Follow the Author
Scarlet Odyssey (Scarlet Odyssey, 1) Hardcover – July 1, 2020
|New from||Used from|
Enhance your purchase
“Thrillingly refreshing, a propulsive story built around a fascinating cast of characters…brutal and beautiful and bold and Black in every way.” ―Tor.com
Magic is women’s work; war is men’s. But in the coming battle, none of that will matter.
Men do not become mystics. They become warriors. But eighteen-year-old Salo has never been good at conforming to his tribe’s expectations. For as long as he can remember, he has loved books and magic in a culture where such things are considered unmanly. Despite it being sacrilege, Salo has worked on a magical device in secret that will awaken his latent magical powers. And when his village is attacked by a cruel enchantress, Salo knows that it is time to take action.
Salo’s queen is surprisingly accepting of his desire to be a mystic, but she will not allow him to stay in the tribe. Instead, she sends Salo on a quest. The quest will take him thousands of miles north to the Jungle City, the political heart of the continent. There he must gather information on a growing threat to his tribe.
On the way to the city, he is joined by three fellow outcasts: a shunned female warrior, a mysterious nomad, and a deadly assassin. But they’re being hunted by the same enchantress who attacked Salo’s village. She may hold the key to Salo’s awakening―and his redemption.
Frequently bought together
An Amazon Best Book of the Month: Science Fiction & Fantasy
“Rwizi says he based his unique science fiction and worldly tale on myths and stories he heard growing up in Swaziland…Because Rwizi combines technology, science fiction and myth, the novel is like a video game filled with action and tension…Rwizi delivers a fast-paced story with vivid images of sub-Saharan Africa, lacing Salo’s epic journey with flash, violence and drama, and a love story.” ―Authorlink
“Rwizi’s debut is noteworthy for its African-inspired setting.” ―Library Journal
“It’s a thrilling, fanciful debut, crammed full of imaginative world-building and excellent dialogue.” ―RevolutionsSF
“Raised in Swaziland and Zimbabwe but now residing in South Africa, C.T. Rwizi is a remarkable new talent. He deftly juggles five very different protagonists, establishes a vast yet intricate new magical system unlike anything else I’ve ever seen, and unfolds stories scattered across the distant past, the chaotic present, and in entirely different planes of existence.” ―Tor.com
“C. T. Rwizi…builds a rich setting by combining recognizable aspects of his home with deft and fantastical world-building.” ―Medium
About the Author
Debut author C. T. Rwizi was born in Zimbabwe, grew up in Swaziland, finished high school in Costa Rica, and got a BA in government at Dartmouth College in the United States. He currently lives in South Africa with his family, and enjoys playing video games, taking long runs, and spending way too much time lurking on Reddit. He is a self-professed lover of synthwave.
Everyone loves Halloween candy―even Turkey. But how can he and his barnyard friends get any when the farmers give it out only to children? | Learn more
- Publisher : 47North (July 1, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 560 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1542023823
- ISBN-13 : 978-1542023825
- Item Weight : 1.45 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.6 x 1.9 x 8.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,640,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The basic magical system is analogous to sorcerous code, which sounds ludicrous but actually works quite well. The details are explained in broad strokes but with sufficient detail to leave me quite comfortable in my understanding while also promising wild new levels in later books. The requirement that understanding comes through agony perfectly sets the stage for a dark, high fantasy story arc, coloring the various characters even as it empowers them. The entire system is drawn with layers upon layers and overall one of the best systems of magic I’ve seen devised. Serious kudos to the author for his work here. The only serious competitor to this that I’ve read is the Wheel of Time saga. Seriously, it’s that good.
Characters are sharply drawn, believable and relatable; even the core villains are given quite human and varied motivations and backstories. The core characters are strong, as required for high fantasy, with the mandatory and timeworn human frailties and need to determine their limits, but their execution is fresh and bold. No Mary Sues or stylistic anti-heroes here, but again, the execution is better than the vast majority of published work. Early on I thought the author was going to venture down the safe but boring avenue of Woke “diversity” but I was wrong - characters (and nations/tribes) are truly diverse and complicated. I had no difficulty keeping clear the many characters in spite of unfamiliar names. Every major character has depth and mystery without leaving the character less approachable.
Pacing throughout is excellent; nothing ever felt rushed or dragged to me. I’m not a huge fan of third person omniscient done in real time, but it works very well here. The scope of the plot expands perfectly with the characters’ growth, without ever seeming contrived. It’s a large book, and supposed it’s two volumes, but there is plenty of material here to do four or more books. It’s a risk, of course - expanding too far can ruin a promising series, especially if the author has already worked out the story for a shorter series - but there is seriously a great deal of intriguing depth hinted at here.
Another part of the novel I found very impressive was its character-plot depth. Like the Wheel of Time or Game of Thrones tales, there is a great game with incredibly powerful players, but the pieces have their own complex and human motivations and albeit necessarily lesser powers and a definite meta-game above the players which may well be directing their actions. In that respect, it’s actually better conceived than either of those great fantasy series. The proof’s in the execution, of course, but so far I’m greatly impressed.
Highly recommended to anyone who loves gritty, dark high fantasy. Honestly one of the best books I’ve read in a long term me. Off to buy the next and hoping the author writes alot in this series. Two books simply aren’t enough!
Top reviews from other countries
This story was very well written, the characters well drawn, and there was plenty of description of the landscapes as well as the action. It is obvious that there will be a sequel, but it doesn't end on an almighty cliffhanger (much to my relief).
If you are looking for something a little different from your fantasy, this could be the novel for you.
I quickly fell in love with Salo, the apparently timid boy who is paralysed with fear when facing dangerous creatures and can’t fight all that well. Having become very familiar with the dynamic where women and girls are ostracised for wanting to move out of the domestic sphere, I found it a refreshing change that Salo is shunned for not being a warrior, instead being drawn to magic – normally the preserve of the women of the tribe.
Though this form of sorcery isn’t for the faint-hearted. Mastery of magic requires pain and sacrifice and in order to access some of the more powerful layers, lines have to be crossed. It rapidly becomes a lot darker, when the requirement becomes what you have to offer up what you love most… and no, we’re not talking about your favourite item of clothing or jewellery. I was a bit shaken at the brutal cost of it. However, I thought about my reaction and wondered why this magical system struck me as particularly violent. Because it’s not as if European fantasy is remotely cosy, either – but I’ve grown up with that dynamic and am accustomed to how it works. Ditto the stories of sand and sorcery I’ve been reading recently, such as the Daevabad trilogy – just think of Dara’s bloody backstory – but I was acclimatised to tales about djinn since I was a girl. Not so with African magic, which I know very little about. Aspects of it are bloody, coercive and thoroughly dark – like magic systems everywhere else and I think it’s the unfamiliarity of its workings that makes it seem particularly grim.
My mention of S.A. Chakrobarty’s Daevabad trilogy isn’t accidental – the immersive worldbuilding, strong characterisation and complex magical system in Scarlet Odyssey reminded me of many aspects of The City of Brass, including the long, eventful journey. The major difference is the lack of a romantic thread, which I don’t mind at all. I am so impressed with this debut novel – and I’m very much looking forward to reading the next slice of the adventure. Highly recommended for fans of epic fantasy in an African setting.