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Fantasy Firsts Sweepstakes

It’s November, which means we are entering the last month of our Fantasy Firsts program. We wanted to say thank you with a special sweepstakes, featuring ALL the titles we highlighted this past year. That’s 40 fantastic reads from 40 different series to add to your TBR stack! Plus, we’re including an added bonus: two sandblasted book dragon mugs, so you can enjoy your coffee or tea in style while you read.

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Fantasy Firsts Sweepstakes

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. OPEN ONLY TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES, D.C. AND CANADA (EXCLUDING QUEBEC) WHO ARE 13 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER AT THE TIME OF ENTRY. U.S. LAW GOVERNS THIS SWEEPSTAKES. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

  1. ELIGIBILITY: The Fantasy Firsts Sweepstakes (the “Sweepstakes“) is open only to persons who as of the date of entry (and, if a winner, as of the date of prize fulfillment) are a legal resident of the 50 United States, District of Columbia or Canada (excluding Quebec) and who are 13 years of age or older. We are sorry for the geographic restrictions, unfortunately it is required for various legal reasons. Persons who as of the date of entry (and, if a winner, as of the date of prize fulfillment) are an employee of Tom Doherty Associates (“Sponsor“) or any of Sponsor’s Affiliates (as defined in Section 5), and members of the immediate family or household (whether or not related) of any such employee, are not eligible. Eligibility determinations will be made by Sponsor in its discretion and will be final and binding. U.S. law governs this Sweepstakes. Void in Quebec and where prohibited by law.
  1. HOW TO ENTER: The entry period for the Sweepstakes begins at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 and continues through 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, November 19, 2017 (the “Entry Period“). No purchase is necessary. Any entrant who is under 18 years of age or otherwise under the legal age of majority in the jurisdiction in which the entrant resides (a “Minor“) must obtain permission to enter from his or her parent or legal guardian, and the agreement of the parent or legal guardian to these Official Rules, prior to entry. To enter the Sweepstakes, during the Entry Period, entrants must access, complete and submit the Sweepstakes entry form (which will require entrant to submit his or her e-mail address and such other information as Sponsor may require), found in entrant’s Facebook newsfeed or alternatively by visiting Sponsor’s website located at https://www.torforgeblog.com/2017/11/01/fantasy-firsts-sweepstakes-15/ (the “Website”) and following the on screen entry instructions. The Facebook entry form may be pre-filled with information provided by the Facebook platform. There is a limit of one entry per person and per email address. All entries must be completed and received by Sponsor prior to the conclusion of the Entry Period. Entry times will be determined using Sponsor’s computer, which will be the official clock for the Sweepstakes. Normal time rates, if any, charged by the entrant’s Internet or mobile service provider will apply. All entries are subject to verification at any time. Proof of submission does not constitute proof of entry. Sponsor will have the right, in its discretion, to require proof of identity and/or eligibility in a form acceptable to Sponsor (including, without limitation, government-issued photo identification). Failure to provide such proof to the satisfaction of Sponsor in a timely manner may result in disqualification.
  1. WINNER SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION: Following the conclusion of the Entry Period, one (1) potential Grand Prize winner(s) will be selected in a random drawing conducted by Sponsor or its agent from among all eligible entries received during the Entry Period. The odds of winning will depend on the number of eligible entries received. The potential winner will be notified by e-mail (sent to the e-mail address provided by the entrant when entering), or using other contact information provided by the potential winner, in Sponsor’s discretion. If the initial notification requires a response, the potential winner must respond to Sponsor’s initial notification attempt within 72 hours. The potential winner is subject to verification of eligibility and may, in Sponsor’s discretion, be required to complete, sign and return to Sponsor an Affidavit of Eligibility/Release of Liability or an Affirmation of Eligibility/Release of Liability, as determined by Sponsor, and, if legally permissible, a Publicity Release, collectively, a “Declaration and Release” for residents of Canada) and any other documentation provided by Sponsor in connection with verification of the potential winner’s eligibility and confirmation of the releases and grant of rights set forth herein (as applicable, “Winner Verification Documents“), within seven days of attempted delivery of same. The potential winner if a U.S. resident may also in Sponsor’s discretion be required to complete and return to Sponsor an IRS Form W-9 within seven days of attempted delivery of same. If the potential winner is a Minor, Sponsor will have the right to request that the potential winner’s parent or legal guardian sign the Winner Verification Documents on behalf of the winner, or to award the prize directly in the name of the winner’s parent or legal guardian, who in such event will be required to sign the Winner Verification Documents and/or, if a U.S. resident, an IRS Form W-9. If the potential winner is a Canadian resident, he or she will be required to correctly answer a mathematical skill testing question without mechanical or other aid to be administered via telephone, email or another manner determined by Sponsor in its discretion at a pre-arranged mutually convenient time. If the potential winner cannot be reached or does not respond within 72 hours of the initial notification attempt or fails to complete, sign, and return any required Winner Verification Documents or, if a U.S. resident, IRS Form W-9 within seven days of attempted delivery of same, or in the case of a Canadian selected entrant, fails to correctly answer the mathematical skill testing question without mechanical or other aid, or if the potential winner does not otherwise comply with these Official Rules and/or cannot accept the prize as awarded for any reason, “then the potential winner may be disqualified and an alternate winner may, at Sponsor’s discretion, be selected from among the remaining eligible entries as specified in these Official Rules (in which case the foregoing provisions will apply to such newly-selected entrant).
  1. PRIZE: One (1) Grand Prize(s) will be offered. The Grand Prize consists of one (1) hardcover copy of THE GUNS ABOVE by Robyn Bennis, one (1) trade paperback copy of RED RIGHT HAND by Levi Black, one (1) hardcover copy of ROAR by Cora Carmack, one (1) hardcover copy of THE ALCHEMY OF MASQUES AND MIRRORS by Curtis Craddock, one (1) hardcover copy of CHILD OF A HIDDEN SEA by A.M. Dellamonica, one (1) trade paperback copy of TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard, one (1) hardcover copy of CROSSROADS OF CANOPY by Thoraiya Dyer, one (1) hardcover copy of DEATH’S MISTRESS by Terry Goodkind, one (1) hardcover copy of STEEPLEJACK by A.J. Hartley, one (1) hardcover copy of DEADMEN WALKING by Sherrilyn Kenyon, one (1) hardcover copy of EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire, one (1) trade paperback copy of THE HUM AND THE SHIVER by Alex Bledsoe, one (1) trade paperback copy of RANGE OF GHOSTS by Elizabeth Bear, one (1) trade paperback copy of A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS by Marie Brennan, one (1) trade paperback copy of SERIOUSLY WICKED by Tina Connolly, one (1) trade paperback copy of THE LIBRARIANS AND THE LOST LAMP by Greg Cox, one (1) trade paperback copy of DANCER’S LAMENT by Ian C. Esslemont, one (1) trade paperback copy of FORGE OF DARKNESS by Steven Erikson, one (1) trade paperback copy of FINN FANCY NECROMANCY by Randy Henderson, one (1) trade paperback copy of ROYAL STREET by Suzanne Johnson, one (1) trade paperback copy of THE EYE OF THE WORLD by Robert Jordon, one (1) trade paperback copy of THE SHARDS OF HEAVEN by Michael Livingston, one (1) trade paperback copy of THE MAGIC OF RECLUCE by L.E. Modesitt, Jr., one (1) trade paperback copy of RIDERS by Veronica Rossi, one (1) trade paperback copy of THE WAY OF KINGS by Brandon Sanderson, one (1) trade paperback copy of A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab, one (1) trade paperback copy of THE EMPEROR’S BLADES by Brian Staveley, one (1) trade paperback copy of UPDRAFT by Fran Wilde, one (1) ARC of THE MIDNIGHT FRONT by David Mack, one (1) mass market paperback copy of THE SIX-GUN TAROT by R.S. Belcher, one (1) mass market paperback copy of THE DINOSAUR LORDS by Victor Milan, one (1) mass market paperback copy of THE SLEEPING KING by Cindy Dees and Bill Flippin, one (1) mass market paperback copy of TOUCHSTONE by Melanie Rawn, one (1) mass market paperback copy by THE INCREMENTALISTS by Steven Brust and Skyler White, one (1) mass market paperback copy of CROWN OF VENGEANCE by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, one (1) mass market paperback copy of IMAGER by L.E. Modesitt, Jr., one (1) mass market paperback copy of LAMENTATION by Ken Scholes, one (1) mass market paperback copy of THE ETERNA FILES by Leanna Renee Heiber, one (1) mass market paperback copy of KUSHIEL’S DART by Jacqueline Carey, and one (1) mass market paperback copy of AMERICAN CRAFTSMEN by Tom Doyle, and one (1) set of two Book dragon mugs. The approximate retail value (“ARV“) of the Grand Prize is $551.56 USD. All prize details that are not expressly specified in these Official Rules will be determined by Sponsor in its discretion. The prize will be awarded if properly claimed. No substitution, cash redemption or transfer of the right to receive the prize is permitted, except in the discretion of Sponsor, which has the right to substitute the prize or any component of the prize with a prize or prize component of equal or greater value selected by Sponsor in its discretion. The prize consists only of the item(s) expressly specified in these Official Rules. All expenses or costs associated with the acceptance or use of the prize or any component of the prize are the responsibility of the winner. The prize is awarded “as is” and without any warranty, except as required by law. In no event will more than the number of prizes stated in these Official Rules be awarded. All federal, state and local taxes on the value of the prize are the responsibility of the winner. For U.S. residents, an IRS form 1099 will be issued if required by law.
  1. RELEASE AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY: By entering the Sweepstakes, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, each entrant on behalf of himself or herself and anyone who succeeds to entrant’s rights and responsibilities including without limitation entrant’s heirs, executors, administrators, personal representatives, successors, assigns, agents, and attorneys, and with respect to minors entrant’s parents and legal guardians (collectively the “Entrant Parties“) releases Sponsor, each of Sponsor’s Affiliates, the licensees and licensors other than Entrant Parties including authors of each of the foregoing, all other companies involved in the development or operation of the Sweepstakes, Facebook, the successors and assigns of each of the foregoing and the directors, officers, employees and agents of each of the foregoing (collectively, the “Released Parties“) from and against any and all claims and causes of action of any kind that entrant and/or the Entrant Parties ever had, now have or might in the future have arising out of or relating to the Sweepstakes, participation in the Sweepstakes, the use of the Website, the provision, acceptance or use of any prize or any component thereof or any use of the entrant’s name as permitted pursuant to these Official Rules, including without limitation any and all claims and causes of action: (a) relating to any personal injury, death or property damage or loss sustained by any entrant or any other person, (b) based upon any allegation of violation of the right of privacy or publicity, misappropriation, defamation, or violation of any other personal or proprietary right, (c) based upon any allegation of infringement of copyright, trademark, trade dress, patent, trade secrets, moral rights or any intellectual property right, or (d) or based upon any allegation of a violation of the laws, rules or regulations relating to personal information and data security. Each entrant on behalf of himself or herself and the Entrant Parties agrees not to assert any such claim or cause of action against any of the Released Parties. Each entrant on behalf of himself or herself and the Entrant Parties assumes the risk of, and all liability for, any injury, loss or damage caused, or claimed to be caused, by participation in this Sweepstakes, the use of the Website, or the provision, acceptance or use of any prize or any component of any prize. The Released Parties are not responsible for, and will not have any liability in connection with, any typographical or other error in the printing of the offer, administration of the Sweepstakes or in the announcement of the prize. The Released Parties are not responsible for, and will not have any liability in connection with, late, lost, delayed, illegible, damaged, corrupted or incomplete entries, incorrect or inaccurate capture of, damage to, or loss of entries or entry information, or any other human, mechanical or technical error of any kind relating to the operation of the Website, communications or attempted communications with any entrant or Entrant Parties, the submission, collection, storage and/or processing of entries or the administration of the Sweepstakes. The term “Affiliate” of Sponsor means any entity that directly or indirectly, through one or more intermediaries, controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with Sponsor. The term “control” means the possession, directly or indirectly, of the power to direct or cause the direction of management and policies of an entity, or the ownership, directly or indirectly, of more than fifty percent (50%) of the equity interests of the entity.
  1. GENERAL RULES: Sponsor has the right, in its sole discretion, to modify these Official Rules (including without limitation by adjusting any of the dates and/or timeframes stipulated in these Official Rules) and to cancel, modify or suspend this Sweepstakes at any time in its discretion, including without limitation if a virus, bug, technical problem, entrant fraud or misconduct, or other cause beyond the control of the Sponsor corrupts the administration, integrity, security or proper operation of the Sweepstakes or if for any other reason Sponsor is not able to conduct the Sweepstakes as planned (including without limitation in the event the Sweepstakes is interfered with by any fire, flood, epidemic, earthquake, explosion, labor dispute or strike, act of God or of public enemy, communications failure, riot or civil disturbance, war (declared or undeclared), terrorist threat or activity, federal, state or local law, order or regulation or court order) or in the event of any change to the terms governing the use of Facebook or the application or interpretation of such terms. In the event of termination of the Sweepstakes, a notice will be posted on the Website or Sponsor’s Facebook page and a random drawing will be conducted to award the prize from among all eligible entries received prior to the time of termination. Sponsor has the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify or prohibit from participating in the Sweepstakes any individual who, in Sponsor’s discretion, Sponsor determines or believes (i) has tampered with the entry process or has undermined the legitimate operation of the Website or the Sweepstakes by cheating, hacking, deception or other unfair practices, (ii) has engaged in conduct that annoys, abuses, threatens or harasses any other entrant or any representative of Sponsor or (iii) has attempted or intends to attempt any of the foregoing. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SWEEPSTAKES OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAW. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR HAS THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES (INCLUDING ATTORNEYS’ FEES) FROM ANY PERSON INVOLVED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. The use of agents or automated devices, programs or methods to submit entries is prohibited and Sponsor has the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any entry that it believes may have been submitted using such an agent or automated device, program or method. In the event of a dispute regarding who submitted an entry, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the email address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” means the person who is assigned an email address by an internet provider, online service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational institute, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address. An entrant may be required to provide proof (in a form acceptable to Sponsor, including, without limitation, government-issued photo identification) that he or she is the authorized account holder of the email address associated with the entry in question. All federal, state, provincial, territorial and local laws and regulations apply. All entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be verified or returned. By participating in this Sweepstakes, entrants on behalf of themselves, and to the extent permitted by law on behalf of the Entrant Parties agree to be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor, which are final and binding in all respects. These Official Rules may not be reprinted or republished in any way without the prior written consent of Sponsor.
  1. DISPUTES: By entering the Sweepstakes, each entrant on behalf of himself or herself and the Entrant Parties agrees that, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, (a) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with the Sweepstakes, or the provision, acceptance and/or use of any prize or prize component, will be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action (Note: Some jurisdictions do not allow restricting access to class actions. This provision will not apply to entrant if entrant lives in such a jurisdiction); (b) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering the Sweepstakes, but in no event attorneys’ fees; and (c) under no circumstances will any entrant or Entrant Party be permitted to obtain any award for, and each entrant and Entrant Party hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, special, incidental or consequential damages and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules or the rights and obligations of the entrants, Entrant Parties and Sponsor in connection with the Sweepstakes shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of New York in the United States of America without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions that would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. Any legal proceedings arising out of this Sweepstakes or relating to these Official Rules shall be instituted only in the federal or state courts located in New York County in the State of New York, waiving any right to trial by jury, and each entrant and Entrant Party consents to jurisdiction therein with respect to any legal proceedings or disputes of whatever nature arising under or relating to these rules or the Sweepstakes. In the event of any conflict between these Official Rules and any Sweepstakes information provided elsewhere (including but not limited in advertising or marketing materials), these Official Rules shall prevail.
  1. USE OF INFORMATION: Please review the Sponsor’s Privacy Notice at https://us.macmillan.com/privacy-notice. By entering the sweepstakes, entrant hereby agrees to Sponsor’s collection and use of their personal information in accordance with such Notice, including the use of entrant’s personal information to send email updates about Tor Books and other information from Sponsor and its related companies.
  1. WINNER NAME AND RULES REQUESTS:For the name(s) of the winner(s), which will be available two weeks after the conclusion of the Entry Period, or a copy of these Official Rules, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Fantasy First Sweepstakes, Tom Doherty Associates, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. Winner name requests must be received by Sponsor within six months after the conclusion of the Entry Period.
  1. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. The Sweepstakes is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

