demon markedDEMON MARKED is the eleventh story in the Guardian series, and the seventh full-length book. It primarily takes place in the modern-day United States, with a few forays into other parts of the world and other realms.

Everything you need to know about the Guardians story arc leading up to this book is contained within DEMON MARKED — the heroine Ash doesn’t know anything, either, so you can learn along with her. If you’d like a preview before starting it, however, I’ve included the origin of the Guardians here, as well as BIG SPOILERS below for the previous books in the series.

In the First Battle, Lucifer led his rebels against Heaven. In punishment, they were transformed into demons and tossed into Hell. There were also angels who refused to take sides during the First Battle; these angels were transformed into nosferatu, cursed with bloodlust and vulnerability to daylight, and sent to Earth.

The seraphim who lived in Caelum watched over humans, and protected them from demons and nosferatu. The seraphim could never completely pass for human, however, and so the people on Earth began worshipping them as gods. When Lucifer realized this, his jealousy led him to wage another war against the angels, the Second Battle.

This battle took place on Earth, and Lucifer had with him a dragon from Chaos, and hellhounds. The angels began to falter before the dragon — but mankind, witnessing the battle taking place, joined the angels. One man,Michael, managed to destroy the dragon by cutting through its heart with his sword.

After the Second Battle, the seraphim retreated from Caelum, and gave Michael the power to guard humans on Earth, and to transform other men into Guardians. Because they were once men, Guardians can pass as human, and walk among those they protect.

***BIG SPOILERS START HERE***

As you begin DEMON MARKED, it might help to know that: In DEMON ANGEL, Lucifer lost a wager with Michael, and the Gates to Hell have been closed. A few demons remain on Earth, but the rest are trapped inside Hell, where a war for the throne is being waged between Lucifer and Belial.

Many Guardians and novices are now receiving their assignments through and training at Special Investigations. Special Investigations was created after Michael and Rael revealed themselves before a senatorial committee, receiving approval and funding for the division. Lilith, a halfling demon and the heroine of DEMON ANGEL, heads the division.

In DEMON NIGHT, a new, extremely powerful race of demons called the nephilim were introduced. They’ve been slaughtering vampires in several large cities worldwide, and it was discovered that vampire blood could weaken the powerful demons.

In DEMON BOUND, the reasons behind the slaughter were revealed: a prophecy dictated that Belial would rise to power after the nephilim were destroyed. More astonishing to many Guardians, however, was the discovery that Michael was not human at all, but one of the grigori — half human, half demon — and the son of Belial. The existence of two other grigori was revealed, as well: Khavi, who possesses the Gift of foresight; and Anaria, the mother of the nephilim … and sister to Michael. At the end of DEMON BOUND, Khavi has joined the Guardians, but Anaria is with the nephilim.

In DEMON FORGED, a vampire named Deacon was tricked by Rael, Belial’s lieutenant, and forced to betray the Guardians. As a result of that betrayal, several vampires and a Guardian at Special Investigations were killed by the nephilim and Anaria, and Deacon’s vampire community in Prague was slaughtered. Anaria also gained access to Chaos, where she attempted to weaken the barrier between Chaos and Hell. To prevent her from succeeding, Michael sacrificed himself, using his own body as a spell to strengthen the barrier. Now, he’s trapped in the frozen field and Irena leads the Guardians.

In DEMON BLOOD, all of the nephilim and most of Belial’s demons who’d remained on Earth after the Gates had closed were destroyed. Devastated by the death of her nephilim children, Anaria goes to Hell to take revenge against Belial. It’s also revealed that Detective Taylor has been partially possessed by Michael, who controls her from the frozen field, and jumps into her body whenever she’s in danger. They form a tentative truce by the end of the novel — Michael agrees not to take over unless it’s to save her life or absolutely necessary.