Out today: Katherine Arden’s The Winter of the Witch

The final installment of local fantasy author Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy, The Winter of the Witch, is now out in stores! The book is the sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, and is set in, and is inspired by the folklore of Medieval Russia.

Here’s what it’s about:

The Winternight Trilogy introduced an unforgettable heroine, Vasilisa Petrovna, a girl determined to forge her own path in a world that would rather lock her away. Her gifts and her courage have drawn the attention of Morozko, the winter-king, but it is too soon to know if this connection will prove a blessing or a curse.

Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever and determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself and her history as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.

Arden is currently out on tour for the book, with stops in San Diego CA, Austin TX, Denver CO, Chicago IL, Boston MA, and Concord NH, before returning to Vermont for a trio of stops:

Sunday, January 13 – Middlebury, VT
4:00pm
The Vermont Bookshop
Location: 38 Main Street, Middlebury, VT 05753

Monday, January 21 – Shoreham, VT
7:00pm
Platt Memorial Library
Location: 279 Main St, Shoreham, VT 05770

Thursday, January 24 – Burlington, VT
6:30pm
Phoenix Books
Event with S.A. Chakraborty
Location: 191 Bank St, Burlington, VT 05401

Katherine Arden and S.A. Chakraborty signing at Phoenix Books

In January, Phoenix Books will bring in two fantasy authors for a discussion of their new novels: Katherine Arden and S.A. Chakraborty, whose new novels, The Winter of the Witch and Kingdom of Copper, respectively, come out in 2019. 

Arden is a local fantasy author who has gained acclaim for her books The Bear and the Nightingale, and The Girl in the Tower. Her next, The Winter of the Witch, will conclude that trilogy, which draws its inspiration from medieval Russia. Chakraborty hails from New York, and released her debut novel last year, The City of Brass, a fantasy novel inspired by legends from the Middle East. 

Phoenix will be hosting both authors for a discussion on Thursday, January 24th at its Burlington location at 6:30PM. The event will be ticketed, with admission $3 (which will take $5 off of any of their books). 

Erin Morgenstern’s next book takes place in Vermont

Erin Morgenstern is best known for her debut novel, The Night Circus, a story about a pair of magicians and a fantastical circus. It was a huge hit, and according to EW, her next book will be set in Vermont.

The Starless Sea is due out next November. Here’s the plot:

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a strange book hidden in the library stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues — a bee, a key, and a sword — that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to a subterranean library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians — it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose — in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

Sounds intriguing — scholars at any of the graduate schools here should proceed with caution.

 

Seven Days reviews Katherine Arden, F. Brett Cox

Seven Days’ Margot Harrison reviewed two topical books in the latest issue of the newspaper: Katherine Arden’s YA novel Small Spaces and F. Brett Cox’s The End of All Our Exploring.

On Arden’s part, she notes that the book is “sure to creep out younger ones as she deftly balances the scares with the heartfelt feels,” and that it’s the “perfect read for any kid who comes home from the corn maze thoroughly unnerved by the dry rustle of wind through the stalks — and then asks for a scary story.”

When it comes to Cox’s book of short stories, she says that “while his characters explore many strange and forbidden realms, he never ceases to remind us that the human mind is the strangest one of all.”

Read the entire review here.

Norwich University Writer’s Series: John Crowley

Norwich University has a major author stopping by today: John Crowley, who’s written books like Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, and others. The series was founded in 2012, and brings major authors to speak at the school about writing.

Crowley has written a number of SF/F works beginning in the 1970s, andKa: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr is his latest. I haven’t personally read it, but the friends of mine who have have raved about it.

Here’s what the book is about:

Dar Oakley—the first Crow in all of history with a name of his own—was born two thousand years ago. When a man learns his language, Dar finally gets the chance to tell his story. He begins his tale as a young man, and how he went down to the human underworld and got hold of the immortality meant for humans, long before Julius Caesar came into the Celtic lands; how he sailed West to America with the Irish monks searching for the Paradise of the Saints; and how he continuously went down into the land of the dead and returned. Through his adventures in Ka, the realm of Crows, and around the world, he found secrets that could change the humans’ entire way of life—and now may be the time to finally reveal them.

Crowley will be speaking at the Chaplin Hall Gallery at 4PM on Norwich’s Northfield campus. The event is free and open to the public.

 

New YA Horror: Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Katherine Arden made a name for herself with her debut fantasy novel The Bear and the Nightingale, as well as its sequel earlier this year, The Girl in the Tower. The third installment of that trilogy, Winter of the Witch, isn’t due out until January, but she does have a middle-grade horror novel, Small Spaces, which hits bookstores today.

Here’s what it’s about:

After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.

Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.”

