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Cover for Shadows of the Short Days

Shadows of the Short Days

Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson


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A striking Icelandic debut, set in a world where wild and industrialised magic meet.


Here, people do as they are told. They follow the rules. They stay in line. Citizens are watched over by the flying fortress, and dissidents are vanished deep into the dungeons of the Nine.


Sæmundur is a student of magic, hungry for knowledge. Except his dangerous theories have seen him expelled from university. Garún is an outcast artist, rejected by her city simply because of who she is.


Both want more from the city they call home. Both will fight against the ruthless police, the masked sorcerers, and the powers that have rejected them. Both will risk everything to change Reykjavík forever.

* * * * * * * * * *

'A marvellous, quirky, original fantasy' Joanne Harris, bestselling author of The Strawberry Thief

'one of the most ambitious, intense, original and thrilling debuts I've read in a long time' Grimdark Magazine

'Fresh and exciting: full of dark, demonic, revolutionary shenanigans' Peter Newman, author of The Vagrant

Praise For Shadows of the Short Days

A pacy, racy read that blends racial and political issues with traditional urban fantasy fare. A recommended purchase, it will bring an icy chill to your summer reading.—STARBURST MAGAZINE

Vividly imagined and compelling—SFX

The blending together of revolutionary politics and magical fantasy creates a gripping narrative with a surreal air that I found hugely entertaining. If you are looking for thought provoking genre fiction then this could well be the book for you.—THE ELOQUENT PAGE

Norse mythology like you've never seen it before, set in a Reykjavik that you never knew existed - Shadows of the Short Days is a new breed of fantasy—Edward Cox, author of The Song of the Sycamore

I won't be forgetting about this book any time soon.—THE FANTASY INN

Shadows of the Short Days is fresh and exciting: full of dark, demonic, revolutionary shenanigans—Peter Newman

A masterfully crafted dark tale . . . one of the most ambitious, intense, original and thrilling debuts I've read in a long time—Grimdark Magazine

A marvellous, quirky, original fantasy novel set in a magical steampunk version of Reykjavik: teeming with magic, dense with detail and with characters that not only leap off the page, but poke you in the eye as they do. Highly recommended.—Joanne Harris, bestselling author of Chocolat and The Gospel of Loki

A heady mix of revolution, monsters and magic, this is a novel of alternative Reykjavik in which myth and religion are alive - and hungry—Anna Stephens

A book that every time I picked up I truly wanted to savour every word, event, development, and chapter. It's superbly well written, thrilling, and the pacing is exquisite.—GRIMDARK MAGAZINE

Shadows of the Short Days is revolutionary fantasy fresher than a dip in a glacial stream. Definitely one for fans of Neil Gaiman and China Mieville.—Gavin Smith, author of The Bastard Legion

Gollancz, 9781473224100, 528pp.

Publication Date: May 26, 2020

About the Author

Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson is an Icelandic author who lives in Reykjavík. He writes in both Icelandic and English and is the founder and editor of Iceland's first SFF magazine, Fur?usögur (Weird Stories). Alexander is also the vocalist and lyricist for Icelandic black metal band Carpe Noctem.