The Monster That Kills Other Monsters: Announcing Untethered Sky by Fonda Lee

Tordotcom is thrilled to announce that Jonathan Strahan has acquired a standalone novella from World Fantasy Award-winning author Fonda Lee titled Untethered Sky, an epic fantasy about the legendary rocs of myth and the elite team of trainers who fly them. The deal for World English rights was brokered by Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.

Ester’s family was torn apart when a manticore killed her mother and baby brother, leaving her with nothing but her father’s painful silence and a single, overwhelming need to kill the monsters that took her family.

Ester’s path leads her to join the King’s Royal Mews, where the giant rocs of legend are flown to hunt manticores by their brave and dedicated rukhers. Paired with a fledgling roc named Zahra, Ester finds purpose and acclaim by devoting herself to a calling that demands absolute sacrifice and a creature that will never return her love. The terrifying partnership between woman and roc leads Ester not only on the empire’s most dangerous manticore hunt, but on a journey of perseverance and acceptance.

Untethered Sky is an epic fantasy fable in the guise of a nature memoir and a heartfelt monster story about finding one’s purpose and the pursuit of obsession at all costs.

In the words of Fonda Lee:

“Some of my favorite books as a child were animal stories: Where the Red Fern Grows, The Black Stallion, and Julie of the Wolves to name a few. There’s something engrossing and primal about tales of close human and animal partnership and our relationship to nature. Several years ago, I was struck by the idea of writing a wildlife memoir-style story about monsters, and am pleased that I finally got a chance to turn it into this novella. I was taken with the idea of enormous birds of prey and man-eating manticores because they’re, well, really cool, but along the way I realized that I was actually writing about self-understanding and finding one’s calling. So for me, Untethered Sky is also about writing and the creative life.”

In the words of Jonathan Strahan:

I fell in love with Fonda Lee’s Green Bone Saga when I read Jade City not long after it won the World Fantasy Award. It’s filled with adventure, magic, and life, and I knew immediately that I wanted to work with Fonda at Tordotcom. We started talking about how we’d work together when we’d meet at conventions. I have clear memories of sitting by the river Liffey in Dublin and discussing novellas, and I couldn’t be happier to be helping to bring Untethered Sky to the world now. It’s a story filled with tragedy, drama, and romance. I was captivated by Ester’s tale every bit as much as she was captivated by Zahra, her greatest passion, and I think readers will be too.

Fonda Lee is the author of the epic fantasy Green Bone Saga, consisting of Jade City, Jade War, and Jade Legacy. She is also the author of the acclaimed young adult science fiction novels Zeroboxer, Exo, and Cross Fire. Fonda is a winner of the World Fantasy Award, a three-time winner of the Aurora Award, and a multiple finalist for the Nebula Award and Locus Award. The Green Bone Saga has been translated into multiple languages and named to TIME Magazine’s Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time. Fonda is a former corporate strategist and black belt martial artist residing in the Pacific Northwest. You can find her online at her website.

Untethered Sky will arrive from Tordotcom Publishing in Winter 2023.


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