- Anita Blake
name = Anita Blake
first = Guilty Pleasures
alias = The Executioner
Necromancer/ Succubus/ Vampire
gender = Female
occupation = Animator, Federal Marshall, Vampire Executioner
title = Ms.
Jean-Claude(lover) Richard Zeeman(ex-fiance, lover)
residence = St. Louis
Laurell K. Hamilton
Anita Blake is a
fictional characterin the series of novels by Laurell K. Hamilton. Subsequently, she has also appeared in the Dabel Brothers/ Marvel Comicsadaptation of her first novel, "Guilty Pleasures".
Blake is the heroine of a vampire slayer series written by Laurell K. Hamilton. The series takes place in a parallel fantasy world where vampires, shape shifters, werewolves, faeries, etc. exist. Her night job, and primary source of income, is the legal profession of re-animating the dead. As an "animator" in a parallel St. Louis, her job entails using magical abilities to bring temporary life to dead bodies in order to question them for legal purposes. She is a necromancer, which allows her to control the dead, including vampires and zombies, but not ghosts and ghouls. She is also a licensed vampire hunter/executioner, with eventual empowerment as a Federal Marshal. In her world this profession involves tracking down and killing vampires who have murdered humans. She is also held in retainer for the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team (RPIT, pronounced Rip-it), which investigates supernatural crimes committed involving magic, vampires, werewolves, and other superrnatural creatures.
A strong protagonist in the series, Blake is very direct, rude, and yet highly competent in the professions she is involved in. She is trained in judo, kenpo and knows how to use several weapons, but is most efficient with guns (as the series begins, the
Browning Hi-Poweris her carry gun of choice, though later in the series she switches to the Browning BDM). She is also a devout Christian which often creates moral dilemmas for the character. She is currently of the Episcopalian faith, having left Catholicism since the Catholic church has excommunicated all animators. She is of mixed heritage: Her mother was Mexican and her father's family was German.
The character's name
The principal significance of Anita's name appears to be the Latin first name "Anita" together with the Anglo surname "Blake" represent Anita's mixed Mexican/Anglo heritage. Within the novels, this contrast, which also appears in Anita's mix of black hair and china white skin or in her combination of
voudounand Catholic upbringing, is one of Anita's key formative traumas. It should be noted that the combination of black hair and pale skin are not definite indicators of mixed heritage, as the Irish share such traits as well, nor are physical attributes the only indicators of being of mixed blood. However, Hamilton fails to define anything other than Anita's appearance and background as being 'interracial' traits.
Her middle name is Katerine, of Czech origin, taken from her father's favorite aunt.
Anita Blake (in the book, "Danse Macabre") is a twenty-seven year old resident of St. Louis. Born a necromancer with the power to raise and control zombies as well as power over other forms of undead, Anita leads a complicated life. Her main job is as an animator for "Animators, Inc.", a St. Louis-based business that raises the dead for the right price. Anita is also a licensed vampire executioner, (known to vampires as "The Executioner") a consultant for RPIT, the area's police division in charge of preternatural crimes. She has also been given the status of a federal marshal.
hardboiled, flippant and stubborn. Like Kinsey Millhoneand V.I. Warshawski, she has major emotional issues, is frequently the only female in macho situations, and tends to come across as quite prickly and difficult. Like Spenser and Matthew Scudder, she plays knight errant, championing vulnerable characters who ask for her help. Anita also lacks tact, loses her temper, is insubordinate, and tends to be quite hypocritical in many regards.
In discussing the genesis of the character, Hamilton has said: : I started reading a lot of hardboiled detective fiction —
Robert B. Parkerin particular — and I read a lot of strong female protagonists. But there was one problem, a difference between the male and female protagonists of the different series — even the strongest of the women did not get to do some of the things the men got to do. The men got to cuss, the women rarely; the men got to kill people and not feel bad about it, if the women killed someone they had to feel really, really bad about it afterward and it had to be an extreme situation; the men got to have sex, often and on stage and very casually, but if the women had sex it had to be offstage, very sanitized. I thought this was unfair. [ [http://books.missouri.org/eviews/october.html Missouri Author Interviews October 2003] ]
In almost every book, a
deus ex machinamoment occurs and Anita either discovers new abilities, further develops existing abilities, or both. The below summary encompasses all the books; her abilities in early books are much more limited.
