The Gilded Ones

Namina Forna

The first novel in an epic YA fantasy trilogy with ancient West African roots and a decidedly 300 spin.

In the ancient West African-inspired world of Otera, a woman’s worth is tied to her purity,  and she must bleed to prove it. Red blood for the pure, gold blood for the other – for the demons. All men know how to deal with a demon. Kill it. And that’s what the village elders do to Deka. They kill her. Again and again and again, only to watch, horrified as she resurrects each time.

Deka is saved from the brutal treatment by a mysterious woman she comes to know as White Hands. From White Hands Deka learns her true nature. She is an alaki – a rare, near immortal with exceptional gifts.

The stranger offers her a choice: fight for the Emperor with others of her kind or be destroyed utterly. For even the Alaki can be killed, their one true death. Deka agrees. But learning the truth may set Deka free, or it may lead to her one true death.



The Gilded Ones is a fierce, unflinching fantasy that marks Forna as a debut to watch.

Kiersten White, NYT bestselling author
Kiersten White , NYT bestselling author


Young Adult

UK Publication

Usborne, Spring 2020

US Publication

Penguin Random House / Delacorte Press, Spring 2020

Rights Sales

North American: Penguin Random House / Delacorte Press
UK & Commonwealth: Usborne
French: Editions De Saxus
German: Loewe
Italian: Mondadori
Portuguese (SA): Record
Serbian: Vulkan
Spanish: RBA