- - January 15th, 2013
Today is the worldwide release date for the SEVEN KINGS (UK |US | ANZ), the masterful second book in the Shaper series by John R. Fultz.
Starting with SEVEN PRINCES (UK |US | ANZ), this whole epic fantasy series really made a big impact on us here in Orbit. It’s crazily imaginative, powerful, energetic and so damn enjoyable.
We loved an io9.com review which said:
‘Breakneck pacing and nonstop insanity . . . It’s epic with a capital EPIC’
. . . as that just about summed it up for us.
With giants walking alongside men, monstrous serpents wreaking havoc and kingdoms doing battle with sorcery, we think this is ideal for anyone who likes their fantasy big, epic and about the ultimate clash between good and evil.
Whilst in some ways the series could be said to hearken back to the “old school” or “traditional” type of fantasy, in many other ways we really felt this series was one of the most original we’ve read in years – having a beautifully lyric, mythical tone and what we considered to be a very unique, distinguished style.
We were really interested to hear about how this style of writing came about. So we asked John what the influences behind his series were:
I could write a whole book answering this question, but I’ll try to contain myself.
Lord Dunsany was perhaps the inventor of the modern fantasy tale. His work never ceases to inspire me, and his novel The King of Elfland’s Daughter is an immortal classic. His gift for speaking with clever metaphor and concise imagery is stunning, even a hundred years later. Fantasy writers should study his works the way classical composers study Mozart and Bartok.
I’m also a big Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft fan, but Clark Ashton Smith is my favorite of the old-school Weird Tales writers. In my opinion Smith invented the whole dark fantasy genre. He had the lost cities, the sorcerers, the creatures from beyond space and time, the mummies, the vampires, the decadent dying empires of Zothique and the primordial ooze of Hyperborea. Read the rest of this entry »
- - September 4th, 2012
Joe Abercrombie’s newest epic fantasy, RED COUNTRY, comes out this October. Publishers Weekly gave this “gripping and violent stand-alone military fantasy” a starred review, and said, “Terrific fight scenes, compelling characters (some familiar, some new), and sardonic, vivid prose show Abercrombie at the top of his game.”
If you can’t wait until October, you can read an excerpt of RED COUNTRY on Joe Abercrombie’s website.
- - August 23rd, 2012
Hurrah! It’s released today! The new Terry Brooks novel, Wards of Faerie (UK | ANZ), book one in the brand new fantasy series The Dark Legacy of Shannara, has finally arrived.
It’s set in Terry’s core Shannara world (after all his fans begged him to return to it) and it’s delighting Brooks fans far and wide already. In the words of Aidan Moher at A Dribble of Ink:
WARDS OF FAERIE is the best novel Brooks has written in years . . . It’s full of hair-raising escapes . . . magic and monsters.
And if you’ve never tried Terry yet, this is your chance – and here are 5 very solid reasons to do so!
‘Terry Brooks is a master of the craft and a trailblazer . . . Required reading’ Brent Weeks, author of the Night Angel Trilogy
‘I can’t even begin to count how many of Terry Brooks’s books I’ve read (and re-read) over the years’ Patrick Rothfuss, author of THE NAME OF THE WIND
‘Terry Brooks has been my constant companion over a lifetime of exploring my beloved fantasy genre. I say with all honesty I would not be writing epic fantasy today if not for Shannara. If Tolkien is the grandfather of modern fantasy, Terry Brooks is its favorite uncle’ Peter V. Brett, author of THE PAINTED MAN
‘If you haven’t read Terry Brooks, you haven’t read fantasy’ Christopher Paolini, author of ERAGON and BRISINGR
‘Terry’s place is at the head of the fantasy world’ Philip Pulman, author of THE GOLDEN COMPASS
- - August 10th, 2012
This November, we’re releasing the paperback edition of David Brin’s science fiction masterpiece EXISTENCE (UK | ANZ). It’s his first novel to be released in ten years, and he’s truly returned in triumphant form.
It’s a breathtaking novel about First Contact – one that asks ‘why are we alone?’ and ‘are all civilisations doomed to fail?’ And it does it in spectacular, imaginative, mind-boggling, heart-thumping style.
See the paperback cover to the left and just a few of the reviews this unmissable book has been receiving:
‘Cleverly argued and uncomfortably plausible’ SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
‘A masterpiece of rock-hard SF’ SUN
‘Brin tackles a plethora of cutting-edge concepts…with the skill of a visionary futurologist’ GUARDIAN
‘Bursting with ideas, including near-future tech, first contact with aliens, and the exploration of what it means to be human’ i09.com
‘Existence is my top SF novel of 2012 and I recommend it without hesitation’ SFFWORLD.COM
But it’s not just EXISTENCE that we’re releasing this winter. We’re also giving a makeover to some of David Brin’s most classic titles. See the new-look covers below in all their glory…
See more info about each title below! Read the rest of this entry »
- - August 1st, 2012
In case you’ve missed it, the fantasy legends Terry Brooks and Patrick Rothfuss have been interviewing each other on their websites throughout July, and it makes for some very compelling reading . . .
