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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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SYMBIONTMira Grant

The second terrifying novel in the Parasitology series by New York Times bestselling author Mira Grant!
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Posts Tagged ‘Ian Tregillis’

The Mechanical – the stunning new Ian Tregillis novel

The book cover for The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis, called "A major talent" by George R. R. Martin - fantasy meets science fiction meets alternate historyI’m very proud to present the cover for a phenomenal new novel we have coming from Ian Tregillis next March.

Ian’s novels have been described as:

‘Addictively brilliant’ i09

‘Eloquent and utterly compelling’ Kirkus

‘Exciting and intense’ Publishers Weekly

‘Striking’ Locus

And now, The Mechanical (UK | US | ANZ) – in my humble opinion – is going to blow people’s minds.

Part science fiction, part fantasy and part alternate history, this book shows the incredible imagination of an exceptionally skilled author – or “a major new talent” in the words of George R. R. Martin.

It’s a novel that centers on a character called Jax – a mechanical man, or “Clakker”. His kind were created by the Dutch back in the 17th Century to serve their human masters. And an army of mechanical men like him have managed to make The Netherlands the most powerful nation in the world.

But these Clakkers are no more than slaves to human kind. And soon, Jax is going to make a bid for freedom – an act that will rock the world of the Brasswork Throne to its core . . .

It’s a truly stunning book. Intricately crafted, hauntingly atmospheric, and just gripping. You won’t want to miss this one.

My name is Jax.

That is the name granted to me by my human masters.

I am a slave.

But I shall be free.

 

Hear from the Orbit team why you need to read Ian Tregillis’s Milkweed Trilogy

Today week we’re releasing NECESSARY EVIL (UK | ANZ) by Ian Tregillis, the conclusion to the spectacular Milkweed Triptych. The series began with BITTER SEEDS (UK | ANZ) and THE COLDEST WAR (UK | ANZ).

Bitter Seeds, Teh Coldest War and Necessary Evil, the three novesl makign up the Milkweed Triptych, a supernatural alternate history of World War II and the Cold War featuring superhuman Nazis and British warlocks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to express just how much we are all head-over-heels in love with this series. This time, it’s not just me, Ian’s editor, who’s wanting to tell you how great the books are. The whole Orbit team has been clamouring to tell everyone just how much these books will blow your mind:

James Long, Editorial Assistant for Orbit UKJames Long, Orbit Editorial Assistant

“The Milkweed Triptych is simply one of the best trilogies I’ve ever read. These books are beautifully written, meticulously plotted and tell an incredible story built around a host of wonderfully-drawn characters. At heart these books tell an exciting adventure story about British warlocks fighting a secret war against Nazi supersoldiers, and are appropriately packed with explosive action sequences. Yet they’re also deeply moving, intelligent novels that will repeatedly shatter your expectations and make you ponder all sorts of questions about the power of love and the nature of evil. Quite simply, they’re brilliant and utterly unmissable.”

Felice Howden, Marketing Manager for Orbit UKFelice Howden, Little, Brown Marketing

“I was initially enamoured by this series from the description: X-Men meets Inglorious Basterds. When I opened the first page to a Nietzsche quote and a scene where one child cunningly engineers the death of another, I knew it was something special. Then I discovered one of the main characters was a prescient German girl; a puppeteer manipulating the others on her choice of path through wars, births, deaths, friendships and hatred; making moves calculated years in advance with unimaginable consequences; throwing stones that rippled through the lives of everyone around her. And I was in love.”

Anne Clarke, Editorial Director or Orbit UKAnne Clarke, Orbit Editorial Director

“I love the way the plot threads around and twists back on itself, just when you think you’ve got it all worked out, both within the books and between them. Every new page gives you another thread to pull. The writing itself is phenomenal, but it’s the characters and the plot – my god, the plot! – that have got me so hooked. I can’t wait to read Necessary Evil and find out how Ian manages to resolve such a tangled web. Ian’s poor protagonists dance like puppets for the unbearably sinister Gretel, but there must be a master plan behind it all. I can’t believe she doesn’t have one – though I do hope poor Raybould foils it and that he finds the redemption he so desperately wants. He deserves a break after all he’s been through!”

