Quick Review: GODS & MORTALS (Black Library)

Various-Gods&MortalsAn anthology of Age of Sigmar short fiction, which serves very well as an introduction

For too long, the Mortal Realms have suffered under Chaos’ twisted crusade. Tainted lands writhe in agony and once great cities lie in ruins, the hopes of their people extinguished. But the storm winds rise. Sigmar’s greatest creation, the Stormcast Eternals, strike with His vengeance. Their lightning drives the darkness away and their thunder drowns out the screams of the Foul Gods’ acolytes as they fall to sword and halberd. The sons and daughters of the storm know they cannot fail. For now is the time where the fate of a world will be decided. Where Gods and mortals must rise and fight, or face their final damnation.

CONTENTS
The Dance of the Skulls & Obsidian by David Annandale
Blacktalon: Hunting Shadows by Andy Clark
Vault of Souls by Evan Dicken
Bear Eater, Force of Personality, Gods’ Gift & The Hardest Word by David Guymer
Pantheon by Guy Haley
Callis & Toll: The Old Ways by Nick Horth
Pilgrim’s Trial by Robbie MacNiven
Auction of Blood, Eight Lamentations: The Tainted Axe, The Library of Forgotten Moments, Order of the Fly: Tourney of Fate & The Road of Blades by Josh Reynolds
Gravesend Gold & The Witch Takers by C L Werner

The Age of Sigmar is a pretty massive fantasy setting, one that continues to grow. It could be a bit daunting to find a way into it. If you are looking for a way in, this is a substantial collection of short fiction may be your best bet. Including stories featuring some established characters, as well as touching upon many of the myriad facets of the Mortal Realms, reading Gods & Mortals will give readers a nice, broad glimpse of the Age of Sigmar. Continue reading

(Very) Quick Review: THE SURVIVAL OF MOLLY SOUTHBOURNE by Tade Thompson (Tor.com)

ThompsonT-MS2-SurvivalOfMollySouthbourneUSMolly Southbourne returns: on the run, and maybe carrying another secret…?

Who was Molly Southbourne? What did she leave behind?

A burnt-out basement. A name stained in blood. Bodies that remember murder, one of them left alive. A set of rules that no longer apply.

Molly Southbourne is alive. If she wants to survive, she’ll need to run, hide, and be ready to fight. There are people who remember her, who know what she is and what she’s done. Some want her alive, some want her dead, and all hold a piece to the puzzles in her head. Can Molly escape them, or will she confront the bloody history that made her?

In this second novella featuring Molly Southbourne, Tade Thompson expands offers another entertaining, twisty and intriguing mystery. It’s very difficult to review this without spoiling the whole story of The Murders of Molly Southbourne. I think I want to avoid that, so I’m going to keep this review very short and to-the-point. Continue reading

Annotated Excerpt: ASH KICKERS by Sean Grigsby (Angry Robot)

GrigsbyS-2-AshKickersToday, we have the annotated first chapter of Sean Grigsby‘s latest novel, Ash Kickers — the sequel to Smoke Eaters. Published this week by Angry Robot Books, the author has added some commentary about the story and his writing. First, though, here’s the synopsis:

With ex-firefighter Cole Brannigan in command of the Smoke Eaters, the dragon menace is under control. Thanks to non-lethal Canadian tech, the beasts are tranquilized and locked up, rather than killed. But for Tamerica Williams, this job filled with action and danger, has become tediously routine.

When a new threat emerges, a legendary bird of fire – the Phoenix – it’s the perfect task for Williams. But killing the Phoenix just brings it back stronger, spreading fire like a plague and whipping dragons into a frenzy. Will it prove to be too much excitement, even for adrenalin-junkie Williams?

And now, on with the excerpt!

Continue reading

Interview with EVAN WINTER

WinterE-AuthorPic-VivianHuiLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Evan Winter?

Hi Stefan!

