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Silverblind
     

Silverblind

5.0 1
by Tina Connolly
 

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The stunning historical fantasy series that began with the Nebula finalist Ironskin continues in Tina Connolly's Silverblind

Dorie Rochart has been hiding her fey side for a long time. Now, finished with University, she plans to study magical creatures and plants in the wild, bringing long-forgotten cures to those in need. But when no

Overview

The stunning historical fantasy series that began with the Nebula finalist Ironskin continues in Tina Connolly's Silverblind

Dorie Rochart has been hiding her fey side for a long time. Now, finished with University, she plans to study magical creatures and plants in the wild, bringing long-forgotten cures to those in need. But when no one will hire a girl to fight basilisks, she releases her shape-changing fey powers—to disguise herself as a boy.

While hunting for wyvern eggs, she saves a young scientist who's about to get steamed by a silvertail—and finds her childhood friend Tam Grimsby, to whom she hasn't spoken in seven years. Not since she traded him to the fey. She can't bear to tell him who she really is, but every day grows harder as he comes to trust her.

The wyverns are being hunted to extinction for the powerful compounds in their eggs. The fey are dying out as humans grow in power. Now Tam and Dorie will have to decide which side they will fight for. And if they end up on opposite sides, can their returning friendship survive?


At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
09/15/2014
It's been over 20 years since the end of the war between fey and humanity. Dorie Rochart desires nothing more than a job in the field researching the magical creatures still living in England's forests. But when Dorie's gender proves an impediment to being hired, she uses her shape-changing abilities as a half-fey, abilities that she has hidden all her life, to pass as a man and secure the position. She wants to help those afflicted by the fey like her stepmother Jane (the heroine of Ironskin, the first book of the series) and to protect the magical wyverns that the government are hunting to extinction. Dorie, a spoiled and troubled child in Ironskin, has grown into an appealing heroine who takes risks to help the disadvantaged, even at great danger to herself. VERDICT This alternate history/fantasy blend is rich in details, creating a vivid world intriguingly altered from our own history by contact with the fey.
Publishers Weekly
08/11/2014
Dorie Rochart, the half-fey child from Connolly’s debut, Ironskin (2012), returns as a college graduate in cryptozoology, seeking employment in an alternate 1930s England prejudiced against both her non-human race and her sex. Disguising herself as a man, she becomes a hunter of wyvern eggs, teamed up with Annika, a Crown loyalist, and Tam, a cousin with whom Dorie shares an uncomfortable history. As Dorie’s stepmother, Jane, fights for female workers’ rights and Crown agents arrest dissenters, Dorie uncovers the reasons behind the fey’s disappearance and how the reappearance of basilisks, their mythic nemeses, can save them. Connolly offers some playful takes on gender and appearance and gently explores a variety of sexual orientations, placing subtle clues to the nature of her universe in her chapter headings. Her sympathies, however, remain more with the ecology of her magical setting than the tale of rag-tag bohemians fighting the rise of fascism. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

“This is an astonishing book: an evocative re-imagination of Jane Eyre that concerns itself with beauty, love, and social upheaval. This lyrical and utterly marvelous debut is one of the standout books of the year.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ Stars, Top Pick! on Ironskin

“Connolly has created a complex and well-drawn world here, and the story is indeed an original and imaginative take on the gothic-fiction tradition. An intriguing and ambitious fantasy tale.” —Kirkus Reviews on Ironskin

“All the romance, mystery, and horror that a good gothic story needs.” —Portland Monthly on Ironskin

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781466845404
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
10/07/2014
Series:
Ironskin , #3
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
793,558
File size:
878 KB

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Silverblind


By Tina Connolly

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2014 Christine Marie Connolly
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-4540-4



CHAPTER 1

INTERVIEW


Adora Rochart had not called on her fey side for nearly a decade, except for the merest gloss of power that helped keep her unnoticeable: allowed her to slip onto trolleys without paying, to slip under the radar, and incidentally to keep breathing. When the fey had showed her how to extract the blue from her system, they advised her to keep the tiniest film of fey dust about her. There was no other creature such as she: no other half-human, half-fey, and on many things the fey could not advise her.

