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I Belong

Black Dagger Brotherhood: Dark Lover Discussion

Welcome to the Dark Lover Discussion!  The teams from Dark Faerie Tales and Literary Escapism created this snapshot for the Dark Lover discussion.  In this first installment, JR Ward introduces readers to the gritty and dangerous world of Caldwell, New York.  We get a taste for the insatiable and irresistible Black Dagger Brotherhood and the evil cabal they must defeat.

For purposes of today’s discussion, we can only focus on the events from Dark Lover. Many of us have read ahead in the series, but no spoilers please.

Here is the read-a-long schedule:

Jan 6th – Dark Lover – Discussion hosted by Dark Faerie Tales

Jan 20th – Lover Eternal – Discussion hosted by Literary Escapism

Jan 27th – Lover Awakened – Discussion hosted by Dark Faerie Tales

Feb 10th – Lover Revealed – Discussion hosted by Literary Escapism

Feb 17th – Lover Unbound – Discussion hosted by Dark Faerie Tales

Feb 24th – Lover Enshrined – Discussion hosted by Literary Escapism

Mar 9th – Lover Avenged – Discussion hosted by Dark Faerie Tales

Mar 16th – Lover Mine – Discussion hosted by Literary Escapism

Mar 23rd – Lover Unleashed – Discussion hosted by Dark Faerie Tales

Mar 30th – Lover Reborn – Discussion hosted by Literary Escapism

The Brotherhood & Vampire Society


Warriors who protect the vampire race against lessers and the lessening society.  Selective breeding produces warriors who are stronger mentally and physically and heal faster after being injured.

Current Members: Wrath, Darius (dies in Dark Lover), Tohrment, Vishous, Rhage, Phury, and Zsadist.

Following Wrath’s ascension to the throne, the Brotherhood will undergo restructuring.  Tohrment will lead the brothers and they will all live, train, and fight together.  They will start a  recruitment  and  training center to better facilitate the war against the Lessening Society.

Vampire Society

Hierarchy of the vampire race includes 1) King/Queen and First Family 2) Chosen 3) Princeps 4) Civilians. The Scribe Virgin is the creator of the race and councils the King.

Scribe Virgin

Analisse. Creator/Mother of the vampire race. Resides in the Fade, a non-temporal world with her Chosen.  She provides council to the King and was close to Wrath’s father.  It is unacceptable to ask her a question.  She is draped in black silk from head to toe with a white, blinding light visible underneath.


The last purebred vampire on the planet and the vampire race’s king.  Essentially blind, he is the leader who was  not willing to lead until he is forced to care for a half-breed he falls in love with.

Witnesses his parents murders at the hands of lessers before he transitioned.  He blames himself for their deaths. Wrath went through his transition in the late 1700s after surviving among humans for a time.  He lived in the slums before finding work as a servant in a merchant’s stable.

Wrath offers Tohr a rythe for bringing Wellsie into an argument and pretty much making fun of their relationship.  Even though it’s considered a treasonous offense for attacking the King, Tohr would be exempt from punishment because of the rythe.

Before his change, he was “…whip-thin, scrawny and weak, and easy prey for human boys looking for fun” (pg 72 [pgs per Nook])


Elizabeth Randall is the half breed daughter of Darius.  She’s works at the Caldwell Courier Journal as a beat reporter. She is attacked and almost raped at the start of Dark Lover.  She is unaware of her vampire heritage as she was raised in the foster care system and never knew anything about her parents.  Wrath decides to honor Darius’ last missive before death and help her through her transition and they fall in love.  She becomes the Queen of the vampire race.

Beth inherits all of Darius’ holdings and provides the brotherhood with a place to live.  She can venture into the sunlight because of her half breed nature.


He’s a Black Dagger Warrior and highborn princeps.  Asks Wrath to help his half breed daughter through her transition because with his pure blood she will have a greater chance to survive.  Killed by lessers in a car bombing before ever meeting his daughter.

