Servant of the Underworld

Jabberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.
10
Free sample

The first book in the critically acclaimed Obsidian and Blood trilogy:

Year One-Knife, Tenochtitlan the capital of the Aztecs. Human sacrifice and the magic of the living blood are the only things keeping the sun in the sky and the earth fertile.

A Priestess disappears from an empty room drenched in blood. It should be a usual investigation for Acatl, High Priest of the Dead--except that his estranged brother is involved, and the the more he digs, the deeper he is drawn into the political and magical intrigues of noblemen, soldiers, and priests-and of the gods themselves...

REVIEWS:

‘ gripping mystery steeped in blood and ancient Aztec magic. I was enthralled.’ — Sean Williams

‘An Aztec priest of the dead tries to solve a murder mystery, and finds that politics may be even more powerful than magic. A vivid portrayal of an interesting culture in a truly fresh fantasy novel.’ — Kevin J. Anderson

‘Amid the mud and maize of the Mexica empire, Aliette de Bodard has composed a riveting story of murder, magic and sibling rivalry.’ — Elizabeth Bear

‘The world-building is exquisite and we *believe* we are transported to the 15th century Tenotichtlan and together with the superb voice they formed the main reason I enjoyed this book so much... Highly recommended... Ms. de Bodard is a writer to watch.’ — Fantasy Book Critic
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About the author

Aliette de Bodard is a half-French, half-Vietnamese computer and history geek who lives in Paris. In her spare time, she writes speculative fiction. Her short stories have appeared in many venues, including Asimov's, Interzone and the Year's Best Science Fiction. She has a special interest in non-Western civilisations, particularly Ancient Vietnam, Ancient China and Ancient Mesoamerica.

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Reviews

3.6
10 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Jabberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.
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Published on
Jan 5, 2016
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Pages
432
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ISBN
9781625671646
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Fantasy / Dark Fantasy
Fiction / Fantasy / Historical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Available on Android devices
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Aliette de Bodard
The second book in the critically acclaimed Obsidian and Blood trilogy:

The year is Two House, and the Emperor of the Mexica has just died. The protections he afforded the Empire are crumbling, and the way lies wide open to the flesh-eating star-demons--and to the return of their creator, a malevolent goddess only held in check by the War God's power.

The council should convene to choose a new Emperor, but they are too busy plotting against each other. And then someone starts summoning star-demons within the palace, to kill councilmen...

Acatl, High Priest of the Dead, must find the culprit before everything is torn apart.

REVIEWS:

‘Political intrigue and rivalry among a complex pantheon of divinities drive this well-paced murder mystery set at the height of the Aztec Empire in the late 15th century. De Bodard reintroduces the series hero Acatl, high priest of the dead, immediately following the death of the Tenochtitlan leader. One of the council members in charge of choosing a successor has been brutally murdered in what looks like an attempt to influence the decision. But the deaths continue and the political situation grows more complex, while the empire looks to be increasingly at risk of invasion by malignant powers. Acatl must go face-to-face with the most powerful god in his world and put the good of the empire above his antipathy for is rivals to achieve the uneasy succession. De Bodard incorporates historical fact with great ease and manages the rare feat of explaining complex culture and political system without lecturing or boring the reader.’ —Publishers Weekly

‘Another thing that intrigues me here is the whole fact that historically we know that the real empire died out mysteriously and completely and as such there is always that thought in the back of my mind that the author could choose to bring about the end of days. That highlighted sense of possible doom is something that is missing from too many novels. The way the story is told in this book is very impressive, the plot is both mature and seductive, twisting and turning like a weather vane in a force 9 gale while the action is both bloodthirsty and imaginative. The world building is fantastic and we get to learn even more of this rich culture and the many gods and creatures of the dark. I really can’t fault this book at all and recommend it to one and all but if you haven’t yet read Servant of the Underworld I suggest that you get them both and read them in order, you won’t be disappointed.’ —SF Book Reviews

‘Bodard’s writing is polished and striking, as she convincingly fills in the colorful elements of the Aztec culture–even if those colors tend to be of blood and bile as well as flowers and hummingbirds... beautiful, grimy, breathtaking, and morbid. 5*’ —Examiner

‘Aliette de Bodard has done it again. Harbinger of the Storm is an action packed Aztec mystery opera with magic, interventions from the gods and more twists and turns than the first book. It even has a love story with amusing snippets here and there... The story is self contained and can be enjoyed standalone, but you will not want to miss out on the first. I wish it was 2012 already even if the world is going under while I read the final Obsidian & Blood.’ —Cybermage
Aliette de Bodard
The conclusion to the critically acclaimed Obsidian and Blood trilogy:

The year is Three Rabbit, and the storm is coming.

