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Descent by Ken MacLeod

DESCENT Ken MacLeod

Author of 2013 Arthur C. Clarke Award-nominated Intrusion tells a science fiction story for the twenty-first century – what happens when conspiracy theorists meet Big Brother?
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THE LASCAR’S DAGGERGlenda Larke

The start of a brand new epic fantasy trilogy from the author of the Stormlord series – full of scheming, spying, action and adventure.
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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

Cover Reveal: JUSTICE by Ian Irvine

We’re proud to reveal the cover to JUSTICE, the shattering final volume in Ian Irvine’s fantasy epic – the Tainted Realm trilogy.

justice_ian_irvine

THE FINAL BATTLE – THE ULTIMATE PRICE  

The once beautiful land of Hightspall is being carved up by warring armies led by figures from out of legend. One army is headed by the charismatic brute, Axil Grandys, and the other by Lyf, resurrected sorcerer-king and Axil’s ancient nemesis.  

Only the escaped slave Tali and her unreliable magic stand in their way – but Tali’s gift grows more painful every time she uses it. As the armies converge on the fateful peak of Touchstone, Tali and her ally Rix must find a way to overcome Lyf and prevent Axil from using the Three Spells that will destroy Hightspall forever. 

JUSTICE concludes the story which began in VENGEANCE (UK|US|ANZ) and REBELLION (UK|US|ANZ), that of Tali and Rix, and their quest to save their homeland from its dark history.

Cover design by Lauren Panepinto.

Cover Launch! NIGHT BROKEN, the New Mercy Thompson novel

The book cover for Night Broken, the eighth Mercy Thompson urban fantasy novel by New York Times bestselling author Patricia BriggsWe’re delighted to present the beautiful new cover for NIGHT BROKEN, the stunning eighth novel in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. It’s released as a hardback on 4th March next year, and urban fantasy fans are in for a treat! Check out what lies in store . . .

An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from her new boyfriend. Adam won’t turn away a person in need, but with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t right.

Soon, Mercy learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and will anything to get him, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.

On top of this, there’s an even more dangerous threat circling. Christy’s ex is more than a bad man – in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies pile up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her world apart.

The book cover for Aralorn: Masques and Wolfsbane, a fantasy novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy novels Patricia BriggsIf you’re new to Patricia Briggs, you can get hold of other books in the Mercy Thompson series right now – they begin with MOON CALLED (UK |ANZ). And if you’ve already devoured both this and Patricia Briggs’ other urban fantasy series Alpha and Omega, there’s something new you can try too: check out ARALORN (UK | ANZ), the tale of a noble, shapeshifter and spy . . .

Read an excerpt from A DANCE OF CLOAKS by David Dalglish

OctoberAssassin or protector; every choice has its consequences.

For the rogues and fantasy readers out there, Orbit’s Fall line-up is an exciting one, and it includes the Shadowdance series by David Dalglish! Starting in October, we’re publishing the first three books back-to-back. Here’s an excerpt from the first book, A DANCE OF CLOAKS (US | UK | AUS)

For the past two weeks the simple building had been his safe house, but now Thren Felhorn distrusted its protection as he limped through the door. He clutched his right arm to his body, fighting to halt its trembling. Blood ran from his shoulder to his elbow, the arm cut by a poisoned blade.

“Damn you, Leon,” he said as he staggered across the wood floor, through a sparsely decorated room, and up to a wall made of plaster and oak. Even with his blurred vision he located the slight groove with his fingers. He pressed down, detaching an iron lock on the other side of the wall. A small door swung inward.

The master of the Spider Guild collapsed in a chair and removed his gray hood and cloak. He sat in a much larger room painted silver and decorated with pictures of mountains and fields. Removing his shirt, he gritted his teeth while pulling it over his wounded arm. The toxin had been meant to paralyze him, not kill him, but the fact was little comfort. Most likely Leon Connington had wanted him alive so he could sit in his padded chair and watch his “gentle touchers” bleed Thren drop by drop. The fat man’s treacherous words from their meeting ignited a fire in his gut that refused to die.

Continue reading.

