Mammoths at the Gates

The wandering Cleric Chih returns home to the Singing Hills Abbey for the first time in almost three years, to be met with both joy and sorrow. Their mentor, Cleric Thien, has died, and rests among the archivists and storytellers of the storied abbey. But not everyone is prepared to leave them to their rest.

Because Cleric Thien was once the patriarch of Coh clan of Northern Bell Pass–and now their granddaughters have arrived on the backs of royal mammoths, demanding their grandfather’s body for burial. Chih must somehow balance honoring their mentor’s chosen life while keeping the sisters from the north from storming the gates and destroying the history the clerics have worked so hard to preserve.

But as Chih and their neixin Almost Brilliant navigate the looming crisis, Myriad Virtues, Cleric Thien’s own beloved hoopoe companion, grieves her loss as only a being with perfect memory can, and her sorrow may be more powerful than anyone could anticipate. . .

A Locus and Igynte Award Finalist, and Crawford and Hugo Award-Winning Series!

“A remarkable accomplishment of storytelling.” —NPR on The Empress of Salt and Fortune

“Nghi Vo is one of the most original writers we have today.” —Taylor Jenkins Reid on Siren Queen


“This fourth entry in the ‘Singing Hills Cycle’ series, after Into the Riverlands, is every bit as beautiful and thought-provoking as its predecessors. Highly recommended for fans of the previous books in the series and for anyone who loves their fantasy colored with myth, legend, and bittersweet truth.” —Library Journal, starred review

“Hugo Award winner Vo’s lovely standalone fourth Singing Hills Cycle fantasy is the most personal adventure yet for travelling Cleric Chih. . . . This timeless story of grief and growth is sure to resonate.” —Publishers Weekly

“[T]he novella is short but meaty, with rich language and small details and stories that flesh it out into feeling much longer than it is. It’s a quick, satisfying read.”—Booklist

“With its themes of friendship, loyalty, continuity, and loss, [Mammoths at the Gates’s] main strengths derive from an appealing cast of characters, some of whom, like Chih, have grown more complex over the four volumes of the series. . . . Adds considerable emotional resonance to an already impressive series.” —Locus

“Both tear-jerking and gut-punching. . . . Entirely accessible on its own, it is an excellent place to start if you haven’t read any of Vo’s novellas yet.” —The Washington Post