Rogba Payne Inks Deal with Gollancz for Fantasy Trilogy Inspired By West African Spirituality

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British publishing house, Gollancz has announced a three-book deal with Nigerian writer and Lawyer Rogba Payne for his debut trilogy- the first of which is The Dance Of Shadows. The trilogy is a high fantasy that follows a young musician drawn into a battle between gods and is said to draw inspiration from the religion, rituals and heritage of West Africa. 

Described by the publishers as “perfect for fans of the world-building of Marlon James, the musical magic of Patrick Rothfuss and the realistic characterisation of Joe Abercrombie”, the book “marries the best of fantasy with a striking new take on magic and mythology as well as a hard look at the realities of colonialism.”

The synopsis reads: “Rumi and his family are Odu, stricken with poverty and disparaged by the other tribes. When ruthless agents of the Palmaine – the colonising nation that dominates the continent of Basmine – threaten to destroy the village market, Rumi takes it on himself to liberate his family. Taking a place in the prestigious Golden Room, where earnings from his music offer a chance at freedom, he shoulders his pride and resentment in a bid to make it to the top. 

“On what should be Rumi’s greatest night at the Golden Room, his life is turned upside down. A terrifying individual known as the Priest of Vultures attacks Rumi and his family. Before her death, Rumi’s mother, Adunola, solicits the help of a dying god and saves Rumi, setting him on the path to become a Shadowwielder: warriors with the ability to use their shadow as a weapon. But Rumi’s need for vengeance may be more important to him than the future of his people…”

Much like Gollancz’s books, The Dance of Shadows is sure to pack an expansive fantasy world with complex characters and plenty of adventure. It will be released in hardback, e-book and audio on 15th February 2024, with the second and third volumes in the trilogy coming yearly. 

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