A Book of Tongues: Volume One of the Hexslinger Series by Gemma Files

A Book of Tongues: Volume One of the Hexslinger Series

byGemma Files

Kobo ebook | April 10, 2012

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Black Quill Award Winner, Best Small Press Chill (2011)

Nominee for the 2011 Best Novel Spectrum Award

Two years after the Civil War, Pinkerton agent Ed Morrow has gone undercover with one of the weird West's most dangerous outlaw gangs-the troop led by "Reverend" Asher Rook, ex-Confederate chaplain turned "hexslinger," and his notorious lieutenant (and lover) Chess Pargeter. Morrow's task: get close enough to map the extent of Rook's power, then bring that knowledge back to help Professor Joachim Asbury unlock the secrets of magic itself.

Magicians, cursed by their gift to a solitary and painful existence, have never been more than a footnote in history. But Rook, driven by desperation, has a plan to shatter the natural law that prevents hexes from cooperation, and change the face of the world-a plan sealed by an unholy marriage-oath with the goddess Ixchel, mother of all hanged men. To accomplish this, he must raise her bloodthirsty pantheon from its collective grave through sacrifice, destruction, and apotheosis.

Caught between a passel of dead gods and monsters, hexes galore, Rook's witchery, and the ruthless calculations of his own masters, Morrow's only real hope of survival lies with the man without whom Rook cannot succeed: Chess Pargeter himself. But Morrow and Chess will have to literally ride through Hell before the truth of Chess's fate comes clear-the doom written for him, and the entire world.

Title:A Book of Tongues: Volume One of the Hexslinger SeriesFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:April 10, 2012Publisher:ChiZine PublicationsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:192685182X

ISBN - 13:9781926851822

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Just didn't work for me The book has so many elements that should have made it great - the magic system, the homosexuality, the indigenous religion... But for whatever reason, the book just never clicked for me. I think I just don't resonate with the author's writing style. This is one of the few books that I will recommend to others even though I didn't personally like it.
Date published: 2017-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Makes me want to send a copy to HBO! Wow! Loved this so much I ordered the next 2 in the trilogy before I was even half way through! Probably not for everyone, it was gritty, bloody and had a lot of gay sex scenes. However, this is one of those fantastic fantasy novels that drops you into a fully realized world filled with gorgeous imagery and characters you want to follow into hell and back. Gemma Files has a wonderful way with words that makes me want to read everything she's ever done while I wait to find out what happens next in her violent, but poetic love story. For it certainly is a love story, and a damn good one at that. Once again, may not be for everyone, but I really hope HBO gets their hands on a copy, I'd love to see what they could do with it :-)
Date published: 2012-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gripping and Gorgeous! Highly, highly recommended! This beautiful, disturbing book achieves something almost impossible in the fantasy genre: it sucks you, body and soul, into an alternative world without wasting any time on scenic description, character portraiture, or technical explanation about that world. Okay, there are three pages of dense, mystical Prologue setting up the Aztec-deity framework, but by the time you’re halfway through the first page of Chapter One you’ve forgotten all about that, because you’ve just been introduced to your first openly-gay wild-west outlaw, Chess Pargeter, and he’s already leaving a trail of corpses in his wake. I don’t read Westerns. Or Horror. Or Gay Erotica. But I love encountering the unexpected in fiction: a plot that keeps twisting beyond my ability to predict what’ll happen, imagery that leaps off the page and makes me shudder with delight, a collapsing of good vs. evil until I’m not sure whom I should be rooting for. This book is gruesome, but never gratuitous. Gemma Files is a wordslinger. She conjures a scene with such grace and delicacy that moments of vicious violence and raucous sex (and there are plenty of both!) seem. . .uplifting? This was the final surprise for me, reading the novel: that such a dark romp of a tale could tell me something true about human emotion. I think it’s because the protagonists feel as deeply as they act. The nervy, quick-draw Chess, the preacher-turned-wizard Rook, and the double-agent Morrow—all three are complex, troubled characters whose loyalties and insecurities boil down to the love of one man for another, and the costs of that love. The Hexslinger series is an epic love story, even if it is splashed across the canvas of a world gutted by greed, war, self-righteousness and the vengeful plans of extinct gods.
Date published: 2011-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "A language so beautiful and lethal my mouth bleeds when I speak it" The title of this audacious and poetic debut fantasy is taken from a Gwendolyn MacEwen poem, and Files' prose shares some of MacEwen's bloody electricity. The characters snap and glitter with the kind of life I seldom find in fiction: peacocking gunman Chess Pargeter; his lover and master, Reverend Asher Rook; and bemused lawman Ed Morrow, assigned to follow their trail of heists. Morrow is a wonderfully sober counterpoint to the vivid and hectic coupling of Pargeter and Rook; along with him, the reader learns what it is to be a hexslinger, and to lose one' s moral (and physical) compass. Morrow's bosses, the Pinkertons, aren't the only ones following the progress of Rook and Pargeter: an ancient goddess, or monster, also takes an interest, with brilliantly horrifying results. This is a fantasy with no good guys; only some of the bad guys are more attractive than others. It feels arbitrary and heartbreaking and totally compelling, and I can't wait for the next volume.
Date published: 2010-06-28