Excerpt: LOCKLANDS by Robert Jackson Bennett (Jo Fletcher Books)

BennettRJ-F3-LocklandsUKHCToday we have an excerpt from Robert Jackson Bennett‘s third novel in his Founders series: Locklands. Published today by Jo Fletcher Books in the UK (who kindly provided the excerpt) and Del Rey in North America, first let’s check out the official synopsis:

Once, Sancia Grado was just a thief with a grudge and a rare talent. Then she learned how to use that talent, and beat the great merchant houses of Tevanne at their own game. With Clef and Berenice, she even saw off an immortal hierophant – but the war they’re fighting now is one they know they can’t win.

This time, they’re not facing robber-baron elites or an immortal hierophant, but an entity whose intelligence is spread over half the globe: a ghost in the machine using the magic of scriving to possess and control not just objects, but human minds.

Despite all their efforts their enemy marches on, implacable, unstoppable – and it’s closing in on its true prize: an ancient doorway that leads to the centre of creation itself.

Sancia and her friends glimpse a last desperate opportunity to stop this unbeatable foe – but to do so, they’ll have to unlock the centuries-old mystery of scriving’s origins and pull off the most daring heist they’ve ever attempted.

And as if that weren’t enough, their adversary might just have a spy in their ranks – and a last trick up its sleeve…

Now, on with the excerpt!

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Excerpt: IN THE HEART OF HIDDEN THINGS by Kit Whitfield (Jo Fletcher Books)

61kvHFmb0wLToday, we have an excerpt from Kit Whitfield‘s In the Heart of Hidden Things. The author has written a quick introduction to the excerpt, so I’ll leave it to them to set the scene. First, though, here’s the synopsis:

Everyone knows that if you fall afoul of the People, you must travel the miles to Gyrford, where uncounted generations of fairy-smiths have protected the county with cold iron, good counsel and unvarnished opinions about your common sense.

But shielding the weak from the strong can make enemies. Ephraim Brady has money and power, and the bitter will to hurt those who cross him. And if he can’t touch elder farrier Jedediah Smith, he can harm those the Smiths care about.

The Smiths care about Tobias Ware, born on a night when the blazing fey dog Black Hal roared past the Wares’ gate. Tobias doesn’t understand the language or laws of men, and he can’t keep away from the Bellame woods, where trespass is a hanging offence. If Toby is to survive, he needs protection.

It should be a manageable job. Jedediah Smith has a head on his shoulders, and so too (mostly) does his son Matthew. Only Matthew’s son John has turned out a little… uncommon. But he means well.

It wasn’t his fault the bramble bush put on a berry-head and started taking offence. Or that Tobias upset it. But John’s not yet learned that if you follow the things other folk don’t see, they might drag those you love into the path of ruin.

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Upcoming: CERTAIN DARK THINGS by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Tor Nightfire)

MorenoGarciaS-CertainDarkThings2021Next month, Tor Books are reissuing Silvia Morena-Garcia‘s The Beautiful Ones; in August, Del Rey are due to publish Velvet Was the Night. Fans of Moreno-Garcia’s work can look forward to yet another new book this year: in September, Certain Dark Things is also due to be re-issued! The stunning North American cover for this “pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore” was unveiled earlier today by Night Worms. Really looking forward to reading this. Here’s the synopsis:

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.

Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.

Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Certain Dark Things is due to be published on September 7th, by Tor Nightfire (North America), and Jo Fletcher Books (UK — I’ll add the cover when it’s available).

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Upcoming: PRIEST OF GALLOWS by Peter McLean (Jo Fletcher Books)

McLeanP-WftRT3-PriestOfGallowsUKThe third novel in Peter McLean‘s acclaimed War for the Rose Throne series, Priest of Gallows, is due out later this year. It’s not the final book in the series (there’s at least one more on the way, Priest of Crowns), so fans of the series can be happy that there’s still plenty of action and intrigue still to come. I really need to get caught up on this series. Here’s the synopsis:

Gangster, soldier, priest. Queen’s Man. Governor.

Tomas Piety has everything he ever wanted. In public he’s a wealthy, highly respected businessman, happily married to a beautiful woman and Governor of his home city of Ellinburg. In private, he’s no longer a gang lord but one of the Queen’s Men, invisible and officially non-existent, working in secret to protect his country.

But when the queen’s sudden death sees him summoned him back to the capital, he discovers his boss, Dieter Vogel, Provost Marshal of the Queen’s Men, is busy tightening his stranglehold on the country.

Just as he once fought for his Pious Men, he must now bend all his wit and hard-won wisdom to protect his queen – but now he can’t always tell if he’s on the right side.

Tomas has started to ask himself, what is the price of power? And more importantly, is it one he is willing to pay?

Peter McLean’s Priest of Gallows is due to be published in the UK by Jo Fletcher Books, on April 29th, 2021. (The first two novels in the series are published in North America by Ace Books, but I couldn’t find a listing for an Ace edition of Priest of Gallows, at the time of writing.)

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Interview with DAVID HAIR

HairD-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is David Hair?

Hi, I’m a New Zealander who writes fantasy fiction. Sometimes that’s epic fantasy, other times mythic, YA or adventure stories. I’ve written 22 novels to date, some set in imagined worlds, others in ours. Readers might best know The Moontide Quartet and it’s sequels. I enjoy travel, football, wine, staying fit and spending time with family and friends.

