Monsters and mortals collide in this fantasy adventure that explores the hypnotic allure of fear, the adamant grip of the past, and the redeeming power of stories.
For centuries, the islanders of the Myriad revered the murderous, terrifying gods who rose from the Undersea. Now, the gods are 30 years gone, and divers who dare to retrieve scraps of their magical remains can make a fortune—if they can get past the governor’s men. Fourteen-year-old Hark is an orphan who ekes out a living by spinning tall tales to gullible prospects while dreaming of a brighter future. Hark’s best friend, Jelt, has always been his fierce protector. But Jelt is also manipulative, abusive, and dangerous. Just as new possibilities open up for Hark, Jelt coerces him into another reckless scheme in which Jelt nearly drowns. Hark finds a mysterious pulsing relic and uses it to save Jelt, unleashing catastrophic consequences. Hardinge (A Skinful of Shadows, 2017, etc.) conjures up an atmospheric world peopled with sinister smugglers and a stubborn scientist, artful urchins and armed fanatics, ravenous gods and wretched priests. The unhurried opening soon escalates into cinematic action and a thrilling climax. The many pleasures of this tale include a range of extraordinary female characters and sensitive and respectful depictions of deaf people and hearing signers. Humans in this world vary in skin tone, but race has no significance; there are few physical descriptors for the main characters.