© 2017 Macmillan. All rights reserved.





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Updraft: Chapters 1-2

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Placeholder of  -96Welcome back to Fantasy Firsts. Today we’re featuring an extended excerpt from Updraft, the first in a series set in a city made out of bone and perched high in the air, where people soar through the skies. The next book in the series, Horizonwill be available September 26th. 

Welcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage.

Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother’s side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city’s secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.

As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice, and may well change the city forever—if it isn’t destroyed outright.

1

DENSIRA

My mother selected her wings as early morning light reached through our balcony shutters. She moved between the shadows, calm and deliberate, while downtower neighbors slept behind their barricades. She pushed her arms into the woven harness. Turned her back to me so that I could cinch the straps tight against her shoulders.

When two bone horns sounded low and loud from Mondarath, the tower nearest ours, she stiffened. I paused as well, trying to see through the shutters’ holes. She urged me on while she trained her eyes on the sky.

“No time to hesitate, Kirit,” she said. She meant no time to be afraid.

On a morning like this, fear was a blue sky emptied of birds. It was the smell of cooking trapped in closed towers, of smoke looking for ways out. It was an ache in the back of the eyes from searching the distance, and a weight in the stomach as old as our city.

Today Ezarit Densira would fly into that empty sky—first to the east, then southwest.

I grabbed the buckle on her left shoulder, then put the full weight of my body into securing the strap. She grunted softly in approval.

“Turn a little, so I can see the buckles better,” I said. She took two steps sideways. I could see through the shutters while I worked.

Across a gap of sky, Mondarath’s guards braved the morning. Their wings edged with glass and locked for fighting, they leapt from the tower. One shouted and pointed.

A predator moved there, nearly invisible—a shimmer among exploding gardens. Nets momentarily wrapped two thick, sky-colored tentacles. The skymouth shook free and disappeared. Wails built in its wake. Mondarath was under attack.

The guards dove to meet it, the sun dazzling their wings. The air roiled and sheared. Pieces of brown rope netting and red banners fell to the clouds far below. The guards drew their bows and gave chase, trying to kill what they could not see.

“Oh, Mondarath,” Ezarit whispered. “They never mind the signs.”

The besieged tower rose almost as tall as ours, sun-bleached white against the blue morning. Since Lith fell, Mondarath marked the city’s northern edge. Beyond its tiers, sky stretched uninterrupted to the horizon.

A squall broke hard against the tower, threatening a loose shutter. Then the balcony’s planters toppled and the circling guards scattered. One guard, the slowest, jerked to a halt in the air and flew, impossibly, backwards. His leg yanked high, flipping his body as it went, until he hung upside down in the air. He flailed for his quiver, spilling arrows, as the sky opened below him, red and wet and filled with glass teeth. The air blurred as slick, invisible limbs tore away his brown silk wings, then lowered what the monster wanted into its mouth.

By the time his scream reached us, the guard had disappeared from the sky.

My own mouth went dry as dust.

How to help them? My first duty was to my tower, Densira. To the Laws. But what if we were under attack? My mother in peril? What if no one would help then? My heart hammered questions. What would it be like to open our shutters, leap into the sky, and join this fight? To go against Laws?

“Kirit! Turn away.” Ezarit yanked my hand from the shutters. She stood beside me and sang the Law, Fortify:

Tower by tower, secure yourselves,

Except in city’s dire need.

