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TOWER LORD by Anthony Ryan

TOWER LORD Anthony Ryan

Following on from 2013′s bestselling epic fantasy debut is the second novel in the Raven’s Shadow series – a powerful epic fantasy from an exciting new British talent.
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THE BROKEN EYEBrent Weeks

The third explosive novel in the New York Times bestselling Lightbringer series!
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Will McIntosh

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My Crash-Course on Military Strategy

Global war is raging throughout most of my new novel, DEFENDERS (US | UK | AUS). In fact by the end of Defenders, humanity has fought more than one global war, because at its heart the book is about war veterans, and what becomes of them once they come home and the parades are over. Once I’d outlined Defenders and very broadly mapped out the wars that are the backdrop for the unfolding drama, it occurred to me that I knew absolutely nothing about war. I knew a bit about military history, but little or nothing about strategy, tactics, weapons. I had, for example, no idea what an invading army did. Once they dropped into enemy territory, where would they go? How did you win a war?

This was a problem. It was also surprising, because my father is a retired Brigadier General. Over the years we’d spent countless hours talking about investing and baseball, politics and comic collecting, but never military strategy. That changed as I began writing Defenders.

I was on the phone with my father nearly every day, describing what was happening in my world, and asking what a military leader would be thinking and doing in those various situations. I didn’t make things easy on him. No military commander in history has ever had to deal with an enemy who can read minds, who knows exactly what you’re planning at every moment. And no commander has had millions of somewhat deranged, genetically engineered super-warriors as allies. Dad played along, though, sometimes sending elaborate battle plans.  In fact, let me cut and paste a small sample to give you an idea. This is part of his battle plan for the defenders (the deranged super-warriors), whose mission is to seize a nuclear power plant.

Two separate LZs (landing Zones) will be utilized.  The first LZ will be approximately 5 miles NNE of the objective, the second, 5 miles SSE. Both LZs are between Highways 60 and 5. One additional squad from each drop zone is designated as a security squad and will move as follows: From drop Zone one, directly North; from drop zone two, directly South. Northern moving squad cuts off and secures Highway 60 and establishes a perimeter defense. Southern moving squad secures highway 5 and establishes perimeter defense. Full security squad will deny Luyten movement from West to East.

By the time I finished writing Defenders, I knew a lot more about military strategy. I’d learned, for instance, that winning a war was about controlling resources. Power. Water. Food. I understood that one of an army’s most pressing concerns was supply routes–both theirs and the enemy’s–because if food and ammunition can’t reach you, you’re done. I also learned about protecting your center of gravity–the place where your leadership is located. If the enemy takes out your center of gravity, you’re in trouble. Also, an army never invades an area right away if they have an air force. First they bomb it for a few hours to a few days in order to weaken resistance.

If you decide to read Defenders (and I sure hope you will), you’ll find the book opens with a prologue. In it, an army platoon is on a mission to salvage tons of World War II era weapons (pistols, rifles, flame-throwers, machine guns, hand grenades) that the U.S. Army sealed in an abandoned coalmine in Pennsylvania decades earlier. The weapons were coated in cosmoline, a greasy substance that keeps the weapons fresh and rust-free. This is all true. There are weapons caches like this in abandoned mines the U.S. Government purchased for just this purpose. The weapons are down there just in case. I’m guessing psychic alien invaders were not one of the “just in case” scenarios considered when those weapons were sealed away, but they sure came in handy in writing Defenders. I’m glad my father told me they were down there.

 DEFENDERS (US | UK | AUS) is available now! Look for it online and in bookstores everywhere. Here is an excerpt from the novel. 

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The Hugo Voter Packet

In this year’s voter packet for the Hugo Awards, Orbit will be including extended previews of three novels we’ve published. These are:

PARASITE by Mira Grant

ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie

NEPTUNE’S BROOD by Charles Stross

We hope that these long extracts will provide a helpful introduction to these fantastic novels – and that they will encourage anybody who has not read them to read more.

We appreciate that some Hugo voters might be disappointed that the entire novels will not be available in the packet, and we would like to offer a word of explanation.

