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Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Prophet

by Sin Blaché and Helen Macdonald with Helen Macdonald

From the extraordinary minds of award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of H Is for Hawk Helen Macdonald and first time author Sin Blaché, Prophet is their electric debut, a tantalizing adventure fusing noir, sci-fi and a slow burn queer romance—set in a universe just one perilous step from our own

  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 480
  • Publication Date August 08, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6202-1
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $29.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 480
  • Publication Date July 16, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6340-0
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $20.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date August 08, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6203-8
  • US List Price $29.00

Adam Rubenstein and Sunil Rao have been reluctant partners since their Uzbekistan days. Adam is a seemingly unflappable American Intelligence officer and Rao is an ex-MI6 agent, an addict and rudderless pleasure hound, with the uncanny ability to discern the truth of things—about everyone and everything other than Adam. When an American diner turns up in a foggy field in the UK after a mysterious death, Adam and Rao are called in to investigate, setting into motion the most dangerous and otherworldly mission of their lives.

In a surreal, action-packed quest that takes Adam and Rao from secret laboratories in Colorado, to a luxury lodge in Aspen, to the remote Nevada desert, the pair begins to uncover how and why people’s fondest memories are being weaponized against them by a spooky, ever-shifting substance called Prophet. As the unlikely twosome battles this strange new reality, Prophet’s victims’ memories are materializing in increasingly bizarre forms: favorite games, beloved pets, fairground rides, each more malevolent than the next. Prophet is like no enemy Adam and Rao – or the world – have ever come up against.

A tension-shot odd-couple romance, an unflinching send-up of corporate corruption, and a genre-bending tour de force, Prophet is a triumph of storytelling by a new writing duo with a thrilling future.

Praise for Prophet:

A Shelf Awareness 10 Best Fiction Books of the Year Selection
A Best Book of 2023 from Book Riot and Scientific American
New York Public Library “Best Books for Adults” 2023 Selection
A Most Anticipated Book of 2023 from BookPage and Literary Hub
A Locus Recommended Reading Pick

“Reads like a Christopher Nolan movie.”—Washington Post

“A sui generis and rather wonderful collaboration.. Boy, is it interesting to watch Rubenstein and Rao grapple with the mysteries around them.”New York Times 

“An ambitious first novel from this duo—I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.”Wall Street Journal

“Excellent escapist reading with a mind-bending premise . . . A perfect blend of twisty, high-stakes scenes that a reader expects from a sci-fi thriller, along with a strong narrative voice.”—Book Riot

“If Twin Peaks, The X-Files, and Doctor Who had a baby from The Twilight Zone, you might come close to this madcap, noir sci-fi featuring one of the genre’s more memorable romances.”—New York Public Library, “Best Books for Adults” 2023 Selection

“I could not put this book down and nearly threw it across the room when I finished it!”—Brianne Kane, Scientific American, A Best Book of the Year

“A surprising and unexpected blend of surreal science fiction, action thriller, and slow-burn queer romance, character-driven with a depth I rarely encounter in SFF . . . I’ve never read anything with quite this combination of elements, and Blaché and Macdonald balance the mix superbly.”Locus

“The authors hit all the expected sci-fi notes – an ill-fated experiment expanding into a quantum field of love and loss – but resist the containment of a single genre. Prophet is a page-turner in which object-oriented philosophy sits comfortably alongside military acronyms – and with a handful of familiar horror tropes to boot.”Telegraph (UK)

“Instantly enticing . . . A freaky, touching horror story that explores, among other things, the nature of nostalgia and how it can be weaponized by an otherworldly adversary . . . the debut collaboration for Helen Macdonald and Sin Blaché, but here’s hoping it’s not the last. Prophet is a trip.”Philadelphia Inquirer

“A beautiful, tense, strange, and heartfelt first collaboration from a duo not to be missed.”Shelf Awareness

“Striking in its originality and its capacity to instill unease, even terror. It evolves over time, with the consequences of its use growing ever more disturbing and incomprehensible . . . A chilling speculative thriller in which some suffer, and others profit, from idealizing the past.”—Foreword Reviews

