Upcoming: THE DINOSAUR ARTIST by Paige Williams (Hachette)

WilliamsP-DinosaurArtistUSLike a great many people, I grew up fascinated by dinosaurs. I loved reading about them, and also playing with my set of unpainted, hard-plastic dinosaur toys. (My grandfather collected special coupons from his Weetabix boxes for months before sending off for the set. Probably my happiest childhood memories of him.) There seems to be a bit of a resurgence in dino-interest in publishing — for example, Steve Brusatte’s The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs was recently released to much fanfare (I’ll be reading it pretty soon). Also, in movies, we have the incredible success of Jurassic World and its sequel, which will no doubt be a blockbuster success as well. This September, Hachette will release Paige Williams’s debut non-fiction book, The Dinosaur Artist. It sounds really interesting:

The first time Eric Prokopi saw T. bataar bones he was impressed. The enormous skull and teeth betrayed the apex predator’s close relation to the storied Tyrannosaurus rex, the most famous animal that ever lived. Prokopi’s obsession with fossils had begun decades earlier, when he was a Florida boy scouring for shark teeth and Ice Age remnants, and it had continued as he built a thriving business hunting, preparing, and selling specimens to avid collectors and private museums around the world. To scientists’ fury and dismay, there was big money to be made in certain corners of the fossil trade. Prokopi didn’t consider himself merely a businessman, though. He also thought of himself as a vital part of paleontology — as one of the lesser-known artistic links in bringing prehistoric creatures back to life — and saw nothing wrong with turning a profit in the process.

Bone hunting was expensive, risky, controversial work, and he increasingly needed bigger “scores.” By the time he acquired a largely complete skeleton of T. bataar and restored it in his workshop, he was highly leveraged and drawing quiet scorn from peers who worried that by bringing such a big, beautiful Mongolian dinosaur to market he would tarnish the entire trade. Presenting the skeleton for sale at a major auction house in New York City, he was relieved to see the bidding start at nearly $1 million — only to fall apart when the president of Mongolia unexpectedly stepped in to question the specimen’s origins and demand its return. An international custody battle ensued, shining new light on the black market for dinosaur fossils, the angst of scientists who fear for their field, and the precarious political tensions in post-Communist Mongolia. The Prokopi case, unprecedented in American jurisprudence, continues to reverberate throughout the intersecting worlds of paleontology, museums, art, and geopolitics.

In this gorgeous nonfiction debut, Williams uncovers an untold story that spans continents, cultures, and millennia as she grapples with the questions of who we are, how we got here, and who, ultimately, owns the past.

The Dinosaur Artist is due to be published in North America and in the UK by Hachette.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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Upcoming 2017… Mulholland Books

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Mulholland Books is one of my favourite publishers, releasing a whole range of excellent thrillers and fiction. Here are a few upcoming novels I’m looking forward to — I’m sure there are more, but these are the only ones I could find information about.

Featuring: Kathleen Kent, Richard Lange, Sarah Lotz, Stuart Prebble, Matthew Quirk, Scott Reardon, David Swinson, Felicia Yap

Continue reading

Guest Post: “The Cliches of Prophecy’s Ruin – Original Ways with Old Cliches” by Sam Bowring

BowringS-AuthorPicIn Prophecy’s Ruin, book one of the Broken Well trilogy, a child is prophesied to be born on a dark and stormy night (of course) who will end the age-old battle between the forces of shadow and light. Pardon me, but YAAAAAAAAAAAWN. We’ve all heard this shit a hundred times before.

I realise this might be a strange sentiment coming from the author of a book with such a title, but I detest prophecy as a plot device. The idea that anything is inevitable lies in stark opposition to the notion of free will, something we all probably prefer to believe in. And when hearing a particular prophecy leads you to somehow create the circumstances you were actively trying to avoid? I mean, come on. How many more times do we really need to see that clever crap play out? Continue reading

Post-Trip Book Plug: ROB BOFFARD and DAVID TOWSEY

Last week, Alyssa and I went on a short trip to Vancouver. It was excellent (read that in Wayne Campbell’s voice for proper effect), and I think we’re going to do our best to make it an annual thing. Anyway, that’s all beside the point. On Friday, we had the pleasure of meeting up with authors Rob Boffard and David Towsey, two author’s I’ve “known” via the Twitters for what feels like ages. There was talk of books, there was beer, there was clam juice, and there was much merriment.

I thought, therefore, I would just let everyone know (again) about their books, which I think everyone should try…

Rob Boffard’s TRACER, ZERO-G and IMPACT (Orbit)

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A huge space station orbits the Earth, holding the last of humanity. It’s broken, rusted, falling apart. We’ve wrecked our planet, and now we have to live with the consequences: a new home that’s dirty, overcrowded and inescapable.

