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Literature / Iron Covenant

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The Iron Covenant trilogy is a spin-off of Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series, set just before Magic Triumphs.

The first book, published 2018, is Iron and Magic.

Tropes present in Iron and Magic

  • Abusive Parents: Roland is basically Hugh's surrogate father. Roland also treats Hugh like a disposable tool he can put down and pick up at his leisure.
  • Above the Influence: After coming out of a healing trance post allowing Raphael Medrano to beat him senseless, Hugh believes Elara's in his dreams again and comes on to her. Elara sends him back to his room, knowing he's not lucid and will be extremely embarrassed when he wakes up.
  • Arranged Marriage: Since neither The Departed or the Iron Dogs have the best track record for keeping their promises, their alliance is cemented with a marriage of convenience.
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  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Hugh and Elara.
  • Beta Couple: Compared to Hugh and Elara, Stoyan and Johanna are having a much easier time. Their main problem seems to be that they're both a little shy about romance.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Bale the berserker. Hugh used to be one himself, prior to his exile.
  • Black Knight: Hugh. Slightly lampshaded by Elara, who tells him he looks like a movie Evil Overlord in his armor.
  • Broken Pedestal: Roland to Hugh.
  • Call That a Formation?: The Iron Dogs form shield walls several times and perform coordinated maneuvers.
  • Cool Horse: Hugh's Percheron, Bucky. (Who may well be part-unicorn.)
  • Dream Walker / Dream Spying : Elara has this ability when the magic is up.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Hugh starts the book in the throes of alcoholism, as being suddenly deprived of Roland’s mind control/guidance is traumatizing.
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  • Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: The fact that most of the Big Bad's troops need to be directly mind-controlled to do more than stand there staring straight ahead really helps Hugh and friends. (What also helps, as revealed in Magic Triumphs, is that the Big Bad only deployed a fraction of them.)
  • Eldritch Abomination / Humanoid Abomination: Elara is connected to something of this order...something that even Roland doesn't want to tangle with.
  • Fallen Hero: At the beginning of the book, Hugh has become a wandering alcoholic who's so blacked out he can't even tell which month it is, making only enough money prize-fighting to rent rooms and buy more to drink. He has to be knocked out of his stupor by being presented with his dead best friend's head.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Landon Nez is obliging and polite to Elara, and also plans to kill her last after making her watch the others die.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: The Iron Dogs have nowhere else to go. They don't intend to let The Bailey fall.
  • Flash Step: Elara can do this.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: The control that comes with Roland's blood bond not only forces the subject to obey orders, but makes them happy about it. Hugh describes it as being turned into a "happy idiot" - even if he felt very strongly about doing something, if Roland ordered him to act contrariwise he would immediately feel it was right and correct. Not having that does a number on him.
  • Groin Attack: In one of her forays into Hugh’s dreams, Elara takes on her white Eldritch Abomination aspect and bites him...somewhere painful.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Hugh's armor has a big helmet...which he plans to take off once he gets to the fight. This is exactly the opposite of what you are supposed to do with helmets. (While the helmet in question is explicitly just for looking scary, he doesn't have a backup practical one.)
  • Hidden Army Reveal: The Iron Dogs pull this off several times—once by running ten miles in full armor to impress Elara, and once by hiding in plain sight to pull off an ambush.
  • Hidden Depths: Bale is a giant Harry Potter fan.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Departed are rumored to do this. The rumors are unconfirmed, but cattle sacrifices are used.
  • Incendiary Exponent: the mrog-handlers can also spit napalm.
  • Keystone Army: the mrogs are controlled by their handlers...who are also controlled by their officers.
  • Lady of War
  • Licked by the Dog: Dogs, horses, and small children love Hugh.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Hugh was named after a statue of Hugh Capet.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Elara's white hair is the mark of her curse. It won't take dye. At all.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Hugh's not just excellent with a sword, he's also good at playing people. Despite being, well, him, he has the nearby sheriffs and mercs practically eating out of his hand. He also kicks himself when he realizes he used the wrong angle on Kate because of his own neuroses—talking it through with Elara helps him realize he should have approached her as an older brother, not a romantic prospect.
  • Master Swordsman: Hugh.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Roland's ability to make Hugh happy about taking his orders prevented him from feeling bad about betraying people he'd promised to protect. Now that Roland has purged him, though, Hugh's getting it all at once. Ouch.
  • Pet the Dog: One of the first signs that Hugh is not as much of a total Jerkass as he likes to pretend is that he puts actual effort into picking out a wedding ring, even though all sides know it's just a financial arrangement and he could just have shown up with something generic.
  • Retcon: A few things from previous books are now altered somewhat so that Hugh doesn't fall off the wrong end of the anti-hero scale (justified, given that readers never got to see things from Hugh's point of view before). For example, him torturing Ascanio by healing and then un-healing him is...well, still torturing Ascanio, but it turns out Hugh was only healing him the whole time, just painfully, and he lied because he thought it would put more pressure on Kate to come out.
  • Rock Beats Laser: slight example: the mrog-handler's armor is a sophisticated alloy stronger than steel that the Bailey smiths can't duplicate, that resists sword thrusts and cuts better than steel can. Turns out, it isn't proof against blunt force.
  • Sarcasm Failure: Elara guesses that Hugh's problems with The Pack stem from Lennart's stealing Hugh's girl and burning his castle down...oops.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Guess. (Both metaphorical and literal, as they like it rough in bed.)
  • Stunned Silence: Hugh's people have this and a Mass "Oh, Crap!" when Elara accidentally stumbles over exactly why Hugh and Curran Lennart dislike each other.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: Elara can't allow her people to worship or pray to her. It’s not just unpleasant, it may well be dangerous.
  • Suspiciously Small Army: The Iron Dogs. There's only about three hundred of them. Justified, as Roland has been systematically wiping them out after Stoyan refused to slaughter unarmed civilians (and Stoyan had to refuse in the first place because the Rippers, the division that did do stuff like that, was already gone).
  • The Men First: Hugh won his men's Undying Loyalty because he believes in this.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Former callow, impulsive teenager Ascanio is now mature enough to know that no matter how much he wants to rip Hugh's throat out, as Elara's husband Hugh is now an important ally, especially with Roland camped out at Atlanta's border. Hugh notes that he's going to be a terrifyingly competent alpha one day.
  • War Elephants: a magical one used to attack the Bailey.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: both the Iron Dogs and The Departed have a reputation for this.