That said, THE CITY OF BRASS is a debut and book one of a trilogy. And as a non-Muslim, I’m sure there are parts of the novel that may resonate more with other readers, and that’s not only entirely fine, but pretty great. I’m glad this book exists. What Chakraborty gives us is truly beautiful. Summary from Goodreads: S. Chakraborty continues the sweeping adventure begun in The City of Brass—'the best adult fantasy I’ve read since The Name of the Wind' (#1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir)—conjuring a world where djinn summon flames with the snap of a finger and waters run deep with old magic; where blood can be dangerous as any spell, and a clever con artist.The City of Brass (Daevabad Trilogy #1)
S.A. Chakraborty wowed us in 2016 with her debut novel The City of Brass, a deeply imagined Middle Eastern fantasy with a feisty, fascinating protagonist, an engaging magic system, and a rich lore. Below, she joins us to talk about expanding on that latter element in the sequel, The Kingdom of Copper, which arrives on shelves in January.
Everyone says second books are hard, but one of the delights of writing a trilogy is watching the world you’ve created grow larger and deeper. In The City of Brass, I envisioned a world of djinn hidden just beneath the surface of our own; powerful, capricious beings who watch the rise and fall of human empires with the glee we might cheer the misdeeds of celebrities. When they get a little too interested in humanity—toying with them and using them as pawns in their own war against the marid, powerful water elementals—they’re promptly punished: divided into separate tribes, stripped of their most powerful magic, and banished across the world.The Kingdom of Copper (Daevabad Trilogy #2)
My story picks up centuries later, during which the djinn have created a new world, inspired by both magic and the human lands in which they have sheltered—and whose deadly manner of politics they have taken up. However, while The City of Brass mostly focuses on Daevabad, the capital of their world, The Kingdom of Copper opens up the world to the other magical lands that the six tribes inhabit.
I’m so excited now to share part of that world with everyone now: the tribal sigils, each routed in the history of the land and culture of each djinn tribe. These are markers they would proudly use to identify themselves. Some are fairly straight-forward: the Sahrayn use the sails of their famed sand-ships while the Daevas prefer the distinct fire altars of their sacred faith. Others were inspired by trade symbols: the Agnivanshi tiger is reminiscent of the seals of the Harappans and the crescent moon ringed by rondels was a popular pattern on the clothing of early Silk Road travelers. The Geziri antelope is a nod to the ancient rock art that still litters the landscape of much of the Arabian peninsula, and for the Ayaanle—a tribe concerned with justice both in the law and the marketplace—an antique scale, the color a nod to the rich headwaters of the Nile River.
Sprawling from the shores of the Maghreb across the vast depths of the Sahara Desert is QART SAHAR— a land of fables and adventure even to the djinn. An enterprising people not particularly enamored of being ruled by foreigners, the Sahrayn know the mysteries of their country better than any— the still lush rivers that flow in caves deep below the sand dunes and the ancient citadels of human civilizations lost to time and touched by forgotten magic. Skilled sailors, the Sahrayn travel upon ships of conjured smoke and sewn cord over sand and sea alike.
Nestled between the rushing headwaters of the Nile River and the salty coast of Bet il Tiamat lies TA NTRY, the fabled homeland of the mighty Ayaanle tribe. Rich in gold and salt— and far enough from Daevabad that its deadly politics are more game than risk, the Ayaanle are a people to envy. But behind their gleaming coral mansions and sophisticated salons lurks a history they’ve begun to forget . . . one that binds them in blood to their Geziri neighbors.
Surrounded by water and caught behind the thick band of humanity in the Fertile Crescent, the djinn of AM GEZIRA awoke from Suleiman’s curse to a far different world than their fire- blooded cousins. Retreating to the depths of the Empty Quarter, to the dying cities of the Nabateans and to the forbidding mountains of southern Arabia, the Geziri eventually learned to share the hardships of the land with their human neighbors, becoming fierce protectors of the shafit in the process. From this country of wandering poets and zulfiqar- wielding warriors came Zaydi al Qahtani, the rebel- turned- king who would seize Daevabad and Suleiman’s seal from the Nahid family in a war that remade the magical world.
Stretching from the Sea of Pearls across the plains of Persia and the mountains of gold- rich Bactria is mighty DAEVASTANA— and just past its Gozan River lies Daevabad, the hidden city of brass. The ancient seat of the Nahid Council— the famed family of healers who once ruled the magical world— Daevastana is a coveted land, its civilization drawn from the ancient cities of Ur and Susa and the nomadic horsemen of the Saka. A proud people, the Daevas claimed the original name of the djinn race as their own . . . a slight that the other tribes never forget.
East of Daevabad, twisting through the peaks of Karakorum Mountains and the vast sands of the Gobi is TUKHARISTAN. Trade is its lifeblood, and in the ruins of forgotten Silk Road kingdoms, the Tukharistanis make their homes. They travel unseen in caravans of smoke and silk along corridors marked by humans millennia ago, carrying with them things of myth: golden apples that cure any disease, jade keys that open worlds unseen, and perfumes that smell of paradise.