We are of course very much in favour of initiatives that help readers to engage with important awards, and we are always looking for new ways to help readers discover new authors. However, in the case of the voter packets, authors and rights holders are increasingly feeling that if their work is not included in the packet it will be at a disadvantage in the awards. It’s difficult for anyone to know for certain whether this is the case, but either way we don’t feel that authors and rights holders should feel under pressure to make their work available for free. There are a lot of different attitudes to the idea of giving work away for free, but we hope most people would agree that writers and rights holders should be able to make their own choice, without feeling that their decision might have negative consequences.

We would like to make it clear that this was our decision, and not one requested by any of our authors. It is a complex issue, with many different perspectives and opinions, and we believe that we are acting in the best interests of our authors while continuing to support the voter packet.

Going forward, we very much hope that awards administrators give careful consideration to voter packets, particularly in those categories in which shortlisted works are already widely available, and that they continue to look for new ways to encourage participation in awards.

In the meantime, I hope everyone eligible to vote in the Hugos who has not yet read the shortlisted novels enjoys the extended previews in the voter packet.

Tim Holman
Publisher, Orbit

Parasite9780356502403Neptune's Brood

Publisher of the Year!

Publisher of the Year Award 2014 for Little, Brown Book Group UK (with Orbit team))As some of you may know, Orbit UK is an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group – and we’re proud to report that Little, Brown scooped up the prestigious Publisher of the Year title in the Bookseller Industry Awards last night.

Here’s a photo of the award and some key members of our team.

 

 

Kristen-Painter-profile

The Trouble with New Orleans

Just say the words New Orleans and you probably think of jazz music, cobblestone streets, cemeteries filled with monuments, and scrolling iron balconies. You might also think about vampires, ghosts and who knows what else that might be lurking in the shadows. The Big Easy has a certain reputation for the mysterious. And indeed, it is definitely a place filled with a special kind of magic. The tales that surround this city are part truth, part legend, part good old fashioned story telling.

As a writer, it’s hard not to be mesmerized by this place. I’ve been to New Orleans more times than I can count and it never fails to enchant me in some new way. There are moments when I could easily believe I’ve crossed a threshold where all the creatures of my imagination could truly exist. Maybe it has something to do with the city’s own sense of immortality. Very little changes here, whether it’s the architecture, the colorful presence of art and music, the tantalizing aroma of chicory-laced coffee, or the ever-present sense that an undercurrent of something dark and magic thrums just below the surface.

I promise it’s nothing to be intimidated by. The locals are friendly and the tourist even more so, perhaps helped by the loose liquor laws. Whatever the reason, the city welcomes everyone and has become a favorite for so many authors, myself included.

In my new Crescent City series, it became the perfect setting for my fae characters. A place where mortals and othernaturals could indulge in food, drink, music, love, and war, all while fully aware of each others’ existence.

If you find yourself in New Orleans and want to check out some of the places where the lines between this world and the supernatural seem to blur, take this list with you. A few of these spots show up in my series.

The cemeteries of New Orleans

Sometimes called the Cities of the Dead because their towering crypts and monuments create mini-skylines, a stroll through any one of these final resting places is something you’ll always remember. My favorite is Lafayette Cemetery No. One in the Garden District and conveniently located across from Commander’s Palace restaurant. Both spots make an appearance in, HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN (US | UK |AUS), but the cemetery gets top billing as it’s also the location of the fae’s underground headquarters (via a secret entry through one of its crypts). Read the rest of this entry »

Orbit on the Locus Awards Shortlist!

Locus award shortlistWe’re very pleased to report that we have three shortlisted nominees on the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel! Our congratulations go to ABADDON’S GATE by James S.A. Corey, SHAMAN by Kim Stanley Robinson, and NEPTUNE’S BROOD by Charles Stross (also nominated for a Hugo Award this year). The awards are voted on by readers of Locus magazine, and the full shortlist is:

MADDADDAM, Margaret Atwood (McClelland & Stewart; Bloomsbury; Talese)
ABADDON’S GATE (US | UK | ANZ), James S.A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS, Karen Lord (Del Rey; Jo Fletcher)
SHAMAN (US UK | ANZ), Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
NEPTUNE’S BROOD, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK) (UK | ANZ)

Congratulations also to Ann Leckie, whose debut ANCILLARY JUSTICE (nominated for many awards this year including the Hugo and Nebula, and winner of the Arthur C. Clarke award, the BSFA and a Kitschie) was nominated in the Best First Novel category. The shortlist is as follows;

ANCILLARY JUSTICE (US | UK |ANZ), Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI, Helene Wecker (Harper)
THE GOLDEN CITY, J. Kathleen Cheney (Roc)
A STRANGER IN OLONDRIA, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
THE THINKING WOMAN’S GUIDE TO REAL MAGIC, Emily Croy Barker (Dorman)

And finally, we ourselves are shortlisted in the Best Publisher category! Best of luck to the other nominees.

