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The Devil's Scribe [Kindle Edition]

Alma Katsu
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
This price was set by the publisher

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Book Description

Fans of the Taker trilogy will love this original eBook novella featuring the series’ immortal heroine, Lanny...and Edgar Allen Poe!

In this eShort story, Lanore McIlvrae returns to America for the first time in 20 years—after decades of running from her past—to confront the source of her fear. The year is 1846 and Lanore—Lanny—has just landed in Baltimore after a long transatlantic crossing. That very night, she meets an “unattractive man with a high forehead and sunken eyes, and a tiny, pinched mouth like a parrot’s beak” who claims to write stories so dark and unsettling that he could be the Devil’s Scribe. His name? Edgar Allan Poe. Has Lanny finally met her match in this macabre man…or is it the other way around?

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Alma Katsu was born in Alaska and raised near Concord, Massachusetts. She has a BA in writing from Brandeis University and an MA from the Johns Hopkins Writing Program. She lives with her husband in Virginia. Visit her online at or follow her on Twitter.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2339 KB
  • Print Length: 33 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Star (March 13, 2012)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,212 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Devil's Scribe by Alma Katsu is an e-short story released by Simon & Schuster, and it's the first thing I've read on my Kindle! Can you believe it?! What prompted me to finally read on the Kindle?! You'll never guess, well maybe you will by the end of this unconventional review.

"He fell on the bottle before he took a seat, pouring two fingers of whiskey into his wineglass, streaked with the last of a red he'd consumed. Now that he'd gotten his invitation, his tentative edge fell away, replaced by relief." (from the e-story)

Lanore McIlvrae from The Taker meets with the one and only Edgar Allan Poe by chance in an expensive Baltimore hotel in 1846 after having been gone from America for the last 20 years. Poe describes himself as an orphan and a widower able to support himself as the "devil's scribe," but Lanny seems passingly interested in his life story and the fact that he's a writer. However, in spite of her preoccupation with why she came back to America, she walks with this stranger through the streets of Baltimore, careful not to reveal too much of herself to him.

The story raises the idea of telling strangers secrets as a way to unburden the soul without having to deal with the same consequences one would have to deal with should they tell someone they know intimately or should they tell a family member. It is reminiscent of the relationship between dying soldiers and/or patients and the priest that comes to hear their sins, though in this situation, Poe cannot offer Lanny absolution.

Read my full review: <...>
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novella about inspiration... July 23, 2012
By Jen
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have always been fascinated by the life of Edgar Allan Poe and also by his death. Much like the stories he wrote, his death was shrouded in mystery (or was it?). I am also a fan of Alma Katsu and the characters that she brought to life in "The Taker." When I saw that she had combined the two...I couldn't resist! And since I was waiting (patiently) for book two of the trilogy, I knew I had to read it!

Without giving too much away, "The Devil's Scribe" takes place in the time after Lanny makes a major "life" decision. She is traveling to Boston to check on her affairs as it were, and meets up with a mystery man who is mesmerized by her. He sees in her, I think, a kindred spirit. Someone who shares his darkness. He attaches himself to her and learns her secret. Perhaps inspiring him to write...

If you haven't read "The Taker", I highly recommend it as well. I have seen other reviewers say that they read this first, but I would read "The Taker" first. It will give you some insight into the back story.

