An ambition and unflinching tale of colonialism, conquest, and revenge, Queen of the Conquered starts a fantasy series perfect for readers of S. A. Chakraborty, Ken Liu, and Tasha Suri.
WINNER OF THE 2020 WORLD FANTASY AWARD, BEST NOVEL
On the islands of Hans Lollik, Sigourney Rose was the only survivor when her family was massacred by the colonizers. When the childless king of the islands declares he will choose his successor from amongst eligible noble families, Sigourney is ready to exact her revenge.
But someone is killing off the ruling families to clear a path to the throne. And as the bodies pile up and all eyes regard her with suspicion, Sigourney must find allies among her prey and the murderer among her peers... lest she become the next victim.
Praise for Queen of the Conquered:
"A storm of a novel as epic as Alexandre Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo." --Tochi Onyebuchi, author of Beasts Made Wild
"The book's absorbing setting, captivating lead, and relevant themes of race and class complement each other with alternating delicacy and savagery." --NPR Books
"Callender's first adult novel draws race relations, conquest, magic, and politics into an imaginative, layered story that will keep readers twisting until the end." --Library Journal
About the Author
Kacen Callender was born two days after a hurricane and was first brought home to a house without its roof. After spending their first eighteen years on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, Kacen studied Japanese, Fine Arts, and Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College and received their MFA from the New School. Kacen is the author of the middle grade novel Hurricane Child and the young adult novel This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story.
"A brilliant analysis of power and privilege set against an alternately beautiful and brutal background, you will root for Sigourney even as you question both her actions and motives. Searing and painful, Kacen Callender has managed to create a book that will stick with you long after the last page."
—Justina Ireland, New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation
"Callender's heart-wrenching work is a story that refuses easy answers, trope saviors, or all-is-well endings. Lofty as it seems, if you imagine Hamlet
and Agatha Christie's Ten Little Soldiers
fused in a narrative that finds its soul from the pain of our cruelest histories, you'll have captured a piece of the powerful fantasy Callender has wrought in Queen of the Conquered
—Evan Winter, author of The Rage of Dragons
is not a pretty story, but it's told in gorgeous strokes of color and emotion, rendering even the most disturbing scenes of horror and loss with haunting insight....It's a fine balancing act, and the book's absorbing setting, captivating lead, and relevant themes of race and class complement each other with alternating delicacy and savagery. At turns philosophical and feral, Queen of the Conquered
represents the scope and spectacle of the fantasy genre with a vengeance.
"Kacen Callender depicts colonialism, rage and the terrible price of power with haunting, unflinching eloquence. Queen of the Conquered
is a heart-stopping masterpiece."
—Tasha Suri, author of Empire of Sand
"A fascinating exploration of how power corrupts and drives a person toward self-betrayal."
—Kirkus (starred review)
"Dynamic characters and rich, spellbinding action come to life in this epic story... It's a thrilling supernatural adventure."
"An ambitious, courageous, and unflinching novel that uncovers the rotten core of our colonial heritage and yet also celebrates the fierce resistance and heroic endurance of the most abused and exploited."
—Kate Elliott, author of Black Wolves
"Callender's first adult novel draws race relations, conquest, magic, and politics into an imaginative, layered story that will keep readers twisting until the end. The author's personal experience growing up in St. Thomas lends to the rich setting and postcolonial themes."
—Library Journal (starred review)
"An utterly compelling look at slavery, power, and complicity. Uncomfortable, heart rending, and utterly necessary."
—Aliette de Bodard, Nebula Award-winning author
"From the very first paragraph, Callender's adult debut stuns. A complex and furious examination of colonialism, Queen of the Conquered
is a storm of a novel as epic as Alexandre Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo
. I've been looking for this book half my life."
—Tochi Onyebuchi, author of Beasts Made Wild
Callender deftly handles the subjects of rank and racism, cruelty and privilege, while also providing an exciting whodunit in the fashion of Agatha Christie's classic And Then There Were None
or the more recent Gideon the Ninth
by Tamsyn Muir
"Set against a lush Carribbean-inspired backdrop, this critical and multilayered story features Sigourney Rose, whose devastating losses compel her to risk her life fighting slavery and injustice and kick some colonizer ass in the process. This is resistance reading at its most entertaining."
"Gripping and emotionally compelling; a stunning novel about power, privilege, and survival in a world where you must fight even after everything has been taken from you. If you can only read one book this year, make it Queen of the Conquered
—K. S. Villoso, author of The Wolf of Oren-Yaro
"Queen of the Conquered
is intricate, powerful, and brilliant, with vivid worldbuilding, compellingly flawed characters, and a plot full of exciting action and creepy twists!"
—Melissa Caruso, author of The Tethered Mage
"Sinks its teeth in early and forces the reader to confront privilege and revenge through an electrifying voice. With an unforgettable ending, Queen of the Conquered
is one of the most refreshing fantasies you'll read this year. There is simply nothing else like it."
—Mark Oshiro, author of Anger is a Gift