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Six Fantasy Novels Perfect to Set Your Next DnD Campaign

The TTRPG game masters among us know that behind all the epic moments and fun is a lot of work—preparing characters, setting up the fantasy world, and then you’ve got to set up the story of the campaign after that.

To celebrate the release of Christopher Buehlman’s The Daughters’ War, we’re bringing back this list of epic fantasy novels with worlds ready-made for your next DnD campaign! 


the daughter's war by christopher buehlmanThe Daughters’ War by Christopher Buehlman

Galva — Galvicha to her three brothers, two of whom the goblins will kill — has defied her family’s wishes and joined the army’s untested new unit, the Raven Knights. They march toward a once-beautiful city overrun by the goblin horde, accompanied by scores of giant war corvids. Made with the darkest magics, these fearsome black birds may hold the key to stopping the goblins in their war to make cattle of mankind. The road to victory is bloody, and goblins are clever and merciless. The Raven Knights can take nothing for granted — not the bonds of family, nor the wisdom of their leaders, nor their own safety against the dangerous war birds at their side. But some hopes are worth any risk.

Cover of The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher BuehlmanThe Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman

Guilds of thieves, brutal goblin wars, fallen cities, and of course, the gods! The world of The Blacktongue Thief is a prime setting for fast-paced campaigns where characters (and players) have ample opportunity to quip and react quickly to ever-escalating situations. Aren’t the best TTRPG moments the ones that spiral indelibly out of hand? Set your next campaign within the realms of The Blacktongue Thief to maximize the chance of such beautiful moments. 

Cover of Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonaldDaughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald

This brilliant fantasy first-in-series about how a single choice can change a universe has every element your TTRPG-playin’ heart could yearn for. Forbidden magic, an order of warrior-magi, and ancient evils fighting against the chains of the past that hold them there—that’s a recipe for tabletop greatness if I’ve ever heard one. We’re also running a sweepstakes for a chance to win your very own custom Daughter of Redwinter-inspired game master’s screen

Cover of In the Shadow of LIghtning by Brian McClellanIn the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan

Brian McClellan has a new fantasy series and it could be the setting of your next TTRPG campaign! Magic is running out in the world of In the Shadow of Lightning, and the violent struggles between factions makes stability as rare a commodity as the empowered Godglass they’re fighting over. 

Cover of Fate of the Fallen by Kel KadeFate of the Fallen by Kel Kade

Okay so this book. Basically all the rich and noble adventure-types have fled the world to the doom that they decided they just weren’t up to stopping. Who does that leave? Well, The B Team! Set your campaign in this world if you wish every class had a little mix of rogue. DnD for delightful scoundrels, if you will!

Cover for The First Binding by R. R. VirdiThe First Binding by R. R. Virdi

The setting of The First Binding takes inspiration from our world’s Silk Roads, and in this expansive series opener, R. R. Virdi takes us on a journey along a bustling fantasy trade route that spans a broad and diverse wealth of cultures. It’s kind of the perfect setting for a tabletop campaign! No coincidence that traditional DnD-style games begin in places like taverns—this is where travelers from different backgrounds meet! But the world of The First Binding is a world of travelers, where unfamiliar folks mesh at every point along the long, long road. 

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EPICLY FANTASTIC MEGA EBOOK SALE DAY: 10/16/22

Big News: We’re all eBook sale, all day, but only for today (Sunday, 10/16/22)! Get every title on this epic list for $2.99 for the next 24 hours!


Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonaldDaughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald

Raine can see—and speak—to the dead, a gift that comes with a death sentence. All her life she has hidden, lied, and run to save her skin, and she’s made some spectacularly bad choices along the way.

But it is a rare act of kindness—rescuing an injured woman in the snow—that becomes the most dangerous decision Raine has ever made.

Because the woman is fleeing from Redwinter, the fortress-monastery of the Draoihn, warrior magicians who answer to no king, and who will stop at nothing to reclaim what she’s stolen. A battle, a betrayal, and a horrific revelation force Raine to enter the citadel and live among the Draoihn. She soon finds that her secret ability could be the key to saving an entire nation.

Though she might have to die to make it happen . . .

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Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline CareyKushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

A nation born of angels, vast and intricate and surrounded by danger… a woman born to servitude, unknowingly given access to the secrets of the realm…

Born with a scarlet mote in her left eye, Phédre nó Delaunay is sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics, foreign languages, the arts of pleasure. And above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Exquisite courtesan, talented spy…and unlikely heroine. But when Phédre stumbles upon a plot that threatens her homeland, Terre d’Ange, she has no choice.

Betrayed into captivity in the barbarous northland of Skaldia and accompanied only by a disdainful young warrior-priest, Phédre makes a harrowing escape and an even more harrowing journey to return to her people and deliver a warning of the impending invasion. And that proves only the first step in a quest that will take her to the edge of despair and beyond.

Phédre nó Delaunay is the woman who holds the keys to her realm’s deadly secrets, and whose courage will decide the very future of her world.

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The First Binding by R. R. VirdiThe First Binding by R. R. Virdi

All legends are born of truths. And just as much lies. These are mine. Judge me for what you will. But you will hear my story first.

I buried the village of Ampur under a mountain of ice and snow. Then I killed their god. I’ve stolen old magics and been cursed for it. I started a war with those that walked before mankind and lost the princess I loved, and wanted to save. I’ve called lightning and bound fire. I am legend. And I am a monster.

My name is Ari.

And this is the story of how I let loose the first evil.

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Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen CookChronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook

Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead.

Then comes the prophecy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more…

This omnibus edition comprises The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose—the first three novels in Glen Cook’s bestselling fantasy series.

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Fate of the Fallen by Kel KadeFate of the Fallen by Kel Kade

Not all stories have happy endings.

Everyone loves Mathias. Naturally, when he discovers it’s his destiny to save the world, he dives in head first, pulling his best friend Aaslo along for the ride.

However, saving the world isn’t as easy, or exciting, as it sounds in the stories. The going gets rough and folks start to believe their best chance for survival is to surrender to the forces of evil, which isn’t how the prophecy goes. At all. As the list of allies grows thin, and the friends find themselves staring death in the face they must decide how to become the heroes they were destined to be or, failing that, how to survive.

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Gardens of the Moon by Steven EriksonGardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with the formidable Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…

Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order—an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.

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The Ruin of Kings by Jenn LyonsThe Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Kihrin grew up in the slums of Quur, a thief and a minstrel’s son raised on tales of long-lost princes and magnificent quests. When he is claimed against his will as the missing son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds himself at the mercy of his new family’s ruthless power plays and political ambitions.

Practically a prisoner, Kihrin discovers that being a long-lost prince is nothing like what the storybooks promised. The storybooks have lied about a lot of other things, too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, and how the hero always wins.

Then again, maybe he isn’t the hero after all. For Kihrin is not destined to save the world.

He’s destined to destroy it.

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Rise of the Mages by Scott DrakefordRise of the Mages by Scott Drakeford

Emrael Ire wants nothing more than to test to be a weapons master. His final exam will be a bloody insurrection, staged by corrupt nobles and priests, that enslaves his brother.

