Boneset & Feathers (paperback)
No witch has ever been permitted a peaceful life.
It starts with crows tumbling out of the clouds and spectral voices on the wind that won’t leave her alone. Then there are those midnight visits to the graveyard that Odette can’t quite remember in the morning. Odette wants to forget magic, but her magic doesn’t want to forget her.
Odette soon discovers her worst nightmare is about to come true—the witchfinders are returning. And this time, the decree is clear: to burn the witch that got away.
You don’t know their fire is coming until it’s too late. That’s exactly the way the witchfinders like it. As an isolated enchantress, Odette knows this too well—she lost nearly her whole family to the last round of executions, barely escaping with her own life. All the magic she could conjure wasn’t enough to protect her mother and sister, a burden that leaves a despondent Odette practically wishing she’d burned with the rest.
Now it’s five years later, and as the last witch left from her village, Odette has exiled herself to the nearby woods where she’s sworn off all magic, hoping instead for quiet and for safety. But no witch has ever been permitted a peaceful life.
It starts with crows tumbling out of the clouds and spectral voices on the wind that won’t leave her alone. Then there are those midnight visits to the graveyard that she can’t quite remember in the morning and the strange children following her everywhere she goes. Odette wants to forget magic, but her magic doesn’t want to forget her. Meanwhile, the former friends she left behind in the village are cowering together, hiding from the ghostly birds they believe she’s sent to torment them for abandoning her. But that’s only the beginning of their problems, as Odette soon discovers their worst nightmare is about to come true—the witchfinders are returning. And this time, the decree is clear: to burn the witch that got away.
With the men drawing nearer to the village, Odette must face the whispers from the dead and confront her fear of her own growing power if she wants any chance of stopping the army of witchfinders determined to rid the countryside of magic once and for all.
"Kiste’s writing style moves fluidly back and forth through time with lyrical language describing awful things. Readers will hang on every word, cringe and cheer through the action, and passionately root for Odette." (Library Journal, starred review)
"By the time you hurtle toward the epic conclusion, you will be wowed and left wanting more from this master storyteller and weaver of magic tales. Buy all of Gwendolyn Kiste’s books if you haven’t already. As well, award jurors and influencers should take note, because this book deserves to take home all of the prizes." (Cemetery Dance)
"[Kiste} effectively creates an intense quasi-Jacobean world where witchfinders rule, and ably depicts a culture of fear, despair, and wonder among the persecuted witches. Recommended for historical fantasy fans and general readers alike." (Booklist)
"Kiste’s vivid descriptions bring Odette’s desperate story to life. This grim tale of magic and resilience is sure to please." (Publishers Weekly)
"Gwendolyn Kiste takes the magical and makes it real, makes beautiful the macabre. I really loved this book, I've read it twice already . . . I ended up racing through this book as once the pace picks up it keeps going in an exhilarating journey with lots of twists and turns." (S.J. Budd)
FROM THE AUTHOR
“Horror can revolve around so many things,” says Kiste, “from the cosmic to the mundane, but for me, as both a reader and a storyteller, the greatest horror of all is the threat of losing one’s self. That fear was at the forefront of my mind as I was writing Boneset & Feathers: how the whole world can strip you of your identity and how painfully hard it can be to fight back when the odds are so overwhelmingly against you.
“Witch hunts in particular exemplify all these horrors. That is without a doubt one of the periods in world history that terrifies me the most, and it wasn’t just a single time frame or area; it went on for centuries across numerous countries. Sometimes it was sporadic, sometimes it was horrifyingly routine, and in some places, witch hunts still happen to this day.
“With Boneset & Feathers, I wanted to capture the horrors of being a persecuted witch but also touch on the wonder of witchcraft as a practice too. To balance the deeply somber theme, this story incorporates some of my very favorite things: ghosts, birds, witches, and weirdness. After my novella Pretty Marys All in a Row, which was a bit of a fairy tale in its own right, I knew I wanted to write a full-length novel with that same kind of mythic, folkloric vibe. Boneset & Feathers has been in the making for over a year now, and I’m so excited to be sharing this story with everyone as well as to be working with Broken Eye Books again.”
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