In the Fade, the Scribe Virgin offers him a chance to return and he accepts even with the trade off of not remembering his previous life and losing one token of faculty.


Brian O’Neal, homicide detective for the Caldwell police department.  Described as a hard-ass.  He was suspended after using excessive force on the man who tried to rape Beth.  Protective by nature he takes things to the extreme in the name of protecting victims and the innocent.  Forms a bond with Vishous and leaves his life behind after learning about vampires as he feels that he fits better in their world.


Wrath’s shellan, in name only.  Lives with her brother, Havers, because she doesn’t have a true relationship with Wrath.  She feels worthless because Wrath doesn’t want her as a true mate but still holds close the hope that he will come to love her.  Comes to see that Wrath was never hers and broke her covenant to him.  She develops a thing for Butch when she meets him while coming to confront Wrath for the way she has treated.


A physician to the vampire race, he runs the underground clinic underneath his mansion.  He sees over 1,000 patients a year.  His shellan and infant son died during child birth.  He is starving and weakening because he refuses to feed due to the intimacy involved as he didn’t want to betray his dead wife’s memory by taking pleasure in someone else’s blood.  Feels that Wrath is a barbarian and that he has tarnished Marissa’s honor by refusing her. Plans to have him killed.

Even though Havers approached Zsadist to kill Wrath, he is not convicted of the treasonous act due to Wrath’s treatment of Marissa and thus the reason for Havers actions.


Fritzgelder Perlmutter is a doggen in service to Darius for over a hundred years.  After Darius’ death he is in service to Wrath and Beth.  He can go out in the daytime and handles all sorts of things for the vampires he serves including cooking, cleaning and driving.

Vampire Facts

They have the ability to demateralize to any location unless they are trapped by heavy metals.  They can’t transport any heavy objects with them.   They are fast and have super human strength.

They are unable to walk in the sun, which is really the only vampire myth that applies to them.  They consider all other vampiric folklore to be ridiculous.

They have a very long life span, but can die as any human.  Shot, sliced, blown up – there’s no special way to kill a vampire.  If it will kill a human, it’ll kill a vampire.

They have no chest or lower body hair.

They are generally very attractive with their own specific traits.

When a vampire warrior weds, he has his mates name carved into his back by the Brotherhood.  Each warrior takes turns at carving until the name is complete.

They can only drink blood from the opposite sex and only from other vampires.  They could drink from humans, but they wouldn’t find true nourishment and would be hungry soon after.  They do not need to drink often and a seasoned vampire could wait months between feedings.

They can consume human drinks and food, etc.

When bonding, a spicy and dark scent is released to mark their mate.  This is to warn off other males/females as the bonding pair tends to be aggressive and protective regarding their mates.

They can breed with humans.  Any offspring may inherit various vampire traits. It depends on the strength of the vampire and not all offspring may turn.

Glossary of Terms and Proper Nouns

  1. Black Dagger Brotherhood pr n. Highly-trained vampire warriors who protect their species against the Lessening Society. As a result of selective breeding within the race, Brothers possess immense physical and mental strength as well as rapid healing capabilities. They are not siblings for the most part and are inducted into the Brotherhood upon nomination by the Brothers. Aggressive, self-reliant and secretive by nature, they exist apart from civilians, having little contact with members of the other classes except when they need to feed. They are the subject of legend and the object of reverence within the vampire world.

  2. blood slave n. Male or female vampire who has been subjugated to serve the blood needs of another. The practice of keeping blood slaves has largely been discontinued, though it has not been outlawed.

  3. The Chosen n. Female vampires who have been bred to serve the Scribe Virgin. They are considered members of the aristocracy, though they are spiritually rather than temporally focused. They have little or no interaction with males, but can be mated at the Scribe Virgin’s direction to propagate their class. They have the ability to prognosticate.

