Abandoned by her family, alone on the wrong side of the color line with little to call her own, Eliza Meeks is coming to terms with what she does have. It’s a gift for communicating with animals. To some, she’s a magical tender. To others, a she-devil. To a talent prospector, she’s a crowd-drawing oddity. And the Bacchanal Carnival is Eliza’s ticket out of the swamp trap of Baton Rouge.
Among fortune-tellers, carnies, barkers, and folks even stranger than herself, Eliza finds a new home. But the Bacchanal is no ordinary carnival. An ancient demon has a home there too. She hides behind an iridescent disguise. She feeds on innocent souls. And she’s met her match in Eliza, who’s only beginning to understand the purpose of her own burgeoning powers.
Only then can Eliza save her friends, find her family, and fight the sway of a primordial demon preying upon the human world. Rolling across a consuming dust bowl landscape, Eliza may have found her destiny.
AN AMAZON BEST BOOK OF THE MONTH: SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
“Henry skillfully layers historical realism with fantastic elements to explore the way times of desperation test the ethics of oppressed communities. Henry is a writer to watch.”
“[Bacchanal is] gorgeous while somehow never losing sight of the need to unsettle. It captures a sense of wonder and reminds you that too much curiosity can lead to danger. And most importantly, it’s Black and never lets you forget it. If you want endearing characters, a charming setting, and characters that refuse to bend to the world’s injustices then Bacchanal is the book for you.”
“Henry’s debut draws on a rich history of folklore from various African traditions, as well as African history and Black American history, and almost the entire main cast is Black. The carnival setting works perfectly for bringing together various strange and magical people who aren’t at home anywhere else…Come one, come all, this magical carnival has all the delightful dangers a reader could wish for.”
“Set in the Depression-era South and featuring a mysterious traveling carnival, it’s a novel of Black history and magic that makes for a terrific read.”
The Washington Post
“Think of a Southern Gothic version of The Midnight Circus with a touch of Lovecraft Country…nail-biting scenes of tension.”
“If you took The Night Circus and viewed it through the gaze of a young Black woman in the Great Depression, you might get Veronica Henry’s Bacchanal. Demons, lies, and secrets.”
Mary Robinette Kowal, Hugo award-winning author of The Calculating Stars
“Beautifully descriptive prose that fully captures the places, people, and time period.”
“Filled with magic, danger, and dynamic characters.”