Interview with SEBASTIEN DE CASTELL

deCastell-AuthorPicSo, we’ve had you on CR before, but for new readers let’s start with an introduction: Who is Sebastien de Castell?

I’m the guy who wrote that thing about the dudes with the really cool coats, and the one guy is like, “I’m the greatest swordsman who ever lived, but I don’t like to talk about it,” but the other one is like, “arrows are just as good as swords, and anyway, I’m better looking” and then there’s the narrator, who’s like, “Justice! Why can’t we have more justice!”

I think it’s called the “Great Cloaks” or “Grey Coats” or something.

Maybe it’s better to look up the bio I gave in our previous interview. Continue reading

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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

Continue reading

Guest Review: TRAITOR’S BLADE by Sebastien de Castell (Jo Fletcher Books)

deCastellS-GC1-TraitorsBladeAnother perspective on the first Greatcoats novel

The King is dead, the Greatcoats have been disbanded, and Falcio Val Mond and his fellow magistrates Kest and Brasti have been reduced to working as bodyguards for a nobleman who refuses to pay them. Things could be worse, of course. Their employer could be lying dead on the floor while they are forced to watch the killer plant evidence framing them for the murder. Oh wait, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Now a royal conspiracy is about to unfold in the most corrupt city in the world. A carefully orchestrated series of murders that began with the overthrow of an idealistic young king will end with the death of an orphaned girl and the ruin of everything that Falcio, Kest, and Brasti have fought for. But if the trio want to foil the conspiracy, save the girl, and reunite the Greatcoats, they’ll have to do it with nothing but the tattered coats on their backs and the swords in their hands, because these days every noble is a tyrant, every knight is a thug, and the only thing you can really trust is a traitor’s blade.

Reviewed by Ryan Frye

I began reading Sebastien De Castell’s Traitor’s Blade late one night and the next thing I knew, it was even later, and I was already a fair chunk into the book. This is one of those books that grabbed my attention immediately and made it easy for me to submerse myself into this new fantasy world and all its trappings. De Castell does this with quick, action packed pacing and a first person narrative voice that makes the story easy to fall into. From page one, there’s great, witty dialog and a dragon’s horde of action. These two elements were the driving forces that kept me reading of Traitor’s Blade as I found some areas where I struggled with the novel. Continue reading

New Greatcoats Competition from Jo Fletcher Books

deCastell-2-KnightsShadowUKToday marks the release of Knight’s Shadow, the highly-anticipated follow-up to Sebastien de Castell‘s debut, Traitor’s Blade. To celebrate, Jo Fletcher Books are running a competition on their website.

There is a test every magistrate must take before becoming a Greatcoat – it comes in the form of a puzzle from a very old book called Peritas Aequitum, which literally means Perils of Justice. It’s quite possible that this book was the original text used to train the very first Greatcoats in centuries past.

This puzzle asks the examinee to decide the outcome of a case for which Tristia’s complex laws provide several different — equally valid — legal outcomes. The Greatcoat confronted by this situation is thus forced to render a verdict even though any choice they make is guaranteed to make matters worse…

To be in with a chance to win a copy of the new novel, head on over to JFB’s website for full details on how to win. In the meantime, here’s the synopsis for the novel:

Tristia is a nation overcome by intrigue and corruption. The idealistic young King Paelis is dead and the Greatcoats – legendary travelling magistrates who brought justice to the Kingdom – have been branded as traitors. But just before his head was impaled on a spike, the King swore each of his hundred and forty-four Greatcoats to a different mission. 

Falcio Val Mond, First Cantor, with the help of fellow Greatcoats Kest and Brasti, has completed his King’s final task: he has found his Charoites – well, one at least, and she was not quite what they expected. Now they must protect the girl from the many who would see her dead, and place her on the throne of a lawless kingdom. That would be simple enough, if it weren’t for the Daishini, an equally legendary band of assassins, getting in their way, not to forget the Dukes who are determined to hold on to their fractured Kingdoms, or the fact that the heir to the throne is only thirteen years old. Oh, and the poison that is slowly killing Falcio.

