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AGE OF IRON by Angus Watson

AGE OF IRON Angus Watson

Bloodthirsty druids and battle-hardened Iron Age warriors collide in the first volume of this action-packed historical fantasy trilogy.
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SYMBIONTMira Grant

The second terrifying novel in the Parasitology series by New York Times bestselling author Mira Grant!
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Posts Tagged ‘Allan Cole’

Top Ten ‘Working Class Heroes’ in Science Fiction and Fantasy

With the entire Sten Chronicles soon to be available in our Orbit omnibus editions – that’s BATTLECRY (UK|ANZ) containing books 1-3, JUGGERNAUT (UK|ANZ) containing books 4-6 and DEATH MATCH (UK|ANZ) containing books 7-8 – we got thinking about Sten’s humble beginnings and his rise to power.

The entire Sten Chronicles by Chris Bunch and Allan Cole

In his previous guestpost Allan Cole described Sten as a ‘working class hero’ (like the John Lennon song!) and we wondered who else might qualify. We can’t all be heirs to large fortunes like Batman, Harry Potter or Lara Croft, (some of us can barely even make like a Lannister and pay our debts), so here are our top ten good guys who didn’t start off in life with many advantages at all . . .

Commander Vimes (Terry Pratchett’s ‘Discworld’ series)

Commander Vimes grew up in the Shades of Ankh Morpork, describing his family as lucky to live on a street so poor that there just wasn’t very much for the infamous criminal gangs of the Shades to steal.

Since his aristocratic marriage and his successes in running the City Watch, Vimes has been bestowed with many noble titles (including but not limited to “His Grace,” “His Excellency” and “his blackboard-monitorship”). Never has a man resented being part of ‘the gentry’ so much. One would almost think the Patrician was annoying him on purpose.

The Eye of the WorldRand al’Thor (Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ series)

Rand al’Thor originally lived a simple life as a farmer’s son in the sleepy village of Emond’s Field, where his biggest concern was trying to talk to girls without making a fool of himself. His life changed forever one night when the forces of darkness showed up and showed a keen interest in running him through with a blade.

Turns out that Rand is the Dragon Reborn, the saviour who is prophesied to save the world from the Dark One . . . but destroy it in the process. No pressure there, then.

Han Solo (Star Wars)

He might have married a princess and helped save the galaxy, but Han Solo had a rough start as an orphaned street urchin in a Corellian spaceport. Things were looking up when he became a pilot for the Imperial Navy, but he lost his commission when he defied orders and refused to skin a Wookiee named Chewbacca.

The two won the Millennium Falcon from the smuggler Lando Calrissian in a card game and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Weasley family (Harry Potter)

Draco Malfoy said that ‘all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford.’ They also have a whole lot of courage, room in their hearts to take in the orphaned Harry Potter and the courage to stand up to bullies like the Malfoys and other, richer ‘pureblooded’ wizards during both of Voldemort’s uprisings.

We couldn’t pick a favourite Weasley (who can?), so we decided we’d include the whole lot.

Davos Seaworth, (George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’)

Born in the Flea Bottom slums of King’s Landing, as a young man Davos captained a notorious smuggling ship. During Robert’s Rebellion he saved many lives by smuggling in food during the siege of Storm’s End castle.

Stannis Baratheon knighted him for this, which got him the nickname ‘the Onion Knight’, but demanded a grisly punishment for Davos’s earlier crimes, the ends of his fingers on one hand! Davos considered this fair, as long as Stannis carried out the punishment himself, and his continued loyalty is shown when he supports Stannis’s claim to the throne.

Rose Tyler (Doctor Who)

badwolfRose grew up on a South London estate, living with her mother Jackie and working at Henrik’s Department Store. When the shop was attacked by aliens disguised as shop mannequins, she was saved by the Doctor and joined him in his travels in the TARDIS – saving his life in return when she worked out the meaning behind the strange words that had been following the duo through time – ‘Bad Wolf’.

Rose has met aliens, travelled backwards and forwards in time as well as visiting other dimensions, but she’s never forgotten her roots – she was the first of the Doctor’s companions to have her mobile phone modified so she could keep in touch with her mum. Read the rest of this entry »

author post

Chris Bunch and Allan Cole wrote the Sten Chronicles –  one of the truly classic military science fiction series. As of this week, you can now buy the entire series (that’s eight books!) in these three gorgeous Orbit omnibus editions in print and ebook – that’s BATTLECRY (UK|ANZ), JUGGERNAUT (UK|ANZ) and DEATH MATCH (UK|ANZ).

Read on to find out in Allan’s words how he and Chris created the eponymous Sten, and to find out a bit more about how to come up with a multi-book protagonist of your own.

all three omnibuses in the Sten series of space opera adventures

Chris Bunch and I went about breaking into book-world with the same fervor that we attacked Hollywood. Young and dumb as we were, we thought we could conjure up the key to literary success that has eluded countless wannabe writers, past, present and future.

The first thing, we decided, was that if we came up with a series – instead of a standalone novel – there was more of a chance that all the books would remain in print. A little bit true at the time, but mostly wishful thinking these days.

Then we looked at the genre markets. Westerns? We dearly loved Westerns. But in those days – both in books and the movies – the Oater, as they called it, was done. Westerns just weren’t selling.

Detectives, then? We were ardent fans of Chandler and Hammett – all the hard boiled guys. Again, at the time mysteries and detective stories had a limited, if passionate, audience. A flurry of rack sales, then the local library, where the sale of one book serves a legion of readers, but does not impress your banker one damn bit.

We finally settled on Science Fiction – fantasy was still waiting for Terry Brooks to break that genre out of the doldrums. Plus we had been ardent science fiction readers since childhood.

Next, we examined the nature of book series. In our opinion, there was a tendency for writers to grow to despise their main characters after a few books.

Sir Arthur came to hate Holmes so much that he killed him. The storm over that literary assassination eventually led to Holmes’ miraculous revival. Agatha Christie loathed Poirot, but wisely let him live. Ian Fleming killed James Bond in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, only to resurrect 007 in DR. NO to appease his publishers and fans. And so on. There are countless examples. Read the rest of this entry »

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