cover image The City

The City

Stella Gemmell. Ace, $26.95 (528p) ISBN 978-0-425-26418-8

Gemmell (Troy: Fall of Kings with her late husband, David Gemmell) proves more than capable of standing on her own with this powerful epic fantasy, heavier on combat than on magic. Ten-year-old Elija and his younger sister, Em, have lived in a sewer deep beneath the City for years. In the layers and layers of buildings and streets that were abandoned and then built over, survival is constantly in doubt. (Even in sleep, on the tiny ledge they can call their own, the siblings must stay very still to avoid falling to a watery death.) A devastating flood separates the pair, and Em ends up being reared by an old soldier, Bartellus, who was once a famous general. The plot centers on efforts to overthrow the City’s emperor, Araeon, who was responsible for the death of Bartellus’s family; now malcontents hope Bartellus will lead their revolt. Richly textured prose and settings distinguish this novel, and fans of grimdark fantasy will hope it spawns many sequels. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. (June)