Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed. (Book One of The Crescent Moon Kingdoms), DAW, $7.99, 368pp, pb, 9780756407780. Fantasy.
From Saladin Ahmed, finalist for the Nebula and Capbell Awards, comes one of the year’s most acclaimed debuts: Throne of the Crescent Moon, a fantasy adventure with all the magic of The Arabian Nights.
The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, home to djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, are at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strike at the heart of the Kingdoms. But these killings are only the earliest signs of a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn the great city of Dhamsawwaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.
Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice by Stephen Baxter. Ace, $26.95, 312pp, hc, 9780425261224. Science fiction tie-in.
The long-running BBC television show Doctor Who, which debuted in 1963, has once again become one of the most popular programs on the air. Now in its seventh season (on BBC America in the US), the revival of the iconic show is the #1 show on iTunes and has spurred a Tumlr feed with more than 100,000 followers. Fans cannot get enough of the Doctor and his TARDIS, a sentient machine that enables him to travel through both time and space.
And now The Doctor’s adventure can also be enjoyed in print. Stephen Baxter, the award-winning author of Ark, Flood and Stone Spring, has written an all-new story based on the iconic television show — Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice.
The Wheel of Ice is a mining colony that circles an icy moon of Saturn. Built by a corporation to supply Earth with a precious mineral, the operation has lately been subject to theft and vandalism. But the trouble doesn’t start until a colonist named Phee rescues the TARDIS from one of Saturn’s rings and tows it back to The Wheel — and the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe are taken into custody.
Doktor Glass by Thomas Brennan. Ace, $15.00, 314pp, tp, 9780425258170. Fantasy.
Set in Victorian Liverpool, Thomas Brennan’s debut novel Doktor Glass is a mystery with elements of steampunk, alternate history and of course, the supernatural.
For fans of The Yard, Drood and The Map of Time, Doktor Glass thrives on the underlying mystery and gritty atmosphere of Victorian times. Still reeling from the loss of his young wife, Inspector Mathew Langton is barely managing to get through the day when he is called to the base of The Transatlantic Span — a suspension bridge stretching across the ocean linking Liverpool with New York — to examine a body. This faceless, tattooed victim sets Langton on the course of an investigation that will take him from the seedy underworld of the docks to the upper echelons of intellectual society, with more bodies piling up along the way. The one thing all these deaths have in common is the rumor of a Doktor Glass and the Jar Boys, a deadly gang who deal in human souls and will stop at nothing to protect their leader. As Langton delves deeper he fears he’s going mad from the emotions the case is stirring up within him. Could his beloved Sarah be one of the trapped souls?
The Devil’s Looking Glass by Mark Chadbourn. (Swords of Albion: Book 3), Pyr, $17.95, 380pp, tp, 9781616147006. Fantasy. On-sale date: February 2013.
1593: The dreaded alchemist, magician, and spy Dr. John Dee is missing….
Terror sweeps through the court of Queen Elizabeth, for in Dee’s possession is an obsidian mirror, an object of great power which, legend says, could set the world afire. And so the call goes out to celebrated swordsman, adventurer and rake Will Swyfte — find Dee and his looking glass and return them to London before disaster strikes. But when Will discovers the mirror might solve the mystery that has haunted him for years — the fate of his lost love, Jenny — the stakes become acutely personal.
With London under siege by supernatural powers, time is running out. Will is left with no choice but to pursue the alchemist to the devil-haunted lands of the New World — in the very shadow of the terrifying fortress home of the Unseelie Court. Surrounded by an army of unearthly fiends, with only his sword and a few brave friends at his back, the realm’s greatest spy must be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice — or see all he loves destroyed.
Rising Sun by Robert Conroy. Baen, $25.00, 343pp, hc, 9781451638516. Alternate history.
The War Changes
1942: what should have been a decisive victory for the Allies in the Battle of Midway has become a horrendous disaster instead. America’s handful of carriers in the Pacific have blundered into a Japanese submarine picket line and most have been sunk. The United States has only one carrier remaining, while the ragtag remnants of US battleships — an armada still reeling from the defeat at Pearl Harbor — are in even worse shape.
The Pacific belongs to the Japanese. Yet, despite disaster, the US is determined to fight back.
And now a grand plan is put forth to lure the Japanese into an ambush that could restore the balance in the Pacific and give the forces of freedom a fighting chance one more.
