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June 13, 2018 at 02:00 PM EDT

Cassandra Clare, best known as the author of the hugely successful Mortal Instruments series, is back with a new fantasy saga returning to the world fans know and love — and at last bringing a beloved romantic pairing center stage.

The new trilogy, called The Eldest Curses and co-written with Wesley Chu, will offer a fresh look at the world of the Shadowhunters, as seen through the eyes of Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood. The pair are boyfriends as the first book, The Red Scrolls of Magic, begins, traversing Europe on vacation. But no sooner have they settled in Paris than an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult (founded, accidentally, by Magnus himself) called the Crimson Hand, which is bent on causing chaos around the world. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever — even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping.

For Clare, bringing Magnus and Alec together was a long time coming. “The Red Scrolls of Magic is a project very close to my heart,” she tells EW. “An essential part of the Mortal Instruments series is the love between Alec and Magnus, a reserved demon-hunter and a freewheeling warlock. I carved out a space for their first romantic vacation through Europe halfway through [Mortal Instruments] and always hoped I’d get a chance to revisit it. They went on that holiday having just gotten together, and return committed to living and dying for each other, so I knew something big had happened! This book is a first chance for fans of ‘Malec’ to see them not as part of an ensemble, but taking center stage. And it’s my chance to explore the development of both the characters and their relationship — their flaws and their triumphs.”

As to what else Clare can tease about Red Scrolls and Eldest Curses: “Wes Chu and I ultimately mean for Red Scrolls of Magic to be a joyful book — it’s a classic romantic-comedy caper, along the lines of the movies Charade, Roman Holiday, or The Thomas Crowne Affair, of people falling wildly in love while having a riotous time hurtling through Europe,” she reveals. “Alec’s trying to negotiate first love, while Magnus is horrified that a dark secret from his past is casting a shadow over the future he’s hoping for with the guy he’s not sure he can keep. Magnus and Alec are going to get abducted aboard the Orient Express, meet grumpy vampires in Venice, and have true love tested where all roads lead. Fans will also get to check in with favorites like Clary and Jace, Isabelle and Simon, and Helen and Aline, but make no mistake — Magnus and Alec are the stars of this show!”

In addition to these teases, Clare has exclusively shared the Red Scrolls of Magic cover with EW. Check it out below, and pre-order the book ahead of its April 2, 2019, release here.

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

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