She had added the second half of the Law to remind me why she flew today. Dire need.

She’d fought for the right to help the city beyond her own tower, her own quadrant. Someday, I would do the same.

Until then, there was need here too. I could not turn away.

The guards circled Mondarath, less one man. The air cleared. The horns stopped for now, but the three nearest towers—Wirra, Densira, and Viit—kept their occupied tiers sealed.

Ezarit’s hand gripped the latch for our own shutters. “Come on,” she whispered. I hurried to tighten the straps at her right shoulder, though I knew she didn’t mean me. Her escort was delayed.

She would still fly today.

Six towers in the southeast stricken with a coughing illness needed medicines from the north and west. Ezarit had to trade for the last ingredients and make the delivery before Allmoons, or many more would die.

The buckling done, she reached for her panniers and handed them to me.

Elna, my mother’s friend from downtower, bustled in the kitchen, making tea. After the first migration warnings, Mother had asked her to come uptower, for safety’s sake—both Elna’s and mine, though I no longer needed minding.

Elna’s son, Nat, had surprised us by helping her climb the fiber ladders that stretched from the top of the tower to the last occupied tier. Elna was pale and huffing as she finally cleared the balcony. When she came inside, I saw why Nat had come. Elna’s left eye had a cloud in it—a skyblindness.

“We have better shutters,” Ezarit had said. “And are farther from the clouds. Staying higher will be safer for them.”

A mouth could appear anywhere, but she was right. Higher was safer, and on Densira, we were now highest of all.

At the far side of our quarters, Nat kept an eye on the open sky. He’d pulled his sleeping mat from behind a screen and knelt, peering between shutters, using my scope. When I finished helping my mother, I would take over that duty.

I began to strap Ezarit’s panniers around her hips. The baskets on their gimbaled supports would roll with her, no matter how the wind shifted.

“You don’t have to go,” I said as I knelt at her side. I knew what her reply would be. I said my part anyway. We had a ritual. Skymouths and klaxons or not.

“I will be well escorted.” Her voice was steady. “The west doesn’t care for the north’s troubles, or the south’s. They want their tea and their silks for Allmoons and will trade their honey to the highest bidder. I can’t stand by while the south suffers, not when I’ve worked so hard to negotiate the cure.”

It was more than that, I knew.

She tested the weight of a pannier. The silk rustled, and the smell of dried tea filled the room. She’d stripped the bags of their decorative beads. Her cloak and her dark braids hung unadorned. She lacked the sparkle that trader Ezarit Densira was known for.

Another horn sounded, past Wirra, to the west.

“See?” She turned to me. Took my hand, which was nearly the same size as hers. “The skymouths take the east. I fly west. I will return before Allmoons, in time for your wingtest.”

Elna, her face pale as a moon, crossed the room. She carried a bowl of steaming tea to my mother. “For your strength today, Risen,” she said, bowing carefully in the traditional greeting of lowtower to high.

My mother accepted the tea and the greeting with a smile. She’d raised her family to the top of Densira through her daring trades. She had earned the greeting. It wasn’t always so, when she and Elna were young downtower mothers. But now Ezarit was famous for her skills, both bartering and flying. She’d even petitioned the Spire successfully once. In return, we had the luxury of quarters to ourselves, but that only lasted as long as she kept the trade flowing.

As long as she could avoid the skymouths today.

Once I passed my wingtest, I could become her apprentice. I would fly by her side, and we’d fight the dangers of the city together. I would learn to negotiate as she did. I’d fly in times of dire need while others hid behind their shutters.

“The escort is coming,” Nat announced. He stood; he was much taller than me now. His black hair curled wildly around his head, and his brown eyes squinted through the scope once more.

Ezarit walked across the room, her silk-wrapped feet swishing over the solid bone floor. She put her hand on Nat’s shoulder and looked out. Over her shoulders, between the point of her furled wings and through the shutters, I saw a flight of guards circle Mondarath, searching out more predators. They yelled and blew handheld horns, trying to scare skymouths away with noise and their arrows. That rarely worked, but they had to try.

Closer to us, a green-winged guard soared between the towers, an arrow nocked, eyes searching the sky. The guards atop Densira called out a greeting to him as he landed on our balcony.

I retightened one of Ezarit’s straps, jostling her tea. She looked at me, eyebrows raised.

“Elna doesn’t need to watch me,” I finally said. “I’m fine by myself. I’ll check in with the aunts. Keep the balcony shuttered.”

She reached into her pannier and handed me a stone fruit. Her gold eyes softened with worry. “Soon.” The fruit felt cold in my hand. “I need to know you are all safe. I can’t fly without knowing. You’ll be free to choose your path soon enough.”

After the wingtest. Until then, I was a dependent, bound by her rules, not just tower strictures and city Laws.

“Let me come out to watch you go, then. I’ll use the scope. I won’t fly.”

She frowned, but we were bartering now. Her favorite type of conversation.

“Not outside. You can use the scope inside. When I return, we’ll fly some of my route around the city, as practice.” She saw my frustration. “Promise me you’ll keep inside? No visiting? No sending whipperlings? We cannot lose another bird.”

“For how long?” A mistake. My question broke at the end with the kind of whine that hadn’t slipped out in years. My advantage dissipated like smoke.

Nat, on Ezarit’s other side, pretended he wasn’t listening. He knew me too well. That made it worse.

“They will go when they go.” She winced as sounds of Mondarath’s mourning wafted through the shutters. Peering out again, she searched for the rest of her escort. “Listen for the horns. If Mondarath sounds again, or if Viit goes, stay away from the balconies.”

She looked over her shoulder at me until I nodded, and Nat too.

She smiled at him, then turned and wrapped her arms around me. “That’s my girl.”

I would have closed my eyes and rested my head against the warmth of her chest if I’d thought there was time. Ezarit was like a small bird, always rushing. I took a breath, and she pulled away, back to the sky. Another guard joined the first on the balcony, wearing faded yellow wings.

I checked Ezarit’s wings once more. The fine seams. The sturdy battens. They’d worn in well: no fraying, despite the hours she’d flown in them. She’d traded five bolts of raw silk from Naza tower to the Viit wingmaker for these, and another three for mine. Expensive but worth it. The wingmaker was the best in the north. Even Singers said so.

Furled, her wings were a tea-colored brown, but a stylized kestrel hid within the folds. The wingmaker had used tea and vegetable dyes—whatever he could get—to make the rippling sepia pattern.

My own new wings leaned against the central wall by our sleeping area, still wrapped. Waiting for the skies to clear. My fingers itched to pull the straps over my shoulders and unfurl the whorls of yellow and green.

Ezarit cloaked herself in tea-colored quilted silks to protect against the chill winds. They tied over her shoulders, around her trim waist and at her thighs and ankles. She spat on her lenses, her dearest treasure, and rubbed them clean. Then she let them hang around her neck. Her tawny cheeks were flushed, her eyes bright, and she looked, now that she was determined to go, younger and lighter than yesterday. She was beautiful when she was ready to fly.

“It won’t be long,” she said. “Last migration through the northwest quadrant lasted one day.”

Our quadrant had been spared for my seventeen years. Many in the city would say our luck had held far too long while others suffered. Still, my father had left to make a trade during a migration and did not return. Ezarit took his trade routes as soon as I was old enough to leave with Elna.

“How can you be sure?” I asked.

Elna patted my shoulder, and I jumped. “All will be well, Kirit. Your mother helps the city.”

“And,” Ezarit said, “if I am successful, we will have more good fortune to celebrate.”

I saw the gleam in her eye. She thought of the towers in the west, the wealthier quadrants. Densira had scorned us as unlucky after my father disappeared, family and neighbors both. The aunts scorned her no longer, as they enjoyed the benefits of her success. Even last night, neighbors had badgered Ezarit to carry trade parcels for them to the west. She’d agreed, showing respect for family and tower. Now she smiled. “Perhaps we won’t be Ezarit and Kirit Densira for long.”

A third guard clattered to a landing on the balcony, and Ezarit signaled she was ready. The tower marks on the guards’ wings were from Naza. Out of the migration path; known for good hunters with sharp eyes. No wonder Nat stared at them as if he would trade places in a heartbeat.

As Ezarit’s words sank in, he frowned. “What’s wrong with Densira?”

“Nothing’s wrong with Densira,” Elna said, reaching around Ezarit to ruffle Nat’s hair. She turned her eyes to the balcony, squinting. “Especially since Ezarit has made this blessed tower two tiers higher.”

Nat sniffed, loudly. “This tier’s pretty nice, even if it reeks of brand-new.”

My face grew warm. The tier did smell of newly grown bone. The central core was still damp to the touch.

Still, I held my chin high and moved to my mother’s side.

Not that long ago, Nat and I had been inseparable. Practically wing-siblings. Elna was my second mother. My mother, Nat’s hero. We’d taken first flights together. Practiced rolls and glides. Sung together, memorizing the towers, all the Laws. Since our move, I’d seen him practicing with other flightmates. Dojha with her superb dives. Sidra, who had the perfect voice for Laws and already wore glorious, brand-new wings. Whose father, the tower councilman, had called my mother a liar more than once after we moved uptower, above their tier.

I swallowed hard. Nat, Elna, and I would be together in my still-new home until Ezarit returned. Like old times, almost.

In the air beyond the balcony, a fourth figure appeared. He glided a waiting circle. Wings shimmered dove gray. Bands of blue at the tips. A Singer.

A moment of the old childhood fear struck me, and I saw Nat pale as well. Singers sometimes took young tower children to the Spire. It was a great honor. But the children who went didn’t return until they were grown. And when they came back, it was as gray-robed strangers, scarred and tattooed and sworn to protect the city.

The guards seemed to relax. The green-winged guard nudged his nearest companion, “Heard tell no Singer’s ever been attacked by a skymouth.” The other guards murmured agreement. One cracked his knuckles. Our Magister for flight and Laws had said the same thing. No one ever said whether those who flew with Singers had the same luck, but the guards seemed to think so.

