Sarah. Glenn. Marsh. Is. Back.
Yes, you read that right!
This fall, the amazing Sarah Glenn Marsh is back with a brand new novel!
Fans of Fear the Drowning Deep are in for a treat! Bridey’s little sister, Liss, is back- CENTER STAGE Y’ALL!- in the captivating and wickedly lush companion novel ‘Dread The Harvest Moon’.
Not only has Sarah taken us back to a world of magical creatures on the Isle of Mann; she has also given us a sneak peak of the novel and A PRE-ORDER CAMPAIGN!
Keep Scrolling for the full cover reveal, pre-order goodies, & the first chapter of the novel!
A companion novel to Fear the Drowning Deep, an NPR Great Read of 2016.
Three tasks. Two worlds. One deadly queen.
Always follow the rules.
That’s what seventeen-year-old barmaid Liss Corkill does. She’s never cursed or kissed a boy, and until two years ago, when a mythical serpent kidnapped her, she was never late to anything. She knows that if she were like her free-spirited older sister Bridey who sailed to America just before the Great War, her mother would be devastated. Liss is determined to be what everyone expects, even if that means giving up her dreams.
Unless the faeries make you break them.
When Liss accidentally interferes in a fairy queen’s quest for true love, she’s pulled into the vast and dangerous world of Un-Mann, a magical realm as old as the Isle of Man itself. As punishment for her mistake, Liss must complete three tasks for the queen by the night of the Great Harvest Moonlight, the fairies’ biggest yearly celebration.
Or you find something worth dying for.
Liss’s attempts to complete her tasks are met with constant misfortune, as if someone doesn’t want her to win. But she has powerful friends: the town witch, Morag, and her sister’s best friend, Cat, who she’s secretly falling for as they hunt sea monsters by night to protect their home. Sensing a need for inspiration as the final gruesome task draws near, the queen marks Liss’s little sister for death unless Liss succeeds.
Her sister. Her town. Her dreams. If she can’t own who she is and make some new rules, Liss will lose it all.
AHHHHH! Check out that GORGEOUS cover! The blood red moon, the trees, Liss’s braid! The colors alone give me such an ominous vibe! And that Synopsis? I can’t even! Check out this excerpt from the novel and then submit your pre-order receipt at the bottom of the page for your goodies!
All pre-orders will receive:
- Signed bookplate & matching bookmark
- -This stunning 4×6 art print by @chandrewsart
- -Digital short story that bridges the two books
So, now that you are hyped up on all the goodies that come with Marsh’s new story, let’s take a trip back to the Isle of Mann with an excerpt from the novel:
Remember me? It’s your sister—dare I say, your favorite? —Liss. I’m sorry for not writing sooner, but it’s been an unlucky few weeks, and I’ve only lately rediscovered the joy of expressing oneself with the written word. How is America treating you? And Fynn? Is it everything you dreamed? Have you managed to find work, or a cottage by the sea like we talked about? I can’t believe it’s only been months since you left; it feels more like years. I wish you could have stayed longer—we’d barely gotten Fynn back when the two of you started making plans to set off. I can still feel the bitter cold of that winter morning when Grayse found him on the strand, draped in kelp and lying in a bed of crushed shells. Lucky for him that you two had started rising with the sun to clean rubbish off the beach, or else there’s no telling who might have found him, and we both know there are plenty of folk in town who will take their grudges against him—and us—to the grave, never knowing what we gave up to save them.
You missed Mally and Artur’s visit from London by just a few weeks. They brought the baby, and she’s all smiles and giggles—well, until she wants milk. She’s serious about her milk. They’ve named her Lilee, and I’d have to see you two side by side to know for sure, but I swear her hair is even pinker than yours. Of course, you might have heard all this already from Mam, who’s been much better at writing you (she’s restless as the sea waiting on your reply to any of her letters, by the way—you’re as bad at this writing business as I am!).
Really, though, it’s good you left when you did; the sinking of the Lusitania was much too close to home, and I kept picturing you and Fynn on that doomed ship even though I knew you were safe in New York already. I pray the Great War ends before it reaches you in America, but for now, there’s no peace in sight. Men (Germans, mostly, and some Austro-Hungarians) keep arriving in droves to the prison camp down the road at Knockaloe; there must be thousands by now. Sometimes, when the wind shifts, I catch the stench of the place—smoke, sweat, and something that reminds me of the serpent left to rot under the sun. Still, no matter how the tides of this war turn, I trust you and Fynn will rely on each other to survive it. I’ll never forget the sight of you two joining hands at the bow as your boat pulled out to sea, looking as if you had the whole world spread before you.
