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“This is a prayer hymn, a battle cry, a lovesong, a legendary call and response bonfire talisman tale. This is medicine for a broken world." —Daniel José Older
Award-winning author Andrea Hairston weaves together African folktales and postcolonial literature into unforgettable fantasy in Master of Poisons
The world is changing. Poison desert eats good farmland. Once-sweet water turns foul. The wind blows sand and sadness across the Empire. To get caught in a storm is death. To live and do nothing is death. There is magic in the world, but good conjure is hard to find.
Djola, righthand man and spymaster of the lord of the Arkhysian Empire, is desperately trying to save his adopted homeland, even in exile.
Awa, a young woman training to be a powerful griot, tests the limits of her knowledge and comes into her own in a world of sorcery, floating cities, kindly beasts, and uncertain men.
Awash in the rhythms of folklore and storytelling and rich with Hairston's characteristic lush prose, Master of Poisons is epic fantasy that will bleed your mind with its turns of phrase and leave you aching for the world it burns into being.
Andrea Hairston is the author of Will Do Magic For Small Change, finalist for the Mythopoeic, Lambda, and Tiptree Awards, and a New York Times Editor’s pick. Other novels: Redwood and Wildfire, Tiptree and Carl Brandon Award winner, and Mindscape, winner of Carl Brandon Award. She has published essays, plays, and short fiction and received grants from the NEA, Rockefeller and Ford Foundation. She is the L. Wolff Kahn 1931 Professor of Theatre and Africana Studies at Smith College. She bikes at night year round, meeting bears, multi-legged creatures of light and breath, and the occasional shooting star.