Excerpt: THE EXPHORIA CODE by Antony Johnston (Lightning Books)

JohnstonA-BS1-ExphoriaCodeAntony Johnston is perhaps best known as the writer of The Coldest City, the graphic novel that was adapted into the Charlize Theron-starring Atomic Blonde. This week, Lightning Books is due to publish his first novel, The Exphoria Code, which sounds really interesting. The publisher has kindly allowed me to share the first chapter from the book. First, though, here’s the synopsis:

Brigitte Sharp, a cyber-espionage specialist with MI6, has been deskbound and in therapy for three years, after her first field mission in Syria went disastrously wrong. But now one of her best friends has been murdered, and Bridge believes his death is connected to strange posts appearing on the internet, carrying encrypted hidden messages.

When Bridge decodes the messages, she discovers evidence of a mole inside a top-secret Anglo-French military drone project. Her MI6 bosses force her back into the field, sending her undercover in France to find and expose the mole… who may also be her friend’s killer. But the truth behind the Exphoria code is worse than she could have imagined.

Soon she’s on the run, desperate and alone – as a nuclear terrorist plot unfolds and threatens everything Bridge has left to live for.

The Exphoria Code is the first novel in the author’s Brigitte Sharp series. Read on for Chapter 1…

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New Books (November-December)

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Featuring: Dan Abnett, Kent Anderson, K.C. Archer, Richard Baker, David Baldacci, Josiah Bancroft, Sue Burke, Alice Feeney, Leah Franqui, Stéphane Garnier, Robert Goolrick, Guy Haley, Jane Harris, Liska Jacobs, Maureen Johnson, Nick Kyme, Mario Vargas Llosa, David Mack, Sylvia Moreno-Garcia, James Patterson, Robert V.S. Redick, Christopher Reich, Josh Reynolds, Curtis Sittenfeld, Andy Weir, C.L. Werner

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Quick Review: THE ROOSTER BAR by John Grisham (Doubleday/Hodder)

GrishamJ-RoosterBarUSGrisham had an issue or two he wanted to talk about

Mark, Todd, and Zola came to law school to change the world, to make it a better place. But now, as third-year students, these close friends realize they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a third-tier, for-profit law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specializing in student loans, the three know they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam.

But maybe there’s a way out. Maybe there’s a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they would first have to quit school. And leaving law school a few short months before graduation would be completely crazy, right?

As long-time readers of Civilian Reader will know, Grisham is one of my favourite authors — even though I think he’s quite inconsistent. Some of his novels have been excellent, while others feel either rushed or bloodless. I enjoyed Camino Island, a fun and quickly-paced caper-type novel. In The Rooster Bar he returns to the genre that has made him a global bestseller: a legal thriller. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this as much as I’d hoped. Continue reading

Quick Reviews: ORDER TO KILL and ENEMY OF THE STATE by Kyle Mills (Atria/Emily Bestler)

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The latest two novels featuring Mitch Rapp, the CIA super-spy and assassin created by Vince Flynn. I’ve read all of the books in the series, and it remains one of my favourites. These are Mills’s second and third instalments, following The Survivor (which he finished following Flynn’s passing). Both novels show the author becoming ever-more comfortable with the character, developing him, his colleagues, and returning antagonists brilliantly. The series is in very safe hands. I really enjoyed both of these novels.

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Interview with DJANGO WEXLER

WexlerD-AuthorPicWelcome back to Civilian Reader. For new readers, let’s start with an introduction: Who is Django Wexler?

Hmm. Fantasy novelist, games enthusiast, student of history and economics, once and future programmer, cat wrangler. Something like that?

Your latest novel, The Infernal Battalion, will be published by Ace in January. It’s the fifth novel in your Shadow Campaigns series. How would you introduce the series to a new reader, and what can fans of the first four books expect from this new novel?

The Shadow Campaigns is military fantasy set in a Napoleonic world – muskets, cannon, cavalry, and subtle and hidden magic. It follows the spectacular career of Janus bet Vhalnich, a young officer who rises fast amidst a revolution, focusing on the men and women who follow him and where their loyalties truly lie. Continue reading

Interview with E.C. AMBROSE

AmbroseEC-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is E.C. Ambrose?

E.C. Ambrose writes The Dark Apostle series of adventure-based historical fantasy novels, beginning with Elisha Barber from DAW Books. An art school drop-out, the author is both a graduate of and an instructor for the Odyssey Writing workshop, and a participant in the Codex on-line neo-pro writers’ workshop. In addition to writing, E. C. works as an adventure guide, teaching rock climbing and leading hiking, kayaking, climbing and mountain biking camps. Past occupations include founding a wholesale business, selecting stamps for a philatelic company, selling equestrian equipment, and portraying the Easter Bunny on weekends.

Your latest novel, Elisha Daemon, will be published by DAW in February 2018. It’s the fifth novel in your Dark Apostle series. How would you introduce the series to a potential reader? And what can fans of the previous novels expect from the newest instalment?

The Dark Apostle is an adventure-based historical fantasy series about medieval surgery.  These books enter some grim territory, being true to the reality of 14th century life and medicine — the research was half the fun! Writing Elisha Daemon was a special challenge because it had to hit bigger and harder than the previous volumes and reveal the perfect climax for all of Elisha’s struggles. The perfect ending is both surprising (“Wow, I didn’t see that coming!’) and inevitable (“Of course that’s what had to happen!”).  I’m hoping I nailed it. It brings together old and new characters with the culmination of some of the ideas I’ve been playing with throughout the books. Continue reading

Upcoming: ALTERED CARBON (Netflix)

Richard K. Morgan shared the above trailer on Twitter, and it kind of made my day. This coming February, Netflix will release Altered Carbon, their TV adaptation of Richard Morgan’s novel of the same name. I am very much looking forward to this. Continue reading