Grantville Gazette VI edited and created by Eric Flint. Baen, $7.99, 616pp, pb, 9781451638530. Science fiction anthology.
The latest news from the new, improved seventeenth century…
The sixth rollicking, thought-provoking anthology of tales set in Eric Flint’s phenomenal New York Times best-selling Ring of Fire series — all inspired and edited by the creator himself, Eric Flint.
A cosmic accident sets the modern West Virginia town of Grantville down in war-torn seventeenth century Europe. It will take all the gumption of the resourceful, freedom-loving up-timers to find a way to flourish in mad and bloody end of medieval times. Are they up for it? You bet they are.
Stories of survival and triumph by the time-lost Americans of Grantville, including a new story by series creator of New York Times best-selling writer Eric Flint himself.
[Contributors: Eric Flint, Gorg Huff & Paula Goodlett, Garrett W. Vance, David Carrico, Iver P. Cooper, Kevin H. & Karen C. Evans, Terry Howard, Mark Huston, Edith Wild, Kim Mackey, David Dingwall, Jack Carroll, Karen Bergstralh, Herbert & William Sakalaucks, Kerryn Offord, Tim Roesch, Chet Gottfried, Virginia DeMarce, Rick Boatright, and Laura Runkle.]
The Steam Mole by Dave Freer. Pyr, $16.95, 30pp, 9781616146924. YA Science Fiction.
Tim Barnabas is a submariner from the Cuttlefish, a coal-fired submarine. Clara Calland is the daughter of a scientist who carries a secret formula that threatens British Imperial power. After a daring chase across the globe, they have brought the secret to Westralia. Here, much of Australia is simply too hot to be habitable by day. People are nocturnal, living underground and working outside at night. To cross the deserts they use burrowing machines known as “steam moles.” With the Cuttlefish out of action, her crew take jobs on these submarine-like craft.
Duke Malcolm, of the Imperial Security Service, transports Clara’s rebel father to a prison in Eastern Australia, hoping to bait her into attempting a rescue. Clara looks to Tim for help, only to find he has fled from a racist incident into the desert. She takes a steam mole in search of him. The two head to Eastern Australia, where they discover an invading force with plans to take Westralia. Forced to survive in the desert, they encounter the intolerance meted out to the aboriginal people. Can they save Westralia from falling under British rule? And should they?
The Dog in the Dark by Barb & J.C. Hendee. (a novel of The Noble Dead), Roc $26.95, 458pp, hc, 9780451464934. Fantasy.
Dhampir Magiere and half-elf Leesil return in this new installment of the thrilling Noble Dead series, The Dog in the Dark by husband and wife writing team Barb & J.C. Hendee, national bestselling authors of Between Their Worlds.
After barely escaping the city of Calm Seatt — and those hunting them — Magiere, Leesil, and elven dog Chap have caught a ship and are sailing south in a desperate search for the Orb of Air — one of five devices sought by the minions of the Ancient Enemy. But, they are not alone. Aging elfin assassin Brot’an has forced his company on them under the guise of offering his protection. Chap doesn’t believe his ruse, however, and seeks to uncover the elf’s true agenda, as well as the cause of a war that has torn the elfin world apart.
As they sail, Magiere struggles not to lose herself to her dhampir nature, and leesil’s love is the only thing keeping her grounded. For the personal price she paid to procure the second Orb of Fire was more than she thought — and more than she wants to reveal to anyone, which is exactly what Brot’an is eager to uncover.
In this thrilling continuation of the bestselling Noble Dead series, Barb & J.C. Hendee keep the adventures of Magiere and Leesil intriguing and suspenseful by mixing elements of epic fantasy and horror. Fans of the series will be drawn in by the action,adventure, and intrigue created so masterfully by the character and world-building in The Dog in the Dark.
A Red Sun Also Rises by Mark Hodder. Pyr, $17.95, 271pp, tp, 9781616146948. Speculative fiction.
Aiden Fleischer, a bookish priest, finds himself transported to an alien world. With him is Miss Clarissa Stark, a crippled hunchback of exceptional ability, wronged by an aristocrat and cast out by society.
