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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 ‘Gail Z Martin’

author post

In ICE FORGED (US | UK | AUS) and REIGN OF ASH (US | UK | AUS), Blaine McFadden is sent into exile in an arctic prison colony for murdering the man who dishonored his sister. When a war destroys mankind’s ability to control magic and bend it to their will, out-of-control wild magic brings deadly storms, monsters pulled through rifts from other realms and a madness that drives its victims to violence. Blaine discovers that he might just be the only one who can put things right.

In WAR OF SHADOWS, Blaine and his convict friends discover that plenty of people are trying to kill them. Blaine’s attempts to fully restore the magic affect the new status quo. With the king and nobility gone, there’s a power vacuum, and some ruthless players have decided to fill that gap themselves. As warring factions fight over territory in the kingdom of Donderath, Blaine emerges as a warlord trying to restore the rule of law, amid betrayal, intrigue and opponents who will go to any length to see him dead.

I’m not nice to my characters. It’s true. Blaine’s had a rum go of it. Raised by an abusive father, forced to make a choice no one should have to make in order to save his sister and younger brother, condemned by the king and exiled to the edge of the world—it hasn’t been a good seven years. Yet Blaine rises to the challenge, not because he covets power, but because he doesn’t want to live in the world as it is, and someone has to step up to make the difference.

Blaine doesn’t go looking to be a hero. In fact, when he kills his father, he fully expects to die for the crime to spare his sister and brother from further abuse. An act of ‘mercy’ commutes his sentence from hanging to exile, but the Velant prison colony is known for its inhumane, grueling conditions. But Blaine finds it within himself to adapt, and that ability to change lies at the heart of the series. Blaine and his convict friends, as well as the survivors back in Donderath, find strengths they never knew they had when confronted with challenges they never expected to face.

Blaine’s story is also about the power of ‘the family you make.’ In the brutal environment of Velant, and then later as colonists in the harsh environs of Edgeland, Blaine survives because of the ‘family’ of loyal friends who band together to protect each other. Back in Donderath, his ‘found’ family combines with what remains of his blood family, and several key people are added to the group. Blaine’s companion’s skills, courage and loyalty make the difference for his survival and for having a chance to fix the magic and set things right.

I’m also having fun looking at how a kingdom reacts in the face of overwhelming disaster, destruction of both economic and governmental infrastructure and continued instability. That ‘perfect storm’ combination affects everything from food production to religious identity to social cohesion, turning everything that people thought they knew upside-down. It’s a crucible from which everyone emerges changed—if they emerge at all. And whatever solution is found, one thing is certain: nothing will ever be the same as it was before the disaster.

Depending on your view, that’s either a terrifying statement or the glimpse of hope at the end of the storm.

War of Shadows isn’t the end to Blaine’s story. I’m working on Book 4, SHADOW AND FLAME, right now. So there is more to come. Because surviving is just the beginning of the journey.

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with never-before-seen cover art, brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for stories and books by author friends of mine.  You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Details here: www. AscendantKingdoms.com.

Trick or Treat: Enjoy an excerpt from Ice Forged, and a bonus excerpt from Reign of Ash.

An Epic New Cover — War of Shadows by Gail Z. Martin

There are no words to express how excited I am to share the epic awesomeness that is Gail Z. Martin’s new cover!  War of Shadows has it all—danger, mystery, hope, despair, and the aftermath of battle just finished… or a battle just begun.  Basically, everything you could ever want in an epic fantasy.  

Blaine “Mick” McFadden has scored a victory and restored the magic, but new threats rise from the wreckage of the kingdom of Donderath.  While the magic remains brittle and undependable, warlords both mortal and undead vie for power, fighting for control of the ruined Continent.  McFadden and his unlikely band of convict heroes must choose their allies wisely as renegade talishte take long-awaited vengeance and powerful mages seek to control Donderath’s next king.  Blaine McFadden must protect those loyal to him against the coming storm, and find a way to bind magic to the will of mortals before it destroys him, because time is running out…

War of Shadows is the third novel in the fabulous Ascendant Kingdoms Saga.  If you are unfamiliar with the series, be sure to check out the first two books—ICE FORGED (US | UK | AUS), and REIGN OF ASH (US | UK | AUS)

Praise for the the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga:

” The immediate action in this story pulls the reader in… And with more than a few unexpected twists, this easy-to-follow storyline will leave the reader completely surprised and ready for the next book in the saga.”
— RT Book Reviews 

“There’s plenty of action and plot embroidery, and the pages turn easily.”  — Kirkus 

This week is Gail Z. Martin’s annual #DaysOfTheDead blog tour! Head on over to her website to check out the cool interviews, extras, and giveaways happening all week long.

