Excerpt: BLOOD UPON THE SAND by Bradley Beaulieu (Gollancz)

beaulieub-3-blooduponthesandukToday, we have an excerpt from Brad Beaulieu‘s highly-anticipated Blood Upon the Sand, the next novel in his Song of the Shattered Sands epic fantasy series. First, the synopsis:

Second in epic new fantasy series of mystery, prophecy and death within the ancient walled city of Sharakhai, home to the Twelve Kings…

Çeda, an elite warrior in service to the kings of Sharakhai, is learning their secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further their rule. She has already uncovered the dark history of the asirim, but it’s only when she bonds with them, chaining them to her will, that she feels their pain as her own. They hunger for release, they demand it, but their chains were forged by the gods themselves and are proving unbreakable.

Çeda could become the champion the enslaved asirim have been waiting for, but the need to tread carefully has never been greater. The kings are hungry for blood, scouring the city in a ruthless quest for revenge, while Çeda’s friend Emre and his new allies in the Moonless Host are laying plans to take advantage of the unrest in Sharakhai, and strike a major blow against the kings and their god-given powers.

The shifting tides of power are fickle and dangerous, though. The Kings and the Moonless Host have their own agendas, as does the dangerous blood mage Hamzakiir, whose plotting uncovers a devastating secret that could shatter the power of the hated kings. But it may all be undone if Çeda cannot learn to control the growing anger of the asirim that threatens to overwhelm her…

Blood Upon the Sand is due to be published next week by Gollancz in the UK, and DAW Books in North America. Now, on with the excerpt!

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Interview with BRADLEY BEAULIEU and ROB ZIEGLER

Let’s start with an introduction: Who are Brad Beaulieu and Rob Ziegler?

BeaulieuB-AuthorPicCropBrad Beaulieu: I’m the author of Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, an epic fantasy with a strong Arabian Nights feel to it, and The Lays of Anuskaya, another epic, but with windships and elemental magic that was inspired by Muscovite Russia and Ottoman Turkey. Until recently, I was an IT guy, selling and configuring enterprise software for Big Blue. But I’ve recently taken the leap to full-time writing. So I’m also a very scared man. But this is an exciting time. Along with writing a collaborative project here and there (cough cough, The Burning Light, cough), I’m hard at work on the third book in The Song of the Shattered Sands.

zieglerr-authorpic2Rob Ziegler: I’m the author of the novel Seed. It’s the story of young scavenger-cum-highwayman trying to save his younger brother from a giant agri-corp in a southwest ravaged by climate change. It has the feel of a western by way of The Road Warrior. I write full time. Currently I’m working on my second novel, Angel City, as well as the occasional side project like The Burning Light. Over the years I’ve basically done everything — landscape design, IT, bartending, real estate management. My wife and I live a mostly chill life in western Colorado. We hike a lot. Continue reading

Mini-Review: THE BURNING LIGHT by Bradley Beaulieu & Rob Ziegler (Tor.com)

BeaulieuZiegler-BurningLightAn interesting post-apocalyptic sci-fi story

Disgraced government operative Colonel Chu is exiled to the flooded relic of New York City. Something called the Light has hit the streets like an epidemic, leavings its users strung out and disconnected from the mind-network humanity relies on. Chu has lost everything she cares about to the Light. She’ll end the threat or die trying.

A former corporate pilot who controlled a thousand ships with her mind, Zola looks like just another Light-junkie living hand to mouth on the edge of society. She’s special though. As much as she needs the Light, the Light needs her too. But, Chu is getting close and Zola can’t hide forever.

This was a pretty interesting novella. Set in a dilapidated New York City. There were a few moments when the story’s momentum dipped, but it was for the main a pretty well-paced, engaging story. This is an interesting sci-fi/dystopian story. Continue reading

Guest Post: “The Ties That Bind” by Brad Beaulieu

BeaulieuB-AuthorPicCropWhen I first started writing Of Sand and Malice Made, I didn’t have a small novel in mind, or even a set of interconnected novellas. It began only with a single story, “Irindai”, which eventually sold to Ragnarok Publications for their Blackguards anthology. But as I developed that first story I knew it wouldn’t be the last in the series. I started having more and more thoughts about where I could take the story’s primary mover, a djinni-like creature name Rümayesh. I thought more about the sons of the trickster god that were working against her. I thought more about the new character, Brama, a two-bit thief who got pulled into something much larger and more dangerous than he ever expected. And I thought about what it could all mean for the heroine of the series, Çeda. Continue reading

