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

Annotated Excerpt: THE UNBROKEN by C. L. Clark (Orbit)

ClarkCL-MotL1-UnbrokenToday, I’m very happy to be able to share with you an annotated excerpt from The Unbroken by C. L. Clark. One of the most hotly-anticipated fantasy debuts of the year, and the first novel in the Magic of the Lost series, it is the story of two women who “clash in a world full of rebellion, espionage, and military might on the far outreaches of a crumbling desert empire”. Due out next week, here’s the synopsis:

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.

Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

And now, on with the excerpt…!

Continue reading

Upcoming: CERTAIN DARK THINGS by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Tor Nightfire)

MorenoGarciaS-CertainDarkThings2021Next month, Tor Books are reissuing Silvia Morena-Garcia‘s The Beautiful Ones; in August, Del Rey are due to publish Velvet Was the Night. Fans of Moreno-Garcia’s work can look forward to yet another new book this year: in September, Certain Dark Things is also due to be re-issued! The stunning North American cover for this “pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore” was unveiled earlier today by Night Worms. Really looking forward to reading this. Here’s the synopsis:

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.

Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.

Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Certain Dark Things is due to be published on September 7th, by Tor Nightfire (North America), and Jo Fletcher Books (UK — I’ll add the cover when it’s available).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: THE WOOD BEE QUEEN by Edward Cox (Gollancz)

CoxE-WoodBeeQueenMany moons ago (well, late-2012), I was sent a manuscript to read and provide a critique for. I was living in New York at the time, interning at a news magazine, and I started reading on my commutes into Manhattan. On a number of times, I got so sucked into the book that I missed my stop. That novel was The Relic Guild by Edward Cox. Ed has since published three novels in the Relic Guild series and also The Song of the Sycamore. This year, he has another interesting-looking new novel coming out: The Wood Bee Queen. Check out the synopsis:

Somewhere in England, in a small town called Strange Ground by the Skea, Ebbie Wren is the last librarian and he’s about to lose his job. Estranged from his parents, unable to make connections with anyone except the old homeless lady who lives near the library, Ebbie isn’t quite sure what he’s supposed to do next. His only escape from reality is his deep interest in local folklore, but reality is far stranger than Ebbie can dream.

On the other side of the sky and the sea, the Queen of House Wood Bee has been murdered. Her sister has made the first move in a long game, one which will lead her to greatness, yet risk destruction for the entire Realm. She needs the two magical stones Foresight and Hindsight for her power to be complete, but no one knows where they are. Although the sword recently stolen by Bek Rana, small time thief and not very good at it, might hold a clue to their location… and to stopping the chaos. But all Bek wants is to sell the sword and buy herself a better life. She’s not interested in being a hero, and neither is Ebbie.

But someone is forcing their hand and playing for the heart of the Realm. Ebbie and Bek are destined to unite. They must find a way to stop the destruction of House Wood Bee, save the Realm, and just maybe save themselves in the process. All victories come at a price. The Oldungods are rising. And they are watching…

The Wood Bee Queen is due to be published by Gollancz in the UK, on June 10th, 2021.

Also on CR: Interviews with Edward Cox — 2014 and 2015; Guest Post on “Writes & Wrongs”; Review of The Relic Guild

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: THE BLACK COAST and THE SPLINTER KING by Mike Brooks (Orbit/Solaris)

BrooksM-1-BlackCoastUKMike Brooks‘s first foray into epic fantasy, the God-King Chronicles series, arrives this year! The first novel, The Black Coast, is already out now in the UK (published by Orbit), and is due out in mid-March in North America. Fans of the first novel won’t have to wait long for the sequel, though, as The Splinter King is due out in July! The series has an intriguing premise, and I’m looking forward to reading the novels. For readers in North America, here’s the synopsis for book one…

WAR DRAGONS.
FEARSOME RAIDERS.
A DAEMONIC WARLORD ON THE RISE.

