No Gods, No Monsters
“. . . immersive prose, strong characters, sharp social commentary, and well-woven speculative elements makes for an unforgettable experience. Fantasy fans won’t want to miss this.” — Publishers Weekly (Starred review)
One October morning, Laina gets the news that her brother was shot and killed by Boston cops. But what looks like a case of police brutality soon reveals something much stranger. Monsters are real. And they want everyone to know it.
As creatures from myth and legend come out of the shadows, seeking safety through visibility, their emergence sets off a chain of seemingly unrelated events. Members of a local werewolf pack are threatened into silence. A professor follows a missing friend’s trail of bread crumbs to a mysterious secret society. And a young boy with unique abilities seeks refuge in a pro-monster organization with secrets of its own. Meanwhile, more people start disappearing, suicides and hate crimes increase, and protests erupt globally, both for and against the monsters.
At the center is a mystery no one thinks to ask: Why now? What has frightened the monsters out of the dark?
The world will soon find out.
An alien ship rests over Water Island. For five years the people of the US Virgin Islands have lived with the Ynaa, a race of superadvanced aliens on a research mission they will not fully disclose. They are benevolent in many ways but meet any act of aggression with disproportional wrath. This has led to a strained relationship between the Ynaa and the local Virgin Islanders and a peace that cannot last.
A year after the death of a young boy at the hands of an Ynaa, three families find themselves at the center of the inevitable conflict, witness and victim to events that will touch everyone and teach a terrible lesson.
A compelling tale of invasive occupation and emotional uprising, Turnbull’s debut is complex and enthralling. . . writer, who crafts speculative stories with black characters on par with Octavia Butler, is definitely one to watch. — Library Journal (Starred review)
The Lesson is everything I adore about a debut, a bold new voice that applies a fresh coat of paint to an old idea and does so with a sense of daring, compassion, and intelligence.— Locus Magazine
Cadwell Turnbull is the author of The Lesson. His short fiction has appeared in The Verge, Lightspeed, Nightmare, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and several anthologies, including The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018 and The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019. His novel The Lesson was the winner of the 2020 Neukom Institute Literary Award in the debut category. The novel was also short-listed for the VCU Cabell Award and long-listed for the Massachusetts Book Award. Turnbull lives in Raleigh and teaches at North Carolina State University.