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Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer

Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer, #1) by Karen Chance

Touch the Dark is book #1 of the Cassandra Palmer series.

Brief Synopsis Edit

Cover Blurb:

Cassandra Palmer can see the future and communicate with spirits—talents that make her attractive to the dead and the undead. The Ghosts of the dead aren’t usually dangerous; they just like to talk…a lot. The undead are another matter.

Like any sensible girl, Cassie tries to avoid vampires. But when the bloodsucking mafioso she escaped three years ago finds Cassie again with vengeance on his mind, she’s forced to turn to the Vampire Senate for protection.

The undead senators won’t help her for nothing, and Cassie finds herself working with one of their most powerful members, a dangerously seductive master vampire—and the price he demands may be more than Cassie is willing to pay.... Take A Chance: Books

First Sentence Edit

I knew I was in trouble as soon as I saw the obituary.

Primary Settings Edit

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Las Vegas

Full Summary Edit

At the start of the book, Cassie finds an obituary for her own murder by rifle bullets dated that night on her computer screen. She grabs her gun and runs from her office in the travel agency down alleys till she gets to the Club—she plans to tell Tomas that she's leaving and he'd better hide. At the Club, Cassie pulls out a Tarot card—The Tower—which means huge, cataclysmic change. She finds Tomas who insists on leaving with her. Then five vampires come to kill her. The attack reveals that Tomas is a Master Vampire and that he's been deceiving her. He claims that he was ordered to protect her. They're both still in danger, but she refuses his help. Tomas entrances Cassie to sleep.[1]

Cassie wakes up in a waiting room the North American Vampire Senate. Tomas tells her that he was abused of centuries by his former master, Alejandro and his court. Cassie is led into the Senate Chamber for a meeting on Cassie's fate. Tony appears via magic mirror—he demands that the Consul give Cassie to him, which she refuses. Pritkin, a Circle mage, demands that she be turned over to him to be taken to the Pythia who wants her brought there—Consul refuses. Chaos breaks loose during an assassination attempt on Cassie by the Senate's trusted guards. Pritkin animates a Golem ordering it to protect Cassie. [2]

Cassie is escorted to a suite by Louis-Cesare, Mircea Basarab and Rafe. The plan is to tell her what is going on. Louis-Cesare first tends her wounds which leads to a vision. The vision lands Cassie inside Louis-Cesare (which never happened before) in which he is masked and in a bed with Marie. A middle-aged woman enters with guards who drag Louis-Cesare to the dungeon where he (and Cassie) are forced to witness a tortured Francoise being burned alive chained to a rack.[3] After the vision, Louis is stricken that she saw happened to Francoise. Cassie takes a bath and Billy Joe appears with a lot of information for her. Cassie escapes her suite to go find Jimmy the Rat. She desperately want information about he parents before hs is put into The Ring by Tony and is likely killed.[4]

Cassie finds Jimmy locked in a cage, his hands mutilated, in a storage room with a cranky Pixie in the next cage. Cassie gets stuck in a Tar-Baby spell trying to get the keys. Danny the Shrunken Head suddenly animates. The Pixie cuts it in half—it re-knits itself—then she promises to get it's body back in Faerie in exchange for the password to release Cassie from the spell. But the head is only plastic. Jimmy tells her the password is "banjo", then runs off as soon as he's freed. Then the Pixie gets Cassie's help to break the spell that frees three witches. Cassie finds that one of the witches is Francoise.[5]

Cassie chases Jimmy the Rat through Dante's with Pritkin, Tomas and Louis-César following them—right into an ambush of Vampires and Were-rats. Jimmy changes into an odd creature part Satyr and part Were-Rat. Billy Joe tried to enter Jimmy to get information, but Jimmy pushed him out—then Billy pushed Cassie out into Tomas. Jimmy grabs for Cassie (her body which is inhabited by Billy). Cassie, inside Tomas, tries to negotiate with him for the safety of her body and because she wants him alive. Louis-César gets angry at Tomas and grabs Tomas/Cassie by the throat.

