NPR Books’ Jason Heller has reviewed Molly Tanzer’s Vermilion, calling the debut novel “a work of alt-history that finds a fresh kind of magic in the mingling of fact and fantasy,” and concluding “Vermilion is a unique, hearty, thought-provoking romp that rewrites history with a vivacious flourish.” Read the full review at this link, and ask for Vermilion by name wherever books are sold. Or order direct from Word Horde.
Tanzer’s first novel is a splendid page-turner of a Weird West adventure. Elouise Merriwether is a psychopomp, tasked with escorting newly deceased souls to the afterlife. Half Chinese and half English, with a bizarre job that few people understand, she struggles to find a place for herself in 1870s San Francisco, often vacillating between pluck and self-effacement. When her mother asks her to investigate why young Chinese men are going missing after being offered jobs in Colorado, Lou agrees to turn detective, but she’s bitten off way more than she can chew, especially once she runs up against the mysterious Dr. Panacea and his possibly fraudulent Elixir of Life. This hugely entertaining mixture of American steampunk and ghost story is a wonderful yarn with some of the best dialogue around.
Vermilion is fresh and strange — a dark and sparkling story of magic, monsters, and mystery in the Old Weird West. Gloriously weird and heartfelt, it’s a credit to the genre from start to finish.
The cat’s out of the bag, so here’s an official look at the cover for Molly Tanzer’s Vermilion, coming in April from Word Horde.
Gunslinging, chain smoking, Stetson-wearing Taoist psychopomp, Elouise “Lou” Merriwether might not be a normal 19-year-old, but she’s too busy keeping San Francisco safe from ghosts, shades, and geung si to care much about that. It’s an important job, though most folks consider it downright spooky. Some have even accused Lou of being more comfortable with the dead than the living, and, well… they’re not wrong.
When Lou hears that a bunch of Chinatown boys have gone missing somewhere deep in the Colorado Rockies she decides to saddle up and head into the wilderness to investigate. Lou fears her particular talents make her better suited to help placate their spirits than ensure they get home alive, but it’s the right thing to do, and she’s the only one willing to do it.
On the road to a mysterious sanatorium known as Fountain of Youth, Lou will encounter bears, desperate men, a very undead villain, and even stranger challenges. Lou will need every one of her talents and a whole lot of luck to make it home alive…
From British Fantasy Award nominee Molly Tanzer comes debut novel Vermilion, a spirited weird Western adventure that puts the punk back into steampunk. Coming in April 2015 to better independent booksellers everywhere, and most online retailers. Preorder your signed copy direct from Word Horde TODAY!
Cover Art by Dalton Rose
Cover Design by Osiel Gomez