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House of Cards (Negotiator Trilogy/Old Races Universe #2)

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,238 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
Margrit is summoned to negotiate a peace treaty amongst rival factions in the Old Races, but even as she does so, her own mortal world threatens to fall apart. Caught between a ruthless vampire mobster, a dragonlord who won’t take no for an answer, a group of subversive selkies, she finds herself alone – because the gargoyle who brought her into their world won’t return he ...more
Paperback, Trade paperback, 408 pages
Published February 19th 2008 by Luna
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In Stone by Louise D. GornallStone Guardian by Danielle MonschRock Hard And Wet by Jennifer  JamesHeart of Stone by C.E. MurphyEvery Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 12, 2010 Natasha rated it it was amazing
House of Cards starts a couple of months on from where events in Heart of Stone ended. Lawyer Margrit Knight has become all too entwined in world of the Old Races and the secrets they possess. In book one her life was on the line, but in book two it's even worse. Everyone seems to want a piece of Margrit, for both good and bad.
Margrit "Grit" for short, was use to her normal by the book life, but after meeting Alban the Gargoyle, her life has changed 100 perfect. At times, she wished she has he
Mar 23, 2008 Seth rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-f-h, modernfantasy
This series is redeeming Murphy in my eyes. The main character--Margrit--is strong without being unrealistic, there aren't any over-dramatized villains, and the complications between the supernatural races are deep, serious, and multi-layered.

In this book, she's paying off favors to both the dragon/crime lord and the vampire/business mogul, who find their personal war turning from cold to hot. Two selkies throw the balance of power into disarray just by arriving and her gargoyle protector/friend
Jul 28, 2011 Deva rated it it was amazing
First of all. That is clearly a long-haired white woman on the cover of this book and I do not like that at all. However, it doesn't change the fact that Margrit is not white and the author continues to remind you of that like you've never seen a black person in your life (or mixed with black and white in Margrit's case). I'm gonna let that go for now before I get mad at this book.

Margrit is an excellent negotiator. She's had to play 5 sides since book 1 and she gets better in book 2. However, I
Barbara ★
Aug 22, 2009 Barbara ★ rated it really liked it
This is a spectacular urban fantasy series. In the first book Margrit Knight is rescued in the park by Alban, a gargoyle. He discloses the secrets of the Old Races: gargoyles, dragons (Janx), vampires (Mr. Daisani), djinns (Malik) and selkies (Kaimana). Margrit is tricked into being the Negotiator between the fighting races.

This book involves further treachery between humans the Old Races and humans. Janx is a crime boss very like a mafia kingpin. Mr. Daisani is a very successful businessman and
Megan Lillian
Jun 08, 2011 Megan Lillian rated it liked it
Keeping in mind I've only moved from 2 stars (Heart of Stone) to a 3 star rating here, this follow-up is better than book 1. Better developed story arc. More happening and less running back and forth between 3 places in NYC, and I do mean literally running back and forth for 400 pages, like we did in book 1. We have a little more variety here. Maybe 10 different settings this time? The last half of the last page was the best part of the entire thing... except for the one seriously DELAYED and th ...more
Lynsey   • The Demon Librarian
Oct 31, 2012 Lynsey • The Demon Librarian rated it really liked it
Nice sequel. Glad I continued with the trilogy.

I finished the first book in this series with slightly mixed feelings. I loved all the secondary characters (there really are some great multi-layered ones in here) as well as the love interest character, Alban, but felt little to nothing towards the protagonist, Margrit. I had nothing against her, exactly, but found her a bit dull overall. I think if she were stronger or I connected with her more, this series could move up from being really good,
Jean Tatro
Jul 10, 2008 Jean Tatro rated it liked it
Recommended to Jean by: the author's previous books
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Like many books while you don't need to read the first book to understand or follow what's going on in this one, this one doesn't stand alone as well as it stands as a 'book two'.

The pacing is slow, even dragging at some points, and for awhile I thought the book would never come to an end. But then every time I got to a point I was going to put the book down something truly interesting would happen and I'd keep going. At about the halfway point things really begin to pick up.

One thing I really l
Jan 24, 2009 Kara rated it it was ok
The second book in C. E. Murphy's Negotiator Trilogy continues the story of Margrit Knight and her journey into the world of the Old Races.

This book was a slog for me. It was neither as engaging or as quick-moving as the first book. The author seemed to get bogged down in a lot of myriad storylines in the middle of the book, and I was frustrated by the distractions towards the end, though it did wrap up in a tidy--if swift--ending.

