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The Winter Long

(The eighth book in the October Daye series)

A novel by Seanan McGuire

This book is dedicated, with love and gratitude, to Tanya Huff.

Thank you for making so many things possible.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:

Welcome to The Winter Long.

This book was one of the first I fully plotted, back when this series was a glimmer in my eye and a fantasy for the future. Everything I have done with October’s world to this point has been for the sake of getting here, to the book that you now hold in your hands. I am incredibly excited to be at this point, to have gotten this far into Toby’s story—and make no mistake, there’s still so very far left to go.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for trusting me to tell you this story, which has been with me for so long. Thanks to the Machete Squad, who are a constant in my life, and who keep me together when things get hard. Thanks to Amanda and Michael, and to Aislinn (welcome to the world, my skeleton girl; we are going to have a lot of fun). Thanks to the Disney Magic Bitches, who have endured another unnumbered series of Disney excursions, including possibly the best birthday party I have ever had, and to my darlings, Vixy, Amy, Brooke, and Shawn, who knew I was a scorpion when they picked me up.

My editor, Sheila Gilbert, is the best I could have wished for, and my agent, Diana Fox, is still my personal superhero. Thanks also to Josh Starr at DAW, who is the most frequent target of my random mid-week phone calls, and to my cover artist, Chris McGrath, for bringing Toby so beautifully to life. And thanks to the crew here on the ground: Christopher Mangum, Tara O’Shea, and Kate Secor.

My soundtrack while writing The Winter Long consisted mostly of Night Visions, by Imagine Dragons, Queen of Spindles, by Talis Kimberley, Baptized, by Daughtry, endless live concert recordings of the Counting Crows, and random episodes of Welcome to Night Vale. Any errors in this book are entirely my own. The errors that aren’t here are the ones that all these people helped me fix.

Now grab your coat. It’s going to get a little chilly in here.

OCTOBER DAYE PRONUNCIATION GUIDE

THROUGH THE WINTER LONG

All pronunciations are given strictly phonetically. This only covers races explicitly named in the first eight books, omitting Undersea races not appearing or mentioned in book eight.

Afanc: ah-fank. Plural is Afanc.

Annwn: ah-noon. No plural exists.

Bannick: ban-nick. Plural is Bannicks.

Barghest: bar-guy-st. Plural is Barghests.

Blodynbryd: blow-din-brid. Plural is Blodynbryds.

Cait Sidhe: kay-th shee. Plural is Cait Sidhe.

Candela: can-dee-la. Plural is Candela.

Cetace: sea-tay-see. Plural is Cetacea.

Coblynau: cob-lee-now. Plural is Coblynau.

Cu Sidhe: coo shee. Plural is Cu Sidhe.

Daoine Sidhe: doon-ya shee. Plural is Daoine Sidhe, diminutive is Daoine.

Djinn: jin. Plural is Djinn.

Dóchas Sidhe: doe-sh-as shee. Plural is Dóchas Sidhe.

Ellyllon: el-lee-lawn. Plural is Ellyllons.

Gean-Cannah: gee-ann can-na. Plural is Gean-Cannah.

Glastig: glass-tig. Plural is Glastigs.

Gwragen: guh-war-a-gen. Plural is Gwragen.

Hamadryad: ha-ma-dry-add. Plural is Hamadryads.

Hippocampus: hip-po-cam-pus. Plural is Hippocampi.

Kelpie: kel-pee. Plural is Kelpies.

Kitsune: kit-soo-nay. Plural is Kitsune.

Lamia: lay-me-a. Plural is Lamia.

The Luidaeg: the lou-sha-k. No plural exists.

Manticore: man-tee-core. Plural is Manticores.

Merrow: meh-row. Plural is Merrow.

Naiad: nigh-add. Plural is Naiads.

Nixie: nix-ee. Plural is Nixen.

Peri: pear-ee. Plural is Peri.

Piskie: piss-key. Plural is Piskies.

Puca: puh-ca. Plural is Pucas.

Roane: row-n. Plural is Roane.

Satyr: say-tur. Plural is Satyrs.

Selkie: sell-key. Plural is Selkies.

Shyi Shuai: shh-yee shh-why. Plural is Shyi Shuai.

Silene: sigh-lean. Plural is Silene.

Tuatha de Dannan: tootha day danan. Plural is Tuatha de Dannan, diminutive is Tuatha.

Tylwyth Teg: till-with teeg. Plural is Tylwyth Teg, diminutive is Tylwyth.

Urisk: you-risk. Plural is Urisk.

ONE

For you there’s rosemary and rue; these keep

Seeming and savor all the winter long.

Grace and remembrance be to you both.

—William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale.
December 20th, 2012

THE WOODS WERE DARK, filled with strange shadows. They twisted and swirled independent of any light source, making the space beneath the towering sequoias look treacherous and wild. Not much in the way of illumination could trickle all the way down through the tightly-laced branches to ground level; the few streaks of moonlight that had managed to reach us were washed out and thin, managing to seem almost darker than having no light at all. Everything was permeated by the smell of redwood sap and the sea.

We had arrived as a group, May, Jazz, and Quentin packed into the backseat like sardines, me behind the wheel, and Tybalt sitting rigidly next to me. He didn’t really like cars under the best of circumstances. He liked them even less when there were multiple other passengers, since that meant he couldn’t respond to an accident by yanking everyone safely onto the Shadow Roads. Call it a quirk brought on by being several hundred years older than the internal combustion engine.

I had parked the car in the mostly deserted Muir Woods lot, where May, Jazz, and Quentin had promptly gone on ahead, choosing retreat over dealing with my mood. This left Tybalt with the unenviable duty of trying to coax me into a party I had no interest in attending. I don’t like parties. Someone always tries to assassinate someone I actually like, and there are never enough of those little stuffed mushroom caps.

Right: this had gone on long enough. I stopped at the edge of the first trail leading up the slope, digging my heels into the dirt and refusing to be budged. “Nope,” I said. “I said I’d come; I came. These are the woods. I have entered Muir Woods. Now I’m going home. You have fun, I’ll see you when you get back.”

“Once again you underestimate my ability to move you, while simultaneously overestimating your ability not to be moved.” Tybalt caught my wrist, tugging me forward.

I dug my heels in deeper. “You’re the one who’s overestimating things here,” I said. “I don’t want to do this. I told you I didn’t want to do this. I told everyone I didn’t want to do this. Can we just go do something else? See a movie? Go out for a nice dinner? We could go back to the house and watch some BBC Shakespeare. I won’t even smack you for criticizing their pronunciation . . .”

     

 

2011 - 2018