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The Conductors (A Murder & Magic Novel) (Paperback)
“A seamless blending of magic, mystery, and history…Glover’s worldbuilding, characters, and attention to historical detail create a delightfully genre-bending debut!” —Tananarive Due, American Book Award winner, author of Ghost Summer: Stories
From a bold new voice in speculative fiction comes a vibrant historical fantasy of magic and murder set in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Hetty Rhodes and her husband, Benjy, were Conductors on the Underground Railroad, ferrying dozens of slaves to freedom with daring, cunning, and magic that draws its power from the constellations. With the war over, those skills find new purpose as they solve mysteries and murders that white authorities would otherwise ignore.
In the heart of Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward, everyone knows that when there’s a strange death or magical curses causing trouble, Hetty and Benjy are the only ones that can solve the case. But when an old friend is murdered, their investigation stirs up a wasp nest of intrigue, lies, and long-buried secrets- and a mystery unlike anything they handled before. With a clever, cold-blooded killer on the prowl testing their magic and placing their lives at risk, Hetty and Benjy will discover how little they really know about their neighbors . . . and themselves.
“An unforgettable debut ... Wholly original and thoroughly riveting.” —Deanna Raybourn, New York Times best-selling author of A Murderous Relation
About the Author
NICOLE GLOVER works as a UX researcher in Virginia. She believes that libraries are magical places and that problems seem smaller with a cup of tea in hand. Her life outside of books includes bicycles, video games, and baking the perfect banana bread. The Conductors is her debut novel. She can be found at nicole-glover.com.
“The Conductors is a seamless blending of magic, mystery, and history, creating power and wonder with its rarefied glimpse of Black life in the late 1800s. The Vigilance Society and the magic-wielding couple at the core of this story are a welcome addition to the growing chorus of voices in Black speculative fiction. Glover’s worldbuilding, characters, and attention to historical detail create a delightfully genre-bending debut!” —Tananarive Due, American Book Award winner, author of Ghost Summer: Stories
“Community dynamics mixed with a magical alternate Reconstruction-era mystery. The Conductors has all the elements I was looking for in a good story.” —Mary Robinette Kowal, Hugo Award–winning author of The Calculating Stars
“An Underground Railroad—but with magic. With compelling characters and wondrous worldbuilding, Glover weaves a tangled mystery of murder, spellwork, and freedom amid the remnants of slavery’s lingering memories.” —P. Djèlí Clark, Nebula Award–winning author of Ring Shout
“Nicole Glover blends historical detail and magical elements into an unforgettable debut. The Conductors is a wholly original and thoroughly riveting story. This is no doubt the first of many brilliant books to come.” —Deanna Raybourn, New York Times best-selling author of A Murderous Relation
“With The Conductors, Nicole Glover creates a fascinating world where even magic is segregated. She effortlessly weaves both the constellation-based magical system and the real life struggles of being Black in post–Civil War America. The characters, led by former Underground Railroad conductors Hetty and Benjy Rhodes, are as intriguing as the mystery. It’s hard to believe this is Glover’s first book. I found it as enchanting as one of Hetty's spells.” —Kellye Garrett, winner of the Anthony, Agatha, and Lefty awards and author of Hollywood Homicide and Hollywood Ending
“The Conductors is a conjured novel. Reimagining a past that helps us navigate our present, it weaves a rich tapestry of history and magic to create a story of resilience and resistance through the power of Black girl magic. It’s the perfect book for our times.” —Maurice Broaddus, author of Pimp My Airship
"The Conductors is a wildly inventive alternate history that combines compelling characters, a propulsive plot, and lots of intrigue. It is also radical as hell. Thought-provoking and powerful, Glover’s novel is a must-read." —Cadwell Turnbull, author of The Lesson “Inventively mixing mystery, magic, and alternate history, Glover’s nail-biting debut takes readers to Reconstruction era Philadelphia…Glover is a writer to watch.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)