To celebrate the new paperback release of the incredible The Mime Order, book two in The Bone Season series, today I'll be sharing an excerpt from The Mime Order from the sensational Samantha Shannon. For those of you who are yet to discover The Bone Season, it's an incredible and unique fusion of fantasy, dystopian, science fiction and with an intense and slow burning romance that will surprise and enthrall readers. Stay tuned for my review of book one coming soon.
The Mime Order The Bone Season Book Two
Written by Samantha Shannon
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Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun, many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London...As Scion turns its all seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime lords and mime-queens of the city's gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.
THE MIME ORDER EXCERPT
"It’s rare that a story begins at the beginning. In the grand scheme of things, I really turned up at the beginning of the end of this one. After all, the story of the Rephaim and
Scion started almost two hundred years before I was born – and human lives, to Rephaim, are as fleeting as a single heartbeat.
Some revolutions change the world in a day. Others take decades or centuries or more, and others still never come to fruition. Mine began with a moment and a choice. Mine began with the blooming of a flower in a secret city on the border between worlds.
You’ll have to wait and see how it ends. Welcome back to Scion."
She appeared at 6 A.M. She always did.
My hand snatched a revolver from the table. The theme for ScionEye was playing. A sweeping, theatrical composition, based around the twelve chimes of Big Ben.
There she was. Scarlett Burnish, Grand Raconteur of London, white lace frothing from the top of her black dress. She always looked the same, of course – like some hellish automaton – but on occasion, when some poor denizen had been ‘killed’ or ‘assaulted’ by an unnatural, she could exude manufactured distress. Today, however, she was smiling.
‘Good morning, and welcome to another day in Scion London. Good news as the Guild of Vigilance announces an expansion of its Sunlight division, with at least fifty more officers due to be sworn in this Monday. The Chief of Vigilance has stated that the New Year will bring new challenges to the citadel, and that in these perilous times, it remains critical for the denizens of London to pull together and—’
I switched it off.
There was no breaking news. Nothing, I thought, over and over. No faces. No hangings.
The gun clattered back on to the table. I’d been lying on a couch all night, flinching upright at the softest sound. My muscles were stiff and painful; it took some time to manoeuvre into a standing position. Every time the ache began to ebb, a fresh wave would come, surging from a jolted bruise or strain. I should be heading for bed, as was my custom at dawn, but I had to get up, just for a minute. A glint of natural light would do me good.
Once I’d stretched my legs, I switched on the music player in the corner. Billie Holiday’s ‘Guilty’ drifted out. Nick had dropped off a few forbidden records from the den on his way to work, along with the small amount of money he could spare and a pile of books I hadn’t touched. I’d found myself missing Warden’s gramophone. You could get used to being lullabied by the lovelorn crooners of the free world.
It had been three days since the escape. My new home was a dingy doss-house in I-4, tucked away in a warren of Soho back- streets. Most voyant establishments were ramshackle dumps, hardly fit to live in, but the landlord – a cleidomancer, whom I suspected had opened a doss-house just so he could finger keys for a living – had kept this one free of rodents, if not the creeping damp. He didn’t know who I was, only that I had to be kept out of sight, as I’d been beaten badly by a Vigile and he might still be out looking for me.
Until we sorted things with Jaxon, I’d have to keep moving between rented rooms, one every week or so. It was already cost- ing a fortune – I was managing, so far, with money Nick had given me – but it was the only way to know for sure that Scion couldn’t track me.
With the blinds down, not a single ray of light entered the room.
I opened them, just a little. Golden sunshine struck my raw eyes. A pair of amaurotics hurried past on the narrow street below. On the corner, a soothsayer was on the lookout for voyant clients who might fancy a quick reading. If he was desperate, he might risk approaching an amaurotic. Sometimes they got curious; sometimes they were spies. Scion had long since had agents provocateurs on its streets, tempting voyants to give themselves away.
I closed the blinds again. The room turned black. For six months I’d been nocturnal, my sleeping pattern matched to my Rephaite keeper’s; that wouldn’t change in a hurry. I sank on to the couch, reached for the glass of water on the table and gulped it down with two blue Nightcaps.
