The Books

I’m the author of the Steerswoman Series:  4 novels (so far).

All were originally published by Del Rey/Ballantine/Random House, but I’ve since recovered all the rights, and I’ve rereleased them myself.  in both ebook and trade paperback formats.

I have plenty of ideas for works outside of the Steerswoman’s world –but currently I’m focusing on the series, for the most part.  Watch my blog for news of other works.

The trade paperbacks are available from Amazon and Createspace.  Or, contact your favorite bookstore to ask if they carry them.

The ebooks are available for Kindle at Amazon, and on all pretty much platforms, too:  iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.

What’s been said about the series:

If you haven’t read Kirstein’s Steerswoman books I envy you the chance to read them now for the first time… If you like science, and if you like watching someone work out mysteries, and if you like detailed weird alien worlds and human cultures, if really good prose appeals… you’re really in luck. It’s a very difficult trick to have revelations within a story that mean different things to the reader and the characters, but Kirstein dances over this constant abyss with delicate grace… These books really are terrific fun to read. —  Jo Walton, Hugo, Nebula, and Tiptree Awards winner, author of Among Others, My Real Children and The Just City

One of the very best treatments of the scientific method in fiction that I’ve read (I suspect it may be the best, but years on the Internet make me want to hedge everything) is the Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein… It’s a joy to watch the scientific reasoning process Rowan follows, and the plots have plenty of excitement as well. — Chad Orzel, physicist, author of How to Teach Physics to Your Dog and Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist

“[Kirstein] walks the tightrope between fantasy and science fiction with precision and grace… [her] compassion for even minor characters is evident on every page, and her prose is measured and alluring without being overworked.” — Damien Broderick & Paul Di Filippo, in Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010

“The world Kirstein creates is captivating… [Her] striking portrait of an innovative woman who is scientist, judge, historian, and adventurer makes for a good, thought-provoking read..” — Publisher’s Weekly

(Of The Lost Steersman): “An original and fascinating take on the tensions between science and belief, observation and expectation, courage and fear. Highly recommended.” — Suzy McKee Charnas, author of Motherlines and Walk to the End of the World



If you ask, she must answer. A steerswoman’s knowledge is shared with any who request it; no steerswoman may refuse a question, and no steerswoman may answer with anything but the truth.

And if she asks, you must answer. It is the other side of tradition’s contract — and if you refuse the question, or lie, no steerswoman will ever again answer even your most casual question.

And so, the Steerswomen —  always seeking, always investigating — have gathered more and more knowledge about the world they traveled, and they share that knowledge freely.

Until the day that the steerswoman Rowan begins asking innocent questions about one small, lovely, inexplicable object…

Her discoveries grow stranger and deeper, and more dangerous, until suddenly she finds she must flee or fight for her life. Or worse — lie.

Because one kind of knowledge has always been denied to the steerswomen:





Two shining lights hung above, motionless in the night sky as the constellations slowly passed behind them.  The common folk knew them well, and used them to count the hours, mark the seasons.

But when the steerswoman Rowan discovered a number of broken blue jewels of clearly magical origin, her investigations led to a startling discovery: a Guidestar had fallen.

There were more than two; the others hung above the opposite side of the world; something had caused one of those to fall.

But what? And what might it mean? Rowan had no answers…

But she knew one thing: where the fallen Guidestar was located. To reach it, she must cross the Inner Lands and pass deep into the wild and deadly Outskirts.

Rowan’s travelling companion, Bel, is an Outskirter herself.  Together the steerswoman and the warrior-poet have a chance of surviving the cruel landscape, the barbarian tribes, and the bizarre native wildlife.

But there are more secrets than one in the Outskirts: and each step closer to the Guidestar brings new truths, leading to the most startling secret of all…




How do you find someone?

How, if you have never seen him, never heard him described, did not know where he lived? How, if he wished not to be found?

And how, most especially, if he were the most powerful wizard in the world?

The steerswoman Rowan has discovered that the fall of the Guidestar and the massacre of Outskirter tribes were caused by one man: the secret master-wizard, Slado. But until now, no steerswoman had known of his existence, nor knew that the wizards answered to any single authority. Now, Rowan must find him.

She comes to the seaside town of Alemeth, where centuries of records might help her find clues for her search. Then, an unexpected encounter with a lost friend: Janus, a steersman who had resigned his membership in the Steerswomen, giving no explanation.

Now Rowan has hope for help in her search — but Janus has changed. The bright intellect is now shrouded in a dark, shattered spirit…

When sleepy Alemeth becomes a place of terror; when death and chaos move in from the wildlands; when doubt and lies surround the steerswoman at every turn — then all Rowan’s questions are reduced to one, the single question that drives every member of the Steerswomen:







The steerswoman Rowan has learned much about the master-wizard Slado: how his spells are devastating the distant lands known as the Outskirts, and how they will ultimately threaten even the Inner Lands. But she knows nothing else about him, not even why he is hiding his actions from the other wizards.

He must be found, and stopped.

Now, following the slimmest of clues, Rowan arrives in the city of Donner hoping to learn more about Slado’s plans. But when the answers begin coming in faster than the questions can be asked, a strange tale from the past emerges, a tale behind all the secrets of the present…

Fortunate that Rowan has the Outskirter warrior Bel on hand to watch her back. Because there’s one sure way to know that the steerswoman is on the right track:

Someone will try to kill her.