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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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THE BROKEN EYEBrent Weeks

The third explosive novel in the New York Times bestselling Lightbringer series!
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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

Return to Mirgorod with TRUTH AND FEAR!

“I fell into Wolfhound Century and devoured it in three days.”— Richard Morgan

Today we are proud to release the greatly anticipated TRUTH AND FEAR, Peter Higgins’s enthralling sequel to WOLFHOUND CENTURY. TRUTH AND FEAR is the second novel in the Wolfhound Century trilogy, published by Orbit in the US and Gollancz in the UK.

TRUTH AND FEAR finds Investigator Lom returning to a Mirgorod in crisis, with the war against the Archipelago looking grim for all. Enemy divisions are massing outside the city, air raids are a daily occurrence and the citizens are being conscripted into the desperate defense of the city.

But Lom has other concerns. The police are after him, the mystery of the otherworldly Pollandore remains and the vast Angel is moving, turning all of nature against the city.

As complete destruction looms, Lom must find a way to save the city and save himself – before the horrors of war overtake them all.

Praise for WOLFHOUND CENTURY:

“Like vintage China Mieville, but with all the violent narrative thriller drive of Ian Fleming at his edgiest” RICHARD MORGAN

“An amazing, fast-paced story in a fantasy world poised dangerously on the edge of quantum probability, a world where angels war with reality” PETER F. HAMILTON

“I absolutely loved WOLFHOUND CENTURY. Higgins’s world is a truly original creation, Russian cosmism and Slavic mythology filtered through steampunk and le Carre. What really captured me was his beautiful style and language” HANNU RAJANIEMI

“An alternate history that will grab you by the lapels and snap you to attention.”— io9

“Sentient water, censored artists, mechanical constructs, old-fashioned detective work, and the secret police are all woven together in this rich and fascinating tapestry” — Publishers Weekly

“WOLFHOUND CENTURY merits the attention of Miéville fans looking for something new.” — Far Beyond Reality

“WOLFHOUND CENTURY is a strange, complex, earthy, sometimes violent read, and one of the best debuts I’ve gotten my hands on.” — My Bookish Ways

“This is a great, dark and fantastical thriller. It has the suspense of classic spy thrillers, mixed with the strange and the bizarre found in any number of critically-acclaimed fantasists.” — Civilian Reader

“Higgins doesn’t just build a world, he also thrusts the reader into it thanks to his incredibly adept use of an intense and stark atmosphere.” — Bookworm Blues

“Very dark, very gritty and very atmospheric. WOLFHOUND CENTURY is also a book free of genre constraints, allowing for a great original and entertaining read. Top Notch stuff by Peter Higgins.” — The Founding Fields

“Fans of dystopian fiction, noir, and science fiction and fantasy (especially those weary of tired old world building that always seems to center on English history or Western European norms) will find much of interest in this book.” — Nerds of a Feather

Read an excerpt from TRUTH AND FEAR or start from the beginning with WOLFHOUND CENTURY

An interview with Glenda Larke

Saker appears to be a simple priest, but in truth he’s a spy for the head of his faith. Wounded in the line of duty by a Lascar sailor’s blade, the weapon seems to follow him home. Unable to discard it, nor the sense of responsibility it brings, Saker can only follow its lead.  The Lascar’s dagger demands a price, and that price will be paid in blood.

THE LASCAR’S DAGGER (US | UK | AUS) is the first book of an brand new trilogy by Glenda Larke. Get to know Glenda and find out what her new series is all about in the interview below. 

1.) When did you first start writing?

I was still in elementary school when I discovered I could write stories and – better still – I could persuade other kids to listen to them. When a teacher asked us what we would like to be when we grew up, my reply was ‘an authoress’!

2.) What made you want to write fantasy?

My first novel (unpublished!) was actually not fantasy at all. It was a thriller with a strong dash of romance, set in Malaysia, where I was living at the time. I showed it to someone, and to my alarm discovered that she equated the main character’s views with mine simply because the main character was, like me, an Australian living in Malaysia. I figured that the book – if ever it was published – would get me into trouble with the community I was living in at the time, so I shelved it and turned instead to writing fantasy. After all, no one was going to equate me with a woman born in the Keeper Isles and living in a place called Gorthan Spit, were they? (It was no hardship switching genres, of course. I loved reading fantasy and it makes sense to write what you love.)

3.) Who are some of your major influences in the genre?

It’s hard to single out any particular book or writer. I suspect it was Susan Cooper’s ‘The Dark is Rising’ that started me reading fantasy in the first place. The authors I read in the 1980s as I was developing my skills as a writer of fantasy were people like Barbara Hambly, Janny Wurts, Guy Gavriel Kay, Raymond Feist and Ann McCaffrey.