Got questions for your favorite authors?

Got questions for your favorite Orbit authors?  Well, you’re in luck! Goodreads has recently launched a new Q&A feature! See below for a list of participants:

Ann LeckieBrent Weeks
Ancillary Justice
Brent Weeks
Weeks_NightAngelOmnibus_TP copy   BlackPrism_TP
Brian McClellan

McClellan_PromiseOfBlood_FINAL_HC

David Dalglish

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Gail Z Martin

The Sworn by Gail Z. Martin   Martin_IceForged-TP
James S.A. Corey
Leviathan Wakes
Jaye Wells

   Wells_DirtyMagic_TPNoBurst
Michael J. Sullivan

THEFT OF SWORDS   crown-tower-highRez
M.R. Carey

Carey_GirlWith_HC
N.K. Jemisin

Jemisin_Inheritance-TP   Jemisin_Killing Moon-TP
Rachel Aaron
Read the rest of this entry »

author post

Nature abhors a vacuum—nowhere more so than in politics. Remove a dictator, and a hundred evil wanna-be despots arise in his stead. Depose a king, and the nobles squabble among themselves. Take down a tyrant, and the underlings kill each other off until only one remains.

In my first Ascendant Kingdoms novel, ICE FORGED (US | UK | AUS), the war between Donderath and neighboring Meroven got out of hand after years of ground assaults, leading to devastating strikes and counter-strikes by the mages on both sides. The strikes were intended to kill the king and the families of the nobility, which they did. But the strikes also severed the bond that enabled mortals to control magic, making it a wild force of nature. The civilizations of Donderath and Meroven, which had depended upon magic, collapse.  Leaderless, with the magic gone and the infrastructure in ruins, Donderath and Meroven descend into chaos.

Unfortunately, anarchy has its advocates.

One of the aspects that intrigues me with the Ascendant Kingdoms books is the tension between order and chaos.  On the plus side, chaos can permit natural talent to rise, unencumbered by inherited position, social convention or historical precedent. More often, this means that might makes right, the strong oppress the weak and justice fails.

Among those who see opportunity in chaos and anarchy are men who have styled themselves as warlords, mustering Donderath’s defeated returning soldiers to their ranks and gathering the displaced farmers and tradesmen who have nowhere else to go. Bandit gangs and highwaymen prowl the byways and the city streets now that the king’s guards are no longer to be feared. The talishte—vampires—are split between those who see an opportunity to take the power for themselves as the strongest predators and subjugate mortals, and those who prefer the rule of law. Mages also split between those who desire to use their power to rule over the non-mages by magical force, and those who prefer to work in service to governing powers.

Between the warring factions are the farmers, tradespeople, soldiers and townsfolk whose entire existence was upended by the war and the Cataclysm that resulted from the mage strikes. Unlike the court mages and the battle wizards who worked magic on a grand scale, the common people relied on small magic to make their lives easier in hundreds of ways. Before the Great Fire, magic kept milk from souring and healed sick children and lamed horses. Magic shored up wobbly walls and kept fences together and kept the river from flooding its banks. The Great Fire burned their towns and destroyed their leadership. They lost their livelihoods and crops to fire and flood, along with losing their livestock to illness and their sons to the war. Some try to make the best of it and get on with their lives. Others choose sides, pledging themselves to the service of one of the new warlords.

Blaine McFadden was willing to be stripped of his lands and title to save his sister from dishonor, and the murder he committed resulted in his exile. When he discovers that he is the only living Lord of the Blood and returns to restore the magic, he finds that creating some degree of order is necessary to enable the lands to rebuild. The title he never coveted is now his, along with the responsibilities. And it is increasingly clear that he’s going to have to win a new title—that of ‘warlord’—in order to live long enough to accomplish his goal and protect everything he holds dear.

REIGN OF ASH (US | UK | AUS), book two of the Ascendant Kingdom Saga, releases today! Read an excerpt now or start from the beginning with ICE FORGED.

February Events

February 8
Mur Lafferty will be appearing at the Southwest Regional Library, Durham, NC, 3 PM

February 13
M.R. Carey will appear at Topping & Company Booksellers, Bath, 8 PM

February 14-16
Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) is Guest of Honor at Boskone in Boston, MA! Mur Lafferty will also be attending.

