Upcoming: THE BEAR AND THE SERPENT by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor)

TchaikovskyA-Bear&TheSerpentUK

A few days ago, Adrian Tchaikovsky revealed the cover for his next fantasy novel, The Bear and the Serpent, due to be published in the UK by Tor Books, on February 9th, 2017. It’s the second novel in the author’s Echoes of the Fall series. Here’s the synopsis:

Maniye, child of Wolf and Tiger, has a new soul and a new shape. But as Champion of the Crown of the World, does she represent an opportunity for the North — or a threat? Travelling as a bodyguard to the Southern prince, with her warband of outcasts, she hopes to finally discover her true place in the world.

But if only it was that simple. Tensions rise, and new allies face up to old enemies as civil war threatens to tear the South apart. Royal twins can’t share a throne, so one must be chosen. And whoever rules the southern Sun River Nation will hold the fate of the world in their hands. As the protector of one potential heir, Maniye soon finds herself at the eye of a political storm. Yet all the while, an enemy from the most ancient of times prepares for conquest, and could destroy everything in their path…

It is the sequel to The Tiger and the Wolf, which was also published by Tor in the UK (and is out now). Tchaikovsky is also the author of the critically-acclaimed Shadows of the Apt series, Guns of the Dawn, Children of Time and the upcoming Spiderlight.

Also on CR: Interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky (2012); Guest Posts on “Nine Books, Six Years, One Stenwold Maker”“The Art of Gunsmithing — Writing Guns of the Dawn”“Looking for God in Melnibone Places: Fantasy & Religion” and “Eye of the Spider”; Excerpt from Guns of the Dawn; Reviews of Empire in Black & Gold and Guns of the Dawn

Quick Review: SPIDERLIGHT by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor.com)

Tchaikovsky-SpiderlightA fantastic “novella” from one of my favourite authors

The Church of Armes of the Light has battled the forces of Darkness for as long as anyone can remember. The great prophecy has foretold that a band of misfits, led by a high priestess will defeat the Dark Lord Darvezian, armed with their wits, the blessing of the Light and an artifact stolen from the merciless Spider Queen.

Their journey will be long, hard and fraught with danger. Allies will become enemies; enemies will become allies. And the Dark Lord will be waiting, always waiting…

I loved Spiderlight. I was already a big fan of Tchaikovsky’s work before starting this, and so had very high expectations for Spiderlight. I was not at all disappointed, and indeed the story exceeded my expectations. A must-read for the year. Continue reading

Guest Post: “Eye of the Spider” by Adrian Tchaikovsky

TchaikovskyA-AuthorPicWe humans encounter the world through a very limited set of senses, compared to much of the animal kingdom. Our visual acuity is good but our ability to see colours is crippled by nocturnal ancestors. Birds, reptiles and many grounds of invertebrates see far more bands in the rainbow (if there was a mantis shrimp pride march their flags would be incredible). Our hearing and smell are the shame of Mammalia. What to us is a satisfactory baseline would make dogs cringe with embarassment.

This is my first go-to when approaching a non-human character: the window on the world that the senses give. Obviously there’s more than that, but neuroscience and cultural tropes and the like are all going to be strongly influenced by the tools an entity has to perceive its surroundings. Continue reading

Books Received (April)

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Featuring: Andrew Bannister, Stephanie Burgis, Lee Child, Myke Cole, Sebastien de Castell, A.A. Dhand, N.S. Dolkart, Steven Erikson, Christie Golden, Stephen Graham Jones, Jessica Grose, Guy Haley, Peter Hanington, Samantha Hayes, Kaui Hart Hemmings, D.L. Hughley, Kij Johnson, Emma Kavanagh, Laura Lam, Owen Laukkanen, Ken MacLeod, Laurence MacNaughton, Jay McInerney, Barney Norris, Daniel O’Malley, Ann Patchett, Ben Peek, Leif G.W. Perrson, Gae Polisner, Adam Rakunas, Chris Roberson, J. Todd Scott, Helen Sedgwick, J.P. Smythe, Brian Staveley, James Swallow, Michael Swanwick, David Swinson, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Matt Wallace, Robin Yocum

Above Picture: Crop of Injection #7, by Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire (Image)

Continue reading

New Books (February)

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Featuring: David Annandale, Jo Baker, Mishell Baker, David Baldacci, Elizabeth Bonesteel, Pierce Brown, Christopher Charles, Jessica Chiarella, Dan Cluchey, Max Allan Collins, John Connolly, Don DeLillo, S.B. Divya, Rachel Dunne, Mark Andrew Ferguson, Hadley Freeman, S.L. Grey, Lauren Groff, A.J. Hartley, Noah Hawley, Katie Heaney, Patrick Hemstreet, Mitchell Hogan, Lee Kelly, Shane Kuhn, Joe R. Lansdale, John Lansdale, Tim Lebbon, David Levien, Brian McClellan, Claire North, Willow Palecek, K.J. Parker, Bryony Pearce, Victor Pelevin, Molly Prentiss, Andy Remic, William Shatner, Mickey Spillane, Jo Spurrier, Allen Steele, Stuart Stevens, Alex Stewart, Jack Sutherland, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Marc Turner, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Teddy Wayne

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Guest Post: “Looking for God in Melnibone Places : Fantasy and Religion” by Adrian Tchaikovsky

TchaikovskyA-AuthorPicI ran a workshop at a convention last year on world building. It would be accurate to say that it was a section of a world building workshop I’ve been running for several years, because whenever I set out a bunch of topics, I generally manage about a third of them before we get hung up on something, and the rest never gets touched.

This time round, I dived into social conventions: governments, class systems, and then we hit the brick wall of religion and that is where the discussion firmly stayed.

This recurred to me while editing The Tiger and the Wolf because one of the main ways this series differs from Shadows of the Apt is the spiritual dimension. The insect-kinden of Shadows are aware of the concept of gods but have no truck with the idea. Their attitude to the numinous (those who can even conceive of it) is as something to master and control, not appease or worship. For Tiger I wanted to explore a culture that lived in constant dialogue with the spiritual. The various tribes’ ability to shapeshift is the cornerstone of a religion that, though it finds different expressions in different tribes, links them all together with a common cosmology. Continue reading

Review: GUNS OF THE DAWN by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor)

TchaikovskyA-GunsOfTheDawnAn excellent stand-alone novel about war, family and sacrifice

Denland and Lascanne have been allies for generations, but now the Denlanders have assassinated their king, overthrown the monarchy and marched on their northern neighbour. At the border, the war rages; Lascanne’s brave redcoats against the revolutionaries of Denland.

Emily Marshwic has watched the war take her brother-in-law and now her young brother. Then comes the call for more soldiers, to a land already drained of husbands, fathers and sons. Every household must give up one woman to the army and Emily has no choice but to join the ranks of young women marching to the front.

In the midst of warfare, with just enough training to hold a musket, Emily comes face to face with the reality: the senseless slaughter; the weary cynicism of the Survivor’s Club; the swamp’s own natives hiding from the conflict.

As the war worsens, and Emily begins to have doubts about the justice of Lascanne’s cause, she finds herself in a position where her choices will make or destroy both her own future and that of her nation.

This is a superb novel. I haven’t read nearly as much of Tchaikovsky’s work as I would like, but this is a fantastic place to start. A fantasy war novel, but one that is focused on the impact of war more than battle itself. After a slightly slow start, this really grabbed hold of my attention and didn’t let up until the very end. Continue reading