“You may begin,” Elara said.
“It used to be human,” the coroner said.
Hugh examined the internal organs. Heart, liver, lungs. All the usual suspects. Some of the organs were deformed, but still appeared functional.
“How to explain this,” the coroner began, clearly trying to come up with a dumbed down version. “Umm. Well, to simplify…”
“The orthograde spine,” Hugh told him. “None of the other bipedal vertebrates show the same adaptation. Penguins stand erect but their biomechanics are completely different. The other upright vertebrates, ostriches, kangaroos, and so on, do not exhibit orthograde spine during locomotion. The S curve of the spine with lumbar lordosis is unique to humans. Other primates show C curve.”
He moved his hand to indicate hip. “The examination of the femur will likely indicate large femur head size and valgus angle typical to human.” He moved his hand further to the foot. “Evidence of longitudinal arches. Even though there is partial hallux opposability, the structure of the foot indicates adaptation to bipedal locomotion. There is no reason for a predatory simian animal to exhibit these characteristics.”
“He’s a healer, Malcolm,” Elara said quietly.
“Sorry,” Malcolm said.
“Hallux whatcmacall it?” Bale asked.
“Opposable big toe,” Malcolm translated. “Like in an ape.”
“They’re good climbers,” Cortes said.
Stoyan leaned forward examining the feet. “And good runners. Calluses.”
“Whatever was done to it, was done in childhood,” Malcolm said. “There is no evidence of undeath or atrophy typical to vampires. But the abnormalities in the organs are severe enough that a normal adult human wouldn’t survive the transformation. Unless we’re dealing with some sort of regenerative virus like Lyc-V.”
“Is there any evidence of past regeneration?” Elara asked. “Bands of new tissue on the bones? New teeth?”
“Not in the three we opened up so far. I’ll let you know if we find it.”
“Do you have protocol for handling vampires?” Hugh asked.
Malcolm looked offended. “Yes.”
“Keep to that protocol for them until we know they’re not going to regenerate and rise.”
“We’re not amateurs,” Malcolm said.
“If I thought you were, I’d put my people here to stand guard,” Hugh said.
ooh. i can’t WAIT for this book! and I’m so excited that I can get my paws on it THIS YEAR!!!!! yay! Thank you for the snippet – you just made my day!
*heads off to google “orthograde spine”*
ahahahahahah lol, that’s what I’m gonna do after reading the comments, google some of that medical stuff to get a better visual 😀
this is one of the reasons I love reading books, even if it’s fiction with magic & stuff…you can still learn something, cuz I usually google stuff I do not know about & thus learn smt new ^^
Hooray, hugely excited! ^_^ Thank you (damn you) for these tantalising snippets.
Love that Hugh’s words are as sharp as his sword. This book is going to be fabulous.
Mary Beth says
Oh, I know. I had a few doubts…cause I adore a good villain. Hugh? He’s complex and has room for that rare chance at redemption…but the truth? Redemption scalds. I look forward to seeing how he does. <3
I agree. I’ve placed Hugh firmly in the asshat box. Only the authorlords can intrigue me to want to read about him. Butt I still see in my head, Hugh :two cheeks and red hole.
Diane L says
Love it! Hugh is beginning to starting to become less of an complete ass. LOL Looking forward to reading this one! Thanks for the snippets. 🙂
Sharon A says
Hugh is like Kate. He projects “I’m a crazy badass. I’m a crazy badass” *to a point*, then you get “and I’m smart, too”.
yup, you said it ;p
Well, they *are* practically brother and sister 😉
Going to google a bunch words! Lol thank you!
Now where did I put my college thesaurus…..?
So just out of curiosity, how do you write something like that? Do you call/email a doctor, describe what the thing looks like, and asks them how they’d tell if it used to be human? (In which case, do you give them the whole Kate series to read first so they have the frame of reference?) Or do you Google anatomy, get a basic idea of what you want to get across, then ask the doctor to review it and put it in medical-speak?
I read three scientific papers on the bipedal locomotion in humans, its origins, and differences from primates.
Wow! That is dedication!!!
Patricia Schlorke says
^^ This. This is why your books stand leaps and bounds above most other authors. You take the time to craft your story and back it up with real research, which makes it so much more engaging and “real” to the point that it seems totally plausible we could run into one of these characters in our every day lives. Well you know if tech ever falls. 🙂
I bet you kick ass in the science category in Trivial Pursuit.
