Released on 24 September 2015.

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The Traitor

4.05 based on 5827 ratings & 1074 reviews on

2016 Short-listed

David Gemmell Morningstar Award


Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people - even her soul.

When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her fathers, Baru vows to mask her hate, join the Empire's civil service, and claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to put a stop to the Emperor's influence and set her people free -whatever the price.

A natural savant she is sent as an Imperial agent to distant Aurdwynn - a post she worries will never get her the position and power she craves. But Baru soon discovers Aurdwynn is a complex and secretive country, seemingly on the brink of rebellion. All it would need is a match to the tinder . . .

Drawn by the intriguing duchess Tain Hu into a circle of seditious dukes, Baru may be able to use her position to help create a revolution that will threaten the Empire's hold on the country; an outcome, which if successful, could threaten to bring the Empire to its knees.

As she pursues a precarious balance between the rebels and a shadowy cabal within the Empire, she orchestrates a do-or-die gambit with freedom as the prize. But winning the long game of saving her people may be far more costly than Baru imagines.

In the media

A beautiful, perfectly formed crystal of a novel borne out of a tight plot mated with elegant language.
JOHN CHU, Hugo award-winning author of The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere
Breathtakingly original and carefully crafted, The Traitor by debut novelist Seth Dickinson is one of those very few works that straddle the line between "genre" and "literary" fiction . . . Dickinson's writing is intricate, sometimes delicate, and always absolutely delicious
Brutal, relentless and with the heartbreaking beauty of the best tragedies. The Traitor is a haunting book that asks hard questions about revolution, change, and what it means to keep faith
ALIETTE DE BODARD, Nebula Award-winning author of The Waiting Stars