Daniel Fisher is about to discover he's one of the Thirty Six, a group of hidden saints who can create and destroy worlds with their actions. When Ashmedai, king of demons, abducts Daniel and carries him to the hell realm of Gehinnom, Daniel learns that Mashit – queen of demons – plans to murder the Thirty Six, collapsing the universe and killing everyone in it.
To save Earth from destruction Daniel must fight his way through a pandemonium of demons and court the aid of mysterious nomadic warriors. And though Ashmedai says he wants to help, the demon king may have plans of his own.
Praise for King of Shards
"Surreal and exotic...Scary, exhilarating fun!"
–N.K. Jemisin, Hugo award-winning author of The Fifth Season.
"A radical reinvention of faith and folklore, not to mention the portal fantasy...majestic, resonant, reality-twisting madness."
"An imaginative, intelligent, and soaring debut...A hell of lot of fun." -
–Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World
"A robustly imagined fantasy world... pleasingly unpredictable. His skill at extrapolating traditional religious lore into the stuff of fantasy bodes well for future books in the series."
"In this prismatic tale of demons, righteous warriors, and multiple universes, Kressel plumbs the depths of Kabbalistic lore to create a unique fantasy cosmos... [An] engaging new epic fantasy."
–The Huffington Post
"With surprising twists and a deep and detailed universe, King of Shards, the first in a trilogy, is likely to be remembered."
–Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog
"With King of Shards, Kressel threads portal adventure through ancient mythos. His demons and demi-gods and his very human (or mostly human) characters have to work their way through the terrifying, violent, and often beautiful alternate planes he's built using his incredible imagination and traditional and Apocryphal knowledge as a tableau. You will emerge transformed."
— Fran Wilde, author of Updraft
"[A] fascinating first novel...King of Shards is the first entry of the Worldmender Trilogy, and its use of Hebrew culture and legend to build a complex, dynamic setting serves to imbue every page with an epic mythos. Kressel presents a compelling alternate reality that readers can escape to while also pondering the nature of what is real."
"Kressel's rich landscapes sing with ancient resonance by the light of modern flair. He weaves compelling tradition with innovative high Fantasy; culture and creativity become foundations for new myths featuring heroes built to shine."
–Leanna Renee Hieber, award-winning author of the Strangely Beautiful saga
"A gripping trek across a unique desert world rich with Kabbalah-inspired magic and vivid demons builds to a whirlwind climax."
–Scott H. Andrews, Hugo and World Fantasy Award-nominated editor of Beneath Ceaseless Skies Magazine
"This novel shakes the foundations of everyday reality, and the ensuing chaos is pure pleasure."
–Christopher Barzak, author of One for Sorrow and Wonders of the Invisible World
Launching the Worldmender series, debut author Kressel draws heavily on Hebrew legend and biblical lore to build a robustly imagined fantasy world modeled on Gehenna. Events begin on the earthly plane with the abduction of New Yorker Daniel Fisher from his wedding, moments before the completion of his vows. In Gehinnom, a desert otherworld to which he is spirited away, Daniel is informed by his demon abductor, Ashmedai (or Caleb, in human form), that he is a lamed vavnik, one of 36 righteous persons who sustain the universe. Hoping to save Daniel from Mashit, another demon who wants him dead, Ashmedai recruits a select entourage that includes Marul Menacha, a witch, and Rana Lila, a builder ignorant of her own mystical pedigree. Kressel advances his plot briskly through a series of alliances, betrayals, separations, and reunions, and the veiled motives of several of his characters keep his story pleasingly unpredictable. His skill at extrapolating traditional religious lore into the stuff of fantasy bodes well for future books in the series.