cover image This Is How You Lose the Time War

This Is How You Lose the Time War

Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. Saga, $19.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-5344-3100-3

In this exquisitely crafted tale, two special agents from competing factions forge an unexpected relationship through messages left behind as they wage a secret war across space and time. Red, who represents a society dominated by technology and artificial intelligences, and Blue, the product of a biological mass consciousness, must never—can never—meet, even as they work to secure the future for their masters. Instead, they communicate in hundreds of different ways, their words hidden beneath layers of subtlety and deception, in direct defiance of every rule they’ve ever followed. As taunts and challenges gradually give way to endearments and secrets, the two women must determine their true roles in the unending time war. Part epistolary romance, part mind-blowing science fiction adventure, this dazzling story unfolds bit by bit, revealing layers of meaning as it plays with cause and effect, wildly imaginative technologies, and increasingly intricate wordplay. El-Mohtar (The Honey Month) and Gladstone (the Craft Sequence) pack their narrative full of fanciful ideas and poignant moments, weaving a tapestry stretching across the millennia and through multiple realities that’s anchored with raw emotion and a genuine sense of wonder. This short novel warrants multiple readings to fully unlock its complexities. Agent: DongWon Song, Howard Morhaim Literary. (July)