Posted March 27, 2012 by davincikittie in All Authors

Giveaway: Early readers are “taken” with The Taker. Come chat with Alma Katsu and find out why!

Please help me welcome Alma Katsu, author of The Taker, an unconventional story about immortals and love and life…

When I started writing The Taker, way back in 2000, my goal was to write a big story with big emotions that would sweep the reader away. As a young reader, I loved epic books by writers like Alexander Dumas and Edgar Allan Poe, but mostly I admired Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire. Talk about setting ridiculously high goals for yourself. I didn’t expect to write a publishable book, but I wanted to see if I could create unforgettable characters and write the kind of story that would stay with readers for days after it was finished.

The Taker is about a young woman, Lanore McIlvrae, who grows up in a wilderness town in Maine’s great north woods in the early 1800s. She’s fallen in love with the beautiful Jonathan St. Andrew, whose family owns the business that supports the town. But she and Jonathan are not destined to be together and, after she gets pregnant by Jonathan, she’s banished to Boston to have her baby in secret. She runs away, however, and is scooped up by Adair, a mysterious European aristocrat with otherworldly powers. He makes Lanore immortal, and offers her the opportunity to make Jonathan immortal, too, so they can be together forever. Will she accept his offer? All she has to do is return to St. Andrew and persuade Jonathan to go to Boston with her to meet Adair. She does as Adair asks—only to find out she’s made a terrible mistake and condemned both of them to a hellish eternity. And it’s up to her to figure out how to save them both from a man who is truly unstoppable.

The comment I often get from readers that I love the most is “The book wasn’t not at all what I expected.” On one hand, it is a love story (albeit a dark, tragic one) but it is not a romance. It’s more of a cautionary tale about love, about the peril of losing yourself in the quest to be loved. And on another level, it’s a story about growing up: here’s a girl who is in a rush to grow up and to be in an adult love relationship before she really understands what it means. And because she’s a bit headstrong and independent, she makes mistakes, and she ends up paying for those mistakes.

And that’s another theme in The Taker: there are consequences to our actions. The flawed, evil people Adair draws to him are doomed to an eternity of suffering if they don’t atone for their sins. Only by making amends for the bad things they’ve done can they hope to be forgiven.

Did I achieve my goal? That’s up to the reader to decide. I am happy to report that quite a few readers have told me that they couldn’t put the book down, and couldn’t stop thinking about the characters or the story long after they’d finished the book. And several reviewers felt that it lived up to its comparison to the iconic Interview With The Vampire. It’s also gotten some nice recognition from reviewers and the book industry, including being selected by the American Library Association as one of the top ten debut novels of 2011.

The story doesn’t stop with The Taker, however, as there are two more books in the trilogy: The Reckoning, coming out in June, and The Descent, coming in 2013. Readers who hang in until the finale will be rewarded with a happily-ever-after for Lanore, though it won’t be the one you’re expecting. Kind of like in real life, which is okay.

GT Note: The Taker is now available in both Kindle and Paperback formats. Happy Trade Paperback release day, Alma!  *confetti*

Dr. Luke Findley is on the midnight shift in the emergency room when the police bring in a young woman. Few strangers come to this remote town in northernmost Maine in the winter, and this stranger is accused of a bizarre crime: killing a man and leaving his body in the Great North Woods. The young woman, Lanny, tells the doctor that she and the man in the woods lived in this town at its founding two hundred years ago, until fate sentenced them to an eternity of unhappiness until they atone for their sins.

The man in the woods is Jonathan, son of the town’s founder, and the love of Lanny’s life. After Lanny commits a terrible sin in the hope of claiming Jonathan for her own, she’s banished from town and sent to Boston to serve her penance. In Boston, she falls in with a beguiling yet frightening man, Adair, who has otherworldly powers, including the ability to confer immortality. His world is one of unknown sensual pleasures and seemingly limitless power, but at what price?

Adair wants to add Jonathan to the collection of treacherous courtiers who do his bidding (but for unknown ends) and sends Lanny back to Maine to collect him.

It seems like the answer to Lanny’s deepest desire—to be with Jonathan forever—but once Jonathan has joined Adair’s pack of immortals, she sees that Adair is not what he seems and his intentions toward Jonathan are far worse than she imagined. And now it is up to her to save her beloved—and herself—from a terrible fate designed to last for all eternity.

The Taker is a story of the power of love to corrupt, to drive us to do terrible things in its name, and the courage it takes to sacrifice in the name of love and ultimately be worthy of absolution.

Buy The Taker: Kindle, Paperback

Read an excerpt…

“He leaned forward and whispered in my ear, “The past three weeks have been unbearable. Go out to your barn an hour before sundown tonight and I will contrive to meet you there.

Of course, under the circumstances I could ask him no questions nor seek any reassurances for my uncertain heart. And, to be honest, I don’t think anything he could have said would have kept me from going to him. I burned to be with him.

That afternoon, my fears were assuaged. For an hour, I felt I was the epicenter of his world, all I could wish for. The whole of his being was in his every touch, from the way he fumbled with the tapes and ties that bound my clothing, to his fingers pulling gently through my hair and his kisses on my bare, goose-prickled shoulders. Afterwards, we nestled together as we returned to our bodies and it was bliss to be encircled in his arms, to feel him pressed right against me, as though he, too, wanted nothing to come between us. No happiness can compare to the happiness of getting what you have begged and prayed for. I was exactly where I’d longed to be, but now was aware of every second ticking by and how my family would be wondering after me.”

About the author

Alma Katsu is a writer living in the Washington, DC area with her husband, musician Bruce Katsu. She was born in Fairbanks, Alaska but spent most of her childhood in Massachusetts, in the middle of the area where colonial history was made. She started writing as a stringer for local newspapers while still in high school and continued as a freelance writer until she moved to Washington, DC to take a job with the federal government in intelligence. She stopped writing for about twelve years to concentrate on her career, but returned to writing fiction in 2000.

The Taker is her first novel and is published by Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster. It’s published overseas in English by Random House UK, and translation rights have sold in twelve languages.


Alma will be giving away a signed copy of the new trade paperback version of The Taker with an assortment of swag (bookmarks, post-it notes and a pen). To enter, tell us what novels have made a forever impression on your heart and why, then fill out the Rafflecopter below.

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Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue and GraveTells have won several blogging awards, and GraveTells recently celebrated its five-year anniversary! Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com.