My personal highlights include Terry describing himself as being like the OCD-ridden TV detective Monk, and where Pat talks about skipping his writing teacher’s class to go on a date with that same teacher’s daughter. Very sneaky indeed.
Check out part one here on Terry’s site. Also, check out this awesome cartoon of the two of them.
Don’t forget also that Terry’s conclusion to the Legends of Shannara duology, The Measure of the Magic (UK | ANZ), is released tomorrow in paperback! Read an extract here. And here’s what fans have been saying on online retailer sites about the book:
”Terry Brooks is one of the best fantasy novelists of our time . . . He does not disappoint his many fans with this latest book’ Dee
‘Terry Brooks continues to be my longest standing favourite author’ S. Wilson
‘This is a really great series of books that have haunting and fleeting references to present worldwide problems. Long may he keep on writing these great books’ Colin L. Williams
There’s also not long to wait now until Terry’s brand new series begins with The Dark Legacy of Shannara: Wards of Faerie (UK | ANZ) – released 23rd August.
If you like what you hear above, this will a great place for any new readers to jump in and experience the Terry phenomenon!
- - June 14th, 2012
There are books that come along that I don’t just thoroughly enjoy, but that I feel intensely, overwhelmingly privileged to work on. THE SHADOWED SUN is one of those novels.
I don’t need to tell everyone what a stunning high fantasy writer N. K. Jemisin is. Her talents are already widely acknowledged, given that her debut novel THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS (UK | US | ANZ) was nominated for pretty much every fantasy award out there.
But even so, I underestimated just how utterly captivated I would be by THE KILLING MOON (UK | US | ANZ) and THE SHADOWED SUN (UK | US | ANZ ), books 1 and 2 in the Dreamblood duology. I didn’t think anything could top the Inheritance novels, but if it’s possible I was even more intoxicated. I09 seemed to agree when they said:
The Dreamblood duology is sure to cement Jemisin’s place as one of the most exciting and innovative new fantasy authors of recent years.
There’s something beautifully poetic about a little girl’s dreams becoming a plague upon a city.
Both novels in the Dreamblood duology are based around a religion of dreaming. It’s a dual world, where the realm of dreams is as real a place as the realm of waking. Where a soul that wonders in the dreamworld can find peace or be lost to ever-lasting torment.
In the city of Gujaareh, the priests of the dream goddess are able to harness the magic of the sleeping mind. These priests are both revered and feared, as they can use this gathered magic to either to heal . . . or kill those judged corrupt. And they move silently across the rooftops of the city at night to administer the chosen judgements. Read the rest of this entry »
- - June 3rd, 2012
On Friday night I could barely contain my excitement. I – along with thousands upon thousands of people across the country – had tickets to PROMETHEUS, undoubtedly the most talked-about science fiction film release of the year so far. And where better to see it, but the glorious Empire cinema on Leicester Square, in 3D.
The air was filled with anticipation as we all crammed through the doors and were handed our 3D specs. And then when the opening scenes began, with sweeping views across spectacular landscapes on Earth, enhanced by the 3D effects (probably the most unobtrusive and therefore effective I’ve seen in a movie so far) – we knew that this was going to be something big. And then, when the shadow of a city-sized spaceship began to darken the landscape, it began to feel truly epic.
What bigger a subject is there than first contact with alien life?
I couldn’t help but constantly draw parallels with David Brin‘s new novel EXISTENCE, and not just because of the 3D effect (with our first edition featuring a very cool 3D cover). But because at the heart of EXISTENCE is the discovery of an alien artefact floating in Earth’s orbit, picked up by a galactic garbage trawler. It appears to be a message in a bottle, an invitation to “join us” from another sentient species out in the vastness of the universe. At the same time, another artefact is found in the ruins of a sunken beach-front mansion, which warns humanity away from making contact with this other life form.
This highlights the question which forever prods at us and teases us. It’s the dilemma at the very centre of both PROMETHEUS and EXISTENCE: would making contact with an alien life form be a good idea? Would these (presumably more intelligent) beings have an inherent desire to help humanity, to set us straight, sort out our squabbling, or offer us a shiny new planet when we’ve trashed our own beyond repair? Or would they in fact just try to eat our faces, use us as lovely host organisms and generally be bad news for the continuing future of mankind?
Now we all know that PROMETHEUS is a prequel to the other ALIEN films, so could safely assume that these otherwordly creatures were not going to be our BFFs. But what a thrilling experience to see the journey up until that point: where we hope to find out that mankind can have a meaningful and significant place within the universe by uniting with another sentient species. And then how awesomely epic to see those hopes dashed in spectacular, breathtaking and violently dramatic ways?
