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The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

THE WATER KNIFE Paolo Bacigalupi

The electrifying new thriller from multi-award winning author of The Windup Girl

NEMESIS GAMESJames S. A. Corey

The exhilarating fifth novel in James S. A. Corey’s New York Times bestselling Expanse space opera series.
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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

The Tainted Realm Trilogy is Now Complete!

JUSTICE – the shattering finale to Ian Irvine’s fantasy epic, the Tainted Realm trilogy – has been released today in the UK and US. You can read the first chapter of JUSTICE on the Orbit website, or if you’re new to the series, go back and read the first chapter of the first volume, VENGEANCE.

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 for ever.

‘For sheer excitement, there’s just no one else like Irvine’
SFX

‘Great action set pieces . . . This is the sort of book you’d pick up if you were prepared to be late for your next appointment’ 
BOOKBAG on VENGEANCE

The Tainted Realm Trilogy by Ian Irvine

The Tainted Realm (comprising VENGEANCE, REBELLION and JUSTICE) is an epic fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Ian Irvine’s Three Worlds series, as well as fans of authors such as Terry Brooks, Robin Hobb and Terry Goodkind.

Find out more about Ian at his website, or join the thousands of fans following his Facebook page, here.

Coming soon! The new Kevin Hearne book SHATTERED

In case you haven’t heard the exciting news, there’s a new Iron Druid Chronicles book from Kevin Hearne on the way! SHATTERED (UK | ANZ) is due for release next month on 17th June.

This seventh novel in the series is a real cracker! All the legions of Kevin Hearne fans are sure to love it. They’ll certainly all vouch that this is one of the best urban fantasy series you’ll ever read . . .

And this time Kevin’s running a special promotion: 3 Druids for the price of 1!

Our leading man is of course Atticus O’Sullivan – who was once the only Druid left walking the earth, with nothing but his trusty sword and sense of humour to protect him.

But now Atticus’s apprentice Granuaile is a fully-fledged Druid, and there’s yet another Druid on the scene . . . Owen Kennedy was frozen long ago, but he’s now been defrosted – and my goodness is he going to cause some trouble.

Pre-order now to make sure you get your Iron Druid hit as soon as it’s out.

And if you haven’t read the series yet but want to join in the fun, check out the first book HOUNDED (UK). While you’re at it, make sure to follow Kevin’s awesome Facebook page too.

The Watcher of Veldaren returns!

“…a winning combination of A Game of Thrones, sword-and-sorcery RPGs, and vivid description.” – Publishers Weekly on A DANCE OF CLOAKS

A DANCE OF SHADOWS (US | UK | AUS), the fourth Shadowdance novel, is out today!  A bit about what lies ahead for the master assassin Haern:

When Lord Victor Kane attacks the city, determined to stamp out all corruption, foreign gangs pour in amidst the chaos in an attempt to overthrow the current lords of the underworld.

And when a mysterious killer known as the Widow begins mutilating thieves, paranoia engulfs the city. Haern knows someone is behind the turmoil, pulling strings. If he doesn’t find out who — and soon — his beloved city will burn.

David Dalglish’s action-packed stories are hugely addictive. If you’re new to the Shadowdance novels, here is an excerpt from the first book, A DANCE OF CLOAKS. For those of you with a long weekend coming up, there is no better time to start reading this thrilling fantasy series.

Over on Buzzfeed today, David Dalglish shares a personal story about the time he ran a Dungeons & Dragons campaign set in the world of the Shadowdance novels, and the mayhem that followed. Start your morning off with a smile and this great read. If you’ve ever DM’d a game before, I’m sure you’ll be able to empathize with his trauma.

The New Trudi Canavan THIEF’S MAGIC – out now!

The wait is over! THIEF’S MAGIC (UK|US|ANZ), the brand new fantasy novel from Trudi Canavan, is available this week.

It’s set in a brand new world, featuring a whole new cast of characters, and it’s her most thrilling fantasy adventure yet! You can read a free extract right here on Trudi’s Facebook page.