4.) Where did the idea for The Lascar’s Dagger come from?

There’s never a single idea! If I had to sum up the sources for my inspiration, I’d say: the great port cities of the Netherlands and the U.K. in the time of sailing ships, my mother-in-law’s kitchen, the Malay dagger, my ancestor sailing around the world on Captain Cook’s ‘Endeavor’, the spice trade, my husband’s background, privateers, birds of paradise…

The Malay/Indonesian dagger, with its distinct wavy blade, is part of my husband’s culture. Called a kris, it is a traditional weapon of his people, and historically it was thought to contain a spirit or presence (which can be good or evil). Folk tales often tell stories of a kris with magical powers. What fantasy writer can resist the idea of that?

Most of the trilogy, though, is set in my version of Europe about to embark on colonial expansion and trade dominance of the East. There’s a bit of a twist on our history, though: in my books, the East has a novel way of fighting back…

Read more. 

Press Release: Orbit UK to publish Welcome to Night Vale novel

Night Vale logo by Rob WilsonOrbit UK has acquired a novel based on WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE, to be written by Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink. The WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE podcast is described by the TELEGRAPH as ‘a cultural phenomenon’, the GUARDIAN calls it ‘extremely addictive’ and it has topped over twenty-three million worldwide downloads since its first episode aired in 2012. The Night Vale book will feature both new characters and beloved favourites from the show.

Commissioning editor Jenni Hill bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Angharad Kowal at Writers House UK, on behalf of Jodi Reamer at Writers House US, in a heated auction last month. Publication is expected for autumn 2015.

 WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a free, fictional podcast set in a creepy desert town. It takes the form of a radio show full of news reports from Cecil Palmer, the town’s affable radio host who doesn’t quite understand that hooded figures in the dog park and hypnotising glow clouds in the sky are not facts of life anywhere outside Night Vale. As hilarious as it is disturbing, the show can be described as a cross between THE TWILIGHT ZONE and TWIN PEAKS, or your local news report written by Stephen King.

Angharad Kowal said: “Orbit is the perfect home for the WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE novel – their enthusiasm for the project is hard to surpass. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Jenni Hill said: “I first listened to WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE last summer, and I fell in love instantly with Jeffrey and Joseph’s smart writing, fascinating characters and comic but wonderfully creepy storylines. I’m overjoyed that Orbit will be publishing this in the UK and I know that the novel is going to absolutely delight both Night Vale’s loyal fans and plenty of new readers.”

And now, the weather.

About WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE: The brainchild of writers Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE podcast is narrated by Cecil Baldwin, with music by Disparition. More information, and links to the podcast, can be found at www.commonplacebooks.com/welcome-to-night-vale.

 

Now available in paperback – WOLFHOUND CENTURY by Peter Higgins!

Citizens! WOLFHOUND CENTURY is out now in paperback with a brand new look for the new format. (Click here for a larger view.)  This brilliant debut will have you at the edge of your seat and waiting eagerly for more, so it’s a good thing that the next book in the series, TRUTH AND FEAR, will be available for purchase next month!

Higgins_WolfhoundCentury_TPG   Higgins_TruthandFear-HC

In WOLFHOUND CENTURY, Investigator Vissarion Lom is summoned to the Capital to catch a terrorist, and his task will not be an easy one. The flame of revolution burns brightly in Mirgorod, pulling Investigator Lom deeper into a war between the people and their corrupt totalitarian state. Meanwhile, in the forests beyond the Capital, a powerful archangel has fallen to Earth. Great and terrible changes are coming to the land.

As you can see below, the hardcover release received many fantastic words of praise, and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Praise for WOLFHOUND CENTURY:

“Like vintage China Mieville, but with all the violent narrative thriller drive of Ian Fleming at his edgiest” RICHARD MORGAN

“An amazing, fast-paced story in a fantasy world poised dangerously on the edge of quantum probability, a world where angels war with reality” PETER F. HAMILTON

“I absolutely loved WOLFHOUND CENTURY. Higgins’s world is a truly original creation, Russian cosmism and Slavic mythology filtered through steampunk and le Carre. What really captured me was his beautiful style and language” HANNU RAJANIEMI

“An alternate history that will grab you by the lapels and snap you to attention.”— io9

“Sentient water, censored artists, mechanical constructs, old-fashioned detective work, and the secret police are all woven together in this rich and fascinating tapestry” — Publishers Weekly

