- - February 20th, 2014
Today we digitally release UNFETTERED: TALES BY MASTERS OF FANTASY.
It’s a stunning and diverse collection of fantasy fiction from some of the biggest names in the fantasy genre – including Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, Peter V. Brett, Mark Lawrence, Naomi Novik, Kevin Hearne, Michael J. Sullivan, R. A Salvatore, Tad Williams, Lev Grossman and many others.
It also includes deleted scenes from Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson’s A MEMORY OF LIGHT, the final Wheel of Time novel.
The collection was gathered by Shawn Speakman, author and web guru for Terry Brooks. When Shawn fell ill back in 2011 and was unable to cover his medical bills, the fantasy community showed its exceptional generosity by stepping forward to help out. All of the authors involved were kind enough to donate their stories the collection to help him cover the costs – and what was produced is a truly wonderful anthology.
This is the first time UNFETTERED has been published in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, and our Orbit edition contains an extra bonus story from Shawn himself. Please see below for a list of all the stories included.
It’s available now at a special introductory price, and so it’s a great time to sample the fiction of some of the some of the best-selling and most critically acclaimed authors writing in fantasy today.
Read the rest of this entry »
There’s a whole fantasy trope based around the protagonist of the story discovering that, after the initial skirmish with the forces of evil, he or she is the Chosen One, the one person who has all the skills – mental, physical and magical – to defeat the big bad and win the day.
And we love hearing about them because we can dream we are them. We’re no longer ordinary; quite the opposite. We become, for the length of the tale, extraordinary; possessing such skills, strength and stamina that no other mortal can command. The Chosen One is the archetypal super-hero story: think of Greek and Persian legends, and you’re halfway there already.
But when the story ends, the clouds come over, the sky darkens, and the world becomes colder, harsher and less caring. We’re not the Chosen One. We’re nothing unusual. Not only can we not take the battle to the forces of evil, we don’t even know where to start. We simply have to accept the way things are, with no hope of changing the slow grind of life.
But hang on. That’s not necessarily the case. We know through experience that we can claim small, if temporary, victories that bring life and light to us and ours. And we know that being inspired by our fictional heroes and heroines can make us better people – G. K. Chesterton spoke the truth when he said: ‘Fairy tales don’t tell children that dragons exist; children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.’ Read the rest of this entry »
- - January 14th, 2014
It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for . . . Melanie is here. The superb THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (UK|US|ANZ) is released today in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Do you know Melanie’s secret yet? Get your copy to find out . . .
NOT EVERY GIFT IS A BLESSING
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.
When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.
Melanie is a very special girl.
Emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is the most powerful and affecting thriller you will read this year.
To read the first few chapters for free, visit the Girl with all the Gifts Facebook page.
- - January 6th, 2014
With a hugely popular writing career reaching back more than thirty years, some fantasy readers may think they know all there is to know about the books of bestselling fantasy author Terry Brooks and his seminal world, Shannara. But think again.
To celebrate the conclusion of Terry Brooks’ most recent trilogy, the Dark Legacy of Shannara, we thought we’d unearth a few facts about the world of Shannara which may surprise fantasy readers out there . . .
1. While influenced by The Lord of the Rings, the Shannara series is more influenced by William Faulkner, who wrote generational sagas where family secrets can destroy from within. Terry Brooks wrote his college senior thesis on Faulkner.
2. The Shannara series is set in a far future after the destruction of own world. That means Elves are living in our world right now…
3. Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and Miles Millar & Alfred Gough (Smallville) are trying to bring THE ELFSTONES OF SHANNARA (UK|AUS) to television à la Game of Thrones.
4. WARDS OF FAERIE (UK|AUS), BLOODFIRE QUEST (UK|AUS), and WITCH WRAITH (UK|AUS) are the three books comprising the Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy. They are an indirect sequel to THE ELFSTONES OF SHANNARA (UK|AUS), widely regarded as Terry’s best novel.
5. Terry created airships in the Shannara series because he thinks there should be a natural progression in technology from a medieval setting. He also grew tired of keeping track of long treks on horseback.
The Dark Legacy of Shannara is out now in paperback. Terry Brooks’ next novel, THE HIGH DRUIDS BLADE (UK|AUS), is published in March.
