Bran, the North American Marrok, has decided it’s time to let humans know that werewolves live in their midst. He knows it’s not a popular decision, and has arranged a meeting of pack heads from Europe in Seattle to discuss the matter, though disclosure is not up for debate. His enforcer son Charles has been antagonistic about the idea - though he can’t articulate why, Charles senses strong danger. When Bran agrees to let Charles and his new wife Anna go in his stead, Charles feels an immediate release – his da will be safe if he stays away from Seattle.
The meetings will be overseen by one of the oldest and most powerful of the fae, a Gray Lord currently known as Dana Shea (a variant of the Gaelic daoine sidhe). She has vowed no harm will come to the participants, that attack will be met with swift retribution. But then Anna, the Seattle Alpha’s second, Tom, and Tom’s blind white witch wife are set upon by vampires and barely escape alive. It quickly becomes clear that at least one person has a hidden agenda, and while the Beast, Europe’s most sadistic and feared werewolf, is the likeliest suspect, there seem to be other forces also at work.
The second in the Mercy Thompson spin off series Alpha and Omega, Hunting Ground continues the story of Charles and Anna. He’s a centuries old born were, half Welsh half native American, at peace with his Brother Wolf but at odds with his father; until recently he’s been relatively content with his role as feared enforcer, comfortable staying apart from the pack, but his pair bonding with Anna has eased discomforts he didn’t know he had. Anna’s not yet twenty-five, a turned were of only three years, with an unhappy history before she was turned and a truly miserable past until Bran rescued her. She’s still coming to terms with the idea of trusting Charles, though her wolf is unquestionably connected to his, and as she learns more about him the more at ease she feels with this complex man she’s learning not only to trust but to love.
Though the plot is engaging and interesting in its own right, I was more captured by this unfolding, evolving relationship, and by the exploration of the characters of Charles and Anna. Briggs has created an engrossing world that stands out in an increasingly crowded genre. Although I enjoy Mercy’s adventures, I am more eager to read about what happens next to this Alpha and his calming but unquestionably not submissive Omega mate. – Alex