Monday, November 13, 2017

The Hum And The Shiver by Alex Bledsoe

In a remote valley in rural Tennessee, a group of people live quietly, keeping to themselves and uninterested in contact with a bigger world.  Collectively, the group is known as the Tufa and rumors are spread about them.  All the Tufa have long, black, shiny hair, dark eyes that shine with light and are dark-complected.  The other thing known about them is that music plays an integral part in their lives and most of them are accomplished musicians.  Some say that when the first settlers made their way to the valley, the Tufa were already there in place.  Some say they have supernatural power.  But the Tufa don't say much at all. 

Things are stirred when one of their own is returned as a military hero.  Unlike most Tufa, Bronwyn Hyatt left and joined the army, serving in Iran.  When she is injured and rescued after killing ten of the enemy in an encounter, the nation wants to know more about her and how she did what she did.  She is returned with great fanfare, injured to the point where months of recuperation and rehabilitation will be necessary.  Or at least that's what conventional medicine would say.

The Hyatt family wants only to be left alone.  Chloe and Duncan have been married for many years, raising their children, Kell, Bronwyn and Aiden.  They don't want the fanfare surrounding Bronwyn's return.  They just want to return to their own ways.  Signs have been brewing that trouble is coming and they need their family to be intact and ready to face whatever is on the way.

Two outsiders come into the valley at the same time.  Don Swayback is a reporter, his career waning as he just hasn't been that interested in years.  He's heard family talk that he is related to the Tufa somewhere back in his history and that as well as Bronwyn's return sparks his interest.  Craig Chess is a total outsider.  He has been assigned to his first post after his ordination as a minister and he knows he has a tough road ahead trying to interest the Tufa in his religion.

As Bronwyn settles in with her family, trouble mounts.  Her wild boyfriend from before her military service is fresh out of prison and determined to get her back.  She is equally determined to resist him.  Is this the trouble that the omens are warning of?

Alex Bledsoe grew up in Tennessee so it is not unusual that he has chosen it as the locale of this fantasy series, currently at six novels with this one as the introduction to the Tufa clan.  The Hum And The Shiver was chosen as a Kirkus Best Novel in 2011, and the series continues to win praise.  This novel is recommended for readers of modern fantasy.

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