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Publisher's Summary

A book that some would kill for.

Black market courier Rowena Downshire is doing everything she can to stay off the streets and earn enough to pay her mother's way to freedom. But an urgent and unexpected delivery leads her face to face with a creature out of nightmares. The Alchemist knows things few men have lived to tell about, but when a frightened and empty-handed courier shows up on his doorstep he knows better than to turn her away. What he discovers leads him to ask for help from the last man he wants to see - the former mercenary, Anselm Meteron.

Reverend Phillip Chalmers awakes in a cell, bloodied and bruised, facing a creature twice his size. Translating a stolen book that writes itself may be his only hope for survival; however, he soon learns the text may have been written by the Creator himself, tracking the nine human subjects of his Grand Experiment. In the wrong hands, it could mean the end of humanity.

This unlikely team must try to keep the book from those who would misuse it. But how can they be sure who the enemy is when they can barely trust each other? And what will happen to them when it reveals a secret no human was meant to know?

©2017 Tracy Townsend (P)2017 Recorded Books

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What listeners say about The Nine

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful and compelling fantasy caper

I sat in my driveway outside of my kids’ daycare finishing the third chapter of this book and couldn’t stop listening to it because the plot has such a fast, suspenseful drive. But what really drew me in was the tenderness that Townsend brings to her characters. She writes such dark and complicated characters with so much love. Listening as these strange, damaged people come together and save each other in so many different ways is just beautiful.

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Awesome

The Nine doesn’t sit comfortably in any singular genre. Rather, it reshapes various fantasy subgenres in an engrossing tale that takes place in an alternate universe.

Imagine a world where Science has become a religion. God the Experimentor maintains life as an experiment. He continually reevaluates his experiment by observing the way The Nine (randomly chosen human beings whose names remain unknown to anyone but God) live their lives. Some factions and creatures want humankind to fail God’s trial.

Thirteen-year-old underworld courier Rowena Downshire loses a book that writes itself to a creature called Aiganamuxa. Afraid of her brutal patron Ivor, she chooses to report the theft to book recipient – infamous and dreadful Alchemist. Accompanied by Alchemist old friend/foe of dubious morality – Anselm – they’re thrown into a dangerous quest. They become the target of conspirators who seek to use the book for their own ends.

The Nine hooked me from page one. Mix of imaginative secondary world, vulnerable and relatable characters and a layered plot was hard to resist. While I consider myself atheist, I’m fascinated by religions and the way Tracy Townsend touches the subject is interesting and intelligent. It gives plenty of space for spinning and reassessing ecclesiastical theories. Religion, though, is just one side of the story focused on character arcs. The idea of creation being an ongoing experiment is fun, but the book focus lies elsewhere. Don’t expect it to be a philosophical treatise; it’s a fascinating adventure tale that touches more serious issues.

The journey we’re taken on seems well-conceived. Parts of the plot intertwine in surprising ways, and some twists are genuinely surprising. All ideas presented in the book come together in elegant ways. The world is admirably dark, filled with people struggling to survive in poorly lit alleys. Given that Rowena’s mother is enclosed in debtors jails and our protagonist tries to repay her debt, the story has some Dickens vibe to it.

Apart from humans, there are two other races in the city – anatomically impossible aigamuxa with eyes in the soles of their feet and Lanyani – kind of living trees that enjoy feeding on human bodies.

Characters presented in the book are well portrayed. Rowena is stubborn, loyal and fierce. The Alchemist POV is introduced later in the book, so while we observe him through other characters eyes, he seems reserved and sullen. On the other hand, we see enough to acknowledge that underneath grumpy appearance, he’s a good guy with a big heart. There’s also Anselm. Anselm is cool. He’s cold and cynic ex-mercenary who enjoys his decadent retirement. He describes himself as a villain with a penchant for self-aggrandisement and a portfolio of maladjusted habits. At one time he states:

Turpitude is my problem, not degeneracy. A law-abiding life was out of the question from the start.


Also, interactions between the three characters are done very well. There’s another character I liked a lot that, sadly, was killed by Tracy Townsend. After her r/fantasy AMA I thought she was a nice person but, clearly, I was wrong. Killing cool characters is uncool, you know.

If you look for intelligent, well-plotted book that mashes political intrigues, conspiracies, heists, found family, steam- and clockpunk stylings, redemption arcs, interspecies conflict and grey morality, you can stop right now. This is it. Do yourself a favour and grab a copy.

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Wow! I am so in!!!

This world. These characters. The voice acting. I’m glad I got on the band wagon when a sequel is already out. I just hope Tracy Townsend continues this series and just keeps writing!

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awesome scifi story

love the language and the other world created! I cant wait for the next one!

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SLOW going

I didn’t like how slow the buildup was! And then the end seemed rushed. I liked the world more than liked most of the characters which is why I kept going.