You've got to be careful when you're chasing a murderer through Bulikov, for the world is not as it should be in that city. When the gods were destroyed and all worship of them banned by the Polis, reality folded; now stairs lead to nowhere, alleyways have become portals to the past, and criminals disappear into thin air.
The murder of Dr Efrem Pangyui, the Polis diplomat researching the Continent's past, has begun something and now whispers of an uprising flutter out from invisible corners. Only one woman may be willing to pursue the truth - but it is likely to cost her everything.
There once was a glorious empire where Gods rules different states. The Gods were all different, one was really really harsh and had a thousand rules to follow. To the south there was a slave colony, they had no Gods and they were angry and overthrew the empire and killed the Gods and all beings created or birthed by the Gods.
And now it's decades later. The colony is now the glorious one, and the empire fell asunder when the Gods died. The fabric of reality fell apart, whole cities disappeared. Plague decimated the states. Now they are poor and forgotten.
I felt for the conquerors, they had been used badly. But they destroyed a civilization. So f you guys. But then the former empire had been idiots too. Still now they were not even allowed to learn their own history, mention the Gods names or do anything that was "bad". And they really needed to be able to move on, but were held back.
I have not even talked about the plot yet! Ok, so this professor is murdered and Shara (who has her secrets) comes to investigate. There is something going on in the former holy city of Bulikov, but can she find out what? Bulikov is also a city that half disappeared when a God was killed there. And there are staircases leading into nothing and people going missing. A strange strange world.
I think I could go on and on about the world, it was just fascinating, and even more so when I learn more about the Gods of the world. A very cool world. It was a different sort of fantasy too. Set later in time, making it more modern, yet not.
Politics, a mystery, set in a sort of Russian city. A cool heroine, a viking sidekick and all in all truly strong women characters. It was the women that ruled this book. I approve of that ;)
Library Binding, 420 pages
Published October 2nd 2014 by Jo Fletcher Books
Psssst. I also want to mention that the publisher is holding a contest:
"We have five copies of the book to give away, plus one lucky winner will receive a £100 Red Letter Day experience.
All people have to do for a chance to win is let us know on our blog, Facebook page or Twitter - with #CityOfStairs - what tangible miraculous object they would create if you were a god of Bulikov. A door which takes you to the past and a knotted cord that brings rain when untied are just some of the miracles the gods brought to Bulikov, but we want to know what other people would add to them. The competition is open until October 30th for your chance to win."