Gunmetal Magic

(A book in the Kate Daniels series)

A novel by Ilona Andrews

To the fine people of Texas,

who have taken us in and treated us as their own


At the core, Gunmetal Magic is a book about a deeply damaged person finding her place in life, and in the beginning stages, it was also a very damaged book in need of help. We would like to thank Anne Sowards, our editor, for once again making it better, and our agent, Nancy Yost, for invaluable advice and friendship.

We’d like to thank the following people for making the book a reality: Production editor Michelle Kasper and assistant production editor Andromeda Macri for overseeing the production and putting up with our craziness, and editorial assistant Kat Sherbo for her patience and attention to detail. Special thanks to the long-suffering art department, cover designer Judith Lagerman, and artist Tony Mauro. We deeply appreciate everything you’ve done on our behalf. We’re grateful to the interior designer Laura K. Corless for making a manuscript into a beautiful book, and to publicists Rosanne Romanello and Brady McReynolds for tirelessly promoting the book.

In addition, we owe thanks to Marsheila Rockwell, Sue Staltare, Susann Max, and Shannon Martinez for their expertise with reclamations, construction, and fallen buildings. Thank you to Shiloh Walker for her knowledge of snakebites and explanation of medical terms, and to Cassandra Brulotte for her legal expertise. Any errors of law, medicine, or construction found in this book are due purely to us and not to them.

Thank you to our beta readers for suffering through the first draft.

Thank you to Jeaniene Frost for being there and to Jill Myles and Meljean Brook for the tea war.

Finally, we’d like to thank our readers—thank you for making it all possible.


The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. We pushed the technological progress too far, and now magic has returned with a vengeance. It came like an invisible tide, ripping planes out of the sky, dropping monsters onto crowded streets, sucking the power plants dry, and jamming firearms. Some people awoke and found themselves shapeshifters. Others died, cut down by a magic-fueled disease, and rose again as mindless undead, robbed of their ability to reason and driven only by their all-consuming hunger. Gods became real, curses gained power, and telekinesis and telepathy were no longer the products of illusion and special effects.

For three days the magic raged and then it vanished without warning, leaving the world reeling, its population decimated, its cities in tatters.

Since that day, the day of the Shift, the magic comes and goes as it pleases. It floods the planet like a wave crashing on the shoreline, hissing and boiling, leaving its dangerous gifts, and then recedes once again. Sometimes a wave lasts half an hour, sometimes three days. Nobody can predict it and nobody knows what our future holds.

But we are resilient. We will survive.

“40th Anniversary of the Shift”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution



My head hit the sidewalk. Candy jerked me up by my hair and slammed my face into the asphalt.


“Hit her again!” Michelle squeaked, her teenage voice shrill.

I knew it was a dream, because it didn’t hurt. The fear was still there, that sharp, hot terror, mixed with helpless rage, the kind of fear that turns you from a human being into an animal. Things become distilled to simple concepts: I was small, they were big; I was weak, they were strong. They hurt me, and I endured.


My skull bounced off the pavement. Blood stained my blond hair. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sarah take a running start like a kicker before a field goal. The flesh on her body boiled. Bones grew, muscles wound around them like cotton candy over a stick, hair sprouted, sheathing the new body, half human, half animal, in a coat of pale sandy fur dappled with telltale hyena spots. The bouda grinned at me, her malformed mouth full of fangs. I clenched up, curling my ten-year-old self into a ball. The clawed foot crashed into my ribs. The three-inch claws scraped a bone and it crunched inside me like a snapped chopstick. She kept kicking me.

Thud, thud, thud!

This was a dream. A dream grown from my memories, but still just a dream. I knew this, because ten years after my mother took eleven-year-old me and fled halfway across the country, I came back and put two bullets through Sarah’s eyes. I had emptied a clip into Candy’s left ear. I still remembered the way her skull had blossomed with red when the bullets tore out the other side. I had killed the entire werehyena clan. I wiped those bouda bitches off the face of the planet, because the world was a better place with them gone. Michelle was the only one who had escaped.

I sat up and grinned at them. “I’m waking up, ladies. Go fuck yourselves.”

My eyes snapped open. I lay in my closet, wrapped in a blanket and holding a butcher knife. The door of the closet stood slightly ajar, and the gray light of early morning slipped through the narrow gap.

Fantastic. Andrea Nash, decorated veteran of the Order, hiding in her closet with her knife and a blankie. I should’ve held on to the dream long enough to beat them into bloody pulp. At least then I wouldn’t feel so completely pathetic.

I inhaled, sampling the air. The normal scents of my apartment floated to me, the hint of synthetic apple from the soap in the bathroom, the fragrance of vanilla from the candle by my bed, and strongest of all, the stench of dog fur, a leftover from when my friend Kate’s poodle Grendel had kept me company. That freak of nature had slept at the foot of my bed, and his distinctive reek was permanently imprinted on my rug.

No intruders.

The scents were muted, which meant the magic was down.


What in the world?


Someone was pounding on my door.

I kicked off my blanket, rolled to my feet, and ran out of the closet. My bedroom greeted me: my big bed, intruder-free; the crumpled mess of the blanket on the rug; my jeans and bra, discarded last night by the bed, next to a Lorna Sterling paperback with a pirate in a poofy shirt on the cover; bookcase, stuffed to the brim; pale blue curtains on the barred window, undisturbed.

I dropped the butcher knife onto my side table, pulled on my pajamas pants, grabbed my Sig-Sauer P226

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