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I am delighted to welcome Somaiya Daud today! Her YA science fiction novel, Mirage, centers on a young woman who is torn from her family and home moon because of her remarkable similarity to a princess in need of a body double. It’s one of my new favorite books; it’s powerful, emotionally intense, and character driven with beautiful writing and realistically drawn relationships. Mirage also introduced me to a new favorite main protagonist: Amani, whose empathy, bravery, and wisdom come to life through a phenomenal narrative voice that perfectly reflects her poetic soul. I just love Mirage, and I am excited to continue this story in Court of Lions (scheduled for release in 2020).

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Ideologies of Space

Why are they in space?

This is a question I receive often—most often in reviews that I shouldn’t be reading, but nevertheless, the question persists. It’s part of a constellation of questions that, at their root, share a common source. Why do they rely on the antiquated system of tribes? Why do they hold to old customs?

To me the root of these questions is a misunderstanding of the genre of futurisms often perpetrated by the genre itself. The future often presented to us is sleek and modern, presented as culturally neutral even as it embeds itself in the values and cultures of a specific class and culture. Everyone speaks English or is translated into English, everyone wears pantsuits or skirts, everyone’s hair is pressed or curled or cut into a particular bob. It’s rare that I see braids, dreads, jewelry, or culturally specific dress on anyone from Earth, and rarer still that those aliens who look human aren’t white.

I truly love fantasy—I think that is readily apparent in the world building of Mirage, in the clothes descriptions and the palace intrigue. But fantasy as a genre is about imagining our past. What are the myths and legends that we respond to on a bone-deep level? How do we imagine heroes of our past and how have they shaped us today? It’s about alternate histories and re-inscribing our pasts with new meanings. In the right hands it’s an important and interesting project, but not the one I wanted to take on.

If fantasy is about the past, then science fiction is about the future. And not just how technology will evolve, either. It is explicitly about who gets to exist into the future, how they get to exist and why. Many want to push forth the idea that modernity and following that futurity are culturally neutral terms, but here’s the truth: everyone’s going to the future. The question is how and what they’ll be allowed to take with them. Colonial ideologies and powers want a single, unified future presented as culturally neutral, but if we’re given a choice, if we’re handed the mic: do you really think we wouldn’t want to take our traditions and languages and family formations with us? Do you think we want to leave our scriptures and gods behind?

‘Why wasn’t this just a fantasy’ is just a different way of saying ‘why weren’t these characters and their traditions relegated to the past?’ It’s a way of saying, ‘I don’t want to imagine them in the future.’ It is necessary to imagine a future where people who look as I do, speak as I do, think as I do, are not only in the margins of a space epic, but in the center. Where not only are their clothes worn and their palaces occupied, but that they are worn and occupied by them. If science fiction is the genre of the future, then where are we and why aren’t we speaking our languages? Why don’t we get to wear our traditional dress, even as the ball gown and tuxedo manage to leap from genre to genre and time period to time period with little criticism?

Why are they in space?

Because I want them to be. Because our futures should be multiple, varied, and challenging. Because tribal family and nation formations exist the world over and persist into the future. Because old traditions are never old, they are made new year after year, decade after decade, by the people who care to preserve them. Because there is a latent violence in an imagined future with a single language, a single mode of dress, and no alternate ways of being.

Because we deserve to exist in every timeline: past, present, and future.

Somaiya Daud Somaiya Daud is the author of Mirage, and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington. A former bookseller in the children’s department at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., Somaiya is passionate about Arabic poetry and the cosmos. You can find her on Twitter at @SomaiyaDaud.

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Today’s guest is fantasy writer Tasha Suri—whose amazing debut novel, Empire of Sand, went straight to my favorites shelf on Goodreads after I finished it. Set in a world inspired by Mughal India, Empire of Sand is an elegantly written, character driven, deeply affecting book that excellently weaves in themes like resistance, choice, and the strength of bonds between people. Most of all, I loved the character at the heart of the novel, Mehr, and the way she paves her path with hope, courage, and determination. I’m excited to read her sister Arwa’s story in Realm of Ash (coming in November), and I am thrilled that Tasha Suri is here today!

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Fairy tales are obsessed with feet. Pretty, gravity-defying feet. Flippers turned into feet. Feet mutilated, chopped or burned, preferably sourced from a woman’s legs.