Oh—before I say more, I must tell you how much I loved the pearl bracelet you two sent for my seventeenth birthday. Grayse says she’d like one to match when she turns ten—she’s already started a countdown, even though she’s got two-hundred-some days to go. The nerve! She gets it from you, I’m sure. Anyhow, I’m afraid I’ve lost the bracelet, but when I wore it, it was like having a little of you both with me. Did I mention yet how much I miss you? Having my own bedroom isn’t nearly as nice as I hoped it would be. Grayse agrees, given that she’s spent half her nights in mine since you left. She still sleep-shouts, by the way. Mostly nonsense about fish. Just like old times.
I’m afraid Grayse’s sleeping habits are about the only thing that hasn’t changed, though. It’s been really different here since you left, but more on that in a minute.
Bry, we’ve been through a lot together these last two years since Fynn washed up in Port Coire. How many sisters can say they’ve fought a sea serpent together and won? That summer feels so far away now, and our ships have been set on different courses since then, but those feverish months of disappearances and drownings changed everything. We learned that monsters are real. That our nightmares have flesh and teeth that can cut through bone. I hardly remember what came before that summer, a time when Morag was the most frightening creature imaginable and it seemed the world was only as wide as this rock we call home.
Despite all we’ve endured, despite all we now know, what I’m about to tell you may sound unbelievable, even to you—but I swear by the Bollan Cross around my neck that every last detail is true. I’m sorry for all those times I didn’t listen when you told me what happened to Grandad and begged me to stay away from the water. But I’m afraid I don’t have time to patiently repeat myself the way you always did in the face of my doubts.
I need your help, Bry. I need you. Now.
If this doesn’t reach you and I can’t figure something out on my own, someone is going to die this harvest moon night. Quite possibly me.
But there I go, getting ahead of myself. I suggest you pour yourself a cup of tea, as you might be reading a while. All settled? Then allow me to begin.
August 1st, 1915
Isle of Man, near Peel
Through the restless fog of a cool summer’s night, behind white-capped waves breaking over a sea as dark and thick as spilled ink, something stirred in the water. Taunting me.
The siren had already killed one man, a relative of the Kinry family who had journeyed from the other side of the isle to celebrate the festival of Luanistyn, the beginning of the harvest season. If we didn’t stop the heartless creature now, more victims—and panic the likes of which sleepy Port Coire hadn’t seen in nearly two years—were sure to follow.
I tightened my grip on my spear, ignoring the ache in my chapped hands from washing dishes all day at the tavern, and hurried down the beach after Morag as fast as I could with my left leg dragging slightly behind me. Thanks to the serpent, it would never be the same, but at least I could walk again—and now, sort of run.
Small victories kept me going at the worst of times.
Cold sand oozed between my toes as I neared the water and saw her at last: the siren, her scaly green face framed by a halo of blue-green webbing, surfacing just long enough to hiss at me with a mouth full of fangs peeking through blackened lips before disappearing.
Whoever started the rumor that sirens resemble beautiful women was either joking or really needed their eyes examined. Even the drawings in Morag’s bestiary weren’t quite right—they made the sirens look too much like dragons, not human at all, when the reality was somewhere between person and cold-blooded scaly beast.
We’d been tracking this particular siren all summer, hoping to frighten her away and avoid any bloodshed. But last night, she’d chosen her fate when she drowned that poor man and tore out his innards after luring him into the sea with her sweet song of illusion that made her appear irresistibly beautiful.
She wasn’t singing for us tonight, though. I don’t know if she spotted the cotton stuffed in our ears, muting the crash of the sea against the rocks, or if we just didn’t look good enough to eat. Either way, it was clear she wasn’t going to come to us—we would have to follow her into the water, where she could fight in her element. On her terms. Much as I hated to admit it, I respected her for it.
Morag was already scrambling over the rocks ahead, making her way out to sea without so much as a glance over her shoulder. I’d proven more than once this summer that I had her back, thanks to a pair of nasty bugganes who had taken up residence in nearby sea caves.
Why was Morag moving so quickly tonight, though? Had something besides the siren caught her eye? Squinting into the fog, I could just make out the wolf gray of my mentor’s hair some thirty feet away. Out of reach.
My pulse quickened at the thought of how little time the siren would need to pull her under. Of course, Morag had a spear, too. She knew the risks. We might not talk about it, but the very real possibility of death wrapped its icy hands around our throats each time we planned our next outing, making it harder and harder to lie to Mam about picking up a late shift at the tavern so Morag and I could do what no one else would: protect the town. Look danger in the eye instead of dropping our gazes and hoping it would retreat on its own.
