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Medicine for the Dead

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Two years ago, the crow-god Marhuk sent his grandson to Sixes. Two nights ago, a stranger picked up his gun and shot him. Two hours ago, the funeral party set out, braving the wastelands to bring home the body of Dulei Marhuk. Out in the wastes, one more corpse should hardly make a difference. But the blighted landscape has been ravaged by drought, twisted by violence, war Two years ago, the crow-god Marhuk sent his grandson to Sixes. Two nights ago, a stranger picked up his gun and shot him. Two hours ago, the funeral party set out, braving the wastelands to bring home the body of Dulei Marhuk. Out in the wastes, one more corpse should hardly make a difference. But the blighted landscape has been ravaged by drought, twisted by violence, warped by magic – no-one is immune. Vuchak struggles to keep the party safe from monsters, marauders, and his own troubled mind. Weisei is being eaten alive by a strange illness. And fearful, guilt-wracked Elim hopes he's only imagining the sounds coming from Dulei's coffin. As supplies dwindle and tensions mount, the desert exacts a terrible price from its pilgrims – one that will be paid with the blood of the living, and the peace of the dead.


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Two years ago, the crow-god Marhuk sent his grandson to Sixes. Two nights ago, a stranger picked up his gun and shot him. Two hours ago, the funeral party set out, braving the wastelands to bring home the body of Dulei Marhuk. Out in the wastes, one more corpse should hardly make a difference. But the blighted landscape has been ravaged by drought, twisted by violence, war Two years ago, the crow-god Marhuk sent his grandson to Sixes. Two nights ago, a stranger picked up his gun and shot him. Two hours ago, the funeral party set out, braving the wastelands to bring home the body of Dulei Marhuk. Out in the wastes, one more corpse should hardly make a difference. But the blighted landscape has been ravaged by drought, twisted by violence, warped by magic – no-one is immune. Vuchak struggles to keep the party safe from monsters, marauders, and his own troubled mind. Weisei is being eaten alive by a strange illness. And fearful, guilt-wracked Elim hopes he's only imagining the sounds coming from Dulei's coffin. As supplies dwindle and tensions mount, the desert exacts a terrible price from its pilgrims – one that will be paid with the blood of the living, and the peace of the dead.

30 review for Medicine for the Dead

  1. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    The first book of the series, One Night in Sixes, was good. It was a dark western with a hard fantasy twist, set in a unique world. This second book is even better. Even though it's been months since I read One Night, I found this very easy to get into... which says something, since the first book overwhelmed me at times with its broad cast. The situation is dire all around, as Elim's night in Sixes has caused many ripples through the community and surrounding desert. He's callously hauled throug The first book of the series, One Night in Sixes, was good. It was a dark western with a hard fantasy twist, set in a unique world. This second book is even better. Even though it's been months since I read One Night, I found this very easy to get into... which says something, since the first book overwhelmed me at times with its broad cast. The situation is dire all around, as Elim's night in Sixes has caused many ripples through the community and surrounding desert. He's callously hauled through the desert by his captors, a parallel to Indians, as they seek to hold him accountable for the death of one of their own. Elim's one comfort is the presence of one of his horses. Thompson knows her horses, and that realism and Elim's connection to equines adds an extra spark. Everything possible goes wrong on their journey. There's a constant sense of tension and dread. The book jumps around to other characters as they endure their own personal hells in a style worthy of George R.R. Martin. Many of them converge at the end in a surprising way--a kind of "Oh, crap!" ending that makes me even more excited to read book three.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laura Maisano