With the aid of his War Master tutor, herself an undercover mage, Emrael discovers his own latent and powerful talents.

To rescue his brother, Emrael must embrace not only his abilities as a warrior but also his place as last of the ancient Mage Kings—for the Fallen God has returned.

And he is hungry.

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The Emperor's Blades by Brian StaveleyThe Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley

Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power he must master before it’s too late.

An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. But before he can set out to save Kaden, Valyn must survive one horrific final test.

At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor’s final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing—and risk everything—to see that justice is meted out.

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The Unspoken Name by A. K. LarkwoodThe Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does—she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn—gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

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The Starless Crown by James RollinsThe Starless Crown by James Rollins

A gifted student foretells an apocalypse. Her reward is a sentence of death.

Fleeing into the unknown she is drawn into a team of outcasts:

A broken soldier, who once again takes up the weapons he’s forbidden to wield and carves a trail back home.

A drunken prince, who steps out from his beloved brother’s shadow and claims a purpose of his own.

An imprisoned thief, who escapes the crushing dark and discovers a gleaming artifact – one that will ignite a power struggle across the globe.

On the run, hunted by enemies old and new, they must learn to trust each other in order to survive in a world evolved in strange, beautiful, and deadly ways, and uncover ancient secrets that hold the key to their salvation.

But with each passing moment, doom draws closer.

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Every Dragon Book Coming from Tor in 2022

We. Love. Dragons. We’re all about dragons. At any given moment, we’ve got dragons on our mind, and often, dragons in our books! In celebration of Dragon Week 4: Dragons 4ever, we’ve compiled a list of every book we’re releasing this year within whose pages you might encounter a dragon.

Check out this epic list of flying fantasy lizards!


Discord of GodsThe Discord of Gods by Jenn Lyons by Jenn Lyons

The Discord of Gods marks the epic conclusion to Jenn Lyons’s Chorus of Dragons series, closing out the saga that began with The Ruin of Kings, for fans of Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss.

 

Gods and DragonsGods and Dragons by Kevin J. Anderson by Kevin J. Anderson

Co-author of the Dune sequels, Kevin J. Anderson’s Gods and Dragons marks his triumphant return to epic fantasy, featuring a politically charged adventure of swords, sorcery, vengeance, and the awakening of sleeping giants.

The Origin of StormsThe Origin of Storms by Elizabeth Bear by Elizabeth Bear

Hugo Award-winning author Elizabeth Bear concludes her highly-acclaimed epic fantasy trilogy, The Lotus Kingdoms, which began with The Stone in the Skull and The Red-Stained Wings. It all comes to a surprising, satisfying climax in The Origin of Storms!

The Thousand EyesThe Thousand Eyes by A. K. Larkwood by A. K. Larkwood

The sequel to A. K. Larkwood’s stunning debut fantasy, The Unspoken Name. The Thousand Eyes continues The Serpent Gates series—perfect for fans of Jenn Lyons, Joe Abercrombie, and Ursula K. Le Guin.

Origins of the Wheel of Time by Michael Livingston; foreword by Harriet McDougalOrigins of The Wheel of Time by Michael Livingston; foreword by Harriet McDougal

Explore never-before-seen insights into the Wheel of Time, including:
A brand-new, redrawn world map by Ellisa Mitchell using change requests discovered in Robert Jordan’s unpublished notes
An alternate scene from an early draft of The Eye of the World
The long-awaited backstory of Nakomi
8 page, full color photo insert

The Kaiju Preservation SocietyThe Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi by John Scalzi

The Kaiju Preservation Society is John Scalzi’s first standalone adventure since the conclusion of his New York Times bestselling Interdependency trilogy.

 

Destiny of the DeadDestiny of the Dead by Kel Kade by Kel Kade

Destiny of the Dead is the second novel in a genre-bending series from New York Times bestselling author Kel Kade.

While the wealthy and powerful, the kings and queens, abandon the dying world, one group of misfits says no more. Through dogged determination and the ability to bind souls to their dead bodies, Aaslo and his friends fight on.

The Eye of ScalesThe Eye of Scales by Tracy Hickman and Richard Garriott by Tracy Hickman and Richard Garriott

Fantasy great Tracy Hickman teams up with the video game legend Richard Garriott in this epic novel The Eye of Scales, based on the award-winning game, Shroud of the Avatar.

Mystic SkiesMystic Skies by Jason Denzel by Jason Denzel

In this epic conclusion to Jason Denzel’s The Mystic Trilogy, which spans decades and timeless realms and dreams, Pomella must confront her greatest and most personal challenge yet. For the Deep mysteries of the world will reveal themselves only to the most powerful and dedicated of Mystics.

Full HouseFull House, edited by George R. R. Martin, edited by George R. R. Martin

In hardcover for the first time, Full House brings together the Wild Cards stories that have been previously published on Tor.com.

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Five Fantasy Novels Perfect to Set Your Next DnD Campaign In

The TTRPG game masters among us know that behind all the epic moments and fun is a lot of work—preparing characters, setting up the fantasy world, and then you’ve got to set up the story of the campaign after that.

So in the interest of more fun and less work, we at Tor Books have put together a list of epic fantasy novels with worlds ready-made for your next DnD campaign! Check it out here.


Cover of Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonaldDaughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald

This brilliant fantasy first-in-series about how a single choice can change a universe has every element your TTRPG-playin’ heart could yearn for. Forbidden magic, an order of warrior-magi, and ancient evils fighting against the chains of the past that hold them there—that’s a recipe for tabletop greatness if I’ve ever heard one. We’re also running a sweepstakes for a chance to win your very own custom Daughter of Redwinter-inspired game master’s screen

Cover of In the Shadow of LIghtning by Brian McClellanIn the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan

Brian McClellan has a new fantasy series and it could be the setting of your next TTRPG campaign! Magic is running out in the world of In the Shadow of Lightning, and the violent struggles between factions makes stability as rare a commodity as the empowered Godglass they’re fighting over. 

Cover of Fate of the Fallen by Kel KadeFate of the Fallen by Kel Kade

Okay so this book. Basically all the rich and noble adventure-types have fled the world to the doom that they decided they just weren’t up to stopping. Who does that leave? Well, The B Team! Set your campaign in this world if you wish every class had a little mix of rogue. DnD for delightful scoundrels, if you will!

Cover for The First Binding by R. R. VirdiThe First Binding by R. R. Virdi

The setting of The First Binding takes inspiration from our world’s Silk Roads, and in this expansive series opener, R. R. Virdi takes us on a journey along a bustling fantasy trade route that spans a broad and diverse wealth of cultures. It’s kind of the perfect setting for a tabletop campaign! No coincidence that traditional DnD-style games begin in places like taverns—this is where travelers from different backgrounds meet! But the world of The First Binding is a world of travelers, where unfamiliar folks mesh at every point along the long, long road. 

