Things began in a courtroom in the capital of Nuryevet, where I was being put on trial for something stupid:
What’s all this about, I said, not for the first time.
Charges of witchcraft, they said; at least, that’s what it boiled down to.
Utterly ridiculous, I said.
We got some witnesses, they said.
Your witnesses can go fuck themselves, says I, although not in so many words.
So begins The Last Queens of Nuryevet, Alexandra Rowland’s debut novel about a wandering storyteller falsely accused of witchcraft, who upends an entire nation from inside his jail cell by telling tales to the ruling queens. Or that’s how Chant, our wrongfully accused raconteur, would spin his situation, in Saga Press’ forthcoming novel about the power of words reaching from jail cells to throne rooms.
Saga Press shared the official synopsis for The Last Queens of Nuryevet:
Arrested on accusations of witchcraft, Chant finds himself trapped in cold, filthy jail cell in a foreign land. With only his advocate, the unhelpful and uninterested Consanza, he quickly finds himself cast as a bargaining chip in a brewing battle between the five rulers of this small, backwards, and petty nation. Or, at least, that’s how he would tell the story.
In truth, Chant has little idea of what is happening outside the walls of his cell, but he must quickly start to unravel the puzzle of his imprisonment before they execute him for his alleged crimes. But Chant is no blackwitch—he is a member of a rare and obscure order of wandering storytellers. With no country to call his home, no people to claim as his own, all Chant has is his wits and his apprentice, a lad more interested in wooing handsome shepherds than learning the ways of the world.
And yet, he has one great power. His stories and the ears of the rulers determined to prosecute him for betraying a nation he knows next to nothing about. The tales he tells will topple the Last Queens of Nuryevet and just maybe, save himself.
“I fell in love with The Last Queens of Nuryevet from the opening page,” editor Navah Wolfe said. “From the moment I met Chant—curmudgeonly, irascible, brilliant Chant, imprisoned on a nonsensical charge for a crime he definitely didn’t commit, on trial and grumpy about it—I was hooked. I fell hard for Chant, and I fell even harder for his prickly advocate Consanza and his cinnamon bun of an assistant Ylfing. They snuck into my heart and took up residence in the spaces that belong to my favorite characters. I devoured it over a weekend, stealing moments away from my family to read one more page, one more story. It’s such a fun book—I kept reading lines and scenes out loud with delight—but it’s also an important book. This is a book about the power of words, and the power of stories. It’s a book about the power of the right stories to topple dangerous regimes. And it’s stories like these that we need most right now. I am so glad to have this book on my list—and I can’t wait to share it with you.”
Look forward to The Last Queens of Nuryevet on shelves in fall 2018.