I’m a big fan of Sam Sykes‘s work. I first stumbled across his debut, Tome of the Undergates in a bookstore in Durham, and flicked through the first few pages. It was funny, violent, and very well-written. (Also, the novel turned out to start with possibly the longest battle scene ever…) “Funny, violent and well-written” is a great way to describe all of his work — each of his novels so far has had a dark humour running through it that sets it apart from many of his contemporaries. (Black Halo, the second in his Aeons Gate trilogy, has one of my favourite sequences in any series — it involves a fight with an imaginary monkey, and a conversation with a companion about it later.) I’ve also been following him on Twitter for years (highly recommended, even if you’re not a fan of his books). Next year, in May, his new novel Seven Blades in Black is due to be published by Orbit (North America) and Gollancz (UK). It’s not clear if this is the start of a new series or a stand-alone, but it certainly sounds really interesting:
Among humans, none have power like mages. And among mages, none have will like Sal the Cacophony. Once revered, now vagrant, she walks a wasteland scarred by generations of magical warfare.
The Scar, a land torn between powerful empires, is where rogue mages go to disappear, disgraced soldiers go to die and Sal went with a blade, a gun and a list of names she intended to use both on.
But vengeance is a flame swift extinguished. Betrayed by those she trusted most, her magic torn from her and awaiting execution, Sal the Cacophony has one last tale to tell before they take her head.
All she has left is her name, her story and the weapon she used to carved both.
Vengeance is its own reward.
Seven Blades in Black is definitely among my most-anticipated novels of 2019. In addition to the Aeons Gate novels, you can also pick up the follow-up trilogy, Bring Down Heaven (also published by Orbit and Gollancz).