No Return

No Return

4.7 4
by Zachary Jernigan

View All Available Formats & Editions

Staring into the night sky, the inhabitants of Jeroun call the glittering string of objects they see stretching before the moon the Needle. It’s actually a collection of iron spheres made by the god Adrash, his threatening ultimatum to the people on the planet below:

Prove yourselves worthy, or be destroyed.

Vedas is a member of the Black

…  See more details below


Staring into the night sky, the inhabitants of Jeroun call the glittering string of objects they see stretching before the moon the Needle. It’s actually a collection of iron spheres made by the god Adrash, his threatening ultimatum to the people on the planet below:

Prove yourselves worthy, or be destroyed.

Vedas is a member of the Black Suits, an order of men and women who show their opposition to Adrash by staging battles in the streets. After witnessing the death of a child in his care and knowing himself to be responsible, he sets off on a journey to the decennial fighting tournament in Danoor.

Traveling with him across the continent are Churls, a mercenary haunted by the ghost of her daughter, and Berun, a constructed man made of modular spheres possessed by the soul of his creator. Both come to understand that Vedas's victory would start an all-out religious war.

Unbeknownst to these three travelers, the aristocratic outbound mage Ebn and her protégé Pol are using powerful alchemy to travel into space, with plans to engage Adrash in ways that threaten to bring the god’s wrath down upon the world.

No Return combines the mythic inventiveness of early Roger Zelazny and Samuel R. Delany, the dark weirdness of China Mieville, and the epic scope of George R. R. Martin, creating a literary science fiction novel that defies easy categorization and resulting in one of the most critically acclaimed debuts of 2013.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The most daring debut novel of 2013.”
Staffer’s Book Review

“Pulls no punches in its rich, visceral depictions of sexuality, martial arts, punk energy, and the philosophical quandaries of power and identity that speculative fiction uniquely exploits—and that few up-and-coming speculative writers outside Jernigan tackle with such guts.”
The A.V. Club

“Pure genius. . . A visionary, violent, sexually charged, mystical novel.”
—David Anthony Durham, Campbell Award-winning author of the Acacia Trilogy

Library Journal
No one in the world of Jeroun doubts the existence of God. They only differ in their beliefs as to whether Adrash has people's best interests in mind or whether, as the Anadrashi faction believes, the deity intends to use his great weapon known as The Needle to destroy the world. Each year, the opposing sides engage in a grand tournament, usually consisting of martial combat to the death, to channel their rivalry away from outright war. To this tournament comes Vedas Tezul, a member of the Thirteenth Order of Black Suits, who brings instructions that, should he emerge victorious, could bring the world to the brink of religious war. Traveling with him are Churli Casta Jons, a female mercenary who is haunted by her daughter's ghost, and Berun, a man constructed of magical spheres. Meanwhile a pair of ambitious mages work their own schemes to win the attention of Adrash. VERDICT Jernigan's first novel, the opening gambit in a saga of religious war, magical science, and martial combat, is a mixture of epic and sword-and-sorcery fantasy. The author's style, with its sensuality and, often, erotic ambiance, calls to mind the novels of Tanith Lee's "Flat Earth" series as well as the eclectic imaginings of Michael Moorcock's "Eternal Champion" novels. A promising voice.

Product Details

Night Shade Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Zachary Jernigan is a science fiction and fantasy writer whose work has been featured in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Crossed Genres, and Escape Pod, among others. No Return is his debut novel. A sequel, Shower of Stones, will be released in 2015.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

No Return 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
PerryWatson More than 1 year ago
Oh yes, this is one for the ages. No Return is a dazzlingly original work of fiction, a defier of genre, and a story of deep relevance and emotion. As I could tell by the jacket blurb, promising such things as outbound mages and a man made of metal spheres, there is nothing like No Return. The world of Jeroun abounds with before unseen innovation and spectacle, all portrayed with vibrant imagery and language. Mages craft spells from the ground up corpses of ancient aliens, the god Adrash rearranges his giant metal spheres of the Needle by hand, and the numerous distinct races and cultures each worship or villify Adrash in their own way. It is, in fact, so original that when I read the jacket blurb, I thought it was science fiction. While reading it, I thought it was fantasy, and now that I have finished it, I realize more than ever that the two terms are meaningless, and neither can encompass No Return. The book definitely isn't for everyone, though. It has some stern words for religious fanaticism, which, as an atheist, I could not help but agree with. A major theme is overcoming things that hold us back, namely, guilt, authority, religious indoctrination, and of course, God (or Adrash, one might say). No Return is also overtly sexual. There are some very graphic scenes of intercourse, heterosexual and homosexual both, masturbation, a rape scene or two, and several detailed descriptions of chiseled male anatomy. There were times when even I was a bit put off, and if you don't have the stomach for this sort of thing, you had best steer clear. As for the writing itself, the only flaw I could perceive was the occasional lull in pacing. Particularly, I found the scenes with the outbound mages more interesting than those concerning Vedas, Churls, and Berun, as the latter seem concerned, for the first half, at least, with the trials of their journey to Danoor. It seemed to me that it switched from the former to the latter at rather inopportune times. Nevertheless, No Return is easily the best book I've read this year, and I'd be hard pressed to find another one quite as good. I anticipate a return to this setting, and I eagerly await it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the type of story I hope to find while scouring through page after page of sci-fi/fantasy offerings-something different! There's a lot of books that are written based on common themes but I really enjoy a new premise that makes me wonder "how did the author come up with this?". This is one of those stories. The world is described in bits and pieces where a lot is left open for a sequel or sequels but I will definitely return to find out more and look forward to the continued development of the main cast.
dave85353 More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome from the beginning. This was one of those books that i could not put down and i didn't whenever possible. The story was engaging and captivating. In reading this book, i felt like i was there with the characters going through their stories with them and that speaks of true writing talent. I really hope the author writes at the very least a sequel. This book was AWESOME and i'm hopeful i'll have the opportunity to see how the story continues.
AdrianneM More than 1 year ago
The world building in this novel is fabulous. The races of people in the novel were completely unique. The magic was fascinating. The characters are well developed and interesting. The plot takes a while to take shape, but is worth the effort in the end. I wish the character motivations had been more clear. This is a good read.