The Poppy War

The Poppy War is the first installment in a Chinese-history inspired epic fantasy trilogy about empire, warfare, shamanism, and opium. It will be released in May 2018 from Harper Voyager. Pre-order links here, Amazon page here, and Goodreads page here.

Kind things people have said about The Poppy War:

A study in every kind of violence…Kuang pulls from East Asian history, including the brutality of the Second Sino-Japanese war, to weave a wholly unique experience.” (Washington Post)

I have no doubt this will end up being the best fantasy debut of the year.” (BookNest)

“Spectacular, masterclass, brilliant, awesome…If you like dark adult fantasy then check out this masterpiece by grimdark’s newest and perhaps darkest daughter.” (Fantasy Book Review)

“Kuang’s debut is a thought-provoking, coming-of-age fairytale stocked with myths, legends, lore, politics and power struggles…Setting the stage for an epic fantasy is an understandably enormous undertaking, but Kuang does an exceptional job of world and character building. The first half of The Poppy War has an expected slower pace, but the second half is rich with a brutal, beautiful bevy of bloody battles.” (RT Book Reviews) 

A blistering, powerful epic of war and revenge that will captivate you to the bitter end.” (Kameron Hurley, author of The Stars are Legion)

“A thrilling, action-packed fantasy of gods and mythology, THE POPPY WAR is equal parts military epic and exploration of the morally complex choices humanity must make in the name of victory. The ambitious heroine’s rise from poverty to ruthless military commander makes for a gripping read, and I eagerly await the next installment.(Julie C. Dao, author of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns)

In THE POPPY WAR, RF Kuang draws on history and myth to tell a relentlessly unforgiving story of war, vengeance, power and madness, with larger-than-life characters that evoke sympathy and rouse terror. Brace yourself.(Fonda Lee, award-winning author of The Green Bone Saga) 

“Debut novelist Kuang creates an ambitious fantasy reimagining of Asian history populated by martial artists, philosopher-generals, and gods. War orphan Fang Runin (“Rin”) escapes abusive foster parents by gaining admission to the Nikara Empire’s prestigious military academy. Though stigmatized because of her peasant background, she earns top grades and wins the annual martial arts tournament. But she refuses a typical apprenticeship and instead goes to study with the academy’s disreputable Lore Master Jiang, who despairs of reviving the discredited shaman traditions. Finding her way to the home of the gods, Rin is forced to choose between obeying her master’s warnings against abuse of power and unleashing divine retribution when the island nation of Mugen, armed with chemical and biological weapons, invades and massacres civilians. Kuang highlights the horrors of war, especially the moral and emotional toll on combatants who employ scorched-earth strategies. Heroic responses pale in view of the collateral damage that they trigger, and the novel does not allow its characters to slough off their culpability for channeling godly powers. Readers may empathize with Rin’s desire for vengeance, but any thrill at her success is matched by horror at its costs. This is a strong and dramatic launch to Kuang’s career.” (Publisher’s Weekly)