The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

Orbit. Aug. 2022. 448p. ISBN 9780316394215. pap. $17.99. FANTASY
DEBUT Hart Ralston, a marshal tasked with patrolling the magical lands of Tanria, drops off a body to his least favorite undertaker, Mercy Birdsall. A comment from their most recent verbal sparring sticks with him, spurring him to write a letter to no one, just a Friend. He slips it into the mailbox even though it couldn’t possibly be delivered to anyone, but it does get delivered and ends up in the hands of the last woman he would ever want to read about his loneliness—Mercy, who is barely keeping her family undertaking business going. When family secrets begin piling up, the unexpected letter from a stranger gives Mercy the outlet she needs to feel less alone with her burdens. As danger brings Hart and Mercy closer together, can they overcome years of misunderstandings to find their way home to each other?
VERDICT In Bannen’s (Soulswift) adult debut, the roller coaster of Mercy and Hart’s journey is full of sizzle and emotional turmoil, as well as plenty of sci-fi adventure and humor. Readers will be captivated by the land of Tanria and will want to stay connected with these characters long after the book ends.
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