- Hollows (series)
The Hollows, (also called the Rachel Morgan series), is a series of detective/mystery novels in an
urban fantasy alternate historysetting by Kim Harrisonthat take place primarily in the city of Cincinnatiand a nearby enclave across the Ohio Rivernamed "The Hollows". The series currently consists of six novels and two short storiespublished by HarperCollins Publishers.
Novels in the series are told in the
first-person point-of-viewof Rachel Morgan, a detective witch who works with local law enforcement agencies and faces threats both mundaneand supernaturalin origin. The series also focuses on Rachel's relationships with her partners, a living vampireand a pixy, as well as her personal relationships with males of different species.
The series is set in an alternate history where supernatural beings live side-by-side with normal humans. According to this timeline, after the discovery of the
DNA double-helixby James D. Watson, Francis Crickand Rosalind Franklin, genetic manipulation becomes a possibility, changing several events in the history of this alternate universe. A virus named the T4 Angel virus attached itself to a flaw in the genetic makeup of a genetically manipulated tomato, and quickly spread around the world. As a result of the plague, all biogenetic research, including reverse engineering, genetic splicing, etc. has been outlawed. Additionally, the human race has a cultural aversion to any type of food product that stems from tomatoes - from pizza sauce to ketchup, etc.
The virus killed a quarter of the human population, revealing the existence of several supernatural races - the
vampire, Were, witch, pixy, fairy, elfand more, since the virus affected non-humans only to a small degree. The supernatural beings decided to reveal themselves to humanity, (an event thereafter called "The Turn"), and established themselves in open communities across the world.
The supernatural beings are known as "Inderlanders". As laws and societies are dramatically changed by factors relating to these new sentient species, in the United States all levels of law enforcement break down. Two new organizations, the Inderlander Security service, (consisting entirely of non-humans), and the Federal Inderlander Bureau, (consisting primarily of normal humans), replace the former law enforcement agencies at all levels.
The ever-after is a magical plane that existed outside the ken of normal humans until the Turn. The main pixy character, Jenks, describes it as "...a drop of time that got knocked out, sitting alone by itself with no past behind it to push it forward and no future to pull it along." Concentrations of ever-after energy are scattered across the normal plane and are called "Ley lines." Ley lines can be felt on the normal plane by magic users and the races that formerly dwelt in the ever-after, such as the elves and witches. The only race that currently dwells in the ever-after is that of the demons, having driven out the elves nearly two thousand years ago. Witches also formerly dwelt in the ever-after but fled to the mundane plane approximately five thousand years ago.
The ever-after presented in the novels is referred to as the basis for the 'happily ever after' that often occurs at the end of modern fairy tales; due to mistranslation and omission, the factual "in the ever-after" (referring to a place) became the figurative "happily ever after" (referring to time).
While the novels use "Inderlander" to refer to all of the supernatural beings that revealed themselves during the Turn, they are divided into two main groups: those that are derived from humans and those that are non-human in origin.
Witches - An Inderlander race that is long-lived and proficient in magical arts. They look and appear human but have a different genomic background, preventing mixed-birth children. Fled the ever-after five thousand years prior to the Turn, abandoning the realm to the demons. It is later discovered that witches inherited their magical abilities as they are the product of biological warfare waged by the elves against the demons, from whom they are descended . A trigger in the mitochondria of certain witch children normally leads to the early death of such individuals - when Rachel Morgan is cured of this illness as a child it is discovered that this fatal flaw is a remnant of the demonic ancestry all witches possess. In consequence, Rachel Morgan's children are expected to be real demons.
*Pixies - A small humanoid race that lives in gardens and has an intense rivalry with their close relatives, the fairies. Pixies have a tendency to act like humans and larger Inderlanders. They rely on the pollen from plants to survive.
*Fairies - A small Inderlander race that lives in gardens and has an intense rivalry with their close relatives, the pixies. Fairies tend to eat insects and work as mercenaries.
*Elves - An Inderlander race that migrated from the ever-after nearly two thousand years ago after losing several wars with the demons. Trying to preserve and restore their heritage, they closely mingled and interbred with humans, which led to a massive die-off during the Turn as they fell susceptible to the Angel virus. They are widely believed to be extinct.