My dreamscape was still fragile. During our confrontation on the stage – when she’d tried to kill me in front of an audience of Scion emissaries – Nashira’s fallen angels had left hairline fissures there, allowing memory to drip into my sleep. The chapel, where Seb had met his end. The chamber in Magdalen. The filthy, twisting slum of the Rookery and Duckett’s psychomanteum, where my face grew monstrous and misshapen and my jaw snapped off, brittle as old ceramic.
Then Liss, her lips sewn shut with golden thread. Dragged outside to be fed to the Emim, the monsters that had haunted the woods around the colony. Seven bloody cards spun in her wake. I reached for them, straining to see the final card – my future, my conclusion
– but as soon as I touched it, it screamed in a tongue of fire. I jerked awake at dusk, drenched from scalp to toe in sweat. My cheeks were damp and burning hot, and my lips tasted of salt.
Those cards would haunt me for a long time. Liss had predicted my future in six stages: Five of Cups, King of Wands inverted, the Devil, the Lovers, Death inverted, Eight of Swords. But she’d never reached the end of the reading.
I groped my way to the bathroom and washed down another
couple of the painkillers Nick had left for me. I suspected the large grey one was some kind of sedative. Something to ease the tremors, the churning stomach, the need to grip my gun and not let go.
There was a light knock at the door. Slowly, I picked up my gun, checked it for ammo and held it behind my back. With my free hand, I cracked the door open.
The landlord stood in the corridor, fully dressed, with an antique iron key on a chain around his neck. He never took it off.
‘Morning, miss,’ he said.
I managed a smile. ‘Don’t you ever sleep, Lem?’
‘Not often. The guests are up at all hours. There’s a séance upstairs,’ he added, looking weary. ‘Making a right racket with the table. You’re looking much better today, if I may say so.’
‘Thank you. Did my friend call?’
‘He’ll be here at nine tonight. Do give me a bell if you need anything.’
‘Thanks. Have a good day.’
‘And you, miss.’
For a doss-house landlord, he was oddly helpful. I closed the door and locked it.
At once, the gun slipped from my hand. I sank to the floor and buried my face against my knees.
After a few minutes I went back into the tiny, airless bathroom, peeled off my nightshirt and inspected my injuries in the mirror. Most visible were the deep gash above my eye, closed with stitches, and the shallow wound that curved across my cheek. Everything was worn thin, whittled down. My fingernails were flimsy, my skin was sallow and my ribs and hipbones bulged. The landlord had given me a wary look when he’d brought my first tray of food, eyeing my lacerated hands and black eye. He hadn’t recognised me as the Pale Dreamer, mollisher of his section, protégée of the White Binder.
As I stepped into the cubicle and turned the dial, darkness crept into my vision. Hot water poured over my shoulders, softening my muscles.
A door slammed.
My hand swiped a hidden blade from the soap dish. My body pitched itself from the cubicle, straight against the opposite wall. I concealed myself behind the door, buzzing with adrenalin, holding the blade to my heart.
It took a few minutes for my heart to slow down. I peeled myself from the wet tiles, slick with sweat and water. Nothing, it’s nothing. Just the séance table upstairs.
Shaking, I leant on the sink. My hair hung in damp coils around my face, brittle and dull.
I looked my reflection in the eye. My body had been treated as property in the colony, dragged and grabbed and beaten by Rephaim, and red-jackets. I turned my back to the mirror and ran my fingers over the little threads of scar tissue on my shoulder. XX-59-40. That brand would be there for as long as I lived.
But I’d survived. I pulled my shirt over the brand again. I had survived, and the Sargas would know it.
Samantha Shannon was born and raised in West London. From 2010 to 2013 she studied English Language and Literature at St Anne's College, Oxford, where she specialised in Emily Dickinson and Principles of Film Criticism. In 2012 she signed a book deal with Bloomsbury Publishing to publish the first three books in a seven book series, beginning with The Bone Season. Film rights to the novel were optioned by Andy Serkis's London based production company The Imaginarium Studios in 2012, and acquired by Twentieth Century Fox and Chernin Studios in October 2013. The Bone Season has been translated into twenty nine languages.
The Mime Order is out now in paperback through Bloomsbury for $19.95 online, or in all good bookstores