cover image A Flame in the North

A Flame in the North

Lilith Saintcrow. Orbit, $19.99 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-0-316-44033-2

Saintcrow (the Dante Valentine series) launches the Black Land’s Bane series with an intense and intricate epic steeped in the magic of Norse mythology. Eldest daughter Solveig has powers as both an elementalist and a “full-fledged volva,” or seer. After her brother kills a man from the North, the other members of the man’s party, Aeredh and Eol, are entitled to recompense—a life for a life. They request Solveig as a weregild, or hostage, beholden to them for a year and a day in order to repay the wrong. Solveig and Arneior, her sworn shieldmaid who is blessed by the Wingéd Ones, head north with Aeredh and Eol. As the path becomes more dangerous, the women discover that their captors have strange powers of their own; that the much-fabled Black Land, the home of a great evil, is real; and that an army is rising within, which only Solveig’s powers may be able to stop from sweeping the land. Saintcrow vividly paints the protagonist’s journey, combining heart-pounding action with dense and complex worldbuilding. Epic fantasy fans will be enthralled. Agent: Lucienne Diver, Knight Agency. (Feb.)