Leprechauns - A small Inderlander race (approximately the size of human midgets) that can grant wishes when captured though they usually offer no more than the minimum of three required by law.
Trolls - A vaguely humanoid race that lives under bridges and can be a public nuisance as they eat the mortar that holds bridges together.
Demons - A purely magical and aggressive race that dwells only in the ever-after. Individuals can be summoned to the mortal plane and ordered around by ley-line magic users, but often at a price. They are immortal, but can be destroyed by another demon, and can only exist on the mortal plane until the sun is up, at which point they are forced back into the ever-after. The demons dominate the ever-after having driven out the witches and elves by extensive warfare. Demons are unable to reproduce as all of the females of the species, save one, are dead. No offspring have been born since the elves lost a biological war against the demons - while the demons themselves survived, all offspring for several generations were corrupted. These corrupted offspring evolved into the species known as witches which subsequently fled to the mortal realm. There are at least two different kinds of demons:
**Surface demons - These demons sport hooves and horns and appear to have a lower level of intelligence. These demons dwell on the surface in the ever-after. They can be used as henchmen for the more intelligent demons.
**'Higher' demons - While not labeled as a superior breed, these demons are more intelligent, live below the surface of the world in the ever-after and rely upon magic and bureaucratic rules in society.
Banshees - A female species, they prey upon the fears of others, using the energy to reproduce. They are licensed in order to control their preying upon normal humans.
Gargoyles - A species that hunts at night. They pick churches and other such buildings as homes and roost there during the day. Leathery and light when active at night, they turn to stone during the day. Gargoyles have an intense connection with the ley lines of the world and provide focus and other abilities when aiding witches.
Derived from humans
Vampires in this series are similar to common portrayals of
vampires, with some exceptions. Their saliva contains neurotransmittersthat make the pain of a vampire's bite feel like pleasure. Vampires can also sensitize their victim's bite so that only that vampire can affect the victim, leaving the victim mentally bound to that vampire. There are two kinds of vampires, living and undead.
Living vampires are normal humans infected with the vampire virus. They are divided into two groups, high- and low-blood. Low-blood vampires are normal humans that have been infected by an undead vampire, and have only a small amount of the benefits the virus grants, such as increased strength and speed, as well as the craving for blood. When low-blood vampires die, be it of natural causes or otherwise, they simply die like any other human, unless an undead vampire is there at the moment of death to bring them back as an undead.
High-blood vampires are vampires that were born already infected by the virus, and having been their development in the womb influenced by it. They have increased strength and speed, more so than low-blood vamps, but not as much as the undead. They also have a greater craving for blood than low-blood vampires, but it is not essential to their existence. When a high-blood vamp dies, no matter the cause, they rise again as an undead the next sundown.
When vampires become undead, they gain the full physical benefits of the vampire virus, but lose their souls in the process. They now have the ability to turn humans into vampires and bespell even unwilling hosts. Vampire society is regulated by master vampires, usually in control of the underworld in larger cities. Master vampires have a coterie called a "
camarilla", to which their followers and families belong, with a complex social hierarchy in which everyone looks to someone else except master vampires, who are the kingpins of the vampire society. Vampires outside of a camarilla often look to become part of one, as a camarilla serves as a support group for the lifestyle demanded by vampires.
lycanthropeswith bestial attributes but are otherwise human in appearance. The origin of the Weres lies in a demon's curse upon a group of humans several thousand years ago. The common presentation in the novels thus far is that of a werewolf, although werefoxes have been mentioned.
In society, Weres live and operate as natural
wolvesdo: there are packs, alphas and loners in their society.
Of note is that in the novels there is no 'werewolf curse' as presented in other stories. Instead, Weres must rely upon breeding to increase their numbers, unless under an external influence. Legends tell of a demonic device which allows Weres to turn a human by bite. The story tells that this device, called the "Focus," used to play a major role in their political structure, revolving around who controlled it. They were going to convert humanity by force over five thousand years ago, but the witches crossed over from the ever after around that time, and the vampires, humans, and witches banded together to remove the Focus. It was said to have been destroyed, but was not and it plays a role in the latter books of the series.
Ghosts and spirits
While not explained in the novels if the presence of
ghosts and spirits relies upon the Turn, the existence of such apparitions is made plain by references to fears by characters.