Read a free extract of THIEF’S MAGIC by Trudi Canavan

It’s now just over a week until the release of THIEF’S MAGIC (UK|US|ANZ), the brand new fantasy adventure from No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling author Trudi Canavan.

Millions of readers worldwide have read and enjoyed Trudi’s fantastic books – and this new novel is something to get VERY excited about.

It’s set in a brand new world, featuring a whole new cast of characters. It’s time to forget what you know about the nature of magic . . .

You can read a free extract of the book right now by visiting Trudi’s Facebook page. The more you share the extracts, the more we’ll unlock!

 

brian-profile

THE CRIMSON CAMPAIGN (US | UK | AUS), Book 2 of the Powder Mage Trilogy, releases today! In The Crimson Campaign, all your favorite characters are back (plus a few new faces!), and there will be bloody times ahead for everyone.

If you’re new to the series, check out the beginning of  PROMISE OF BLOOD (US | UK | AUS)—available now in ebook, audio, and tradepaperback formats!

Below, Brian McClellan names his five favorite side characters. We’d love to hear who your favorites are in the comments!

Side characters are often the most fun for me to write. I can give them little quirks and write them with more freedom than point-of-view characters. Their lives are more “off-screen” than those of our heroes, and that can make them more mysterious and interesting to both myself and the reader. Here are five of my favorite side characters from Promise of Blood and The Crimson Campaign.

Be warned, there will be minor spoilers from Promise of Blood!

Ka-poel

A red-headed, freckled “savage” from the distant country of Fatrasta, very little of Ka-poel’s history is known. She uses a sorcery outside the recognized schools of magic in the Nine Nations, and the mystery of her motives and powers are compounded because she was born a mute. She only communicates through hand gestures and facial expressions.

This last bit has proved a challenge to write. It limits what I can do to build her character and has forced me to, quite literally, “show” instead of “tell.” But I love how mysterious her character is and she has turned out to be delightful to write. Ka-poel is an example of a side character who develops into an integral part of the story during the writing process.

Olem

Olem and Field Marshal Tamas meet at the beginning of Promise of Blood, when the field marshal is in need of a new bodyguard. They develop an immediate mutual respect for each other, and Olem’s skills as a soldier and his Knack–the ability to go without sleep–make him a natural choice for a bodyguard.

Field Marshal Tamas tends to take himself very seriously. Maybe too seriously. Lucky for us, Olem is there to watch his back and remind him, often in a rather sardonic manner, that there is more to life than pride and duty. Olem is deeply loyal, and while he often stretches the bounds of what would normally be appropriate to say to a field marshal, Tamas tolerates his familiarity for the sake of their friendship.

In The Crimson Campaign, however, we’ll discover that even Olem can go too far with Field Marshal Tamas.

Vlora

The ex-fiancée of Taniel Two-shot, Vlora is in the awkward position working alongside Taniel’s father. In original drafts of Promise of Blood, she had a lot more screen time that wound up getting cut along the way and it was fun to explore her character in more depth in The Crimson Campaign.

Vlora resonates with readers because she is complicated and conflicted, her most important relationships destroyed by a single mistake just before the start of Promise of Blood. Next to Taniel and Tamas, she is one of the most gifted Powder Mages in the world. In The Crimson Campaign, we get to discover her side of the story and see her in action. Read the rest of this entry »

Out Today: Charlie Fletcher’s THE OVERSIGHT!

Charlie Fletcher’s gothic fantasy THE OVERSIGHT publishes today! Grab yourself a copy in print, digital or audiobook, and embark upon an adventure through a Dickensian London and wild British countryside filled with monsters, danger and intrigue. If you like Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett, you’re sure to enjoy this tale of dark deeds and even darker magics.

