“The Jaguar House, in Shadow” to Asimov’s


This is the bit where I’d go for a liedown were it not early morning here…

I’ve sold “The Jaguar House, in Shadow” to Asimov’s. It’s a novelette set in the Xuya universe (where China discovered America before Colombus, the same as “The Lost Xuyan Bride”, “Butterfly Falling at Dawn” and “Fleeing Tezcatlipoca”, not to mention novel Foreign Ghosts, currently with my agent). It focuses on the Aztecs in Greater Mexica, and the Jaguar Knights, elite spies and manipulators caught in the bloody aftermath of the civil war. Complete with blood sacrifices, crazy priests and hallucinogenic drugs.

The mind wanders, when one takes teonanácatl.

If she allowed herself to think, she’d smell bleach, mingling with the faint, rank smell of blood; she’d see the grooves of the cell, smeared with what might be blood or faeces.

She’d remember–the pain insinuating itself into the marrow of her bones, until it, too, becomes a dull thing, a matter of habit–she’d remember dragging herself upwards when dawn filters through the slit-windows: too tired and wan to offer her blood to Tonatiuh the sun, whispering a prayer that ends up sounding more and more like an apology.

Wrote the first draft of this in Brittany last summer (somewhat amusingly, the previous sale I made to Asimov’s, “The Wind-Blown Man”, was also written in Brittany, so there’s clearly something in the air here). I workshopped this on OWW, where it got very helpful crits from Christine Lucas (silverwerecat), Rachel Gold and Swapna Kishore.

If anyone wants me, I’ll be in the flat, jumping up and down and making incoherent noises.


  1. That’s fantastic! Congratulations!

  2. Nicely done…again!

  3. Thanks, Mary and Jamie!

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