The authors' commentary edition of FIRST BITE includes deleted material from the original novel -- scenes that didn't make the cut, including this preface:
In the basement of the British Museum lies a curiosity in a crate, long ago purchased at auction and forgotten by its curator. Inside a wooden box the object sits, covered in a tattered sheet which protected it from the moldering, dank stone walls which once housed it.
To open the crate reveals nothing striking. A woman's dressing table, its dark wood carved with flowering vines and mythic figures. Drawers missing knobs, legs gnawed by mice, wood stained with age and water. Where the mirror should be is but an empty frame, carved intricately from wood much older than even the dresser. Pieces of glass cling to the edges, rich with cobwebs and flecks of patina.
It is said that once a powerful woman gazed into the glass every morning. A woman whose name history has forgotten in connection to any particular king or village, for even the town from which the dresser was retrieved does not remember her name. Only that long ago the villagers carried away the contents of its house to burn them, but the bonfire was never lit. Why anyone would burn such delicate objects was beyond the memory of even the aged wisdom of the village.
Within its drawer lies an empty wooden box, its compartment stained black as with blood. That is the only object remaining in this table. No cosmetics or jeweled combs, no ornaments or ribbons which would surely belong to any woman who sat before such an elegant frame.
Those who have seen this piece of furniture with their own eyes claim there is something powerful in its presence. They are but few, still fewer the number who sat before its empty frame when it was dragged forth from the cellars of a stone castle in rural France. Their stories are hardly to be trusted — for who believes in ghost stories surrounding a battered old chest from the provincial landscape hundreds of miles from any celebrated seat of power?
Only those who believe in the other stories from the village. Pieces of folklore fragmented from a larger tale, like a tapestry unraveled into threads and crumbling fibers. A far greater story than the mild one told to children before the hearth's fire, the obscure superstitions no longer observed by even the sagest of the countryside. Fragments of a forgotten darkness which only a clever weaver could piece together with the existence of a broken curio box and the mists reflected in stubs of fragmented glass.