* Necromancer: Anita is one of the most powerful animators operating commercially. She can raise zombies, sense the dead, sense vampires and lycanthropes, estimate their power level, and can resist (at least partially) mental influence from vampires. Particulars that set her apart from other animators:
**Anita's zombies look lifelike and can fool the untrained eye, including "healing" any sign of decay or injury.
**She can raise zombies that are centuries dead, and in later books can do so without human sacrifice.
**She is one of the few animators who can act as a "focus" to combine the powers of multiple animators.
**In "Bloody Bones" and "The Killing Dance" she raises vampires (during daylight) as if they were zombies. According to Jean-Claude, this is a rare ability. After raising a vampire, she can heal any wounds as if it were a zombie.
**In book 14 she is able to heal a vampire without raising it first.
necromancerabilities refer to the ability to control all types of undead. In "Bloody Bones", she controls the vampire she raised during the day; in "Blue Moon", she realizes she has some measure of control over Damian.
**Anita is also able to call and control the spirits of dead werewolves (munin). She has particular affinity for the spirit of and can channel Raina's healing abilities (Burnt Offerings and later).
* Combat training: Anita has a black belt in Judo as of the first book. In "Obsidian Butterfly" she is also studying Kenpo Karate. She works out regularly with her best friend "to be able to out run the bad guys" when she needs to. She credits Edward for much of her training in weapons, primarily handguns and knives.
* Detective training: Though she rarely uses these skills in later novels, Anita has been involved with many investigations with RPIT and, in the later books, with the FBI. Her police contact, , routinely requires her to engage in independent crime scene reconstruction in order to obtain an analysis -- Anita's reconstructions are almost always correct and frequently include insights that the police have missed. Anita thinks like both a cop and a monster, according to some, which is what makes her so insightful.
**As of "Cerulean Sins", she has Federal Marshal status which allows her to now enter any preternatural crime scene she so desires, or follow a vampire or other non-human crime suspect across state lines.
* Supernatural experience: Anita holds a bachelor's degree in preternatural biology and is a trained vampire executioner. She also has a well-worn two-semester background in comparative religion. These courses often told her useful tidbits about other cultures/mythologies, and throughout the series she learns vastly more about vampires, lycanthropes, and other
preternaturalcreatures. RPIT relies on her for information about a wide variety of supernatural entities.
* Human servant: In books 1-3 and 6+,
Jean-Claudehas marked Anita with three of the four marks necessary to make her his human servant. This grants Anita unusual strength, rapid healing, increased resistance to vampire's abilities, and an almost complete resistance to Jean-Claude's mental influence, as well as a psychic connection to Jean-Claude himself. In books 12+, Anita has given , her vampire servant, the fourth mark. This does not interfere with Jean Claude's marks. It is uncertain if this unconventional fourth mark grants Anita immortality.
* Triumvirate member: Anita is a member of a "triumvirate" with Jean-Claude and
Richard Zeeman("The Killing Dance"). At first the only effect is their powers boosting when they are together, and more so when touching. (The usefulness of the triumvirate varies with the interpersonal conflicts between Richard, Jean-Claude, and Anita.) Some results that developed in "Narcissus in Chains" and later novels:
**Anita, Jean-Claude, and Richard are all telepathically and metaphysically linked. They can speak mind-to-mind, share dreams, and draw on each other's energy and abilities.
**Each is becoming more like the other.
**Anita has developed several powers similar to those of vampires and lycanthropes.
* In "Incubus Dreams" Anita, Damien and Nathaniel create another triumvirate with Anita as the center.
* Vampire powers: The combination of her necromancy and her membership in the triumvirate has caused Anita to develop a series of powers formerly seen only in vampires, including the following.
** Anita has the ability to copy vampire powers that are used against her - sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently ("Narcissus in Chains").
** Ardeur ("Narcissus in Chains") (spelling varies, depending on the book). Anita developed this power after Jean-Claude fed his ardeur through her. The ardeur has proven in later books to manipulate the personalities of Anita and those around her, as well as to be addictive to some characters (such as ). The ardeur seems to be the main source of most of Anita's powers, as new powers arise anytime Anita gives in to the ardeur.
** Power draining: Anita has copied, apparently permanently, ability to drain the life energy from her victims and, if she chooses, to use that energy to heal another (Obsidian Butterfly).
