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Etched in Bone

Etched in Bone

4.8 17
by Anne Bishop

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Anne Bishop returns to her world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shapeshifters and vampires far more powerful than themselves...
After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left



Anne Bishop returns to her world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shapeshifters and vampires far more powerful than themselves...
After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness...
As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.
With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave...

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Anne Bishop and the Novels of the Others
“Anne Bishop is so good at writing character development....I love this series and I NEED MORE!”—USA Today
 “A stunningly original yarn, deeply imagined, beautifully articulated, and set forth in clean, limpid, sensual prose.”—Kirkus Reviews
“The Queen of Fantasy...Teeming with intrigue, suspense, heartbreak, and hints of romance, Bishop’s literary skills continue to astound and enchant.”—Heroes and Heartbreakers
“Without doubt this is one of the best urban fantasy series on the market...Bishop is one hell of a storyteller!”—RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars, Top Pick)
“I just can’t rave enough about Anne Bishop’s dark and disturbingly beautiful world. If you read just one dark fantasy series, make it The Others.”—Fresh Fiction
Library Journal
After the uprising from the Humans First and Last movement left the Others with no choice but to take action, there is tentative peace in Thaisia; the Elders now must decide if they should allow any humans at all in their lands. The Courtyard where Simon Wolfgard and Meg Corbyn live is their test case. The Elders watch Meg and her "human" friends and wait to see if they can be trusted. Into this fragile blend comes a dangerous man accustomed to taking what he wants and using everyone around him. While Simon and the Others who live at the Courtyard would prefer to take care of him their own way (teeth and claws would do the job), the Elders want to wait and see what happens. The world of the Others is as compelling as ever, but this particular entry seems to be spinning its wheels a bit. VERDICT While the human vs. Others conflict was mostly resolved in Marked in Flesh, the long-unresolved romantic tension between Simon and Meg remained. Fans will be pleased Bishop finally has the pair addressing their feelings.—MM

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Anne Bishop's Others Series , #5
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Windsday, Messis 1

Eager to join his friends for an early-morning run, Simon Wolfgard, leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, hurried toward the terra indigene Wolves who were using trees and shrubs for camouflage as they watched the paved road that looped the Courtyard. Actually, they were watching the man who was riding on the road at an easy pace.

Blair growled. It was a soft growl, but the human suddenly scanned the area as if his little ears had caught the sound.

Nathan added.

Simon said, a little concerned about their focused attention on a human they knew fairly well.

Karl Kowalski was one of the human police officers who worked directly with the terra indigene to minimize conflicts between humans and Others. Because of that, he had been labeled a Wolf lover and had had his share of conflicts with other humans. The latest incident had happened the prior week when a car "accidentally" swerved and almost hit Kowalski while he was taking a bicycle ride before work. Because the terra indigene viewed that as a threat to a member of their human pack, Simon, Vladimir Sanguinati, and Henry Beargard-members of the Courtyard's Business Association-decided to allow the human pack to ride on the Courtyard's paved roads.

Simon had thought all the Wolves had been told about the Business Association's decision-especially Nathan, who was the watch Wolf at the Liaison's Office, and Blair, who was the Courtyard's dominant enforcer-but this was the first time any of the humans had ventured to ride on a road that still had Trespassers Will Be Eaten signs posted as a warning.

Blair's growl wasn't as soft this time.

Must have been loud enough for human ears, because Kowalski started to pedal a little faster.

Oh. Bicycle. Now Simon understood the real focus of the Wolves' attention, the reason for their excitement. Humans had ridden bicycles up to the Green Complex as well as a few other places in the Courtyard, and the Wolves had been intrigued by the two-wheeled vehicles. But those instances had been about transportation to or from a task. This could be something else.

Jane, the Wolfgard bodywalker, asked hopefully.

Nathan said.

Blair asked.

Nathan replied.

Simon thought Nathan's opinion of police work was skewed more toward hopeful than accurate. Still, they could offer to play. If Kowalski didn't accept, they would just enjoy a run. But . . . bicycle. Simon really wanted to chase one.

The Wolves charged up the road, Simon and Blair in the lead as they swiftly closed the distance between the pack and their play-prey. But would they have a game?

Kowalski looked back. His eyes widened-and he pedaled faster.


Simon said.

Jane surged ahead of the males, pulling up alongside the bicycle's back wheel in seconds.

Nathan said.

Jane snapped, clearly offended by Nathan's unwanted warning. She moved up a little more, now in position to play-bite Kowalski's calf.

