right or wrong, no constant questioning of every decision.
Just this. Just the power of my will, reshaping the world.
I love that Hawk lets us feel how all this power affects Whyborne and understand so clearly why he craves it, at the same time as we can see the dangers of his behavior.
This story is also really expands the backstory of the Whyborne/Endicott families. I don’t want to say too much because uncovering the story is one of the best parts of the book. But I will say we learn much about Whyborne’s ancestors, uncover lots of secrets, and learn that many of the things we always believed to be true are quite different than we thought. This is all so brilliantly done, fascinating and exciting and really wonderfully intertwined with the main mystery of the book. I am beyond impressed with the way that Hawk pulls these two elements together throughout the story.
So once again I more than loved this installment of this fabulous series. I think this may be my favorite after Widdershins and I just continue to be impressed with how Hawk is continuing to develop the story. In addition to all the excitement, this one really tugs at your emotions as well. I am not usually a crier in my books, but this one had me tearing up twice. I didn’t mention much about Griffin here as this is mostly Whyborne’s story, but I love these guys together and I really appreciate how this conflict makes the two of them come out stronger and even more in love. And oh my gosh, the ending! So romantic and amazing. Sigh.
If you are not reading this series you should be. There are no excuses, you guys. This is one of the best series I have ever read and if you haven’t started it yet, I can’t encourage you more strongly. It is amazing and Bloodline is another fabulous addition.