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Knife Witch

by Susan diRende

$18 (paperback)  
Forthcoming

Read a sample from the book.

A village kitchen girl has few choices in life until a slip of her knife causes invading barbarian pirates to think she’s a witch. They kidnap her to get the “witch” bounty offered by their home coven. She goes willingly enough with only the clothes on her back and her favorite boning knife.

Dubbed “Knife Witch” by the barbarian captain, Volzh, and his crew, she saves the ship—twice—thanks to what they insist is magic and she protests is nothing more than an itchy disposition and her mad skills at carving and filleting. They start to think of her as “their” witch, and she starts feeling responsible for them as if she actually had the power to protect them. Which is not what she wants. She doesn’t see herself as capable of defeating anything larger than a chicken headed for the soup pot. That she manages to skewer a kraken before it sinks them all does not help her case. Side note: the kraken is telepathic and develops an amorous fascination with her.

Claiming she’s just a kitchen girl, she goes on to wreak havoc with the evil coven, an even evil-er Empire, the kraken determined to marry her, a world-breaking volcano, and the gods themselves.

Be as must be.

Advance Praise

Knife Witch by Susan diRende offers seafaring, kraken-haunted adventure centered on a kitchen maid from a coastal village whose “luck” turns out to be witchery. She soon endears herself to a band of pirate raiders and to the reader. It’s pure pleasure to discover, along with diRende’s spiky narrator, how magic and other forces work in this novel’s archipelago universe. Thoughtful readers will appreciate diRende’s dissections of monstrousness and barbary, but the tale itself is primary: you have to root for this sharp young woman with knives stashed in her hair as she outwits every power ranged against her, from small-town bullies and corrupt witch councils to far greater natural—and supernatural—entities.”
 —Lesley Wheeler, author of Unbecoming and Poetry’s Possible Worlds

“Susan diRende’s unique voice marries funny to fantasy in this rollicking feminist tale of a kitchen worker who discovers she’s a powerful witch after she’s captured by pirates. She takes on krakens and kings, not to mention other witches, all while protecting others (including a dog and the pirates) and doing good (mostly). And she does it her way.
   Anyone who thinks feminism — or, for that matter, fantasy — can’t be funny needs to read Susan diRende.”
 —Nancy Jane Moore, author of For the Good of the Realm

ISBN: 978-1-61976-238-1 (13 digit)
Publication Date: 2023
paperback 252 pages