Morag cried out and fell, dropping her spear with a clatter that reverberated in my bones. Had she slipped? Or was she pulled by a swift and venomous hand? I could barely see her prone form through the fog, but one thing was all too clear: the siren’s hissing, grinning mouth; her forked tongue flicking over cracked lips; her clawed hands stretching toward the rocks as she bobbed within spitting distance of our town’s resident witch. My boss. My friend.
“No!” I dashed toward them, using my spear to help me balance as I leaped from rock to rock, inhaling mouthfuls of salt and brine as sea-foam sprayed my face.
Two more jumps and I would be there. I would end the siren, and Morag could get home to her cottage and her kettle, and I could get home to Mam and Da and Grayse before they even knew to miss me.
The next rock was a greater distance than I’d jumped since before the serpent attack, and I came down too hard on the landing, put too much weight on my left leg. It gave a sharp twinge as if to punish me, pitching me forward. My spear fell as I flailed my arms like a pinwheel, desperate not to fall face-first into the churning midnight sea. I didn’t think I could fight off the siren with my bare hands, let alone tread water long enough to be rescued. Especially since no one knew we were out here.
My body braced for the fall, but strong hands grabbed my arms and pulled me upright, holding me just a second longer than necessary. “No one’s going swimming tonight,” a familiar voice teased, the tone light and sweet but leaving no room for doubt.
“Cat!” I gasped, gratefully leaning into her arms while I waited for my jelly legs to turn solid again. “How did you—?” I stop myself as I remember through the haze of adrenaline why I almost fell. “The siren, Morag—!”
“Relax, would you? You’re going to give us both stomach ulcers, and then I won’t be able to eat the shepherd’s pie I made this afternoon!” Morag called gruffly, the mighty breath of the sea and the cotton in my ears reducing her bellow to a whisper. “I’m fine. The siren’s dead. The fall was part of my act. I’m telling you, Liss, improvisation is a lost art. I needed her to think me feeble so she would come close enough to— Ah, Catreena! Good of you to join us.”
The fog parted enough for me to make out Morag’s shadow as she pulled her spear from the siren’s throat and gently pushed the slimy green corpse into the water. “Eat up, fishes,” she cackled, watching the current carry the body away.
Cat picked up my fallen spear in one hand, took my hand firmly in her free one, and began picking her way to shore. Her dark curls blew around her head as the sea breeze found its strength and began to chase off the fog.
“I’m not helpless, you know,” I reminded her as she waited for me to move slowly from one narrow point of rock to the next. Her eyes never left my feet, like she was afraid I’d suddenly forget how to walk and plummet into the sea like a stone.
She pressed her lips together and dropped my hand, and immediately I wished I’d kept my mouth shut.
Once we were safely on the beach, waiting for Morag to join us, I said to Cat, “I thought you couldn’t come tonight.” The popular Luanistyn festival kept the bakery bustling as Mrs. Kissack and her assistants scrambled to serve all the hungry merrymakers. “I didn’t think you even knew where to find us—”
“Morag sent me a note, just in case. You know how she is. Not that you needed me,” Cat added quickly, handing me back my spear. “You’re way better in a fight, and let’s be honest, Morag could run laps around the both of us.”
“Well, you’re right about Morag, but you’re wrong on the rest. We do need you. You saved me from being soaked and miserable, and I haven’t even thanked you, so—thanks. For being someone I can count on.” Teasing, I added, “Your spear skills could use some work, but no one can compete with your undeniably perfect timing.”
Cat smiled. “I’ve just remembered . . . I brought you something.” She reached into the inner pocket of her jewel-red cloak, the one my mam stitched in her first commission as a dressmaker. It was stained crimson at the edges, darkened where the sea lapped at the hem as she crossed the water. “Your favorite.”
The miniature berry muffins, wrapped in a woven white baker’s cloth, were slightly warm from being in her pocket and tasted like I’d come to expect from Cat’s baking: just the right mix of tart and sweet.
“You made these. I can always tell,” I said through a mouthful. “Great work.”
A flush crept into Cat’s pale cheeks. She nodded, then offered one to Morag as the older woman limped across the sand toward us.
Morag’s sea-foam eyes twinkled, alert and bright, brighter than the moon. She took a muffin and glanced between me and Cat—searching for what, I couldn’t say, but it was the sort of gaze that made me squirm with its intensity. Then she pulled something from around her neck, a frayed leather cord holding a greenish, oval-shaped pendant that looked like it had spent a lifetime underwater. Whether the metal of the charm was pewter, copper, gold, or silver was impossible to guess in its sorry state.