There are three types of
magicin the novels, earth magic, ley linemagic, and demonic magic. All magic draws its power from ley lines, although in earth magic it is filtered through plants and, in the case of black earth magic, animals. In addition, there are black and white magic users, depending upon the kinds of magic the user employs. White magic is not damaging to the practitioner's soul, while black magic is. According to the series, when earth magic and ley line magic are combined the result is demon magic, but not all uses of combined magic leaves a stain upon the practitioner's aura.
As presented in the series, earth magic is more powerful, although slower, than ley line magic. It is associated with living things, potions, amulets, and charms. Spells can sometimes be stored and called upon later. Earth magic can be used to actually alter one's appearance or shape, unlike ley line magic. The effects are permanent unless doused in salt-water, which dispels any magical effect. Earth magic tends to be associated with white witches, since it is more difficult to gain access to the materials necessary for black earth magic; black earth magic involves the sacrifice of animals and, in some cases, humans or Inderlanders.
Ley line magic
Ley line magic has less permanence than earth magic, but is much faster and more easily adaptable. It relies upon the use of powerful sources of energy that are scattered across the surface of the world, called
ley lines. Power is pulled through these lines or through familiars when ley line witches practice their magic. The cost of ley line magic is a cost to the practitioner's soul, and in white magic this cost is negligible. But black ley line magic leaves a stain on the practitioner's soul, which can sometimes be fostered off on another.
Demon magic combines ley line magic and earth magic to create something very fast, very powerful, and everlasting. As its name implies, demon magic is practiced almost entirely by demons and their familiars. Demon familiars may be members of any sentient species: witches, Rachel Morgan and Stanley (Lee) Saladan, and the elf, Ceridwen, have all served as the demon Algaliarept's familiar at one time or another. This type of magic is extremely powerful and can be used to change one's species, shape or appearance, by, for example, allowing a normal being to "Were," (change from human to animal), and can have other unknown effects. Due to the perversion of the laws of physics that demon magic embodies, the cost of this type of magic is extremely high, so much so that even demons try to foster off the cost onto their familiars. Because of a genetic mutation that usually leads to the death of the witch before his or her first birthday, only two witches have been seen to practice demon magic, Lee Saladan and Rachel Morgan.
*Rachel Morgan - A purebred witch-detective initially working as a runner for the Inderland Security service. She procures a wish from a leprechaun she apprehends on her last run for the Inderlander Security service. She uses her wish to get her independence, planning on using the remaining wishes for security from a death threat and saving the last for a last resort. She makes a deal with the living vampire Ivy Tamwood and the pixy Jenks to give them the remaining two wishes for their assistance in leaving I.S. After creating the Vampiric Charms freelance detective agency, Ivy and Jenks become her partners in solving various crimes both together and separately. In earlier books, she works to remove a death bounty placed on her by her former employer as well as freeing herself from a demon's curse. In the most recent books, Rachel finds herself learning about and using ley line and demon magic, both in order to do her job and protect her life and the lives of her friends. She is deeply ambivalent about using dark magic, but will continue to do so when she finds it necessary. She has also come to learn that she can perform spells Ceridwen cannot.
*Ivy Tamwood - A living vampire that works with Rachel at the I.S. and follows her into freelance work. Ivy struggles with her vampiric nature on a personal level, as well as attempting to keep Rachel from being attacked by fellow vampires. She harbors a deep longing and affection for Rachel. It is unknown what her wish was used for, although Rachel does note that it was used.
*Jenks - A pixy who joins Rachel and Ivy in their freelance business. He often provides the comedy in the novels as well as working as a saboteur, electronics expert and spy. He is always watching after Rachel, worried about her and Ivy's interaction, as well as the men who come into her life as they usually turn out to be untrustworthy. Nearing the maximum life expectancy for pixies, he worries about what will happen to both his family and his partners after he is gone. When joining Rachel in her life post-I.S., he uses his wish to make himself sterile in order to prevent his wife from leaving him; they have many children and she does not want any more.
