After plenty of sci-fi, otherworldly fantasy, and dystopia over the course of three series, bestselling author Marie Lu is taking on a new challenge with her Spring 2020 novel: YA historical fantasy!
The Kingdom of Back follows Nannerl Mozart, the sister of the Wolfgang Mozart who was a formidable musical force that surpassed even her super-talented brother. Unfortunately, she was born long before it was acceptable for women to pursue a career as a composer and musician. When Nannerl is approached by a magical imp camouflaged as a beautiful young man who offers to solidify her place in history, she’s keen to accept. But what she doesn’t understand about the pact may cost her everything.
Entertainment Weekly revealed the cover of the book, which is inviting, foreboding, and luminescent. Take a look!
The magazine is also giving readers their first glimpse at the novel with a brand new excerpt:
MOZART BY THE OCEAN
Sometimes, a day comes along that seems possessed by a certain shade of magic. You know those moments. There is a peculiar pattern to the silhouettes of leaves quivering against the sunbeam on the floor. The dust in the air glows white, charmed. Your voice is a note suspended in the breeze. The sounds outside your window seem very far away, songs of another world, and you imagine that this is the moment just before something unusual happens. Perhaps it is happening right now.
My day of magic arrived on a bright autumn morning, when the poplar trees swayed against a golden city. I had recently turned eight years old. My brother, Wolfgang, was not yet four.
I was still playing through my exercises when Papa came through the door with Herr Schachtner at his side, the two of them discussing some matter or other about the archbishop, their hair blown wispy from the bustle of the Getreidegasse, the city’s main thoroughfare, on which our home stood.
I paused in the middle of my arpeggios and folded my hands in my lap. Even now, I can remember the uneven stitching of my blue petticoat, my white hands against black clavier keys, the skeleton leaves clinging to Herr Schachtner’s shoulders. His voice had been steeped in something rich and baritone. The scent of the street— wind and smoke and baked bread—lingered like a perfume on his coat.
My lips were rosy and dry. My hair stayed neatly curled behind my neck in loose dark waves, held back with pins. I was still too young to fuss over my appearance, so my mother had left me in a simple state.
“Herr Schachtner!” My mother’s voice sweetened with surprise at the sound of men in the room. She said this as if we were not expecting him at all, the esteemed court trumpeter of Salzburg, as if we had not planned everything in advance for his visit. “Such talk of the archbishop and the orchestra, it’s no wonder you and my husband are always tired. Sebastian,” she added, nodding at our manservant. “The Herr’s coat and hat.”
Sebastian hung up the court trumpeter’s belongings. They were finely made, velvet encrusted with gold lining, his hat made of beaver pelt and trimmed with lace. Beside them, my father’s coat appeared worn, the threads thin at the elbows. My eyes wandered to the hem of my mother’s dress—it was fraying, the color dull. We were the look of a family forever on the edge of respectable.
My father was too busy with our guest to pay me any mind, but Mama noticed the stiffness in my posture and the paleness of my cheeks. She gave me an encouraging glance as she passed me.
Steady, little one, she had said to me earlier in the morning. You have practiced hard for this. Do not be nervous.
The Kingdom of Back hits shelves on March 3, 2020, just six months after Lu’s fourth book in the Legend series, Rebel. You can preorder it now via Amazon or support your local bookstore via Indiebound!