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Wisp of a Thing: A Novel of the Tufa (Tufa Novels) Hardcover – June 18, 2013


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Wisp of a Thing: A Novel of the Tufa (Tufa Novels) + The Hum and the Shiver (Tufa Novels)
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Product Details

  • Series: Tufa Novels (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765334135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765334138
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

One of the very good things about Bledsoe’s latest novel is that we can’t tell, until we’re well into the book, whether it’s a fantasy or offbeat mainstream. Musician Rob Quillen, a contestant on a TV singing competition, is devastated when his girlfriend, who was being flown to Hollywood to surprise him for the show’s final episode, is killed when her plane crashes. Told about the Tufa, a mysterious group of people living in the Great Smoky Mountains, Rob heads off to Needsville, Tennessee, in search of a song that can heal a broken heart. At first, the small town feels a little isolated, its people a bit quirky to Rob’s big-city eyes. But soon he begins to notice odd things: a graveyard that seems to have vanished when he returns to it; strange, humanlike, howling sounds from the woods. This is a very subtle book; like Graham Masterton, Bledsoe relies on the slow accumulation of tantalizing hints to give the reader a sense of something going on in the space between the words on the page. A chilling mix of fantasy, realism, and a touch of horror. --David Pitt

Review

“Beautifully written, surprisingly moving, and unexpected in the best of ways.” Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of Ashes of Honor on Wisp of a Thing

“This beautifully handled drama of Appalachian music and magic once again comes complete with fascinating characters, a persuasive setting and intriguing complications. Bledsoe’s on a roll.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on Wisp of a Thing

“Captures the allure and the sometimes sinister beauty of the Appalachian backwoods, filled with myths, haunted by ghosts, and touched, always, by death.” —Library Journal, starred review on Wisp of a Thing

“Bledsoe brings a real warmth and a messy humanity to his modern-day fairy story, with strong characterization and a passionate love of music.” —Publishers Weekly on Wisp of a Thing


“A chilling mix of fantasy, realism, and a touch of horror.” —Booklist on Wisp of a Thing

“As raw and bewitching as the music and magic that fuel it. I loved this book for many reasons—the bone-deep mystery, the setting, the music, and the harsh beauty of its characters. It gives a new meaning to well played.” —Rachel Caine, New York Times bestselling author of Two Weeks’ Notice on The Hum and the Shiver

“It's a mixture: folk tales and folk songs, updated with a dose of Sex and the City. Or a rustic version of ‘urban fantasy,’ with its suggestion that there's mystery just around the corner, hidden behind even the dullest small-town façade.”
The Wall Street Journal on The Hum and the Shiver

More About the Author

I grew up in west Tennessee an hour north of Graceland (home of Elvis) and twenty minutes from Nutbush (birthplace of Tina Turner). I've been a reporter, editor, photographer and door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. I now live in a Wisconsin town famous for trolls, write before six in the morning and try to teach my three kids to act like they've been to town before. I'm the author of the Eddie LaCrosse high fantasy/hardboiled mysteries ("The Sword-Edged Blonde," "Burn Me Deadly," "Dark Jenny," "Wake of the Bloody Angel" and "He Drank, and Saw the Spider"), two novels about vampires in 1975 Memphis ("Blood Groove" and "The Girls with Games of Blood"), the Tufa novels ("The Hum and the Shiver," "Wisp of a Thing," and the upcoming "Long Black Curl") and the "Firefly Witch" short story ebook chapbooks.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Wende on June 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As soon as I read the first page of this book, I was hooked. I felt like I was pulled into the mysterious mountain home of the Tufa, and became part of their strange and secret world. The story is about a devastated young musician seeking a song that will heal his broken heart, but what he finds is completely unexpected. The story reveals itself slowly, twining the music of the mountains with exciting action and suspense as the young man's discovers some of the dark secrets of the Tufa, a race of people who are not at all what they seem. Alex Bledsoe is an adept storyteller with a beautifully descriptive writing style. I haven't read his other Tufa novel "The Hum and the Shiver" but I plan to get a copy soon. This was an excellent read and a story as hauntingly beautiful as a mountain melody.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By kemper b. durand on July 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I've followed Alex Bledsoe's work for a while now. I enjoy his books quite a bit, especially his fantasy-detective stories of Eddie LaCrosse.

