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A.K. Larkwood

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A.K. Larkwood Recommends Escapist Adventure Fantasy Books

It’s never a bad time for adventure fantasy, but I would posit that now is the best time for adventure fantasy.

Here are some of my favourites, hand-selected for escapism, intrigue, high density of swordfights, and sheer enjoyment. Ideal if you have a fire handy to curl up beside. (Yes, I know, it’s May, but surely I am not the only one with a persistent daydream of sitting in a huge wingback armchair before a crackling hearth?)

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Read Chapter Six of A.K. Larkwood’s The Unspoken Name

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does—she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn—gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

A.K. Larkwood’s debut fantasy, The Unspoken Name, is available February 11, 2020 from Tor Books. Read chapter six below, or head back to the beginning with chapter one.

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Read Chapter Five of A.K. Larkwood’s The Unspoken Name

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does—she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn—gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

A.K. Larkwood’s debut fantasy, The Unspoken Name, is available February 11, 2020 from Tor Books. Read chapter five below, or head back to the beginning with chapter one. Check back here for additional excerpts up until the book’s release.

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Read Chapter Four of A.K. Larkwood’s The Unspoken Name

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does—she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn—gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

A.K. Larkwood’s debut fantasy, The Unspoken Name, is available February 11, 2020 from Tor Books. Read chapter four below, or head back to the beginning with chapter one. Check back here for additional excerpts up until the book’s release.

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Five Fantasy Multiverses

Maybe the most vivid and immediate appeal of fantasy fiction is that of visiting another world. The other enticements—exploring the human condition, reading about some neat swordfights—come later. Like a lot of SFF writers, I got my start writing a series of travel guides to imaginary kingdoms, with narrative and character turning up later.

But I’ve always really loved fantasy worlds where there isn’t just one imaginary place, either existing by itself or connected to our own working-day world, but a whole nexus of interconnected universes. In space opera, for instance, the idea of visiting other worlds is commonplace—but here I’m not talking about visiting many other planets but many other realities. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials books were my introduction to this kind of multiverse, but they surely need no introduction! In this kind of setting, every world has its own rules to learn and its own dangers to face. There is a sense of infinite possibility and variety, with just a hint at the cliff-edge terror of immensity, the ever-present risk that you might get lost far from home.

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Series: Five Books About…

Read Chapter Three of A.K. Larkwood’s The Unspoken Name

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does—she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn—gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

A.K. Larkwood’s debut fantasy, The Unspoken Name, is available February 11, 2020 from Tor Books. Read chapter three below, or head back to the beginning with chapter one. Check back here for additional excerpts up until the book’s release.

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Read Chapter Two of A.K. Larkwood’s The Unspoken Name

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does—she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn—gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

A.K. Larkwood’s debut fantasy, The Unspoken Name, is available February 11, 2020 from Tor Books. Read chapter two below, or head back to the beginning with chapter one. Check back here for additional excerpts up until the book’s release.

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Read Chapter One of A.K. Larkwood’s The Unspoken Name

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does—she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn—gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

A.K. Larkwood’s debut fantasy, The Unspoken Name, is available February 11, 2020 from Tor Books. Read chapter one below, and check back for additional excerpts up until the book’s release.

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Imagining Other Worlds in Diana Wynne Jones’ Witch Week

My teenage queer experience was chiefly one of obliviousness. I did my best to cultivate crushes on various boys, the best one of which was where I’d never met him but really admired a painting of his which had been framed in the art department. My diary from this period is tragic: “goals for this year: become friends with Sophie L. I don’t know her but she seems so nice.” I didn’t seek out queer books because I didn’t know there were any, and in any case couldn’t countenance any specific reason I would look for them. At the same time I bounced off the whole of the library’s Teen section because I “didn’t care about romance”, which I now take to mean that I wasn’t very interested in girl meeting boy.

Recollecting all this, I couldn’t help wondering whether I would have been happier and more sane if I had figured it all out sooner, and whether I wouldn’t have figured it out sooner if I’d seen myself in the mirror of fiction. I might have spent less time feeling I was missing some essential part, as if it had fallen into the sea.

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You Wouldn’t Believe How Lonely You Get: Five Terrible Ways to Live Forever in SFF (And One That’s Actually Pretty Good)

Science fiction and fantasy are full of horrible ways you can die, but the genre has also been pretty inventive in horrible ways to live forever. There’s something about the fantasy of never dying that brings out the pedant and the cynic in us all. What would you do with all that time? Wouldn’t you lose your humanity? Surely there’d have to be an awful downside? And, of course – what terrible thing would you do to get it?

In Greek myth, Tithonus asked for eternal life, but forgot about eternal youth, and shriveled up into a grasshopper. Immortality always has a gotcha clause. Maybe it’s just too good to be true, or too painful to imagine, given that it’s not something we’re ever going to get. Either way, if you really want to live forever you’d better read the small print.

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Who Lives and Dies in Your World: In Defense of Farscape Season One

I don’t remember exactly who told me to watch Farscape back in 2009, but I imagine the conversation went something like this:

THEM: “It’s this wild space opera and the best thing about it is that the main character has not only a beautiful slow-burn romance with an exiled space marine but also some really thorny nasty psychological stuff with his nemesis, who eventually ends up joining the team as a reluctant ally, along with pretty much every other main villain. I know you love that shit.”

ME: “oh no!!!!!!!!

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Read an Excerpt from A.K. Larkwood’s The Unspoken Name

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does—she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn—gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

A.K. Larkwood’s debut fantasy The Unspoken Name publishes February 2020 with Tor Books.

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