Very well written and researched. Alma Katsu is an exceptional author, and one I hope is around and publishing for a long time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Luna
Format:Kindle Edition
The Devil's Scribe is a very well written and constructed novella.
The author, with only a few well crafted descriptions, manages to grasp your attention and make you feel like you are walking down the night streets of Baltimore and Boston, with the charming and haunted Lanore and her temporary companion, the shabby Edgar Poe. Lanore is in need of a confessor, Edgar craves a story.
The cause and the result of the nights these two companions spend together, is one of the most macabre tales ever written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Union July 19, 2012
By JTaber
Format:Kindle Edition
Wonderful! If you like Poe, you'll love this. Lanny and Poe, such a unique union - if only for a brief time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous little teaser before The Reckoning July 19, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
LOVE Edgar Allen Poe, So this Short on how Lanny meets him and tells him her story was great. And it just gives us a little more of Lanny's doings after she "Leaves" Adair.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome! July 19, 2012
By trennag
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a great short! Got it at the same time I purchased The Taker and read it first. Loved them all and can't wait for The Decent!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Taste of what is to come! March 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A wonderfully written short story that happens in the midst of the novel that would be the Taker. It is the tale of Lanore, herione and villian of the Taker as she travels back to America in the 1800s to check on the package, I will be vague here as it does much to do with the novel the Taker and I don't want to give any away; and see that it is still secure as she left it.
As she arrives in the port city she runs into a strange little man who needs to learn the tale that is the life of Lanore. The strange little man is Edgar Allen Poe.
The Devil's Scribe is a taste of the crisp and flowing writing that Alma Katsu brings to her novel The Taker and the upcoming The Reckoning. A wonderful introduction to this new writing and her tales!
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5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT October 27, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars great
After reading book one you go out of your way to read the complete series you have a hard time putting books down
Published 2 months ago by Patricia bes
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible. Poe would be turning in his grave if ...
Horrible. Poe would be turning in his grave if he read this. Seriously, don't even bother. If you're a fan of Poe, you will probably be pretty pissed.
Published 3 months ago by starryvere
5.0 out of 5 stars I love to read this genre of book
Love this author! Can't wait for part 3 of the trilogy to be released. This book fills in the gaps of the 1st two books in her trilogy. Read more
Published 20 months ago by JPettyCash
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoy everything Alma Katsu has written
Lanore meets the one and only Edgar Allen Poe in this short story. Lanore has been introduced to readers in Katsu's novel, The Taker and this novella is a small piece of Lanore's... Read more
Published 23 months ago by fxtrtr
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
Enjoyed this over the holidays. It is a fast read and the story line in entertaining. This is my first book from this writer but not my last.
Published on February 1, 2013 by gail olson
5.0 out of 5 stars Unavailable
It's frustrating. I can't get this book because it's unavailable in the UK apparently :( There has to be a way of getting it on my kindle.
Published on January 18, 2013 by Gareth Share
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I was very disappointed in this book compared to the actual taker trilogy. I guess this would be something to read before u read the taker not after
Published on January 6, 2013 by Sherry Wehrwein
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down
This is a little dark but it certainly pulls you in. I enjoyed it immensely and am over eager for Katsu to publish the finale.
Published on November 23, 2012 by Lisa L Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Hooked Me!
I bought this $.99 short story or novella. Loved it and it got me to buy The Taken. Of course, you have to buy to find out the root of the story! Read more
Published on September 6, 2012 by D. Conrad
5.0 out of 5 stars poe, dear poe
i have to say when i read the title i was alittle afraid what i'd find in it's page's. but it blew my mind! i brought this on a wim. i had money and wanted to buy some books. Read more
Published on September 4, 2012 by heather patrick
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More About the Author

Read what people are saying about THE DESCENT, the final book in the Taker Trilogy:

"This isn't a vampire trilogy; it's something entirely new. It's smart, sophisticated, and utterly shocking; if you have delicate sensibilities, you may prefer not to pick up these books. But if you're an adventurous reader and enjoy beautiful writing and characters you can't even imagine, Katsu's trilogy is an absolute must read." -S. Krishna's Books

"Blows me away with the beauty and creativity of the world building...a masterful conclusion to what may be one of the best trilogies I've ever read." --Fresh Fiction

"With a surprising twist that explains much of the mythology of the series, this thrilling conclusion is a can't-miss entry for fans who have followed Lanny's journey from 1800s New England to contemporary times. And it's utterly impossible to put down." --Booklist

Ms. Katsu's writing has been compared to that of early Anne Rice and Shirley Jackson. A former intelligence analyst, she is a graduate of the writing program at Johns Hopkins University.

Selected Q&A from a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA):

Q: What was your inspiration for The Taker novels?

