When you die for the one you love, death is only the beginning ...
An epic dark fantasy from the author of the award-winning COMPLETE ALICE IN WONDERLAND, ARACHNE Book I – DEATH, THE BEGINNING chronicles the death and afterlife of Elspeth Wight, a young Steam Age noblewoman whose beloved sister Christabel has died. Without Christabel, the heartbroken Elspeth forsakes her own beliefs. Haunted and reckless, she dares to believe in the whispers of an elder—and her childhood protector—Symon Adler. Symon swears to Elspeth that there is a secret afterlife, and it is there that Christabel’s soul breathes on. He promises the sisters could be reunited in a dark and Gothic paradise, the eternal purgatorial netherworld known only as Embris.
To descend and embrace her sister’s soul, Elspeth must forsake the world of the living. She must poison herself, and die. In rebirth, she lives a never-ending nightmare, a doll-twisted masquerade that spirals down into a truer reality than our own. Falling into Embris, Elspeth discovers the deepest secret of human madness: death is only our flowering, an invitation to a bittersweet eternity, one more wondrous than any mortal faith could ever seek. Embris is revealed as a shadowy Eden, where tortured spirits of the dead are enslaved as puppets and crusaders, lost in an eternal war between primeval horrors and darkest angels. To free the soul of Christabel, Arachne must force her way through poisonous forests, covens of ghost-hounds, the souls of murdered children and a cathedral carved all of ice.
But Elspeth is stolen away to champion the spider-goddess Atropos, and the deepest of living nightmares draws her in. All around her Embris is dying, locked in the endgame of the Immortals’ war. The Idolater—a dark god and enslaver of the souls of butchered children—covets the sisters’ bloodline, in order to birth a deeper paradise from the ashes of the old. Elspeth finds herself torn in an epic struggle not only for her sister’s soul, but also for her own.
(A complete novel, followed by Book II – The Weave of Fate, also available now from Wonderland Imprints. 66,000 words, 25 chapters, 238 pages.)