“Wolfhound Century merits the attention of Miéville fans looking for something new.” — Far Beyond Reality

“Wolfhound Century is a strange, complex, earthy, sometimes violent read, and one of the best debuts I’ve gotten my hands on.” — My Bookish Ways

“This is a great, dark and fantastical thriller. It has the suspense of classic spy thrillers, mixed with the strange and the bizarre found in any number of critically-acclaimed fantasists.” — Civilian Reader

“Higgins doesn’t just build a world, he also thrusts the reader into it thanks to his incredibly adept use of an intense and stark atmosphere.” — Bookworm Blues

“Very dark, very gritty and very atmospheric. Wolfhound Century is also a book free of genre constraints, allowing for a great original and entertaining read. Top Notch stuff by Peter Higgins.” — The Founding Fields

“Fans of dystopian fiction, noir, and science fiction and fantasy (especially those weary of tired old world building that always seems to center on English history or Western European norms) will find much of interest in this book.” — Nerds of a Feather

Read the first two chapters for yourself, or check out this interview to find out more about Mirgorod and the world of WOLFHOUND CENTURY.

Our good friends at Gollancz are publishing the UK edition of WOLFHOUND CENTURY. Visit their website for more info.

ARCANUM – epic fantasy with a spark of genius

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.

author post

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 »

Cover launch: UNFETTERED, Tales by Masters of Fantasy

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.

Unfettered, Tales by Masters of fantasy including Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson's Wheel of Time, Patrick Rothfuss, Peter V. Brett, Mark Lawrence, Terry Brooks, Naomi Novik, Michale J Sullivan and Many others, edited by Shawn Speakman

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.

author post

The Spiritwalker Trilogy is an epic fantasy coming-of-age-and-revolution in a gas-lamp setting written in first person from the point of view of a single character. While I really enjoyed writing in the voice of Cat Barahal, the single character first person viewpoint also presented challenges. For example, I could only ever see other characters as Cat sees them, and any incident that she does not herself personally witness she can only report on (or hear a report of) later.

As I finished up COLD STEEL (US | UK | AUS), the third in the trilogy, I decided to write a short story “coda” from the point of view of one of the other characters, Cat’s beloved cousin Beatrice (Bee). I also decided that because Bee is an artist I wanted the story to be illustrated. I’ve written about “The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal” elsewhere (extensively here where I talk in detail about the process of creating a chapbook with illustrations).

The artist Julie Dillon did a fabulous job with the black and white illustrations for the Secret Journal. I also commissioned her to do a couple of color pieces, more for my own selfish desire to have the illustrations than anything else (although we are talking about doing a limited edition print run).

Julie did two spectacular pieces based on passages from COLD STEEL.

One, “Rising from the Sea of Smoke,” was debuted over at A Dribble of Ink last week. You can see it there or on Tumblr.

Today, Orbit Books is debuting the second piece, “Amazons.” (Click for a larger view.)

Amazons

I asked Julie to illustration the following passage:

A gust of wind rattled the branches. A drum rhythm paced through the woods. On its beat I heard a woman’s voice call out a verse, answered by a chorus of women singing the response.

A column of soldiers marched into view, although they were almost dancing, so proud and mighty were they, and every single one a woman.

Four drummers led them while a fifth struck a bell, the drummers prancing and stepping on their way with every bit of flash and grin that any young man could muster. Their shakos were as jaunty as my own. All wore uniform jackets of dark green cloth piped with silver braid. Some wore trousers, while others preferred petticoat-less skirts tailored for striding. Most wore stout marching sandals laced along the length of calf, brown legs and black legs and white legs flashing beneath skirts tied up to the knee. Four lancers walked in the first rank, tasseled spears held high, while the rest carried rifles and swords. A banner streamed on the wind. It depicted an antlered woman drawing a bow.

Amazons.

Of the piece, Julie writes:

“I made the viewpoint lower to the ground so the viewer is looking up at them a little rather than looking down, which I thought might give them a somewhat larger than life feel. I also tried to make their poses and gestures, most particularly the arms of the amazons in the front row, have a nice flow of movement between them, to try to convey the sense that they are moving a little more energetically.”

Read the first chapter of COLD MAGIC (US | UK | AUS), book one of the Spiritwalker trilogy.

THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE by Terry Brooks

The High Druid's Blade, a brand new stand-alone novel from master fantasy writer Terry Brooks, the first Defenders of Shannara novelComing 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 . . .

Witch Wraith, book 3 int he Dark Legacy of Shannara by Terry Brooks, which starts with Wards of Faerie and Bloodfire QuestAlso, 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!

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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