When Kathryn Purdie told us her next novel is “set in a matriarchal society of siren-like women who practice bone magic to ferry the dead,” we were hooked. The #1 New York Times bestseller of the Burning Glass series, Purdie is now kicking off a new Young Adult duology with Bone Crier’s Moon.
Curious to learn more about the book? Here’s the description from the publisher:
Bone Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.
Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.
Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.
Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.
The book boasts an equally epic cover, which we’re thrilled to reveal alongside an exclusive excerpt today!
“When my publisher reached out…asking if I had any ideas for the cover art of Bone Crier’s Moon,” Purdie tells Paste, “I said I envisioned my main characters holding knives and standing on a bridge together. I also named Charlie Bowater as my favorite cover artist, in hopes I’d get an illustrated cover. As any author knows, we have very little say in our covers, so I didn’t think my suggestions would carry far. I certainly didn’t expect HarperCollins to contract Charlie for the work.”
“My editor surprised me with the cover when I was sleep-deprived and on a tight revision deadline for the book,” Purdie adds. “My exact response was, ‘OH MY GOSH! I LOVE IT SO MUCH I’M GOING TO CRY!’ It had everything I’d hoped for and more. Charlie captured the adventurous and romantic tone of the book, nailed my characters’ fierceness and even weaved hidden images into the greenery above them. It’s the cover of my dreams, and I couldn’t be more pleased.”
You might recognize Charlie Bowater’s style; she’s responsible for the gorgeous artwork spotted on books like An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, Skyward by Brandon Sanderson and Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman.
Katherine Tegen Books will release Bone Crier’s Moon on March 10, 2020. Enjoy the excerpt below, and click here if you’d like to pre-order the novel.
Eight Years Ago
Fingers of mist curled around Bastien’s father as he walked away from his only child. The boy lifted up on his knees in their stalled handcart. “Where are you going, Papa?”
His father didn’t answer. The light of the full moon shone on Lucien’s chestnut hair, and the mist swallowed him from sight.
Alone, Bastien sank back down and tried to be quiet. Stories of cutthroat robbers on forest roads ran rampant through his ten-year-old mind. Don’t be afraid, he told himself. Papa would have warned me if there was any danger. But his father was gone now, and Bastien began to doubt.
Outside the city walls, the idle cart offered little shelter. Bastien’s skin crawled at phantom whispers. His breath caught when the branches around him formed claws.
I should follow Papa right now, he thought, but the nighttime chill seeped into his bones and filled them with lead. He shivered, pressed up against the limestone sculptures in the cart. Tyrus, god of the Underworld, stared back at him, his mouth chiseled in a wry line. Bastien’s father had carved the figurine months ago, but it never sold. People preferred the sun god and the earth goddess, worshipping life and disregarding death.
Bastien turned his head, hearing a song without words. Lilting. Primal. Sad. Like the soft cry of a child or the plaintive call of a bird or a harrowing ballad of lost love. The song swelled inside him, achingly beautiful. Almost as beautiful as the woman standing on the bridge, for Bastien, like his father, soon followed the music there.
The mist settled, and a thick fog rolled in from the Nivous Sea. The breeze played with the ends of the woman’s dark amber hair. Her white dress swished, exposing her slim ankles and bare feet. She wasn’t singing. The music poured from a bone-white flute at her mouth. Bastien should have recognized her for what she was then.
She set the flute on the parapet when Lucien met her in the middle of the bridge. The hazy moonlight cast them in an unearthly glow.
Bastien faltered, unable to take another step. What if this was a dream? Perhaps he’d fallen asleep in his father’s cart.
Then his father and the woman started dancing.
Her movements were slow, breathtaking, graceful. She glided through the fog like a swan on water. Lucien never looked away from her midnight-dark eyes.
Bastien didn’t either, but when the dance ended, he blinked twice. What if he wasn’t dreaming?
The bone-white flute caught his eye again. Dread dropped hot coals in his stomach. Was the flute really made of bone?
Legends of Bone Criers rushed back to him and clashed warning bells through his mind. The women in white were said to stalk these parts of Galle. Bastien’s father wasn’t a superstitious man—he never avoided bridges during a full moon—but he should have, for here he was, enchanted like all doomed men in the tales. Every story was alike. Each had a bridge and dancing…and what happened afterward. Now was when—
Bastien sprang forward. “Papa! Papa!”
His father, who adored him, who carried him on his shoulder and sang him lullabies, never turned to heed his son.
The Bone Crier withdrew a bone knife. She leapt straight into the air—higher than a roe deer—and with the force of her descent, she plunged the blade deep into his father’s heart.
Bastien’s scream raged as guttural as a grown man’s. It carved his chest hollow with pain he would harbor for years.
He ran onto the bridge, collapsed beside his father, and met the woman’s falsely sorry eyes. She glanced behind her at another woman at the bridge’s end, who beckoned with a hasty hand.
The first woman lifted the bloody bone knife to her palm, like she meant to cut herself to complete the ritual. But with one last look at Bastien, she cast the knife into the forest and fled, leaving the boy with a dead father and a lesson seared forever in his memory:
Believe every story you hear.