Cover of The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher BuehlmanThe Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman

Guilds of thieves, brutal goblin wars, fallen cities, and of course, the gods! The world of The Blacktongue Thief is a prime setting for fast-paced campaigns where characters (and players) have ample opportunity to quip and react quickly to ever-escalating situations. Aren’t the best TTRPG moments the ones that spiral indelibly out of hand? Set your next campaign within the realms of The Blacktongue Thief to maximize the chance of such beautiful moments. 

 

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Fantasy Novels That Subvert the Chosen One Narrative

By Zakiya Jamal & a cat

Place holder  of - 50We all know the story of the chosen one. Time and time again, we’ve watched the Fabled Hero rise from Humble Yet Noble Origins to unlock Hidden Power only to discover that their True Strength was Friendship All Along, or whatever. That’s not what we’re here to talk about today. No, today is about the books that take that familiar narrative and twist it up. Flip it on its precious, anointed head! 

And why today of all auspicious days for this task? Because we’re celebrating the release of The Discord of Gods, the thrilling conclusion to Jenn Lyons’ A Chorus of Dragons series, where chosen ones fall from grace, demons run rampant across the earth, and adventure is the most important word. 

So read on! Check out a whole list of novels that defy the heroic and shake up expectations!


The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Image Placeholder of - 53Lyons’ debut novel follows Kihrin, a thief and minstrel’s son, who discovers he’s a long lost prince. However, being a prince isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Kihrin’s new family treats him as a prisoner and he’s caught up in their power plays and political ambitions. To make matters worse, Khirin does seem to have a part to play in the fate of the world–in that he might just be destined to destroy it.

Lyon’s has already followed up with The Name of All Things and she continues subverting the traditional versions of heroes and chosen ones.

 

Poster Placeholder of - 20Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade

In Kel Kade’s riotous fantasy, Fate of the Fallen, the learned wizards, gallant nobility, career adventurers, and anyone who might be considered an archetypical hero have all yeeted themselves away from a world that is dying. Who’s left? The flotsam. The broken. The ne’er-do-wells. But no one fights like the desperate, and dying though it may be, this is their world to save, damn it.

 

Placeholder of  -17The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman

Kinch Na Shannack owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief, which is why he makes the mistake of attempting to rob Galva, who is a knight, a survivor of the brutal goblin wars, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. And from these lofty beginnings, a sharply funny and bitingly thrilling fantasy adventure unfolds.

 

Image Place holder  of - 12Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald

The first installment in a brilliant new fantasy trilogy from critically-acclaimed author Ed McDonald, Daughter of Redwinter chronicles the adventures of Raine, a young woman with a history of unfortunate decisions who can unfortunately see the dead. It’s a powerful gift, and one she’d die for if anyone knew. No adulation or support for Raine, our chosen girl who just might save the world. It’s secrets and daggers in the dark until the climactic end. 

Daughter of Redwinter is on sale 6.28.22

 

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

While one could argue that protagonist Mia Corvere does fall into the chosen one trope, Kristoff breaks out of the typical narrative style by having a narrator who reveals early on that Mia will die by the time the tale is done. So while Mia may seem like the center of the story, she’s not the one telling it and she won’t survive the story’s end.

 

The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

Without giving too much away, Chakraborty does a great job of setting up the reader to believe that Nahri is the chosen one of this story, and though she certainly is at the center of the book, the novel becomes a dual narrative tale where the reader is left to wonder how Nahri’s story will converge with that of Prince Ali.

 

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

There are a lot of reasons why Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series was turned into a hit TV series and continues to bring in fans, but one of the big ones is Martin isn’t afraid to kill his heroes. From early in the series, Martin made it clear that the characters one might think are the saviors, or chosen ones, still aren’t safe.

 

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Often referred to as the adult Harry Potter, it shouldn’t be surprising that The Magicians makes the list. However, unlike Harry Potter, protagonist Quentin Coldwater doesn’t face a clear villain, at least not at first; instead Quentin’s main story is about exploring (and abusing) magic and discovering a world he’s always admired but doesn’t fully understand.

Originally published November 29, 2018.

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Meet the B-Team: Get to Know the Characters of The Shrouds of Prophecy

Placeholder of  -62When all the angel-wizards, elven princes, landed gentry, and other properly noble adventure-ly types have peaced out because the world is dying, who is left to save it? In New York Times bestselling author Kel Kade’s genre-bending The Shrouds of Prophecy series, we get the B-team: The assholes, thieves, second-bests, cheaters, and mildly insane, who now shoulder the burden of saving the world.

The story that began with The Fate of the Fallen about the motliest gang to ever raise a sword or flagon of ale continues in Destiny of the Dead. When the wealthy have fled and evil gods rear evil heads, the world needs the ne’er-do-well misfits to set it straight.

So! Get ready to meet the B-team.

Meet…

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The God of Death is tired of dealing with the living, so he’s decided everyone should die. And he’s found allies. The Berru, an empire of dark mages, has unleashed a terrifying army of monstrous lyksvight upon everyone with a pulse.

While the wealthy and powerful, the kings and queens, abandon the dying world, one group of misfits says no more. Through dogged determination and the ability to bind souls to their dead bodies, Aaslo and his friends fight on.

In the mountains of the far north, another bastion of defense is opened. Cherrí, the avatar of a vengeful fire god, has united the survivors amongst her people and begun her own war on the invaders.

Now, Aaslo and Cherrí must find a way to unite their powers, one divine, the other profane, to throw back the monsters of the Berru, and challenge Death itself.

Purchase Destiny of the Dead Here:

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Listen to an Audiobook Excerpt of Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade!

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Placeholder of  -61Not all stories have happy endings.

Everyone loves Mathias. Naturally, when he discovers it’s his destiny to save the world, he dives in head first, pulling his best friend Aaslo along for the ride.

However, saving the world isn’t as easy, or exciting, as it sounds in the stories. The going gets rough and folks start to believe their best chance for survival is to surrender to the forces of evil, which isn’t how the prophecy goes. At all. As the list of allies grows thin, and the friends find themselves staring death in the face they must decide how to become the heroes they were destined to be or, failing that, how to survive.

Can’t wait to dive into Destiny of the Dead by Kel Kade? Get caught up with this audio excerpt of Fate of the Fallen, Book 1 in The Shroud of Prophecy series, now out in paperback!

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Order Fate of the Fallen:

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Order Destiny of the Dead:

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Every Book Coming From Tor in Spring 2022

Ready to build up that Spring TBR pile? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Check out everything coming from Tor Books in Spring 2022 here!


March 1

cover of The Atlas Six by Olivie BlakeThe Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

The Alexandrian Society, caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity, are the foremost secret society of magical academicians in the world. Those who earn a place among the Alexandrians will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams, and each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation. When the new candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they will have one year to qualify for initiation. One will be eliminated. The six potential initiates will fight to survive the next year of their lives, and if they can prove themselves to be the best among their rivals, most of them will.