But this book blew me away. The Hum and the Shiver introduced this world of "magical" Appalachia, but Wisp of a Thing brought it home. From the first words you are drawn into a world that isn't quite right. Bledsoe slowly peels back the onion of the mystery bringing greater clarity to the story along with more and more mystery and dis-ease. (I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it is true).

These "Tufa" novels have been described as musical or lyrical. I certainly can attest that music flows through the words on the page and creates great energy, excitement, and fear. A minor chord runs throughout the novel and deepens the emotion felt by the reader.

Bravo, Mr. Bledsoe. I am eager to read (and hear) more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. Pace on June 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wisp of a Thing is the sequel to Bledsoe's Hum and Shiver. It's a very loose sort of sequel and one that I think could be read without reading Hum and Shiver without too much confusion. Bledsoe returns deep into the hills of eastern Tennessee to the magical, musical Tufa people. Two of the main characters from Hum and Shiver--Bronwyn and the reverend--make only cameo appearances, and the newsman not at all. Bliss Overbay and Rockhouse Hicks, on the other hand, play increased roles, and a new character is introduced--Rob Quillen, a forlorn musician from outside looking for a song to mend his broken heart.

I very much enjoyed Hum and Shiver, but it treated the nature of the Tufa as a mystery, not something to be explored in the fantastical sense. Wisp of a Thing remedies that. A lot of time is spent on the lore of the Tufa and the book is better for it. Hum and Shiver also suffered from a too-abrupt climax. The climax here is much more satisfying. It does not, unfortunately, appear to set the table for a sequel, but Hum and Shiver and Wisp of a Thing are well worth your time. Bledsoe's books succeed as fantasy and, while Ron Rash he ain't, his books succeed as regional fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anne on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A heartbroken musician. A spell-bound girl. A reluctant leader. Three melodies lovingly woven together in a haunting Appalachian ballad. I loved the first verse (THE HUM AND THE SHIVER). And the second (WISP OF A THING). Mr. Bledsoe: kindly provide the third. SOON!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Tufa, first brought to us in Alex Bledsoe's terrific novel The Hum And The Shiver, are back in Wisp Of A Thing. Legend says that when the first white men made it to the Smoky Mountains the Tufa were already there. When the first tribes of nomads crossed from Asia into the Americans to become the native culture, the Tufa were there. In Wisp of a Thing we find out even more who the Tufa are and the clan war that is tearing them apart. Central to this tale is the wild young girl roaming the woods and how her history ties the two clans together and will also tear them asunder.

"I'm just tired of finding that girl in my Dumpster," she snapped. "Get it stopped, or I'll stop it for you." In a drawl so slow, it seemed to suspend time, the old man said, "When the last leaf falls from the Widow's Tree this year, she'll be done for good. No coming back. No bothering anyone no more. Nobody'll find her bones, and before next spring, nobody'll even remember her. She'll be a wisp of a thing."

Rob Quillen comes to Cloud County in search of the Tufa, in search of a song to heal his grief. A minor celebrity known more for the tragedy of his life than the music he plays, he is searching for a promised song of the Tufa that will heal his broken heart. But the songs of the Tufa are only for the Tufa and not outsiders. Bliss Overbay is a first daughter of the Tufa and protector of her clan until the young clan leader can come of age. She sees Rob as an outsider but soon comes to realize that he may become central to healing the Tufa people and saving their race from its own self destruction. That Rob and the girl in the woods may tie the future of the Tufa together and save them all from the future she sees so clearly coming toward them. But can she help Rob find the song to sing. Can they do it before the last leaf falls? Before the Tufa are destroyed by a mad king? Before Rob losses himself completely. Before the lost girl just becomes a wisp of a thing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This should probably be called rural fantasy since it is urban fantasy in a country setting. All the reasons I like Bledsoe so much in the Eddie LaCrosse series are present here as well. Characters you care about, a satisfying ending that leaves enough threads for future stories, and of course, incorporating lines from pop/country songs into the story. Although it will be hard to march the whole back story song in Wake of the Bloody Angel. Love the wise guy dialog and the bad girl personas and will look forward to reading more in the future
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