Fever Season (Benjamin January, Book 2)
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Benjamin January made his debut in bestselling author Barbara Hambly's A Free Man of Color, a haunting mélange of history and mystery. Now he returns in another novel of greed, madness, and murder amid the dark shadows and dazzling society of old New Orleans, named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times.
The summer of 1833 has been one of brazen heat and brutal pestilence, as the city is stalked by Bronze John—the popular name for the deadly yellow fever epidemic that tests the healing skills of doctor and voodoo alike. Even as Benjamin January tends the dying at Charity Hospital during the steaming nights, he continues his work as a music teacher during the day.
When he is asked to pass a message from a runaway slave to the servant of one of his students, January finds himself swept into a tempest of lies, greed, and murder that rivals the storms battering New Orleans. And to find the truth he must risk his freedom...and his very life.
not know. “Kösönöm.” “It’s all right,” she breathed, and stroked the crawling hair, “you’ll be all right.” Then in a whisper of petticoats she rose, greeted Soublet with a warm smile and turned her back on Ker without a word. But she did not stop to speak with her husband’s partner, crossing instead to where January stood. “M’sieu Janvier?” Her voice was a lovely mezzo-soprano. He had heard that she sang like an angel. Like her daughter Pauline, her eyes were large, coffee dark, and brilliant.
knuckle of her forefinger, her spectacles lying on the table beside her. The lids of her shut eyes were bruised looking. “Are you all right?” She raised her head quickly and retrieved the spectacles, settling the light frame of gold and glass into place as the brief smile flashed into life again. “Well enough. Nursing takes it out of one so.” In contrast to her haggard face her frock of blue-and-white-striped cambric was clean and pressed, the wide white collar spotless and bright with starch.
spread the clean sheet over the bed, and gently lifted the girl Victorine from her soiled, sweaty, wrinkled sheets to the clean ones, the endless, brutal labor of sick nursing. After a time he went on, “If Cora took the five thousand dollars, it might explain why she left the hundred and eighty dollars here—a hundred and ninety, counting Madame Lalaurie’s money—and the pearls. If she had the five thousand with her, in a pocket or a reticule, she might not feel she needed what was here. I
instructions to Ker to take another pint at noon.” The servant gathered up the reeking bowl and moved off in his master’s wake. January muttered, “I saw less blood when Jackson beat the British than I do on any night he’s in charge.” The tall woman, turning away, paused, a flick of a smile in the ophidian eyes. There was no one else to work the ward that night. January and Barnard moved the dead Russian—or whoever he had been—out onto the gallery and, later, when they had time, down the stairs
a dozen or more books. The tops of them were strewn with weapons—pistols, knives, brass powder-flasks and sacks of balls; a braided leather sap, an iron knuckle-duster. A six-and-a-half-foot-long rifle with a dozen crosses cut neatly in its stock hung on pegs above the bed. When Shaw and Boechter returned to the room Shaw began gathering these weapons and distributing them about his angular person—he’d acquired another plug of tobacco from somewhere as well—and January felt a flash of anger, that