Read an exclusive extract from Far from the Light of Heaven

There is no need to know what no one will ask. Walking on gravel, boots crunching with each step, Shell doesn’t know if she is who she is because it’s what she wants or because it’s what her family expects of her. The desire for spaceflight has been omnipresent since she can remember, since she was three. Going to space, escaping the solar system, surfing wormhole relativity, none of these is any kind of frontier any more.

There will be no documentary about the life and times of Michelle Campion. She still wants to know, though. For herself. The isolation is getting to her, no doubt. No, not isolation, because she’s used to that from training. Isolation without progress is what bothers her, isolation without object. She thinks herself at the exact centre of the quarantine house courtyard. It’s like being in a prison yard for exercise, staggered hours so she doesn’t run into anyone. Prison without a sentence. They run tests on her blood and her tissues and she waits, day after day. She stops and breathes in the summer breeze, looks up to get the Florida sun on her face. She’s cut her hair short for the spaceflight. She toyed with the idea of shaving her head, but Max Galactix didn’t think this would be media friendly, whatever that means. Shell spots something and bends over. A weed, a small sprout, pushing its way up between the stones. It shouldn’t be there in the chemically treated ground, but here it is, implacable life. She feels an urge to pluck the fragile green thread, but she does not. She strokes the weed once and straightens up.

Humans in the cosmos are like errant weeds. Shell wonders what giants or gods stroke humanity when they slip between the stars. The wind changes and Shell smells food from the kitchen prepared for the ground staff and their families. Passengers and crew like Shell are already eating space food, like they’ve already left Earth. Around her are the living areas of the quarantine house. High- rises of glass and steel forming a rectangle around the courtyard. One thousand passengers waiting to board various space shuttles that will ferry them to the starship Ragtime. Shell, just out of training, along for the ride or experience, committed to ten years in space in Dreamstate, arrival and delivery of passengers to the colony Bloodroot, then ten further years on the ride back. She’ll be mid- forties when she returns.

Might as well be a passenger because the AI pilots and captains the ship. She is the first mate, a wholly ceremonial position which has never been needed in the history of interstellar spaceflight. She has overlearned everything to do with the Ragtime and the flight. At some predetermined point, it will allow her to take the con, for experience and with the AI metaphorically watching over her shoulder. She turns to her own building and leaves the courtyard. She feels no eyes on her but knows there must be people at the windows.


Cover Launch: THE CITY OF DUSK by Tara Sim

Life, Death, Light, and Darkness—all converge on the city of dusk…

We are so excited to share with you the stunning cover for The City of Dusk, Tara Sim’s adult fantasy debut—or, as the author puts it (quite perfectly), “the queer goth metal fantasy of her dreams.”

Set in a lush and intricate world of bone and shadow magic, of vengeful gods and defiant chosen ones, we knew this epic story needed an equally epic design. Orbit associate art director Lisa Marie Pompillio and illustrator Ben Zweifel certainly delivered! But don’t take our word for it. Take Tara’s, who says: “The first time I saw this cover, I gasped. From the foreshadowing design elements to the incredible depiction of Nexus, I couldn’t ask for a more perfect way to capture the book’s atmosphere.”

Feast your eyes on the gorgeous cover below, and prepare to enter the city of dusk next March by preordering the book here, and by following Tara Sim on twitter, @EachStarAWorld!

Design by Lisa Marie Pompilio

City illustration by Ben Zweifel

For every realm, there is a god.

For every god, there is an heir.

For every heir, there is a price.

Nexus was once a thriving and vibrant city. But 500 years ago, the gods withdrew their favor, sealing the four realms away from each other. And now, all the realms are dying.

Unwilling to stand by and watch the destruction, the four heirs to the divine power—Angelica, an elementalist with her eyes set on the throne; Risha, a necromancer fighting to keep the peace; Nik, a soldier who struggles to see the light; and Taesia, a shadow-wielding rogue with a reckless heart—will sacrifice everything to save the city.

