** AMERICAN FICTION AWARD FINALIST FOR BEST NEW FICTION 2021 ** ** FINALIST FOR THE 2021 SHELF UNBOUND AWARD FOR BEST FICTION ** ** LONGLISTED FOR THE 2021 SOMERSET PRIZE/CHANTICLEER INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS FOR BEST LITERARY AND CONTEMPORARY FICTION **
For Fans of Emily Fridlund's History of Wolves and Fiona Mozley's Elmet.
This stunning debut uses the irresistible scenario of a hermit living in near-complete self-sufficiency in the wilderness, and asks the universally relevant question: what is the value of existing within a civilization when it is fraught with evil? Adelaide has lived a long, solitary existence in the Blue Ridge Mountains. On the verge of ending it all, she discovers two feral children raiding her garden and rescues them in a misguided attempt at a new life. Now she must find a way to care for children who are more beast than human. They only communicate with chirps and grunts, and they pine for their feral mother. When dangerous men and a wild woman emerge from the darkness in pursuit, Adelaide faces a grueling choice. She can release the children back to the wild, saving her own life but losing everything she has grown to love, or fight to defend her new family, risking the death she no longer seeks. Thieves, Beasts & Men asks who are the thieves in this story? Who are the beasts? And what, ultimately, defines humanity?
Shan Leah is a writer and an award-winning fine artist by trade. Her work often examines themes of identity, aging, and the inevitable loss of time. Shan’s art work has been exhibited in galleries from New York to Seattle. She is a recipient of the Impact Returns Grant, awarded to artists whose work has potential to impact the art world. Her work has been published by Out Of Step books, Emboss Magazine, Studio Visit Magazine, and Black + White Magazine. Inspired by the rich and vibrant history of her childhood home, she is at work on a novel set in the Florida Keys in 1967.
“Thieves, Beasts & Men is a graceful and brutal debut. It had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. You will fall in love with Adelaide, the deeply flawed heroine. And the wild family just may break your heart. Dark and powerful, yet light and readable. A huge achievement. “—Evie Wyld, author of The Bass Rock
“I devoured this book in one sitting. I can’t remember the last time a novel grabbed me by the throat with such ferocity and refused to let go until the final page. Thieves, Beasts & Men is a heart-pounding, utterly unique page-turner, as immersive as a dream and as indelible as a tattoo.”—Abby Geni, author of The Last Animal, The Lightkeepers, and The Wildlands
“An old woman alone in the woods, two feral children and their mother, all of them traumatized by a terrifying monster. In one sense Thieves, Beasts & Men tells a horror story as old as time. But in Leah’s competent hands this darkly exhilarating fantasy becomes a new story, one of loneliness and anguish that lingers, of monsters who never go away but loom and threaten forever. She gives us a deep character study of the monsters that also dwell within ourselves, maiming us and causing us to injure or ostracize all others we encounter, even as we look to them for the possibility of second chances.”—Katherine Forbes Riley, author of The Bobcat
“A temporal fairytale whose lyricism is paired with compelling storytelling. The writing is as urgent, deliciously dark, and as extraordinary as its wild setting and willful heroine. You will do best to savor this triumphant debut.”—Alena Dillon, author of Mercy House and The Happiest Girl in the World