Set in a richly imagined proxy for medieval Eastern Europe, Spinning Silver delves into the Jewish history of money lending and persecution by way of a dark retelling of the tale of the miller’s daughter, who spins straw into gold and so wins the king’s hand. The province of Lithvas is beset by a ceaseless winter wrought by the Staryk, a malicious people whose magical ice road shimmers in the woods. Desperate to save themselves, their families, and Lithvas from starvation, the three young women at the center of Spinning Silver find themselves bargaining with a king of ice, a demon of fire, and the cultural barriers separating rich from poor and Jew from Gentile. Loving but independent, clever yet plain, Miryem, Irina, and Wanda are rare heroines whom I loved from the start. Romantic, chilling, and deeply intelligent, Spinning Silver is a wonderful read. Recommended By Rhianna W., Powells.com
This beautiful book is so much more than a simple reimagining of a well-known fairy tale. The plot is driven forward by a cast of strong, intelligent women who, while trying to simply survive themselves, also end up saving their loved ones and at least two nations. As with any good fairy tale, the treacherous and beautiful faerie elements live just at the periphery of the mundane, and slip into the lives of the characters in frightening and enticing ways, just like this book will slip into yours. Recommended By Janelle M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A fresh and imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale from the bestselling author of Uprooted, which was hailed as “a very enjoyable fantasy with the air of a modern classic” by The New York Times Book Review.
With the Nebula Award–winning Uprooted, Naomi Novik opened a brilliant new chapter in an already acclaimed career, delving into the magic of fairy tales to craft a love story that was both timeless and utterly of the now. Spinning Silver draws readers deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss.
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty — until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold.
When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk — grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh — Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. Set an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in a peasant girl, Wanda, and the unhappy daughter of a local lord who plots to wed his child to the dashing young tsar.
But Tsar Mirnatius is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and her two unlikely allies embark on a desperate quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power, and love.
Channeling the vibrant heart of myth and fairy tale, Spinning Silver weaves a multilayered, magical tapestry that readers will want to return to again and again.
“A book as cool and mysterious as a winter’s night, with two marvelous heroines at its heart. Spinning Silver pits the cold of endless winter against the fires of duty, love, and sacrifice. I couldn’t put it down.” Katherine Arden, New York Times bestselling author of The Bear and the Nightingale
“Naomi Novik knows how to weave words into magic, and Spinning Silver enchants the reader from the first page. This magnificent tale of three courageous young women who find the power to change their fates will catch you in its spell and linger long after the last chapter is read.” Christina Henry, nationally bestselling author of The Mermaid
About the Author
Naomi Novik is the acclaimed author of the Temeraire series: His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory, Victory of Eagles, Tongues of Serpents, Crucible of Gold, Blood of Tyrants, and League of Dragons. She has been nominated for the Hugo Award and has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, as well as the Locus Award for Best New Writer and the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel. She is also the author of Uprooted and the graphic novel Will Supervillains Be on the Final? She lives in New York City with her husband, Charles Ardai, the founder of Hard Case Crime, and their daughter, Evidence, surrounded by an excessive number of purring computers.
Naomi Novik on PowellsBooks.Blog
I think of Spinning Silver
as a conversation with Rumpelstiltskin — not a retelling of the fairy tale, but the fairy tale was the grain of sand in my oyster, and the book formed around it...