But the Monday morning she went to her job interviews — that morning, for the first time in seven years, she unlocked the copper box of concentrated blue, and dipped her fingers in it. More than the dusting she had had. Far, far less than her whole self.

The blue must have sparkled on her fingers before being absorbed. Surely it must have tingled. But mostly, we may never know — why that particular morning, did she decide to bring the fey back into her life? Was it for luck? Was there fey intuition at stake, telling her she was about to need it? Or was it somehow the fey themselves, desperate about all that was about to come, slipping their blue poison in her ear, telling her that she must side with them in the final war?

— Thomas Lane Grimsby, Silverblind: The Story of Adora Rochart


* * *

Dorie sat neatly on one side of the desk, hands folded on top of the dirt smudge on her best skirt, heart in her throat. This was the last of the three interviews she'd managed to obtain — and the most important.

The desk was sleek and silver — like the whole building, shiny and new with the funds suddenly pouring into the Queen's Lab. The ultra-modern concrete-and-steel space had opened a scant year ago, but the small office was already crammed with the books, papers, and randomnesses of some overworked underling. On a well-thumbed book she could make out the chapter heading: "Wyverns and Basilisks: A Paralyzing Paradox." A narrow, barred window was half-covered by a towering stack of papers, but there was some blue summer sky beyond it. Perhaps if you stood on that chair and peered around it you could see the nurses marching at the City Hospital. Not that she was going to do anything so improper as stand on chairs today. This was her last chance.

The door buzzed as the underling scanned his ID medallion and walked in. Late, of course. He was probably a grad student from the University, thin and already stooped, in a rumpled blue suit, with a brown tie that had seen better days. Dorie refused to let her heart sink to her feet. There was always the chance that this boy was better than the two men she'd interviewed with that day, even if they had been higher on the ladder.

The underling sat down in his chair and moved stacks of papers with a dramatic groan for his overworkedness. Took out a pencil and began adding up a column of figures on a small notebook he carried. He didn't even bother to look up at her. "Let's get this farce over with, shall we?"

No. It was not going to go better at all.

Dorie pulled her papers from her satchel and passed them over. "I'm Dorie Rochart," she said, "and I'm interviewing for the field work position."

He dropped the papers on top of another stack without a glance and continued adding. "Look," he said to the notebook, "it's none of my doing. I'm sure you had very good marks and all."

"I did," Dorie interjected. She found his name on a placard half-buried in the remains of lunch. "Mr. ... John Simons, is it? Pleased to meet you. Yes, I was top of the class." She had worked hard for that, after all. Firmly squashed all her differences and really buckled down. "I have a lot of fantastic ideas for ways this lab could help people that I'd really like to share with you."

"I'm sure, I'm sure," said Simons. "But be sensible, miss. You must realize they're never going to hire a girl for a field work position."

And there it was. He was willing to say what the first two men this morning had only danced around, mindful of keeping up the appearance that their labs were modern and forward-thinking and sensitive to the current picketings going on around Parliament. She could almost like him for being so blunt.

"I'm very qualified," Dorie said evenly. Of course she could not tell him exactly why she was so qualified. Being half-fey was the sort of thing for which they might just throw you in an iron box for the rest of your life. If they didn't hang you first. "I grew up in the country, and I —"

"I know, I know. You always dreamed of hunting copperhead hydras and silvertail wyverns like your brothers."

"I don't have any —"

"Or cousins, or whatnot." Simons sighed and finally put his pencil down. "Look, I don't want to be rude, but can we call it a day? I still have all this data to sort through." Finally, finally he deigned to look up at her, and his mouth hung open on whatever he was going to say.

This was the look Dorie knew.

This is what she had encountered twice before today — and more to the point, in general, always. The curse of her fey mother: beauty.

