By Carl Slaughter: Sheila Gilbert, editor of the distinguished DAW speculative publisher, was pretty impressed with Marshall Ryan Maresca.
“Sometimes I am just stunned by the faith that Sheila Gilbert and DAW have placed in me,” Maresca said when I interviewed him for SF Signal. “They bought two books to release in the same year, coming out just months apart. They bought two more before the second one came out. Then four more before the third one. I mean, that last one really astounds me. A lot of other publishers would have been all, ‘Let’s see how these next books do before we commit to anything.’ But DAW committed to me, and because of that, I’m getting to tell the stories I’ve been wanting to tell, in the way I want to tell them. Sheila gets what I’m trying to do, and a large part of her role as editor is to give me ideas how to make that story clearer, stronger and more vibrant.”
Maresca’s Maradaine city fictional universe spans three trilogies. The main character in the first trilogy is a magic student by day and caped vigilante by night, determined to use his magic skills to avenge the death of him father and bring down the local kingpin. The main characters in the second trilogy are outcast constabulary inspectors, one an uncircled mage and one with forged credentials, who struggle to prevent their district and city from unraveling. Import of Intrigue is out in November. The Holver Alley Crew, the first book in the third trilogy, is set for March 2017.
THE MURDER OF MAGES
Satrine Rainey: Former street rat. Ex-spy. Wife and mother who needs to make twenty crowns a week to support her daughters and infirm husband. To earn that, she forges credentials and fakes her way into a posting as a constabulary Inspector.
Minox Welling: Brilliant Inspector. Uncircled Mage. Outcast of the stationhouse. Partnered with Satrine because no one else will work with “the jinx”.
Their first case together—the ritualized murder of a Circled mage—brings Satrine back to the streets she grew up on, and forces Minox to confront the politics of mage circles he’s avoided. As more mages are found dead, Satrine must solve the crime before her secrets catch up with her, and before her partner ends up a target.
THE IMPORT OF INTRIGUE
The neighborhood of the Little East is a collision of cultures, languages, and traditions, hidden away in the city of Maradaine. A set of streets to be avoided or ignored. When a foreign dignitary is murdered, solving the crime falls to the most unpopular inspectors in the Maradaine Constabulary: exposed fraud Satrine Rainey, and uncircled mage Minox Welling.
With a murder scene deliberately constructed to point blame toward the Little East, Rainey is forced to confront her former life, while Welling’s ignorance of his own power threatens to consume him. And these few city blocks threaten to erupt into citywide war unless the constabulary solves the case.
SAMPLE CHAPTER FROM AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE
The dead man had no face.
All that remained where a face had once been was a gruesome mess of flesh, bone, and hair. The rest of his body was no better. Satrine Rainey was astounded that it was still recognizable as a man.
She also astounded how, after two months as an Inspector Third Class in the Constabulary of the city of Maradaine, she had grown accustomed to sights like this. Too many of her case assignments involved dead bodies, and Captain Cinellan still delighted in assigning, in his words, the “strange ones” to her and her partner, Minox Welling.
Since Captain Cinellan was still letting her be an Inspector Third Class, and draw the salary she needed to care for her husband and daughters, she wasn’t about to complain …