The Duchess of the Shallows - a fantasy novel by Neil McGarry and Daniel Ravipinto

The Duchess of the Shallows – A fresh twist on fantasy

Marina Kell knows what it means to be forgotten.

Once she had a family, an honored name, a lavish home and an assured future. Then came the night of fire and all of it was taken–her father, her brother, her sister, her life.

Then she was called Duchess, and she lived in a baker's shop, in a cramped room she shared with two girls who were not her sisters, raised by two people who were not her parents. Then came the letter, and she lost even that small comfort.

It is a common tale in the fog-bound city of Rodaas. There are many who have found themselves fallen through the cracks. There is Duchess' best friend, Lysander the ganymede, a graceful ‘escort’ to those of better means. There is Minette, the mistress of the Vermillion brothel and obsessive collector of secrets. There are the wretched poor of the Deeps, the working underclass of the Shallows, and the beggars who cry for alms along the Godswalk. Foreigners, women of ambition, men who love men–the powerless and unremembered all go through their daily lives unheeded by the wealthy and powerful who rule from the top of the great hill.

But unlike her fellow unfortunates, Duchess has a chance. For with the letter that ended her life with the baker came a single brass coin with the image of a snake devouring its own tail: an invitation to join a secret society of thieves, spies and rumormongers known as the Grey, who stands supreme in a city where corruption and lies are common coin. They are as forgotten and invisible as the rest, but they lay claim to a subtle power that can shift the fortunes of high and low alike.

To join their ranks, Duchess must call upon both memories of her old life and the resources of the new. She must make an uncertain alliance with Minette, match wits with a masked prophet, and, ultimately, face down the most feared man of the city's slums.

And when she is finished, the city will never, ever forget her.