** Harm from a distance - the ability to turn a person's aura against them, usually resulting in cuts ("Narcissus in Chains"). Jean-Claude had studied how this worked but did not have the ability. Anita has the ability, and Jean-Claude used their metaphysical connection to "show" her how to use it. (We also saw this ability used against Anita in "Bloody Bones").
** Animal to call - leopards ("Narcissus in Chains") and lions ("Danse Macabre"), and tigers ("Blood Noir"), and wolves and possibly others.
** Power to bind vampire and animal servants: Anita has the power to bind a vampire servant and an animal servant. She inadvertently used this power to attract a vampire servant, (Blue Moon), and formed a second triumvirate between them and ("Incubus Dreams") which presumably has increased her power further. In Blood Noir Anita bonds to her apparently as a second animal servant, her wolf.
During a period of hospitalization at the end of the novella "Micah", Anita’s blood test revealed that whilst she is not a lycanthrope, she is a carrier of at least four, possibly five, types of the lycanthropy virus: wolf, leopard, lion (as a result of her sexual relationships with various lycanthropes), and two so far unidentified but potentially tiger (this may be as a reaction to the machinations of the
Mother of All Darkness), snake (as a result of being bitten by Chimera in his weresnake form), or lamia (as a result of the attack by Melonie). This is considered unusual because one type of lycanthropy usually provides immunity to the other forms. This method of thinking, as of "The Harlequin", has resulted in the injection of a rare feline lycanthropy to combat a recent infection due to attack. Because the viruses counteract one another this would result in an infection-free blood test. The same may be true for the reptilian strain Anita may have.One exception to the viral immunity/nullification was , who had multiple forms of lycanthropy and first used the term panwere to describe himself (Narcissus in Chains). One Theory about ’s condition is that because he was infected by multiple forms of lycanthropes before his first change, he thus developed the transformative abilities of each virus; this directly contrasts the medical procedure of deliberate infection used in "The Harlequin". Another theory is that Chimera had somehow contracted a mutation (or caused the mutation) of the virus allowing all others to coexist without nullifying one another. Anita may have inheirited this mutation from Chimera.
The author of the series, Laurell K Hamilton, has a degree in biology, and said during a Barnes and Noble Studio podcast that she finds that degree very useful in maintaining the realism of her various wereanimals. [http://media.barnesandnoble.com/index.jsp?fr_story=67cacb1a515b055581c38be3361f123006d9d91c&sourceid=L000000141]
Anita was born with the talent to be a necromancer.
Anita's formative experiences appear to be a series of traumas. In particular, Anita has never fully recovered from her mother's death in a car accident when Anita was eight. (In The Laughing Corpse, she is upset that no one protects the niece and nephew of John Burke at their father's funeral when their mother is hysterical and throws herself on the coffin.) Her father remarried a few years after, and had a son. Anita did not feel she "fit in" with her blond father, stepmother, stepsister and brother Josh. She clashed with her stepmother, Judith, over her "unladylike" interests, independence, and necromancy. Anita's powers manifested during adolescence, causing various dead animals to reanimate and visit Anita's home. Embarrassed, Anita's father asked her maternal grandmother, Grandmother Flores, to teach Anita how to "turn off" her abilities. Flores believed that training a necromancer in vaudun ritual would lead to evil and encouraged Anita to remain Roman Catholic. Later, when the Pope excommunicated all animators, Anita became an Episcopalian.
Anita majored in preternatural biology in college, earning a bachelor's degree. While in college, her rich fiancee's parents convinced him to break their engagement because Anita's mother was Mexican. Hurt, Anita decided to forego additional sexual experiences until marriage. She also accidentally raised a suicide, who sought her out in her dorm room.
After graduation, Anita was recruited by to join Animators, Inc. as a professional zombie animator. She was also trained by and became a licenced vampire executioner. At some point (revealed in the
Comic Book"First Death") she became associated with Edward, and she, Manny and Edward were involved in at least one dicey confrontation with vampires -- a battle against Valentine and his pack in which Anita received a number of severe scars, including a cross-shaped brand on her arm, put there by some of the vampires' human thralls (read "First Death" for details). The series begins some time after that confrontation, shortly after the legalization of vampires.
