cover image The Winter Road

The Winter Road

Adrian Selby. Orbit, $16.99 trade paper (496p) ISBN 978-0-316-46588-5

Readers seeking a lengthy grimdark tale will find plenty of pain and suffering in the trials of Teyr Amondsen, former mercenary turned merchant, as she endeavors to establish an ambitious trade route across the Circle of clan lands. She travels with fellow soldiers; her accountant lover, Aude, and his son; and a significant quantity of medicinal plants—many of which are performance-enhancing battle drugs—and the drudha who know how best to administer them. Their challenges include persuading multiple clans of the benefits of the road and winning over the mysterious Oskoro people who reside in the forest at the heart of the Circle. Teyr’s ambition and endurance are admirable, her goal is refreshingly mundane and pragmatic, and Selby has crafted a deeply imagined world. However, the unrelenting misery of her circumstances is exhausting, and the choice of an interwoven narrative of two timelines feels unnecessary. Even those drawn to bleak stories will find this one a little excessive. (Nov.)