Trudi Canavan is an absolute phenomenon, with over 2 million copies sold worldwide. Last Christmas, we asked Trudi’s legions of fans to tell us exactly what they love so much about her books. Here’s a selection of the amazing feedback we received – this is why Trudi is loved by millions of readers all around the world:

‘Few fantasy authors can create characters so endearing that you fall in love with them. Trudi takes you on such an enjoyable journey with these characters that it leaves you wanting to re-read the same stories time and again

‘The only author that wakes my imagination!’

‘I love reading fantasy but Trudi Canavan really stands out. She is one of those rare authors who manages to be both completely accessible and massive in scope

‘She takes me to another land, a land full of magic and excitement’

‘Trudi’s books really let me escape from normal life, I feel like I’m actually there with the characters!’

An exceptional author who writes stories that are left in the imagination for years’

‘Her books help me escape everything that goes on in my day/week, have helped me to accept myself and inspire me to be creative everyday. Thank you Trudi for changing my life

‘The interesting characters, the amazing world building and the mind-blowing make Trudi Canavan’s books the perfect read!’

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I’m aware this is a Quality Problem and expect not a bit of sympathy here, but a new book (THE OVERSIGHT) does mean book launches etc, and at some stage public speaking will inevitably be involved, and people who spend most of their lives being articulate on the page (where they have the great advantage of a) not having to do so in real-time and b) being able to edit and re-polish their words before public consumption) now have to perform without those safety nets. Talking in public and the demands of real-time articulacy are, on balance, probably good for you, like getting some bracing fresh air after the fug in the office, but the moment I dread is when the chairperson turns to the audience and wonders if anyone has any questions . . .

The truth is, I don’t mind the questions. I don’t even mind that they are usually the same ones, because at least the questioners are different each time. I mind my answers. I mind them because it’s always me replying, and I know what I’m going to say and that I for one am going to have to listen to it all again. So, to try and end-run the inevitable, here’s a pre-cooked answer to a couple of the Top Five FAQs, in the hope we can skip them next time and enable me not to have to suffer my own repetitiveness any more.

The questions are “How do you get your ideas?” and “Do you always have a clear plan when you start writing?”

The short answer to both of these is conveniently the same one: I like getting lost. More specifically, I like getting lost on purpose.

I got the habit a long time ago, when I was first working in London and trying to get to know my way around. It wasn’t anything like The Knowledge, that heroically compendious act of street-memorizing that all London cabbies have to master, but it was my small version of it. I worked a three-day shift at the time. That left me with four days off per week in an expensive city on a not enormous wage. So walking around and exploring was a good way to divert myself without spending all my cash. I would set off in one direction and when I got to a junction where I had previously turned left, I would turn right, and so on until I turned myself round and tried to get home as directly as possible. London has never been subject to any uniform grand design (though Wren had unbuilt and rather wonderful plans for a refurb following the Great Fire) so it’s an organic jumble with no grid to orient you, which made getting lost a doddle. If you want to conquer a city and make it your own, you need boots on the ground: and so I tramped the streets, loafing and looking.

Christchurch SpitalfieldsI remember first stumbling across the ominous façade of Hawksmoor’s Christchurch Spitalfields with a perfect hunter’s moon hanging in the sky beside it. That led me to Peter Ackroyd’s book Hawksmoor in particular, then his London-centric writing in general (which stimulated a deeper sense of the historic weirdness in the city’s many shadows) and a renewed interest in Blake and Dickens that sprang from that. That led me to Dickens’ Household Words which contains masses of fantastic articles he wrote about walking around London. I’d take a reprint with me while I walked and read and compare past with present when I stopped in whatever café or pub I found myself outside at lunchtime. Sometimes the book was HV Morton’s London, which provided similar first-hand views of the same cityscape but nearly a hundred years later. Walking cities with a book (and a notebook) became a habit I still have. Not a bad result from a single serendipitously taken turn in the road whilst involved in the act of purposely getting lost.

