Assassin’s Honor by Monica Burns (Order of Sicari #1)
June 1, 2010
Paperback, 352 Pages
Why I read: Author asked for review.
Favorite Quote – There it was again, that light teasing note that made her go weak at the knees. Not a good thing, but at least he wasn’t kissing her. That would be a disaster. Clothed he was dangerous. Naked he was devastating.
Archaeologist Emma Zale just made a discovery that will validate her father’s claims that an ancient order of people, called Sicari actually exist. Deep within a tomb, she recognizes a symbol of the Sicari and calls on her walkie-talkie to relay this information to her boss and mentor, Charlie. But he doesn’t respond and when Emma finds him at the entrance of the tomb, his throat has been slit and a mark has been carved into his cheek – the same mark that was left on her murdered parents five years previously.
Emma is initially held for questioning, because no one else was seen in the vicinity of the crime scene. As the Cairo police try to blame the murder on her, Emma notices a man in the shadows. He has a silent conversation with the detective and then a coin is placed in front of Emma – a Sicari coin. Emma can’t believe her eyes. Emma has special powers – when she touches ancient relics, she can see images from the past. With one touch to the coin she realizes the man in the shadows is somehow connected to the coin but she can’t place how. After three weeks of investigation, and finally two local people who claim to have seen a man in a monk’s robe leaving the tomb, Emma is set free and returns home to Chicago.
It is here, at her parent’s house where she is still reeling from their death five years ago, that Emma discovers a cipher hidden in her father’s desk that Emma has a feeling has something to do with the Sicari. Before she can fully translate it, that man from the shadows, or Ares Deluca shows up again. What Emma doesn’t know is that Ares is a Sicari – a warrior trained to kill – but only kill to protect the innocent. They assassinate criminals that have escaped the legal system. At first frightened for her life, she soon realizes Ares is there to retrieve information. Ares wants to know where the Tyet of Isis is – an artifact that the Sicari have been looking for 2,000 years. Emma swears she has never heard of it, and Ares realizes she is telling the truth. But now Ares has a big problem. The Praetorian, the Sicari’s evil nemesis, need only Emma to have a stray thought of the Sicari or the Tyet of Isis, and they will pick up on her thoughts and do unbelievable torture to her. Ares can’t let Emma walk around unguarded, which means she is going to have to go back to Ares’ compound.
Emma refuses the idea to accompany Ares, but after an attack by a man in a monk’s robe that night, Ares and Emma flee to his place. It is here where they will start to unravel the mystery surrounding the Tyet of Isis, Emma will learn first hand about the Sicari legend, and an attraction can not be ignored.
Assassin’s Honor is the first book in the Order of the Sicari series and for as many paranormal books that I read, this one really has a different take on things. Ares is not an immortal, but comes from an ancient race of people. A telekinetic that carries around a big sword (well two big swords, if you know what I am saying) and is fiercely loyal to his people. He is a gentleman, lethal, and falls for Emma quite hard. Emma is very leery of Ares at first – she appreciates his pure masculinity, but is he just seducing her to get information out of her? Or is he truly attracted to her? Emma is not stunned to know there are others in the world with powers not totally different from her own, but it is a lot to take in. Ares isn’t always forthcoming with information either, which makes the task of trusting this man, that much harder.
I very much enjoyed these two, and their romance was very hot indeed. Although trust is a big issue, and at times, I think Ares could have come clean much sooner than he did – Emma doesn’t let him get away with it. She is a smart heroine. She also does something that a lot of heroines don’t do. She thanks and appreciates the fact that Ares saved her life. She may not like him nor trust him at some points, but she realizes he stuck her neck out for her and she is grateful.
We also meet Ares’ sister, Phaeandra who is a healer, and Ares’ second in control Lysander. Lysander remains somewhat of a mystery although his deeply scarred face and stoic manner really appealed to me.
This book very much has an adventure feel to it. A complicated treasure hunt, very evil villains who revel in torture, a brotherhood of Sicari warriors, and a hot romance. With many mysteries, not all solved by the end of the book, I really think this series is going to be a good one. Lysander’s story is next, and I can’t wait!