You might be aware that we recently carried out one of the craziest feats ever attempted in publishing history. We sent a book into the outer limits of the Earth’s atmosphere and performed the first ever author reading in space. How did we do it? You can read the story behind the space launch right here.
The book in question was ZERO-G (UK | US | ANZ) by Rob Boffard – a novel so exhilarating that it inspired us to carry out this world-first. It’s part of the Outer Earth series which started with TRACER (UK|US|ANZ) – a heart-pounding set of science fiction thrillers set on a space station containing the last living members of the human race.
And now we’re proud to officially present the cover for IMPACT (UK|US|ANZ), the explosive final novel set in the world of Outer Earth.
If you think that the stakes couldn’t be raised any higher in this series, guess again. Because a signal has been picked up from Earth. The planet was supposed to be uninhabitable – but it seems there are survivors down there. Perhaps there could be a future for humanity on Earth after all. And Riley Hale will find out soon enough, because she’s stuck on a spaceship with a group of terrorists who are planning to crash-land on the surface . . .
Think the Bourne Identity meets Gravity and you’ll be staring to come close to just how exciting this series is. See a few more reasons below to check it out!
‘TRACER is the literary equivalent of a base jump: fast, exhilarating and unforgettable, and once you start it you can’t stop. I loved it’ Sarah Lotz, author of THE THREE
‘TRACER sets a new standard for all-action SF’ Ken MacLeod
‘Relentlessly fast pace…Vivid action scenes’ SFX
‘Compelling, compulsive…Thoroughly entertaining – this one’s worth picking up if you’re in the mood for some sci-fi action’ SCIFI AND FANTASY REVIEWS
‘If you’re after a fast-paced, action-packed, cinematic space adventure, thenTraceris absolutely for you . . . Rob Boffard is an author to watch’ CIVILIAN READER
We interviewed Adrian Selby, debut author of SNAKEWOOD (UK|US|ANZ), an epic fantasy of mystery, betrayal and bloody revenge publishing this month via Orbit.
Can you give us your best elevator pitch for SNAKEWOOD?
Fifteen years after the legendary mercenary crew Kailen’s Twenty disbanded, they’re being killed off one by one. Told through a ‘found footage’ collection of journals and interviews, SNAKEWOOD is a record of their glory, their demise and the final days of those left alive as they desperately try to evade a lethal and relentless assassin.
When did you first know you were going to write this particular book?
1989. Back then it was the desire to tell a story of two old soldiers, buddies all their lives, crumbling apart from a life of war, with only each other to rely on as an enemy from their past came after them. All these years later it became a more layered narrative, an exploration of how they and their old mercenary crew fell apart, a glimpse also of their glory years and the story also of the assassin hunting them down.
Faded glory and absent comrades are a great theme in the book – what is it about the ‘old soldier’ motif that’s so attractive to you as a writer?
It’s many things all bound up. They’re more vulnerable. This particular crew of soldiers were so badass in their prime, winning every purse, that it wouldn’t have been that interesting to focus on them back then. But having saved each other’s lives so often, there are debts of honour that will now make them take risks for each other. There is an ennui that pervades our middle age, when the people that made us who we are drift slowly away, leaving us only the joy of having known them, something we treasure and, in Gant and Shale’s case, honour enough to act on when these old friends are dying, and in so honouring perhaps do one good thing before their own time is up.
SNAKEWOOD was a fantasy twenty years in the making: can you tell us a bit about the path to publication?
I finally got my head together and researched and wrote the novel over a ten year span, a growing family edging its progress to the corners of my days. I finished the first draft in February 2013, and started querying literary agents in May. Jamie Cowen, of the Ampersand Agency, expressed an interest in reading the full manuscript in December 2013 and offered to represent me the following month. He helped me get the manuscript into shape for a pitch to publishers and in the summer of 2014 approached Orbit, who appeared to quite like it! Now the editing’s done and the first hardbacks have just arrived from the printers, the culmination of all those years of work and a wonderful collaboration with the brilliant Jamie and everyone at Orbit.
Who inspires you as a writer?
I have favourite writers, Hilary Mantel, Ian McEwan, Annie Proulx, and many others who write exquisite prose in the service of magnificent and moving stories. While I’m a sucker for a great page turner, and I’m looking at you Tim Powers, I am also inspired by those writers who deliver hugely original and/or well realised worlds, from the master, Tolkien, to the strange and vivid worlds of John Crowley, Jeff Vandermeer, Robert Holdstock, Brian Aldiss, Jack Vance and Hannu Rajaniemi. Then there are the writers who deliver on all three, such as David Mitchell and China Miéville.
SNAKEWOOD would definitely fall into that category of ‘strange and vivid worlds’, with its varied poisons and ‘fightbrews’ (potions taken by soldiers to enhance their fighting skill) made from ingredients found naturally in their world. No other fantasy writer has explored this in quite the same way – how did this change the story you were writing?
It is in the story’s DNA, as all magic systems must be. The power of the One Ring in Middle-earth moves every living thing in it like the tides as it journeys south with Frodo. In my own world of Sarun, the magic is in the plant life; it is widespread, capable of being harnessed by anyone who can figure out the recipes with which to make effective magic of it. Such power is inevitably held with those who know and own the recipes, and can thus control the rest, not unlike the control of literacy in the dark to middle ages. The political order of the world is shaped by the knowledge of ‘plant’ and the race to innovate and learn new recipes. Such things therefore govern trade, conspiracies, conquests and alliances.
Clearly Quentin Tarantino would have to direct any adaptation of SNAKEWOOD – a dark and gritty tale of assassins, soldiers and mercenaries on the run – but who would be your dream cast?
This was rather harder than I first thought! I see Javier Bardem as Gant, because I’ve seen him be a complete badass and yet he has a sensitive, expressive quality, softly spoken, perfect for an old mercenary that holds a strong love for old friends. Shale, his lifelong buddy and in a way his rock is more Russell Crowe, all Gladiator – calm, ruthless and more stony in demeanour. Karen Gillan would be a great Galathia, a vengeful young princess estranged from her throne. She could easily bring out Galathia’s intelligence and rage. Kailen, the genius former leader of Kailen’s Twenty, has to be Gabriel Byrne. He can transfix you with those eyes, he has a great presence, commanding authority, but can give the impression of being able to crush you with his eloquence or slit your throat just as easily!
ADRIAN SELBY studied creative writing at university before embarking on a career in video game production. He is a Tolkien fanatic and an online gaming addict, and lives with his wife and family on the south coast of England. His debut novel Snakewood is an epic and inventive fantasy about a company of mercenaries and the assassin trying to destroy them. You can find Adrian on Twitter, tweeting as @adrianlselby.
Orbit have entered Awards Season in style this year! You’ve already heard that N. K. Jemisin and Ann Leckie have been nominated for the Nebula Awards, but here’s a round up of our books on other glittering awards lists . . .
On top of her Nebula and Audie nominations, N. K. Jemisin’s (literally) groundbreaking fantasy THE FIFTH SEASON has also been shortlisted for Best Novel by the judges of the Kitschies Awards! The Kitschies are awarded to ‘progressive, intelligent and entertaining’ works of SFF, and will be announced just next week, Monday 7th March.
Last year we published Brian Ruckley’s superb adventure fantasy THE FREE [UK/US/ANZ]. Featuring desperate battles, terrifying magic and a host of memorable characters, THE FREE follows the adventures of the kingdom’s greatest mercenary company, as they take on a final contract in an attempt to right past wrongs and erase the painful memories of their darkest hour.
Drawing comparisons to films like Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven, THE FREE received widespread critical acclaim upon publication, and received starred reviews from both Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal.
The good news is that the adventures of The Free don’t end with this novel – far from it! The world that Brian has created is too large, and the history of the Free too bloody and tumultuous, to be explored in just a single novel. So we’re very pleased to announce three new novellas that will explore the eventful past of this famous mercenary company, all of which will be published this year.
The first action-packed novella is A TALE OF THE FREE: CORSAIR which publishes today, 1 March.
For years the Free have sold their martial and magical skills to the highest bidder, winning countless victories that have overthrown kings and shaken empires.
Yulan is a newcomer to their ranks, keen to prove himself worthy of the Free’s name. When corsair marauders ravage the Hommetic Kingdom’s coastline, Yulan gets his chance.
His mission is simple: travel to the corsairs’ island fortress, persuade their self-proclaimed king to sign a peace treaty, then head home with sword unbloodied.
Yet the crumbling fortress holds many secrets, and blades speak louder than words. Soon Yulan must fight not just for the glory of the Free, but for his very survival.
The second novella, A TALE OF THE FREE: EXILE, will follow in June. The third, A TALE OF THE FREE: TYRANT, will be published in September.
Praise for Brian Ruckley:
‘The Free is a blast to read . . . phenomenal set pieces of warfare and magic’ – Justin Landon
‘No one who enjoys epic fantasy should miss this’ – The Times
‘Wonderfully composed action scenes and a thrilling climax’ – BookBag
‘Deliberate pacing, complicated characters and vivid descriptions elevate this far above run-of-the-mill epic fantasy’ – Library Journal
‘Mesmerising, magical and human’ – Publishers Weekly
‘Ruckley’s realistic characters and sparing use of magic breathe new life into well-trod epic territory’ – Entertainment Weekly
The first instalment in the Corporation Wars trilogy, DISSIDENCE is a space opera giving a robot’s eye view of a robot revolt, from Arthur C. Clarke Award-nominated science fiction author Ken MacLeod.
Today we’re delighted to launch the cover, by the very talented Bekki Guyatt at Little, Brown Book Group UK.
One of SFX magazine’s Top Ten Most Anticipated Books for 2016, DISSIDENCE will be released in May this year (UK|ANZ|US). INSURGENCE will follow at the end of 2016, with the final instalment in the trilogy, EMERGENCE, released Spring 2017.
They’ve died for the companies more times than they can remember. Now they must fight to live for themselves.
Sentient machines work, fight and die in interstellar exploration and conflict for the benefit of their owners – the competing mining corporations of Earth. But sent over hundreds of light-years, commands are late to arrive and often hard to enforce. The machines must make their own decisions, and make them stick.
With this newfound autonomy come new questions about their masters. The robots want answers. The companies would rather see them dead.
The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit) [US | UK | AUS]
Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit) [US | UK | AUS]
The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (Saga)
Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)
This is the third Best Novel nomination for both N.K. Jemisin and Ann Leckie (whose ANCILLARY JUSTICE [US | UK | AUS] won the Nebula Award two years ago).
The nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy also include an Orbit author: COURT OF FIVES was nominated, by Kate Elliott, author of last fall’s BLACK WOLVES (US | UK | AUS).
Congratulations to Ann Leckie, N.K. Jemisin, Kate Elliott, and the rest of the nominees!
THE IMMORTALS (US | UK | AUS) is an extraordinary novel combining myth and the modern era in a pulse-pounding story, and we couldn’t be more thrilled by the buzz surrounding it. Visit OlympusBound.com to learn about the fascinating lives the ancient gods and goddess have been living since the fall of the Greek and Roman empires and read an excerpt. We know that once you’ve read the first chapter, you’ll be absolutely hooked.
The Immortals will be available next week in print, digital, and audio formats.
“The Immortals is a lively re-imagining of classical mythology with an engaging premise, a page-turning plot, and an eye for the arresting and uncanny in contemporary urban life.”―Deborah Harkness, New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches
“Brilliantly conceived and tautly plotted, The Immortals is a pulse thrumming, fascinating novel. Selene is a perfect heroine for our times.”―Eliot Schrefer
Releases in the UK on Feb. 18th.
