Sharon Shinn’s “Nocturne” was a highlight in the ANGELS OF DARKNESS anthology (available now from Berkley Trade), and Abigail’s review described it as having a “story and characters that gently wooed me until I was completely invested.” I particularly liked how her heroine, Moriah, explored her surrounding thoroughly. Moriah’s late night ramblings seemed to be one part curiosity and two parts survival instinct (it’s always good to have a way out), and having all of that practicality and critical thinking turned on this particular urban legend is a treat. Even better, her analysis provides a teaser for those readers who haven’t had a chance to read “Nocturne” yet. Enjoy!
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Moriah on The Dead Celebrity Who’s Really Alive!
I’ve seen lifeless bodies, and I can tell you: Dead is dead. Those people don’t come back, no matter how much you want them to.
Even famous people. Even the ones with so much wealth or power that surely, if anybody can be kept alive, it’s one of them.
In your world, you have stories about folks named Elvis and Diana and Kennedy. You whisper about how they didn’t really die after the tragedy or the assassination. They were hurt, maybe, or they fell dangerously ill, but they were whisked away to someplace safe, surrounded by skilled healers and faithful friends. They recovered; they survived. And then, weary of your clamoring, demanding, soulless society, they chose to slip away and pass the rest of their lives in solitude and peace.
In my world, I’ve heard whispers about the Archangel Raphael, who supposedly died seventy years ago when the god smote Mount Galo and brought it tumbling down. The heavens rained calamity that day, and everyone who waited beside the Archangel on the mountaintop was destroyed in the fiery thunderbolts flung by the god himself. Everyone. Even Raphael.
But some people don’t believe it. They say that the evil Archangel escaped the god’s wrath, leaving all his followers to perish in his place. They say he has been in hiding all this time, slinking from refuge to refuge, now so old and sick that he is a pathetic caricature of his former glorious golden self.
Some people say that he is living right here, just a stone’s throw from where I have come to rest after my own tumultuous travels.
My name’s Moriah and I’m a cook at a school for wayward youths—a place so far from anywhere else in Samaria that no one would be able to find it if they didn’t know exactly where to look. The headmistress lives a little apart from us, in the Great House just up the hill from the school buildings. No one is allowed in the house except her few trusted servants. Some of the other cooks believe it’s because an ancient and broken Raphael is living out his final years in her attic. They say you can see lights at night. Hear noises. See the occasional sweep of angel wings...
Well, I’ve stood outside late at night and stared up at that house on the hill. I won’t deny that I saw the silhouette of wings against the perfect circle of the moon. I won’t deny that I heard a snatch of music—not even a song, just a bitter, heartbreakingly beautiful dirge of despair. I believe there’s an angel living in the headmistress’s attic, all right.
I just don’t believe it’s Raphael.
I’ve lived a lot of different places, from the mansions of the Manadavvi to the slums of Semorrah, and I’ve never let a lock or a law keep me from satisfying my curiosity. I’ve explored the back alleys of city streets, I’ve broken into the vaults of rich merchants, and I’ve always discovered what I wanted to know.
There’s an angel living in the attic of the Great House, and I’m going to find out who.
About the author:
Sharon Shinn is an award-winning American novelist who writes combining aspects of fantasy, science fiction and romance. She has published more than a dozen novels for adult and young adult readers. She works as a journalist in St. Louis, Missouri and is a graduate of Northwestern University.
Want to read more from Sharon Shinn?
Available now by Berkley Trade
Tales of alpha angels...from four alpha authors.
They soar through the night, unearthly creatures of legends and lore. Four masters of urban fantasy and paranormal romance explore the rapture of the heavens above, and the darkness below in four all-new stories of angels and guardians, and good and evil.
Angel’s Wolf by Nalini Singh
In the spellbinding universe of the Guild Hunter, a vampire becomes obsessed with the seductive angel who rules the Louisiana territory. But in her court, all is not what it appears to be.
Alphas: Origins by Ilona Andrews
A woman is kidnapped into a world divided by a superhuman civil war. As the captive of an irresistibly dangerous male, she has two choices: submit and become a pawn, or take hold of her own destiny.
Ascension by Meljean Brook
When vampires disappear from a community he’s protecting, a world-weary Guardian doesn’t know what evil he’s hunting, but he’d rather hunt alone than accept help from his ex-lover and fellow Guardian, Radha. But Radha refuses to leave him, because she’s determined not just to help him save the community…but to save him.
Nocturne by Sharon Shinn
Accepting a position in a secluded and whispered-about mansion, a woman soon discovers the source of its mystery: the blind, tormented angel who lives there, and whose secrets could now destroy them both.
**Don’t forget to visit Dark Faerie Tales today for her Spooky Legends guest blog with Allison Brennan from ENTANGLED and a chance to win a copy of ORIGINAL SIN and CARNAL SIN**