Hardcore horror fans are sometimes dismissive of “creature features” – horror narratives that build their scare tactics around a monster. Obviously there’s a very respected classical canon of monsters (vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons . . . ) that sit close to the heart of the horror genre and partially define it. But then there’s a host of other beasties that are exiled to the outer darkness – or the Black Lagoon, 40,000 fathoms, outer space, the Korean sewer system, wherever it was they came from in the first place.
I can see the distinction, to be honest. You look at a vampire (sparkly or not) and you think horror. You look at the spiky cactus beast from The Quatermass Experiment, or the lolloping mutant in The Host, or Godzilla stomping on a toy Tokyo, and you think sci-fi. Or depending on your tastes, maybe you think “that tea isn’t going to make itself . . . ”
There’s a deeper distinction to be drawn, though. It concerns our relationship with the monster and the reaction that it draws from us. Creature features are predominantly about spectacle, and they probably share more DNA with thrillers than with horror stories. They can be scary, but it’s a fairly uncomplicated fear. The fear of being eaten, say, or having your head ripped off. Monsters in horror have the potential to scare us or challenge us in different ways. Read the rest of this entry »
- - December 18th, 2013
Coming in March is something new and very exciting from one of the all-time greats of epic fantasy writing.
THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE is a brand new title from Terry Brooks. It’s the first Defenders of Shannara novel – one of three new stand-alone novels set in his thrilling world of Shannara.
Here for the first time is our UK version of the cover in all its glory, using the stunning artwork from illustrator Bastien Lecouffe Deharme. We feel this new look is just right for Terry’s books – it’s fresh and dynamic and really reflects how Terry’s writing is as breath-taking as ever.
THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE features a brand new hero Paxon Leah – a young man who believes himself to be ordinary, but fate will prove him to be very different indeed . . . It’s one of the most exciting fantasy stories I’ve read in a long time! Secrets are revealed, powers are unleashed, and you’ll see a whole new side to Shannara you never knew existed. Read on for the blurb:
Legend has it that Paxon Leah is descended from the royals and warriors who once waged war with magical weapons. But those heroes are long gone now, and there is nothing enchanted about the antique sword that hangs above Paxon’s fireplace. Paxon leads a quiet life – until extraordinary circumstances overturn his simple world . . . and rewrite his destiny.
When his sister is abducted by a mysterious stranger, Paxon races to her rescue with the only weapon he can find. He is stunned to discover powerful magic unleashed within him – and within his ancestors’ ancient blade.
But his formidable new ability is dangerous in untrained hands. Paxon must master it quickly, as his near-fatal clash with a dark sorcerer won’t be his last. Leaving behind home and hearth, he journeys to the keep of the Druid order to learn the secrets of magic and earn the right to become their sworn protector . . .
Also, don’t forget that the paperback edition of the last book in Terry’s Dark Legacy of Shannara series, WITCH WRAITH, is released on the last day of this year. It’s a perfect end to the series, and a great way to round off 2013!
- - December 10th, 2013
We have been amazed to see the overwhelming outpouring of love The Girl With All the Gifts. It’s not even out yet but it proves this will be the book that everyone will be talking about in 2014.
We wanted to show you a range of the incredible feedback we’ve been getting – from fellow authors, such as John Ajvide Lindqvist, the author of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, from booksellers in the UK and from across the world, from people within publishing, and from just about every type of person you can think of. It’s amazing to see how many people this book is wowing well ahead of its publication.
Here is just a small selection of what people have been saying:
’A great read that takes hold of you and doesn´t let go’
John Ajvide Lindqvist, author of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
’Brilliant . . . Gripping right to the end’
SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author Carole Matthews
’Both tender and devastating, a page-turner which kept me guessing up to the very last scene, as well as a meditation on what it means to be human . . . Fantastically enjoyable’
Naomi Alderman, multi-award winning novelist
‘Kazuo Ishiguro meets The Walking Dead – I loved this’
SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author Jenny Colgan
‘Thrilling, heart-breaking and clever, this is an end of the world story with a difference . . . I loved this and would recommend it to everyone’ Read the rest of this entry »
- - November 26th, 2013
Released today is LAST TO RISE, the third and final novel in the Rojan Dizon series by Francis Knight, following FADE TO BLACK and BEFORE THE FALL. The ending to this action fantasy series is intensely powerful and moving.
Things are at breaking point for the towering vertical city of Mahala. It has long been a city plagued by corruption, by the exploitation of the weakest – where the pain of the downtrodden has endlessly paid for the whims and fancies of the privileged elite.
