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"Dead to the World", released in May of 2004, is the forth book in Award-winning author Charlaine Harris' New York Times best selling series "The Southern Vampire Mysteries", also known as the "Sookie Stackhouse novels", and as of recent, the "True Blood novels". The series of books in which the HBO original series True Blood is based, Dead to the World is the forth of thirteen novels in the The Southern Vampire Mysteries collection.
In this fourth installment, Sookie Stackhouse finds new supernatural complications. Sookie's sometime love interest, Bill Compton, the vampire, runs off to Peru to do research. Shortly thereafter, on New Year's Eve, Sookie runs into Eric Northman, Bill's boss (and head vamp for the district). He has appeared out of thin air running down a Bon Temps county road, naked, with no memory of who he is or what he does. Coincidentally, Sookie's brother Jason goes missing. Less coincidentally, but more ominously, a coven of witches (who also happen to be shape-shifters and vampire blood users) arrive in Shreveport, looking for trouble.
This novel opens on New Year's Eve, three weeks after the events of Club Dead. Bill and Sookie have broken up due to his betrayal with Lorena. As the book opens, he informs Sookie he is going to Peru. Shortly after Bill’s departure, Sookie, on her way home after working at Merlotte’s New Year’s Eve party, finds Eric running madly down the road, naked. He has a forlorn look, an expression Sookie has never seen in the confident Eric. He does not recognize her nor does he have any idea who he is. Sookie takes him to her home, washes his feet and calls Fangtasia to let Pam know that she has found Eric. The next night, Pam and Chow come to her house and explain to her that several nights ago a group of witches arrived in Shreveport. Pam explains to Sookie the true nature of witches, revealing that real witches can do plenty of bad things to vampires because witches control magical forces. This group seems to be more powerful than other witches and they either want to take over Eric's businesses or make Eric pay them money to leave him alone. The leader, Hallow, and her brother threatened Eric that they would curse him by turning Fangtasia's alcoholic drinks bad, and cause patrons to trip over the dance floor and sue them, which would badly affect Fangtasia’s revenues. Pam tells Sookie that a witch had come with a message from Hallow saying that Hallow lusted for Eric and offered that if he would entertain her for seven nights, she would only demand a fifth of his business, rather than half. Eric had refused and suddenly vanished from the office where they were discussing this offer. Eric says he does not remember anything and that he was born the moment he was running down the road. Pam and Chow ask Sookie to keep Eric safe while they solve the problem with the witches. Later Sookie learns through Holly Cleary (another waitress at Merlotte's) that this coven of witches has a lot of power that they are willing to use for evil, that they drink vampire blood, and that they are werewolves as well. Holly also tells Sookie that this new coven has called all local witches and Wiccans to join them. Furthermore, Sookie learns that her brother, Jason, is missing and starts looking for him. Sookie informs Alcide Herveaux of the existence of this werewolves/witch coven in Shreveport and heads to Hotshot to speak to Crystal Norris, (a werepanther), as she was the last person Jason was seen with.
Throughout all these chaotic events, Sookie and amnesiac Eric’s relationship grows, and they begin a sexual affair. Sookie is physically and emotionally attracted to this gentle and caring Eric. Sookie is happy to be with Eric, a man who has told her she is beautiful, and who has not only given her sexual pleasure, but also had held her and laughed with her. He starts calling her “lover” and they admit to each other that they have feelings towards one another. This Eric even offers to stay with Sookie forever, to work and help her, renouncing his life as a Sheriff and owner of Fangtasia, and he tells her that she will never be poor.
The novel reaches its climax when the Shreveport pack (including Alcide and Debbie Pelt), the Area Five vampires, and the local Wiccans fight together against Hallow and her coven. The coven is defeated and Hallow is tortured until she un-hexes Eric, and then Pam kills her. But before Hallow can reverse the curse on Eric he and Sookie go back to her house to find Debbie Pelt waiting with a gun, which she quickly fires at Sookie. Eric takes the bullet for Sookie, who then kills Debbie. Eric discards her body once he has recovered from the gunshot wound. The next night, Eric gets his memory back, and he has no recollection of his time with Sookie.
Eventually, Sookie, Sam, and Calvin Norris discover that Felton Norris (Calvin and Felton are both werepanthers from Hotshot) has been keeping Jason captive because Felton is in love with Crystal and did not want to see Crystal with Jason—who Felton thinks Crystal is attracted to only because he is not a were. Felton has bitten Jason several times in order to turn him into a werepanther at the next full moon. Calvin and Sookie agree to not tell the authorities, with Calvin implying that the citizens of Hotshot will kill Felton for his crimes.
Characters in Dead to the WorldEdit
- Alcide Herveaux
- Bill Compton
- Calvin Norris
- Colonel Flood
- Crystal Norris
- Holly Cleary
- Jason Stackhouse
- Maria-Star Cooper
- Sam Merlotte
- Tara Thornton
- Debbie Pelt
- Felton Norris - A werepanther and Hotshot’s best tracker, he suffers from the effects of inbreeding. Felton loves Crystal Norris and is angry to find out that she is seeing Jason Stackhouse. He captures and bites Jason until Sookie and Calvin find him. It is implied that Calvin kills Felton as punishment.
- Hallow Stonebrook - Also known as Marnie Stonebrook. She is a witch and werewolf. She is portrayed as being tall and slim, but broad-shouldered with short, thick, brown hair. When Sookie tries to “listen” in, Hallow senses that someone is reading her mind. After she un-hexes Eric, she is eventually killed by Pam.
- Mark Stonebrook - Werewolf and a witch. He is Hallow’s brother and attempts to take over Shreveport’s supernatural beings’ businesses. He is eventually killed in the attack by the Shreveport pack and Area five's vampires.