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PROVEN GUILTY by Jim Butcher: Dresden Files reread

Mark Yon has been a reviewer and web administrator at SFFWorld, one of the world’s biggest genre forum sites, for nearly ten years. He has also been on the David Gemmell Awards organisation committee for the last two years. In this series of rereads, Mark will guide us below through the whole of Jim Butcher’s fabulous Dresden Files series as we count down to the new hardback Ghost Story at the end of July.

Proven Guilty takes place about a year after the events of Dead Beat, and is a really terrific read in terms of both plot complexity and pace. It is here that the war (between the wizard White Council and the vampire Red Court) is at its bloodiest so far. Interestingly, things are not going well for Harry’s side, and thousands have been killed. This makes Harry feel guilty because, after all, it was Harry who (albeit reluctantly) started the War in the first place. And to his dismay, Harry has been made an active Warden, responsible for justice and giving out death sentences.

Consequently, the Harry here is a very different one from the person we first encountered in Storm Front. He’s more experienced, yet also a bitter and crippled Harry, a Harry with secrets and a darkness which threatens his life – or at least his sanity. He also feels conflicted by his conscription to Warden status, where the lines between good and evil are definitely blurred. At the beginning of Proven Guilty, Harry feels uncomfortable with the execution of a young man whose involvement with black magic was discovered. This reminds Harry of his own past, and although the punishment is perhaps deserved here, Harry clearly has divided loyalties. Read the rest of this entry »

THE DREAD by Gail Z. Martin – the cover launch

We are very excited to unveil, at last, the stunning cover for The Dread (US | UK | ANZ). The Dread is the epic concluding volume in Gail Z. Martin’s Fallen Kings Cycle and is fantasy adventure at its most adventuresome. We published the first book, The Sworn (US | UK | ANZ), in February 2011 and The Dread will be available from February 2012. Both covers have been illustrated by talented fantasy artist Steve Stone and Peter Cotton developed the designs to great effect.

Today’s cover launch comes as part of Gail Z. Martin’s annual summer solstice online book ‘event’ . So please do check out her site for details of a sneak peek from the new book itself, plus there will be giveaway contests, interviews and online goodies spread across her website, blog, social media pages and also on other selected host sites.

And for a little look at just some of the great quotes we’ve had in for The Sworn, see below, a taster of what’s to come!

Top notch, engrossing fantasy”
“Very well-written and intricately plotted…I can’t wait for the second book in the cycle, The Dread”
The Civilian Reader blog
“I found myself caught up in the story and the characters almost from the first page …very enjoyable”
“Those who enjoy the large-scale fantasy of George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan should enjoy this”
Library Journal

“Hollywood Blockbuster in Book Form”

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey is out this week in stores! Jimmy Corey is, of course, the pseudonym for the highly acclaimed fantasy author Daniel Abraham and a newcomer to the SFF scene, Ty Franck. Both are writers of astonishing talent, imagination, and enthusiasm. They are also some of the hardest working men in the business. I highly recommend you pop over to John Scalzi’s Big Idea feature where I think James Corey lays out exactly what it is in his (their) writing that readers connect with. And it is, in short, an absolute dedication to delivering the most awesome story possible.

Writing genre fiction is undignified. Reading genre fiction is undignified. If we’re going to do this, it should be joyful. We should create a little literary pocket universe where we can shuck off the irony and defensiveness and care about these imaginary people, and weep for them, feel awe when they’re awed, triumph with them when they win, and grieve with them when they fail. If there is any sense of wonder to be had, it’s there. Wonder is what we come here for.

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New authors!

In recent months, we’ve acquired two new authors  — and I’m excited to introduce both of them to you!

Orbit US has also acquired GOD SAVE THE QUEEN plus two others from author Kate Locke, a pseudonym for Kathryn Smith. It’s an urban fantasy novel set in our time period — but with a twist.  Queen Victoria still rules 175 years after her ascension. This is the world that half-blood Alexandra has been born into — a world where horse-drawn carriages, ballgowns, and corsets mesh with the modern fashions of the humans outside of the vampire aristocracy. We’re publishing GOD SAVE THE QUEEN in July 2012 — and trust me it’s worth the wait.

Orbit worldwide has acquired Amanda Carlson in a new three-book deal. She’s a brand new debut author from Minnesota. I had the privilege of meeting her at the Romantic Times convention (and yes, forgetting to post about that too…). Her three novels: FULL BLOODED, HOT BLOODED, and COLD BLOODED will be out in September 2012, March 2013 and August 2013 respectively. Jessica is the only female werewolf born to a race of males. And prophecy claims that her birth will signal the end of their race. Who said it was easy being a girl?

Cover Launch: THE GRIFFIN MAGE Trilogy by Rachel Neumeier

It’s omnibus week here in the Orbit Art Department, and the fangirl in me loves an omnibus. Get a whole story arc or series all in one giant go? Yes please! Today we have the cover launch for The Griffin Mage Trilogy by Rachel Neumeier, which collects Lord of the Changing Winds, Land of the Burning Sands, and Law of the Broken Earth.

I really enjoyed this series, it gave me a very Robin McKinley/Anne McCaffrey feeling and that’s a very good thing in my book. Classic heroine coming of age story, with a novel take on griffins, bringing them back to more wild animal (and wild magic) roots. I make no secret of my lack of griffin respect in their past fantasy incarnations, but I love that these griffins feel legitimately dangerous rather than cartoonish. That was the angle we took with the original covers, but I always love a chance to reinvent a cover for a new format, and here I think the cover gives the right feeling of menace, while still keeping Kes the center of the story.

