The Hum and the Shiver : Tufa

  • by Alex Bledsoe
  • Narrated by Emily Janice Card, Stefan Rudnicki
  • Series: Tufa
  • 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this valley songs live ... and kill.
No one knows where the Tufa came from or how they ended up in the mountains of east Tennessee. When the first Europeans came to the Smoky Mountains, the Tufa were already there. Dark-haired and enigmatic, they live quietly in the hills and valleys of Cloud County, their origins lost to history. But there are clues in their music, hidden in the songs they have passed down for generations.
Private Bronwyn Hyatt, a true daughter of the Tufa, has returned from Iraq, wounded in body and spirit, but her troubles are far from over. Cryptic omens warn of impending tragedy, while a restless "haint" has followed her home from the war. Worse yet, Bronwyn has lost touch with herself and with the music that was once a part of her life. With death stalking her family, will she ever again join in the song of her people and let it lift her onto the night winds?

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What the Critics Say

"Bledsoe turns standard urban fantasy tropes on their head by reimagining modern elves as a tiny, isolated ethnic group unsure of their own origins...The slowly unfolding mystery of the Tufa is a fascinating and absorbing masterpiece of world-building." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

At last, a fantasy with a bit of depth !

Just finished listening to this, thoroughly enjoyed it. I don't normally write reviews, but I can't let this one go completely unreviewed, it deserves to be listened to.

I'm sure you can all read reviews of the paper version of this book. Do that now. The first three reviews I read all seem to capture the essence.

I liked this book because it starts off as a complete mystery. There is the ongoing story concerning the return of Bronwyn from Iraq, her convalesence and re-integration into Tufa society, her reaction to and handling of an impending crisis. There is also the drip, drip, drip of snippets of information concerning the Tufa, what they are and where they come from.

There are a lot of characters, all richly detailed. No-one is completely explained, everyone has more history you can learn, no character is too simplistic, they all seem so complicated that it really piques your interest as to where they are going and what will become of them.

Parents beware, though ! I was thinking that this would be a perfect recommendation for my 15-year old daughter (to get her away from yet more vampire stories), but the sexual references are frequent and leave little to the imagination - quite a distraction when you're listening in the car on the way home from work !

All in all, a satisfying listen and I finished the book wanting more. I shall certainly keep a watch out for any succeeding books in the series.
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- Amazon Customer

Engaging and different

A strange mix of a book - I was setting myself up for a standard mystery-folk-who-might-be-magical-living-with nature sorta thing, but was quite quickly jarred out of that. The Tufa are no cute backwoods folk, strummin' their guitars and spouting homilies; they can be nasty, crude and casually violent. On the other hand, they love their children, respect their parents and get joy from their music. So in short they can come across as normal folk - but there's a strangeness about them and what's with their music???

So what is this story? It's essentially about Bronwyn, who spent her early years fighting what she saw as a pre-ordained path by rebelling with a capital "R" and ultimately running away to the army. The book starts with her coming home from Iraq a decorated and (reluctantly on her part ) much feted hero. She's been badly injured, and as she struggles to sort out her concussed head and traumatised body, things are not quite as she expected back home. There's a "haint" - or ghost - that needs to talk with her, the family are seeing death omens everywhere, there's a new preacher trying with patient decency to engage with his new flock, and there's an underlying sense of threat. There are a host of well drawn supporting characters, a well conceived and developed world, and if things are a tad slow to start with, they gather a pace and I was totally absorbed by the final sections.

There's a fair degree of swearing and while there's no loving descriptions of sex, seemingly essential in certain genres these days, there's sexual talk and imagery, some of it pretty crude. It's in context though, and mostly sits within the storyline, altho it grated occasionally.

As to the narration - there are two narrators, alternating chapters, or clusters of chapters. Both do fine, but he has a very distinct, dark, deep voice that took me a while to take to - that said, by the end he sounded just fine! Well read, characters well inhabited and differentiated - a good listen.
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- Deborah

Book Details

  • Release Date: 29-09-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.