MARKED by Elisabeth Naughton
MARKED by Elisabeth Naughton
MARKED is the first book in author Elisabeth Naughton’s Eternal Guardians series. A series set in modern day, with a portal to the realm of the immortals, the Eternal Guardian series is comprised of Greek mythology, stories, myths, prophecy and history.
Argonaut leader and descendent of Hercules- Theron- is on a mission. He has entered the mortal sphere to locate his reluctant fiancé (and the king’s daughter) Isadora and return her to the immortal realm of Argolea. She is sick, and slowly dying from a mysterious unexplained illness. But finding Isadora inside a strip-bar, intently watching one of the waitresses is distressing. What would Isadora want or need with a human waitress? And why did the man looking out for the waitress, seem familiar? But when Theron notices the waitress, something deep inside, resonates with an unknown feeling.
Acacia Simopolous, otherwise known as Casey, has been working two jobs, including waitressing at the local strip club to make ends meet. But with Nick as her self-appointed guardian, Casey’s concern is his overprotective posturing and need to keep her safe. What does he know? And now, the beautiful stranger who catches her eye, seems so familiar-perhaps someone she knows or should know. But Casey is not well. Her health is failing, and the doctors have been unable to determine the cause.
Hoping to take his fiancé Isadora home, Theron exits the club, only to find himself facing a group of Atalanta’s demons. When he sends Isadora through the portal between the worlds, he is so weakened that he is unable to protect himself. It is only when Casey arrives, do the stunned demons retreat, but not before Casey notices their register of shock at her sudden appearance. With Casey’s aid and ministrations, Theron is nursed back to health, but he soon senses that there is something different about Casey, and that his attraction to the human, is not normal. It is only when he seduces Casey, does he notice the ‘royal birthmark’ on her back.
Returning through the portal, Theron reports the discovery to the king, who acknowledges, that Casey is his daughter by a human female, and it is Theron’s duty to bring the girl back home, because it is a prophecy that must be fulfilled. As a Miso (half-breed) Casey’s kind is considered beneath the god-like Argonauts, and all children from mixed mortal heritage are hunted or destroyed, before they reveal themselves to the world. Established 1000’s of years before, when the fallen Argonaut Atalanta sold her soul to Hades in exchange for immortality, the prophecy states that the two halves must join to save the people of the immortal realm. The perfect Argolean-one half human strength/one half god strength. Casey and Isadora are half-sisters, and each is one-half of the prophecy. The king reveals to Theron that Casey must be brought back to save Isadora’s life, and their world, and in doing so, end her own.
But Theron is reluctant to release Casey to the King, for there is something about the woman, unlike any female he has met. She is THE ONE. His ONE. His soulmate. But he is betrothed to Isadora, Casey’s half-sister and a woman he does not love. As the war with the Underworld draws near, Atalanta’s demons have been commissioned to ensure Casey’s destruction-the two sisters must never be joined. But Hades, the god of the Underworld, reveals to Casey, the true nature of Theron’s journey to the mortal realm- to retrieve Casey and save the life of Isadora. Betrayed and hurt, Casey resigns herself to the knowledge, that her life will end, one way or the other, and chooses to save the life of her half-sister, than live with the pain of betrayal.
As Casey considers her options, Theron’s heart is destroyed. He has fallen for the half breed, the Miso, and has lost her to the prophecy. Meanwhile, Isadora has struck a bargain with both Hades and Persephone, that will hopefully bode well for her sister. But the joining of the two halves, will change the Argolean Argonauts, as never before seen in their world.
We meet Nick, Casey’s self-appointed guardian and a fellow Miso, as well as many of Theron’s fellow Argonauts. The death of a friend and the innocence of a lost childhood are many of the tragedies that surround warriors and friends. We will be both saddened and awed, by the colony of half-breeds, who have created an underground city for protection against those who’s goal is to destroy and use the Miso’s as cattle. The gods and demi-gods are recognizable, if only by name and reputation, but the story created by Elisabeth Naughton is a true adventure between our world and their’s.
reviewed by Sandy