All That Lives Must Die (Mortal Coils Series #2)by Eric Nylund
Eliot and Fiona Post are twins caught up in an epic custody battle between their mother's and father's families. Their mother is the immortal goddess Atropos, the eldest Fate, and their father is Lucifer, Lord of the infernals, a diabolical fallen angel. The families have put them through rigorous, life-threatening challenges, and together they've risen to combat
Eliot and Fiona Post are twins caught up in an epic custody battle between their mother's and father's families. Their mother is the immortal goddess Atropos, the eldest Fate, and their father is Lucifer, Lord of the infernals, a diabolical fallen angel. The families have put them through rigorous, life-threatening challenges, and together they've risen to combat them in amazing ways. But now they are facing the greatest trial of all--high school.
Paxington Unviersity is no normal high school--it's a place where gods and goddesses, warriors and socerers learn to harness their power, where a debate in class can end in a duel, and your classmates aren't simply friends or enemies, but allies in battle or threats to your life. To flunk is to die--only the toughest graduate. As Fiona and Eliot struggle to keep up their grades by surviving the rigorous training, both families are watching.
High school is bad enough, but imagine being caught in the midst of an immortal/infernal war...
“Nylund has hit his stride, piling on the plot developments, but never losing sight of the standout characterizations that made the first book memorable.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“All That Lives Must Die is a tour de force that's guaranteed to solidify Eric Nylund's standing as one of today's top authors of Urban Fantasy. I can't wait to read the next novel in the series.” BSCKids
“ ...a masterful work detailing dozens of stories and myths into one seamlessly well written novel.” Whatchamacallit Reviews
“Mortal Coils is a young adult urban fantasy … a wonderful entry into this genre… A truly fast-paced thrill ride that is both rich in story-telling and intellectually fun to play with.” Fantasyliterature.net
“A brilliant blend of urban fantasy, fantastic atmosphere, and ancient mythology.” BSC on Mortal Coils
“A hair-raising tale… finely crafted characterizations.” Booklist on Mortal Coils
“A genuinely engaging series opener that should appeal to a wide variety of readers, from urban fantasy lovers to fans of myth-based fiction.” Library Journal on Mortal Coils
“A sparkling and complicated story filled with dangerous, intriguing events and characters.” Publishers Weekly
Read an Excerpt
All That Lives Must Die
Book Two in the Mortal Coils Series
By Eric Nylund
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2010 Eric Nylund
All rights reserved.
Fiona scrambled over the cool terra-cotta tiles and skidded to a halt in their new dining room. Bookshelves and half-built china cabinets were constructed along the walls. Unlike their old apartment in Del Sombra, this room had enough space for shelves without crowding the glorious picture window and its built-in seats.
The window framed the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. Early-morning light spilled through and made the plaster cornices of the room glow gold.
Cee carried in two trays from the kitchen. Their 104-year-old great-grandmother wore a brown dress with lace ruffles and looked like she belonged in a nineteenth-century tin daguerreotype with her hair pulled up tight and pinned in place. Some things would never change. That was okay. Cee, shaking and smiling, was always there for them.
"Let me help," Fiona offered.
"No, no, my darlings," Cecilia replied. "Just sit and eat. You have a momentous day ahead of you."
With trembling arms, she set a platter of smoking black bacon on the table, and another platter with bowls of lumpy half-cooked oatmeal.
"Don't you two look splendid in your uniforms?" Cee kissed Eliot on the cheek and then Fiona. It felt like the brush of dry leaves. She then went back into the kitchen.
"Thanks, Cee," Fiona said, and tugged on her stockings. How could something so tight fit so poorly?
"Thanks," Eliot murmured. He sat and dragged a bowl closer, grimacing.
Fiona shot him a look. Cee did try. It wasn't her fault she no longer had a sense of smell or taste.
Eliot stirred the mixture in front of him in an attempt to make it palatable.
She pulled a bowl closer as well and segregated the inedible bits from the stuff that looked like it could be choked down.
Sometimes having a severed and only partially repaired appetite had its advantages.
Fiona spooned the lumps into her mouth. It tasted like sawdust ... but then almost everything did these days. She knew she had to force herself to eat, or she'd faint from malnutrition.
