Guest Post: “Grimdark or Grimheart?” by Peter McLean

McLeanP-AuthorPicHi Stefan, thanks for having me back on Civilian Reader!

Last time I was here I was talking with you about my Urban Fantasy books and you asked what might be next, and I said,

“The majority of what I actually read for pleasure is secondary world fantasy, and I’ve always wanted to write a brutal Conan-esque Grimdark swords-and-swearing adventure story so that may see the light of day eventually.”

Well, it sort of did see the light of day.

And yet, at the same time, it sort of didn’t. I did write a brutal secondary world fantasy novel, and that’s Priest of Bones which is out on October 2nd from Ace. But it’s not quite what I had in mind when I originally answered that question three years ago. Continue reading

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Upcoming: PRIEST OF BONES by Peter McLean (Jo Fletcher Books/Ace)

McLean-PriestOfBonesUKIn October, Jo Fletcher Books (UK) and Ace Books (US) are due to publish the new novel by Peter McLeanPriest of Bones. The first novel in the author’s new series, The War of the Rose Throne, I think it sounds great. This has been variously described as a must for fans of Mark Lawrence, Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch. I think, given the synopsis, I think I’d add Daniel Polansky to that list (his Low Town series looks to me to be in the similar sub-genre of fantasy crime/noir). Here’s the synopsis:

‘Sixty-five thousand battle-shocked, trained killers came home to no jobs, no food and the plague. What did Her Majesty think was going to happen?’

Tomas Piety takes his duties seriously: as a soldier, as a priest of Our Lady of Eternal Sorrows and as a leader of men. He has come home from the war to reclaim his family business, to provide for his men and to ensure the horrors of Abingon can never happen in Ellinburg.

But things have changed: his crime empire has been stolen and the people of Ellinburg — his people — have run out of food and hope and places to hide. With his best friend Bloody Anne, his war-damaged brother Jochan and his new gang, the Pious Men, Tomas sets out to reclaim what was his.

And as Tomas is dragged into a web of political intrigue by the sinister Queen’s Men, forced to work against the foreign infiltrators lurking in the backstreet taverns, brothels and gambling dens of the Stink, one thing becomes clear.

The war has just begun.

I think this sounds great. Really looking forward to reading it. McLean’s first series, The Burned Man, is published by Angry Robot Books.

Also on CR: Interview with Peter McLean (2015)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: FOUNDRYSIDE by Robert Jackson Bennett (Crown)

BennettRJ-1-FoundrysideUSRobert Jackson Bennett is one of my favourite authors. From his earlier, stand-alone novels to his Divine Cities series, I think he’s one of the best fantasy authors writing today. Therefore, any new novel from him is to be considered cause for celebration. This year, Crown (North America) and Jo Fletcher Books (UK) are due to release the first novel in his new Founders series: Foundryside. Here are the details:

In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a thief must join forces with the town’s only honest cop to stop a ritual that will kill thousands — and threatens to make their home a battleground between ancient evils.

The city of Tevanne has grown rich, thanks to its mastery of the magical technology known as “scriving” — the art of inscribing an item with sigils to imbue it with some aspects of sentience.

Or more precisely, the four merchant houses who monopolize scriving have grown rich. For their employees, their servants — their slaves — life in the city is orderly, protected. For those forced to live without House protection — and those who choose to throw off House shackles — well, Tevanne’s not such a fun place to be.

And in a town like Tevanne, it’s hard to imagine two more natural enemies than Sancia Grado and Gregor Dandolo. Sancia is a former slave whose ordeals have made her an unnaturally talented thief. Today she uses her skills to steal from the very Houses that Captain Gregor Dandolo is sworn to protect. But when the two clash over Sancia’s theft of a powerful magical artifact, the fallout leads them to confront a common threat — a plot by Tevanne’s masters to develop a weapon capable of unleashing devastating warfare across the world.

Foundryside is due to be published by Crown in North America, and Jo Fletcher Books in the UK, in August 2018. I really can’t wait for this one!

Also on CR: Interview with Robert Jackson Bennett (2012); Guest Post on City of Stairs and the Super Tropey Fantasy Checklist”; Excerpt from City of Stairs; Review of City of Stairs

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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

Excerpt: VIGIL by Angela Slatter (Jo Fletcher Books)

SlatterA-VigilAngela Slatter‘s Vigil is the first novel in the author’s Verity Fassbinder series, published by Jo Fletcher Books. To celebrate its recent release in the UK, the publisher has provided CR with the following excerpt, as part of an extensive blog tour (details of other stops at end). First, though, here’s the synopsis:

Verity Fassbinder has her feet in two worlds.

The daughter of one human and one Weyrd parent, she has very little power herself, but does claim unusual strength — and the ability to walk between us and the other — as a couple of her talents. As such a rarity, she is charged with keeping the peace between both races, and ensuring the Weyrd remain hidden from us.

But now Sirens are dying, illegal wine made from the tears of human children is for sale — and in the hands of those Weyrd who hold with the old ways — and someone has released an unknown and terrifyingly destructive force on the streets of Brisbane.

And Verity must investigate — or risk ancient forces carving our world apart.

Read on for the excerpt… Continue reading

Guest Post: “Regeneration Transatlantic” by Stephanie Saulter

SaulterS-AuthorPicRegeneration, the third and final book of the ®Evolution sequence, is about to drop in North America. Given that it’s been out in the UK for the past eight months, I’ve already done a lot of public meditating on what it’s ‘like’ to have completed the trilogy (short answer: I don’t really know what it’s like. To what can you compare it?). Now I’m thinking about the internationalist dimension. One of the things that I’ve found fascinating, and often surprising, over the past few years is the different ways in which the books have been received and understood in different countries and communities. Continue reading