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To Say Nothing of the Dog

Cover of To Say Nothing of the Dog

To Say Nothing of the Dog

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From Connie Willis, winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, comes a comedic romp through an unpredictable world of mystery, love, and time travel...

Ned Henry is badly in need of a rest. He's been shuttling between the 21st century and the 1940s searching for a Victorian atrocity called the bishop's bird stump. It's part of a project to restore the famed Coventry Cathedral, destroyed in a Nazi air raid over a hundred years earlier.

But then Verity Kindle, a fellow time traveler, inadvertently brings back something from the past. Now Ned must jump back to the Victorian era to help Verity put things right--not only to save the project but to prevent altering history itself.

From the Paperback edition.

From Connie Willis, winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, comes a comedic romp through an unpredictable world of mystery, love, and time travel...

Ned Henry is badly in need of a rest. He's been shuttling between the 21st century and the 1940s searching for a Victorian atrocity called the bishop's bird stump. It's part of a project to restore the famed Coventry Cathedral, destroyed in a Nazi air raid over a hundred years earlier.

But then Verity Kindle, a fellow time traveler, inadvertently brings back something from the past. Now Ned must jump back to the Victorian era to help Verity put things right--not only to save the project but to prevent altering history itself.

From the Paperback edition.

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    "We must join hands," the Count said to Tossie, taking her hand in his. "Like this....""Yes, yes, we must all join hands," Mrs. Mering said. "Why, Madame Iritosky!"

    Madame Iritosky was standing in the doorway, draped in a flowing purple robe with wide sleeves. "I have been summoned by the spirits to serve as your guide this evening in the parting of the veil." She touched the back of her hand to her forehead. "It is my duty, no matter what the cost to me."

    "How wonderful!" Mrs. Mering said. "Do come sit down. Baine, pull up a chair for Madame Iritosky."

    "No, no," Madame Iritosky said, indicating Professor Peddick's chair. "It is here that the teleplasmic vibrations converge." Professor Peddick obligingly changed chairs.

    At least she hadn't sat down next to Verity, but she was next to Count de Vecchio, which meant she'd have one hand free. And next to me, which meant I was going to have an even harder time lifting tables.

    "There is too much light," she said. "There must be dark--" She looked round the parlor. "Where is my cabinet?"

    "Yes, Baine," Mrs. Mering said. "I told you to put it in here."

    "Yes, madam," he said bowing. "One of the doors was broken, so that it would not lock properly, and I removed it to the kitchen for repairs. I have repaired it. Would you like me to bring it in now?"

    "No!" Madame Iritosky said. "That will not be necessary."

    "As you wish," Baine said.

    "I feel that there will not be manifestations tonight," she said. "The spirits wish to speak to us only. Join hands," she ordered, draping her voluminous purple sleeves over the table.

    I grabbed her right hand and grasped it firmly.

    "No!" she said, wrenching it away. "Lightly."

    "So sorry," I said. "I'm new at this sort of thing."

    She laid her hand back in mine. "Baine, turn down the lights," she said. "The spirits can only come to us in candlelight. Bring a candle. Here." She indicated a flower-stand near her elbow.

    Baine lit the candle and turned the lights down.

    "Do not turn the lights up on any account," she ordered. "Or attempt to touch the spirits or the medium. It could be dangerous."

    Tossie giggled, and Madame Iritosky began to cough. Her hand let go of mine. I took the opportunity to extend the wires from my wrists and hook them under the table.

    "I beg your pardon. My throat," Madame Iritosky said, and slipped her hand in mine again. And if Baine had turned up the lights, it would have been dangerous, all right. I would have bet anything it would have revealed Count de Vecchio's hand in mine. Not to mention my own hanky-panky.

    There was a faint rustling on my right. Verity, moving her garter into position.

    "I've never been at a seance before," I said loudly to cover it. "We shan't hear bad news, shall we?"

    "The spirits speak as they will," Madame Iritosky said.

    "Isn't this exciting?" Mrs. Mering said.

    "Silence," Madame Iritosky said in a sepulchral tone. "Spirits, we call you from the Other Side. Come to us and tell us of our fate."

    The candle blew out.

    Mrs. Mering screamed.

    "Silence," Madame Iritosky said. "They are coming."

    There was a long pause during which several people coughed, and then Verity kicked me on the shin. I let go of her hand and reached onto my lap, and lifted the lid off the basket.

    "I felt something," Verity said, which wasn't true, because Princess Arjumand was brushing against my legs.

    "I felt it, too," the Reverend Mr. Arbitage said after a moment. "It was like a cold wind."

    "Oh!" Tossie said. "I felt it just...

About the Author-
  • Connie Willis has won six Nebula and Six Hugo Awards (more than any other science fiction writer) and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for her first novel, Lincoln's Dreams. Her novel Doomsday Book won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards, and her first short-story collection, Fire Watch, was a New York Times Notable Book. Her other works include Bellwether, Impossible Things, Remake, and Uncharted Territory. Ms. Willis lives in Greeley, Colorado, with her family.

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