“Part alien adventure and part existential exploration, this top-notch tale establishes Williams as an author to watch.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Latent Emanation is a cruel world where ordinary people do everything they can to stay out of the way of their vicious masters, the mysterious Night Lords. Apprentice alchemist Alivet Dee is more cautious than most, having devoted her life to making enough money to buy back her imprisoned sister from the Night Lords—but trouble is about to find her. When a client dies during a routine alchemical session, Alivet flees—pursued by the Night Lords, their minions, and a dark force that haunts her dreams.
She is rescued by Ghairen, a Poison Master from another world who offers her a chance to save her sister—and humanity, as well. He is charming and handsome, with ruby-red eyes that glow in the night—but how can she trust a professional assassin? As she proceeds warily alongside the Poison Master, Alivet finds a chance not just to save mankind, but to unlock the mysteries of humanity’s very existence.
Gutsy Alivet Dee sets out to save her sister from alien slavery but ends up rescuing much more in this fantastic, whirlwind tale. A descendent of 16th-century mathematician and alchemist John Dee, Alivet resides on a planet known as Latent Emanation, a foggy fen where humans live under the rule of the cruel Lords of Night. When the Lords select Alivet's twin, Inki, to serve as their slave, Alivet, a budding apothecary and alchemist who longs to discover the origin of her people, vows to pay Inki's "unbonding" fee. Before she can save enough money, a bizarre accident puts her life in jeopardy and leads her to form a tenuous alliance with the Poison Master, a secretive man possessing red eyes, an intimate knowledge of deadly toxins and a desire to find the substance that will annihilate the Lords. During her quest, Alivet visits two richly imagined planets: Hathes, a bitterly cold place where assassination is commonplace; and Nethes, a hot planet where Alivet first learns of Earth. The book's various cultures and characters are fascinating, but what makes this story unusual is its historical breadth and its consideration of the spiritual and supernatural. Part alien adventure and part existential exploration, this top-notch tale establishes Williams (Empire of Bones) as an author to watch.