In the Shadow of the Ship

f/f guilt-ridden magistrate/weary paladin onboard sentient spaceship gone full-on creepy Gothic

Once, a ship fled a war, taking people with her.

The lost. The broken. The grieving.

To them, she demanded nothing but the necessary: a Tribute, to preserve herself.

A Tribute of their own children…

Nightjar: ship, matriarch, savior, killer. She has gone unchallenged for decades–until a once-wayward citizen comes back to her decks for a family funeral…

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Aliette de Bodard adds to her acclaimed Xuya universe with a brand new novella, In the Shadow of the Ship.

Nightjar, sentient ship and family matriarch, looms large in Khuyên’s past. Disappearances drove teenage Khuyên from it, but death will steer her back.

Now an adult and a magistrate, Khuyên came for her maternal grandmother’s funeral but finds herself unwittingly reliving her past on the decaying Nightjar. Children are still disappearing as her childhood friends once did; and worse, her beloved Cousin Anh vanishes after pleading for her help.

Khuyên sets out to save Anh alongside Thảo, a beautiful and mysterious woman who seems to know more than she should about Khuyên and the ship. But saving Anh requires doing what Khuyên couldn’t do before: face her family, face the ship, face her own hopes and fears for the future—a future that might well include Thảo, but only if Khuyên can stop listening to the critical voice in her head.

A voice that sounds an awful lot like Nightjar’s…

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Cover (US): Maurizio Manzieri
Cover (UK): Dirk Berger