Fire Logic

Laurie J. Marks  - published January 2019

trade paper  · $20 · 9781618730886 | ebook ·  9781931520393
2nd printing: November 2022

An occupying army, cut off from their homeland, has to make peace with those they have brutally suppressed.

Elemental Logic: Book 1
Spectrum Award winner
Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award nominee

Fire Logic · Earth Logic · Water Logic · Air Logic

The martial Sainnites have occupied Shaftal for fifteen years. Every year the cost of resistance rises. Emil, an officer and scholar; Zanja, a diplomat and last survivor of her people; and Karis, a metalsmith, half-blood giant, and an addict, can only watch as their country falls into lawlessness and famine. Together, perhaps they can change the course of history.

Read an excerpt. Listen to Chapter 1 read by the author: part 1 · part 2

See the Map of Shaftal by Jeanne Gomoll.


Fire Logic is a delightful, feminist fantasy epic featuring a ragtag bunch of misfits, swashbuckling, romance, and some weird elemental magic.”

“I’m re-reading after some years away, and loving the book even more than I did the first time! Marks creates a realistic society in which women are the dominant sex. The home country has been conquered by an army with no home to return to, and its leaders have been fighting a long, guerilla war against them. What they need is the leader who is joined by her magic with the earth, but the one who inherited the office from the former leader is a drug addict and former prostitute who doesn’t believe in her worth or her job. The second-in-command of the army is beginning to see that her people have to re-think what they are doing if they are to survive, as do some of the rebel leaders. The characters are complex, facing complex problems. I . . . love them and the world-building.” — Tamora Pierce, author of Tempests and Slaughter

“I’m a longtime fan of this series. . . . Zanja is one of my favorite protagonists in fantasy fiction — smart, courageous, and passionate despite the heavy weight of being the only surviving member of her people. These books look at oppression, queer identity, and morality during a protracted civil war — definitely worth picking up.”
— Gretchen Treu, A Room of One’s Own

“Marks has created a work filled with an intelligence that zings off the page.”
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“A deftly painted story of both cultures and magics in conflict. Marks avoids the black-and-white conflicts of generic fantasy to offer a window on a complex world of unique cultures and elemental magic.”
—Robin Hobb

“Marks is an absolute master of fantasy in this book. Her characters are beautifully drawn, showing tremendous emotional depth and strength as they endure the unendurable and strive always to do the right thing, and her unusual use of the elemental forces central to her characters’ lives gives the book a big boost. This is read-it-straight-through adventure!”
Booklist (Starred Review)

“Like real life, it is all about shades of gray. . . . an immensely political and unflinchingly optimistic novel. Differences are celebrated as often as scorned, and love can be found even with an enemy without the costs that might be expected in our world. Fire Logic questions both the real magic behind faith and the self-selective blindness involved in following a leader: religious, military or political. Characters and story come together effortlessly even as Marks refuses to shy away from complex issues of self-determination, ownership and multicultural coexistence.”—BookPage

“A deep and intriguing read.” – BookSense Daily Pick

“Contained in Fire Logic are some of the most sensual and tender sexual encounters ever captured on paper. She perfectly portrays the timidity, the lust, the uncertainty, of that first connection and the exultation of discovery. The emotion, so raw and vulnerable, is arresting and humbling.”
– ME Reviews

“A cast of memorable characters whose lives, loves, and sacrifices combine to imbue faith in a shattered land.”
Library Journal

“Marks vividly describes a war-torn land, and the depth of character development makes this novel a page-turner.”

“Cuts deliciously through the mind to the heart with the delicacy, strength, beauty, and surgical precision of the layered Damascus steel blade that provides one of the book’s central images.”
—Candas Jane Dorsey

“Laurie Marks brings skill, passion, and wisdom to her new novel. Entertaining and engaging—an excellent read!”
—Kate Elliott

“This is a treat: a strong, fast-paced tale of war and politics in a fantasy world where magic based on the four elements of alchemy not only works but powerfully affects the lives of those it touches. An unusual, exciting read.”
—Suzy McKee Charnas

“A glorious cast of powerful, compelling, and appealingly vulnerable characters struggling to do the right thing in a world gone horribly wrong. I couldn’t put this down until I’d read it to the end. Marks truly understands the complex forces of power, desire, and obligation.”
—Nalo Hopkinson

“Most intriguingly, about two-thirds of the way into the book, the low-key magical facets of her characters’ elemental magics rise away from simply being fancy “weapons” and evoke—for both the readers and the characters—that elusive sense of wonder.”
—Charles de Lint, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

“An exquisite novel of quiet charm. Fire Logic is a tale of war and magic, of duty, love and betrayal, of despair encompassed by hope.”
SF Site

Cover art by Kathleen Jennings.

Laurie J. Marks (website) has published nine fantasy novels, including Dancing Jack, The Watcher’s Mask and the Elemental Logic series (Fire Logic, Earth Logic, Water Logic, and Air Logic). She has been writing since her childhood in California, inspired by the works of C.S. Lewis and Lloyd Alexander. Her books have been shortlisted for the James D. Tiptree/Otherwise Award, and have twice been awarded the Gaylactic Spectrum Award. Laurie J. Marks lives in Massachusetts with her wife, Deb Mensinger, and their Welsh corgi, Serendipity.