Alexandra Rowland’s first novel with Saga Press, A Conspiracy of Truths, was published just last year (and we covered it here). Publishers Weekly called it “An impressive and thoroughly entertaining fantasy,” and editor Navah Wolfe offered up this intriguing synopsis: “In a bleak, far-northern land, a wandering storyteller is arrested on charges of witchcraft… His only chance to save himself rests with the skills he has honed for decades — tell a good story, catch and hold their attention, or die.” The sequel A Choir of Lies was published earlier this month, and Paul Weimer at Tor.com gave it an enthusiastic review, saying:
In A Conspiracy of Truths, we are introduced to Chants, a self-selected group of people who travel the world, collecting and telling stories. Our main characters, Chant… and Ylfing, wind up in the country of Nuryevet, where Chant runs afoul of the law, winds up in prison, and — with the power of stories, and the help of a few people outside the prison — manages to overthrow a society…
In A Choir of Lies, the focus is on the former Ylfing, several years later… In Heyrland (a setting reminiscent of the heights of Early Modern Holland) he takes a job as a translator, helping to create a booming market for an odious but beautiful plant. And as the prices and money spent on these blooms increases and increases to the benefit of his employer, the dangers of a tulip-mania start to become painfully clear… But there is more going on than just that. The book, such as we have, is annotated, by someone who knows about Chants and who and what they are… Throughout the book, “Mistress Chant” extensively comments on what is written down, giving her own perspective, and criticism, and it is sometimes sharp indeed. And it challenges everything we think we know about Chants… My decision on whether I enjoy the metafictional, metatextual, cosmopolitan, erudite and engaging fantasy that Alex Rowland creates is clear – I most certainly do.
A Choir of Lies is a far cry from a typical fantasy, and that’s a huge part of its appeal (and a fantasy retelling of Holland’s infamous Tulip Mania of 1637 sounds fascinating). It was published by Saga Press on September 10, 2019. It is 464 pages, priced at $26.99 in hardcover, and $7.99 for the digital version. The cover is by Nick Sciacca (I think).
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