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SIGNED – Protector (Darkblade #2)


The Hunter’s legend conceals cold, dark truths.
Half-demon bastard. A butcher with the blade, assassin, monster.

For millennia he has stalked the world, conquering all in his path and wading through rivers of his enemies' blood.

But he remembers none of it.

Now, an oath made in bitterness and regret thrusts him into a new role to which he is entirely unsuited: guardian of a young boy touched by gods and hunted by demons.

The Hunter sets off into desolate wastelands and deserts to seek out answers with blade and brutal skills honed by centuries of violence. At his side rides the boy, an ever-growing inconvenience and testament to his past failures.

But as the legions of his enemies close in around him, the child he protects may not only hold the key to his past, but become his very hope for salvation.


(Each paperback is hand-signed and personalized by me. Swag included!)

SIGNED – Protector (Darkblade #2)

Look Inside

Fire and agony filled the Hunter's world.

So this is what it means to be helpless. He was dying, and there wasn't a damned thing he could do about it.

Blood and soot stained his face, hands, and tunic. His lungs burned from the thick, dark smoke that billowed into the night sky and blotted out the stars. Horses screamed in the near distance, the terror in their voices echoed by the cries of the men, women, and children around him. The clash of steel rang out above the roaring blaze that consumed the camp.

"Bring them down, lads!" A strong voice cut through the chaos of the night. Sirkar Jeroen, rallying what few men remained to fight the bandits. His half-dozen caravan guards would be outnumbered, even with the knights to bolster their ranks. Yet that didn't stop the caravan master from fighting back. He had to protect his retinue at all costs.

A gust of wind carried the smell of burning flesh, hair, and cloth. The Hunter groaned as a fresh wave of torment washed through his torso. He could no longer feel his legs. Not even the crushing weight of the wagon atop him registered through the pain. Immortality or no, he would succumb to the effects of the iron-tipped arrows in his chest and shoulder. The metal was poisonous to his kind; it would kill him in minutes.

I…I can't!

The twinkling stars above danced in time with the flames engulfing the nearby wagons.

The wagons!

He’d been so close. Hailen had been just fifty paces away, near enough that the Hunter could see the fear in his little face, see the tracks his tears made down his soot-darkened cheeks. He hadn’t been there when the boy needed him most. And now, Hailen would die like so many others had tonight.

It can't be. I won't believe it.

“Look around you, Bucelarii. Trapped, dying, nothing to save you but that which you reject.” The Hunter hated the voice that whispered in his head. It belonged to his inner demon, the thing that drove him to kill. The creature within him demanded death, heedless of who suffered at his hands.

A gentle throbbing filled his mind. Soulhunger, hanging at his hip, begged to feed. The dagger ached for blood; it would not give him peace until it had been satiated.

“To break free, Bucelarii, you must kill!”

As much as the Hunter hated it, the demon was right. He'd spent weeks fighting to keep the blade's voice at bay, struggling to take only those few lives he had been forced to. But now he needed Soulhunger's aid, needed the power it would provide when it consumed a soul. For Hailen’s sake, he had no choice.

The arrow in his right shoulder sent waves of icy fire radiating down his arm, and a scream tore from his lips as he reached for Soulhunger. His fingers, numb from the iron's poison, fumbled at the dagger's hilt. Pulling the blade free required his last reserves of strength. The pain was a small price to pay to save the boy.

"Hardwell," a weak, gurgling voice called out.

Beside him, Bristan slumped against the overturned wagon, just out of arm's reach. Faint traces of the man's scent—the lard in his hair, the hemp of his clothes, and the musky odor of a working man—penetrated the smoke. "Hardwell…are you…alive?"

"Y-Yes, Bristan," the Hunter said. His tongue was thick, as if encased in clay.

Bristan's legs, splayed out on the ground, refused to move. He stared at them stupidly, with dull, unfeeling surprise written on his face. His tattooed hands clutched the loops of intestine spilling from the gaping slash across his belly, and suffering contorted his fierce, bearded face. The reek of ordure and blood hung thick in the air.

"C…Come here, Bristan." The Hunter swallowed. His throat was parched, his lungs burning with the reek of smoke.

Bristan tried to move. "Can't," he mumbled. "Gotta hold on until Ayden gets here."

The Hunter tried to speak, but nothing came out. Slim, pale Ayden had fallen in the attack, a lance caving in his bony chest and piercing his heart. The healer would never arrive.

He swallowed again. The numbness spread through him, far too quickly. He needed to move before the iron did its vicious work. He had to live, no matter what.

"Come here, Bristan. Let me take a look at it for you." His words came out slurred, but the wounded Bristan was in no condition to care. The bearded man tried to move again, his gaze unfocused, features slackening. Exhausted from the loss of blood, he slumped—within reach of Soulhunger’s sharp blade.