    Medicine for the Dead is, in short, a series of separate journeys where the excrement hits the fan for everyone all in the last part of the book. It continues where Sixes left off to tell us what happens to Elim, Weisei, and Vuchak, as well as several other of the inhabitants of Sixes. Although, thankfully, none of this happens in Sixes so we're not burdened by all the tertiary characters. To be honest, Sixes had me lost at parts because things were not clear (to me). While Tex's beautiful wordsm Medicine for the Dead is, in short, a series of separate journeys where the excrement hits the fan for everyone all in the last part of the book. It continues where Sixes left off to tell us what happens to Elim, Weisei, and Vuchak, as well as several other of the inhabitants of Sixes. Although, thankfully, none of this happens in Sixes so we're not burdened by all the tertiary characters. To be honest, Sixes had me lost at parts because things were not clear (to me). While Tex's beautiful wordsmithing is mesmerizing, it takes effort to unpack the true meaning sometimes. Heck, she speaks in metaphor in real life, so I shouldn't expect differently in text. BUT, listen to the but guys, Medicine doesn't suffer from that little bit of confusion. In fact, it cleared up all the confusion I had at the end of Sixes. Part of me wishes I had understood all that was going down with Sil and the natives back then, but the revelations now made me go "whoah." Medicine streamlines all the great stuff about Sixes into a few different character POVs and packs a mean punch. I had a great deal of feels toward the end, and the revelations in the last few pages made me want book three like yesterday. I seriously read this 450 page book in two days, and I have a three-year-old. Let that sink in. Medicine moves fast, the pacing is spot on, and there's a lot of action/fear/danger/tension keeping the pages turning. Each separate journey has stuff going for it, and when they converge together, you read faster and faster. I still want an audio revision with Nathan Fillion doing Mal Reynolds and reading in his westerny awesomeness. Now, the best thing about this book. Fishmen. Yes, the fishmen. Tex creates this interesting and unique race and I just want to read more scenes with them in it. They're alien enough to be different, but similar enough to empathize with. They change skin color like squids, talk with their hands, speak a quasi-French language, and eat meals in massive feeding frenzy competitions. Who wouldn't like that? I'm beginning to ramble because I loved the book so much. So, long story short. If you're having a little difficulty with Sixes, stick through it. The payoff is worth it. I asked for more magic and weird, and I got a LOT more magic and an unparalleled amount of weird. I'd say to be careful what you ask for, except that I'm happy with what I got.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Stenger

    This book was so great. I loved the first one, and this built on everything from One Night In Sixes and left me desperate for the end of the trilogy, which isn't even out until the end of the year. The absolute coolest thing about this book was the way I immediately wanted to reread Sixes when I finished it. Tex doles out the information about her world in just-right dollops, and I learned so much about the characters and the peoples of the setting that I wanted to go back with all the new info I This book was so great. I loved the first one, and this built on everything from One Night In Sixes and left me desperate for the end of the trilogy, which isn't even out until the end of the year. The absolute coolest thing about this book was the way I immediately wanted to reread Sixes when I finished it. Tex doles out the information about her world in just-right dollops, and I learned so much about the characters and the peoples of the setting that I wanted to go back with all the new info I now have, to pick up on the layers of intrigue and politics that I didn't fully grasp the first time. If you're a fantasy fan and you enjoy books that reward careful reading and consideration, definitely try this series.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Loved it! All my doubts from the first book in the series have been completely swept away. I could barely put this down and when I did, I'd find myself having imaginary conversations with the characters! It's going to be a LONG wait for the next part!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brian Tracey

    Arianne "Tex" Thompson serves up another treacherous adventure for Appaloosa Elim as he along with the rest of Dulei Marhuk's funeral party trek across the wastelands and confront all kinds of unpleasantness with the goal of returning the body of the slain prince of the a'Krah home.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Vidya

    Soooo..... The third book comes out when?

  7. 4 out of 5

    M.E. Kinkade

    I hesitated to pick this book up because I struggled so much with the cultural and language references in the first. That was a huge mistake--I enjoyed Medicine For The Dead much much more. For one thing, all the characters have been introduced, but now there are fewer people so there is plenty more time to settle in and really get to know folks, and this is where Tex shines. Through moments and peeks and confusion, she highlights the differences between cultures, people, and expectations, the na I hesitated to pick this book up because I struggled so much with the cultural and language references in the first. That was a huge mistake--I enjoyed Medicine For The Dead much much more. For one thing, all the characters have been introduced, but now there are fewer people so there is plenty more time to settle in and really get to know folks, and this is where Tex shines. Through moments and peeks and confusion, she highlights the differences between cultures, people, and expectations, the narrative only clear to the reader but hopelessly tangled for the characters themselves. It's a traveling book, but it is also a book where we finally get the magical payoffs that were only hinted at in book 1. Here is a melange of powers, and each incites a different reaction. More than anything, though, I was struck by the way things just. kept. getting. worse. Just as I found myself feeling like ok, they're going to make it, Thompson would come out with another shocker. You certainly can't get too at ease in this tale.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    4 1/2 stars - This was a rich and meaty read and it was well-paced and continued to delve into the many layers of the world Tex Thompson has built, in addition to bringing the characters much more to life than in the first novel. It does build on characters and information from One Night in Sixes, and I'd say you really need to have read that book to enjoy this one to the fullest. I did not want to put this book down, and it was annoying that real life made me do so at times! It's still got enou 4 1/2 stars - This was a rich and meaty read and it was well-paced and continued to delve into the many layers of the world Tex Thompson has built, in addition to bringing the characters much more to life than in the first novel. It does build on characters and information from One Night in Sixes, and I'd say you really need to have read that book to enjoy this one to the fullest. I did not want to put this book down, and it was annoying that real life made me do so at times! It's still got enough nuances that I had to be a picky reader, because I didn't want to miss even the minor points. The series is also quite different from most of what's out there, and I had to pay attention because it doesn't rely on my knowledge of common tropes. But that was a good thing, because there is so much here and it's not standard fare at all. The book is well-written, the characters are unique, the cultures are different, the fantasy is unexpected and unusual, and yet it makes sense and hangs together as a world. My compliments to the author.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joyce Reynolds-Ward

    Definitely a case where the second book is better than the first. Still pretty intense, still pretty much a book you want to read slowly and carefully because of the way things are twisted around each other.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Thomason

    I enjoyed this so much more than the first book. Since the character details are fairly established before starting this book, I felt familiar enough with the world to enjoy a more comfortable read. As with the first book, Thompson's descriptions and writing really drew me in. I love the twists with the languages and cultures; there is this familiar ring to them yet they are so foreign to our world. So, if I loved this so much, why only four stars? The ending. I know that this is a series and th I enjoyed this so much more than the first book. Since the character details are fairly established before starting this book, I felt familiar enough with the world to enjoy a more comfortable read. As with the first book, Thompson's descriptions and writing really drew me in. I love the twists with the languages and cultures; there is this familiar ring to them yet they are so foreign to our world. So, if I loved this so much, why only four stars? The ending. I know that this is a series and that there must be action to drive the story forward. I get that. I want that. Sort of. I DO want some ends tied up at the end of each section in the series, though. I feel like the next book is the seamless continuation of the second book. If plot were threads, the end of this book looks like it is carrying streamers for a parade. Most people love that, but I am too impatient, I guess. I want to gain some small measure of closure to some point of curiosity before I journey forward to more action. Thus ensues my love /hate relationship with this series. I am interested, I enjoy the read, but never truly enjoy a good ending, completion, or full understanding until somewhere into the next book. So, up until the end, four stars. ;) If you like dark fantasy, westerns, and esp. the combo of the two, keep on trucking. It is worth a read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Brett

    Having fallen in love with the first book in this series, "One Night In Sixes", with its well-drawn characters, its compact plot, and with Thompson's evocative writing style, I was naturally anxious to see what would happen when "Medicine for the Dead" was released. How would it stack up against its predecessor? Well, as it happens, it is every bit as brilliant. Thompson continues to build on and expand her wonderful and varied world and its clashing of cultures. Her series thus far is really a m Having fallen in love with the first book in this series, "One Night In Sixes", with its well-drawn characters, its compact plot, and with Thompson's evocative writing style, I was naturally anxious to see what would happen when "Medicine for the Dead" was released. How would it stack up against its predecessor? Well, as it happens, it is every bit as brilliant. Thompson continues to build on and expand her wonderful and varied world and its clashing of cultures. Her series thus far is really a masterpiece of world-building, with distinct societies, rituals, and modes of thought, each of which rings so very true. I can't get over how amazingly well Thompson has put this society together. I also just loved to death the novel's wonderful steady pace, the different groups of characters on their different-yet-similar quests moving ever forward and ever towards some kind of common destiny and ultimate reckoning. Most of all, Thompson has done such a great job of holding up a fantastical mirror to existing cultures of the American frontier and to the tropes of the Western, that even as you read about acts of magic, and about people interacting intimately with gods, something about what you're reading seems very, very happily familiar. What a ride the whole novel is!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    I'll skip doing a review for book one (One Night in Sixes) of this series because while it was good, it wasn't great. It threw you into the deep end of what is clearly a well-established world in the mind of the author, a sort of otherworldly Old West filled with all the trappings of the genre, but with weird, almost alien tribes in place of the Native Americans that normally populate Westerns. All told, the ultimately quite straightforward story of a man accidentally killing another was complic I'll skip doing a review for book one (One Night in Sixes) of this series because while it was good, it wasn't great. It threw you into the deep end of what is clearly a well-established world in the mind of the author, a sort of otherworldly Old West filled with all the trappings of the genre, but with weird, almost alien tribes in place of the Native Americans that normally populate Westerns. All told, the ultimately quite straightforward story of a man accidentally killing another was complicated with a ton of details that maybe didn't quite settle. This book takes all those trappings, all those details and makes them work. Based around a single trip across an arid desert where the victim's keeper must escort his killer to their homeland to be judged, everything comes together. All the traditions, rituals and languages make sense, the action, the motivations, the reactions, everything works. Despite the fact that nothing much happens in the grand scheme of things, the little things are really interesting. I can't wait to see where this goes.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Russ Linton

    This won't be one of my typical reviews. In fact, it won't be much of a review as these things are now commonly known. The internet is full of critics and writers so I'll leave all the prose and plot structure and whatever other 5 dollar words to that growing horde. But here's what matters: this is a damn fine book. It does what fantasy should do - create a world that makes you want to know more. That makes you want to visit. A world that is so breathtakingly detailed you feel like you can step This won't be one of my typical reviews. In fact, it won't be much of a review as these things are now commonly known. The internet is full of critics and writers so I'll leave all the prose and plot structure and whatever other 5 dollar words to that growing horde. But here's what matters: this is a damn fine book. It does what fantasy should do - create a world that makes you want to know more. That makes you want to visit. A world that is so breathtakingly detailed you feel like you can step right onto the page and find yourself part of it. I can tell that Tex cares that you, the reader, feel this way. There's nothing here added to satisfy political groups, marketing experts, or even the writer's own ego. Everything has its place because that's what the world demanded. And to top things off, this one is even better than the last. Can't wait to see what book three has in store.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Eric Fischl

    Excellent follow-up to "One Night in Sixes" ... Tex Thompson has really built a world with depth and weight. There is a lot going on here but it doesn't feel ponderous, just the sense that the characters are proceeding through a real environment, with believable motivation. Great stuff.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sherry

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jan

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Hanniver

  19. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Bensen

  20. 5 out of 5

    Merlin Wilson

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ewan Macdonald

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maren Anderson

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Lenhardt

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Noel

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sabur76

  27. 4 out of 5

    J.R. Forasteros

  28. 4 out of 5

    TheFavorista

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Reibenspies

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Baker

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