But their rebellion will cost them dearly.

Cover launch: TERMINAL WORLD by Alastair Reynolds

One of Alastair Reynolds’ most imaginative visions of the future is getting a fresh new look to match his other brilliant space operas. Terminal World is an adventure like no other—set in humanity’s only surviving city, an ex-spy gets sucked into a dangerous quest that will take him beyond the city walls when a mysterious winged man turns up dead in his morgue. Check out Terminal World available on December 21st! 

Cover design by Lauren Panepinto

Spearpoint, the last human city, is an enormous atmosphere-piercing spire. Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different—and rigidly enforced—level of technology. 


Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue. But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, Quillon’s world is wrenched apart one more time, for the angel is a winged posthuman from Spearpoint’s Celestial Levels—and with the dying body comes bad news.


If Quillon is to save his life, he must leave his home and journey into the cold and hostile lands beyond Spearpoint’s base, starting an exile that will take him further than he could ever imagine. But there is far more at stake than just Quillon’s survival, for the limiting technologies of the zones are determined not by governments or police, but by the very nature of reality—and reality itself is showing worrying signs of instability . . .


Check out Alastair Reynolds’ Inhibitor Trilogy!

Acquisition Announcement: SOME DESPERATE GLORY by Emily Tesh

Orbit UK is  delighted to announce the acquisition of  World Fantasy Award-Winning author Emily Tesh’s highly anticipated debut novel, SOME DESPERATE GLORY. A thrillingly told queer space opera full of complex characters and boundless imagination. By turns epic and intimate, it’s coming-of-age story about what empires and systems of war do to the young soldiers in their care. It’s about overcoming indoctrination and who you must become when every choice is stripped from you.

Read on for a taste of what’s in store:

Kyr lives in the bowels of Gaea Station alongside the last scraps of humanity, training for the day she can avenge the destruction of planet Earth at the hands of the all-powerful, reality-shifting weapon known as the Wisdom. She trusts and even loves Command, but when they assign the wrong missions – her beloved brother Magnus to a useless suicide and her to bear sons until she dies trying – she knows she has to take humanity’s revenge into her own hands.

But she soon learns that not everything she’s been raised to believe is true and the Wisdom is far more complex and dangerous than she could ever have imagined.


Emily Tesh, a two-time Astounding Award finalist, is the author of the World Fantasy Award-winning Greenhollow Duology. She grew up in London and studied Classics at Trinity College, Cambridge, followed by a Master’s degree in Humanities at the University of Chicago. She now lives in Hertfordshire, where she passes her time teaching Latin and Ancient Greek to schoolchildren who have done nothing to deserve it. She has a husband and a cat. Neither of them knows any Latin yet, but it is not for lack of trying.

We can’t wait to share Some Desperate Glory with you next year! In the meantime, please join us in welcoming Emily to Orbit. You can find her on Instagram and at

Cover launch: THE BOOK OF GOTHEL by Mary McMyne

What does every beautiful, gothic fairytale reimagining need? An equally beautiful, fairytale inspired cover! Feast your eyes on the cover of The Book of Gothel. Designed by Lisa Marie Pompillio, it perfectly evokes the witchcraft and magic, crumbling towers, dark woods and otherworldly secrets of this gorgeous debut novel that spins the familiar story of Rapunzel on its head by centering its villain. Get excited for The Book of Gothel to publish in Summer 2022. And in the meantime, say hello to Mary McMyne on Twitter @MaryMcMyne and at her website.


Haelewise has always lived under the shadow of her mother, Hedda—a woman who will do anything to keep her daughter protected. For with her strange black eyes and even stranger fainting spells, Haelewise is shunned by her village, and her only solace lies in the stories her mother tells of child-stealing witches, of princes in wolf-skins, of an ancient tower cloaked in mist, where women will find shelter if they are brave enough to seek it.