That’s your inner scientist. I know you do this kind of research re weapons, fight scenes, folklore, and other stuff, too.
Researchers never forget how to…. BRAVA!
*applauds* And this is why although I may think/talk sometimes about writing a novel, it’s not likely to actually happen. I second Annylem, Susan, et al, with thanks.
I’m not sure what is more exciting and interesting – reading the snippets or reading about how they were crafted! Both are amazingly well done! Thanks!!
I got a massive squee out of being able to completely visualize the body on the table at the first read through – but only because I have a Chiropractic degree and knowing all of those things was part of my education. I then spend several minutes explaining it to my husband while also emphasizing how amazed I was that you had learned all this for the book.
trailing wife says
I’ve had conversations like that. They look at me and see small, motherly housewife — which is absolutely true, but woefully incomplete. Not about anatomy, though, so I have some wonderful things to look up. I do love being stretched unexpectedly. 😀
Angela Beck says
I’m imagining what these creatures must look like, and it’s strangely beautiful.
With snippets like this all I can think is that you guys are amazing authors, and your research for them shows that you work amazingly hard. Thank you for sharing this!
I am really looking forward to this book. 🙂
Patricia Schlorke says
When I clicked on the blog and saw there’s a Hugh snippet I had a huge grin on my face and gushed. 😀
Ok, gushing stopped. Hugh is a conundrum. Yes he’s made, bad, and dangerous, but one smart and sneaky person.
I, too, had conversations where people looked at me, and thought “what does she know?”, continue on with the conversation, look at me, and then I would say something, and the shocked look and stunned silence hits. All I do is smile.
Patricia Schlorke says
Mad not made. Autocorrect stinks!
Salutations from Lebanon,
I recently got into the Kate Books and have been swooning over Hugh for like a long time. YES, I just used the word swoon over Hugh.
My older sister who shares the lower bed deck in our room was asleep when I “discovered” that a Hugh book is in making. I woke her up at 2 am telling her that i was “excited” that Hugh is having a book/story of his own. She told me to stop swooning and go to sleep.
In the morning while heading to work she said ” Hugh is a twisted asshole, but we love him nonetheless, right?”
I giggled and continued dressing up for work as she called me a “creepy”, “scary” and “weird”. Bottomline, I love Hugh and can’t wait for his story. 😛
Love the books, and thank you for the snippets!!! ^_^
Loved the snippet, thank you very much!
Ms. Kim dEBois says
Ditto on comments above regarding hard work you put in to make your characters so real. These are complex 3-dimensional people where you can really see the wheels turning.
Thank you, ,,, <3
Another amazing tidbit and on my birthday. Thank you.
Liz V says
Goes back to a previous blog post you did about how research can be a time suck, but the 2 paragraphs with the anatomy terminology took you what? A day, day and a half of research??
When you’re in the rhythm and turning out words do you just use ‘place-markers’ for things you need to detail research on? I imagine this is a continuation of a previous scene, so is it dialogue, dialogue, dialogue…need anatomy terms …dialogue…?
Anywhos! This is why I love your books, the attention to detail is awesome! If you’re wondering why/how something is in a book you either get a answer or it comes into play later in the series. 🙂
That’s an interesting question, I second it
Kristin L. says
I saw a presentation by Mercedes Lackey once and she talked about writing with her husband, Larry Dixon.
They were working on _Chrome Circle_ and she said that she would be working along, and then she would come to a part where she needed some highly technical car information, so she would type “Car Stuff” and keep on going. Larry would then read over what she wrote, add in the highly technical car stuff and do his edits, additions, etc.
It probably varies for each author/writing team.
Wonderful. Thanks so much
Shannon from Florida says
Curiosier and curiosier! Thanks.
I thought it was interesting that she referred to him as a healer…hard to think of him in that light, even with his amazing healing abilities, when we know what else he is capable of!
Thanks from the bottom of my heart. You wouldn’t believe how off putting some mistakes can make the readers 😉 Alas I still remember the book that mentioned protagonist checking “all 12 bones of the hand” (you have more bones in fingers alone, check it!). I’ve liked how witty and smart she was before that fragment!
I can imagine specialists from other disciplines can find some other things hilarious or maddeningly wrong.
