We’re always proud when a Black Gate author breaks out to wider success in the publishing world. That happened with Constance Cooper’s Guile, her debut novel set in the same world — and drawing on the same characters — as her acclaimed story “The Wily Thing” from Black Gate 12.
Guile was published in hardcover by Clarion Books last year. Here’s Sarah Avery from her BG review.
In the town of Wicked Ford, an orphan girl with a secret claim on high town respectability but a history in a bayou stilt village lives under an assumed name and a false claim. Yonie makes her living as a pearly, an assessor of magical objects… she’s a self-taught antiquarian with a brilliant eye for detail, but to detect and diagnose magic, she needs the help of her business partner the talking cat…
Guile is a remarkable layerwork of mysteries. From the seemingly trivial and isolated mysteries about enchanted lockets and street signs that Yonie and LaRue solve for their daily subsistence, a larger pattern emerges that demands investigation. Mysteries of personal origin run beneath them, and every relationship Yonie has with kin, allies, friends, and suitors will be changed one way or another by the end of the book. Deepest of all runs the mystery of the river’s magic and the fallen civilizations that once understood it.
Constance Cooper’s debut novel delighted me from start to finish. The worldbuilding feels thoroughly lived in, as if we could step ahead of Yonie around any corner or shrub and something amazing would already be there for us to find. The characters are richly imagined individuals, and together they add up to a social world that is both kinder and more dangerous than Yonie ever guessed. The plot runs like the river delta it’s set in, its streams parting and rejoining and braiding around obstacles until it runs clear to its conclusion.
Read Sarah’s complete review here..
The paperback edition of Guile is now avaiable from HMH Books. It was published on March 14, 2017. It is 384 pages, priced at $9.99 for both the trade paperback and digital editions.