Speculative fiction
Tower of Mud and Straw – Yaroslav Barsukov

Tower of Mud and Straw – Yaroslav Barsukov

Nebula nominated!


Minister Shea Ashcroft refuses the queen’s order to gas a crowd of protesters. After riots cripple the capital, he’s banished to the border to oversee the construction of the biggest anti-airship tower in history. The use of otherworldly technology makes the tower volatile and dangerous; Shea has to fight the local hierarchy to ensure the construction succeeds—and to reclaim his own life.

He must survive an assassination attempt, find love, confront the place in his memory he’d rather erase, encounter an ancient legend, travel to the origin of a species—and through it all, stay true to his own principles.

Climbing back to the top is a slippery slope, and somewhere along the way, one is bound to fall.


Stellar reviews!

“One of the best and most compelling fantasy novellas of the year.” ―RisingShadow.net

“In the ever growing market for novellas, Barsukov’s story is a contender for the top brackets. It’s clever, it’s feverish, and leaves much up for interpretation.” ―The Quill to Live

“It’s different, and eye-catching, with stunning prose and a shocking amount of depth and story.” ―Bookworm Blues

“A fine example of a novella format.” ―Fantasy Book Critic

“Like a good opera, Yaroslav is a master at setting the stage and pulling at heartstrings.” ―Queen’s Book Asylum

“A very intriguing look into a world that I hope will be further explored.” ―Novel Notions

“Tower of Mud and Straw is a poetic tale of love, loss, and otherworldly powers. The luscious bittersweet feel of this novella will haunt readers in the best sort of way.” ―Beth Cato (author of Breath of Earth)

“Barsukov’s prose is not merely a feast for the eyes, it is an explosion of textures, a narrative metaphor that wraps the reader in gritty burlaps of politics, the oaken solidity of wonder, and powerful silks of longing.” ―Lawrence M. Schoen (author of Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard)

“Yaroslav’s steampunk and magic world sets a vividly imagined stage for a novella full of otherworldly political intrigue.” ―Tobias Buckell (author of Halo: The Cole Protocol)

“Poetry in prose… I love a story that is huge, but also incredibly intimate, and this novella managed to encompass both of these things.” ―Miltos Yerolemou (Syrio Forel in Game of Thrones)

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