Cassie has another vision triggered by Louis-Cesare's touch. Tomas tags along on the vision. The two of them return to the torture dungeon in Carcassonne of 1661. Cassie encounters a horde of ghosts in the dungeon led by Pierre and Etienne. Cassie and Tomas rescue Francoise and escape the castle by following Etienne to Louis' cabin.[6] Cassie returns to the parking lot—were bodies scattered around and Pritkin's shield is about to collapse under the attack by a Dark Mage, Jonathan. Cassie and Billy Joe reinforce Pritkin's shields with a power word. The dark mage sends a black mist that eats at the shield. To stop the mage, Cassie possesses Jonathan using her shield of fire to get through his shield of wood. Pritkin tells her to destroy the Dagger Bracelet. The other mage catches on and threatened to kill Cassie—he is stopped by Francoise and the trio of Witches that Cassie set free earlier. She manages to get the bracelet off by bloodying the mages hands. The assault stops and the pressure is off Pritkin. [7]

In the suite the next morning, Cassie joins the rest in the outer room. There wait Mircea, Louis-Cesare, Tomas, Rafe, Pritkin, and the Golem. Rafe starts out by asking about Francoise. Cassie learns that one of the three witches that Cassie freed, testified to the Silver Circle about her captivity. She didn't know the other two, but one of them knew Cassie and insisted that they help her by stopping the other Dark Mage. They discuss Tony is slaving of witches to the fey. Mircea explains why witches are targeted and the Agreement of 1624 ending the practice. Pritkin is disgusted by the vamps feeding off the Satyr-Were Hybrids who betrayed them—it's a punishment though they won't kill them. [8] There's a demonstration of gentler forms of feeding without biting by absorbing blood through the skin. It's revealed that Tomas has been feeding off Cassie, he claimed it was to protect her. She sees it as another betrayal. They next discuss Cassie's visions and Francoise. Louis-Cesare doesn't recall Francoise's burning, but does remember a Francoise who was a servant and believes her father sent her away.

Cassie's Dagger Bracelet throws two knives that land into Pritkin when she gets angry at him. He goes into battle mode—tries to kill Cassie with floating daggers and flying potion vials believing she's a Lamia demon. When he and his weapons are contained, Cassie drinks a vial of holy water to prove she's no demon which confuses Pritkin. Cassie tells them about her second vision in which she rescued Francoise. Louis remembers it differently. They all conclude that Cassie changed history.[9]

That means that some of the Pythia's power has come to Cassie. Pritkin reluctantly tells Cassie the Pythia was the name of the ancient seer of Delphi and that is what they'e called the the world's oracle for two thousand years—all carefully trained. And, that a Sybil is a true clairvoyant—the power choses one to be the Pythia heir. The current Heir was kidnapped by Rasputin six months ago. Cassie's mother was a fallen Heir—she ran away with Cassie's father[10]

After Pritkin is escorted out, they talk about how they suspect Rasputin of plotting to eliminate Louis as his dueling opponent by going back in time to kill him before his third bite. They discuss Cassie helping them to save Louis-Cesare in 1661 Carcassonne. Mircea and Cassie Haggle. She agrees to help them rescue LC and Radu in exchange or knowledge of her father. [11] Once alone, Mircea proceeds to seduce Cassie. He explains that the Power will not pass to a virgin and they can't risk it going to he rival. Plus, the Circle demands her return to them, but if she's Pythia, they have no claim. Mircea tells her that Roger, her father, refused to give her up. Tony had him and her mother killed and trapped his spirit in a Magical Snare made by Dark Mages. He tells her how he found her and that Rasputin had also sent a vamp squad to kill her.[12] Mircea tells cassie about his brother Radu and how intends to go with her to rescue him. Though he rescued him from the Bastille in 1769, he had been in Carcassonne a hundred years earlier, in 1661 where he'd been tortured for many years. If he can free him there, he may spare him from insanity and mental torture for all his life. It had been Radu who change Louis-Cesare[13]

Rafe enters warning them that they're under attack by Rasputin's forces and they are through the perimeter wards. Mircea grabs Cassie and they flee down hidden doors, past wards with Rafe and Tomas. Mircea puts it together that Tomas is working for the other side. He viewed the situation as an opportunity to be free of Louis-Cesare and to challenge Alejandro. Tomas tries to force the situation when Pritkin stops him with a garrote allowing Cassie and Mircea to escape.

With the Tears of Apollo Cassie and Mircea shift to 1661 Carcassonne and inhabit the bodies of Louis-Cesare and Marie—to give them more strength. They realize that Rasputin is more likely to attack Radu than Louis to prevent Louis from being changed. Mircea/Louis runs to Radu's cell while Cassie recruits a ghost army led by Pierre. Mircea/Louis in too weak from Radu's bites to move Radu. Myra and Rasputin arrive in Time Traveling spirit form and with Black Circle mages at Radu's cell, her shadowy dagger in hand. She is told to kill Radu. Cassie steps in front, but Myra walks though her. Cassie's Dagger Bracelet sent two daggers that put holes in Myra. Cassie's ghost army attacks Rasputin's group while her daggers attack the Dark Mages. Myra fiercely aims her dagger at Cassie's heart. Agnes freezes the time with the blade a millimeter away. They talk—Agnes left that message on her computer saving her life, Cassie's mother was her apprentice. Myra must not get the power, she's either evil or incompetent. Cassie refuses the Power, but Agnes says she has no choice—the power chooses. Agnes kisses Cassie on the cheek—the Power slams into her like a mack truck. Agnes vanishes and Time restarts. Then Myra stabs Cassie in the foot. Cassie orders her ghosts to get Myra, but Rasputin grabs her and they shift out—both are still at large to cause trouble. Rasputin and Myra could try to kill her in some past time. Mircea tells Radu the conditions for his freedom and he agrees. Cassie and Mircea shift out—THE END.[14]

Plot Points Advancing the Series Story Arc Edit

  • Cassie is the new Pythia but she won't be able to control the Powers until she completes the ritual.
  • The Circle won't recognize her until she completes the ritual and will probably still try to kill her.
  • Cassie doesn't want the job and intends to hide.
  • Various factions are out to either kill or control Cassie for her new powers—Silver Circle, Black Circle. Myra and Rasputin, Senate, Tony and his allied families, John Pritkin, Tomas...
  • Tomas is a traitor to the Senate and betrayed Cassie numerous times—and he is still Louis-Cesare servant.
  • Rasputin and Myra are still at large and might use Myra's rogue powers to undo Cassie at some point in the past. 
  • Cassie's father's spirit is locked in a magical trap.
  • Cassie's mother was a trained Pythia heir.
  • Radu was freed before he went insane—though still badly traumatized.

World Building: Related Characters, Groups & Places Edit

Characters:Edit

Primary Characters:Edit


Background Characters:Edit

  • Alejandro: Leader of the South American Vampire Senate
  • Alphonse: Vampire, second in command under Tony
  • Apollo: God—Source of power for the Pythia; 
  • Augusta: Vampire Senate member—on a European vacation, not present at the Chamber confereence.
  • Cassandra (original): a seer in Greek mythology. The lover of Apollo—She pretended to love, long enough to gain the gift of foreknowledge; then she ran away. He found her, cursed her—she could keep the gift, but would see only tragic events, and no one would believe her until it was too late.[21]
  • Captain Beauregard Lewis - Ghost—helped Cassie in a fight with vamps
  • Christina: only little girl, other than Laura, around Tony's was a 180-year-old vampire whos was too dangerous to play with.[22]
  • Danny: shrunken head—Tony made out of what was left of some guy back in the forties. We made it the model for our key rings. [23]
  • Etienne: Younger Ghost in Carcassonne, a 17th Century castle.[24]
  • Eugenie: Cassie's governess, vampire in Tony's court; fond of Cassie, gave her special tarot talking set.
  • Ismita: (one of the attacked Senators, may not pull through) [25]
  • Jack: aka Jack the Ripper, now a vampire. Member of the North American Vampire Senate. Turned by Augusta.
  • Jerry Sydell: Fed—taught Cassie to shoot and picked out her first gun. [26]
  • Jonathan: Dark Mage in Dante's parking lot that Cassie possesses—owner of the dagger bracelet. [27]
  • Laura: Ghost at Tony's Farmhouse
  • Lisa Porter: manager of the shelter in Atlanta where Tomas used to live and Cassie volunteered occasionally.
  • Lucille: Bar waitress at the Club. Gave Cassie the thumbs up when she saw Tomas kissing Cassie. [28]
  • Marie: Louis-Cesare's human lover in 1661 Carcassonne.[29]
  • Mei Ling: (sp?) Vampire. Level one Master.
  • Mike: Bartender at and owner of the Club
  • Pierre: Older Ghost in Carcassonne, a 17th Century castle.[30]
  • The Pixie: tiny cranky pixie found in a birdcage in Dante's basement; seems to know Cassie.
  • Portia: Ghost—helped Cassie in a fight with vamps* Raphael: "Rafe" — The famous artist. Vampire from Tony's line; watched out for Cassie as child, kind to her, painted murals on her walls.
  • Radu Basarab: vampire—Mircea's brother
  • Roman Senator
  • Southern Belle Senator
  • Sebastian: werewolf, encountered in stairwell
  • Vlad Dracul: vampire—Mircea's brother 

Famous Historical Characters Edit

Groups & Organizations:Edit

Titles:Edit

Supe Types:Edit

Objects / Weapons / Publications / Activities Edit

  • Dagger Bracelet: Dark Mage's bracelt
  • Tears of Apollo: ancient concoction. They have been used to aid in meditative trances for centuries. They help her retain energy while in a trance.
  • Tarot Deck: Cassie has a magical Terot deck that talks telling its own prophecies. [39]
  • Magical Snare: the spirit of Cassie's father was tapped in it by Tony.[40]
  • Slaving: The selling of witches to the Fey
  • Magical Weapons: (List)
  • The Oracle: Newweek-like magazine for the magical community
  • Crystal Gazing: scandal sheet for the magical community
  • Dragon Blood: causes a lot of damage, even to a vamp, and slows the healing process down. Pritkin used it on Tomas and his face didn't heal as normal.[41]
  • List of Possessions: when one character possesses another character

Magic:Edit

  • Tears of Apollo: ancient concoction. They have been used to aid in meditative trances for centuries. They help her retain energy while in a trance.
  • Wards: Good wards are better than a security alarm because they tell you basic facts about who it was who broke in—human or not, aural imprint—and, if you get a good enough one, what they did while in your place.[42]
  • Magic:
  • Time Line: The linear line that time passes through normally without any interence. It's the Pythia's job to block any tampering with it. [43]
  • Ghost Vision: the ability to see ghosts and their tails [44]
  • Aura: magical skin or energy field[45]
  • Power Word[46]
  • Marley spell: a spell that prevents exiting a window—the window acquires a mouth that screams an alarm.[47]
  • Tar Baby Spell: slang for a really strong variation of a prehendo—anything that gets within a certain perimeter of the bespelled object is gonna get caught like a bug on flypaper. Cassie gets caught on Jimmy the Rat's cage wards.[48]

