A debut epic fantasy novel, the first in a planned trilogy set in an empire ruled by bone shard magic – each subject is forced to donate a shard of their skull, which the emperor uses to power monstrous constructs. When the people begin to rise against him, his daughter Lin, and a smuggler named Jovis, are both caught up in a turning tide.

by Andrea Stewart
Orbit, Spring 2021

Lin Sukai lives in a palace of locked doors and secrets. Her father, the Emperor, doesn’t trust her, but she must learn to use his dark, bone shard magic in order to rule. After the death of his wife, the Emperor has increasingly isolated himself, leaving him vulnerable to the brewing revolution outside the palace. Lin, desperate, begins to steal her father’s keys and to teach herself. But as she unlocks each successive door, she learns things about her father and her past: secrets which were perhaps better left hidden. Jovis is a smuggler, searching for his missing wife. On a smuggling run, the island he is leaving sinks into the ocean, and he discovers a creature struggling in the wake. He cares for it, and as the creature grows, Jovis gains magical powers. During his search for his wife, he finds out other people have disappeared under the same circumstances. As the rebellion gains steam, Jovis must decide between putting his newfound powers to use with the rebels, or following the threads of his fiancee’s disappearance to the edge of the Empire.

A brilliant epic fantasy but with a fresh setting, influenced by Andrea’s Chinese heritage. For readers who enjoyed AN EMBER IN THE ASHES.

Andrea Stewart is the daughter of immigrants, and was raised in a number of places across the United States. Her parents always emphasized science and education, so she spent her childhood immersed in Star Trek and odd-smelling library books. When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon slayer didn’t pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California, and in addition to writing, can be found herding cats, looking at birds, and falling down research rabbit holes.

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