No Gods No Monsters is a modern retelling of the civil rights movement of the 60s and 70s but with a focus on preternatural beings, combining elements of The Wire and Buffy the Vampire Slayer withAmerican Gods. This literary contemporary fantasy will focus on a collection of characters dealing with the revelation that preternatural people exist and what that means for the future of humanity as those people (a surprising amount of which are from marginalized backgrounds) advocate for equal rights. There will be bombings and assassinations, police violence and hate crimes. The novel will mostly be set in Boston, but have chapters set in D.C., Pittsburgh and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The novel will explore the sociological differences between the old and new preternatural people: the younger generation predominantly poor and from marginalized backgrounds, the older generation well-connected and coming from privilege. The young generation’s inability to hide has created tensions and the need for visibility. This has led to political conflict between monsters and human society. There’s also a reason all of this is happening now that is connected to the history of magic in the world and the various secret organizations and gods throughout the centuries tasked with concealing this magic.
No Gods No Monsters is meant to the first of a series of three books. This first book will be relatively self-contained and culminate with a seemingly random act of violence. During a protest several preternatural people will be the victims of a mass shooting, which will have long-term effects explored in future books.
Author Note: Characters from some of my other work will also make appearances within the novel, including “Bush Girl” from my Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018 (BASFF2018) story “Loneliness is in Your Blood” and Cal from my BASFF2018 notable novelette “Other Worlds and This One.”
Turnbull (The Lesson) delves into the complexities of injustice and identity in this powerhouse contemporary fantasy. Laina awakens to the devastating news of her brother's death at the hands of the police, and the tragedy leads her—and the rest of the world—to discover that monsters exist and that her brother was a werewolf. From there, the novel spins out into multiple story lines, switching between the perspectives of many well-developed characters and encompassing underground organizations, powerful gods, and beings thought to have been simply country lore stepping out into the public eye. Werewolf Rebecca, who knew Laina's brother, struggles to protect what's left of her pack when society's response to their existence threatens to bring them harm. Harry finds solace in online forums after his divorce, leading him to join a secret society. Calvin, grieving his brother, searches through time to find answers to what happened. As these characters' paths slowly converge, Turnbull plunges readers into a layered world of monsters and secrets and uses his supernatural conceit to prompt them to examine the demons that already plague society and endanger the disenfranchised. The expert combination of immersive prose, strong characters, sharp social commentary, and well-woven speculative elements makes for an unforgettable experience. Fantasy fans won't want to miss this.
Can’t wait for the sequel
The entire book felt fractured in the best way. I loved every moment of it and got through it quicker than I thought I would.