Failing grades. Misleading wind vampires. And a fortune in forgotten gold.
Traveling to the most remote region of China certainly wasn’t what Ben Vecchio had in mind for his summer vacation, but when Tenzin suggested a quick trip, he could hardly turn down a chance to keep her out of trouble and practice the Mandarin he still struggled with in class.
Of course, Tenzin might not have been clear about everything travel entailed.
Driving a truck full of rotting vegetables and twenty million in gold from Kashgar to Shanghai was only the start. If Ben can keep the treasure away from grasping immortals, the reward will be more than worth the effort. But when has travel with a five-thousand-year-old wind vampire ever been simple?
“What’s on the agenda for tonight?”
“I thought we’d go into Shanghai. Eat some fish. See the lights.”
“Then maybe lure a traitor into the open before he steals my gold.”
Ben paused, thought, then gave her a nod. “Sure, sounds like fun.”
At least he was practicing his Chinese.
SHADOWS AND GOLD is a prequel novella in the Elemental Legacy series.
Let’s just take a moment to stop and appreciate the awesome that is Tenzin!!
And done . . . now on to the gushing about the awesome that is Tenzin.
Shadows and Gold is just what I have been waiting for and so much more than what I had hoped for. I knew Elizabeth Hunter would eventually deal with the whole:
thing that happened at the end of A Fall of Water and though I was hoping the dealing with would have happened far more quickly than it did, I have to say, the wait was totally worth it. Tenzin is likely the most significant character in all of the Elemental World manifestations and to deal with her in short order would have been criminal.
Tenzin is the oldest of all the Elemental World characters and with that age comes a profound sense of isolation and loneliness. Tenzin has forgotten more than things than most will ever know, she has seen empires rise and fall, loved ones live and die and, through it all, Tenzin has endured. In only a very few instances across the great span of her existence has Tenzin allowed herself to become truly close to another living being. In this modern age and given her current associations, Ben Vecchio is the one Tenzin has allowed herself to become close too. Interesting.
From the moment Ben became a part of Tenzin’s world, she has – in her own special kind of way – liked the boy. Ben has proven himself to be everything Tenzin admires and respects: intelligent, quick, cunning, deadly in the right circumstances, always willing to partake in some crazy adventure and, absolutely loyal. Though still human, Ben has proven to be quite resilient and with his quick wit and skills has also proven to be one of Tenzin’s favored companions. With that being said, when Tenzin once again finds herself in need of a travelling companion and partner in crime, Ben is the first person she calls.
When one has lived as long as Tenzin, it often becomes necessary to shift one’s assets. When your Tenzin, assets often means large quantities of gold and goods that have been buried and/or in secret locations for centuries. Though Tenzin can certainly handle to vampire contingent in her current situation, she need Ben to physically move the gold and goods and transport everything to a new, safe location. The chance to travel with Tenzin and practice his abysmal Mandarin is something Ben just can’t turn down and if a little heavy lifting and some driving is all he has to do then so be it. Ben quickly discovers that Tenzin may have slightly undersold the exact nature of the adventure and before he can get his bearings, Ben finds himself embroiled in a vampire plot for control and revenge.
The Bottom Line: I always know I am going to get something good from Elizabeth Hunter but Shadows and Gold is so much more than just good. Tenzin has long been my favorite Elemental World character and to see her story continuing to evolve in such a fine, fun and, believable way is just fantastic. This read really highlights a few things regarding Tenzin: 1) despite her age, she is still capable of humor and a sort of childlike irreverence and; 2) even Tenzin isn’t immune to the affairs of the heart. In many ways, these highlights really open up a whole new world of possibilities for the aged vampire and I am incredibly excited to see where these possibilities will lead. Lest you think I have forgotten Ben in this summation, let me assure you, I have not. I think some of my love for Tenzin has to do with her relationship with Ben and that relationship definitely takes some intriguing turns in this read. Ben is growing up and given his physical training, he is growing into a beautiful body that is not going unnoticed by Tenzin. Ben is not at all afraid of Tenzin and one of the only beings alive that will mouth off to the ancient and stand his ground in the face of the tiny terror. In so many (totally important!) ways, Ben is a beautiful balance to Tenzin and someone who can certainly help this powerful being to not only adjust to but thrive in the modern world. Though Ben is adamant in his decision to remain human, I can’t imagine Tenzin and by extension, Elizabeth Hunter will allow this business to continue. In short, Ben and Tenzin’s future should prove to be long, fun, fascinating and, dare I say, sexy!