We’re pleased to reveal the cover for A.J. Hartley’s Steeplejack, the first installment of a new young adult fantasy series—publishing June, 2016 from Tor Teen! Set in an industrial city in a country reminiscent of Victorian South Africa, Hartley creates a complex world with a smart and thrilling mystery at its core. Learn more about the novel and check out the full cover by artist Mike Heath below!
From the catalog copy:
Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga, Ang for short, works repairing the chimneys, towers, and spires of Bar-Selehm, the ethnically-diverse industrial capital of a land resembling Victorian South Africa. The city was built on the trade of luxorite, a priceless glowing mineral. When the Beacon, a historical icon made of the largest piece of luxorite known to exist, is stolen, this news commands the headlines. Yet no one seems to care about the murder of Ang’s new apprentice Berrit. But when Josiah Willinghouse, an enigmatic young politician, offers her a job investigating his death, she plunges headlong into dangers she could not foresee. On top of this legwork, Ang struggles with the responsibility of caring for her sister’s newborn child.
As political secrets unfold and racial tensions surrounding the Beacon’s theft rise, Ang must navigate the constricting traditions of her people, the murderous intentions of her former boss, and the conflicting impulses of a fledgling romance. With no one to help her except a savvy newspaper girl and a kindhearted herder from the savannah, Ang must rely on her creative intellect and strength to resolve the mysterious link between Berrit and the missing Beacon before the city is plunged into riotous chaos.
Diana Pho, Associate Editor at Tor Books, had this to say about the novel:
In conversations about representation in science fiction, I’m thrilled to see the uptick in attention about how race relations complicate societies on multiple levels, including class, gender roles, and other social factors. A. J. Hartley’s Steeplejack keenly captures the individual nuances of living at the forefront of a multicultural world—and being a brown teenager trying to define yourself within one.
During a time when Black Lives Matter and #WeNeedDiverseBooks are our nation’s and publishing industry’s conversation starters, a book like Steeplejack is more relevant than ever. On one hand, it’s a thrilling murder-mystery adventure, and a heart-racing read set in a fantasy world based on 19th century South Africa. But furthermore, how our protagonist Anglet “Ang” Sutonga navigates between the social mores of the divided Mahweni natives, the powerful Feldish settlers, and her own immigrant Lani community resonated with me personally. I don’t live in Ang’s city of Bar-Selehm, but I can see echoes of it every day. I hope Steeplejack speaks to how we can recognize differences between peoples, and through small ways of justice, build a stronger world.
Without further ado, Mike Heath‘s cover art, showcasing Ang high above the city of Bar-Selehm!
A.J. Hartley’s Steeplejack publishes June, 2016 from Tor Teen.