cover image The Girl in the Tower

The Girl in the Tower

Katherine Arden. Del Rey, $27 (384p) ISBN 978-1-101-88596-3

Arden builds on the considerable promise of 2017’s The Bear and the Nightingale with this moving continuation of Vasilisa “Vasya” Petrovna’s journey across 14th-century Russia after the death of her father. Determined not to marry or wither away at a convent, Vasya, disguised as a young man, sets out on her magnificent horse to see the world. Bandits are burning villages and kidnapping young girls across the Russian countryside, and Vasya’s rescue of three of those girls leads her to the Lavra, where she finds her brother, who is now a monk called Brother Aleksandr, and the Grand Prince of Moscow, Dmitrii Ivanovich. After a battle with the bandits, they set off for Moscow, and Vasya’s delight at the unfettered freedom that her disguise affords her among Moscow’s exciting sights and sounds is tempered by a plot to unseat Dmitrii and the awakening of her magical powers. Vasya is a remarkable heroine, strong of will and sharp of mind, and her stark realization that her desire for freedom may have consequences for those she loves adds a layer to this sensual, beautifully written, and emotionally stirring fantasy. Fairy tales don’t get better than this. Agent: Paul Lucas, Janklow & Nesbit. (Jan.)