So she chewed until the oatmeal could be swallowed without gagging.
In fact, if she didn't force herself to feel something, she didn't feel much of anything. That was because when she'd cut her appetite to save herself from those addictive Infernal chocolates ... she cut deeper ... cut part of the connection to her emotions. Like what she felt for Robert. It was so unclear. Did she really miss him? Or had it been some crush brought on by their shared adventures this summer?
No, there was something there.
It was complicated, because she was now part of the League of Immortals, and Robert had just been fired by the League. Fired meaning that some Immortals had a grudge against him, and if they ever saw him, it might be the end of his life.
How could she be with someone who was endangered by her very presence?
She watched Eliot struggle with his oatmeal, his face contorting through various shades of discomfort and strangulation as he swallowed. She did feel some tiny punitive pleasure from that.
Vermiform locomotion borne, huh? She tried to smooth her stockings again, but it was hopeless. Her legs did look like two wrinkled worms.
Outside, fog covered the sun. The golden light tinged iron gray, and the temperature in the room dropped.
Audrey descended the spiral staircase that led to her office. She joined them at the table.
She wore faded jeans, chamois soft boots, and a deep blue silk blouse that matched the color of San Francisco Bay. Diamond studs adorned her earlobes and flashed cold rainbows upon her throat and slicked-back silver hair. She carried a slender briefcase. She was the picture of grace and understated elegance, and looked perfectly at ease in their new surroundings.
But it wasn't only the new clothes that made Audrey look different today.
When Fiona came back from her summer vacation, this woman was no longer the "grandmother" she had known for the last fifteen years. That masquerade was over. She was her mother now and the goddess Atropos, and both titles seems equally perplexing to Fiona.
"Good morning, Audrey," Fiona said. She couldn't call her Grandmother anymore, and the word Mother caught in her throat, so Fiona had settled on Audrey.
"Good morning," Eliot echoed.
"Good morning, children," Audrey replied. She poked carbonized bacon with a fork and then decided to pour herself a glass of juice. "I've ordered the books you'll need for Paxington ... assuming you do well enough on the entrance examinations today. I have every confidence that you will."
If she had every confidence, then why even mention it?
Those books — which would join the thousands and thousands already here — had to be ordered because many of their books had pages crossed out to the point of unreadability. Those were the books on mythologies, legends and folklores, ghost stories, tales of demons and gods — all omitted because their mother had the notion that she could hide Fiona and Eliot from the truth ... and hide the truth from them.
"I guess ...," Eliot started, but his voice died. He swallowed and tried again. "I guess that means Rule Fifty-five doesn't apply anymore?"
Rule 55 was one of the 106 household rules that governed every aspect of Fiona's and her brother's lives. It was the "nothing made up" rule.
RULE 55: No books, comics, films, or other media of the science fiction, fantasy, or horror genres — especially, but not limited to, the occult or pseudosciences (alchemy, spirituality, numerology, etc.) or any ancient or urban mythology.
Audrey looked at Eliot as if he spoke a language she didn't understand.
How typical. Audrey was very good at telling them what to do — not so good at listening to anything they had to say.
"That's why you're sending us to Paxington, right?" Fiona asked. She worked very hard to keep anger from creeping into her voice. She made herself sound polite, quizzical — keeping this discussion on an intellectual level. "I mean, you're sending us there to learn about our family, their history, and how we're supposed to fit into this world."
Audrey blinked. "Yes, Rule Fifty-five is naturally abolished. You must learn everything that has been omitted from your education as quickly as possible."
Fiona nodded and kept her face an impassive mask, hiding her glee.
Audrey had never lifted a rule. The only changes to the rules for as long as Fiona had lived were additions.
She and Eliot would have to be careful. They couldn't push. Audrey tended to push back ten times harder when confronted with the slightest force.
As if sensing the precise wrong thing to say, Eliot leaned forward and asked, "So, what about all the other rules?"
Fiona could have killed him.
"We will revisit them on a case-by-case basis." Audrey took a sip of orange juice. "If necessary."
"So then, what about Rule Thirty-four?" Eliot said. Both his hands gripped the edge of the dining table.
