The Water Outlaws (Hardcover)

The Water Outlaws By S. L. Huang Cover Image

The Water Outlaws (Hardcover)


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A Most Anticipated Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2023 for Polygon

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.

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.

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,, and more, including numerous best-of anthologies.
Product Details ISBN: 9781250180421
ISBN-10: 1250180422
Publisher: Tordotcom
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2023
Pages: 496
Language: English

"This queer retelling of a Chinese classic is a fantastic and entertaining blend of action, humor, profanity, social justice, delightfully larger-than-life characters, and so many magnificent fight scenes!"--Kate Elliott, bestselling author of Unconquerable Sun

"Rogues with hearts of gold, the motley rebels of Liangshan will warm your heart as quickly as they'll cause it to race, thump and break. Huang's writing is a god's tooth in its own right, sparking these heroes alive. Lu Junyi is a personal favorite, and her relationship with Lin Chong is a bond that binds not just two women together, but a whole revolution. If, like me, you grew up on the martial arts movies of the 80s, and are enamored by queer genderbent monks or rebels loud and quiet both—grab this book!"—Suyi Davies Okungbowa, author of Son of the Storm

“SL Huang is a literary genius, and this book proves it. Breathtakingly researched, tightly plotted, and cunningly written, this book is full of delicious vengeance and sharp humor. I laughed, I raged, I was swept off my feet and I loved every minute of it!”--Jesse Q. Sutanto, bestselling author of Dial A for Aunties

"With strong characterization, immersive worldbuilding, strong resonances with the original text, and vivid action scenes, The Water Outlaws encapsulates all the power and strength in Huang’s writing."--Paul Weimer, Hugo finalist

Praise for S. L. Huang

S. L. Huang is amazing."—Patrick Rothfuss

Calculated to mash my every emotional button.”—Amal El-Mohtar, The New York Times Book Review

“S. L. Huang delivers one of the best additions to the fairy tale genre in recent years. Burning Roses presents a compelling tale that favors change, the chance to forgive, and—universally—the desire to be forgiven.”—The Chicago Review of Books

“Huang dazzles in this dark, diverse fairy tale remix. . . . Fantasy fans won't want to miss this.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Old tales are given new life in S.L. Huang’s invigorating, crossover blend of Chinese and European folk stories. The combination of fairy tale, rich storytelling, and older queer women full of scars is everything I ever wanted in a book.”—Neon Yang

"Paced at a flat out sprint."—Kate Elliott