I am hoping that the third book will be a return to her former br
Feb 14, 2009 Cassandra rated it it was ok
Shelves: paranormal
Ugh. All the underworld characters turned into big soft teddy bears competing for a chance to flirt w/ the protagonist. I also didn't like the way humanity is suppose to be so much 'different'. She doesn't make them seem different but superior. The most common ideas and concepts aren't thought of by the underworlds because it's too human to think that way. In the end it made the underworld characters look dumb, what a waste.
Missy Ann
Dec 22, 2008 Missy Ann rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
The first in this series was fairly good. I liked it enough to buy this book full price.

I am regretting that now. This is literally a sleeping pill. Big accomplishment last night, I read a whole chapter instead of just 6 pages before being knocked unconscious.
Apr 10, 2008 Heather rated it it was ok
Little disappointed with this book. It was pretty good until the end. Honestly, I gave up on this book and didn't bother to finish it. I found myself confused by what was happening in the end scene. The author needs to explain things a little better.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series thus far but I can't get past the similarities between this series and the "Gargoyles" TV series by Greg Weisman that I loved so much as a child.
Goliath you dog- changing your name to Alban and leaving your cop for a lawyer?? The scandal!
On one hand, that makes this almost like an extension of what really was one of my favorite TV series EVER. On the other hand, the similarities really do bother me.

Can't figure out if this guy would be Malik or Janx thoug
Jun 13, 2009 Lindig rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
main character "Grit" in love w/gargoyle -- how cute; well-written, densely plotted, but somehow all characters seem "archetypal" and thus not quite 3-D.
Nov 27, 2008 Elizabeth marked it as to-read
Legal Aid lawyer, Margrit Knight, loves to tempt fate and run at night in Central Park.

That's how she first met Alban, a gargoyle, in HEART OF STONE, the first book, and how she finds out that about the Old Races, Djinn, Dragons, Vampires, Gargoyles and Selkies.

As one of the few humans who knows about them, Margrit's skills as a negotiator are in-demand as the Old Races' balance of power is shifting and they need an outside party.

Margrit also owes crime kingpin and dragonlord, Janx, a favor a
Mar 25, 2011 Daffodil rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
3.5 - 4 stars.

Although I didn't enjoy this quite as much as the first book, it was still a pretty fun read. I'm fascinated with the bits and pieces of history being revealed about Janx and Daisani. Competing against each other, tbey still regard each other with certain kind of respect and seem to have had a closer relationship in the past. Frenemies! LOL. Alban's determination to not involve Margrit in Old Race dealings came way to late, Janx and Daisani were just as determined to keep her invo
Jenny Delandro
Nov 08, 2010 Jenny Delandro rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth Cato
Apr 10, 2012 Beth Cato rated it really liked it
Shelves: in, urban, fantasy, 2009
The second book of the Negotiator trilogy picks up soon after the end of Heart of Stone. Lawyer Margrit Knight has become all too entwined in the centuries-old threads that bind and strangle the Old Races in New York City. A slick vampire wants her to work as his assistant, a dragonlord pulls all the strings in the underworld, and if looks could kill, a djinn would have killed Margrit several times over. Then there is Alban the gargoyle, the being she loves, the one who will barely talk to her b ...more
Red Lace
Sep 21, 2014 Red Lace rated it liked it
Recommends it for: urban fantasy fans
Margrit Knight finds herself pulled further into the hidden world of the Old Races. Gargoyles, vampires, dragons, djinn and selkie strive to live and abide by ancient laws, but times are changing, and so they must also to survive. Accepted as a negotiator, Margrit wishes to aid the races and help them fit better with humanity and most importantly, try to keep the peace amongst the scheming immortals whose power plays often create problems.

(Please be aware that this review may contain spoilers b
Jun 21, 2011 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Oh What Tangled Webs
It's been a few months since gargoyle Alban Korund pulled back from New York City lawyer Margrit Knight after exposing her to his world and the Old Races. His intentions were sound; he wanted her safe from the machinations of monsters and he wanted her to have a normal human life with normal human trials and tribulations. The only thing Alban didn't take into account was Margrit's complete disregard for what he wanted for her. The spunky, feisty woman had tasted the magic of
Ben Babcock
Margrit Knight is a New York lawyer who likes late-night runs through Central Park, cutting deals with a dragon crimelord and a vampire businessman who are centuries-old sworn rivals, and flying naked through the city at night with a gargoyle with whom she is falling in love. And she has no superpowers. Rather, her ability to negotiate among the five Old Races is due to the fact that Humans Are Special, and the affable natures of Janx and Eliseo Daisani are evidence that Humanity is Infectious. ...more
Terri Pray
Mar 18, 2012 Terri Pray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second in the Negotiator Trilogy finds Magrit Knight thrust once more into the world of the old races even as she comes to terms with how she feels for the Gargoyle, Alban Korund.

