Upcoming: “Innocence” & “Wilderness” by Dean Koontz (Harper Collins/Bantam)

KoontzD-Innocence

Dean Koontz is an author who I have been familiar with for years (it’s hard to miss his novels in the SFF and Crime sections of any bookstore in – at least – the English-speaking world). And yet, I have never read anything by him. I think this novel, though, could change that. It sounds great. And, I’ll admit, the UK cover caught my eye – well played, Harper Collins Design Team. Well played. Then I saw the US cover (on the right), and I was even more smitten. Here’s the synopsis:

Addison Goodheart is not like other people…

Addison Goodheart lives in solitude beneath the city, an exile from a society which will destroy him if he is ever seen.

Books are his refuge and his escape: he embraces the riches they have to offer. By night he leaves his hidden chambers and, through a network of storm drains and service tunnels, makes his way into the central library.

And that is where he meets Gwyneth, who, like Addison, also hides her true appearance and struggles to trust anyone.

But the bond between them runs deeper than the tragedies that have scarred their lives. Something more than chance − and nothing less than destiny − has brought them together in a world whose hour of reckoning is fast approaching.

Innocence is due to be published in the UK December 10th 2013 (eBook), and on January 2nd 2014 (Hardcover) – according to Amazon UK. The novel is due to be published in the US by Bantam, also on December 10th 2013.

KoontzD-WildernessIn the meantime – and, if like me, you’ve never read anything by Koontz – the author has written a prequel novella! It’s called The Wilderness, and is published on October 29th 2013 in both the UK and US. Here’s the synopsis for the novella:

Addison Goodheart is a mystery even to himself. He was born in an isolated home surrounded by a deep forest, never known to his father, kept secret from everyone but his mother, who barely accepts him. She is haunted by private demons and keeps many secrets—none of which she dreads more than the young son who adores her.

Only in the woods, among the wildlife, is Addison truly welcome. Only there can he be at peace. Until the day he first knows terror, the day when his life changes radically and forever…

Upcoming: FORTUNE’S PAWN, HONOUR’S KNIGHT & HEAVEN’S QUEEN by Rachel Bach (Orbit)

Rachel Bach is the science-fiction pseudonym for Rachel Aaron, the author of the humourous, fun (and therefore recommended) The Legend of Eli Monpress fantasy series – which started with The Spirit Thief. Orbit Books (who publish the Monpress novels) will be releasing Rachel’s Paradox series over the next few months. The first three novels, Fortune’s Pawn, Honour’s Knight, and Heaven’s Queen have already received covers, which are below.

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Here is the synopsis for Fortune’s Pawn:

Devi Morris isn’t your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It’s a combination that’s going to get her killed one day – but not just yet.

That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn’t misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she’s found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn’t give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.

Also on CR: Interview with Rachel Aaron

Upcoming: “The Violent Century” by Lavie Tidhar (Hodder)

This is one of my most-anticipated books of the year. Which is great, because I started reading the ARC today! Hopefully, therefore, I’ll get the review up next week. Hodder unveiled the cover today, so here it is…

Tidhar-TheViolentCentury

I really like it, too. Atmospheric, a classic-feel, and I think the limited colour palette was an excellent Idea. Here’s the synopsis:

They’d never meant to be heroes.

For seventy years they guarded the British Empire. Oblivion and Fogg, inseparable friends, bound together by a shared fate. Until one night in Berlin, in the aftermath of the Second World War, and a secret that tore them apart.

But there must always be an account… and the past has a habit of catching up to the present.

Now, recalled to the Retirement Bureau from which no one can retire, Fogg and Oblivion must face up to a past of terrible war and unacknowledged heroism – a life of dusty corridors and secret rooms, of furtive meetings and blood-stained fields – to answer one last, impossible question:

What makes a hero?

Upcoming: “Master of Dragons” by Chris Wraight & “The Great Betrayal” by Nick Kyme (Black Library)

Wraight-MasterOfDragonsIt seems like Chris Wraight is having a very good, busy year. Alongside his Space Wolves and Horus Heresy work, he has a couple of Warhammer fantasy novels coming out, too. Today, I want to highlight Master of Dragons, part of the Time of Legends series, which is due to be published by Black Library in November 2013. Here’s the synopsis…

The epic war between dwarfs and elves continues.

