Unter dem Titel „The Bone Season“ erscheint am 20. August 2013 der erste Band der als siebenteiligen Reihe angekündigte Fantasy-Roman der 21-jährigen britischen Autorin Samantha Shannon im Bloomsbury Verlag weltweit. Schon vor der Veröffentlichung erregt das Debüt der jungen Autorin enorm viel Aufmerksamkeit in den Medien. So soll der Verlag für die Rechte an den ersten drei Teilen einen sechsstelligen Betrag als Vorschuss bezahlt haben. Samantha Shannon wird schon jetzt mit J. K. Rowling verglichen, deren Harry Potter-Auftakt ebenfalls bei Bloomsbury erschien. Das britische Magazin Entertainment Weekly empfahl „The Bone Season“ als eines von 10 Büchern, die man in diesem Sommer nicht verpassen sollte, USA Today listete den Roman unter die 30 spannendsten Titel und auch die New York Times widmete der Britin einen Artikel.
Die Übersetzungsrechte wurden bereits in 20 Länder (u.a. China, Thailand, Island) verkauft, in den Niederlanden und in Norwegen erscheinen die Übersetzungen bereits in diesem Jahr. Die deutschsprachigen Rechte hat sich der Berlin Verlag gesichert. Wann und unter welchem Titel der erste Teil dieser „Knochen-Staffel“ hier auf den Markt kommt, ist leider noch nicht bekannt. Die Filmrechte sicherte sich bereits das Londoner Performance-Capture-Studio The Imaginarium. „Die dystopische Welt von Samantha Shannons ‚The Bone Season‘ bietet eine fantastische Kulisse für eine wirklich außergewöhnliche und spannende Erzählung„, teilte der Produzent Andy Serkis mit.
Die Hauptfigur in dem futuristischen Abenteuer, das im Jahr 2059 beginnt, ist die 19-jährige Paige Mahoney.
Viele große Städte werden in der Zeit weltweit von dem Sicherheitsunternehmen Scion kontrolliert. Paige arbeitet als Botin in der Londoner Unterwelt für einen Mann namens Jaxon Hall in einer geheimen Zelle, die unter dem Namen „Sieben Siegel“ operiert. Die Arbeit, die sie verrichtet, ist ungewöhnlich. Als Traumwandlerin, eine seltene Art der Hellseherei, reist sie zwischen den Köpfen der Menschen hin und her und spioniert sie aus. In der Welt der Scion verrät sie sich durch ihre Atmung, die von ihrem Leben in der Kriminalität zeugt.
An einem regnerischen Tag verändert sich ihr Leben für immer. Angegriffen, entführt und unter Drogen gesetzt wird Paige in ein Gefängnis nach Oxford gebracht – eine geheime Stadt, die vor zweihundert Jahren von der Landkarte verschwunden ist und jetzt von einer mächtigen andersartigen Rasse regiert wird. Paige wird Warden, eine Riesen-Kreatur mit Haut in der Farbe dunklen Honigs, schweren Lidern und großen gelben Augen unterstellt. Er ist ihr Meister. Ihr Trainer. Ihr natürlicher Feind. Wenn Paige ihre Freiheit wiedererlangen will, muss sie etwas von seinem Geist und seinen eigenen mysteriösen Motiven in Erfahrung bringen…
Über die Autorin
Samantha Shannon wurde in London geboren und begann im Alter von fünfzehn Jahren zu schreiben. Derzeit studiert sie englische Sprache und Literatur am St. Annes College in Oxford. The Bone Season ist ihr erster Roman. Mehr Information finden sich hier auf Twittter, Facebook oder auf der Autorinnenhomepage.
Leseprobe © by Bloomsbury
The train arrived a minute late. I dropped into a vacant seat. There was only one other person in the carriage: a man reading the Daily Descendant. He was voyant, a medium. I tensed. Jax was not without enemies, and plenty of voyants knew me as his mollisher. They also knew I sold art that couldn’t possibly have been painted by the real Pieter Claesz.
I took out my standard-issue data pad and selected my favourite legal novel. Without a spool to protect me, the only real security I had was to look as normal and amaurotic as possible.
As I flicked through the pages, I kept one eye on the man. I could tell I was on his radar, but neither of us spoke. As he hadn’t already grabbed me by the neck and beaten me senseless, I guessed he probably wasn’t a freshly duped art enthusiast.