March 8

Place holder  of - 24Last Exit by Max Gladstone

When Zelda and her friends first met, in college, they believed they had all the answers. They had figured out a big secret about how the world worked and they thought that meant they could change things. They failed. One of their own fell, to darkness and rot. Ten years later, they’ve drifted apart, building lives for themselves, families, fortunes. All but Zelda. She’s still wandering the backroads of the nation. She’s still fighting monsters. She knows: the past isn’t over. It’s not even past. The road’s still there. The rot’s still waiting. They can’t hide from it any more. Because, at long last, their friend is coming home. And hell is coming with her.

March 15

Image Place holder  of - 39The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls “an animal rights organization.” Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on. What Tom doesn’t tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at least.

Cover of Worlds of Exile and Illusion by Ursula K. Le GuinWorlds of Exile and Illusion by Ursula K. Le Guin, introduction by Amal El-Mohtar

These three spacefaring adventures mark the beginning of grand master Ursula K. Le Guin’s remarkable career. Set in the same universe as Le Guin’s groundbreaking classics The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed, these first three books of the celebrated Hainish Series follow travelers of many worlds and civilizations in the depths of space. The novels collected in this Tor Essentials edition are the first three ever published by Le Guin, a frequent winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards and one of the greatest science fiction and fantasy writers of all time. With a new introduction by Amal El-Mohtar, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author.

Image Placeholder of - 11Three Kings edited by Melinda M. Snodgrass, in the Wildcards World of George R.R. Martin

In the aftermath of World War II, the Earth’s population was devastated by an alien virus. Those who survived were changed forever. Some, known as jokers, were cursed with bizarre mental and physical mutations; others, granted superhuman abilities, became the lucky few known as aces. Queen Margaret, who came to the English throne after the death of her sister Elizabeth, now lies on her death-bed. Summoning the joker ace Alan Turing, she urges him to seek the true heir: Elizabeth’s lost son. He was rumored to have died as a baby but, having been born a joker, was sent into hiding.

March 22

Poster Placeholder of - 82The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller

Charm is a witch, and she is alone. The last of a line of conquered necromantic workers, now confined within the yard of regrown bone trees at Orchard House, and the secrets of their marrow. Charm tends the trees and their clattering fruit for the sake of her children, painstakingly grown and regrown with its fruit: Shame, Justice, Desire, Pride, and Pain. The wealthy and powerful of Borenguard come to her house to buy time with the girls who aren’t real. Except on Tuesdays, which is when the Emperor himself lays claim to his mistress, Charm herself. But now—Charm is also the only person who can keep an empire together, as the Emperor summons her to his deathbed, and charges her with choosing which of his awful, faithless sons will carry on the empire—by discovering which one is responsible for his own murder.

Placeholder of  -85Destiny of the Dead by Kel Kade

The God of Death is tired of dealing with the living, so he’s decided everyone should die. And he’s found allies. The Berru, an empire of dark mages, has unleashed a terrifying army of monstrous lyksvight upon everyone with a pulse. While the wealthy and powerful, the kings and queens, abandon the dying world, one group of misfits says no more. Through dogged determination and the ability to bind souls to their dead bodies, Aaslo and his friends fight on. In the mountains of the far north, another bastion of defense is opened. Cherrí, the avatar of a vengeful fire god, has united the survivors amongst her people and begun her own war on the invaders. Now, Aaslo and Cherrí must find a way to unite their powers, one divine, the other profane, to throw back the monsters of the Berru, and challenge Death itself.

March 29

Sweep of Stars by Maurice Broaddus

The Muungano empire strived and struggled to form a utopia when they split away from old earth. Freeing themselves from the endless wars and oppression of their home planet in order to shape their own futures and create a far-reaching coalition of city-states that stretched from Earth and Mars to Titan. With the wisdom of their ancestors, the leadership of their elders, the power and vision of their scientists and warriors they charted a course to a better future. But the old powers could not allow them to thrive and have now set in motion new plots to destroy all that they’ve built. In the fire to come they will face down their greatest struggle yet.

April 5

Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments by T.L. Huchu

When Ropa Moyo discovered an occult underground library, she expected great things. She’s really into Edinburgh’s secret societies – but turns out they are less into her. So instead of getting paid to work magic, she’s had to accept a crummy unpaid internship. Then her friend Priya offers her a job on the side. Priya works at Our Lady of Mysterious Maladies, a very specialized hospital, where a new illness is resisting magical and medical remedies alike. If Ropa can solve the case, she might earn as she learns – and impress her mentor, Sir Callander. Her sleuthing will lead her to a lost fortune, an avenging spirit and a secret buried deep in Scotland’s past. But how are they connected? Lives are at stake and Ropa is running out of time.

Aspects by John M. Ford

Enter the halls of Parliament with Varic, Coron of the Corvaric Coast. Visit Strange House with the Archmage Birch. Explore the mountains of Lady Longlight alongside the Palion Silvern, Sorcerer. In the years before his unexpected death, John M. Ford wrote a novel of fantasy and magic unlike any other. Politics and abdicated kings, swords and sorcerous machine guns, divination and ancient empires—finally, Aspects is here.

April 12

Shadow Fallen by Sherrilyn Kenyon

For centuries, Ariel has fought the forces of evil. Her task was to protect the souls of innocent mortals when they die. Captured by a powerful sorceress, she is transformed into a human who has no memory of her real life or calling. And is plunked into the middle of the Norman invasion of England. Cursed the moment he was born with a “demonic deformity,” Valteri wants nothing of this earth except to depart it and will do his duty to his king until then. When a strange noblewoman is brought before him, Valteri realizes he has met her before…in his dreams. When others come for her, bringing with them preternatural predators, he is faced with a destiny he had no idea was waiting. One he wants no part of.

April 19

Flint and Mirror by John Crowley

As ancient Irish clans fought to preserve their lands and their way of life, the Queen and her generals fought to tame the wild land and make it English. Hugh O’Neill, lord of the North, dubbed Earl of Tyrone by the Queen, is a divided man: the Queen gives to Hugh her love, and her commandments, through a little mirror of obsidian which he can never discard; and the ancient peoples of Ireland arise from their underworld to make Hugh their champion, the token of their vow a chip of flint.

April 26

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

Marra never wanted to be a hero. As the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter, she escaped the traditional fate of princesses, to be married away for the sake of an uncaring throne. But her sister wasn’t so fortunate—and after years of silence, Marra is done watching her suffer at the hands of a powerful and abusive prince. Seeking help for her rescue mission, Marra is offered the tools she needs, but only if she can complete three seemingly impossible tasks. But, as is the way in tales of princes and witches, doing the impossible is only the beginning.

The Discord of Gods by Jenn Lyons

Relos Var’s final plans to enslave the universe are on the cusp of fruition. He believes there’s only one being in existence that might be able to stop him: the demon Xaltorath. As these two masterminds circle each other, neither is paying attention to the third player on the board, Kihrin. Unfortunately, keeping himself classified in the ‘pawn’ category means Kihrin must pretend to be everything the prophecies threatened he’d become: the destroyer of all, the sun eater, a mindless, remorseless plague upon the land. It also means finding an excuse to not destroy the people he loves (or any of the remaining Immortals) without arousing suspicion.

