Where Ghoulish Shadows Haunt the Appalachians: The Witchy War Series by D.J. Buter

Where Ghoulish Shadows Haunt the Appalachians: The Witchy War Series by D.J. Buter

Covers by Daniel Dos Santos

Apparently I haven’t been paying enough attention to DJ Butler. I can tell because when Serpent Daughter, the newest in his Witchy War saga, arrived in November, I thought it was the second in the series. Not so! There are actually four novels in Witchy War, and I managed to miss half of them.

I didn’t miss Serpent Daughter though — thanks mostly to Daniel Dos Santos’ knockout cover, which caught my eye the moment I spotted it in the Books You May Like tray at Amazon. A little digging revealed three previous installments, which have been labeled a blend of “alternate history, Appalachian Folklore, and epic fantasy.” The series opened with Witchy Eye, a Baen hardcover, back in 2017; Publishers Weekly gave it an enthusiastic starred review, saying:

In an alternate North America where magic is pervasive and the Appalachians are under the boot of Emperor Thomas Penn, 15-year-old Sarah Calhoun, youngest daughter of imperial war hero Iron Andy Calhoun, is content with her rural Tennessee tobacco-farming life, in which she gets to cast the occasional small spell… When the priest Thalanes, an acquaintance of Andy’s, arrives and helps to reveal that Sarah is not a Calhoun daughter but carries royal blood — and is being hunted by humans and magical entities in the service of the emperor… Butler’s fantasy is by turns sardonic and lighthearted; ghoulish shadows claw into the most remote areas and heroism bursts out of the most unlikely people. Sarah is the epitome of the downtrodden hero who refuses to give up until she gets what she needs, and her story will appeal to fantasy readers of all stripes.

I’m not quite sure how many books the series will run, but with four on the shelves already, I think it’s safe to give this one a try. Serpent Daughter was published by Baen on November 3, 2020; it is 608 pages, priced at $15.99 in trade paperback and $8.99 in digital formats. Read the first five chapters of Witchy Eye here.

See all our recent coverage of the best new fantasy series here.

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