Isis Unbound

by Allyson Bird
Release date: 2012
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasy, horror
Tags: bram stoker award

Winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel.

Inspired in part by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Percy Bysshe Shelley's, Prometheus Unbound, and the works of Rider Haggard and R. E. Howard, Isis Unbound is set in an alternate history, steampunk version of 1890's Manceastre, Britanniae, ruled by a new governor general related to a descendant of Anthony and Cleopatra, who won the battle of Actium two thousand years ago, and where the ancient Egyptian gods are real. ...Only a god can kill a god. Nepythys has killed her sister, Isis, and therefore the dead cannot pass over to the underworld - their ranks are rapidly swelling and they now roam the streets as zombies. Chief Embalmer Ptolemy Child's two daughters, Ella and Loli, aged eighteen and ten respectively, are being instructed in the secrets of the mummification process, when the dead begin to wake and walk. And eventually lead the sisters to the greatest mystery of all: Isis, herself...

"Allyson Bird proves herself a deft and detailed worldbuilder in her debut novel. A mesmerizing, intoxicating blend of steampunk and Egyptian mythology, Isis Unbound is sui generis." - F. Paul Wilson

"Allyson Bird is a writer who never plays it safe. Her wild imagination and power to evoke both myth and madness make her one of the most interesting writers working out there on the edge of horror/fantasy." - Lisa Tuttle

"Allyson Bird is a rare bird indeed. An original voice in a world of plain vanilla. She rides some dark waves with grace and heart full of light and shadow. If there's any justice, she on her way to real recognition.' and she, ‘already has a prominent award under her belt; the British Fantasy Society award for her first collection, which I can also recommend, titled Bull Running For Girls. Still, you may not know her name. You should know her name. You should know her stories, her writing. Her work is as fresh as a spring wind; especially if that wind is carrying nasty spores from outer space, or bringing them from some place split sideways and shadowy, from a universe where the familiar is not as familiar as it might seem." - Joe R. Lansdale

"Historical fiction is very difficult to write. In addition to telling a compelling story, the writer must insure that, facts and names are all accurate, and nothing factual manipulated for plot purposes. Juggling myth into this mix of fact and fiction adds to the high degree of difficulty. Only the best writers attempt this often later in their careers. But Allyson Bird does all this and makes it look easy in Isis Unbound. She must be a polished veteran of historical - mythological novels? But no, amazingly this is a first novel. And an excellent novel at that. The prose is rich, rewarding with a density of detail, the plot compelling, the characters completely believable. A highly literate novel that should appeal equally to genre and mainstream reader alike. I would give this novel my highest recommendation (and have to a number of my reading friends)." - Gene O'Neill

(updated 2017-01-17)

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