cover image Daughters of Chaos

Daughters of Chaos

Jen Fawkes. Overlook, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4197-7247-4

Fawkes (Tales the Devil Told Me) juxtaposes Civil War America and ancient Greece in this dazzling historical fantasy. Sylvie Swift is raised in poverty by her widowed father in a tiny Kentucky town. Beginning in the 1850s, teenage Sylvie and her twin brother receive monthly envelopes of cash from an unnamed sender in Nashville. In 1861, when Sylvie’s 20, she receives from the same sender the script of a play titled Apocrypha. After a bit of digging, she comes to believe the play is an unknown comedy by Aristophanes. In it, the goddess Chaos calls on Greece’s women to masquerade as prostitutes and use their wiles to trick men into submission and “put a stop to the endless wars.” The following year, Sylvie travels to Nashville to find her mysterious benefactor. At first glance, the address appears to belong to a brothel, but it’s actually a front for the Cult of Chaos, an ancient sisterhood with the same aim as Apocrypha’s women. From a series of uncanny events, Sylvie gathers that the women, like those in the play, are aided by a paranormal force. Both the historical and fantastical elements come alive in Sylvie’s suspenseful narration, which is interwoven with the text of the imaginary play. Fawkes wows with this wildly original tale. Agent: Mark Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (July)