Publisher : Talos (July 6, 2021)
Publication date : July 6, 2021
Language : English
“Master Assassins was one of the top 2 or 3 books I’ve read in the past decade, so [Sidewinders] had a LOT to live up to. And it did a fantastic job—I pity the next book I read having to struggle out of the shadow of this tome… Redick has built something magnificent here.” —Mark Lawrence
“Sidewinders is a triumph in every single way to its predecessor and one of the richest worlds you can find in the fantasy genre today… Revisiting the desert lands of Urrath is the equivalent of rediscovering a long-lost passion.” —Under The Radar SFF Books
Praise for MASTER ASSASSINS
“This book has everything I love: Clean, crisp worldbuilding. Characters that live and breathe. A story that teases and surprises me. I like Master Assassins so much I wish I’d written it, but deep down, I know I couldn’t have written it this well.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss
“The prose is spectacularly good. Your adrenaline will flow. Your emotions will be toyed with. You will find yourself drawn in, turning the pages and worrying that fewer and fewer remain. I read a lot of good books. Quite a few very good books. This is one of the rare 6-star series openers I’ve encountered.” —Mark Lawrence, author of Prince of Thorns and Red Sister
“Robert Redick really nailed this one. What a great story! Fascinating plot and characters, and all of the author’s formidable skills at play. I cannot wait to read the next one.” —New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks
“Redick’s powers of invention in this book are superb. He manages to reinvigorate his chosen mode of heroic fantasy by sheer force of description, his language always muscular, vibrant and well-calculated. The cast of characters is vast and believable . . . A hell of a ride.” —Paul di Filippo, Asimov’s
“An exquisitely written mix of heart-stopping action, masterful storytelling, and enchantment. Redick is a gifted wordsmith with a ferocious imagination. Master Assassins will produce many sleepless nights. I guarantee it.” —New York Times bestselling author Mira Bartók
“A blazingly smart thrill-ride of an adventure. The world of Master Assassins is deep, mysterious, terrifying, and utterly real, and I’ll follow Redick’s heroes, the mismatched brothers Kandri and Mektu, wherever they go in it. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.” —Daryl Gregory, author of Spoonbenders
“Redick’s long-awaited return to fantasy is the start of a truly satisfying epic.” —B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, “The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of 2018 So Far”
“Subtle and layered, evocative and true.” —Michelle West, Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine
“With spare, sharp-edged prose, Redick balances his rollicking adventure story against a tale of love and uneasy brotherhood, offering a thrilling glimpse into a world both haunting and haunted. His finest work to date.” —Jedediah Berry, author of The Manual of Detection
“An at once engrossing, entertaining and superlative read. The world building is epic and the characters developed well within the movement. I look forward to this series and the continuation of the Brothers Hinjuman quest.” —Koeur’s Book Reviews
“[A] taut, deftly-plotted story. . . carries the drama and suspense without collapsing the weight of building a world and setting up a few more books’ worth of storyline.” —B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
“Though it is only April 6th, and there are many books left to read this year, Master Assassins has cemented itself in AT LEAST my top 3 books of the year, maybe even #1. It is that good. . . . I recommend Master Assassins to everyone. Period.” —FanFiAddict, 5/5 Stars
The worst of rivals, the closest of friends, the two most wanted men in a war-torn world: Kandri and Mektu Hinjuman have cheated death so often it’s begun to feel like a way of life. But nothing has prepared them for the danger and enchantment of the Ravenous Lands. This sprawling, lethal desert is the brothers’ last hope, for they have killed the favorite son of Her Radiance the Prophet, and her death-priests and magical servants are hunting them day and night.
But there are dangers even within their caravan. Some of their fellow travelers worship the Prophet in secret. Others, including Mektu, have become obsessed with a bejeweled dagger that seems to afflict its owners with madness or death.
At stake is far more than the lives of two runaway soldiers. Kandri is carrying an encoded cure for the World Plague, a disease that has raged for centuries—while far from the desert, certain criminals have learned just how lucrative a plague can be. Are they using the Prophet, or being used by her? Who, in this game of shadows, can Kandri trust?
He knows one thing, however: they must reach Kasralys, great and beautiful fortress-city of the east. Only there can the precious cure be deciphered. Only there can Kandri seek word of the lover who vanished one night without a trace.
But Kasralys, never conquered in 3,000 years, is about to face its greatest siege in history.
Redick is a former faculty member in the Stonecoast MFA program and an environmental justice consultant. He has lived and worked in Indonesia, Argentina, Colombia, and many other countries. Master Assassins (Talos Press, 2018), the first book in The Fire Sacraments trilogy, was a finalist for the European Booknest Award for Best Novel, and was featured on numerous Best of the Year lists.
Redick is currently a Visiting Professor with the University of Nevada, Reno’s MFA Program. He lives with his partner in Western Massachusetts.
SIDEWINDERS BY ROBERT V.S. REDICK EXCERPT
What hope is there for this caravan? One hundred thirty-one scared, shuffling bipeds marching into a furnace: you’d be forgiven if you thought them allpossessed. It is an inescapable fact that human bodies wither in deserts: they simply dry up and cease to function. Yet in they must go, chins lowered, backs bent, even the survivors of previous journeys throwing off little droplets of thought that taste of sugar water. Optimistic thoughts. This won’t be so bad.
The camels know better (why not a planet of camels? Why not make them the talkers, the tool users, the lords of the earth?). Made for the desert, those exquisite animals. And yet when the dawn broke on the summit yesterday, and they beheld the endless wastes that lay ahead, did they lie to their human keepers, to themselves? No, the camels remembered. They erupted in long wails of misery at the sight.
Of course the humans know the truth as well, in their hearts. It wasn’t a camel who named the desert Sumuridath Jal, the Ravenous Lands—or in the more gruesome parlance, “the Land that Eats Men.” Though in point of fact it eats everything and everyone. Splendid monster! Silent and beautiful it beckons, mouth wide as the world. Its fangs are gravel, its molars mountains, its smooth inquisitive tongue the seas of sand that boil quietly over wells, villages, caravans, civilizations. Dig deep, and you will find your ancestors entombed, shocked expressions on their skulls, still dreaming of conquests to come. It is your museum, your archive, your ossuary. It is your past as a species, and very possibly your future.
In all fairness (you see, I do think of fairness), these camel drivers have no better alternative: none, that is, save the summary slaying of the Brothers Hinjuman. Ahead lie the tomb lands, Famine’s Table, the Marastiin Floor. Yet behind them, mere hours probably, is a greater danger than the desert itself: namely, other humans. Death squadrons, worshippers of Her Radiance the Prophet, eager to crush and to crucify, to slash and hammer and gouge holes in the flesh of their human brethren, in a frenzy that always seems to me sexual, an ecstatic grappling with flesh, agonies created with the same abandon they reach for when creating life.
What am I doing with these humans?
When did concern for them infect me?
Why, by all the swarming stars, did I chain my fate to their own?
Copyright © 2021 by Robert V.S. Redick