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Jacket art by Robbie Trevino.
On Jeroun, there is no question as to whether God exists - only what his intentions are.
Under the looming judgment of Adrash and his ultimate weapon - a string of spinning spheres beside the moon known as The Needle - warring factions of white and black suits prove their opposition to the orbiting god with the great fighting tournament of Danoor, on the far side of Jeroun's only inhabitable continent.
From the Thirteenth Order of Black Suits comes Vedas, a young master of martial arts, laden with guilt over the death of one of his students. Traveling with him are Churls, a warrior woman and mercenary haunted by the ghost of her daughter, and Berun, a constructed man made of modular spheres possessed by the foul spirit of his creator. Together they must brave their own demons, as well as thieves, mages, beasts, dearth, and hardship on the perilous road to Danoor, and the bloody sectarian battle that is sure to follow.
On the other side of the world, unbeknownst to the travelers, Ebn and Pol of the Royal Outbound Mages (astronauts using Alchemical magic to achieve space flight) have formed a plan to appease Adrash and bring peace to the planet. But Ebn and Pol each have their own clandestine agendas - which may call down the wrath of the very god they hope to woo.
Who may know the mind of God? And who in their right mind would seek to defy him? Gritty, erotic, and fast-paced, author Zachary Jernigan takes you on a sensuous ride through a world at the knife-edge of salvation and destruction, in this first installment of one of the year's most exciting fantasy epics.
"A visionary, violent, sexually charged, mystical novel - NO RETURN challenges classification. Clearly, Zachary Jernigan has no respect for genre confines. His tale of gods hanging in the sky and a "constructed man" with glowing blue coals for his eyes and a motley band of fighters navigating a harsh landscape peopled by savage creatures and religious zealots... Well, it's pure genius. Here's hoping it's just the first of many such works from this guy." - David Anthony Durham, Campbell Award-winning author of the ACACIA Trilogy
"Zachary Jernigan's genre-defying epic raises the bar for literary speculative fiction. It has the sweep of Frank Herbert's DUNE and the intoxicatingly strange grandeur of Gene Wolfe's BOOK OF THE NEW SUN, with a decadent, beautifully rendered vision all its own. One of the most impressive debuts of recent years." - Elizabeth Hand, Nebula and World Fantasy Award-winning author of AVAILABLE DARK and RADIANT DAYS
"Be careful picking this one up, because once you join with the adventurers in this strange and stunning debut novel, there will be no going back to familiar precincts of heroic fantasy. Zachary Jernigan starts at the very edge of the map and plunges deep into uncharted territory. Mages in space, do-it-yourself gods, merciless killers in love and a mechanical warrior with a heart of bronze await your reading pleasure. For thinking readers who like swashbuckling with an edge, NO RETURN delivers." - James Patrick Kelly, winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards
"NO RETURN is a rich, diverse, inventive fantasy, in a style that reminds me in some ways of Tanith Lee's TALES FROM THE FLAT EARTH books. Zachary Jernigan has created a stunningly original world and I can't wait to see where he takes it next." - Martha Wells, author of THE BOOKS OF THE RAKSURA
"Jernigan's fiction is luminous and hallucinatory with its world-building, while still grounding readers into strong characters fully human. He scribes the future as an alien landscape with only just enough familiarity to unsettle us from our familiar, comfortable tropes. I highly recommend this gorgeous debut novel to all fans of strange fiction." - J. M. McDermott, author of the DOGSLAND TRILOGY