In Perrault’s Cinderella, the heroine wears slippers made of fragile glass. Her feet are uniquely small and perfect; so small and perfect, in fact, that her bullying stepsisters can only replicate her perfection by cutting off their own heels and toes. In The Red Shoes, a ‘vain’ girl literally has her feet hacked off. The Little Mermaid’s heroine has newly minted mortal feet that cause her excruciating pain with every step, and the evil queen of Snow White fame meets her end in red-hot iron shoes. Wayward women pay the price for their wickedness with their bodies, and often only ankle-down.

It isn’t this focus that most fascinates me about fairy tales (although it does fascinate me; why feet?). Instead, it’s the way fairy tales make their mutilated women perform their suffering through dance. After all, Snow White’s stepmother doesn’t simply die in her red-hot iron shoes. She’s forced to dance in them at her stepdaughter’s wedding. In The Little Mermaid, the mermaid dances for the prince’s pleasure on her new human feet, even though it causes her excruciating pain. The girl in The Red Shoes cannot stop dancing no matter how desperately she wants to. Even when they’re removed, those cursed feet continue to dance before her, mocking her.

Dancing on feet that won’t obey you, that feel like they’re full of knives, or literally burn to pulp beneath you—dancing to your death, in short—is a gendered, sinister magic, a punishment for transgressive women. The female body is sinful. Best get out the knives and pare it down.

Like many young bloodthirsty readers, I grew up with those fairy tales, and all the messages folded up small inside them, about bodies and pain and what it means to be monstrous. But I also grew up hanging out at my grandmother’s house, on her plastic-covered sofa, watching the Hindu religious TV shows she loved, where a child dressed as a blue god danced on the head of the giant venomous king of snakes, quelling him with each furious, joyous stamp of those feet.

Like many children of the South Asian diaspora, I also danced Garba and Bhangra, and stumbled through awkward Kathak and Bharatanatyam classes. Regional dances, in my childhood, became symbols of what it meant to be Indian in Britain, miles and generations from the land my parents and grandparents came from. I was a really astonishingly terrible dancer, but every time I stamped my feet to the beat of the tabla, I thought of crushing monsters under my feet—of poison and snakes and soles dyed blue by venom.

It was only later, as an adult, that I learned about the history of Indian classical dance. Dances have old roots. Bharatanatyam and Odissi, for example, can be traced back to the 2nd century CE. Many dance forms were religious acts of worship, used to transmit epic narratives and venerate the Gods. And many were danced by women whose status remains murky, charged with controversy by a tangled mix of casteism and colonialism and nationalism: temple dancers, devadasis, prostitutes, nautch girls. Women denigrated or venerated, according to the political mood of the century, for their involvement in dance and sex work and faith.

When I began working on Empire of Sand, I knew I wanted to create a magic system based on dance: on the hand sigils or mudras of Bharatanatyam, the symbolism and power of sacred rites rooted in tradition and history. But as I began to write, other things began to claw their way out of my subconscious. I started to think about the price of dance: the way the world can refashion a woman’s body, monstering it or punishing it. The way you can be forced to dance, compelled to, no matter your own will.

People often ask authors where they get their ideas. The truth is, most of us draw inspiration from the mountain of detritus that we pick up over a lifetime, the big sea of trash that lives in the backs of our skulls, waiting to be plucked up and refashioned into something of use: folklore and fairy tales, films and books, family history and lived memory. Fairy tales and Indian classical dance—all part of the muddy waters of diaspora—shaped the dance-based magic of Empire of Sand into what it eventually became.

In Empire of Sand, the heroine Mehr dances on a knife edge, between victimisation and power, worship and exploitation. Sometimes I place my own feet in front of me, one after the other, and think of footsteps that hurt like a knife through the heel, and footsteps that crush monsters, and marvel at how many tales there are just about our bodies from the ankle-down—how much power there is in the tales that write us, and that we write in turn.

Tasha Suri Author Photo - cr Shekhar Bhatia
Photo Credit: Shekhar Bhatia
Tasha Suri was born in London to Punjabi parents. She studied English and Creative Writing at Warwick University, and is now a cat-owning librarian in London. A love of period Bollywood films, history, and mythology led her to write South Asian-influenced fantasy. Find her on Twitter @tashadrinkstea.

