The Golden Needle

by T.J. Carroll

2024 Eric Hoffer Grand Prize Short List

Hours away from the executioner’s blade, Dashi doesn’t hesitate when she’s offered a way out of prison. But her freedom comes with a price—she must enter the khan’s race.

Competing to find a mysterious artifact, Dashi must journey across the desolate taiga, where predators stalk the trees and danger inhabits every shadow. With the perils of the race mounting, she finds herself forced into an unlikely pact with a fellow contestant. Yet even as the bond between them grows, Dashi suspects her newfound ally is holding back a secret about the artifact they’ve been charged with recovering.

In a race where winning is the difference between life and death, Dashi must prepare for treachery at every turn, even if it means casting aside her honor and becoming the least trustworthy one of all.

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Category: Fantasy – Coming of Age