Immortal Protector
by Ursula Bauer, fantasy (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-501-2


When I am about to read Ursula Bauer's first book in her Eternity Covenant series, Immortal Protector, I don't really have high hopes for it to be honest. The synopsis makes it seem like some Dark Hunters wannabe, only with Greek gods replaced by Egyptian gods. However, you know what they say about judging books by the cover. As I get more and more into the story, I find myself having a crazy whacked-out rollercoaster ride of non-stop fun.

The best way to describe this fast-paced story is that it is like The Terminator meets The Highlander minus all that interminable bad boy angst one can find in a silly Dark Hunter twit. Our hero, Gideon Sinclair, an immortal fellow working with other fellow immortal beings in the Eternity Covenant. The Covenant aims to protect mortals from the machinations of both the gods and the bad guys. They maintain the balance between good and evil, in other words. They even police the action of the Gods, which is pretty cool if you ask me. Gideon serves the Egyptian goddess Bast and works with an order of mystics to maintain this balance. However, an unknowing woman has somehow become the latest focus of the battle between good and evil and Gideon receives his mission, which is simple enough: kill this woman.

Dr Megan Carter is overworking herself to the limit, worrying over kids with brain tumors and trying to liaise with pharmaceutical companies over the use of test drugs. One minute she is pretty much ordered to take a break and next she is being attacked by ugly inhuman creatures. She is saved by what seems like a shapeshifting panther who turns out to be of course Gideon. Gideon decides that he'd keep her safe until he finds out why Megan is suddenly hot commodity. Plenty of fun follows.

Why and how Megan comes to be Miss Popularity is something the reader will discover along with Megan as the story progresses so I won't say anything about it. However, I will say that Megan is plenty of fun as she is written just right. She displays a healthy measure of fear and skepticism in her situation and her attraction to Gideon is handled in a way that makes Megan come off like a realistic person caught in a situation she has very little comprehension of. Sometimes she can behave pretty stupidly, but given the fact that she's in way over her head and she is just learning as she goes along, I can't blame her for such actions. Gideon is just right the way he is too. He is a man on a mission who also wants to see justice done. His attraction to Megan doesn't get in the way of his abilities or make him stupid. He has no monopoly on every psychological issue in the Handbook of Traumas Suffered by Angsty Bad Boy Heroes.

Ms Bauer's greatest success here is her getting to maintain a near-perfect pace in her story. The romance is integrated nicely in the story without overwhelming or getting underwhelmed by the other events taking place in this story. The other secondary characters are most interesting too, as is the world Ms Bauer has created here. Best of all, these otherworldy heroes don't promise to whine, moan, and suffer from all kind of clichéd "mommy hated me, daddy beat me, girlfriend dumped me, the guy next door molested me, the dog bit me, and the football team did those things to me in the shower... oh god!" issues just because the author believes that making the hero as miserable as possible is a good substitute for actual characterization.

So, if Ms Bauer makes good the promise that Immortal Protector offers in future books, I can't wait to see how these future books in this series will turn out. As for this book, it's not really comparable to the Dark Hunter books after all. It's more like Michele Albert's kickass action romances crossed with a dose of Marjorie M Liu and Liz Maverick. I find this book most enjoyable from start to finish. I love it!

Rating: 91


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