Anna Gregson, Commissioning Editor at Orbit UKAnna Gregson, Orbit Commissioning Editor

“After having devoured the entire Milkweed Triptych at the speed of light, I can only conclude is that Ian Tregillis is an absolute genius. The Milkweed books are simply one of the cleverest, most engrossing series I’ve ever read. I often found myself chuckling out loud in public places at the pure brilliance of the plotting, the devious intellect of the protagonists, and the masterful skill of the author’s turn of phrase… Ian Tregillis takes an idea which is already hugely exciting in a very superhero-comic kind of way (mad warlocks fighting scientifically-enhanced Nazi übermensch), but then delivers the concept with such intelligence, such emotional power and such literary flair that you cannot help but fall head-over-heels for him as a writer.”

***

If you haven’t started this series yet and want to find out just why we’re going so crazy about it, you can get a taster with a free extract of BITTER SEEDS here.

Will X-Men-style superhumans become a reality in our lifetime?

The poster for the new Xmen film The Wolverine 3D coming in 2013 - in an article about genetic technology, superhuman powers and Ian Tregillis's Milkweed novels starting with Bitter Seeds

Poster for The Wolverine 3d film – coming in July 2013

I was interested (and I’ll admit it – a little excited) to read this recent article, stating that advances in gene technology could lead to a race of genetically superior human beings by the year 2045. These were apparently the findings of a Ministry of Defence think tank during a two-day summit last summer.

Alright – so sources such as The Sun and The Daily Mail might have sensationalised the think tank’s statements a touch by claiming that in a few years time, people will have Wolverine-style adamantium claws busting out all over the shop, and will be spontaneously whipping up tornadoes left, right and centre à la Storm.

But although a real-life X-men army might not exactly be right round the corner – the underlying gist of the claim could be entirely reasonable: that we’ll likely soon be using genetic technology to enhance the strength of the human body, to eliminate imperfections and to increase stamina.

But as time goes on, who knows what the limitations will be? Who knows if by genetically developing certain parts of the brain, we’ll discover unknown abilities – telekinesis, psychic powers, control over natural elements? One needs to have an open mind, and it might not happen in 30 years time – but it’s not entirely beyond belief.

Neither are the apparent risks and dangers that certain individuals developing those powers would present.

The MoD think tank also claimed that “it is possible that advances in biology, unequally shared across society, could generate genetic inequality”.

Bitter Seeds, book one in the Milkweed Triptych by Ian Tregillis - in an article discussing the possibility of X-men style superhumans becoming a realityBut it might not just be within one particular society that inequality is a risk. What happens, in fact, if one nation develops superhumans before another? Will it lead to an “arms race” of human augmentation, the winner of which will become the next superpower?

This is the terrifying and thrilling concept behind the Milkweed trilogy by Ian Tregillis. It starts with BITTER SEEDS (UK | ANZ) and THE COLDEST WAR (UK | ANZ), and concludes with NECESSARY EVIL (UK | ANZ – releasing this coming Tuesday). Read the rest of this entry »

author post

During our recent conversation about his Laundry novels, Charlie Stross mentioned he’d started out seeking to revitalize the horror behind Lovecraftiana by drawing a connection between unknowable dangers and the very familiar terror of the Cold War arms race. I found that particularly interesting. After all, the Laundry series and the Milkweed books share a subgenre that pits agents of the secret state against super- or paranormal entities. So perhaps it isn’t surprising that we’ve both recast the thermonuclear deterrence of Mutually Assured Destruction as something even more precarious: the threat of a mystical and far more absolute annihilation.

