Cassandra Rose Clarke

May 26, 2022

The Beholden

Erewhon Books 2022

Today I talked to Cassandra Rose Clarke about her book The Beholden (Erewhon Books, 2022).

Two impoverished sisters, one with magical gifts and one with ladylike manners and pretty dresses, brave the wilds of the jungle to find the River Goddess and compel her to grant them a boon. They’re accompanied by a former pirate, Ico, who is hired to protect them. But wishes are never granted for free.

Years later, Celestia’s wish has come true. She’s happily married to a renowned former adventurer, Lindon, who had the money to save her family’s planation, and the know-how to make it thrive. Celestia is content with the resumption of her privileged life, and her long-desired pregnancy. Her sister Izara is studying magic at the secret Academy, now that her duty to her sister and the plantation is done. As for Ico, he’s cavorting with a beautiful and lusty Goddess in her ice palace. Life just can’t stay so good. The River Goddess has not forgotten, and now she has a perilous quest she demands of the three.

A dark Mage, long presumed gone from this world, is making his presence known. There are disturbing rumors from the far north of corpses that cannot rest but continue to walk as if alive. The alarming news causes the Emperor to command Celestia’s husband, the former adventurer, to join a party to hunt down the Mage and destroy him. The River Goddess has other plans. She wants the Mage brought to her safely. Celestia and her husband Lindon now find themselves on opposite sides, each a pawn of a greater force. Can their marriage survive the struggle? Can Celestia and Izara, two very different people, work together as a team with the unwilling former pirate, Ico? Only the end of the journey will reveal those answers.

Cassandra Rose Clarke's novels have been finalists for the Philip K. Dick Award, the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, and YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults. Her poetry has placed second in the Rhysling Awards, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and appeared in Strange Horizons, Star*Line, and elsewhere. Fun fact: Cassandra Rose does ballet to unwind.

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