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A Cast of Shadows, An Araneae Nation Novella [Kindle Edition]

Hailey Edwards
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The strongest net is no match for destiny.

An Araneae Nation Story

Daraja has grown up watching her brothers journey down the river on the traditional Deinopidae rite of passage. Each returned with riches from their travels, and lovers with whom to share their lives.

Now she has reached the age where she would strike out on her own to seek her fortune—if she were male. Instead, she is expected to sit patiently, weave her nets and wait for the river to bring a husband to her.

Patience, however, has never been her strong suit.

Brynmor haunts the forest surrounding the city of Cathis, his disembodied spirit inextricably bound to the wild canis roaming his lands. Until the day he stumbles across a brazen trespasser in his woods.

Compelled to step in when the canis suspect her of poaching one of their own, Brynmor fears he has lost a piece of his ragged soul to the feisty, adventure-seeking female. And when the canis confront the real poachers, he is forced to choose which life to sacrifice. Hers…or his own.

Warning: This book contains one heroine with a knack for weaving nets and one hero who relishes getting caught. Expect singing, some howling, ghostly shenanigans, and the start of a love that transcends death.

Editorial Reviews


"Edwards delivers in her new novella from the "Araneae Nation" series (after A Hint of Frost and A Feast of Souls). She embraces the short story format and deftly manages to pack a handful of intriguing characters, including a few of the four-legged variety, two battles, and a love story into just over 100 pages. The writing is lush and allows the reader to become immersed in the new world immediately. A Cast of Shadows will likely send readers searching for more from this series and its author."

--Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks Lib. (Library Journal)

From the Inside Flap

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

An old folksong welled in my throat as I mended my net from last night's casting, and I sang a tune about Kwaku Ananse and the time he tried to trick a Deinopidae fisherman into doing his work for him. As I sang, I spun thick silk from the spinnerets in my fingertips and began the task of weaving the new silk where the old had been torn by salmo struggling to swim upstream. This time of year, they were so frantic to spawn I could walk through the river and pluck them by hand if I chose. But I enjoyed the craft of weaving, the precision of casting, and so I used my net.

Moonlight made the silver mesh spread over my lap glitter. My ankles were crossed, and my legs were becoming numb from sitting in this position for too long. Soon I would have to stretch. For now, I paid tribute with my song and let experience guide my hands as my mind drifted.

"I don't recognize the hero of your tune," a low voice murmured. "Who is Kwaku Ananse?"

I started at the sound of a male behind me, but forced my fingers to keep their rhythm. "Ananse is the trickster god of my people." I kept my tone casual. "My clan is Deinopidae. And yours?"

"I have no clan." Pain laced his words. "But once I would have declared myself Mimetidae."

I expected his answer. I had, after all, wandered onto Mimetidae land by virtue of following the river. That he claimed to be without a clan piqued my curiosity. "How did you manage that?"

I loved a good story. Perhaps in exchange for a salmo dinner I could coax his tale from him.

"You camp in a dangerous place," he said, ignoring my question. "Why are you here?"

I clicked my tongue. I would hear no stories from this surly male. "I'm following the river."


I drew a slim knife from the sheath in my boot in case my answer found me trouble. "This is the thirtieth summer of my life. Clan tradition demands I follow the river until I find my heart."

He scoffed. "You have no heart?"

"If I did, I would be heading home with him to build a house and start a family."

His exhale whistled through his teeth. "You mean you have no husband."

I frowned. "That's what I said."

"No," he answered slowly, as if doubting my intelligence. "You said you have no heart."

I waved aside his confusion. I knew what I meant. "What is a husband if not my heart?"

He remained quiet for so long I wondered if he had left.

I could turn to check, but it had become a sort of game. I didn't want to be the one who caved to curiosity and faced him. If he was content to stare at my back, then I should be content to let him. After all, what use did I have for his kind? Mimetidae were cannibals, and no male was taking a bite out of me. Let him look his fill. If he bared his fangs, well then, I had a knife, didn't I? Mimetidae might be fearsome warriors, but they bled the same red as I did. There was no gain without risk, I understood that. Part of the journey was triumphing over the dangers it presented.

With this male's arrival, it appeared my first true test had begun.

"Do you have a name?" he asked.

I chuckled to cover my sigh of relief at hearing his voice. I had been following the river for too long if such a blunt male made for the most stimulating company I had kept in months.

"My name is Daraja." It was a good name. It belonged to my greatmother. "And yours?"

He gave no response, though I waited until I mended three more rows in my net. Perhaps his name was one I might recognize, one with a vile reputation or an enticing scandal attached. With a curse, I admitted defeat and twisted around to see what required such deep thought on his part.

No one was there.

