One of the greatest things about the digital revolution is the opportunities it has created to give new life to old books. Years ago, books rarely came back into circulation once they were taken off the market–but the proliferation of digital self-publishing options, as well as the rise of digital publishers specializing in reprints, has changed all that.
I’ve written nine novels, but until recently, only four were “in print” and available. Today, I’m thrilled to announce that four of my backlist books are being re-released as ebooks by Open Road Media. This brings all but one of my novels back into circulation (that one, Worldstone, was badly in need of updating; I’m planning on revising and self-publishing it later this year).
The Way of Arata Duology
The Way of Arata duology (The Burning Land and The Awakened City) was originally published in 2004 and 2006 by HarperCollins Eos (now Harper Voyager). It’s epic fantasy for adults, featuring diverse characters in an exotic non-Western setting.
Of all my novels, these are the ones of which I’m most proud, and that I feel best represent me as a writer.
From Open Road: A magnificent tale of intolerance, magic, and holy war, the duology explores deep questions of faith and humanity as it transports readers to the kingdom of Arsace, a troubled realm where the newly reborn Brethren cruelly enforce the strict dictates of their once-outlawed deity, Ârata.
The saga chronicles the Brethren’s unrelenting persecution and attempted destruction of the mystical Shapers, powerful renegade mages who escaped into the sacred Burning Land years before, when the Brethren themselves were the victims of a tyrannical atheistic government. It is the story of a traveler in both worlds, a devout Âratist priest and Shaper named Gyalo Amdo Samchen, and the remarkable journey he makes from disciple to doubter to lover of the mysterious Dreamer Axane, and ultimately, to man of peace.
“An involving novel that shines with intelligence…Combined with a solid plot and Strauss’ crisp, clean and literate prose, this is one of those novels that envelops readers, the kind of book that makes it a pleasure to linger in its imagined world.” —Science Fiction Weekly on The Burning Land
” Like A Canticle for Leibowitz, Strauss’s The Awakened City explores deeply reflective themes like the true meaning of faith, the pitfalls of zealotry, and the very dangerous non-spiritual influences of organized religion…[A] highly intelligent, profoundly thought-provoking work.” —Barnes & Noble Explorations on The Awakened City
If you buy The Burning Land, Open Road wants to give you a free ebook of The Awakened City! Just tweet with the hashtag #BoughtBurningLand by March 1(and be sure to follow @OpenRoadMedia so they can notify you if you win). Official rules are here.
To celebrate the re-release, I’m running a Goodreads giveaway! Enter by March 1 to win one of five signed copies of the beautiful original hardcover edition of The Burning Land.
Guardian of the Hills
A historical fantasy for teens, Guardian of the Hills was my third novel, published by Morrow Junior Books in 1995. I had a lot of fun with the research, which included a visit to the fascinating Moundville historical site in Alabama.
Open Road keeps its covers simple, but the new cover is a vast improvement on the original, which I absolutely loathed (even though it was done by a pretty well-known cover artist). Take a look and see what you think.
From Open Road: A young girl in Depression-era Arkansas discovers her Native American heritage when a series of strange and troubling spiritual events plague an archaeological excavation on sacred lands…An ingenious blend of historical fiction and dark fantasy, this is a page-turning tale that thrills and chills in equal measure.
“Mysterious dreams, suspense-filled legends, the terror that unfolds as the dig ensues, and the fine characterizations weave together beautifully to make this adventure fantasy a winner.” —Booklist (starred review)
Guardian of the Hills was chosen as a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age.
For more reviews and an excerpt, click here.
The Lady of Rhuddesmere
Published by Frederick Warne in 1982, The Lady of Rhuddesmere is a historical novel for teens.
Lady was my debut novel. I wrote it when I was 17; it got me an agent who found me a publisher (a journey of nearly 10 years), where a wonderful editor helped me re-write it from beginning to end, and in the process taught me more about writing than I’ve learned before or since.
From Open Road: In this powerful young adult historical fiction classic, a young man serving a sad and secretive lady in an isolated English manor makes a shocking discovery that could destroy those he loves….Nominated for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, Victoria Strauss’s acclaimed debut novel bridges the gap between historical fiction for youth and adults with a chillingly provocative Gothic tale that sheds a stark, revealing light on human cruelty, ignorance, and intolerance.
“Riveting historical fiction . . . A compelling, suspenseful read, with fine accuracy and integration of historical detail.” —School Library Journal
For more reviews, an excerpt, and the (very dramatic) original cover, click here.