But when her mother dies, Haelewise is left unmoored. With nothing left for her in her village, she sets out to find the tower of legend—a place called Gothel, where Haelewise meets a wise woman willing to take her under her wing.

But Haelewise is not the only woman to seek refuge at Gothel. It’s also a haven for a girl named Rika, who carries with her a secret the Church strives to keep hidden. A secret that just might explain why Haelewise keeps hearing her mother’s voice.

Orbit US is hiring!

Orbit US is looking for a Marketing Manager to join our New York office. This position offers a great opportunity to join a dynamic and successful team publishing a wide range of award-winning and bestselling Science Fiction and Fantasy authors.

If you love science fiction and fantasy and are excited about developing creative and exciting marketing campaigns, you can apply through the Hachette Book Group job board. This is an in-house position based in our office in New York City.

Cover Launch: BEYOND THE HALLOWED SKY by Ken MacLeod

We’re delighted to reveal the cover for BEYOND THE HALLOWED SKY, the first novel in the Lightspeed trilogy, from science fiction legend Ken MacLeod.

Humankind is on the precipice of a great discovery – the invention of faster-than-light travel – that will unlock a universe of new possibilities, and new dangers. BEYOND THE HALLOWED SKY hits shelves in November and you can pre-order your copy now! Read on for a taste of what’s in store. . .

Cover design by Duncan Spilling

When a brilliant scientist gets a letter from herself about faster-than-light travel, she doesn’t know what to believe. The equations work, but her paper is discredited – and soon the criticism is more than scientific. Exiled by the establishment, she gets an offer to build her starship from an unlikely source. But in the heights of Venus and on a planet of another star, a secret is already being uncovered that will shake humanity to its foundations.

Praise for Ken MacLeod:

‘Ken MacLeod is up there with Banks and Hamilton as one of the British sci-fi authors you absolutely have to read’ SFX

‘He is writing revolutionary science fiction. A nova has appeared in our sky’ Kim Stanley Robinson, on The Star Fraction

‘Prose as sleek and fast as the technology it describes . . . watch this man go global’ Peter F. Hamilton on The Star Fraction

‘Science fiction’s freshest new writer . . . MacLeod is a fiercely intelligent, prodigiously well-read author who manages to fill his books with big issues without weighing them down’ Salon  

You can find Ken MacLeod on Twitter @amendlocke

Fantasy Authors in Conversation: Anthony Ryan and John Gwynne

Authors Anthony Ryan and John Gwynne discuss their novels THE PARIAH (US | UK) and THE SHADOW OF THE GODS (US | UK) as well as historical influences on their works. And much more!


Anthony Ryan: Hi John. Congratulations on The Shadow of the Gods, which you know I enjoyed immensely. It’s probably best if we deal with the big important questions first, to wit: what’s the difference between a sword and a seax?

John Gwynne: Hi Anthony, great to be here chatting to you. I’m so pleased you enjoyed The Shadow of the Gods, and I love your question about a seax, but before I get to that I’ve just got to say this; Vaelin Al Sorna [the main character in Ryan’s Raven’s Shadow series] is one of my favourite characters in fantasy, like, ever. He’s iconic and I imagine he will be remembered in the Fantasy Hall of Fame alongside characters such as Druss and Logen Ninefingers.

Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system, onto the difference between a sword and a seax.

A seax is essentially a big knife, used during the Viking era for all manner of tasks. It’s a single-edged blade, with a broken back tapering to a point. Little to no crossguard, with the blade ranging in size roughly from 6 inches up to about 14 inches in length, although there are variations either side of these dimensions. The Norse were a practical and pragmatic people and the seax was a multi-purpose tool, useful for cutting kindling, chopping vegetables, gutting and skinning a meal, and stabbing your enemy (particularly useful whilst in the shield wall, which would be cramped conditions with little room to swing a blade, much like the Roman gladius). A sword during the same period was longer, tended to be double-edged and with a more prominent crossguard.