I risked a glance at his copy of the Descendant, the only broadsheet still mass-produced on paper. Paper was too easy to misuse; data pads meant we could only download what little media had been approved by the censor. The typical news glowered back at me. Two young men hanged for high treason, a suspicious emporium closed down in Section 3. There was a long article rejecting the ‘unnatural’ notion that Britain was politically isolated. The journalist called Scion ‘an empire in embryo’. They’d been saying that for as long as I could remember. If Scion was still an embryo, I sure as hell didn’t want to be there when it burst out of the womb.
Almost two centuries had passed since Scion arrived. It was established in response to a perceived threat to the empire. The epidemic, they called it. An epidemic of clairvoyance. The official date was 1901, when they pinned five terrible murders on Edward VII. They claimed the Bloody King had opened a door that could never be shut, that he’d brought the plague of clairvoyance upon the world. His followers were everywhere, breeding and killing, drawing their power from a source of great evil.
What followed was Scion. A republic built to destroy the sickness. Over the next fifty years it had become a voyant-hunting machine. Every major policy was based around unnaturals. Murders were always committed by unnaturals. Random violence, theft, rape, arson – they all happened because of unnaturals. Over the years, the voyant syndicate had developed in the citadel, formed an organised underworld, and offered a haven for clairvoyants. Since then Scion had worked even harder to root us out.
Once they installed RDT, the syndicate would fall apart. Scion would become all-seeing. We had two years to do something about it, but with Hector as Underlord, I couldn’t see that it would. His reign had brought nothing but corruption.
The train went past three stops without incident. I’d just finished the chapter when the lights went out. The train came to a halt. I realised what was happening a split second before the other passenger did. He sat up very straight in his seat.
‘They’re going to search the train.’
I tried to speak, to confirm his fear, but my tongue felt like a piece of folded cloth.
I switched off my data pad. A door opened in the wall of the tunnel. The Nixie display in the carriage clicked to SECURITY ALERT. I knew what was coming: two Underguards on their rounds. There was always a boss, usually a medium. I’d never experienced a spot-check before, but I knew few voyants got away from them.
My heart dashed against my chest. I looked at the other passenger, trying to measure his reaction. He was a medium, though not a particularly powerful one. I could never quite put a finger on how I could tell. My antennae just perked up in a certain way.
‘We have to get out of this train.’ He rose to his feet. ‘What are you, love? An oracle?’
I didn’t speak.
‘I know you’re voyant.’ He pulled at the handle of the door. ‘Come on, love, don’t just sit there. There must be a way out of here.’ He wiped his brow with his sleeve. ‘Of all the days for a spot check – the one day—’
I didn’t move. There was no way to get out of this. The windows were toughened, the doors safety-locked – and we were out of time. Two torch beams shone into the carriage.
I held very still. Underguards. They must have detected a certain number of voyants in the carriage, or they wouldn’t have killed the lights. I knew they could see our auras, but they’d want to find out exactly what kind of voyants we were.
They were in the carriage. A summoner and a medium. The train carried on moving, but the lights didn’t come on. They went to the man first.
He straightened. ‘Linwood.’
Reason for travel?’
‘I was visiting my daughter.’
‘Visiting your daughter. You think that’s a reasonable excuse to travel between cohorts at this hour?’
These two wanted a fight.
‘I have the necessary documents from the hospital. She’s very ill,’ Linwood said. ‘I’m allowed to see her every week.’
‘You won’t be allowed to see her at all if you open your trap again.’ He turned to bark at me: ‘You. Where’s your card?’
I pulled it from my pocket.
‘And your travel permit?’
I handed it over. He paused to read it.
‘You work in Section 4.’
‘Who issued this permit?’
‘Bill Bunbury, my supervisor.’
‘I see. But I need to see something else.’ He angled his torch into my eyes. ‘Hold still.’
I didn’t flinch.
‘No spirit sight,’ he observed. ‘You must be an oracle. Now that’s something I haven’t seen for a while.’
‘I haven’t seen an oracle with tits since the forties,’ said the other Underguard. ‘They’re going to love this one.’
His superior smiled. He had one coloboma in each eye, a mark of permanent spirit sight.
‘You’re about to make me very rich, young lady,’ he said to me. ‘Just let me double-check those eyes.’
‘I’m not an oracle,’ I said.
‘Of course you’re not. Now shut your mouth and open up those shiners.’
Most voyants thought I was an oracle. Easy mistake. The auras were similar – the same colour, in fact.
The guard forced my left eye open with his fingers. As he examined my pupils with a slit light, searching for the missing colobomata, the other passenger made a break for the open door. There was a tremor as he hurled a spirit – his guardian angel – at the Underguards. The back-up shrieked as the angel crunched into him, scrambling his senses like a whisk through soft eggs.
Underguard 1 was too fast. Before anyone could move, he’d summoned a spool of poltergeists.
‘Don’t move, medium.’
Linwood stared him down. He was a small man in his forties, thin but wiry, with brown hair greying at the temples. I couldn’t see the ’geists – or much else, thanks to the slit light – but they were making me too weak to move. I counted three. I’d never seen anyone control one poltergeist, let alone three. Cold sweat broke out at the back of my neck.
The angel pivoted for a second attack. The poltergeists continued to circle the Underguard. ‘Come with us quietly, medium,’ he said, ‘and we’ll ask our bosses not to torture you.’
‘Do your worst, gentlemen.’ Linwood raised a hand. ‘I fear no man with angels at my side.’
‘That’s what they all say, Mr Linwood. They tend to forget when they see the Tower.’
Linwood flung his angel down the carriage. I couldn’t see the collision, but it scalded all my senses to the quick. I forced myself to stand. The presence of three poltergeists was sapping my energy. Linwood was a tough talker, but he was struggling to fortify his angel. While the summoner controlled the poltergeists, Underguard 2 was reciting the threnody: a series of words that compelled spirits to die completely, sending them to a realm beyond the reach of voyants. The angel trembled. They’d need to know its full name to banish it, but so long as one of them kept chanting, the angel would be too weak to protect its host.
Blood pounded in my ears. My throat was tight, my fingers numb. If I stood aside, we’d both be detained. I saw myself in the Tower. Being tortured. At the gallows.
I would not die today.
As the poltergeists converged on Linwood, something happened to my vision. I homed in on the Underguards. Their minds throbbed close to mine, two pulsing rings of energy. I heard my body hit the ground.
I only intended to disorientate them. Give myself time to get away. I had the element of surprise. They’d overlooked me. Oracles needed a spool to be dangerous.
A black tide of fear overwhelmed me. My spirit flew right out my body, straight into Underguard 1. Before I knew what I was doing, I’d crashed into his dreamscape. Not just against it – into it, through it. I hurled his spirit out into the æther, leaving his body empty. Before his crony could draw breath, he met the same fate.
My spirit snapped back into my skin. Pain exploded behind my eyes. I’d never felt pain like it in my life. It took a few minutes for my vision to return. I was dimly aware, through the pain, of the sticky carriage floor against my cheek. My skin prickled. Whatever I’d just done, I wasn’t going to do it again in a hurry.
The train rocked. It must be close to the next station. I pushed my weight onto my elbows.
No response. I crawled to where he was lying. As the train passed a service light, I caught sight of his face.
Dead. The ’geists had flushed his spirit out. His ID was on the floor. William Linwood. Forty-three years old. Two kids, one with cystic fibrosis. Married. Banker. Medium.
Did his wife and children know about his secret life? Or were they amaurotic, oblivious to it?
I had to speak the threnody, or he would haunt this carriage for ever. ‘William Linwood,’ I said, ‘be gone into the æther. All is settled. All debts are paid. You need not dwell among the living now.’
Linwood’s spirit was drifting nearby. The æther whispered as he and his angel vanished.
The lights snapped back on. My throat closed. Two more bodies lay on the floor.
I used a handrail to get back on my feet. My clammy palm could hardly grip it. A few feet away, Underguard 1 was dead, the look of surprise still on his face.
I’d killed him. I’d killed an Underguard.
His companion hadn’t been so lucky. He was on his back, his eyes staring at the ceiling. Saliva formed a slithering ribbon down his chin. He twitched when I came closer. Chills crept down my back. I tasted bile. I hadn’t pushed his spirit far enough. It was still drifting in the dark parts of his mind: the secret, silent parts in which no spirit should dwell. He’d gone mad. No. I’d driven him mad.
I set my jaw. I couldn’t just leave him like this. Even an Underguard didn’t deserve such a fate. I placed my cold hands on his shoulders and steeled myself for a mercy kill. He let out a groan and whispered ‘Kill me.’
I had to do it. I owed it to him.
But I couldn’t. I just couldn’t kill him.
When the train arrived at Station I-5C, I waited by the door. By the time the next passengers found the bodies, they were too late to catch me. I was already above them on the street, my cap pulled down to hide my face.