The Office of Shadow
290 pp • ISBN: 978-1-61614-202-5
Midwinter has gone, but that cold season has been replaced by a cold war in the world of Faerie, and this new kind of war requires a new kind of warrior.
Seelie forces drove back Empress Mab at the Battle of Sylvan, but hostilities could resume at any moment. Mab has developed a devastating new weapon capable of destroying an entire city, and the Seelie have no defense against it. If war comes, they will almost certainly be defeated.
In response, the Seelie reconstitutes a secret division of the Foreign Ministry, unofficially dubbed the "Office of Shadow," imbuing it with powers and discretion once considered unthinkable. They are a group of covert operatives given the tasks that can't be done in the light of day: secretly stealing the plans for Mab's new weapon, creating unrest in the Unseelie Empire, and doing whatever is necessary to prevent an unwinnable war.
The new leader of the "Shadows" is Silverdun. He's the nobleman who fought alongside Mauritane at Sylvan and who helped complete a critical mission for the Seelie Queen Titania. His operatives include a beautiful but naïve sorceress who possesses awesome powers that she must restrain in order to survive and a soldier turned scholar whose research into new ways of magic could save the world, or end it.
They'll do whatever is required to prevent a total war: make a dangerous foray into a hostile land to retrieve the plans for Mab's weapon; blackmail a king into revolting against the Unseelie Empire; journey into the space between space to uncover a closely guarded secret with the power to destroy worlds.
"The Office of Shadow is a great adventure with a finely woven narrative and a compelling plot. Sturges's writing is of high quality and he brings a fascinating cast of characters to a tale full of politics, treachery, heroism, sacrifice, and slick action. It also features a magic system that is utterly credible and brilliantly realized. One of the very best I have encountered. I really enjoyed this book. The Shadows are a terrific creation and I want more. Much more."
—James Barclay, author of the Raven series
"There's an odd and often interesting flavor to this one."
—Don D'Ammassa's Critical Mass
Praise for Midwinter:
"Known for his talents as a writer of comic book series including House of Mystery and the Eisner Award-nominated Jack of Fables, Sturges turns his storytelling mastery to epic fantasy. With an enigmatic hero and a supporting cast of colorful and varied personalities, his latest work breathes new life into a genre too often stunted by stereotypical portrayals of good and bad creatures of the faerie realms. Joining Neil Gaiman in making the crossover from comics to prose fiction, Sturges represents a strong, new voice in fantasy."
—Library Journal starred review
"Not content with writing some of the best comic books on the shelves, Matthew Sturges has turned his amazing talents to prose fiction and the results are masterful. His prose work reminds me of Guy Gavriel Kay crossed with the audacity of Zelazny at his best."
—Bill Willingham, Eisner award-winning author of Fables
"An impressive debut....Sturges deftly works in superb character development, solid action sequences, and engaging heroes and villains, as well as an original and fascinating mythological backbone for the Fae world."
—Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"With the publication of Midwinter, readers are about to discover what comic fans have learned over the past few years, and what I've known longer than any of you —namely, that Matt Sturges is one of the most talented writers working today."
—Chris Roberson, award-winning author of
Three Unbroken and End of the Century