Get a Sneak Peek at One of Next Year’s Buzziest Debuts: Witchmark by C.L. Polk

Nothing gets readers buzzing like a debut novel, and one of 2018’s buzziest arrives next summer: Witchmark, by newcomer C.L. Polk, which so excited the folks at Tor.com Publishing, they’ve rushed to publish it in a trade paperback edition available everywhere—a rare honor for the digital-first imprint, which mostly deals in ebooks and print-on-demand paperbacks.

With a plot summary that promises queer heroes and inventive magic in an intriguing alternate world (plus bicycles!), we’re certainly eager to read it, and blurbs from authors the likes of Elizabeth Bear (“…romance, mystery, witch battles, and bicycle chases”), Carrie Vaughan (“An intriguing world of magic and modernity and the costs of both”), and Fran Wilde (“Glowing with expertly rendered magic”) aren’t helping us manage our impatience.

Neither is the evocative cover art, which we’re showing off today. Created by the incomparable Will Staehle (who designed V.E. Schwab’s eye-catching Shades of Magic trilogy, among many, many others), it promises to steal us away to a world both familiar and strange. We can’t wait.

See the full image after the official summary, and update your to-read lists now.

C. L. Polk arrives on the scene with Witchmark, a stunning, addictive fantasy that combines intrigue, magic, betrayal, and romance.

In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.

Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family’s interest or to be committed to a witches’ asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans’ hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.

When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.


Polk’s short stories have been published in Baen’s Universe, and she contributes to the web serial Shadow Unit. Witchmark will be published June 19, 2018.

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