Fiona gave him a kick — hard.
Eliot flinched, but he didn't look away from Audrey.
Rule 34 was the "no music" rule.
RULE 34: No music, including the playing of any instruments (actual or improvised), singing, humming, electronically or by any means producing or reproducing a rhythmic melodic form.
Eliot had this stupid fascination with music — and an even greater fascination with the violin their father had given him.
In truth, though, Eliot and his music had done some amazing things. Magical things. Terrible things. But it was unpredictable, and that scared Fiona.
"Your music ...," Audrey said.
She opened her mouth to say more, but for some reason Audrey hesitated, as if she was actually weighing the issues. Fiona had never seen her perseverate over anything in her life. Audrey always knew her mind — and she never changed it once made.
"We shall lift this rule as well," Audrey finally said. "Play you must. I sense it is in your blood. But go slowly, Eliot, for you play with fire."
"Yes, Mother." Eliot eased back into his seat. "Thank you."
So he was calling her Mother now? How annoying.
But maybe it was okay as long as he kept his mouth shut about the other rules. Even Eliot had to know better than to push their luck further. Two rules lifted in one day was real progress.
"Ah!" Audrey brightened. "I'd almost forgotten." She opened her briefcase and retrieved a sheaf of legal-sized pages.
She set the inch-thick stack on the table and pushed it toward Fiona and Eliot.
Fiona grabbed it and pulled it away from her brother.
"The Council sent it this morning," Audrey told them. "Turn to page six. That is the only relevant piece you need concern yourself with."
Fiona flipped ahead.
She and Eliot read:
EDICTS GOVERNING NEW LEAGUE MEMBERS
1. New members must not under any circumstance, or by any means, convey, imply, or by means of not providing answers reveal the existence of the League of Immortals to non–League members.
2. With identical limitations as per Provision One, new members must not reveal their nonmortal status to mortals.
3. New members must not discuss the subjects of Provisions One and Two in public, where third parties may clandestinely eavesdrop, lip-read, or record conversations.
4. New members are accountable to these provisions/edicts and subject to penalties provided in Appendix D as sent forth by the Punishment and Enforcement Bureau circa 1878. (continued on the next page ...)
"I hope," Audrey said, "you two realized how seriously the League takes these matters." She retrieved the pages, straightened them, and returned them to her briefcase.
"Wait ...," Fiona said. The words she had read felt like concrete poured around her ... slowly but inexorably solidifying. "So we're in the League of Immortals, and for the first time special and different — but we can't tell anyone who we are?"
"Of course you can tell people who you are," Audrey said. The warmth she had had in her voice earlier evaporated. "You will, naturally, say that you are Fiona and Eliot Post. That should be enough for anyone — including yourselves."
A spark of resentment fanned to life in Fiona. More lies? That's what the League was expecting from them?
"Fine," Fiona muttered. "Whatever." She stood and turned to her brother. "Come on. We better go."
Although Fiona now stood while her mother remained sitting, Audrey still managed to make it feel like she was looking down at her.
Fiona hated that imperial look.
So she had finally called her Mother ... at least, in her mind.
But Audrey would never be the kind of mother who showed her how to put makeup on, or helped her pick out clothes, or had that heartfelt talk about the pleasures and perils of boys.
No. Fiona knew exactly what kind of mother Audrey was: the kind she read about in Shakespeare's plays — mothers who plotted and schemed and murdered and then compulsively washed their hands.
"Sit, young lady," Audrey told her. "We are not done."
The spark of resentment in Fiona chilled. She obediently sank into her seat.
"You are correct," Audrey told them. "There is a need to start school with all due haste, but you also need these materials if you are to have any chance of success ... success, I might add, which the League considers mandatory."
Fiona shot Eliot a look. He shrugged, and his forehead wrinkled at this new development.
If they didn't do well at school, the Immortals would do what? Kick them out of the League? Something worse? Maybe. The League considered passing and failing tests a life-or-death matter. If they'd failed its three heroic trials, the League would have killed her and Eliot.
But come on — they were in the League now, considered an official part of the family. They didn't have to constantly prove themselves. Did they?
Audrey withdrew a blue envelope from her briefcase and slid it to them.
