How To Get Away With Treason: Announcing Running Close to the Wind, a New Our Flag Means Death-Inspired Standalone Novel From Alexandra Rowland

Tordotcom Publishing is delighted to announce Running Close to the Wind, a queer pirate fantasy adventure pitched as Our Flag Means Death meets Six of Crows by Alexandra Rowland, the author of A Taste of Gold and Iron, which was an Indie Next pick and a Kirkus Reviews best of the year pick.

In this new standalone novel, a former spy for Araşti Ministry of Intelligence must work with his pirate captain ex and a crew of misfits to sell a very expensive secret and get away with treason on the high seas…

Running Close to the Wind will be published in 2024.

Avra Helvaçi, former field agent of the Araşti Ministry of Intelligence, has accidentally stolen the single most expensive secret in the world—and the only place to flee with a secret that big is the open sea.

To find a buyer with deep enough pockets, Avra must ask for help from his on-again, off-again ex, the pirate Captain Teveri az-Ḥaffār. They are far from happy to see him, but together, they hatch a plan: take the information to the isolated pirate republic of the Isles of Lost Souls, fence it, profit. The only things in their way? A calculating new Araşti ambassador to the Isles of Lost Souls who’s got his eyes on Avra’s every move; Brother Julian, a beautiful, mysterious new member of the crew with secrets of his own and a frankly inconvenient vow of celibacy; the fact that they’re sailing straight into sea serpent breeding season and almost certain doom.

But if they can find a way to survive and sell the secret on the black market, they’ll all be as wealthy as kings—and, more importantly, they’ll be legends.

From Alexandra Rowland:

So many people have been asking whether I’ll write another book set in the world of A Taste of Gold and Iron. The answer: Yes! In fact, all my fantasy books take place in the same world-setting, and I’m thrilled to be announcing this one, which features an entirely new cast of characters, such as…

1) Avra Helvaçi, a mangy little gremlin I found in a dumpster behind a Denny’s, where he was being mugged by possums for the collection of used pizza boxes he was eating. He has zero personal dignity. He makes weird mouth noises. If you let him into your house, he will climb into your vents and you will not be able to get rid of him.

2) Teveri az-Ḥaffār, a very cool pirate captain, which means they own a collection of fabulously coats and are constantly Going Through It. Despite never having been married in the first place, Teveri and Avra have been newly divorced for the last fifteen years.

3) Brother Julian, his juicy biceps, his even juicier brain, and his entirely juiceless oath of celibacy, all of which are personally victimising Tev and Avra on a daily basis.

Running Close to the Wind features all the themes pirate books are legally required to have, such as found families and extremely pointed social commentary about how capitalism is the root of all evil and all cops are bastards. It is also a comedy, because as long as you can laugh, there’s still a part of you that’s free—and pirates are all about freedom.

Some alternate titles that we brainstormed:

  • Avra Helvaçi Quits His Dayjob
  • The Booty and the Briny Deep
  • The Pirate Ship’s Pet Poet
  • Piracy, Poetry, and Perfidy
  • Avra Helvaçi and that GIF of Oliver Twist And His Little Bowl of Orphan Gruel

Also Featuring:

  • plot relevant games of jump rope
  • plot relevant cake competitions
  • non-plot-relevant invention of short-shorts
  • everyone’s a little bit queer at sea
  • also the sea is #problematic for having too many Horrifying Creatures in it
  • seriously tho fuck the sea
  • maybe the real treasure was the friends we flirted with along the way
  • communism

This is the best book I’ve ever written, and I am bursting with excitement for 2024, when I will do my level best to make you laugh until you physically can’t anymore.


Alexandra Rowland is the author of eight fantasy books, including A Taste of Gold and Iron, A Conspiracy of Truths, and Some by Virtue Fall, as well as a four-time Hugo Award-nominated podcaster. They have a degree in world literature, mythology, and folklore, and all their work is supervised by their feline quality control manager. Find them at their website, and on Twitter, Instagram, and Patreon as @_alexrowland.

The paperback edition of A Taste of Gold and Iron will release on May 30, 2023. Running Close to the Wind will be available from Tordotcom Publishing in 2024.


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