cover image The House of Shattered Wings

The House of Shattered Wings

Aliette de Bodard. Roc, $26.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-451-47738-5

Nebula-winner de Bodard makes her big-house debut (following the Obsidian and Blood trilogy, published by Angry Robot) with a gripping tragedy of forlorn individuals caught up in an angelic version of the Cold War. In this rendition of history, Paris was devastated by a Great War that began in 1914—a war waged by its competing houses of Fallen angels and witches. Sixty years later, the city is still in ruins. Two Frenchwomen have very different relationships with the supernatural side of Paris: Selene, the leader of House Silverspires, struggles to step into the shoes of its founder, the mysteriously missing Morningstar (aka Lucifer), and House alchemist Madeleine must balance her addiction to angel essence against her fears of being sent back to her former master, Asmodeus. Philippe, a Vietnamese conscript and former Immortal, is caught sampling the blood of a newly Fallen angel, and his attempt to escape precipitates a long-hidden curse on Silverspires that sets the Furies and the other houses to seek its destruction. The story holds up well as a standalone, with clear possibilities but no pressing need for a sequel. De Bodard aptly mixes moral conflicts and the desperate need to survive in a fantastical spy thriller that reads like a hybrid of le Carré and Milton, all tinged with the melancholy of golden ages lost. Agent: John Berlyne, Zeno Agency. (Aug.)