More specifically, I got the idea for the plot of the entire Stoneheart trilogy (in which London’s Statues come alive, but only visibly to two children) simply by walking from statue to statue and letting the thing join itself up in my head. For example, I had to get my characters to the Blackfriar’s pub (conveniently situated outside the Orbit offices, by the way) and so just meandered in that general direction, picking up characters like Sphinxes, Dr Johnson and the tremendously lithe Temple Bar Dragon on the way. (An American academic called Andelys Wood has rather amazingly photographed all the statues mentioned in the Stoneheart books, efficiently mapping that all that serendipity.)

Of course ideas don’t only come from the simple act of getting lost; you have to be paying attention. You have to have a good memory, or failing that, the notebook in your back pocket. Most of all you have to follow up those unexpected links. Like good luck, serendipity happens most often to those alert enough to notice it and well enough prepared to grab it as it passes. Which is why even the most aimless loafer needs to keep their pencils sharpened.

“I like getting lost” is also the answer to that second FAQ. Getting lost in London is pretty stress-free for me. I’ve been lost in other more stressy paces so I’m well aware this isn’t always the case. I know that there’s usually an Underground (Subway) station close by, or failing that a bus stop to take me back into charted waters. In London the Underground is a hidden organic grid beneath the randomness of the city. It’ll get you from A to B, but it doesn’t tell you any interesting detail about the terrain you’re travelling beneath. When I write I have a similar schematic, at least a beginning, middle and end, but usually some more connecting stops along the way, but I don’t have the whole work mapped out as a detailed beat-sheet. Doing that detail of planning is, for me, wildly unproductive. As a novelist the real pleasure is 100% freedom to get lost in your own story and see what presents itself unexpectedly, but process can only be stress-free if you have at least a bare schematic underpinning everything. The very best days are the ones in which you re-read yesterday’s pages and can’t quite remember writing them, or how those associations happened or indeed where that new character jumped in from, as if you have been working in a fugue state (I think that’s what the “Flow” is). I’m not going to get all spoilery about the The Oversight, but when Lucy Harker first opened her mouth I, like anyone else, was entirely surprised by what came out.

And that’s why, for me, for at least why writing is inextricably all about getting lost: “It’s the serendipity, stupid”.

Of course that’s a steal from James Carville and the sign he put up in the Clinton campaign office in the ’92 election to keep everyone on-message, but then stealing is a big part of the answer to another prime contender for the FAQ Hall of Fame, which is “Where do your characters come from?” And that’s a question I do like, because the answer changes with each book. Maybe we’ll get to that . . .

Read a free extract of THIEF’S MAGIC by Trudi Canavan

It’s now just over a week until the release of THIEF’S MAGIC (UK|US|ANZ), the brand new fantasy adventure from No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling author Trudi Canavan.

Millions of readers worldwide have read and enjoyed Trudi’s fantastic books – and this new novel is something to get VERY excited about.

It’s set in a brand new world, featuring a whole new cast of characters. It’s time to forget what you know about the nature of magic . . .

You can read a free extract of the book right now by visiting Trudi’s Facebook page. The more you share the extracts, the more we’ll unlock!

 

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THE CRIMSON CAMPAIGN (US | UK | AUS), Book 2 of the Powder Mage Trilogy, releases today! In The Crimson Campaign, all your favorite characters are back (plus a few new faces!), and there will be bloody times ahead for everyone.

If you’re new to the series, check out the beginning of  PROMISE OF BLOOD (US | UK | AUS)—available now in ebook, audio, and tradepaperback formats!

Below, Brian McClellan names his five favorite side characters. We’d love to hear who your favorites are in the comments!

Side characters are often the most fun for me to write. I can give them little quirks and write them with more freedom than point-of-view characters. Their lives are more “off-screen” than those of our heroes, and that can make them more mysterious and interesting to both myself and the reader. Here are five of my favorite side characters from Promise of Blood and The Crimson Campaign.

