Excerpt from The Visitor by Sheri S. Tepper, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Visitor

By Sheri S. Tepper

The Visitor
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Mar 2002,
    416 pages.
    Paperback: May 2003,
    416 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


In the darkness behind her eyelids a green shadow bloomed, a voice whispered. "Gone the demons and ouphs, but not gone that other thing. You must stop thinking…"

The suggestion was familiar. She stopped thinking. The green shade expanded to contain her as she retreatred to a central fastness she was seldom able to find. Bird song wove a crystal cage. The sun pulled itself another rung into the sky. When its rays struck her full upon her head, she looked up without thinking anything and saw before her a looped line of light.

"What is that?" she asked in a whisper.

"The Guardian's sign," the voice murmured. "Go home now."

The darkness inside her gave way to a rush of scintillant sparks, edged light, pricking fire, sticking burs of brilliance creating an instant's perfect illumination. No voice. No demons. No ouphs. No ping, no ting, only the prickling star-burn, an itch of the intellect and the memory of a familiar but unplaceable voice.

So many sharp-bright questions! So many mystery -marvels that cried out for explanation! Thousands of things she wanted to know, and among them all, not one, not a single one that she, who yesterday had celebrated her eighth birthday, was still naïve enough to ask.





Among the trees, the demons met others of their fellows. From the wagon, straw mats were thrown aside to disclose a pile of bodies to be unloaded and laid on the grass. Wolf, the demon in charge, went down the line, checking off each one as they came to it.

"Malvis Jones," he read from his work sheet. "Malvis goes to Warm Point with you, Mole. Rickle Blessing? That's him, in the green overalls. He's been allocated to Benchmark along with his wife, Lula, third one down in that row."

"As he spoke, demons moved forward to load the still forms into smaller wagons hitched to pairs of horses. Beside the last body, a small one, the demons gathered, their faces twisted with anger and revulsion.

"Another one," said Mole, leaning down to fell the faint pulse in the child's neck. "What hellhound did this to her."

Wolf said between his teeth, "She goes south, all the way."

"To Chasm? You mean we call for transport?

"You think she'd live to make it any other way? Perhaps they can salvage something…"

Mole cried, "Does anyone know anything about this?"

"Nothing. Except that there's more of it, all the time."

Silently, the demons wrapped what was left of the still body and laid it on a stretcher. Four of them carried it off among the trees. As the others were about to move away, every demon froze. Sections of their horns became strangely transparent, as though little windows had opened there. After a long moment, they moved, though only tentatively.

"Did you feel that?" demanded Wolf. "What was that?"

"Something watching," muttered Mole. "That's all I could get." He fished a notebook from a pocket. "How many bodies were there, all together?"

"Twenty-three. Twelve alive, eleven dead."

"No body parts removed?"

"Just that little girl," said Wolf, his lips twisting with revulsion.

"Why is it always children?"

"It isn't always, just mostly. Speaking of children, j'you notice the girl on the wall, Mole? Little thing, out there alone? How old?

"Yeah, about that. I used to see her there with her mother. Lately I've seen her there by herself, but it's the first time she's caught us out in the open. Do we need to…"

"No. Let it go. There's no threat there."

Because of the watcher, Dismé was late leaving the wall, and she made it home just in time to avoid being caught. As it was, only Rashel observed her return past the bottle room.

"What were you doing out there?" she demanded imperiously, nose pinched, lips pursed, a flush of indignation on her face.

"There was a bird on the wall," said Dismé, carefully, expressionlessly. "I went to get a closer look at it."

Copyright 2002 Sherri S Tepper. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher HarperCollins.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...
  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

Second hand books are wild books...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.