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A Book of Tongues
By Gemma Files

Discussed December 2012

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Key Cast:

  • Chess Pargeter – gunslinger, hexslinger
  • Reverend Asher Rook – hexslinger
  • Ed Morrow – Pinkerton secret agent in Rook’s band
  • Kees Hosteen – member of the outlaw band
  • Songbird – a Chinese mage
  • Prof. Asbury – a theoretical studier of magic working with the Pinkertons
  • English Oona – Chess’s mother, a whore
  • Sheriff Love – protector of Bewelcome
  • Grandma – a Native American mage
  • Rainbow Lady – a “goddess”


  1. Did you like the book? Why or why not?
  2. Characters – what did you think of the characters in the book? Were any of them likeable? How important is it to have likeable characters in a book? Were their motivations consistent internally? Were they a product of their lives?
  3. Setting – This was an urban fantasy set in the old west, a “weird western”. Have you read other westerns and/or urban fantasies? Where did this differ and where did it seem similar to those genres? Have you read other weird westerns? How did this compare?
  4. Magic – What did you think of how magic worked? The idea of mages as solitary and competitive creatures (similar to how vampires are portrayed in Tanya Huff’s Blood books for instance). How original was it? Was it consistent? Was it “magical”?
  5. The Divine Stuff – What did you think about her use of the dieties of the southwest?
  6. GLBT – Chess and Rook are definitely in your face. What did you think fo the handling of the GLBT aspects of the book?
  7. Did the section “calendar” entries help or hinder?
  8. Would you read further books in this series?
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