I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a bit of a fangirl for A. G. Slatter‘s writing – it’s just so gothic and creepy and fantastic in exactly the way that I love. I’ve reviewed her previous two novels here (All the Murmuring Bones) and here (The Path of Thorns) – and you’ll see if you follow the links that I absolutely adored both. Obviously I was thrilled to discover there was a third book on the way, set in this same world (and even more when I spotted on Slatter’s website that number 4 is in the works too!). The Briar Book of the Dead is one of my most anticipated books of 2024, and I’m super grateful to the lovely team at New South Book for kindly sending me an early copy. It arrived a few weeks ago, and I’ve been saving it to read once we made it through the madness of January birthdays and holidays and back to school. The first weekend of February gifted me a lovely Sunday of no plans, perfect for slipping back into this beautiful world.
I’m currently about a quarter of the way through and, as expected, really enjoying getting to know these new to me characters. It’s one of those reading situations where I’m torn between wanting to devour the entire story in a single sitting versus just wanting to stretch it out forever. The Briar Book of the Dead is out on 13 February and I’ll be back with a proper review soon. In the meantime you can check out the synopsis below., and if you haven’t read the other stories set in the world I absolutely recommend them (just to note, this is sort of a series in that the books are set in the same world, and have the same vibe, but it isn’t a series where you follow a narrative across books, so you could start with any of the three titles.)
Let me know if you have this one on your tbr – or if you’ve read the previous books – in the comments! I’d also love to know ehat you’re reading this week if you want to share.
Synopsis – The Briar Book of the Dead by A.G. Slatter
Ellie Briar is the first non-witch to be born into her family for generations. The Briar family of witches run the town of Silverton, caring for its inhabitants with their skills and magic. In the usual scheme of things, they would be burnt for their sorcery, but the church has given them dispensation in return for their protection of the borders of the Darklands, where the much-feared Leech Lords hold sway.
Ellie is being trained as a steward, administering for the town, and warding off the insistent interest of the church. When her grandmother dies suddenly, Ellie’s cousin Audra rises to the position of Briar Witch, propelling Ellie into her new role. As she navigates fresh challenges, an unexpected new ability to see and speak to the dead leads her to uncover sinister family secrets, stories of burnings, lost grimoires and evil spells. Reeling from one revelation to the next, she seeks answers from the long dead and is forced to decide who to trust, as a devastating plot threatens to destroy everything the Briar witches have sacrificed so much to build.