I hoped it was true.

Ezarit signaled to the guards, who assembled in the air near the Singer. She smiled at Elna and hugged her. “Glad you are here.”

“Be careful, Ezarit,” Elna whispered back. “Speed to your wings.”

Ezarit winked at Nat, then looked out at the sky. She nodded to the Singer. Ready. She gave me a fierce hug and a kiss. “Stay safe, Kirit.”

Then she pushed the shutters wide, unfurled her wings, and leapt from the balcony into the circle of guards waiting for her with bows drawn.

The Singer broke from their formation first, dipping low behind Wirra. I watched from the threshold between our quarters and the balcony until the rest were motes against the otherwise empty sky. Their flight turned west, and disappeared around Densira’s broad curve.

For the moment, even Mondarath was still.

Nat moved to pull the shutters closed, but I blocked the way. I wanted to keep watching the sky.

“Kirit, it’s Laws,” he said, yanking my sleeve. I jerked my arm from his fingers and stepped farther onto the balcony.

“You go inside,” I said to the sky. I heard the shutter slam behind me. I’d broken my promise and was going against Laws, but I felt certain that if I took my eyes off the sky, something would happen to Ezarit and her guards.

We’d seen signs of the skymouth migration two days ago. House birds had molted. Silk spiders hid their young. Densira prepared. Watchmen sent black-feathered kaviks to all the tiers. They cackled and shat on the balconies while families read the bone chips they carried.

Attempting to postpone her flight, Ezarit had sent a whipperling to her trading partners in the south and west. They’d replied quickly, “We are not in the migration path.” “We can sell our honey elsewhere.” There would be none left to mix with Mondarath’s herbs for the southeast’s medicines.

She made ready. Would not listen to arguments. Sent for Elna early, then helped me strip the balcony.

Mondarath, unlike its neighbors, paid little mind to preparations. The skymouth migration hadn’t passed our way for years, they’d said. They didn’t take their fruit in. They left their clotheslines and the red banners for Allmoons flapping.

Around me now, our garden was reduced to branches and leaves. Over the low bone outcrop that marked Aunt Bisset’s balcony, I saw a glimmer. A bored cousin with a scope, probably. The wind took my hair and tugged the loose tendrils. I leaned out to catch one more glimpse of Ezarit as she passed beyond the tower’s curve.

The noise from Mondarath had eased, and the balconies were empty on the towers all around us. I felt both entirely alone and as if the eyes of the city were on me.

I lifted my chin and smiled, letting everyone behind their shutters know I wasn’t afraid, when they were. I panned with our scope, searching the sky. A watchman. A guardian.

And I saw it. It tore at my aunt’s gnarled trees, then shook loose the ladder down to Nat’s. It came straight at me fast and sure: a red rip in the sky, sharp beak edges toothed with ridge upon ridge of glass teeth. Limbs flowed forward like thick tongues.

I dropped the scope.

The mouth opened wider, full of stench and blood.

I felt the rush of air and heard the beat of surging wings, and I screamed. It was a child’s scream, not a woman’s. I knew I would die in that moment, with tears staining my tunic and that scream soiling my mouth. I heard the bone horns of our tower’s watch sound the alarm: We were unlucky once more.

My scream expanded, tore at my throat, my teeth.

The skymouth stopped in its tracks. It hovered there, red and gaping. I saw the glittering teeth and, for a moment, its eyes, large and side-set to let its mouth open even wider. Its breath huffed thick and foul across my face, but it didn’t cross the last distance between us. My heart had stopped with fear, but the scream kept on. It spilled from me, softening. As the scream died, the skymouth seemed to move again.

So I hauled in a deep breath through my nose, like we were taught to sing for Allmoons, and I kept screaming.

The skymouth backed up. It closed its jaws. It disappeared into the sky, and soon I saw a distant ripple, headed away from the city.

I tried to laugh, but the sound stuck in my chest and strangled me. Then my eyes betrayed me. Darkness overtook the edges of my vision, and white, wavy lines cut across everything I saw. The hard slats of the shutters counted the bones of my spine as I slid down and came to rest on the balcony floor.

My breathing was too loud in my ears. It roared.

Clouds. I’d shouted down a skymouth and would still die blue-lipped outside my own home? I did not want to die.

Behind me, Nat battered at the shutters. He couldn’t open them, I realized groggily, because my body blocked the door.

Cold crept up on me. My fingers prickled, then numbed. I fought my eyelids, but they won, falling closed against the blur that my vision had become.

I thought for a moment I was flying with my mother, far beyond the city. Everything was so blue.

Hands slid under my back and legs. Someone lifted me. The shutters squealed open.

Dishes swept from our table hit the floor and rolled. Lips pressed warm against mine, catching my frozen breath. The rhythm of in and out came back. I heard my name.

When I opened my eyes, I saw the Singer’s gray robes first, then the silver lines of his tattoos. His green eyes. The dark hairs in his hawk nose. Behind him, Elna wept and whispered, “On your wings, Singer. Mercy on your wings.”

He straightened and turned from me. I heard his voice for the first time, stern and deep, telling Elna, “This is a Singer concern. You will not interfere.”

2

SENT DOWN

The Singer came and went from my side. He checked my breathing. His fingers tapped my wrist.

Elna and Nat swirled around the table like clouds. I heard Elna whisper angrily.

When I found I could hold my eyes open without growing dizzy, Nat had disappeared. The Singer sat at my mother’s worktable. His draped robes puddled on the floor and obscured her stool. As the sun passed below the clouds, he sat there fingering a skein tied with blank message chips.

In the dark, his knife scraped against one bone chip, then another.

The room felt tight-strung, an instrument waiting to be played.

With the sunrise, Densira neighbors began clattering onto our balcony. They brought a basket of fruit, a string of beads.

“The tower is talking,” Elna said. “About the miracle. That it’s a skyblessing.”

The Singer waved away our visitors. He positioned a tower guard on the balcony.

Occasionally, the guard peered through the shutters and shook his head, like kaviks did when they were molting. “Lawsbreaker,” he muttered. He told any who would listen how stupid I’d been.

I caught pieces of his words on the wind.

“It came right for her. The fledge stood out on the balcony with the lens of that scope glinting in the sun. Should have gobbled her up. Would have shot her myself, attracting a mouth to the tower like that.” He waved our neighbors away. “Don’t waste your goods on her. She’s not skyblessed. She’s bad luck. Should tie enough Laws on her that she’ll rattle when she moves.”

The people of Densira did not listen. Elna scrambled to find places for everything they brought.

She took the guard a cup of tea. “Luck was with her, Risen. The tower has luck now, because of Kirit. The skymouth fled.”

The Singer cleared his throat loudly. Elna jostled the cup. Nearly spilled the tea. The Singer looked as if he wanted to have Elna swept from the tower and silenced.

I tried to say something helpful, but my voice rasped in my throat.

“Don’t try to speak, Kirit.” Elna returned to my side. The Singer glared again, then rose, muttering about needing a new sack of rainwater. He must have decided to keep me alive a little longer.

She propped me up. Around me, the bone lanterns’ glow cast halos and small stars against the pale walls. The rugs and cushions of the place I’d shared with my mother since the tower rose were swathed in shadow.

Elna wrapped me in a quilt, tucking the down-filled silk beneath me. Instead of warming, I shook harder. The Singer returned and held my wrist between his thumb and forefinger. He reached into his robe. Took out a small bag that smelled rich and dark. Metal glittered in the light.

A moment later, he handed me a tiny cup filled with sharp-smelling liquid. It burned my throat as it went down, then warmed my chest and belly. It took me a moment to realize I wasn’t drinking rainwater from my usual bone cup. He’d given me a brass cup so old the etching was nearly worn away. It warmed in my hands as the glow crept up my arms. Calm followed warmth until I was able to focus on the room, the smell of chicory brewing, the sound of voices.

Elna disappeared when the Singer glared at her a third time. He gave me a stern look. Waited for me to speak. I wished Ezarit sat beside me.

“They think you are skyblessed,” he said when I did not speak on his cue.

I blinked at the words and closed my eyes again. Skyblessed. Like the people in the songs, who escaped the clouds, or those who survived Lith.

The Singer’s tone made it clear that he thought me nothing of the sort.

“Your example will tempt people to risk themselves. We have Laws for a reason, Kirit. To keep the city safe.”

I found that hard to argue. I sat up straighter. My head pounded. I looked around the empty tier, at the lashed shutters, anywhere but at the Singer standing before me, his hands folded into his robe.

“You are old enough to understand duty to your tower. You know our history. Why we can never go back to disorder.”

I nodded. This was why we sang. To remember.

“Yet you are still part of a household. Your mother is still responsible for you. Even while she’s on a trading run.”

He was right. She wouldn’t learn what I’d done until she flew close enough to the north quadrant for the gossip to catch up with her. I imagined her sipping tea at a stopover tower. Varu, perhaps. And hearing. What her face would look like as she tallied the damage to her reputation. To mine. Bile rose in my throat, despite the calming effect of whatever was in that cup.

The Singer leaned close. “You know what you did.”

I’d broken Laws. I knew that. I’d attracted a skymouth with my actions. A punishable offense. Worse, I drew a Singer’s attention, which could affect Densira. Councilman Vant, Sidra’s father, would sanction me, and my mother too, for my deeds.

But that fell below the Singers’ jurisdiction. They only dealt with the big Laws. I sipped at the cup to conceal my confusion. Cut my losses. “I broke tower Laws.”

He lowered his voice. “Not only that, you lived to tell about it. How did you do that, Kirit Densira?” His eyes bored into mine, his breath rich with spices. He looked like a hawk, looming over me.

Elna was nowhere to be seen. I looked at my fingers, the soft pattern on the sleeve of my robe that Ezarit brought back from her last trip. Stall, my brain said. Someone would come.

I met the Singer’s gaze. Hard as stone, those eyes.

“I am waiting.” He spoke each word slowly, as if I wouldn’t understand otherwise.