New Books (June-July)

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Featuring: Bradley Beaulieu, Darcey Bell, Morgan Grant Buchanan, Michael Chabon, Bill Clegg, Paul Cornell, Claudia Christian, Mason Cross, Allen Eskens, Alice Hoffman, Chris Holm, Bill James, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Antonio Garcia Martinez, Stephen Metcalfe, Liesa Mignogna, Sylvia Moreno-Garcia, Alexandra Oliva, Laurie Penny, Andy Remic, Michael J. Sullivan, Heather Skyler, Melinda Snodgrass, Gav Thorpe, Paul Vidich, Chuck Wendig, Kayla Rae Whitaker, Kai Ashanti Wilson, Tom Wolfe, Joakim Zander, Rob Ziegler

Above artwork: Roche Limit: Monadic #4 (crop), by Kyle Charles (Image Comics) Continue reading

Upcoming: OF SAND AND MALICE MADE by Bradley Beaulieu (Gollancz/DAW)

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Earlier today, Gollancz unveiled the UK cover for Bradley Beaulieu‘s next fantasy novel, Of Sand And Malice Made. As you can see above, it’s rather stunning (maybe one of my favourites of year — actually, alongside the cover for his co-written The Burning Light, which is to be published by Tor.com later this year). It’s the second novel in the author’s Shattered Sands series, but is a prequel to the first, Twelve Kings, which was published last year. Here’s the synopsis:

Çeda is the youngest pit fighter in the history of the great desert city of Sharakhai. In this brilliant new story, a prequel to Twelve Kings, she has already made her name in the arena as the fearsome, undefeated White Wolf. None but her closest friends and allies know her true identity.

But this all changes when she crosses the path of Rümayesh, one of the sadistic creatures known as ehrekh which were forged long ago by the god of chaos. They are usually desert dwellers, but this one lurks in the dark corners of Sharakhai, toying with and preying on humans. As Rümayesh works to unmask the White Wolf and claim Çeda for her own, Çeda’s struggle becomes a battle for her friends, her life, and her very soul.

The novel will be published in the US and Canada by DAW Books, with another great cover (below). Twelve Kings is published in the US/Canada by DAW Books, as Twelve Kings in Sharakai.

Also on CR: Interview with Bradley Beaulieu; Excerpt from Twelve Kings; Guest Post “On Co-Authoring Strata” (with Stephen Gaskell); Reviews of Twelve KingsThe Winds of Khalakovo and Strata

For more on Brad’s writing and novels, be sure to check out the author’s website, and follow him on Twitter and Goodreads.

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Quick Review: TWELVE KINGS by Bradley P. Beaulieu (Gollancz/DAW)

BeaulieuB-1-TwelveKingsUKA fascinating new fantasy series

In the cramped west end of Sharakhai, the Amber Jewel of the Desert, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall of the cruel, immortal Kings of Sharakhai, but she’s never been able to do anything about it. This all changes when she goes out on the night of Beht Zha’ir, the holy night when all are forbidden from walking the streets. It’s the night that the asirim, the powerful yet wretched creatures that protect the Kings from all who would stand against them, wander the city and take tribute. It is then that one of the asirim, a pitiful creature who wears a golden crown, stops Çeda and whispers long forgotten words into her ear. Çeda has heard those words before, in a book left to her by her mother, and it is through that one peculiar link that she begins to find hidden riddles left by her mother.

As Çeda begins to unlock the mysteries of that fateful night, she realizes that the very origin of the asirim and the dark bargain the Kings made with the gods of the desert to secure them may be the very key she needs to throw off the iron grip the Kings have had over Sharakhai. And yet the Kings are no fools — they’ve ruled the Shangazi for four hundred years for good reason, and they have not been idle. As Çeda digs into their past, and the Kings come closer and closer to unmasking her, Çeda must decide if she’s ready to face them once and for all.

I’m a fan of Beaulieu’s work. I haven’t read as much of it as I would like, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far. Twelve Kings is no exception: it offers a big, sprawling new fantasy world and series, populated by interesting and diverse characters — with shades of the horrific to add extra flavour.
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