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Cover Reveal: LEAGUE OF LIARS by Astrid Scholte

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Today we’re revealing the cover for Astrid Scholte’s League of Liars! In this fantasy thriller from the author of Four Dead Queens, four teens charged with murder and caught up with the illegal use of magic band together to devise the ultimate jailbreak. Perfect for fans of Six of Crows and How to Get Away with Murder.

Ever since his mother was killed, seventeen-year-old Cayder Broduck has had one goal—to see illegal users of magic brought to justice. People who carelessly use extradimensional magic for their own self-interest, without a care to the damage it does to society or those around them, deserve to be punished as far as Cayder is concerned. Because magic always has a price. So when Cayder lands a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to apprentice under a premier public defender, he takes it. If he can learn all the tricks of public defense, the better he’ll be able to dismantle defense arguments when he’s a prosecutor. Then he’ll finally be able to make sure justice is served.

But when he meets the three criminals he’s supposed to defend, it no longer seems so black and white. They’re teenagers, like him, and their stories are . . . complicated, like his. Vardean, the prison where Cayder’s new clients are incarcerated, also happens to be at the very heart of the horrible tear in the veil between their world and another dimension—where all magic comes from.

League of Liars is a dark and twisty mystery set in a richly-drawn world where nothing is as it seems, rife with magic, villains and danger.

Scroll down to see the gorgeous cover and read a sneak peek!

League of Liars

Cover and jacket design: Theresa Evangelista

 

Becoming a criminal is a choice,”my father would say. “We either choose to accept the ways thingsare or try to force fate’s hand.”

Father always spoke in such definitive terms: Shadows were dangerous. Edem was illegal. And liars were cowards.

Well, then call me a coward, because some lies were necessary. Like the tiny detail of where I was working over summer. What my father didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.

Before I left the house,I checked to see if my sister had once again snuck in via the lattice work outside her bedroom.

“Seriously, Leta,” I groaned at her disappointingly empty room. Apparently, I wasn’t the only Broduck keeping secrets.

Over the last month she’d been away more than home, and even Father was bound to notice her absence.

After inhaling breakfast, I joined the commuters gathered by the local trolley stop to Downtown Kardelle. Although the permacloud hung over the capital city, diffusing shadows into a safe gray, the group stood away from the buildings. Despite what Father said, shadows weren’t inherently dangerous, but people instinctually shied away from what could linger within.

The 7:30 trolley announced itself by screeching around the bend. The carriage hurtled by, packed to the brim with commuters, the driver not even offering a wave of apology as he passed the stop.

It hadn’t taken me long to learn the trolley never ran to schedule and I had to be thirty minutes early to arrive at work on time. Last week marked the start of my three-month apprenticeship at Edem Legal Aid before starting my final year at school. My mentor was none other than Graymond Toyer, the number one public defender of edem-based crimes.And an old friend of my father’s. I needed Mr. Toyer’s recommendation if I wanted to shorten the duration of my undergrad studies and apply to law school after two years instead of the usual four. And as my sister liked to remind me, patience wasn’t one of my virtues.

That wasn’t entirely true; she said I possessed no virtues.

I planned to eventually become a prosecutor for the Crown Court. The Crown Court was the highest court in the land, and dealt with the most serious edem crimes. But studying the other side of the law would be invaluable as a prosecutor, ensuring justice prevailed for victims and their families. Families like mine.

As I glanced at my watch, something bright sparkled off the glass face.

A spot of sunshine.

Thanks to the machine in the center of the city that pumped water into the air at the exact right temperature to generate a fog, it was rare to glimpse unobstructed sunlight. Occasionally, if the temperature unexpectedly changed, the permacloud would falter, allowing the sun to break through. With sun came the darkest shadows.

While most streets had been cleared of any substantial trees, and the shadows they could cast, hundreds of lampposts lined the sidewalk to flood diffused light at nighttime. With nearly constant cloud cover during the day, the lampposts’ shadows shouldn’t be a concern.

But now, with the sun streaking though the cloud, the thin gray lines on the sidewalk turned black. And within the pitch- black shadow lay a shifting substance—as though something dark and simmering had been spilled onto the pavement.

Edem.

I glanced at the commuters around me. No one else appeared to notice the edem lying within the shadow. I planned to ignore it, until the man beside me moved into the patch of sunlight.

From behind, we could have been mistaken for one another: both in tailored suits, his hair not too dissimilar from my own structured dark brown coif. But his skin was much paler than my warm beige. I wouldn’t have given him a second glance until he bent to the ground.

Surely he wasn’t about to—

“Please.” His voice was urgent as the inky shadows trickled over his skin like liquid,covering his fingers in darkness. “I can’t be late. Not again.I’ll lose my job.Please. Help me.”

Edem spread from the lamppost’s shadow, across the sidewalk, and into the cobblestone street.It pooled in the center of the street and began to rise into the shape of a trolley—near where a child was crossing the tracks. The trolley would run them down before they could even realize what happened!

The shadows began to solidify and turn red. In a moment, the trolley would be pulled into our reality from somewhere in the past or future. What would happen if there were people on that trolley when it disappeared? If they were still on the tracks, when this careless man was done with it, they too could be killed.

I shoved the man away from the shadow. The shadows on the street dispersed instantly, the connection to the edem lost.

“Hey!” I gestured to the kid crossing the tracks. “You could have killed him!”

“I’m sorry!” the man cried.“Please don’t tell the Regency! I was desperate!”

The trolley was always late,and yet this man was the only one who sought out edem. He had decided to act selfishly and damn the consequences. It was that exact kind of thoughtlessness that had killed my mother.

“I’m sorry!” the man said again.

The woman beside me had already opened a panel on the nearest lamppost and pulled out a pair of shackles. She snapped them onto the man’s wrists,locking him to the post before he could make a run for it.

The Regency had their own trolley line that ran throughout the city, allowing them to dispatch agents to sites of edem crimes and any attempted usage. Opening the panel alerted the Regency; it took only ten minutes for them to arrive at the scene.

 

Coming Feb 2, 2022. Preorder your copy here!

Miss any other amazing cover reveals this week? See the cover for Melissa de la Cruz’s Cinder & Glass here!

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