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

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

An Interview with SEBASTIEN DE CASTELL

DeCastell-AuthorPic2013Back in November, I stumbled across some information about Sebastien de Castell’s Traitor’s Blade on Jo Fletcher Books’ website. Naturally, I was very intrigued. Then, in January, an ARC of the book appeared, and I dove right in. To put it bluntly, I loved it: a perfect blend of action, intrigue, humour, and all-round great storytelling. This novel is going to cause a splash, as well it damn well should. Read on for an interview with de Castell…

Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Sebastien de Castell?

I guess you could say that I’m a professional wanderer. I love to take on challenges in new fields and learn everything I can. These days I write fantasy and mystery novels but in the past I’ve been a full-time musician, an interaction designer, teacher, project manager, fight choreographer, actor, and, well, lots of other things. (At least one of which I’m keeping secret until my deathbed!)

Your debut novel, Traitor’s Blade, is due to be published in March by Jo Fletcher Books. How would you introduce the novel to a new reader?

The Three Musketeers meets A Game of Thrones. It’s a swashbuckling mystery set in a country that is being torn apart by corruption and intrigue. Continue reading

Join the Greatcoats! (Competition #1)

Greatcoats-Seal

Due to popular demand, the eBook of Sebastien de Castell’s Traitor’s Blade has been bought forward by his published Jo Fletcher Books to February 10th! The printed edition will be published at the beginning of March. To celebrate, JFB are offering up to 100 eReview copies of the novel via NetGalley!

To enter this competition is really simple. All you have to do is tweet @JoFletcherBooks your Greatcoat name, which is worked out thus:

1. Write down the name of your first school.

2. Writing down the MAIDEN name of your Grandmother on your Mother’s side.

3. Combining the two. Simples.

The winners of this completion will be announced on the 6th of February, and will receive eReview copies via Net Galley.

In case you’re interested, my Greatcoat name is “Kensington Gollarsch” – a debonair, rakish and mischievous swordsman…

deCastellS-GC1-TraitorsBladeI’ve already read the novel, and I thought it was excellent – a real swashbuckling blast of a read, blending the tone and fun of Alexandre Dumas’s Three Musketeers with a more modern fantasy sensibility added to the mix. Great characters, great pacing and prose. Traitor’s Blade deserves to be a hit, and I can’t wait to read the second book in the series. Here’s the synopsis:

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…

Upcoming: “Traitor’s Blade” by Sebastien de Castell (Jo Fletcher Books)

deCastellS-GC1-TraitorsBladeWhile stumbling about on the internet, looking for information on upcoming new books by authors I like, I found the synopsis for this novel. Another from Jo Fletcher Books (a publisher who seems to be publishing some of the most interesting SFF novels at the moment, which I have been singularly inept at keeping up with), it looks rather promising. Traitor’s Blade is the first in Sebastien de Castell’s Greatcoats series. Here’s the synopsis…

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…

deCastellS-SpellslingerTraitor’s Blade is due to be published in early March 2014. Penguin will be publishing the novel in Canada, and Piper will be bringing it to shelves in Germany. I’m rather looking forward to it. Although, I do wonder if the Dragon Age-esque aesthetic of the cover is leading…? Be sure to check out de Castell’s website and Twitter for more news. Including, as it turns out, some preliminary information on the second Greatcoats novel, Greatcoat’s Lament (which looked a bit spoilery to me, so I haven’t included it here), and also Spellslinger, the author’s “heroic fantasy with a western flavour” (synopsis below). There is also a free mini-audiodrama, set in the Spellslinger world, “Card Trick”.

A Tale of Magic, Intrigue & Talking Raccoons

Kellen Argos is cursed with the Shadowblack and on the run from his own family when the mysterious young queen of Darome promises him a cure in exchange for his protection. Kellen soon discovers that someone inside the nobility is plotting to take over the country. Now he has to find a way to outsmart the conspirators before they get to the queen over Kellen’s dead body.