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Staying Dead (Retrievers -1) by Laura Anne Gilman

Staying Dead (Retrievers #1) by Laura Anne Gilman

Retrievers series by Laura Anne Gilman. — The Retriever series is part of a larger group of series called the Cosa Nostradamus world. This includes the Paranormal Scene Investigations series.

Genres and Sub-Genres[]

Urban Fantasy

Series Description or Overview[]

The first series set in the Cosa Nostradamus world. The spinoff series is Paranormal Scene Investigations. 

This is about a modern day world in which magic and technology try to co-exist. Wren is connected to the magical community, where as her partner is only connected (or really knowledgeable) via her. They work together to 'retrieve' items that have gone missing. And by missing that means having been stolen, from people who don't really want the authorities to know they had them in the first place. Wren is the actual thief, while her partner handles the negotiations and people part of the job. The first book follows Wren on her newest job to assist a client with a situation in which a cornerstone of a building is taken. The cornerstone has been embedded with magic that grants protection to the building in which it was set. We are set on a winding path to find all the players involved and to track down how they all figure into the theft of the cornerstone.

Lead's Species[]

  • Retriever of magical items

Primary Supe[]

  • Mages

What Sets it Apart[]

Narrative Type and Narrators[]

  • First person narrative told by

Books in Series[]

Retrievers series:

  1. Staying Dead (2004)
  2. Curse The Dark (2005)
  3. Bring It On (2006)
  4. Burning Bridges (2007)
  5. Free Fall (2008)
  6. Blood from Stone (2009)

Shorts, Novellas, Anthologies and Guides[]

Companion Series, Spinoffs, Sequels or Prequels[]

Cosa Nostradamus world:

Paranormal Scene Investigations series:

  1. Hard Magic (2010)
  2. Pack of Lies (2011)
  3. Tricks of the Trade (2011)
  4. Dragon Justice (2012)

Sylvan Investigations duology:

  1. Miles to Go (2013)
  2. Promises to Keep (2013)

Other Series by Author onsite[]

World Building[]




  • New York City
  • P.b.

Supernatural Elements[]

✥ Retriever (find missing things magically), Nulls, faeries, angels, demons, hellhound crosses, Talents (various magic users), , , ,


  • Talents: feel and manipulate energy currents
  • Nulls: can't
  • Magic: is like a electrical current

Groups & Organizations:[]

  • The Council: Group of Mages working as the governing body for all Talent. Those not with them are rouges or lonejacks and tend to not be considered worth their while. As with all groups of power there are some nasty skeleton's in their closet.


✥ In the Cosa Nostradamus world there are two types of people—the "talents" and the nulls. The talents can feel and manipulate energy currents while the nulls can't. There are varying types and levels of both (for example nulls that can feel the currents) and Wren's particular skill is retrieving objects. Specifically, she's a thief who gets hired to steal (or steal back) various objects using her talent.

✥ The version of magic in this world, and so everything is in terms of current and power. It's more of the “put your protection spell into the house wiring” version. Gilman also divides up the magic users into the toe-the-line/join-the-club, the lone rangers (for whatever reasons), and those who have become addicted to the raw source of current and have lost control (rather like drug addicts).


✥ Wren (Genevieve) Valere: The heroine, Wren is a Talent (someone who harnesses electricity and often cantrips to manipulate her surroundings/as magic) in a world separated into Talents and Nulls. She works as a Retriever with her partner, Sergei Didier. ~ Shelfari


  • Name: Sergei / What: Non-Talent; has no magic / Sidekick-to: Wren / About: Wren's business partner/ Book First Seen: Staying Dead (2004) #1 (Retrievers series)

Characters Chart[]

Characters What About
Wren Retriever Talent to harness electrical power from her surroundings, and use that energy to fight bad guys while she works as a Retriever of stolen property.
Sergei partner, Non-Talent; has no magic built a stolen-goods retreival business out of Wren's talent; versed in the lingo & the world; full of secrets, runs an art gallery; is wealthy;
P.B. Demonic messenger provides Wren with information on occasion; a friend of sorts

To expand the table, in Edit–Visual mode, right-press on a Row of the table (Control-press on a Mac)—choose add Row or Column. Or, in Source Mode: copy-paste rows.