Book 1: Guilty Pleasures
The first novel, "Guilty Pleasures", introduces Anita and her world. Anita is blackmailed by , the vampire Master of the City, into investigating a series of vampire murders. During the course of this investigation, we learn that
Jean-Claude, another master vampire, is interested in Anita and gives her two of the four marks necessary to make her Jean-Claude's "human servant." We also learn that while Anita can usually guess the age of vampires, she cannot get a read on Jean-Claude's age. Anita identifies the murderer, but by that point has sufficiently antagonized Nikolaos and her underlings that she expects to be killed. With help from , a human associate who specializes in assassinating supernatural targets, and Rafael the Rat King, Anita kills Nikolaos and many of her followers. To her surprise, Jean-Claude becomes the new Master of the City
Book 2: The Laughing Corpse
In "The Laughing Corpse", Anita assists the police in investigating a series of murders where animators are key suspects, leading to an exploration of various types of zombie raisers. Anita avoids Jean Claude during most of the book. At the end, however, he informs Anita that even he can feel her power calling to him. This means that she is not just an Animator, with power over dead bodies, but a necromancer, with power over all the (un)dead.
Book 3: Circus of the Damned
"Circus of the Damned" opens with Anita and Jean Claude discussing their relationship (or lack thereof). Jean Claude wants Anita to accept that she is his human servant; Anita wants Jean Claude to leave her alone. Anita meets some of Jean Claude's other vampires and hangers-on, including a human named
Anita is contacted by a representative of Humans First, a rival master vampire named , and Edward: all want to know the identity and daytime resting place of the Master of the City. Anita initially resists, but becomes angry enough with Jean Claude to tell Mr Oliver. Deciding in the end that Jean Claude is the lesser of the two evils, she and Edward help defeat Mr Oliver. In the end, the vampire marks were removed; Jean Claude admits that Anita is not his human servant. Anita also obtains her apprentice, .
Anita and Richard have their first date in this book. At the end of the book it is revealed that Richard is a werewolf.
Book 4: The Lunatic Cafe
In "The Lunatic Cafe" Edward asks Anita's help in identifying two killers: lycanthropes who starred in a
snuff film. Area lycanthropes, including (Ulfric of the local werewolf pack) and , want Anita to find a serial killer who is targeting lycanthropes. Anita meets other lycanthropes, including and , and learns more about werewolf culture while resolving these issues.
love trianglebetween Anita, Richard, and Jean Claude continues in this book. Anita agrees to officially date both Richard and Jean Claude. She becomes engaged to Richard, even as she realizes they have serious differences - and not just because he's a werewolf.
Book 5: Bloody Bones
"Bloody Bones" sees Anita travel to
Branson, Missouri, where she quickly becomes enmeshed in a series of supernatural murders and disappearances. Anita's relationship with Jean-Claude takes a large step forward in this novel. For the first time, Anita begins to see Jean Claude as a person, not just a source of information. Her role as mentor is also further developed and she is forced to relive the trauma of her mother's death.
Sleeping with the enemy
This phase of Anita's life deals with her taking Jean-Claude as her lover. Although she questions whether she can still kill vampires, her ultimate decision is that she still can despite sleeping with one.
Book 6: The Killing Dance
"The Killing Dance" provides a notable turning point in her relationships with Jean-Claude and Richard. Richard, with his desperate attempts to remain "human", represents the side of Anita that rebels against the "darker" elements of her nature, while Jean-Claude, who has long accepted his demons and draws his powers from death, represents the part of her that accepts them. Ultimately Anita realizes that Richard's desire to remain "nice" and "normal" had placed himself and the others in even more danger, and she runs to Jean-Claude, who is at least able to protect himself from danger.
"The Killing Dance" is also a turning point for the series in several other ways:
*Anita has accepted being Jean-Claude's "declared vampire servant" at the beginning of the book.
*Anita and Richard form a vampire triumvirate with Jean Claude, accepting the first three "marks". In addition, Jean Claude and Richard announce that they are allies within the supernatural community. Taken together, these changes make it impossible for Anita to completely separate her life from Jean Claude or Richard.
*Anita kills the werewolf lupa Raina and the wereleopard leader Gabriel in self-defense, resolving some unsettled conflicts from "The Lunatic Cafe".
*Richard becomes the Ulfric, or leader, of his pack.
*Anita and Jean-Claude become lovers.