Extending from the brick bones of old Harappa through the rich plains of the Deccan and misty marshes of the Sundarbans lies AGNIVANSHA. Blessedly lush in every resource that could be dreamed—and separated from their far more volatile neighbors by wide rivers and soaring mountains— Agnivansha is a peaceful land famed for its artisans and jewels… and its savvy in staying out of Daevabad’s tumultuous politics.
Preorder The Kingdom of Copper, available January 22, 2019.
Chakraborty is a speculative fiction author that is best known for ‘The Brass City’. Shannon has garnered a reputation for writing fantasy centered on and around Islamic mysticism and the legends of the Middle East.+BiographyS.A. Chakraborty came onto the scene at a time when Middle Eastern fantasy fiction was a rarity on the literary stage. A native of New Jersey and a wife and mother, Shannon has loved fantasy for as long as she can remember.To be more precise, Shannon has loved reading for as long as she can remember. Over time her interests have transformed. The author has a thriving interest in Middle Eastern matters.You are likely to find her on social media engaging in discussions about politics, Islam, history and their relation to art.A history buff, ‘The City of Brass’ put S.A.
Chakraborty on the map, showcasing the storytelling potential that lay dormant in Middle Eastern culture.+Literary careerShannon A. Chakraborty started her journey to publishing success as an author of short fiction. She garnered the attention of curious readers via stories published in resources like ‘Fey Visions of the Mediterranean’ and ‘Crossed Genres’.She also started a Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers’ Group through which she gained access to a litany of creative minds that helped her refine her craft.
The author’s big break came when she decided to participate in DVpit.DVpit is a Twitter event designed to bring to light the works of voices that have historically been marginalized in literary publishing. Chakraborty admits that she didn’t expect much from the event.And yet DVpit eventually yielded results, giving the author’s manuscript for ‘The City of Brass’ some much-needed exposure.Shannon’s book seems to strike a chord in the hearts and minds of readers because it is so earnest. And the author admits that she wrote the book, first and foremost, for herself and for her community.She didn’t think major publishers would ever show interest in her brand of fantasy fiction.
So when she learned that she was on her way to securing a book deal and that major publishers were engaged in a bidding war over her book, the author was astounded.Shannon didn’t think the western publishing arena had the stomach for a book about the Islamic Golden Age. And even when she heard about the auction of her manuscript, she was afraid that she would be asked to heavily censor her story, cutting out prayers, eliminating the Arabic language and inserting all those tropes of Western fiction that made manuscripts more palatable to major publishers.But none of those requests ever came. If anything, Shannon was encouraged to dig deeper into the Middle Eastern roots of her story.S.A. Chakraborty imputes her success to Voyager (the publisher) and Priyanka, her editor. Chakraborty and Priyanka were a perfect match for one another.
The editor was passionate about the culture in Shannon’s stories.She understood what the author was trying to achieve and her advice pushed Shannon to refine her story until she finally had a quality piece of fantasy fiction ready for publication.Shannon doesn’t relish returning to the desperation of her earlier days as an aspiring author. She didn’t like the manner in which social media consumed her as she went querying for interest in her stories.S.A. Chakraborty started writing fantasy because it was a hobby she was especially passionate about. Over time, she came to view it as an artistic pursuit. But writing didn’t feel like it was any of those things for a while because she was spending hours making pitches and following up on queries.Shannon’s only advice for aspiring authors is for them to always be prepared.
Shannon had her novel written and her synopsis, query and every other requirement ready by the time requests from DVPit came her way.S.A. Chakraborty wasn’t exactly bitter that there was no fantasy fiction of note in bookstores that represented her history and her culture.
But she was excited by the prospect of adding that Middle Eastern element to the fantasy fiction landscape.Or at least, those are the thoughts that occupied Shannon when her book deal was secured. Before that, the author just wanted to write a story for herself.
As a history buff, she was enthusiastic about writing a story that delved into the Ancient Islamic world. Shannon wrote the book quietly for a very long time.Once she got over her nerves and showed it to her writing group, they helped her perfect it.For all the writing talent she brought to the table, Shannon knows she might not have gotten so far if it wasn’t for Jennifer, her agent. Jennifer was immediately impressed by the author’s manuscript because she knows how difficult fantasy can be to write, especially Epic Fantasy.Jennifer was surprised to find an author like S.A. Chakraborty who not only balanced numerous complex characters but also wrote beautifully.+The City of BrassHahri doesn’t have magic. Sure, she’s survived for a long time on the Streets of Cairo using what other people perceive to be signs of magic like healings and palm readings. But Nahri knows the truth.She’s a con woman. She knows all the necessary skills to make people believe whatever she wants them to believe.
That is the sort of person she needs to be to survive in the 18th Century.And she doesn’t necessarily feel terrible about taking from Ottoman nobles. But Nahri doesn’t believe in actual magic. Or rather she did not. Then one of her cons went wrong and she brought an actual djinn warrior into the world.Now Nahri knows the truth. Magic is real and all the tales she used to hear as a child might be true. The discovery drags Nahri into a new world, one filled with mythical creatures and ancient wonders.Nahri begins an adventure that reveals her connection to Daevabad, the so-called city of brass.
In entering Daevabad, Nahri must deal with the fierce and brutal power waiting within.Even in the world of magic, there is no shortage of politics, scheming and betrayal.S.A. Chakraborty’s debut novel takes readers to the Middle East, revealing an aspect of fantasy that has yet to be explored.