Kowalski glanced at Jane and pedaled faster. Instead of going over the bridge that would take them into the Hawkgard section-and commit the human to the big loop within the Courtyard's three hundred acres-Kowalski turned onto the road that ran alongside the Elementals' lake, heading back toward the Green Complex.

The Wolves ran, maintaining their distance even when Kowalski slowed down while going up a rise. They took turns pacing the bicycle and pushing their prey to run and run. Or pedal and pedal. As they reached the intersection with the Courtyard's main road, Kowalski swung left toward the Green Complex instead of turning right toward the Market Square.

Most of the pack, having slowed to a trot as their prey tired, circled back toward the Wolfgard Complex. Nathan headed for the Market Square and the Liaison's Office, where he would keep track of the deliverymen and guard Meg Corbyn, the Courtyard's Human Liaison. Simon and Blair followed Kowalski until they reached the Green Complex. Then Blair continued on to the Utilities Complex while Simon dashed for the water trough in the common area that formed the open center of the Courtyard's only multispecies complex. He lapped water, then shifted to his human form and dunked his head, flinging water as he stood up and tossed his dark hair away from his face. He splashed his arms and chest, then grinned when Kowalski parked the bicycle and approached the trough warily.

"That was a great game of chase!" Simon said happily. "You understand how to be play-prey."

"I do?"

"Yes." Simon cocked his head, puzzled by the human's wariness. Hadn't they just played, had fun? "Want some water?"

"Thanks." Kowalski splashed water on his face and neck, then on his arms. But he didn't drink.

Simon pondered the not drinking for a moment. Humans were clever, invasive predators who had recently shown the terra indigene once again why they could never be fully trusted-not even by one another. But physically they were so much weaker than other kinds of predators. This not drinking, for example. Nothing wrong with the water in the trough. Someone had already drained yesterday's water, using it on the potted tree and other plants in the open area, and refilled the trough with fresh water for drinking and splashing. Humans would drink water pumped from the well if it was in a glass or a bucket or some other small container but couldn't drink the same water from a shared outdoor container?

It made him wonder how they had survived as a species long enough to become such a problem.

"So, who doesn't understand about play-prey?" Kowalski asked, rubbing a hand over his face.

"The female pack. Every time we invited them to play, they stopped riding their bicycles and asked if they could help." Simon spread his arms in a "what's that all about?" gesture. Then he pointed at Kowalski. "But you invited us to play, and we all had a good run."

Kowalski snorted a soft laugh. "Well, I sure had a good run."

"Since the females can't pedal as far or as fast as you, maybe they could play chase with the puppies." The pups would learn how to run as a pack without the risk of being kicked by real prey.

Simon studied Kowalski, who studied him in turn.

"I'll talk to Ruthie," Kowalski finally said.

They both heard the clink of glassware and looked toward the screened summer room below Meg Corbyn's apartment.

"Must be later than I realized," Kowalski said. "I'd better go home and get cleaned up for work."

Simon watched the man walk toward the bicycle-and the summer room. For a moment, it looked like Kowalski was going to go in and talk to Meg, and Simon felt his teeth lengthen to Wolf size as his lips pulled back in a silent snarl. But Kowalski just raised a hand in greeting, said, "Morning, Meg," and rode away.

Simon walked around the trough, then stopped suddenly when he realized he was naked in his human form. It had never mattered until Meg came to live in the Courtyard. But humans reacted in various ways to seeing one another without clothing, even when clothing wasn't needed for protection or warmth. Meg had adjusted pretty well to friends shifting to human form to give her a message or answer a question before shifting back to their preferred furred or feathered form, but it was different with him-maybe because their friendship was different from any other she had with humans or terra indigene.

Most nights, he slept with her in his Wolf form. They had their own apartments, but those places were connected by the summer room and a back upstairs hallway, and more and more it was becoming one den instead of two. But they weren't mates in the same way Kowalski and Ruthie were mates. Then again, terra indigene Wolves mated only once a year, when females came into season. Meg did the bleeding typical of human females, but she hadn't shown any physical interest in having a mate. Except . . .

She'd asked him to go skinny-dipping with her a couple of weeks ago. Both of them naked, in human form. She'd been nervous about being in the water with him, and she seemed scared after he'd kissed the scar along the right side of her jaw-a scar made by the cut that had saved the Wolfgard in Lakeside as well as many other Wolves throughout the Northeast Region and even beyond.

He'd kissed her before-on the forehead once or twice. But when he'd kissed that scar, he'd felt a flutter of change inside him, and in the days that followed he began to understand on some instinctive level that he wasn't quite the same as the rest of the Lakeside Wolfgard. Not anymore.