On the planet Ptallaya, under two bright, yellow suns, they encounter the Yatsill, a race of enthusiastic mimics who shape their society after impressions picked up from Clarissa’s mind. Creating a faux London, the alien creatures enroll Clarissa in their Council of Magicians and Aiden in the City Guard. But why does the peaceful city require guards? After a day that, in earthly terms, has lasted for months, the answer comes, for on this planet without night, a red sun also rises, and brings with it a destructive evil.
The Blood Gods! Hideous creatures, they cause Aiden to confront his own internal darkness while trying to protect his friend and his new home.
With a sharp eye for period detail and a rich imagination, Mark Hodder establishes a weirdly twisted version of Victorian London on a convincingly realized alien world and employs them to tackle a profound psychological and moral question. A Red Sun Also Rises breaks new ground by combining the sword and planet genre with Victorian steampunk while adding an edgy psychological twist.
Honor’s Paradox by P.C. Hodgell. (a new Kencyrath novel), Baen, $7.99, 416pp, pb, 9781451638547. Fantasy.
Jame is one of the last of the Kencyrath, born to battle world-destroying Perimal Darkling and to revive her ancestral heritage. Jame’s youth was spent under Perimal’s shadow. Now she has discovered her past and her heritage as a Highborn — and, with it, the power to call souls out of their bodies.
First, though, Jame must survive the politics and dangers of monster-haunted Tentir, a school for warriors where she is a student, one among many, most of whom want to see her fail, if not die. At Tentir and in the hills, she must also contend with the Eaten One, an elemental spirit, who desires a mate and is willing to drown the world to get one. Just as graduation approaches, Jame finds herself expected to wed immediately, plus to take on a family. To make matters worse, she is challenged to mounted combat, a competition she must win to graduate. It’s a trial by fire, the ultimate riding of the rathorn, as Jame moves closer to a magnificent destiny she both fears — and knows she must face.
Darkship Renegades by Sarah A. Hoyt. Baen, $14.00, 390pp, tp, 9781451638523. Science fiction.
After rescuing her star pilot husband and discovering the dark secret of her own past on Earth, Athena Hera Sinistra returns to space habitat Eden to live happily ever after. Not happening…
Thena and Kit are placed under arrest for the crime of coming back alive. The only escape from a death sentence: return to Earth and bring back the secret of creating the Powertrees, the energy source of both Eden and Earth whose technological origins have been lost to war. But that mission is secondary to a greater imperative. Above all else, Thena must not get caught. There is a price on her head on Earth. If she does get caught, then suicide is the only option.
With the odds heavily stacked against, not only success, but survival, Thena comes to understand what her cynical accusers do not. It is not merely one woman’s life on the line anymore, for it’s on Earth where the adventure truly begins. Thena realizes that what is truly at stake is the fate of both Eden and Earth, the continuance of the Darkship fleet, and freedom for all in the Solar System — and beyond.
Breaking Down by Maia Kinney-Petrucha & Stefan Petrucha (writers) and Rick Parker (artist). Papercutz Slices, $6.99, 64pp, tp, 9781597072441. Fantasy graphic novel parody.
Contained within the pages of this ghoulishly groovy graphic novel are the complete, unauthorized parodies of Nightlight, Too Soon, Ellipses, and Breaking Down.
Together these tales form the complete nightlight saga… the tragic, yet somewhat sparkly and movie-worthy, epic love story between Bleh-bleh and Fredward. But unlike other silly love stories such as “Romeo and Juliet” that merely featured humans, this unforgettable, and seemingly never-ending yarn is complicated by the fact that Fredward just happens to be a…
No, not a rainbow rider… a vampire. Of course, things get even more complicated, and somewhat creepy, when Bleh-bleh and Fredward meet J-Bob, a werewolf…
Can a flighty, fickle female, a self-absorbed blood-sucker, and a hapless, hirsute hunk find true happiness together? Or is that a stupid question?
Percy Jerkson & the Ovolactovegetarians by Margo Kinney-Petrucha & Stefan Petrucha (writers) and Rick Parker (artist). Papercutz Slices, $6.99, 64pp, tp, 9781597072649. Fantasy graphic novel parody.
Papercutz Slices all the Percy Jerkson books to pieces!
It’s up to you to put them back together again!
Once again Papercutz does you a huge favor and takes a popular, best-selling series, and cuts out all the fat! What’s left is just the good stuff — or the “as good as it gets” stuff from all four Percy Jerkson books: Percy Jerkson & The Whitening Teeth, Percy Jerkson & The Tree of Lobsters, Percy Jerkson & The Icon’s Purse, and Percy Jerkson & The Cattle of the Library.