When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them because they know who is coming: for generations, the keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Tjakorsha. Saddling their war dragons, Black Keep’s warriors rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own land by a daemonic despot who prophesises the end of the world, the raiders come in search of a new home…

Meanwhile the wider continent of Narida is lurching toward war. Black Keep is about to be caught in the crossfire – if only its new mismatched society can survive.

BrooksM-2-SplinterKingUKAnd, for those who have already had the chance to read the first novel, here’s the synopsis for The Splinter King

THE WORLD FRACTURES AS A DEAD GOD RISES…

Darel, dragon knight and the new leader of Black Keep, must travel to the palace of the God-King to beg for the lives of his people. But in the capital of Narida, Marin and his warrior husband will be drawn into a palace coup, and Princess Tila will resort to murder to keep her hold on power.

In the far reaches of the kingdom an heir in exile is hunted by assassins, rumours of a rival God-King abound, and daemonic forces from across the seas draw ever nearer…

Mike Brooks’s The Splinter King is due to be published by Orbit in the UK (July 7th) and Solaris Books in North America (September 7th). The two covers above are for the UK editions — I’ll update the post when I find the North American cover. In the meantime, the North American cover for The Black Coast is below. Brooks has also written a number of short stories and novels for Black Library, and is the author of the Keiko sci-fi trilogy (Del Rey in UK; Saga Press in North America).

Also on CR: Interview with Mike Brooks (2015)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter Continue reading

Excerpt: THE SWORD FALLS by A. J. Smith (Head of Zeus)

SmithAJ-F&V2-SwordFallsI first read Smith’s work when I was an intern at a publisher (way back in 2012), and I read his debut that had been submitted: I was immediately struck by how well he writes, and he became an author to watch. This year, A. J. Smith returns with The Sword Falls — the second novel in his Form & Void fantasy series. Due to be published by Head of Zeus, the publisher has kindly provided an excerpt to share with CR’s readers. First, here’s the synopsis:

A MAN OF THE DAWN CLAW WILL BE THE ALWAYS KING.

It will ever be so. They will always rule… but they will not always lead.

Prince Oliver Dawn Claw, heir to the Kingdom of the Four Claws, is thrust into a world he doesn’t understand as he waits for his father to die. Away from home, with few allies – and too many enemies – he faces a new and otherworldly threat from beneath the sea. Alliances break and masks fall, as the Dark Brethren reveal their true master.

Meanwhile, Adeline Brand – called the Alpha Wolf – refuses to wait, and becomes the edge of the sword that swings back at the Dreaming God. Assembling allies and crushing resistance, she enters a fight she doesn’t know if she can win, as the sea begins to rise.

And now, on with the excerpt…!

Continue reading

Upcoming: THE KINGDOMS by Natasha Pulley (Bloomsbury)

PulleyN-KingdomsUSIn May, Bloomsbury is due to publish The Kingdoms, the new novel by Nastasha Pulley. The author of the acclaimed, best-selling Watchmaker of Filigree Street duology and The Bedlam Stacks. It looks like an intriguing mash-up of alternative history/reality and fantasy. Here’s the synopsis:

Come home, if you remember.

The postcard has been held at the sorting office for ninety-one years, waiting to be delivered to Joe Tournier. On the front is a lighthouse – Eilean Mor, in the Outer Hebrides.

Joe has never left England, never even left London. He is a British slave, one of thousands throughout the French Empire. He has a job, a wife, a baby daughter.

But he also has flashes of a life he cannot remember and of a world that never existed – a world where English is spoken in England, and not French.

And now he has a postcard of a lighthouse built just six months ago, that was first written nearly one hundred years ago, by a stranger who seems to know him very well.

Joe’s journey to unravel the truth will take him from French-occupied London to a remote Scottish island, and back through time itself as he battles for his life – and for a very different future.

Natasha Pulley’s The Kingdoms is due to be published on May 25th by Bloomsbury Publishing in North America and in the UK. Really looking forward to reading this one.

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter