A series of fantasy novels by Patricia Briggs set in the Tri-Cities in Washington State. In the universe of Mercy Thompson, fantasy creatures like werewolves, vampires, and faeries have been in hiding for centuries, and are only recently emerging. The first three books each focus on a different kind of preternatural creature. Moon Called focuses on werewolves, Blood Bound deals with vampires, and Iron Kissed focuses on fae. The series is set to have at least ten books. All the novels are narrated by Mercy except for Frost Burned, which has a few chapters from Adam's POV.Mercy Thompson herself is a mechanic by day, but she is also a walker - a Native American shapeshifter who can turn into a coyote at will. She was raised by werewolves, and has strong connections with the werewolf community. She also has links with vampires and fae - she fixes cars for the local vampire seethe, and her mentor is a gremlin (or calls himself one, at any rate).An offshoot of the series, set in the same world with some of the same characters, is the Alpha and Omega series, featuring Charles Cornick (the Alpha werewolf) and his mate Anna (the Omega werewolf). Omegas are rare werewolves who are (a) neither dominant nor submissive, making them an exception to the usual pack structure, and (b) tend to be peacemakers and keep other wolves calm. Alpha and Omega is set in Chicago, Cry Wolf is set in Montana, Hunting Grounds is set in Seattle, and Fair Game is set in Boston. Alpha and Omega, Cry Wolf and Hunting Grounds were set during the events of Moon Called or soon thereafter, while Fair Game is set in the direct aftermath of River Marked, and lastly Frost Burned and Night Broken are set shortly after Fair Game.A prequel comic, Mercy Thompson: Homecoming, deals with her arrival in the Tri-Cities and meeting the main characters of the story.
Mercy Thompson series
Moon Called (2006)
Blood Bound (2007)
Iron Kissed (2008)
Bone Crossed (2009)
Silver Borne (2010)
River Marked (2011)
Frost Burned (2013)
Night Broken (2014)
Alpha and Omega series
"Alpha and Omega" in On the Prowl (2007)
Cry Wolf (2008)
Hunting Grounds (2009)
Fair Game (2012)
"Star of David" in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (2008)
"Seeing Eye" in Strange Brew (2009)
"Fairy Gifts" in Naked City (2011)
"Gray" in Home Improvement (2011)
"In Red, with Pearls" in Down These Strange Streets (2011)
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Excalibur and Carnwennen from Hunting Grounds are shown to be this. Then again, it’s Excalibur.
Zee’s knife also shows this, though it’s balanced out a bit: over-using that particular power makes the hilt unbearably hot.
Abuse Mistake: Several times now, injuries Mercy got from fighting evil have garnered comments along the lines of, "Whoever that man is, you should dump him."
Abusive Parents: Jesse's mother (and Adam's ex-wife) is criminally neglectful, and has been known to go on vacation without telling her daughter that she's being abandoned for a week or more. If Adam wasn't such a softie with obvious buttons that the woman knows how to push, he would have sole custody.
Which he now has, thanks to Jessie being as able to push her mother's buttons as her mother is able to push Adam's.
Action Girl: Pretty much every female character in the series, Mercy in particular.
Aliens in Cardiff: While werewolves in the Pacific Northwest aren't so incongruous, finding a seethe of centuries-old European vampires in the Tri-Cities smacks of this trope. Justified by the seethe's founder having been exiled from Italy and consigned to whichever trackless backwoods her Maker randomly picked from an atlas, which later became an urban area.
All Myths Are True: If it's not fae, spirit, werewolf, witch, something else from some mythology, it's probably a human. Also Bran is pretty much Sir Marrok of Arthurian Legend AND the inspiration for Grendel.
Actually, Patty once said that it was actually Sam that was the Sir Marrok
Altar the Speed: Played with. In River Marked, Adam and Mercy's wedding is expedited because Mercy doesn't want to deal with her mother...who's been been playing the crazy wedding planner because she has a bet on with Bran to see how long it will take Mercy to crack. The answer: not long.
A Nazi by Any Other Name: Cantrip seems to be going this way since its members openly talk about wanting to kill all the werewolves and may have arranged a bombing attempt on a fairy reservation.
Anti-Magic: Mercy is resistant or immune to a lot of magic.
The Atoner: David Christiansen, especially in The Star of David short story. Having killed his cheating wife in his first Change, he’s spent the rest of his life running a company of good-guy mercenaries who specialize in hostage rescue.
Stefan and Adam also both show shades of this.
Much of the plot of Fair Game revolves around Charles trying to be the atoner for all the people the Marrok’s been making him kill. He gets better.
Badass Family: All of the Cornicks—even Anna, who’s only a Cornick by marriage.
Also, the Hauptmans probably qualify, now that Mercy and Adam are married.
Battle Couple: Two of them. Adam and Mercy are the first, Charles and Anna are the second. All four have killed people for (or along with) their respective partners.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. The amount of times that Mercy gets visibly battered, dirty, bloody, or some combination of the three, are beyond counting.
Belligerent Sexual Tension: Tons from Mercy and Adam in the first few books. It eases off when they become an actual couple, but they still throw jabs at each other for fun. Mercy states that she actually enjoys fighting with Adam.
Berserk Button: Mercy is one for a lot of people - Adam, Samuel, Bran, Zee, even Stefan. Hurt her and you might as well slit your own throat. It'll be a lot cleaner than what the aforementioned people will do to you.
In River Marked, Uncle Mike decides to report the death of five minor fae (who made the mistake of trying to kill Mercy in front of Adam) as “suicide by werewolf.”
Hurting/threatening Anna around Charles gets similar results.
Blessed with Suck: Being a werewolf, to a large degree. Yeah, you’re nearly indestructible, functionally immortal, and capable of changing into an uber-wolf at will. However, you’re going to outlive every vanilla human you love (and attempting to turn them is much more likely to kill them or get them killed), the change is agonizing and can take up to a quarter of an hour, and you’ll spend the rest of your life struggling to control the bestial personality sharing space inside your head. Oh, and you can’t swim.
Brainless Beauty: Subverted: Honey, one of Adam’s pack members, seems like this—blond, busty, and not too bright—right up until the point that she clues Mercy into some important points of werewolf politics that had slipped her notice. To boot, Mercy remarks that if she were allowed to hold her own rank in the pack (rather than inheriting her mate’s, as all female werewolves do), Honey would be in the top tier.
Break the Cutie: Anna’s original pack Alpha, Leo, attempts this in order to keep her from realizing exactly how little hold he has over her. If it wasn’t for Charles, it would have worked, too.
Camp Gay: Kyle, Warren's boyfriend. Played with, in that he turns it up and down depending on who he's around.
Canis Latinicus: Anna picked up the habit of using this from her father, and used it to snark back at her tormentors in Leo's pack without them realizing it. Some of them knew what it meant anyway, and simply kept silent.
Cannot Tell a Lie: The fae are incapable of lying, though they can still be perfectly dishonest with the truth.
Not true in Hunting Grounds. The Lie Police have to be called out on a Fae. It’s implied, however, that this is very bad, and very rare.
Correction for above: It wasn't that Dana Shea lied, but rather that she broke her given word.
Chekhov's Gun: In Iron Kissed, the alarm system installed by Adam's firm, and its codes.
Also, pretty much every time Mercy's Fae-created walking stick shows up, it's going to be used in the book's climax.
Cleanup Crew: It is implied that most werewolf packs have a specialist, usually a witch, to clean up their messes. Adam's pack, for example, keeps the witch Elizaveta Arkadyevna on retainer, and the Marrok's pack has Charles Cornick, who has magical talent inherited from his mother's side of the family.
Clingy MacGuffin: The fairy walking stick that Mercy picks up is one of these for quite a while, until she gives it away to Coyote in River Marked. and it returns once again at the very end of Night Broken
Cock Fight: Adam and Samuel attempt a couple of these in the early books. Quickly turns into a CMoF when Mercy breaks one up by throwing cranberry juice on them both.
Combat Pragmatist: All of the werewolves, for the most part, but Mercy also. In Moon Called it takes the werewolf member of a trio of trained mercenaries to restrain her completely.
