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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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HIDDEN: Benedict Jacka Cover Launch

The cover to Benedict Jacka's fifth Alex Verus novel, HIDDEN.

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). 

 The Alex Verus series


Author post

LA PETIT MORT: The End of the Story

“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 »

The astounding reaction to THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS

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 »

TOWER LORD by Anthony Ryan – Cover Reveal

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!):


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.

Dragons, giants, bloody battles – MALICE has it all!

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.


“For the first time ever I was writing the same story in two different media at the same time.”

I was a comics writer before I was a novelist, and a novelist before I was a screenwriter. Although actually I was scrabbling at the edges of all three of those forms before I got a handhold on any of them. I just knew I wanted to write – and what sort of stories I could write. As far as media went, I wanted to work in pretty much all of them. Stories are stories, right?

I’m not quite so blasé these days. I’ve got a sort of league table of media that I can work in and media I definitely can’t. I love prose, TV and movies, comics, and I’ll probably always want to have feet in all those camps (if I run out of feet, I’ll borrow or rent some). But I turned out to have no skill at all for radio, and games writing was a nightmare I’m still trying to wake up from. As Clint Eastwood said in Magnum Force, a man’s got to know his limitations.

There’s one particular pleasure, though, that you can only experience as a writer in multiple media – the pleasure of adaptation. I’ve been lucky enough to be commissioned several times to do comic book adaptations of novels and movies, and once to do a movie adaptation of another writer’s novel. In each case, I had a blast.

With the story structure already in place, the creative process and the creative challenges are very different from the ones you face when you’re making something entirely new. What you have to do is to dismantle the story – break it down into its component parts – and then think about what each part is doing. I’m not just talking about plot points, I mean characters arcs, themes, even key lines of dialogue. You do this because it’s not possible, ever, simply to move a story into another medium scene by scene, the way the town of Springfield was moved in that Simpsons episode by putting all the houses on wheels, driving them a mile down the road, and putting them down again in the same configuration of streets.

Okay, it is possible to do that, but it’s usually a bad idea. Every medium has its own native vocabulary, or palette, or whatever you want to call it. Its own biases. Things it does brilliantly well and things it can scarcely do at all. So when you adapt, you’re finding different solutions to the same set of narrative problematics. You’re making the story talk in its own voice but in a different language. And if you do it well, and if you’re lucky, the original writer will still recognise his or her progeny despite the pork pie hat, rah-rah skirt and Groucho Marx moustache.

When I was writing The Girl With All the Gifts, an opportunity came up that was completely new to me. An opportunity that was – well, probably not unique, but I’d be willing to bet fairly rare. Read the rest of this entry »

Goodreads Choice Awards 2013: Results

The final selections for the Goodreads Choice Awards 2013 have been announced. Thanks to you a huge selection of Orbit titles made the final lists, and COLD DAYS by Jim Butcher won the number one spot for Paranormal Fantasy book of the year.

Thanks to everyone who voted!

Paranormal Fantasy – View all
Overall category winner: COLD DAYS by Jim Butcher (UK | AUS)
FROST BURNED by Patricia Briggs (UK | AUS)
HUNTED by Kevin Hearne (UK | AUS)


FantasyView all
A MEMORY OF LIGHT by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (UK | AUS)
THE CROWN TOWER by Michael J Sullivan (US | UK | AUS)
PROMISE OF BLOOD by Brian McClellan (US | UK | AUS)

A MEMORY OF LIGHT crown-tower-highRez PROMISE OF BLOOD Read the rest of this entry »

Mayhem in Minneapolis!

DARK DESCENT, book two in Marlene Perez’s Nyx Fortuna series, launches this week! If you enjoyed Nyx’s wry humor and non-stop action life, you will love what Perez has in store for you next.

Nyx, still reeling from Elizabeth’s betrayalhas no time to rest. His cousin Claire has gone missing and his aunts, the three Fates, are threatening that if he doesn’t find her, Elizabeth will suffer.

Now, despite how he may feel, Nyx must venture into the underworld of Minneapolis to find his wayward cousin, lost to the thrall of Hecate’s dark magic.  But releasing Claire is not without its consequences. While it might fulfill the prophecy foretelling the fall of the Fates that have plagued him for so long, it would also mean releasing Hecate from her dark prison… and into our world. Nyx must now decide. How far would he go to save the woman he loves…. the woman who betrayed him?

Praise for the Nyx Fortuna series:

“Skillfully rendered in crisp, edgy prose, STRANGE FATES offers an exciting start to what’s sure to be a winning new series. I can’t wait to follow the sexy-as-heck Nyx Fortuna into the next installment!”
— Alyson Noël, #1 New York Timesbestselling author

“An intriguing protagonist, snappy dialogue, and a fast-paced plot.”
— Publisher’s Weekly

“Nyx is a likable hero and provides a refreshing change from the usual urban fantasy fare.”
— Library Journal

To start from the beginning of this awesome series, check out STRANGE FATES and read an excerpt here.


So I’m sure there’s at least a few people out there (or at least I’m going to pretend there is) curious about my transition from ‘self-publishing idiot’ to ‘an idiot being published by Orbit’. I should probably make something clear first. Coming in from self-publishing, I’d heard plenty of…let’s call it propaganda. Traditional publishing is evil! It’s the devil! They’ll buy your soul, run it through a paper shredder, make you change your characters into bland rip-offs of something else that’s popular, then feed your soul back to you in quarterly intervals. Also they’ll never do anything to help sell your books, treat you like scum, ignore your calls, and probably murder your puppy while they’re at it.

Now I’m sure there’s at least one puppy-murdering publisher out there, but I’d never actually quite bought into all of this. It’s one thing to believe a business is acting like, you know, a business, another to believe they were cartoon level villainy needing to be conquered by G.I. Joe. But even if I didn’t believe it, I still heard all the horror stories, the examples, the warnings… and it builds up a bit of an expectation. So after signing with Orbit and beginning the editing process, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have any butterflies in my stomach as I got to peek behind the curtain. Read the rest of this entry »

Francis Knight

Author post

Writing like a Guy

Ever since I decided to use Francis as my pen name, the subject has cropped up. Why? Is there some gender reason? Is it because you’re writing from a male first person perspective? In part that’s true – although Francis is a family name, which is why I chose it initially.

Writing as a supposed male has had some interesting side effects though. I’ve surprised a few people who thought I was male, which I’m taking as a compliment about getting the character right. And the other area that surprised me was the idea of author inserts, and the assumptions that come with that.

As a reader, I completely understand the temptation to assume a character (especially in first person) is, somehow, a representation of the author as they are, or who they wish they were. Perhaps because first person is so personal and you get so far inside the character’s head, that it’s difficult to see how they could possibly not be some sort of self-insert. Read the rest of this entry »

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