February 15
Simon Morden will be signing ARCANUM at Forbidden Planet Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, at 1 PM

February 17
Christopher Brookmyre will be discussing BEDLAM at Primavera Bistro, The Avenue at Newton Mearns, 7:30 PM

February 20
M.R. Carey will appear at Waterstones Liverpool One, Liverpool, at 6 PM

February 21-23
Gail Z. Martin will be attending MystiCon in Roanoke, VA.

author post

Stalking the Shadow Side

Historian Bruce Catton, in one of his many books about the American Civil War, notes that civilization is a mask, and war gives permission to remove the mask and reveal the beast that always lurks beneath.  I wager that one reason post-apocalyptic stories are so enduring is that the end of the world is one of those times when you find out what you—and your neighbors—are really made of.

ICE FORGED (US | UK | AUS) is a post-apocalyptic medieval adventure, set in the unlucky kingdom of Donderath.  A devastating war with its neighboring rival has the unexpected—and unintentional—effect of destroying the bonds that made magic a power that could be controlled by people.  Not only is the kingdom devastated by fire and storm, but the magic upon which their culture depended is now no longer controllable.  In the chaos and anarchy that follow, my characters not only find out what they’re made of, but they discover a world that is now theirs to remake.  Of course, they’re not the only ones who have ideas on what the new reality should look like—and that’s when things get interesting.

Whether you call it Catton’s “beast,” Freud’s “Id” or Jung’s “Shadow,” there’s always tension regarding the choices to be made.  Perhaps Dumbledore said it best when he talked about the choice “between what is right, and what is easy.”  Or maybe Babylon 5 was onto something in the dichotomy between the Vorlons, who asked “Who are you?” and the Shadows, who asked “What do you want?”  When there are no rules, no law and no social constraint, men (and women) either rise to be the hero, or sink to their baser nature.  Lord of the Flies is always just one catastrophic power grid failure away.

Blaine McFadden, in ICE FORGED, is acquainted with his shadow side.  He killed his father, a minor lord, to stop him from abusing Blaine’s sister.  Blaine expected to die for his crime, but the king was “lenient” and sent Blaine instead to a brutal prison colony in the arctic north, a place from which no one ever returned.  Blaine survived six harsh years, first as an inmate and then as a convict-colonist, during which he learned just what he was made of and what he would do to survive. When the homeland is destroyed and magic fails, Blaine discovers he might be the only one who can restore the magic and put things right.  He’s got a choice to make. Read the rest of this entry »

First Looks: Spring/Summer 2014 US Covers

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Another summer has come and gone, and here at Orbit, we’re already hard at work on next year’s exciting line-up! Here are some of the jackets we have ready so far with more to follow over the next few months.

Click on the images below to see a larger version and appreciate each cover in its full glory.  Pin, tweet, and comment away with reckless abandon. Let us know which books have already piqued your interest!

Martin_ReignofAsh-TP   œF�   Dalglish_ADanceOfShadows_TP  Carey_GirlWithAllTheGifts-HC   Corey_CibolaBurn_HC   Sapkowski_BaptismofFire-TP   Miller_PathToPower_HC   Irvine_Justice-TP   Weeks-BrokenEye-HC   Saintcrow_RipperAffair-TP   Wells_CursedMoon-TP   Jemisin_FifthSeason-TP   Abraham_WidowsHouse_TP

Art Credits: Reign of Ash: Illustration by Larry Rostant; Heaven’s Queen: Design by Kirk Benshoff; Dance of Shadows: Photo Illustration by Gene Mollica & Michael Frost, Design by Kirk Benshoff; The Girl With All The Gifts: Design by Duncan Spilling; Cibola Burn: Illustration by Daniel Dociu, Design by Kirk Benshoff; Baptism of Fire: Illustration by BARTŁOMIEJ GAWEŁ, PAWEŁ MIELNICZUK, MARCIN BŁASZCZAK, ARKADIUSZ MATYSZEWSKI,MARIAN CHOMIAK , Design by Lauren Panepinto; Path to Power: Illustration by Raphael Lacoste, Design by Kirk Benshoff; Justice: Design by Wendy Chan; Broken Eye: Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Silas Manhood, Design by Lauren Panepinto; The Ripper Affair: Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Craig White, Design by Lauren Panepinto; Cursed Moon: Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Don Sipley, Design by Lauren Panepinto; The Fifth Season: Design by Lauren Panepinto; The Widow’s House: Design by Kirk Benshoff

Cover Preview UK: Spring – Summer 2014

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As Summer comes to an end, here at Orbit we’re already looking forward to the amazing selection of books that next Spring brings. We’re very  pleased to present a selection of covers for some of our exciting releases in the first half of 2014. It promises to be a very good year.

