Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
First Book: City of Stairs
Just as I often refer to A Song of Ice and Fire as a dramatic series that happens to be in a fantasy setting, I often refer to The Divine Cities as a mystery series that happens to be in a fantasy setting.
City of Stairs (Divine Cities #1) was the breakout fantasy work for Robert Jackson Bennett, one of today’s hottest new fantasy authors. While many fantasy series begin with the story of people living under the oppression of an “evil” king or wizard, the Divine Cities follows the story of the civilization that WAS the brutal, enslaving oppressor before its divine protectors were inexplicably slain years ago during an uprising of the enslaved.
As a mystery work, each book in the series (so far) follows two story arcs simultaneously. Though the reader is ostensibly trailing a (fantastic) murder mystery or disappearance, the real question following the entire series is this: How did someone manage to kill DIVINE protectors, and are they really gone?
Bennet has created one of the richest and most mysterious worlds we’ve ever seen, and we can’t wait to learn all of its secrets!
City of Stairs Synopsis, from the Publisher:
The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions—until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world’s new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself—first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it—stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy.
Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem—and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.