We’re delighted to be able to give you an exclusive look at the cover of upcoming fantasy novel The Lights Of Prague by Nicole Jarvis, which is out on 21 July from Titan Books. We also have an excerpt from the book, which you can read at the bottom of the page.
In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of otherworldly creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters – secret elite of monster hunters whose light staves off the darkness each night. Domek Myska leads a life teeming with fraught encounters with the worst kind of evil: pijavica, bloodthirsty and soulless vampiric creatures. Despite this, Domek find solace in his moments spent in the company of his friend, the clever and beautiful Lady Ora Fischer – a widow with secrets of her own.
When Domek finds himself stalked by the spirit of the White Lady – a ghost who haunts the baroque halls of Prague castle – he stumbles across the sentient essence of a will-o’-the-wisp captured in a mysterious container. Now, as it’s bearer, Domek wields its power, but the wisp, known for leading travellers to their deaths, will not be so easily controlled.
After discovering a conspiracy amongst the pijavica that could see them unleash terror on the daylight world, Domek finds himself in a race against those who aim to twist alchemical science for their own dangerous gain.
About the author
Nicole Jarvis has been writing stories as long as she can remember. After graduating with degrees in English and Italian from Emory University, Nicole moved to New York City and currently works in marketing at Bloomsbury Publishing, and lives in Manhattan with two cats named after children’s book characters. She loves listening to musicals, learning strange histories and thinking about the inner lives of superheroes.
Here’s an exclusive excerpt from the The Lights Of Prague…
For Domek, the night was only beginning.
Fog twisted around the lamps behind him, the fire inside illuminating the mist like streams of smoke. The Old Town was a quiet swath of darkness, lit softly by the row of gas lamps along the path by the river. Buildings were cramped and towering on this street, looking as though they might tip forward if not for their brothers holding them in place. Ahead, Charles Bridge arched over the Vltava toward the castle. After the recent storm, the river was swollen and heavy.
Domek stopped at the next lamp post and set the metal end of his pole to the gas valve, then froze when a scream pierced the night. High and shrill, it echoed across the river and cut off after a stacatto burst.
It was what he had been waiting for. Leaving his pole behind, Domek moved forward into the darkness, feet light and swift on the uneven cobblestones. The lamps ahead were unlit, and only the light from the crescent moon overhead fell onto his path. Spying nothing along the river, he slid onto the Charles Bridge where sandstone and copper statues of venerated saints lined the rails, a row of guardians black-stained and decaying from centuries of pollution. As he walked, holding his bag at his side to hide its rattle, he kept a careful watch on the looming statues. Some featured only one figure, others depicted a twisting group. In the night, any could hide a monster.
Finally, at the base of the statue of Saints Barbara, Margaret and Elizabeth, he saw a still pair of figures intertwined in the shadows, a coarse mimicry of the statues above.
They were difficult to parse in the night, their edges blending with the darkness, but the moon caught on a woman’s pale, slack face. A man stood behind her, one arm across her bosom to keep her pressed back against him, the other cradling her head to bare her neck.
Moving silently until he was only steps away, Domek barked, “Hey!”
The man jerked his head toward Domek.
And it was no man.
The creature’s bloody mouth gaped like a wound across its face. It blinked at Domek, and bared fangs that glinted in the faint moonlight. These were not simply elongated canines, as on an alley cat, but a mouthful of thin, razor-sharp needles erupting from a vast jaw. It hissed, and the high, eerie sound grated on the quiet bridge. Horrible mouth smiking with triumph, it leaned back toward the woman.
Without hesitating, Domek pulled a hawthorn stake from his pocket and closed the distance between them before the pijavica could resume its meal. He grabbed the creature by its dark curly hair and jerked it away from the woman. Without its hold, she slumped to the ground, unconscious. Her neck was smeared with blood, a spreading shadow in the darkness.
Yanking the pijavica towards him, Domek aimed his stake at the pijavica’s heart, but the monster used the momentum to slide inside of Domek’s reach. Its reflexes were unnaturally fast, and Domek had to drop to the ground to avoid having his head taken off by a snap of the creature’s fangs.
His teacher would have told him to stab the pijavica immediately while it was distracted earlier, despite the risk to the victim.
Now it was his life on the line.
The Lights Of Prague by Nicole Jarvis, publishing 21 July 2020 from Titan Books. Get all the latest fantasy news with every issue of SciFiNow.