Up Against It by Laura J. Mixon

Jane Navio is the resource manager of Phoecea, an asteroid colony poised on the knife-edge of a hard vacuum of unforgiving space. A mishap has dumped megatons of water and methane out the colony’s air lock, putting the entire human population at risk. Jane discovers that the crisis may have been engineered by the Martian crime syndicate, as a means of executing a coup that will turn Phocaea into a client-state. And if that wasn’t bad enough, an AI that spawned during the emergency has gone rogue…and there’s a giant x-factor in the form of the transhumanist Viridian cult that lives in Phocaea’s bowels.

May 3

Book of Night by Holly Black

Charlie Hall has never found a lock she couldn’t pick, a book she couldn’t steal, or a bad decision she wouldn’t make. She’s spent half her life working for gloamists, magicians who manipulate shadows to peer into locked rooms, strangle people in their beds, or worse. Gloamists guard their secrets greedily, creating an underground economy of grimoires. And to rob their fellow magicians, they need Charlie Hall. Now, she’s trying to distance herself from past mistakes, but getting out isn’t easy. Bartending at a dive, she’s still entirely too close to the corrupt underbelly of the Berkshires. Not to mention that her sister Posey is desperate for magic, and that Charlie’s shadowless, and possibly soulless, boyfriend has been hiding things from her. When a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie descends into a maelstrom of murder and lies.

May 24

cover of The Origin of Storms by Elizabeth BearOrigin of Storms by Elizabeth Bear

The Lotus Kingdoms are at war, with four claimants to the sorcerous throne of the Alchemical Emperor, fielding three armies between them. Alliances are made, and broken, many times over—but in the end, only one can sit on the throne. And that one must have not only the power, but the rightful claim. The Rajni Mrithuri stands as the chief claimant to the Alchemical throne now, but she and her empire remain a prize to be taken unless she gets an heir. She has her allies–her cousin Sayeh, a dragon, a foreign wizard, a fearsome automaton, and the Dead Man–but the throne has the final say. And if it rejects her, the price is death.

What book are you reading first? Let us know in the comments!

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Excerpt: Destiny of the Dead by Kel Kade

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Place holder  of - 4Destiny of the Dead is the second novel in a genre-bending series from New York Times bestselling author Kel Kade.

The God of Death is tired of dealing with the living, so he’s decided everyone should die. And he’s found allies. The Berru, an empire of dark mages, has unleashed a terrifying army of monstrous lyksvight upon everyone with a pulse.

While the wealthy and powerful, the kings and queens, abandon the dying world, one group of misfits says no more. Through dogged determination and the ability to bind souls to their dead bodies, Aaslo and his friends fight on.

In the mountains of the far north, another bastion of defense is opened. Cherrí, the avatar of a vengeful fire god, has united the survivors amongst her people and begun her own war on the invaders.

Now, Aaslo and Cherrí must find a way to unite their powers, one divine, the other profane, to throw back the monsters of the Berru, and challenge Death itself.

Please enjoy this free excerpt of Destiny of the Dead by Kel Kade, on sale 03/22/2022.


Chapter 1

“What is he doing here?” said a feminine voice that flittered through Aaslo’s mind like the forest song.

“I wanted to see this creature of yours. You think I cannot recognize the pride in your eyes, Arayallen?” The voice was deep and masculine yet melodic like the first. It, however, rang in sorrowful lament, resonating with the promise of freedom and rest.

“Of course, I’m proud, as I am with all my successful creations,” said the female called Arayallen. “Do you feel threatened, Axus?”

Axus? Aaslo remembered Myra speaking that name. Was he in the presence of the gods?

“Ha ha!” rumbled the one named Axus. “Me? Threatened by this? Your pride has befuddled your sense. He is nothing. I could squash him beneath my foot right now.”

Aaslo’s heart leapt, but his mind was murky, and the fog did not clear from his vision. Bright, golden light shone through the haze as figures hovered over him. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t speak. But, as he struggled for full consciousness, he listened.

A third voice, that of a man, one who was accustomed to command and compliance, rumbled, “If you do that, I’ll have to find another, and next time I won’t tell you who it is.”

Axus sighed. “Your games are tiresome, Trostili. Can we not be done with this?”

Glass clinked, then Aaslo heard the glug of liquid into a vessel.

Trostili said, “Existence is tiresome, Axus.”

Axus’s next words rolled off his tongue like the chill of a winter night. “You expect me to believe that you are suffering from ennui?”

“Not at all,” said Trostili. “I have a purpose, a reason for being, and I intend to fulfill it. Besides, I have developed new techniques I’d like to try. It will make no difference to you. The prophecy guarantees the outcome. Leave the man alone and have some patience.”

“Death waits for no man,” Axus hissed.

“Don’t be so melodramatic,” said Arayallen. “Put him back. He doesn’t belong here.”

“I only brought him part of the way—”

“Solely because you’re not strong enough to draw him fully into our realm,” said a new voice. This one was deep and strong and carried with it the memory of warmth and security. The figures froze in place, then turned toward the third male voice. “Arayallen is right,” he said. “What were you thinking, bringing a human here?”

“Disevy. I didn’t expect you,” said Axus.

“Obviously.”

Axus’s voice heated as he moved closer to Aaslo. “This creature has somehow acquired my power. I want to know how and to what extent.”

“Has the ambrosia stolen your memory?” Arayallen said with a generous dose of mockery. “Who’s playing games now? You hand out blessings, then claim no knowledge of it?”

“I assure you I had no hand in this,” said Axus. “What do you know of it, Arayallen?”

“What do know? I know he wasn’t born this way. None of my creations bear power over the dead.” Aaslo heard a grin in her voice as she said, “Except for you, of course.”

Aaslo could hear the grinding as Axus gritted his teeth. “Must you remind me all the time?”

“Why?” she said sweetly, then with an audible pout, “Are you unhappy with your design?”

“Not at all,” replied Axus. “In fact, you outdid yourself. Is your ego so fragile that you require me to repeat myself so often?”

“Enough,” said Disevy. “Put the human back. You’d best hope he remembers none of this.”

“Remembers? He’s not even conscious. His mind is back on Aldrea. Give me some credit. I know the human mind is too weak to endure the power of Celestria.”

“Strength is relative,” said Disevy.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” replied Axus.

“It means that the next time you try something like this, your punishment will be swift and effective.”

“You threaten me, Disevy?”

“It has been a long time since I’ve put you in your place, Axus. You forget that rule this pantheon. Your power may have grown, but I am still stronger than you.”

“Are you so certain? While you expend your power on worthless creatures like this, I reclaim it. You can thank Arayallen for her so many design flaws and Trostili for pitting them against each other. In fact, all of you and your blessings are responsible for their inevitable demise and my rise.”

Whack!

Flaws?” shouted Arayallen. “How dare you! You understand nothing about life—about growth and evolution. The failure of one is necessary for the advancement of another. I may not always appreciate his methods, but Trostili understands this.”

“Trostili’s weakness is the leash you put around his neck during his creation.”

“I did no such thing!”

“You go too far, Axus,” said Trostili. “You should leave before I put that power of yours to the test.”

