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The Water Outlaws

By S. L. Huang
The Water Outlaws by S. L. Huang digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

A 2023 Pick for Vulture | Men's Health | IGN | Polygon | Goodreads | Amazon | Nerd Daily | WeAreBookish | Paste | Books, Bones & Buffy | The Escapist | Paste Magazine | SciFixFantasy | Distractify | Gizmodo | Ms. Magazine | Popsugar | Book Riot | Autostraddle | The Mary Sue & others

Inspired by a classic of martial arts literature, S. L. Huang's The Water Outlaws are bandits of devastating ruthlessness, unseemly femininity, dangerous philosophies, and ungovernable gender who are ready to make history—or tear it apart.

"This wuxia eat-the-rich tale is a knockout."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

In the jianghu, you break the law to make it your own.

Lin Chong is an expert arms instructor, training the Emperor's soldiers in sword and truncheon, battle axe and spear, lance and crossbow. Unlike bolder friends who flirt with challenging the unequal hierarchies and values of Imperial society, she believes in keeping her head down and doing her job.

Until a powerful man with a vendetta rips that carefully-built life away.

Disgraced, tattooed as a criminal, and on the run from an Imperial Marshall who will stop at nothing to see her dead, Lin Chong is recruited by the Bandits of Liangshan. Mountain outlaws on the margins of society, the Liangshan Bandits proclaim a belief in justice—for women, for the downtrodden, for progressive thinkers a corrupt Empire would imprison or destroy. They’re also murderers, thieves, smugglers, and cutthroats.

Apart, they love like demons and fight like tigers. Together, they could bring down an empire.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

2 Reviews

“https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZT8N46wF5/ If you’re looking for the rebelliousness and cultural atmosphere of The Poppy War, but with the gratuitous violence and complexity scaled down. This may be the book for you…except for the cannibalism That’s not to say there is not violence in The Water Outlaws. S. L. Huang delivers found family Robin Hood-esqe bandit story set in the ancient Chinese Song Dynasty. This book was engaging with the atmosphere and the plot are what really keep you drawn into the story. The characters are decent but probably the weakest part of the book, Huang delivered a likable group of protagonist but we honestly don’t get to know them as well as I would’ve liked. The antagonist pretty standard bad guys, and I mean that literally there was not a single male character that wasn’t a POS. But honestly the story and vibes were enough for me to enjoy it overall. The magic system is soft but used really effectively never taking over as the main highlight of the story which at the end of the day is about fighting for people to be treated better. Lastly I just want to note that Emily Woo Zeller does an excellent job delivering the narration for the audiobook. I listened at 1.7x Thanks to Netgalley and Dreamscape Media for the opportunity to listen to this book early; I received this ALC in exchange for review, however this does not affect the outcome of my review in any way.”
“This audiobook is narrated by Emily Woo Zeller and I absolutely love her voice. I have listened to some other audiobooks narrated by her and she does such a phenomenal job at bringing the story and all the characters to life. The Water Outlaws is a story about a band of outlaws who are ready to make history. Lin Chong, a master arms instructor in the imperial guard is a woman that follows the rules and keeps her head down. But when a powerful man makes untoward advances at her and she fights back, she ends up being arrested and accused of attempted murder. As she is forced to question her own morals and ideals, she realizes how much corruption there is within the government. She ends up meeting and joining the Lianshan Bandits. This Asian-inspired fantasy novel has strong themes of politics, feminism, and martial arts. While the book has plenty of violence and heavy topics such as cannibalism and sexual assault, there are plenty of light-hearted and funny moments as well. Lu Da was probably my favorite character, as she was loyal and so incredibly funny. The book is action-packed and fast-paced, which made it an easy read. There are multiple POVs and lots of names that I was a bit confused with at times. I think having a glossary of names would have definitely helped me a bit.”

About S. L. Huang

S. L. Huang is a Hollywood stunt performer, firearms expert, Nebula Award finalist, and Hugo Award winner with a math degree from MIT and credits in productions like “Battlestar Galactica” and “Top Shot.” The author of the fantasy novella Burning Roses as well as the Cas Russell novels including Zero Sum Game, Null Set, and Critical Point, Huang’s short fiction has also appeared in Analog, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, Nature, Tor.com, and more, including numerous best-of anthologies.

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