Lover Awakened by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 3) - US edition

Lover Awakened by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 3) - Australian/UK editionLast updated: 5/12/2016 — new information in italics

These cheat sheets summarise what we know so far about the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Click here for a round-up of BDB-related posts on Book Thingo.

This section contains information on:

  • Zsadist, son of Ahgony (hero of Lover Awakened)
  • Ahgony, Zsadist’s father

Note that the cheat sheets have not been updated to include information from The King to avoid accidentally spoiling readers who have not yet had a chance to read the book.

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Zsadist, son of Ahgony

Zsadist, the firstborn son of Ahgony and the Chosen Naseen, was kidnapped by his nanny when he was seven months, and after the nanny’s death he was sold into slavery. After his transition changed him into a large, powerful looking male, his mistress kept him in a cell ready to be used for blood and sex and even shared him with other males.

It took his twin Phury a century to find and rescue him, but their escape via the ocean sealed a scar on Z’s face. He later added body piercings, possibly because he liked the pain. The slave band tattoos around his neck and wrists are also permanent because salt was added to the ink.

He returned to the mistress’s home because he’d heard that she had taken another blood slave, and killed her, taking her head as a reminder that she is dead and he will not be used again.

Z and Phury lived a nomadic life until they met Darius, who then introduced them to Wrath as potential Brothers around 90 years ago, but neither of them were in the right place to become warriors. Fifteen years later Z brought a dying Phury to Darius, who then called Wrath to perform last rites. Wrath noticed that although Z’s body was sweating and shaking from the thought of losing Phury, his face and eyes were completely disconnected from it.

Phury lived and they joined the Brotherhood not long afterwards, but no one was really all that comfortable around Z because he was unpredictable and hostile. Even though he was no longer a slave, he never bought anything, slept beside the skull of his former mistress in a pallet of blankets on the floor of his unheated room, and lived off apples and human blood. There were also rumours that he had a habit of killing females, which made it easy to believe that, when the lessers were laying out bloodied humans to bait vampires, Zsadist was responsible for the human deaths. He was also misheard saying he’d be willing to kill Wrath for free. He seems to take special pleasure in keeping females at a distance.

But his singing voice is pure heaven to hear.

He met Mary’s neighbour and friend Bella at Mary’s party at the mansion. She was instantly attracted to him, but his experiences made him afraid of closeness and he ultimately rejected her. He was so rattled by the encounter with Bella that he asked Phury to hit him until the pain drove out all other feelings and he could move on.

Very soon after the party, Bella was kidnapped by then-fore-lesser Mr. O, who wanted to recreate his last abusive human relationship with her.

Zsadist became obsessed with rescuing her—even though it didn’t seem likely she would still be alive six weeks after her abduction—and tortured lessers for information before killing them. A civilian male escaped with information on Bella’s location, and Zsadist rescued Bella and saw to her immediate care.

Bella didn’t want to leave him because she remembered how fierce he was and decided she needed someone that strong to save her. Z was attracted to her but hated himself for his reaction—his shame over sex was so strong that he referred to his penis as the ‘it’ or ‘the bastard’.

Because his care of Bella was so out of character for him, Phury was instructed to watch over him and developed feelings for Bella as well. Z saw Phury as the male he could have been if he weren’t so contaminated from what had been done to him, so he tried to push Bella onto his twin. But she knew she only wanted Zsadist, and her need to feed brought out his protective instincts and enabled an intimacy he wouldn’t be able to stand with anyone else. Their relationship seemed to stem from a need to be free from the effects of their captivity.

Although Zsadist bonded with Bella, their sex life reached a block, but conveniently enough Bella became fertile, which required Zsadist to alleviate her intense suffering with his body. It’s only then that he was able to let go of the past, but he still believed that Bella will change her mind about being with him because he saw himself as largely worthless as he doesn’t know how to read or cook or do anything but fight.

To get what he thought would be the inevitable breakup out of the way, Zsadist fed from a whore in front of Bella and she left, only to return when she heard that he was injured in a fight with the lessers. He again sent her to feed Phury, who was also injured and wanted her.

Mr. O called the Brotherhood and demanded that Z meet him alone, to which he agreed, because if he couldn’t have Bella, then the next best thing was to wipe out the piece of shit who hurt her. He explained this to Wrath and Phury and made Phury swear that he will stay with the Brotherhood no matter what happened to Z.

Instead Phury drugged Z, shaved his own head, scarred his own face, and met the lesser in Z’s place, telling Z that he was needed there. When Z came to, he asked Bella to track Phury via her blood and finally understood the impact his pain had on Phury when he saw his twin chained down and beaten, needing to be saved. As a result of the drugs Phury gave him, he was too weak to defeat the lesser, so Bella shot and killed Mr. O.

In the clinic, while recovering from their injuries together, Z for the first time reached out to Phury and promised not to make his twin hurt him and to start taking care of himself. He also volunteered to teach the pretrans males how to fight to lighten Phury’s load and asked Mary to teach him how to read.

Two months later, Bella returned to the mansion to tell Zsadist that she was carrying his young and noted the changes he had made. They were mated soon afterwards and this time Wrath noted that while his hands were shaking, Z was well aware that he was nervous and was no longer so disconnected from his emotions. Z may never be completely normal, but he is well on his way.

Z took John Matthew under his wing when he was being bullied by Lash before their transitions and, to deal with JM’s rising temper, Wrath instructed him to meet with Z every morning before dawn to take a quiet walk together. JM doesn’t realise just how much they have in common.