“Of course, brother.” Axus turned, and Aaslo could feel the god leaning over him. A chill suffused him, and somewhere very distant he felt a power so great it could have brought him to his knees. “You, human, will fail. Your soul and the souls of every pitiful creature in your world will belong to me. You are nothing. Aldrea is a grave.” As the voice moved away, Aaslo heard it grumble, “He’s not worth my time. Pithor will take care of him.”

The other gods began speaking as if Axus were no longer present.

Trostili said, “I knew Axus was growing bolder, but I did not expect him to do this.

A figure shifted toward Aaslo, and Disevy’s voice rumbled through him. “This is the one called Aaslo? I see the resemblance. It is quite the coincidence that he was the chosen one’s friend.”

“What are you saying?” said Trostili.

“Just an observation. What happened to his arm? They don’t usually come like this.”

Arayallen tittered. “Oh, just a little mishap with a dragon. The healer came up with quite the clever solution, don’t you think? Humans can be so creative when pressed.”

“A dragon on Aldrea? You have decided to help Axus?” said Disevy.

“Of course not. I care nothing for Axus’s endeavors. I was just having a bit of fun with Trostili’s pet.”

“Is that so?”

Aaslo thought Disevy didn’t sound convinced. Either way, he knew who he had to thank for the partial loss of his humanity. If they kept him there, he might even lose the rest. As if reading his mind, Arayallen asked, “Who’s going to put him back?”

Trostili said, “Axus expended the energy to bring him here. He should return him.”

“You think Axus spent that much power just to assuage his curiosity?” replied Disevy. Again, he sounded unconvinced.

“No, I don’t,” said Trostili, “but it’s hardly important. They will all be dead soon enough, and I can move on to other annihilations.”

“Touching,” muttered Disevy. “I will return this one to his world. You two have somewhere to be, do you not?”

“Oh?” said Arayallen. “Is it that time already? How fantastic. I love new world unveilings. This one is going to be so pretty—so much like Aldrea, but different.”

Two of the figures moved away until Aaslo could no longer feel their power. The remaining god stood beside him for a long while. Aaslo thought he could feel the god studying him. Finally, Disevy said, “You were never supposed to come here. We were never supposed to meet.” Aaslo wondered if Disevy knew he could hear him. “I was not going to get involved in this project of Axus’s, but the Fates seem to have decided otherwise. Listen carefully, Forester of Aldrea. Do not underestimate Pithor. He may be only human, but he is twice blessed by the gods of death and war. Your world will not survive him, and death follows in your wake. You may not be able to save Aldrea, but perhaps you can help Celestria.”

 

Aaslo lurched upward and nearly fell from the settee. His head spun, and he was confused about how he’d gotten . . . wherever he was. More pressing, though, was his throbbing cheek. He blinked several times to clear his vision and met a pair of large, brown eyes.

“See, I told you it would work,” said Teza.

Aaslo rubbed his face. “Wha—did you slap me?”

Teza smirked. “I’m a healer. It was therapeutic.”

“I must be a healer, too. I always felt better after slapping you around the practice yard.”

“Must you brag?”

“You’re awake, aren’t you?” she growled.

She stood back as Aaslo sat up and placed his feet on the floor. He winced when his claws dug into the soft fabric of the settee.

“What happened?” he asked.

She hooked a thumb over her shoulder toward Mory. “You collapsed. The boy said the reaper told him you weren’t here anymore but that you weren’t dead.”

As if summoned by the mention of death, two figures ambled into the room. They silently crossed the overly furnished expanse to take up residence in the corner. Flickers of gold and orange firelight glistened off the milky-white haze that filled their otherwise empty eyes. Aaslo tried not to look at them, but his gaze was drawn regardless like a moth to flame. He was not alone in his discomfort. His companions stared at the things without blinking, their faces pale and eyes wide. Aaslo wondered who would be the first to flee—or become sick. A faint, salty breeze carrying the scent of ocean through the open sitting room might have been pleasant if not for the stench of death that pervaded it. While the blight had been destroyed, the once verdant marshland beyond the escarpment remained in a state of decay. It would likely be weeks before any significant signs of life returned.

Life.

With life came death. Usually.

Aaslo glanced toward the corpses again—the silent sentinels in the corner of the room.

“Well?” said Myra. “You need to say something, Aaslo.”

He turned to find her suddenly sitting at his side. The reaper’s insubstantial form did nothing to block the light of the hearth behind her. From the corner of his eye, he saw that Mory had turned to look at her as well. Aaslo figured that if Mory could also see her then he must not be completely crazy.

“The absence of evidence is not proof of innocence.”

Aaslo clenched his teeth and inhaled sharply before releasing his breath. The voice had been silent since the battle in the marsh. Now that it was speaking again, he was both relieved and troubled.

“Crazy is not a crime,” he muttered.

Everyone turned to look at him. The marquess pursed his lips as if he might argue the point. Beside him, Peck gripped Mory’s shoulder as he looked at Aaslo with a hope-filled gaze. Standing over him, Teza tilted her head as if truly contemplating his assertion, and Ijen scribbled something in his book.

Myra sighed. “Say something else, Aaslo. You’re making them nervous.”

I’m making them nervous?” He waved to the corpses of Greylan and Rostus in the corner. “They’re the problem, not I.”

“Are you talking to the reaper?” said Peck. “What did she say?”

“Never mind that.” Teza’s hand whipped out to snatch Aaslo’s face by the jaw. She leaned over so that her face was mere inches from his own. “Where were you?” she said.

“Yes, Aaslo, tell us. Where were you?”

“Don’t you know?” said Aaslo as he pried her fingers from his flesh.

Teza shouted, “If I knew, I wouldn’t be asking!”

“No, not you. I thought . . . Never mind.” Aaslo scratched the scruff along his sore jawline. “I must have been dreaming.”

“No, Aaslo. A reaper, taker of the dead, said you weren’t here. Your consciousness, part of your soul wasn’t here anymore.”

Aaslo stared into the air with a sightless gaze as he struggled to recall the foggy memory. “He said he didn’t take my consciousness,” he mumbled.

“Who? What are you talking about?” said Teza.

Aaslo jumped when a dark shadow caught his attention. He looked up and focused on Ijen, who was suddenly standing over him. The prophet’s pen hovered over his book, and he was looking at Aaslo expectantly.

Aaslo frowned at the man. “Do you know what’s going on?”

“Uh, no,” said Ijen as he turned the book so that Aaslo could see its contents—or lack thereof. “This page is blank. I’ve been waiting to fill it.”

Aaslo wavered as he abruptly stood. Teza and Ijen stepped back to give him space—or perhaps they were avoiding touching him. Maybe whatever was wrong with him was contagious. He noted that the marquess and Peck were leaning against the farthest wall from the corpses, and neither seemed inclined to move. Mory was huddled on the ground next to Peck with his arms around his knees. He blinked up at Aaslo as if he were seeing a ghost.

“I don’t—I don’t know where I was, but I think—I think I was with the gods.”

“The gods?” said Teza as Ijen began scribbling.

