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Publisher's Summary

"I am Meredith, princess of faerie, wielder of the hands of Flesh and Blood, and at long last, I am with child twins, fathered by my royal guard. Though my uncle, Taranis, King of Light and Illusion, claims that he is the true father, since he abducted me from my home, betrayed, and defiled me. And now he has branded my guards as a threat to my unborn children.

"Bearing an heir has placed me halfway to my aunt's throne, that much closer to my reign over the Unseelie Court and well ahead of her son, my cousin Cel, in this race. Now I must stay alive to see my children born and claim my place as queen.

"But not all in faerie are pleased with the news, and conspirators from every court in the realm plot against me and mine. They seek to strip my guards, my lovers, from me by poisoned word or cold steel. But I still have supporters, and even friends, among the goblins and the sluagh, who will stand by me.

"I am Meredith Nic Essus, and those who would defy and destroy me are destined to pay a terrible price for I am truly my father's daughter. To protect what is mine, I will sacrifice anything, even if it means waging a great battle against my darkest enemies and making the most momentous decision ever made as princess of faerie."

Fairie tales: listen to another Meredith Gentry fantasy.
(P)2008 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Tastey Morsel

I had resigned myself to having to be patient with this narrator after reading previous reviews. I had credits to burn and didn't want to drop cash on a hardbound book. However, I found myself pleasantly surprised. Granted, some of her pronunciations are a bit different, and I agree that Merry should speak with an American accent.
I have always loved this series and wasn't disappointed in this new installment (it ISN'T the last book-check the author's blog). Lots of plot, a few tasty erotic moments, and great character development made for a fast paced read. If you're still enjoying this series, this will not disappoint. Tasty morsel!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kristy
  • Richwood, NJ, United States
  • 12-22-08

Story is great, narration was not so great

I've read and then listened to all of the Merry series. The story itself was great. A lot of information this time around. Reviewers in the past have criticized LKH as too much sex, not enough plot. That's not the case for S/D. This story takes up right after Merry is rescued from her uncle and quickly takes off. I was pleased to see her character actually get stronger. I got sick of reading/hearing "I don't understand" in various other books. In this one, she leads the way and you can actually see that she would make a good queen. I'd give the story itself **** but the narration only **. If you want to listen to this series, do NOT start with this one. There are so many characters in this series and to get a good reading, the narrator really needs to be able to change the voice accordingly. This narrator has a monotone voice, and over enunciates throughout the reading. I was really disappointed in this purchase. Thank goodness I had read the book first. Again - recommend listening to other books in the series first as had I listened to this one first, it's highly unlikely I would have purchased the others.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Vicki
  • Corpus Christi, TX, USA
  • 11-07-08

Good Book

I always enjoy this series, but I really prefer Laural Merlington as the narrator. Meredith was raised in the United States, not England and an English accent is intrusive to the story.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Poor narrator

Because I love Claudia Black as an actress I was really looking forward to her reading this book. Big mistake I found her voice very monotonous and her pronunciations wrong. BUT then the book wasn't very good either. I was so disappointed. Loved the previous narrator Laurel.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Pleasantly Surprised

I have to disagree with the criticisms of Claudia Black's narration. I have read all of Laurell K Hamilton's books, so had been anxiously awaiting these audio versions and started with the Merry Gentry series since its shorter. I loved Laurel Merlington's narration and yes after so many books in a row with her voice I too was worried about suddenly having Claudia Black narrating. However I LOVE Claudia Black (Farscape's Aeryn Sun, Stargate SG1's Vala Maldaran) so I gave it a shot.

I admit it took about an hour for me to get used to her since I literally went from "A Lick of Frost" to this while at work, but then it was fine. I adjusted to the accent easily because I always imagined the charecters would have European accents, except for Merry, anyway. And she did a good job doing the American accents for solders and the different accents for Red Caps, goblins etc.