That’s not even mentioning the Greatcoat’s Lament…

I already have a copy of the novel, and I intend to start it ASAP – either next, or next-but-one.

Also on CR: Interview with Sebastien de Castell; Guest Post “Where Writers Get Their Groove”; Review of Traitor’s Blade

Upcoming: KNIGHT’S SHADOW by Sebastien de Castell (Jo Fletcher Books)

deCastell-2-KnightsShadowUKIf you’ve been reading CR for the past year, you’ll probably have caught the fact that I really enjoyed Sebastien de Castell‘s debut fantasy, Traitor’s Blades. I was rather excited, therefore, to start seeing mentions and details of the sequel, Knight’s Shadow. Now (or, at least, as far as I’ve seen), de Castell’s UK publisher Jo Fletcher Books has unveiled the cover (right). Here’s the synopsis:

Tristia is a nation overcome by intrigue and corruption. The idealistic young King Paelis is dead and the Greatcoats – legendary travelling magistrates who brought justice to the Kingdom – have been branded as traitors. But just before his head was impaled on a spike, the King swore each of his hundred and forty-four Greatcoats to a different mission. 

Falcio Val Mond, First Cantor, with the help of fellow Greatcoats Kest and Brasti, has completed his King’s final task: he has found his Charoites – well, one at least, and she was not quite what they expected. Now they must protect the girl from the many who would see her dead, and place her on the throne of a lawless kingdom. That would be simple enough, if it weren’t for the Daishini, an equally legendary band of assassins, getting in their way, not to forget the Dukes who are determined to hold on to their fractured Kingdoms, or the fact that the heir to the throne is only thirteen years old. Oh, and the poison that is slowly killing Falcio. 

That’s not even mentioning the Greatcoat’s Lament…

Knight’s Shadow is due to be published in the UK on March 5th 2015. I can’t wait to read it!

Also on CR: Interview with Sebastien de Castell; Guest Post on “Where Writers Get Their Groove”

Guest Post: “Where Writers Get Their Groove” by Sebastien de Castell

SebastienDeCastell-AuthorPicBy far the most common question you get asked as an author is, “Where do your ideas come from?” Of course, my ideas come from the same places as yours do: the crazy parts of your brain intersecting with the crazy parts of the world around you. Human brains are hard-wired to find patterns even when there are none and those little synaptic misfires are part of what makes us creative beings.

Now, the question I never get asked is, “Where do you get your groove from?” Maybe this sounds like a silly question. After all, books don’t have a groove, do they?

deCastellS-GC1-TraitorsBladeThink about those big moments in a story when your eyes are racing across the page to find out what comes next. If the author is doing their job every line should be moving the story along at the perfect speed for the action taking place. Remember back to one of those heart-rending passages where your eyes suddenly freeze on the last three words of a sentence as the implications of an emotional turnaround hits you. That strange, almost magical timing is pacing. It’s rhythm. It’s groove. My first experiences with storytelling were as a touring musician, so I often go back to music for the inspiration in finding the right pacing for key scenes in the books I write. Here’s a few that helped put Traitor’s Blade onto the page. Continue reading

Review: TRAITOR’S BLADE by Sebastien de Castell (Jo Fletcher Books)

deCastellS-GC1-TraitorsBladeAn all-round brilliant fantasy debut, and one of the best I’ve read in a decade.

Falcio is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are travelling Magisters upholding King’s Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom, and impaled their King’s head on a spike.

Now Tristia is on the verge of collapse and the barbarians are sniffing at the borders. The Dukes bring chaos to the land, while the Greatcoats are scattered far and wide, reviled as traitors, their legendary coats in tatters.

All they have left are the promises they made to King Paelis, to carry out one final mission. But if they have any hope of fulfilling the King’s dream, the divided Greatcoats must reunite, or they will also have to stand aside as they watch their world burn…

Every so often, a debut novel comes along that knocks your expectations out of the park. Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamorra is one of those novels. Peter V. Brett’s The Painted Man is another. Sebastien de Castell’s Traitor’s Blade needs to be added to that list. I loved this. Continue reading