He stammered through something incoherent, in which she caught the words "girl" and "blonde." Finally he settled on, "I am very sorry. Terrible policy, terrible policy. Should be hiring girls right and left. You're not going to cry, are you?"

"Of course not," she said flatly. Dorie Rochart did not cry. She might, however, cause all those papers behind Simons to dump themselves on his head. It would be very satisfying. The fey in her fingertips tingled with mischief. She tucked her hands under her legs and sat on them.

He brightened. "Oh, good. I wouldn't know what to do." The mental wheels behind his eyes turned and Dorie braced herself, for now was the moment when they all propositioned her, and she didn't know what she would do then. The other two men that morning had done that ... and her fey side had reacted.

Dorie had locked away her fey half for seven years. She couldn't trust herself with it. This morning, for the first time, she had retrieved just a trace. Just a smidge. It had felt so good, so real. Like she could face the day. Like she could sail through these interviews. A drop of blue, just to bring her luck.

But in seven years she had forgotten all her habits to control that part of her.

Her fingers had twitched, flicked, and had made a hot cup of tea "accidentally" spill on the first interviewer's lap. The second one, she had dropped a nearby spider down his collar. Simons had the misfortune to be third in line, and papers dumped on his head would be just the tip of the iceberg.

But to her surprise, he said, "Look, are you good at sums? There aren't any indoors research jobs right now, but I believe they're hiring more ladies to work the calculating machines. There's some girls in the physics wing crunching data."

Her fingers relaxed with this minor reprieve as she stood. He was safe for the moment. "I'm afraid not. Thank you for your —" The door buzzed again. It swung open and a young eager face poked his head in. "Wyvern's hatching! Wyvern's hatching! Ooh, girl!" He blushed and left.

Perhaps Simons saw the light on her face, for he bended enough to say, "Look, I know you're disappointed, miss, uh, Miss Dorie." He blushed as he said her name. "I could ... I could sneak you in to see the hatching before you go? As a, uh, personal favor?"

Dorie nodded eagerly. This was by far the most tolerable suggestive remark of the day, since it had the decency to come with a wyvern hatching.

"Stay behind me, then, and keep a low profile." His thin chest puffed out. "Top secret, you know? But they won't get too fussed about a girl if they see you — Pearcey brings in his latest bird all the time. I'll show you out when it's over."

Dorie followed Simons down the concrete hall to a room crammed with all the boys and men of the lab. He scanned his medallion and pulled her through behind him as the door opened. She caught a glimpse of the copper circle and saw a thin oval design there, its lines a faint silver glow. The same symbol was visible hanging on the lanyards of a few other men as well — some sort of new technology. Using electricity, she supposed. And a magnet, in that lock? She had not seen this sort of security before, but then she had been consumed with finishing her University studies this year.

She stood behind him, out of the way. She did not need to be told to stay to the back, as she felt conspicuous enough being the only girl. It was a clean, cold room, with metal tables and more rows of those narrow barred windows. The overhead lights were faintly tinged blue, and a smell of disinfectant hung in the air.

There was a small incubator in the middle of the room, made of glass and copper and lined with straw on the bottom. Inside was a grey egg speckled in silver. The top was thoroughly cracked and it was rocking back and forth. More chips from the egg tooth and a large piece broke off.

A man in a lab coat was making sure everyone was at their assigned station — from that and the murmurs she pieced bits together: one man was fetching a mouse for the new hatchling, another man was readying to seize the eggshell at the precise moment the wyvern was done with it and rush it to something called the extraction machine.

What was so important about the eggshell? Dorie wondered. In her childhood, she had made note of the elusive wyverns whenever she stumbled across a pair, crept in day after day in half-fey state to that bit of the forest and stared in awe. No one had been interested in them then, or their eggshells. But she was not supposed to call attention to the fact that she was here, and she did not want to be thrown out, so she did not ask.

