The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps

Kai Ashante Wilson. Tor.com, $12.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8524-6
In Wilson’s lush debut, which launches the novella-focused Tor.com imprint, genre strictures are altogether overturned; magic and science and religion are one and the same, and the setting might be our world in the far future or another place altogether. The alien gods and angels left long ago, but their workings and their descendants remain, mingling with low-tech human cultures. Compassionate, lonely Demane is one of the gods’ great-grandchildren, a Storm Bird working as a guard for a merchant caravan. The man he follows, the enigmatic and tortured Captain, also has celestial blood. Demane must strike a balance between his unofficial role as the so-called sorcerer for the caravan and his inescapable heritage, building friendships with his young and ignorant fellow guards while sneaking in brief, tender trysts with the Captain. The Wildeeps is a jungle where the only safe passage is on the magically warded Road. But a man-eating monster is able to evade the wards, and Demane will need the Captain’s help to defeat it. In both narration and dialogue, Wilson wields a multitude of dialects with the brute strength and consummate skill of the Captain wielding his spear: “Always up in some damn water tryna warsh” and “superluminal travel is noncorporeal” and “she dragged herself airborne off turbulent chop” keep unabashed company, defying the reader to legitimize one over another. This rich, delicately crafted world is stocked with vibrant characters (though women appear only in the familial memories and sexual longings of the men) and supports a powerful story told in a delightful series of wrenching moments. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/10/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4272-6888-4
Ebook - 978-1-4668-9191-3
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