Product Details

  • File Size: 280 KB
  • Print Length: 97 pages
  • Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (February 12, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,065 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cast of Shadows February 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Daraja is a Deinopidaeon on a traditional journey to find her one true love. Shade Brynmor comes across Daraja fishing with a net. From then on Daraja is on his mind and he feels very protective of her.

A fun, quick read. A Cast of Shadows is a novella - telling the story of Daraja & Brynmor. Brynmor was featured in the last book. If you wanted more of the character you won't want to miss this story. After everything Brynmor has been through, I'm glad he finally found some love and happiness. I loved the story, and have been really enjoying the series. If you haven't check the series out yet, I highly recommend you give it a try.

If your not familiar with Brynmor I would suggest reading A Feast for Souls, but it's not required to be able to enjoy this novella.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable short read January 15, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Unlike a couple of the reviewers, I realized this was a novella, and so I wasn't annoyed by its short length. Sometimes authors just have an idea which isn't extensive enough for a novel. Personally, I like a short read sometimes. This was a fun one.

The situation was unique and the writing skilled. I liked the main character right away. The last 1/3 wasn't quite as good as the first 2/3, but I liked it nonetheless.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Overall July 29, 2013
By Amy
Format:Kindle Edition
This was a pretty good book. It was long enough that it didn't feel like a novella, but short enough that you could read it one sitting. It didn't drag and was full of interesting characters.

It starts off when Daraja, a young Deinopidae woman, sets off on a quest to find herself a husband. She wanders around following a river, until she meets the ghostly ex-king Brynmore. He haunts the local forest and hangs out with a pack of canis. However, Daraja becomes a burst of colour in his dreary existence and BOOM! - we have a story.

If you've read the previous books (particularly A Feast of Souls) then you will already know Brynmore. Well, this book is about him getting his long-awaited happy ending. Hailey Edwards has done a really good job of turning him from a side character into a super-hot hero with a backstory that will make you love him.

While this was a good book overall, I still feel it was lacking something. I think we could have gotten a bit more world building. I know it's a novella and all, but I would have liked to have known a little more about the Deinopidae people. Just a little, because from what I've read of the previous books, all the clans are vastly different from each other - especially belief and culture-wise.

Also, a lot of things went unexplained throughout the book. Like how Brynmore came to be with the pack, how he has a tendency to just disappear at random times and how when his host gets injured, he's in mortal peril of vanishing into the incorporeal ether (in a kind of "my health affects your health" thing) but the next day he's fine, even though his host is still injured.

I did like it though. I love the fantasy world that Hailey Edwards has created and was excited to see Brynmore get his own book. Taking everything into account, I give it four out of five stars. It was very enjoyable!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A cast of shadows May 21, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
In this fantasy, Daraja won't sit and wait for a man to follow the river to her clan and marry her. She wants to do her own walking... danger lurks in the forest however, and a pack of wild canids is prepared to hunt.

Daraja is from a clan who can weave silk from spinnerets in their fingers, and Brynmer is an insubstantial spirit tied to the body and mind of an alpha canid. The fisher girl is noticed but only when a canid is found dead and with its head and paws removed, does the pack regard her as a danger. Brynmer used to live in the nearest city, which is now teeming with plague victims. Daraja spots two men taking trophies from another dead animal, and realises that the items are sold as charms to ward off the plague.

Daraja doesn't understand at first that Brynmer is using strength from his partner to appear in living form to her. He had a sad past life, and the brave young woman reminds him of what it was like to talk to people rather than animals. Gradually he shares his story and she starts to wonder if she has walked far enough and found her match - but when she saves a pup's life and then has to choose between the hunters and the canids, a ghost is all she has for support.

I enjoyed A CAST OF SHADOWS which is part of a series by Hailey Edwards called 'Araneae Nation', and I liked the descriptions of the canids and the forest. However I would have liked to see a contrast, a glimpse of the city or a travelling barge of entertainers perhaps. Daraja is an independent young woman and has no intention of settling down without seeing a little of the world, so many readers will identify with this character.
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4.0 out of 5 stars great read March 19, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Other than the lack of knowledge I have for the pronunciation of some of the names in this series, this is a good read.
The author did a good job of keeping the characters going. The whole ghost this is a little different but it will be interesting to see where she take it if there is more to come.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading March 2, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the last in this series. I hope more is to come sexy and entertaining I could not put this book down . Hailey Edwards is a fantastic writer and her books are stand alone none leaves you hanging a big plus!
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More About the Author

A cupcake enthusiast and funky sock lover possessed of an overactive imagination, Hailey lives in Alabama with her handcuff-carrying hubby, her fluty-tooting daughter and their herd of dachshunds.

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