The perfect mix of world building and action, Tobias S. Buckell’s provocative A STRANGER IN THE CITADEL is a 2023 favorite

World Fantasy Award winner Tobias S. Buckell’s well-told and compassionate A STRANGER IN THE CITADEL is among Newsweek Staffers’ Favorite Books of 2023 for Everyone on Your Gift List (as selected by Josh Smith, Director of Rankings). The book received favorable notices from both Gary K. Wolfe for Locus and the Bocas Book Bulletin in the Trinidad Daily Express.

cover image of A Stranger in the Citadel by Tobias Buckell
Cover by Elizabeth Story

Set in a dystopian future where books are not just banned but burned on sight, this thrilling tale feels of-the-moment. An outlaw librarian lands at the gates of a far-flung city, kicking into motion a journey of discovery for young royal Lilith as she discovers the truth of her world, literacy and herself—while evading a killer mechanical angel and her former guards. It’s the perfect mix of world building, action, layered reveals and suspenseful secrets.


A STRANGER IN THE CITADEL thus emerges as a well-told and at times provocative addition to the long SF tradition of tales of postrationalist dystopias who blame scientists and intellectuals for their plight.


A STRANGER IN THE CITADEL (Tachyon Publications) by Grenada-raised Tobias Buckell presents a compassionate allegory for humanity’s peaceful coexistence and survival, through the lens of speculative fiction. Focusing on the thorny relationship between a warrioress who has never seen a book, and a fugitive librarian fleeing dangerous reprisals, A STRANGER IN THE CITADEL is awash with political intrigue, often highlighting the fundamental breakdown between official pronouncements and the lives of the working-class people that superpowers are meant to serve.

Trinidad Daily Express