The Mexica Empire now has a new Emperor, but his coronation war has just ended in a failure: the armies have retreated with a paltry forty prisoners of war, not near enough sacrifices to satisfy the gods. Acatl, High Priest for the Dead, has no desire to involve himself yet again in the intrigues of the powerful. However, when one of the prisoners dies of a magical illness, he has little choice but to investigate. For it is only one death, but it will not be the last.

As the bodies pile up and the imperial court tears itself apart, dragging Teomitl, Acatl's beloved student, into the eye of the storm, the High Priest for the Dead is going to have to choose whom he can afford to trust; and where, in the end, his loyalties ultimately lie...

REVIEWS:

‘Like the previous books, the third in the Obsidian and Blood series abounds with suspects and red herrings. It’s a twisty and colourful tale filled with strange gods who demand sacrifices and pain for the least favour. I liked the way Acatl is beginning to question the way things are, and the first stirrings of doubt are awakening in him. He’s always had misgivings about his own suitability as High Priest, but in this novel his eyes are opened to some of the deeper wrongs done in the name of the empire, and in the name of people’s unswerving loyalty to the gods.’ —WarpCore SF

‘I found this to be the best book of a very good series. The same positives from the first two books are still present, a very easy-to-read writing style (easy to read but not simple or dumbed down), a quick pace, and some incredible world building, incredible accessibility despite the lesser know pantheon and names. Even though the second book dealt with a possible end to the world, MASTER OF THE HOUSE OF DARTS took a similar fate and did it better. Perhaps this was because in many ways it felt more like a fantasy book than a mystery book, which lends itself better to the “save the world” type story. The magic felt more organic here, it was never used as a crutch, or perhaps it was just better explained. There was a bit less travelling this time around, which also led to a tighter story. The ending involved several confrontations that were tense and believable, including some between people who are supposed to be allies... a great end to the series.’ —Fantasy Review Barn

‘Whether you take it as historical noir or as a highly accurate fantasy, it’s hard not to enjoy the Obsidian and Blood books—it’s a perfect fit for those looking for something different from their usual fare, but still exciting in ways they’re used to.’ —Guys Lit Wire

‘Acatl, is very much at the heart of the story, more so perhaps than the plot. He slowly grows into his position as the High Priest of the Dead throughout the trilogy, while the author moves along a parallel path, her narrative growing into its teller and inhabiting his mind with increasing comfort and self-assurance. Acatl is both the hero and the author’s avatar as she explores her ideas of what a hero can and should be. Perceptive readers will find Acatl to be a very different kind of hero than we are accustomed to reading about, but the action and the mystery proceed so smoothly that some may never notice the gleeful contrariness that lurks below the surface... Acatl is not, and this is apparent from much earlier in the trilogy, a typical action hero. He is not even a typical mystery solver, at least not in the Western idiom... The entirety of the Obsidian & Blood trilogy gets high marks... for creativity, execution, and gentle subversion. Not just recommended, but, to paraphrase Demi Moore in A Few Good Men, strenuously recommended.’ —Two Dudes in an Attic
Aliette de Bodard
The second book in the critically acclaimed Obsidian and Blood trilogy:

The year is Two House, and the Emperor of the Mexica has just died. The protections he afforded the Empire are crumbling, and the way lies wide open to the flesh-eating star-demons--and to the return of their creator, a malevolent goddess only held in check by the War God's power.

The council should convene to choose a new Emperor, but they are too busy plotting against each other. And then someone starts summoning star-demons within the palace, to kill councilmen...

Acatl, High Priest of the Dead, must find the culprit before everything is torn apart.

REVIEWS:

‘Political intrigue and rivalry among a complex pantheon of divinities drive this well-paced murder mystery set at the height of the Aztec Empire in the late 15th century. De Bodard reintroduces the series hero Acatl, high priest of the dead, immediately following the death of the Tenochtitlan leader. One of the council members in charge of choosing a successor has been brutally murdered in what looks like an attempt to influence the decision. But the deaths continue and the political situation grows more complex, while the empire looks to be increasingly at risk of invasion by malignant powers. Acatl must go face-to-face with the most powerful god in his world and put the good of the empire above his antipathy for is rivals to achieve the uneasy succession. De Bodard incorporates historical fact with great ease and manages the rare feat of explaining complex culture and political system without lecturing or boring the reader.’ —Publishers Weekly

