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A scattering of jades
Alexander C. Irvine
Adult Fiction IRVINE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Thanks to its vivid 19th-century setting, this debut horror novel rises considerably above the average. In the great New York fire of 1835 that kills his wife, newspaper typesetter Archie Prescott thinks he's also lost his four-year-old daughter, Jane. But Jane has survived, hideously scarred and kidnapped by Riley Steen, who once worked for P.T. Barnum. Steen possesses a chacmool, a Mesoamerican mummy through which a proper sacrifice will bring the god Tlaloc to rule the world. That proper sacrifice is Jane Prescott. By 1843, once Prescott realizes that he's in danger and that Jane is alive, he pursues her and Steen down the Ohio River to Mammoth Cave, where Steen found the chacmool years before. After a nightmare journey facing both human and occult menaces, Prescott confronts those who seek his daughter's blood. With the help of a guide, the slave Stephen Bishop (willing to risk his chances of freedom to prevent Jane's murder), he attempts to snatch Jane back to safety. While the plot may be fairly standard, with its theme of "old gods seeking revenge/return," Irving provides a fascinating, unromanticized picture of P.T. Barnum's early career, the bloodthirsty gangs of New York, life on the Ohio River and the precarious condition of even the most privileged slaves. The characterization is nearly as accomplished as the historiography, and the two together make the book an exceedingly solid achievement, with a great deal of promise for the author's future. (July 11) FYI: A descendent of P.T. Barnum, the author has published short stories in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and Asimov's. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In 1835, when a great fire destroys much of New York City, aspiring journalist Archie Prescott loses not only his home but his wife and young daughter. Years later, an encounter with a former employee of P.T. Barnum leads him to the discovery that evil men are planning on raising up a chacmool, a Mesoamerican god with the power to destroy the world. The necessary sacrifice is Archie's daughter, who had not died in the fire but had been kidnapped, to fuel the sleeping god's resurrection. Short fiction veteran Irvine's first novel blends fantasy adventure with Aztec legends to produce a first-rate tale of dark forces at work in 19th-century America. A good choice for most fantasy collections (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Archie Prescott
Lost his wife in a fire eight years earlier.

Riley Steen
Owns a Mesoamerican mummy; once worked for P.T. Barnum.

Stephen Bishop
African American

Jane Prescott
Age: 12
Archie's daughter; held captive by Riley Steen.

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