I love weird westerns. But the sub-genre has fallen on hardsrcabble times recently, which means you have to be something of a risk-taker to write one. And to launch a series? You’d need to be a daredevil.
Laura Anne Gilman is a daredevil, and she proved it earlier this year with the first novel in her new weird western series, Silver on the Road. In his NPR review, Jason Sheehan said:
[Gilman has] chosen a fertile place to begin her new series (the broad plains, red rock and looming mountains of the American West), and amped up the oddity of it all by planting the Devil there as a card dealer, fancy-pants and owner of a saloon in a town called Flood.
And the Devil, he runs the Territory. Owns it in a way. Wards it against things meaner than he is, because Gilman’s Devil isn’t exactly the church-y version. He’s dapper in a fine suit and starched shirt. He’s power incarnate — a man (no horns, no forked tail, just a hint of brimstone now and then) who gets things done…
Lost in the middle of the story, you’ll feel somehow that you’ve always known the Devil wore a suit and ran a gambling house back in six-gun times, that he once sent a sixteen year old girl out into the world to fight monsters for him.
Silver on the Road became a Locus hardcover bestseller, and a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Pick for Fall 2015 in their SF, Fantasy, & Horror category. The second novel, The Cold Eye, arrives in hardcover next month from Saga Press. Here’s the description.
In the anticipated sequel to Silver on the Road, Isobel is riding circuit through the Territory as the Devil’s Left Hand. But when she responds to a natural disaster, she learns the limits of her power and the growing danger of something mysterious that is threatening not just her life, but the whole Territory.
Isobel is the left hand of the old man of the Territory, the Boss — better known as the Devil. Along with her mentor, Gabriel, she is traveling circuit through Flood to represent the power of the Devil and uphold the agreement he made with the people to protect them. Here in the Territory, magic exists — sometimes wild and perilous.
But there is a growing danger in the bones of the land that is killing livestock, threatening souls, and weakening the power of magic. In the next installment of the Devil’s West series, Isobel and Gabriel are in over their heads as they find what’s happening and try to stop the people behind it before it unravels the Territory.
Our previous coverage of Laura Anne Gilman includes:
The New Old West by Violette Malan
New Treasures: Silver on the Road
The Series Series: Heart of Briar by Sarah Avery
Things Your Writing Teacher Never Told You: Pro Tip From Laura Anne Gilman by Tina Jens
The Cold Eye will be published by Saga Press on January 10, 2017. It is 333 pages, priced at $27.99 in hardcover and $7.99 in digital formats. The cover is by John Jude Palencar.
See all of our recent coverage of the best new fantasy here.