Phury falls into a decline and his addiction to red smoke grew stronger. So along with the fear of losing Bella, Zsadist was afraid that Phury would kill himself with drugs or during a fight and Phury’s broken promises made him angry with his twin because he didn’t know how to help him and felt powerless. He wasn’t always the most sympathetic to Phury, possibly because Phury’s crappy childhood was nothing to his and Phury grew up with the father who had given up on finding Zsadist.

They reconciled with the birth of his daughter Nalla and Phury’s mating to Cormia, but Z had trouble adjusting to fatherhood. Nalla’s birth was problematic and, believing she was about to die, Bella asksed Jane to save Nalla. She wanted to make sure that if anything happened to her, then Z wouldn’t be alone, but he believed that in her final moments, all Bella cared about was the child, a misunderstanding supported by her dedication to motherhood. His distance led Bella to think he didn’t find her post-pregnancy body attractive. His nightmares included his daughter witnessing what was done to him and he kept his distance from her, as well, to avoid contaminating her with his past. Bella was on the brink of leaving with Nalla when an injury sidelined Z from fighting and they actually talk and shift their focus back to each other and their daughter.

Bella and Z were called to Madalina’s death bed and the grandmother is allowed to see Nalla one more time before she died. At the moment of Madalina’s passing, she let out a gasp. Nalla awoke at the same time, reached up and smiled as though Madalina were saying goodbye.

After Madalina’s death, Bella took comfort in Nalla, but two days later, she was told that Rehvenge had also died.

She learned Rehv was still alive when she overheard the discussion about rescuing him and Z took her aside to explain the situation. I don’t know if he mentioned the drugs. She was the one who insisted Ehlena be allowed to go to the colony, having seen how much Rehv cared for this female and understanding that she may help him recover in ways no one else could.

While the symphath version of mhis or camouflage in the form of a feeling of dread started to overwhelm Ehlena, Z put his hand on her shoulder to reassure her, which is the first time I’ve seen him willingly make contact with a female other than Bella or Nalla.

When Rehvenge was free, Bella made him tell her the truth about his conception and her father’s relationship with their mother and his death. When she took it all in, she told him it wasn’t his fault that he was born, no matter what happened as a result and that Madalina loved him.

After hearing Xhex scream during the day, Z told JM that he had been through the same thing and knows how JM and Xhex feel. Without pushing for details, he suggested talking to Mary because it’s helped him.

At JM’s request, Z sang ‘All I Want is You’ by U2 at his and Xhex’s mating.

Z, Rhage, Qhuinn, Blay and JM went to the hangar at the location of the coordinates from the phones of the almost-lessers who stole Qhunn’s car the night before. A gunfight broke with the lessers on the scene and Z was shot under his arm. The only option for him was to fly back in this tin box with wings. Rhage volunteered but Qhuinn vetoed that since Rhage is a mated Brother. He piloted instead and pulled off a miracle getting Z back.

Z formally nominated Qhuinn for induction into the Brotherhood.

At Beth’s request, Wrath talks to Z about his family. It took him a week after Nalla’s birth to accept that everyone had survived. And that was what made his fear and anxiety worthwhile, but if Bella had died, he couldn’t answer because his shellan is his focus, more so than the young.

After the raid on the lessers, he joined his Brothers in thanking Mary for saving Rhage. He was the last to embrace her, but despite his issues with physical contact, he opened his arms to her.

Assail and V brought in a blood slave for treatment after being rescued from Naasha. Z went white when he saw the shackles and the black inked bands. He looked as though he was witnessing a death.

He visited Markcus while he was passed out. Assail promised they would avenge him. Z so wants in.

On the night of the raid, he was not the one who got to kill Naasha, but he did get to take a flamethrower to the house. And when he saw that Assail intended to commit suicide in the flames, Z decided no way in hell was that happening on his watch, so he dragged Assail out.


Along with Tohrture and Night, Ahgony trained Wrath the Fair King so that he could take revenge for attacks on his family and was among the Brothers who collected Darius and later Tohr from the Bloodletter’s warrior camp. He suggested that Darius take Tohr with him on the ‘safer’ mission of searching for the leahdyre’s kidnapped daughter.

He seemed to be friendly with Darius and escorted his king and prince, but I don’t know if this was his regular assignment.

Ahgony and his mate Naseen were blessed with twin sons who inherited their mother’s yellow eyes, but had multicoloured blond, red and brown hair, while their father had dark hair and their mother was blonde. But according to vampire tradition, too much good luck meant that sorrow was bound to follow. The nursemaid abducted the eldest child, Zsadist, in the middle of the night. Ahgony followed her, but she was sneaky and the trail went cold.

About 2 years later, he discovered Zsadist’s baby blanket among the female’s belongings a week after her death. He discovered that the young had been sold into slavery and even if he found the slaver who sold his son, there were too many children being sold to distinguish Zsadist from the others.

He gave up and returned home, where he spent the remainder of his days drunk instead of raising his remaining son, Phury, who took up the search after his transition.

Phury was 5 the first time he’d had to prevent Ahgony from committing suicide. Whenever he was thwarted, Ahgony struck out at Phury before promising never to do it again. Except he did.

It hasn’t been confirmed, but I think it’s safe to say that Ahgony wasn’t a Brother anymore.

Naseen retreated to the basement, where she died of grief years later. Phury cremated her and buried her and Ahgony together in the back yard.

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