A: The Taker was inspired by all kinds of things, I think. At a basic level, I'd say it was inspired by Interview With The Vampire which, in my view, was a pretty groundbreaking work. I didn't consciously set out thinking I was going to write a book like it, but the upshot is that it has some similar characteristics--the present day frame over a long historical backstory, the main character's fatal attraction to the dark, etc.

The other inspiration, however, was that I wanted to write a sort-of anti-romance. There is a dark side to love. It can bring out the worst in people. Let's face it, most of us have probably done one stupid, mean thing over love (usually in our youth). If we're smart, we learn from it and quietly decide never to make that mistake again. The Taker is the story of a young woman who gets punished for loving unwisely--but that punishment, and her lesson, is on a much grander scale. In the end, she comes to understand the grand thing that love truly is, is tested and prevails, and is rewarded with a love the likes of which few people will ever have. If you like love stories, I think you will find this really different and (hopefully) really rewarding, and if you don't, well...

Writing that first book was really a challenge I set for myself. I wanted to see if I could create great characters. Yup, that was it. Characters that you couldn't forget, and a story that would haunt you after you finished reading it. I love big fat daring fiction. I didn't think I'd do it, certainly not the first time out of the box. And I absolutely didn't think it would ever be publishable. But I just wanted to try. That's why it ended up being such an unconventional book, I think.

Q: Was this "mix" of genres something you always wanted to do, or did you explore other things before realizing this is what you wanted to do?

A: I was kind of naive with The Taker. First of all, as I've mentioned, I wrote it because it was what I wanted to write, and I didn't think it would ever sell. I didn't think of it as cross-genre as I was writing it. I thought of it as literary fiction. It's definitely character-driven, as opposed to plot driven. But because of the genre elements, and the fact that it's pretty dark, there has been a reluctance for it to be seen as literary fiction.

Q: How do you go about the creative process, as in, what steps do you take to take an idea, and make a novel out of it. And how long does it usually take for you?

A. That's a great question. One of the hardest things for me to figure out, still being kind of new to thinking about writing as a business, is which ideas are worth investing a year or two to write and which don't have the emotional or intellectual heft to be viable. Add to that the fact that projects change once they get beyond a certain stage: your editor and/or agent will make suggestions (it's like a renovation project; you start to remodel the kitchen and suddenly you think, let's move this weight-bearing wall! It'll open the whole space up! and before you know it, it's twice as expensive and difficult as you originally envisioned.)

My first book, The Taker, took ten years to write. I was seized with the idea and the characters, and despite putting it aside many times to work on other projects, I couldn't stop thinking about it and hence, couldn't stop working on it. In some ways, that kind of crazy commitment makes it easy. What I'm finding is after you sign the contracts, it becomes less about relying on emotional energy to carry out a project than it does determination and treating it like a job. There will always be emotional ups and downs but if you rely on that to get a book written, you're toast (I think).
Regarding time, it takes me much longer than I'd like it to, and that's because I am still learning how to tell a story. It seems to get both harder and easier with every book. (I love a paradox!) Harder, because my expectations have risen. Easier, because if I'm lucky I learned something from the last one. I was on a book-a-year schedule, for the most part, for the contract, which in practical terms means you must complete a full manuscript in six months, and I think that's a bit rushed for me.

Q: Who were your first favorite authors, and which books do you remember falling in love with first?

A: I was a funny reader as a kid. I read adult books--Edgar Allen Poe, Shirley Jackson, Alexander Dumas. And fairy tales. One of my older sisters had a huge book of fairy tales. It had amazing full-page illustrations. There were some unusual fairy tales, too, not the usual ones. Both my sisters and I read that book so much that by the time we were adults, it was falling apart. We all loved the book, but the older sister kept it for herself. I didn't think I'd ever see it again until I found it in my in-laws' basement. My husband--who wasn't my husband yet--had never shown much interest in it when he was a boy, so it was in mint condition. I figured it was an omen that we were meant to be together. I joked that I married him to get my hands on that book.

Q: Do you intend to write in any other genres?

A: I would like to write a straight historical novel but we'll see... I also want to write a spy novel someday.

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