Instant USA Today & Indie bestseller
From Hugo, Nebula, and Locus award-winning author T. Kingfisher comes an original and subversive fantasy adventure.
*A very special hardcover edition, featuring gold foil stamp on the casing and custom endpapers illustrated by the author.*
This isn't the kind of fairytale where the princess marries a prince.
It's the one where she kills him.
Marra never wanted to be a hero.
As the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter, she escaped the traditional fate of princesses, to be married away for the sake of an uncaring throne. But her sister wasn’t so fortunate—and after years of silence, Marra is done watching her suffer at the hands of a powerful and abusive prince.
Seeking help for her rescue mission, Marra is offered the tools she needs, but only if she can complete three seemingly impossible tasks:
—build a dog of bones
—sew a cloak of nettles
—capture moonlight in a jar
But, as is the way in tales of princes and witches, doing the impossible is only the beginning.
Hero or not—now joined by a disgraced ex-knight, a reluctant fairy godmother, an enigmatic gravewitch and her fowl familiar—Marra might finally have the courage to save her sister, and topple a throne.
“Nettle & Bone is the kind of book that immediately feels like an old friend. Fairytale mythic resonance meets homey pragmatism in this utterly delightful story. It's creepy, funny, heartfelt, and full of fantastic characters I absolutely loved!” —Melissa Caruso, author of The Tethered Mage
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
This deeply satisfying and darkly funny feminist fairy tale from Hugo Award winner Kingfisher (What Moves the Dead) finds its unlikely heroine in Marra, youngest princess of the Harbor Kingdom. Marra is better at knitting than politicking, and is relieved to be sent to a convent while her older sisters make political marriages to nobles from the Northern Kingdom. However, when Marra learns that the wicked Prince Vorling has murdered her older sister and seems likely to murder his abused second wife, Marra's middle sister, as well, Marra takes action. She assembles a rag-tag team bent on overthrowing Vorling including Bonedog, a resurrected dog skeleton; a dust-wife (a kind of necromancer) with a demonically possessed chicken for a familiar; a suicidally honorable and surprisingly diplomatic knight rescued from a Christina Rosetti-esque goblin market; and a frazzled fairy godmother who can only grant gifts of good health. The plot snaps along as quickly as a good joke, and beneath the whimsy, there's an underlying sympathy and sincerity that enables Kingfisher to handle tricky issues like domestic violence with great compassion and care. At its heart a story of good people doing their best to make the unjust world a fairer place, this marvelous romp will delight Kingfisher's fans and fairy tale lovers alike.
Would like to read again
I had a great time following along this not-nun, her mission, and her exploration of life. The lines read well, with not a hint of pretension but a whole lot of heart. I’d love to read this again for the first time- but I’m not sure that I’ll forget it well enough to, and that’s my only complaint and highest compliment. How good to be adjacent to the Lady of Grackles.
Another Heartwarming Fantasy Novel by T. Kingfisher
“Nettle & Bone” s another heartwarming fantasy novel by T. Kingfisher, which is the pseudonym Ursula Vernon uses for her works for adults. It takes place in a medieval alternate world that features magic, royal houses, and various gods. It’s not clear to me if is this is the same alternative world setting as some of her other fantasies, if so it’s not obvious.
This novel begins with a woman known as Marra who is the youngest princess of a small seaside kingdom. Her oldest sister has been sent off in a political marriage to prince of the large and powerful Northern Kingdom. When this sister dies unexpectedly, her middle sister is sent to marry the prince. Marra is sent off to the Convent of Our Lady of Grackles to keep her out of the way.
Things begin changing for the worse, and Marra learns some horrible things about the prince. She determines she has to somehow save her sister. She begins a journey seeking a means to do so.
She seeks a consultation of the most powerful of the dust-wives, who hold power over the dead. She constructs a dog from bones, and returns it to un-life as part of her tests. She rescues a disgraced warrior from the goblin market. Then she seeks out her own godmother. With this motley band, she sets off to bring down the king of the most powerful kingdom she knows…
Once again, Ms. Veron has written a fantasy that has many elements. Certainly, there are are some horrific things going on in this story, but it is also a romance, and a work of high fantasy. It’s a uplifting novel, which has warm characters, dry humor, and a positive outlook. This seems to be true of most of her fantasies, and I like the recipe!
Beautiful Fairy Tale
This was wonderful! A valiant quest meets a princess meets an undoable task meets a dust-wife.
Marra, youngest of three princesses, is not good at being a princess. The machinations of her parents and family are confusing to her and she would rather embroider. She becomes a ward in a convent as surety for her kingdom as her two sisters are married to a larger kingdom’s prince, one after the other ala Henry VIII.
Marra discovers her sister’s mistreatment by her husband and is confused why no one will fix an obvious wrong. Thus the story truly begins as Marra seeks help and finds friends in such places as a charnel pit and a goblin fair.
Probably aimed for an adult audience, but I believe teens would appreciate the wonder and truth of this tale. A bit graphic with discussion of cannibals, but no worse than a game of HALO.