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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 ‘The Blinding Knife’

author post

BlindingknifeI love a great plot twist. After writing and publishing six big fantasy novels, I’ve become pretty hard to fool with a twist, but every time I hear a reader say, “I never saw that coming, but looking back, it made so much sense.” I get to feel the pleasure anew. It is, of course, merely a vicarious pleasure, but living vicariously is kind of what novelists do.

The Lightbringer Series is, in part, an ass-kicking examination of identity and integrity. Many of the characters have secrets that influence both, and these secrets are revealed not through navel gazing and discourse, but through actions, lies, and inadvertent truths that escape when the characters are under great pressure. Characters do what they don’t say, say what they don’t think, and think what they don’t do. All of which is fertile ground for surprises.

But a plot twist is more than just a character acting in a way that surprises us. A chaotic or insane character does that. (And, let’s be honest, an actually chaotic character might be impossible to pull off. The most famous recent example of a wildly chaotic character is, if one thinks about it at all, actually a master planner par excellence: Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight.) Instead, a great plot twist takes a lot of planning and careful management of what a reader thinks is going on at any moment.

But how do you manage audience expectations when an audience ranges from teens reading the very first book they’ve ever read outside of assigned reading to adults who have been reading fantasy for fifty years? Movies get to cheat on this. If you have a convoluted plot, and something’s always happening on screen, only a tiny percentage of people will be able to think through the plot holes and possible lacunae in the two hours they’re watching. With a big fantasy novel, authors don’t have that luxury. Some readers devour, and other readers savor, thinking through every tidbit, and guessing for weeks where the plot’s going. Read the rest of this entry »

author post

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 »

Best Books of 2012

We were thrilled to see some Orbit books and authors on “Best of” round-ups for 2012. See below for some great recommendations!

Publishers Weekly Best Books 2012, SF/Fantasy/Horror
THE TROUPE by Robert Jackson Bennett
THE KILLING MOON by N.K. Jemisin

NPR Year’s Best Science Fiction
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

Library Journal Best Books 2012, SF/Fantasy
STRAY SOULS by Kate Griffin
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

RT Book Reviews, Editors’ Best of 2012
THE KILLING MOON by N.K. Jemisin

Los Angeles Public Library, Best of 2012: Fiction
TIMELESS by Gail Carriger

io9, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2012
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
THE KILLING MOON and THE SHADOWED SUN by N.K. Jemisin

Explorations: The B&N SciFi and Fantasy Blog, The Best Fantasy Releases of 2012
THE BLINDING KNIFE by Brent Weeks
SEVEN PRINCES by John R. Fultz
RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie
THE KILLING MOON by N.K. Jemisin

Best Paranormal Fantasy Releases of 2012
BLUE-BLOODED VAMP by Jaye Wells
COLD DAYS by Jim Butcher
TEMPEST’S FURY by Nicole Peeler
Best Apocalyptic Fiction Releases of 2012 and Best Zombie Fiction Releases of 2012
BLACKOUT by Mira Grant

Reddit r/Fantasy Best of 2012
THE BLINDING KNIFE by Brent Weeks

The Book Smugglers
THE KILLING MOON by N.K. Jemisin

Fantasy Faction
RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie
THE BLINDING KNIFE by Brent Weeks
BITTER SEEDS by Ian Tregillis

The Wertzone
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie
SHARPS by K.J. Parker
THE KILLING MOON by N.K. Jemisin
EXISTENCE by David Brin
THE KING’S BLOOD by Daniel Abraham

The Midnight Garden
BLACKOUT by Mira Grant

Rob’s Blog o’Stuff
THE TROUPE by Robert Jackson Bennet
THE KING’S BLOOD by Daniel Abraham
RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie
EXISTENCE by David Brin
BLACKOUT by Mira Grant
CALIBAN’S WAR by James S.A. Corey
SEEDS OF EARTH by Michael Cobley
The Eli Monpress series by Rachel Aaron

The Speculative Scotsman
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

The Ranting Dragon
THE KILLING MOON by N.K. Jemisin
SHARPS by K.J. Parker
THE BLINDING KNIFE by Brent Weeks

To find out more about these titles and where you can purchase them, visit our corporate websites in the (US | UK | AUS). Feel free to share your favorites from 2012 in the comments below.