Although it should be noted that they were trying to NOT harm her, while she was out for blood!
Also exemplified when Mercy silences a wolf about to take advantage of a weakened Adam…by shooting him in the throat.
Cool House: As an extremely successful divorce lawyer, it's only natural that Kyle owns a Big Fancy House. But he takes it to the next level by turning into a safe haven for (soon-to-be) single mothers - with lavish creature comforts, numerous safes, a bleeding-edge security system (in addition to Warren, his werewolf lover), and a fair number of secret passages (just in case).
His home also features a pair of nude marble sculptures he named Dick and Jane. Although their outfits change according to Kyle's whims, Dick wears only a hat (and not on his head) while Jane wears only a skirt.
Odder still is the fact that, despite having a Cool House, Kyle spends most of his time living with Warren.
Compelling Voice: Sufficiently powerful werewolves tend to possess one of these, at least to their pack. Adam and Samuel exhibit a combined one at the climax of Moon Called, while Dana Shea tries to use one in Hunting Grounds—only to be countered by Anna’s instinctive use of her own.
Mercy has one in later books because she's borrowing Adam's.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Also many, though the River Devil slaughtering Coyote and his kin is a memorable example.
In Frost Burned, Adam delivers a bloody one to the rogue government agents who've captured his pack.
Curse That Cures: In one book a werewolf talks his father into getting infected, to save him from cancer. It does cure the disease, but the father fears and cannot control his werewolf side, leading to his Alpha killing him to protect the pack.
Daylight Horror: Vampires are no less scary during the day—especially the ones who are powerful enough to stay awake while the sun is up.
Werewolves also qualify, as they can shapeshift at any time.
Deadpan Snarker: While many characters qualify (Mercy, Mary Jo, and even Stefan), Ben really takes the cake! Although he's British (a transplant from the London pack under dubious circumstances), he doesn't quite qualify as The Mean Brit.
(while Ben and Warren are safeguarding Mercy prior to a meeting with the Seethe Mistress) Mercy: (to Ben) You don't have a heart! Ben: All the more reason to give me yours. Mercy: (to Warren) Please tell me Ben isn't flirting with me! Ben: Hey! I was talking about cannibalism, not romance.
Determinator: Mercy. Especially at the climax of River Marked. By the end, the only thing keeping her upright (and not screaming) is willpower.
Mentioned but not shown is a girl who became a werewolf at age ten. Girls rarely survive the Change to begin with— Mercy, Honey and even Bran note that a ten-year-old girl surviving must have willpower to spare.
Distressed Damsel: Played with. While Mercy is a pretty damn hardcore Action Girl, the fact that she’s mostly a Badass Normal means she’s often at the mercy of the bigger bads of the universe. So, in a compromise, she’s usually just about as fierce as the power level of the villain allows, even if it takes the help of Adam and his pack to truly win the day.
Anna often ends up in this position as well, though like Mercy, she’s hardly defenseless.
Subverted in Frost Burned. Adam and the entire pack get captured, and Mercy's the one left active. Then it's averted when Adam frees himself (with help) and slaughters their captors single-handedly.
Does Not Like Women: Ben, though he's been getting better over time. Mercy still wouldn’t allow him to be alone with her sisters, though.
The Dog Bites Back: in Frost Burned, the mercenaries hired to kidnap and hold Adam and his pack realize that their employers are okay with letting them die or killing them if they get captured. They promptly decide to cut their losses and flee, but not before giving Adam some useful information and a way to escape.
Anna gets shades of this when she kills the mate of the Alpha who brutalized her.
Domino Revelation: First we learn that werewolves, walkers and vampires exist. Then came sorcerers, demons, and fairies.
In-universe: the fae revealed themselves to the world, then, two decades later, so did the werewolves. Several characters voice the opinion that the vampires will probably come next, but everyone agrees it will mean a huge deal of trouble for everyone (because, contrary to the fae and the werewolves, there is simply no way to sugarcoat vampirism).