*Trenton Kalamack - An elf who hides his heritage. Currently on the City Council, he operates in the Hollows underground and runs several illegal operations on the side. He serves as the primary antagonist for the series, as Rachel knows of his crimes and repeatedly attempts to bring him to justice. He and Rachel have a shared heritage through the work of their fathers. He knows of Rachel's abilities and often seeks to have her work for him. Many times their paths cross and her work may or may not be to his benefit. His title among fellow elves who work for him is Sa'han. He officially becomes Rachel's familiar in "Outlaw Demon Wails," though they have no magical connection.
*Nicholas "Nick" Sparagmos - Rachel's former boyfriend and demonologist/thief. A normal human that practices magic, he makes deals with the demon Algaliarept for knowledge and power. Rachel accidentally makes him her familiar, but is able to later break the bond. Betrays Rachel by passing personal information about her to the demon. Then walks out on her. Attempts to betray Rachel again by stealing the focus in "A Fist Full of Charms."
*Captain Edden - The captain of the local FIB office. Arranges for the FIB to pay off Rachel's death bounty in exchange for her becoming a freelance operative aiding the FIB in their attempt to keep up with the I.S.
*Glenn - Detective and son of Captain Edden, he works with Rachel on several cases.
*Matalina - Jenks's wife and mother of his many children. Serves as a nurse for the Vampiric Charms agency. She has recently been in ill health.
*Kisten Felps - A long-time friend and former lover of Ivy's, and at one point, Piscary's scion. Kisten and Rachel become involved after Nick's departure from Cincinnati. Ostracized by Piscary for protecting Rachel, he dies twice, (as a living and dead vampire), on the same night.
*Jax - A pixy, eldest son of Jenks and Matalina. Partners with Nick in stealing a significant Were artifact, then is rescued by Rachel and Jenks when the thief's plan goes awry. Later sets out with Nick, against the wishes of his parents.
*Jih - A pixy, eldest daughter of Jenks and Matalina. She takes care of Keasley's garden with another pixy buck.
*Jeremy - A pixy, likely young, son to Jenks and Matalina. Has a hard time braiding Rachel's hair.(only seen once so far)
*Ceridwen ("Ceri") Dulciate - An elf of royal blood who has spent a thousand years as Algaliarept's familiar, she is rescued by Rachel from the ever-after. She is adept in demon magic and is currently staying with Keasley. Ceri is skilled at both Ley Line and Demon magic, and has taught Rachel a great deal about both. While she finds Trent Kalamack attractive, she is deeply in love with Quen and is carrying his child.
*Leon Bairnes ("Keasley") - Goes by Keasley to avoid an I.S. death threat. A witch neighbor of the Vampiric Charms agency. He acts to save Rachel's life or to provide medical assistance on several occasions. Ceri resides with him.
*David Hue - A Were insurance claims adjuster who takes on Rachel as his alpha when going independent. Assists Rachel in a couple of her cases. Affected by the Were focus, he unintentionally turns several human girlfriends into Weres, leading to their deaths; two of these women survived, adding to David's pack. Has the powerful curse of the Were focus transferred to him to save Rachel's life. Uncomfortable around Ivy, who has a crush on him.
*Marshal - A witch who lent Rachel diving gear during her rescue of Nick. Eventually comes to Cincinnati, where he and Rachel agree not to attempt to date, but to go out as friends.
*Alice Morgan - Rachel's mother. A very accomplished earth witch, hampered by mental illness since the death of her husband Monty.
*Robbie Morgan - Rachel's older brother. Tries to dissuade her from joining the I.S. Has been on uneasy terms with his family. Although mentioned throughout the series, makes his only appearance in the short story "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel" in the "Holidays are Hell" anthology.
*Montgomery Morgan - Rachel's deceased father. Although he was human, his skill in ley line magic enabled him to keep this fact hidden from the authorities and the general populace. He raised Rachel and Robbie as his own children until his death in an attempt to remove a vampire's claim.
*Francis - A fellow runner at the I.S. during Rachel's tenure there. He curries favor with his supervisors, often to Rachel's detriment. As a result of attempts to provide information on Kalamack, he is killed along with several FIB officers prior to giving substantive information.
*Denon - A vampire lackey and Rachel Morgan's former supervisor at the I.S. He is demoted following her and Ivy Tamwood's successful departure from the I.S.