What’s more, there’s a madman hiding on the station. He’s about to unleash chaos. And when he does, there’ll be nowhere left to run.

Tracer and Zero-G are out now — in both eBook and print in the UK, and eBook in the US (print arriving in June and July). Impact is due to be published in August.

Also on CR: Interview with Rob Boffard; Guest Post on “What to do if You’re Set Adrift in Space?”; Review of Tracer

Links: Author Website, Twitter, Goodreads

David Towsey’s YOUR BROTHER’S BLOOD, YOUR SERVANTS AND YOUR PEOPLE and YOUR RESTING PLACE (Jo Fletcher Books)

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No one knows who will become a Walkin’ — one of the living dead — when they die, but everyone knows it’s a curse

The earth is a wasteland, with no technology, science, or medicine — but the dead don’t always die. Those who rise again are the Walkin’…

Thomas is thirty-two. He comes from the small town of Barkley. He has a wife there, Sarah, and a child, Mary; good solid names from the Good Book. And he is on his way home from the war, where he has been serving as a conscripted soldier.

Thomas is also dead — he is one of the Walkin’.

And Barkley does not suffer the wicked to live.

All three novels in the Walkin’ series are out now.

Also on CR: Interview with David Towsey; Excerpt from Your Brother’s Blood; Guest Post on “When Reading Habits Become Writing Habits”

Links: Author Website, Twitter, Goodreads

Review: MEMORY MAN by David Baldacci (Grand Central)

BaldacciD-AD1-MemoryManUSAn engaging new thriller with an interesting new detective

Amos Decker’s life changed forever — twice.

The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to go pro. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect — he can never forget anything. 

The second time was at home nearly two decades later. Now a police detective, Decker returned from a stakeout one evening and entered a nightmare — his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law had been murdered.

His family destroyed, their killer’s identity as mysterious as the motive behind the crime, and unable to forget a single detail from that horrible night, Decker finds his world collapsing around him. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the street, taking piecemeal jobs as a private investigator when he can.

But over a year later, a man turns himself in to the police and confesses to the murders. At the same time a horrific event nearly brings Burlington to its knees, and Decker is called back in to help with this investigation. Decker also seizes his chance to learn what really happened to his family that night. To uncover the stunning truth, he must use his remarkable gifts and confront the burdens that go along with them. He must endure the memories he would much rather forget. And he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

I have reviewed many of Baldacci’s novels on CR, and loved pretty much all of them. I’ve read all of his novels since The Camel Club, and have also read almost all of his earlier ones. Each new series, each new character has been distinct from previous protagonists. Up until now, though, they have all been very much in the same mould: heroes, strong characters, some might say All-American. In Memory Man, Baldacci has tried something new — and successfully so. This is a very interesting mystery. Continue reading

Interview with BENJAMIN PERCY

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Benjamin Percy is the author of the excellent Red Moon – which I consider one of the best novels of the year (and certainly within the top ten in the past few years). I thoroughly enjoyed what he did with the werewolf mythology, and also how he wove into his narrative many of today’s social issues and prejudices. I had the pleasure of very briefly meeting him at the Arthur C. Clarke Awards (he sat behind me). Last week, he was kind enough to take a few minutes to answer some questions for Civilian Reader…

Who is Benjamin Percy?

An author with sideburns sharp enough to cut and a voice deep enough to crumble the foundations of buildings and set hair aflame. He has summited mountains, performed brain surgery, and juggled flaming chainsaws — all at the same time! Continue reading

Upcoming: “Before the Fall” by Francis Knight (Orbit)

KnightF-RD2-BeforeTheFallI loved the first novel in Knight’s Rojan Dizon series, Fade to Black. I thought it was a fun, well-written and fast-paced fantasy thriller, in a very well-realised world. I have, therefore, been keeping my eyes open for more information about its soon-to-be-released sequel, Before the Fall. I’ve posted the artwork before, but was waiting on a synopsis. Which I now have. So here it is:

With the destruction of their main power source, the towering vertical city of Mahala is in crisis.

Downsiders are verging on a riot, and the mage Rojan Dizon is just trying to keep his head down and some power back to the city — whilst staying hopeful that he won’t get executed for using his magic. Then things go from bad to worse when a Downsider and emerging mage is found murdered. It’s a crime that divides all sides, and the result is mayhem.

But Rojan’s worst nightmare is just around the corner. When he discovers the killer’s identity, he’s either going to be responsible for all-out anarchy, or for a war with Mahala’s neighboring countries that no one is prepared for.

And there’s nothing Rojan hates more than being responsible.

Before the Fall will be published by Orbit in both the UK and US on June 18, 2013 (in paperback and eBook editions).