Be warned, there will be minor spoilers from Promise of Blood!

Ka-poel

A red-headed, freckled “savage” from the distant country of Fatrasta, very little of Ka-poel’s history is known. She uses a sorcery outside the recognized schools of magic in the Nine Nations, and the mystery of her motives and powers are compounded because she was born a mute. She only communicates through hand gestures and facial expressions.

This last bit has proved a challenge to write. It limits what I can do to build her character and has forced me to, quite literally, “show” instead of “tell.” But I love how mysterious her character is and she has turned out to be delightful to write. Ka-poel is an example of a side character who develops into an integral part of the story during the writing process.

Olem

Olem and Field Marshal Tamas meet at the beginning of Promise of Blood, when the field marshal is in need of a new bodyguard. They develop an immediate mutual respect for each other, and Olem’s skills as a soldier and his Knack–the ability to go without sleep–make him a natural choice for a bodyguard.

Field Marshal Tamas tends to take himself very seriously. Maybe too seriously. Lucky for us, Olem is there to watch his back and remind him, often in a rather sardonic manner, that there is more to life than pride and duty. Olem is deeply loyal, and while he often stretches the bounds of what would normally be appropriate to say to a field marshal, Tamas tolerates his familiarity for the sake of their friendship.

In The Crimson Campaign, however, we’ll discover that even Olem can go too far with Field Marshal Tamas.

Vlora

The ex-fiancée of Taniel Two-shot, Vlora is in the awkward position working alongside Taniel’s father. In original drafts of Promise of Blood, she had a lot more screen time that wound up getting cut along the way and it was fun to explore her character in more depth in The Crimson Campaign.

Vlora resonates with readers because she is complicated and conflicted, her most important relationships destroyed by a single mistake just before the start of Promise of Blood. Next to Taniel and Tamas, she is one of the most gifted Powder Mages in the world. In The Crimson Campaign, we get to discover her side of the story and see her in action. Read the rest of this entry »

Out Today: Charlie Fletcher’s THE OVERSIGHT!

Charlie Fletcher’s gothic fantasy THE OVERSIGHT publishes today! Grab yourself a copy in print, digital or audiobook, and embark upon an adventure through a Dickensian London and wild British countryside filled with monsters, danger and intrigue. If you like Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett, you’re sure to enjoy this tale of dark deeds and even darker magics.

The book’s fans already include authors Mike Carey, Adam Roberts, Frances Hardinge and Cory Doctorow, it’s taken Twitter by storm, and here’s just a sample of some of the fantastic reviews we’ve seen so far:

‘The Oversight is – and let’s be clear here – something very special . . . It’s oh so moreish a morsel. I’d read a prequel this evening, a sequel as soon as.’ – Niall Alexander, Tor.com

‘Told in a kind of compelling and hypnotic poesie that I just lapped up . . . I’ll certainly be reading the next one.’ – Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing.net

‘A highly entertaining fantasy that promises a trilogy worth sinking your teeth into.’ – SciFiNow

‘A remarkable combination of British folklore, brisk pacing and wide-ranging imagination.’ – Kirkus Reviews

‘Richly atmospheric (the evil lurks in the background of every paragraph), the book should be a big hit with supernatural-fantasy readers . . . the second book can’t come soon enough.’ – Booklist (starred review) 

Listen to an audio sample at Soundcloud today.

Meet the author of BATTLEMAGE: Stephen Aryan!

photo by Hannah Webster, copyright Stephen AryanOrbit recently acquired a debut epic fantasy trilogy by British author Stephen Aryan. The first book in the series, BATTLEMAGE, tells the story of mages treated as living weapons during a war between empires. It’s chock full of magic, scheming and truly epic battle scenes as these mages fight hard for an army that fears and distrusts them.

We’re sure you’re curious to meet the newest addition to Orbit, so we’ve created a mini-interview here with Stephen where you can get to know each other!

JH: Hi Stephen! Welcome to the Orbit gang!

