Three Parts Dead
A God has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.
Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot. Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help is Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead God, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.
But when the duo discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and the city’s slim hope of survival.
My debut novel, coming October 2, 2012 from Tor Books!
Advance praise for Three Parts Dead:
“This has so many of my favorite things: an intriguing world, fun characters, a puzzle of a story that manages to be both funky fantasy and legal thriller. Three Parts Dead is simultaneously fast paced and thoughtful, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
— Carrie Vaughn, author of the Kitty Norville series
“With this first book, Max Gladstone gives promise of being a true star of twenty-first-century fantasy. Indeed, in all the ways that count—wit, invention, strangeness, cool—he already is.”
— John Crowley, author of Little, Big and The Deep
“Max Gladstone has created a fascinating universe and equally fascinating characters. It’s a world in which magic is craft, and religion has some very practical rules, and he shows it through the stories of some very interesting characters.”
— Jerry Pournelle, coauthor of The Mote in God’s Eye and of Lucifer’s Hammer
“Gladstone has created an amazing world. … Combining murder mystery, corporate intrigue, and thaumaturgical fireworks, Three Parts Dead gives us not just an excellent urban fantasy, but [also] a brilliant new world to explore. I can’t wait to see what he does next.”
— Margaret Ronald, author of Spiral Hunt
“Max Gladstone has evidently devised a necromantic steampunk machine that enabled him to channel the Roger Zelazny of Lord of Light, cathect the Neil Gaiman of American Gods, and subsume the oeuvre of John Grisham, all with the aim of producing loopy, metaphysically-minded legal thrillers. It you doubt my conclusion, consider Exhibit A, the author’s delirious and delightful first novel.”
— James Morrow, author of The Last Witchfinder and Shambling Towards Hiroshima
Publishers Weekly Starred Review! “The combination of legal thriller and steam-powered fantasy may seem improbable, but Gladstone makes it work with an appealing cast and a setting rich with imaginative details, like a priest who shows his devotion to a fire-god by chain-smoking, junkies getting high on vampire bites, cops who become part of a hive-mind when on duty, and the binding of divine power by legal contracts.”
Staffer’s Book Review “For fans of the legal thriller, and they are legion in the fiction marketplace, Three Parts Dead is an intriguing starting position for a fantasy enfilade. Elements of mystery, verbal fencing, and suspenseful confrontations stand tall throughout, set neatly into a fantasy world… excellent characters and interesting plot carry the day, making it a novel I can easily recommend.”
Geek Speak Magazine “Gladstone deserves credit for not only tackling two overcrowded fields – steampunk and fantasy – but mixing them with the legal genre (itself more than a little overcrowded) and coming up with a novel that is unique, fantastic, and utterly readable. … This is the best kind of first novel – one that introduces the reader to a clever, talented writer; but it’s also the worst because it means there aren’t other books by the same author for us to devour.”
Strange Horizons “Three Parts Dead is a debut novel to make you sit up and take notice. In recent years I’ve read a bare handful of debuts as mature and accomplished as this one. I’ve read a bare handful of novels, debut or not, that succeeded not only in being this vibrant and this inventive, but in bringing the vast majority of their disparate and sometimes hectic strands together into a successful conclusion.
Three Parts Dead is a wild ride that sticks the dismount, is what I’m saying.”
Kirkus Reviews “All three main female characters here—Tara, Elayne and Cat—are written with depth and care. They all have agency, different motivations and backstories that are wholly independent as their lives do not exclusively happenin relation to that of any man (although most of them do have relationships with men—there is a difference). All three of them also happen to be total badass, powerful characters in their own right, without their badassery being their sole defining characteristic. It is, seriously, a thing of beauty and for all that, Three Parts Dead is now a favourite read of 2012.”
io9 “Max Gladstone’s Three Parts Dead is the fantasy novel I was waiting for without ever knowing it. For all of us who love fantasy but feel that even some of the newest, freshest authors are falling back on old, repetitive ideas, this the book to pick up. Gladstone plays with fantasy conventions without falling into the comforting traps of genre tropes. The result is one of the best debut fantasy novels I’ve read in years.”
All Things Urban Fantasy “THE GIRL WITH A DRAGON TATTOO meets THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS, THREE PARTS DEAD is the perfect mixture of character, mystery, and world building. Gladstone deftly interweaves a dazzling, intricate world with a passionate, magical plot that had my heart afire for Kos Everburning and his long lost love.” (Five-bat, “Near-perfect” review!)