When her on again/off again boyfriend, Tony, invites Magrit to attend a function with him (one he's acting as a body guard for the visiting wealthy Hawaiin, Kaimana) she's introduced to the all too human world of wealth and power. Except Kaimana isn't human. No more than another of the party goers, Daisani, is.

Nov 14, 2013 Jenn rated it liked it
Shelves: have-read
Mehhh... This is now really hard to classify is it UF or PNR. Book one was solid UF it a few oddly placed phrases, this book crossed into PNR. Now I did like the mini plots and turns this story had, and the individual characters are well created. However I am still having a hard time getting into the series. I think it is the predisposition to disney gargoyles. So the white hair on our main character and white skin... Just feels off. I understand the culture and social/political statements, and ...more
Nov 17, 2008 Dana rated it really liked it
In this second book in the Negotiator trilogy seems to have worked out a lot of the choppy writing issues I had with the first book. (And even at that, in the first one they were mostly limited to rare clunky phrases, which I noticed precisely because they stuck out from the rest of the book.) This book opens a few months after the first book ended, during which time Margrit has been trying to get back to her normal life at Legal Aid. Alban, our lead gargoyle, has been conspicuously absent, main ...more
Mar 29, 2008 Angela rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
House of Cards, Book 2 of C.E. Murphy's Negotiator series, took me a bit to read. It has less overt action than Book 1 of this series, and a lot more emphasis on the politics between the various Old Races as well as the shifting relationships around the heroine, Margrit. It's not an easy book to read when you're not at the top of your game, since there's a lot to keep track of in here--and with me having the Martian Death Flu going on, I spent quite a bit of time going "wait, what?" and having t ...more
Mar 12, 2008 Theresa rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2008
I felt this book was better than the first one, Heart of Stone, but it still wasn't a 5-star book. The first third of the book is very slow which is the same problem I had with the first book. This might have a lot to do with the author setting up the story and not all the players being involved, but it bordered on boring.

Once all the players get involved, however, the story picks up quite nicely. The dialogue is snappy and humourous at turns. Magrit, the main character, is more involved with th
Apr 15, 2014 Debbie rated it it was amazing
Another great trip into the Old Races universe.
I love when it's modern day and old world. These have been a great blending of both. Ms Murphy has a way that brings you into a story and refuses to let go till its finished.
More negotiating for Grit that on the face of it's looks like a grand gesture to bring the Old Races back to 5. The betrayal of the Selkies and the Djinn no one saw coming.
Book 3 looks to be an even bigger and better adventure
Mar 22, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: supernatural, fiction
Wow -- with this book, Murphy's books go from fun to good. More than just a fun excursion into Margrit's world, Murphy is gaining a good sense of timing and descriptive ability, and is handling increasingly complex plots.

In this book, Margrit finds herself in the middle of a dispute between Janx (the crimelord) and Daisani (the businessman) that seems to be hinging on some action by the selkies. Rather than play things from the sidelines again, she jumps in with both feet and and lands (as the m
Oct 18, 2009 Jane rated it it was ok
I loved loved loved Heart of Stone. I am a total cheerleader for that book. Great characters, great premise, well executed.

Not such a big fan of this one, though. The book never gets going. All I can remember from reading it right after it came out is Margrit driving back and forth between the different representatives of these races. I hope they were paying her mileage.

And I remember her bizarre loyalty to someone who tried to kill her for no particular reason. I know she is a lawyer but should
Jan 24, 2010 Barbara rated it really liked it
4 Stars...I really liked it!

This is book two in "The Negotiator Trilogy" and I have to say it wasn't as good as the first but Murphy did a great job of not repeating everything she said in "Heart of Stone" while catching you up on the previous story. She also did a wonderful job at adding new and interesting little surprises while keeping true to the original characters. The unreal bond that Grit has with the Old Races is one of the main reasons I'm really loving this series. Their playful bante
Nov 10, 2015 Korina rated it really liked it
I dropped two others books to start this one and I raced through it. Loved that all five Old Races got some limelight. Here we see Margrit get deeper into the world of the Old Races - can she get back out? Her friends and family are getting involved as well, it adds more twists and more drama. This book went faster than the first one - more action, more drama speeding it along. Highly recommend this book.
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C.E. Murphy is a writer of fantasy novels and short stories. She also writes "action-adventure romance" novels under the pseudonym Cate Dermody, which was her grandmother's maiden name.
More about C.E. Murphy...

Other Books in the Series

Negotiator Trilogy/Old Races Universe (4 books)
  • Heart of Stone (Negotiator Trilogy/Old Races Universe #1)
  • Hands of Flame (Negotiator Trilogy/Old Races Universe #3)
  • Baba Yaga's Daughter & Other Tales of the Old Races

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