The Progeny
By Tosca Lee
Published by Howard Books
337 Pages

ABOUT BOOK:  Emily Jacobs is the descendant of a serial killer. Now, she’s become the hunted.

She’s on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders—one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save.

Filled with adrenaline, romance, and reversals, The Progeny is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between the uncanny descendants of “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her descendants. It is a story about the search for self-filled with centuries-old intrigues against the backdrop of atrocity and hope.

REVIEW: “Everything I thought I knew was a lie.”

The opening line had me wholeheartedly invested in Emily as she wakes up in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Emily is a strong feisty young lady who needs help to navigate her new life. She doesn’t know who she is or why she’s there. Who can she trust?

“I don’t even know what I’m running from. What propels a person to leave her life, fake her death, and start over in a tiny town Maine? And if it’s that bad, why didn’t I relocate to Greenland or Better yet Fiji? The packet with my driver’s license and letter to myself contained 18 thousand dollars. A person can do a lot of disappearing with money like that.” She’s stumped.

Emily reads the note she wrote herself before her memory was erased. Nothing in it makes sense or helps her in any way. It just creates more questions like Why would she do this to herself? Why be in a cabin in Maine? Why is her caretaker leaving? What is she supposed to do? And the few mentioned above.

Someone is out to kill her and she doesn’t know why. Two men want to protect her. She has to trust somebody and quick. But who?

I liked how, through this fast-paced adventure, the author simultaneously reveals the mysterious past to the main character Elli and the reader. The author had excellent timing with the drama, action, and suspense, as she gave readers time to regroup and breathe before something unexpected happened again.

Elli learns her real name is Audra Eillison. She’s the daughter of Ameri Szabo a direct descendant of Elizabeth Bathory, serial killer. Audra can’t understand what they’d want from her? It was apparent she could trust no one not even herself? Is this why she erased her memory?

Stated in a note to the reader this story is loosely based on Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Barthory de Ecsed (1560-1614) serial killers, descendants; I didn’t know where this story would take me and/or if it would get gross or graphic. I knew I’d bail if that happened. I’m glad to report it didn’t go there. There were a few swear words (hell-damn) but nothing that didn’t fit the characters in this compelling story.

Given this authors’ passionate faith (seen in her other books) I was pleased to see some of it shine through into this story in a very natural way.  A reference here or there not at all preachy. It was a refreshing light amongst all the darkness. Things are not as they appear so hold your judgments of these characters, their situation, and the story line until the end.

Just when she (and the reader) think she has things figured out something happens that shakes up her current situation and brings about a new reality. This is a riveting tale, that makes for an amazing ride. Hold on to your seat when reading and remember to breath

This author pulls out all the stops in this captivating, suspenseful story filled with rich historical detail, in a modern setting that kicks off in Maine and takes readers to Europe and introduces them to a secret society, layered with some people that have paranormal gifts. This author just blows things out of the water as she created a believable Progeny culture. The events are like puzzle pieces where things had to fit together in order to solve the mystery. This is the first book in the series titled Descendants of the House of Bathory. Book two it titled First Born.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book from the library. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
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