The Hunter stared into the man's eyes. What choice do I have? It's a necessary sacrifice to save Hailen. He tried to rationalize it to himself. The man’s a heartbeat away from the Long Keeper's embrace!

"I-I'm sorry, Bristan."

Weakened by the iron's poison, he struggled to raise Soulhunger above the dying man's head. He had no strength, but the weight of his arm drove the dagger between Bristan's ribs. Bristan screamed in pain and fear and shock, eyes wide in horror and affixed on the Hunter’s face.

Crimson light emanated from the gemstone set in the dagger's pommel. Soulhunger shrieked in delight as it consumed the man's life force. The blade, still embedded in Bristan's chest, fed on the man's soul and sent waves of power washing through the Hunter.

"May the Watcher have mercy on you,” the Hunter said quietly.

The Hunter spoke the ritual words every time he took a life with Soulhunger, but Bristan was not like the others. He hadn't been paid to kill the man, hadn't even wanted to. He'd had no other choice.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered.

Bristan did not hear him. Could not. With one faint shudder and rattling breath, the guardsman lay still, gazing into the smoky night sky.

The momentary stab of sorrow was drowned beneath a torrent of power, Soulhunger suffusing him with energy and life. The Hunter reveled in the sensation, but in the back of his mind, he felt disgust at his weakness. He had given in. Again.

The demon crowed in triumph. “In the end, you always give in, Bucelarii!”

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Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
chad desruisseaux

saving the series to read in 1 binge shot during vacations. Havent started yet as I want to read them all in 1 go

A marvelous dark fantasy read

CW: death, gore, violence, some others

The Hunter of Voramis has left Voramis…and he’s not alone. He’s sworn to protect Hailen, and he will, but something is pulling him north. Something that smells like jasmine and honey. His memories are trickling back in, but centuries of lost information don’t just come back easily, especially with a demon and a dagger screaming in your head.

Despite the fact that this book was every bit as bloody and lethal as the last, it somehow felt nowhere near as heavy. Maybe I just knew what to expect, but the impending doom and overarching gloom weren’t nearly as suffocating. As in book 1, Peloquin has taken a character who should, by all rights, be the monster of the story, and has made him horribly, deliciously understandable. Watching the growth and development as the Hunter learns how to interact with a changing world is fascinating, and you come to cherish those moments of light and happiness in the story almost as much as the Hunter himself. Which, of course, makes it all the more devastating for all parties involved when that light is inevitably ripped away right as you settle into it. The Hunter’s having a hell of a time (pun fully intended) and the author’s skill drags you right along with him.

The plot itself is fairly straightforward, with an overarching theme lurking somewhere behind the scenes. I’m 100% certain that lurking bit is going to show up at a highly inconvenient time and wreck everyone’s plans. It’s well-paced, entertaining, and engaging, and I found myself incredibly unwilling to set my book down to do normal, real-life things because I absolutely *had* to know what was going to happen next. The characters are solid, complex beings that feel almost too real. Almost all of them feel 3-dimensional, which is something I haven’t seen in many books. Put all of this over the richly detailed backgrounds and locations, and you’ve got a fantastic addition to a wonderful dark fantasy series. Clear your calendars and add this one to the TBR list; you can thank me later.

Debra L

Book 2 takes over where book 1 ended. None of that "10 years have passed". It carries on with the original theme of "who exactly am i?" New characters and exoctic places make for a very immersive story. The action never ceases as poor "Hartwell" has the luck of the damned and cannot catch a break. We see all the sides of our anti-hero and they are amazing!! On to book 3!!
p.s. I hope Andy Peloquin makes this a 50 book set!!

Steve Bonczyk
Great series

This is book three in the series. This is a brilliant book, full of nonstop action from start to finish. The Hunter never ceases to amaze me. Finding his softer side now as well. Cannot wait for the next one or to see what happens next. Very highly recommended must read.

Manie Kilian
Joining a caravan?

I think it is really tragic to loose your memory. More so when you lost memories going back centuries as is the case for Hunter.
To compound that with the loss of almost every single person you cared for overnight is an even bigger tragedy Like the torture and killing of a young girl like Farida.
Small wonder the Hunter choose to leave Voramis with little Hailen, an almost over active little boy with a a few hidden characteristics that makes you wonder what is and will develop in his life.
Joining a caravan seemed such a good option to Hunter. Who could have guessed the costs and tragedy to follow?
I am rather surprised how truly immersive this dark Darkblade series turned out to be.
Considering that this book is in excess of eight hundred pages and I finished reading it in less than 36 hours really tells you something.