The Book of Shade
Author: K.C. Finn
Release Date: 12/13/13
Lily Coltrane’s to-do list for starting university life is pretty simple:
1. Make friends
2. Meet a cute guy
3. Survive her first year in Modern History
In the little English town of Piketon this seems more than achievable, so much so that Lily even joins The Illustrious Minds Literary Society, an extra-curricular club that promises a truly unique social experience. What Lily doesn’t bank on are the Society’s monthly visits to the mysterious Theatre Imaginique at the edge of town, a dark venue that houses the most obscure cavalcade of carnival performers she has ever laid eyes on.
Stranger still is the emergence of the theatre’s enigmatic proprietor Lemarick Novel, a stupendous showman with a frosty wit who never seems to smile, and who raises a plethora of questions in Lily’s fearful mind. How does he levitate with no sign of wires or mirrors? How do the lightning bolts that shoot from his hands look so real? And why, of all the people in the theatre, do his pale eyes keep locking on hers?
The answers to this and more lie buried in heritage and blood. The Book of Shade is opening, and Lily Coltrane will read it, whether she wants to or not.
After that came the turn of the gypsy Michael had also spoken of, but there were no holograms of dead people tonight. The old Madame went by the name of Lady Eva and she took to the stage, working herself into a trance that she claimed would reveal the messages from the dead relatives of people in the audience that night. She was a round Hispanic woman with dark eyebrows that almost met in the middle who wailed like fury into the echoing theatre, calling on the ‘gitanos of the past’ to aid her, whatever they were. It was laughable, but nobody was laughing. In fact a lot of the older people in the audience were paying terribly close attention, waiting on her words in a silence that would have made a pin think twice about dropping.
Lady Eva passed messages that shocked some of the audience members into sudden tears, one older woman even rushed out of the exit door after the gypsy had given her a man’s name and a few simple words. The Madame stayed only ten minutes or so on the stage before her messages for the night were complete, but the whole atmosphere of the space had swiftly changed by the time Baptiste returned to the stage to announce the final act of the night, the headliner. After all that she had seen Lily could hardly remember what it was from the playbill.
“Ladies and gentlemen, your raucous applause, if you please, for the sensational Monsieur Novel!”
The audience obeyed the MC’s command, but when Baptiste had vacated, nobody came to the stage. It wasn’t until the last clap died some moments later that Lily heard footsteps clicking along the old theatre boards. The illusionist stepped from total blackness into the shadow at the edge of the stage, and even craning her head only afforded Lily the frame of a man in a long Victorian coat. The tense air in the dated theatre was sliceable, and every spectator breathed in their portion of that heavy air in anticipation of the moment when the odd Monsieur would step into the spotlight.
Novel did not disappoint them. A shock of lightning appeared from nowhere at all and in the split-second that it flashed he appeared for all to see. It seemed as though the patrons of the theatre gasped as a single being, even those who must have seen him before were transfixed in shock. His eyes were cast into black, shadowy sockets by the bright white spotlight pouring down from above. Skin pale as a spectre’s was exaggerated by the darkly drawn eyebrows arching into points above those gloomy hollows. His lips too were black as coal, a superb effort in stage makeup that reminded Lily of a haunting cross between a French mime and a black-and-white movie serial killer. She didn’t know which to be more afraid of.
Perhaps more astonishing still was Monsieur Novel’s hair. It was long enough to be combed behind his ears, though it did not grace his neck, and in the dusty spotlight it appeared to be totally white. The illusionist’s black mouth stretched into a serious sneer as he surveyed the awestruck crowd. He held out one pale hand with a slow and deliberate grace. Tiny blue sparks grew in his palm as he swept the hand from left to right in welcome.
“Good evening,” he purred in the darkest of tones.
And this time the lightning came straight from his palm when it struck.
About the Author:
Born in South Wales to Raymond and Jennifer Finn, Kimberley Charlotte Elisabeth Finn (known to readers as K.C., otherwise it'd be too much of a mouthful) was one of those corny little kids who always wanted to be a writer. She was also incredibly stubborn, and so has finally achieved that dream in 2013 with the release of her first two novellas in the four-part Caecilius Rex saga.
As a sufferer with the medical condition M.E./C.F.S., Kim works part time as a private tutor and a teacher of creative writing, devoting the remainder of her time to writing novels and studying for an MA in Education and Linguistics.
Where to find K.C.
On Facebook at The Book of Shade
KC will be giving away the following:
5 TBoS Bookmarks featuring the beautiful art of S.R. Esprit and Chris Hitchman (signed by K.C. Finn)
2 TBoS Wall Posters featuring the stunning cover art of S.R. Esprit and Chris Hitchman (also signed by K.C. Finn)
2 Sets of TBoS Postcards featuring the interior wordart of designer L.A. Fox (signed by both K.C. Finn and L.A. Fox)
10 eCopies of The Book Of Shade (in the format of your choice)