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A tour de force debut novel that fuses the sensibility of bombastic, comic-book-style storytelling with anti-heroic fiction to bring to life a universe of super men stripped of their powers and immortality, but still pledged to keep the world safe from harm. Tom King's inspiration for A Once Crowded Sky came from his experiences as a CIA counterterrorism agent behind enemy lines in war zones across the world. There he conceived the idea to use the devices of the comic book genre to comment on a world so eager to wage war foreverso eager that it did not understand that sometimes it's better simply not to have superheroes. King's superheroes of Arcadia City play the daily game of destroying earth's villains. That is, until they are forced to give up their unique powers to save the world, instantly transforming them from the marvelous to the mundane. A Once Crowded Sky is the story of how these once-magical figures learn to live without their powers. One such superhero, The Soldier of Freedom, has no problem letting go of his past. But when a new threat blasts through Arcadia, he reenlists in the next great war, without his once-amazing abilities. Forced to team up with PenUltimate, the only superhero left with powers, Soldier must face his mortal fears to once again save the world. Interspersed with stunningly illustrated graphic-novel-style panels, A Once Crowded Sky has all the appeal of comic books and the supernatural, but turns the comic book genre and the ideal of superheroes on their heads to create an absorbing, entertaining read. An incredibly imaginative and experimental debut, King's work will resonate with both comic book fans and readers of literary fiction because of its artistry and emphasis on story.
Tom King worked for the counterterrorism unit at the Central Intelligence Agency, following the events of 9/11. Before the CIA, he worked for DC Comics and Marvel. He lives in Washington, D.C.