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red-knight-armorFestivities for the launch of THE RED KNIGHT kicked off in Toronto over the weekend at Bakka-Phoenix Books. Cake was served and readers got the chance to to check out some incredible armor that would have been worn by the Red Knight himself! But for all of you that couldn’t attend, we saved a special treat for you too. Below is a deleted scene from THE RED KNIGHT – a fantastic epic some fans are already saying would be perfect for the big screen

This piece was written to introduce the company that the Red Knight commands, and represents the moments before the Captain enters the house where the nun has been killed–and the whole adventure begins.  I wanted to try my hand at a sort of ‘cinematic present’ in writing.  Later, in the editing process, we decided that it would be better to open the book with Ser John Crayford’s POV on the Red Knight and the company.  Let me just note that the sounds of a troop of heavy cavalry moving in deep fog are both as melodic and chilling as any monster.

Spring Morning

The silence of a misty spring morn.

The silence that follows the scream.

The desperate silence after the hopeless sound of utter loss.

Two men clad in green, on ponies, gallop up the road. They appear frightened, and their heads turn, their eyes are everywhere. Left and right. Up, and down.

They stop short of a farm enclosure, with stone walls as tall as a man’s shoulder, and a steeply peaked roof in dark–gray slate. On the other side of the road, a river, as broad as a good field, flowing fast, swollen with recent rain, as gray as the slate.

Something about the farm makes them hesitate, and both ponies rear and back, heads tossing.

The shorter man snaps his fingers, makes a half circle motion with his right hand, and points back down the road.  His lanky partner turns his mount and gallops back down the road. His pony’s hooves throw up muddy spray.

The man left behind loosens his falchion in its sheath. Twice. He licks his lips, and his horse backs again, like a cat backing from a dog, because something – perhaps a smell – is spooking her. The man on her back looks to the left and right, up and down. He is alone, in dense mist, and no birds are singing. The rising sun is cold and distant. Night still holds sway.

For him, time is mutable. Because for him, the silence goes on for a long, long time.

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Cover launch! FADE TO BLACK by Francis Knight

Today we can unveil the cover for one of the most exciting debut fantasy novels you’re going to see next year.

Presenting: FADE TO BLACK by the estimable Francis Knight, to be released worldwide by Orbit in February 2013.

We’d like to welcome you all to the fantasy world of Mahala. It’s a towering city that rises up from the deep, dark depths of a valley.

Mahala is built up in layers, not across – with streets piled upon streets, and buildings balancing precariously upon buildings. It’s a city that the Ministry rules from its lofty perch at the sunlit summit, and where the forsaken lurk in the shadowy depths of the Pit.

This compelling tale follows the story of Rojan Dizon – a bounty hunter who’s grown up in the shadows of Mahala. Everyone knows he’s a rogue, a womaniser, a shirker of all responsibility. But what they don’t know is that he’s also a pain-mage: someone able to draw magic from his own and other people’s pain. Rojan’s not keen on using his abilities, but when his niece is abducted and taken to the dark depths of the Pit, he’ll be forced to unleash his powers to find her.

We jumped at the chance to publish Fade to Black – because the world that Francis has created just blew us away. It’s both awe-inspiring and vertigo-inducing, and Rojan’s tale makes the story just un-damn-put-downable. Think of the murky atmosphere of Sin City, filled with the action and pace of Brent Weeks or Scott Lynch.

I could go on about it for days, but all you have to know is this: FADE TO BLACK is the fantasy debut to look out for next spring. So remember one and all: That season, black is most definitely back!

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