Gollancz is publishing a "genre-defining" fantasy duology by Icelandic debut author Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson.
Shadows of the Short Days is set in a "strangely familiar" yet "alternate" Reykjavík where wild and industrialised magic meet. Billed as perfect for fans of China Miéville, Lev Grossman and Paulo Bacigalupi, it tells a tale of "damaged" characters forging a revolution against an oppressive government.
The book, the first in a new saga, was picked up from the slush pile by assistant editor Craig Leyenaar. He acquired world rights to two novels from Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maas Literary Agency.
Leyenaar said: "[Dan Vilhjálmsson's] writing instantly stood out as incredibly original and special. It’s haunting, compelling and beautifully written – and I know readers will devour such a striking world and mythology."
Author Dan Vilhjálmsson, who lives in Reykjavík, writes in both Icelandic and English, translating back and forth as necessary, and is the founder and editor of SFF magazine, Furðusögur (Weird Stories). He is also the vocalist and lyricist for an Icelandic black metal band called Carpe Noctem.
He said: "Signing with Gollancz and Jennifer Jackson has been an incredible turn of events for me. When I sent the manuscript in to the open submission I had absolutely zero expectations – it’s been a daydream come true. I am humbled and honoured to have signed not one but two books of the Hrimland Saga with Gollancz. I look forward to working with Craig and the incredible team at Gollancz on these weird Icelandic novels."
Shadows of the Short Days will publish in February 2019 in hardcover (£14.99), export trade paperback (£12.99) and e-book (£7.99).