Book: The Living Blood

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The Living Blood

Author: Tananarive Due
Publisher: Atria

Jessica Jacobs-Wolde worked hard to rebuild her life in Miami after the disappearance of her husband, David, and the death of her daughter Kira at his hand. Four years later, she is still coming to terms with a shocking truth: David, who is part of an ancient group of immortals—a hidden African clan that has survived for more than a thousand years—gave Jessica and their second daughter, Fana, the gift of his healing blood.

Now Jessica is running an isolated clinic in Botswana—one that has swiftly earned a reputation for its astounding success rate in curing desperately ill children—and she hopes to find the tribe of souls with whom Fana truly belongs. Just three and a half years old, the girl is displaying signs of tremendous power—conjuring storms, editing her mother’s memories, and striking people down with a thought. Her growing abilities need to be tamed—and soon. Already Fana’s dreams are haunted by a shadowy entity, someone—or something—she can only call the Bee Lady.

Unaware that they are being tracked by Lucas Shepard, a doctor from Florida who hopes to save his dying son, and by a group of fortune hunters who will stop at nothing to exploit the power coursing through her veins, Jessica journeys to Ethiopia in search of the Life Brothers. There, she will be reunited with her immortal beloved. There, the full force of Fana’s powers will be revealed. And there, Jessica, David, Fana, and the good doctor Shepard, though himself a mere mortal, will engage in an epic and transcontinental battle over the ultimate fate of humanity.

Blending the supernatural with a thrilling vision of our times, this is a powerful and sweeping tale of love, horror, immortality, and redemption from an astounding storyteller.


The pantheon of modern horror gods is a small and frighteningly talented group: Stephen King, Anne Rice, Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz—and Tananarive Due. If there is any justice, Due’s exciting, powerful, ambitious, scary, and beautifully written supernatural thriller, The Living Blood, will be the first of a decades-long string of hits that will sell millions.

Jessica Jacobs-Wolde’s life was destroyed when her husband, David Wolde, disappeared after killing both their daughter Kira and Jessica herself—and reviving Jessica to immortality with his healing blood. David was a Life Brother, member of an ancient, secret, and immortal African clan. Now Jessica, hiding with her surviving daughter in rural Botswana, attempts to make sense of her new existence as she uses her altered blood to save the incurably ill. But her daughter Fana was born with the living blood in her veins, and at the age of 3 can raise a storm, kill with a thought, and possess her mother’s mind. The true extent of her abilities is unknown. Jessica’s only hope of teaching Fana to control her dangerous talents is to travel to Ethiopia and find the Life Brothers’ hidden colony. But the Life Brothers despise the new immortals and may possess the knowledge to end even immortal lives. And others, unknown to Jessica, are searching for her and Fana: Lucas Shepard, a Florida doctor driven to desperation by his young son’s untreatable leukemia; ruthless mercenaries in the pay of an aging medical-company executive, who will stop at nothing to gain immortality and the billion-dollar profits that a drug based on the living blood would bring; and a supernatural being or force called the Bee Lady, who stalks Fana in the world of dreams, seeking to possess Fana’s mind and powers for her own evil purposes.

The Living Blood is the sequel to My Soul to Keep, one of the Publishers Weekly Best Novels of the Year in 1997. Due’s historical novel The Black Rose was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award, and her debut novel, The Between, was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award. Due is also coauthor, with Dave Barry, Edna Buchanan, Carl Hiassen, Elmore Leonard, and eight others, of the comic thriller Naked Came the Manatee. —Cynthia Ward

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