So once again from the bottom of my biological anthropologist’s heart thank you for caring enough to check! Yay!
Carolyn C says
I rejected completely an author who had the hero declining his Latin verbs.
Ouch! So you “declined” to read more. (I couldn’t help it!) Personally, I might allow an author a few errors in a book if I’m enjoying the plot and characters enough, but after something like the flubs above, they’d be on their last chance.
The fingers alone must be at least 14, right, battie (15 counting the base of the thumb that’s down in the hand)? So how could anyone possibly say 12?! But there aren’t a hundred twenty-something, or a hundred something-two in the whole thing, are there? The only (partial) excuse would be if they lost a digit (in the numerical sense!).
It is pretty common for upper level undergraduate anatomy students to have to memorize and be able to label all the bones of the hand, and in that context the phalanges are generally excluded – or, just referred to by number and location. (Common enough to be kind of a rite of passage. I mean, sometimes it’s the bones of the feet – oh hey! I bet they were thinking of the feet!) But… that still leaves thirteen bones in the hand?
Co-signing on the Chiiiiiiii. And adding a squee! ?
Those ‘creatures’ sound like they’d be crazy-bad to meet in a fight and/or ambush. Even worse if they have great night sight too… Can’t wait to see how they fit in to the story!
Fan in California says
Hugh was born to be a healer. It was Roland and Voron who twisted him into a killer. Remember Kate is actually not a “good” guy either, she was also groomed to be a killer and solves many of her problems with murder, we sympathize with her because we know her thoughts and back story. If I met Kate or Hugh (or Curran for that matter) in person I’d cross a busy highway to avoid them! I do love to read about them though and am very much looking forward to the new books.
Thanks for the snippet. Science!
Kate had a conversation with Doolittle about Hugh’s potential. She said Hugh would never be happier than when murdering people, regardless of his healing abilities. Remember how someone said Roland had a great gift, to know just where someone would fit in? And Roland didn’t train Hugh to be a healer.
Hugh uses his healing powers as a tool, remember his carelessness with Ascanio? The body was just a means to get Kate to do what Hugh wanted.
Kate is a character just like Hugh. Her opinions are her opinions based on what Voron told her and her personal experience. They’re not necessarily factual. “Kate said” is not a valid argument for anything, because Kate says a lot of things. Something to keep in mind.
Exactly. We have been thinking of Hugh from the point of view of an enemy. He is also the thing that scares Kate the most because she’s afraid that she might be just like him. Love it.
Thank you Ilona.
I respect Kate and her “personal experience” with him. You wrote Hugh as a villain.
Every villain is a hero of his own story. 🙂
Exactly. And some people can be twisted into something they wouldn’t have been from the beginning if left alone. Roland’s power is phenomenal and completely overpowering and toxic. We know this. Who’s to say what Hugh might have been if he’d grown up in a different situation, where someone wasn’t overwhelming him with power? (Well, that would be the AuthorLords.)
I think when Hugh doesn’t have Roland’s magic anymore, it’s going to be very interesting to see what choices he will start to make.
Character = the choices a person makes when there’s free will. I think Hugh has a fighting chance of being something much more than what Roland made him. 😉
One of the main reasons I love these books is the “fullness” of the characters. All the characters are capable of great violence while also demonstrating empathy, loyalty and love. They make for a rich story and a heck of a good read.
There are some people that (arguably, according to some researchers) would have been psychopaths no matter what, and others which could never become real killers no matter the pressure they were under.
I think probably both Kate and Hugh fit into the majority who are somewhere in between. Kate already said that Voron tried to turn her into a psychopath and failed, not because it wasn’t possible, but because he messed up and gave her multiple examples of affection and selflessness. Roland… probably did a better job.
To be honest, I can’t wait to read about the tragedy in Hugh’s life or his childhood.
Generally speaking, it is easy to mold children into what you desire if you provide them with what they need and if the proper incentives and reinforcements whether positive or negative are present and sufficient. This is a simplistic way to analyse the development of a child’s intellect and character but nonetheless, it has some points of truth.
Somehow, reading the Kate books we are provided with the idea that Hugh was raised to be a tool or a killing machine that thrived under the approval of Voron and Roland (ie positive reinforcement). Thus their early influence on him can’t be disregarded as an important factor of defining his character.
