"Blood Of The Earth" is the first in a new "Soulwood" series by Faith Hunter. Nell, the complex young woman at the heart of this series, first appeared in "Off The Grid" a Jane Yellowrock short story.
Now she's centre stage and she fills it well.
Nell was born and raised in the "God's Cloud Of Glory" church. She's not in the church anymore but she owns land that neighbours it and, thanks to the assistance she gave to Jane Yellowrock, she knows that some members of the church want to reclaim her and her land by force.
I enjoyed the way this book cut its own path rather than going by the well-traveled Urban Fantasy routes. Nell is not a typical kick-ass Urban Fantasy heroine. She doesn't have fur or fangs or tote a sword of power. She avoids conflict when she can and mostly she wants to be left alone with her land and her trees. Yet she carries a shotgun when she works in her garden and is prepared to do what she can to repel the attack she knows is coming from the church.
Although "God's Cloud Of Glory" is initially presented as a polygamist cult that is starting to curdle on internal strife and misogynistic violence, it turns out that this is too simple a view on many levels. That made the book and Nell a lot more interesting.
Nell finds herself working with PsyLED, a sort of Federal police for the supernatural, who have appeared from time to time in the Jane Yellowrock books but this is the first time I've seen them from the inside. Rick LeFleur is a crossover from the Yellowrock books. I'm not sure that's a good thing, but I liked the other PsyLED characters.
As a stand alone novel "Blood Of The Earth" would have been a very satisfying read. As the start of a new series, it's doubly exciting.
It is a very well written book, packed with interesting, believable characters, great dialogue and some first-rate scenes, like the conflict in the church, that have "make this into a movie" written all over them.