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Rook and Rose

For the impoverished noble house of Traementis, the surprise arrival of their long-lost cousin Renata Viraudax seems like a gift from the gods. With her assistance, they hope to rebuild their fortunes and their political influence in the conquered Vraszenian city of Nadežra.

But that bright future is built on lies. In truth, “Renata” is a Vraszenian con artist, using her beauty and wits to escape Nadežra’s gutters. Ren means to leverage the Traementis name to secure her own fortune . . . if she can maintain her masquerade. This is no easy task with so many eyes watching for her mask to slip: from her skeptical “aunt” Donaia to rival nobles clawing for leverage—from a crime lord eager to improve his station, to the legendary vigilante known as the Rook. But the greatest threat to Ren’s plan may be her own past.

Someone in the City of Dreams has been unleashing nightmares — nightmares with the power to kill. The threads of the conspiracy stretch from Vraszenian dissidents to the Liganti nobility, from the children of the streets to the ruling council of Nadežra. Unraveling that knot will require Ren to face horrors she thought long-buried . . . but if she doesn’t, her people’s dreams may shatter forever.

In the summer of 2000, I went to an archaeological field school in Wales and Ireland called Castell Henllys. There I met a fellow student named Alyc Helms, with whom I stayed in touch after the field school ended, because they were a fantasy writer, too. A few years later we both wound up at Indiana University in Bloomington for graduate studies in anthroplogy and folklore, and they became my main writing friend: the person who thought enough like me when it came to story that every time I ground to a halt in the middle of a novel draft, I could fling the manuscript at them and wail “helllllllp meeeeeeeee.” Most of the Onyx Court, all of the Memoirs of Lady Trent — Alyc helped with those.

Which is how we wound up writing a novel together.

The Rook and Rose trilogy is an epic fantasy story filled with intrigue, adventure, and all the worldbuilding two ex-graduate students in anthropology can throw at it. It has fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, and miracles, and I’m only sorry we didn’t manage to put a giant into the story so we could have the full Princess Bride list. (Maybe in revision?) And we have sold it to Orbit Books!

The series will be published under the joint pseudonym of M.A. Carrick. We’re working right now on getting an official site up and running, but until then, you can follow us on Twitter @ma_carrick.