For millennia, the elves of Ulthuan and the dwarfs of the mountain realm have been friends and allies. Now that time is over and the War of Vengeance has begun. Prince Imladrik, master of dragons and Ulthuan’s finest warrior, is ordered to leave his beloved homeland and lead his host in a war he does not believe in. Facing the fury of the dwarfs, the jealousy of his brother and the ever-present threat of Malekith’s dark elves, Imladrik must balance his love for his wife and home with the thrill of battle.

I’ve read a fair bit of Wraight’s work, now, and I’m really looking forward to this novel. After all: dragons! I really must catch up with his Space Wolf novels, too (Blood of Asaheim and the upcoming Stormcaller – both of which I’ll post about tomorrow)… If you want a taste of his work with the High Elves, be sure to check out his novella, Dragonmage.

Kyme-WoV1-GreatBetrayal2I think the novel is a sequel (of sorts) to Nick Kyme’s The Great Betrayal, which is also getting a re-issue in the same month. Here’s the synopsis for that novel…

The war between dwarfs and elves that shaped the Warhammer world begins.

Thousands of years before the rise of men, the dwarfs and elves are stalwart allies and enjoy an era of unrivalled peace and prosperity. But when dwarf trading caravans are attacked and their merchants slain, the elves are accused of betrayal. Quick to condemn the people of Ulthuan as traitors, the mountain lords nevertheless try to prevent conflict, but the elves’ arrogance undoes any chance of reconciliation and war is inevitable. At the city of Tor Alessi a vast army stands against the dwarfs. Here Snorri Halfhand, son of the High King of the dwarfs, will meet his destiny against the elven King Caledor as the first blow is struck in a conflict that could bring about the fall of two great civilisations.

Trailer: “THOR: THE DARK WORLD” Movie

Really looking forward to this! I enjoyed the first Thor movie a lot more than I anticipated (to be fair, I didn’t know much about the Marvel version of the character).

An Interview with MICHAEL MARTINEZ

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Michael Martinez is the author of the highly anticipated (in my opinion) The Daedalus Incident. I actually also already have a copy of the book, but have been dreadfully negligent about getting around to actually reading it. I will endeavour to rectify this as soon as possible. In the meantime, I thought it would be nice to interview Michael, as I’ve chatted a fair bit with him via Twitter and he seems like a great fellow. So, read on!

Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Michael J. Martinez?

Well, I’m the new guy on the block, I suppose. I’ve been a professional writer for more than two decades, primarily as a journalist. A few years back, I got it in my head that I could try writing a novel. It seemed healthier and less expensive than your typical mid-life crisis hobbies. To my surprise, it worked out quite nicely

I thought we’d start with your fiction: Your new novel, The Daedalus Incident, was recently published by Night Shade Books. How would you introduce the novel to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

The Daedalus Incident combines my love of science fiction with my appreciation for that great tradition of British naval fiction – Horatio Hornblower, Jack Aubrey and the like. It’s about two settings: a future mining colony on Mars, and a historical fantasy in the late 18th century in which sailing ships ply the Void between the planets of our Solar System. Thanks to the machinations of an evil alchemist and an alien warlord, the two worlds are colliding – and may be ripped apart in the process.

Honestly, I just tell people I’m crashing a Royal Navy frigate into Mars. That tends to be enough to capture interest.

Ideally, this will be the first of a series. Both C.S. Forester and Patrick O’Brian both produced strong series based on the Napoleonic era, and I hope to do a little of that as well.

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What inspired you to write the novel? And where do you draw your inspiration from in general?

The specific inspiration for the book came from a poster advertising Treasure Planet more than a decade ago. The movie, of course, was deeply flawed, but it gave me the idea of sailing ships in space. I just decided to make it more adult and more realistic, but also an homage to those historical novels as well.

Generally, I find myself inspired by non-fiction, anything from news stories to Wikipedia. Something will just strike me as interesting or cool, and I’ll write it down so I can use it later.

How were you introduced to genre fiction?

StarWars-4-ANewHopeStar Wars and Dungeons & Dragons were pretty much my childhood, so it was easy to go from that to reading great genre fiction. It’s been a constant in my life.

