It’s been an insane week, so why not make it a little madder? Yesterday I received the final cover for Two Serpents Rise from Tor, and now it’s time to share!
Once again, Chris McGrath’s cover does not disappoint. Pyramids and stone carvings and a city in the background, cards and snappy suits, and Caleb.
Two Serpents Rise is set in the same corporate fantasy world as Three Parts Dead, but it features a new cadre of characters, in a new city. Alt Coulumb was a city living with its god, and shocked by His death. By contrast, the citizens of Dresediel Lex rebelled against their pantheon sixty years ago in the God Wars, and killed most of them—only to find that after you depose the gods, you have to take their place.
I’m excited about Two Serpents Rise for a lot of reasons. It fleshes out the consequences of the God Wars, and shows people living with their scars. We see the world the Craftsmen built and struggle to maintain, and discover how it feels to live there. More politics, more necromancy, more demons, more intergenerational strife, more magic, more revolution, more class dynamics, more love (or something like it). Late millennial capitalism never looked so much like human sacrifice.
Initial buzz is really positive. Publishers Weekly gave Two Serpents Rise a starred review:
“Gladstone outdoes himself in this exciting and imaginative return to the brilliantly realized world of Three Parts Dead.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
And Locus devoted a whole quarter-page to their review, which puts me in some elevated company.
“The advantage that the best science fiction can give you as a reader is to teach you how to fall into an unfamiliar world. You learn how to give your trust over to the author … [and] the author will reward that trust.
Heinlein was great at this… Banks’ Culture books did this, as did Tolkein. Either the reader could accept the ambiguity, or not. Those that could were richly rewarded.
Max Gladstone excels at this. Two Serpents Rise drops us in Dresediel Lex, a city where the residents act like we do—the main character isn’t a mighty warrior but a risk manager for a corporation—but the ground rules are changed… Then stuff gets weird in the best ways. …
[Cutting some plot info]
For those who can hand Gladstone the reins, a rich, compelling ride is in store. No, it’s not a typical transparent fantasy quest story, but is, instead, a satisfying story that muses about environmental catastrophes, troubling father-son relationships, and corporate mergers.” – Locus
Here’s the back-cover copy:
Shadow demons plague the city reservoir, and Red King Consolidated has sent in Caleb Altemoc — casual gambler and professional risk manager — to cleanse the water for the sixteen million people of Dresediel Lex. At the scene of the crime, Caleb finds an alluring and clever cliff runner, crazy Mal, who easily outpaces him.
But Caleb has more than the demon infestation, Mal, or job security to worry about when he discovers that his father — the last priest of the old gods and leader of the True Quechal terrorists — has broken into his home and is wanted in connection to the attacks on the water supply.
From the beginning, Caleb and Mal are bound by lust, Craft, and chance, as both play a dangerous game where gods and people are pawns. They sleep on water, they dance in fire… and all the while the Twin Serpents slumbering beneath the earth are stirring, and they are hungry.
And in the meantime, looks like we’re giving away a few copies at Goodreads—so get on that if you want free books!