It’s been centuries since Lach broke Thanatos’ heart. Thanatos is the Greek god of merciful death, and though he is gentle and kind, he gets why no one wants to be saddled with a god of death. That doesn’t mean he has forgiven Lach for the way he ended things between them so many years ago. As an immortal human, Lach was so focused on enjoying life and doing what he needed to get by that he abandoned Thanatos to move on with his life. But when Lach comes to Thanatos for help, he can’t turn him down. It seems that Demeter is refusing to do her job and the harvests are on the verge of failing. If that happens, humans around the world will starve. Lach needs Thanatos to help him find a crucial artifact from Cronos that might help save the harvests before it is too late.
Against his better judgment, Thanatos agrees to travel from the U.S. to Santorini with Lach on his magical boat. At first, things are frosty between them. While Thanatos is still incredibly drawn to Lach, he knows he can’t trust him with his heart again. But as the days pass and the men spend time together, Thanatos realize how much Lach has changed. He is more mature, more sensitive to those around him, and Lach is clear that he is sorry for the way things ended between them. Thanatos begins to consider that there is hope for their relationship and that there could be a chance for them to find their way together again. But not everyone is happy with Lach and Thanatos’ plan to recover the artifact for the good of mankind, and the men find themselves fighting not just for humanity, but for their own lives as well.
Patron of Mercy is the third book in the Lords of the Underworld series. The series has some really clever world building and a light tone that makes for fun stories. In this series, the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology live in many ways like humans, and while they have incredible power, they also are mundane in really fun ways (one goddess is an Instagram junkie, for example). The world building has been my favorite part of the series since the start and that continues here. I love the way the authors take the mythological legends and build the characters and their experiences into our world. In this case, in addition to Thanatos being a god, Lach is an immortal human, so he has lived since ancient times and is very familiar with the world of the gods. My favorite part of this story is Lach’s magical boat, who has the ability to give her owner whatever they need — note, not what they want, but what they need. It often ends up not being the same thing, to entertaining results.
I did find this story a little slow, however. Normally, I am a huge fan of a road trip type story and I did enjoy seeing the guys bond as they traveled to Santorini. But it seemed like this part went on a little overlong for me. I also feel like the focus on the men traveling left other aspects of the story underdeveloped. In some ways, it felt like we were dropped in here in the middle of the story. The situation with the harvest and Demeter, for example, wasn’t particularly well explained. It is presented as the urgent crisis, but we don’t get a lot of information about what happened or why, almost as if it was something we should already know about. I almost wondered if it was introduced in the last book and I just forgot, though either way more detail here would have helped. We also get virtually no detail into what happened between the men so many years ago. We know Lach left Thanatos and broke his heart. And we get some very basic background. But this is the driving conflict throughout the book and I really needed more explanation of what happened, why Lach broke up with Thanatos, and what he is feeling now. It is sort of understood that Lach wants Thanatos back, but I needed more insight into his motivations here. Considering this is a dual POV story, there was time for this information to be conveyed. There is also a secondary conflict with someone who betrays the men. We learn who fairly early on, but then it is on the back burner for much of the book and it takes a really long time before we learn what this person is after, why they are betraying Lach, and what the organization they belong to is trying to do. So I just feel too much was left undeveloped here to really round out the story.
Despite these issues, I do continue to enjoy this series and find it a lot of fun. If you are enjoy mythology, I think you will find these particularly entertaining. Each book mostly stands alone, though the assorted gods and goddesses all know each other and many appear in all the books. So while this one wasn’t my favorite of the bunch, it was still enjoyable and this is an entertaining series that is worth checking out.