The envelope had a bar code sticker and a bewildering collection of stamps from Greece, Italy, Russia, places Fiona did not recognize, and finally the United States. It was addressed to "Master Eliot Zachariah Post and the Lady Fiona Paige Post" at their new San Francisco address.
And it had been opened.
As if her mother anticipated Fiona's objections, she said, "I filled out all the forms to save time. There is a list of rules and regulations, which you may read after the entrance and placement exams today." Audrey pinned the envelope with a stare. "Most important, however, there is a map — which you require immediately."
Fiona pulled out the first page.
The impressive Paxington Institute crest — a heraldic device with shield, helmet, and sword; a sleeping dragon; snarling wolf head; winged chevron; and gold scarab — dominated the scrollwork of a letterhead. Fiona's eyes gravitated to the boldface portion of the letter:
All students must be at Bristlecone Hall before 10:00 A.M., September 22, for placement examinations or their enrollment at Paxington will be FORFEITED.
Fiona and Eliot wheeled around. Their grandfather clock sat in the corner. It read a quarter until nine.
"Where is Paxington?" Eliot asked, sounding embarrassed he didn't know.
Fiona riffled through the envelope, found the map, and pulled it out. She unfolded heavy cotton paper and saw exacting details of streets and landmarks like Presidio Park, Chinatown, and Fisherman's Wharf. The edges of the map were yellowed with age.
She found the Paxington Institute address as well as these helpful directions:
The main entrance to the San Francisco Paxington campus is conveniently located at the intersection of Chestnut and Lombard Streets.
They glanced back at the map. Chestnut and Lombard were only a few blocks away.
"Only a fifteen-minute walk," Eliot said.
"I can see that," Fiona replied.
Something was wrong about this. She ran her fingertips over the map. The rough cotton fibers had a texture that felt like woven canvas. It made her skin itch.
Of course there was something wrong. You'd have thought they might for once treat her and Eliot like adults. Instead of outgrowing their household rules, though, they still had 104 old rules plus new League edicts to follow (along with some veiled threats if they failed) and a bunch of Paxington regulations to worry about.
Excerpted from All That Lives Must Die by Eric Nylund. Copyright © 2010 Eric Nylund. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Eric Nylund is the author of the epic fantasy series that began with Mortal Coils and continues in All That Lives Must Die. He is also the author of several books in the bestselling Halo series--Halo: The Fall of Reach, Halo: First Strike, and Halo: Ghosts of Onyxand--and The Resistors series for middle grade readers. Nylund earned degrees in chemistry at U.C. Santa Barbara and U.C. San Diego before leaving his Ph.D. program to become a writer. Besides writing his novels, he is the Director of Narrative Design at Microsoft Game Studios. He lives near Seattle on a rain-drenched mountain with his wife, Syne Mitchell, and their son.
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THIS BOOK IS A GREAT READ. VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE PARANORMAL FANTASY SCI-FI I MOSTLY READ AND VERY WELL WRITTEN. THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT IS A SMOOTH TRANSITION FROM MORTAL COILS WE SEE THE NATURAL GROWTH AND MATURITY OF THE CHARACTERS.ITS A BETTER READ THAN THE FIRST IN THE SERIES AND THE PLOT MOVES ALONG AT A FASTER PACE. THERE ARE NO DULL MOMENTS IN ALL THAT LIVES MUST DIE. I CANT WAIT FOR THE NEXT BOOK IN THIS SERIES
This is the best sci-fi series I've ever read. I cnnot wait until the nextt book is published. The character deveolpment, pacing and beadth of scope are incredible. I've been reading sci fi and fantasy since I was 5 and I am now 65. Nylund is truly exceptional. The only current writer who comes close is Jim Butcher, and perhaps Simon Greene.
This was an amazing series I couldn't put it down. I really hope he can finish it I'm dying to read the third book. I had the same problem with my color as anonymous did though mine kept repeating page 81 then jumping back but i fixed mine by restarting my color and didnt have the problem again.
Two words describes this book and series so far-outstanding stories!
Mr. Nylund has done it again great transition from mortal coils and this book is just as good if I dare say better no more action packed would be an more appropriate comparison to Mortal Coils the first book. In the series. Go out and get this book NOW!!!!
