I am looking for a novel series (I think 3-5 books) that I read about 5-6 years ago, and I think it will have been published in the past 10 years. The series involves ritual cannibalism and is set in either a dystopian future or a parallel world sort of environment. I read this series as ebooks and they would have been free ebooks, but where I got them, I don't remember. I do not remember cover(s), title(s) or author(s).
I've done a few searches on ISFDB, Goodreads and similar sites, but can't find them there - though I am fairly sure I found a review of them on Goodreads while I was reading the series. I've also tried keyword searches (using google's site search commands) on some of the ebooks sites like Gutenberg with no luck.
What I remember of the series:
- The cannibalism is essential for life - If you don't eat the flesh, you die from a wasting disease, similar to lack of vitamins in our diet.
- Consuming the flesh has a drug-like effect, being pleasurable/euphoric in some way. People who limit consumption get withdrawal-like symptoms.
- First novel is set in a primitive society where individuals are chosen at a certain time of the year and then hunted ritually. The flesh is then carefully prepared and preserved for slow consumption throughout the year.
- The first novel starts with the main character or a close family member being hunted or hunting in the ritual hunt. It is not immediately clear that they are being hunted for food.
- I think the hunted are given weapons and can kill their hunter(s, possibly it is one-on-one); death of either is acceptable for the rite.
- First novel focuses on one character's moral struggle with eating people he knows and he refuses to do so, trying to eliminate the need from his diet in a semi-scientific manner. He dies from this effort.
- Second and subsequent novels are set outside the primitive society as one or more of the main characters from novel 1 travel to other places outside their community. This travel is a rare event for the community.
- Subsequent novels find that outside people do as the main character in novel 1 did; lower their intake and only partake when absolutely necessary. This partaking is a sort of orgiastic feast at tavern style places
- I think the final novel ends with finding or working on a "cure" for the dietary requirement, perhaps through supplementation of the diet by a medicine.
- I think the final novel shows one of the main characters from the first novel bringing "modern" society to the primitive place in the first novel, perhaps in the form of a road and transport system (?).