This week, two of our favourite genre sites are running excerpts from Aliette de Bodard‘s fabulous Aztec Magick Murder Mystery, Servant of the Underworld and Lavie Tidhar‘s equally wonderful steampunk romp, The Bookman.
Starting today, and running every day until Friday, you can read an exclusive extract from the books.
They’re great reads, and both are out in January in the UK and Australia. (Servant is released in September in the US and Canada, and The Bookman in October).
From “Servant of the Underworld”
In the silence of the shrine, I bowed to the corpse on the altar: a minor member of the Imperial Family, who had died in a boating accident on Lake Texcoco. My priests had bandaged the gaping wound on his forehead and smoothed the wrinkled skin as best as they could; they had dressed him with scraps of many-coloured cotton and threaded a jade bead through his lips – preparing him for the long journey ahead. As High Priest for the Dead, it was now my responsibility to ease his passage into Mictlan, the underworld.
From “The Bookman”
Orphan came down to see the old man by the Thames. The old man sat alone on the embankment under Waterloo Bridge, wrapped in a horse blanket, beside a small fire, a rod extending from his gloved hands into the dark waters of the river below. Orphan came stealthily, but the old man’s blind eyes nevertheless followed his progress. Orphan sat down beside Gilgamesh on the hard stone floor and warmed his hands on the fire. In the distance, whale song rose around the setting sun.
For a while there was silence. Then, “Did you catch anything?” Orphan asked.
Gilgamesh sighed and shook his head. His long hair was matted into grey locks that made a dry rustling sound as they moved. “Change is unsparing,” he said enigmatically.
Orphan echoed his sigh. “But did you catch anything?”
“If I had,” Gilgamesh said reasonably, “it would have been roasting on the fire by now.”