  4. doggen n. Member of the servant class within the vampire world. Doggens have old, conservative traditions about service to their superiors, following a formal code of dress and behavior. They are able to go out during the day, but they age relatively quickly. Life expectancy is approximately five hundred years.

  5. The Fade pr n. Non-temporal realm where the dead reunite with their loved ones and pass eternity.

  6. First Family pr n. The king and queen of the vampires and any children they may have.

  7. hellren n. Male vampire who has been mated to a female. Males may take more than one female as mate.

  8. leelan adj. A term of endearment loosely translated as ‘dearest one’.

  9. needing period n. Female vampire’s time of fertility, generally lasting for two days and accompanied by intense sexual cravings. Occurs approximately five years after a female’s transition and then once a decade thereafter. All males respond to some degree if they are around a female in her need. It can be a dangerous time with conflicts and fights breaking out between competing males, particularly if the female is not mated.

  10. princeps n. Highest level of the vampire aristocracy, second only to members of the First Family or the Scribe Virgin’s Chosen. Must be born to the title; it may not be conferred.

  11. pyrocant n. Refers to a critical weakness in an individual. The weakness can be internal, such as an addiction, or external, such as a lover.

  12. rythe n. Ritual manner of assuaging honor granted by one who has offended another. If accepted, the offended chooses a weapon and strikes the offender who presents him or herself without defenses.

  13. The Scribe Virgin pr n. Mystical force who is counselor to the king as well as the keeper of vampire archives and the dispenser of privileges. Exists in a non-temporal realm and has extensive powers. Capable of a single act of creation which she expended to bring the vampires into existence.

  14. shellan n. Female vampire who has been mated to a male. Females generally do not take more than one mate due to the highly territorial nature of bonded males.

  15. The Tomb pr n. Sacred vault of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Used as a ceremonial site as well as a storage facility for the jars of lessers. Ceremonies performed there include inductions, funerals and disciplinary actions against Brothers. No one may enter except for members of the Brotherhood, the Scribe Virgin, or candidates for induction.

  16. transition n. Critical moment in a vampire’s life when he or she transforms into an adult. Thereafter, they must drink the blood of the opposite sex to survive and are unable to withstand sunlight. Occurs generally in the mid-twenties. Some vampires do not survive their transitions, males in particular. Prior to their transitions, vampires are physically weak, sexually unaware and unresponsive, and unable to dematerialize.

  17. vampire n. Member of a species separate from that of homo sapiens. Vampires must drink the blood of the opposite sex to survive. Human blood will keep them alive, though the strength does not last long. Following their transitions, which occur in their mid-twenties, they are unable to go out into sunlight and must feed from the vein regularly. Vampires may not ‘convert’ humans through a bite or transfer of blood, though they are in rare cases able to breed with the other species. Vampires can dematerialize at will, though they must be able to calm themselves and concentrate to do so and may not carry anything heavy with them. They are able to strip the memories of humans, provided such memories are short term. Some vampires are able to read minds. Life expectancy is indeterminate.

Lessening Society

Recruits into the Lessening Society tend to be social delinquents with a tendency towards violence.

Mr. X

Full name is Joseph Xavier.  He is the Fore-lesser of the Lessening Society.  He was born in the 1950s and was around 17 when he was recruited.  A real juvenile delinquent, he stabbed his father in the chest for beating him.  He killed the warrior Darius and decides to take the Lessening Society in a different direction by actively hunting down and taking out the Brotherhood instead of focusing solely on civilians.


Created the Lessening Society as a way to get back at the Scribe Virgin for creating the vampire race because he resented that he could not create new life.  He removes the souls of  humans to use in his personal vendetta of killing all  vampires.


De-souled humans who are created by and serve the Omega. Enemies of the vampire race. They are chosen specifically for their capacity of violence and stripped of their souls in order to gain strength and longevity to hunt and kill vampires. They bleach out the longer they are in service, becoming pale skinned with pale hair, smell like baby powder and are impotent.

