Posts Tagged ‘epic fantasy’
UNFETTERED should not exist.
Not in a perfect world. In a perfect world, cancer does not exist. And even if it does exist, in a semi-perfect world, there is adequate healthcare insurance covering fantastic healthcare.
Unfortunately, I found out how imperfect the world is in 2011 when I was diagnosed with Stage 3B Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
I was prepared for the cancer. I had been diagnosed ten years earlier with a far graver form of the disease. I knew what to expect – the surgeries, the chemotherapy, the fatigue and sickness. In 2001, I beat the cancer, but I had to be a mentally tough bastard to do it.
I knew it would be no different in 2011. The cancer didn’t frighten me. But it was paying for treatment that became the real problem.
I live in the United States where, in my opinion, the healthcare system is broken. Due to my pre-existing cancer diagnosis, I did not qualify for health insurance. I would not be denied healthcare but that healthcare would have to be paid out of pocket. My treatment would cost about $200,000. I would undoubtedly have to declare medical bankruptcy, ruining my financial future for the next decade.
The bastard came to the fore. I knew there had to be a way out. While I went through treatment, I began asking my writer friends if they could donate short stories for an anthology I would sell to offset those medical costs.
UNFETTERED is the result. Read the rest of this entry »
- - February 13th, 2014
Next week we’re delighted to publish the paperback edition of BLOOD SONG, which in the UK was the bestselling epic fantasy debut of 2013.
Anthony’s Ryan’s powerful tale of high adventure and deadly intrigue clearly struck a chord with readers, as the critical acclaim that followed the novel’s release was nothing short of astounding. BLOOD SONG currently has over a thousand 5* reviews on Amazon and was selected as Amazon UK’s favourite SFF novel from last year.
With the hugely anticipated sequel, TOWER LORD (UK), looming on the horizon, now is the perfect time to read the epic fantasy blockbuster that took readers by storm last summer. You can find the first chapter here, and an interview with Anthony here.
And if that’s not quite convinced you, then here’s some of the praise that BLOOD SONG has received:
‘An utterly engrossing high-fantasy epic from a major new talent that explores themes of war, faith, and loyalty amidst incredible action scenes and artfully developed characters’
‘A top contender for most impressive debut of the year. . . A powerful epic’
‘This is epic fantasy at its best with action, rivalries, espionage, the promise of future revelations and ever-present twists’
‘Just impossible to put down . . . Fast-paced, action-packed and character-driven’ FANTASY BOOK CRITIC
‘An instant sensation . . . an excellent start to this series’
READ DREAM RELAX
‘Smartly-written . . . Compelling’
‘BLOOD SONG delighted me again and again’
‘Well wrought characters, a fascinating world, and crackling prose . . . Not to be missed’
KING OF THE NERDS
‘One of the next master storytellers’
FANTASY BOOK REVIEW
‘I still love – and want – that feeling of completely absorbing escapism that good fantasy can supply – and BLOOD SONG brings it in force’
‘The next epic fantasy book everybody should read’
Anthony Ryan lives in London and is a full time writer. You can find him online at his website and on Twitter.
- - January 28th, 2014
Today we are proud to release ARCANUM (UK | US | ANZ), a majestic standalone epic fantasy from none other than the Philip K. Dick award-winning Simon Morden.
Having won the prestigious award for his science fiction series starring deliciously sociopathic Russian genius Samuil Petrovitch, Simon has now turned his considerable intellect to fantasy. And what’s resulted is rather mind-blowing . . .
Imagine that long ago, the Roman Empire was crushed by wild spell-casting shamen.
Imagine that a thousand years later, a mighty kingdom has been founded on this formidable power – with magic their tool and their ultimate weapon.
The secret to Carinthia’s dominion is the Order of the Hexmasters, whose magic can power cities, build bridges and exterminate whole armies.
But then imagine taking this power away . . .
When the age of magic dies, the world will be ignited. Some believe that any act, no matter how horrific, is justified to bring the magic back. But some believe that when the magic has gone, the age of science will be born anew.
The twelve-year old Felix will be thrust onto the throne after his father’s demise, the fiery Nikoleta must wield her power carefully as the last remaining hexmaster, and the librarian Thaler believes that salvation lies in the knowledge stored in the great library of Carinthia . . .
Chaos and order, future and past, technology and superstition – all will clash with violence in the magnificent ARCANUM, out today.
