Last year we published The City of Silk and Steel: a wonderful debut novel by an author with almost a dozen books to their name.
OK, so there was a modicum of publishing legerdemain involved there. Or – as people without an over-active pretentious gland call it – a bit of cheating. The City of Silk and Steel was the first novel written by the triple-authored team of Mike, Linda and Louise Carey – so it’s technically a debut even though Mike has written five Felix Castor novels, a couple of pseudonymous thrillers and the recently released (and justifiably raved about) The Girl With All the Gifts; Linda is the author of The Darkest Age children’s fantasy trilogy written under the pen name by A.J. Lake; and Louise is co-author of graphic novel Confessions of a Blabbermouth, published under DC Comics’ Minx imprint. All right, then: a lot of cheating.
But don’t let their editor’s inability to pass a polygraph test blind you to the Careys’ brilliance as writers. The City of Silk and Steel is an incredibly accomplished and compelling book, which uses its Arabian Nights-style story-within-a-story structure to build into a tense, clever and moving novel. You want action? Check. Torture? Check. Betrayal? Check. Revenge? Chases? Escapes? True love? Miracles? Check, check, check, check and check. It is my entirely unbiased opinion that you should read it as soon as possible. The mass market paperback is published in May but if you can’t wait (and who could blame you?!) it’s still available in hardback and as an eBook.
And following hot on its heels is the Careys’ second novel, The House of War and Witness: a fantastical, historical, military ghost story. And mystery. It’s by turns tense, moving, funny, exciting, clever, coarse, powerful and, most of all, that rarest and most precious of beasts – a truly original fantasy novel. You will find no quests here. You will find no heroes. Nor will you find secret heirs to the throne/magical powers/enchanted blades or jewelry (delete as appropriate).
Instead you’ll find a mix of very human characters – some good, some nasty (although not, it has to be said, necessarily evil), some just trying to get by. You’ll find pride – as a source both of strength and of terrible injustice. You’ll find compassion and cruelty, honour and courage, jealousy and rage. You’ll find a mystery, a ghost story, a love story, a revenge story – even a . . . no, that would be telling, and I don’t want to spoil it for you. What I will say is that The House of War and Witness contains the most impressive execution of the Chekhov’s Gun principle I’ve ever seen. The climax is an utterly audacious feat of narrative prestidigitation (that, believe it or not, is a clue), and I can promise you that every element was laid down in the story that precedes it. It’s a wonderful book and our design team has given it a wonderful cover:
I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.