The Perfect Assassin, by K.A. Doore

Second paragraph of third chapter:

“Long night?”

Part of the 2020 Hugo Voter packet submitted by Diana M. Pho, but I’ve only just now got to it. It was very nice of several editors that year to give us more novels to read (in a year when we needed them), but it is of course impossible for the reader to know what contribution the editor made to the final product.

It’s a fantasy novel set in a parallel world’s medieval Middle Eastern city, where the guild of assassins is struggling for legitimacy and against an unknown opponent, who our young protagonist is tasked with tracking down. Excellent world-building, layering various bits of ghost lore onto the secure foundation of the Thousand and One Nights; I groaned at the sudden-yet-inevitable betrayal near the end, but actually it was played out better than I had anticipated. It’s the first of a trilogy; while I enjoyed it, I won’t make special efforts to get the other two. You can get it here.

This was my top unread book acquired in 2020 (after Penric’s Progress, which I can’t find). Next on that pile is Falling to Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut’s Journey to the Moon, by Al Worden.