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3.5 

The Border Keeper

By Kerstin Hall
The Border Keeper by Kerstin Hall digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

A 2020 Nommo Award Finalist
A Book Bub Best SFF Books of the Summer Pick
A Goodreads Rising Star of SFF

"A phantasmagorical picaresque through a lushly realised underworld, populated by a grotesque bestiary of fantastical creatures. . . . This twisty example of the new weird genre examines love, loss and loyalty, packing skilful world-building and a powerful emotional punch into a little over 200 pages."—The Guardian


She lived where the railway tracks met the saltpan, on the Ahri side of the shadowline. In the old days, when people still talked about her, she was known as the end-of-the-line woman.

Vasethe, a man with a troubled past, comes to seek a favor from a woman who is not what she seems, and must enter the nine hundred and ninety-nine realms of Mkalis, the world of spirits, where gods and demons wage endless war.

The Border Keeper spins wonders both epic—the Byzantine bureaucracy of hundreds of demon realms, impossible oceans, hidden fortresses—and devastatingly personal—a spear flung straight, the profound terror and power of motherhood. What Vasethe discovers in Mkalis threatens to bring his own secrets into light and throw both worlds into chaos.

Praise for The Border Keeper

"Beautifully and vividly imagined. Eerie, lovely, and surreal."—Ann Leckie

“A labyrinth of demons, dead gods, cranky psychopomps, and broken all-too-human lives. Hall is by turns wry and lush, genuine and venomous. So can I have the next one already?”—Max Gladstone

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

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32 Reviews

3.5
“A outstanding novella of incredible world building (many worlds actually) magnificent haunting prose and deeply resonant and well crafted characters that defy the fantasy stereotypes. "She had been called the destroyer of empires. Mistress of the dead, the whispers went. But those few who knew better gave her the title of ya Wenzta, the border keeper...." In this katakasis we meet Vasethe the cursed young man who seeks a soul lost somewhere in the myriad demon realms beyond, he seeks the border keeper who he calls Eris as his guide. Together for reasons they reveal slowly even to each other they travel between Ahrithe living realm and the 999 demonic realms of Mkalis each with its own strictures set by the one who rules, such as in Buyak, in whose realm we spend much of the novella, one must tell the truth, or be wracked from the inside with physical pain (avoid figurative language at all costs). And of course there’s the age-old rule: don’t eat or drink in Mkalis, or you’ll be stuck there. The Border Keeper is delightfully creepy. It’s haunting and evocative, even beyond this toying with our expectations and comfort zones. Images like baby doll arms rattling in the wind, a child trapped inside of a crab, and creatures playing demonic symphonies on ghost ships fill the pages of the novella, every one of them surprising and vivid and a little bit terrifying. But the powers in Mkalis have shifted while Eris has dwelled in Ahrithe many no longer respect her as they once did and the hidden plan to forge God instruments may have maneuvered Vasethe and Eris to there own ends unknowingly may see all destroyed. Best of all its a the first in a duology.”
“A fever dream of fantastical travel. Loved it.”

About Kerstin Hall

Kerstin Hall is the author of The Border Keeper, Second Spear, and Star Eater. She lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

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