Authors: J.R. Ward
A NOVEL OF THE BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD
AT THE RISK OF INAPPROPRIATE LEVITY,
IT’S ABOUT TIME—
AND NO ONE DESERVES IT MORE THAN THE TWO OF YOU.
With immense gratitude to the readers of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and a shout-out to the
Thank you so very much for all the support and guidance: Steven Axelrod, Kara Welsh, Claire
Zion, and Leslie Gelbman. Thank you also to everyone at New American Library—these books are
truly a team effort.
Thank you to all our Mods for everything you do out of the goodness of your hearts!
With love to Team Waud—you know who you are. This simply could not happen without you.
None of this would be possible without: my loving husband, who is my adviser and caretaker and
visionary; my wonderful mother, who has given me so much love I couldn’t possibly ever repay her;
my family (both those of blood and those by adoption); and my dearest friends.
Oh, and the better half of WriterDog, of course.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS AND PROPER
(n.) Private guard with license to kill who is granted his or her position by the king.
(v.) Act of mortal retribution, carried out typically by a male loved one.
Black Dagger Brotherhood
(pr. n.) Highly trained vampire warriors who protect their species
against the Lessening Society. As a result of selective breeding within the race, Brothers
possess immense physical and mental strength, as well as rapid healing capabilities. They are
not siblings for the most part, and are inducted into the Brotherhood upon nomination by the
Brothers. Aggressive, self-reliant, and secretive by nature, they exist apart from civilians,
having little contact with members of the other classes except when they need to feed. They
are the subjects of legend and objects of reverence within the vampire world. They may be
killed only by the most serious of wounds, e.g., a gunshot or stab to the heart, etc.
(n.) Male or female vampire who has been subjugated to serve the blood needs of
another. The practice of keeping blood slaves has recently been outlawed.
(n.) Female vampires who have been bred to serve the Scribe Virgin. They are
considered members of the aristocracy, though they are spiritually rather than temporally
focused. They have little or no interaction with males, but can be mated to Brothers at the
Scribe Virgin’s direction to propagate their class. Some have the ability to prognosticate. In
the past, they were used to meet the blood needs of unmated members of the Brotherhood, and
that practice has been reinstated by the Brothers.
(n.) Symbol of honorable death in the Old Language.
(n.) Conflict between two males competing for the right to be a female’s mate.
(pr. n.) Hell.
(n.) Member of the servant class within the vampire world.
have old, conservative traditions about service to their superiors, following a formal code of dress and
behavior. They are able to go out during the day, but they age relatively quickly. Life
expectancy is approximately five hundred years.
(pr. n.) A Chosen trained in the matter of sexual arts.
(pr. n.) The evil or cursed twin, the one born second.
(pr. n.) Nontemporal realm where the dead reunite with their loved ones and pass
(pr. n.) The king and queen of the vampires, and any children they may have.
(n.) Custodian of an individual. There are varying degrees of
, with the most powerful being that of a
(n.) The social core of the aristocracy, roughly equivalent to Regency England’s
(n.) Male vampire who has been mated to a female. Males may take more than one female as mate.
(n or v): A term referring to a lapse in judgment, typically resulting in the compromise of the mechanical operations or rightful possession of a vehicle or other motorized conveyance
of some kind. For example, leaving one’s keys in one’s car as it is parked outside the family
home overnight, said oversight resulting in felonious joyrides by unknown third parties, is a
(n.) A person of power and influence.
(adj.) A term of endearment loosely translated as “dearest one.”
(pr. n.) Order of slayers convened by the Omega for the purpose of
eradicating the vampire species.
(n.) De-souled human who targets vampires for extermination as a member of the Lessening Society.
must be stabbed through the chest in order to be killed; otherwise they are ageless. They do not eat or drink and are impotent. Over time, their hair, skin, and irises lose
pigmentation until they are blond, blushless, and pale eyed. They smell like baby powder.
Inducted into the society by the Omega, they retain a ceramic jar thereafter into which their
heart was placed after it was removed.
(n.) A term of respect used by a sexual submissive to refer to her dominant.
(n.) A mythic beast renowned for its sexual prowess. In modern slang, refers to a male of preternatural size and sexual stamina.
(n.) Torture tool used to remove the eyes.
(n.) Mother. Used both as an identifier and a term of affection.
(n.) The masking of a given physical environment; the creation of a field of illusion.
(n., f.) or
(n., m.) Beloved.
(n.) Female vampire’s time of fertility, generally lasting for two days and
accompanied by intense sexual cravings. Occurs approximately five years after a female’s
transition and then once a decade thereafter. All males respond to some degree if they are
around a female in her need. It can be a dangerous time, with conflicts and fights breaking out
between competing males, particularly if the female is not mated.
(n.) A virgin.
(pr. n.) Malevolent, mystical figure who has targeted the vampires for extinction out of resentment directed toward the Scribe Virgin. Exists in a nontemporal realm and has
extensive powers, though not the power of creation.
(adj.) Term referring to the potency of a male’s sexual organs. Literal translation something close to “worthy of entering a female.”
(n.) Highest level of the vampire aristocracy, second only to members of the First Family or the Scribe Virgin’s Chosen. Must be born to the title; it may not be conferred.
(n.) Refers to a critical weakness in an individual. The weakness can be internal, such as an addiction, or external, such as a lover.
(n.) Ritual manner of assuaging honor granted by one who has offended another. If accepted, the offended chooses a weapon and strikes the offender, who presents him- or herself without
the Scribe Virgin
(pr. n.) Mystical force who is counselor to the king as well as the keeper of vampire archives and the dispenser of privileges. Exists in a nontemporal realm and has
extensive powers. Capable of a single act of creation, which she expended to bring the
vampires into existence.
(n.) Status conferred by the king upon a female of the aristocracy as a result of a petition by the female’s family. Places the female under the sole direction of her
, typically the eldest male in her household. Her
then has the legal right to determine all aspects of her life, restricting at will any and all interactions she has with the world.
(n.) Female vampire who has been mated to a male. Females generally do not take more than one mate due to the highly territorial nature of bonded males.
(n.) Subspecies within the vampire race characterized by the ability and desire to manipulate emotions in others (for the purposes of an energy exchange), among other traits.
Historically, they have been discriminated against and, during certain eras, hunted by
vampires. They are near extinction.
(pr. n.) Sacred vault of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Used as a ceremonial site as well as a storage facility for the jars of
. Ceremonies performed there include