Your new series will start with Map’s Edge, due to be published by Jo Fletcher Books in October. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce the novel and series to a potential reader?

Map’s Edge is the first book of The Tethered Citadel It’s a fast-paced adventure story about a journey into the unknown, on a fantasy world where humanity is living in the shadow of an Ice Age brought on by misused sorcery. At its core, it’s about misfits banding together in a “road movie” that gradually introduces themes around culture clash and colonialism. Hopefully it’ll be a fun read while having some emotional and moral heft. Continue reading

Interview with RY HERMAN

HermanR-AuthorPic (Kate Haag)Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Ry Herman?

I was born in the US, but am now a permanent Scottish resident. For most of my life, I’ve been writing and directing theatrical plays, and working a variety of odd jobs. Some of them were very odd indeed – I had one job which could best be described as typing the number five all day long. My hobbies include baking bread, playing tabletop roleplaying games, and reading as many books as humanly possible.

Your debut novel, Love Bites, is due out in July. It looks rather fun: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s a queer romcom with a supernatural twist. After a painful divorce, Chloë is struggling to leave the house. When she’s bullied into a night of dancing by her busybody aunt, she meets Angela, an astronomy Ph.D. student. Sparks fly and romance blooms. The only trouble is, Angela can only come out at night, and has sharp and deadly teeth. Continue reading

Interview with BREANNA TEINTZE

TeintzeB-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Breanna Teintze?

I’m a mom, a nurse, and I once set myself on fire cooking peas (it’s okay, I put it out, I was fine). I write books about the sort of people who have also probably set themselves on fire cooking peas.

Your debut novel, Lord of Secrets, will be published by Jo Fletcher Books in July. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

When I was writing Lord of Secrets I described it as my “puzzles and explosions” book. If you like fast action, creepy temples, snarky humor, and magic people grappling with family difficulties, you’ll like this book. Also: skeletons.

It’s the first book in a series called The Empty Gods. I’m working on edits for book two in the series at the moment, which could be described as Relationship Goals But Also There’s Mummies. Continue reading

Interview with AMAL EL-MOHTAR and MAX GLADSTONE

elMohtarGladstone-AuthorPics

Let’s start with an introduction: Who are Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone?

AE: Two sentient beings, both alike in dignity, in fair EssEffEff, where we set our — wait maybe that’s too zoomed out. Let’s see. Max is a brilliant superhuman writer, author of The Craft Sequence books (at six and counting!), just-released standalone space opera The Empress of Forever, and head writer of Serial Box’s Bookburners.

MG: And Amal is a world-renowned and award-winning writer, editor, scholar, NYT-published critic, and general badass — her phenomenal “Seasons of Glass and Iron” won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards!

This is How You Lose the Time War, a novel you have written together, will be published in July. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

AE: It’s an epistolary spy vs. spy novella across time and space; think Griffin and Sabine meets Killing Eve by way of Steven Universe. Alternately, imagine if Florence + the Machine’s Lungs was a novella in which all the songs are sung to women in letter-form. Continue reading

Interview with PETER McLEAN

McLeanP-AuthorPicWelcome back to CR! For new readers, let’s begin with a quick introduction: Who is Peter McLean?

Hi, thanks for having me back! I’m a British fantasy author based in Norwich, England, which is a small city a couple of hours from London on the east coast of the UK. I wrote the Burned Man urban fantasy series a few years ago, but am now mostly known for last year’s Priest of Bones which came out October 2018 from Ace in the US and Jo Fletcher Books in the UK. I’m married to Diane and, like most authors, am owned by a cat.

Since we last spoke, you’ve started a new fantasy series that is generating a lot of great interest and reviews. How would you introduce the series to a new reader?

When my agent and I were first shopping Priest of Bones to editors we pitched it as “The Godfather with swords”, and I still think that’s a pretty accurate representation. It’s a gangster story set in a quasi-Tudor world, told in the first person narration of crime lord turned soldier turned priest Tomas Piety. In the tradition of mafia family epics, it’s a story of power and corruption, intrigue and revenge. Continue reading

Guest Post & Excerpt: “Making of the Prologue” by David Hair, author of HEARTS OF ICE (Jo Fletcher Books)

HairD-SQ3-HeartsOfIceUKFirst up, I’m a planner: The Sunsurge Quartet is mapped out from start to finish, before I start writing Book One. That includes the Prologues, which I’m using (along with mid-book ‘Interludes’) to introduce the backstory and current status of the villain who’s going to feature most in the next part of the story. They give the reader a chance to see inside the enemy’s heads, and set the agenda for the coming chapters.

In this series, the main villains are part of a cabal trying to tear down human society, and they use theatre masks to disguise their true selves. I was inspired in this by Venetian carnival masques, of which I have a bit of a collection after going mad in a Venice mask shop. I invented my own mask designs and a backstory for them, using the concept of a tradition of morality tales that theatre troupes adlib on stage, every show unique. These can be high art or low farce, always with the same eight characters and central theme – a romance between Ironhelm (the sturdy knight) and Heartface (the innocent maid). Their love is aided or thwarted by the other six characters: the meddling Beak, the prankster Jest, the duplicitous Twoface, the lucky Felix, the nemesis-like Angelstar and the sorrowful Tear. The tale is narrated by a narrator known as the Puppeteer. Continue reading