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Keeping with Women in SF&F Month tradition since she first started the recommendation list project in 2013, Renay is once again kicking off this year’s series of guest posts! Renay contributes to the wonderful site Lady Business, the 2017 Hugo Award winner for Best Fanzine, where she writes enthusiastic, thoughtful coverage of science fiction and fantasy (and provides excellent recommendations!). She also co-hosts the Hugo-nominated Fangirl Happy Hour podcast.

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Hello, friends! Welcome to Women in Science Fiction & Fantasy Month—2019 edition! Kristen is very kindly allowing me to write to you once again to prep you for the next few weeks of great essays and lots of recommendations by a multitude of awesome guests. Thanks, Kristen, for everything! As per usual, I’m stoked for this year’s event, because it involves one of my favorite things ever: making lists. I love a good list. But as I was getting pumped about this year, I started thinking about the power of lists: tables of content in anthologies and magazines, award lists, rec lists, and how history is made.

Maybe that’s no surprise; I’m a historian with a degree and everything! I’m always like, “I will daydream about the intricacies of history for an hour!” And then it’s been three and I’m behind on work.

Recently I was working on a transcript for my podcast, Fangirl Happy Hour. It was Episode #105, and we talked to Martha Wells about her experience in fandom and in publishing as a woman writer. One of the discussions we had was about the cyclical nature of things. Martha pointed out that it’s not that things are bad and as time moves on they shift toward good and the bad is all gone. That’s too binary a way to look at the past. It’s more complicated and nuanced. The bad is never truly gone. The good is never all-encompassing.

In the 20th century, there were tons of women writing science fiction and fantasy, but over the decades, they were erased. It’s not that they weren’t there—it’s that the myth making machine that is society and culture simply erased them from the history of genre that rose from decade to decade, until the narrative became, “Well, there just weren’t that many women writers!”. This happened to women writing in magazines, women writing short fiction, and women writing novels. Whether through apathy or active sexism, their work was suppressed, brushed aside, and buried, available only to those who were there or people later on who had the resources—time, money, and energy—to dig for it.

Partly the reason I’ve been thinking so deeply about history is that I spend so much time in my political organizing work with people who wonder how it all got so bad so fast, not only in the United States, but around the world with the rise of nationalism. But it didn’t get this bad as quickly. It was a series of choices, a backlash to progressive strides and fear from people who hated change, people with power choosing to frame marginalized groups as rare occurrences, and the people who were invested in the good thinking their work was done—surely things would tick along just fine from here on out. There are so many examples of this in history if you take a good look. The history of the world is a cycle of progression and backlash, people seeing the cycle but forgetting that it would come again, and being shocked anew when it repeated itself.

History is just stories, after all, and stories can be controlled and their narratives changed. Science fiction and fantasy fandom is a microcosm of the world, but I can see the same currents within our corner of the SFF internet. From the rise of marginalized voices being honored at awards after too long shunted to the sidelines, to the backlash from fascists keen to suppress them and wipe their efforts from genre history, to the inevitable pushback and expansion of progressive ideas and positions—it’s all a cycle and that was just this century, in the last ten years! We’ve been here before. As Martha pointed out on the podcast, things for women writers in the 1990s weren’t as dire as they became again at the turn of the century, and up until 2008 and 2009 when marginalized writers started to make noise again and demanded a seat at the table and in our history. In certain parts of fandom it feels like we’re making good strides, but as ever, the work is never done.

So yes, I’ve been thinking a lot about history. How do we avoid falling into the trap of thinking our work is done? How can we stake a claim, as marginalized people, on our place in genre history? Those are some big questions with wide ranging answers, and I certainly don’t know what they would all be. But I do know that one way to do it is to keep having conversations. Keep remembering the past and telling people about it. Look to the future and imagine the things we have now that we want people to be able to remember. Not everything will make it—it never does—but since this cycle will no doubt repeat itself again in the future it pays to prepare for it now in whatever way we can.

One of my favorite ways is—yes, you guessed it—lists. Especially crowdsourced lists. Last year, like many years before, we collected books by women writers that people loved. And in 2019, we’re doing it again: for the month of April you can add books by women writers that you’ve loved and later it will be combined with the books already there, mixed in recs of Octavia Butler and Kate Elliott, Mary Shelley and Kameron Hurley, and Ursula K. Le Guin and Aliette de Bodard. This is one way of remembering the past and writing the story for the future to look back on. It’s small, but history is a collection of small stories of human endeavors. I’m so happy to contribute to this one, and I hope you’ll join in as well.