“I don’t know.”

“Don’t know what?”

“Why I am still alive.”

“You’ve never been in skymouth migration before?”

I shook my head. Never. Wasn’t that hard to believe. Everyone knew the northwest quadrant had been lucky.

“What about the Spire? Never to a market there, nor for Allsuns?”

Shaking my head repeatedly made the room spin. A low throb gripped the base of my skull. My voice rasped. “She said we’d go when we were both traders.”

He frowned. Perhaps he thought I lied. “Don’t all citizens love to visit the Spire’s hanging markets at Allsuns, pick over the fine bone carvings, and watch the quadrant wingfights?

I shook my head. Not once. Ezarit never wanted to go, nor Elna. They avoided the Singers more than most. How could I convince him I told the truth?

“Do you know what you’ve done?”

I shook my head a third time, while pressure pounded my temples. I did not know, and I felt nauseated. I could see no way for me to get away from this Singer. Even seated, he loomed over me, tall and thin and sour-faced. Despite this, his hands were smooth, no deep lines marked his face beneath the tattoos; he might not have been much older than me.

“I don’t know what you want me to say. I went on the balcony. A skymouth came. I screamed, and it—”

I stopped speaking. I’d screamed. The skymouth had halted. Why? People who were close enough to a skymouth to scream died.

The Singer’s gaze bored into mine. His frown deepened. He turned away from me and looked at the balcony. Then back to me.

“There are those who can hear the city all the time. Not only when it roars. They learn to speak its language. You know that, right?”

I bowed my head. “They become Singers. They make sure we continue to rise, instead of falling like Lith.” Our Magister, Florian, had taught us this long ago. If tower children became Singers, their families were rewarded with higher tiers; their towers with bridges. But the Singers themselves were family no longer. Tower no longer. They severed themselves from city life; enforced Laws even on those they once loved. Nat’s father, for instance. Though I’d been too young to see it, I’d heard stories. I imagined now a Laws-weighted figure thrown to the clouds. Arms and legs churning in place of missing wings. Failing. Falling. Tears pricked my eyes.

This Singer took my arm and squeezed hard. I locked my teeth together to avoid crying out. His fingers pressed into my skin, dimpling pale rings around the pressure points. “Kirit Densira, daughter of Ezarit Densira, I place you under Spire fiat. If you reveal anything that I say now to anyone, you will be thrown down. If you fail to tell the truth, you will be thrown down. Do you understand?”

My head throbbed worse than ever, and I leaned hard against his grip. “Yes.” Anything to get free of this man.

“Some among the Singers can speak to monsters.”

“What do you mean?”

“There are five people in the city who can stop a skymouth with a shout. All Singers. Except one.”

He stared at me. He meant me. I was the fifth.

“Kirit.” He paused. “You are not skyblessed.”

I bowed my head. I hadn’t thought so.

He released a breath. Scent of garlic. “But you could be something more. Someone who helps to keep the city safe in its direst need.”

As my mother did. I raised my eyebrows. “How?”

“You must come into the Spire with me.”

The way he said it, I knew he didn’t mean for a visit. I jerked backwards. Neck and shoulder muscles tensed into a rejection of him. And yet he held me. Tried to shake me out of it. No.

I would not leave the towers. I would not go into the Spire. Not for anything.

Traders flew the quadrants freely, making elegant deals. They connected the city, helped weave it together. Better still, traders were not always tied to a single tower and its fate; they saw the whole city, especially if they were very good, like Ezarit. That was what I wanted. What I would choose when I was able.

I stalled. “I have already put my name in for the next wingtest.”

His turn to shake his head. “That hardly matters. Come with me. Your mother will be well honored for your sacrifice. Your tower too.”

Sacrifice? No. Not me. I would ply the winds and negotiate deals that let the towers help one another. I would be brave and smart and weave beads in my hair. I would not get locked in an obelisk of bone and secrets. I wouldn’t make small children cry, nor etch my face with silver tattoos.

I yanked my arm away. Scrambled off the table, my knees wobbly, toes tingling. Two steps, and I hit the floor. I tried to crawl to the balcony, to get to Aunt Bisset’s, to get back to Elna.

The Singer grabbed me up by the neck of my robe. His words were soft, his grip fierce. “You have broken the Laws of your tower. Endangered everyone here. Some think you’re skyblessed, but that will wear off. Others think you are a danger, unlucky.”

“I am no danger!”

“I will encourage these thoughts. What then? Soon the tower will grow past you. Your bad luck will sour your trades and your family’s status. You will be left behind. Or worse. You will be Densira’s pariah for every bad thing.”

I saw my future as he drew it. The tower turned against me, against my mother. Ezarit, living within a cage of shame.

“As a Singer, you will be respected and feared. Your mother and Elna and Nat will be forgiven your Lawsbreaks.”

The household. He would punish Elna and Nat too. And Ezarit. For my decisions. I needed to bargain with this man. How did I do that? How would Ezarit have done it? I groped for memories of her trading stories, for how she would have turned him away. She would have tried to trade, to haggle. If she’d nothing to trade, she’d bluff.

“I am too old to take.” I’d never heard of someone nearly at wingtest being taken by the Singers.

“You are still a dependent in the eyes of your tower.”

“In that case,” I said, resisting the urge to argue his point, “my mother would never permit this.” I was certain of that.

“Your mother is not here. Won’t be back until nearly Allmoons.”

“You can’t take me without her permission,” I said. “It says so in Laws.” And once I have my wingmark, Singer, I will be an apprentice. Able to decide my own path. Singers do not take apprentices from the city, except for egregious Lawsbreaks. I coughed to conceal my shudder at that possibility. Then I straightened. “Ezarit would bring down a storm on the Spire so great, you’d be begging the clouds to pull you back up.” I yanked my arm from his grip.

The Singer smiled, all but his eyes. My skin crawled. “Singers are more powerful than traders, Kirit. Even Ezarit. No matter what your mother thinks.”

I drew a deep breath. “I will not go with you.”

The Singer straightened. “Very well. You would be unteachable at this age if you did not desire to become a Singer anyway.”

I’d changed his mind. I couldn’t believe it. It felt too easy.

“You will stay in Densira until the wingtest. Then we will talk again.” He rose and reached back to release his wings. He was leaving. Then he paused. Frowned. The tattoos on his cheeks and chin creased and buckled.

“Of course,” he said, “you did break tower law.” He drew a cord from his sleeve, tied with four bone chips. “The tower councilman has sent you, Elna, Nat, and your mother a message. Vant is of the opinion, which I have reinforced, that you are in no way skyblessed, no way lucky. That the guard must have driven away the skymouth with noise and arrows. That you must be censured severely to avoid future danger to the tower.”

I took the chips. Freshly carved. Approved by Councilman Vant. Two were thin, light: Nat’s and mine. We were assigned hard labor, cleaning four tiers downtower.

I gasped. That could take well past the wingtest to finish.

Heavier still were Elna’s and Ezarit’s chips. They felt thick. Not the thickest, I knew, but still true Laws chips. Permanent, unless Ezarit could bargain with Vant so that he let her untie them.

As promised, they were punished for my deeds. For both the Lawsbreak and for refusing the Singer. Nat and I could miss the wingtest. We would certainly miss the last flight classes, when the Magister did his most intensive review. I could lose my chance at becoming an apprentice this year. Perhaps forever.

My head ached, and I tried hard to swallow. I knew I could have been thrown down for endangering the tower. But censure was bad too. Everything was wrong now.

And not just for me. I held Elna’s, Nat’s, and my mother’s fates in my hand.

The Singer raised his eyebrows. Would I change my mind? Would I give in and go with him?

I stared back at him. Swallowed. Shook my head. Densira seemed to fall silent as we stared each other down.

“My name is Wik. Remember it,” he said. “I will find you at Allmoons, Kirit Densira. By then, you will want to come with me.”

Trapped behind walls. Gray wings and robes, silver tattoos. Lawsbreakers thrown down, arms flailing. No family. No tower but the Spire.

I would find a way to avoid that. I had to.

The sound of Elna and Nat returning startled the Singer. He swept from our quarters, unfurling his wings as he crossed to the balcony. Nat dodged left to avoid being struck.

I walked unsteadily to greet them, waving my hand to dissuade Elna from bowing in custom.

Shading my eyes against the sunset, I watched the Singer’s silhouette shrink as the breeze carried him away. He soared towards the city’s center, towards the Spire.

My shoulders dropped. I sank down to rest on my mother’s stool. Nat came to stand by me. “I’m sorry,” he murmured. “For locking you out.”

I looked up at him. Wished I had words. But anything I said could reveal me, break the Singer’s fiat, and endanger Nat and Elna even more. They had enough trouble coming because of me.

I held out the markers, with their sentences on them.

Elna read hers and sucked in her breath. Then she read Nat’s and mine, saw they were blessedly temporary. Her eyes watered. “Serves you right,” she said. But she heaved the words at us with such relief, I knew she’d been afraid.

I did not want to think of Naton, Nat’s father, now. But I was sure Elna thought of the bone markers she’d held the day Naton was thrown down. A skein of Treason Laws, making him first chosen for Conclave, the ritual to appease the city.

Those chips were the heaviest the Singers dispensed.

Ours were much lighter. Tower Laws. Warnings. We would not have to wear them forever.

After he read his chip, Nat’s face was a puzzle. “Why do I get punished for what Kirit did?”

Because I would not sacrifice myself for you, Nat. Because I would not go with the Singer, you are punished. I opened my mouth to tell him. To say I was sorry.

But Elna turned on him. “Oh, you’re not innocent. You stood by and watched.” Her look stopped him cold. He glanced at me from under his lids instead. She huffed and began piling foods from the offerings into a basket. “Might as well get packed up, then. The council will be up.”

“Packed?” I couldn’t fathom why.

“They’ll want you two as low as they can send you,” Elna said. “Closer to your duties, but also much more shameful, isn’t it? So they’ll move you down, to my tier.”

