cover image The Art of Prophecy

The Art of Prophecy

Wesley Chu. Del Rey, $28.99 (544p) ISBN 978-0-593-23763-2

Bestseller Chu (The Lives of Tao) opens his ambitious War Arts Saga series with one-armed, aging Ling Taishi, the “greatest war arts master of her generation,” taking on a new student, Wen Jian. Jian is the Chosen One, prophesied to defeat the Eternal Khan, immortal god-king of the Katuia Hordes, and Taishi offers to prepare him for this task—just in time to learn that the Khan is already dead. Taishi, desperate not to repeat the failures that lead to her son’s death, hides Jian in a war arts school while she travels across the Enlightened States to discover why the prophecy fell through. Though Act I seems like by-the-numbers wuxia built on the tired trope of an unqualified man unbelievably surpassing a skilled woman at her life’s work, things pick up as the focus shifts from bland hero Jian onto a number of fascinating female characters, including two who want to kill him: Salminde “Sali” the Viperstrike of the Katuia, who seeks both her missing sister and the reincarnation of the Khan; and the mercurial Maza Qisami, an expert assassin known as a shadowkill. The epic scope of the worldbuilding, along with the sheer number of fight scenes, will delight Chu’s fans. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Gosh Literary. (Aug.)