*Algaliarept - A
demonwho trades in demonic familiars. Summoned to kill both Rachel and Trent in the first novel, he becomes a familiar figure in the second after making deals with Rachel and Nick. Algaliarept is determined to replace Ceri with Rachel as his familiar, and most of his plots revolve around these efforts. Derisively referred to as "Big Al" by Rachel, who also uses the nickname to avoid accidentally summoning the demon. When the demons accidently discover that he concealed the fact that Rachel can spindle ley line energy, he falls into disgrace. After Rachel steals his summoning name from within the ever-after, he makes a deal with her, agreeing to take her on as a scholar and teach her demon magic in exchange for the return of his summoning name and his chance to regain his reputation.
*Piscary - An
Egyptian undead vampire. He runs most of the Hollows' illegal and underground activities. Attempts to remove both Rachel and Trent from the picture by many means. Organizes the death of many ley line witches to prevent Kalamack from gaining more power; this series of crimes leads to his imprisonment for five centuries. Still tries to exert control of his domain through Ivy, who has become his scion in order to protect Rachel. Piscary is killed by Skimmer as he attacks Ivy at a meeting held to sort out custodianship of the Were focus.
*Jonathan - Trenton Kalamack's chief subordinate. Despises Rachel Morgan and works against her in the series. Reluctantly gives her respect after she saves Trenton.
*Walter Vincent - A Were alpha who figures prominently in "A Fistful of Charms".
*Skimmer - Real name, Dorothy Claymor. A female living vampire and lover of Ivy's. She is a lawyer working to free Piscary from prison in order to gain permission to stay in Cincinnati. She is imprisoned for wrongful death after she kills Piscary.
*Stanley "Lee" Saladan - A black witch, practicer of ley line and demon magic. The only known witch, (other than Rachel), that can do so. One of many individuals trying to move in on Piscary's territory while the vampire is in prison. He also harbors a deep rivalry with Trenton Kalamack going back to their childhood. Temporarily trapped in the ever-after as Al's familiar, he makes a deal with the demon that allows the demon to possess him in order to get revenge upon Rachel.
*Art - An undead vampire and Ivy Tamwood's former partner. Attempts to cover up a murder using
bansheetears and subsequently is framed by Ivy for a murder committed by Piscary. Prominent figure in "Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil".
*Newt - A very powerful and quite insane female demon -- even other demons are afraid of her. In the far past, she has killed every other female demon, which caused her insanity. Demon laws don't apply to her, because it is said that 'she makes the laws'.
*Minias - A demon who serves as Newt's keeper/familiar until relieved of those duties. As Newt is the last female demon, Minias is additionally tasked to seduce her as there have been no demon births in five thousand years, but this is a dangerous task because she has killed all her previous lovers. Owes Rachel a favor and consequently wears her mark, (similar to a demon mark), until favor is repaid.
*Tom and Betty Bansen - Tom is an investigator in the I.S. Arcane division and leader of a black magic coven who summons the demon Algaliarept out of prison during the events of "The Outlaw Demon Wails". After the demon's tasks are done, Tom often releases him - allowing the demon to chase Rachel. Betty is his wife who attempts to cover up their dealings with the demon.
*Takata - A witch and a musician, he is one of the most popular musical acts in the series. Rachel knows him personally, having helped him in the past. Rachel later discovers that he is her biological father. Takata records music that includes subliminal lyrics intended for undead vampires. Reveals to Rachel that his real name is Donald.
*The Howlers - A local prominent
baseballteam made up of Weres. They hire Vampiric Charms to track down their mascot in the second novel.
*Mrs. Sarong - The owner of the Howlers and one of the prominent Weres in Cincinnati. She hires Rachel Morgan to retrieve the team mascot. Has an intense rivalry with Mr. Ray.
*The Rays - A rival Were baseball team.
*Mr. Ray - The owner of the Rays and one of two prominent Weres in Cincinnati. Has an intense rivalry with Mrs. Sarong.
*Quen - Trent's security chief and gardener. Has on occasion saved Rachel's life. Is the father of Ceri's baby.
*Sara Jane - A personal secretary working for Trent Kalamack.
*DeLavine - A master vampire in Chicago. Rival of Piscary's.
*Peter - A living vampire from Chicago. Assists Rachel in helping Nick escape from packs of Weres.
