The Cityborn

Published by DAW Books

Short-listed for a Saskatchewan Book Award (for best book by a Regina author)

One of Inverse Entertainment’s “7 Essential Science Fiction Books for July 2017

One of Barnes & Noble’s “Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of July 2017.”

Cover art by Stephan Martiniere

Two young individuals must uncover the dark secrets of their stratified city in this suspenseful sci-fi standalone.

The metal City towers at the center of the mountain-ringed Heartland, standing astride the deep chasm of the Canyon like a malevolent giant, ruled with an iron fist by the First Officer and his Provosts in the name of the semi-mythical Captain. Within its corroding walls lies a stratified society, where the Officers dwell in luxury on the Twelfth Tier while the poor struggle to survive on the First and Second, and outcasts scrabble and fight for whatever they can find in the Middens, the City’s rubbish heap, filling the Canyon beneath its dripping underbelly.

Alania, ward of an Officer, lives on Twelfth. Raised among the privileged class, Alania feels as though she is some sort of pampered prisoner, never permitted to explore the many levels of the City. And certainly not allowed to leave the confines of the City for any reason. She has everything a young woman could want except a loving family and personal freedom.

Danyl, raised by a scavenger, knows no home but the Middens. His day-to-day responsibility is to stay alive. His sole ambition is to escape from this subsistence existence and gain entrance to the City—so near and yet so far out of reach—in hopes of a better life.

Their two very different worlds collide when Alania, fleeing from an unexpected ambush, plunges from the heights of the City down to the Middens, and into Danyl’s life.

Almost immediately, both of them find themselves pursued by the First Officer’s Provosts, for reasons they cannot fathom—but which they must uncover if they are to survive. The secrets they unlock, as they flee the Canyon and crisscross the Heartland from the City’s farmlands to the mountains of the north and back again, will determine not only their fate, but the fate of the City…and everyone who lives there.

“In this torrent of a story, Edward Willett crafts a fast-paced narrative that features masterful world-building and dozens of surprising twists. The result is a reading rush led by two unique young people who must unravel the mystery of their origins while fleeing a crumbling trash-filled environment and evading an oppressive social hierarchy. The continuing failed attempts for ultimate power by many of this book’s characters illuminate human flaws and the impossibility of omnipotence. The Cityborn is an intricate tour de force that will bewitch its readers.” – Saskatchewan Book Award jurors Mryl Coulter, Charles Demers, and Farzana Doctor

“Willett brings J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise into the distant space age in this dystopian tale of class, power and freedom that will entertain devotees and non-genre fans alike. The worldbuilding in this book is impressive, creating an atmosphere that is both fascinating and oppressive, and characters who are magnificently complex…the ending provides a fascinating study about loyalty and power that grounds this book in our own time as much as the titular city of Willett’s imagination.” – RT Book Reviews

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