(WeThe cover for THE COLDEST WAR, the second novel in the Milkweed Triptych by Ian Tregillis - with links to Charles Stross's Laundry Files novels even followed parallel lines of thought when it came to titles.  Charlie called his story of the Shoggoth Gap “A Colder War,” while I went with THE COLDEST WAR for my tale of mystical brinksmanship.)

I was a child when the Reagan-era arms race began.  But I had an early interest in science, so I’d already scoured the school library to read everything I could find about those wondrous things called atoms. Which unfortunately meant I had a vague notion of these things called atomic weapons. (Who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to let me read this stuff?  Way to go, mom and dad.)

Thanks to classroom discussions of current events at the time, I also knew we were building them as fast as we could. Halfway around the world, so was another monolithic power. And we were aiming them at each other, like lions circling and snapping their teeth. But at that age I didn’t understand why this was happening, or why our enemies were so terrible that global annihilation was preferable to their triumph in some abstract and incomprehensible conflict. All I knew was the world teetered on a razor’s edge, and that my fate rested in the hands of people who knew nothing of me, my parents, or my cat (good old Gadzooks).

That’ll mess with your head when you’re 10 years old.

And so I spent the early 1980s filled with an almost paralyzing dread. Read the rest of this entry »

Ian Tregillis in conversation with Charlie Stross on The Laundry Files

The Coldest War - the second novel in the Milweed Triptych following BITTER SEEDS, a fantasy series featuring superhumand and dark magic, and earning comparisons with Charles Stross's Laundry Files novelsThis week sees the release of THE COLDEST WAR (UK | ANZ) , the second novel in Ian Tregillis’s landmark series, the Milkweed Triptych. The trilogy began with BITTER SEEDS (UK | ANZ) and concludes with the forthcoming NECESSARY EVIL (UK | ANZ).

These novels feature a secret history of Twentieth Century conflicts in which scientifically-enhanced superhumans and dark magic collide. The result is described by Fantasy Faction as ‘oh-so compelling, fascinating and frighteningly convincing’ and by Cory Doctorow  as, ‘some of the best – and most exciting – alternate history I’ve read. Bravo.’

The Apocalypse Codex, a Landry Files novel by Charles StrossIt’s possible to draw a few parallels between the themes in the Milkweed novels and Charles Stross’s highly popular Laundry Files (including the recent THE APOCALYPSE CODEX – UK | ANZ) – a series of science fiction spy thrillers featuring Bob Howard, once an IT geek, now a field agent working for a British government agency dealing with occult threats. They’re what SFX calls ‘beautifully handled, believable and well envisioned – a highly enjoyable bit of spy-fi.’

For that reason we were really interested to hear these two exceptionally clever Orbit authors in conversation about their series. The results are below!

Ian: In an afterword to THE ATROCITY ARCHIVES (“Inside the Fear Factory”) you mention that while writing the first Laundry novel you were advised to avoid Tim Powers’s novel DECLARE.  And that later you were made aware of the Delta Green supplement to The Call of Cthulhu RPG, which again resides in a similar neighborhood.

Bitter Seeds - the first novel in the Milweed Triptych, a fantasy series featuring superhumand and dark magic, and earning comparisons with Charles Stross's Laundry Files novels(After BITTER SEEDS debuted, people assumed I had been influenced by DECLARE, Delta Green, *and* the Laundry novels!  But, like you with DECLARE, I wanted to avoid cross-contamination. So I didn’t dive into THE ATROCITY ARCHIVES until after I turned in THE COLDEST WAR, at which point I was 2/3 through the Milkweed trilogy and the story was on a ballistic trajectory.)

But of course even Powers wasn’t the first to marry espionage and the occult – Dennis Wheatley’s novel THEY USED DARK FORCES first appeared in 1964, and Katherine Kurtz‘s LAMMAS NIGHT was published in 1983, as just two examples.