*Brett - A Were subordinate in Walter Vincent's pack. After Rachel defeats Vincent and Brett, he goes to Cincinnati and seeks to join Rachel's "pack." Among the Were casualties during Trent's search for the focus.
*Pam - The Were alpha female in Walter Vincent's pack. Rachel challenges her to a duel, but she is defeated when attacked by pure wolves.
*Karen - A Were female that challenges Rachel for the right to be David Hue's alpha.
*Erica Randal - Ivy Tamwood's sister, she is of a different bloodline than Ivy.
*Mr. Randal - Ivy's father. A living vampire, he provides the blood needed to keep Ivy's mother sane.
*Ellasbeth Withon - A beautiful but ill-tempered elf who is Kalamack's fiancee due to a business arrangement. Rachel disrupts their wedding by arresting Trent at the altar. Ellasbeth later calls off the wedding for good.
*Candice - A living vampire. Former lover of Kisten and a bodyguard for Saladan.
*Mia Harbor - A banshee that attempts to seduce Ivy Tamwood.
*Bis - A young gargoyle who takes up residence at the church where Rachel, Ivy, and Jenks live.
*Rynn Cormel - The new master vampire in Cincinnati. As well as writing a best-selling guide to dating vampires, he was the President of the United States and the subject of a crush from Ivy.
*Dr. Anders - A ley line witch and professor who taught Rachel. In the novel "The Good, the Bad, and the Undead" she is apparently killed by a demon killing ley line practitioners. However, in "The Outlaw Demon Wails", it is discovered that she works for Trent Kalamack and he set up a fake death for her.
*Gerald - A security officer working for Trent Kalamack.
*Chad - A deejay and rental clerk at Aston's roller rink.
*Aston - A vampire who runs a local roller rink.
*Dallkarackint ("Dali") - A bureaucratic demon who presides over Algaliarept's case.
*"Dead Witch Walking" (April 2004, ISBN 0-06-057296-5):Focuses on Rachel's move from a corporate agent to independent operative. Introduces primary antagonist Trent Kalamack and other characters that will appear throughout the series.
*"The Good, The Bad, And The Undead" (January 2005, ISBN 0-06-057297-3) :Focuses on Rachel's dealings with her relationships and partners. Develops the characters of the demons and the nature of the ever-after as Rachel attempts to save Ivy from Piscary.
*"Every Which Way But Dead" (June 28, 2005, ISBN 0-06-057299-X):Deals with the fallout of Rachel's dealing with the demon Algaliarept.
*"A Fistful of Charms" (June 27, 2006, ISBN 0-06-078819-4):Rachel sets out to save Nick and Jax, encountering hostile groups of Weres and a rival vampire camarilla when attempting to retrieve a deadly item of power.
*"For a Few Demons More" (March 20, 2007, ISBN 0-06-078838-0):Resolves plot threads revolving around the Cincinnati vampire camarilla, relationships among the three members of Vampiric Charms and their primary antagonist, Trenton Kalamack, and introduces new threads and threats.
*"The Outlaw Demon Wails" (February 2008, ISBN 978-0-06-078870-4, renamed "Where Demons Dare" in UK, ISBN 978-0007247806):Rachel finds herself at odds with Algaliarept once again, and learns a shocking family secret.
*"White Witch, Black Curse" (projected February 24th, 2009, ISBN 978-0-06-113801-0 US 0-06-113801-0 UK)
*"Dates from Hell" (April 1, 2006, ISBN 0-06-085409-X) – anthology with
Kelley Armstrong, Lynsay Sands, and Lori Handeland, which includes the novella, "Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil", a prequel to the Rachel Morgan books, centered on the character Ivy Tamwood.
*"Holidays Are Hell" (October 30, 2007, ISBN 978-0-06-123909-0) – anthology with
Lynsay Sands, Marjorie M. Liu, and Vicki Pettersson, which includes the novella, "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel", a prequel to the Rachel Morgan books, centered on the character Rachel Morgan.
*"This Witch For Hire" (February 2006, ISBN 0-7394-6380-2) –
Science Fiction Book ClubOmnibus Edition, includes "Dead Witch Walking" and "The Good, The Bad, And The Undead"
*"Dead Witches Tell No Tales" (July 2006, - Science Fiction Book Club Omnibus Edition, includes "Every Which Way But Dead" and "A Fistful of Charms"
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