The fall is a big time for fantasy releases. We see a lot of press releases and advance proofs in the build-up to the holiday season, and everyone here has their favorites. I’m usually a fan of serial fiction — Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser tales, Jame Enge’s Morlock the Maker, Howard Andrew Jones’s Dabir and Asim novels — and I’m always on the lookout for the next breakout fantasy series.
But this year the book that most grabbed my attention was a first novel by Max Gladstone. I first saw the cover hanging on the wall at a Tor party at Wiscon in May, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting it ever since. Set in a decaying city on the verge of destruction, Three Parts Dead offers a high-stakes tale of dead gods, necromancers, and dark dealings in a richly-imagined urban landscape.
A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.
Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.
Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.
When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts — and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.
Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.
Three Parts Dead was published by Tor Books on October 2. It is 333 pages, and sells for $24.99 in hardcover and $11.99 for the digital version.