Revealing In the Shadow of Their Dying by Anna Smith Spark and Michael R. Fletcher

The third best assassin. A second rate mercenary crew. One terrifying demon.

We’re thrilled to share the cover of In the Shadow of Their Dying by Anna Smith Spark and Michael R. Fletcher. The novella will be available from Grimdark Magazine March 19, 2024.

The third best assassin. A second rate mercenary crew. One terrifying demon.

As Sharaam crumbles under siege, a mercenary crew hires an assassin to kill the king. For Tash, it’s a chance at glory—to be the best blade in the dark Sharaam has ever known. For Pitt, it’s a way to get his cutthroat crew past the Tsarii siege and out of this hellhole, maybe even with some gold to their name. For Iananr the Bound One, it’s a dream of shadows and human blood.

IMG 5637 Fabienne Schwizer

Cover art by Carlos Diaz; Design by Shawn T. King

From Adrian Collins, Editor in Chief of Grimdark Magazine:

Anna and Mike did an amazing job bringing this concept to life. Three distinct characters that I know people will love: an arrogant killer, a mercenary leader playing a botched long game, and the most fascinating and boundary-pushing demon point-of-view I’ve ever read.

From co-author Anna Smith Spark:

This is without doubt the most insane book I’ve ever written. And a huge amount of fun. I’ve always wanted to work with Mike Fletcher, I think we pushed each other to new, um, depths. Enjoy!

From co-author Michael R. Fletcher:

This monster is literally years in the making. We started writing in 2018, at which point our lives and mental states took turns imploding. And then Covid hit and things got much worse. And now here we are five years later. If the story is by turns dark, funny, and insane, you can probably guess why.



Anna Smith SparkAnna Smith Spark asked me to write this bio to prove once and for all that we’re not the same person. [Wait…] She’s a petty bureaucrat and ex-fetish model who spent her formative teenage years writing arty graphic novel torture porn. She now writes literary grimdark fantasy that beats Mike Fletcher’s books in all the charts that rate books by grimdark content. All five of her novels have been described as masterworks, which she assures me is no pressure all at when it comes to writing book six.

Anna wears the most ridiculous shoes known to humanity and is always overdressed. She likes chocolate, cats, and men with very large weapons. She does genuinely own a broken knife.

In conclusion: there are two fabulous Anna Ss who write grimdark epic fantasy, and Anna Smith Spark is the other one. It’s bizarre people get us confused—her hair is a slightly different colour to mine, and she wrote about multiple Broken Knives rather than a singular Stone Knife.

–Anna Stephens


Michael R FletcherMichael R. Fletcher is too lazy to write his own “About the Author” and has promised me a bottle of whiskey to do it for him. I know several things about the man and I’m sure I can string these out to fill the space. He’s Canadian, he recently placed 2nd in possibly the most prestigious literary contest for fantasy, and his middle name is just the letter R.

His debut book tops all the charts that rate books by grimdark content. So, open this one with tongs and leave at least an hour after meals before reading. Surprisingly, he has a wife and daughter!

To conclude. I was not coerced into writing this. Mr Fletcher is a real person. And this book contains not only a decent number of words but also all the letters.

–Mark Lawrence

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