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Praise for A DANCE OF CLOAKS

“A gritty book with intriguing characters and has a plot which will keep you hooked till the end’ Fantasy Book Critic

“Fast, furious, and fabulous.” – Michael J. Sullivan, author of THEFT OF SWORDS (US | UK | AUS)

“Dalglish concocts a heady cocktail of energy, breakneck pace and excitement that a reader could get drunk on.” – Sam Sykes, author of Tome of the Undergates

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THE CROWN TOWERAll my life I’ve done everything wrong, and yet oddly enough, it works for me. I didn’t graduate college. I didn’t wait to get married, and yet I’ve stayed married to the same woman for thirty years. I didn’t take courses, or read books on how to write, and I gave up my dream of getting published after twenty years of trying. I wrote a six book traditional fantasy series with wizards, dwarves, and elves when such a thing was considered absurd. I self-published when no self-respecting writer would stoop so low, and I signed a contract with a major New York publisher when everyone else was making a fortune in self-publishing. So it should come as no surprise that the next book of mine to be released on August 6th through Orbit, THE CROWN TOWER (US | UK | AUS), is a prequel—because rumor has it no one likes prequels.

As usual, I didn’t know there was a stigma regarding prequels any more than I knew there was a stigma around traditional fantasy, or self-publishing until after I did it. Ignorance is bliss, and they say God watches out for children, drunks, and fools. This may be the case, but I refuse to admit which of those I am.

Prequels are apparently disliked for the same reason people dislike sequels and prologues, except prequels are a combination of both. They have been known to feel tacked on and they also precede the interesting events of the primary story. You can feel a yawn approaching just looking at the cover of such a book. Prequels are usually about the childhood years, or possibly even the parents of some main character, and very likely have nothing at all to do with the original story. Once again not knowing all of this, not knowing how I was supposed to build a prequel, I failed to follow these rules. Instead I made the fateful error of fleshing out an origin-story for a legend.

Because I also made the error of writing a fantasy series that didn’t include the formative years of my main characters—preferring to focus on them after they’d actually become interesting—I had skipped the episode where Peter Parker is bitten by the radioactive spider, Clark Kent crashed on Earth, and Bruce Wayne sees his parents murdered, (I really hope those weren’t spoilers for anyone.) For me it just felt logical to include that story. The fact that the majority of my readers requested it didn’t hurt either. Read the rest of this entry »

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BlackPrism_TP

When I began writing the Night Angel trilogy, I deliberately started with a world in which there were few magic users, and most people would rarely encounter one during their lives. I mentally compared them to professional athletes in our world–if you have a normal job, you might glimpse a seven-foot tall basketball player walking through the airport someday, and be awed. On the other hand, if your job is an athletic trainer or referee, you might see professional athletes every day, so as the Night Angel trilogy progressed and the characters grew, we saw more and more magic.

In Lightbringer, I wanted to go high magic. After all, why not? I soon found out. Mo’ magic, mo’ problems.

Having lots of magic makes for lots of narrative problems. First, the main problem for any secondary world fantasy is setting the stage, defining the rules, the institutions, the time period, the religious and cultural beliefs and all the other expectation-setting that we’ve come to call world building. In Night Angel, I’d given myself a low bar to clear: at least at first, the world is straight-forwardly quasi-medieval European. You’ve been there before, you can make good guesses about how things work. In Lightbringer, we’re in a different place and time entirely: this is a Renaissance era quasi-Mediterranean setting. Not only is there a huge number of real cultures to draw from, but it was already a time of rapid technological and social change.

Take one small example: up until 1480, sailors aimed their cannons by resting them on the gunnel (the gun-wale), literally the side of the boat. You propped it up, moved it closer or farther to adjust elevation, and boom. But if the other ship got too close, you couldn’t hit their decks anymore. Then someone had a bright idea: you put the gun belowdecks and made little doors to open when you wanted to fire. Thus the boat could still be relatively watertight, and you could shoot at the hull of the other ship for as long as you could still shoot.

Within twenty years, the idea of portholes had spread throughout the entirety of the Mediterranean basin. No one was shooting from the gunwale any more.

But no one treats magic like this. In secondary world fantasy, usually the only person to do anything new or game-changing with magic is the protagonist. Entire towers full of magicians do research for hundreds of years, and they never learn anything new.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Epic Finale to The Dark Legacy of Shannara

witch wraith With publication of WITCH WRAITH (UK | ANZ), the final installment of The Dark Legacy of Shannara, today, we thought we’d take a look back at this incredible series. You already know Terry has fans in his peers, with authors such as Brent Weeks, Christopher Paolini and Peter V. Brett all singing his praises, but readers have also flocked to this series. If you’re a fantasy fan yet to experience the fast-paced adventure, incredible magic and complete epicness of  the world of Shannara, this series is the perfect place to start.