It’s kinda all here — in just one graphic novel! The half-human, half-name brand Percy Jerkson, and his pals Rover and Bananabreath, are on a really restricted diet — they’re ovolactovegetarians. But evil forces seek to destroy them so that the world will only have junk food! Now the Half-Wits must battle the fast food forces of McKronos, and his legion of corporate icons — while the monstrous Hyphen, the Creature Between Words, attacks!
Yesterday Again by Barry Lyga. (Archvillain #3), Scholastic, $16.99, 352pp, hc, 9780545520324. Middle grade SF.
Yesterday Again is the final episode in Barry Lyga’s acclaimed Archvillain trilogy for middle-grade readers. Kyle Camden, aka the Azure Avenger, unintentional Bouring archvillain, has a foolproof plan to finally prove that Mighty Mike, unintentional superhero, is an alien. Kyle’s going back in time ot the night Mighty Mike showed up on Earth and videotape his arrival. Yet he decides to use the time machine just as something evil has been unleashed on Bouring during the Annual Time Capsule Burial. But Kyle can fix it when he’s back, right?
Kyle accidentally overshoots his intended destination, landing in 1987, and burns out his time machine. Things get even stranger when he accidentally befriends his dad at age twelve, meets Sheriff Monroe (his archnemesis in present time) as a teenager, and discovers William Lundergaard lurking around. But Lundergaard isn’t any younger. How did he end up in 1987 and why? Kyle better figure it out fast. Because if he doesn’t get back to the present immediately, well, there might not be a present anymore.
Moonsinger’s Quest by Andre Norton. Baen, $7.99, 554pp, pb, 9781451638554. Science fiction.
The Moonsinger Returns
Two outstanding novels continuing the interstellar adventures of Lady Maelen, the Moonsinger.
Flight to Yiktor: Farree was a hunchbacked orphan in the slum of a tough, lawless world on the edge of the known galaxy. His only friend was a war-beast rescued from starvation and the fighting pits with whom he has a telepathic connection. He had no memory of how he came to be on a planet which obviously is not his homeworld, and no hope of escaping the wretched slum where he barely manages to survive — until he encountered star-traveler Krip Vorlund and the psychic sorceress Lady Maelen, the Moonsinger.
Dare to Go A-Hunting: Farree has discovered a portion of his true heritage as one of the ancient Little People, the Faery Folk of legend — but so far as he knows, he is the only one of his kind to survive. Then his compatriot, Lady Maelen, finds a clue on a distant frontier outpost world which points to the location of Farree’s birthplace. But others are looking for that place, too. And those others do not mean the inhabitants well. Now Farree must find and defend a family he does not remember, but who hold the key to his own strange destiny.
The concluding novels in Andre Norton’s Moonsinger saga, together in one volume for the first time.
The Ramal Extraction by Steve Perry. (Book One of Cutter’s Wars), Ace, $7.99, 290pp, pb, 9780425256626. Military Science Fiction.
At the close of the twenty-fourth century, a series of revolutions has caused the galaxy to descend into chaos. With the Galactic Union Army stretched thin, mercenary units have arisen for those who have the need — and the means — to hire them…
Captained by former Detached Guerrilla Forces Colonel R.A. “Rags” Cutter, Cutter Force Initiative is one of the best of those units. A specialized team consisting of both aliens and humans, the Cutters offer services ranging from fight training and protection to extraction and assassination — as long as the target deserves it and the employer makes good on payday.
When they’re hired to find and rescue Indira, the soon-to-be-married daughter of the Rajah Ramal of New Mumbai, the team’s first task is to identify the kidnapper. The obvious suspects are insurgents who want to overthrow the rajahnate, but as other forces enter the game and an assassination attempt is made on Ramal, the Cutters realize that their in-and-out extraction job is about to get a lot more interesting — and a lot more lethal…
Harry Potty and the Deathly Boring by Stefan Petrucha (writer) and Rick Parker (artist). Papercutz Slices, $6.99, 64pp, tp, 9781597072175. Fantasy graphic novel parody.
Hey, You! Yes, You! You are the Chosen One!
