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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Wonderblood

Wonderblood

A Novel

Julia Whicker

St. Martin's Press

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Set 500 years in the future, a mad cow-like disease called “Bent Head” has killed off most of the U.S. population. Those remaining turn to magic and sacrifice to cleanse the Earth.

Wonderblood is Julia Whicker's fascinating literary debut, set in a barren United States, an apocalyptic wasteland where warring factions compete for control of the land in strange and dangerous carnivals. A mad cow-like disease called "Bent Head" has killed off millions. Those who remain worship the ruins of NASA's space shuttles, and Cape Canaveral is their Mecca. Medicine and science have been rejected in favor of magic, prophecy, and blood sacrifice.

When traveling marauders led by the bloodthirsty Mr. Capulatio invade her camp, a young girl named Aurora is taken captive as his bride and forced to join his band on their journey to Cape Canaveral. As war nears, she must decide if she is willing to become her captor's queen. But then other queens emerge, some grotesque and others aggrieved, and not all are pleased with the girl's ascent. Politics and survival are at the centre of this ravishing novel.

CHAPTER 1

THE UNCRUSHER


When they rode, they took severed heads with them, in canvas sacks, in saddlebags, and set them out wherever they stopped, on rocks, or stuck them on pikes and tied the sticks with red streamers so...

Praise for Wonderblood

"Whicker has imagined a fierce future...Dense, dark, haunting." —Booklist

"Whicker's debut sets the stage for a possible series full of bloodlust, court intrigue, and unforgettable characters. For fans of Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven, N.K. Jemisin's "Broken Earth" series, and George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" books." —Library Journal

"Told in rich, dense prose, Whicker’s fantasy feels like a blood-steeped dream: there are mummified heads and a religion based on astronauts. The story’s voice is vibrant and warm as the Florida heat" —Publishers Weekly

"In a novel marked with heart-stopping violence, brutal ritual, surreal courtly intrigue, and moments of piercing beauty, Julia Whicker imagines a clash of religions in a broken future. The characters, and their world, are unforgettable." —Vivien Shotwell, author of Vienna Nocturne

"Visceral and intense... a fully built-out world, rich with color and detail." —Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

"Wonderblood is a richly imagined, otherworldly tale about the power - and danger - of faith and belief. I loved this book's beautiful prose and its startling, brutal, and poetic images; I loved its unique premise and masterful worldbuilding; I loved its complicated, passionate, and mesmerizing characters. Julia Whicker is a genius. This is a strange, daring, and masterful first novel." —Edan Lepucki, New York Times bestselling author of California

"A ri… More…


"Whicker has imagined a fierce future...Dense, dark, haunting." —Booklist

"Whicker's debut sets the stage for a possible series full of bloodlust, court intrigue, and unforgettable characters. For fans of Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven, N.K. Jemisin's "Broken Earth" series, and George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" books." —Library Journal

"Told in rich, dense prose, Whicker’s fantasy feels like a blood-steeped dream: there are mummified heads and a religion based on astronauts. The story’s voice is vibrant and warm as the Florida heat" —Publishers Weekly

"In a novel marked with heart-stopping violence, brutal ritual, surreal courtly intrigue, and moments of piercing beauty, Julia Whicker imagines a clash of religions in a broken future. The characters, and their world, are unforgettable." —Vivien Shotwell, author of Vienna Nocturne

"Visceral and intense... a fully built-out world, rich with color and detail." —Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

"Wonderblood is a richly imagined, otherworldly tale about the power - and danger - of faith and belief. I loved this book's beautiful prose and its startling, brutal, and poetic images; I loved its unique premise and masterful worldbuilding; I loved its complicated, passionate, and mesmerizing characters. Julia Whicker is a genius. This is a strange, daring, and masterful first novel." —Edan Lepucki, New York Times bestselling author of California

"A richly imagined broken world, one whose land, customs, history, and people are so sharply conveyed that they seem almost to have been incised into the page. I admire Wonderblood for its absorbing and unsettling story, for the uncanny beauty of its prose, but above all else for the daring of its tone, which begins in pitch darkness and brightens not to white but to a more lustrous black." —Kevin Brockmeier, New York Times bestselling author

"In fiercely glittering prose Julia Whicker evokes an apocalyptic America where medicine is illegal, everyone is searching for portents and only a severed head can offer protection. I love how richly imagined this novel is and I love how relentlessly it moves towards its amazing climax. Wonderblood is a stunning debut." —Margot Livesey, New York Times bestselling author

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Reviews from Goodreads

Julia Whicker

JULIA WHICKER received her MFA at the Iowa Writers Workshop in 2006, where she won both the prestigious Capote Fellowship and the Teaching-Writing Fellowship. She’s had her poetry published in the Iowa Review, Word Riot, and The Millions, among others, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A version of the first chapter of Wonderblood was published in the literary journal, Unstuck.

image of Julia Whicker o
John Eicher

Tor.com

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