The book’s fans already include authors Mike Carey, Adam Roberts, Frances Hardinge and Cory Doctorow, it’s taken Twitter by storm, and here’s just a sample of some of the fantastic reviews we’ve seen so far:

‘The Oversight is – and let’s be clear here – something very special . . . It’s oh so moreish a morsel. I’d read a prequel this evening, a sequel as soon as.’ – Niall Alexander, Tor.com

‘Told in a kind of compelling and hypnotic poesie that I just lapped up . . . I’ll certainly be reading the next one.’ – Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing.net

‘A highly entertaining fantasy that promises a trilogy worth sinking your teeth into.’ – SciFiNow

‘A remarkable combination of British folklore, brisk pacing and wide-ranging imagination.’ – Kirkus Reviews

‘Richly atmospheric (the evil lurks in the background of every paragraph), the book should be a big hit with supernatural-fantasy readers . . . the second book can’t come soon enough.’ – Booklist (starred review) 

Listen to an audio sample at Soundcloud today.

ANCILLARY JUSTICE is the Arthur C. Clarke Award winner!

We heard the fantastic news last night that Ann Leckie is the winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award! This is a simply astounding achievement for any author, but especially for a debut novelist.

The award is given to the best science fiction novel of the year by a panel of judges invited from the British Science Fiction Association, the Science Fiction Foundation and the Sci-Fi-London Film Festival. 

ANCILLARY JUSTICE was announced as winner in a ceremony last night at London’s Royal Society. The Orbit team was attending and we all had a wonderful time.

The judges read over 120 different science fiction novels submitted by 42 different publishing houses and imprints, narrowing the shortlist down to just six spectacular novels before picking ANCILLARY JUSTICE as the winner.

Our biggest congratulations go to Ann, who adds the Clarke Award to her BSFA Award for Best Novel and her Kitschie Award for Best Debut Novel, all three awards for ANCILLARY JUSTICE. Hope she’s got room on the mantelpiece!

You can read the award coverage in The Guardian today.

 

The Clarke Award for ANCILLARY JUSTICE

 

Kristen-Painter-profile

Every vampire has heard rumor of the mythical place where their kind can daywalk. But what no vampire knows is that this City of Eternal Night actually exists.

And its name is New Orleans.

For centuries, the fae have protected the city from vampire infestation. But when the bloodsuckers return, the fragile peace in New Orleans begins to crumble.

Carefree playboy Augustine, and Harlow, a woman searching for answers about her absent father, are dragged into the war.  The fate of the city rests on them — and their fae blood that can no longer be denied.

There is nothing as heart wrenching for readers and authors alike as concluding a series and leaving a whole world behind.  But just as all good things must come to an end, new and fabulous things begin!  Kristen Painter, author of the beloved House of Comarré novels, knows this process well as she heads into her second series — Crescent City.  Book one, House of the Rising Sun, debuts next week, and in preparation, Kristen stopped by to talk about the transition process from an author point of view:

Top Five Reasons Ending an Existing Series is Hard

  1. Worldbuilding – Building worlds is tons of fun. But when you pour extensive amounts of gray matter into a world that’s spanned five novels and one novella, you’re pretty stuck in. You know the place intimately and you can navigate better than Google Maps. Ending the series means you don’t get to play there anymore.
  2. Characters – After a series run, your characters can feel like an extended part of your family. In some cases, you may have spent more time with them than your actual family. Throughout the books, your characters have grown and changed and those that have survived may have even become better people because of things they overcame along the way. You know them like you know yourself. When the series ends, there’s not a lot of chance to see them again.
  3. Readers – Readers get even more invested in a series than the author does sometimes, so for me, I’m always thinking about them when I write. My goal with every book is to entertain, so leaving a series makes me cringe. What if the readers aren’t happy with the ending? What if they still want more? What if the readers don’t like the new books? What if they hate the new hero/heroine?
  4. The New Book – All of a sudden you realize you have to come up with a new series – new worldbuilding, new characters, new conflicts, new plots. That can be daunting when you feel like you put everything you had into the series you just finished.
  5. The Final Book – The last book in a series carries a lot of weight. Writing it means shouldering the burdens of every unanswered thread you’ve created thus far. And some authors *coughmyselfcough* tend to create a lot of threads. All of them have to be wrapped up neatly and you’ve still got to have a conclusion that leaves the reader feeling satisfied. Oh, the pressure! It’s enough to make a writer drink. Or binge eat Swedish fish.

Read the rest of this entry »

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