Places: Edit

  • M.A.G.I.C.: Metaphysical Alliance for Greater Interspecies Cooperation—the UN of the Supernatural Community
  • Dante's Casino: Casino in Vegas owned by Tony—has a Hell theme. 
  • Carcassonne: Castle city in 17th Century France—there is a torture chamber where Cassie saw Francoise in a vision.
  • Tony's Farmhouse: located in Pennsylvania countryside near Philly. Where Cassie grew up.
  • Pan's Flute: bar in the Second Ring of Sin in Dante's—managed by Jimmy the Rat; features Satyrs that serve drinks and prance around "at attention".
  • The Ring: Tony's favorite spectator sport [49]
  • Faerie: some spirits manifest there; [50]
  • The Club: where Tomas works; where Cassie does Tarot reading three times a week. Upstairs catered to a progressive crowd
  • Dungeon Room: Mike's nickname for the basement room at the Club—catered to the Goth set; where Tomas worked dressed to please
  • Voodoo Bar: in the Seventh Circle at Dante's Casino—features shunken heads that take drink orders
  • Peachtree Street: Where the obituary stated that Cassie would be shot; the Club was only a block from there.
  • Delphi: location of Apollo's greatest temple—Pythia was the name of the ancient Seer of Delphi.[51]

Quotes Edit

"I have learned, Mage Pritkin, never to say never to the universe." He glanced at me, and his expression was wry. "It delights in giving us that which we declare most emphatically cannot be." — Mircea [52]
"Let me get this straight. First you decide I'm a demon because of a power I didn't ask for and don't even understand. Then, when that falls through, you label me a fallen sybil and a ho. Am I missing something, or do you just not like me?" [53]

Next & Previous Books Edit

Prequel Shorts Edit

See Also Edit

Book References Edit

  1. Touch the Dark, ch. 1, 2
  2. Touch the Dark, ch. 3
  3. Touch the Dark, ch. 4
  4. Touch the Dark, ch. 5
  5. Touch the Dark, ch. 6
  6. Touch the Dark, ch. 7
  7. Touch the Dark, ch. 8
  8. Touch the Dark, ch. 9
  9. Touch the Dark, ch. 10
  10. Touch the Dark, ch. 11
  11. Touch the Dark, ch. 11
  12. Touch the Dark, ch. 12
  13. Touch the Dark, ch. 13
  14. Touch the Dark, ch. 13
  15. Touch the Dark, ch. 12
  16. Touch the Dark, ch. 11
  17. Touch the Dark, ch. 6
  18. Touch the Dark, ch. 4
  19. Touch the Dark, ch. 5
  20. Touch the Dark, ch. 4
  21. Touch the Dark, ch. 8
  22. Touch the Dark, ch. 6
  23. Touch the Dark, ch. 6
  24. Touch the Dark, ch. 7
  25. Touch the Dark, ch. 4
  26. Touch the Dark, ch. 1
  27. Touch the Dark, ch. 8
  28. Touch the Dark, ch. 2
  29. Touch the Dark, ch. 4
  30. Touch the Dark, ch. 7
  31. Touch the Dark, ch. 11
  32. Touch the Dark, ch. 11
  33. Touch the Dark, ch. 14
  34. Touch the Dark, ch. 11
  35. Touch the Dark, ch. 10
  36. Touch the Dark, ch. 11
  37. Touch the Dark, ch. 6
  38. Touch the Dark, ch. 8
  39. Touch the Dark, ch. 2
  40. Touch the Dark, ch. 12
  41. Touch the Dark, ch. 10–11
  42. Touch the Dark, ch. 7
  43. Touch the Dark, ch. 13
  44. Touch the Dark, ch. 14
  45. Touch the Dark, ch. 2
  46. Touch the Dark, ch. 8
  47. Touch the Dark, ch. 5
  48. Touch the Dark, ch. 6
  49. Touch the Dark, ch. 6
  50. Touch the Dark, ch. 6
  51. Touch the Dark, ch. 11
  52. Touch the Dark, ch. 10
  53. Touch the Dark, ch. 11

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