THE BLINDING KNIFE is a Bestseller!

Out now!THE BLINDING KNIFE (UK | US | AUS) by Brent Weeks is a New York Times bestseller,  a USA Today bestseller, and it was the bestselling fantasy hardcover in the US and the UK last week!

Congratulations to Brent from all of us at Orbit!

And remember, you can read a sample here, but be warned: there are spoilers ahead for those of you who may not have read the first book of the Lightbringer series. You can also read the first three chapters of THE BLACK PRISM (UK | US | AUS).

There are also a few more tour stops on the east coast before Brent crosses the Atlantic to visit UK readers. We’ve gotten numerous reports from fans who had a wonderful time. There was laughter. There was merriment and even a reading from book three. Visit the Brent Weeks Facebook page for full details.

*Goes live on Sunday the 23rd!

THE BLINDING KNIFE by Brent Weeks releases this week!

THE BLINDING KNIFE (UK | US | AUS) is out today in the US and Canada and will be hitting shelves in the UK and Australia on September 13th. For those not already in-the-know this is the second book of Brent Weeks’s New York Times bestselling Lightbringer series which started with THE BLACK PRISM (UK | US | AUS).

If you’re stuck at work, school, or otherwise unable to dive into THE BLINDING KNIFE immediately, check out these early reviews to whet your appetite. Staffer’s Book Reviews called it “a tremendous achievement… It isn’t only the best book [Brent's] written, I consider it one of the best epic fantasies I’ve read.” You can read the rest of the spoiler free review here. Comic Book Therapy has another great spoiler-free review up.

The book tour also begins today starting with a launch day event at Powell’s Books in Beaverton, Oregon. Brent will be making stops in the US and UK. Find out which cities and stores he’ll be appearing at here or RSVP on Facebook.

In other series news, Brent recently announced that the Lightbringer series has been expanded to four books. So look forward to even more action after you’ve finished the second exciting installment.

“I’m happy to tell you that the Lightbringer Series will be four books. (No, don’t worry, I’m not floating down the Never-Ending Series River, though yes, I do feel the current!) I was always torn between three books and four for this series, and as I got working on book three, I realized I was going to have to cut way too much great stuff to fit the story into three books, so Orbit and I have agreed to a fourth book. Progress on the next one has been fantastic.” – Brent Weeks.

There is also an updated map posted to Brent’s website illustrating the Seven Satrapies that may aide you as you travel with Gavin, Kip, Karis, and your other favorite characters through the war-torn lands of the Seven Satrapies.

The stakes have grown since THE BLACK PRISM and so have the obstacles facing Gavin and the others. The only thing that is certain is that time is running out.

Wallpapers: THE BLINDING KNIFE by Brent Weeks

Only two weeks to go before the big release of THE BLINDING KNIFE (UK | US | AUS) by Brent Weeks! Gavin, Kip, Karris, and all of your favorites are gearing up for the next adventure. If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy, be sure and do so through your favorite retailer.

Meanwhile, show your true colors as a fan of the Lightbringer series with these striking wallpapers.

iPad | iPhone/iPod | 1024 x 768 | 1280 x 800 | 1440 x 900 | 1680 x 1050 | 1920 x 1200 | Facebook cover image

In other Brent Weeks news, the book tour kicks-off on the 11th in Beaverton, Oregon. Visit the Brent Weeks Facebook page to see if he’ll be coming to a town near you.

Staffer’s Book Reviews posted a spoiler-free review of THE BLINDING KNIFE yesterday saying, “It isn’t only the best book he’s written; I consider it one of the best epic fantasies I’ve read.” Click to read the full review.

Comic Book Therapy also posted an interview with Brent earlier today. As a warning to those of you who have not read THE BLACK PRISM yet there will be spoilers here.

 

 

Announcing Brent Weeks’s THE BLINDING KNIFE tour

Brent Weeks will be hitting the road in September for the release of THE BLINDING KNIFE (US | UK | ANZ) — book 2 in the Lightbringer series and sequel to THE BLACK PRISM. There will be events in both the US and the UK, and you can find all the details on Brent’s blog.

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