‘Another thing that intrigues me here is the whole fact that historically we know that the real empire died out mysteriously and completely and as such there is always that thought in the back of my mind that the author could choose to bring about the end of days. That highlighted sense of possible doom is something that is missing from too many novels. The way the story is told in this book is very impressive, the plot is both mature and seductive, twisting and turning like a weather vane in a force 9 gale while the action is both bloodthirsty and imaginative. The world building is fantastic and we get to learn even more of this rich culture and the many gods and creatures of the dark. I really can’t fault this book at all and recommend it to one and all but if you haven’t yet read Servant of the Underworld I suggest that you get them both and read them in order, you won’t be disappointed.’ —SF Book Reviews

‘Bodard’s writing is polished and striking, as she convincingly fills in the colorful elements of the Aztec culture–even if those colors tend to be of blood and bile as well as flowers and hummingbirds... beautiful, grimy, breathtaking, and morbid. 5*’ —Examiner

‘Aliette de Bodard has done it again. Harbinger of the Storm is an action packed Aztec mystery opera with magic, interventions from the gods and more twists and turns than the first book. It even has a love story with amusing snippets here and there... The story is self contained and can be enjoyed standalone, but you will not want to miss out on the first. I wish it was 2012 already even if the world is going under while I read the final Obsidian & Blood.’ —Cybermage
Aliette de Bodard
The conclusion to the critically acclaimed Obsidian and Blood trilogy:

The year is Three Rabbit, and the storm is coming.

The Mexica Empire now has a new Emperor, but his coronation war has just ended in a failure: the armies have retreated with a paltry forty prisoners of war, not near enough sacrifices to satisfy the gods. Acatl, High Priest for the Dead, has no desire to involve himself yet again in the intrigues of the powerful. However, when one of the prisoners dies of a magical illness, he has little choice but to investigate. For it is only one death, but it will not be the last.

As the bodies pile up and the imperial court tears itself apart, dragging Teomitl, Acatl's beloved student, into the eye of the storm, the High Priest for the Dead is going to have to choose whom he can afford to trust; and where, in the end, his loyalties ultimately lie...

REVIEWS:

‘Like the previous books, the third in the Obsidian and Blood series abounds with suspects and red herrings. It’s a twisty and colourful tale filled with strange gods who demand sacrifices and pain for the least favour. I liked the way Acatl is beginning to question the way things are, and the first stirrings of doubt are awakening in him. He’s always had misgivings about his own suitability as High Priest, but in this novel his eyes are opened to some of the deeper wrongs done in the name of the empire, and in the name of people’s unswerving loyalty to the gods.’ —WarpCore SF

‘I found this to be the best book of a very good series. The same positives from the first two books are still present, a very easy-to-read writing style (easy to read but not simple or dumbed down), a quick pace, and some incredible world building, incredible accessibility despite the lesser know pantheon and names. Even though the second book dealt with a possible end to the world, MASTER OF THE HOUSE OF DARTS took a similar fate and did it better. Perhaps this was because in many ways it felt more like a fantasy book than a mystery book, which lends itself better to the “save the world” type story. The magic felt more organic here, it was never used as a crutch, or perhaps it was just better explained. There was a bit less travelling this time around, which also led to a tighter story. The ending involved several confrontations that were tense and believable, including some between people who are supposed to be allies... a great end to the series.’ —Fantasy Review Barn

‘Whether you take it as historical noir or as a highly accurate fantasy, it’s hard not to enjoy the Obsidian and Blood books—it’s a perfect fit for those looking for something different from their usual fare, but still exciting in ways they’re used to.’ —Guys Lit Wire

‘Acatl, is very much at the heart of the story, more so perhaps than the plot. He slowly grows into his position as the High Priest of the Dead throughout the trilogy, while the author moves along a parallel path, her narrative growing into its teller and inhabiting his mind with increasing comfort and self-assurance. Acatl is both the hero and the author’s avatar as she explores her ideas of what a hero can and should be. Perceptive readers will find Acatl to be a very different kind of hero than we are accustomed to reading about, but the action and the mystery proceed so smoothly that some may never notice the gleeful contrariness that lurks below the surface... Acatl is not, and this is apparent from much earlier in the trilogy, a typical action hero. He is not even a typical mystery solver, at least not in the Western idiom... The entirety of the Obsidian & Blood trilogy gets high marks... for creativity, execution, and gentle subversion. Not just recommended, but, to paraphrase Demi Moore in A Few Good Men, strenuously recommended.’ —Two Dudes in an Attic
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