In 1328, Bruges is under siege by the Chatelaine of Hell and her army of chimeras―humans mixed with animals or armour, forged in the deep fires of the Hellbeast. At night, revenants crawl over the walls and bring plague and grief to this city of widows.
Margriet de Vos learns she’s a widow herself when her good-for-nothing husband comes home dead from the war. He didn’t come back for her. The revenant who was her husband pulls a secret treasure of coins and weapons from under his floorboards and goes back through the mouth of the beast called Hell.
Margriet killed her first soldier when she was 11. She’s buried six of her seven children. She’ll do anything for her daughter, even if it means raiding Hell itself to get her inheritance back.
Margriet’s daughter is haunted by a dead husband of her own, and blessed, or cursed, with an enchanted distaff that allows her to control the revenants and see the future. Together with a transgender man-at-arms who has unfinished business with the Chatelaine, a traumatized widow with a giant waterpowered forgehammer at her disposal, and a wealthy alderman’s wife who escapes Bruges with her children, Margriet and Beatrix forge a raiding party like Hell has never seen.
Praise for Kate Heartfield
For Armed in Her Fashion
“The novel is written with arresting detail and challenges literary tropes about women. Its roster includes half a dozen complex female characters and one trans male character, all of them captivating, sympathetic, repulsive, flawed, dangerous, selfless, determined, and damaged. They and Heartfield’s powerful battle scenes make this well worth the price of admission.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Armed in Her Fashion is Kate Heartfield’s debut novel, and what a strange, compelling, genre-bending debut it is. Part horror, part fantasy, part history, and part epic, it combines all of its elements into a commentary on gender, power, and patriarchy. . . . I really enjoyed Armed in Her Fashion. It’s worth reading. I may, in fact, need to read it again: there are interesting layers in the thematic work that Heartfield’s doing, and I’m not convinced I caught them all in one sitting. In other words, I recommend it.”
—Liz Bourke, Tor.com
For “Bonsaiships of Venus”
“Heartfield captures an aesthetic edge that is sharp as death.”
“Searingly beautiful . . . told in awe-inducing language.”
For “The Seven O’Clock Man”
“Blending character and action in a way that makes the reader’s pulse pound is tough in a short story, but Kate absolutely nails it; I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire thing.”
For “For Sale by Owner”
“The mark of an extraordinary tale is one that makes all of life’s distractions disappear and loses the reader in the telling. This is one such story. This is why we read stories. This is why fiction exists, to enlighten the human condition, and to share it with others.”
For “Traveller, Take Me”
“A poignant tale of loss and self-reflection.”