M.R. Carey’s novel The Girl With all the Gifts blew our minds, in a very good way. It was Joss Whedon’s new favorite book, too. So it’s absolutely fantastic news that Carey has a new novel coming in early April 2016! Here’s your first look at Fellside, exclusively at io9!

Here are the first two pages of the book, appearing for the first time ever:

1.

It’s a strange thing to wake up not knowing who you are.

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Jess Moulson – not thinking of herself by that name or any other – found herself lying in white sheets in a white room, overwhelmed by memories that were predominantly red and yellow and orange. The colours merging and calving endlessly, out of control, billowing heat at her like she’d opened an oven door too quickly and caught the full blast.

Someone had just been talking to her with some urgency. She remembered the voices, low but coming from right up against her face.

Her face . . . Now she thought about it, her face felt very strange. She tried to ask one of the women in white who came and went why this was, but she couldn’t open her mouth very far, and, when she did, she wasn’t able to make anything happen beyond a few clicks and rasping sounds which hurt her in coming out.

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The woman leaned in close and spoke very softly. She was younger and prettier than Jess but still managed to wear an air of authority. For a moment, Jess didn’t even have any kind of reference point for what this person might be. A nurse or doctor seemed most likely, but in the utter disorientation of those first few minutes it seemed possible that she was some kind of nun – that the crisis Jess was going through, against all the evidence, was a crisis of faith.

“You won’t be able to talk for a few days yet,” the woman told her. “You shouldn’t even try. There was a lot of damage to your lungs and the tissues of your throat, and they won’t heal if you put strain on them.”

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Nurse then, not nun. The damage was to her lungs and throat. Her soul might well be intact, although it didn’t really feel that way.

Jess made a shrugging gesture with the arm that didn’t have a drip in it. She wasn’t shrugging the information away; she was trying to ask for more. But the nurse either misinterpreted the gesture or ignored it. She walked on without another word.

Jess was left feeling not just frustrated but afraid. The nurse’s expression as she looked down at her had been very strange. There had been compassion there, but also something that looked like reserve or caution. Did Jess have some disease that was communicable? But in that case, why get so close?

She didn’t worry about it for long though. There was something in her system that was pulling her endlessly towards sleep. She gave in to it – a surrender that was repeated on and off through that first day. Her conscious periods were short. Her sleep was shallow and haunted by whispers in what sounded like many different voices. Her waking brought the same questions every time as she clawed her way up out of the darkness like a swimmer hitting the surface just before her lungs gave out.

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Where am I? How did I get here? Who’s thinking these thoughts? What was before this?


Want to know more? Here’s the official synopsis of Fellside, which comes out the first week of April in both the U.S. and U.K.:

Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It’s not the kind of place you’d want to end up. But it’s where Jess Moulston could be spending the rest of her life.

It’s a place where even the walls whisper.

And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess.

And here’s your first look at the book’s cover!


Contact the author at charliejane@io9.com and follow her on Twitter @Charliejane