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Driftwood

Within the Shreds, a rumor goes around that Last has died. But who really was Last? Lying liar, or heroic savior? A mercenary, a charlatan, a legend? A man, an immortal — perhaps even a god?

Ever since I published the first Driftwood story, people have been asking me whether I’d ever consider writing a novel set there. My answer was always no, for an unusual reason: because Driftwood is inherently a place of fragments, the large, coherent structure of a novel felt like fundamentally the wrong approach to storytelling in that setting.

But there’s a way around that. Call it a fixup if you want — a book assembled out of pre-existing shorter material — or a mosaic novel, with the story being told through many voices and many sub-tales. Driftwood (italicized version, not quotation marks) is something of both. It’s made up of the short stories I’ve written already, plus a novelette-length tale that’s new, and it’s all stitched together with a frame that gives context and greater meaning to the pieces within it.

Which makes the text kind of like Driftwood itself.

It’s the brainchild of myself and the fine people at Tachyon Publications, and right now it’s scheduled for publication on August 14th, 2020.

Praise

Brennan skillfully builds a multiplicity of worlds, painting each unique and fully developed culture with bold, minimalist strokes and, though readers don’t get to spend much time with any single character, rendering each member of the sprawling cast with impressive nuance and subtlety. Exploring found family, adaptation, and hope in the face of apocalypse, Brennan imbues this high-concept fantasy with a strong emotional core.

Publishers Weekly, starred review

Through these stories, a portrait of Last as a tragic figure, accidental deity, and distant friend emerges. The patchwork quilt of his acquaintances’ tales mirrors the very nature of Driftwood itself, slowly peeling back the veil to reveal the living—and departed—people who make up this strange and riveting new cosmos. Readers will close the cover aching to read more about Last and his world.

Kirkus, starred review

Brennan’s series of vignettes is complex and riveting […] epic in scale and yet rooted in satisfying detail, full of possibility and wonder.

—Leah von Essen, Booklist (starred review)

I found it bittersweet and rich, like fine chocolate, digging deep into the sorrow and the peace of facing and accepting death. And the ending is pure hope, turning what was hard and heavy at the start into a graceful lightness, like a hint of lavender on the tip of the tongue.

—Karen Lord, author of Redemption in Indigo

Haunting, timeless, and timely. Brennan invented Driftwood, but it feels like she discovered it.

—Max Gladstone, author of the Craft Sequence

I keep thinking about it weeks after shutting the book. This is what people mean by ‘haunting’.

—Mary Robinette Kowal, author of the Lady Astronaut series