Learn the Words. Get the blood. Rule the world. A stand-alone short story in the Ustari Cycle.
Most people never learn what a Stringer is — and their lives are better for it. Lem, however, gets to learn about them andpossession by alien intelligences the hard way. A must-read in the gritty supernatural series that includes We Are Not Good People from the "exhilarating, powerful, and entertaining" (Guardian) storyteller of the Avery Cates series.
For blood mages, the twenty-first century means hiding in the shadows, keeping society unaware of their incredible powers. The power-hungry sort plot quietly to manufacture tragedies bloody enough to give them the gas they need to cast something monumental. Lem and Mags, down-and-out bosom buddies to the end, try to be good, bleeding nobody but themselves, skating by on small Cantrips, cons, and charms.
So when the siren song of easy money comes their way in the form of helping out a friend, clearly no good will come of it. Blood mages are not good people. And neither are Stringers — alien intelligences that can take over a body and run it ragged. Stringers: they aren’t subtle, aren’t content to skulk in the shadows, and aren’t a houseguest anyone wants. Lem is about to learn what a possession hangover feels like — if Mags and his more tentative allies can figure out how to stop the demon without killing him.
Jeff Somers was born in Jersey City, New Jersey and regrets nothing. He is the author of the Avery Cates series of novels published by Orbit Books and The Ustari Cycle books (Pocket Books). He sold his first novel at age 16 to a tiny publisher in California which quickly went out of business and has spent the last two decades assuring potential publishers that this was a coincidence. Jeff publishes a zine called The Inner Swine and has also published a few dozen short stories; his story “Ringing the Changes” was selected for Best American Mystery Stories 2006, edited by Scott Turow and his story “Sift, Almost Invisible, Through” appeared ... (more)