- - 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.
- - December 20th, 2013
Happy Holidays from Orbit!
See you in 2014!
Thanks to Gregory Titus for providing the 3rd annual SFF Santa for Orbit Books. Here’s Jetpack Santa and Epic Santa (with printable gift tags)!
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 16th, 2013
We’re proud to release our cover for the fifteenth novel in the Dresden Files today, the much-anticipated SKIN GAME, by artist Chris McGrath. News of a release date to follow soon.
Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day . . .
Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful.
He doesn’t know the half of it. Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains – led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone – to break into the highest-security vault in town so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.
It’s a smash-and-grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure horde in the supernatural world – which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the Underworld. See the rest of the blurb, and Jim’s thoughts on the cover, at his website here.
- - December 11th, 2013
We’re proud to release the cover of the fifth Alex Verus novel by Benedict Jacka, designed by Ceara Elliot. HIDDEN will be released in September 2014, but until then you can catch up with probability mage Alex Verus in the first four novels, FATED (UK|ANZ), CURSED (UK|ANZ), TAKEN (UK|ANZ) and the recently released CHOSEN (UK|ANZ).
“This is the end, beautiful friend…”
― Jim Morrison
“Everything has to come to an end, sometime.”
― L. Frank Baum
With the final book of the Shaper Trilogy being released, lately I’ve been thinking about Endings. It occurs to me that the most important part of any story is The End.
The End supports and honors everything that comes before it. Nothing in a story escapes the ending of that story. All the characters you love, the adventures that thrill you, the experiences that move you on the most basic of human levels, the emotional connections that make stories so powerful…all of these things are magnified, framed, and validated by a good Ending. The End of a story creates a reverse “ripple” effect that travels backwards across the length and breadth of the narrative. If the Ending isn’t right, it can ruin the entire story.
A good Ending provides closure and satisfaction–even when it is bittersweet, unhappy, or tragic. Some stories cry out for that tragedy. Should HAMLET have turned into a comedic farce in the final act? Not without completely dishonoring the story. Shakespeare gave his tale the end that it truly deserved. If Romeo and Juliet had not died, what power would their story hold for us today? What could befit those star-crossed lovers more than being eternally united in death? They died as they loved–senselessly, blindly, and violently. They earned it.
The reader of any given story expects a reward or payoff for investing time in that story. We read and read and are carried along by the rushing tide of characters, plot, and setting, but our ultimate goal as Consumers of Story is to reach The End. Therefore, the ultimate goal of any narrative is its Ending.
Aristotle stated that “A whole is what has a beginning and middle and end.” This sentiment became the basis for the three-part plot structure that underlies all of modern storytelling. Even in the classic Five-Act Play, acts 2, 3 and 4 are generally divisions of an extended Act Two. But was it Aristotle who invented the idea that stories must have a beginning, middle, and end? No, there were stories being told long before the Greek made his famous observation. Artistotle simply payed attention to the world around him, as philosophers do, and he noticed this underlying structure that supports all of human life. Read the rest of this entry »
- - 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 »
- - December 5th, 2013
If you’re a fan of razor-sharp action, deadly intrigue and conflicted heroes – not to mention vivid, detailed worlds – then chances are you caught the huge buzz that surrounded the release of BLOOD SONG (UK | ANZ), last summer’s epic fantasy blockbuster.
The critical acclaim for Anthony Ryan’s debut was overwhelming, with even the mighty Buzzfeed chiming in to declare BLOOD SONG an ‘utterly engrossing high-fantasy epic from a major new talent.’ More recently, Amazon UK picked the book as their favourite SFF release of 2013.
The good news is that there’s more to come. A lot more. Next summer we publish Anthony’s incredible new novel TOWER LORD – and we can promise that if you thought BLOOD SONG was impressive, you’ve not seen anything yet.
Here’s the wonderful cover, courtesy of the combined talents of designers Nick Castle and Nik Keevil.
And here’s a taste of what you can expect in TOWER LORD (contains spoilers for BLOOD SONG!):
THE REALM BURNS.
Vaelin Al Sorna is tired of war. He’s fought countless battles in service to the Realm and Faith. His reward was the loss of his love, the death of his friends and a betrayal by his king. After five years in an Alpiran dungeon, he just wants to go home.
Reva intends to welcome Vaelin back with a knife between the ribs. He destroyed her family and ruined her life. Nothing will stop her from exacting bloody vengeance – not even the threat of invasion from the greatest enemy the Realm has ever faced.
Yet as the fires of war spread, foes become friends and truths turn to lies. To save the Realm, Reva must embrace a future she does not want – and Vaelin must revisit a past he’d rather leave buried.
TOWER LORD will be published on 3 July 2014 in hardback, trade format and ebook.
Anthony Ryan can be found online at his website and on Twitter.
- - December 4th, 2013
A month ago John Gwynne won the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for his debut novel, MALICE, and we’re thrilled to be able to bring this story to US readers now. To find out more about John and the excellent worldbuilding that he brings to the table, check out the interview below.
Your book has several viewpoint characters. How did you structure your writing process to tie their stories together?
Writing MALICE was one big learning curve – it began as a hobby and grew slowly into something bigger. Initially I had no thoughts of being published, I was just writing for my own entertainment, with the only likely readership being my wife and children, and perhaps the odd overly-polite friend. I wrote multiple POV because that is my favourite type of read – most of my decisions were made that way – I like seeing a story from different angles, and enjoy it when diverse characters come together.
As far as how I wrote the multiple points of view, I mapped out the big picture first – the general brush-strokes of the overall plot, breaking it down into the major strands and plot arcs. Then I put some thought into the characters that I would like to view the tale through. After that I started writing. It was a bit like letting a bunch of hounds off of the leash, watching them sprint off, paths diverging and intertwining, some going off in very unexpected directions, but I knew there were key events at certain points down the line that would bring them together, some of them quite explosively.
Read the full interview here.