How do you enjoy being a writer and working within the publishing industry? Do you have any specific working, writing, researching practices?

Being a writer and working with the publishing industry are two very different things. I’ve been a professional writer my whole adult life, so my writing practices are pretty well established. I outline in a good amount of detail, and I chunk out the writing into sections that I can clear in a reasonable day’s effort. It’s the journalist in me. I need that sense of accomplishment before I walk away from the keyboard. And I’m an inveterate researcher, again likely due to the journalism background.

Working within the publishing industry is a different beast altogether. The artist in me writes books. My dealings with the industry are pretty much business-focused. I see my publisher as a business partner, with each of us having a vested interest in putting out a great product and treating each other fairly. Thankfully, I have a fantastic agent, Sara Megibow, who pretty much takes care of that aspect of it, and I’m fairly well versed in marketing. So it works out well.

When did you realize you wanted to be an author, and what was your first foray into writing? Do you still look back on it fondly?

I never really thought I had the chops to be a novelist. I’d written thousands of newspaper articles, dozens of magazine pieces and a couple of non-fiction business books. But I had the idea that became Daedalus for a long time, and it ended up being my first foray into fiction. When I started writing it up, the switch went on. I mean, that first draft was crap, but it was a completed first draft. Getting over that first-draft hump was big for me.

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What’s your opinion of the genre today, and where do you see your work fitting into it?

This is a great time to be writing SF/F. The genre is growing in popularity and becoming more mainstream. There’s genre fiction that is just so amazing and beautiful and well-crafted that it blows my mind. It’s more akin to literary fiction than anything else. And yet you still have that really fun, adventure-driven fiction as well, and Daedalus definitely fits into that latter category. That doesn’t mean you can’t have nuance and craft in adventure stories, but I definitely like a good ride, and that’s what I write.

What other projects are you working on, and what do you have currently in the pipeline?

I’m currently serializing a novella, The Gravity of the Affair, on my website. While Daedalus was delayed, I wanted to give folks a taste of the setting and the style, so I decided to put that story out there. I have a couple other things in the works that…well, there are things afoot, so I don’t want to jinx it. Suffice it to say, the reception Daedalus has garnered is lovely, and has been noticed. ‘Nuff said for now.

What are you reading at the moment (fiction, non-fiction)?

Scalzi-HumanDivisionI’m one of those terrible authors who actually doesn’t read a book a week. Or even a book a month. I’m woefully behind on my fiction reading, but only because I’ve been spending my free time fiction writing. I have a family and a career outside all this, so there’s only so much time in the day! Plus, I’m big on re-reading; it’s like comfort food. In terms of non-fiction, I’ve been doing research on a few different projects. Telling you the exact books would be a bit of a cheat, really. That said, I cleared John Scalzi’s The Human Division in pretty much one sitting, on the trip back from the Nebulas. It’s a very quick read for the length, and I learned some writerly things along the way.

What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?

Most of my day-job writing is about business and finance. I could probably go for an MBA if the thought of taking math classes and writing a master’s thesis didn’t put me off. I also brew my own beer and I’m weak around barbecue.

What are you most looking forward to in the next twelve months?

I’m looking forward to attending my first WorldCon in San Antonio in August. And I’ll be very interested to see if I can sell another book, so that I can claim that this whole fiction thing is a repeatable phenomena and not simply a fluke.

*

The Daedalus Incident is available now as an eBook, and will be published in physical editions in August 2013.

Upcoming: “The Age of Ice” by J.M. Sidorova (Scribner)

Sidorova-TheAgeOfIceUKThis looks like an interesting novel. It has already been described as “boldly original and genrebending”, and it will apparently take readers “from the grisly fields of the Napoleonic Wars to the blazing heat of Afghanistan, from the outer reaches of Siberia to the cacophonous streets of nineteenth-century Paris”. Colour me very much intrigued…

The Empress Anna Ioannovna has issued her latest eccentric order: construct a palace out of ice blocks. Inside its walls her slaves build a wedding chamber, a canopy bed on a dais, heavy drapes cascading to the floor — all made of ice. Sealed inside are a disgraced nobleman and a deformed female jester. On the empress’s command — for her entertainment — these two are to be married, the relationship consummated inside this frozen prison. In the morning, guards enter to find them half-dead. Nine months later, two boys are born.