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Since 2012, every April at Fantasy Cafe has been dedicated to showcasing the wonderful work that women are doing in fantasy and science fiction—and I’m excited to announce that the eighth annual Women in SF&F Month starts today!

The first week’s schedule is below, but first, here is some background on Women in SF&F Month in case you’re not familiar with it:

For the last few years, I’ve set aside reviews and other book coverage during the month of April and instead held a month-long series of guest posts highlighting some of the women doing amazing work in speculative fiction. Throughout the month, guests will discuss a variety of topics—many of which will be related to women in science fiction and fantasy but not necessarily all since the goal is simply to gather a group of women invested in the genre in one place for a month and showcase the wonderful work they are doing. Past contributions have ranged from women discussing their own work and process to what they find best about the works of other women to issues of representation and equity in fandom.

Before the first Women in SF&F Month, I had been making an effort to read and review a lot of speculative fiction books by women on this blog—but it wasn’t always that way. After I started reading fantasy and seeking more book recommendations online, I found that very few of the books I heard about the most were written by women. I didn’t actually notice this for quite awhile since I just read the books that were supposed to be good without giving much thought to who wrote them beyond whether or not I considered them an author worth reading.

It wasn’t until I saw an online discussion about women writing science fiction and fantasy that I realized I found it a lot easier to name men writing books in these genres than women. After that, I started paying more attention to women’s names when they were mentioned (which was usually here and there instead of everywhere like a lot of well-known fantasy and science fiction authors). I discovered there were all kinds of women writing speculative fiction that I’d missed out on since I read a lot of the (mostly male) authors praised all over the Internet. While many of these recommended authors do write books I enjoy, there are also many women who deserve to be read and lauded just as often.

Once I realized women’s books did not seem to be discussed as much, I turned to reading and reviewing more books by women to try to make my small corner of the Internet a place where some of these books were featured. Then, in 2012, there were a couple of discussions on the Internet about both review coverage of books by women and the lack of blogs by women suggested for Hugo Awards in the fan categories. After these discussions and some of the responses to them (one of which was that women weren’t being reviewed or mentioned because they weren’t writing and reviewing science fiction and fantasy), I wanted to show that there were lots of women writing, reviewing, and discussing speculative fiction whose work should be recognized. I decided to see if I could pull together enough guest posts to spend about a month highlighting women in science fiction and fantasy. At the time this decision was made, it seemed most reasonable to aim for an April event—and that’s how April became Women in SF&F Month on Fantasy Cafe!

In short, you can expect to read a lot of wonderful guest posts this month, starting with some by:

Women in SF&F Month 2019 Week 1 Graphic

April 1: Renay (Lady BusinessFangirl Happy Hour)
April 2: Tasha Suri (Empire of Sand)
April 3: Somaiya Daud (Mirage)
April 4: Jessie Mihalik (Polaris Rising, The Queen’s Gambit)
April 5: Rachel Cordasco (SF in Translation)

Book Description:

Would you rather dance beneath the waves or hide your smuggled magic there? Welcome to a world of sparkling adult fantasy and science fiction stories edited by Stephanie Burgis and Tiffany Trent and featuring underwater ballrooms of one sort or another, from a 1920s ballroom to a Martian hotel to a grand rock ‘n roll ball held in the heart of Faery itself.

Stories in this anthology:

Ysabeau S. Wilce, “The Queen of Life”
Y.S. Lee, “Twelve Sisters”
Iona Datt Sharma, “Penhallow Amid Passing Things”
Tiffany Trent, “Mermaids, Singing”
Jenny Moss, “A Brand New Thing”
Cassandra Khaw, “Four Revelations from the Rusalka Ball”
Stephanie Burgis, “Spellswept”
Laura Anne Gilman, “The River Always Wins”
Shveta Thakrar, “The Amethyst Deceiver”
Patrick Samphire, “A Spy in the Deep”

The Underwater Ballroom Society is an anthology of ten speculative fiction tales with a variety of subgenres, prose styles, and themes that share one element in common: each of them includes some sort of underwater ballroom, although its overall importance to the plot varies from story to story. Of course, how engaging I found each story also varied. Most of them were about average for me, but there were two I thought were exceptional and two others I thought were standouts with only one that I didn’t like.

