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Cover launch: THE GREY BASTARDS by Jonathan French


The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French book cover

What do you get when you cross:

Orcs  +  visceral action  +  a filthy, sardonic voice  + giant war pigs…?


Today we’re officially launching the cover for THE GREY BASTARDS (UK|ANZ) by Jonathan French – designed by artist and photographer Larry Rostant, along with Little, Brown Book Group creative director Duncan Spilling.

THE GREY BASTARDS is a debut that’s down, dirty and damn good fun. It’s a must-read for fantasy fans in 2018.

You might have heard of this book already because it won Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off – meaning it was selected by a panel of top fantasy bloggers as the winner from a shortlist of exceptional fantasy submissions.

You might have heard some of the things people have been saying about it:

‘Frankly excellent’ Mark Lawrence

‘A bloody good tale of battle, betrayal and war pigs’ Brian McClellan

‘Jonathan French has to be lauded for his plot ingenuity, bawdry charm and vicious characters. The Grey Bastards has instantaneously catapulted him into my must-read list’ Fantasy Book Critic

Fans of Abercrombie’s The First Law . . . will like this a lot’ Django Wexler

‘I’d like to raise a tankard to The Grey Bastards’ brilliance’ Fantasy Faction

Or you might have heard the Bastard’s war cry echoing through the interwebs: LIVE IN THE SADDLE, DIE ON THE HOG!

Whether you know about this book already or are just encountering it for the first time, one thing’s for sure: once you join the Bastards, you’ll never look back.

Available for pre-order now. Follow Jonathan French on Twitter here.

author post

Picturing the Orcs

If I was castaway on that mythical desert island with a single palm tree beloved of cartoonists I’d want to be washed ashore with a crate of books.  But that shouldn’t be taken as an admission that I regard other mediums, such as movies, and in particular comicbooks, as any less legitimate.  Which is why I was so thrilled at the prospect of an Orcs graphic novel.

I owe artist and film director Joann Sfar my thanks for kicking it off.  Joann, a leading light in the new wave of French comicbook creators, recommended my Orcs novels to Mark Siegel, Editorial Director of First Second Books, an imprint dedicated to publishing high-quality graphic novels.  I loved the idea of moving my concept and characters into a different medium, and Mark suggested that rather than adapt any of the existing novels I might like to come up with a new story.

While I was putting it together, Mark was busy auditioning artists, and eventually choose Joe Flood, best known for his HELLCITY strip.

I’d worked on two graphic novels before, back in the ’90s, when I adapted David Gemmell’s LEGEND AND WOLF IN SHADOW into graphic novel form.  I also wrote a handful of short strips for comicbooks.  What I did then was write scripts in the traditional way.  I described what a panel should show and what should go in dialogue balloons and captions of exposition.  But this wasn’t an adaptation like the Gemmell books; it was an original story.  I had to assume that at least a portion of the graphic novel’s readership would be coming to my orcs universe for the first time.  I felt I needed to introduce new readers to the set-up and the point of view I was adopting.  I also had to convey to Joe the feeling I wanted to put over – the texture of the story, if you like.  So I decided to write the thing as a short story, a fully rendered piece of fiction, as I might if it was intended to be published in an anthology.  It ended up running to over 20,000 words, and was called FIT FOR PURPOSE at that stage.  Later, it became ORCS: FORGED FOR WAR.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Orcs are Coming!

Stan Nicholls’ ORCS is one of the most entertaining fantasy books of recent years. The idea is simple: take fantasy’s ultimate bad guys (the orcs); add a teaspoon of compassion, followed by a great big dollop of aggression. Sit back and enjoy the fun. ORCS has already been a huge bestseller, with worldwide sales rapidly approaching a million copies. Orbit will be unleashing them for the first time in the US this September. And do we love this cover? We certainly do.

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