Blood Colony

Blood Colony

by Tananarive Due

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Acclaimed for seven novels, ranging from supernatural thrillers to historical fiction, which have garnered her a multitude of fans and awards, Tananarive Due now imagines the story of an ancient group of immortals -- a hidden African clan that has survived for more than a thousand years -- facing one of the most challenging issues of our time: the AIDS/HIV pandemic.

There's a new drug on the street: Glow. Said to heal almost any illness, it is distributed by an Underground Railroad of drug peddlers. But what gives Glow its power? Its main ingredient is blood -- the blood of immortals. A small but powerful colony of immortals is distributing the blood, slowly wiping out the AIDS epidemic and other diseases around the world.

Meet Fana Wolde, seventeen years old, the only immortal born with the Living Blood. She can read minds, and her injuries heal immediately. When her best friend, a mortal, is imprisoned by Fana's family, Fana helps her escape -- and together they run away from Fana's protected home in Washington State to join the Underground Railroad.

But Fana has more than her parents to worry about: Glow peddlers are being murdered by a violent, hundred-year-old sect with ties to the Vatican. Now, when Fana is most vulnerable, she is being hunted to fulfill an ancient blood prophecy that could lead to countless deaths.

While her people search for Fana and race to unravel the unknown sect's mysterious origins, Fana must learn to confront the deadly forces -- or she and everyone she loves will die.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416579250
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 06/03/2008
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 545,953
File size: 491 KB

About the Author

Tananarive Due is an American Book Award-winning, Essence bestselling author of Blood Colony, The Living Blood, The Good House, and Joplin’s Ghost. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Visit her blog at

Read an Excerpt

The Colony
6 a.m.

Gramma Bea was the first to rise in the Big House.

Each morning, Fana Wolde found her grandmother in the kitchen with Mahalia Jackson's soaring voice consoling her from the old CD player while Gramma Bea patted balls of dough between her palms, measuring drop biscuits. Gramma Bea cooked with care, hour after hour, as if the fate of the world depended on her getting the ingredients and temperature just right.

Beatrice Jacobs was eighty-four, but she looked youthful in the black silk kimono she sometimes wore all day, when she didn't have the energy to get dressed. By lunchtime, she would be sweating from the heat, but she never left her kitchen. When she wasn't cooking, she was sitting at the kitchen table, either dozing or reading her Bible. Sleeping and praying took up the time left after cooking. She spent more time doing all three since her heart attack.

Like most people, Gramma Bea wore her thoughts like clothing, so Fana didn't have to peek inside her grandmother's head to understand her. Fana could see it plainly: Gramma Bea stored her grief in her baking breads and stewing pots. Cooking was her meditation.

Fana's grandfather had died five years ago, when his car had overturned in a ditch in the woods a half-mile from his kitchen table, during a rainstorm. The accident had happened at three-thirty in the afternoon, snapping Fana out of meditation. Fana, the first to know he was dead, had shared her grandfather's last, startled gasp.

Grandpa Gaines had been dead before anyone had been able to bring blood to him, where a drop might have saved him -- or Dad might have been able to perform the Ceremony at the instant his heart had stopped, in the ancient way. It was so unfair: Gramma Bea had lost her first husband to a car accident, too. And to lose someone here must feel worse, Fana thought. No one died here. Fana knew why Gramma Bea always kept her grandfather's chair at the breakfast table empty, as if she expected him to come downstairs to eat, too. His absence was inconceivable.

"Don't just stand there, baby," Gramma Bea said. "Start squeezing the juice."

The kitchen smelled like oranges in the mornings because Gramma Bea was from Florida and insisted on squeezing her orange juice fresh. The oranges were already chopped and waiting, so Fana only had to pick up her dripping fruit, hold half an orange in her palm, and scrape off the pulp in the white plastic juicer with the methodical turns of her wrist Gramma Bea had taught her to perfection; one of the few things Fana believed she did well.

Mom had bought a mechanical juicer years ago, but Gramma Bea wasn't interested in technology except to listen to Mahalia and the Mississippi Mass Choir and the other gospel she filled her silences with. Gramma Bea thought machines were a distraction, and the music brought her closer to God. And closer to Grandpa Gaines, of course.

Gramma Bea thought about dying for a long while every day, working her way up to the idea. Sometimes, she didn't mind. Day by day, she minded less. She had begun to think of it as an appointment she had to keep, one she'd put off long enough. Fana wondered what else her grandmother would do with her time if she didn't have to think about dying.

But she doesn't have to die, Fana reminded herself. She knows she has a choice.

