Written In Red: A Novel of the Others
By: Anne Bishop
I have not read another author that can world and character build like Anne Bishop does. Her Black Jewels Trilogy is one that I pull out to re-read at least once a year. This new series appears to be one that I am going to be doing the same thing with. She has written this with her usual realism and you tend to think, “I know these people” or “I’ve been to this town” while you are reading. Moreover, when you are done with the book, the book is not done with you. You will walk away wondering about the characters, how are they doing in their world now that you’ve finished the book.
You are also wondering just when the next book will be coming out!
Meg Corbyn is a cassandra sangue (Blood Prophet) and has run away from her keepers. And when I say ‘keepers,’ I mean that literally. After all, Meg isn’t even known by a name, she has a designation –a number – she is known as cs759.
She has never experienced anything ever that may stimulate her. All that she knows of the world was taught to her via pictures and edited film clips while sitting in a classroom filled with others like her. She is there for one specific purpose, to be a Prophet. One that needs to be cut/sliced in a very specific way to make her predictions. Since her keeper/Controller can receive huge amounts of money for her predictions, she is being hunted extensively now that she has run away. She has run right into Lakeside, a sort of town that caters to the Others but also in a small way to the Humans.
The Others - the terra indigene are shape shifters, vampires and Elementals that do not like, do not trust, do not need the humans. In this world, the Others rule and by that I mean that if the humans do something in this territory that the Others don’t like – the human becomes a meal. After all Human Laws Do Not Apply here.
Anne Bishop has made the character of Meg a sympathetic one; she is a fish out of water and someone who might frustrate you if she never grew. However, grow Meg does and while she stays afraid of a lot of things even at the end of the book, she has very good reasons to be afraid. She has seen a vision of her own death after all.
Simon Wolfgard is the shape shifting well…wolf, that has hired her to be the towns Human Liaison/mail clerk and he seems to be regretting it as time goes on…he also seems to be getting attached to Meg. He does not trust her, but you can feel the interest sizzling at the perimeter Meg and Simon’s interactions. However, under Ms Bishop’s deft pen, it is never obvious.
Naturally, there is more than one story line going on. There is a very interesting one involving a woman called Asia who is sending information about Simon and Meg back to someone she thinks wants to eventually do a TV show staring her. There are tons of characters.
There is a lot of sly humor in this novel also, for example, in one scene Simon is talking about Meg who had been playing a game with several of the wolves that involved her acting as prey. Simon thinks to himself - "Of course, listening to John whine about not being allowed to go out and play hadn't done anything for his (Simon's) own eroding self-discipline - especially because he could tell could tell just by watching that Meg really did make a good squeaky toy."
Ms Bishop has added an interesting bit at the beginning of the book to let the reader know how this world evolved, how man became food instead of the top of the food chain. The Others are wonderfully written and not the kind of character you usually read about in this genre. They are not kind and misunderstood creatures. They are what they are and they make no apologies for it.
I don’t know what more I can tell you about this book that wouldn’t ruin the story for you so I will just end with this ---this is a fantastic book, it is one that you will want to turn around and re-read as soon as you are done with the first read.
One more thing I will say, this series is vastly different from The Black Jewels books yet it is similar in some ways. This book seems to be appropriate for anyone over 16. There is some strong and salty language.
There is some sexual innuendo – not too overt though. There is some violence but not as much as you would think for a book like this.