cover image The Winter of the Witch

The Winter of the Witch

Katherine Arden. Del Rey, $28 (384p) ISBN 978-1-101-88599-4

Arden’s satisfying conclusion to her fantasy trilogy set in medieval Russia finds 17-year-old Vasilisa “Vasya” Petrovna in the ruins of Moscow. She released a firebird in order to save the life of the Grand Prince of Moscow and inadvertently set the city on fire. An angry mob descends and slaughters someone very close to her, and the devastated Vasya ends up in the clutches of an old foe, the mad priest Konstantin Nikonovich, who plans to burn Vasya as a witch. An offer from the demon Medved, whom Vasya knows as the Bear, promises salvation, but Vasya is no one’s pawn. Once she escapes Konstantin, she must journey into the dreamlike Midnight country and beyond, where she encounters her great-grandmother Baba Yaga, gains allies old and new, and comes to terms with her own powers. Her realizations come just in time, because the Bear will use Konstantin and the dead to sow further chaos and destruction, and war is on the horizon. How far will Vasya go to save her beloved ’Rus and the people she loves? Arden’s gorgeous prose entwines political intrigue and feminist themes with magic and folklore to tell a tale both intimate and epic, featuring a heroine whose harrowing and wondrous journey culminates in an emotionally resonant finale. Agent: Paul Lucas, Janklow & Nesbit. (Jan.)