But now things are reaching boiling point – as the city is under siege and Rojan’s desperate efforts to save the city using his forbidden magic are driving him further and further into the depths of madness. Although he’d gladly see this city burn, he will give his all to save those who mean something to him – as they’re all he’s got left.
This quote from Publisher’s Weekly really sums up how magnificent it is:
Knight’s Rojan Dizon trilogy conclusion presses its growing cast of characters into intense moments of loyalty and sacrifice to close with a sharp turn into darker, more rewarding territory . . . With Rojan’s best friend anchoring him to humanity on one side and his exhausting, bloody, agonizing magic driving him closer to insanity on the other, the novel takes on a propulsive, fractured energy that mirrors Rojan and Mahala’s increasingly frantic struggle for survival.
The series, which has grown in complexity since the beginning, reaches a profoundly moving conclusion that is both unexpected and entirely satisfying.
If you haven’t picked up the Rojan Dizon novels yet (starting with FADE TO BLACK) I urge you to give them a go, as it’s one of the most dynamic and readable series around from a very promising new British fantasy talent.
“Some cities are naturally holiday cities. London is a Christmas city. Paris is a Valentine’s Day city. And no place in the world is a Halloween city more than New Orleans.” –The opening lines of “RUSTED VEINS (US | UK)
While I am a huge fan of both New Orleans and Halloween, I not yet had the good luck to be in the Big Easy on All Hallow’s Eve. However, I’ve been to NOLA many, many times over the last decade, and I’ve researched the city’s Halloween traditions extensively (for my book GREEN-EYED DEMON [US | UK | AUS]). Even though we can’t all just drop everything and go to New Orleans to celebrate Halloween this year, it doesn’t mean we can’t bring it to our own houses.
I am not exactly a party planner (except for fictional ones where budget is no object), but I do love to attend a good party, so I’ve put together my dream New Orleans-themed Halloween party. I’m tempted to throw this party to celebrate the release of my Sabina Kane Halloween novella “Rusted Veins.” Since it is available this week and happens to be set in New Orleans, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
Tie a calligraphied invite to a chicken foot or gris-gris bag for a charming voodoo touch. If it’s in the budget, have a second line band deliver them door-to-door while playing a funeral dirge.
- “Bloodletting” by Concrete Blonde
- “Hoodoo” by Muse
- “Voodoo Child” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
- “The Witch Queen of New Orleans” by Tom Jones
- “504” by the Old 97s
- “Louisiana Blues” by Muddy Waters
- “Apache Rose Peacock” Red Hot Chili Peppers
Guests will be invited to dress as their favorite real or fictional New Orleans resident. I’ve included some suggestions below.
For the ladies:
- Marie Laveau, Voodoo Priestess
- Madame Delphine Lalaurie, Famous murderess
- Lulu White, famous Storyville Madam
- Blanch DuBois or Stella Kowalski from Streetcar Named Desire
- Anne Rice, author
- Bella Donna Boudreaux, from X-Men Read the rest of this entry »
- - October 22nd, 2013
“I loved this book from start to finish. Exciting and innovative, CHARMING is a great introduction to a world I look forward to spending a lot more time in.” – Seanan McGuire
I’m sure by now all of you have read and are as enthralled by Elliott James’s CHARMING (US | UK | AUS) as I am, anxiously counting down the days until book two comes out. If this sounds like you, then the release of the newest Pax Arcana short story, PUSHING LUCK, should help you bear the wait.
PUSHING LUCK is the third in a series of short stories from our wonderful author, Elliott James, introducing us to John Charming. John is a descendant of a long line Charmings—an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch finders, and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern-day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chain mail and crossbows to Kevlar and shotguns, John Charming was one of the best—until a curse made him one of the abominations the Knights were sworn to hunt.
In PUSHING LUCK, while trying to make money off the grid, John Charming stumbles upon an underground poker tournament where the hors d’oeuvres are made of human flesh and the players are gambling with much more than their money. All bets are off.
“Loved it! Charming is a giant gift basket of mythology and lore delivered by a brilliant new voice in urban fantasy. Elliott James tells stories that are action-packed, often amusing, and always entertaining.” – Kevin Hearne, author of Hounded
PUSHING LUCK is out now in the US and releases in the UK on October 31st.