Maybe it wasn't just for Meg's sake that, after the kiss, he'd invited her to play a Wolf game despite their both looking human. Then she wasn't afraid anymore. And since then . . . Well, it wasn't lost on him that, in summer weather like this, human males wore next to nothing in and around their own dens and no one thought anything of it.

"It's hot upstairs," Meg said, not raising her voice because she didn't need to. His ears might look human, but he was still a Wolf and could hear her just fine. "I brought some food down here for breakfast."

"I'll take a quick shower and join you."

He hurried inside and up the stairs to the bathroom in his apartment. Washing his hair and body didn't take long, but he stood under the shower, enjoying the cool water falling over him as he thought about the complication that was Meg Corbyn.

He had brought her into the Courtyard, offering her the job of Human Liaison before discovering that she was a blood prophet, a cassandra sangue-a breed of human females who saw visions of the future when their skin was cut. She had escaped from the man who had owned her and used her, and Simon and the rest of the terra indigene in Lakeside had taken her in.

That sounded simple but it wasn't. Nothing about Meg was simple. She was the pebble dropped in a pond that was the Lakeside Courtyard, and the ripples of her presence had changed so many things, including the terra indigene who had befriended her. Because of Meg, the Courtyard's residents interacted with humans in ways that were unprecedented-or, at least, hadn't been considered in centuries. Because of Meg, the terra indigene throughout Thaisia had tried to save the rest of the blood prophets who had been tossed out like unwanted puppies by the humans who had owned them. Because of Meg, the Lakeside Courtyard had a human pack who provided an additional learning experience for terra indigene who had a human-centric education and needed to practice their skills with humans who wouldn't take advantage of mistakes.

Because of Meg, he had the uncomfortable feeling that a little bit of being human had become attached to and inseparable from his Wolf form.

Plenty of human females over the years had wanted to take a lusty walk on the wild side and have sex with one of the terra indigene. And plenty of terra indigene had been equally curious about having sex in their human form. But that was about pleasing the body for a night and walking away. Or, for the Sanguinati, it was about using lust as a lure in order to feed off the blood of their preferred prey.

Having sex was different from becoming someone's mate. Mating was serious business. It was about pack and family. Some forms of terra indigene mated for life; some did not. Even among the forms that usually mated for life, the bonds didn't always hold. Simon's sire, Elliot, never talked about why his mate had left him. And Daphne, Simon's sister, had told them nothing about her mate or why she had shown up in Lakeside alone just days before her pup was born.

No, the mating bond didn't always last, and most of the time, the repercussions were small. A pack might break apart if the dominant pair split. Some might leave for other packs, even other parts of the continent. But ordinarily, a species wouldn't become extinct if a mating bond broke-and that could happen if his bond of friendship with Meg became something more but couldn't survive being something more, couldn't survive a physical mating. He knew it. Tess and Vlad and Henry knew it. Maybe some of the humans knew it. But he didn't think Meg knew it, wasn't sure she would be strong enough to carry that weight on top of what she had been asked to do already.

She had been hurt by the humans who had caged her and used her. Hurt in ways that made her fearful of the human male form. While he occasionally wondered if having sex with a human would feel different if the human was Meg, he wasn't willing to risk their friendship, wasn't willing to break the bond they already had. So he needed to be extra careful now for her sake, for his sake, for everyone's sake. How much human would the terra indigene keep? The Elders had asked that question without specifying if they meant human population, human inventions, or the intangible aspects of a form that were absorbed along with the physical shape if you lived too long in a particular skin.

Simon shut off the water and dried himself before pulling on a pair of denim cutoffs.

When the Elders had first asked that question, he thought they expected an answer in words. But after the recent war that had broken the Cel-Romano Alliance of Nations on the other side of the Atlantik, and the Elders' decision to thin, and isolate, the human herds in Thaisia, Simon understood that the answer would be shaped by what the Elders learned from the things that happened in and around the Lakeside Courtyard.

Meg fussed with the dishes on the small table in the summer room, but her mind was still replaying the image of Simon and Karl Kowalski standing by the water trough, talking. Simon had looked happy. Karl had had his back to the summer room, so she hadnÕt seen his face, but heÕd seemed tense. She wondered why Karl would feel tense about something that pleased Simon so much. Then again, a Wolf and a human didnÕt often see things the same way.

