Posts Tagged ‘anthony ryan’

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!

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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?

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Dragon Slayers Wanted

This summer, dragons are hotter (*ahem*) than ever. Orbit is celebrating all things scaly, fire-breathing and treasure-guarding by pairing readers with their ideal dragon-slaying quest. Looking for a bounty of gold and eternal glory? Or just up for a challenging fight? We can find the perfect dragon for every occasion. If you think you’re ready to defeat the beast, get your dragon slaying quest today.

Dragon Slayers Wanted

Plus we’re publishing three brand new titles over the next three months that feature magnificent drakes in one form or another: THE WAKING FIRE by Anthony Ryan (UK | AUS), DRAGON LORDS: FOOL’S GOLD by Jon Hollins (US | UK | AUS), and CHASING EMBERS by James Bennett (US | UK| AUS). Look out for these in a bookstore near you!Dragon Book Covers

 

Goodreads Choice Awards: the Semi-Finals

The semi-final round of voting for the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards is now open until 15 November, and we have ever more titles in this round than in the opening round! Get your votes in for your favourite fantasy, science fiction and horror books of 2014.

 

Fantasy – VOTE NOW

THE BROKEN EYE by Brent Weeks (UK | US |AUS)

SKIN GAME by Jim Butcher (UK | AUS)

NIGHT BROKEN by Patricia Briggs (UK | AUS)

SHATTERED by Kevin Hearne (UK | AUS)

TOWER LORD by Anthony Ryan (UK | AUS)

THE BROKEN EYE by Brent Weeks   SKIN GAME by Jim Butcher   NIGHT BROKEN   SHATTERED, the seventh Iron Druid book from Kevin Hearne, an urban fantasy series starting with Hounded   Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan

 

Science Fiction – VOTE NOW

CIBOLA BURN by James S. A. Corey (UK | US |AUS)

ANCILLARY SWORD by Ann Leckie (UK | US |AUS)

THE FIRST FIFTEEN LIVES OF HARRY AUGUST by Claire North (UK | US |AUS)

HEAVEN’S QUEEN by Rachel Bach (UK | US |AUS)

EARTH AWAKENS by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston (UK | AUS)

Corey_CibolaBurn_HC   Leckie_AncillarySword_TPB   The cover for The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North, a Richard and Judy Book Club 2014 pick   HEAVEN'S QUEEN by Rachel Bach   Earth Awakens, book three of The First Formic War series by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston - a prequel series to Ender's Game

 

Horror – VOTE NOW

THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS by M. R. Carey (UK | US |AUS)

THE RHESUS CHART by Charles Stross (UK | AUS)

The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey   THE RHESUS CHART by Charles Stross

 

The UK’s Bestselling Epic Fantasy Debut of 2013

Next week we’re delighted to publish the paperback edition of BLOOD SONG, which in the UK was the bestselling epic fantasy debut of 2013.

Anthony’s Ryan’s powerful tale of high adventure and deadly intrigue clearly struck a chord with readers, as the critical acclaim that followed the novel’s release was nothing short of astounding. BLOOD SONG currently has over a thousand 5* reviews on Amazon and was selected as Amazon UK’s favourite SFF novel from last year.

With the hugely anticipated sequel, TOWER LORD (UK), looming on the horizon, now is the perfect time to read the epic fantasy blockbuster that took readers by storm last summer. You can find the first chapter here, and an interview with Anthony here.

And if that’s not quite convinced you, then here’s some of the praise that BLOOD SONG has received:

‘An utterly engrossing high-fantasy epic from a major new talent that explores themes of war, faith, and loyalty amidst incredible action scenes and artfully developed characters’
BUZZFEED

‘A top contender for most impressive debut of the year. . . A powerful epic’
SFFWORLD

‘This is epic fantasy at its best with action, rivalries, espionage, the promise of future revelations and ever-present twists’
BOOKBAG

Just impossible to put down . . . Fast-paced, action-packed and character-driven’ FANTASY BOOK CRITIC

An instant sensation . . . an excellent start to this series’
READ DREAM RELAX

‘Smartly-written . . . Compelling’
SFX

‘BLOOD SONG delighted me again and again’
FANTASY FACTION

‘Well wrought characters, a fascinating world, and crackling prose . . . Not to be missed’
KING OF THE NERDS

‘One of the next master storytellers’
FANTASY BOOK REVIEW

‘I still love – and want – that feeling of completely absorbing escapism that good fantasy can supply – and BLOOD SONG brings it in force’
PORNOKITSCH

‘The next epic fantasy book everybody should read’
BLOTTED PAGES

Anthony Ryan lives in London and is a full time writer. You can find him online at his website and on Twitter.