You can read an excerpt here. Arden earned a starred review for the novel from Kirkus Reviews, which says that it’s “atmospheric horror at its best.”

New Fantasy novel: Laurie Forest’s The Iron Flower

Vermont fantasy author Laurie Forest has a new book out: The Iron Flower, the second in her series, Black Witch Chronicles.

The first novel, The Black Witch, hit bookstores last year, about Elloren, a young woman believed to be the heir to Carnissa Gardner, legendary mage — The Black Witch —prophesied to save the world.

But Elloren begins to realize that her world, society and dreams — including study at the prestigious Verpax University, are … problematic. The book generated some controversy on Goodreads, after reviewers took issue with Forest’s approach to race and bigotry, saying that it was “racist, ableist and homophobic.”

This new installment continues Elloren’s journey, as they’re brought into a resistance movement. Here’s the full description:

Elloren Gardner and her friends were only seeking to right a few wrongs when they rescued a Selkie and freed a military dragon. The last thing they expected was to be thrust into a realm-wide underground resistance against Gardnerian conquest.

While the Resistance struggles to fight back against the harsh rulings of the Mage Council, more and more Gardnerian soldiers descend upon the University…led by none other than Lukas Grey, now commander of the nearby military base. Though Elloren tries to keep him at arm’s length, Lukas is determined to tie himself to her, still convinced that she is the heir to the power of the Black Witch, a legacy of magic that will decide the future of all Erthia. As his own magic calls out to her, seeking to awaken a dark force within, Elloren finds it more and more difficult to believe that she’s truly powerless, as her uncle always claimed.

Caught between her growing feelings for the rebellious Yvan Guriel and the seductive power offered by Lukas, Elloren must find a way to stay true to what she knows is right and protect everyone she loves…even if that means protecting them from herself.

She just did a pair of events in Vermont, and will be embarking on a tour that sees stops in Chicago, Salt Lake, San Diego, San Francisco, Denver, and New York City in the coming weeks.

F. Brett Cox’s End Of All Our Exploring is now out!

Norwich University professor and speculative fiction author F. Brett Cox has a new book out this week: The End of All Our Exploring. It’s a collection of his short fiction, along with some historical notes.

The stories in F. Brett Cox’s debut collection move through multiple genres and many times and places, from the monsters of the 19th century to the future fields of war, from New England to the South to the American West, from the strange house at the top of the hill to the bottom of your childhood swimming pool. But whatever the time and place, and whether utterly fantastic or all too real, all of these remarkable fictions pose the fundamental question: what’s next? The End of All Our Exploring features 27 stories, and it also includes Cox’s unique historical notes.

The book is now in stores. He’ll also be stopping by Bear Pond Books on September 17th to discuss the collection.

F. Brett Cox event at Bear Pond Books

Norwich University professor and science fiction / fantasy / horror author F. Brett Cox will be holding a reading event for his upcoming collection of short stories, The End of All Our Exploring. The book will hit stores this month, and Bear Pond Books of Montpelier will host Cox on September 17th as part of its Sci-Fi Plus book club. He’ll read from the book and answer questions at 6:30PM.

RSVP here.

Archer Mayor’s 29th Joe Gunther novel: Bury the Lead

Fall is coming, and that means that Vermont mystery author Archer Mayor will have a new book out in a couple of months. His next is called Bury the Lead, and it’ll be the 29th installment of his long-running Joe Gunther series.

The book will be released on September 25th, and will follow Gunther and the Vermont Bureau of Investigation as they investigate the death of a young woman found on a trail of a ski resort. At the same time, a local grocery distributor is being attacked by vandals — resulting in another death — while a local hospital deals with a potential case of Ebola.

When the body of a young woman is found near a trail at a popular ski mountain, the case falls to Joe Gunther and his team at the Vermont Bureau of Investigation (VBI). They quickly have a suspect, Mick Durocher, and a confession, but not everyone on the team is convinced. Despite Mick’s ready admission, investigators quickly sense there might be more going on than is immediately apparent.

At the same time, a large local business is being targeted with escalating acts of vandalism―a warehouse fire, a vandalized truck, a massive cooling system destroyed―resulting in loss of life. And either by coincidence, or not, Mick Durocher, the self-confessed murderer, was once employed by this very company.

These two puzzling cases―now possibly connected―are further complicated by the sidelining of a key member of VBI, Willy Kunkle, who undergoes surgery at a hospital that appears to be having an unlikely―and suspiciously timed―outbreak of Ebola.

Joe and his team pursue these cases, uncovering motives that might link them, while proving that trust betrayed can be a toxic virus, turning love into murderous loathing. Indeed, behind the mayhem and murder, Joe must uncover a tragic history before another victim dies.

As is to be expected, Archer will be touring around Vermont to a variety of bookstores throughout the fall.