Wednesday, August 22, 2018

BLOG TOUR: The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

Welcome to the Official Blog Tour for The Book Of M by Peng Shepherd!!! Today, on our tour stop, we have an exclusive excerpt AND a cool tour-wide giveaway to share! So... Check out all the tour festivities and follow the tour, HERE! Grab your copy now!!!

New Adult 
Science Fiction/Fantasy
Publish Date:
June 5, 2018
William Morrow

Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears too.

Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.

As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure. 


Chapter 4
Orlando Zhang
ORY STARED AT THE WOMAN IN SHOCK. At the weathered hunting rifle swaying gently in her easy, sure grip. The muzzle hovered just south of his sternum.
“You’re too late,” she repeated.
Too late? Too late for what?
"He's gone," another of them said, and spat. 
"He's not gone, he's got a shadow. Look.” The woman pointed at the ground behind Ory with the neck of her gun, like it had always been part of her arm. His shadow was huddled on the grass, a withered shape of terror.
“Too late for what?" Ory finally managed. It had been so long since he’d talked to another person besides Max it felt strange to speak to them, as if he’d forgotten what language was and accidentally made sounds that weren't words. His hunting knife felt pitifully light on his belt now as he cowered.
They all looked between each other, as if trying to decide what he’d had meant by that.
“To join us,” the man next to the woman with the gun said. The smoke from his homemade cigarette was bitter. “No seats left. The group’s already long been set.”
“I—” Ory glanced nervously between them, trying to glean the man’s meaning from their faces.
“Twelve is the most,” he continued. “Only have room for twelve.”
Ory didn’t know what to do. He edged his hands up even higher over his head, trying to show he wasn’t a threat.
The woman in front finally lowered the barrel of her rifle slightly. "You haven't been out much, have you?" She asked.
Ory shook his head. 
They all looked between each other silently again. Ory snuck a glance at the cracked, weathered cool deck where they were gathered. Twelve bodies, four shadows. Four shadows. Ory stared. Four. Shadows.
Finally, they all looked back to the woman at the front, one by one, waiting for her verdict.
"You have anyone?” The woman asked. She was one of the four.
"Yes," he said. "She, uh..." he gestured lamely to his own silhouette.
That seemed to soften them. The wrinkles in the woman’s face deepened, and she brushed the short velvet buzz on her head with the back of her hand. "How long?"
"Seven days.” He tried not to think of how many were left. How many more days that she’d still talk in funny voices when he was upset until he laughed. How many more days that she’d bravely attempt to make meals out of their scant ingredients, even though she was the worst cook they’d both ever met. How many more days that she’d sit in silence with him in the mornings and watch the sun come up through their tiny kitchenette window. He loved those sunrises with her.
“I’m sorry.”
Ory shook his head, refusing to accept the sympathy. Sympathy made things real. “She's very strong. She's only really just started forgetting," he said. He tried not to stare at the group of shadowless at their center. He wanted to ask them what to do. How far gone were they? Did they have rules? How were they making it work? Most of all, how were the ones with shadows not afraid of the ones without? At what they might do at any moment—like the deer, or maybe worse—if they forgot something?
“That’s pretty impressive for seven days," one of the shadowless ones whistled. His blue eyes were unnaturally clear.
"He doesn't even remember which one of us he's related to," a woman next to him joked, and a couple of them laughed. The shadowless man grinned sheepishly. After they quieted, two women with jet black skin muttered, 'tell him already,' to the one with the gun.
"You ought to head south, to New Orleans,” she said at last. "Something's happening there."
"What’s happening?”
"We don't know," she confessed. "But something. Everyone’s heading for it. Arlington's almost emptied out; we’re the last group that we know of. We were waiting for—” she cut off abruptly, but Ory knew the tone. He’d heard it often in the beginning. It was the tone of someone who’d refused to give up a hope they shouldn’t have anymore. "We've heard a lot of stories,” she finally continued. “A lot of names."
Ory thought of the ones he knew. The One with a Middle But No Beginning. The One with No Eyes. The Stillmind. "They're rumors,” he said. “Just a bunch of rumors.”
"But they're all about the same place," the woman replied. “Whatever the names mean, they’re all about someone, or something, in New Orleans. That has to mean something."
That much was true. Whenever one of the names came up, almost always so too did the city. But what it meant, if anything at all—that was the part that mattered to Ory.
The woman cleared her throat. “Besides, we've heard rumors about DC, too. Bad things are happening there. And it’s spreading. We waited as long as we could.”
“Bad things?”
“I don’t know what they are,” she said. “But the few people that have come through here, before they stopped coming altogether, they said it’s bad. And they were saying the same names, and all heading for New Orleans. So that’s what we’re doing, too.”
Ory glanced between the members of her group. He was suddenly keenly aware of how many of them were studying him—his watch, his knife, his pack. Or perhaps they were just looking at his shadow. “You trust what they say?” He asked.
“I’ve been in this complex a long time,” she said. “You learn to watch, not to listen. I’ve ignored what they said and watched what they did. And it’s what I told you—people are leaving. They're coming from Arlington and they’re coming from DC, and they’re all going south, to Louisiana. Something's happening out there."
"If the names are all real, I'm not sure I'd want to go."
The woman shrugged. "Then don't. But I'd rather be running toward than away from something." The others behind her nodded.
Ory tried to read her face for some kind of tell, but the woman looked earnest. She was tired, and too wise to hope for too much, but there was no lie there. Whatever the rumors were, that they existed and that people were heading for New Orleans, at least, was true.
“Then why are you still here?” He asked.
“We aren’t,” she said. She rested the butt of the rifle gently on the cool deck. “We leave today. As soon as this one finishes his goddamn cigarette.”
The smoke trailed out between the tiny gaps in his teeth as the man beside her grinned. “Helps me remember,” he said.
They all waited in the silence as the man exhaled, and put the roll of embers to his lips again. After a last long drag, he pushed the butt into the ground and then placed his shoe slowly over it, snuffing the life out. It was time to go.
“How are you getting there?" Ory asked when they all looked at him again.
"We can't—” she started.
"No, I know. I didn't mean... I just meant, how are you getting there?"
The woman crossed her arms. "We've been saving. There are still cars that run if you look for them. Victor here was an engineer before everything went to shit. He calculated it for us. How much food, water, gas. We want to survive, but we want to travel light. We've been building our group for a year, and have just enough to get the twelve of us there, no more. That's why I said you were too late," she said, an explanation as an apology.
"There are only two of you," the shadowless man with blue eyes said. The wind pushed his pale yellow hair in front of his cold stare for a moment. “You'll travel fast as such a small unit." His face was grimly determined. "Find a car. You'll make it."
"I just..." Ory shook his head. He looked around, at the ground floor unit closest to the pool that had obviously been theirs. There were bicycles propped up against the railings in the back, a grill chained to the wall, clothes hanging to dry. Here they were, sitting around the empty pool in the last warmish sun of the season, smoking cigarettes they had made themselves. It was almost a normal life. "You're leaving all this—you’re going to go out there—for a rumor?"
"We have to," the woman said. She looked at the shadowless man, and they watched each other for a long moment. "Or there won't be anything left anyway."