Yes, young would-be-wizard, you have been chosen to purchase this very magical book of unauthorized parody and painful puns. (Even if you stumble upon this sacred tome at your favorite library, you still have been chosen! So put this copy back on the shelf and purchase your very own copy of Papercutz Slices Harry Potty and the Deathly Boring!) For only when you have purchased this volume of satirical comics lampooning a boy-wizard whose name shall not be spoken, will the real magic happen. Instantly another sale will be rung up, and author Stefan Petrucha and artist Rick Parker will come closer than ever to becoming creators of a best-selling graphic novel!
Now, you may be wondering what’s in it for you? Excellent question! You are very wise, grasshopper! [That's just a sample of the countless dated references that await you within this spoof-fest!] First, and foremost, you will enter the world of Harry Potty — and instead of having to read hundreds and hundreds of boring pages with nothing but lots of words on them, you’ll get to tear right through “The Sorcerer’s Stoned,” “The Secreting Chamber Pot,” “Pain in My Asskaban,” “Omelette of Fire,” “The Border of Phoenix,” “The Half-Drunk Wimp,” and “The Deathly Boring” in just one book that’s loaded with lots of pictures! There’s no better bathroom reading than Harry Potty!
You can join Harry Potty, along with Don Measley, Whiny Stranger, and Dumb-as-a-door, on the silliest graphic novel adventure ever! Of course, if You don’t buy this book — a magic spell will hold you prisoner for all eternity in that little cell on the right! The choice is yours!
The Hunger Pains by Stefan Petrucha (writer) and Rick Parker (artist). Papercutz Slices, $6.99, 64pp, 9781597073127. Science fiction graphic novel parody.
Once I’m on my feet, I realize something is very different. And it’s not just that I’m now standing up.
Everything has changed. I’m in some kind of parody. A lampoon, even. Totally unauthorized.
Puns begin to spew forth from my mouth. I’ve been transformed into a cartoon character! This is worse than being made into a movie. I have to get out of here.
My plight is existential, but I don’t even know what that means.
But I can’t let my ignorance show. I have to play along. Like it’s all a big game.
Whining means I’m complaining, which I am… a little. But I really am in a game. As if having nothing to eat wasn’t bad enough…
Losing means I won’t ever get anything to eat.
The Hunger Pains have begun.
Gunslingers & Ghost Stories edited by David B. Riley. Science Fiction Trails, $12.95, 238pp, tp, 9780615725840. Fantasy.
Ghosts are not just found in haunted houses. They have a disturbing tendency to turn up where you least expect them: like saloons, brothels, Indian ruins — and sometimes even in the middle of a gunfight. Saddle up for a haunted ride through the Wild West. Featuring spooky stories by Joel Jenkins, Dana Bell, Laura Givens, Henrik Ramsager, Kit Volker, Kenneth W. Cain, Adrian Ludens, C.J. Killmer, Darla Upchurch, John Howard, and J.A. Campbell.
Touch of the Demon by Diana Rowland. DAW, $7.99, 440pp, pb, 9780756407759. Urban fantasy.
Kara Gillian is in seriously deep trouble
She’s used to summoning supernatural creatures from the demon realm to our world, but now she’s the one who’s been summoned. Kara is the prisoner of the demonic lord Mzatal, but quickly discovers that she’s far more than a mere hostage. He has his own plans to use Kara and keep her from Rhyzkahl — the demonic lord she is sworn to serve. However, waiting for rescue has never been Kara’s style, and she has no intention of being a pawn in someone else’s game.
Yet intrigue and treachery run rampant among all the lords, and Kara is hard pressed to keep her wits about her. Her abilities as a homicide detective are put to the test as she seeks the truth about FBI Agent Ryan Kristoff, Rhyzkahl, and herself, but the answers she finds only raise more questions. She soon discovers that she has her own history in the demon realm — one that goes back further than she could have ever imagined — but that history may yet spell her doom as she’s faced with a peril beyond mortal comprehension.
She’s going to need all the strength and tenacity she’s developed as a cop and a summoner, or the hell she endures may well last forever.
The Explorer by James Smythe. Harper Voyager. $14.99, 266pp, tp, 9780062229410. Fantasy.
James Smythe’s US debut novel, The Explorer, feels both revolutionary and modern, with a retro touch that recalls the classic work of Arthur C. Clarke. Set in the confines of a tiny spaceship as far out in the universe as humans have ever traveled, it mesmerizes and terrifies at once. Smythe, who has been compared to Alfred Hitchcock and Robert A. Heinlein, may be new to the American science fiction world, but with The Explorer, it is only a matter of time before he becomes one of the genre greats.