I walked towards the back of our quarters to retrieve my sleeping mat and to get away from Nat’s glare. My new wings leaned against the inner wall, dark beside the slick bone column. Vant had nicked “no flight” on our punishment chips. Fine.

I would find a way to finish the cleaning in time. I would fly the wingtest. I promised myself this as I fed the silk spiders and the whipperling. Watered the kavik. They’d survive on their own until Ezarit returned. I hoped she would be quick.

My hands went through the motions while my mind whirred. I saw the skymouth’s teeth flash once again. Felt the heat of its breath.

Nat shook me by the shoulders. “Stop it!”

“What?”

“You were keening. It sounded horrible. Hurt my ears. Worse than your singing.”

I touched my face. My cheeks were wet. How had that happened? I hadn’t cried in front of someone since my first flight group, when I was very young.

Back then, the meanest among them, Sidra, had pretended Nat didn’t exist at all. “He’s nothing. His father broke Laws. Singers said so.” But she’d rounded on me. Teased me for my tuneless renderings of the first Laws we learned. “Your father must have fed himself to a skymouth to keep from being there to hear you cry.” The flight group, young as chicks, collapsed into laughter until the Magisters came with their nets to take us into the sky for our first flight. Then everyone’s voice froze tight in fear.

We’d only flown for a few minutes that day, tumbling into the tightly woven nets as we learned the winds around Densira. I’d rushed home and, in answer to Ezarit’s “how was it?” my nose and eyes had run like rainspouts.

“Sidra’s father talks too much, up at the top of Densira,” she’d said bitterly. “Your father didn’t return from a trade run. He could have been taken by a skymouth, but no one knows for certain. It wasn’t your doing.” And that was all she ever said.

She’d walked away from me, shoulders hunched, while I buried my face in my sleeping mat. She’d left early the next morning for the Spire, stopping to kiss my head. “Don’t let them tell you who you are, Kirit. Don’t let them see you cry.” I’d pretended to be asleep. But I heard her.

She’d petitioned the Singers that day, though she would not say for what. But her trade routes got better, and, when the tower grew, we were allowed to move to the new tier. Above Vant and his family. A great honor.

Now she was on a trade, and I’d wept again. For whom? For what? Nat still shook me, gently. “I’m all right,” I sniffled. He let go.

“What did the Singer say?” he asked.

My mouth went dry. I shook my head.

“Fine, Kirit.”

“It’s not that, Nat. I can’t say what he said.”

He opened his mouth to press me for more, but a clatter at the balcony signaled Councilman Vant’s arrival, along with the tower guard from this morning. They held a net basket between them.

“I’m not getting in that thing,” Nat said.

“No.” The councilman shook his head. His jowls jiggled. “You’re not. Kirit is.”

My jaw dropped. To be sent downtower was one thing. To be sent by basket like an invalid or a cloudbound offering was entirely another. I began to protest, but the councilman held up a finger. “Singer’s orders.” He smiled with pleasure.

The councilman’s enjoyment of my mistake made my stomach clench. Perhaps he hoped this was the first of many small falls.

My mother was not here to ease the way with kind words or gifts. I must do what he said, without making things worse.

I looked around once more before climbing in the basket. Our wide quarters were so recently grown atop the tower that the inner walls hadn’t yet begun to thicken. The space was comfortable, for all its newness. We had cushions from Amrath tower, and woven storage baskets in elegant patterns from Bissel. Chimes made from reclaimed metal so old they’d worn smooth of their past hung from the ceiling in the center of the room.

I realized too late that I didn’t want to leave this height for downtower’s stink and worry. Councilman Vant’s family had likely felt the same, as the tower grew past them. They’d been accustomed to being at the top. But towers rose according to need. Densira hadn’t risen for years, until Singers arrived with their rough scourweed and chants. Until they’d coaxed the bone tower into growing a new level. But Densira kept groaning. Once, while I’d lived downtower, Nat and I had skipped flight to cruise over the expanse of new-grown bone, and I had spotted the beginnings of a second tier, a natural one, emerging atop the one the Singers had called in the traditional way. After two seasons where the walls creaked and the wind cut ghost patterns around the emerging core, the tier thickened and steadied enough to be occupied.

My find was a tiding, my mother said to anyone who’d listen. She conferred with the Singers and they named our family the occupants, though we waited another season to move. No one had wanted to interfere with the tower’s rise. Then we’d climbed, all of us, past Vant’s tier, while quite a few other families filled in our former quarters below. Nat had been right to tease yesterday that we were only newly risen, our tier as well. It still stung.

Even now, as I prepared to leave, the central wall creaked and settled. It whispered tower dreams to us and to its cousins all across the city. I wished that the city would speak at this moment. Then the Singers would focus on its message, and not on me.

Elna and Nat descended the rope ladder and left me in my home. Two days ago, I would have given anything to leave it. Now I wished I could stay.

The guard cleared his throat. I heaved my things into the basket, and the councilman helped me in.

“Kirit Lawsbreaker, you’re a poor example to your tower. Let your penance make you humble. Let it be of service to Densira,” he said. I waited for him to say more. Instead, he and the councilman swung me over the edge of the balcony, making the basket spin. I twisted in the air, wingless, like an infant, as I sank below the floor where my family lived.

Above, the guard played the rope across the cleats cut into our balcony. As the basket jerked down and down again, people emerged on Mondarath’s and Densira’s gardens to watch. My skin prickled with the attention, but there was nothing I could do. The fiber net held me tight against the wind, which pushed it dizzyingly against the edge of the balcony. The ropes groaned as they bore my weight.

My eyes raked the sky for another mouth or more teeth, found none.

The basket stopped and then started moving again precipitately. Perhaps the guard and councilman had argued about whether to let the rope go, whether to drop me over the edge. They’d be free of the luck, good or bad, that now plagued their peaceful and well-ordered tower. As sometimes happened with invalids.

The net creaked. I laced my fingers around two of the larger knots and held tight.

Below, the tower disappeared with its neighbors into the depths, growing indistinct long before the cloudtop obscured everything. Farther down, the songs said, the tiers grew together, even some of the towers, as the bone cores expanded out, filling the hollows of old quarters. Even farther down, well below the clouds, lay legend. The oldest songs sang of a bone forest, and the people who climbed it and lived because they kept going higher. And so we still climbed.

Except me. I sank lower, at least for now.

After a lifetime of swinging in my cage, edging lower, then swinging again, I reached Elna’s tier. She hooked the net basket with a bone crook, the one she used for bringing in market baskets. Perhaps this very basket. It reeked of onions. Elna and Nat pulled on the crook together and drew the basket onto her small balcony. I climbed out and sat on the ground for a moment, catching my breath.

Elna tugged on the rope twice, and the councilman and his guard yanked up the empty basket.

Far below, the clouds glowed pink with sunset. With Allmoons so near, we were flush with the kind of light that faded quickly. The kind that sank to cinder only a few hours after it kindled. Elna’s quarters were ruddy with the declining sun.

I looked around my prison. The same walls and tapestries of my earliest memories, but smaller as the inner wall thickened. One day, the tier would be filled with bone, and no one would live here. For now, Elna hummed Remembrance—sung at Allmoons and Allsuns—in the kitchen. And Nat. He looked at me now as if I’d made the skymouth with my bare hands on purpose. “You’re bad luck,” he grumbled. But I saw worry behind the anger. He needed to pass his wingtest too.

I wanted to snap back at him, but fighting with him would make things worse. I pressed my lips together.

Elna emerged from the kitchen to shake her head at both of us.

“Serves you both right.” She handed me a piece of lentil flatbread.

“I don’t see why I’m punished,” Nat said. “I’ll miss training. I’m not the numbhead who went out.”

She swatted him. “You didn’t stop her. And you closed the shutters. What do you think?”

He looked down. I saw myself through his eyes for a moment. Not Kirit the sometimes-sister, wing-friend of his childhood; now just the spoiled high-tower person who took his mother’s attention and got him censured.

“I wish I could change it all,” I said. I wanted him to remember what we’d been. Who I was before I moved uptower. To know that I was still the same person, still his friend. His almost-sister.

I tried hard not to care where I was, or about the wingtest and whether we’d miss it. Tried hard not to think of my mother, who’d left me behind. Elna was angry, sure. But with Elna, that didn’t matter. She held me close and I breathed in the scent of her skin, the onions she’d cooked. I relaxed, until she murmured, “Our Kirit, skyblessed.”

I groaned. So did Nat.

“You two.”

“You heard the Singer. I’m not skyblessed.”

Elna dipped her head in agreement. But over dinner and until she went to bed, I caught her looking at me with the same blend of reverence and horror that she’d given to the Singer.

Later, I wished she would wrap me up and tell me things would get better, as she had when I’d come in from flight with a bug in my eye or a scrape from the rough sinew nets.

I touched the Laws chip Councilman Vant tied to my wrist. One side was marked “Broke Fortify, endangered tower.” The other held my sentence, “Lowtower labor.” Nat’s bore the more general “Lawsbreaker.” We would wear them until the councilman cut them off.

Shivering, I pulled my quilt tight around me and curled up on my mat. It smelled of Ezarit’s spices and tea.

I was censured. I hoped for forgiveness. For a miracle.

Copyright © 2016 by Fran Wilde

Order Your Copy

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Fantasy Firsts Sweepstakes

Welcome back to Fantasy Firsts. Today we’re offering the chance to win these fantastic titles on Goodreads! For details on how to enter, please click on the cover image of the book you are interested in.

The Sleeping King by Cindy Dees and Bill Flippin

Placeholder of  -88The Sleeping King is the first in an epic fantasy series, featuring the best of the genre: near immortal imperial overlords, a prophecy of a sleeping elven king who’s said to be the savior of the races…and two young people who are set on a path to save the day.

 

American Craftsman by Tom Doyle

Image Place holder  of - 50 In modern America, two soldiers will fight their way through the magical legacies of Poe and Hawthorne to destroy an undying evil—if they don’t kill each other first.

