Trouble the Saints: A Novel (Paperback)
“Juju assassins, alternate history, a gritty New York crime story...in a word: awesome.” —N.K. Jemisin, New York Times bestselling author of The Fifth Season
The dangerous magic of The Night Circus meets the powerful historical exploration of The Underground Railroad in Alaya Dawn Johnson's timely and unsettling novel, set against the darkly glamorous backdrop of New York City, where an assassin falls in love and tries to change her fate at the dawn of World War II.
Amid the whir of city life, a young woman from Harlem is drawn into the glittering underworld of Manhattan, where she’s hired to use her knives to strike fear among its most dangerous denizens.
Ten years later, Phyllis LeBlanc has given up everything—not just her own past, and Dev, the man she loved, but even her own dreams.
Still, the ghosts from her past are always by her side—and history has appeared on her doorstep to threaten the people she keeps in her heart. And so Phyllis will have to make a harrowing choice, before it’s too late—is there ever enough blood in the world to wash clean generations of injustice?
Trouble the Saints is a dazzling, daring novel—a magical love story, a compelling exposure of racial fault lines—and an altogether brilliant and deeply American saga.
About the Author
ALAYA DAWN JOHNSON has been recognized for her short fiction and YA novels, winning the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Novelette for “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i,” which also appears in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy (2015), guest edited by Joe Hill. Her debut young adult novel, The Summer Prince, was longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Her follow up, Love Is the Drug, won the Andre Norton Award in 2015. A native of Washington, D.C., Johnson is currently based in Oaxaca, having finished her masters degree in Mesoamerican studies at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
“Juju assassins, alternate history, a gritty New York crime story... in a word: awesome” —N.K. Jemisin, New York Times bestselling author of The Fifth Season
“Beware this magnificent beguilement of a novel: once begun, Alaya Dawn Johnson’s Trouble the Saints won’t let you go.” —Kelly Link, New York Times bestselling author of Get In Trouble
“A knotty, painful, gorgeously told historical fantasy in which nobody’s hands are clean, nobody escapes the consequences of their own actions and the past will not stay buried” –NPR, Best Books of 2020
"Beautiful prose and an omnipresent sense of regret build an intense, dark mood throughout the whole book. Johnson explores the intersection of race, violence and personal identity in this powerful, passionate story." —Bookpage, "Science Fiction & Fantasy: August 2020"
“Johnson’s secret history is a nuanced portrait of racism in all of its poisonous flavors, brutally overt and unsuccessfully covert. In musical prose, she also offers passionate and painful depictions of the love expressed in romance and friendship and the sacrifices such love can demand. A sad, lovely, and blood-soaked song of a book.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Literary firecracker” —Publishers Weekly
"Expect a multidimensional approach to the context of the early 1940s, complete with World War II, being non-white in America, and misogyny, and how its characters imperfectly wade through it as they hurt, heal, protect, and betray... A wonderfully deep read for the forlorn New Yorker’s heart." —Black Nerd Problems