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Water Logic

Feb 10, 2018 11:42 am

Water Logic Laurie J. Marks

Laurie J. Marks’s third novel in her ground-breaking and award-winning Elemental Logic series (following Fire Logic and Earth Logic) is a triumph of politics, fantasy, world-building, and intelligent design: of character, world, and magic.

Amid assassinations, rebellions, and the pyres of too many dead, a new government forms in the land of Shaftal—a government of soldiers and farmers, scholars and elemental talents, all weary of war and longing for peace. But some cannot forget their losses, and some cannot imagine a place for themselves in an enemy land. Before memory, before recorded history, something happened that now must be remembered. Zanja na’Tarwein, the crosser of boundaries, born in fire and wedded to earth, has fallen under the ice. Now, by water logic, the logic of patterns repeated, of laughter and music, the lost must be found—or the found may forever be lost.

By water logic, a cow doctor becomes a politician. A soldier becomes a flower farmer. A lost book contains a lost future. The patterns of history are made and unmade.

Read the first chapter.

Listen to Chapter 1 part 1 · part 2

read by Laurie J. Marks.


“Frankly, it’s mind-bending stuff, and refreshing.”
—James Schellenberg, The Cultural Gutter

* “How gifts from the past, often unknown or unacknowledged, bless future generations; how things that look like disasters or mistakes may be parts of a much bigger pattern that produces greater, farther-reaching good results.”
Booklist (Starred Review)

“Finely drawn characters and a lack of bias toward sexual orientation make this a thoughtful, challenging read.”
Library Journal

“Marks’s characters are real people who breathe and sleep and sweat and love; the food has flavor and the landscape can break your heart. You don’t find this often in any contemporary fiction, much less in fantasy: a world you can plunge yourself into utterly and live in with great delight, while the pages turn, and dream of after.”—Ellen Kushner

“Marks plays the fantasy of her unfolding epic more subtly here than in previous volumes, and the resulting depiction of intransigent cultures in conflict, rich with insight into human nature and motives, will resonate for modern readers.”—Publishers Weekly

Map of ShaftalMap of Shaftal by Jeanne Gomoll:

On the web:

Marks was a Guest of Honor at the WisCon convention in Madison, WI.

Laurie is at work on the fourth book in the series and we are very much looking forward to it.


  • Cover image © Corbis. Download cover for print with right click on mouse.
  • Author photo © Deb Mensinger.
  • Map of Shaftal © by Jeanne Gomoll.

Fire Logic

Feb 10, 2018 11:41 am

Fire Logic Laurie J. Marks

The martial Sainnites have occupied Shaftal for fifteen years. Every year the cost of resistance rises. Emil, an officer and scholar; Zanja, a diplomat and last survivor of her people; and Karis, a metalsmith, half-blood giant, and an addict, can only watch as their country falls into lawlessness and famine. Together, perhaps they can change the course of history.

How does an occupying army make peace with those they have subjugated? Can a cycle of violence be broken?

Earth * Air * Water * Fire

These elements have sustained the peaceful people of Shaftal for generations, with their subtle powers of healing, truth, joy, and intuition. But now, Shaftal is dying.

The earth witch who ruled Shaftal is dead, leaving no heir. Shaftal’s ruling house has been scattered by the invading Sainnites. The Shaftali have mobilized a guerrilla army against these marauders, but every year the cost of resistance grows, leaving Shaftal’s fate in the hands of three people: Emil, scholar and reluctant warrior; Zanja, the sole survivor of a slaughtered tribe; and Karis the metalsmith, a half-blood giant whose earth powers can heal, but only when she can muster the strength to hold off her addiction to a deadly drug.

Separately, all they can do is watch as Shaftal falls from prosperity into lawlessness and famine. But if they can find a way to work together, they just may change the course of history.

Elemental Logic: Book 1
Spectrum Award winner
Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award nominee

Read an excerpt. Listen to Chapter 1 read by the author: part 1 · part 2

* “Marks has created a work that is filled with an intelligence that zings off the page. . . . This beautifully written novel includes enough blood and adventure to satisfy the most quest-driven readers.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

* “Marks is an absolute master of fantasy in this book. Her characters are beautifully drawn, showing tremendous emotional depth and strength as they endure the unendurable and strive to do the right thing, and her unusual use of the elemental forces central to her characters’ lives gives the book a big boost. This is a read-it-straight-through adventure!”
Booklist (starred review)

“A deftly painted story of both cultures and magics in conflict. Marks avoids the black-and-white conflicts of generic fantasy to offer a window on a complex world of unique cultures and elemental magic.”
—Robin Hobb

