Genevieve Cogman

novelist and game designer

Genevieve Cogman (born 1972) is a British author of fantasy literature and role-playing games.

Quotes edit

The Invisible Library (2015) edit

All page numbers are from the trade paperback first American edition published by Roc, ISBN 978-1-101-98864-0
Italics as in the book.
  • The atmosphere of the place soothed her automatically; the rich lantern-lights, the sheer scent of paper and leather, and the fact that everywhere she looked, there were books, books, beautiful books.
    • Chapter 1 (p. 12)
  • “I met one (that is, a dragon) once,” Irene said.
    “What did you talk about?”
    “He complimented me on my literary taste.”
    Kai blinked. “Doesn’t sound like a life-threatening sort of conversation.”
    • Chapter 3 (p. 54)
  • She did find that the books displayed prominently in every chamber had been dusted, but the spines were pristine and uncreased. They had the sad, untouched air of literature paraded for display purposes but never actually used.
    It was profoundly depressing.
    • Chapter 4 (p. 62)
  • She’d sort things out later. She’d explain things later. Right now she just had to make sure there would be a later.
    • Chapter 13 (p. 174)
  • She was a Librarian, and the deepest, most fundamental part of her life involved a love of books. Right now, she wanted nothing more than to shut the rest of the world out and have nothing to worry about except the next page of whatever she was reading.
    • Chapter 20 (p. 276)
  • She wasn’t actually going to lie, but there was…well, there might be an element of flexibility.
    • Chapter 23 (p. 322)

The Masked City (2015) edit

All page numbers are from the trade paperback first American edition published by Roc, ISBN 978-1-101-98866-4
Italics as in the book.
  • Irene hated trusting to luck. It was no substitute for good planning and careful preparation.
    • Chapter 11 (p. 141)
  • It was only a hypothesis, but it made an uncomfortable amount of sense.
    • Chapter 12 (p. 156)
  • “Oh, history,” Silver said, cutting her off. “You’ll be talking about reality next, as if it were something special too.”
    • Chapter 15 (p. 201)
  • Here and there people sat at desks, carefully turning the pages of manuscripts, or unrolling scrolls and making notes. It comforted her. This is a place built to store books, by people who wanted to preserve books, and used by people who want to read those books. I am not alone.
    • Chapter 16 (p. 210)
  • “I think my point holds. People want stories. You should know that more than anybody. They want their lives to have meaning. They want to be part of something greater than themselves. Even you, Miss Winters, want to be a heroic Librarian—don’t you? And if you’re going to say that people need to have the freedom to be unhappy, something that’s forced on them whether they like it or not, I would question your motivation.” She paused for a single deadly second. “Most people don’t want a brave new world. They want the story that they know.”
    • Chapter 16 (p. 217)
  • “My brother and I used to live in Rome,” she invented.
    “Rome.” The other woman turned up her nose a little. “Well, I suppose people have to live somewhere.”
    • Chapter 17 (p. 222)

The Burning Page (2016) edit

All page numbers are from the trade paperback first American edition published by Roc, ISBN 978-1-101-98868-8
  • There were so many possible logical holes in that statement that Irene could have used it as a tea-strainer.
    • Chapter 6 (pp. 64-65)
  • “Maybe it’s like being a parent,” she said, bringing up a Library map. “You never really see your children as adults.”
    “You’re exaggerating,” Kai said, with the easy confidence of someone who hadn’t tested the issue yet.
    • Chapter 12 (p. 145)
  • The problem with paranoia was that if you let it rule all your decisions, then you would miss some perfectly good opportunities.
    • Chapter 24 (p. 315)
  • “I have spent most of my life preferring books to people,” Irene said sharply. “Just because I like a few specific people doesn’t change anything.”
    • Chapter 24 (p. 322)
  • Blind faith is just another word for slavery.
    • Chapter 25 (p. 338)
  • There were things to do, people to see, questions to ask. Books to read.
    • Chapter 27 (p. 354)

