Team-ups between authors can be an interesting proposition. Sometimes they’re awesome(King and Straub’s The Talisman), and sometimes they’re dreadful(The sequel, Black House). So it was with curiosity and nerves I approached Hisses and Wings, the first ever novella pairing noted writer Alex Bledsoe and a newer writer, T.Frohock.
In all fairness, I will admit some serious prejudice when it comes to Mr. Bledsoe. I found his first Eddie Lacrosse book, The Sword Edged Blonde, some years ago in a library. I was amazed, then jealous that no one else had thought to combine a Mickey Spillane style detective with heroic fantasy,then had the nerve to carry it off so well. I lost track of him for a few years, then a magazine pointed me to his Tufa novels, which were the best urban fantasy I’d read since DeLint’s Newford books.
The Tufa are featured in this tale, Fae who live in the Appalachia region of eastern Tennessee. Much like the real life people there, they live in mostly quiet isolation,cut off from much of the world.The story begins with a young Tufa named Janet,who finds out about a lost song. The Tufa invest much of their magic in song, and this one might get the Tufa back to the world of the Fae.
Janet follows the trail of the song to a group of people known as the Nefilim. According to most Christian accounts, the Nefilim were the offspring of angels and humans. In Frohock’s world, they are the result of mating between both angels and demons. They’re gathered together for the solstice when Janet walks into their camp. They, like the Tufa, put their magic in song. So when Janet asks for the lost song, it comes down to a musical duel, not a violent one. For what happens, and how it all ends, you’ll just have to read the story.
I enjoyed this novella. It was an interesting introduction for me to Frohock’s work, and I really liked her take on a Hispanic community of Nefilim. I’d like to see more of these characters and world. And I’m always ready for more Tufa. I’m not sure how well a Pagan/ Abrahamic mythology combination would work long term(I’m looking at you, Skyrim), but in the short run, it’s a well written meeting. So go buy it already, and thank me later.