Across the concrete room she saw someone in a canvas field hat and her heart suddenly skipped a beat. Tam had always worn a hat like that — he called it his explorer hat. She hadn't seen her cousin for seven years, not since they were both fifteen and in the fey-ridden forest and — well. She wouldn't think about that now. Dorie peered around shoulders, wondering if it could possibly be Tam. He would have liked this job, she thought. But the man turned toward her and she could see that it definitely wasn't Tam, not even Tam-a-decade-later. Of course, Tam had too much class to be wearing a hat inside.

Another crack, and the wyvern's wet triangular head came poking out. She heard an audible "awww" from someone. The man assigned to the task stood waiting, gloved hands out and ready to scoop up the apparently precious pieces of eggshell.

The egg broke all the way open and the little wyvern chick came wiggling out. Dorie barely noticed the process with the eggshell, as her attention was taken with the wriggly wet chick. They were bright silver at this age, and the sheen of liquid left from its hatching made it shine like a mirror under the laboratory lights. It stalked along, screeching for food. A short man swung a cage up onto the table, reached in with gloved hands to grab a white mouse by the tail. Dropped it into the incubator.

The little wyvern stalked along, its tiny claws clicking on the metal, its feet splaying out as it tried to learn balance. A man moved in front of her and by the time Dorie could see again the wyvern was comfortably gnawing on the mouse.

"Bloody-minded, aren't they?" said someone.

The short man brought a shallow bowl of water to set on the table and the wyvern chick stopped eating long enough to flap its wings and hiss, causing much laughter as the short man jumped back, spilling the water. A tall man in a finely cut suit said, "Doesn't like you much, does it?"

"Nasty little things don't like anyone," retorted the short man.

"And here I thought it was showing good taste," said the tall man in a pretend-nice way. The other scientists laughed sycophantically and Dorie thought this must be someone with power. She dropped her eyes as she realized he was looking back at her, and turned to Simons.

"What now?" Dorie whispered to her interviewer. "Will they return the chick to its parents?"

"Oh, no," Simons said. "We sell the hissy little things — to zoos and other research facilities, mostly. We're only interested in the eggs here, and they don't breed in captivity. Every so often someone makes arrangements with Pearce to purchase one as a pet — don't ask me why people want them. They don't like anybody. All they do is spit and scream at you, and when they're older, steam, too."

"Who's that man?" said Dorie, for Simons seemed to be in a question-answering mood. "The one looking at us."

Simons stiffened. Hurriedly he stepped in front of her as if to block the man's view. "Come on, come on, let me show you out," he said. "That's the lab director, and if he's cross about me showing you this I just don't even know. Hurry, miss."

Dorie started to the door, but stopped, Simons running into her. That boy, all the way in the corner, getting the wyvern chick more water. Wasn't that Tam after all? Or was her mind playing tricks on her now? She had not seen him for seven years, but surely —

"Dr. Pearce," said Simons, swallowing.

"Yes, this must be the one o'clock, correct?" The tall man was there, beaming down upon them in more of that faux-friendly way. "Showing her around a little bit?"

"Well, I —"

"Good, good. Miss Rochart, isn't it? If you'll come this way? I'd like to continue your interview in more comfortable quarters."

Simons looked as startled as Dorie felt, as the lab director escorted her to his office.

In stark contrast to the underling's office, this office was expansive and tidy. You could make seven or eight of Simons's office from it, and everyone knew that guys like Simons were the ones who did the real work. The omnipresent barred windows were replaced with a large plate-glass window. The new security building was across the street — a twin of this one, in blocky concrete and steel. And here was that clear view of the old hospital — and yes, the women with their placards attempting to unionize: FAIR PAY FOR FAIR WORK. A VICTORY FOR ONE IS A VICTORY FOR ALL. Dorie strained to see if she could see her stepmother, Jane, who was not a nurse, but liked a good lost cause when she saw one.

The other significant object in the room was a large glass terrarium. Its sides were made of several glass panels set into copper, including a pair of doors fastened with a copper bolt. The top was vented with mesh, and the ceiling above the whole shebang was reinforced with anti-flammable panels of aluminum. Inside this massive display was an adolescent wyvern chick, about the size of a young cat. It was curled up in a silver ball on a nest of wool scraps and looked very comfortable.

Dorie wondered how secure the copper bolt was.

Dr. Pearce pulled out the chair for her, and leaned down to shake her hand. She realized now who he was — she had heard all the stories of his tailored suits, suave manner, and ice-chip eyes. Her hope bounded upward — talking to the lab director himself was an excellent sign. She had not gotten this far with the other two interviews.

Dr. Pearce had her sheaf of papers with him — her stellar academic record, her carefully acquired letters of recommendation. He smiled at Dorie — they always did — and sat down across from her. "The lovely Miss Rochart, I presume? So pleased to finally meet you."

Dorie tightened her fingers together at the mention of her looks, but she did not stop smiling. The Queen's Lab. Focus on the goal. With this position you could really start to make a difference. Don't drop spiders on the lab director.

She knew what she looked like — the curse of her beauty-obsessed fey mother. Blond ringlets, even, delicate features, rosebud lips. She could put the ringlets in a bun — which she had — and put on severe black spectacles — which she hadn't; she couldn't afford such nonsense — and still she would look like a porcelain doll. She had several times tried to tease the ringlets apart in hopes they would turn into a wild mop, which she always thought would suit her better. But no matter what she tried, she woke up every morning with her hair in careful, silken curls. Even now they were intent on escaping the bun, falling down to form softening ringlets around her face.

"And I you," said Dorie. Her normal voice was high and dulcet, but through long practice she had trained herself to speak an octave lower than she should.

He steepled his fingers. "Let's cut right to the chase, Miss Rochart — Adora. May I call you Adora? Such a lovely name."

"I go by Dorie or Ms. Rochart," she said, still smiling.

"Ah yes, the diminutive. I understand — after all, I don't make my friends call me Dr. Pearce all the time." He smiled at his joke. "Well, then, Dorie, let's have at it. I understand this is your third interview today?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Silverblind by Tina Connolly. Copyright © 2014 Christine Marie Connolly. 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

TINA CONNOLLY lives with her family in Portland, Oregon, in a house that came with a dragon in the basement and blackberry vines in the attic. Her stories have appeared all over, including in Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. She is a frequent reader for Podcastle, and narrates the Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake. In the summer she works as a face painter, which means a glitter-filled house is an occupational hazard.


TINA CONNOLLY lives with her family in Portland, Oregon, in a house that came with a dragon in the basement and blackberry vines in the attic. She is the author of the Ironskin series (Ironskin, Copperhead, Silverblind) and her stories have appeared all over, including in Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

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Silverblind 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
SeeingDoubleInNeverland More than 1 year ago
Silverblind is my my absolute favorite in the Ironskin series. This book can be read as a standalone. I knew there would be fairies of course but there were dragons too. I loved every minute of this book. Dorie is a strong willed feisty girl living a a male dominant world. Dorie finds it frustrating that just because she is female she can not find a job doing the research she loves. She soon takes matters into her own hands. Using her fey side she disguises herself as a man and uses the name Dorian.  Dorie finds herself on an adventure and soon with an unexpected loving Wyvern at her side. The side characters were equally strong and amazing. Jake is her best friend and a strong willed struggling artist. Jake is the only person Dorie has trusted her secret of being half fey with. I also enjoyed Annika's strong female character as well. Dorie and Tam's relationship was the star of this book though and uncovering what happened between him and Dorie when they were 15. Silverblind is a unique historical fantasy that will have you gripping each page till there are no more. The characters are all so strong and embodied everything they needed to make this a great story. I absolutely fell in love with the concept of wyverns and how just because the fairies had been gone did not mean that people had accepted that. They were taking the necessary steps to defend themselves, Yet Dorie being half human and half fey wants to bring balance and make up for things done in the past.  Dorie soon finds her calling even if it is not for the money she desperately needs. Sometimes fixing the wrong is worth the risk. If you love fantasy and a strong female characters then you will love this book. I am giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. This is a must read.