Archive for Fiction

The Monster in the Mirror

Hardcore horror fans are sometimes dismissive of “creature features” – horror narratives that build their scare tactics around a monster.  Obviously there’s a very respected classical canon of monsters (vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons . . . ) that sit close to the heart of the horror genre and partially define it.  But then there’s a host of other beasties that are exiled to the outer darkness – or the Black Lagoon, 40,000 fathoms, outer space, the Korean sewer system, wherever it was they came from in the first place.

I can see the distinction, to be honest.  You look at a vampire (sparkly or not) and you think horror.  You look at the spiky cactus beast from The Quatermass Experiment, or the lolloping mutant in The Host, or Godzilla stomping on a toy Tokyo, and you think sci-fi.  Or depending on your tastes, maybe you think “that tea isn’t going to make itself . . . ”

There’s a deeper distinction to be drawn, though.  It concerns our relationship with the monster and the reaction that it draws from us.  Creature features are predominantly about spectacle, and they probably share more DNA with thrillers than with horror stories.  They can be scary, but it’s a fairly uncomplicated fear.  The fear of being eaten, say, or having your head ripped off.  Monsters in horror have the potential to scare us or challenge us in different ways. (more…)

THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE by Terry Brooks

The High Druid's Blade, a brand new stand-alone novel from master fantasy writer Terry Brooks, the first Defenders of Shannara novelComing in March is something new and very exciting from one of the all-time greats of epic fantasy writing.

THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE is a brand new title from Terry Brooks. It’s the first Defenders of Shannara novel – one of three new stand-alone novels set in his thrilling world of Shannara.

Here for the first time is our UK version of the cover in all its glory, using the stunning artwork from illustrator Bastien Lecouffe Deharme. We feel this new look is just right for Terry’s books – it’s fresh and dynamic and really reflects how Terry’s writing is as breath-taking as ever.

THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE features a brand new hero Paxon Leah – a young man who believes himself to be ordinary, but fate will prove him to be very different indeed . . . It’s one of the most exciting fantasy stories I’ve read in a long time! Secrets are revealed, powers are unleashed, and you’ll see a whole new side to Shannara you never knew existed. Read on for the blurb:

Legend has it that Paxon Leah is descended from the royals and warriors who once waged war with magical weapons. But those heroes are long gone now, and there is nothing enchanted about the antique sword that hangs above Paxon’s fireplace. Paxon leads a quiet life – until extraordinary circumstances overturn his simple world . . . and rewrite his destiny.
 
When his sister is abducted by a mysterious stranger, Paxon races to her rescue with the only weapon he can find. He is stunned to discover powerful magic unleashed within him – and within his ancestors’ ancient blade.

But his formidable new ability is dangerous in untrained hands. Paxon must master it quickly, as his near-fatal clash with a dark sorcerer won’t be his last. Leaving behind home and hearth, he journeys to the keep of the Druid order to learn the secrets of magic and earn the right to become their sworn protector . . .

Witch Wraith, book 3 int he Dark Legacy of Shannara by Terry Brooks, which starts with Wards of Faerie and Bloodfire QuestAlso, don’t forget that the paperback edition of the last book in Terry’s Dark Legacy of Shannara series, WITCH WRAITH, is released on the last day of this year. It’s a perfect end to the series, and a great way to round off 2013!

The astounding reaction to THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS

We have been amazed to see the overwhelming outpouring of love The Girl With All the Gifts. It’s not even out yet but it proves this will be the book that everyone will be talking about in 2014.

We wanted to show you a range of the incredible feedback we’ve been getting – from fellow authors, such as John Ajvide Lindqvist, the author of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, from booksellers in the UK and from across the world, from people within publishing, and from just about every type of person you can think of. It’s amazing to see how many people this book is wowing well ahead of its publication.

Here is just a small selection of what people have been saying:

 

 

AUTHORS:

 ‘A great read that takes hold of you and doesn´t let go’

John Ajvide Lindqvist, author of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

 ‘Brilliant . . . Gripping right to the end’

SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author Carole Matthews

 ‘Both tender and devastating, a page-turner which kept me guessing up to the very last scene, as well as a meditation on what it means to be human . . . Fantastically enjoyable’

Naomi Alderman, multi-award winning novelist

‘Kazuo Ishiguro meets The Walking Dead – I loved this’

SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author Jenny Colgan

 BOOKSELLERS:

‘Thrilling, heart-breaking and clever, this is an end of the world story with a difference . . . I loved this and would recommend it to everyone’ (more…)

LAST TO RISE – the stunning conclusion to the Rojan Dizon novels

Released today is LAST TO RISE, the third and final novel in the Rojan Dizon series by Francis Knight, following FADE TO BLACK and BEFORE THE FALL. The ending to this action fantasy series is intensely powerful and moving.

Things are at breaking point for the towering vertical city of Mahala. It has long been a city plagued by corruption, by the exploitation of the weakest – where the pain of the downtrodden has endlessly paid for the whims and fancies of the privileged elite.

