- USD 11.99
The Crawford and Hugo Award-Winning Series
Shortlisted for the Lambda Literary Award, the Locus Award, the Ignyte Award
"Both tear-jerking and gut-punching. . . . Entirely accessible on its own, it is an excellent place to start if you haven’t read any of Vo’s novellas yet."—The Washington Post
The wandering Cleric Chih returns home to the Singing Hills Abbey for the first time in almost three years, to be met with both joy and sorrow. Their mentor, Cleric Thien, has died, and rests among the archivists and storytellers of the storied abbey. But not everyone is prepared to leave them to their rest.
Because Cleric Thien was once the patriarch of Coh clan of Northern Bell Pass--and now their granddaughters have arrived on the backs of royal mammoths, demanding their grandfather’s body for burial. Chih must somehow balance honoring their mentor’s chosen life while keeping the sisters from the north from storming the gates and destroying the history the clerics have worked so hard to preserve.
But as Chih and their neixin Almost Brilliant navigate the looming crisis, Myriad Virtues, Cleric Thien’s own beloved hoopoe companion, grieves her loss as only a being with perfect memory can, and her sorrow may be more powerful than anyone could anticipate. . .
"A remarkable accomplishment of storytelling."—NPR on The Empress of Salt and Fortune
"Nghi Vo is one of the most original writers we have today."—Taylor Jenkins Reid on Siren Queen
The Singing Hills Cycle
The Empress of Salt and Fortune
When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain
Into the Riverlands
Mammoths at the Gates
The novellas of The Singing Hills Cycle are linked by the cleric Chih, but may be read in any order, with each story serving as an entrypoint.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Hugo Award winner Vo's lovely standalone fourth Singing Hills Cycle fantasy (after Into the Riverlands) is the most personal adventure yet for travelling Cleric Chih. It begins with them returning to the Singing Hills abbey, their childhood home and a sacred temple to stories and memory, full of rumors, ghosts, and magical neixin, or memory spirits who never forget. Chih is shocked to discover the abbey's usually bustling halls are nearly deserted, and that their mentor, Cleric Thien, is dead and interred in the manner of all respected clerics. This becomes a problem when two mammoth-riding northern soldiers charge the gates of the abbey, claiming Cleric Thien as their grandfather and demanding the release of his remains. Now Chih must navigate conflict with the riders and their own grief in a home that will never again be what they remember. The worldbuilding isn't the focus, but Vo's mythologically infused alternate Southeast Asia draws readers in just enough to keep their attention and elevate her characters as they move through the plot, which gets off to a slow start but picks up the pace in later chapters. This timeless story of grief and growth is sure to resonate. Correction: An earlier version of this review misspelled a character's name and misidentified the setting.