cover image The Raven Tower

The Raven Tower

Ann Leckie. Orbit, $26 (432p) ISBN 978-0-316-38869-6

In this complex novel, the first epic fantasy from SF author Leckie (Provenance), the best-laid plans of gods and mortals collide, throwing a nation into turmoil and setting the stage for a divine conflict that’s been brewing for centuries. The tale spins out in past and present, narrated by the rockbound god known as the Strength and Patience of the Hill. The god is speaking to Eolo, a transgender warrior in service to Mawat, a young noble whose uncle has usurped his rightful role as ruler of Iraden. As the god recounts its ancient history (the narrative is told in second person, a technical challenge that Leckie surmounts with aplomb), it also relates Eolo’s attempts to determine what happened to Mawat’s supposedly vanished father and how this connects to their patron god, the Raven, whose power seems on the wane. With foreign gods taking an active interest in the kingdom, political intrigue brewing, and Mawat taking ever-bolder actions, Eolo must uncover Iraden’s greatest secret. Through this unorthodox approach to the relationships between gods and their followers, Leckie’s tale takes on a mythic, metafictional quality; the Strength and Eolo truly inhabit their roles, and the story’s elements weave into a stunning conclusion. This impressive piece of craftsmanship cements Leckie’s place as a powerful voice in both SF and fantasy. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Co. (Feb.)