Upcoming: THE BLACK GOD’S DRUMS by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com)

ClarkPD-BlackGodsDrumsThe cover for P. Djèlí Clark‘s The Black God’s Drums started doing the rounds online a little while ago. (I’ve also seen that reviewers are starting to receive ARCs, so reviews should start appearing soon, too.) Due to be published by Tor.com in August 2018. I haven’t read any of Clark’s previous work, but I have high hopes for this, given how interesting it sounds:

In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air – in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie’s trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums.

But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations.

Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight Robber are pulled into a perilous mission aimed to stop the Black God’s Drums from being unleashed and wiping out the entirety of New Orleans.

The novella “brings an alternate New Orleans of orisha, airships, and adventure to life”, and has been described by Scott Westerfeld as “A sinewy mosaic of Haitian sky pirates, wily street urchins, and orisha magic. Beguiling and bombastic!” That’s a pretty great endorsement. Looking forward to giving it a try. The Black God’s Drums will be published on August 21st, by Tor.com in North America and in the UK.

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Upcoming: SPARROW FALLING by Gaie Sebold (Solaris)

SeboldG-2-SparrowFallingA new Gaie Sebold novel! I thoroughly enjoyed Sebold’s debut, Babylon Steel, and have been eager to read more of her work (which, actually, makes me wonder why I haven’t…). Due to be published by Solaris on July 26th, 2016, and the sequel to Shanghai SparrowSparrow Falling sounds quite fun:

Master spy, former con-artist, Eveline Duchen returns in an adventure set in a world of steam and magic.

Eveline Sparrow (formerly Duchen) hopes to put her past experiences as a thief and con-artist to more legitimate use; which is why some of the girls at her Sparrow School receive private lessons in burglary, fakery, and other such underhand practices.

But it’s hard to get honest work when few businesses will employ young ladies in the security professions. The duns are at the doorstep, her friend Liu the half-fox-spirit is in some sort of trouble, and the rivalries of the Folk are in danger of overspilling into the mundane world and forcing the Empire into a bloody and horrifying war.

Can Eveline pull things out of the mire this time, or will the Sparrow’s wings be clipped once and for all?

Gaie Sebold is the author of Babylon Steel, Dangerous Gifts, Shanghai Sparrow and Sparrow Falling — all published by Solaris Books. For more on her writing and novels, be sure to check out the author’s website, and follow her on Twitter and Goodreads.

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Quick Review: TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard (Tor)

DennardS-TruthwitchUKFirst in a new coming-of-age fantasy series

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden — lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

I have very mixed feelings about this novel. There’s plenty in it that is interesting and shows great potential, but at the same time it is a novel of almosts. If you are a fan of fast-paced fantasy, with a globe-trotting and conspiracy-laden plot, and also coming-of-age tales, then you’ll probably find something to like here. However, for me, the execution was flawed, and I struggled to fully engage with the story or become invested in the characters’ fates. Continue reading

New WOLFHOUND CENTURY Covers…

With the third installment fast approaching, Gollancz unveiled today a new cover style for Peter Higgins‘s excellent Wolfhound Century series. And it’s a pretty striking style, to say the least:

Book 1 – Wolfhound Century

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Book 2 – Truth and Fear

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Book 3 – Radiant State

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The new editions are due to be published in April 2015. I may have to buy the first two again, so they look all nice on my shelves… I have shared the cover and details for Radiant State already, but I thought it would be nice to have them all together in one place. You can read my review of Wolfhound Century, here. In case you’ve missed the series, here’s the synopsis for the first in the series:

A thousand miles east of Mirgorod, the great capital city of the Vlast, deep in the ancient forest, lies the most recent fallen angel, its vast stone form half-buried and fused into the rock by the violence of impact. As its dark energy leeches into the crash site, so a circle of death expands around it, slowly – inexorably – killing everything it touches. Alone in the wilderness, it reaches out with its mind.

The endless forest and its antique folk lore are no concern to Inspector Vissarion Lom, summoned to the capital in order to catch a terrorist – and ordered to report directly to the head of the secret police. A totalitarian state, worn down by an endless war, must be seen to crush home-grown terrorism with an iron fist. But Lom discovers Mirgorod to be more corrupted than he imagined: a murky world of secret police and revolutionaries, cabaret clubs and doomed artists. Lom has been chosen because he is an outsider, not involved in the struggle for power within the party. And because of the sliver of angel stone implanted in his head at the children’s home.

Lom’s investigation reveals a conspiracy that extends to the top echelons of the party. When he exposes who – or rather what – is the controlling intelligence behind this, it is time for the detective to change sides. Pursued by rogue police agents and their man-crushing mudjhik, Lom must protect Kantor’s step-daughter Maroussia, who has discovered what is hidden beneath police headquarters: a secret so ancient that only the forest remembers. As they try to escape the capital and flee down river, elemental forces are gathering. The earth itself is on the move.