Evan Winter is the son of Guyanese parents, Guyana being a country in South America that is often associated more closely with the Caribbean islands than its continental neighbors. My parents were an engineer/teacher and a teacher. I was born in London, England, where my father was completing his Masters in Chemical Engineering and then it was off to Zambia, in Central Africa, where I spent my youth. So, who am I: I’m an immigrant several times over who hails from one continent, was born on another, grew up in a third, and now lives on a fourth. I feel very much a person of the world and firmly believe that we are all far more alike than we are different. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE BLACK HAWKS by David Wragg (Voyager)

WraggD-1-BlackHawksUKI only learned about David Wragg‘s upcoming novel, The Black Hawks via the recent uptick in mentions on Twitter — ARCs have been made and (maybe) sent out to a luck few reviewers, and it is starting to generate some good buzz. The cover is attention-grabbing — same artist as for R.F. Kuang’s novels, perhaps? — and the synopsis also piques one’s interest:

Life as a knight is not what Vedren Chel imagined. Bound by oath to a dead-end job in the service of a lazy step-uncle, Chel no longer dreams of glory – he dreams of going home.

When invaders throw the kingdom into turmoil, Chel finds opportunity in the chaos: if he escorts a stranded prince to safety, Chel will be released from his oath.

All he has to do is drag the brat from one side of the country to the other, through war and wilderness, chased all the way by ruthless assassins.

With killers on your trail, you need killers watching your back. You need the Black Hawk Company – mercenaries, fighters without equal, a squabbling, scrapping pack of rogues.

Prepare to join the Black Hawks.

The Black Hawks is the first novel in the Articles of Faith series, and is due to be published by Voyager in the UK, on October 3rd, 2019. (I couldn’t find a North American publisher, but that doesn’t mean one isn’t in the offing.) I’m very much looking forward to reading this one.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Interview with ANGUS MACALLAN / ANGUS DONALD

MacallanA-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Angus Macallan?

The truthful answer is – nobody. Angus Macallan is a pseudonym for me, Angus Donald, and I’m an English novelist, 54, living in rural Kent, UK, who mainly writes historical fiction. I’m best known for creating a successful series about a gangster-ish Robin Hood called The Outlaw Chronicles. I always wanted to write a fantasy novel but I was advised that it was better to use a different name for a different genre of fiction. So my US publisher (Ace) and I came up with Angus Macallan as an alter ego, and that way I wouldn’t annoy the UK publishers (Bonnier Zaffre) of my historical fiction novels by luring away too many potential readers.

Your latest novel, Gates of Stone, was recently published by Ace Books. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Gates of Stone is an epic fantasy set in a sort-of 18th century Indonesia – magical swords, pirates, head-hunters, spies, sorcerers, and a kick-ass ruthless-bitch princess, as well as some really cool beasts called Ghost Tigers. It has three main characters, each on their own journey, and their paths cross at various times. I have only written volume one so far but I would like it to be a series, maybe three, six or even nine books. I have invented a world in which my characters could have multiple adventures. We will see, though. It depends on whether the first book takes off or not. Continue reading

Interview with LAVIE TIDHAR

Tidhar-AuthorPicCrop

Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Lavie Tidhar?

I am a mild-mannered writer by night, an eater of sandwiches by day. I tweet. I once spent a year living on a desert island. I also wandered into the jungles of Borneo, across the Gobi Desert, been on the Trans-Siberian, and once climbed a volcano in bare feet. I used to have long hair. I don’t know if that really answers the question. I’ve written a bunch of books.

The Violent Century is getting a re-issue in North America via Tachyon. I really enjoyed the novel, but how would you introduce it to a potential reader?

I think of it as a romance novel! But you could equally say it’s a spy novel, or a murder mystery, or a WW2 novel, or that it’s about the death of empire and the inevitability of history. You know, fun stuff. Or you could say, as Cory Doctorow very astutely pointed out, that it’s about slightly shit superheroes. Continue reading