US Army Captain Dale Morton is a magician soldier—a “craftsman.” After a black-ops mission gone wrong, Dale is cursed by a Persian sorcerer and haunted by his good and evil ancestors. Major Michael Endicott, a Puritan craftsman, finds gruesome evidence that the evil Mortons, formerly led by the twins Roderick and Madeline, have returned, and that Dale might be one of them.

Updraft by Fran Wilde

Place holder  of - 75Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother’s side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city’s secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.

An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock

Poster Placeholder of - 69In a world of soaring continents and bottomless skies, where a burgeoning new science lifts skyships into the cloud-strewn heights, and ancient blood-borne sorceries cling to a fading glory, Princess Isabelle des Zephyrs is about to be married to a man she has barely heard of, the second son of a dying king in an empire collapsing into civil war.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch by Susan DennardOn a continent ruled by three empires, everyone is born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others. Now, as the Twenty Year Truce in a centuries long war is about to end, the balance of power-and the failing health of all magic-will fall on the shoulders of a mythical pair called the Cahr Awen.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings by Brandon SandersonIn The Way of Kings, #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson introduces readers to the fascinating world of Roshar, a world of stone and storms.

It has been centuries since the fall of the Knights Radiant, but their mystical swords and armor remain, transforming ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for them. Wars are fought for them and won by them.

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On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events in July

Tor/Forge authors are on the road in July! See who is coming to a city near you this month.

Cora Carmack, Roar

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Tuesday, July 11
Turn of the Corkscrew
Rockville Centre, NY
7:00 PM
Also with A.J. Hartley, in conversation with editor Diana Pho and author Sarah Beth Durst.

Ruthanna Emrys, Winter Tide

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Monday, July 17
Pandemonium Books
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM
Also with Chris Sharp and Fran Wilde.

A.J. Hartley, Firebrand

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Tuesday, July 11
Turn of the Corkscrew
Rockville Centre, NY
7:00 PM
Also with Cora Carmack, in conversation with editor Diana Pho and author Sarah Beth Durst.

Michael F. Haspil, Graveyard Shift

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Thursday, July 20
Tattered Cover
Littleton, CO
7:00 PM

Nancy Kress, Tomorrow’s Kin

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Wednesday, July 12
University Bookstore
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM
Also with Kay Kenyon.

Wednesday, July 19
Powell’s Books
Beaverton, OR
7:00 PM
Also with Brenda Cooper.

Thursday, July 20
Pacific Planetarium
Bremerton, WA
6:30 PM
Books provided by Liberty Bay Books.

David D. Levine, Arabella and the Battle of Venus

Tuesday, July 18
Powell’s Books
Beaverton, OR
7:00 PM

Thursday, July 20
University Bookstore
Seattle, WA

Saturday, July 22
San Francisco, CA

Chris Sharp, Cold Counsel

Monday, July 17
Pandemonium Books
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM
Also with Ruthanna Emrys and Fran Wilde.

Fran Wilde, The Jewel and Her Lapidary / Updraft

Friday, July 14
Parkway Central Library
Philadelphia, PA
7:30 PM
Also with Kevin Hearne and Chuck Wendig.

Monday, July 17
Pandemonium Books
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM
Also with Ruthanna Emrys and Chris Sharp.

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Updraft ebook is now on sale for $2.99

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Our Fantasy Firsts program continues today with an ebook sale of Updraft by Fran Wilde, about a world where humans soar in the skies above a city made of bone. For a limited time, the ebook edition is on sale for only $2.99!* The next novel in the Bone Universe series, Horizonwill be available September 26th.

About UpdraftWelcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage.

Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother’s side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city’s secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.

As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice, and may well change the city forever—if it isn’t destroyed outright.

Buy Updraft here:

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This sale ends September 1st.

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Books to Read If You Need More Heroes Like Wonder Woman in Your Life

by Lauren Jackson, Senior Publicist

If you’re like me and you saw Wonder Woman opening weekend (and are possibly planning on seeing it again this weekend), I know you’re craving more warriors, pirates, explorers, and revolutionaries of the “badass woman” variety. Tor is here to help with nine books that’ll inspire you to become an Amazonian warrior of Themyscira.

Image Place holder  of - 86 Red Right Hand by Levi Black
Charlie isn’t a hero; she’s a survivor. Already wrestling with the demons of her past, a diabolical stranger reveals that she wields a dark magick, and he wants her to use it. But ultimately what she does with her power is in her hands.
Image Placeholder of - 51 Firebrand by A. J. Hartley
Once a steeplejack who scaled the highest buildings in the city of Bar-Selehm, Ang Sutonga is now an investigator, working to expose political corruption and quash the xenophobia and racism taking over her city. Instead of climbing to great heights, she must go undercover and expose the darkest secrets of the rich and powerful before they destroy Bar-Selehm.
Placeholder of  -33Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
Pyrre Lakatur made an appearance in Staveley’s beloved Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne series, but her backstory tells how she became the badass priestess serving the god of death. Hint: it involves a lot of mind-blowing swordplay and bloodshed.
Place holder  of - 51 Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan
Throughout this five-book series, readers follow the always daring and often dangerous adventures of Lady Isabella Trent, dragon naturalist, as she goes to the far corners of the world in the name of scientific discovery.
Poster Placeholder of - 40 The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis
Josette Dupre is the Corps’ first female airship captain, patrolling the front lines of battle all while contending with a crew who doubts her expertise and an aristocrat hellbent on cataloguing and exposing every moment of weakness. But, when her enemies make a move no one was prepared for, Josette comes into her own and shows everyone what a “weak woman” airship captain can really do.
Roar by Cora Carmack
Known for her contemporary new adult novels, Carmack’s heroine in Roar, Aurora, turns fantasy tropes on their head. In the course of the novel, Aurora transforms from a powerless, sheltered princess, used by power-hungry men, into a true force of nature… literally (and we’ll leave it there).
Updraft by Fran Wilde
When Kirit Densira, a trader, breaks an obscure law, she’s forced to atone by learning the rules and becoming a part of her world’s governing body, the Singers. But as she gains more knowledge of her new craft, so does her doubt that the laws are right. So… what does she do? The only thing she can do: start a revolution.
Everfair by Nisi Shawl
This alternative history novel doesn’t lack for diverse voices, especially ones that have been historically silenced. One of them belongs to Lisette Toutournier, a queer spy who founded the book’s titular country… one that serves as a safe haven for native populations of the Congo during the disastrous colonization by Belgium.
The Queen of Swords by R. S. Belcher
What happens when a descendant of pirates and assassin has her daughter kidnapped? RS Belcher answers the question with Maude Stapleton, who hunts for her daughter, Constance (who comes with her own impressive powers), while also staving off cults that want to use her for their own, nefarious ends.

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New Releases: 9/13/16

Here’s what went on sale today!

Eternity’s Mind by Kevin J. Anderson

Eternity’s Mind by Kevin J. AndersonTwo decades after the devastating Elemental War, which nearly destroyed the cosmos, the new Confederation restored peace and profitable commerce among the peoples and worlds of the Spiral Arm. The ambitious, innovative Roamers went back to their traditional business of harvesting the vital stardrive fuel ekti from the clouds of gas giant planets, and the telepathic green priests of Theroc provided instantaneous galaxy-wide communication via their connection to the powerful and sentient worldtrees. The alien Ildiran Empire rebuilt their grand Prism Palace under the light of their seven suns, and their Mage-Imperator declared a new age of expansion and discover.

An Irish Doctor in Love and at Sea by Patrick Taylor

An Irish Doctor in Love and at Sea by Patrick TaylorLong before Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly came to the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo, young Surgeon-lieutenant O’Reilly answered the call of duty to serve in World War II. Fingal just wants to marry his beloved Deirdre and live happily ever after. First he must hone his skills at a British naval hospital before reporting back to the HMS Warspite, where, as a ship’s doctor, he faces danger upon the high seas. With German bombers a constant threat, the future has never been more uncertain, but Fingal and Deirdre are determined to make a life together . . . no matter what may lie ahead.

Navigators of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Navigators of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. AndersonBrian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson’s Navigators of Dune is the climactic finale of the Great Schools of Dune trilogy, set 10,000 years before Frank Herbert’s classic Dune.

The story line tells the origins of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood and its breeding program, the human-computer Mentats, and the Navigators (the Spacing Guild), as well as a crucial battle for the future of the human race, in which reason faces off against fanaticism. These events have far-reaching consequences that will set the stage for Dune, millennia later.

Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies by David Lubar

Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies by David LubarStrikeout of the Bleacher Weenies is the eighth collection of spooky short stories for ages 8 to 12 by the beloved author of the Nathan Abercrombie series, David Lubar. This is the perfect pick for reluctant young readers who like a few chills and a lot of laughs.

The appearance of a mysterious new girl in school stops her classmates cold. Black Friday shopping gets out of control for a mother and daughter. And stands full of screaming and shouting Bleacher Weenies are about to make the ultimate sacrifice.

NEW FROM TOR.COM:

Cold-Forged Flame by Marie Brennan

Cold-Forged Flame by Marie BrennanAt the beginning—no—at the end—she appears, full of fury and bound by chains of prophecy.

Setting off on an unexplained quest from which she is compelled to complete, and facing unnatural challenges in a land that doesn’t seem to exist, she will discover the secrets of herself, or die trying. But along the way, the obstacles will grow to a seemingly insurmountable point, and the final choice will be the biggest sacrifice yet.

NOW IN PAPERBACK:

Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald

Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonaldThe Moon wants to kill you.

Maybe it will kill you when the per diem for your allotted food, water, and air runs out, just before you hit paydirt. Maybe it will kill you when you are trapped between the reigning corporations-the Five Dragons-in a foolish gamble against a futuristic feudal society. On the Moon, you must fight for every inch you want to gain. And that is just what Adriana Corta did.

Updraft by Fran Wilde

Updraft by Fran WildeWelcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage.

Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother’s side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city’s secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.

