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Set in a world of subterfuge, treachery and the poisoner's art, this bold and exciting debut epic fantasy introduces a remarkable new talent to the genre and is a must-read for fans, from Joe Abercrombie and Terry Brooks to Robin Hobb and Scott Lynch . . .

I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me . . .
Only a handful of people in Silasta know Jovan’s real purpose in life. To most, he is just another son of the ruling class. The quiet, forgettable friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible heir. In reality, Jovan has been trained for most of his life to detect, concoct and withstand poisons in order to protect the ruling family.

His sister Kalina is too frail to share in their secret family duty. While other women of the city hold positions of power and responsibility, her path is full of secrets and lies – some hidden even from her own brother.

Until now, peace has reigned in Silasta for hundreds of years. But when the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army storms the gates, the so-called Bright City is completely unprepared. It falls to Jovan and Kalina to protect the heir and save their homeland – but first they must make their way through a new world of unexpected treachery, a world where the ancient spirits are rising . . . and angry.

This fabulous epic fantasy debut will appeal to readers of Joe Abercrombie and Terry Brooks, Robin Hobb and Mark Lawrence and all points in between.

Reviews

If the first line doesn’t make you buy this book, you should turn in your fantasy-lover’s badge. City of Lies got me through sitting seven hours in an airport, and proves that a tale about the one who risks his life to thwart assassins can be as compelling as any assassin’s tale.

ROBIN HOBB

City of Lies grips from the first line . . . a compelling fantasy whodunnit - imagine Agatha Christie channelled through Robin Hobb - and a page-turning coming-of-age tale.

Eric Brown, GUARDIAN

A tale of poisoners, deceit and treachery that will surely keep readers entranced. I don’t read many stories as twisty and unpredictable, especially in the latter chapters, as this one, and I loved what Sam Hawke did.

TERRY BROOKS

Sibling protagonists anchor this sinuous story of old grievances coming to a boil. Hawke writes with nuance about the loves, loyalties, ambitions and resentments that bind her characters together and threaten to tear them apart.

KATE ELLIOTT

Sam Hawke does a marvellous job . . . keeping the action tense and the mood fraught, with each plot twist and revelation driving you on to a shocking and satisfying conclusion. City of Lies combines a locked-room mystery with a spy thriller and action-packed fantasy to create an experience that leave you reading late into the night.

SFX magazine

Absolutely loved this; the world building is brilliant, the mystery and crime elements merge seamlessly into a fantastical world of poisoners, warrior-guilds and ancient magic. But the heart of the story is the central characters, they’re written with such depth: flawed, human and likeable. City of Lies is a wonderful read and one that I’d highly recommend to all lovers of fantasy.

JOHN GWYNNE

An enormously enjoyable read, one of the best new fantasies I’ve seen in a long time.

ADRIAN TCHAIKOVSKY

With lush worldbuilding and a tight, twisting plot, City of Lies plants Hawke as a bold new fantasy voice.

LAURA LAM

Without doubt the best fantasy novel I read this year. With an opening line that resonates and it’s sprawling epic world full of political shenanigans and betrayal it is the very definition of a literary page turner.

LIZLOVESBOOKS 'Top 10 of 2018'

City of Lies is one of the standout debuts – and books – of the year, and stands alone while opening the door for sequels already in the works – and which I’ll definitely be reading!

FANTASYHIVE

Part murder mystery, part political thriller with a fantastical heart . . . I was utterly engrossed from beginning to end.

THE ELOQUENT PAGE

A tightly wound and ever escalating plot is complemented by the cast's refreshing nuances . . . even when magic comes into play the story never loses its essentially human and relatable scale, making it stand out from more sprawling, cinematic fare. A well-crafted debut with believable political intrigues, solid world-building, and original characters.

KIRKUS REVIEWS

An absolute revelation . . . the book really blew me away when I first read it, evoking subtle shades of Robin Hobb's Farseer books . . . if you haven't checked out Sam's writing, you really need to. She is a shining star in the genre.

OUT OF THIS WORLD SFF REVIEWS

'Sam Hawke injects her story with charismatic prose, characters with flair and also has one of the best opening lines that I've ever read in speculative fiction.'

Mihir Wanchoo at FantasyBookCritic

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780552176293

    July 2, 2019

    Corgi

    608 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Hardback

    9781787630123

    September 15, 2018

    Bantam Press

    560 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Trade Paperback

    9781787630130

    July 30, 2018

    Bantam Press

    560 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781473561434

    July 12, 2018

    Transworld Digital

    560 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo

Extract

1

Jovan

I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me.

He served me the toxin in his signature cheese stew. It gave me waves of stomach cramps and hallucinations of every horror my young mind could conjure, but left no lasting damage. I learned that day to trust nothing on my plate or in my cup, not even something prepared by my beloved uncle Etan, my Tashi, the most honored and trusted person in my world. Especially not him.

By ten, I could identify the ingredients in most dishes set before me, from the spicy baked fish served year-round in Sjona’s farms and estates, to the flat black bread cooked in clay ovens in every kitchen in the city, to the delicate cheese-and-honey pastries favored in the highest circles of society. I could detect any of the eleven greater poisons hidden in those dishes. Most by taste, some by smell, and one by its unique mouthfeel. I could also, should the need arise, use them myself.

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