Excerpt: THE GARDEN OF EMPIRE by J. T. Greathouse (Gollancz)

GreathouseJT-P&P2-GardenOfEmpireUKHCTo help kick off the blog tour marking the release of The Garden of EmpireJ. T. Greathouse‘s second Pact & Pattern novel, Gollancz has provided CR with an excerpt! Picking up the story after The Hand of the Sun King, here’s the synopsis:

WAR MAKES MONSTERS OF EVERYONE.

Foolish Cur, once named Wen Alder, finds that his allies in the rebellion might cross any line if it means freedom from the Empire. But he can’t overcome a foe as strong as Emperor Tenet alone.

REBELLION HAS UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.

Koro Ha, Foolish Cur’s former tutor, discovers the Empire is not so forgiving of those who raise a traitor. And their suspicion may cost him and his people more than he can imagine.

THE GODS ARE LURKING IN THE SHADOWS.

As war against the Empire rages, Foolish Cur knows there is a greater threat. The emperor plans his own coup against the gods, and they will wreak destruction if he tries. To stop him, Foolish Cur might have to risk everything – and resort to ancient magics that could tear the world apart.

It’s quite a substantial excerpt, so read on and enjoy!

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Quick Review: RED WARNING by Matthew Quirk (William Morrow)

QuirkM-RedWarningA long-dormant Cold War plan threats to devastate all of Washington, D.C.

CIA officer Sam Hudson races to find a deep cover operative loose in the U.S. and a mole in the Agency before they can launch a devastating attack on Washington, D.C. …

For years CIA officer Sam Hudson has been hunting Konstantin, a Russian deep cover operative responsible for a string of assassinations in the West—and he believes a well-placed source in Geneva can finally get him close to the killer. But when their meeting is ambushed, Sam’s partner is murdered and he barely makes it out alive himself.

Back in the States, the bosses put him on leave and want him to drop his obsession with Konstantin, but Sam can’t let a man who’s taken so many lives slip away again. When he gets a mysterious call at the Lincoln Memorial just before a bomb goes off, he realizes Konstantin has followed him to the U.S. — and is targeting him and everyone close to him. Teaming up with fellow CIA officer Emily Pierce, he sets out to redeem himself and uncover a plot that has been lying in wait since the end of the Cold War, its elements hidden among the most iconic buildings in the capital.

With enemies lurking both inside and outside the Agency and the Russian threat looming ever larger, Sam must use all his training and nerve to stop Konstantin before he can trigger the plot to devastate Washington and bring the U.S. to its knees.

I’ve been a fan of Matthew Quirk’s fast-paced thrillers ever since his debut, The 500 — which I read in one sitting, deep into the night. Each of his novels since has been equally gripping and action-packed. In Red Warning, he offers another action-packed thriller, but one that dials back the pacing just a little bit — which makes for a more substantial read. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

Quick Review: DO NO HARM by Robert Pobi (Minotaur/Hodder)

PobiR-LP3-DoNoHarmUSHCLucas Page returns as a killer stalks medical professionals — including his wife!

A series of suicides and accidental deaths in the medical community are actually well-disguised murders and only Lucas Page can see the pattern and discern the truth that no one else believes.

Lucas Page is a polymath, astrophysicist, professor, husband, father of five adopted children, bestselling author, and ex-FBI agent — emphasis on “ex.” Severely wounded after being caught in an explosion, Page left the FBI behind and put his focus on the rebuilding the rest of his life. But Page is uniquely gifted in being able to recognize patterns that elude others, a skill that brings the F.B.I. knocking at his door again and again.

Lucas Page’s wife Erin loses a friend, a gifted plastic surgeon, to suicide and Lucas begins to realize how many people Erin knew that have died in the past year, in freak accidents and now suicide. Intrigued despite himself, Page begins digging through obituaries and realizes that there’s a pattern — a bad one. These deaths don’t make sense unless the doctors are being murdered, the target of a particularly clever killer. This time, the FBI wants as little to do with Lucas as he does with them so he’s left with only one option — ignore it and go back to his normal life. But then, the pattern reveals that the next victim is likely to be… Erin herself.