Dying Race: Walkers like Mercy are extremely rare, as they and other Native American magical beings went into decline along with the cultures that believed in them. Also, vampires wiped them out whenever they could find them, as walkers' ability to see ghosts also allows them to locate vampire lairs by day.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Mercy and Adam have a decently happy ending by the conclusion of River Marked...but damn if they haven’t paid for it in blood and pain.
Pretty much all of Anna and Charles’ happy endings are this as well.
Eldritch Abomination: The River Devil, which would eventually be capable of eating the entire world.
Enemy Mine: every time Mercy has to work with vampires other than Stefan.
Eternal Love: Any long-lived werewolf pair could count, but also Sam and Ariana.
Similarly, while the fae aren’t above rules-lawyering and have a rather inhuman sense of justice… the over-the-top injustice at the end of Fair Game is enough to enrage even them. The consequences are unpleasant.
Most of the fae (at least those that are out to the public) live on reservations, in part because they are targets for hate crimes. And in many cases, the feeling is mutual with regard to how the fae feel about humans.
And, by the end of Fair Game, it's driven the Fae into secession from human society and outright war.
Full Name Ultimatum: Mercy's mother. But entirely justified. She had found out from the newspapers that her daughter had been raped and killed her rapist rather than a phone call from Mercy.
Alphas and master vampires usually call their subordinates by doing this.
Genius Bruiser: Darryl is this in spades. He’s Adam’s second, fought Warren to a standstill, and looks like a big scary African-American/Asian dude. He’s also got a Ph.D, and teaches at the local college. Lots of the werewolves are this, really.
Charles is a decent hacker, a very good accountant, and an excellent detective. Comes with being the Marrok’s hatchet man.
Good Is Not Nice: Many of the werewolves showcase—and openly understand—this trope. Bran and Charles Cornick in particular are very aware of the nasty, brutal things they sometimes have to do, to keep the peace and keep people safe.
Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Mercy's foster father loved this: "Cheeses crusty, got all musty, got damp on the stone of a peach." Which translates as “Jesus Christ, God Almighty, God damn the sonovabitch."
Adam is particularly adverse to swearing around women - Mercy considers it a personal triumph when she can drive him to slip up and actually swear around her.
A lot of the werewolves do this, because many come from an era where cursing was quite the faux pas.
Half-Human Hybrid: Mercy herself, being the daughter of a vanilla human and Coyote in human form. There are also half-breed fae.
Heart Is an Awesome Power: While it isn't exactly that lame to start with, seeing ghosts, most of whom just do the same thing over and over, doesn't seem that useful compared to walkers' other powers of shapeshifting and magic resistance. However, it turns out it's one of the main reasons the vampires tried to exterminate them: vampire lairs tend to have a lot of violent deaths around them, so someone who can see ghosts can locate them easily.
An Omega’s empathy and peace powers seem like a crappy power to have in a bunch of deadly werewolves—right up until you make a berserker-raging werewolf king lay down and play nice with them.
Heroic BSOD: Several, often with nastier consequences for werewolves than humans. For example…
Mercy gets a massive one after being raped by Tim in Iron Kissed.
It takes Samuel most of Silver Borne to get out of an age-induced one.
Stefan gets one when his menagerie is destroyed.
Hide Your Gays: Subverted. Warren, Adam's third, is gay, and is a Badass even by Werewolf standards because he's had to fight off werewolves who think him unfit to be part of any pack because of his orientation. It's strongly implied that if he wasn't gay, he'd be Adam's second, above Darryl.
I See Dead People: Mercy can see and talk to ghosts. She thinks it's part and parcel of being a walker until River Marked. Shown in "Night Broken" that perhaps all coyote walkers can when we meet Gary
Interspecies Romance: Few female werewolves exist, so most males have human mates. Mercy herself has never actually met another walker before River Marked, so her love interests have all been this trope.
Fae/human romances also exist.
Sam (werewolf)/Ariana (fae)
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ben is this, full stop. He’s an accused rapist (though Adam says he didn’t do it) and an open misogynist. He also literally puts his life on the line for Mercy at one point, putting himself between an enraged Adam and Mercy to make a point. When someone points out in the second book that he only ever refers to women using slang terms for female genitalia, he makes a concentrated effort to stop.
Darryl qualifies sometimes, too—he protects the pack selflessly, but he can be a real asshole about it.
Zee can be a curmudgeon to pretty much everyone, but when Mercy asks, he'll bend rules even where the Grey Lords are involved.
Living Lie Detector: Most of the werewolves and Mercy herself can smell if you're lying, though some people can hide it better than others. Vampires can frequently do this as well, as can most fae.
Loophole Abuse: In Silver Borne, the faerie queen forbids Mercy from talking about her to the werewolves or the other fae. The loophole in this case is that Mercy figures she can just talk to Jesse (who is neither a werewolf nor fae) instead, with the wolves and fae listening in.
The fae love this as well, and Zee uses it frequently to feed information or aid to Mercy when he's not supposed to.
Love Triangle: Mercy in the middle with Adam and Samuel on the other two corners. Possibly a Love Quadrangle given Stefan seems very attached to Mercy as well — attached enough that he protected her from the seethe and chose her over his Mistress Stefan's attraction for her more or less confirmed in "Night Broken".
This seems to have gone away starting in Bone Crossed and definitely at the end of Silver Borne when Samuel and Ariana reunite.
And, as of River Marked, it's pretty much gone, following Adam and Mercy's wedding.
Magical Native American: Mercy and Charles, somewhat literally. Mercy is a part-Native American shapeshifter, while Charles is a half-Salish werewolf. Hell, Charles can talk to spirits, he just finds it distracting.
There's two more walkers, a couple medicine men, and the incarnations of Coyote and Thunderbird in River Marked, to boot.
Manly Gay: If a werewolf who spent the Wild West years as a cowboy isn't tough and muscular enough for you, nothing is.
Mayfly-December Romance: happens to many supernatural creatures with human mates. In particular, Samuel outlived three wives and many of their children. In Hunting Grounds, Arthur chooses to have his wife assassinated by vampires rather than suffer seeing her die of old age.
Older Than They Look / Really 700 Years Old: Werewolves and vampires don’t age. Among the wolves, notable examples are Bran and his eldest son Samuel, who are both several centuries old (mention goes to Bran for looking like he hasn’t reached the mid-twenties yet). Among the vampires, Wulfe is noted as looking the youngest, but being actually one of the oldest ones alive.
Our Werewolves Are Different: Werewolves can change shape more or less at will, but are forced to do so under a full moon. They’re also immune to disease, old age, and poisons. The initial conversion from human to werewolf reverts physical age to mid-twenties or thirties, and most werewolves are somewhere between physically fit and musclebound. Silver is poisonous to them, and more unusually, they can't swim, or only very badly. (They’ve got so much raw muscle mass, they become too dense to float.) The change is agonizing, and changing from wolf to human takes several minutes. They also have minor Weirdness Censor powers that encourage Muggles to mistake them for dogs, even though they're larger than wolves. It won't fool someone who already knows about werewolves and expects to see one, and an actual angry werewolf is too different and dangerous to fool anyone, but a werewolf that's stuck in wolf form but otherwise in control of himself can blend in just having someone put a collar on him. Werewolves can stay in wolf form for weeks or months at a time, but typically lose control long before then. Last but not least, a single bite won’t Change you—only being savaged to the point where you become a werewolf (and gain super healing) or die.
Though there is a single instance, in Iron Kissed, of a werewolf changing into something like Crinos form from Werewolf: The Apocalypse. It's implied that to get that form, the wolf and the human have to be absolutely united in one purpose and one emotion. In this case, it's Adam, enraged over Tim's brutalization and rape of Mercy.
Papa Wolf: Adam, quite literally. Also, Bran Cornick, the Marrok.
Part Time Hero: No matter what is going on around her, Mercy keeps up her day job as a mechanic. If things get REALLY bad, she'll call Zee and ask him to run her shop.
Post-Modern Magik: Any holy symbol can affect a vampire, so long as the wielder believes in it. Mercy uses a lamb (as in "The Lamb of God") due to a distaste for crosses (her first encounter with one as a child was an upclose and personal with a full sized crucifix, complete with dying savior). Otherwise, mostly averted.