Copyright © 2018 by Peng Shepherd

Praise for THE BOOK OF M

“A beautiful and haunting story about the power of memory and the necessity of human connection, this book is a post-apocalyptic masterpiece and the one dystopian novel you really need to read this year.” ―Bustle

“I was both disturbed and inspired by Max’s and Ory’s journey through apocalypses large and small. Peng Shepherd has written a prescient, dark fable for the now and for the soon-to-be. The Book of M is our beautiful nightmare shadow.” ―Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World

“The Book of M is exciting, imaginative, unique, and beautiful. Shepherd proves herself not just a writer to watch, but a writer to treasure.” ―Darin Strauss, bestselling author of Half a Life

“Prepare to fall in love with your own shadow. And to lose sleep. Shepherd is urgently good, and has written one of those books that makes you look up at two in the morning, to a world that’s new, newly scary, and freshly appreciated: what all the great stories do.” ―David Lipsky, New York Times bestselling author of Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself and Absolutely American

“A beautifully written existential apocalypse, following everyday people on a search for love, memory and meaning across the richly realized and frighteningly familiar ruins of America.” ―Christopher Brown, author of Tropic of Kansas

“Sheperd’s debut is graceful and riveting, slowly peeling back layers of an intricately constructed and unsettling alternate future.” ―Publishers Weekly

“First-time novelist Shepherd has crafted an engaging and twisty tale about memory’s impact on who or what we become. For aficionados of literary dystopian fiction such as Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven or those who enjoy stories of cross-country travel.” ―Library Journal

“Fans of Station Eleven, listen up!...This one is g-r-e-a-t.” ―Book Riot

“Eerie, dark, and compelling, this will not disappoint lovers of The Passage (2010) and Station Eleven (2014).” ―Booklist

“Brilliant debut... The Book of M is right up there with Station Eleven: achingly beautiful literary novels about a changed world.” ―

“Outstanding and unforgettable...The Book of M is a scary, surprising, sad and sentimental story that will be deeply felt by readers while capturing their imaginations and hearts.” ―BookPage (Top Fiction Pick)

“For fans of Station Eleven, this summer release will have you engulfed from beginning to end.” ―Popsugar

“[Shepherd’s] first novel, The Book of M, tells the fantastic story of ordinary people caught up in a catastrophe in which people lose their shadows — and their memories.” ―Arizona PBS

“Beautifully written, Peng Shepherd delivers an extraordinary story about love, hope, the unquenchable search for answers that may never come, and, ultimately, survival...The characters all have such depth to them that it’s impossible to not become invested in the story, which twists and turns often.” ―

“The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.” ―

“It’s a great setting for a murder, and each of Rader-Day’s prickly millennials feels capable of murder—to say nothing of sleep-deprived, near hysterical Eden. Readers will have fun following the subtle clues.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Reminiscent of books like Stephen King’s The Stand, Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, and Michael Tolkin’s NK3... she keeps the journey interesting, makes us care about her characters, and invites us to think about how we are all the stuff of dreams.” ―Toronto Star

“The Book of M shines consistently, first in the sense of magical wonder that permeates each of its pages, and second, in the emotional depth that Shepherd is able to draw out of her characters... brutal and brilliant in equal measure.” ―The Contemporary Clerk

“Shepherd’s tale pushes the post-apocalyptic story in a new and exciting direction, making readers ponder questions about reality, self-perception and relationships.” ―Shelf Awareness


**About the Author**
Photo Content from Peng Shepherd
Peng Shepherd was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she rode horses and trained in classical ballet. She earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, and has lived in Beijing, London, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York.

The Book of M is her first novel.

Stay connected with Peng Shepherd


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