"You've got some nice little hips now," Gramma Bea said, dropping her dough into neat rows on the cookie sheet. "Nice legs, too. My legs." Gramma Bea's kimono was cut high, the way a younger woman would wear it, to show off her legs. Her calves were veined blue, but her smooth shins had resisted wrinkles. "You should wear a dress when you go driving tomorrow."

Fana felt alien enough outside without Gramma Bea's criticisms! Mom and Aunt Alex never wore anything except T-shirts and jeans either. Sometimes it was hard for Fana to believe that Mom and Gramma Bea were the same blood: Mom never had casual conversations with her about going outside, especially not about clothes. Mom only filled Fana's head with warnings.

"Why do I need a dress?" Fana said. "It's just a driving lesson."

"And lunch," Gramma Bea said. "At a nice restaurant."

"Pass. I'll pack some food from home."

Gramma Bea tsssked, a click against her teeth. "Go to a restaurant, Fana. Sit with the people for a while. It'll be good for you."

Fana hated restaurants. They always smelled like meat, and the tension was thick behind servers' smiles and the kitchens' closed doors. Restaurants never felt at peace.

"Don't you want to feel more comfortable around people, Pumpkin?" Gramma Bea said.

Fana felt stung. Now Gramma Bea sounded like Mom. "What do you mean?"

"I knew a young man from Midway, Florida,...a trumpet player," Gramma Bea said, speaking in a story, as she often did, never going forward until she remembered all the details. She wanted to make sure her life's adventures would be remembered, even in passing. "He swore up and down he loved me, but I came to find out he didn't invite me to his sister's wedding. He said he was worried I wouldn't know which fork to use and what-not. So seditty! And I told him, 'Billy Taylor, what kind of love is that?'"

Fana waited. Sooner or later, Gramma Bea always remembered her point again. Gramma Bea went on: "Baby, liking from a distance isn't the same as liking up close. You can't like people if you won't let them close to you."

Fana felt her teeth grind. How many times did she have to tell Gramma Bea that crowds gave her headaches? Her family tried to understand, but they couldn't. Not really. And what good would it do to go out and meet people? She would only lie to them, too.

I care about people in the way that matters, Fana thought. I heal them.

"I have friends," Fana said instead. When she wasn't reading or meditating, Fana was posting on ShoutOut, where she had hundreds of friends around the world who knew her as Aliyah Martin, an American student and Phoenix music fan living in Tokyo.

But Gramma Bea was wrong if she thought she spent her days role-playing and gossiping.

Fana never used her webcam, and only three people outside the colony knew her real name. One person alone knew who she really was, and Fana hadn't seen her best friend in three years. She and Caitlin saved their real communications for an encrypted site, at least once a week. They deleted and scrubbed each other's messages immediately.

Fana hadn't gotten any messages from Caitlin in two weeks. Something was wrong.

Anxiety nested in Fana's stomach, and she knew that the chewing sensation would follow her until she tried to go to sleep, just like last night. She dreamed in nightmares, and always about Caitlin. Was Caitlin dead, like Maritza? She can't be, Fana thought. I would have felt her die.

Was Caitlin on the run, then? She had to be. But where?

"Typing on a screen isn't the same as talking face-to-face," Gramma Bea said, prying Fana's worries wide open. "Life is something you touch. Typing is easy. Touching is hard."

Gramma Bea was right: Fana needed to see Caitlin in person. But Caitlin couldn't come here, the one place she might be safest. One of the Brothers would know Caitlin's thoughts as soon as she arrived, and Fana couldn't count on masking her. If I were a normal person, I could just drive out of here and go find Caitlin myself.

It was the worst quandary of Fana's life, and not talking about it consumed her. Was it time to tell her family the truth?

Fana almost told Gramma Bea everything, right there in the kitchen on Friday morning.

"...that dress I got you for Easter is casual enough to wear as a tea dress," Gramma Bea was saying, and Fana enjoyed remembering how much her grandmother had loved buying her clothes, even if she'd never worn them. Gramma Bea hadn't been on a shopping trip in a year, and her catalogues were piling up in the coat closet. "You're such a pretty girl, Fana. Why won't you let anyone see you? It's like you want to bury yourself in the ground and disappear."

Did Gramma Bea know? Fana had started trancing again, too.

Sometimes when Fana meditated, she let herself get lost, hiding from herself the way she'd first learned when she was three and the world had gone badly wrong, when she'd stayed lost for years. Life was hard again, and Fana wanted to step out of it.

