The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature in which I highlight books I got over the last week that sound like they may be interesting—old or new, bought or received in the mail for review consideration. Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included, along with series information and the publisher’s book description. Cover images are affiliate links to Bookshop, and I earn from qualifying purchases.

There’s one book to highlight this weekend, but first, here’s a review from last week in case you missed it:

  • Review of Servant Mage by Kate Elliott This novella does some really interesting things with fantasy and storytelling conventions and has a great main protagonist, but I found seeing the big picture in the end more compelling than the overall journey (even though I did find it an enjoyable story).

Now, an August release that sounds rather intriguing!

Book Cover of The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu

The Art of Prophecy (The War Arts Saga #1) by Wesley Chu

The Art of Prophecy is the first book in a new epic fantasy series by Astounding Award winner and #1 New York Times bestselling author Wesley Chu. It will be released on August 9 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).

The publisher’s website has an excerpt from The Art of Prophecy. (The link is below the cover image.)

There’s so much about this book that sounds fantastic: a prophecy that turns out to be wrong about the chosen one, a chaotic assassin, and an older woman who had thought she was done with adventures, to name a few examples from its description.


A “superb fantasy saga” (Helene Wecker) of martial arts and magic, about what happens when a prophesied hero is not the chosen one after all—but has to work with a band of unlikely allies to save the kingdom anyway, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lives of Tao

“An ambitious and touching exploration of disillusionment in faith, tradition, and family—a glorious reinvention of fantasy and wuxia tropes.”—Naomi Novik, New York Times bestselling author of A Deadly Education

So many stories begin the same way: With a prophecy. A chosen one. And the inevitable quest to slay a villain, save the kingdom, and fulfill a grand destiny.

But this is not that kind of story.

It does begin with a prophecy: A child will rise to defeat the Eternal Khan, a cruel immortal god-king, and save the kingdom.

And that prophecy did anoint a hero, Jian, raised since birth in luxury and splendor, and celebrated before he has won a single battle.

But that’s when the story hits its first twist: The prophecy is wrong.

What follows is a story more wondrous than any prophecy could foresee, and with many unexpected heroes: Taishi, an older woman who is the greatest grandmaster of magical martial arts in the kingdom but who thought her adventuring days were all behind her; Sali, a straitlaced warrior who learns the rules may no longer apply when the leader to whom she pledged her life is gone; and Qisami, a chaotic assassin who takes a little too much pleasure in the kill.

And Jian himself, who has to find a way to become what he no longer believes he can be—a hero after all.