But now things are reaching boiling point – as the city is under siege and Rojan’s desperate efforts to save the city using his forbidden magic are driving him further and further into the depths of madness. Although he’d gladly see this city burn, he will give his all to save those who mean something to him – as they’re all he’s got left.

This quote from Publisher’s Weekly really sums up how magnificent it is:

Knight’s Rojan Dizon trilogy conclusion presses its growing cast of characters into intense moments of loyalty and sacrifice to close with a sharp turn into darker, more rewarding territory . . . With Rojan’s best friend anchoring him to humanity on one side and his exhausting, bloody, agonizing magic driving him closer to insanity on the other, the novel takes on a propulsive, fractured energy that mirrors Rojan and Mahala’s increasingly frantic struggle for survival.

The series, which has grown in complexity since the beginning, reaches a profoundly moving conclusion that is both unexpected and entirely satisfying.

If you haven’t picked up the Rojan Dizon novels yet (starting with FADE TO BLACK) I urge you to give them a go, as it’s one of the most dynamic and readable series around from a very promising new British fantasy talent.

Fade to Black, book 1 in the Rojan Dizon series by Francis Knight, perfect for fans of Scott Lynch and Douglas Hulick Before the Fall, book 2 in the Rojan Dizon series following Fade to Black by Francis Knight, perfect for fans of Scott Lynch and Douglas Hulick

 

A Big Easy Halloween

“Some cities are naturally holiday cities. London is a Christmas city. Paris is a Valentine’s Day city. And no place in the world is a Halloween city more than New Orleans.” –The opening lines of “RUSTED VEINS (US | UK)

While I am a huge fan of both New Orleans and Halloween, I not yet had the good luck to be in the Big Easy on All Hallow’s Eve. However, I’ve been to NOLA many, many times over the last decade, and I’ve researched the city’s Halloween traditions extensively (for my book GREEN-EYED DEMON [US | UK | AUS]). Even though we can’t all just drop everything and go to New Orleans to celebrate Halloween this year, it doesn’t mean we can’t bring it to our own houses.

I am not exactly a party planner (except for fictional ones where budget is no object), but I do love to attend a good party, so I’ve put together my dream New Orleans-themed Halloween party. I’m tempted to throw this party to celebrate the release of my Sabina Kane Halloween novella “Rusted Veins.” Since it is available this week and happens to be set in New Orleans, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

The Invites:

chicken footTie a calligraphied invite to a chicken foot or gris-gris bag for a charming voodoo touch. If it’s in the budget, have a second line band deliver them door-to-door while playing a funeral dirge.

The Music:

  • “Bloodletting” by Concrete Blonde
  • “Hoodoo” by Muse
  • “Voodoo Child” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • “The Witch Queen of New Orleans” by Tom Jones
  • “504” by the Old 97s
  • “Louisiana Blues” by Muddy Waters
  • “Apache Rose Peacock” Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Costumes:

Guests will be invited to dress as their favorite real or fictional New Orleans resident. I’ve included some suggestions below.marie laveau

For the ladies:

  • Marie Laveau, Voodoo Priestess
  • Madame Delphine Lalaurie, Famous murderess
  • Lulu White, famous Storyville Madam
  • Blanch DuBois or Stella Kowalski from Streetcar Named Desire
  • Anne Rice, author
  • Bella Donna Boudreaux, from X-Men (more…)

John Charming returns in PUSHING LUCK by Elliott James!

“I loved this book from start to finish.  Exciting and innovative, CHARMING is a great introduction to a world I look forward to spending a lot more time in.” – Seanan McGuire

I’m sure by now all of you have read and are as enthralled by Elliott James’s CHARMING (US | UK | AUS)  as I am, anxiously counting down the days until book two comes out. If this sounds like you, then the release of the newest Pax Arcana short story, PUSHING LUCK, should help you bear the wait.

PUSHING LUCK is the third in a series of short stories from our wonderful author, Elliott James, introducing us to John Charming. John is a descendant of a long line Charmings—an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch finders, and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern-day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chain mail and crossbows to Kevlar and shotguns, John Charming was one of the best—until a curse made him one of the abominations the Knights were sworn to hunt.

In PUSHING LUCK, while trying to make money off the grid, John Charming stumbles upon an underground poker tournament where the hors d’oeuvres are made of human flesh and the players are gambling with much more than their money. All bets are off.

“Loved it! Charming is a giant gift basket of mythology and lore delivered by a brilliant new voice in urban fantasy. Elliott James tells stories that are action-packed, often amusing, and always entertaining.” – Kevin Hearne, author of Hounded

PUSHING LUCK is out now in the US and releases in the UK on October 31st.

The pack goes wild for COLD BLOODED by Amanda Carlson

Some of the characters in Amanda Carlson’s new novel COLD BLOODED ( US | UK | ANZ) may be as cold as they come, but the reviews this new book is getting are hot hot hot!