 

The critics on The Dark Legacy of Shannara series

 

The design of the Shannara books spreads the story line across centuries, yet also makes it easy for new readers to jump in at any point . . . a grand example of the best of the best in the genre‘ - The Washington Post

 

“This may be the best Shannara novel in years. Highly recommended” – SFRevu

 

Explodes from the first page . . . and the action doesn’t stop until the novel’s cliffhanger ending. . . . Intense and exhilarating . . . The author balances character development with intense action, and he has a gift for creating characters the reader cares about. Brooks is one of the best fantasy writers in the business, and Bloodfire Quest is better than its predecessor – Associated Press

 

Wards of Faerie is the best novel Brooks has written in years . . . It’s full of hair-raising escapes, twists to  established traditions and set pieces familiar to Shannara fans and  characters, interesting magic and monsters and diverse relationships - A Dribble Of Ink

 

“Shannara fans will delight in Brooks’s sorcerous action, skilled characterizations, and rapid-fire storytelling twists” – Publisher’s Weekly

 

“From the first pages to the harrowing ending, Bloodfire Quest . . . is a thrill ride that will leave readers wanting more. . . . This volume, paired with the first, might be just the right place to introduce new readers to this fine writer” - Booklist

Watch Terry Brooks read the first chapter of WITCH WRAITH

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cold magicFor the Spiritwalker project I wanted to write a multicultural world in which a mixing of cultures and people was the expected, the norm. I happen to think that when cultural change is considered across time, mixing is the norm. It is going on all the time throughout history. Interaction and influence are what keep cultures dynamic. A closed, static culture is a dying culture. In addition, these processes are not one-way. Cultural change happens in many directions, some of them exploitative and coerced and others subtle, subversive, and unexpected.

Certainly living in Hawaii since 2002 has influenced my choices in this regard. My earlier Crossroads Trilogy is influenced by although not specifically based on the Asia-Pacific cultural mix of Hawaii. COLD MAGIC (US | UK | AUS) and the other Spiritwalker books do not use any specific local-to-Hawaii cultural influences; however, they do incorporate ways in which I perceive that local culture has found to keep the cultural integrity of varying cultural groups (not always easily, and certainly the Native Hawaiian culture has fought a tremendous battle against colonization and erasure) allowing a unique syncretic local culture to arise that incorporates elements from all the different ethnic and cultural groups that co-exist here.

cold fireIn Spiritwalker the cultural mixing is a bit different but the process is similar: an immigrant Malian culture meets and mingles with northwestern Celtic Europe while old imperial Rome and merchant Phoenicia retain a strong influence, just to name the four most prominent cultural groups in the book (the second novel, COLD FIRE (US | UK | AUS), adds the Taino culture of the Caribbean to the mix). I admit that I wanted to highlight the immense and too-often overlooked power and richness of the West African Mande traditions and civilizations, specifically the Malian Empire. Western media and narratives too often and too easily dismiss sub-Saharan Africa (as if it is all one thing) with a few words: famine, civil war, guns, blood diamonds, slavery, and so on, and in doing so miss, denigrate and outright disappear the significant history and culture that was present historically not to mention the actual life and culture and history-in-the-making that is there right now. The history and culture of Mali is not my story to tell but I did feel I had a story to write about how we TELL history. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fade to Black, book one of the Rojan Dizon fantasy book series by Francis Knight - in a post talking about the introduction of guns to fantasy worldsFrancis Knight’s novel FADE TO BLACK (UK|US|ANZ) and the just released BEFORE THE FALL (UK|US|ANZ) are set in Mahala – a towering, vertically-built fantasy city. It’s a place that has long relied on magic, but is fast becoming mechanised – and now the first prototype guns are appearing. Francis Knight discusses below just what the introduction of arms can do to a world – fantasy or otherwise . . .

Whenever a significant discovery or invention appears, everything changes. Not always in foreseen ways either. I don’t suppose Edison or Babbage ever thought that their discoveries/inventions would mean that you’d be here today, reading this on a PC or pad. Did Edison consider that electricity would be used to carry out death sentences? Would Babbage have continued if he’d known the end result would be Rule 34?

Unforeseen consequences abound in history. If I invent this, it will make life easier for everyone! Only then, a war, or a revolution or plague, people being people, or even just a lack of imagination on the part of the inventor means that it all turns out rather differently.