Book 7: Burnt Offerings
In "Burnt Offerings" Anita is pushed into the role of "Master of the City's girlfriend" in the press for PR purposes. She and Richard help Jean-Claude fend off a challenge from the Vampire Council. Anita's metaphysical ties to Jean-Claude and Richard are strengthened during this battle; she "feels" his beast inside her. Richard affirms that he considers Anita the lupa of his pack, although they do not reconcile romantically.
Anita is also pulled further into the lycanthrope world when she discovers the local wereleopards need her to take their former leader's place as protector.
Book 8: Blue Moon
In "Blue Moon", Anita juggles being a leader among both the werewolves and the wereleopards while investigating why Richard was framed for rape. Anita and Richard reconcile during the book, with Richard offering to accept Anita's continued involvement with Jean Claude as long as Anita accepts that Richard isn't monogamous either.
Also during "Blue Moon":
*Anita acquires a magical mentor, the
Wiccan Marianne. (Marianne is not a lycanthrope but works with the local werewolf pack in Tennessee.)
*Marianne and her pack's Ulfric, Verne, begin teaching Anita how to be a better leader of the wereleopards.
*Anita's faith in God, and herself as a Christian, is reaffirmed when she faces down a demon with prayer and Bible recitation.
*We learn Damian is showing signs of being Anita's vampire servant and that Jean Claude gains power from sex. The latter frightens Anita enough that she demands a break from both Jean Claude and Richard; Marianne helps her to temporarily close off her metaphysical "marks" to them.
Book 9: Obsidian Butterfly
Anita travels to
New Mexicoin "Obsidian Butterfly" to help Edward, aka Ted Forrester, investigate a series of supernatural attacks. To Anita's shock, she discovers that "Ted" has a fiancee, Donna, who is a new age bookstore owner. Donna does not know Edward is an assassin. Donna becomes a target by trying to stop an unauthorized (but profitable) archaeologicaldig. Before this is resolved, Donna's children are kidnapped and abused. Becca's hand is broken, and 14-year-old Peter is raped. Anita is glad that she does not have children, and worries that Peter and Becca will not recover.
Anita acquires a new power from the vampire Obsidian Butterfly, the first instance of her picking up a power from a vampire. She is nearly killed by another vampire; her "closing" of the marks with Jean-Claude and Richard has weakened her abilities, making her more vulnerable to metaphysical attacks. By the end of the book Anita is convinced that she needs to return to her relationships with Jean-Claude and Richard.
Book 10: Narcissus in Chains
Narcissus in Chains opens with Anita's decision to re-establish her relationships with Jean-Claude and Richard. She discovers that her lengthy separation has caused significant damage to several of her friends and allies, both emotionally and also in terms of their supernatural powers. A number of complications to her attempts to repair this damage arise:
*Anita is accidentally but gravely injured by one of the wereleopards and develops secondary signs of lycanthropy.
*Anita develops the "ardeur", a rare power seen only in vampires of Jean-Claude's bloodline, after Jean-Claude used it to "feed" through her. Although this power allows Anita to draw energy from lust, it also requires her to have sex multiple times per day, at least in its early stages.
*In Anita's absence, , her vampire servant, has become a feral killing machine.
*Richard has attempted to substitute democracy for the strictly hierarchical nature of the local werewolf pack. Jacob, a new werewolf in town, seeks to take advantage of this chaos by planning to kill first , then Richard. The eventual split would probably destroy the pack.
*A new alpha wereleopard, has arrived with his pard of wereleopards, and seeks to merge groups with Anita and become her Nimir-Raj and mate.
*Micah and Anita have sex within hours of meeting each other because of the unexpected appearance of the ardeur in a shower scene in the hardcover version.Anita helps Damian to regain his sanity, assuming her position as Damian's master and rendering him the first "vampire servant" in centuries. She also comes close to reconciling with Richard, but Richard ultimately leaves her after she uses the "ardeur" to feed on him, declaring that, like Anita herself, he will not allow himself to be used as food. Anita accepts Micah as her lover and Nimir-Raj. Micah, who appears willing to accommodate any desire of Anita's, becomes part of a
ménage à troiswith Jean-Claude, allowing Jean-Claude to feed on him.
Anita accepts that her romantic relationship with Richard is finally over. She is still the Lupa of the Thronos Rokke clan, but also becomes its Bolverk.