Lucas Page returns. Even more banged up than he was at the start of each of the previous novels in the series, his mind nevertheless remains as intact and sharp as ever. His personality, also, remains rather sharp… As a series of suspicious deaths inches closer to home, Page finds himself back in the FBI’s orbit hunting a devious killer. Do No Harm is another fast-paced, gripping thriller from Pobi. Continue reading

Books on Film: INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE by Anne Rice (AMC)

It’s been in the works for what feels like years, but the first trailer for the new TV adaptation of Anne Rice’s classic Interview with the Vampire was released during San Diego Comic-Con. The original movie adaptation — starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst, and — has long been a favourite of mine, as have the novels (I’ve read all of Rice’s Vampire Chronicles novels, multiple times). The trailer for this new TV adaptation certainly grabbed my attention and has made me rather more eager to see the show. (I like that the voiceover channels, ever-so-slightly, Pitt’s delivery in the original movie adaptation.)

The new adaptation stars Jacob Anderson as “Louis de Pointe du Lac” (you may recognize him as Gray Worm from Game of Thrones), Sam Reid as “Lestat de Lioncourt”, Bailey Bass as “Claudia”, and Eric Bogosian as “Daniel Malloy” (the interviewer — played by Christian Slater in the movie adaptation).

In a darkened room a young man sits telling the macabre and eerie story of his life — the story of a vampire, gifted with eternal life, cursed with an exquisite craving for human blood.

Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly sensual, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force — a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses.

The first episode of Interview with the Vampire airs on October 2nd, on AMC in the United States (not sure about other countries, yet).

Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire is out now, published by Ballantine Books in North America and Sphere in the UK.

Interview with the Vampire IMDb, Twitter
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Books on Film: THE GRAY MAN by Mark Greaney

This past week, Netflix dropped the movie adaptation of Mark Greaney‘s The Gray Man. The movie is based on the first book in the action/thriller/espionage series — one that I have been very eager to try (yet have inexplicably not yet got around to, despite owning the first handful of novels). Time permitting, I hope to get to the movie this week. Here’s the book’s synopsis:

GreaneyM-GM1-GrayManUS_TieInTo those who lurk in the shadows, he’s known as the Gray Man. He is a legend in the covert realm, moving silently from job to job, accomplishing the impossible and then fading away. And he always hits his target. Always.

But there are forces more lethal than Gentry in the world. Forces like money. And power. And there are men who hold these as the only currency worth fighting for. And in their eyes, Gentry has just outlived his usefulness.

But Court Gentry is going to prove that, for him, there’s no gray area between killing for a living and killing to stay alive…

Directed by the Russo Brothers, and starring Ryan Gosling (as “Six”), Chris Evans (“Lloyd Hansen”), Ana de Armas (Dani Miranda), and Billy Bob Thornton (“Fitzroy”), it’s up on Netflix now!

Mark Greaney’s The Gray Man is out now, published by Berkley in North America and Sphere in the UK.

Also on CR: Interview with Mark Greaney (2019); Excerpt from One Minute Out

The Gray Man IMDb
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Books on Film: THE SANDMAN by Neil Gaiman

Upon escaping after decades of imprisonment by a mortal wizard, Dream, the personification of dreams, sets about to reclaim his lost equipment.

The trailer for Netflix’s long-awaited, highly-anticipated adaptation of Neil Gaiman‘s The Sandman was unveiled at ComicCon yesterday. My interest, already very high, has only increased. Can’t wait to watch this!

The comic series, which was illustrated by Sam Keith, is published by DC Comics (originally Vertigo), and is available in newly re-issued and re-coloured collected editions, as well as the Absolute Sandman and Annotated Sandman editions. Here’s the synopsis for Preludes & Nocturnes, the first volume in the series (which I highly recommend):

In PRELUDES and NOCTURNES, collecting issues #1-8, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps Death’s younger brother Dream instead. After his 70-year imprisonment and eventual escape, Morpheus goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine and an all-powerful madman. This book also includes the story “The Sound of Her Wings” which introduces the pragmatic, perky Death.

The Sandman IMDb, Twitter
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Excerpt: UNTIL THE LAST by Mike Shackle (Gollancz)

ShackleM-LW3-UntilTheLastUKHCThe final novel in Mike Shackle‘s excellent Last War series, Until the Last, is one of my most-anticipated novels of the year. The first in the series, We Are the Dead is one of the best fantasy debuts I’ve read: it did everything a modern fantasy novel should do, and I was hooked from very early on. Today, Gollancz has provided an excerpt to share. First, though, here’s the synopsis:

SEKINOWARI – THE LAST WAR – HAS ARRIVED.

The breakneck conclusion to the trilogy that started with We Are the Dead. To beat the ultimate evil, sometimes the price is more than you can pay…

The war with the Egril has changed Tinnstra forever. A coward no more, she’ll go to any length to defeat every last one of her enemies.