My favorite is one of two novellas in this anthology, “Spellswept” by Stephanie Burgis. It’s a prequel to The Harwood Spellbook novellas (Snowspelled and Thornbound), set in an alternate nineteenth century England in which tradition dictates that only women can be politicians and only men can be magicians (and only a woman married to a magician can be part of the group of women that rule the nation). However, the protagonist is not Cassandra Harwood, the first woman to become a magician, but her supportive, practical sister-in-law, Amy—though she isn’t yet officially part of the Harwood family in this prequel. “Spellswept” tells two stories that occur during a party in an underwater ballroom: that of Amy and Jonathan’s engagement and that of Cassandra’s first public spellcasting.

As Mrs. Harwood’s protégé, Amy is expected to one day join the body of women governing the country, and at the beginning of “Spellswept,” she’s also expected to take the next step in that direction by announcing her engagement to a magician that night. But when the spells that make the underwater ballroom possible begin to fail with everyone inside it and Cassandra reveals that she may be able to fix the problem after having studied her father’s work with it, it leads Amy to ponder traditions and their creation. “Spellswept” is a delight from start to finish, and I actually enjoyed it more than either of the other Harwood Spellbook novellas. Amy is wonderful and levelheaded, and I loved the way she took charge of a difficult situation without dwelling too much on the impropriety of it all. (I also thought the underwater ballroom was best integrated into this particular story.)

Another highlight is “The Queen of Life” by Ysabeau S. Wilce, a whimsical story that starts with a rock band’s gorgeous guitarist being swept off to Faery by Oberon. Although the beginning is self indulgent and seems to take too long to get to the point, I was enchanted once it began following its true hero: the band’s singer, Sylvanna, now eighty-two-years old and determined to retrieve the man Oberon stole from her so long ago. After she tricks Death to enact her plan to do just that, her journey takes unexpected twists and turns, and she doesn’t end up making the choices she’d anticipated when she first set out on her quest. This story is largely about Sylvanna herself while being an ode to the personal growth that comes from age and experience.

Two other stories I found notable are “Twelve Sisters” by Y.S. Lee and “Penhallow Amid Passing Things” by Iona Datt Sharma. The former is a sequel to the fairy tale “Twelve Dancing Princesses” that challenges the wisdom of choosing a king based on someone’s ability to successfully solve one mystery. The prince who discovered the secret of the twelve dancing princesses turned out to be a domestic abuser who will be a terrible ruler, and the youngest of the sisters hopes that all twelve of them working together can correct that mistake before their father dies and the crown passes to him. Of course there’s some tragedy given its content, but it also contains some wonder in its beautifully imagined underwater ballroom, and there’s a touch of charming humor too (the hedgewitch!).

Though I did find it a bit slow and therefore not quite as compelling as the others I’ve discussed so far, “Penhallow Amid Passing Things” is perhaps the best written of all the stories. This story is about a smuggler and a King’s woman who are usually on opposite sides of the law but find themselves uniting for a common cause (and there is some romance between these two women as well!). There wasn’t as much emphasis on the underwater ballroom in this one, but I did rather like the idea of a secret room under the sea for hiding smuggled goods.

Most of the other stories were okay: I didn’t dislike them, but I didn’t find them particularly memorable, either. Tiffany Trent’s “Mermaids, Singing,” about a charmed werewolf king who manages to escape the circus where he’s been enslaved, was readable but forgettable once finished. I felt similarly about “A Brand New Thing” by Jenny Moss, which focused on a woman who didn’t fit in with her family discovering an underwater dome in a lake, even though I thought its vivid ballroom was one of the best ones. The longest story, “A Spy in the Deep” by Patrick Samphire, follows a spy-in-training who is tested with an undercover mission for an intelligence agency on a Regency/steampunk Mars. Though fun, I felt that it could have been trimmed since it took some time to get going, and I also thought that the characters were sometimes a bit over the top.