“A fast-paced techno-thriller, with a high body count, zippy dialogue and an intriguing central mystery . . . The novel is immense fun, a work of exceptional storytelling skill and stylistic panache . . . The writing is high-spec, lively, vivid. The dialogue is sharp, often funny . . . Without letting the pace slacken, Macdonald and Blaché manage to fold in powerful reflections on loss and trauma . . . H Is for Highly Recommended.”Guardian (UK)

“Mind-bendingly absorbing.”Marie Claire (UK)

“Redolent of such small-screen favourites as Twin Peaks, Stranger Things and Lost, this sci-fi novel is entertaining, erudite and eerie.”Scotsman (UK)

Prophet is a blast.”Times (UK)

“Sinuous and transfixing . . . The well-matched authors make good on their audacious premise.”Publishers Weekly, Book of the Week

“I had heard Prophet (accurately) described as a genre mash-up, blending the best of techno-noir, dystopian sci-fi, and espionage procedural (with a dash of queer romance). And while it is all those things, at its heart Helen Macdonald and Sin Blaché’s tightly wound (yet somehow tender?) mystery-sci-fi-thriller is a philosophical novel… What is life without mystery? And at what point does nostalgia grow so strong it derails our lives?”—Literary Hub

 

“The authors’ most irresistible achievement… is their odd-couple pairing of the Dionysian Rao with the fastidious Rubenstein, who bicker and banter contentiously despite their fondness for each other. The well-matched authors make good on their audacious premise.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Intriguing and deftly plotted . . . pulse-pounding, philosophically fascinating, even blackly funny . . . A crisply written, inventive, complicated brew of a novel.”Kirkus Reviews

“A beautiful, tense, strange, and heartfelt first collaboration from a duo not to be missed.”—Shelf Awareness

“Shrewdly imagined, sharply crafted, witty, chilling, psychologically lush, grotesque, and romantic.”—Booklist

“Unlike many sci-fi titles, the focus of the book revolves around the two main characters rather than on action sequences or futuristic technologies. This allows for plenty of mystery and drama as the story shifts between the present and the past, intertwining the two men and a substance that is making time essentially irrelevant.”—Library Journal 

“Fabulous… Present day science fiction that feels like the best sort of spy novel with real people you can care about. And it’s a page-turner. So good.”—Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods

Prophet is a crackling, shape-shifting romp with big ideas and a bigger heart. Blaché and Macdonald take a no-holds-barred approach to manifesting the ways in which individual desires are exploited by the systems we live under, and ask the necessary question of whether escape from that cycle is possible. This is a display of sheer inventiveness, and a delight.”—C Pam Zhang, author of How Much of These Hills is Gold

“Absorbing, fast-paced and febrile, Prophet takes you through the world at an angle, exposing cracks in the reality we think we inhabit. An exhilarating and surprisingly tender trip.”—G. Willow Wilson, author of Alif the Unseen

“Sin Blaché and Helen Macdonald have turned nostalgia — ‘the trash of hearts’ — into a world and a trap. Prophet promises to bring back everything you lost and now yearn for. Is it a drug? Or is it a new state of matter? Whatever it is, it’s proper science fiction — self-aware, funny, ruthlessly propulsive, full of invention, parodic yet perfectly serious about its underlying issues with contemporary retro culture, and ending with a complex, emotionally satisfying extension of the personal into the sublime. I loved it.”—M. John Harrison, author of Light

Prophet is a wildly fun, inventive, funny, and terrifying book, with a superb mystery that gets ever more compelling and weird and, horrifyingly, familiar. This book finds the nightmare in the comforting lies we tell ourselves about our pasts, and how they inform our present.”—Phil Klay, author of Uncertain Ground

“A hyperkinetic headrush of a novel that proves its organic bona fides by getting you drunk with ideas before casually and cataclysmically breaking your heart.”— Paraic O’Donnell, author of The House on Vesper Sands