Surrounded by servants and animals, Prince Alexander Velitzyn and his twin brother, Andrei, have an idyllic childhood on the family’s large country estate. But as they approach manhood, stark differences coalesce. Andrei is daring and ambitious; Alexander is tentative and adrift. One frigid winter night on the road between St. Petersburg and Moscow, as he flees his army post, Alexander comes to a horrifying revelation: his body is immune to cold.

The Age of Ice is published by Scribner in the UK, and will be out near the end of July 2013.

Upcoming: “Gallow” Trilogy by Nathan Hawke (Gollancz)

HawkeN-Gallow1-CrimsonShieldI caught a tweet the other day from Gollancz’s publicist that copies of the first book in Nathan Hawke’s Gallow series had arrived in their office (oh, how they tease us bibliophiles…). Naturally, this made me seek out some more information about the series. It sounds pretty cool, too. The series is comprised of THE CRIMSON SHIELD, COLD REDEMPTION, and LAST BASTION, and will be published in July, August, and September (respectively). I do like it when publishers release series in quick succession…

Here’s the first synopsis…

I have been Truesword to my friends, Griefbringer to my enemies. To most of you I am just another Northlander bastard here to take your women and drink your mead, but to those who know me, my name is Gallow. I fought for my king for seven long years. I have served lords and held my shield beside common men. I have fled in defeat and I have tasted victory and I will tell you which is sweeter. Despise me then, for I have slain more of your kin than I can count, though I remember every single face.

For my king I will travel to the end of the world. I will find the fabled Crimson Shield so that his legions may carry it to battle, and when Sword and Shield must finally clash, there you will find me. I will not make pacts with devils or bargains with demons for I do not believe in such things, and yet I will see them all around me, in men and in their deeds. Remember me then, for I will not suffer such monsters to live.

Even if they are the ones I serve.

The one thing I’m not sure about is whether or not this is fantasy or historical, or a blend of the two… Nevertheless, this sounds pretty interesting. I’ll try to get my hands on the books to review on the site. Between these and Snorri Kristjansson’s Swords of Good Men, I may come over all Viking this summer…

Here are the other two covers (all three were done by Alejandro Colucci):

Hawke-Gallow2&3

Here’s the synopsis for book two, as well (still waiting for the third synopsis to surface on the internets…):

I fought against your people, and I have fought for them. I have killed, and I have murdered. I betrayed my kin and crippled my king. I led countless warriors to their deaths and fought to save one worthless life. I have stood against monsters and men and I cannot always tell the difference.

Fate carried me away from your lands, from the woman and the family I love. Three hellish years but now, finally, I may return. I hope I will find them waiting for me. I hope they will remember me while all others forget. Let my own people believe me dead, lest they hunt me down. Let me return in the dark and in the shadows so no one will know.

But hope is rare and fate is cruel. And if I have to, I will fight.

Upcoming: “Jupiter War” by Neal Asher (Tor)

AsherN-O3-JupiterWarUKThe highly-anticipated third book in Neal Asher’s Owner Trilogy

Alan Saul is now part-human and part-machine, and our solar system isn’t big enough to hold him. He craves the stars, but can’t leave yet. His sister Var is trapped on Mars, on the wrong side of a rebellion, and Saul’s human side won’t let her die. He must leave Argus Station to stage a dangerous rescue – but mutiny is brewing onboard, as Saul’s robots make his crew feel increasingly redundant. Serene Galahad will do anything to prevent Saul’s escape. Earth’s ruthless dictator hides her crimes from a cowed populace as she readies new warships for pursuit. She aims to crush her enemy in a terrifying display of interstellar violence. Meanwhile, The Scourge limps back to earth, its crew slaughtered, its mission to annihilate Saul a disaster. There are survivors, but while one seeks Galahad’s death, Clay Ruger will negotiate for his life. Events build to a climax as Ruger holds humanity’s greatest prize – seeds to rebuild a dying Earth. This stolen gene-bank data will come at a price, but what will Galahad pay for humanity’s future?

Jupiter War will be published by Tor UK, on September 26th, 2013.