cover image The Obsidian Tower

The Obsidian Tower

Melissa Caruso. Orbit, $16.99 trade paper (528p) ISBN 978-0-316-42509-4

The road to the Nine Hells is paved not with good intentions but with political and personal ambition in this no-holds-barred epic fantasy, the first in Caruso’s Rooks and Ruins trilogy set in the same universe as her Swords and Fire series. Ryxander was appointed Warden of Gloamingard Castle by her grandmother, the Lady of Owls, and tasked with keeping its menacing Black Tower sealed. While mediating a conflict between the Serene Empire of Raverra and the neighboring Alevar, Ryx is tricked into using her life-draining magic to open the Black Tower’s gate, in the process accidentally killing a meddling Alevar representative and unleashing a demon from the Nine Hells. Surrounded by angry diplomats, inquisitive mages, and a vengeful Shrike Lord, Ryx desperately works to control the Black Tower’s magic before the nations of Vaskandar and the Serene Empire go to war to claim its power. The intricate, colorful world is vividly described (“Gloamingard was really several castles caught in the act of devouring each other”) and anchored by the raw emotions of the diverse cast. Caruso’s new series is off to a promising start. Agent: Naomi Davis, BookEnds Literary. (June)