The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear

“From its opening pages, Elizabeth Bear’s The Stone in the Skull wears its virtues on its sleeve, introducing us to two characters, Dead Man and the Gage, who are immediately enigmatic, yet also compelling and achingly human (doubly impressive for the Gage, a towering automaton powered by a human soul).

And this is where the book truly excels, beyond the magic-laced action scenes and top-tier worldbuilding—in the way Bear loads layered relationships between a whole host of characters into a relatively slim page count.

With every new story, Bear leaves her mark on the world. There is a weight to her worldbuilding, to the subtlety of her characterizations. Hers is a mark that identifies the boundlessness of epic fantasy, of worlds created by a singular mind, but shared and enjoyed by many.

The Stone in the Skull begins a fantastic new saga, reminding us that Elizabeth Bear is truly one of the premier fantasists of her generation. If you’ve yet to discover her work, there’s no better time.” — Barnes & Noble SFF