Quick Review: THE LAST WITNESS by K.J. Parker (Tor.com)

ParkerKJ-LastWitnessAn interesting short fantasy about memory and guilt

When you need a memory to be wiped, call me.

Transferring unwanted memories to my own mind is the only form of magic I’ve ever mastered. But now, I’m holding so many memories I’m not always sure which ones are actually mine, any more.

Some of them are sensitive; all of them are private. And there are those who are willing to kill to access the secrets I’m trying to bury…

I’ve had a rather mixed history with K.J. Parker’s novels. There’s never been any doubt that he is a great writer, but sometimes his novels have felt too plodding for my taste. With his short fiction, however, I have had a completely different experience. I loved The Devil You Know, another novella published by Tor.com, for example. Each new piece of Parker fiction I read, I become ever-more impressed at his creative range. Continue reading

Interview with DAVID MEALING

MealingD-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is David Mealing?

Husband, father, fantasy author, role-player, board gaming geek, avid esports enthusiast.

Your debut novel, Soul of the World, will be published in June by Orbit. It looks pretty epic: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

My usual pitch is ‘French Revolution with magic,’ but it gets much bigger as the story gets going. Soul is the first of a trilogy, and I’ve tried to set up deeper layers with each book. So by the end of book one, you’ll have the main plot wrapped up, with a deeper, ‘plot behind the plot’ just starting to reveal itself. I do the same thing in book two, wrapping up the plot behind the plot from book one and introducing a new layer of unknowns by the end. Then (if everything goes to plan!) book three should wrap everything in a nice neat package. Continue reading

New Books (May 2017)

Featuring: Jeff Abbott, Curtis Armstrong, R.J. Barker, J. Patrick Black, Eric Brown, Sebastien de Castell, Anne Corlett, Greg Cox, Nate Crowley, Joel Dicker, Chris Dows, Jennifer Egan, Anthony Franze, Garbage & Jason Cohen, Max Gladstone, Daniel Godfrey, Dave Hutchinson, Eddie Izzard, Benedict Jacka, Cassandra Khaw, Richard Lange, Yoon Ha Lee, Graham McNeill, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Malka Older, Benjamin Percy, Josh Reynolds, Salman Rushdie, John Sandford, Tade Thompson, Wendy N. Wagner

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Interview with RJ BARKER

BarkerRJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is RJ Barker?

Oh gosh, that’s a big question isn’t it? Who am I? People have written whole books on that, well, not on me personally, on that question in general, but I suppose if I did write a book about it that might be a little bit of overkill. I’ll stick with the general perception of people who know me and say RJ (no dots, for dots are the enemy of mankind[1]) is friendly and a bit eccentric. And has big hair.

Your debut novel, Age of Assassins, will be published by Orbit in August. It looks rather interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It is part of a series but it’s written so each book stands alone. You’ll get more out of it if you read all three (Age of Assassins, Blood of Assassins and King of Assassins) but you don’t need to do that to get a complete story. The tagline of book one probably says it best: “To catch an assassin, use an assassin.” Our hero, Girton Club-Foot, is an assassin put into a position where he has to become a detective and stop a killer to save his, and his master’s, skin. It’s exciting and full of action but at heart it’s a murder mystery. It also revolves around the central relationship between Girton and his master who are very much characters (I hope) you will really like. Girton especially is someone driven to do the right thing. And there’s magic, and they ride around on beasts with massive antlers which, to be honest, I would read a book for that alone. I do like antlers. Continue reading

Excerpt: WITHIN THE SANCTUARY OF WINGS by Marie Brennan (Tor)

To celebrate the recent release of Marie Brennan‘s Within the Sanctuary of Wings, Tor Books has sent me this excerpt to share. The final novel in the author’s Memoirs of Lady Trent fantasy series, first here’s the synopsis:

After nearly five decades (and, indeed, the same number of volumes), one might think they were well-acquainted with the Lady Isabella Trent — dragon naturalist, scandalous explorer, and perhaps as infamous for her company and feats of daring as she is famous for her discoveries and additions to the scientific field.

And yet — after her initial adventure in the mountains of Vystrana, and her exploits in the depths of war-torn Eriga, to the high seas aboard The Basilisk, and then to the inhospitable deserts of Akhia–the Lady Trent has captivated hearts along with fierce minds. This concluding volume will finally reveal the truths behind her most notorious adventure — scaling the tallest peak in the world, buried behind the territory of Scirland’s enemies — and what she discovered there, within the Sanctuary of Wings.

Now. On with chapter one…

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Guest Post: “Write what you know… even if that’s just being an idiot” by Tom Lloyd

Write what you know, it’s the first piece of advice a writer will get. It’s sometimes useful too. After eight years and almost a decade as a published novelist, I was starting a new series and so I asked myself what I’d learned, what I liked and what I wanted for the next few years. But this time round I wasn’t some newbie, I was a wise and skilled crafter of words who utters profound witticisms as he works the room of industry types, right?

Much to my disappointment that clearly wasn’t the case. I was pretty much the same damn fool I’ve always been. Well meaning, stubborn not the cleverest, getting on a bit with something of a food preoccupation – not without some skill but not ever likely to be one of the biggest and brightest stars in the sky. So hey, write what you know? Continue reading

Excerpt: SKULLSWORN by Brian Staveley (Tor Books)

StaveleyB-SkullswornUSIn the first of today’s posts celebrating the release of Brian Staveley‘s stand-alone Skullsworn, we have an excerpt. First, though, here’s the synopsis:

For one apprentice assassin, the clock is ticking…

Pyrre Lakatur doesn’t like the description skullsworn. It doesn’t capture the beauty of her devotion to Ananshael, God of Death. And she’s not an assassin, but a priestess. Or she will be, if she can pass her final trial. The problem isn’t killing, as Pyrre has spent her life training for this. The problem is love. To pass the trial, she will have fourteen days to kill seven people detailed in an ancient song, including one true love, ‘who will not come again’. However, Pyrre has never been in love, time is short, and if she fails she’ll be given to her god.

Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to fail. So a month before the trial begins, she returns to the violent city of her birth, where she once offered an abusive father to the god. Here Pyrre hopes to find love – and end it with the edge of her knife.

Skullsworn is set in the same world as Staveley’s excellent, best-selling and critically-acclaimed Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne trilogy. On with the excerpt!

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