cover image Chronin, Vol. 1: The Knife at Your Back

Chronin, Vol. 1: The Knife at Your Back

Alison Wilgus. Tor, $17.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9163-6

Wilgus’s full-length debut opens a duology with an intricate narrative worthy of its rich historical setting. In 2042, college students travel back in time to observe events firsthand. Undergrad Mirai Yoshida barely escapes alive after her research team is ambushed in 1864 Japan. Stranded, Mirai conceals her gender and disguises herself as a samurai, and Hatsu, a tea waitress with her own secrets, hires Mirai as a bodyguard. Mirai’s dangerously out of place in a country on the cusp of civil war. Their journey to visit Hatsu’s family quickly goes awry, and Mirai’s secrets unravel. Mirai’s hunt for a way home unexpectedly puts her and Hatsu directly in the path of a history that someone’s determined to change. Wilgus uses Mirai’s plight to painstakingly share facts about the time and develop the characters without slowing the action. Clever dialogue and detailed black-and-white images create an intense and moving story with plenty of heart and a mystery readers will want to solve. Agent: Eddie Schnieder, JABberwocky Literary. (Feb.)