New Books (April-May)

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Featuring: Troy Carrol Bucher, Gordon H. Chang, Dhonielle Clayton, John Connolly, Jennifer Giesbrecht, Stanley B. Greenberg, Georgia Hardstark, Guy Haley, John Hornor Jacobs, Kel Kade, Karen Kilgariff, Cassandra Khaw, Mary Robinette Kowal, Michael Laurence, Yoon Ha Lee, Nick Mamatas, Kassandra Montag, Tamsyn Muir, Brian Naslund, Anna Pitoniak, Christopher Ruocchio, John Sandford, Mel Stanfill, Jon Steinhagen, Neal Stephenson, Breanna Teintze, Chuck Wendig, Jen Williams

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Guest Post: “Unexpected Influences” by Jen Williams

WilliamsJ-AuthorPicAuthors are influenced by all sorts of things – their favourite writers, their childhoods, the amount of caffeine consumed at any one time. Sometimes though the influences that shape a book can come from stranger places, or show themselves in unusual ways. The Ninth Rain was a book that formed through an alchemy of oddities, so here are a few of the things that have their fingerprints on the first volume of the Winnowing Flame trilogy. Continue reading

New Books (Nov-Dec 2016)

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Featuring: David Annandale, Marie Brennan, Maurice Broaddus, Paul Cornell, Michael Crichton, Thoraiya Dyer, Warren Ellis, Christopher Golden, Lee Irby, Kathleen Kent, Christina Kovac, Jonathan Lethem, Laura Lippman, Gregory McDonald, Claire North, Andrew Pyper, Joshua Reynolds, Suzanne Rindell, Kim Stanley Robinson, Steven Savile, Norman Spinrad, Ingrid Thoft, Tim Walker, Alex Wells, Jen Williams, Jason Zinoman

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Guest Post: “Magic & Its Masters” by Jen Williams

WilliamsJ-AuthorPicIn The Iron Ghost, the second book in the Copper Cat trilogy, my very own troubled magic user Lord Aaron Frith comes face to face with one of the most famous mages’ in Ede’s history: the resurrected Joah Demonsworn. Unfortunately, although Joah is quite polite and rather pleased to find that there is at least one other mage still around, he is also murderously insane – driven beyond all sense by the pursuit of power, by his close association with a demon, and by spending a thousand years mouldering in a tomb. His plans for the Black Feather Three will prove to have disastrous consequences for everyone.

Magic is one of the foundations of fantasy, and often those who use it or are changed by it can be the most interesting characters in fiction. Here are a few of my favourites: Continue reading

New Books (February #2)

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Featuring: Nick Aires, Jesse Armstrong, David Baldacci, Adam Christopher, Sebastien de Castell, David Downing, Mark Andrew Ferguson, Matthew Glass, Daryl Gregory, Austin Grossman, Randy Henderson, Antonia Honeywell, Kameron Hurley, Ben Kane, Dennis Lehane, Evie Manieri, D.J. Molles, Benjamin Percy, Tamora Pierce, Christopher Reich, Loren Rhoads, Anthony Ryan, V.E. Schwab, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Simon K. Unsworth, Jen Williams, Jonathan Wood Continue reading

Guest Post: “Watership Down, Or the Film that Made Me” by Jen Williams

WilliamsJen-AuthorPicI was going to write about some of my non-book influences for this guest blog. There are a lot of them – the video game Dragon Age, which pretty much singlehandedly reinvigorated my love of high fantasy; the TV show Farscape, partly responsible I suspect for my obsession with snippy banter and weird creatures; and Labyrinth, of course – what fantasy fan of my age wasn’t influenced by Labyrinth? And then I remembered a conversation I had way back when The Copper Promise was a tiny wee novella. Someone asked me if I’d named Lord Frith after the god of rabbits in Watership Down. I laughed, because if anyone would object to being named after the god of rabbits it’s probably my grumpy Lord Frith, and then I stopped laughing, because I realised I had done exactly that. Not entirely consciously, but then Watership Down has been with me for a very long time, and I have over the years noted it cropping up in tiny ways in lots of things I did. For me, Watership Down was a film before it was the book – I love the book very much, but if you really wanted to mess with my head as a very small child, you needed to come in the form of a cartoon. Continue reading

Upcoming: Intriguing Early 2015 Titles from Headline

Here are a few books coming from Headline in early 2015 that have caught my attention…

Connolly&Ridyard-CI2-EmpireUKHCJohn Connolly & Jennifer Ridyard, EMPIRE

She is the trophy of a civilization at war with itself.

He is its rebel captive.

Separated by millions of light years, they will fight to be united.

And they will risk everything to make their world — all worlds — right again.

The second novel in the authors’ Invaders trilogy, following on from Conquest. Which I have but have yet to read. It sounds fun, too, so I should see what I can do about catching up. I’ve recently picked up the first three of Connolly’s Charlie Parker novels, which I hope to read as soon as possible. Empire is due to be published on January 1st, 2015.

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CutterN-TheDeepUKNick Cutter, THE DEEP

A plague is destroying the world’s population. The ‘Gets makes people forget. First it’s the small things, like where you left your keys… then the not-so-small things, like how to drive. And finally your body forgets how to live.

But now an unknown substance with extraordinary power to heal has been discovered in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Nicknamed ambrosia, it might just be the miracle cure the world has been praying for.

A research lab has been established eight miles below the sea’s surface, but all contact with the team has been lost. Dr Luke Nelson’s brother is down there and as desperation for a cure outweighs common sense, he agrees to descend through the lightless fathoms… perhaps to face an evil blacker than anything he could have imagined.

Cutter’s previous novel, The Troop was very well-received. And apparently spooky/horrific as all get-out. So, this could be just as interesting. The Deep should hit shelves on January 13th, 2015.

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JonesSL-WrittenInBloodUKPBStephen Lloyd Jones, WRITTEN IN BLOOD

High in the mountains of the Swiss Alps Leah Wilde is about to gamble her life to bring a powerful man an offer. A promise.

Leah has heard the dark stories about him and knows she is walking into the lion’s den. But her options are running out. Her rare lineage, kept secret for years, is under terrible threat. That is, unless Leah and her mother Hannah are prepared to join up with their once deadly enemies.

Should the prey ever trust the predator?

Is hope for future generations ever enough to wash away the sins of the past?

With a new and chilling danger stalking them all, and the survival of their society at stake, they may have little choice…

This is actually the paperback release, as I appear to have completely missed the hardcover release in November 2014. I’ve still not read Jones’s first novel, The String Diaries, but I’ve heard it’s excellent. So I should really get on to that… Written in Blood is published in paperback on January 29th 2015.

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WilliamsJ-2-IronGhostUKJen Williams, THE IRON GHOST

Beware the dawning of a new mage…

Wydrin of Crosshaven, Sir Sebastian and Lord Aaron Frith are experienced in the perils of stirring up the old gods. They are also familiar with defeating them, and the heroes of Baneswatch are now enjoying the perks of suddenly being very much in demand for their services.

When a job comes up in the distant city of Skaldshollow, it looks like easy coin – retrieve a stolen item, admire the views, get paid. But in a place twisted and haunted by ancient magic, with the most infamous mage of them all, Joah Demonsworn, making a reappearance, our heroes soon find themselves threatened by enemies on all sides, old and new. And in the frozen mountains, the stones are walking…

Williams’s first novel, The Copper Promise, was pretty fun. This is the follow-up, due out February 26th 2015.