I ran across the first of Tambo Jones’ (Tamara Siler Jones’) books, Ghosts in the Snow, by chance many years ago and loved it. I bought and read all three books in the series, and then … she disappeared. Happily, she eventually returned to writing, this time with a complex reissue scheme for the same books, but rewritten and broken up in various ways. Essentially, she’s branched the first two books (each broken up into 3-4 installments) into an as published version (the same as the originals) and an alternate version. The third book also branches into published and alternate versions. It sounds easy, but I find it hard to keep track of. Her graphic of the various series is below:
That means, among other things, that each installment (including this first one) is not really a full story.
All that said, the writing in this firsts, previously published installment, is just as strong and compelling as ever. The characters are strong, and Jones has made the inspired choice to have the events happen decades after an epic struggle that is only hinted at. Dubric is an older man – a retired soldier, his wife is dead, and he’s given up on his gods out of bitterness, reserving his love for his clerk Lars and his care for the residents of the castle. I can’t say too much about how well Jones has handled this complex past – it’s intriguing and mysterious, but never gets in the way of the present story about a serial killer loose in the castle.
The installment approach is an interesting one. So far (installment one), it’s working for me, but I already know the story and have faith in the author. There’s no question that the book ends well before the story does, but as an installment, it does end on an intriguing cliffhanger, and has some sense of, if not resolution, a good stopping place.
I’m interested to see how all these alternate versions work out, but I do think it’s a good start, and an easy way in for new readers as well. The original series – the red thread above – is excellent, and well worth reading. I have high hopes for the alternates as well.