After reading Kerrigan Bryne's first book in the Victorian Rebels series, THE HIGHWAYMAN, I didn't think it could get any better, but I was proven wrong. THE HUNTER is a gripping and gut-wrenching tale that evokes so much emotion.
THE HUNTER begins with a very telling prologue about Christopher Argent, who was born in Newgate prison to his prostitute mother who was given fifteen years. Christopher is at the impressionable age of nine and all he knows the the damp and darkness of the prison's wall and the injustices that inevitably happen there. Christopher has been taken under the wing of fellow prisoner Master Wu Ping, who is teaching him a lethal form of martial arts. Between trying to survive and his lessons, Christopher and his mother bide their time awaiting the end of her sentence.Unfortunately his beloved mother is attacked and all Christopher can do is watch her be brutalized. This scene is the defining moment for Christopher Argent's future and it is a dark but necessary one.
Once he is of age, Christopher is released from Newgate and through his training with Master Wu Ping and his associations with fellow inmates including Dougan Mackenzie and a crafty lot of characters he is lead to his current occupation, assassin. Christopher Argent is the most notorious of his kind. Emotionless and calculating, he never misses his mark. Hired for a insane amount of money to murder London actress, the enchanting Millie LeCour, he has no idea the turns his life is about to take.
Polish immigrant, Millicent LeCour has worked hard to be the best actress she could possibly be. Achieving her place has meant a lot of sacrifices but it is no sacrifice to make sure her son Jakub has a good upbringing. Millie will do anything for him. During a performance onstage, Millie chooses a member of the audience to focus on while she puts all her emotions into her craft. This night, she finds an attractive and mysterious man who she gives her attention to. After her stellar performance, Millie attends an after-party where she is approached by the mysterious stranger, who brings out feelings she has never felt before. Unbeknwonst to her, Millie comes face to face with the man who has been paid to kill her, but when he gets his chance, he doesn't do it, instead he shares a passionate kiss with the actress. Millie doesn't know how close she came to have her life taken from her.
Christopher doesn't undertsand what overcame him. He has NEVER hesitated to complete a mission, but Millie LeCour evokes something inside of him that he has worked his entire life to hide, emotion. When completing this job becomes an impossibility, Christopher turns the tables on the ones who hired him and makes it his new mission to keep Millie and Jakub from harm. Discovering who put the contract out on Millie is first and foremost on Argent's list. Survival is definitely number one with Millie, but making Christopher see that he is not the monster that he believes himself to be and that under his steel exterior there is a man craving love, is a job she is willing to take on. Even if it breaks her heart.
Okay, just stop me now... I feel like telling you all the entire story! It's just that amazing. THE HUNTER is most definitely not for the faint of heart or those who are looking for a sweet and simple romance. This book is dark and complex, it's agonzing at times, but it is brilliantly written. Kerrigan Byrne is an impressive talent. I felt each and every word she put on the page. Yes, I love Christopher Argent, he is an astounding anti-hero. Millie is one of the strongest and forgiving heroines I have ever read and her persistence is such a sight to see. The young Jakub is a little star among the clouds and I love how the author made him a focus. The twists and turns in this tale are fabulous and I recommend this book wholeheartedly.