The same thing goes for guns. Yes, many fantasy worlds use just swords/siege engines/whatever. But what happens to warfare when guns are added to the mix? Are they what people expect? Possibly not. The inventor of the Gatling gun noted that more died in war of infection and disease than gunfire. In 1877, Gatling wrote: “It occurred to me that if I could invent a machine – a gun – which could by its rapidity of fire, enable one man to do as much battle duty as a hundred, that it would, to a large extent supersede the necessity of large armies, and consequently, exposure to battle and disease would be greatly diminished.” And of course, that worked wonderfully. Read the rest of this entry »

BLOODFIRE QUEST – Terry Brooks answers your questions

Bloodfire Quest, the second epic fantasy novel in Terry Brooks's Dark Legacy of Shannara series following Wards of FaerieToday we release the paperback of BLOODFIRE QUEST (UK|ANZ) – book two in Terry Brooks’s Dark Legacy of Shannara series following WARDS OF FAERIE (UK|ANZ). It’s a new epic fantasy set in the author’s core Shannara world, and it’s been knocking people’s socks off:

‘Explodes from the first page…the action doesn’t stop until the novel’s cliffhanger ending…Intense and exhilarating…Brooks is one of the best fantasy writers in the business’ ASSOCIATED PRESS

‘[Brooks] brings his distinct talent, giving a true grandeur to clashes involving terrifying creatures and powerful magic’ KIRKUS REVIEWS

‘A thrill ride that will leave readers wanting more…This volume, paired with the first, might be just the right place to introduce new readers to this fine writer’ BOOKLIST

The third book, WITCH WRAITH (UK|ANZ), is released very soon on 16th July.

Back in April, Terry did a very rare signing in the UK for the hardback release of BLOODFIRE QUEST. The queues at Forbidden Planet were phenomenal, and the signing went on for hours! See some pics of the event here.

For those who were unable to make it, we asked readers to send in their questions for this fantasy legend from afar. Now, we release Terry’s answers in the video below:

ps. Is it just me or is Terry awesome? No – the signs say it’s not just me . . .

Scott Lynch & Matthew Stover on THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES and ACTS OF CAINE

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, in an interview with Matthew Stover abotu his gritty heroic fantasy series Acts of CaineScott Lynch: volunteer firefighter, powerful Jedi, author of The Lies of Locke Lamora and the upcoming The Republic of Thieves, all round man of letters and certainly a Gentleman, not a Bastard . . . 

Heroes Die, book 1 in the the Acts of Cain gritty heroic fantasy series Acts of Caine, by Matthew Stover, in an interview with Scott Lynch about The Lies of Locke Lamora andRepublic of ThievesMatthew Stover: learned student of arcane martial arts, competitive drinker, author of the “heaping plate of kickass kickassery” that are the Acts of Caine fantasy novels . . . and also a very powerful Jedi . . .

SO WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THESE MIGHTY FORCES COLLIDE?!

Read on to find out!

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch, the follow-up to The Lies of Locke Lamora, in an interview with Matthew Stover abotu his gritty heroic fantasy series Acts of CaineMatthew Stover: Okay, first: how soon can I get an ARC of The Republic of Thieves?

Scott Lynch: Be down at Pier 36 at midnight. Look for a man with a copy of yesterday’s Beijing Times under his arm. Offer him a cigarette. If he declines, say “Which way was the dolphin swimming?” Then follow his directions precisely. Bring a flashlight and a set of hip waders. Good luck and godspeed.

MS: Despite the first Gentlemen Bastards novel being titled The Lies of Locke Lamora, it seems to me that Locke and Jean are dual protagonists, true partners rather than hero and sidekick. While this is not unusual in other genres (especially police procedurals, for example), in ours they’re pretty thin on the ground. The only truly legendary fantasy dual-protags that spring instantly to mind are Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser, and they are explicitly portrayed as linked by mythic destiny (“Two halves of a greater hero.”) Locke and Jean, by contrast, are bound by human friendship and deep loyalty – more Butch & Sundance than F&GM.

So I’d like to get your thoughts on what inspired their relationship, and why you chose to write them this way. Were they always to be dual protags? Did Jean start as a sidekick and grow in the writing? Is there something about their friendship that has Super Story Powers?

SL: You’re making me peer back through the hazy mists of memory, man. But the honest truth is that Jean was decidedly a less fleshed-out character, initially, very much vanishing into the ensemble. His role grew in the telling, until I realized that he wasn’t just a foil for Locke but the essential foil. I grasped the benefit of having a sort of external conscience for him, another intimate perspective on Locke that would enable me to sort of hover nearby without peeling back too many layers of his mentation. For all that he’s the protagonist, we don’t spend too much time with unfettered omniscient access to Locke’s thoughts in that first novel; I wanted to express his feelings more through his actions and the responses of those around him than by writing something like, “Locke was sad now.” Read the rest of this entry »

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