Tread Carefully: Announcing The Butcher of the Forest by Premee Mohamed

Tordotcom is thrilled to announce that Jonathan Strahan has acquired a standalone dark fairytale novella from Nebula Award-winning and World Fantasy Award-nominated author Premee Mohamed titled The Butcher of the Forest. The deal for World English rights was brokered by Michael Curry at the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

A world-weary woman races against the clock to rescue the children of a wrathful tyrant from a dangerous, otherworldly forest.

At the northern edge of a land ruled by a monstrous, foreign tyrant lies the wild forest known as the Elmever. The villagers know better than to let their children go near—once someone goes in, they never come back out.

No one knows the strange and terrifying traps of the Elmever better than Veris Thorn, the only person to ever rescue a child from the forest many years ago. When the Tyrant’s two young children go missing, Veris is commanded to enter the forest once more and bring them home safe. If Veris fails, the Tyrant will kill her; if she remains in the forest for longer than a day, she will be trapped forevermore.

So Veris will travel deep into the Elmever to face traps, riddles, and monsters at the behest of another monster. One misstep will cost everything.

Said author Premee Mohamed:

I wrote The Butcher of the Forest all in a rush after remembering a few lines from a dream, which maybe isn’t the best business strategy but it was awfully fun to do. In the dream, someone asked me whether ‘the children should suffer for the crimes of their father,’ and I woke up before I could answer. I don’t know whether it has an answer in fact—but I wanted to explore love and family, duty and obligation, fear and guilt, as well as my usual monsters and mayhem and magic. I can’t wait to work with Tordotcom on this novella as we guide readers into the Elmever!

Said editor Jonathan Strahan:

I started reading Premee Mohamed when her first novel, Beneath the Rising, came out a few years ago. It’s an incredibly smart and dark book. But what knocked me out was her novella-length work. Stories like These Lifeless Things and And What Can We Offer You Tonight showed she was a major talent, and I was very eager to work with her. Having said that, when The Butcher of the Forest showed in my inbox, it just knocked my socks off. It was so much more than I’d been hoping for. It’s something special and I know readers are going to fall in love with it too.

The Butcher of the Forest will arrive from Tordotcom Publishing in 2024.


Premee Mohamed is a Nebula award-winning Indo-Caribbean scientist and speculative fiction author based in Edmonton, Alberta. She is an Assistant Editor at the short fiction audio venue Escape Pod and the author of the Beneath the Rising series of novels as well as several novellas. Her short fiction has appeared in many venues and she can be found on Twitter at @premeesaurus and on her website.


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