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Descent by Ken MacLeod


Author of 2013 Arthur C. Clarke Award-nominated Intrusion tells a science fiction story for the twenty-first century – what happens when conspiracy theorists meet Big Brother?
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The start of a brand new epic fantasy trilogy from the author of the Stormlord series – full of scheming, spying, action and adventure.
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Category: Reviews

THE DREAD – Dark magics, swordmanship and sorcery

The Dread, the second fantasy title by Gail Z Martin in the Fallen Kings cycle, set int he same world as the Summoner seriesOut 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’

‘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’

‘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 »

The Legend of Eli Monpress

The whimsical fantasy tale The Legend of Eli Monpress containing The Spirit Thief, The Spirit Rebellion and The Spirit Eater, perfect for fans of K. E. Mills' Rogue Agent series and Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora 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 »

HELL SHIP reviews — featuring aliens, invaders and pirates in spaaaace!

As we’ve had such a fine crop of reviews for Philip Palmer’s rumbustious tale, we thought it was only fair to share. Click on the following links for more on Hell Ship’s swashbuckling story (UK | ANZ | US ) plus here’s a free extract  and reviews follow below … the Sun review is just hilarious in itself!

No one writes SF quite like Palmer… Hell Ship is a freewheeling extravaganza replete with a hundred varieties of alien, vast spacecraft, exotic worlds… aficionados of bizarre space opera will be amazed and delighted”

“The triumphs and tragedies of this novel are told in the style of ancient legend. But there is also a sense of irrepressible fun … This is epic science fiction with a twinkle in its eye”

“I really do recommend Palmer’s work – he’s an unflinching and relentlessly ballsy writer”

“Great storytelling … a joy to read. Great stuff from Philip which proves why he’s fast becoming my favourite science fiction author”

“Palmer’s imagination knows no bounds … readable and enjoyable”

“I knew I would love it after reading just a couple of pages … You will be treated to an entertaining tale of heroics, tragedy and selfless sacrifice all written with a gleam in the eye”

Get in at the start with BLOOD RIGHTS

It’s publication time (UK | ANZ) for Blood Rights — the first book in Kristen Painter’s eagerly-awaited, explosive, down-right fabulous new urban fantasy series. The books are set in a version of our world, but one twisted so it’s not quite as we know it. And US readers only have to wait a short time longer, as Blood Rights is released next month in the US. You can also get a free extract of the book here. Book one will be closely followed by the next two books Flesh and Blood (US | UK | ANZ) and Bad Blood (US | UK | ANZ). All three covers are fabulously striking too and check out all of them below:


We’ve had amazing advance coverage of these fast-paced adventures and just look at what these experts have to say about the rising star that is Kristen Painter!

Passion and murder, vampires and courtesans — original and un-put-downable.  Do yourself a favor and read this one”
Patricia Briggs

“Dark and rich with layer after delicious layer. This spellbinding series will have you begging for more”
Gena Showalter

“A world full of rich potential. Excellent!”
P.C. Cast

“Kristen Painter brings a sultry new voice to the vampire genre, one that beckons with quiet passion and intrigue”
L.A. Banks

“Gripping, gritty, and imaginative.  If you love dangerous males, kick-ass females, and unexpected twists, this is the series for you!”
Larissa Ione

Put THE BUSINESS OF DEATH on your to-do list

The Business of Death (ANZ | UKUS) is out this month and a fun-packed, fast-paced basket of grim it is too! Trent Jamieson’s fantastic Death Works trilogy is a lively, urban fantasy read featuring a hard-pressed hero whose job is to ease the passing of spirits from one world to the other. But as Steven de Selby’s life goes rapidly to hell in a handcart, he finds there’s more rather more at stake than the job description indicated:

Steven de Selby has a hangover. Bright lights, loud noise, and exercise are the last thing he wants. But that’s what he gets when someone starts shooting at him. Steven is no stranger to Death – Mr. D’s his boss after all – but it’s still a shock when a dead girl saves him from sharing her fate. It’s a bigger shock when he finds his friends, family and colleagues have also been targeted. His job is to guide the restless dead to the underworld, but he didn’t expect to find his loved ones among his ‘clients’.

With Mr. D missing and no one in charge, the living are being hunted, the dead start rising and the whole city is headed for a regional apocalypse. Steven must shake his hangover, not fall for the dead girl, and find out just what’s going on – or there’ll be hell to pay.”

