cover image A Day of Fallen Night

A Day of Fallen Night

Samantha Shannon. Bloomsbury, $35 (880p) ISBN 978-1-63557-792-1

Shannon artfully builds on the world of The Priory of the Orange Tree with this masterful standalone prequel. Taking place centuries before the events of Priory, it’s an expansive epic that interweaves four connected story lines as the protagonists reckon with both personal conflicts and the cataclysmic resurgence of wyrmkind. Glorian Berethnet, teenage daughter to the queen of Inys, faces mounting pressure to conceive her own child and secure the line of succession. Wulfert Glenn, a foundling and housecarl sworn to Glorian’s father, the king of Hróth, struggles to cast off whispers of witchcraft that cling to him from his mysterious past. Meanwhile, Tunuva Melim, a warrior of the Priory, ventures into the outside world to pursue a runaway postulant whose relationship with an outsider puts their sanctuary at risk. And Dumai, raised in a secluded mountaintop temple, is thrown into a dangerous world of courtly intrigue when she learns she’s the firstborn daughter of Jorodu, Emperor of Seiiki. As roving monsters sow destruction throughout the realm, all must race to survive. Shannon skillfully grounds high-stakes fantasy action in human emotion and a mature exploration of duty, bodily autonomy, identity, and motherhood. Series fans and any reader looking for queernorm fantasy will be thrilled by this self-assured adventure. Agent: David Godwin, David Godwin Assoc. (Feb.)