If you’re into urban fantasy and paranormal romance of any kind but haven’t yet checked out the Jessica McClain novels (which begin with FULL BLOODED (US | UK | ANZ), look below to see what you’re missing! Fans of the likes of Patricia Briggs, Rachel Caine, Ilona Andrews and Chloe Neill will love this . . .

‘Cold Blooded starts with a bang and the action keeps coming right up until the final pages. Jess now faces her most perilous journey yet, where the stakes have never been higher. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for her next’ VAMPIRE BOOK CLUB

‘I’ve fallen in love with Jessica, and her loyalty to those around her and willingness to do what it takes to keep them safe. I’m thrilled to be following her as she figures out this whole werewolf thing . . . And yes, it is as hot as you were likely expecting it would be.’ ALL THINGS URBAN FANTASY

‘If you haven’t tried this series, I highly recommend it. It is great for people who like strong female leads, werewolves and a lot of action. If you’ve enjoyed Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, The Hollows by Kim Harrison, Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane and Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs, then I think you’ll love this book’ HOT LISTENS

‘Cold Blooded was a fun, action-packed book with the right amount of romance, adventure, and twists to keep me firmly planted as part of the Pack’ SHE WOLF READS

‘Cold Blooded is the third book in Amanda Carlson’s Jessica McClain series and this one people is my favorite to date . . . Really cool . . . Red Blooded is up next sometime in 2014 and I can’t wait to read it’ YUMMY MEN AND KICK ASS CHICKS

‘It’s intense action start to finish and I’m ready for more’ HAPPILY EVER AFTER READS

DOG-GONE by Elliott James: read it free for thirty days!

“Grab some snacks and settle back as splendid debut author James serves up a Prince Charming tale yanked sideways.” – RT Book Reviews

Who is John Charming? That’s a complicated question best answered by the man himself, but what I can tell you is that CHARMING and its connecting short fiction are tremendous fun. Here is a free preview of one of Elliott James’s short fiction, a prequel story to the upcoming novel CHARMING.

Somewhere in Alaska a locked house full of ripped apart bodies and one teacup poodle covered in blood. Somewhere in Alaska, the voice of a dead woman speaks through a car radio. And somewhere in Alaska, the last surviving descendant of one of John Charming’s only friends is being pursued by nightmare hounds. The dog days have begun.

DOG-GONE will only be available on OrbitBooks.net for a limited time. After that, you’ll have to wait until February to purchase a copy for your e-reader, but we’re convinced that once you’ve been introduced to the series, you’ll be anxious for more. We’ve gotten some terrific reviews for the first book. If you like urban fantasy, CHARMING is a “must read” this September.

Read DOG-GONE by Elliot James or check out the newly released short story, DON’T GO CHASING WATERFALLS.

More Praise for CHARMING:

“This debut introduces a self-deprecating, wisecracking, and honorable-to-a-fault hero who can stand up to such established protagonists as Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden and Seanan McGuire’s October Daye. Combining action and romance — with an emphasis on action — this is a top-notch new series opener for lovers of urban fantasy.” – Library Journal (starred review)

“In a saturated literary realm, James’s tale stands out for the gritty, believable world he builds, and provides a reason for the genre’s renewed strength. This is masculine urban fantasy in the vein of Jim Butcher and Mark del Franco.” – Booklist

More Short Fiction by Elliot James: 

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August
September
September: NEWLY RELEASED!
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October

 

 

 

New Short Fiction: THE HEIST by Will McIntosh

Orbit signed up Will McIntosh for the terrifically imaginative novels LOVE MINUS EIGHTY (US | UK | AUS)and DEFENDERS (coming in 2014), but we never forgot that he is a supremely talented short story writer with an amazing range. In fact both novels began as short stories that were so rich and brimming with ideas that they begged to be expanded. The same could be said of any of his shorter work.

In THE HEIST (US | UK)  the Hugo Award-winning author uses an uncanny Las Vegas caper to talk about friendship, regret, and the human desire for just a little bit more time. It’s funny, sweet, heartfelt, and wholly original.

Also, if you liked “THE HEIST don’t miss McIntosh’s other short story in the Orbit Short Fiction program, THE PERIMETER (US | UK)

ENDER’S GAME – get your hands on the film edition

The time is almost upon us.

The film version of ENDER’S GAME – one of the most popular and critically acclaimed science fiction novels ever written – will be out in the UK on 25th October .

To celebrate, we’re very pleased to present the final cover for our Orbit film tie-in edition – available from 3rd October.

Starring Harrison Ford as Colonel Hyrum Graff, Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham and Asa Butterfield as the child prodigy Ender himself, we have very high hopes for this movie. The trailer looks spectacular – check out the latest extended version if you haven’t seen it yet.

You can also keep up to date with news on the film on the Ender’s Game Facebook page.

And if you haven’t read the worldwide bestselling, award-winning book behind this film yet, read a free extract to find out what you’re missing.