A certain mood is in the air and it smells like pumpkin spice. Fall approaches. The days will soon get shorter, nights colder. It’s the ideal time to get cozy with dark fantasy stories. Luckily, Amazon Original Stories will debut their first such collection soon. Into Shadow brings together seven incredible authors and their twisting tales. Nerdist has the cover reveals for each short story and an exclusive excerpt from one of the shorts.
Let’s look at the Into Shadow covers first:
The covers all definitely have an imposing vibe. This collection features characters “who venture into the depths where others fear to tread.” And as you can see from Into Shadow‘s covers, the stories come from impressive Hugo and Nebula award-winning authors. Into Shadow includes these short stories:
The Garden by Tomi Champion-Adeyemi
In this dreamlike short story told in alternating prose and verse, number one New York Times best-selling author Tomi Champion-Adeyemi weaves a tale of a young woman’s journey to find her mother and uncover her secrets.
Persephone by Lev Grossman
A teenage nobody crosses a line that will change her life forever in this short coming-of-age story by number one New York Times best-selling author Lev Grossman.
The Six Deaths of the Saint by Alix E. Harrow
The Saint of War spares the life of a servant girl so she can fulfill her destiny as the kingdom’s greatest warrior in this short story of love and loyalty by New York Times best-selling author Alix E. Harrow.
What the Dead Know by Nghi Vo
A woman posing as a medium who can channel the spirit world comes face to face with the truth in this short historical fantasy by Hugo Award–winning author Nghi Vo.
Undercover by Tamsyn Muir
When a stranger comes to town, secrets are sure to come out. New York Times best-selling author Tamsyn Muir spins a twisty—and twisted—short story of revenge and survival.
The Candles Are Burning by Veronica G. Henry
Amid the modern trappings of 1950s Savannah, an ancient evil threatens a young widow and her daughter in this chilling short story by award-winning author Veronica G. Henry.
Out of the Mirror, Darkness by Garth Nix
A cynical “fixer” for a silent-film studio must confront the shadows behind the bright lights in this noir-tinged short story by New York Times best-selling author Garth Nix.
We have an extra special treat from Into Shadow. Read on for an excerpt from Alix E. Harrow‘s The Six Deaths of the Saint.
You were a child the first time the Saint of War came to you.
You had fallen ill again, in the tiresome and inevitable way of the underfed, and the steward had sent you out to the barn so the Lord and Lady might not be disturbed by your fevered moaning. You weren’t missed; you were one of a dozen fatherless, half-feral children that squabbled and starved in the shadows of the keep. Only the stable boy came to visit you: a waifish, bowlegged creature who had trailed after you like a stray dog ever since you took a beating from the cook in his place.
You hadn’t done it out of any particular affection, but you liked the way he looked at you afterward, as if you were a hero stepped out of some bard’s song, tall as an oak and twice as strong. Now he crouched at your side, sometimes holding a cup to your chapped lips or pressing the fragile bones of his hand to your brow. You thought you would probably die soon.
And then the Saint came.
You were staring up at the rotten thatch of the roof, wondering if anyone would remember your name long enough to mark your grave, and then you were looking at a woman’s face.
She didn’t seem much like the saints in the songs. Her lips were sunken where teeth were missing, and her skin was puckered with old scars. There was a fresh wound above her jaw, livid and weeping, and the armor that lapped her shoulders was dented and scored with battle. Her eyes were rather fine, you thought—the lavish blue of the Virgin’s own robe, just like yours—but she carried no cross and wore a rusted mail hood instead of a halo.
But she said, in a voice like a dull blade dragged across a stone, “I am the Saint of War,” and you lost a great deal of faith in the bards’ songs. “Rise,” she said, “your kingdom needs you.”
You rose. Your joints grated, and your vision spun in sickening lurches, but you rose, because she was a saint and you were nothing, because no one had ever needed you before.
“Go,” the Saint said, “he waits for you.”
You stumbled out of the dimness of the stables and into the hard light of day. You could only open your eyes for a few stinging seconds at a time, so that the yard emerged in a series of flashes. Strange men on horseback. Winter light on steel. The sleek, foreign shine of well-bred horses.
You kept walking until you couldn’t, until the pale stalks of your legs simply folded up on themselves.
Someone high above you said, “Is this the girl?” and someone else answered, in a voice like a well-greased hinge, “Yes, sire.”
Then there were boots beside your face. You rolled onto your back and saw, for the second time that day, the face of a saint. This one looked much more like the songs said: young and beautiful, entirely unmarred. There was a shine to him, a subtle emanation of health and prosperity. He even wore a halo, you thought; you had never seen a crown before.
He asked your name, but before you could answer, you heard your Lady’s voice, breathless and mean, “Forgive us, my Prince, she is no one! A devil, sent to plague us.”
The Lady had often called you a devil, as had the cook, the steward, the master of hounds, all the laundresses, and the woodcutter, but it had not previously concerned you. Now you found yourself ashamed, filled with a freshly hatched fear that you would be banished from the golden presence of the Prince, unwanted, unneeded.
But he only smiled down at you. He wore an expression you had never seen before, an avid, scorching hunger, which you thought must be love.
He lifted you in his arms—you were hideously aware of every scabbed sore, every flea scuttling through the reddish mat of your hair—and said to the Lady, “Well, she is my Devil now.”
And you found you did not mind being a devil, so long as you were his.
Into Shadow arrives on November 15 in ebook and audiobook. The collection is free for Prime members and available in Kindle Unlimited. Non-members can also purchase Into Shadow.