Aug 142020

Locus: Five years ago, I was privileged to review, in the online wing of this fine publication, Seth Dickinson’s debut novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant. I praised his prose as “deft and forceful,” while deeming his characters “all built to clever and deep dimensions, with fully human qualities and motives.” Finding his novel to be a tasty blend of C.J. Cherryh’s early planetary romances and Samuel Delany’s revisionist Nevèrÿon fantasies, I concluded by saying that Dickinson had succeeded “in building and exploring a morally treacherous world populated with exotic characters whose hearts nonetheless align with ours.”

Of course, I had no way at the time of foreseeing what refinements or surprises or critical illuminations subsequent volumes would bring. But now that I’ve caught up with book two, The Monster Baru Cormorant, and now that book three has arrived, I discover that while I stand by all my earlier assessments, I have to add a few fresh notes, and, of course, evaluate the newest entry and the series as a whole.

First, I want to observe that while Traitor struck me as somewhat mannerpunk in its elaboration of ceremonies and politesse, the series has definitely gone grimdark.

Also, I did not give enough weight to Dickinson’s rich and exotic worldbuilding and culture-minting. This universe hangs together organically, and the distinct societies are multiplex and deep.

Thirdly, we could entertain some useful comparisons with elements of Robert E. Howard’s landscapes and figures, or those of Fritz Leiber’s more sophisticated sword and sorcery tales. Although utterly postmodern, this series revels in pulp tropes and vigor.

And finally, with the huge scope of the tale now revealed, we can evaluate Dickinson’s skills at plotting and managing a huge narrative arc.


Dickinson can construct a five-page fight scene that never falters, and then turn around and describe that emotionally charged parental reunion with some tenderness. He tops himself with a vision that Baru has towards the end of the book, after all the dust has settled and she’s achieved a mixed victory: she sees the future she’s ensured as a kind of glittering utopian reward for all the suffering people of the Empire. But will it come to pass, given the mystery embedded in a small coda that posits more challenges just ahead?

Aug 132020

Olivia Valcarce at Scholastic Press has bought, in a preempt, Harper Glenn’s untitled speculative debut, inspired by Glenn’s childhood and the current worlds social climate, set in a near-future Georgia split by revolt into rich and poor. Josephine, an orphan from Ashes, has one chance to escape her life of poverty: the annual Gala, where she connects with Cove, an orphan who lives in wealth. But as a new revolt pins one side against the other, Jo must face painful decisions regarding the future of the only home she knows, the truth of her traumatic past, and the boy who stole her heart. Publication is set for 2022; Katie Shea Boutillier did the deal for world rights.

Aug 112020







Congratulations to our DMLA authors selected as 2020 World Fantasy Award Finalists!


Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir (


Leslie Klinger, for The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft: Beyond Arkham (Liveright)

Jul 312020

a pair of black ear budsAudio rights to Ada Palmer’s TOO LIKE THE LIGHTNING and SEVEN SURRENDERS, Book 1 and 2 of Terra Ignota series, to Anji Cornette at Graphic Audio, LLC, a Division of RB Media, by Katie Shea Boutillier, on behalf of Cameron McClure.

Audio rights to NAACP Image Award-winner Tananarive Due’s GHOST SUMMER: STORIES, her debut collection of short fiction featuring an award-winning novella and fifteen stories, at auction, to Haila Williams at Blackstone Audio, by Michael Curry for Jennifer Jackson on behalf of Prime Books.

Jul 312020

German rights to Ada Palmer’s TOO LIKE THE LIGHTNING, SEVEN SURRENDERS, and THE WILL TO BATTLE, Books 1-3 of the Terra Ignota series, to Panini Germany, by Sarah Knofius at Thomas Schlueck Agency, on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier, for Cameron McClure.

Italian rights to Molly Tanzer’s VERMILLION, to Moscabianca, by Stefania Fietta at Donzelli Fietta, on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier, for Cameron McClure.

Japanese rights to Martha Wells’ NETWORK EFFECT, the first full-length novel in the New York Times bestselling Murderbot Diaries series, plus FUGITIVE TELEMETRY and “Compulsory,” to Tokyo Sogen, by Kohei Hattori at the English Agency (Japan) Ltd. in association with Michael Curry for Jennifer Jackson.

Korean rights to John Shirley’s GURDJIEFF, to Inner World Publishing, by Jackie Yang at Eric Yang Agency, on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Jennie Goloboy.

Russian rights to USA Today bestselling author Tamsyn Muir’s HARROW THE NINTH, the second book in the Locked Tomb trilogy, to Eksmo, by Igor Korzhenevski at Alexander Korzhenevski Agency in association with Michael Curry for Jennifer Jackson.

Turkish rights to Robert McCammon’s SWAN SONG and BOY’S LIFE, to Ithaki by Merve Ongen at ONK Agency, on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier, for Cameron McClure.

Turkish rights to Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka’s IF I’M BEING HONEST, to Yabanci, by Merve Ongen at ONK Agency, on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier.

Jul 272020

Library Journal: Hell’s Library has survived, but not without the loss of hundreds of books from the Unwritten Wing. Now the muse Brevity has stepped up to become Librarian, as Claire takes over the Arcane Wing. As they try to find their footing in their new roles, they discover that the remains of the destroyed books are leaking curious ink. The fractures in their former camaraderie widen as Claire and Brevity choose to approach the mystery in different ways. When a representative from the Muse Corps arrives, one who has a past with Brevity, Claire’s brusque manner and actions intensify. As the angel Rami and devilish Hero head to other realms to find answers, the true power of the ink manifests, revealing secrets that could once again change the power structure in Hell. Hackwith literally brings books to life with her layered prose, emotional scenes, slow burns, and powerful connections among found family members.

VERDICT The sequel to The Library of the Unwritten will not disappoint as the prickly Claire, brash Hero, bubbly Brevity, and composed Rami build their story lines into solidity.