As an editor, there’s no better feeling than reading a submission that blinds you with its sheer brilliance. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s one of the most exciting things about working in publishing.
Bitter Seeds was one of those submissions. I’d heard some positive murmurings coming out of the US about Ian Tregillis’s debut novel, but began reading the book with no particular expectations – and was left amazed by its vivid prose, bold action sequences and the wonderful depth of its characterisation. Not to mention the underlying plot that regularly crosses into the realms of sheer genius.
Bitter Seeds – and the other two books in the Milkweed Triptych, The Coldest War and Necessary Evil – have something of the chameleon about them, in that their underlying plots are constantly shifting and evolving. Just when you think you might have figured them out, they’ll change direction and completely shatter your expectations (my jaw dropped so many times when reading this trilogy that I attracted more than one strange look from my fellow commuters).
These novels are also chameleonic (totally a word, I looked it up!) in the sense that they weave so many different elements together to form something unique. At heart, the books are adventure stories – Nazi superhumans battling British warlocks – with a dangerously high dosage of action and espionage. Yet these novels are also subtle and extremely intelligent, weaving plots that shock and delight in equal measure, not to mention packing a serious emotional punch when the stakes are at their highest.
There are a host of complex, memorable characters within the pages of these books, such as Raybould Marsh, who must constantly balance his loyalty to his country with his love for his family, and Will Beauclerk, whose powers may end the war but destroy him in the process. Yet most memorable of all is Gretel, a gypsy orphan who wields a manipulative power so great that life itself is just another pawn in her Grand Design – the ultimate outcome of which only she knows.
One thing is for sure: you’ll certainly never see it coming.
Bitter Seeds [UK | ANZ], The Coldest War [UK | ANZ] and Necessary Evil [UK | ANZ] are all available now in paperback and ebook.
The sorceress Emma Bannon and the deductive genius Archibald Clare will return for a second steampunk adventure this month in THE RED PLAGUE AFFAIR (UK | US | ANZ), released next week on 21st May!
With the RED PLAGUE audiobook coming out on the same day, and the audiobook of THE IRON WYRM AFFAIR (UK | US | ANZ) – Bannon and Clare’s first adventure – also coming to the UK and Australia on the 21st, we thought we’d share a treat with you to whet your appetite for some Victorian mystery-solving, magic-wielding action!
For newcomers to the series who want to stay spoiler-free, here’s the prologue to THE IRON WYRM AFFAIR . . .
And for everyone who’s read IRON WYRM, here’s the first chapter of THE RED PLAGUE AFFAIR. Enjoy!
Congratulations to Orbit authors Iain M. Banks, David Brin, Ken MacLeod, and Kim Stanley Robinson, as well as to the rest of the finalists! The winner will be announced during the Campbell Conference in Lawrence Kansas on June 14th.
Chat with author and podcaster Mur Lafferty next week in a live, interactive event brought to you by Shindig! You may know Mur as the host of the award-winning “I Should Be Writing” podcast or for her work with “Escape Pod,” which publishes audio science fiction short stories — now get to know her as an urban fantasy author.
This event will be live on Wednesday, May 22nd from 6:30-7:30 EDT. RSVP today.
Mur’s book THE SHAMBLING GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY (US | UK | AUS) will be out on May 28. Listen to an audio excerpt on Mur’s website.
The Dagger and Coin series continues in the third installment, THE TYRANT’S LAW (US |UK | AUS) — available now. Familiar characters will face new challenges, alone, and nothing can stop the great war now. Read an excerpt here or start from the beginning of the series with THE DRAGON’S PATH (US | UK | AUS).
There have been a lot of great things said about the latest novel so far. Here are a few highlights.
Praise for THE TYRANT’S LAW
“The third novel in the Dagger and the Coin quintet (after The King’s Blood) undermines expectations in the most satisfying ways. This smart, absorbing, fascinating military fantasy, exciting and genuinely suspenseful, will keep readers on their toes.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The time taken has worked to perfect effect in this third book, wherein each character is crafted to perfection and the story comes to its own monumental, glorious peak….Easily the best of the series, and perhaps the best book this reviewer has read in the last 12 months.” – RT Book Reviews (4.5 Stars)
“Daniel Abraham continues to write quality novels that feel familiar and yet entirely unique at the same time, and The Tyrant’s Law is a fine addition to one of fantasy’s strongest series.” – A Dribble of Ink
“For folks who have to discover him, kindly do so at the earliest as the Dagger and the Coin quintet is epic fantasy handled by an exquisite writer who is at the top of his writing game.” – Fantasy Book Critic
“…it is difficult to distill into one review the pure enjoyment the settles into me when I read these books (or as I’m coming to realize, anything Daniel Abraham writes).” – Robert H. Bedford
You meet a lot of interesting characters in New York City as Zoe will tell you. Watch the trailer below for Mur Lafferty’s upcoming novel THE SHAMBLING GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY (US | UK | AUS) .
Ready for more? Head on over to Mur’s website to listen to the first and second chapters of THE SHAMBLING GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY in an ongoing audio serialization of the novel. Don’t feel like waiting? Pre-order the entire audio book today from your favorite retailer. This book releases on May 21st!
Locus has just announced the finalists for the 2013 Locus Awards, and we’re thrilled to see some familiar names on the list! Congratulations to Iain M. Banks, James S.A. Corey, and Kim Stanley Robinson for their nominations in the Science Fiction Novel category; and to N.K. Jemisin and Charles Stross for their nominations in the Fantasy Novel category.
Below are the full lists of nominees for those two categories.
SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
The Hydrogen Sonata, Iain M. Banks (US | UK | ANZ)
In two weeks, the Nebula Awards Weekend will be taking place in San Jose, CA. Best of luck to all the nominees, but especially Kim Stanley Robinson and N.K. Jemisin, who both have works nominated for Best Novel this year! Here are some of the other conventions and events where you’ll find Orbit authors this month.
On May 28th Mur Lafferty’s debut novel THE SHAMBLING GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY (US | UK | AUS) will be hitting shelves everywhere; however, I’m here to tell you how you can listen to a portion of it – early. Yeah!