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop is a winner of the William L. Crawford Memorial Fantasy Award, presented by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, for The Black Jewels Trilogy. She is the author of the Novels of the Others, including Marked in Flesh, Vision in Silver, Murder of Crows, and Written in Red.

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Etched in Bone 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous 18 days ago
Anne Bishop writes so well it's like watching a movie in my head. I really hope there are more coming soon.
Anonymous 23 days ago
Won't give any spoilers but this was a great book. Right amount of laughter, right amount of suspense. The Elders are quite interesting, and even cause a few laughs themselves.Miss Twyla is slowly entering more into the stories and its a great thing. My only regret is I stayed awake most of the night reading and finishing this one andnoe I will have to wait for the next. There needs to be a next. Do not end it please. There is a whole little world here, not just Meg. Keep it going.
LynnLTX 23 days ago
When a truly excellent series comes to an end, readers and the author alike feel the stress of expectations, hopes, and fervent wishes for the final book. In this book, the last of Meg and Simon’s story arc in The Others series, ECTHED IN BONE, much is riding on whether the Elders, a “primal and lethal form” of the terra indigene who rule the world, feel they should continue to allow some humans to live in Thaisia. The blood prophet, Meg, and Simon Wolfgard’s relationship as well as her connection to the terra indigene in the Courtyard of Lakeside balances the future of humans on the edge of a knife. The Others essentially wiped out the nation of Cel-Romano for bringing war by attacking the shifters in an effort to be a human-only part of the world. Lakeside was largely spared and because of the unique relationships between some humans and the terra indigene there, the Elders have decided to closely observe humans connected with the earth natives to figure out who are bad ones. The affected parts of Thaisia still remaining and those areas that were mostly destroyed are trying to rebuild under the deadly watchful eyes of the Elders. Tensions are high and people are stressed for what happens in the Lakeside Courtyard, the Intuit, Simple Life communities and other shifter controlled places in Thaisia connected to the Courtyard will determine its fate. Despite the harsh violence in this series, Simon and Meg’s tentative relationship has a sweet innocence which is the heart of the story. Everyone around them realizes they are mates, but since that kind of relationship has not been seen or understood in Thaisia’s memory, no one is sure what that means for them and the Others. They have taken tentative steps towards each other throughout the series. Simon and Meg are both changing and evolving; their relationship brings something new to the world which gives hope for the future. Meg has once again seen some chilling prophecies as she continues to try figuring out how to make a prophecy card deck for herself and the other cassandra sangues so they can live a life unshackled by the need to cut. The human “pack” becomes more intertwined with Courtyard life always aware that one wrong move can swiftly end in death by Namid’s teeth and claws. Monty, as the police liaison, has perhaps worked harder than anyone else to form the bonds of trust and a functioning relationship with The Others, so when his criminally-minded, abysmal brother, Jimmy, shows up looking for opportunities, he knows strong potential for disaster exists. Anne Bishop’s prose strikes at the heart revealing deep emotions whether of joy or wounded places. The world she has created is fascinating, thrilling and, sometimes, very chilling and somehow disturbingly beautiful and calls me back long after I have finished reading.
Anonymous 1 days ago
Everything she writes is fantastic
Anonymous 5 days ago
Anonymous 7 days ago
I absolutely love this series and am sad I will no longer be able to escape to this wonderful world. Anne Bishop is a master storyteller and her brilliant character development shines in all her creations. Cannot wait for the next adventure!
Anonymous 14 days ago
Anne always finds ways of drawing you into the characters. Making you feel what they feel. Can't wait to see were she goes next.
Anonymous 15 days ago
Anonymous 15 days ago
Amazing story...I'll read (and re-read) anything she writes!
Anonymous 18 days ago
Terrific addition to The Others stories. Just enough action humor and continued character development to keep me reading way after I should have gone to bed. Anxiously waiting for the next book.
lillianya 19 days ago
I absolutely LOVED this book! I actually emailed Anne to tell her how much I enjoyed the scene with Skippy and the potluck and the Elders and the cukkies! The only thing I hate about a new book of hers coming out is that I will have to wait months for another one.
Anonymous 19 days ago
This was such a great read. I have never been disappointed by Anne Bishop and can't wait for the next book.
Anonymous 19 days ago
Anonymous 20 days ago
Barb-TRC 22 days ago