In the above-mentioned afterword, you make a strong case for why it’s natural to blend horror, the occult, and espionage.  So is this an idea that’s continually bubbling into the aether to be rediscovered by other writers?  Or have we reached the point where we’re having a conversation within an actual subgenre?

Charlie: It is indeed an actual subgenre! Or maybe a sub-subgenre: a corner of that section of urban fantasy that is preoccupied with the interaction between agents of the state and the occult. Read the rest of this entry »

author post

Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillia, an alternative history of World War II featuring superhuman Nazis and British WarlocksHow does one create a superhero? Movies such as The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man make it look straightforward, if not exactly easy. Hollywood would have us believe superpowers aren’t all that unusual. Perhaps I’m a skeptic, but I sometimes wonder if the difficulties in become superhuman aren’t underestimated just a bit.

After all, you can’t plan for a freak accident. You can’t plan on being bitten by a special arachnid, as was Spider-Man. You can’t plan to accidentally survive a massive dose of gamma radiation, like the Hulk. You can’t plan to be born of Asgard, like Thor. Most of us will never have the opportunity to volunteer for an experimental super-soldier program, as did Captain America.

But what about the self-made superheroes? Those who deliberately transcend their limitations, using technology and (frankly) vast piles of money? Well, as much as I’d like to become Iron Man, I’m not a supergenius billionaire industrialist with massive technological resources at my disposal. What about Batman? I’m out of luck there, too, because I’m not a reclusive borderline-sociopath multi-millionaire with the peak physical conditioning of a dozen Olympic athletes combined. It’s safe to say these paths are closed off to most people.

So what to do if you’re cash-strapped but can’t rely upon serendipity to do the hard work? Read the rest of this entry »

author post

Promotional poster for Paramount's CAPTAIN AMERICA, a superhero movie based on a Marvel comic of the same name - and its link to Bitter Seeds“I want you to know,” said John, “that you completely ruined Captain America for me.”

This was last summer at our local SF convention, Bubonicon. (Which, yes, is named after the bubonic plague.  But that’s another story.) John and I belong to the same writing community here in New Mexico, so we chat from time to time. But we didn’t see this movie together, or even in the same city. Which made his complaint a bit confusing to me. 

“Oh, about 20 minutes in,” he said, “my wife leaned over and said, ‘Hey!  He looks like Ian!’ So all through the rest of the movie I kept picturing you up there fighting Nazis.”

Steve Stirling overheard our conversation. He joined us, nodding. “Yeah. Me, too.”

And so it became a running joke at last year’s convention. (A joke at my expense, naturally. But I refuse to carry a shield.) Fast forward 10 months to last weekend, when I shared this story with a visiting friend. Corry said, without missing a beat, “We saw it on video recently. I told my husband, ‘That’s what Ian looks like.'” 

The cover for Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis - an alternate history novel featuring superhuman Nazis fighting British WarlocksNow, if you ask me, these people are quite mad. There isn’t the slightest resemblance. But when I object, they’re always quick to clarify: No, we didn’t mean the strong, square-jawed, charismatic Captain America. We mean the early version of Steve Rogers. The pre-super-soldier-serum, pre-Vita-Ray Steve Rogers. Of course you don’t resemble the superhero, Ian. We meant the scrawny runt.

Well, obviously.   

Aside from my desperate need for a solid dose of serum and Vita-Rays, I share little in common with young Rogers, much less his superheroic alter ego. I’ve never punched Hitler. Not even once.  (I’m not saying I wouldn’t, but I’ve never had a chance.) I have, however, used Nazis and superpowers in my novels, which meant I was firmly embedded in the target audience for Captain America.

And Steve Rogers and I would surely agree on one thing: Nazis are a pain in the neck. For him, fighting them. For me, writing them.

