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Vintage Treasures: Witch Blood by Will Shetterly

Friday, April 13th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Witch Blood Will Shetterly-small Witch Blood Will Shetterly-back-small

Will Shetterly’s first novel Cats Have No Lord was published in 1985, the same year he launched his groundbreaking Liavek shared world anthology series, which he co-edited with his wife Emma Bull. Cats Have No Lord placed sixth in the annual Locus Poll for Best First Novel (losing to Tad Williams, Guy Gavriel Kay, Michael Swanwick, and Carl Sagan, but placing ahead of Geoff Ryman, Judith Tarr, Sheila Finch, and Dan Simmons — man, 1985 was a competitive year!)

Over the next few years Shetterly quickly established a solid reputation, with novels like The Tangled Lands (1989), Nevernever (1993), and especially Dogland (1997), the tale a of child growing up in a dog-themed amusement park. It was inspired by his early years at the Dog Land tourist attraction, which was owned by his parents. His novel Elsewhere (1991), part of Terri Windling’s shared universe The Borderland, won the Minnesota Book Award. He has largely given up writing since producing his last book, Midnight Girl, a self-published online novel, in 2009.

Witch Blood was his second novel; it was released as a paperback original by Ace in April 1986. It has never been reprinted, although Shetterly released a digital edition in 2012. When it was released Orson Scott Card called it “”A funny, exciting adventure story that delighted me from beginning to end.” Modern readers draw strong parallels to Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos novels, which seems like a fair comparison. It’s not hard to find; I bought a copy last weekend at Half Price Books for $1.49. It is 197 pages, with a cover price of $2.95. The cover is by Penalva.

3 Comments »

  1. Yet another title, John, I wasn’t familiar with, although the “Borderland” series brought Will Shetterly to my attention. Your site also alerted me to the “Liavek” books, and in the process of searching for the book you feature here, I found there were more “Liavek” books I’ve overlooked. Ordered those, along with “Witch Blood” and 2 other Shetterly titles. You’re making retirement on a fixed income a little more anxious than I expected. Guess I could give up potato chips and diet pop…

    Comment by smitty59 - April 15, 2018 8:32 am

  2. Thanks for the tip, Smitty! I’ll start stockpiling chips and soda for retirement now (I think I’m good on the paperbacks).

    Comment by John ONeill - April 15, 2018 3:16 pm

  3. hah! This brings back some memories. Mainly because I remember a review of this book in DRAGON magazine back in the day. Also, because I had read CATS HAVE NO LORD (purchased mostly for the cover art)and never connected Shetterly to both books!

    I may have to read this one…

    Comment by Adrian Simmons - April 18, 2018 8:56 pm


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