Upcoming: OGRES by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Solaris)

TchaikovskyA-OgresA new book from Adrian Tchaikovsky is always great news. Next year, Solaris are due to publish the author’s fifth novella with them, Ogres. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each of the author’s shorter books (he’s published a few with Tor.com, too), and this one looks equally intriguing. Here’s the synopsis:

Ogres are bigger than you.

Ogres are stronger than you.

Ogres rule the world.

It’s always idyllic in the village until the landlord comes to call.

Because the landlord is an Ogre. And Ogres rule the world, with their size and strength and appetites. It’s always been that way. It’s the natural order of the world. And they only eat people sometimes.

But when the headman’s son, Torquell, dares lift his hand against the landlord’s son, he sets himself on a path to learn the terrible truth about the Ogres, and about the dark sciences that ensured their rule.

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Ogres is due to be published by Solaris Books on March 17th, 2022.

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 and Religion”, and “Eye of the Spider”; Excerpt from Guns of the Dawn; Reviews of Empire of Black & Gold, Guns of the Dawn, Children of RuinSpiderlight, Ironclads, Made Things, One Day All This Will Be Yours, and Shards of Earth

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: LAST EXIT by Max Gladstone (Tor)

GladstoneM-LastExitUSI can’t remember when or where I first heard about Max Gladstone‘s upcoming new novel, Last Exit (probably from a catalogue), but after the cover was revealed my interest was well and truly piqued — I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but just look at it. Described as “American Gods meets The Dark Tower in Last Exit,” I think this is going to be a good one. Here’s the synopsis:

Ten years ago, Zelda led a band of merry adventurers whose knacks let them travel to alternate realities and battle the black rot that threatened to unmake each world. Zelda was the warrior; Ish could locate people anywhere; Ramon always knew what path to take; Sarah could turn catastrophe aside. Keeping them all connected: Sal, Zelda’s lover and the group’s heart.

Until their final, failed mission, when Sal was lost. When they all fell apart.

Ten years on, Ish, Ramon, and Sarah are happy and successful. Zelda is alone, always traveling, destroying rot throughout the US.

When it boils through the crack in the Liberty Bell, the rot gives Zelda proof that Sal is alive, trapped somewhere in the alts.

Zelda’s getting the band back together ― plus Sal’s young cousin June, who has a knack none of them have ever seen before.

As relationships rekindle, the friends begin to believe they can find Sal and heal all the worlds. It’s not going to be easy, but they’ve faced worse before.

But things have changed, out there in the alts. And in everyone’s hearts.

Fresh from winning the Hugo and Nebula Awards, Max Gladstone weaves elements of American myth ― the muscle car, the open road, the white-hatted cowboy ― into a deeply emotional tale where his characters must find their own truths if they are to survive.

Max Gladstone’s Last Exit is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, on February 22nd, 2022.

Also on CR: Interview with Max Gladstone & Amal El-Mohtar (2019)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Excerpt: THE HAND OF THE SUN KING by J.T. Greathouse (Gollancz/JABberwocky)

GreathouseJT-P&P1-HandOfTheSunKingToday, we have an excerpt from The Hand of the Sun KingJ. T. Greathouse‘s debut fantasy novel, and the first in the Pact & Pattern series. Pitched as perfect for fans of Robin Hobb, Brandon Sanderson and R. F. Kuang, it’s certainly caught my attention. Here’s the official synopsis for the novel:

My name is Wen Alder. My name is Foolish Cur.

All my life, I have been torn between two legacies: that of my father, whose roots trace back to the right hand of the Emperor. That of my mother’s family, who reject the oppressive Empire and embrace the resistance.

I can choose between them – between protecting my family, or protecting my people – or I can search out a better path… a magical path, filled with secrets, unbound by empire or resistance, which could shake my world to its very foundation.

But my search for freedom will entangle me in a war between the gods themselves…

And now, on with the excerpt…!

Continue reading

Interview with WALTER GOODWATER

GoodwaterWL-AuthorPic2021Welcome back to CR! For new readers, let’s start with an introduction: Who is Walter Goodwater?

