**Visit All Things Urban Fantasy today for her Deadly Destination tour of Devon Monk’s Hallelujah, Oregon from Rose Small & a chance to win DEAD IRON**
Today’s Deadly Destination takes us to a magical and dangerous place where nothing is as it seems. Jenna Black’s Dana Hathaway is here to give us a tour of Avalon. Dana’s bewitching journey began with Glimmerglass (read my review HERE) where we were introduced to mischievous Ethan and Faeriewalker mythology. Dana continued her perilous journey in Shadowspell (read my review HERE) where we meet the powerful and sexy Erlking and his murderous Wild Hunt. Dana pulls us back into her world with Sirensong, which was recently released on July 5, 2011. Thanks to Jenna, one of you who comment on this post will win a copy of the book! See details below.
A Visitor’s Guide to Avalon
by Dana Hathaway
When I first came to Avalon, I knew very little about it except that it was an ocean away from my troubled home life. I knew it was situated on a mountain outside of London, and that it was the only place where Faerie and the mortal world intersected; and I knew that magic and technology existed side by side there. But that was about it. (Yes, I should have done more research about a place I was planning to go live, but I’d had other things on my mind at the time.)
A real visitor’s guide to Avalon would be a whole book in itself, so I thought I’d distill the important information into the Ten Things I Wish I’d Known About Avalon Before Moving There.
10. Tea is the state religion of Avalon, and it does its best to convert the heathen (that would be coffee drinkers, like me). The only place I’ve found to get a decent cup of coffee so far is the lone Starbucks. (Yes, they have a Starbucks in Avalon. Also, a Victoria’s Secret.)
9. There’s only one major paved road, spiraling all the way up the side of the mountain. The side streets are mostly cobblestone and are a twisted ankle waiting to happen. I don’t wear heels anyway, but if you do, you should leave them at home. Also, the Fae ride horses, so watch where you’re walking!
8. A typical summer day in Avalon is overcast with scattered rain showers, and it’s a heat wave if the temperature is in the 70’s. Pack warm, and bring an umbrella or rain coat.
7. Avalon seceded from both the UK and Faerie about a hundred years ago and is an independent nation. Despite the fact that it’s located smack dab in the middle of England, Avalon uses euros, and you have to have a passport to cross the border into or out of it.
6. Being an independent nation, Avalon has its very own system of government unlike any other in the world. It’s run by a Council, evenly split between Fae and human, and the highest authority is called the Consul. The Consulship must change hands between Fae and human every ten years. As a visitor, this will have very little effect on you—unless you’re like me and your father is hoping to be elected Consul at the next changeover.
5. The Fae take being snobs to a whole new level. The Sidhe (pronounced Shee) are the aristocracy of the Fae, and they don’t make any secret that they consider all other Fae to be “lesser” beings. They think we humans are rather quaint in our attempts to be egalitarian. My father is Sidhe, and so far my attempts to drag his attitude into the twenty-first century have been miserable failures.
4. As if the general snobbishness weren’t enough, the Fae in Avalon associate themselves with one or the other of the Faerie Courts—the Seelie Court or the Unseelie Court. Technically, they’re not supposed to because Avalon seceded from Faerie, but in reality they do, and they get along even worse than Republicans and Democrats. God forbid a Seelie girl (or, say, the half-human daughter of a Seelie Fae) want to be friends with or—horrors!—date someone Unseelie!
3. Most of Avalon is on the surface, but under the city proper is a vast tunnel system that honeycombs the mountain on which the city is built. Parts of the tunnel system are inhabited, either as actual homes or as commercial districts. But most of the tunnel system is dark and deserted and creepy as hell. If you don’t want to find yourself wandering the pitch black tunnels for the rest of your life, do not go wandering off to explore!
2. The entire city of Avalon is surrounded by a moat, with only four bridges, one at each compass point, leading across. That part, most visitors know, because the moat is kind of hard to miss. What you might not know (what I most definitely didn’t know), is that the border is guarded not just by the water of the moat, but by its inhabitants: Water Witches. Water Witches are Unseelie creatures who live in the moat. They’re vaguely humanoid, but they’re as white as dead fish, have a mouthful of sharklike teeth, and have prehensile hair that acts like tentacles. Stinging tentacles. Trust me, you don’t want to get to know one up close and personal.
1. And the number one Thing I Wish I’d Known About Avalon Before Moving There was that the Council had made a treaty with a Fae known as the Erlking. I didn’t meet him—and had never heard of him and his Wild Hunt—until I’d been living in Avalon for a few weeks. The Erlking is a supernatural hunter who loves to prey on the Fae and on humans. He rides either a massive, heavily armored black horse, or a massive black motorcycle, and he is probably the most gorgeous creature ever to have walked the earth. He’s also very likely the most deadly. He keeps a house in Avalon and comes to visit on a periodic basis, bringing his mute Huntsmen—Fae he’s captured and enslaved—with him. According to his treaty with the Council, he’s not allowed to hurt the residents of Avalon—unless they attack him first. He’s ancient and very, very smart, so he’s really good at getting people to attack him even when they know better.
So now you know most of the stuff I was clueless about when I first came to Avalon. It’s likely much of it will have no effect on you—I’m apparently a trouble-magnet, which is why I learned so many of these fun facts—but at least you know what to look out for. And really, Avalon is a great place! It’s beautiful and magical, and, let’s face it, the Fae are very nice to look at. So don’t let any of this stuff scare you off. Maybe I’m not ready to work for the Avalon Tourist Bureau or anything, but the place is kind of growing on me. I suspect I’ll be living here the rest of my life.
Whether that turns out to be a long time or not is anyone’s guess . . .
Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she’s an “experience junkie.” She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.
Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like 80% of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.
Concluding that this discovery was her life’s work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation. She writes paranormal romance for Tor and urban fantasy for Bantam Dell.
Want to read more from Jenna Black?
This giveaway is provided by Jenna Black
One winner will receive a copy of Sirensong by Jenna Black
Available on July 5, 2011 from St. Martin’s Griffin
About the Book:
When Dana is invited to Faerie to be officially presented at the Seelie Court, it’s no easy decision. After all, everyone knows Titania, the Seelie Queen, wants her dead. But Titania claims not to be the one behind the death threats; and her son, Prince Henry, makes the decision a whole lot easier when he suggests Dana might be arrested for (supposedly) conspiring with her aunt Grace to usurp the Seelie throne. So she and her father better do as they’re told…
The journey through Faerie is long – and treacherous. Dana thought it would be a good idea to have friends along, but her sort-of-boyfriend Ethan and her bodyguard’s son, Keane, just can’t seem to get along, and Kimber’s crush on Keane isn’t making things any easier. When a violent attack separates Dana from their caravan, the sexy Erlking saves her just in the nick of time… and makes it clear that he hasn’t given up on making her his own.
Arriving at Titania’s beautiful palace should be a relief. But Dana is soon implicated in an assassination attempt against Titania’s niece, and is suddenly a fugitive, forced to leave her father behind as she and her friends flee for her lives. Will she be able to prove her innocence before the forces of the Seelie Court catch up with her? Or, worse, the Erlking? And will she save her father before he pays the ultimate price in her stead?
Click HERE to read an excerpt
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