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Category: Orbit UK

Cover Launch (and Series Peek): BLOOD RIGHTS

Spring is in the air, and that means it’s about time to start launching some new Orbit book covers! First up we have a cover I’m very excited about, and even better, it’s part of an infamous Orbit 3-in-3-month trilogy. And here you have it, BLOOD RIGHTS by Kristen Painter, which is Book One of the House of Comarré.

Three covers at once is a lot to ask out of an illustrator, but damn, it looks so good all out together on the shelves. Luckily Nekro was up to the challenge. We definitely drove him through the ringer getting the perfect look for the series and for Chrysabelle, our heroine, but his signature black & red work just perfectly sets off her gold signum. Want to know more about that? You’re going to have to read the books! And they were definitely great fun for me to read and work on…the fast-paced adventure of an urban fantasy, mixed with the lush descriptions and gothic romance of an Anne Rice book. And that’s high compliments from me.

For today I’m only launching Book 1, but as soon as 2 & 3 Flesh and Blood and Bad Blood) are completely polished up, I’ll launch the whole trilogy. Finishing touches and all that. Very Exciting. And MAYBE I can show you a little sneak peak of each cover… Read the rest of this entry »

The Dragon’s Path

“With The Long Price Quartet, Daniel Abraham established himself as one of the premiere new fantasists of the last decade.  Now he’s back with a brand new series, one that promises to be even bigger and better.  The Dragon’s Path kicks off The Dagger and the Coin in fine high style, introducing us to a fascinating world and a great cast of beautifully drawn and deeply realized characters, all told in Abraham’s trademark clean and vivid prose.  This one has everything I look for in a fantasy.  I can’t wait for the second book.

— George R.R. Martin


Daniel Abraham is one of the most critically acclaimed authors in fantasy. No less than Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Diaz has sung his praises, saying: “Abraham is fiercely talented, disturbingly human, breathtakingly original and even on his bad days kicks all sorts of literary ass.” Everyone from Patrick Rothfuss (“The storytelling is smooth, careful and – best of all – unpredictable.”) to Connie Willis (“To call Daniel Abraham an exciting new author is to wildly understate the case.”) to Brandon Sanderson (“Daniel Abraham knows what he’s doing!”) have weighed in with high praise for Daniel Abraham’s first series, The Long Price Quartet.

Read the rest of this entry »

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The Two Tolkiens

Epic fantasy is back.  Peter Jackson brought out an unprecedented work of filmmaking with the Lord of the Rings films.  HBO is rolling out Game of Thrones based on the books of George RR Martin, the man dubbed “the American Tolkien” by Time magazine.  The publishing industry is generating a huge number of similar titles by people like Pat Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson, and – putting too fine a point on it – me, many of which are showing up on the bestseller’s lists.

The faux-Medieval world of dragons and knights seems like an odd genre to have caught our collective attention, but I think you can gauge a cultural moment by its guilty pleasures.  The same way that our huge romance industry tells us something about our fears about love, and urban fantasies like True Blood and Anita Blake tell us something about our discomfort with femininity and power, the knights and orcs that got us laughed at in middle school are attracting literally billions of dollars.  That means something interesting has happened.

We as a culture are anxious about something, and these particular stories comfort us.  They say something that we, the audience are willing to pay a lot of money to hear but from a distance that we can stand to hear it.

In particular, our two Tolkiens are telling us that we’re tired of war. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ascendant Stars cover art wow

There has been plenty of wow-ing (a technical term we use round these parts) about this glorious visual for Michael Cobley’s next book – The Ascendant Stars. Illustrator Steve Stone and designer Peter Cotton have done us proud with this one and the content is no less exciting I promise you!

This is the culmination of an SF trilogy packed with invention and adventure and you can check out extracts from Seeds of Earth (book 1, UK | ANZ) and The Orphaned Worlds (book 2, UK | ANZ) with more to come in due course on book 3, published in November. Can’t wait. If  you can’t wait either, keep an eye on Mike’s website too for hints, tips and updates.



Waterloo – 30/03/2011 – 1100 hours:

Southbank – 30/03/2011 – 1500 hours:

Stockwell – 30/03/2011 – 1700 hours:











Cover Launch: KINGDOMS OF DUST by Amanda Downum

Behold the new artwork for the upcoming Kingdoms of Dust Amanda Downum’s rich and exotic fantasy adventure featuring necromancer-spy Isyllt Iskaldur.  

Larry Rostant has done us proud yet again with his luxurious imagery, which we feel perfectly suits Amanda’s lush and atmospheric writing style. And the visual sums up the epic setting for this book: think fiery red deserts, swirling sandstorms and ruined cities . . .

It’s the perfect addition to the gorgeous artwork for the rest of the Necromancer Chronicles series (see all the covers together below). And the joy is that, since these books can be read as stand-alones, you can pick up whichever book most appeals to you first . . . A difficult choice indeed! Larry Rostant: we truly heart you. And tons of thanks must also go to our very talented UK designer Peter Cotton, who put all of these covers together.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Recently, I posted about the influence of history on fantasy and that got me thinking about some of my favourite, historically influenced fantasy periods. Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana would have to be right up there—in fact I think it was the authentic, Italian renaissance setting of the opening sequences that helped me fall in love with the story. And the basic premise of the story is straight from history—the divided peninsula of little kingdoms which fail to see the danger of encroaching empires until it is too late. Kay plays with this in Tigana, but basically France and the Holy Roman Empire—with the Turks a very real threat as well—were both encroaching on Italy during the Renaissance period.

I have always loved the stories of 5th century BC Greece—Thermopylae, Marathon and Salamis; the Peloponnesian war; and the Anabasis, the march of the 10,000 out of Asia Minor. I also love the older, more legendary stories such as the siege of Troy and Theseus and the Minotaur, which are both at least semi-historical. I particularly enjoy a fantastic twist on these tales, such as Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Firebrand and David Gemmell’s Macedonian duology, Lion of Macedon and Dark Prince. With Bradley, I liked the way she told the old tale of Troy from the perspective of the women, just as she did with the Arthurian legend in The Mists of Avalon. In the Lion of Macedon, I was fascinated by the way Gemmell focused, not directly on Alexander and his father Philip, but on the general Parmenion. Parmenion is relatively unknown by comparison, but there is some historical weight to the view that it was his military genius that brought about Philip’s victories, which effectively conquered all of Greece. Read the rest of this entry »

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Alchemy is a knot downright Gordian when it comes to finding an entry point for the young scribe trying to introduce his readers to the subject. One solution is to tackle the problem as Alexander would, but this in turn leaves us with a conundrum every bit as frustrating as the one we began with—instead of a compact but impenetrable knot of information, we now have countless loose, frayed ends that are just as likely to take us nowhere as they are to reveal how the intricately assembled whole came to be.

Perhaps the best approach, then, is to do as I have done and open with an overly convoluted and essentially imperfect metaphor for the problem—the encryption of meaning in complex symbolism that references the historical, the mythological, or the biblical is, after all, an essential part of the European alchemical tradition. How else to accurately pass along your wisdom without it being exploited by the unworthy? Read the rest of this entry »

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When I was young, and I mean really young, my mother caught me reading the newspaper. That I could was just one of those things, like having brown hair and sticky-out teeth. I’m reliably informed it was something to do with the Rhodesia crisis (something you kids will have to look up for yourselves) – what it was isn’t important, but the fact of reading early, and apparently spontaneously, is. Fast forward a few years, and we’d moved towns and schools. So while most of my classmates were ploughing through their graded Ladybird books, I was pretty much left to my own devices. I have no recollection of what I read then. All sorts of stuff probably. But I do remember this: at some point (I must have been about nine) I was shown a rack of books and told to choose one, it didn’t matter which.

(c) Puffin BooksOne in particular caught my eye. It had a man in a spacesuit on the cover which, as a child fascinated by the Apollo missions, was a big draw. And that was pretty much it for the next thirty-odd years. That book (and I’ve finally tracked it down – the 1976 Puffin edition of Spaceship Medic, by Harry Harrison) quite literally changed my life. Soon I was on the hard stuff: Clarke, Asimov, the Heinlein juveniles. Anderson. Pohl. Herbert. Aldiss. Anything with a spaceship on the front, and these were the days when Bob Foss was king – those spaceships were huge.

What fed my peculiar addiction was that my mum used to help run the village WI jumble sales. Before the doors had opened, the book stall had been scoured and any likely candidates picked off and paid for. Now – my mum’s not exactly a speculative fiction fan: she was going on the look of the book. Read the rest of this entry »

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