A Stranger in the Citadel

Tachyon. Oct. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9781616963989. pap. $17.95. FANTASY
Lilith of Ninetha believes that she knows all that she needs to and that all of it is true. Then a stranger reaches Ninetha through the trackless desert, bearing forbidden knowledge of the world beyond the city’s walls, which Lilith burns to experience. But as she lives in a world where the highest law is “You shall not suffer a librarian to live,” the moment Lilith steps on the path of learning, she presents a deadly threat to everyone and everything she knows and loves. Her journey across the desert and into the secret at the center of her world brings a truth that sets her free and simultaneously breaks her heart. Lilith’s coming-of-age is a quest through hardship and deception to learn that the truths she has been told are lies designed to keep her world and its people in chains.
VERDICT In World Fantasy Award winner Buckell’s (The Trove) latest, Lilith undergoes a journey from innocence to terrible experience. Recommended for readers who enjoy stories that reveal in layers and any who liked the postapocalyptic, flawed reconstruction of knowledge in The Starless Crown by James Rollins.
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