Rape as Drama: A villain with mind-control magic is not a good thing. Thankfully, treated with the utmost tact and realism.
Anna was also passed around to the males in her first pack, to try and break her.
Honey mentions that unmated females belong to their alphas, and many are happy to take advantage of this. It's all but stated outright that she's been used in the past.
Save the Villain: Mercy briefly considers letting the ghost of Peter's murderer be devoured by a necromancer vampire, but decides that it would go against her morals.
Scenery Porn: Not usually Briggs’ stock in trade...but in Cry Wolf she does a damn good job of painting Montana as a beautiful, if inhospitable, place.
Sealed Evil in a Can: The River Devil, which Coyote trapped in hopes that it would work better than killing her again. It didn’t.
Shameless Fanservice Girl: As a long-time shape-shifter, Mercy doesn't mind being seen nude by those who are familiar with shapechangers, but makes a conscious effort to keep herself covered in front of those who might misinterpret her casual nudity as casual sexuality. (Except for those covers. Seriously, standing around in a lacy black bra holding a wrench? What the hell?)
Silk Hiding Steel: Since Mercy can't directly confront stronger male wolves, she works indirectly by smiling and nodding and misdirecting. (Though it might be a bit of a stretch to call her a “proper lady.”)
Anna Cornick too. Her silk is made of empathy. Her steel is made of backbone and the ability to call on Charles’ not-inconsequential power.
They Look Just Like Everyone Else: The villain of Iron Kissed. Adam even says later that even if he had known where Mercy was going he wouldn't have been worried, since he, like Mercy, mistook the crazy, bigoted, murderous rapist for a nice guy.
Technically, the werewolves themselves, who look almost perfectly human when not Changed.
Also, fae when they’re glamoured.
Title Drop: Shows up as the name of a particular object in Silver Borne. Also, in the third book, gremlins like Zee are referred to as “the iron kissed,” and Mercy is said to have been “river marked” by the villain of the same book.
True Companions: Werewolf packs, which also include any human mates or children.
Besides vampires, Bone Crossed has at least one ensorcelled, mostly-aware, decaying body. Zombies, perfectly preserved and undying bodies are mentioned but haven't been shown.
The Unmasqued World: Mostly. Faeries came out about 20 years before the start of the story, making it sort of an Alternate History, although they are being far from open with the general public about exactly how much their magic can do. Werewolves come out during the events of the series, and they too are working hard on public relations and spin control. Vampires are still considered to be a myth, but a lot of Muggle characters have found out or are starting to suspect, and some characters are wondering how and whether vampires could come out.
Unstoppable Rage: All werewolves are susceptible to this, but don’t mess with Mercy around Adam, or Anna around Charles. Unstoppable rage will sound pleasant compared to what happens next.
Messing with Charles, Samuel, Anna, or Mercy often gets the same reaction out of the Marrok.
Also what Gwyn ap Lugh unleashes at the end of Fair Game.
Wild Wilderness: Mostly avoided in Mercy Thompson books, but in the Alpha & Omega series Charles and Anna have several adventures in the Montana wilderness.
Would Hurt a Child: The mercenaries in Frost Burned have a kill list that includes all of Adam's wolves and everyone who's involved with them, kids included. Even Sylvia Sandoval's children, whose connection to the werewolves is tenuous at best, appear on that list. This in turn leads to a bloody Papa Wolf moment from Adam.
Xanatos Gambit: by the Grey Lords of the fae in the backstory. Faeries' coming out was an accident as far as the general public knows, but faeries and other supernatural characters are aware that it was ordered (or at least, manipulated into happening) by extremely powerful faerie lords. Coming out resulted in Fantastic Racism and getting forced into reservations, so it seems like a very bad thing for faeries as a whole, but over the course of the series, characters have discovered that the Grey Lords wanted to have high population densities of faeries living together because that would give them access to Underhill again, a Magical Land which the power of faeries is tied to.
In short, the breaking of masquerade would, one way or another, accomplish the Grey Lords’ mission.
Your Mom: Zee tends to get creative when he's cussing out recalcitrant cars: "Deine Mutter war ein Cola-Automat!" Translation: "Your mother was a Coke machine!"