You? Blessed to be in the presence of the gods?”

“Not blessed—cursed,” said Aaslo. “That foreign magus, Verus, was telling the truth. The gods want to destroy Aldrea. Axus, the one he called the God of Death, brought me to their realm against the others’ wishes.”

“You met Axus?” said Myra with alarm. “You saw the gods?”

Aaslo rubbed his chin. “I didn’t exactly see them. I could hear them talking.”

“How many were there?” said Ijen.

“I’m not sure. I think there were at least four. They were arguing. One of them told me not to underestimate Pithor.”

The marquess pushed away from the wall and came to stand in front of Aaslo. “Who is Pithor? Another god?”

“No,” said Myra. “He is called the Deliverer of Grace, His Mighty Light. He’s human but blessed by the gods so that he may lead death’s army.”

After Aaslo relayed the reaper’s message, the marquess released a heavy breath. “Good.”

“Good?” said Aaslo.

“He’s human. That means we have a chance. We defeat this Pithor, and we save Aldrea.”

“With what army?” said Teza. “Us? An apprentice healer, a prophet, two thieves, a noble, and . . . whatever he is?” The last was said with a wave toward Aaslo. He internally cringed and wondered if she was referring to his mutated physique or abhorrent new powers.

The marquess turned back to Aaslo. “Were none of these gods sympathetic to our cause?”

Rubbing the scales that had grown around his neck, Aaslo said, “I don’t know. It’s a bit foggy. They seemed pretty confident in our demise.” He looked to Myra, but she merely stared at him pensively.

“Well, that’s disheartening,” said the marquess.

“Way to boost their spirits, Aaslo.”

“All the others—an entire army of the dead—fell back into the swamp,” said Aaslo. He lifted a hand toward Greylan and Rostus. “Except these two. Why? What’s different about them?”

“They knew you?”

“Why would that be significant?” said Aaslo.

“Why would what be significant?” asked the marquess.

“Never mind,” Aaslo mumbled as his gaze flicked across the contours of the crown molding and tapestries that decorated two walls of the room. He had never taken the time to truly examine these surroundings. Whenever he had previously entered this room, more important matters had warranted his attention. Such was the case in that moment as well, but he didn’t want to think about the current issue.

“So,” said the marquess, “you are a necromancer.”

There. Someone had finally said it. Necromancer.

“There’s no such thing as necromancers,” Aaslo growled.

The marquess and, well, everyone else stared at him pointedly. Aaslo could hear Mathias humming in the background. He covered his face with his hands, one of them covered in scales and bearing talons—another reminder of how much his life had changed since leaving the forest. He sank onto the settee and then looked up at the marquess. “Must we call it that?”

Ijen muttered absently as he thumbed through the pages of his book. “Calling it anything else does not change the truth of it.”

“He sounds like your father.”

Aaslo growled. “Death, she said. Magdelay told me that, down my path, the prophets had seen only death.”

Ijen nodded his agreement.

Peck glanced toward the corpses, then leaned forward and whispered loudly. “Can’t you make them, you know, die again?”

“Don’t you think I would’ve if I knew how?”

“Just do the opposite of what you did before,” said Peck.

“I don’t know what I did before. I wasn’t thinking about it. It just happened—like instinct. The rest of them went back to being dead, except these two. Why?” Aaslo looked around the room but was met with blank faces. His gaze settled on Ijen, who peered back at him without expression. The prophet either didn’t know or wasn’t telling.

“I didn’t take their souls,” said Myra.

Aaslo turned toward her. “What?”

You did,” she said. “When they died, I went to claim their souls, but you took them instead.”

took their souls?”

“You killed them?” said the marquess, his voice heavy with accusation.

Aaslo scowled at him. “No, I told you, the blight killed them.”

“Then what’s this about taking souls?” said the marquess.

“The reaper says that after they died, I took their souls before she got to them.”

Mory blurted, “You hear that, Peck? He’s a thief, like us, except that he steals souls.

“I’m not a thief,” said Aaslo.

“Except that you are, Soul Thief.”

“It makes sense,” said Teza, who was gazing at the corpses thoughtfully. Of everyone in the room, she seemed the least offended by their existence. “There’s a kind of magic that uses blood to generate power and gain control over other creatures—even people. It’s outlawed in Uyan, of course. I imagine possessing a person’s soul would have even greater potential.”

Ijen said, “I’ve never heard of any being in this realm having the ability to steal souls—not even amongst the fae. This power could not have come from the creature you encountered.”

“Well, where did it come from?” said Aaslo.

The prophet blinked at him. “How should I know?”

With a huff, Aaslo said, “You’re the prophet. You have that book!”

Ijen tapped the book in question. “I assure you, there is nothing in here that will help. I only knew the result, not the how of it. But”—he tapped his lips with his pen—“you said the reaper fell into the power stream during the transfer. Perhaps you acquired some of her power.”

Teza began to speak—or perhaps it was the marquess—but Aaslo wasn’t listening. His gaze found the darkness of the night sky beyond the open wall. He yawned deeply, and his eyelids began to close of their own accord.

“Go to bed, Aaslo. You’ll sleep like the dead.”

His eyes popped open, and he glanced toward the still corpses. Then he noted that everyone was looking at him again.

“What?” he said.

“Are you unwell?” said the marquess.

“I’m just tired,” Aaslo replied. “Can we pick this up in the morning?”

The marquess tugged at his collar. “Yes, I am sure you all are spent.” With a nod toward Greylan and Rostus, he said, “But what about them?”

“You should lock them in a cell,” said Peck. “I know you have one.”

“You mean when you were caught skulking around the estate?”

Peck straightened and ran a hand down his velvet jacket. In what Aaslo presumed to be his best impression of a nobleman, the thief said, “We’re respectable men. We don’t skulk. We were, ah, testing the security of the premises on behalf of our master.”

The marquess shook his head, then looked at Greylan and sighed heavily. He crossed the room to stand a few paces from the corpse. “Can you hear me? Are you still in there?”

Greylan said nothing as his milky gaze rested on the marquess.

“If you are truly dead, then I shall mourn your loss. We may not have seen eye to eye, but you were a good and loyal soldier to me and my father before me.”

Copyright © Kel Kade 2022

Pre-order Destiny of the Dead Here:

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Every Tor Book Coming Fall 2021

What is that in the air? Freshly fallen leaves? The smell of pumpkin spice? Oh wait, it’s the sound of brand new books dropping! Check out every book coming from Tor Books this fall here.


September 14

Placeholder of  -92Mordew by Alex Pheby

God is dead, his corpse hidden in the catacombs beneath Mordew. In the slums of the sea-battered city, a young boy called Nathan Treeves lives with his parents, eking out a meagre existence by picking treasures from the Living Mud and the half-formed, short-lived creatures it spawns. Until one day his desperate mother sells him to the mysterious Master of Mordew. The Master derives his magical power from feeding on the corpse of God. But Nathan, despite his fear and lowly station, has his own strength—and it is greater than the Master has ever known.

September 21

Poster Placeholder of - 1Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead. And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead. But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days. Hilarious, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door is an uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home.