Fana felt her grandmother's fingers beneath her chin, and the kitchen came into sharp focus: rows of cookbooks, watermelon knickknacks and a polished floor. Did I trance that fast?

Gramma Bea looked her in the eye, knowing. "Try to get used to things on this side, too. Not just the universe in your head, Pumpkin," she said patiently. "Start with this."

Gramma Bea held up a tube of lipstick the color of ripe mango pulp.

"It'll do wonders for your smile," she said. "You just put some on and stare at yourself in the mirror. It'll make you feel good. Sit in your skin a while, child. Now, pucker."

Fana pouted her lips, and her grandmother painstakingly guided the tube over them. Fana smelled perspiration, talcum powder and sweet, familiar Giorgio on her skin. Fana would know her grandmother's scent with her eyes closed.

"Look at that!" Gramma Bea said, glowing as if she and Fana shared a face. She held up the shiny aluminum toaster for Fana to see her reflection: blurred brown features and a shimmer of orangeyellow light. "A little color works miracles. See how it brings out your lips? I still feel naked if I go outside without my lipstick, and nobody's noticed my face for years. But, once?"

She laughed, her eyes twinkling with memories both joyful and sad. Gramma Bea rarely saw how beautiful she was; she only noticed what had changed since she was seventeen, too.

"Don't worry, Gramma Bea," Fana said. "Nobody's noticing me either. Ever."

Everyone else who lived at the colony was related to her by blood or marriage, or was just a kid or old enough to be her ancestor. Not to mention that she was also a freak.

"Somebody will notice you when you're driving," Gramma Bea said, certain.

"Like who?"

"You never know who, Pumpkin," she said. "That's the fun part -- finding out. Twice in one lifetime I was blessed with a good man. Twice. True love is an experience everyone should have, but you can't find anyone when you're hiding."

Gramma Bea was from a generation when girls got married right out of high school, Fana remembered. They couldn't be more different in that way. Fana had known since she was three that she would always be alone.

"Men have the curse of their eyes, Pumpkin," Gramma Bea said. "Their eyes catch onto things first. It never seems right or fair, but it's in their makeup. Until a man sees you with his eyes, it's like he can't see you at all. And if a man's eyes take hold of his heart? He'll move a mountain for you."

"That just sounds shallow," Fana said. "Why would I want anyone like that?"

Gramma Bea shrugged. "We didn't make this world. The Lord did. We just visit here." Fana sighed and picked up the toaster again, adjusting its angles in the light from the window to try to see her face through a stranger's eyes.

"Do you see what I see now?" Gramma Bea said.

Fana nodded, forcing a smile.

The lipstick's color was a promising speck, but Fana still couldn't see her face at all. Copyright © 2008 by Tananarive Due

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Blood Colony will steal your breath on every impossible-to-put-down page. Due is masterful in crafting this thrill-ride of a tale that was truly worth the wait!" — L.A. Banks, New York Times bestselling author of The Vampire Huntress Legends Series

"An elegant, scary, richly exciting tale — all that we've come to expect from Tananarive Due." — Greg Bear, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Quantico, Darwin's Radio, and City at the End of Time

"The genius of Tananarive Due is in weaving an imaginative tale so expertly that the reader is convinced she has suspended time and all reason. After reading Blood Colony, her third installment about the mysterious sect of immortals from ancient Ethiopia, I found myself, once again, utterly engrossed in the heart-pounding odyssey of Dawit, Jessica and their daughter, Fana. Her storytelling is at once intimate and wholly epic. Her characters, though otherworldly and supernatural, are profoundly relatable and eerily familiar." — Blair Underwood, actor and director, coauthor of Casanegra