NEW IN MANGA:

Lord Marksman and Vanadis Vol. 1 Story by Tsukasa Kawaguchi; Art by Nobuhiko Yanai

The Other Side of Secret Vol. 2 by Yoshikawa Hideaki

On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events in December

Hover by Anne A. WilsonMade to Kill by Adam ChristopherMystic by Jason Denzel

Tor/Forge authors are on the road in December! Once a month, we’re collecting info about all of our upcoming author events. Check and see who will be coming to a city near you:

Jason Denzel, Mystic

Saturday, December 12
Barnes & Noble
Also with Brandon Sanderson.
Orem, UT
2:00 PM

William Forstchen, One Year After

Saturday, December 5
Books Unlimited
Franklin, NC
5:00 PM

Michael Livingston, The Shards of Heaven

Saturday, December 8
The Citadel
Charleston, SC
6:30 PM

Saturday, December 19
Fiction Addiction
Also with Clay and Susan Griffith.
Greenville, SC
1:00 PM

Brandon Sanderson, Shadows of Self

Saturday, December 12
Barnes & Noble
Also with Jason Denzel.
Orem, UT
2:00 PM

Catherynne M. Valente, Radiance

Friday, December 8
Letterpress Books
Portland, ME
6:00 PM

Fran Wilde, Updraft

Friday, December 8
Library of Congress
Washington, DC
12:00 PM

Anne A. Wilson, Hover

Friday, December 12
Tempe Public Library
Also with Donis Casey.
Tempe, AZ
2:00 PM

Friday, December 15
Desert Foothills Library
Also with Shona Patel.
Cave Creek, AZ
1:00 PM

Monday, December 21
Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center
Also with Shona Patel.
Scottsdale, AZ
12:30 PM

On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events in October

Shadows of Self by Brandon SandersonRadiance by Catherynne M. ValenteWhat You See by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Tor/Forge authors are on the road in October! Once a month, we’re collecting info about all of our upcoming author events. Check and see who will be coming to a city near you:

Howie Carr, Killers

Friday, October 30
Concord Library Festival of Authors’ Mystery Night (panel discussion)
Concord Free Public Library
Concord, MA
7:30 PM

Cindy Dees, The Sleeping King

Thursday, October 1
Books Inc.
Mountain View, CA
7:00 PM

William R. Forstchen, One Year After

Saturday, October 10
Blue Ridge Books
Waynesville, NC
3:00 PM

Ian McDonald, Luna: New Moon

Sunday, October 4
University Bookstore
Seattle, WA
2:00 PM

Victor Milán, The Dinosaur Lords

Sunday, October 18
Bookworks
Albuquerque, NM
3:00 PM

Jaime Lee Moyer, Against a Brightening Sky

Tuesday, October 6
Barnes & Noble
San Antonio, TX
6:00 PM

Thursday, October 8
Ingram Festival
Barnes & Noble
San Antonio, TX
6:00 PM

Saturday, October 17
Murder by the Book
Houston, TX
4:30 PM

Ilana C. Myer, Last Song Before Night

Thursday, October 1
The Red Room above KGB Bar
Also with Seth Dickinson
New York, NY
7:00 PM

Saturday, October 3
Barnes & Noble
Forest Hills, NY
3:00 PM

Hank Phillippi Ryan, What You See

Wednesday, October 21
Foxtale Books
Woodstock, GA
6:30 PM

Thursday, October 22
Brookline Booksmith
Brookline, MA
7:00 PM

Tuesday, October 27
Mystery to Me Bookstore
Madison, WI
7:00 PM

Wednesday, October 28
Mystery Lovers Bookshop
Oakmont, PA
6:30 PM

Brandon Sanderson, Shadows of Self

Tuesday, October 6
BYU Bookstore
Provo, UT
12:00 AM
Midnight Release

Tuesday, October 6
Tattered Cover
Denver, CO
6:00 PM

Wednesday, October 7
Murder by the Book
Houston, TX
6:30 PM

Thursday, October 8
Mysterious Galaxy
San Diego, CA
6:00 PM

Friday, October 9
Borderlands Books
San Francisco, CA
12:00 PM

Friday, October 9
Kepler’s Books
Menlo Park, CA
7:30 PM

Saturday, October 10
Powell’s Books
Beaverton, OR
6:00 PM

Monday, October 12
Barnes & Noble
Oak Brook, IL
7:00 PM

Tuesday, October 13
Schuler Books & Music
Lansing, MI
7:00 PM

Wednesday, October 14
Brookline Booksmith
Brookline, MA
6:00 PM

Catherynne M. Valente, Radiance

Saturday, October 10
New York Comic Con Signing
Tor Booth #2223
Javits Center: New York, NY
5:00 PM

Sunday, October 11
New York Comic Con Panel: Get Out of Your Chair and Off the Planet!
Room A101
Javits Center: New York, NY
1:30 PM
Signing to follow

Tuesday, October 20
WORD Bookstore
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 PM

Thursday, October 22
Third Place Books
Lake Forest Park, WA
7:00 PM

Friday, October 23
Powell’s Books
Beaverton, OR
7:00 PM

Saturday, October 24
The Last Bookstore
Los Angeles, CA
7:30 PM

Monday, October 26
Tattered Cover
Los Angeles, CA
7:00 PM

Tuesday, October 27
Anderson’s Bookshop
Naperville, IL
7:00 PM

Thursday, October 29
Avid Bookshop
Athens, GA
7:00 PM

Friday, October 30
Malaprops
Asheville, NC
7:00 PM

Fran Wilde, Updraft

Tuesday, October 13
Wellesley Books
Also with Seth Dickinson and Ilana C. Myer
Wellesley, MA
7:00 PM

Wednesday, October 14
Book-A-Million
Also with Seth Dickinson and Ilana C. Myer
South Portland, ME
5:00 PM

Thursday, October 15
The Toadstool Bookshop
Also with Seth Dickinson and Ilana C. Myer
Milford, NH
6:30 PM

Saturday, October 17
Northshire Bookshop
Also with Seth Dickinson and Ilana C. Myer
Saratoga Springs, NY
6:30 PM

Sunday, October 18
Northshire Bookshop
Also with Seth Dickinson and Ilana C. Myer
Manchester Center, VT
4:00 PM

Wednesday, October 21
Northshire Bookshop
Book sold by WORD Bookstore.
New York, NY
7:00 PM

Tor Books Announces Programming for New York Comic-Con 2015

Poster Placeholder of - 97 It’s time for New York Comic Con again! This year, we are pleased to announce that the Tor: The Next Generation! stage from BEA has been chosen as a panel. As always, Tor Books will continue its popular in-booth (#2223) signings and giveaways, offering you a chance to meet your favorite authors and pick up free books! Our exciting line-up includes author appearances by John Scalzi, Catherynne M. Valente, Charlie Jane Anders, and more!

Be sure to follow @TorBooks on Twitter for up-to-date information and last minute events.

Thursday, October 8th

Friday, October 9th

Look at something like The Martian vs. The Fold vs. the Iron Man movies. Is hard science always a good thing? Authors discuss the pros and cons and the sometimes slippery slope of including hard science in a work of fiction, especially in a paradigm era of technological development.
Panelists: A.G. Riddle, Mindy McGinnis, Robin Wasserman, Ian McDonald, Barry Lyga
Moderator: Peter Clines

  • 6:45 PM – Signing to follow, Bookstore Hall 1-B

Saturday, October 10

  • 12:00pm Tor Booth Signing: Trial of Intentions – Peter Orullian
  • 1:30pm Masters of Unreality: Heavy Metal and SFF, Room 1A18
    It’s well known that heavy metal songs have been based on fantasy novels; however, it can be argued that they’re also the perfect soundtrack to any battle scene, whether deep in the forest or in deep space. Authors Myke Cole, Michael Fletcher, and Peter Orullian are not just talented writers, but they’ve all been in metal bands! Join them along with James Dashner as they discuss what they listen to as they write epic scenes, discuss seminal albums and how the two cross reference each other.
    Panelists: Peter Orullian, Myke Cole, Michael R. Fletcher
    Moderator: Tricia Narwani of Del Rey
  • 1:45pm Signing to follow
  •  2:00pm Tor Booth Signing: All the Birds in the Sky – Charlie Jane Anders
  •  4:00pm Books to Movies Wishlist, Room A101
    The Martian. Foundation. American Gods. Redshirts: So many iconic SFF novels are finally scheduled to it the big screen, thanks to the rabid fandom of recent dramatizations of Game of Thrones, Outlander, The Hunger Games, and Divergent. But what’s on the big screen wish list of this panel of bestselling speculative fiction superstars? They all agree that the obvious franchises have been done already – and now, they want to discuss with NYCC attendees what lesser-know/cult fave titles should invade theaters and march into cable programming! Join us for a nerdy-fun discussion about which science fiction and fantasy must-reads would really make celluloid magic!
    Panelists: Christopher Golden, Chuck Wendig, Jennifer Armentrout, Charlie Jane Anders
    Moderator: Michael Underwood
  • 5:15pm Signing to Follow, Bookstore Hall 1-B
  • 5:00pm Tor Booth Signing: Radiance – Catherynne M. Valente

Sunday, October 11

  • 12:00pm Tor Booth Signing: Chasing the Phoenix – Michael Swanwick
  • 1:30pm Get Out of Your Chair and Off the Planet! Room A101

Whether it’s satisfying readers’ desires for interstellar armchair travel or sparking ambitions for SF fans to pursue extra-terrestrial encounters, in actuality, science fiction is the fiction of the imagination and inspiration. Authors Michael Swanwick, Jay Allen, Catherynne M. Valente, Judd Winnick, CH Higgin stake readers to the final frontier … and beyond.
Panelists: Michael Swanwick, Catherynne M. Valente, CH Higgins, Judd Winnick
Moderator: Maryelizabeth Hart

  • 2:45pm Signing to follow, Bookstore Hall 1-B

Giveaways are on a first-come, first-served basis

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