Laura Anne Gilman

Laura Anne Gilman


Laura Anne Gilman

Bio: Laura Anne is the author of the popular Cosa Nostradamus novels and novellas, and the award-nominated The Vineart War trilogy. Her next project is the Devil’s West series from Saga / Simon & Schuster beginning in 2015. She has also dipped her pen into the mystery field as well, writing as L.A. Kornetsky (Collared, Fixed, and the forthcoming Doghouse). A member of the writers’ digital co-op Book View Cafe, she continues to write and sell short fiction in a variety of genres, selling most recently to Daily Science Fiction and the anthology DEAD MAN’S HAND (May 2014). ~ Laura Anne Gilman | About The Author - Laura Anne Gilman

Cover Artist[]

Artist: none listed

Publishing Information[]

  • Publisher: Luna
  • Author Page:
  1. Staying Dead: Paperback, 416 pages, Pub: June 1st 2006—ISBN: 0373802536
  2. Curse The Dark: Paperback, 346 pages, Pub: July 1st 2005—ISBN: 0373802277
  3. Bring It On: Paperback, 377 pages, Pub: June 20th 2006—ISBN: 0373802404
  4. Burning Bridges: Paperback, 410 pages, Pub: May 22nd 2007—ISBN: 0373802749
  5. Free Fall: Paperback, 352 pages, Pub: May 1st 2008I—SBN: 0373802676
  6. Blood from Stone: Paperback, 352 pages, Pub: May 1st 2009—ISBN: 0373802978

Book Cover Blurbs[]

BOOK ONE—Staying Dead (2004): Manhattan's night life just got weirder . . . It starts as a simple job—but simple jobs, when you're dealing with the magical world, often end up anything but. As a Retriever, Wren Valere specializes in finding things gone missing -- and then bringing them back, no questions asked. Normally her job is stimulating, challenging and only a little bit dangerous. But every once in a while . . . Case in point: A cornerstone containing a spell is stolen and there's a magical complication. (Isn't there always?) Wren's unique abilities aren't enough to lay this particular case to rest, so she turns to some friends: a demon (minor), a mage who has lost his mind, and a few others, including Sergei, her business partner (and maybe a bit more?). Sometimes what a woman has to do to get the job done is enough to give even Wren nightmares. ~ Goodreads | Staying Dead (Retrievers, #1)

BOOK TWO—Curse The Dark (2005): And you think magic is complicated? Once more Wren Valere's game plan has taken an unexpected direction. She'd agreed to a bargain with one supersecret magic-watching outfit to protect her partner and herself on their last job. But now the Silence is trying to wedge them apart. On the one hand, ever since she and Sergei began to talk about their "relationship" things have been tricky. On the other, though...Well, no one better try to stand between Wren and Sergei when danger is near! So now they are off to Italy in search of a possessed parchment (or maybe not possessed -- all they know is that whoever reads it disappears). Still, when compared to what's going on at home (lonejacks banding together, a jealous demon, tracking bugs needing fumigation, etc.) maybe disappearing won't be so bad... As if! ~ Goodreads | Curse the Dark (Retrievers, #2) by Laura Anne Gilman

