Roshani Chokshi is back this year with the latest book in her bestselling The Gilded Wolves series. Titled The Silvered Serpents, book two follows Séverin Montagnet-Alarie and his team of treasure hunters from 19th-century Paris to Russia. They’ll risk their lives for one last job, encountering mysteries and danger along the way.
Chokshi’s novels, from The Star-Touched Queen to Aru Shah and the End of Time, are some of our favorite stories. We can’t wait for The Silvered Serpents, and neither will you once you read the description (spoilers for book one ahead):
Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost—one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long-lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.
Their hunt lures them far from Paris and into the icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.
As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.
Wednesday Books will release The Silvered Serpents on September 22nd, and we’re excited to share an exclusive excerpt and reveal two covers! You can get a look at the paperback cover of book one, The Gilded Wolves, as well as the hardcover of The Silvered Serpents below:
Cover design by Kerri Resnick
Cover design by Kerri Resnick
Check out the excerpt below, and click here if you’d like to pre-order the novel.
The ice grotto resembled a sunken courtyard. Farther into the room, shallow steps descended to an empty floor bearing a single, jagged pool revealing Lake Baikal’s sapphire water. Splayed against the far wall loomed three, huge shield-like structures. If there was writing or symbols on them, the cobwebs of ice concealed it from view. Above those three shields appeared more carvings of women. They seemed to lean out of recessed niches within the ice wall, their arms outstretched and their hands…missing. When the light flashed over them briefly, they looked terribly lifelike.
The pale light of the stars above them only gradually revealed the room’s contents, but one thing was for sure…
There was no treasure here.
Laila’s heart sank, but she refused to be discouraged. Treasure liked to hide. She knew that well enough after two years of working with Séverin. As they moved to inspect the eastern wall, Enrique jumped back with a squeal. Laila whirled around, her pulse racing as she beheld what made Enrique nearly scream. When the light hit the eastern ice wall, the wall turned translucent and revealed the entire menagerie of animals they’d glimpsed moments ago.
“Interesting,” said Zofia. “A Tezcat wall connecting the menagerie that requires no key but light. That’s clever.”
“That’s horrific,” said Enrique. “Look at them…they’re awake.”
Laila turned slowly toward the creatures. Where they’d once slumbered, now they were awake. Each of their heads had turned to face them.
“I hereby volunteer to guard the door,” said Hypnos. “From the hall. Actually, the end of the hall.”
Séverin ignored him. “Let’s keep documenting. I want to see what’s down those stairs.”
“How?” asked Enrique. “It’s far too dark. We should come back with more light. I want lanterns trained just on that eastern wall.”
Then, Laila heard the unmistakable rrrip of a lit match. In seconds, Zofia had created a makeshift torch.
“Much better—” said Enrique, but his words were cut off by a sharp scream from Hypnos.
Too late, Laila realized Séverin had broke off from the group, venturing toward the stairs at the far end of the grotto that led to the north wall. He didn’t wait. With his lantern aloft, Séverin took the first step—
Time held still. As if in slow motion, Laila saw Séverin take a deep breath, his breath pluming in the air, the silver fog of it suspended for one perfect moment of silence…and then sound rushed in. From the eastern corner of the wall, the ice rhino crashed through the glass barrier. Shattered ice rained down, scattering across the floor. The rhino charged, a deep sound bellowing from its lungs. Out the corner of her eye, Laila watched as the other animals slowly came to life. A jaguar’s crystal fur rippled. It swung its head and pawed the ground.
The staircase had triggered life.
“Get back!” she called.
Séverin turned his head, but a small ball of ice launched at him from opposite the wall, splattering on his face and covering his mouth and nose in a cobweb of ice. He stumbled back, falling onto the stairs. Laila moved to run toward him, but the rhino blocked her way.
“Someone get him!” she called.
Zofia tossed her torch to Enrique and quickly threw an explosive net across the rhino.
“Ignite,” she willed.
Behind them, Hypnos dashed out into the hall, shouting for help.
The Forged net caught flame, and the rhino shrieked, exploding into a thousand shards of ice. Zofia and Laila ran to Séverin. They each grabbed one arm, hoisting him off the staircase. The moment he crossed the boundary, the ice animals once more fell still and silent. Laila pulled at the ice covering his mouth, but it was too slippery.
Laila grasped again, and again, but the ice only burned her hand and stuck fast to his skin. Her breath turned jagged inside her. She risked a glance at Séverin and wished she hadn’t. His pupils were blown wide, the veins of his throat bulging as he threw off her hands and started to claw at his face. He was dying right before her eyes.
From The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi. Copyright © 2020 by the author and reprinted by permission of Wednesday Books.