Another difference is the way the seax and sword would be worn. A sword would be scabbarded and hung from a baldric or belt to hang roughly diagonally across the hip. A seax would have a scabbard with two or three suspension points and usually would hang from your belt horizontally across your front, roughly around the area of your upper thighs. This was a comfortable position for rowing.

Just to blur matters a little, there were also examples of a langseax, or long-seax during the Viking period, which is a blade with the same design as a seax (single edged, broken back, small or no crossguard) but being longer, of a roughly similar length to a sword. I’ve read various theories on why the langseax was used, and one of the ones I like the most is that the long-seax was used for ship combat, because there would be no danger from a single-edged sword in a back-swing of cutting rigging. So much of ancient history is filling in the gaps and educated guessing, so as to whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, but I like that logic.

Onto my first question to you, Anthony. I’ve recently read your latest novel due to be published later this year, The Pariah, which I loved. I felt a strong medieval and Robin Hood inspiration in its setting and style, though this is a much grittier tale, with a heavy dose of revenge thrown in. Can you tell me a little about your inspirations for The Pariah?



If you’re already adept at defending walled cities and successfully ruling empires, and you’re looking for your next big challenge, we’ve got the perfect book for you. With the launch of A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO CONQUERING THE WORLD (US | UK) this November, World Fantasy Award-winning author K.J. Parker brings his acclaimed sequence of novels that began with SIXTEEN WAYS TO DEFEND A WALLED CITY (US | UK) to a refreshingly pragmatic conclusion. We’re thrilled to present the final book’s cover below.

Design by Lauren Panepinto


“Readers are ensured a good time and a barrel of laughs to boot.” –Publishers Weekly

“Parker’s latest epic fantasy proves that all the world is, indeed, a stage, and Parker himself is a master impresario.” — Library Journal

“Full of invention and ingenuity . . . Great fun.” — SFX

“As with most of Parker’s work, there is a melancholy undercurrent that gives the humor weight. As heroes go, Orhan is a reluctant and flawed one . . . . [but] when Orhan works the problem, we can’t help but watch.” —Locus

“Launches a witty adventure series . . . Readers will appreciate the infusion of humor and fun-loving characters into this vivid and sometimes grim fantasy world.” –Publishers Weekly

Cover Launch: THE LAST WISH – ILLUSTRATED EDITION by Andrzej Sapkowski

Fantastic news for  the Witcher fans out there! This December, you’ll get to experience The Last Wish—the story collection that started it all—in a new form: a deluxe hardcover edition featuring seven stunning illustrations by seven award-winning artists.

We’ll be revealing the full artist roster soon, but today, our spotlight is on the incredible cover! ICYMI when it was revealed by Netflix during WitcherCon, here’s our favorite monster hunter as imagined by artist Tommy Arnold:

Cover art by Tommy Arnold, @tommyarnoldart. Design and art direction by Lauren Panepinto.

We asked Tommy why he chose this portrayal of Geralt for the cover, and here’s what he had to say: “Geralt is, in some ways, defined by his separation from humanity. There’s a loneliness to him. But like all consummate professionals, he’s most at home in his work. The peace he finds from existential questions in simply fighting monsters, the calm at the center of the storm—that’s what we were after here.”

This special edition is being designed by Orbit’s fabulous creative director, Lauren Panepinto, who adds, “One of the best things about working on The Witcher is the wealth of great scenes and characters—both human and mythological—that beg to be depicted. It has been very enjoyable for me to design this deluxe edition of The Last Wish around so many great artists who are also fans. There is a different artist for each of the seven stories (and maybe a bonus here and there), and each has a unique take on the characters within. The overall red and black palette will unify these diverse illustrations into a design-forward take on Sapkowski’s world. It’s been a joy to work with such a great team on such a fun project. Witcher fans are going to love seeing so many fresh views of these stories.”

The book is available for pre-order in the US and UK, so go ahead and toss a coin to your favorite bookstore!