An anthology of stories edited by John Joseph Adams.
From Dracula to Buffy the Vampire Slayer; from Castlevania to Tru Blood, the romance between popular culture and vampires hearkens back to humanity’s darkest, deepest fears, flowing through our very blood, fears of death, and life, and insatiable hunger. And yet, there is an attraction, undeniable, to the vampire archetype, whether the pale European count, impeccably dressed and coldly masculine, yet strangely ambiguous, ready to sink his sharp teeth deep into his victims’ necks, draining or converting them, or the vamp, the count’s feminine counterpart, villain and victim in one, using her wiles and icy sexuality to corrupt man and woman alike… Edited by John Joseph Adams (Wastelands, The Living Dead), By Blood We Live gathers together the best vampire literature of the last three decades from many of today’s most renowned authors of fantasy, speculative fiction, and horror.
Otherland—the private, multidimensional universe created and controlled by The Grail Brotherhood, an organization made up of the world's most powerful and ruthless individuals—was crumbling. The Brotherhood's plans for immortality within the network had been shattered by the monstrous intelligence that ran the network, a presence known only as the Other, and by the even more monstrous human being who called himself John Dread. Seizing control of the network from his employer, Felix Jongleur, Dread had now made himself the god of this virtual universe and was systematically turning the network's worlds into killing grounds.
As helplessly trapped as Renie Sulaweyo, !Xabbu, Sam Fredericks, Martine, Paul Jonas, and the rest of the small band who had entered Otherland in an attempt to save the many children held captive within this virtual reality, Jongleur was now forced to make common cause with his enemies. Yet even as they struggled through the maze of invented worlds, striving to reach the true heart of Otherland, time was growing short.
Caught in the surreal and deadly landscapes of the failing network, the desperate band battled against increasing odds to save the children, solve the bizarre mysteries of Otherland, and escape back to reality.
But before long there might not be a "real" world to return to for any of them. For destroying Jongleur's playground was merely a dress rehearsal for Johnny Dread. Dread's ultimate plan was to gain control of Jongleur's massive corporate holdings and spread apocalyptic destruction throughout the entire Earth. . . .
Barrick Eddon, prince of Southmarch, is no longer entirely human. He has vowed to safeguard the legacy of the dark Qar race, and must now decide where his loyalties lie.
His twin sister Briony has a difficult choice of her own. Her father, King Olin, is held captive by the Autarch, a mad god-king who plans to use Olin’s blood to gain unlimited power. And the castle of Southmarch still remains in the possession of Hendon Tolly, Briony’s murderous relative. As time runs out, will Briony decide to save her father's kingdom… or her father?
As the foretold Great Defeat draws near, history is stripped of its costume of lies. Poets and players, mortals and fairies, warriors and gods—all will have their roles to play as the fate of the known world hangs in the balance.
At the uppermost edge of the northern kingdoms, towers shrouded in mist, lies Southmarch Castle. For hundreds of years it has remained hidden from the affairs of empire. Now its isolation can protect it no more. Southmarch is under siege; from both its neighbours, without, and the more insidious enemies who would destroy it from within.
Even further to the north, within the ancient walls of Qul-na-Qar, in a land of silence and gloom, the Twilight People gather to hear Ynnir, the blind king, pronounce the dark fate of human kind. In the south, the Autarch, the god-king who has already conquered an entire continent, now looks to extend his domain once more.
It is upon Southmarch that the armies advance, and to its people that darkness will speed.
Darkness has fallen on the lands of the sun as an army of misshapen fey spill out from beyond the Shadowline. At their head is Yasammez, dark creature of nightmare. A furtive bargain was struck at the gates of Southmarch and the castle was spared, but centuries of enmity will not be so easily appeased. Meanwhile Barrick, heir to Southmarch and cursed with madness, has crossed the Shadowline into the realm of his people’s ancient enemy. There are stranger things than death here - stranger and older.
Much further south, shadow is also falling over the reign of the Autarch, god-king and supreme ruler. Quinnitan, junior wife, must flee the royal household or die, her greatest secret as yet hidden even from herself. Ancient blood flows through her veins and she will become a unique weapon in the fight against her greatest terror.
And beyond the ken of all but a chosen few, the gods are awakening and the world is changing …
As shadows threaten to consume the kingdom of Southmarch, Barrick Eddon, heir to March throne, battles his way across the sinister Shadowlands. He must journey through this dangerous, inhuman realm to fulfil a pact—as this may be all that can prevent the atrocities of a full-scale war with the Twilight people of Qul-na-Qar.
Meanwhile, the assault upon Southmarch has truly begun. Yasammez, the formidable head of the Qar army, has ordered the attack, believing that the pact between humans and Qar has been broken. Unless Ferras Vansen, Captain of the Southmarch Royal Guard, can convince her otherwise, the humans are sure to meet the dark end that has been promised to them…
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Fritti Tailchaser, a young ginger tom cat sets out to stray from his home and clan, the Meeting Wall Clan, in search of his catfriend Hushpad after strange disappearances of the Folk have been reported. He and the kitten Pouncequick set out on a long journey to visit the Court of Harar with the intention of finding out the mystery of the disappearances--a journey that will take them to cat Hell and beyond.