“Like real life, it is all about shades of gray. . . . an immensely political and unflinchingly optimistic novel. Differences are celebrated as often as scorned, and love can be found even with an enemy without the costs that might be expected in our world. Fire Logic questions both the real magic behind faith and the self-selective blindness involved in following a leader: religious, military or political. Characters and story come together effortlessly even as Marks refuses to shy away from complex issues of self-determination, ownership and multicultural coexistence.”—BookPage

“A deep and intriguing read.” – BookSense Daily Pick

“Contained in Fire Logic are some of the most sensual and tender sexual encounters ever captured on paper. She perfectly portrays the timidity, the lust, the uncertainty, of that first connection and the exultation of discovery. The emotion, so raw and vulnerable, is arresting and humbling.” – ME Reviews

“A cast of memorable characters whose lives, loves, and sacrifices combine to imbue faith in a shattered land.”
Library Journal“Marks vividly describes a war-torn land, and the depth of character development makes this novel a page-turner.”
VOYA“Cuts deliciously through the mind to the heart with the delicacy, strength, beauty, and surgical precision of the layered Damascus steel blade that provides one of the book’s central images.”
—Candas Jane Dorsey

“Laurie Marks brings skill, passion, and wisdom to her new novel. Entertaining and engaging—an excellent read!”
—Kate Elliott

“This is a treat: a strong, fast-paced tale of war and politics in a fantasy world where magic based on the four elements of alchemy not only works but powerfully affects the lives of those it touches. An unusual, exciting read.”
—Suzy McKee Charnas

“A glorious cast of powerful, compelling, and appealingly vulnerable characters struggling to do the right thing in a world gone horribly wrong. I couldn’t put this down until I’d read it to the end. Marks truly understands the complex forces of power, desire, and obligation.”
—Nalo Hopkinson

“Most intriguingly, about two-thirds of the way into the book, the low-key magical facets of her characters’ elemental magics rise away from simply being fancy “weapons” and evoke—for both the readers and the characters—that elusive sense of wonder.”
—Charles de Lint, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

“An exquisite novel of quiet charm. Fire Logic is a tale of war and magic, of duty, love and betrayal, of despair encompassed by hope.”
SF Site

Laurie J. Marks is the author of nine novels. Her first two Elemental Logic novels (Fire Logic and Earth Logic) both won the Gaylactic Spectrum Award and received multiple starred reviews. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and teaches at the University of Massachusetts.

Earth Logic

Feb 10, 2018 11:41 am

Earth Logic Laurie J. Marks

A thought-provoking sometimes heartbreaking novel which absorbingly examines the dynamics and power shifts between oppressed and oppressor.

The second book of Shaftal. The country has a ruler again, Karis, a woman who can heal the war-torn land and expel the invaders. But she lives in obscurity with her fractious found family. With war and disease spreading, Karis must act. And when Karis acts, the very stones of the earth sit up and take notice.

Reviews of Earth Logic

* “Another stunner of a book. The powerful but subtle writing glows with intelligence, and the passionate, fierce, articulate, strong, and vital characters are among the most memorable in contemporary fantasy, though not for the faint of heart. Definitely for the thinking reader.”
— Paula Luedtke, Booklist (*Starred Review*)

“Continues the tale of a woman born to magic and destined to rule. Vivid descriptions and a well-thought-out system of magic make this a good selection for most libraries.”—Library Journal

“Twenty years after the invading Sainnites won the Battle of Lilterwess, the struggle for the world of Shaftal is far from finished in Marks’s stirring, intricately detailed sequel to Fire Logic. Full of love and humor as well as war and intrigue, this well-crafted epic fantasy will delight existing fans as surely as it will win new ones.”—Publishers Weekly 

Praise for Fire Logic, Elemental Logic: Book 1

* “Marks has created a work that is filled with an intelligence that zings off the page. . . . This beautifully written novel includes enough blood and adventure to satisfy the most quest-driven readers.”–Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A deftly painted story of both cultures and magics in conflict.”—Robin Hobb

Fire Logic and Earth Logic both received the Gaylactic Spectrum Award.

Cover art by Kathleen Jennings.

Laurie J. Marks‘s Elemental Logic novels (Fire Logic, Earth Logic, and Water Logic) received multiple starred reviews and the first two both won the Gaylactic Spectrum Award. Marks is currently working on the fourth Elemental Logic novel, Air Logic. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and teaches at the University of Massachusetts.

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