What will Ashia Boucher endure to protect humanity from annihilation by the hungry dead? The mortals of Avenesse entered into a pact with vampires to ensure their survival: mortal blood for vampiric protection. Ashia Boucher is the mortal daughter of a vampire noble and a mortal witch. Her dragon-blooded heritage gives her Necromancy, useful in an empire of the undead. Ashia’s unusual talent makes her the Mistress of the Dancing Bones.
Avenesse’s vampire aristocracy has grown to treat mortals as playthings or cattle. The only way for mortals to rise is to become vampires themselves, but this is ruthlessly controlled. Renegade vampires plague House Boucher’s territory and their enemies blame Ashia’s vampiric family.
To find the truth, Ashia travels with Dusang, a legendary witch hunter and his shapeshifting two-tailed cat Tama. Dusang was there when the empire began. He’s weary of the long struggle against the Deathlords and maintaining the fragile peace between mortal and vampire. This is balanced by Ashia’s eagerness and youth, giving them a strong master apprentice bond. The amoral Tama’s detached amusement towards Ashia makes the cat a natural foil.
The conflicting motivations of Ashia, Dusang and Tama slowly become less important than their growing loyalty to each other. Together, they discover a conspiracy that involves not just renegades and other Houses, but the Deathlords themselves. How far will Ashia and her companions go to secure the survival of the human race in its darkest hour?
Praise for Mistress of the Dancing Bones:
“Even before reaching the end, I could tell that Ashia’s story was far from over. It was simply too big to be contained in a novel of this length. And that’s a good thing. There’s more to tell, and I hope that Mr. Alexander manages to convey the next stage of Ashia’s adventure with as much verve and believability as the first stage.” – Donald Crankshaw, Black Gate Magazine
“Alexander’s premise is uncomfortable — but in a good way. …the human race entered into a compact with vampires… military defense against the monstrous creatures who walk the Deathlands in exchange for mortal blood… It’s a cruel universe — but also a fascinating one worth exploring.” – Stephanie Souders
“Alexander is masterful in the integration of the intricately built fantasy world with this powerful coming of age story.” – Sheri J Kennedy