ALSO this book was written MUCH better than previous books. I mean how many times has can you read "It was as if...." "It was like....". You can definately tell how much Laurell K Hamilton has grown as a writer listening to all the books one right after another. Good book, I hope there are more but I'm on to Anita now!!!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

What were they thinking?

The story is excellent and a great addition to the series BUT I give this audio a 2 *stars if it were read by some one else it would be 5 *stars as are the first 6 stories. You don't give the cast of characters a heavy British accent when they are from central USA and have always talked about having lost all traces of accent centuries ago! I can understand if the reader (Laural Merlington) is busy or asks for to much money(she is worth whatever she asks) BUT there are a numerous choices out there that would stay true to the tone and personality of the story. Accent & personality count a lot when it comes enjoying an audio!
I listened to about 10 min and deleted it and went and read the hardback, had I listened to it before it was purchased as a Christmas present I would not have let them waste the money.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Almost unbearable Narrator.

As with all of LKH books this one did not disappoint. I was however distracted greatly by the narrator. It is hard to follow a book with as many characters as LKH's books posses and not have the narrator at least try to distinguish between the characters by altering her voice. I could have purchased this on my kindle and have it read it back to me in it’s computerized voice with more inflection possessed by this narrator.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gabby
  • Springfield, VA, USA
  • 11-26-09

Story ok ... Narrator lousy!

The Mary Gentry series is by far my favorite amongst Ms. Hamiliton's works and I have faithfully purchased each new 'episode' as they have been released. Swallowing Darkness is, unfortunately, NOT her best work. The descriptive passages drag on and on and the new narrator is atrocious! Please, if Ms. Merlington is no longer available, at least try to find someone who can read with inflections. Aside from the lackluster reading, it would appear that American born and raised Mary now sports a British accent. Too bad about this release ... hopefully the next one will be up to previous standards.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Pleased as pie

I was a little afraid to buy this book after reading all the comments about the narrator but was very pleasantly surprised. I'm a BIG LKH fan but I have been disappointed with the last few books of both series because it seemed like there was nothing more than seen after seen with the main character hopping into bed for one more sexual encounter, with what felt like very little meat between (sorry for the pun). But this one had a story line and a lot less sex. I enjoyed the narrator actually more than the other; she has a very pleasant voice and had a good pace. The narrator of the other books tended to be to slow for me and I ended up listening to it sped up just to get the book to move along. This one I didn't have to do that which was nice.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Karen
  • Maylene, AL, USA
  • 11-12-08

Great book, so-so narration

Like the rest of the reviewers, I love this series of books by Ms Hamilton, but I prefer Laurel Merlington's narrations. Claudia Black is a great actress with a wonderful, very enthusiastic voice...but very distracting over certain pronunciations, and at times too much emotion in the reading. ie, ska-lee-tal instead of skel-etal.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Miss C. Hamlett
  • 03-15-17

Constant escalation is not a good thing.

It is not exactly a new criticism of the writing of LKH but it holds true of this book.

The constant escalation of the main characters power seems to be used instead of meaningful plot progression. Instead of using the tools and allies she has in new ways to overcome an issue there is a constant barrage of the new. It sacrifices neauanced story leaving the narrative feeling shallow and rushed.

It is a pity as in many ways the world building is very interesting and absorbing but the feeling that the rules will constantly be changed to bring more and more power to the main character distracts from it.

However Claudia Black puts a lot of power and emotion into the performance which make this enjoyable listening despite the books faults.

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  • Performance
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  • Saluki Selfie
  • 06-18-15


What did you like most about Swallowing Darkness?


What was one of the most memorable moments of Swallowing Darkness?


What does Claudia Black bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?


  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Teresa Cooper
  • 05-27-15

Oh my!

Merry and her very handsome men win the day again. We finely find out who killed Merry's father and just how far onadias would go for her evil son. Again L K H a super book ( audible and paper ) read brilliantly by Claudia Black. It would be fantastic if there were more L K H books on your shelves. 😃