The Second Bell

The Second Bell

3.68 (293 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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To the world you are an abomination; a monster with unholy abilities. You're shunned and left to fend for yourself. Your only chance of survival is to tap into that dark potential - would you do it?

In an isolated mountain community, sometimes a child is born with two hearts. Such a child - a striga - is considered a dangerous demon, which must be abandoned on the edge of the forest to protect the community. The only choice the child's mother can make is whether to leave her home with her infant, or stay behind and try to forget.

Miriat made her choice. She and her nineteen-year-old striga daughter, Salka, now live a life of deprivation and hardship in a remote village, where to follow the impulses of the other heart is forbidden.

But Salka is headstrong and young, and when threatened with losing everything, she is forced to explore the depths of her true nature, testing the bonds between mother and child.

File Under: Fantasy [ Breaking Taboos | Hidden Shadows | Hungry Like the Wolf | Slavic Story ]
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 135 x 216 x 25.4mm | 317.51g
  • Angry Robot
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0857668900
  • 9780857668905
  • 1,320,762

Review quote

"Captivating, provocative and poignant - not to be missed." "This is well worth your time!" "a very personal story you won't be able to stop thinking about long after the tale is told." "enchanting fairy tale with real-world themes." "Houston has gifted us with a folktale that is both mythically resonant and all too human." "This intimate fantasy offers a heartfelt reflection on what it means to be human that is sure to please." "a coming-of-age tale set in a lavishly detailed backdrop drawn from the writer's native Slavic mythology" "A fresh and provocative spin on the Slavic Stiga mythology, The Second Bell is a smart and complex journey into the meaning of family, community, nature and possibility. A gripping read and full of heart." "Fans of mythical yarns and medieval fantasies will enjoy this easy-to-read fable." "A masterful tale." "A claustrophobic but very human tale of bad decisions rather than (totally) bad people."
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About Gabriela Houston

Gabriela was born and raised in Poland, brought up on a diet of mythologies and fairy tales. She spent her summers exploring the woods, foraging and animal tracking with her family. At 19, Gabriela moved to London to study English Literature and obtained a Masters degree in Literatures of Modernity. She has worked as an assistant editor and as a freelance writer. Gabriela's short stories have been selected for the Editor's Choice Review by Bewildering Stories and have been featured on the Ladies of Horror Fiction podcast. She lives in London with her husband and two children.
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Rating details

293 ratings
3.68 out of 5 stars
5 25% (74)
4 33% (97)
3 28% (81)
2 12% (35)
1 2% (6)
Book ratings by Goodreads
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