When I published her story “Apotheosis” in the final issue of Black Gate, Rosamund Hodge was a brand new writer, with only three published stories under her belt. Now she’s an acclaimed fantasy novelist, with two YA novels, Cruel Beauty and Crimson Bound to her credit, and a highly anticipated new book. Can I pick ’em, or what?
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire was released in hardcover from Balzer + Bray in September; it is the opening novel in a duology based on Romeo and Juliet (with necromancers). School Library Journal writes: “Hodge creates a world ravaged by the Ruining, a fog that killed the living and allowed the dead to walk… [with] magic, an underworld, and a Juliet who kicks butt.”
When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched.
The heirs of the city’s most powerful — and warring — families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou, share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on the Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan — and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.
Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding the Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong — killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy… and perhaps turn against his own clan.
Mahyanai Runajo only wants to protect her city — but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara.
Both pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting…
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire was published by Balzer + Bray on September 27, 2016. It is 448 pages, priced at $17.99 in hardcover and $9.99 for the digital version. See all our coverage of the latest released from Black Gate writers here.