New Treasures: Copperhead by Tina Connolly
I first met Tina Connolly at the World Fantasy Convention in San Diego in 2011. She was charming, witty, and very entertaining — precisely the kind of person you want to follow around to all the good parties. I tried this enthusiastically for a while, until someone from the con committee patiently explained to me that this was called “stalking” and was, like, illegal.
Fortunately, Tina Connolly is also a very talented writer. And reading her novels (I’ve discovered) is exactly like hanging out with the author at a great party. The same sparkling wit, the same penetrating intelligence. Except, unlike at parties, I can pause the conversation to look up words without looking stupid.
Tina’s first novel Ironskin was an historical fantasy set in an alternate version of early 1900s England, and was nominated for a Nebula Award last year. The sequel Copperhead has finally arrived, and it looks just as delightful as the first volume.
Helen Huntingdon is beautiful — so beautiful she has to wear an iron mask.
Six months ago her sister Jane uncovered a fey plot to take over the city. Too late for Helen, who opted for fey beauty in her face — and now has to cover her face with iron so she won’t be taken over, her personality erased by the bodiless fey.
Not that Helen would mind that some days. Stuck in a marriage with the wealthy and controlling Alistair, she lives at the edges of her life, secretly helping Jane remove the dangerous fey beauty from the wealthy society women who paid for it. But when the chancy procedure turns deadly, Jane goes missing — and is implicated in a murder.
Meanwhile, Alistair’s influential clique Copperhead — whose emblem is the poisonous copperhead hydra — is out to restore humans to their “rightful” place, even to the point of destroying the dwarvven who have always been allies.
Helen is determined to find her missing sister, as well as continue the good fight against the fey. But when that pits her against her own husband — and when she meets an enigmatic young revolutionary — she’s pushed to discover how far she’ll bend society’s rules to do what’s right. It may be more than her beauty at stake. It may be her honor… and her heart.
Copperhead was published by Tor Books on October 15th. It is 318 pages, priced at $24.99 in hardcover, and $11.99 for the digital edition.