cover image Maledicte


Lane Robins, . . Del Rey, $14.95 (434pp) ISBN 978-0-345-49573-0

Robins's debut fantasy chronicles the fascinating transformation of 15-year-old Miranda from girlish street urchin to an attractive, audacious male courtier on a quest for love and vengeance. When the earl of Last decides he needs an heir, he plucks his bastard son, Janus, from the slums of the city of Murne—much to the dismay of Miranda, Janus's constant companion. Determined to find Janus and kill the earl of Last, she dresses as a boy and finds her way into the household of the dissolute Baron Vornatti, an enemy of Last. Trained in all the skills of a decadent and treacherous court by the lecherous baron and his servant Gilly—and possessed by Black-Winged Ani, a bloodthirsty goddess of love and vengeance—Miranda becomes Maledicte. This complex protagonist becomes both a pawn and a power in a darkly original world of doubted gods and declining civilization. Robins is a fantasist with a future. (May)