The Business of Death is a three-book omnibus (you can get a sample chapter here) so no need to wait for next instalments. And terrific quotes for this series include the following:

Jamieson writes a fast-paced story studded with action-movie beats”
Financial Times

 ”An intriguing evolution of the undead genre”
The Telegraph

“Refreshingly original and enjoyable”

“There is a lot to like … Combine this with the corporate version of Death, the subtle blend of humour and dry wit and you get a well-thought-out rewarding story. I heartily recommend.”

COLD FIRE has roared into September

The wonderful drama that is Kate Elliott’s Cold Fire (US | UK | ANZ) is at last out and ready for reading! This follows up last month’s mass market paperback publication of Cold Magic (US | UK | ANZ) and moves on that story with high tension and style. You can get a free extract here and here’s a bit more on this wonderful, stirring tale of two girls finding their path in a world of magic, deceit and complex politics:

Cat and her cousin Bee are key players in a drama of dragons and politics. Warring factions want to use or destroy their growing powers, and they’re closing in. The Cold Mages are conspiring to take them prisoner and the warlord Camjiata thinks it’s their destiny to help him conquer Europa – whether they want to or not. And the man Cat was forced to marry is back, as arrogant and annoyingly handsome as ever. Worse still, as Hallows Night approaches, powers hidden deep within the spirit world are rising. Cat must seek allies against these threats, for if she makes the wrong choices, she’ll lose everything.

 Only one thing is certain. When Hallows’ Night comes the Wild Hunt will ride – and it feeds on mortal blood.”

Also, if you’re still here (not dashing around already trying to get hold of the book …) here are a few of the great things that have been said already:

Elliott skillfully blends intrigue and romance in this lively series about strong women caught among powerful and deadly forces’
Publishers Weekly

‘Something pretty unique. Add to this the author’s usual authoritative writing voice, a cracking love story and wrap it all up in politics, machinations alongside double dealing and the result is a very tired but sated reader after a marathon night time session … the result is something that makes this for me Kate’s best series to date. Great stuff’
Gareth Wilson, Faltaca Times


LEVIATHAN WAKES (UK | US | ANZ), the explosive space-opera from James S. A. Corey, received some huge praise before it was even released. In the words of genre heavyweight, George R. R. Martin:

It’s been too long since we’ve had a really kickass space opera. LEVIATHAN WAKES is interplanetary adventure the way it ought to be written, the kind of SF that made me fall in love with the genre way back when, seasoned with a dollop of horror and a dash of noir. Jimmy Corey writes with the energy of a brash newcomer and the polish of a seasoned pro.

High praise indeed, yet much more was to follow. The critical reaction to LEVIATHAN WAKES, two months on from release, has been stunning.

Here’s what readers have been saying about the first novel in a series that promises to become a classic of science fiction.

‘LEVIATHAN WAKES is an amazing book. In fact, there is not a single negative thing I can say about the novel, which delivers in all phases including setting, characterization, story, pacing, prose, and from a purely entertainment standpoint. Simply put, LEVIATHAN WAKES is the best novel I’ve read in 2011—so far—and arguably the best thing Daniel Abraham has ever written, while introducing a remarkable new talent in Ty Franck’ – FANTASY BOOK CRITIC

‘The world building, hands down, is some of the best that I’ve seen for a space opera novel, with a good cast of characters and story that go along with it . . . This novel feels like a breath of fresh air, trading in the galaxy for our solar system, but retaining an sense of the epic’ - SF SIGNAL

‘If you love tales packed with worldbuildy details like how humans cored asteroids, pumped them full of atmosphere, and spun them up for gravity’s sake, then you’ll love this novel to pieces’ - i09

‘LEVIATHAN WAKES is space opera for the masses—it asks for little from its readers other than that they show up and enjoy the ride, no doctorate in quantum mechanics necessary. The classic juxtaposition of Miller’s hard-edged noir narrative and Holden’s idealistic adventure are perfectly suited for one another and together they form the most enjoyable novel I’ve read so far in 2011. It’s fast, it’s fun and it’s escapist science fiction in the purest sense of the term. One can only hope that The Expanse is expansive, indeed’ – A DRIBBLE OF INK

‘One of the best opening volumes to an SF series in recent memory, one of the most entertaining novels I’ve read in 2011 and a novel that only has me hungry for more in the series. This is a Space Opera I want to see more of on the shelves’ – SFF WORLD

‘A ridiculously entertaining space opera . . . A relentless, page-turning novel with some great character-building’ – THE WERTZONE

‘So far as cinematic sci-fi goes, LEVIATHAN WAKES is as entertaining and summer-blockbuster as you can get with a 600 page book’ – BOOK SMUGGLERS