SA: It’s a gang?

JH: Yep, we hang around on street corners, publishing books and scaring the neighbours. So what can you tell us about BATTLEMAGE, your very first novel?

SA: It’s an epic fantasy story set during a massive war and told from three main points of view; the front line warriors, the Heads of State and Generals conducting the war, and the Battlemages, wizards trained to fight and kill with their magic. Expect chopping off of limbs, political and espionage shenanigans, and black humour.

JH: Magicians, witches, wizards, we’ve read about them before – what’s different about your Battlemages?

SA: They’re a dying breed and are in demand all over the world. The Grey Council, the people in charge of magical training, abandoned their post years ago: the result is the majority of those born with a sensitivity to magic receive no training at all. Some have a little, which makes them unstable and, quite possibly, explosive as they don’t know how to control their power. Accidents happen quite often which has made a lot of people afraid of magic. So Battlemages are both feared and respected because they have immense power that makes them seem superhuman to most people, but they’re also necessary.

JH: Which books and authors influenced you in the writing of this series?

SA: The Earthsea novels by Ursula Le Guin was one early influence, which focus on Ged, a wizard who has several painful events that shape him as an adult. The other series that really made me think about wizards and magic were the Belgariad and the Malloreon novels by David Eddings. In both series there are only a handful of really powerful magic users who are also demi-gods and they walk that fine line between using their power to guide and protect humanity versus letting events run their natural course. LEGEND by David Gemmell was a big influence in terms of characterisation and my approach to story. Also the the work of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, in particular their Dragonlance novels, as they have magic, non-human races and diverse characters which I have in my books as well.

JH: If there’s one reason that readers should be looking forward to BATTLEMAGE, it is:

SA: Only one? Hmm, because it’s a rollicking good story with plenty of action, memorable characters, epic battles and a sense of humour throughout.

BATTLEMAGE will be out in October 2015, with the sequels to follow six months after. If you’d like to hear more from Stephen in the meantime, you can follow him on twitter at @SteveAryan or check out his website.

What They’re Saying: Book Bloggers Review THE LASCAR’S DAGGER

With all the great reviews coming in for Glenda Larke’s amazing new epic fantasy THE LASCAR’S DAGGER, we thought we’d collect a few here:

“She has the best world building of any fantasy writer I’ve ever read and it only seems to get stronger with each book . . . it blows my mind . . . if you are a fan of high fantasy and have not yet read any of Larke’s books, you are sorely missing out!”

The Obsessive Bookseller [Five star review]

“An excellent book that I highly recommend to all fantasy fans . . . for readers who have not read any Glenda Larke books before, this is a good a place to start”

Tsana Reads & Reviews [Five star review]

 “Definitely recommended!”

The Book Plank

The Lascar’s Dagger hit all the right notes. It’s epic fantasy in a uniquely crafted world complete with tight, flowing writing that almost instantly sucks readers in.  There’s magic and complex politics involving characters that you either love to love, or love to hate.”

Bookworm Blues

“As a set up for a series, and when dealing with the larger picture, I was hooked.  I am fascinated by the age of exploration and can’t wait to see it play out on a larger level in a fantasy novel . . . I want to see how a certain cursed land is affected by certain actions in the book.  I want to know how the religious schism that seems set to grow turns out…

Fantasy Review Barn

“The magic here isn’t just in the witchery shrines, but in the characters . . . Larke’s magic is in making her characters rich and interesting.”

Paranormal Haven

“Readers who love epic fantasy for the political intrigue and all that entails would find lots to like in The Lascar’s Dagger. There are scandals, betrayals and plays for power . . . I have to praise this book for its originality; there are ideas in here never seen before, and with really no way to predict what’s coming next, I’m definitely on board with continuing this series.”

The Bibliosanctum

THE LASCAR’S DAGGER is out in all good bookshops now. If’ you’d like to hear more, you can read the first chapter on the Orbit website, or find Glenda at her website or on twitter at @glendalarke.

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