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Moon Witch, Spider King
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Library Journal Review
Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Man Booker Prize-winning James's first foray into fantasy, had the epic sweep, intensely layered structure, and raw if luscious language his readers have come to expect, and it was a National Book Award finalist and New York Times best seller. That book gave the backstory of the Tracker, engaged by a slaver to find a kidnapped child--reputedly the son of a North Kingdom elder--and the companions/adversaries the Tracker gathers in his search. One of them is the 177-year-old Moon Witch, Sogolon, who tells what happened to the child from her perspective. Paramount here is Sogolon's ancient feud with the king's chancellor, who works so closely with the king that they are said to be like a spider--a single creature with eight limbs. For readers of fantasy and literary fiction alike, this should be another grand thrill.
Publishers Weekly Review
Sogolon, the antagonist of Black Leopard, Red Wolf, tells her side of the story in Booker Prize winner James's brilliant second Dark Star fantasy, which chronicles Sogolon's life from childhood through to the search for the lost boy at the center of the first book. Furtive Sogolon, the Moon Witch, manages to live far longer than most expect for a girl of "little use" with no family ties. She witnesses mad kings rise and fall and women suffer at their hands, all while the Aesi, or the king's chancellor, remains a constant at the right side of the throne. Sogolon becomes a living record of all the kingdom has been through--and to the Aesi, this makes her a threat. Now each works against the other as they try to find the lost boy for their own purposes. If book one centers on the nature of storytelling, this volume turns its focus to memory, archiving, and history as Sogolon works to correct the record. The two stories run parallel to and contradict each other, and James mines the distance between them to raise powerful questions about whether truth is possible when the power of storytelling is available only to a few. This is a tour de force. Agent: Ellen Levine, Trident Media. (Feb.)
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