The Crew of Esher Hill

Cover of The Crew of Esher Hill: A Marchverse Serial by K. A. Cook. Cover shows cartoon-style vines, trees, mushrooms and plants in a swamp theme with lots of aqua and blue-green tones for the plants and leaves, and purple-brown tones for stumps and branches, giving everything an uncanny, unnatural feel. A clear, glowing sphere sits on a stump at the bottom right of the cover. Test written in a white, handdrawn, fantasy-style type.Esher Hill’s dying sister once sold her soul to save Esher’s life. Saving Mara means venturing into the Gast, a dangerous place of magic walled off from the rest of the world, in search of an ancient elfish relic.

He won’t survive the Gast alone.

Faiza Hiba Khalil studied dragons and artefacts to escape the pressures of title and family. They leap at the opportunity to use their knowledge on Esher’s quest—even if they have no idea how to use the sword that accompanies their fire-proof armour.

Marie and Sarie Roxleigh know two things: they are women and they are wed. Astreut disagrees. In the wilds of the Gast, they might find power enough to make their safety, but they have no reason to trust Esher’s crew—not even Esher himself.

Kit March is a magician and trickster with quick words, an affinity for narrative and a heart filled with guilt—but Kit’s magic is designed to impress and entertain, not protect.

Indigo has mastered horses, weapons and a biting absence of fear, but nothing else about hir life will ze share. Ze serves the Grey Mages, not Esher—but ze alone knows where and how to find the artefact that will save Mara’s life.

Esher can’t risk a single mistake, but his crew may be more dangerous than the Gast itself…

If you want an adventure/quest-type fantasy narrative with six different trans or non-binary characters, most of them autistic, neurodiverse, ace-spec and aro-spec, I give you The Crew of Esher Hill. There’s monsters, a fellowship that has teething issues, magic and danger in the queer-as fantasy world of the Marchverse. It also covers how Kit came to know Faiza and the Professors Roxleigh!

This serial takes place a couple of months after Ringbound, forty-two years before The Unnatural Philosophy of Kit March. For folks who want more action and less introspection, I am trying to write a somewhat faster-paced piece focused more on what happens and less on what it feels like to happen. Given that I am writing it, fast paced still isn’t an accurate term, but chapters will be less dense, not to mention shorter, than my other pieces.

If you haven’t read Ringbound yet, I’d recommend doing so, since the first chapter covers the material Kit references in Old Fashioned: his meeting of a swordsman in Raugue who gives him the word “aromantic”. Kit being Kit, what actually happens doesn’t exactly resemble the story he told Amelia…

Chapter links forthcoming, but please note that this serial will be exclusive to Patreon supporters.