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|In the dystopian world of Mafinga, Jasmin must contend with a dictator’s sorcerer to cleanse the socialist state of its deadly pollution.
Mafinga's malevolent king dislikes books and, together with his sorcerer Atari, has collapsed the environment to almost uninhabitable. The sun has killed all the able men, including Jasmin’s husband Godi. But Jasmin has Godi’s secret story machine that tells of a better world, far different from the wastelands of Mafinga. Jasmin’s crime for possessing the machine and its forbidden literature filled with subversive text is punishable by death. Fate grants a cruel reprieve in the service of a childless queen who claims Jasmin’s children as her own. Jasmin is powerless—until she discovers secrets behind the king and his sorcerer.
Recent Press & Endorsements
Top 10 SF, Fantasy & Horror Books Spring 2022
“Gorgeously told . . . Through poetic, fast-paced narration, Bacon draws readers into her dangerous and exciting world to showcase the power of stories, art, and individualism.”
“Lush prose twists and entrances, bringing Jasmin’s harsh, regimented world to life. . . . Knowing in advance how Jasmin’s efforts end in no way affects the story’s power to surprise, horrify, and enlighten. Stories, after all, are more than their conclusions: it is the messages taken from them, and the actions that they inspire, that truly matter. Mage of Fools is a dystopian novel in which truth is the people’s most potent weapon—if they choose to wield it.”
“Eugen Bacon’s unique vision, Mage of Fools, is a wonderfully imagined dystopia; a techno/folklore blend with a resourceful mother at its heart.”
—Jeffrey Ford, multi-award-winning author in the fantastic genre
“When the final chapter of a book ends with the heading ‘DENOUEMENT’ you know instinctively that you are in the presence of a master—or in this case, a mistress of words! Armed with her all-conquering sword for carving unforgettable, lyrical and magical prose, Dr. Eugen Bacon has, yet again, delivered in her latest book, Mage of Fools . . . I’ll leave you, my fellow enthralled readers, to discover the thrilling and gripping truth for yourselves, as you join me in praising this brilliant and powerful work of mind-blowing dystopian novel by the unrivaled Dr. Eugen Bacon.”
—Nuzo Onoh, “Queen of African Horror”
“Bacon’s sentences are ceaselessly reaching with a boldness that would have made Angela Carter proud. Her stories are restless and relentless. Mage of Fools is a clarion tale that examines the dangers of knowledge and, even worse, the withholding of it.”
—Angela Slatter, award-winning author of All the Murmuring Bones
“Mage of Fools’ lush narrative, vivid characterization and expertly constructed world help signify why Eugen Bacon is one of the most talented writers working in speculative fiction today.”
—Professor John Jennings, NYTimes bestselling author, and graphic novelist. Hugo Award winner for Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
“A brutal dystopia elegantly conceived with elements befitting legends and horror. A gritty world of politics versus community, the whole versus the individual. Bacon summons an African future where words and stories, folktales and memories, can subvert outside forces seeking to control the mind wanting to break free.”
—Stephen Embleton, James Currey Fellow for African Literature, Nommo-nominated author of Soul Searching
“Mage of Fools’ enchanting imagery and worldbuilding are richly woven in dark, delicious prose. This beautiful story reads like a dream trapped in a dystopian world with the texture of a fairytale. A poignant tale that has its characters dancing to its song with spirit, strength and some humor. I drank every achingly beautiful word.”
—Tlotlo Tsamaase, author of The Silence of the Wilting Skin, Lambda Literary Award finalist and Nommo Award winner for Best Short Story