Matthew's father had
lion's feet and his mother had gills, and both fled the modern-day city
to live in underground Safe, a secret community of freaks,
ghost-whisperers, and disabled outcasts hidden beyond the subways and
sewers. Raised underground, Matthew is responsible for the keeping of
both Safe's histories and the traumatized shapeshifter Ariel, the girl
he took in, fell in love with – and can't stop from constantly running
But Safe is no longer safe: the night after a frightening encounter in the sewers, Safe's founder Atticus is murdered by the one person Safe ever exiled: mad Corner, whose coup is backed by an army of mindless, whispering shadows.
Only Matthew, Ariel, and a handful of unstable, crippled compatriots escape to the city that cast them out; the dangerous place he knows only as Above. Despite Ariel's increasingly erratic behaviour and with the odds against them, Matthew must find a way to rescue Safe from Corner's occupying army.
But as his quest leads him through abandoned
asylums and the dregs of urban poverty, Matthew discovers that the
histories he's devoted his life to aren't true: Corner's invasion – and
Ariel's terrors – are rooted in a history of Safe much darker and
bloodier than Matthew ever imagined.
And even if he manages to save both home and Ariel, he may well lose himself.
"Leah Bobet's Above is that rarest of creatures, combining the outspoken honesty of a good first novel with the craft of a seasoned professional." – Elizabeth Bear, Hugo Award-winning author of Dust
Leah Bobet’s short fiction and poetry have appeared in Realms of Fantasy, Strange Horizons, The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy for Teens, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Rhysling Award. She received a 2008 emerging writers’ development grant from the Toronto Arts Council. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.