cover image Master of Poisons

Master of Poisons

Andrea Hairston., $27.99 (512p) ISBN 978-1-250-26054-3

Hairston (Will Do Magic for Small Change) dazzles with this complex epic fantasy about a people struggling to survive in the world they’ve helped destroy. A poison desert is spreading across the Arkhysian Empire, killing everything in its path. Djola, Emperor Azizi’s second in command, has tried to warn the population for years, urging them to save their homeland—but to no avail. Now that it’s too late for any minor precaution to help, he sets out to find a solution. As Djola works to stop the world from burning, he discovers the darkness lurking within the empire and in his own heart. Meanwhile, garden sprite Awa, a young griot in training, struggles to find her own place in the uncertain future. In stirring prose (“As long as sweet water fell from the sky every afternoon and mist rolled in on a night wind, everybody promised to change—tomorrow or next week. Then crops failed and rivers turned to dust.”), Hairston weaves a rich tapestry of folklore and adventure, inviting readers into a well-developed, non-Western fantasy world, while navigating pressing issues of climate change and personal responsibility. This is an urgent, gorgeous work. Agent: Kristopher O’Higgins, Scribe Agency. (Sept.)