Good to be back! My name is Walter, and I’m a software guy by day, and exhausted writer by night. (My two kids under four certainly contribute to that exhaustion). I’ve been reading fantasy my whole life, starting with Tolkien in the 5th grade, Dragonlance in the 6th grade, and Terry Brooks in the 7th grade. After that, I was hooked. I love writing fantasy because creating a new world is such an ideal way to shine new light on things in our own world in unexpected ways.

Your latest novel, The Liar of Red Valley, is due to be published by Solaris in September. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

It is a horror/fantasy set in Red Valley, a drought-stricken rural California town where magic and monsters are more of a nuisance than noteworthy. Dark, hungry things fly over the town at night. Junkies invite demons into their heads. The local dive bar has an almost human clientele, and a mysterious door in the back no one goes into (unless they are really desperate). People growing up in this town live by three simple rules: Don’t cross the King. Never, ever go in the River. And don’t trust the Liar. Sadie knows these rules as well as anybody, but since her mom died, she’s the Liar now, which means she keeps the towns secrets. And if she’s going to survive in Red Valley, she’s going to have to break some rules. Continue reading

Annotated Excerpt: A DESERT TORN ASUNDER by Bradley P. Beaulieu

BeaulieuBP-SotSS6-ADesertTornAsunderUKToday, we have an annotated excerpt from Bradley P. Beaulieu‘s A Desert Torn Asunder — the final book in the author’s Song of the Shattered Sands series. Before we get to that, though, here’s the official synopsis for the novel:

The final book in The Song of the Shattered Sands series closes the epic fantasy saga in a desert setting, filled with rich worldbuilding and pulse-pounding action.

The plans of the desert gods are coming to fruition. Meryam, the deposed queen of Qaimir, hopes to raise the buried elder god, Ashael, an event that would bring ruin to the desert.

Çeda and Emre sail for their ancestral home to bring the traitor, Hamid, to justice. To their horror, they discover that the desert tribes have united under Hamid’s banner. Their plan? A holy crusade to annihilate Sharakhai, a thing long sought by many in the tribes. In Sharakhai, meanwhile, the blood mage, Davud, examines the strange gateway between worlds, hoping to find a way to close it. And King Ihsan hunts for Meryam, but always finds himself two steps behind.

When Meryam raises Ashael, all know the end is near. Ashael means to journey to the land that was denied to him an age ago, no matter the cost to the desert. It now falls to Çeda and her unlikely assortment of allies to find a way to unite not only the desert tribes and the people of Sharakhai, but the city’s invaders as well. Even if they do, stopping Ashael will cost them dearly, perhaps more than all are willing to pay.

The series is published by Gollancz in the UK and DAW in North America. The other novels are Twelve Kings of Sharakai, With Blood Upon the Sand, A Veil of Spears, Beneath the Twisted Trees, and When Jackals Storm the Walls. (Beaulieu has also written a number of short stories that fit within the chronology of the series. You can find more details of those here.)

And now, on with the excerpt!

Continue reading

Annotate Excerpt: THE SHADOW OF THE GODS by John Gwynne (Orbit Books)

GwynneJ-B1-ShadowOfTheGodsUSThanks so much for the invite onto Civilian Reader, I’m chuffed to be here and have this opportunity to share with you a chapter from my latest release, The Shadow of the Gods, book 1 of the Bloodsworn Saga.

This book is set in a world called Vigrið, the Battle-Plain, and is heavily influenced by my love for Norse mythology.

I grew up on tales of mythology – when I was a child I fell in love with the stories Arthur and his quest for the Grail, of Troy and dark lairs and minotaur’s, and tales of those enigmatic and fickle Norse gods. Amongst my favourites were the legends Beowulf and his band of monster-hunting shield men, and of Ragnarök, that end-of-days battle amongst the Norse gods, and to my mind this book and series is my love-letter both to Norse mythology and Viking-era history, merging the blood and grit of shield walls with the terror and thrill of monster hunting.

I hope that it feels markedly different from my previous books in its tone and world-setting, but there are also similarities. Family and friendship are themes that I will always write about, and you will find them here, although I’ve come at them from different angles than you find in my previous works.

Other things you should expect are: shield walls, longships, betrayal and vengeance, and a lot of monsters. Continue reading

Guest Post: “Deleting Digits” by Oliver Langmead

LangmeadO-AuthorPicA confession: I don’t know how much a billion dollars is. Not really. Sure, I can write it down ($1,000,000,000), but that number doesn’t really mean much to me. I imagine that it gets even more meaningless the more zeroes you put on the end. I know how much a tin of beans costs, and I know how much my monthly rent is, but I would genuinely struggle to tell you the major differences between a millionaire and a billionaire, despite the staggering disparity between their relative fortunes (billionaires have more jet planes?).