Image Place holder  of - 79Dune: The Lady of Caladan by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Lady Jessica, mother of Paul, and consort to Leto Atreides. The choices she made shaped an empire, but first the Lady of Caladan must reckon with her own betrayal of the Bene Gesserit. She has already betrayed her ancient order, but now she must decide if her loyalty to the Sisterhood is more important than the love of her own family. Meanwhile, events in the greater empire are accelerating beyond the control of even the Reverend Mother, and Lady Jessica’s family is on a collision course with destiny.

September 28

Image Placeholder of - 26Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She’s found her final candidate. But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn’t have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan’s kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul’s worth.

Place holder  of - 18Invisible Sun by Charles Stross

An inter-timeline coup d’état gone awry. A renegade British monarch on the run through the streets of Berlin. And robotic alien invaders from a distant timeline flood through a wormhole, wreaking havoc in the USA. Can disgraced worldwalker Rita and her intertemporal extraordaire agent of a mother neutralize the livewire contention before it’s too late?

October 5

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Special Edition by V. E. Schwab

A gorgeous new collector’s edition of V. E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, including: six new pieces of art from Addie’s story never-before-seen to North America readers; designed alternate debossed stamp under the cover; ribbon bookmark; an exclusive note from the author. In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After LifeThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s genre-defying tour de force.

The Eye of the World, TV Tie-In by Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs–a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts–five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light. Soon to be an original series starring Rosamund Pike as Moiraine!

October 12

Destroyer of Light by Jennifer Marie Brissett

Having destroyed Earth, the alien conquerors resettle the remains of humanity on the planet of Eleusis. In the three habitable areas of the planet–Day, Dusk, and Night–the haves and have nots, criminals and dissidents, and former alien conquerors irrevocably bind three stories, skating across years, building to a single confrontation when the fate of all—human and alien—balances upon a knife’s-edge. Warning: This book is designed for audiences 18+ due to scenes of physical and sexual violence, and themes that some may find disturbing.

October 19

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, Paperback by Christopher Paolini 

During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move. As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human. While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope . . . New York Times bestseller To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is out in paperback on 10/19!

October 26

Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

After forming a coalition of human resistance against the enemy invasion, Dalinar Kholin and his Knights Radiant have spent a year fighting a protracted, brutal war. Neither side has gained an advantage, and the threat of a betrayal by Dalinar’s crafty ally Taravangian looms over every strategic move. Now, as new technological discoveries by Navani Kholin’s scholars begin to change the face of the war, the enemy prepares a bold and dangerous operation. The arms race that follows will challenge the very core of the Radiant ideals, and potentially reveal the secrets of the ancient tower that was once the heart of their strength. #1 New York Times bestseller Rhythm of War is out in paperback on 10/26!

The Wandering Earth by Cixin Liu

These eleven stories, including five Chinese Galaxy Award-winners, are a blazingly original ode to planet Earth, its pasts, and its futures. Liu’s fiction takes the reader to the edge of the universe and the end of time, to meet stranger fates than we could have ever imagined. With a melancholic and keen understanding of human nature, Liu’s stories show humanity’s attempts to reason, navigate, and above all, survive in a desolate cosmos.

November 2

Perhaps the Stars by Ada Palmer

In the future, the leaders of Hive nations—nations without fixed location—clandestinely committed nefarious deeds in order to maintain an outward semblance of utopian stability. But the facade could only last so long. The comforts of effortless global travel and worldwide abundance may have tempered humanity’s darkest inclinations, but conflict remains deeply rooted in the human psyche. Now, war spreads throughout the globe, splintering old alliances and awakening sleeping enmities. All transportation systems are in ruins, causing the tyranny of distance to fracture a long-united Earth and threaten to obliterate everything the Hive system built.

November 9

The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Teresa Patterson

In this series companion book, over eighty full color paintings include maps of the world, portraits of the central characters, landscapes, objects of Power, and national flags. The reader will learn about the exotic beasts used by the Seanchan, witness the rise and fall of Artur Hawking, peruse the deeper story of the War of the Shadow, and discover the tale of the founding of the White Tower, and the creation of the Ajahs. In a new hardcover edition with a beautiful updated cover, The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time is a must-buy for devoted fans of the series and newcomers alike.

November 16

The God is Not Willing by Steven Erikson

Many years have passed since three warriors brought carnage and chaos to Silver Lake. Now the tribes of the north no longer venture into the southlands. The town has recovered and yet the legacy remains. Responding to reports of a growing unease among the tribes beyond the border, the Malazan army marches on the new god’s people. They aren’t quite sure what they’re going to be facing. And in those high mountains, a new warleader has risen amongst the Teblor. Scarred by the deeds of Karsa Orlong, he intends to confront his god even if he has to cut a bloody swathe through the Malazan Empire to do so.

Even Greater Mistakes by Charlie Jane Anders

The woman who can see all possible futures is dating the man who can see the one and only foreordained future. A wildly popular slapstick filmmaker is drawn, against his better judgment, into working with a fascist militia, against a background of social collapse. Two friends must embark on an Epic Quest To Capture The Weapon That Threatens The Galaxy, or else they’ll never achieve their dream of opening a restaurant. The stories in this collection, by their very outrageousness, achieve a heightened realism unlike any other. Anders once again proves she is one of the strongest voices in modern science fiction, the writer called by Andrew Sean Greer, “this generation’s Le Guin.”

You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo

TwiceFar station is at the edge of the known universe, and that’s just how Niko Larson, former Admiral in the Grand Military of the Hive Mind, likes it. Retired and finally free of the continual war of conquest, Niko and the remnants of her former unit are content to spend the rest of their days working at the restaurant they built together, The Last Chance. But, some wars can’t ever be escaped, and unlike the Hive Mind, some enemies aren’t content to let old soldiers go. Niko and her crew are forced onto a sentient ship convinced that it is being stolen and must survive the machinations of a sadistic pirate king if they even hope to keep the dream of The Last Chance alive.

Death Draws Five edited by George R. R. Martin

It’s really quite simple. Mr. Nobody wants to do his job. The Midnight Angel wants to serve her Lord. Billy Ray, dying from boredom, wants some action. John Nighthawk wants to uncover the awful secret behind his mysterious power. Fortunato wants to rescue his son from the clutches of a cryptic Vatican office. John Fortune just wants to catch Siegfried and Ralph’s famous Vegas review. The problem is that all roads, whether they start in Turin, Italy, Las Vegas, Hokkaido, Japan, Jokertown, Snake Hill, the Short Cut, or Yazoo City, Mississippi, lead to Leo Barnett’s Peaceable Kingdom, where the difference between the Apocalypse and Peace on Earth is as thin as a razor’s edge and where Death himself awaits the final, terrible turn of the card.

The Last Shadow by Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card’s The Last Shadow is the long-awaited conclusion to both the original Ender series and the Ender’s Shadow series, as the children of Ender and Bean solve the great problem of the Ender Universe—the deadly virus they call the descolada, which is incurable and will kill all of humanity if it is allowed to escape from Lusitania.

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