With a bold frankness that eschews fantasyâ€™s usual reluctance to deal with sex and gender politics, Sebold has conceived one of the most stunning and well-realised female characters in the genre â€“ ex-mercenary turned brothel owner Babylon Steel.
And Babylon is set to return inÂ Dangerous Gifts, which will be published in February 2013.
Babylon Steel runs the best brothel in Scalentine, city of portals. Sheâ€™s escaped her past and itâ€™s all going pretty well. Apart, that is, from the racial conflict and economic misery boiling up in Scalentine.
Her lover, Chief Bitternut of the City Militia, is trying to keep the lid on, while hunting a killer whose real target is a lot closer than he knows. Just as things are getting really tense, Babylon is forced to take another job.Â Bodyguard to Enthemmerlee Entaire: symbol of hope or object of disgust for most of her countryâ€™s population, and a prime target for assassination, along with anyone who happens to be in the way. Such as her bodyguard.
Unintentionally dragging a very annoyed government employee along in her wake, Babylon struggles to turn Enthemmerleeâ€™s squabbling household guard from liability into security, dodge the rigid Moral Statutes of Incandress, and keep both herself and her client alive.Â She soon realises that the situation is far worse than she thought, her past hasnâ€™t quite let go of her yet, and she will be driven to a choice that will have far-reaching consequencesâ€¦
â€œBabylon Steel was one of the most assured and brilliantly written fantasy debuts of 2012,â€ said Solaris editor-in-chief, Jonathan Oliver. â€œGaieâ€™s characters are vivid and brilliantly realised. She is also one of the finest writers on sex and sexual politics in fantasy that Iâ€™ve read. Iâ€™m delighted to welcome her back to Solaris and discover more about Babylon Steelâ€™s exciting and mysterious past. Gaieâ€™s star is fast rising in the fantasy firmament.â€