The plot of The Explorer is simple. A group of brave men and women, all scientists, astronauts, or engineers — except for one journalist sent to document the mission — set out on the first manned exploration of deep space. Almost from the beginning of the trip, things don’t go as planned. the crew wakes up to find that their captain has died in his allegedly fail-proof safety pod. But the directive from Ground Control is unequivocal: the mission must go on. As the body count begins to rise, Cormac finds himself along and spiraling toward his own inevitable death… unless he can do something to stop it.
From the opening section — in which journalist-turned-space explorer Cormac Easton gives a Tim O’Brien-esque recounting of the crew members who have died and left him as the lone, and least-qualified, member of a spaceship on an unprecedented mission of exploration — The Explorer draws the reader into its tense, paranoid clutches. Smythe’s prose is taut and absorbing. As a psychological thriller, The Explorer acquaints the reader with unnerving intimacy with Cormac’s desperation, with his precarious grip on reality. As a sci-fi novel, it strips away genre tropes, exposing the essentials. No vast canvas, no space-opera scope, no far-distant civilizations. Just a man trying to hold onto his humanity in the most extreme of circumstances.
As the drama — both external and in the increasingly unsteady mind of Cormac — plays out in the claustrophobic confines of the spaceship, Smythe gives the reader a complex examination of what it means to be human.
The Shadow’s Heir by K.J. Taylor. (The Risen Sun, Book One), Ace, $7.99, 352pp, pb, 9780425258231. Fantasy.
A New Beginning
Laela Redguard was born with the black hair of the Northern Kingdom and the blue eyes of the Southern people, forever marking her as a hated half-breed child of both. When her only family tie is severed, the fierce and strong-willed Laela decides to leave her adoptive father’s home in the hopes of finding acceptance in the North, where the ruthless King Arenadd and the dark griffin Skandar rule.
While Laela’s Northern features allow her to blend into the crowds of the King’s seat at Malvern, she cannot avoid falling victim to a pair of common thugs. When a stranger saves her life and gives her a place to stay, Laela is shocked to learn he is Arenadd himself — a man said to be a murderer who sold his soul to the Night God — the King without a heart.
Arenadd is unsure what compels him to help this girl, but there is something about her that seems familiar, something he cannot remember — something that may rise up to banish the darkness forever…
Battle by Michelle West. (A Novel of The House War), DAW, $25.95, 676pp, hc, 9780756407957. Fantasy.
The House War series centers on the most popular character in The Sun Sword series: a young woman named Jewel — who survives both the everyday perils of being an orphan in the slums of the city of Averalaan, and the demonic dangers of the Undercity — who rises to become a key figure in House Terafin, the most important of the Ten Houses of the Essalieyan Empire.
Jewel has become the target of assassins and of a demon beyond her ability to defeat. No place within Averalaan remains safe when elemental forces can change the very structure of the city, when the old ways are opening to release wild magic, when former enemies become uneasy allies and longtime allies are called into question.
Skirmish by Michelle West. (A Novel of The House War), DAW, $8.99, 656pp, pb, 9780756407773. Fantasy.
When Jewel ATerafin returns home from the war in the South, she arrives moments too late to prevent the demonic assassination of Amarais ATerafin — The Terafin, head of House Terafin. And though one of her companions, Lord Celleriant of the Winter Queen’s court, manages to slay the demon, it is too little, too late. For now the battle to become The Terafin and claim the House Seat will begin. Four candidates have declared themselves, but Jewel, The Terafin’s own secretly designated choice to become the next heard of the House, has yet to announce her intentions.
While some seek to intimidate Jewel or recruit her for their own bids others begin to gather around her: her den, the most loyal of House Terafin’s Chosen, Haval the dressmaker, powerful magi, and three mysterious “winged cats” who come to her in the midst of a deadly encounter in a forest not meant for mortals to walk….
Jewel does not want to make any decisions before the Terafin is laid to rest. But as the enemies of House and Empire mobilize, it becomes terrifyingly clear that everyone — including Jewel and her otherworldly allies — must survive the three days of the funeral rites before they can even be certain that there will be a House Terafin left to fight over….