Glossary of Terms and Proper Nouns

  1. Lessening Society pr n. Order of slayers convened by the Omega for the purpose of eradicating the vampire species.

  2. lesser n. De-souled human who targets vampires for extermination as a member of the Lessening Society. Lessers must be stabbed through the chest in order to be killed, otherwise they are ageless. They do not eat or drink and are impotent. Over time, their hair, skin and irises lose pigmentation until they are blonde, blushless and pale-eyed. They smell like baby powder. Inducted into the Society by the Omega, they retain a ceramic jar thereafter into which their heart was placed after it was removed.

  3. The Omega pr n. Malevolent, mystical figure who has targeted the vampires for extinction out of resentment directed towards the Scribe Virgin. Exists in a non-temporal realm and has extensive powers, though not the power of creation.


What do you think about the world that Ward has created?

What were your first impressions when you met Wrath and Beth?

What is your favorite scene in Dark Lover?

How do you feel about the multiple points of view throughout the book? The multiple subplots?

Which character are you most looking forward to learning more about?

What did you like most about Dark Lover? Least?

How would you rate the book overall?

Have you ever wondered why Darius felt the need to put his affairs in order?  How did he know that he might not be around for Beth’s transition?

Did we miss anything? Any thoughts before we head into book two, Lover Eternal?

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6 Responses to “Black Dagger Brotherhood: Dark Lover Discussion

  1. NingNo Gravatar

    Wow that’s a pretty tight schedule, very doable, but then I’d have to push back all my other books. *sigh* decisions decisions decisions! I think I’ve already accepted the fact I won’t catch up before Lover Reborn comes out.

    Ning @ Reading by Kindle Fire

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  2. HeatherNo Gravatar

    I re-read this series every time a new book is introduced. Dark Lover was a great start and I enjoy it more every time I re-read it. I particularly like the way the members of the Brotherhood are introduced to us in Dark Lover and the build up of anticipation to more stories in the series.

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  3. Nicola O.No Gravatar

    Well, it’s no secret that I think it’s a very compelling world. Dark Lover kind of rocked my world when I read it in 2007 (ish?) and dropped me in the deep end of PNR and UF.

    I know others had gone there first — Kenyon and Feehan in particular, but I hadn’t read them– is the way the paranormal world allows the author and the reader to break some sort of politically-correct rules about what is acceptable masculine behavior and what are acceptable feminine desires. By saying, “Oh, that’s just how their special species works,” you can take away some of the, I don’t know, discomfort? around the very extreme alpha behavior — the possessiveness, the “bonding”, the violence (all in the name of a good cause). “Dark Lover” really pushed the envelope, I think, of just how much testosterone you could pump into one character.

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  4. Jackie (Literary Escapism)No Gravatar

    I have to agree with you Nicola. I first read DARK LOVER in 2005 (Ha! I read it first!) and it was one of the first UF/PNRs for me as well. There was just something so different about a world where vampires were still monsters (the violence, the mating, etc etc) and yet they weren’t evil, they just were. I love how Butch and Beth first thought of them as thugs, but soon realized that there were more to them than first impressions give. I think that’s why I enjoy this series so much. Even though you may think you know any of the characters, you really don’t and each book gives you more and more.

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  5. KristieNo Gravatar

    I know I am a little late for this discussion but I just finished Dark Lover. I am a first time reader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I enjoyed the book and I liked the dark, gritty world that Ward creates. The multiple points of view are a little overwhelming at first, especially with the huge cast of characters, but it works for this series. I liked Beth and Wrath from the beginning, the character I wasn’t to sure of was Butch. I didn’t really like him at first but by the end of the book I want to skip to his story.
    Although, I want to know what is up with Zsadist, he is the vampire that I found most intriguing.

    I can’t wait to read the next book.

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  6. yosneNo Gravatar

    read it and re-read it, and keep loving them, and for me in particular i love the testosterone! they’re males not men. And the humor is fangtastic! i read this series after twilight, so it was a bit of a change jeje!

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