It’s time to rejoin Séverin and his crew for the final adventure! We are thrilled to share the cover and preview an excerpt from The Bronzed Beasts, the third and final book in Roshani Chokshi’s epic fantasy The Gilded Wolves series. The Bronzed Beasts publishes September 21st with Wednesday Books.
Returning to the dark and glamorous 19th century world of her New York Times instant bestseller, The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi dazzles us with the final riveting tale as full of mystery and danger as ever.
After Séverin’s seeming betrayal, the crew is fractured. Armed with only a handful of hints, Enrique, Laila, Hypnos and Zofia must find their way through the snarled, haunted waterways of Venice, Italy to locate Séverin. Meanwhile, Séverin must balance the deranged whims of the Patriarch of the Fallen House and discover the location of a temple beneath a plague island where the Divine Lyre can be played and all that he desires will come to pass. With only ten days until Laila expires, the crew will face plague pits and deadly masquerades, unearthly songs and the shining steps of a temple whose powers might offer divinity itself… but at a price they may not be willing to pay.
Roshani Chokshi is the author of commercial and critically acclaimed books for middle grade and young adult readers that draws on world mythology and folklore. Her work has been nominated for the Locus and Nebula awards, and has frequently appeared on Best of The Year lists from Barnes and Noble, Forbes, Buzzfeed and more. Her New York Times bestselling series includes The Star-Touched Queen duology, The Gilded Wolves, and Aru Shah and The End of Time, which was recently optioned for film by Paramount Pictures.
“Do you wish to sample a different fate, signore?” interrupted a voice at his side.
Séverin turned to see a short, pale-skinned man speaking to him from behind a large mask carved to the likeness of a frog with bulging, glassy eyes.
“Here you can be anyone you wish,” said the man, gesturing to the back wall and the curtain of disembodied hands. “You merely have to pluck a face from the air itself…or perhaps you might wish to open your hands to fate, and see what love and fortune befalls you…”
Séverin was on the verge of dismissing the man entirely when a slender figure caught his attention. A woman. She was too far away for him to see her features, but there was something in the way she moved. She moved the way he imagined a star-touched goddess would step through the night sky, aware that the brush of her ankle or tilt of her hip might knock a man’s destiny askew.
“Signore?” asked the short man again.
“Yes,” said Séverin, distracted. “Let me test my hand at love.”
He felt a low buzz ringing in his ears as the man led him to the samite curtains. The woman had disappeared on the other side, guided through some Tezcat portal hidden in the mirrored wall. Séverin felt the loss of her presence like a physical ache. Before him, masked patrons flitted past the curtain of hands. He watched a person pause before an open hand, dropping a kiss at the center of a palm before walking away. The hand curled around the kiss, then withdrew completely.
Séverin walked down the row of outstretched hands. At least a dozen or so stretched before him, but only one called to him like a siren.
Near the end of the row, he paused before a woman’s bronze wrist. His breath caught when he saw her index finger. There, a familiar welt that had healed to a pale scar caught his eye. He knew that mark. He was there when it happened, standing beside her in the kitchens of L’Eden, furious that a pot had dared to burn her hand.
I cannot stand to see you hurt.
Unthinking, Séverin caught hold of the woman’s wrist. He felt her pulse, frantic as his. And maybe it was that — that barest hint that perhaps she felt as much apprehension as he did — that possessed him to do what he did next. Séverin raised her hand to his lips, pressing his mouth to the place where her pulse fluttered like a trapped bird.
An internal mechanism within the floorboards reeled him in through the Tezcat curtains until he found himself in a small silk-lined room. Forged, floating candles dripped pools of golden light.
Laila stood before him, her eyes wide with shock.
Just days ago, he had memorized the poetry of her features. To be faced with them so unexpectedly struck him like bottled lightning let loose behind his ribs. He knew she’d had every right to leave him standing beneath that Bridge of Sighs. He knew that he should fall to his knees and start groveling the moment he laid eyes on her, but for this second, he could not help himself. Joy transfixed him.
Which was precisely when Laila slapped him across the face.
Excerpted from The Bronzed Beasts, copyright © 2021 by Roshani Chokshi