Two of the stories I only found moderately engaging did, however, made me interested in possibly reading more by their authors. Cassandra Khaw’s “Four Revelations from the Rusalka Ball” is prettily written and well done for a brief descriptive piece but didn’t entirely work for me due to its lack of plot and characters. “The Amethyst Deceiver” by Shveta Thakrar is a creative story with a Magic Mushroom woman who gives others Mushroom Powers to wage war against Industry and Technology. It ends up having an interesting twist involving the secret agent trying to rescue her mentor, but I also felt it was a bit underdeveloped and was disappointed that the main character was supposed to be this amazing Amethyst Deceiver but didn’t really get to do any interesting heist high jinks. (I’m not sure whether or not there are other stories about this character this was built upon, though!)

The only story I did not enjoy to some extent was “The River Always Wins” by Laura Anne Gilman, in which a siren and Erinyes visit an underwater club one last time before it closes and relive some memories—including one rather traumatic one. Although I liked that it centered female friendship and feminism, I didn’t find it developed enough to interest me and was bored by the club scene.

The Underwater Ballroom Society contains a few gems, including one that is significantly longer than most of the other stories in the anthology. However, I did find about half the stories fairly forgettable, even though I could appreciate aspects of most of these tales.

My Rating: 6/10

Where I got my reading copy: Electronic ARC from one of the editors.

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I discuss books I got over the last week—old or new, bought or received in the mail for review consideration (most of which are unsolicited books from publishers). 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.

This covers multiple weeks since there was only one new book until recently—but last week brought multiple books, including one I was very excited to see!

Before getting to that book, here’s what happened since the last one of these features in case you missed either of these posts:

  • Review of Thornbound by Stephanie Burgis — Much like Snowspelled (the first/previous book in The Harwood Spellbook series), Thornbound is a fun, cozy page-turner with fluid writing and optimistic storytelling. However, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Snowspelled, largely because it didn’t significantly expand on the world or characters.
  • Giveaway of Unfettered III: New Tales by Masters of Fantasy edited by Shawn Speakman — Courtesy of Grim Oak Press, I’m giving away a copy of the newly released anthology Unfettered III, which contains stories by amazing authors with the goal of raising money to help authors and artists with medical debt. This US-only giveaway ends on March 29.

A Sword Named Truth by Sherwood Smith

A Sword Named Truth (Rise of the Alliance #1) by Sherwood Smith

A Sword Named Truth, an epic fantasy set in the same world as the Inda series, will be released on June 11 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).

This sounds intriguing, and I’m especially curious about it because I very much enjoyed one of Sherwood Smith’s other novels set in the same world as Inda, Banner of the Damned.


Untested young rulers must cooperate to protect their world from the magical threat of the mysterious kingdom of Norsunder in a new epic fantasy trilogy set in the same world as the popular Inda series.

Long-dormant magical forces are moving once again in Sartorias-deles. Agents of Norsunder, a mysterious bastion of incredible dark power, have reappeared in the world, amassing resources and sowing instability.

But with numerous nations led by young rulers brought too early to their thrones, the world is hardly ready to defend itself. Atan is still uncomfortable with her new queenship, gained after her country was freed from a Norsundrian enchantment that left it frozen outside time for a century. Senrid strives to establish rule of law, after deposing his brutal and cruel uncle, seeking to exert control over rebellious jarls and a distrustful military academy. Jilo never expected the responsibility of leading his nation, but when its dictator vanishes after a Norsundrian attack, Jilo finds himself stepping into the power void, taking the reins of a country so riddled with dark magic that its citizenry labors for mere survival. Clair and CJ lead a band of misfits against magical threats that overshadow their tiny country, including a direct incursion from the Norsundrians.

Those in power are not the only individuals working to subvert the plans of Norsunder. Liere, a young shopkeeper’s daughter, battles her own debilitating insecurities to live up to her reputation as a former savior of the realm. Hibern, a mage’s apprentice, must act as a liaison between national leaders, negotiating politics still foreign to her. Rel, a traveling warrior, stirs powerful allies to action encourages common folk to take up arms.

These leaders soon realize that any significant victory against Norsunder will require an alliance between their nations. Yet good intentions may fracture in the face of personal grudges, secrets, and inexperience. As the Norsundrian attacks become bolder, the members of this tenuous alliance must find ways to trust one another and bind themselves together—lest they fail to defend against a host that has crushed entire worlds.

Additional Books: