cover image The Keeper’s Six

The Keeper’s Six

Kate Elliott. Tordotcom, $19.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-250-76907-7

Treacherous terrain and even more treacherous trading partners ramp up the stakes of this masterful contemporary fantasy from Elliott (Unconquerable Sun). Esther Green, the hard-nosed leader of a Hex of six skilled trekkers who brave the shifting landscapes of the Beyond, a place between worlds, sticks to her principles on a dangerous job—and her convictions get her Hex’s travel privileges suspended by the Concilium for 10 years. Suspension be damned, however, when her son Daniel, the Keeper of a portal to Earth, is kidnapped by the dragon Zosfadal. Esther reassembles her team and marches to confront the dragon and bargain for her son’s freedom. The deal she strikes with Zosfadal leads Esther and the Hex even deeper into danger, through deadly magical storms, and back to the scene of the original sin that pushed the Concilium to ban the team in the first place. A rare standalone adventure from Elliott, this still manages to pack in an epic amount of worldbuilding. The conflicting goals of the smart, well-shaded cast produce believable confrontations that will appeal to those looking for mature, thoughtful conflict. Readers are sure to be impressed. (Jan.)