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The Living Blood [Paperback]

Tananarive Due
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.99
Price: 19.41 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Jan 2002
From the author of the national bestseller My Soul to Keep comes a riveting new novel of supernatural suspense -- a gripping tale that brilliantly showcases a writer at the pinnacle of her astounding storytelling abilities. Jessica Jacobs-Wolde has somehow survived the worst that any mother or wife could ever endure: the deaths of her husband and first daughter. But now, four years later, not only is the nightmare continuing -- it may have only just begun. Jessica has discovered the terrifying truth behind the legacy that her husband left to their second daughter, Fana...a legacy preordained a thousand years before her time and drenched in the powerful lifeblood that now courses through her veins. As young Fana begins to display unearthly abilities that are quickly spiraling out of control, she becomes the target of those who will stop at nothing to exploit her power -- and the unwitting touchstone in an ancient supernatural battle whose outcome may decide the fate of all humanity.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (1 Jan 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671040847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671040840
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.1 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,443,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Stunning...an event of sustained power and energy... This novel should set a standard for supernatural thrillers of the new millennium." - Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW) "One of the best and most significant novelists of her generation...smart, soulful, crafty...this young writer...widens our common vision." - Peter Straub

About the Author

Tananarive Due is the author of The Black Rose, My Soul to Keep and The Between, and was a collaborator on the bestselling novel Naked Came the Manatee. Her short fiction was included in the groundbreaking Dark Matter, an anthology of African-American science fiction and fantasy. A two-time finalist for the Bram Stoker Award, the former Miami Herald columnist lives in Washington state with her husband, novelist Steven Barnes.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Mercy Hospital didn't have the best emergency room in town, but it was the closest. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Bigger is not always better! 21 Jun 2008
Format:Paperback
The continuation of a storyline begun in "My Soul to Keep" is intriguing but takes too long in story development, seeming somewhat derivative of other works (William Peter Blatty's "The Exorcist" comes to mind). Like an overproduced album, Miss Due's tale of immortality doesn't "live" up to expectations shown in the first installment. That is not to say that it's not a good read; it's just not as fulfilling.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Innovative and Gripping 4 Nov 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I'm just re-reading this after finishing the first in the series, 'My Soul to Keep'. It's a brilliant read and gives a new twist on immortality. The characters are great and the story line will make it hard to put the book down. A little bit supernatural, little bit of horror, little bit of spirituality / religion - the story will have you hooked within a couple of pages.
Thoroughly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  109 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tananarive does it again! 2 May 2001
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
One word: Engaging. After the success of her second novel, My Soul To Keep, Tananarive Due fans have been waiting for the continued story of Jessica, her family and Dawit and the Immortals. However, The Living Blood has surpassed all high expectations. First of all, The Living Blood is a self-contained story and one needs not to have read My Soul To Keep to follow the fast paced action and addictive plot line. I read most of this book in one weekend and I feel that others will have the same experience. There is something to be said for good "page turners" and I believe it is an art within itself to keep readers so glued to the page that they miss appointments, bus stops and much needed sleep. The Living Blood takes us on a journey over a massive landscape, touching down on different countries within Africa, Europe and landing within the United States. Ms. Due's narrative descriptions are so powerful that I often felt if I were to look out my own window I would see the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela or the greying skies of a coming tropic storm. The Living Blood takes you to these places through the eyes of several memorable characters. Jessica and her sister's tenacity continue into this novel from the previous, however, we are also introduced to Lucas Shepherd and experience his one-man quest to find a cure for his son's leukemia. Each character is distinct in their system of beliefs and Ms. Due has done a wonderful job in showing what ethical and moral questions might arise if the world were to become aware of the existence of a blood so powerful that it can heal most diseases and even cause immortality. By far one of the most interesting characters is Fana, the first child born of two immortals. Tananarive Due takes us inside the mind of this unprecedented girl as she discovers the full range of her powers over time. Truthfully, I couldn't put this book down until I hit the last page, and even after that I read the book jacket, the notes, and scanned the back cover looking for more!
Tananarive Due is a wonderful author. At every opportunity, I have recommended her books to friends and family. There is one thing that I enjoy in particular about her books, The Living Blood and My Soul To Keep, and that is how Ms. Due's landscape of characters demonstrate the different faces of Americans and the rest of the world. While most of the main characters are African-American there are also prominent Caucasian and African characters, Latino characters, and Italian and Irish characters. All of these people are in roles of doctors, families, soldiers, scholars, lawyers and corporate heads. What is exciting is that while all of these characters interact with one another, the focus of the novel is not the _fact_ that they are interacting. I am so happy to see an author writing books that demonstrate the richness of the world we live in. We are all influenced by one another and Ms. Due's books let that be known through the character's likes/dislikes and experiences. Furthermore, while all of these ethnic and racial groups are interacting, there is little sense of the "other" or outcasts and stereotypes. In fact, the division is not between races but a dichotomy of mortals and immortals, and by the end of The Living Blood even those lines are blurred. Congratulations to Tananarive Due she is a wonderful and innovative author. I wish her much continued success.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Living Blood 5 April 2001
By Nina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I could not wait to get my hands on a copy of the sequel to My Soul to Keep...The Living Blood. When I finally got it, I waited a couple of hours to read it (took me about a day and a half). Anyway, I really enjoyed reading the Living Blood, though I wish the author had spent more time on Jessica and Dawit/David than the other characters. I'm not sure I liked the way the book ended, but I hope there will be another sequel...with Fana as a young woman. I'd really like to see how she turns out. Why does this book deserve five stars? At times it was heartwrenching and I really, really felt for the characters, especially Dr. Shepard. The story was well-told and quick-paced, though at times I wanted to skip over parts that had nothing to do with Jessica, David, or Fana. The book also scared me, and I like nothing more than a good scare. Overall, it was a very, very good read...my high expectations were met for the sequel. Ms. Due , I look forward to reading more
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This lady has the Midas touch 7 May 2001
By mateo52 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In THE LIVING BLOOD, ostensibly her sequel to 1997's MY SOUL TO KEEP, Tananarive Due adroitly explores territory traveled far and wide by many other authors, the age-old classic battle between the forces of good and evil.
The central characters from MSTK, the immortal Dawit Wolde and his estranged wife, Jessica (also now an immortal) are back but TLB is a very different book from it's antecedent. Primarily, plot revolves around Fana, the precocious three year old daughter of the two immortals, a young child who is beginning to exhibit powers well beyond her mother's understanding and even further beyond her ability to control. As with her home and clinic in South Africa, where she had fled to soon after Fana's birth, Jessica decides to abandon the clinic she and her dedicated sister, Alexis, are running in Botswana to seek out guidance from the LifeBrothers, the secret Ethiopian colony of immortals, before Fana's powers mature any further. She knows the blood coursing through her veins can be a salvation but also carries a tremendous liability. Unbeknownst to her, but not unexpected, there are conflicting external forces, corporeal and otherwise who want to gain control of the blood and her daughter, for a multiplicity of reasons: some personal, some altrustic, some captialistic and some...just pure malevolence.
Due does an excellent job of encapsulating MSTK's significant plotlines within TLB. She masterfully crafts a portal to an alternate 'unreality' as seen through the comprehension of a three year old. She evokes vivid images of Southern Africa and the little acknowledged history and beauty of Ethiopia. As she has proven with earlier works, she writes with uncomplicated elegance, seemingly unafflicted with the arrogance so often displayed in the works of so many other writers.
TLB is a good book but that is not to infer it is flawless. There are a number of incongruities that cannot be effectively addressed here without detracting from the story for future readers. One that I can talk about however, might be my misconceived idea of the LifeBrothers, and their ethereal leader, Khaldun, rather than a failing on the part of the author. Due chose not to devote a great deal of the story to the LifeBrothers, their philosophy and the religious implications. In essence, the immortals were portrayed as little more than men who just lived forever, subject to the same petty jealousies, competitiveness and insecurities as mortals. Rather than superior, they appeared to be stagnant, unable to die but for the most part unwilling to evolve. Hopefully, there will be a follow-up to TLB that deals with that aspect in depth.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Best Book of 2001...great SEQUEL! 22 May 2001
By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
First off, I have to say, I have not and probably will not read a book this year that is as gripping and thick and suspenseful and deep as Tananarive Due's sequel to "My Soul to Keep" -- THE LIVING BLOOD.
For those who have read "My Soul to Keep" (and if you haven't, RUN to get it), THE LIVING BLOOD begins five years after the death of David/Dawit, Jessica's husband. Jessica has moved to Africa, along with her sister and three-year-old daughter. To aid in closing the lid of a painful past, Jessica focuses on running a clinic that miraculously assists in the curing of extremely ill children. But it's not that easy for Jessica to forget her past, for it lives within her, in her blood...and in her young daughter's, who has powers well beyond any living person ...mortal or immortal. Jessica's daughter is the first child to be born with the living blood, and this fact does not sit well with the immortals who dwell the Earth...immortals who have lived hundreds of years, and would want nothing more than to see the prodigal child terminated. Jessica's child can be the key to revealing the immortals to the real world...either sparking a union or battle that may destroy civilization.
I don't think I could write a review that adequately displays my joy in reading this book. The 500 plus pages of the novel initially daunted me, but the ease in which Due writes makes for a voraciously fast-paced read. The characters jump off the page, and the descriptions of the settings are so vivid. Due writes this unique story so well, that you almost ask yourself if what she's writing about is real...that's some great fiction.
I adored this novel and the breadth of which Due wrote it. It's a DEFINITE must have on every book shelf.
Reviewed by Shonie
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Well Done Supernatural Thriller 2 Dec 2004
By Cato - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Living Blood is a well-written and intelligent supernatural thriller. Despite some of the misleading reviews below, it has nothing to do with Vampires. You should note that this book is a sequel to My Soul To Keep. However, the plot is self-contained and it is not necessary to read My Soul To Keep in order to fully appreciate this book.

I'm not going to spend time summarizing the plot because the product description does that.

The heroine is strong and the little girl is cute. Most of the characters and their motivations are believable. The pacing is just right, slow enough for good character development but fast enough to keep your attention. The depictions of the great ancient churches of Ethiopia are dazzling.

For me, the most satisfying aspect of the book was learning the origin of the Blood. The answer is imaginative and thought provoking.

At just over 500 pages, the book has a number of subplots. Some of these subplots are detached from the main story, but none so much so that you'll want to skip ahead. My favorite subplot involved Lucas Shepard, who races around the world trying to track down a dose of The Blood to save his dying son before it's too late. Shepard ironically happens to be a world famous microbiologist, and Due does an excellent job of portraying his internal angst over the inability of his science to cure his son. Both Dr. Shepard and his son are endearing characters who give the book emotional depth.

I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5 for three reasons. First, I thought the battle for control of the Blood should've been more high-stakes. If a small clinic in Botswana were giving away free doses of a cure-for-everything, it would hardly remain a secret. The struggle for it would be monumental. Second, I thought the book would've been a better read if Due had spent more time exploring the fascinating Life Brothers, or at least their leader Khaldun. I finished the book with so many unanswered questions about them. (Was the Blood given to Khaldun or did he take it?) Finally, some of the loose ends in the book were distracting. For instance, Due never bothers to explain who The Bee Lady is or why she's after Fana. But overall, this was a wonderful book that I highly recommend.
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