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop is the 5th book in her wonderful The Others series. Anne Bishop is one of the authors that are always on the top of my list. She never ever fails in giving us another fantastic story in each of everyone of her series. Etched in Bone ends the Meg/Simon story arc, and it was a fabulous and exciting ending. I know Anne will continue The Others world in a different arc that will come next year, but I will miss the wonderful characters in Lakeside. At the end of the last book (Marked in Flesh), the feared Elders (old time powerful Others) and Elementals eliminated the humans who plotted and brutally killed many of the terra indigene (the Others) throughout the world. A refresher: The Others are non humans, such as wolves, crows, vampires, elementals, grizzlies, etc), who control most of the world. The series revolves around Meg Corbyn, a human, who is also a blood prophet. Since Meg has arrived in Lakeside Courtyard, the terra indigene have protected her and learned to change their ways to live with humans. In Etched in Bone. Lakeside and other communities, who have survived the mass destruction work toward returning things to normal. Bishop does a wonderful job allowing us to see how Meg has helped changed both human and others perspectives. The police play a big part in this story, with Monty in the middle, since his brother has come to live in Lakeside. Jimmy Montgomery is bad to the bone, and upon arrival has expected to live freely, taking whatever he wants; but soon, the Others begin to see that he is trouble. When Simon and his group want to evict Jimmy immediately, they are stopped by two Elders, who want to learn more how humans and the others get along; they want to see how Jimmy is different than other humans. Jimmy was one of those nasty people who will use his own family to benefit him. A few of times during the story, he plots to take what doesn’t belong to him, and even with the dire result on the first attempt, he continues to plot again. Monty and Twyla (their mother) have to separate themselves from him, so not to be in the middle of the eventual fallout; and throughout the story, we kept hoping for nasty Jimmy to be thrown out of Lakeside. The last third of the book was extremely exciting, with pulse pounding action that had us on the edge of our seat. Meg’s life was in danger, and they all knew, if anything happens to our Meg, poor Simon would leave Lakeside heartbroken. It will take the police, the Elders and the rest of the terra indigene to work together to try and save Meg. Will Meg survive? Will Simon and Meg finally find a way to be together? What I loved the most about Etched in Bone was spending time, and probably our last with these wonderful fantastic characters Anne Bishop has given us….Meg, Simon, Vlad, Tess, Sam, Nathan, Henry, Merri Lee, Monty, Burke,Skippy, & the Elementals, just to name a few. I for one will sorely miss them . I also love that Anne has given us a satisfactory conclusion to Simon & Meg (and Sam). Bravo Anne Bishop for another fantastic book, and series that no one should miss. I wholly recommend you read The Others series by starting with the first book, Written in Red.
Anonymous 23 days ago
Ms. Bishop does not disappoint .
LilyElementBookReviews 23 days ago
Etched in Bone is book five in The Others series. While this is the last Meg Corbyn story, it isn't the last in this world. We'll have a new leading character and town in the next installment which is set to release in 2018. I'm happy to report that this novel is focused a bit more on the Lakeside Courtyard compared to the previous book. That means we get more face time with our favorite cassandra sangue, Meg Corbyn and the Courtyard's leader, Simon Wolfgard. We start off with the Lakeside Courtyard still recovering from the Elders attack in the previous book and the humans are trying to see if the terra indigene plan on letting them stay. Throughout this series Meg has changed how the terra indigene looks at humans, they're not just meat anymore. There's a very uneasy alliance happening but the order must be maintained. The Lakeside Courtyard is doing well compared to other towns but it still has its own issues. A good portion of the book is about Cyrus Montgomery aka Jimmy who comes into town to mooch and con his way into an easy life. He thinks because his family is there that he'll be able to get a free ride, he didn't count on the fact that the terra indigene will not tolerate his behavior. The rest of the book we have Meg who is trying her best to figure out if the prophecy cards will work for the cassandra sangue girls that were rescued from compounds. It's looking promising since she's getting used to telling the future with them instead of having to cut herself. But when a future undecided prophecy continues to show up and Lieutenant Montgomery's brother Jimmy comes to town looking for handouts, trouble is sure to follow. If that isn't enough, the Elders decide now is a good time to go to Lakeside and get to know more about the humans. It's a bad situation all around and you don't need to wait long before drama unfolds. Etched in Bone is an excellent conclusion to a series I adore. I'm hoping we get to see glimpses into Meg and Simon's life in the future books though since I will miss their characters. ABishop weaves an enthralling story and the series is a must read. For the readers wanting Meg and Simon in a relationship like I have this entire time, I can say don't get your hopes up too high. Meg is still trying to figure out her feelings for Simon and the duo are closer than ever but both are slow movers which is understandable. If you're a fan of Urban Fantasy with little to no romance I highly recommend this series, you'll get hooked from book one.