After the jump, a teaser! Read the rest of this entry »

Patricia Briggs cover reissue launch

We’ve been giving Mercy Thompson a new look recently and I think it looks great on her. These books feature the feisty Mercy — coyote shapeshifter, mechanic and finder-of-trouble — so we wanted something urban and adventurous to match. We also wanted the cover look, once created, to really pop on the shelf, so the front, back and spine (separate ‘design areas’!) all needed to complement each other and add to the effect.

These were put together for us in grand style by Nick Castle Design and our Head of Design Duncan Spilling. We started the look with River Marked in March, and this June the rest of Patricia Briggs’ series makes its grand entrance. See all the new covers in their full glory below: Read the rest of this entry »

DEAD BEAT by Jim Butcher: A Dresden Files reread

Mark Yon has been a reviewer and web administrator at SFFWorld, one of the world’s biggest genre forum sites, for nearly ten years. He has also been on the David Gemmell Awards organisation committee for the last two years. In this series of rereads, Mark will guide us below through the whole of Jim Butcher’s fabulous Dresden Files series as we count down to the new hardback Ghost Story at the end of July.

At the beginning of this book the set up is as follows: Harry is duelling, wand-less and crippled, after his troubles with the vampire Mavra in Blood Rites. But this is a problem as Mavra’s back – and after revenge. And incubus Thomas, recently discovered to be his half-brother, is now living with Harry following exile from the Raith family.

Despite these many woes, there are more to come … Harry is blackmailed by Mavra, the target being his friend, police chief Karrin. If she is to live, or at least avoid being dismissed due to incriminating shenanigans in Blood Rites, then he has to find ‘the Word of Kemmler’ (whatever that is). He must then then take whatever it turns out to be to Mavra by Halloween, in three days time. This isn’t easy, as Harry and friends are being hunted by six necromancers – who clearly have designs on the Word of Kemmler too and will stop at nothing etc. etc.! Read the rest of this entry »

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Sausages

It’s at last time to release Tom Holt’s Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Sausages (UK | USA | ANZ) into the wilds of the bookosphere. And this  imaginative comedy is pure Tom Holt magic — a tale of our world but not as we know it, featuring pigs and parallel worlds. And look no further than this free extract and handy plot outline  to find out more:

Polly, an average, completely ordinary property lawyer, is convinced she’s losing her mind. Someone keeps drinking her coffee. And talking to her clients. And doing her job. And when she goes to the dry cleaner’s to pick up her dress for the party, it’s not there. Not the dress – the dry cleaner’s. And then there are the chickens who think they are people. Something strange is definitely going on – and it’s going to take more than a magical ring to sort it out.

Tom Holt’s previous books have scored highly when it comes to praise, being called: ‘Clever, funny, tirelessly inventive (Christopher Moore), ‘Dazzling’ (Time Out) and ‘Uniquely twisted’ (Guardian). And here are some reviews in already for the latest book itself:

A great mix of the fantastical and the funny … another great satirical offering from Tom Holt that entertains thoroughly while effortlessly moving between the silly and the smart”

“Crazy, absurd, complex and hilarious … His writing is in the same mould as that of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams and Jasper Fforde”

“I loved this book … prepare to have a wild ride that doesn’t always make sense, has lots of twists and turns and craziness but is good, clean, mind-bending fun”

Orbit acquires IRON DRUID trilogy by Kevin Hearne

Current US covers for Iron Druid series

I’m very pleased to announce that Orbit UK has acquired an imaginative, witty and action-packed new urban fantasy trilogy which is currently getting a huge buzz in the US.

The Iron Druid trilogy by Kevin Hearne is set in Arizona and introduces us to Atticus O’Sullivan. He’s a rare book salesman, herb peddler, and 2,000 year old druid – the last of his kind – who has been on the run for over two millennia from a very angry ancient Celtic god. The books are set in the modern day world, where gods, myths, and magic are very much alive.  The first book HOUNDED primarily features the many Celtic gods; HEXED will focus on Coyote and the Bacchants; HAMMERED will be about a plot against Thor. (Everybody hates Thor.)

Kevin Hearne was also excited about the deal, saying: ‘I’m thrilled to be with Orbit UK and hope people will enjoy this blend of history and legend dropped into the modern world. The rich mythology of the Irish is endlessly fascinating to me, and an allusion to British lore in HOUNDED will eventually become important later in the series as Atticus finds himself in trouble near Windsor Castle.’

I first read the manuscript for HOUNDED in 2009 but it was before I moved to Orbit, and although I loved the story, I couldn’t see a way to make it work on my list back then (I was mainly publishing crime thrillers). When I heard the Iron Druid series was still looking for a UK home I couldn’t believe my luck, and I’m delighted to be bringing Atticus to the UK after all. And since we’re publishing these books this September, October and November, I don’t have long to wait to share them with everyone else here too. You’re in for a treat!

Shaun Mason tells it like it is in a new trailer for DEADLINE!

Shaun Mason, hero of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh Trilogy, explains what happened to the world. The trailer also features a sneak peak of the design for the third and final book in the trilogy, BLACKOUT!


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