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Burying the Shadow Paperback – July 30, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Storm Constantine has written stories all her life. Her interests have always lain in the realms of the fantastical, but she was influenced by the mythology of Ancient Egypt and Greece more than by contemporary fantasy writing. After beginning—and never completing—several full-length works, in 1985 storm began work on the first of her Wraeththu novels The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit. This was completed in 1986, and submitted to Futura MacDonald, who accepted it for publication.

Although characters in the Wraeththu novels inhabited a fantasy world, they were drawn from real people who were part of the alternative nightclub/music scene of the mid-eighties. The Wraeththu are hermaphrodites—male and female in one body—which mirrored the way people seemed at the time; very androgynous. In writing the Wraeththu books, Storm was determined to destroy the typical image of fantasy literature, of having cardboard characters and derivative plots. She was interested in exploring the concepts of gender and sexuality, which resulted in the books being seen as ground-breaking science fiction/fantasy. Storm herself, however, wishes her work was not rigidly categorized into a genre.

‘I wouldn’t go so far as say my work is utterly mainstream, but neither do I see it as straight science fiction or fantasy. I like to think my books appeal to more than hard-core science fiction fans. Letters received by my information service show that a great number of readers have been led to the genre by my work—people who would not normally read SF or Fantasy.

The reason for this perhaps stems from Storm’s feeling that it is very important for different media to intermingle; writing with music with art with film. She has always worked with bands, either as an illustrator or contributing written work, such as when her work appeared on the sleeve of Fields of the Nephilim’s albums Earth Inferno and their retrospective collection Revelations. Publicity resulting from her working with, and managing, bands attracted a new audience to her novels.

‘I wanted exposure in music/media magazines like The Face and 20/20, not purely in magazine like Interzone or Starburst, who cater exclusively for SF fans.’

The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit was published in 1987, initially in hardback, and was later followed by the concluding volumes of the Wraeththu series: The Bewitchments of Love and Hate and The Fulfillments of Fate and Desire.

During 1988/89, Storm formed the Thirteenth Key project, which comprised a group of writers, artists and musicians, who together produced a magazine, video, and a soundtrack of music to accompany the video, all loosely based on the Wraeththu concept. The video Scrying of Continuum, was shown at SF conventions in 1989, and the magazine, Paragenesis, and the tape, Eyespeech, were sold to mail order.

In 1989, Vikki Lee France and Steve Jeffery formed the information service Inception, which in many respects continued the spirit of Thirteenth Key, and allowed fans to maintain a close contact with Storm’s working life. Inception, now in its eleventh year, continues to thrive, and produces two regular magazines, Inception, and An Occasional Axolotl. Storm contributes regularly to both zines. They also produce regular chap-books of Storm’s work, as in the poetry collection, Colurastes, and the illustrated short stories "Dancer for the World’s Death" and "An Elemental Tale."

In 1990, Macdonald/Orbit Published Storm’s fourth book The Monstrous Regiment—a departure from the territory of Wraeththu, although still, as her editor once put it, "quintessential Storm". Aleph, a sequel to The Monstrous Regiment, appeared in 1991.

1991 also saw Storm moving publishers, to Headline, which Storm saw as a major step forward in her career. Her new publishers were more open to her ideas concerning the packaging and promotion of her work, which she felt was a major contribution to the success of Hermetech, her first novel wit --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Immanion Press; 3rd edition edition (July 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904853617
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904853619
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,001,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Wendy C. Darling on April 30, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Burying the Shadow is a book that involves two major storylines intertwining and finally, at the conclusion of the story, colliding. The story is told by two female narrators who alternate their accounts (not switching off every chapter, but very nearly) and together give the novel an narrative style wherein the reader often knows more about what's going on the than do the characters themselves.
The first narrator is Gimel Metetronim, an 'artisan' in the city of Sacramante, part of a vast, fantastic mystical world Storm creates as a stand-in / alternature universe for Earth. The 'artisans' live in an isolated quarter of the city while gaining fame among the human populace, gifting them with their plays, music, poetry, paintings and other creative endeavors. All the artisans' work is sponsored by patron families, who, as it turns out, pay for this artwork with more their money -- they pay with their blood. This is because the artisans don't just *seem* otherworldly, but actually *are*, for they are the eloim, a race of human-seeming but immortal blooddrinkers who came from another world and now live on earth, surviving through a symbiotic relationshp with the patron families.
Although Sacramante is widely renowned for its arts scene, the intimate relationship between the eloim and the human families is a tightly held secret, with family members accepting and welcoming the 'sup' (small drinks that do not kill), eloim using human servants (who'se lives can be extended via bloodsharing), and offerings of willing sacrificial victims, including children. This is the way it has been for centuries, only now, after such a long period of stability, the situation in Sacramante has begun to change, become unbalanced.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
Highly recommended.

The plot has already been discussed in comprehensive reviews here, so I won't dissect it too deeply. But I must caution potential readers: this is really NOT a vampire story. Forget that you have read this is a vampire story. To call it such influences potential readers to assign preconceived stereotypical notions usually adhered to vampire stories. So forget about vampires. I do not believe Ms Constantine intended Burying the Shadow to be stuffed into that pigeonhole.

The story is told in the first person, alternating between two well developed and plausible female protagonists, whose exotic (and very different) lives inevitably collide in an unavoidable bitter-sweet climax. The setting is a lush realm populated with various uniquely Storm-esque love-or-hate rogues, fragile beauties (fortunately not too many of those), arcane customs, and fantastic locales. Hidden secrets abound.

Constantine is a superb word weaver; she injects rich detail into her worlds without over doing it. Her characters and settings are ethereal, yet they are entirely believable. Her baroque prose (at its height here) flows from the page in such a way as to suck the reader in, willing or not, so there are moments when the reader forgets they are holding a book in their hands (one of the true marks of successful writing).

I feel I must mention there are, perhaps, elements occurring later on in the book that could have been expanded on or reworked (you may disagree), however on the whole this is eclipsed by the strength of the leads and the overall exuberance of the story. If you want to take a journey far from the tedious agonies of your mundane existence, you will not regret purchasing Burying the Shadow.

So what are you waiting for?

(also very highly recommended: Calenture, by Storm Constantine)
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Format: Paperback
Storm Constantine here creates a dark and fantastical other world where ancient thoughts and races combine with a humanity that is part 18th century nobility and part druidic lore; where monsters in your dreams are as real as you or i. Pre-dating True Blood, Anne Rice and all the interminable Team Edward style horromances, Constantine sets her story in a wild new fantasy world where blood suckers and lay people live side by side in a mutually beneficial symbiosis.

Here the ancient race are sponsored by powerful and wealthy families and create lauded works of immaculate art in return for their regular feeds and occasional sacrifices. Families bask in the reflected glow of these works getting richer and enjoy long lives of indulgence and splendour whilst keeping the dread nature of the 'artisans' a secret.

But now, after centuries, something is killing the immortals, and in ways that scare the vampiric caste to their core, forcing some even to the unthinkable: suicide.

In the petrified woods and forests, trainee healer, soulscaper, Rayojini is plagued by visions she doesn't understand. Her new guardians in the soulscape are somehow more than the bestial avatar she was expecting. Her quiet life and the turbulent, garish world of the immortals are entwined and set to collide.

Burying the Shadow is a dark fantasy and whodunit far more-so than it is horror and Constantine has a coolness and depth that easily shakes off any 'pulp' tag. This is a riveting journey that, although it follows the `man-on-a-mission' style of many fantasies, also combines enough otherworldliness and genuine innovation to rise above more populist authors in the genre.
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