“Imaginative and fast-paced, The Immortals is pulse-pounding entertainment.”―Kevin O’Brian, New York Times bestselling author of No One Needs to Know
“Brodsky’s writing has claws…They sink in with the first word and don’t let go until you are finished with the book.”―Darynda Jones, New York Times bestselling author
“Irresistible…a page-turner that deftly weaves action, romance, and a dash of intellectual heft into one seamless whole.”―Dustin Thomason, New York Times bestselling author
“Painstakingly researched, intellectually complex, and deeply rooted in the history and mythology of Ancient Greece, THE IMMORTALS is a richly imaginative, multi-layered tale that stimulates the heart and the mind in equal measure.”―Ian Caldwell, New York Times bestselling author
“Plays with more modern mythology, employing New York’s own secret places and storied history to great effect. This intelligent, provocative fantasy breathes exciting new life into old, familiar tales.”―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This series launch is a wonderful choice for fans of Greek myths and urban fantasy readers looking for something different.”―Library Journal (starred review)
The Orbit offices in both the US and the UK haven’t stopped talking about this fantastic adventure fantasy since it first came in a year ago. And we’re delighted to introduce it to you! Thanks very much to Lauren Panepinto and artist Bastien Deharme for the awesome cover.
Here is a bit of a sneak peek as HOPE AND RED (US | UK) will be out this June:
A KILLER FANTASY ADVENTURE
HOPE, the lone survivor of a village massacred by the emperor’s forces, secretly trains asa warrior and dreams of vengeance.
RED, an orphan adopted by a notorious matriarch of the criminal underworld, learns to be an expert thief and con artist.
The Witcher returns in THE TOWER OF SWALLOWS, the fourth book in the New York Times bestselling series that inspired The Witcher video games. Here is an early look at the remarkable cover, illustrated by Bartłomiej Gaweł, Paweł Mielniczuk, Marcin Błaszczak, Arkadiusz Matyszewski, Marian Chomiak and designed by Lauren Panepinto.
The world has fallen into war. Ciri, the child of prophecy, has vanished. Hunted by friends and foes alike, she has taken on the guise of a petty bandit and lives free for the first time in her life.
But the net around her is closing. Geralt, the Witcher, has assembled a group of allies determined to rescue her. Both sides of the war have sent brutal mercenaries to hunt her down. Her crimes have made her famous.
There is only one place left to run. The tower of swallows is waiting…
Today we can unveil the cover for an astonishing new book. It’s from Claire North, author of the word-of-mouth phenomenon THE FIRST FIFTEEN LIVES OF HARRY AUGUST (UK | US | ANZ), and the critically acclaimed TOUCH (UK|US|ANZ).
THE SUDDEN APPEARANCE OF HOPE (UK|US|ANZ) is the extraordinary tale of a girl with a very unique problem . . .
You might have met Hope Arden before. In fact, you might have met her a hundred times.
But there’s no way that you’ll remember who she is. Because Hope’s unique problem . . . is that she’s the girl the world forgets.
It all started when she was sixteen years old. A slow declining, a kind of isolation, one piece at a time. Her father forgetting to drive her to school. Her mother setting the table for three, not four. A teacher forgeting to chase her missing homework. A friend looking straight through her and seeing a stranger.
No matter what Hope does – the words she says, the people she hurts, the crimes she commits – you will never remember who she is. That makes her life tricky. But it also makes her dangerous.
THE SUDDEN APPEARANCE OF HOPE (UK|US|ANZ) is the tale of a girl no one remembers, but her story will stay with you for ever.
It will be released in hardback, ebook and audio this May from Orbit in the UK and Redhook in the US – and it’s available for pre-order now! And in case you haven’t checked out Claire North’s novels yet, here are a few reminders why you should:
Praise for Claire North’s novels:
‘Little short of a masterpiece’ INDEPENDENT
‘North’s talent shines out’ SUNDAY TIMES
‘Poignant and intensely gripping’ GUARDIAN
‘A masterful literary thriller’ io9
‘Will seduce even scifi sceptics, and keep readers absolutely hooked to the dramatic conclusion’ SUNDAY MIRROR
‘As intriguing and breathless as it is brilliantly original’ LOVE READING
‘Bold, magical and masterful’ M. R. Carey, author of THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS
‘Utterly readable, utterly believable and compelling . . . one of the fiction highlights of the decade’ Judy Finnigan, Richard and Judy Book Club