Interview with GARETH HANRAHAN

HanrahanG-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Gareth Hanrahan?

I’m still pretty vague on that question, to be honest. I appear to be a writer and game designer living in Ireland. A preponderance of evidence suggests I’m married with twin sons, and I have it on good authority that I’m tall with somewhat absurd legs. I hope to have a more final answer to the question “who is Gareth Hanrahan” at some point, but ideally not for another forty or fifty years.

Your new novel, The Gutter Prayer, will be published by Orbit early next year. How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s a fantasy thriller set in a quasi-Victorian city, a mostly godless city of thieves and alchemists. Three such thieves are betrayed by their former boss and seek revenge using newfound occult powers; along the way, they discover the secret history of the city and their importance in a much larger play for power. It’s full of alchemy, monstrous weirdness, intrigue, architecture and stabbings.

It’s part of a series called The Black Iron Legacy, but the story’s very self-contained. Continue reading

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Upcoming: GIDEON THE NINTH by Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com)

muirt-nh1-gideontheninthusTamsyn Muir‘s Gideon the Ninth is getting a lot of pre-publication attention. The lucky few who have received ARCs have gushed about how awesome and fun it is. The fantastic cover was unveiled recently, and really I just wanted an excuse to share it on CR. If that striking artwork isn’t enough to whet your appetite, here’s the synopsis for the novel that is “the most fun you’ll ever have with a skeleton”:

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as necromantic skeletons. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

I’m really looking forward to giving this a try. Gideon the Ninth is due to be published by Tor.com on September 10th, 2019, in North America and in the UK.

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Quick Review: THE GUTTER PRAYER by Gareth Hanrahan (Orbit)

HanrahanG-1-GutterPrayerOne of the most talked-about debuts of 2019

A group of three young thieves are pulled into a centuries old magical war between ancient beings, mages, and humanity in this wildly original debut epic fantasy.

Enter a city of saints and thieves…

The city of Guerdon stands eternal. A refuge from the war that rages beyond its borders. But in the ancient tunnels deep beneath its streets, a malevolent power has begun to stir.

The fate of the city rests in the hands of three thieves. They alone stand against the coming darkness. As conspiracies unfold and secrets are revealed, their friendship will be tested to the limit. If they fail, all will be lost, and the streets of Guerdon will run with blood.

The Gutter Prayer has been showered with praise pre-publication. After reading it, I can certainly see why: it is one of the most inventive new fantasies I’ve read in a while. The novel is packed full of ideas, multiple unique and innovative twists on popular fantasy elements, and an overall interesting and action-packed story. There’s a lot to like in here, and I’m sure many readers will love this novel. Continue reading

Quick Review: THE HAUNTING OF TRAM CAR 015 by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com)

ClarkPD-HauntingOfTramCar015A second story in Clark’s fascinating historical fantasy Cairo

Cairo, 1912: The case started as a simple one for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities — handling a possessed tram car.

Soon, however, Agent Hamed Nasr and his new partner Agent Onsi Youssef are exposed to a new side of Cairo stirring with suffragettes, secret societies, and sentient automatons in a race against time to protect the city from an encroaching danger that crosses the line between the magical and the mundane.

I’m a newcomer to P. Djèlí Clark’s work, and I must say he is fast becoming one of my favourite new authors. The Haunting of Tram Car 015 is a novella set in the same world as the author’s A Dead Djinn in Cairo short story. Both are mysteries, with protagonists tasked with investigating supernatural goings-on in an alternate-history Cairo — one in which djinn, gods and spirits (among others) exist and changed the course of history. I really enjoyed this, and think a lot of others will too. Continue reading

Upcoming: GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey)

MorenoGarciaS-GodsOfJadeAndShadowI haven’t read as much of Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s work as I would like (so many books, so little time!). However, what I have read has been universally excellent. Next year, Del Rey are due to publish the author’s next novel, Gods of Jade and Shadow. Here’s the synopsis, which has certainly whet my appetite:

The Mayan God of Death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.

Here we shall begin to tell a story: a tale of a throne lost, of monsters and magic. A tale of gods and of the shadow realm. But this, our story, it begins in our world, in the land of mortals.

It begins with a woman. For this story, it is her story. It begins with her.

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty, small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it — and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan God of Death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey, from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City — and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.

Mixing the excitement of the Roaring Twenties with Prehispanic mythology, Gods of Jade and Shadow is a vivid, wildly imaginative historical fantasy.

Gods of Jade and Shadow is due to be published in North America on August 6th, 2019 (at the time of writing, there was no information that I could find about a UK release/publisher). That’s quite a while to wait, but there are plenty of the author’s other novels available now to tide you over. For example: Certain Dark Things, The Beautiful Ones, Signal to Noise and Prime Meridian (to name but four).

Also on CR: Excerpt from Signal to Noise

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Interview with P. DJÈLÍ CLARK

ClarkPD-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is P. Djèlí Clark?

I’m a writer of speculative fiction by night and a mild-mannered assistant professor of history by dayd. Neither of those personas fights crime.

Your latest novella, The Haunting of Tram Car 015, will be published by Tor.com early next year. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

The Haunting of Tram Car 015 takes place in the same world as a 2016 novelette published on Tor.com titled, A Dead Djinn in Cairo. Set in an alternate 1912 Egypt of steampunk, djinn, magic and clockwork angels, that initial story follows the exploits of Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi of the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities — tasked with policing the boundaries of the supernatural and the mundane. The Haunting of Tram Car 015 opens up this world further through two new characters — Agents Hamed Nasr and Onsi Youseff — as they attempt to deal with a case of magic and transportation gone awry. Hilarity and hijinks ensue. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE GRAND DARK by Richard Kadrey (Voyager)

KadreyR-GrandDarkUSWell, that cover is rather fantastic. I’d spotted the synopsis for this novel a short while before the cover was unveiled, and my interest has only grown with that gorgeous cover. I know, “don’t judge a book by its cover” — I’m not, really, as I’m already a big fan of Richard Kadrey‘s novels, and have routinely recommended and cheered each and every new novel he’s written and had published. (Shamefully, that hasn’t stopped me from falling behind…) The Grand Dark is “a lush, dark, stand-alone fantasy… a subversive tale that immerses us in a world where the extremes of bleakness and beauty exist together in dangerous harmony in a city on the edge of civility and chaos.” That sounds pretty intriguing! It has also been described as akin to the work of China Miéville and M. John Harrison. Here’s the full synopsis:

The Great War is over. The city of Lower Proszawa celebrates the peace with a decadence and carefree spirit as intense as the war’s horrifying despair. But this newfound hedonism — drugs and sex and endless parties — distracts from strange realities of everyday life: Intelligent automata taking jobs. Genetically engineered creatures that serve as pets and beasts of war. A theater where gruesome murders happen twice a day. And a new plague that even the ceaseless euphoria can’t mask.

Unlike others who live strictly for fun, Largo is an addict with ambitions. A bike messenger who grew up in the slums, he knows the city’s streets and its secrets intimately. His life seems set. He has a beautiful girlfriend, drugs, a chance at a promotion — and maybe, an opportunity for complete transformation: a contact among the elite who will set him on the course to lift himself up out of the streets.

But dreams can be a dangerous thing in a city whose mood is turning dark and inward. Others have a vision of life very different from Largo’s, and they will use any methods to secure control. And in behind it all, beyond the frivolity and chaos, the threat of new war always looms.

The Grand Dark is due to be published by Voyager in North America and in the UK, on June 11th, 2019. That’s quite a long wait, but it does mean I’ll have time to get caught up on the excellent, highly-recommended Sandman Slim series.

Also on CR: Reviews of Sandman SlimKill the DeadAloha From HellDevil in the Dollhouse, Devil Said Bang and Kill City Blues.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter