The Tufa Novels

The Hum and the Shiver

CLICK HERE to download the first chapter of The Hum and the Shiver. 

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.  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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Named one of the Best Fiction Books of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews.

Publishers Weekly: “The slowly unfolding mystery of the Tufa is a fascinating and absorbing masterpiece of world-building.”

Kirkus Reviews: “This powerful, character-driven drama, set forth in superbly lucid prose, occurs against an utterly convincing backdrop and owns complications enough to keep everybody compulsively turning the pages.  A sheer delight.”

Library Journal: “With a deep love for the mountains embedded in his language, the author of the Eddie LaCrosse fantasy detective series (Burn Me Deadly) crafts a deceptively simple story of family and community, laced throughout with the music and beliefs of a magical reality. Elegantly told.”

Wall Street Journal: “A rustic version of ‘urban fantasy,’ with its suggestion that there’s mystery just around the corner, hidden behind even the dullest small-town façade.”

Patrick Rothfuss, NYT Bestselling Author: “Imagine a book somewhere between ‘American Gods’ and Faulkner. Not the bullshit ‘The Sound and the Fury’ Faulkner, I’m talking about one of his good, solid short stories…In brief: a good book. Absolutely worth your time.”

Locus:A strong tale whose heroine is just one of several major characters forced to (re)discover their own essential strangeness, and to put it to use in troubling situations.”

Wisp of a Thing

CLICK HERE to download the first chapter of Wisp of a Thing.

Alex Bledsoe’s The Hum and the Shiver was named one of the Best Fiction Books of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews.  Now Bledsoe returns to the isolated ridges and hollows of the Smokey Mountains to spin an equally enchanting tale of music and magic older than the hills . . . .

Wisp_comp_revTouched by a very public tragedy, musician Rob Quillen comes to Cloud County, Tennessee in search of a song, said to be carved in stone, that might ease his aching heart.  All he knows of the mysterious and reclusive Tufa is what he has read on the internet: that they are an enigmatic clan of swarthy, black-haired mountain people whose historical roots are lost in myth and controversy.  Some people say that when the first white settlers came to the Appalachians centuries ago, they found the Tufa already there. Others hint that Tufa blood brings special gifts.

Rob finds both music and mystery in the mountains. Close-lipped locals guard their secrets, even as Rob gets caught up in a subtle power struggle he can’t begin to comprehend.  A vacationing wife goes missing, raising suspicions of foul play. And a strange feral girl runs wild in the woods, howling in the night like a lost spirit.

Change is coming to Cloud County, and only the night wind knows what part Rob will play when the last leaf falls from the Widow’s Tree . . . and a timeless curse must be broken at last.

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Seanan McGuire, NYT bestselling author: “Beautifully written, surprisingly moving, and unexpected in the best of ways, Wisp of a Thing  fulfills and expands upon the promise of The Hum and The Shiver.

Publishers Weekly: “Set in the same world as The Hum and the Shiver, this stand-alone novel feels more heartfelt and is written with a lighter touch, fulfilling all of the first book’s early promise and hitting the sweet spot between glossy and gritty.”

Kirkus (Starred Review): “This beautifully handled drama of Appalachian music and magic once again comes complete with fascinating characters, a persuasive setting and intriguing complications. Bledsoe’s on a roll.”

Booklist: “Bledsoe relies on the slow accumulation of tantalizing hints to give the reader a sense of something going on in the space between the words on the page. A chilling mix of fantasy, realism, and a touch of horror.”

Lisa Germano, critically acclaimed singer-songwriter: “I loved it…read right through it and didn’t like to put it down.”

Long Black Curl

51Za21AkflLCLICK HERE to download the first chapter of Long Black Curl.

Alex Bledsoe’s The Hum and the Shiver was named one of the Best Fiction Books of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews.  Now Bledsoe returns to the isolated ridges and hollows of the Smokey Mountains to spin an equally enchanting tale of music and magic older than the hills . . . .

In all the time the Tufa have existed, only two have ever been exiled: Bo-Kate Wisby and her lover, Jefferson Powell. They were cast out, stripped of their ability to make music, and cursed to never be able to find their way back to Needsville. But somehow Bo-Kate has found her way back and intends to take over both tribes. Her secret weapon is a rockabilly singer known as the ”Hillbilly Hercules” for his immense size and strength — and he is ready to take revenge on any Tufa he finds. The only one who can stop Bo-Kate is Jefferson Powell. Released from the curse and summoned back to Cloud County, even he isn’t sure what will happen when they finally meet again.

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Legendary Fantasy Author Charles de Lint: “Reading Long Black Curl makes me so happy that there are authors writing real North American-based mythic fiction: stories that incorporate the Americas where many of us live, infusing them with their own folklore and mythology-one that sits so well it feels like it’s always been a part of us.”

RT Book Reviews: “Long Black Curl is an intricate and multifaceted story. It’s no secret that music stirs the soul, and combining that with a folk-tale setting makes a deeply heart-rending novel. While this is third in the Tufa series, new readers will be more than able to enjoy the story, and fans will especially appreciate the progression of characters and events.”

Fantasy Literature: “Long Black Curl is an emotional story full of hate, jealousy, revenge, and tragedy. It borders on horror. There is beauty, though, whenever music is present.”

Chapel of Ease


CLICK HERE to download the first chapter of Chapel of Ease.

Chapel finalThe latest installment in Alex Bledsoe’s critically-acclaimed Tufa series that Kirkus Reviews calls “powerful, character-driven drama…a sheer delight.” (starred review)

When Matt Johanssen, a young New York actor, auditions for “Chapel of Ease,” an off-Broadway musical, he is instantly charmed by Ray Parrish, the show’s writer and composer. They soon become friends; Matt learns that Ray’s people call themselves the Tufa and that the musical is based on the history of his isolated home town. But there is one question in the show’s script that Ray refuses to answer: what is buried in the ruins of the chapel of ease?

As opening night approaches, strange things begin to happen. A dreadlocked girl follows Ray and spies on him. At the press preview, a strange Tufa woman warns him to stop the show. Then, as the rave reviews arrive, Ray dies in his sleep.

Matt and the cast are distraught, but there’s no question of shutting down: the run quickly sells out. They postpone opening night for a week and Matt volunteers to take Ray’s ashes back to Needsville. He also hopes, while he’s there, to find out more of the real story behind the play and discover the secret that Ray took to his grave.

Matt’s journey into the haunting Appalachian mountains of Cloud County sets him on a dangerous path, where some secrets deserve to stay buried.

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Publishers Weekly:  “With his subtle, character-driven approach, Bledsoe skillfully fuses music, legend, and regional atmosphere to create something that feels like an unexplored corner of American mythology.” 

Library Journal:  “The novel reads like two very different (although complementary) stories, with the first third giving an intimate look at the theater scene before the action moves to Tennessee. ­A same-sex romance between ­Matt and Ray’s childhood friend C.C. adds emotional weight to another great entry in this series, which is always effectively subtle in how it employs the supernatural, with music central to the magic of the Tufa.”