“Look what the sea coughed up,” she said gleefully, running her short, calloused fingers over the pendant’s rough oval surface. “When I ‘fell,’ I found this in the pool I landed in.”
“Manannán’s fiery sword—that could be a Spanish doubloon!” I coughed around the last bite of my muffin. “Once you clean off all the rust.”
“Liss is right. You could make a fortune—” Cat began.
“Fortune?” Morag huffed. “Who said anything about selling it? I think I’ll hang it on the wall above my bed, by that lamp your da gave me, Liss.”
“Not the one he carved?” I groaned. The only reason he’d given it to Morag was because Mam forbade him from keeping it in the house. It was supposed to be a dolphin but looked more like a bloated foot. He planned to throw it on the rubbish heap, but then Morag saw it. She always noticed a certain charm in things the rest of us wouldn’t look at twice.
“That’s the one. Or maybe I’ll use it in a spell. We’ll see. But the last thing I’d ever do with a treasure like this is sell it . . .”
She went on muttering about what to do with the necklace as we made our way back to town, hiding our spears as best we could against the outlines of our bodies and hoping that, if we stuck to the shadows, we wouldn’t stand out to any festivalgoers who happened to spot us.
We were an unlikely group, but somehow, it worked. We worked.
You see, Bridey, the day after you and Fynn sailed away, I walked to Morag’s and offered to take your old job as maid, gardener, and errand girl on a part-time basis around my work at the tavern. With Morag, I expected the wandering dust clouds, and the occasional outburst when her breakfast experiments went awry, but what I didn’t expect was an education in monster slaying. I didn’t expect to be treated as her equal. And what I expected least of all came a few weeks later, when your best friend stood outside Morag’s cottage in the dead of night and demanded that we let her join us.
But perhaps I should have expected Cat. The sea took something from each of us—the full use of Morag’s leg, and mine, and Cat’s little sister, Alis. Everyone lost something that summer. A friend. A sibling. A lover. A piece of themselves. Port Coire’s fine citizens had learned one of the sea’s cruel secrets and guarded against it in ways they hadn’t before. Walking everywhere in pairs. Avoiding the cliffs come sundown. Locking our windows and stuffing cotton in our ears at bedtime. Ever since the serpent summer, we all shared the same fears, but only Cat, Morag, and I faced them by hunting the monsters before they could hunt us.
When we finally reached the far side of town, where the last houses gave way to tall grass and bawdy bunches of wildflowers, Morag gestured to a place we could never see after dark had fallen but knew well, the highest hill overlooking town, crouched in the shadows of deep night. This was as far as we ever walked with her after one of our hunting trips, making sure no one in town gave her a hard time until she reached the shelter of the forested slope to her cottage.
“Come sleep at my place, both of you,” she offered. She never offered. “I’ll put on the kettle—something with valerian root in it for you, Liss, to help you sleep, eh?” She ran a hand down the silver-and-gray plait of hair that hung to her waist and looked at me with her uncanny eyes narrowed in thought. “You had a close call tonight.”
She saw me through the fog? How, when I couldn’t see her? This wasn’t the first time I’d gotten the impression that there was something special about Morag, like she could sense more about the world than the rest of us.
As much as I wanted to accept her invitation, to please her, I shook my head. There was Ms. Katleen to think of, who expected me at the Sailor’s Rest bright and early—there would be some revelers keen to carry the party into tomorrow. And of course, there was Mam, with only two daughters left at home and a husband gone fishing most days, at the mercy of the sea. Mam, who paced in front of the windows if I ran even a minute over the time I promised to return. Who, every time I stepped outside, relived the hours I went missing two summers ago.
“Mam would panic if I wasn’t home before she woke,” I told Morag sadly.
“My mam would lose her head, especially after what just happened to the Kinrys’ cousin,” Cat agreed, a tinge of regret softening her eyes and mouth as she hastily hugged Morag around her bony shoulders. “Next time.”
Morag shrugged. Whatever she felt, she hid it deep beneath the layers of her sun-lined skin. “Suit yourselves. More bacon for me in the morning.”
Cat and I watched her go until the darkness swallowed her. It must have been nearly one in the morning, and my body was beginning to ache with the lateness. Still, I knew I wouldn’t regret our hunting trip any time soon. These trips were the only reason I could sleep at night, knowing our family was safe.
“Walk you home?” Cat asked softly once Morag was gone, her warm copper eyes searching mine.
