'Welcome back to the magic and pathos of Angela Slatter’s exquisitely imagined tales.
'The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings returns to the world of Sourdough and Other Stories (Tartarus, 2010), introducing readers to the tales that came before. Stories where coffin-makers work hard to keep the dead beneath; where a plague maiden steals away the children of an ungrateful village; where poison girls are schooled in the art of assassination; where pirates disappear from the seas; where families and the ties that bind them can both ruin and resurrect and where books carry forth fairy tales, forbidden knowledge and dangerous secrets.'
Author's note: The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings is intended as a prequel to Sourdough and Other Stories. It was meant to be a sequel, but the tales were to determined to defy me - they insisted upon telling what happened before, to show how the books of Murcianus came to be, how Ella came into the world, where Hepsibah Ballantyne - who appears only as a name on a headstone in Sourdough's Lodellan cemetery - began the chain of events that are traced through the mosaic of this book. Bitterwood expands and builds upon the world of Sourdough and I hope, makes readers feel that are coming home again.
'Now and again, a new writer emerges in the genre whose work immediately stands head-and-shoulders above most of their contemporaries. Angela Slatter is such a writer. And what is even more remarkable is that she has done it, at least so far through her short fiction. In an editing career that has spanned some forty years or so, I have only come across maybe two dozen authors whose work has so immediately impresses me as Angela's did when I first read it.' (Introduction)