Customer Reviews

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Blood Colony 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
mandersj More than 1 year ago
A small colony hidden in a dense forest in Washington state, USA, is home to a group of humans and immortals co-existing towards a common goal: to bring life-saving blood to anyone in the world who needs it. "Blood Colony" features a 17-year-old immortal named Fana whose parents and their friends are leading the charge to eradicate AIDS in Africa. Hundreds of years ago, Fana's mother Jessica and father Dawit lived in Africa and were fighting illnesses by working with a scientist whose ideas would bring an end to disease and death. Dawit, an immortal mated with Jessica, a mortal whom Dawit turned immortal, and their union created Fana, whose unprecedented strength and abilities have made her The Chosen One. Even the tiniest drop of Fana's blood no matter how diluted can reverse sickness, death, and even AIDS. Their mission is to bring the blood to all people who are sick in the world. They use the means of an underground railroad that runs worldwide to carry Fana's blood, called "Glow," to anyone who needs it. They keep Fana behind the colony walls so she is safe, with no one outside Colony walls knowing she is the source of Glow. However, one day Fana's best friend, a mortal named Caitlin, is taken hostage by Dawit and his friends The Life Brothers, and is in danger of losing her life or her memories because she has been caught selling Glow. Fana breaks Caitlin free and they go on the run to save Caitlin's life. While Dawit and The Life Brothers are trailing Fana, they realize there is a rogue group of immortals called Sanctus Cruor, who are working against their cause. Sanctus Cruor wants to use the blood to preserve only the fittest in the world through a process called "The Cleansing," and they are following Fana to try to have her for their own mission. A fight over Fana, and her blood, turns into a fight between good and evil with much death and loss. The Life Brothers can perform many tricks including mind and body control, yet they try to use their gifts for the good of the world. Sanctus Cruor, and their leader Michel, who believes he is Fana's soulmate, only care about one thing and don't care who gets hurt as long as they get what they want. Due's science fiction story of good versus evil has the main characters feeling human emotions even though many are not human, and ends up being an interesting and compelling tale.
KC-Lewis More than 1 year ago
This is the 3rd installment of Due's series about Immortals. I loved it and its relevance. Although it was a lot longer and took me more days to read than My Soul to Keep and The Living Blood (3 days instead of 2), I enjoyed it. I am most interested in finding out what will happen to Fana next or to find if Khaldun will ever return? I do find this a great read, but would advise one to read the others first especially My Soul to Keep (my favorite of the series). Due did not disappoint and kept to her writing style and there were surprising events with the turn of every page.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read each of Ms. Due's books and this--like the first of the series--is an exceptional read. At first readers are a lil torn between what happened in the last book, but Due foreshadows and recalls past information that bring you present day . . . Buy, Read, and Enjoy!
reneemYM More than 1 year ago
After reading Due's other books I couldn't wait to read Blood Colony. It was a great book. Great story line from beginning to end. I highly recommend others to read the series if they haven't. The book ended great.
bohemiangirl35 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It started slow but finished well. It's not a typical "vampire" novel although that's how I've seen it categorized. Immortals live in seclusion with some humans who have varying degrees of knowledge about the abilities of the immortals. All want (to varying degrees) to share the immortals' "living blood" to cure/heal humans of various afflictions so they do it carefully. On the street, it's known as glow and the government calls it a biological threat. Fana, the main character is the child of an immortal and a human and is the first child born with the living blood and is worshiped by many of the other immortals. She doesn't know her own power. The antagonists are also immortal, but, of course, want to use their power for evil - ha, ha. A male child was born with the living blood and prophecy declares that he and Fana will marry and save the world or something like that. Only giving this 3 stars because it took so long to catch my attention and it was fairly predictable.If you want to read a really incredible novel by Tananarive Due, check out Joplin's Ghost. 5 stars for that one!
LTFL_JMLS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was pretty good. God enough that I would read the sequel, but not good enough to buy the sequel.
cecily on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book suffers because of the amount of time that passed between the last volume in the Life Brother's saga (2001's "The Living Blood") and the publication of this volume. 7 years is a long time to try to carry the threads of a story forward, and Due has aged the central character at least 10 years. A great deal of Fana's development is glossed over and treated as little more than a convenient plot device. I also found the speed with I discovered Fana's true adversary disappointing. Once I solved that mystery, I lost interest in the novel. I knew I would finish it, but I wasn't excited about it any more.

Due is a good novelist; her "Joplin's Ghost" is one of the most imaginative books I've read in recent memory, but Blood Colony falls flat. I hope it doesn't take another 7 years for the next volume, and I hope the next novel rekindles the interest I've had and the relationships I've built with these characters across three novels.
gregory_gwen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was pretty good. God enough that I would read the sequel, but not good enough to buy the sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I try to give 50 pages before giving up. Somehow I could not care about these characters. And rhis book was relatively expensive. Book reminded me somewhat of Octavia Butler in plot, but without the gripping characters.
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angiej More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed reading the last installment in this series. After reading the last two books, I always wanted to know what happens to Fana & Jessica & Dawit?? This book answers all my questions and more. I could only give the book a 4 star rating because I did not enjoy the end. I'm a sucker for happy endings and this one just seemed to be the best way to appease everyone. But otherwise a great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once again mrs due outdid her self. At first i was bit torned because i wanted the book to end a certain way, but after i finished it i was totally satisfied.