Stringed musical instrument used in medieval times, shaped like half a pear and similar to a guitar, with six to thirteen strings. Used by bards.

Folk horror novel, written by Jennifer Thorne and published by Tor Nightfire in 2022. 

On the small island of Lute, located off the English coast, life is truly beautiful. The weather is gorgeous, the people of the village are prosperous and happy, and the land is peaceful, despite the ongoing war overseas. There is a cost, however -- every seven years, on the summer solstice, seven people, no more, no less, die. Sometimes by natural causes, sometimes by accident, sometimes by murder. But every seven summers, seven people on the island die. 

Some people flee the island for the Day, but most stay put, minimize their activities to minimize their risks, and take their chances against whatever hidden power controls Lute. 

Our lead character is Nina Treadway, an American now married to Lord Treadway, Lute's aristocratic protector. Though Nina has heard tales about the Day for the last seven years, she's never actually experienced it herself until now. Still unaccustomed to being the Lady of the island, Nina has to balance her responsibilities to her family and the villagers with her disbelief in the strange customs of the island. 

And once the sun rises on the Day, once the deaths start to pile up around her, Nina must face the reality of Lute's ancient unseen masters and pray she doesn't end up a victim of the island's bloody tithe

Like any good folk horror tale, setting is a particular strength here. Lute is a small island that feels enormous, with large empty spaces broken up by small houses, stretches of woods, and visible reminders of the land's pagan past. Most of the residents of the island are friendly to Nina, but it's never forgotten that she's the outsider there, they have beliefs and customs she doesn't share or understand, and she worries, deep down, that they see her only as a sacrifice -- all very appropriate to folk horror. 

It's a wonderfully frightening and suspenseful book, with a slow buildup to the Day itself, followed by chapter after chapter of unpredictable terror. Where will the next death occur? Whose neck is on the line? What lies on the small islands around Lute? Where are the strange portents and omens coming from? Is there an unknowable force behind the deaths, or is the ultimate villain entirely corporeal and physical? Even better, some of these mysteries are never solved at all, hiding dark secrets to keep you awake long after the last page is turned. 

If you love subtle folk horror that isn't afraid to splatter in the gore when necessary, you will certainly want to read this book. 


Lute (?), n. [L. lutum mud, clay: cf. OF. lut.]

1. Chem.

A cement of clay or other tenacious infusible substance for sealing joints in apparatus, or the mouths of vessels or tubes, or for coating the bodies of retorts, etc., when exposed to heat; -- called also luting.


A packing ring, as of rubber, for fruit jars, etc.

3. Brick Making

A straight-edged piece of wood for striking off superfluous clay from mold.


© Webster 1913.

Lute, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Luted; p. pr. & vb. n. Luting.]

To close or seal with lute; as, to lute on the cover of a crucible; to lute a joint.


© Webster 1913.

Lute, n. [OF. leut, F. luth; skin to Pr. la�xa3;t, It. li�xa3;to, le�xa3;to, Sp. la�xa3;d, Pg. alaude; all fr. Ar. al'd; al the + 'd wood, timber, trunk or branch of a tree, staff, stick, wood of aloes, lute or harp.] Mus.

A stringed instrument formerly much in use. It consists of four parts, namely, the table or front, the body, having nine or ten ribs or "sides," arranged like the divisions of a melon, the neck, which has nine or ten frets or divisions, and the head, or cross, in which the screws for tuning are inserted. The strings are struck with the right hand, and with the left the stops are pressed.


© Webster 1913.

Lute, v. i.

To sound, as a lute. Piers Plowman. Keats.


© Webster 1913.

Lute, v. t.

To play on a lute, or as on a lute.

Knaves are men That lute and flute fantastic tenderness. Tennyson.


© Webster 1913.

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