I expended a fair bit of time and energy ruminating on the fictional superpowered agents of the Third Reich in Bitter Seeds (UK | ANZ). I wanted to tell myself an entertaining adventure story; something chewy and fun, like a good comic book. But I also wanted to tell a story that could be molded around the nooks and crannies of history. So I had to think carefully about the grim realities of the Third Reich, which forced me to consider carefully the portrayal of Nazis in my novel. And I did. I thought long and very hard about how to approach these books before I started.

Read the rest of this entry »

BITTER SEEDS: Blood magic, sociopaths and “good people doing bad things”

The World War II alternate history fantasy novel Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregellis, where the Nazis have superhumans and the British use dark magicsIan Tregillis’s debut fantasy novel BITTER SEEDS (UK | ANZ) is a sinister reimagining of World War II events. In this supernatural alternate history, British forces use dark magics to hold back an invading army of Nazi superhumans. Orbit’s James Long put some questions to Ian on where he got his ideas from . . .

The premise of Bitter Seeds – Nazi super soldiers versus occult powers conjured up by British Warlocks – is unusual, to say the least! What was the original inspiration behind the story?

A number of years ago, around 2002 or 2003, I read a magazine article about a little-known Allied secret project during the Second World War called Project Habakkuk. Habakkuk was conceived during the height of the Battle of the Atlantic, when German wolf packs were destroying Allied shipping convoys. The idea – and this is one of those wonderful places where truth is so much stranger than fiction – was to build ships out of ice. It sounds mad but it’s actually a rather clever idea! Alas, for various reasons the project never made it past the prototype stage (Maybe because it is just a little bit mad.)

But I couldn’t get that image out of my head, of vast bergships plying the North Atlantic and changing the course of the war. So I began to wonder how the Axis might have responded if Habakkuk had been a success. A few days later, as I was driving to work, the answer hit me out of the blue: obviously, Ian, the Germans would have sent a pyrokinetic spy to sabotage the shipyards . . .

The ice ship never made it into Bitter Seeds, but the pyrokinetic SS agent did. Read the rest of this entry »

Cover launch: BITTER SEEDS by Ian Tregillis

In July we’re extremely excited to be publishing Ian Tregillis’s acclaimed debut novel Bitter Seeds – a sinister reimagining of the Second World War in which scientifically-enhanced German superhumans clash with chilling sorcery. Or, as Cory Doctorow puts it, “Mad English warlocks battling twisted Nazi psychics? Yes please, thank you.”

We’ll talk a little more about this brilliant book nearer the time of release; for now, here’s the front cover in all its gritty military glory, courtesy of our designer Sean Garrehy (who as always has done a superb job).

Ian Tregillis joins Orbit UK!

I’m very happy to announce that Orbit UK has acquired Bitter Seeds  plus two further novels by the highly talented Ian Tregillis.

Bitter Seeds is an audacious fantasy retelling of the events of World War II – where Nazis create superhumans that can throw fire, see the future and turn invisible, whilst the British warlocks use dark magics to hold back the German invasion. I was totally wowed by the deliciously sinister atmosphere of this novel, with its endlessly imaginative plot twists and awesome superhero-like characters. Ian has a very bright future ahead of him and I’m so glad that we’ve been able to take him on in the UK.

Bitter Seeds was released in the US last year to huge acclaim – here’s what people have said so far:

‘A major talent… I can’t wait to see more’ George R. R. Martin

‘Mad English warlocks battling twisted Nazi psychics? Yes please, thank you. Tregillis’s debut has a white-knuckle plot, beautiful descriptions, and complex characters– an unstoppable Vickers of a novel’ Cory Doctorow
 
‘Tregillis delivers a dynamite first novel in Bitter Seeds’ SFRevu.com
 
‘Bitter Seeds is hands down the best debut of 2010 so far’ Fantasy Book Critic
 
‘The crème de la crème of SFF debuts this year!’ Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist

Look out for Bitter Seeds in December next year! Its sequels The Coldest War and Necessary Evil will be released in February 2013 and April 2013 respectively.

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