Gods meddle in the fates of men, men play with the fates of gods, and a pretender must be cast down from the throne in this masterful first fantasy novel from Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.
For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven. He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven's Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained via the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven's watch, the city flourishes.
But the power of the Raven is weakening. A usurper has claimed the throne. The kingdom's borders are tested by invaders who long for the prosperity that Vastai boasts. And they have made their own alliances with other gods.
It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo--aide to Mawat, the true Lease--arrives. And in seeking to help Mawat reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven's Tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself...and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In this Hamlet-inspired tale of familial deceit and the politics of the gods, virtuoso science-fiction novelist Ann Leckie turns her attention, extremely successfully, to fantasy. Her story hinges on the disappearance of a man employed by the god called Raven, setting off an adventure quest blended with a mystery that touches on the interactions between the natural, human, and divine worlds. Leckie’s known not just for her gift with words but also for inspiring deep empathy toward her characters—that quality is part of the reason we flew through this book. Fans of short but epic novels in any genre (think Kate Atkinson or Marilynne Robinson) will devour The Raven Tower.
In this complex novel, the first epic fantasy from SF author Leckie (Provenance), the best-laid plans of gods and mortals collide, throwing a nation into turmoil and setting the stage for a divine conflict that's been brewing for centuries. The tale spins out in past and present, narrated by the rockbound god known as the Strength and Patience of the Hill. The god is speaking to Eolo, a transgender warrior in service to Mawat, a young noble whose uncle has usurped his rightful role as ruler of Iraden. As the god recounts its ancient history (the narrative is told in second person, a technical challenge that Leckie surmounts with aplomb), it also relates Eolo's attempts to determine what happened to Mawat's supposedly vanished father and how this connects to their patron god, the Raven, whose power seems on the wane. With foreign gods taking an active interest in the kingdom, political intrigue brewing, and Mawat taking ever-bolder actions, Eolo must uncover Iraden's greatest secret. Through this unorthodox approach to the relationships between gods and their followers, Leckie's tale takes on a mythic, metafictional quality; the Strength and Eolo truly inhabit their roles, and the story's elements weave into a stunning conclusion. This impressive piece of craftsmanship cements Leckie's place as a powerful voice in both SF and fantasy.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I am really hoping that sequel for this innovative, unique, and stunning story comes out soon! There are so many questions that still need to be answered.
I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down. With the unique blend of first-person and second-person (!) narrative, the excellent characterization, the story itself, and the narrative structure that alternated between past and present, this book was a joy to read.