Daughter of the Merciful Deep

New Release


By Leslye Penelope

Read by Shayna Small

Formats and Prices





  1. Audiobook Download (Unabridged) $31.99
  2. ebook $9.99 $12.99 CAD
  3. Trade Paperback $19.99 $25.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around June 4, 2024. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

A woman journeys into a submerged world of gods and myth to save her home in this powerful historical fantasy that shines a light on the drowned Black towns of the American South. 

“Our home began, as all things do, with a wish.”

Jane Edwards hasn’t spoken since she was eleven years old, when armed riders expelled her family from their hometown along with every other Black resident. Now, twelve years later, she’s found a haven in the all-Black town of Awenasa. But the construction of a dam promises to wash her home under the waters of the new lake.

Jane will do anything to save the community that sheltered her. So, when a man with uncanny abilities arrives in town asking strange questions, she wonders if he might be the key. But as the stranger hints at gods and ancestral magic, Jane is captivated by a bigger mystery. She knows this man. Only the last time she saw him, he was dead. His body laid to rest in a rushing river. 

Who is the stranger and what is he really doing in Awenasa? To find those answers, Jane will journey into a sunken world, a land of capricious gods and unsung myths, of salvation and dreams made real. But the flood waters are rising. To gain the miracle she desires, Jane will have to find her voice again and finally face the trauma of the past. 

For more from Leslye Penelope, check out The Monsters We Defy.


  • "Daughter of the Merciful Deep is a mesmerizing tale that deftly blends history and magic. It’s a thoughtful, timely, and immensely compelling read. Readers will find much to admire and marvel at from the first page to the very last!" 
    Nicole Glover, author of The Conductors
  • Daughter of the Merciful Deep skillfully weaves the mythology of the age-old gods, with all their feuds and foibles, through this poignant and mystical story. It will leave you filled both with the hope of all that can be when one is reminded of the magic found in family and community, and the unimaginable power of generational memory and the thread that binds us to the ancestors.”
    Rita Woods, Hurston/Wright Legacy Award-winning author of Remembrance
  • Praise for The Monsters We Defy

    "Leslye Penelope has created a rich and immersive world, set in an enchanting 1920s Washington DC full of jazz musicians, elite Black social organizations, fairy balls, bootleggers, lady gangster bosses, and mesmerizing magic! It's a story that weaves together threads of real history with bits of the utterly fantastic. The Monsters We Defy will keep you turning the pages and wanting more!” —P. Djèli Clark, author of A Master of Djinn

    "Penelope’s blend of fantasy and history is pitch perfect, with wit, romance, and a lovable found family thrown in for good measure. Readers will be wowed." —Publishers Weekly (starred)

    "A gritty heroine and crew that commune with trickster spirits. A heist that pits them against a powerful member of the city's elite. In The Monsters We Defy, Leslye Penelope blends magic, mystery, and mayhem in this deliciously complex historical fantasy." —Veronica Henry, author of Bacchanal

    "An enchanting adventure that weaves a spell while spotlighting Black culture in the 1920s." —Justina Ireland, New York Times bestselling author

    "Masterfully crafted, with gorgeous prose, colourful characters, and a compelling plot. This smart and entertaining, magical heist novel hits all the right notes and leaves the reader wanting more." —T. L. Huchu, author of The Library of the Dead

    "Penelope ... entwines African American folk magic with a caper, historical fiction, and romance to equally enchanting effect." —Booklist (starred)

    "What a thrilling gem of a book! Clara is a heroine for the ages and her 1920s Black Washington society, both the glamour and the grit, is so compellingly evoked it's as though Penelope has given us a peek behind the veil to hear the tales of our ancestors. Highly recommended." —Alaya Dawn Johnson, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Trouble the Saints

    "The 1920s have a great deal to say to the 2020s about justice and whose lives are seen as being worth more than others. Stolen destinies, dubious bargains, and unlikely groups of allies, all in a city whose history deserves more fame: this is a fresh and engaging take on historical fantasy!" —Marie Brennan, author of The Lady Trent Memoirs

    "The Monsters We Defy is a fascinating blend of the real and imagined...both a well-crafted fantasy romp (with a healthy dose of happily-ever-after romance) and a work of revisionist fiction that elevates a vital, oft-overlooked slice of history." —BookPage

    "Brightly painted with hues and shades of magic, set against a backdrop of jazz music and drag balls, Penelope has taken a specific historical place and moment and made them feel vibrantly alive. She expertly weaves threads of folklore, mythology, and Bible stories into the tapestry of the setting, creating a texture that ties the story to this world and its history while allowing the fantastic to breathe and flow." —Paste Magazine

On Sale
Jun 4, 2024
Hachette Audio

Leslye Penelope

Leslye Penelope

About the Author

Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of fantasy and paranormal romance. Equally left and right-brained, she studied filmmaking and computer science at Howard University and sometimes dreams in HTML. She hosts the My Imaginary Friends podcast and lives in Maryland with her husband and furry dependents.

Learn more about this author