Home > Be the Serpent (October Daye #16)

Be the Serpent (October Daye #16)
Author: Seanan McGuire




All right: here we go again. It’s been sixteen books, and we’re getting to another of the events that’s been planned since the beginning, thus proving that a) sometimes playing a very long game works out in your favor, and b) I have absolutely no chill when it comes to plot and pacing. I am overjoyed that we’re finally here. I can’t wait for you to see what’s in store.

   There’s no point in writing a book if no one’s going to read it, and so the fact that you’re all still here—or just now joining us for the first time, depending—is a constant honor and delight. Thank you for coming with me on this weird, twisty, seemingly endless journey into the depths of Faerie. Like the two books before it, Be the Serpent was composed and completed during a near-universal lockdown, and the escape it provided me has been invaluable. I hope that it can do the same for you.

   Big and ongoing thanks to the people who have been here for me every step along the way, including my D&D parties, all of whom are very good about my insistence on only playing Tiefling magic-users, the Machete Squad, the entire team at DAW Books, and my agent, Diana Fox, who has continued to go above and beyond all expectations in making sure that Toby’s adventures continue not only to be written, but to make sense to people outside my head. This is not always the easiest of tasks!

   Thank you to my entire convention support swarm, for coming together for the first time in two years to make Worldcon in DC a wonderful experience for all involved; to Vixy, who stands up against an onslaught of email with compassion and grace; to Manda, for making sure I eat even when everything but salad is just too much trouble; and to Wish, for keeping me from climbing the walls and crying out of isolation. Thanks to everyone who has played Dungeons & Dragons with me during these days of awkward Zoom games and virtual dice, and to Shivam, who has welcomed me back to the Magic the Gathering community with all the warmth I could have hoped for. Thanks to Shawn and Jay and Tea, to Phil and Mars and a whole list of people, all of whom I adore utterly.

   My editor, Sheila Gilbert, makes so many things possible, as does the patient work of Joshua Starr, who emails me to nag when I let things slip. Diana Fox has discovered the ability to Discord message me at midnight, while I continue to love Chris McGrath’s covers beyond all reason. All four of my cats are doing well: Elsie, Thomas, Verity, and Megara thrive on my being home constantly, and finally believe that they’re getting as many Rocking Lobster cat treats as they properly deserve. Finally, thank you to my pit crew: Christopher Mangum, Tara O’Shea, and Kate Secor.

   My soundtrack while writing Be the Serpent consisted mostly of ruin, The Horror and the Wild, and Love Run by the Amazing Devil, endless live concert recordings of the Counting Crows, and the soundtrack to the Beetlejuice musical. Any errors in this book are entirely my own. The errors that aren’t here are the ones all the people listed above helped me fix.

   Now let’s go. There are questions to be answered, and problems to be solved, and time is shorter than you think it is . . .





   All pronunciations are given strictly phonetically. This only covers races explicitly named in the first sixteen books, omitting Undersea races not appearing or mentioned in the current volume.


        Adhene: aad-heene. Plural is “Adhene.”

    Aes Sidhe: eys shee. Plural is “Aes Sidhe.”

    Afanc: ah-fank. Plural is “Afanc.”

    Annwn: ah-noon. No plural exists.

    Arkan sonney: are-can saw-ney. Plural is “arkan sonney.”

    Bannick: ban-nick. Plural is “Bannicks.”

    Baobhan Sith: baa-vaan shee. Plural is “Baobhan Sith,” diminutive is “Baobhan.”

    Barghest: bar-guy-st. Plural is “Barghests.”

    Blodynbryd: blow-din-brid. Plural is “Blodynbryds.”

    Cait Sidhe: kay-th shee. Plural is “Cait Sidhe.”

    Candela: can-dee-la. Plural is “Candela.”

    Coblynau: cob-lee-now. Plural is “Coblynau.”

    Cu Sidhe: coo shee. Plural is “Cu Sidhe.”

    Daoine Sidhe: doon-ya shee. Plural is “Daoine Sidhe,” diminutive is “Daoine.”

    Djinn: jin. Plural is “Djinn.”

    Dóchas Sidhe: doe-sh-as shee. Plural is “Dóchas Sidhe.”

    Ellyllon: el-lee-lawn. Plural is “Ellyllon.”

    Folletti: foe-let-tea. Plural is “Folletti.”

    Gean-Cannah: gee-ann can-na. Plural is “Gean-Cannah.”

    Glastig: glass-tig. Plural is “Glastigs.”

    Gwragen: guh-war-a-gen. Plural is “Gwragen.”

    Hamadryad: ha-ma-dry-add. Plural is “Hamadryads.”

    Hippocampus: hip-po-cam-pus. Plural is “Hippocampi.”

    Kelpie: kel-pee. Plural is “Kelpies.”

    Kitsune: kit-soo-nay. Plural is “Kitsune.”

    Lamia: lay-me-a. Plural is “Lamia.”

    The Luidaeg: the lou-sha-k. No plural exists.

    Manticore: man-tee-core. Plural is “Manticores.”

    Naiad: nigh-add. Plural is “Naiads.”

    Nixie: nix-ee. Plural is “Nixen.”

    Peri: pear-ee. Plural is “Peri.”

    Piskie: piss-key. Plural is “Piskies.’

    Puca: puh-ca. Plural is “Pucas.”

    Roane: row-n. Plural is “Roane.”

    Satyr: say-tur. Plural is “Satyrs.”

    Selkie: sell-key. Plural is “Selkies.”

    Shyi Shuai: shh-yee shh-why. Plural is “Shyi Shuai.”

    Silene: sigh-lean. Plural is “Silene.”

    Tuatha de Dannan: tootha day danan. Plural is “Tuatha de Dannan,” diminutive is “Tuatha.”

    Tylwyth Teg: till-with teeg. Plural is “Tylwyth Teg,” diminutive is “Tylwyth.”

    Urisk: you-risk. Plural is “Urisk.”




   June 11th, 2015

        Bear welcome in your eye, your hand, your tongue.

    Look like the innocent flower,

    But be the serpent under it.

    —William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

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