Review: Double Couple (Schattenreich 03) by Sharon Kae Reamer


Caitlin Schwarzbach von der Lahn is exploring the new possibilities connected with her unusual, Celtic-Germanic heritage, but black clouds are gathering around Lahn Burg and her newly-found family. The troubles start with burning an old rowan tree and the death of Eduard, the family chauffeur, half human half Tud (fae). It is clear somebody wants to attack Sebastian, Hagen and Heinrich on their home turf. Is again the lovely Dagmar behind it or somebody more powerful than her? Is it a case of inter-familial treachery? A power struggle?

Finally reunited, Caitlin and Hagen von der Lahn who returned from his journey deep into the Celtic Otherworld known as Ande-dubnos, seek to pick up the threads of their relationship. Still nothing is simple in the von der Lahn family – the strong bond they share with Heiner, Hagen’s twin, means they are going to face serious troubles of personal nature pretty soon.

Science takes on the Otherworld when geophysicist in Caitlin  strives to unravel the mysteries of the Schattenreich and a certain tablet from Roman times. But the Schattenreich refuses to cooperate. What will take to make it yield?

My impressions (it is a third part of a series, there will be spoilers, beware!):

In the review of the previous part I praised the author that she avoided so many clichés worn to a frazzle, never using, for example, a love triangle even though it would be so easy to construct. After all Hagen, Heinrich/Heiner and Caitlin are bonded in more than one way: blood, magic and of course your plain, ordinary attraction. Then  I started reading Double Couple, the third part of the series, and dang, a love triangle reared its ugly head. Still when I finished the book and though about it for a moment I found out that, surprise, surprise, it didn’t bother me at all.

Maybe it was partially because I was forewarned by the author herself while we were exchanging tweets (thank you for being so forthcoming about it!) but I guess deep down I saw it coming  from book one. Why? It was really inevitable because in complete accordance with the Celtic mythology the whole series is based on. Hagen and Heinrich are twins; so is Caitlin and Kilhian ar Cho’ed, her newly-found and a bit sinister brother. What’s more, all four of them are distant cousins so everything is kept within family, explaining their mutual attraction and its strength.

It happens that Diodorus Siculus wrote: “The Celts who dwell along the ocean venerate the Dioscouri (the Greek name of a pair of divine twins) above any of the gods, since they have a tradition handed down from ancient times that these gods appeared among them coming from the ocean.” Right. Caitlin had to cross a big, blue ocean in order to find her real family and the eyes of both brothers von der Lahn are blue like deep, warm, salty waters. Making me crave Blue Curacao all the time.

Now let me follow different versions of the myth about the divine twins to show more corresponding similarities. It is the best-preserved in the Greek and Brythonic material but frequently the elements of comparison are to be found in their clearest form in the Irish material, with Brythonic literature merely providing corroboration. The parents of the Divine Twins are usually the Sky Father and a goddess associated with horses. Often, however, only one of the twins had divine parentage; for example in the story of Leda’s rape by Zeus (who was engendering the Dioskouroi and their sisters taking a form of a swan – you have to admit those Greeks were kinky heathens), Leda afterwards went home and had sex with her mortal husband, who, as a result, fathered one of the twins. Rape or no rape, as a queen she had to keep up appearances. I suppose Ms. Reamer  follows that route – in her series there have already been twins who were also half siblings so clearly with different fathers and I bet if Caitlin has children, these will be twins as well and each of them will be fathered by a different man.

Now a common mythological adventure of the Divine Twins is the rescue of their abducted sister- who is normally associated with the sun. Kastor and Polydeukes, the Greek twins, rescued their sister Helen from her abduction by Theseus. The Dieva dēli of Latvia were always off rescuing their sister Saule, the sun-goddess. In the second branch of the Mabinogi, you read about Bendigeidfrân and his brother Manawydan rescuing their sister Brânwen, who has been “abducted” across the sea by the king of Ireland. At the end of the Double Couple Caitlin enters, followed by Dagmar, the Ande-Dubnos so the underworld and I don’t doubt both Hagen and Heinrich will be looking for her in the next part – their common  anguish at the end of the book was very clear – or at least they will do everything in their power to make Caitlin return unscathed if it is only possible.

What else? Once again the novel was executed very well – once I started to read it I didn’t want to stop. I really enjoyed the world build and the Celtic myths, twisted and transformed into a great tale – far more entertaining than my review I bet ;p.

Final verdict:

I suppose I might be addicted to this series – I will have to finish it, no matter what.

My source for the Brythonic myths

Other books in this series:

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7 Responses to Review: Double Couple (Schattenreich 03) by Sharon Kae Reamer

  1. blodeuedd says:

    I do get more and more curious

  2. heidenkind says:

    I downloaded the first book. 🙂

  3. xaurianx says:

    Lovely review Bridget, thank you 🙂 I have added this series to my wishlist.

  4. Pingback: Review: Shadow Zone (Schattenreich 04) by Sharon Kae Reamer | portable pieces of thoughts

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