Zorique has grown into her powers. It’s time for her to lead her army into Jia and spearhead the fight for her homeland.

But at what cost? The Egril emperor Raaku – the Son of Kage himself – is waiting for them. And he intends to destroy Zorique, Tinnstra and all their allies.

They will need to put everything on the line if Jia hopes to see the dawn.

And now, on with the excerpt…

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Upcoming: CHILDREN OF MEMORY by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor UK/Orbit)

Tchaikovsky-CoT3-ChildrenOfMemoryUKHCThe Clark Award-winning Children of Time (2015) by Adrian Tchaikovsky was, for a short while, one of the best stand-alone science fiction novels I’ve read. In 2019, Tchaikovsky surprised fans by publishing a sequel, Children of Ruin (2019) — a sequel that did not disappoint. Well, this November, fans will be able to return to the setting with Children of Memory! If you’ve yet to read Children of Time, then I strongly recommend it if you’re a fan of science fiction. For those who have, here’s the synopsis for the upcoming third novel:

When Earth failed, it sent out arkships to establish new outposts. So the spaceship Enkidu and its captain, Heorest Holt, carried its precious human cargo to a potential new paradise. Generations later, this fragile colony has managed to survive on Imir, eking out a hardy existence. Yet life is tough, and much technological knowledge has been lost.

Then strangers appear, on a world where everyone knows their neighbour. They possess unparalleled knowledge and thrilling new technology – for they have come from the stars, to help humanity’s lost colonies. But not all is as it seems on Imir.

As the visitors lose track of time and memories, they discover the colonists fear unknown enemies and Imir’s own murky history. Neighbour turns against neighbour, as society fractures in the face of this terrifying foe. Perhaps some other intelligence is at work, toying with colonists and space-faring scientists alike? But not all questions are so easily answered – and the price may be the colony itself.

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Memory is due to be published by Tor Books in the UK (November 24th) and Orbit Books in North America (January 31st, 2023).

Also on CR: Reviews of Children of Ruin and Shards of Earth; Interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky (2012)

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Annotated Excerpt: DRUNK ON ALL YOUR STRANGE NEW WORDS by Eddie Robson (Tor.com)

RobsonE-AuthorPicToday we have an annotated excerpt from Eddie Robson‘s latest novel, Drunk On All Your Strange New Words, which is described as “a locked room mystery in a near future world of politics and alien diplomacy.” I’ve been really looking forward to this one, ever since I learned about it from a publisher’s catalogue. Check out the synopsis:

Lydia works as translator for the Logi cultural attaché to Earth. They work well together, even if the act of translating his thoughts into English makes her somewhat wobbly on her feet. She’s not the agency’s best translator, but what else is she going to do? She has no qualifications, and no discernible talent in any other field.

So when tragedy strikes, and Lydia finds herself at the center of an intergalactic incident, her future employment prospects look dire — that is, if she can keep herself out of jail!

But Lydia soon discovers that help can appear from the most unexpected source…

Now, over to Eddie…

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Upcoming: CITY OF LAST CHANCES by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Head of Zeus/Aries)

TchaikovskyA-CityOfLastChancesUKHCI was doing some typical mid-afternoon-searching-for-new-books, and I stumbled across this rather fetching cover for one of Adrian Tchaikovsky‘s upcoming novels, City of Last Chances. Long-time readers of CR will know that Tchaikovsky is one of my favourite authors, so any new novel of his is something worth shouting about and drawing attention to. Really looking forward to reading this one! Due to be published by Head of Zeus/Aries in December, check out the synopsis:

A darkly inventive portrait of a city under occupation and on the verge of revolution.

There has always been a darkness to Ilmar, but never more so than now. The city chafes under the heavy hand of the Palleseen occupation, the choke-hold of its criminal underworld, the boot of its factory owners, the weight of its wretched poor and the burden of its ancient curse.

What will be the spark that lights the conflagration?

Despite the city’s refugees, wanderers, murderers, madmen, fanatics and thieves, the catalyst, as always, will be the Anchorwood – that dark grove of trees, that primeval remnant, that portal, when the moon is full, to strange and distant shores.

Ilmar, some say, is the worst place in the world and the gateway to a thousand worse places.

Ilmar, City of Long Shadows.

City of Bad Decisions.

City of Last Chances.

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s City of Last Chances is due to be published by Head of Zeus/Aries in the UK, on December 8th.

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