After reading reviews of this book, I ordered it immediately. I just couldn't read it fast enough. It was well written, very interesting, and managed to effectively tell the story of all the characters without being too excessive or boring. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. This is one of the best books I've read in recent days. This is the 1st book I have read from this author, I look forward to the next book.
Kind of like Harry Potter for adults. Except with Gods.
This is the best book I have read in a long time and better (much) than the first Mortal Coils book. In many ways, this book is two books in that the first part deals with the kids in school and the second part the conflict where the kids destiny begins to be shaped. The book is incredibly interesting and complex and I did not want to put it down. Without giving too much away, Eric Nylund has created an interesting universe where neither family is truly good or evil. In this universe he has fleshed out worlds based on current events and mythic gods of the past. The way he "humanizes" the gods is very interesting and compelling. With regard to the story, both kids have their purpose, but neither truly sees the issues with its own side. This is one of the ways the book is so interesting as the kids, who are potentially members of either side, get to see the good in both, but also the flaws and evil. Add on to this that both start to grow up and have romantic feelings, which lead one down a path completely different than the others. At the end of the book you are left hanging. It appears that each kid has chosen a path; one that will likely lead them to choose different sides; but this can still change. Overall, this is a great book and I can't wait to read number three. It cannot come soon enough.
Very nicely done Eric. I like the way you intertwine the knowledge of experience and objectivity with the complexity of the altered states of consciousness and subjectivity. It is almost like.yes, you can touch it with your whole being.blink and it is gone. Just the remnants of a breathless experience tinge on the outskirts of your mind until you pick the story back up to find out "what's next". Thanks for the moments and look forward to the future moments of the Post saga.
Once again Eric Nylund enchanted me, this book is defiantly one of he best things i have ever read. This and Mortal Coils had me enticed from the get go, the only times i put this book down was to go to work, i cannot wait for the third book. This book has new turns and twists during every chapter. The tension that comes up over the 2 families is intoxicating i have given this book to every one in my family and they have all loved it. It has everything you can expect from a good book, a lot of good books have some but this has it all. I hope this will finally get Eric Nylund the respect he deserves i have been reading his books for as long as they have been out and they have all been great but his tops all.
And I loved the first one, so that's saying something! "Mortal Coils" introduces you to Fiona and Eliot Post, the offspring of an angel and a demon. In that book, they must face three "heroic trials" to determine whether they belong with the Immortals of Heaven or the Infernals of Hell. Although it seems a decision is reached at the end, "All That Lives Must Die" shows us that the twins are far from done with the other side of their family. They go to a magical school where their story becomes much richer in discovering more about their powers and other immortal beings. The second book has many more colorful characters, more surprising twists, more romance, and more battles between the forces of good and evil. Good for anyone who loves adventure and fantasy, and also those who like mythology, as most of the famous gods, goddesses, and devils make an appearance at some point or another.
Im not going to write a long review because its not my thing, however i will say it is one of the best books i have ever read!!! In my opinion it tops the first book Mortal Coils, which is no easy task! This book has everything u could want, action,suspense,romance,drama,mystery and anything else you would want. The best part about it is how he writes the book, it always keeps your mind wondering and wanting more. I give the book 5 stars and am already dying for the 3rd book. If you havent goten the second book or have not read the first one, i recomend to all readers to get it, you are missing out on an epic adventure and one of the best sci-fi/fantasy series ever written!!!!!!!
I absolutely adored this book. I've read and re-read both of these two books many times and they have yet to get to the part where I'm skipping parts to get to the "good ones." If anything I read them more completely to see if I've missed anything. (Not yet) I can't wait for the third in the series to come out. As with all of his books, these are supremely well written and engaging.
I need book three. Where is it?
Looking forward to the third book. The series gets better as it goes along.
Excellent story, great character development, lots of Fun action! READ IT! Read "Mortal Coils" first, though. My Color had a problem in chapter 41. Paging forward would either loop back to same page or earlier, at times into chapter 40. The solution I used was to pull up in-book menu, go into 'Contents', select Chapter 42, and page back to the next page. Did this thrice to finish chapter.