‘LEVIATHAN WAKES has it all and I defy you to come away from this book empty handed when I’m talking about things like the death of a battle cruiser, alien infestations on a space station and gunfights in seedy space port hotels . . . If you read one science fiction novel this year I’d seriously consider making it this one. Essential space opera reading that bodes very well for future books in the series’ – GRAEME’S FANTASY BOOK REVIEW

‘This new science fiction series begins with an incredible story, complex and well-executed. With an intriguing storyline, vivid characters, and even vomiting zombies, this was highly enjoyable from start to finish. Blending suspense, horror, space opera, and mystery – this first installment is one no science fiction fan will want to miss’ – SCIFI CHICK

‘If you’re looking for some Space Opera Noir SF goodness, then read this one, people. It’s sure to please. It certainly did good things for me’ – ELITIST BOOK REVIEWS

‘LEVIATHAN WAKES is a big novel full of movie worthy space battles, hand-to-hand combat, near death experiences, a couple of love stories, and a big bad evil to be fought and conquered . . . Approachable, easy-to-read, and entertaining’ – GRASPING FOR THE WIND

If you’re still somehow unconvinced, you can check out a free excerpt here. There are also wallpapers of the fabulous artwork available  here. Finally, author James S. A. Corey talks about some of the ideas behind LEVIATHAN WAKES here.

The second book in the Expanse series, CALIBAN’S WAR, is due for release in June 2012.

Germline available now!

Two years ago, in the fall of 2009, I received a submission for the book that would eventually become Germline. At the time, it was more a series of linked novellas than a novel, but immediately I knew there was something there. The writing was incredibly raw, utterly riveting, and simply exciting. This was military science fiction– there were super soldiers, futuristic weaponry, powered armor– but not like I’d ever seen it before. The emotional depth to the characters was incredible and their experiences were genuinely harrowing. That first read through reminded me more of accounts from actual soldiers and journalists embedded in the field than the standard action-movie fare. This was The Hurt Locker, and Jarhead, and Restrepo… just with super soldiers, flachette rifles, and powered armor.

Now, Germline is finally here in its finished form. The first of three novels, each telling the story of this future war through the eyes of a different combatant: a journalist on the front lines, a genetically engineered soldier, and a man tasked with hunting down escaped genetics.

Read the rest of this entry »

GHOST STORY launch and competition

We’ve been counting the days until we can unleash Jim Butcher’s Ghost Story (UK | ANZ) onto the world – and publication day is at last upon us. And you can catch the first four chapters here before you rush out, waving your arms around, to get the new book!

We also have some great GIVEAWAYS, in the shape of five signed hardback cover proofs and five A3 print-outs of front cover artwork. Full terms/conditions plus pictures of the great stuff itself are here and to enter just fill in the small form below this post and click submit. And it’s for UK residents only! Lastly, if you didn’t catch the great mini interview with Jim Butcher on Harry Dresden, plus rereads of the entire series, these are here.

Early reviews have been rightfully amazing too, and we couldn’t agree more …

The Dresden Files defines all odds by getting better and better … If you love Urban Fantasy drop everything to catch up now. There is no other UF series that comes close”

Ghost Story is a wonderful addition to the Dresden Files series … one of the most consistently well-written urban fantasy series in existence”

“This stunning, exciting series entry with its heart-stopping action will shock and thrill”
Library Journal

‘Fans will be gratified … plot twists and high-stakes combat with an assortment of supernatural beings”
Publishers Weekly


You need to know RULE 34

I feel like announcing this with some kind of roar or perhaps a drum roll as I’ve been waiting for this for so long and today is actually LAUNCH DAY! But as we’re open plan and I’m highly unmusical I’ll let this do the job …

Charles Stross’s Rule 34 (UK | ANZ) is many amazing things. It’s a fast-paced Edinburgh-based crime novel set a few years into the future. It also displays lashings of Charles Stross’s wry humour and I enjoyed more than a few winces and chuckle-out-loud moments. Another aspect I really enjoyed was Stross’s extrapolation of our current technology, where our usual gadgets have been moved on a step or three.  The BBC’s Click technology programme covered augmented reality just last month, but in Rule 34 it’s a useful, fully-fledged reality.

But perhaps most importantly, I found myself completely caught up in the colourful characters (a detective inspector, a young scalleywag called Anwar and a master criminal showing signs of psychosis known as the Toymaker). There’s not the space here to revel in the bizarre crimes DI Liz Kavanaugh has to investigate (domestic appliances in unlikely places …), or talk about the highly suspicious Eastern European bread-mix young Anwar is peddling. But you can sample for yourselves by reading this plot summary or by enjoying chapter one here. Read the rest of this entry »

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