BOOK THREE—Bring It On (2006): Nobody said juggling a career and a relationship would be easy… Wren Valere used to have a simple life. Her partner Sergei would negotiate the terms of the Retrieval—all right, the theft—and she would use her magical talent to carry it out. Paycheck deposited, on to the next job. Now? Her relationship with Sergei is even more complicated (sex will do that). Her fellow lonejacks are trying to organize against the Mage's Council. The nonhuman population of Manhattan is getting fed up with being ignored and abused. And the Council? Well, they have an agenda of their own, and it's not one the lonejacks are going to like. And Sergei is far too involved with the Silence, his former employers, for Wren's liking. When it comes down to choosing sides, the first rule of the lonejack credo is "Don't get involved." But when friends are in danger, and the city you love is at risk, sometimes getting into the thick of things is all you can do. ~ Goodreads | Bring It On (Retrievers, #3) by Laura Anne Gilman

BOOK FOUR—Burning Bridges (2007): Wren Valere used to be almost invisible. But now she's not only being seen, she's getting involved. Recent attacks against nonhuman Fatae have escalated into hate crimes against magic users in general--humans included. With the Mage Council distracted by internal power struggles, Wren is guilted into stepping up as spokesperson for the fragilely united Fatae and lonejack communities. And, because the cosmos deems her without enough complications, her partner-lover Sergei is drowning in his own problems. But not only can't she help him she's the cause. With lives on the line, including her own, Wren's going to have to break the lonejack credo, ditch her long-cherished invisibility and take a stand. But burning bridges can be deadly.  ~ Goodreads | Burning Bridges (Retrievers, #4) by Laura Anne Gilman

BOOK FIVE—Free Fall (2008): The Cosa Nostradamus is in disarray; the Truce holding violence in check has been broken. Magical Manhattan is at war, and Wren Valere is left without her partner/lover Sergei, whose past loyalties keep him from her side just when she needs him the most. Hoping to keep herself occupied, Wren takes a job, but what should have been an ordinary Retrieval instead forces her to realize that it is time to do more. It is time for the Cosa to take the battle to the enemy. But she'll do it her way. The Retrievers' way. Sneaky, smart, and with maximum damage possible. What was lost will be found, what was stolen will be Retrieved. And this war will be ended, once and for all. Wren Valere always finishes the job. Always. ~ Goodreads | Free Fall (Retrievers, #5) by Laura Anne Gilman

BOOK SIX—Blood from Stone (2009): Wren Valere's job is driving her crazy. She's still Manhattan's most sought-after Retriever, but after last year's deadly confrontation with the Silence, all this magic-user wants is a break. With her apartment going co-op and her relationship with the demon P.B. putting stress on her romance with partner Sergei, is Wren finally ready to settle down to a more stable existence? — Not likely. — Because when you're good, trouble always finds you. Wren's next assignment puts her on the wrong side of a child-snatcher—and a collision course with her past. But to save a friend—and protect her future—Wren must pull off the most important Retrieval of her life…and for once magic isn't on her side. ~ Goodreads | Blood from Stone (Retrievers, #6) by Laura Anne Gilman

First Sentences[]

  1. Staying Dead (2004) — "Hey, lady!"
  2. Curse The Dark (2005) — 'Next time,' Sergei muttered out of the corner of his mouth, not taking his eyes off the security guard leaning against a wall several paces ahead of them, 'we're taking a boat.'
  3. Bring It On (2006) — The demon in her kitchen was making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  4. Burning Bridges (2007) — Fresh snow could make even the dingiest, most urban part of Manhattan into a magical place.
  5. Free Fall (2008) — Spring, 1910 New York City. The conversation was subdued and civilized, as befitted the surroundings: a large, tastefully decorated library, surrounded on three sides by leather-bound books and a marble fireplace, and on the fourth by a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, respectably covered by sheet curtains to allow light in but deflect the gaze of those on the street.
  6. Blood from Stone (2009) — In the middle of a copse of trees, bordered on one side behind her by a dry creek bed and on the other in front of her by a low stone wall covered with moss and bird shit, Wren Valere crouched, her backside an inch off the leaf-strewn ground, her palms resting on her knees, and her knees complaining about the whole situation.

~ Sources: Excerpts from The Retrievers Series - Laura Anne Gilman


Read Alikes (similar elements)[]

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See Also[]

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External References[]


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