True enough, Kate was raised in a similar manner , but we all know that Kate lost Voron at critical age and was taken in by Greg. She later had to work on her own, which prompted her to develop her own outlook in life. On the other hand, Hugh remained under Roland and rose in ranks until he was the prior’s right hand. This is to say that although he lost Voron, Roland was always in the picture during Hugh’s age of character molding acting as an inspiration, guide, and source of both positive and negative reinforcement.
As such, I do not share Kate’s point of view stating that given the chance, Hugh would have chosen to be a killer because he enjoys it. Hugh is the product of his environment, genetics, interactions, as well as his circumstances.
To cut it short, I believe the story will help us understand Hugh more: Hugh as a person today but as a product of his past, his experiences, as well as his relationship with his people, Voron and Roland. It will for once provide us an unbiased opinion of how he came to be this ruthless person independent of Kate’s prejudice or point of view.
I love Kate and what she stands for, but as a reader, I prefer to better understand the villains in the books I read for they might turn out to be the by product of unfortunate events and factors that lead to who they are today.
** PS: I am a huge fan of Hugh, his character appeals to me for some weird reason
Thanks for the snippet! I always enjoy them ♡
Ms. Kim says
Kate said he was a healer but that he was better and happier with killing. That Prologue snippet did not show him as having any great drive or care about being a healer.
This is just like when Kate opens her mouth and out comes obscure ancient beings and the beliefs that are related to it. Ahhh, I really wanna hate Hugh, but this is making him look better and better. Hmmm.
Damietta Armstrong says
Gotta say, Hugh is looking more and more like that guy who smiles and says “What? I’m not just another pretty face, you know..”
You know, THAT guy, the one you spent your whole senior year trying to figure out how to drown him without getting caught. Or killed.
Soooo goooood. I am ridiculously keen for this book.
what will the title of the book be?
I am pretty sure Ilona told us within the past month via blog. I think it was Iron and Magic for the Hugh book, but I may not remember accurately. Also seemed like the start of a series, but that may just be a greedy false memory on my part.
Can’t wait for this book – I totally want to see how Hugh grows into himself.
Yay Hugh! Smart guys are hot.
That is for sure! I love a smart villain with a hell of a character and great potential 😀 i.e I love Hugh!
That was interesting. I’m starting to get intrigued by the Hugh book.
He may be an @#$%&, but he ain’t no dummy! As an intellectual slightly-a-snob (smart is cool!), it’s definitely a point in his favor with me.
You guys are the only ones who could make me come to love His Furriness, root for Mad Rogan, or want to read Hugh’s story, you realize, don’t you? I’m NOT someone who tends to romanticize arrogant jerks, or say the villain is my favorite character, but you give your characters such depth and personality, they grow on me — though in Hugh’s case, I still (so far) have the urge to add, “like mold”! 😀
And now, I hope my feedback won’t annoy the mighty authorlords – also, I don’t know the contest of the scene, what is the creature the coroner is examining and what is in your universe – but the correctness of Hugh’s statements hinges on what you intend with “human”.
Because biologically speaking, no living primates but Homo sapiens have this characteristics, but plenty of extinct ones had. The post-cranial anatomy of Homo Erectus was already very close to modern humans in all these features, and almost all of them, included lordosis, position of the foramen magnum and (partially) feet arches were already present in Australopithecus Afarensis around 3 million years ago.
Then there are also those ancient remains like Ardipithecus Ramidus that are 4.4 million years old, had already some of these characteristics but had an opposable allux.
So I guess the thing they are examining could be some ancient early Hominin brought back to life with magic.
Apologies for the nerd rant, reading something of yours always makes my day better. 🙂
Oh, I love that! (I had been thinking a bit about the lordosis you see in trained Macaques, but that just shows up in some of the biomechanics research near some of the areas i’ve worked in, and is kind of an odd if longstanding case.)
I wonder about the, um, magical availability of various genomes? I mean, there’s a pretty obvious argument for any mammalian critter (especially any bitey mammalian critter) than co-existed with humans sharing space with humans via Lyc-V, and re-emerging with magic – that seems to be going on. Obviously there’s always the possibility of crazy big magical acts doing who knows what, but I wonder about what other reservoirs might be available without quite so much magical expediture? Of course, that I insist on thinking of it in genetic terms might be a failing in this context.
if curran can be a prehistoric lion, these critters can also be a prehistoric whats-it, right?