For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they’re willing to tolerate—both within themselves and within their community...
Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically.
But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs…
Marked in Flesh, the fourth book in Anne Bishop's The Others series continues the set in Namid, a world very much like our own, but one where humans are not the dominant form of life on the planet and are prey for the Others. As things stand, the Others have allowed humans to settle many parts of the planet, but have given them strict boundaries and control all natural resources that humans need to survive. The arrangement has worked, more or less for centuries, but every so often a group of humans radicalizes and begins stirring up trouble. In this case, the Humans First League have been attempting to provoke the Others with a series of attacks which break the treaty between the races and have awakened the Elders, Others so powerful that they are only whispers and unfortunately, these humans don’t believe the old stories.
Placed squarely in the middle of this conflict are the Others and humans of the Lakeside Courtyard. Simon Wolfguard, Wolf and leader of the Courtyard and blood prophet Meg Corbyn see the benefits in maintaining peaceful relations between the races, but must now contend with humans who see the Others and anyone associated with them as pests to be eliminated. However, these humans have no idea what sort of forces they have disturbed with their greed for the planet’s resources, and the time for talking has passed, war has arrived and while the Elders did not strike first, their wrath will leave scars on the entire world.
This series has a richly imagined world as well as a premise that can be seen as a bit of a cautionary tale, given the current misuse of natural resources, and there are many times in the book where readers will find themselves cheering on the forces of nature pushing back against human encroachment.
There are also plenty of interesting characters, with the focus being largely on the Lakeside Courtyard Others, humans associated with them, as well as several groups aligned with Lakeside. Bonds between the human law enforcement are strengthened, new characters enter the Courtyard, and some notable steps are taken by both Simon and Meg who are navigating the intricacies between humans and Others with some awkward and sweet moments.
The war has come, and its impact will not only determine the fate of many, but also very future of humanity's survival on Namid.