Anita is not herself a wereleopard, but her affinity with the leopards apparently means that they are her animal to call as if she were herself a master vampire. Anita and Micah are happily leading their wereleopards and living together with Nathaniel, who also acts as Anita's pomme de sang, feeding off his lust, although they have not yet had intercourse. Anita, Micah and Jean-Claude also act as a happy threesome, but, being Anita, she doubts that happiness can last long. The themes of complex relationships and increasing power are continued in subsequent books in the series.
One of the monsters
Anita realizes that she is evolving into that which she once hunted. In "Cerulean Sins", she muses::"One of my favorite things about hanging out with the monsters is the healing. Straight humans seemed to get killed on me a lot. Monsters survived. Let's hear it for the monsters."
Book 11: Cerulean Sins
In Cerulean Sins Anita assists the police in tracking a lycanthrope serial killer. This is complicated by her close relationships with the "monsters" which puts her at odds with Rudolf Storr, the head of RPIT, who attempts to have Jason committed to a secure lycanthrope facility. Anita manipulates Storr into revealing his prejudice on tape; he ends up on administrative leave, and Jason is released on his own recognizance.
Anita and Jean-Claude outmaneuver Belle Morte by taking to their bed in a
menage a trois, making Asher their lover and therefore immune to most of Belle Morte's advances. More alarmingly, Anita begins to believe that Belle Morte is planning a war against the , the oldest and most powerful of the world's vampires. Although Anita and Jean Claude do their best to avoid that conflict, the Mother of Darkness is beginning to awaken from a centuries-long sleep, and seems interested in Anita.
Book 12: Incubus Dreams
In "Incubus Dreams" Anita assists the police in finding a group of vampires that are killing strippers, eventually going into their condo with a SWAT team.
Anita makes considerable progress with her metaphysical problems as she learns that she can partially control the "ardeur" by drawing power from others' lust and by ensuring that her other desires, such as physical hunger, do not go unfulfilled. However, she accidentally forms another triumvirate with Damien and Nathaniel, this time with her (not Jean-Claude) as the power focus.
Anita's personal life resolves in a number of ways. She accepts Nathaniel as the fourth of her concurrent lovers, and she and Richard also agree to renew their relationship. Although Nathaniel and Micah appear to accept or want Anita as their only lover, Anita reluctantly agrees to accept Richard's decision to date other people, and allows Jean-Claude to begin feeding his lust from others, at least psychically.
Book 13: Micah
Her relationship with Micah is focused on specifically in the novella of the same name. Anita also continues to wrestle with her recent increase in power, first attempting to deal with the "ardeur" and second, wrestling with the vast increase in her own powers as a necromancer. Anita is now so powerful that her attempt to raise a single person threatened to raise every corpse in the cemetery.
A blood test reveals that Anita carries four strains of lycanthropy: wolf, leopard, lion, and one unknown strain. However, she is not a lycanthrope despite being a carrier.
Book 14: Danse Macabre
"Danse Macabre" sees a possible pregnancy threatening to derail her life, even as she prepares to help host several visiting Masters of the City in honor of the finale performance of the vampire ballet troupe Danse Macabre.
The evidence that Anita may become a shape-shifter is growing; whether she will be wolf, lion, leopard, or something else is unknown. She resists changing shape by "giving her beast" to a lycanthrope. Because she can only give "her" lion to a werelion, this brings her into more contact with the local werelion pride.
Jean Claude and Anita determine that the ardeur is "seeking" food: specifically it may have shaped Anita's, Micah's, Nathaniel's, and Damian's personalities to make them more compatible partners for one another. It also encourages the visiting Master of the City of Chicago, who had been exiled by Belle Morte, to maneuver Anita and Jean Claude into feeding her ardeur on him. Anita is surprised that feeding on the Master of the City allows them to feed on his vampires and wereanimals as well.
In her personal life, Anita wrestles with her jealousy of her lovers taking other lovers, particularly in the case of Jean-Claude and Asher. She also accepts that she is a succubus and a vampire, in that she feeds off others.
Book 15: The Harlequin
"The Harlequin" shows Anita and Jean Claude coping with a threat from Vampire Council enforcers. Desperate, Anita calls Edward for assistance. Edward arrives the same day, bringing and Peter (now 16), who we last saw in "Obsidian Butterfly".
