cover image The Serpent in Heaven

The Serpent in Heaven

Charlaine Harris. Saga, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-982182-49-6

Series heroine Lizbeth Rose lets go of the reins for Harris’s action-packed fourth Gunnie Rose alternate history (after The Russian Cage), which sees Lizbeth’s half sister, Felicia, taking over as narrator. Rescued by Lizbeth and her partner, Eli, from a life of poverty in Mexico, Felicia is initially thrilled to find a home—and regular food—at the Rasputin School for Grigoris in the Holy Russian Empire, even though her spot there hinges on her being a regular blood donor to the tsar. As one of the few living descendants of Rasputin, her blood alone may heal what ails the ruler. Her peaceful new life is interrupted, however, when she’s kidnapped. She escapes her abductors—only for the school to be attacked in their attempts to get her back. Felicia’s responding fury causes magic more powerful than she knew she had to explode from inside her, making her realize that her role in things to come may be more critical than she knew. Readers may initially be disappointed not to hear from Lizbeth, but Felicia proves an equally strong and magnetic heroine who’s sure to win fans over in the end. This takes the series in an exciting new direction. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky Literary. (Nov.)