Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Threads of Malice

Dubric Byerly, head of security at Castle Faldorrah, has seen many horrors in his life--he is literally haunted by the ghosts of those whose death demands justice. And in the kingdom's far reaches, young men are disappearing into thin air, leaving behind ghosts that bear witness to unthinkable cruelties. Racing against time, all Dubric knows is the latest victim to vanish is still alive--and that he won't be for long.

Threads of Malice is the second book in Tamara Siler Jones' three-book series starring Dubric Byerly. Her first book, Ghosts in the Snow, introduced us to the main characters and the rich world Tamara has developed for her stories. In that book, Dubric has to figure out who in the castle is responsible for killing the people whose ghosts haunt him. The second book takes place in a more remote part of the kingdom, the Reaches. Again, Dubric must figure out who murdered the ghosts, for it is his curse to see the ghosts of murdered people and his job to bring their killers to justice. If you want to read excerpts, you can go here for chapter 1 and here for chapter 2.

I know I tend to be gushy when I recommend books because I don't recommend books I'm not crazy about. These are the books I'd shove in customers' hands if I still worked in a bookstore. They're books I shove in my friends' hands, when our family income is greater than zero. This book is one that belongs on that list. I'm lucky to have received an ARC of this book and be able to read it, and recommend it, before it's released in October. It's available for preorder now.

Tamara writes about horrible things that happen to decent people. She writes about good things that happen to decent people. Ditto for the bad guys. Because Tamara shows the whole range of everyday life, the horrors are more horrible and the good things stand out in bas relief. The characters make mistakes. They do things right. Mostly, they do what you and I do, take the life they're given and deal with it the best way they can. You and I, however, don't have to deal with the horrors Tamara's characters do. We don't stumble on dead bodies and see ghosts of murdered people. We don't have to worry about horrors happening to the people we love if we're too slow in our duty to bring murderers to justice. Because Tamara brings you deep into the lives of her people and makes them face the consequences of their actions, you can't assume anyone will come out unscathed, or even still alive. She doesn't flinch from inflicting physical or psychological harm on people. That makes for a tough, but satisfying read.

This book has difficult themes in it. I wouldn't recommend it for kids or even young teens. Keep it on the shelf and give it to them when they're old enough. But you grownups? Go! Preorder! Set aside a long stretch of time or pick a night when you don't have to get up early. This is a "stay up because I can't put it down" book. It's a haunting, nightmare-inducing, emotional roller coaster.

(Note: I'm going to leave this at the top and wait until Monday to write new posts so as many people as possible can learn about this book. See you Monday.)