Seanan McGuire’s Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Wayward Children series, which began with Every Heart a Doorway, has brought readers heartfelt magic, mystery, and occasional mayhem for years. Artist Rovina Cai has been a part of the Wayward Children books from the very beginning, illustrating scenes from Every Heart a Doorway, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Beneath the Sugar Sky, In an Absent Dream and Come Tumbling Down. We’re thrilled to have Rovina on board again, bringing the world of Hooflands to life in a new standalone entry in the series, Across the Green Grass Fields.
In Across the Green Grass Fields, a young girl named Regan suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure.” Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines—a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes. But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem…
Regan moved closer and closer still, thoughts of the fight waiting for her when she got home forgotten in the face of this marvelous new mystery. The doorway, such as it was, opened on a clear patch of ground, clay dotted with green moss and the small white flowers that sometimes grew alongside the creek. It looked perfectly ordinary, and perfectly harmless.
“I am sure,” said Regan, and stepped through.
She wouldn’t be seen again in the woods near her house for six long years.
She was still laughing when a great, shaggy black horse rose out of the ditch next to the narrow road, water weeds tangled in its mane and pond scum dripping from its muzzle. That muzzle was slightly too pronounced for its head, and its lips bulged like they were trying to contain something no herbivore’s mouth should have to hold. It looked at her with one immense brown eye. That, at least, looked like it could have belonged to a normal horse, wide and soft, the color of chocolate, and fringed with long, delicate lashes.
And then there were the centaurs…
Their coats came in every color of the equine rainbow, dapple and bay, chestnut and a silvery-gray that would have seemed luminous if not for the unicorns outside, reminding the world what “luminous” really meant.