I pointed left, toward a row of squat stone fishermen’s cottages where a lone fire still burned, sending out a ruddy glow from the windows. “You live right there. And your mam’s waiting up. I’ll see myself home.” When she didn’t answer me right away, I said, “Really, I’ll be fine. There’s nothing for me to trip on, and nothing out here waiting to grab me. Nothing I can’t handle with this, anyway.” I tapped my spear against the ground.
“That wasn’t why I— Oh, never mind,” Cat sighed, then almost at once shook off whatever thought had clouded her gaze. “Slane lhiat, Liss.”
“Good night, Cat,” I echoed.
As I walked away, my left leg dragging worse than it had in a long while, the scents of butter and sugar lingered under my nose the way they always did after I spent time around the baker’s apprentice.
That was how I thought of her, or tried to—she was your friend first, Bridey, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t be mine, too. It was just that the word didn’t quite seem to fit, and I was too busy, too tired, and too overworked to fully consider why.
My feet mindlessly following the well-worn path to home, I thought of the post-hunting ritual I would soon begin: sneak down the hall into my bedroom; tuck my spear alongside the slats in my bed frame; strip off my soaked, muddy, or bloody skirt—and the pants worn underneath—and stuff it all in the bottom of my wardrobe until I could wash them myself; put on my nightgown; and last, tiptoe to the front door to add an extra splash of milk to the fairies’ bowl, paying my respects to Them before finally falling into the dreamless sleep of the permanently exhausted.
Mam thought I was putting in late shifts at the tavern to set aside a savings for myself, since I put all my regular wages toward the family’s needs. I’d catch her glancing at me sometimes, when she thought I wasn’t looking, her eyes narrowed like she was trying to decide if I was planning to run away to America after you, Bridey. Of course, she didn’t need to worry. I had no savings, and even if I did, I couldn’t possibly go anywhere. It would break Mam’s heart even worse than if she found out I was lying about the extra tavern shifts, and I couldn’t do that to her. You and Mally had your adventures and went away, and everyone expects Grayse will do the same one day, when it’s her turn. That left me to be the responsible one. The one who stayed on the isle forever. But that was all right with me. Everything I wanted was here, even if it all seemed destined to remain a dream.
Something drew me from my thoughts. Something—I wasn’t sure what.
There was a nagging at my senses that I couldn’t quite place, and stopping made me realize how much I needed to catch my breath and rest my leg. Planting my spear on the ground and leaning against it, I ran my fingers over the scarred white flesh of my calf, over the old wounds that reminded me every day that I was stronger than my nightmares.
There was nothing out of the ordinary about my surroundings, nothing that should have put me on alert. Ahead, white clapboard houses with thatched roofs huddled low together like a flock of sheep, their respectable owners already abed. A few lean trees, their spines crooked after decades of being pushed in every direction, swayed with the shifting wind. Farther off and out of sight were the cliffs and the waves beneath, where the siren’s corpse was, no doubt, being picked apart by tiny greedy mouths.
Overhead, a gull screeched mournfully.
A baby cried for milk in a nearby cottage, and a lamp flickered to life in an upstairs window almost at once.
All of this was regular as the tides, and yet—the hair on my arms stood on end.
I turned my back on town and glanced to my right, beyond a few scattered stone houses to the fields and glens that stretched inland for several untamed miles. Still, I saw nothing. I took a bracing breath of salt air and closed my eyes.
The faint whine of a fiddle made them snap open.
I’d heard this sort of music once before, on a night quite like this one. I braced my spear between my feet and hastily shoved the cotton balls back in my ears. Music like this had sent several innocent people to their deaths two summers ago, following an unseen fiddler’s phantom strings to a watery grave.
Music like this had killed my grandfather.
Music like this had almost killed me.
Whew! I can’t believe we have to stop! I NEED the rest of this novel like YESTERDAY! But don’t worry – release day is October 13 – right around the corner!
Until then you can pre-order HERE,
then grab that receipt and be sure to submit it using the link below!
Meet the Author
Sarah Glenn Marsh writes young adult novels and children’s picture books. An avid fantasy reader from the day her dad handed her a copy of The Hobbit and promised it would change her life, she’s been making up words and worlds ever since.
When she’s not writing, Sarah frequents the pottery studio, volunteers her time to sighthound rescue, and raises awareness about her autoimmune disease, Type 1 diabetes. She often enjoys pursuits of the nerd variety, from video games to tabletop adventures. She’s never met an animal or a doughnut she didn’t like.
Sarah lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and their tiny zoo of four rescued sighthounds, two birds, and many fish. She is the author of Fear the Drowning Deep, the Reign of the Fallen series, and several books for younger readers.