Book 1 of 3 in the Pagan Stone Trilogy
Three young boys, Cal Hawkins, Fox O’Dell and Gage Turner have more than a small southern town in common. Apart from being best friends, they all share exactly the same birth date – July 7th. On their tenth birthday, to celebrate being a bit older, the all head into the woods to the Pagan stone for a night of camping. Cal nearly drowns in a lake that is rumoured to be haunted by Hester Deale, a woman that committed suicide after testifying against a Giles Dent, a man who was convicted and executed on witchcraft charges hundreds of years ago. Cal and his friends escape alive, and nothing the other two boys say can convince him that he didn’t see Hester, even without his glasses
Later that evening the boys call their friendship a lifelong bond, but Gage insists that he will eventually leave town to get away from his abusive father. The boys decide to make a pact to always be there for each other, and repeating the words they wrote down, they, they cut their hands and share blood over the Pagan Stone. Something demonic is set loose and starts terrorising the Hawkins Hollow immediately. The boys survive and come out with the ability to heal super-fast and each boy has a magical talent as well – Cal can see into the past, Gage into the present and Fox can read minds.
Years later, at 31, all three men are still in peak condition, unable to be hurt for long or even have a common cold. They have been through the Seven three times, and are preparing for the fourth one. Cal runs his family’s bowling establishment; Fox became the town lawyer, and Gage Turner, who fled his alcoholic and abusive father at eighteen now travels the world playing high stakes poker and only returns to the Hollow during the Seven to help protect the town. Every seven years they set out to protect the people of Hawkins Hollow that is somehow infected by the demon they released at age ten. During the Seven the usually benign and friendly townsfolk wreak havoc, rape, murder and vandalise and then a week later cannot remember what happened.
Quinn Black, a writer on paranormal science, heads to the Hollow to investigate what has been happening. She immediately connects to Cal as she tries to understand more about the demon and maybe find something that they haven’t found in twenty one years. She immediately sees the demon, who takes the form of a small boy, a surprising thing as most people in town never sees him, just feels the effects.
Quinn finds Layla Darnell at the hotel where she is staying in the dining room. The demon pays a visit and Layla is immediately terrified while the rest of the guests remain oblivious to its presence. Quinn and Layla flee the building and head to Cal, where Layla confesses to having come to the Hollow because she had been having disturbing dreams about the place. Quinn starts digging deeper into both her and Layla’s family trees, sure that they are somehow connected to the Hollow’s ancestry. Quinn contacts her friend Cybil Kinski, who is an expert in genealogy. Cybil nearly crashes into Gage on the night they both arrive at the Hollow, and it seems like a bit of too much a coincidence that there are now six of them. Each set of male/female dynamic shares the same magical.
As the time creeps closer to the Seven, the six are being regularly targeted by Twisse, who enjoys preying on their most secret fears. They decide to head to the Pagan Stone and find a way to hurt the demon, at least temporarily until they can find a more lasting solution.
Will they be able to scare or hurt Twisse? What will happen between Quinn and Cal? In what way are the three ladies linked to the Pagan Stone?
Out there, in the hemisphere, there are a few Nora Roberts books I haven’t read. (I do not count her early Mills and Boon work as books, if I have to be honest). Blood Brothers, of the Pagan stone trilogy, is MUCH freakier than the other novels of Roberts I’ve read, and she does the freaky quite well. This book is quite scary, it has some good jumping moments and the horror creeps up on you while you are reading. That demon as a child with red eyes and pointed teeth was SO damn weird. Silly me read a few pages in a mostly dark, empty house, and can NOT RECOMMEND IT. The book is short – 125 pages – which suits me perfectly in exam time because my attention span is so short while studying.
I enjoyed Blood brothers. The story develops well, is excellently written and is gripping from the start. The characters are all interesting – once again Roberts writes three men as: the organized one, the one with dreamy good looks and the bad boy with the sad past. I liked Cal, who takes the lead in this book, because underneath the demons and drama he is a good man from a stable home. Cal’s girlfriend, Quinn, is entertaining and I could associate with her with her constant determination to eat healthy and not call anything a diet but a lifestyle change.
Recommendation: to fans, and there might be a few others who would enjoy it too 🙂