Similarly: I don’t know how long a thousand years is. It’s beyond my ability to comprehend. When it’s written down as a figure (1000) it’s lovely and neat, and I know it’s a hundred decades, or ten centuries, or any amount of artful mathematical ways of putting it, but I struggle to imagine what living through a thousand years would actually be like; how that vast amount of time would feel. Neither can I effectively contain all the events that would happen during a span of a thousand years in my head. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE DESERT PRINCE by Peter V. Brett (Voyager/Del Rey)

PrettPV-1-DesertPrinceUKThis August, the highly-anticipated new novel by Peter V. Brett is due to arrive on shelves. The Desert Prince is set in the same world as his best-selling Demon Cycle series — only, 15 years later, and is the start of an as-yet-untitled new series. It’s UK and North American covers were unveiled recently, so I thought I’d share them here. If you haven’t yet had the chance to read any of Brett’s novels, then I’d highly recommend them: The Painted Man (UK)/The Warded Man (US) is one of the best fantasy debuts I’ve ever read.

Here’s the synopsis for The Desert Prince:

Fifteen years have passed since the end of the war with demons, creatures of darkness who have hunted the night and plagued humanity for time out of mind. The heroes of mankind’s hour of need have become legend, and those that remain struggle to escape their shadows.

Olive Paper and Darin Bales have grown up in this new, peaceful world. Demons have all but been destroyed, but dangers still lurk for the children of heroes.

PrettPV-1-DesertPrinceUSOlive, Princess of Hollow, has her entire life planned out by her mother, Duchess Leesha Paper. A steady march on a checklist to prepare her for succession. The more her mother writes the script, the more Olive rails against playing the parts her mother assigns.

Darin faces challenges of a different kind. Though free to choose his own path, the weight of legacy hangs heavy round his shoulders. It isn’t easy being the son of the man people say saved the world. Everyone expects greatness from Darin, but the only thing he’s ever been great at is hiding.

But when Olive and Darin step across the wards one night, they learn the demons are not all gone, and those that remain hunger for revenge. Events are set in motion that only Prophecy can foresee as Olive and Darin seek to find their own places in the world in time to save it again.

Peter V. Brett’s The Desert Prince is due to be published by Voyager in the UK and Del Rey in North America, on August 3rd, 2021.

Also on CR: Reviews of The Painted/Warded ManThe Great Bazaar & Brayan’s GoldThe Desert SpearThe Daylight War, and Messenger’s Legacy

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Interview with G.R. MATTHEWS

Let’s start with an introduction: Who is G.R. Matthews?

That would be me. Hello!

I am a fantasy and sci-fi author who has written a number of books; some set in Ancient China (to try and express my love of martial arts movies from Gordon Liu to Donnie Yen), some set in the far future where we all struggle to exist under the ocean waves (Jack Reacher with more sarcasm, and water).

I live in Kent, in the United Kingdom where I also work in education – writing is a relief from the noise, stress, and pressure of that.

Your new novel, Seven Deaths of an Empire, is due to be published by Solaris in June. It looks really intriguing: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Seven Deaths of an Empire is at heart a story about loyalty, honour, and duty. How much does it cost to keep true to those ideals, to yourself? How much would you sacrifice?

Oh, and there are great big battles, small skirmishes, magic, and political double-dealing. Continue reading

Guest Post: “Progression Fantasy – A Merger of Genres?” by Alex Knight

KnightA-AuthorPicFantasy, as we know it, is an ever-evolving genre. It’s wild, sprawling, and impossible to pin down for any length of time. It’s the beauty of the genre.

At the present, though, I believe we’re seeing a relatively unique evolution in progress.

In recent years, the genre of LitRPG has exploded on the indie and small press scene – and is now reaching into traditional publishing and media. For those that don’t know LitRPG, there are a bunch of definitions, but the one that’s always helped me is this: LitRPG is any story where the characters go into a video game OR the story takes place in a game world OR the story takes place in a world where game logic and mechanics replace physics. Continue reading