Click on each of the covers to see a larger version, and let us know your favourites.

9780356502731

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Book cover for the First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

Weeks-BrokenEye-HC

justice_ian_irvine

The Lascar's Dagger

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The Ripper Affair

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Corey_CibolaBurn_HC

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Cursed Moon

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Art Credits: Reign of Ash: Illustration by Larry Rostant; Heaven’s Queen: Design by Kirk Benshoff; Dance of Shadows: Photo Illustration by Gene Mollica & Michael Frost, Design by Kirk Benshoff; The Girl With All The Gifts: Design by Duncan Spilling; Cibola Burn: Illustration by Daniel Dociu, Design by Kirk Benshoff; Path to Power: Illustration by Raphael Lacoste, Design by Kirk Benshoff; Justice: Design by Wendy Chan; Broken Eye: Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Silas Manhood, Design by Lauren Panepinto; The Ripper Affair: Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Craig White, Design by Lauren Panepinto; Cursed Moon: Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Don Sipley, Design by Lauren Panepinto; The Fifth Season: Design by Lauren Panepinto; The Widow’s House: Design by Kirk Benshoff

Sneak Peek for REIGN OF ASH by Gail Z. Martin

The Hawthorn Moon Banner

ICE FORGED (USUK | AUS) launched the popular new Ascendant Kingdoms Saga in January 2013, and Book Two, REIGN OF ASH, is coming in early 2014.  Author Gail Z. Martin is doing her annual “sneak peek” Hawthorn Moon event featuring REIGN OF ASH beginning June 21 with an international blog tour, podcasts, excerpts, readings, giveaways and more.  We asked her what readers should expect from Reign of Ash and afterwards show off the fantastic cover of the upcoming novel.

Reign of AshQ:  What can you tell us about where Reign of Ash will take Ascendant Kingdoms readers?

A:  Reign of Ash picks up right after Ice Forged, with Blaine McFadden’s quest to restore his homeland of Donderath.  As Ice Forged readers know, the quest isn’t completed at the end of Book 1 because there is so much more to do, so much damage to overcome.  It’s going to take all that Blaine and his friends have to give to survive!

Q:  How have Blaine, Kestel, Piran and the other Ice Forged characters changed going into Reign of Ash?

A:  Exile and prison brought Blaine’s group together, so they’re used to having each others’ backs.  That serves them well in the very dangerous and unstable conditions in post-war Donderath.  Now that they’re free, there will be choices to make.  Blaine is still very much at the center of the group, and in Reign of Ash, several new characters get added to the circle, some old friends and new allies.  Going forward, they will be at the heart of bringing the ruined kingdom back to life, and the paths they choose will determine Donderath’s future.

Q: Will we see more of Connor and Lord Penhallow?

A:  Absolutely! Bevin Connor remains an important viewpoint character.  We met him in Ice Forged fleeing for his life when Donderath fell, and see him emerge as an unexpectedly heroic person.  No one is surprised at that more than Connor himself!  In Reign of Ash, Connor grows into an even more important role, playing an enormously important part in the book’s life-or-death climax.

Q:  Will Ice Forged’s bad guys be back for more?

A:  Bet on it! Pentreath Reece and Vedran Pollard have their own agenda for the post-war wreckage, and their vision involves seeing themselves emerging as the ultimate power players. Anarchy breeds opportunists, so Reece and Pollard are in their element, and the only thing standing in their way is Blaine McFadden.  Expect serious fireworks! Read the rest of this entry »

May Events

In two weeks, the Nebula Awards Weekend will be taking place in San Jose, CA. Best of luck to all the nominees, but especially Kim Stanley Robinson and N.K. Jemisin, who both have works nominated for Best Novel this year! Here are some of the other conventions and events where you’ll find Orbit authors this month.

May 18-19: John R. Fultz @ Big Wow Comicfest, San Jose, CA

May 22: Catch Mur Lafferty, author of The Shambling Guide to New York City, in an online event at Shindig! More details here.

May 24-26: Mira Grant (as Seanan McGuire) @ OASIS, Orlando, FL

May 24-27: Mur Lafferty @ Balticon, Baltimore, MD

May 30: Michael J. Sullivan @ Audie Awards Gala, New York, NY

May 31 – June 2: Gail Z. Martin @ ConCarolinas, Charlotte, NC

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