First and foremost: this book used to be called Blood of the Underworld. I figure we’ll get the easy changes out of the way now
Also, before I begin, I’ll say this is the only one of these four re-launched titles that I would strongly suggest re-reading prior to Shadowdance 5, even if you’ve already read the original self-published version. I reworked a ton of stuff, as you’ll soon see, and I guarantee I’m forgetting plenty of things. I’ve also added in about 15,000 words (about four chapters), just to help flesh out this storyline. But, if you want to know what all is different prior to throwing down your money, or just want the quick notes for later, then here we go.
Standard changes as usual, of course, a tightening of the prose and editing out of all the little mess-ups, stuff like that.
First up is Melody Gemcroft. Her entire motivation I’ve changed, especially her relationship with Alyssa. She does not hate Alyssa, not in the slightest. Instead, she’s trying to save her soul from the eventual judgment of Karak. This means later conversations between her and Stephen have all been heavily rewritten to make her character’s motivation far more solid and consistent (especially come later revelations in book five). I also changed around her relationship with John Gandrem, developing it further while also showing more of the damage done to her throughout her lengthy imprisonment among the gentle touchers. Also, new scene with Melody meeting with the disguised Widow in the marketplace, relaying orders and revealing some of her motivations. Basically Melody is following Luther’s orders, no matter how much she might disagree with some of them near the end.
Melody’s not the only character heavily reworked. Laerek, the go-between for Luther and the rest, was completely, thoroughly rewritten. I started him from scratch to far, far better fit the overall storyline, as well as match up with what Luther was doing. He’s now a very young, twitchy priest doing his best to work with Luther, while also keeping his existence a secret from the rest of the followers of Karak.
More new stuff. Terrance, Alyssa’s young steward in charge of much of her financial dealings, reveals to her in one new scene that he’s been doing fairly standard tax-evasion stuff, and is terrified Victor will discover it. Meanwhile, in a far later chapter, to reveal Victor’s growing ability to disregard the strict morals he swears by, he destroys the proof of the deed upon deciding that courting Alyssa would be his best bet for reclaiming his power.
I added another member of the Bloodcrafts: Joanna Bloodcraft, daughter of Carson and Nora. She’s awesome, has a fun new fight scene with Haern, and helped fill in a dead spot in the novel in terms of action, as well as explain why Haern loses sight of Victor at one point (he’s trying to, uh, not die).
Stephen Connington also had some changes, mostly in how he views Alyssa as competition for affection from Melody, and actually starts to disobey her orders at times out of spite. Hard to go detail by detail when all this happens, just know he’s even more messed up in the head now. When he finally goes to kill Alyssa, and takes her eyes, he’s doing this against Melody’s desires.
Well, that’s all I can think of after browsing through the book. I’m sure there’s some I forgot, and so many of these focus on the motivations of the various characters. When I first wrote this book, I had only a vague idea where the story was going, whereas upon re-edit I knew where the story was to go, and had to fix all the parts that just flat out made no sense upon retrospect. Hopefully I did a decent job.