I’m glad to say that my expectations for PROMETHEUS were certainly met. The special effects are magnificent – the kind where you have to pinch yourself to remember that this isn’t real footage, and that massive organic-looking Titus of an alien spaceship did not actually just rise from behind them yonder hills. And even if it sometimes seems that the need for great effects can take over from the need for flawless acting, the performance of Michael Fassbender more than made up for it, as the eerie robot David. The pace of the film was also a real strong point. There wasn’t a single moment when my concentration lapsed and the plot was sturdy enough (although not as strong as the original ALIEN movies). Overall it was a totally enthralling, enjoyable experience.
If I was going to have one small criticism, it would be that the characters seemed a tad nonplussed when they finally discover solid proof of alien life. Whereas the beauty of EXISTENCE is that it really focuses on the question of how proof of alien life would affect mankind. What would the initial evidence of alien life mean for all different people in different walks of life? Would the politician try to veil the truth from the general public? Would the journalist become set on letting the public know what they’re in for? Would the anti-technology prophet claim that the only way to survive would be to end democracy? What would it mean for each of us? How would the world react? Is this the end, or a new beginning?
I won’t give any spoilers, but what happens all feels frighteningly, awe-inspiringly real. EXISTENCE is set a few decades in the future, but who knows if the day when we’ll actually be answering some of these questions is closer than we think? Let’s see if 2012 might really be as significant a year as the Mayans thought…
PROMETHEUS is at cinemas nationwide now, and EXISTENCE (UK | ANZ) will be released on 21st June 2012 with a limited edition 3D cover.
- - March 31st, 2012
Patricia Brigg‘s Fair Game (UK / ANZ) was released this month and has got off to a storming start. With a current average of 5 stars on the UK Amazon site, and a positive plethora of great reviews plastering the web (including this fantastic top 10 of why you should read Fair Game from Paranormal Romance Fanatic), make sure you check out this third instalment in the Alpha and Omega series if you haven’t done so already. Here’s why:
‘[Patricia Briggs] spins tales of werewolves, coyote shifters and magic and, my, does she do it well’ USA Today
‘I freaking loved this book! I loved the mystery, I loved Charles and Anna! I loved the glimpses of Adam and the Mercy Thompson world’ BadassBookReviews.com
‘Best book I ever read!’ Paranormal Romance Fanatic
‘I LOVE how Briggs writes her wolves . . . I seriously can’t get enough of this world. So well built’ Smexybooks.com
‘This is a very hard book for me to review simply because I loved it. I don’t want to come across as a babbling fan girl but I’m afraid I might’ 104 Reviews
‘Double bonus points for a spectacular ending . . . I can’t wait to see what happens next’ RedHotBooks.com
- - February 3rd, 2012
Out now is The Dread (US | UK | ANZ), the second and final part in Gail Z. Martin‘s Fallen Kings Cycle. This compelling epic fantasy series began with The Sworn ( US | UK | ANZ) and is set in the same world as her highly regarded Chronicles of the Necromancer series, and I’m very happy to say this has turned out to be a magnificent finale to the whole story arc. If you haven’t tried any of Gail’s books yet – don’t worry, you can jump right in at The Sworn without having read any of the Necromancer series. And here’s why it’s worth giving it a go:
Gail’s a master at weaving together a world together intricately and spectacularly – and you simply cannot resist being awed by the strong sense of atmosphere she creates . . . In the dark, medieval-gothic world of the Fallen Kings Cycle, necromancers wield deathly powers of magic, ghosts toy with the living, and vampires, werewolves and demons roam the land. See some of the fantastic reviews this series has earned so far:
‘Top notch, engrossing fantasy’ SFRevu.com
‘Those who enjoy the large-scale fantasy of George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan should enjoy this’ Library Journal
‘I found myself caught up in the story and the characters almost from the first page …very enjoyable’ Bookgeeks.co.uk
‘Very well-written and intricately plotted . . . I can’t wait for the second book in the cycle, The Dread’ Civilian Reader
You can also read a sample extract right here. Read the rest of this entry »
- - January 31st, 2012
Released in February is The Legend of Eli Monpress ( US | UK | ANZ) – Rachel Aaron‘s fantasy tale of the incorrigible thief who plans to pull of the greatest heist in history . . . If you’re a fan of K. E. Mills’ Rogue Agent series or Scott Lynch’s Lies of Locke Lamora then this is likely right up your street. You can sample the delights of an extract right here.
This edition contains the three titles The Spirit Thief, The Spirit Rebellion and The Spirit Eater – all in one handy volume and topped off with this gorgeous packaging from Sam Weber (see this great post here showing him at work in his studio on these very illustrations).
Take a minute to stop by Rachel Aaron’s attractive new site, where’s she’s posted some very interesting tidbits recently, such as this fantastic book trailer put together by our friends at Orbit France for the très sophistiquée French version of The Legend of Eli Monpress. Also, check out this extremely creative pictorial review for The Spirit Thief, part one of the Legend. Good effort!
Read on for the blurb and some great reviews: Read the rest of this entry »