‘An enthralling read for aficionados of intelligent, impeccably rendered fantasy’ Kirkus
‘A captivating novel as well as an interesting commentary on fantasy as a genre’ Tor.com
‘A masterful foray into an alternate universe . . . An engrossing rollercoaster of a plot winds up with a solidly satisfying climax that leaves the reader craving more’ Publishers Weekly
If you’re based in the UK and would like to celebrate the release with Simon and get hold of a signed copy, there will be a signing held at the Newcastle branch of Forbidden Planet on Saturday 15th February from 1-2pm.
There’s a whole fantasy trope based around the protagonist of the story discovering that, after the initial skirmish with the forces of evil, he or she is the Chosen One, the one person who has all the skills – mental, physical and magical – to defeat the big bad and win the day.
And we love hearing about them because we can dream we are them. We’re no longer ordinary; quite the opposite. We become, for the length of the tale, extraordinary; possessing such skills, strength and stamina that no other mortal can command. The Chosen One is the archetypal super-hero story: think of Greek and Persian legends, and you’re halfway there already.
But when the story ends, the clouds come over, the sky darkens, and the world becomes colder, harsher and less caring. We’re not the Chosen One. We’re nothing unusual. Not only can we not take the battle to the forces of evil, we don’t even know where to start. We simply have to accept the way things are, with no hope of changing the slow grind of life.
But hang on. That’s not necessarily the case. We know through experience that we can claim small, if temporary, victories that bring life and light to us and ours. And we know that being inspired by our fictional heroes and heroines can make us better people – G. K. Chesterton spoke the truth when he said: ‘Fairy tales don’t tell children that dragons exist; children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.’ Read the rest of this entry »
- - January 23rd, 2014
We’re delighted to unveil our cover for UNFETTERED (UK), an anthology of original fiction from some of the biggest names in fantasy, to be released digitally this February.
It will include stories from Patrick Rothfuss, Peter V. Brett, Mark Lawrence, Terry Brooks, Naomi Novik, Michael J. Sullivan, and even deleted scenes from A MEMORY OF LIGHT, the final book in Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson’s Wheel of Time series.
This collection is not only a fantastic anthology in its own right, but it’s also a testament to the generosity found in the science fiction and fantasy community.
When author Shawn Speakman was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011 and didn’t have health insurance due to a pre-existing condition, he incurred a huge medical debt that he was unable to pay. That’s when New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks offered to donate a short story that Shawn could sell to help cover those bills. He also recommended he ask the same of his other writer friends, and UNFETTERED is the impressive result.
The collection includes twenty-four tales, including an extra story for the UK edition from Speakman himself. As the title suggests, the writers were free to contribute whatever they wished, resulting in a truly unique selection from some of the brightest minds in fantasy fiction.
UNFETTERED will be released digitally in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and other territories on 20th February 2014. It is available for pre-order from online retailers now.
- - 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 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.
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 »
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 »
- - November 4th, 2013
Welcome to the most in-depth, behind-the-scenes, play-by-play account of how a cover is born, from the point of view of the Art Department. We’re charting the conception and birth of the Shadowdance series by David Dalglish.
So far we have talked about the first real step of a book, Acquisition, and then what goes into Cover Briefing. Then we let our minds wander and collect inspiration and form Directions for the cover. Then we agreed on a Photographer and Illustrator. We’ve even found our hero, the Cover Model. And we found a Trampoline for him to do stunt work on safely. We decked him out in book-specific Costume & Props. We spent all day at our Photo Shoot. We received the Rough Cuts, and while the illustrator was working, Kirk was developing the Design Roughs. Then we got the Final Retouched Illustrations in and got to the design on the Final Covers. And now, believe it or not, we’re at the end of our little cover art journey, and even though you’ve seen the final book designs in the last post, I give you a treat:
It’s been a pleasure taking you through the cover process for such a fun series. We really put a ton of work into all our covers here at Orbit, and I hope you’ve enjoyed peeking behind the curtain. I don’t think people realize quite how many moving parts, how many stages of work, and how many people make up the cover process. And remember, we’re doing a whole season’s worth of covers at once. Whew.
Thank you to amazing ninja Bryce Bermingham, Photographer Michael Frost and his team, Illustrator Gene Mollica, the team at Hollywood Stunts, our video guys Eric Westpheling and Louis Rebecchi, our prop makers and costume builders and everyone who had a hand in bringing these covers to life. Thanks also to Kirk Benshoff, my co-conspirator in Art Direction & Design. And of course, thanks to David Dalglish, who thought up such a cool concept for us to make a reality.