The Lost Plot (2017) edit

All page numbers are from the trade paperback first American edition published by Ace Books, ISBN 978-0-399-58742-9
  • “I dislike the fact that she treated you like a servant,” Kai commented. His voice had an undertone to it that promised reprisals.
    “Leave it for the moment,” Irene said wearily. “I’m not going to waste my time feeling insulted. And don’t you think we’ve got more serious problems to consider? Much more serious problems?”
    • Chapter 3 (p. 35)
  • They blew up a library. A library, Kai. They haven’t just offended me, they have attacked and insulted every single citizen of this place who used that library, who contributed to it, who even so much as might have used it someday in the future.
    • Chapter 7 (p. 89)
  • The news was highly coloured, even if the print was black and white.
    • Chapter 9 (p. 118)
  • She was trying to work out who these men were working for. Were they Qing Song’s minions, random gangsters, specific gangsters, or undercover police? So many enemies, so little time.
    • Chapter 14 (p. 178)
  • She’d thought the situation couldn’t get much worse. She’d been wrong. The situation could always get worse.
    • Chapter 15 (p. 194)
  • There were clear class divisions among the protestors: the upper-class ones stood back and gave the orders, while the lower-class ones did the actual work. Some things didn’t change, no matter how many worlds you visited.
    • Chapter 17 (p. 215)
  • “What business is it of mine if they should want to kill each other? I’d say they both show excellent judgement.”
    “Sounds about right to me,” Evariste said harshly. “Not my circus, not my monkeys. If they want to tear each other to bits, they can get on with it, and good luck to them.”
    • Chapter 24 (p. 284)

The Mortal Word (2018) edit

All page numbers are from the trade paperback first edition published by Ace Books, ISBN 978-0-399-58744-3
  • First things first. Get the facts, then decide what to do next. And hope that there is a next.
    • Chapter 2 (p. 33)
  • The room on the other side was elegant and gracious, even in the moonlight that slanted in through the long rectangular windows. It breathed with the scent of old books and wax polish: the dark volumes that filled the shelves promised countless secrets, and Irene itched just to reach out and touch them.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 41)
  • Walking through a library—any library—as they made their way to the exterior had its usual comforting, balancing effect on Irene. It was a reassurance that such places existed and that they would continue, even if she herself was as temporary as any other human.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 42)
  • Sometimes the obvious answer is the true answer.
    • Chapter 8 (p. 111)
  • What is written can be erased, alas.
    • Chapter 12 (p. 179)
  • And, really, Erda had put the basic problem in a nutshell. Everyone here viewed damage to their own particular interest as more significant than damage to anyone else’s. Whatever the scale of the damage.
    • Chapter 13 (p. 197)
  • “There is no truth to peace,” she said. “Peace is at best a brief interlude between hostilities. The treaties which might be signed here are no more than lies. The field of battle is more honest.”
    • Chapter 14 (p. 209)
  • Irene didn’t need Vale’s deductive skills to tell her she was in trouble. But there was something liberating about this. She was surrounded by known enemies, not politics. And she didn’t have anyone to worry about—apart from herself.
    • Chapter 20 (p. 292)
  • You can’t trust people in power, dearie. They’ll say whatever they want, all the witnesses will be paid to agree, and then you’re behind bars till the end of your days. Or worse.
    • Chapter 20 (p. 294)

The Secret Chapter (2019) edit

All page numbers are from the hardcover first edition published by Ace Books, ISBN 978-0-593-19784-4
  • “I have a complicated relationship with my parents. It’s a good relationship, but…”
    “You hardly ever see them!”
    “Yes, that’s why it’s a good relationship.”
    • Chapter 2 (p. 25; ellipsis is in the book, but is then followed by half a paragraph of description, elided here)
  • My dear Irene, there are two sorts of collectors. One is satisfied by simply owning the treasured item and doesn’t care whether or not the rest of the world knows. But the other sort—they absolutely have to brag about their possessions. For them, half the pleasure comes from the thought of acquaintances gnawing their guts out with envy. Even if it increases the risk of theft, they can’t help themselves.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 37)
  • Be careful. Be diplomatic. Try not to blow anything up.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 40)
  • All that fear, all that paranoia, and all of it based on a lie simply to keep convenient control of this world. Maybe there were no universal standards of morality—but this was still just plain wrong.
    • Chapter 21 (p. 241)
  • “I have no intention of signing up to her crusade,” Irene said. “To anyone’s crusade.”
    • Chapter 22 (p. 250)
  • Indigo was precisely the sort of person who would declare that a just revolution was worth a million deaths. As long as she wasn’t one of them, of course.
    • Chapter 26 (p. 294)
  • “But don’t make the same mistakes that we have, Irene.” Her mouth quirked in a smile. “Make some new ones.”
    • Chapter 28 (p. 320)
  • “Life was much easier before I had to worry about everyone else worrying,” Irene muttered.
    “It’s called growing up, dear. It comes with staying alive.”
    • Chapter 28 (p. 322)

The Dark Archive (2020) edit

All page numbers are from the trade paperback first edition published by Ace Books, ISBN 978-1-9848-0478-5
  • Catherine looked as if she was about to boil over. “We have been poisoned,” she said again. “We’re about to die! I’ll never get at those books!”
    “Now, that’s the right attitude,” Kai agreed, glad to see her demonstrating a proper sense of priorities.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 39)
  • I don’t care about politics or the greater good or universal peace or whatever. I just want to be left in peace with books.
    • Chapter 5 (p. 66)
  • “May I be frank?” Sherrington asked.
    Irene sighed. This was always the sign of a fast-approaching insult.
    • Chapter 6 (p. 78)
  • My dear Miss Winters,

    You will have realized by now that I intend to bring down irretrievable ruin on you, your loved ones, your friends and associates, your workplace, and anything else that comes to mind. Please don’t feel obliged to thank me. It is my pleasure entirely.
    • Chapter 8 (pp. 99-100)
  • “Nothing lasts,” he said, his voice guttural with age and remembered pain. “Neither knowledge, nor skill, nor family, nor the bond between master and student. In another thousand years I will be gone. And in time you both will pass as well, and this place will be dust. For all that we pride ourselves on our power and our length of years, Prince Kai, ultimately dragons too are as fleeting as fireflies. There was a time when we never existed; there will also come a time when nobody will remember us. War changes to peace. But, ultimately, peace collapses into war and the cycle continues.”
    “I’ve told you before, sir, you will be remembered as long as my fathers kingdom lasts.” Shan Yuan spoke with affection, clearly repeating an old reassurance.
    “That’s not as reassuring as you might think.”
    • Chapter 11 (p. 135)
  • “Very well. Then our conversation is over.”
    “Aren’t you going to threaten me?” Irene asked.
    “Miss Winters, if you don’t already feel threatened, I’m not doing my job properly.”
    • Chapter 15 (p. 189)

The Untold Story (2021) edit

All page numbers are from the trade paperback first edition published by Ace Books, ISBN 978-1-9848-0480-8
Italics and ellipsis as in the book
  • “I honestly thought you’d be happier if you knew nothing about it for the rest of your life. Was I wrong?”
    Irene slumped in her chair. “No, you weren’t. Everyone’s going to say that, aren’t they? ’It was for your own good.’”
    “Something you’ll learn as you get older is that truth and reconciliation may be necessary for nations, but it isn’t necessarily best for individuals.”
    • Chapter 5 (p. 67)
  • It was the sort of overly complex plan dreamed up by armchair manipulators who thought they could play chess with the universe and didn’t realize that the universe ignored rulebooks.
    • Chapter 6 (p. 77)
  • “Everyone’s being hypocritical,” she muttered. “Is there anyone around here who doesn’t want something from us while acting innocent? We need to find out what’s really going on before everyone does the wrong thing for the right reasons.”
    • Chapter 12 (p. 161)
  • Irene realized she was on the point of shouting. Worse, of being ungrammatical. She took a deep breath.
    • Chapter 15 (p. 202)
  • I think the time for blind trust is long over. Now I need answers.
    • Chapter 19 (p. 267)
  • You must surely know by now, Winters, that a leader’s authority is limited to giving her followers orders that they will actually obey.
    • Chapter 22 (p. 318)
  • “You mean me entering the Library may have destroyed the universe?” Catherine asked
    “You don’t need to sound quite so impressed by it,” Irene chided. “It’s not something you want on your yearly performance review.”
    • Chapter 23 (p. 322)
  • We shouldn’t be playing politics. We should be focusing on what’s important.
    • Chapter 23 (p. 328)
  • Don’t you realize you have a responsibility to other people to look after yourself?
    • Chapter 24 (p. 336)
  • “Are there other Librarian ghosts here?” she asked.
    “Ghosts? Yes, I suppose that’s the best word for it. Collections of memories, maybe. We are all the sum of our memories, after all.”
    • Chapter 24 (p. 337)
  • If my friends—my brothers and sisters—have sacrificed themselves, then it was their choice. You, on the other hand, have lied to us and kept us in the dark and used us. You’re probably going to tell me that you did it for a higher cause, that you were just protecting us. But true higher causes don’t have everyone deserting them when they find out the truth, grandmother. Genuine ethical purposes don’t have everyone walking out once they know what’s really going on. And causes that people care enough to die for…”
    • Chapter 26 (pp. 365-366)

External links edit

Wikipedia has an article about: