Dead Gods, Buried Histories, and a Protean City: Robert Jackson Bennett’s The Divine Cities Trilogy

Dead Gods, Buried Histories, and a Protean City: Robert Jackson Bennett’s The Divine Cities Trilogy

City of Stairs-small City of Blades-small City of Miracles-small

I love it when the final book in a terrific trilogy finally arrives. (Wait a minute… are you sure it’s a trilogy? How can you tell? Sure, they all look like trilogies, until that pesky fourth book shows up. Better start over.) I love it when the third book in a terrific series finally arrives, and wraps things up satisfactorily… at least until the fourth book appears, maybe.

Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs (2014), the opening novel in The Divine Cities, was nominated for the World Fantasy, British Fantasy, and GoodReads Choice Award, and came in second for the Locus Award. But what got my attention was BG writer Peadar Ó Guilín calling it “The best fantasy I’ve read so far this year. Great stuff,” and a reviewer at Tor.com who described it as “an atmospheric and intrigue-filled novel of dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, protean city.” Volume II, City of Blades, was published in 2016 to wide acclaim, and that built up anticipation for the third volume nicely.

City of Miracles is now scheduled to arrive in trade paperback from Broadway Books in early May. On his blog Bennett calls it “the final installment of The Divine Cities series, starring everyone’s favorite Dreyling murder machine, Sigrud. It’s readable as a standalone, just like the other books, but it’s highly recommended that you read the previous ones first.” Final installment. Uh huh. Let’s see how long that promise that holds up when this thing is optioned as the next big Netflix series.

Here’s the description.

Revenge. It’s something Sigrud je Harkvaldsson is very, very good at. Maybe the only thing.

So when he learns that his oldest friend and ally, former Prime Minister Shara Komayd, has been assassinated, he knows exactly what to do — and that no mortal force can stop him from meting out the suffering Shara’s killers deserve.

Yet as Sigrud pursues his quarry with his customary terrifying efficiency, he begins to fear that this battle is an unwinnable one. Because discovering the truth behind Shara’s death will require him to take up arms in a secret, decades-long war, face down an angry young god, and unravel the last mysteries of Bulikov, the city of miracles itself. And — perhaps most daunting of all — finally face the truth about his own cursed existence.

Artist Chanh Quach has posted character portraits from the novel — check them out here.

Our previous coverage of Robert Jackson Bennett includes:

The Company Man
City of Stairs
City of Blades
Robert Jackson Bennett and Chris Pratt: Separated at Birth?

City of Miracles will be published by Broadway Books on May 2, 2017. It is 464 pages, priced at $16 in trade paperback and $11.99 for the digital edition. The cover art for the first two volumes (above) is by Sam Weber, but the artist on the third volume appears to be uncredited. Click the images for bigger versions.

See all our latest coverage of Series Fantasy here.

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Joe H.

Pretty much everything I’ve read of Bennett’s (which is to say, pretty much everything other than the City books) has been great; I really need to move these closer to the top of the queue. (Although at this point I might as well wait until the third book is out, at least.)

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