The Harlequin exists to police and punish vampire leaders who violate various rules, such as Malcolm's resistance to the blood oath. It was formed by the Mother of All Darkness, modeled in style on the Commedia dell'arte and by action on the
wild hunt. It is comprised of very old and powerful vampires who are capable of not just manipulating the behaviors and emotions of humans or younger vampires and lycanthropes, but of Jean-Claude, Anita, and Richard. Under this influence, Richard and Jean-Claude nearly kill each other, and Anita must also be repeatedly resuscitated. Anita keeps them alive by feeding on first Rafael (and through him, all the wererats in the city); Belle Morte; and later, all the swanmanes in the US via Donovan. Anita's second triumvirate also comes through, with Nathaniel and Damien "eating for five" so as to provide healing energy to Anita — and the others through her.
However, The Harlequin appears not to be following its own rules, so by vampire law Jean Claude's people can strike back. Edward doesn't actually kill a Harlequin, Anita does through a psychic link that she accidentally creates while trying to remove a sort of vampire spell that one of the Harlequin has put on her in order to keep track of her and Jean Claude's etc. movements. They subsequently end up killing the "human servant" of that vampire after Anita has fed off of Donovan the king of the swan manes. They recover in time to face off with the remaining members in Malcolm's Church of Eternal Life. They not only succeed, but determine that The Harlequin members were planning to take over Jean-Claude's territory and not operating on official Council orders.
In the book Anita almost allows the Mother of Darkness to become a full flesh being by allowing her anger to fester.
Anita also leaves her former allies, the werelions, to potential death. At a point where Anita and many of her other allies were injured, she asks to have sex with the werelion Rex Joseph so that she could gain the power to heal without the Munin. The Rex refused because he is married and values being faithful to his wife. Also there were rumors spread about Anita by the lions she refused because they weren't powerful enough for her inner lion. In a scene reminiscent of
The Godfatherseries, Anita decides that this is a betrayal of their alliance and decides to abandon Joseph in favor of another werelion.
Book 16: Blood Noir
Released May 27, 2008:
"Jason Schuyler is a werewolf. He's also one of Anita Blake's best friends, and sometimes her lover. And right now he needs her -- not to be a vampire hunter. or a federal marshal, or a necromancer, or even for her rank in the werewolf pack, but because his father is dying. He needs Anita because she's a pretty woman who loves him, who can make him look like an everday guy, who agree to go home with him and help him say good-bye to the abusive father he never loved. The fact that Jason is about as much an everyday guy as Anita is a pretty woman is something the figure than can keep under wraps for a couple of days in a small town. How hard can that be?
Really by now, Anita Blake should know better.
Marmee Noir, ancient mother of all vampires, picks this weekend to make a move. Somehow she has cut the connection that binds Anita and Jean-Claude, leaving Jean-Claude unable to sense what is happening. Dangerous even as she sleeps, buried in darkness for a thousand years somewhere beneath the old country of Europe, Marmee Noir reaches out toward power. She has attacked Anita before, but never like this. In Anita she senses what she needs to make her enemies tremble..."
- From the inside cover of "Blood Noir" Things get even more complicated when Jason is constantly being mistaken for the son of the towns local celebrity, Governor Summerland. Not only do Jason and Anita find themselves in the middle of a media frenzy, but also they are threatened by the complicated vampire-human love triangle that has been plaguing the Summerland family (and most recently Keith Summerland) for generations. When the danger and the news coverage hit a climax at the same time, Anita and Jason are left carefully maneuvering around truck loads of drama and politics, not mention their just trying to survive. Jean-Claude's reputation, the American weretiger population, Jason's family values, Keith's impending marriage, and the Governor's bid for president are the least of their problems and just the tip of the metaphysical iceberg.
Anita also appears in the Marvel Comics/Dabel Brothers adaptation of "Guilty Pleasures". Each issue contains roughly 40 pages of the novel adapted into a 28 page comic book. A hardcover compilation of the first six issues has been released with a new Anita flashback short story written by Hamilton.
There is also a 2 issue story "First Death" which is set 2 years prior to "Guilty Pleasures" and fills in the details of her encounter with Valentine and Edward mentioned in "Guilty Pleasures" as well as showing the getting of the cross scar.
The next edition of the comic, which is a fifteen issue long adaptation of the book "Laughing Corpse," is set to come out September 9, 2008.Pre-orders are available on Marvel Subscriptions, at a discounted price, and a link to subscribe to the comic can be found on Hamilton's website.
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