Very Quick Review: Terry McCaleb in Michael Connelly’s BOSCH Universe (Orion/Little, Brown)

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I’ve recently been blitzing my way through Michael Connelly’s excellent novels in the “Heironymous Bosch Universe” — those that star the eponymous detective, and also those starring the characters who have cycled in and out of Bosch’s orbit over the course of the series. I tend to focus my reviews on either upcoming, new or fairly-recently-published books. However, Connelly’s crime novels have so taken over my imagination and reading time this past month (eight since the beginning of June), that I decided I should put something together for CR. In this post, I take a quick look at the novels featuring Terry McCaleb. Continue reading

Interview with LAVIE TIDHAR

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Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Lavie Tidhar?

I am a mild-mannered writer by night, an eater of sandwiches by day. I tweet. I once spent a year living on a desert island. I also wandered into the jungles of Borneo, across the Gobi Desert, been on the Trans-Siberian, and once climbed a volcano in bare feet. I used to have long hair. I don’t know if that really answers the question. I’ve written a bunch of books.

The Violent Century is getting a re-issue in North America via Tachyon. I really enjoyed the novel, but how would you introduce it to a potential reader?

I think of it as a romance novel! But you could equally say it’s a spy novel, or a murder mystery, or a WW2 novel, or that it’s about the death of empire and the inevitability of history. You know, fun stuff. Or you could say, as Cory Doctorow very astutely pointed out, that it’s about slightly shit superheroes. Continue reading

Upcoming: ALTERED CARBON (Netflix)

Richard K. Morgan shared the above trailer on Twitter, and it kind of made my day. This coming February, Netflix will release Altered Carbon, their TV adaptation of Richard Morgan’s novel of the same name. I am very much looking forward to this. Continue reading

Review: THE FIRST FIFTEEN LIVES OF HARRY AUGUST by Claire North (Orbit)

NorthC-FirstFifteenLivesOfHarryAugustUKA superb timey-wimey novel

Harry August is on his deathbed. Again.

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.

Until now.

As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. ‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message.’

This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

It took me a long time to get around to reading this novel. I really don’t know why. Nevertheless, having now finished it, all I can say is: Wow. This novel is brilliant, and is an absolute must-read. Continue reading

Review: CITY OF STAIRS by Robert Jackson Bennett (Jo Fletcher Books/Crown Publishing)

BennettRJ-CityOfStairsUKAnother superb novel from RJB

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions — until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world’s new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself — first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it — stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy.Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem — and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.

City of Stairs is a superb novel, offering imaginative new takes on classic fantasy ideas and themes, populated by diverse and well-realised characters, and presented in excellent prose. This was one of my most-anticipated novels of 2014, and it exceeded by expectations. Continue reading

Sebastian de Castell’s THE TRAITOR’S BLADE out in Paperback tomorrow! (Jo Fletcher Books)

deCastellS-GC1-TraitorsBladeEarlier this year (January), an advanced review copy of The Traitor’s Blade dropped through my mailbox. The debut fantasy novel by Sebastian de Castell, I was intrigued by the premise, which promised a mixture of swashbuckling action and adventure, sword-fights aplenty, and some intrigue and good storytelling. I was not at all disappointed. I blitzed through the novel. Here’s the main take-away from my review

“An all-round brilliant fantasy debut, and one of the best I’ve read in a decade… Every so often, a debut novel comes along that knocks your expectations out of the park. Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamorra is one of those novels. Peter V. Brett’s The Painted Man is another. Sebastien de Castell’s Traitor’s Blade needs to be added to that list. I loved this.”

Tomorrow, The Traitor’s Blade is published in paperback in the UK, and I highly recommend you pick it up, if you haven’t already. Here’s the synopsis…

Falcio is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are travelling Magisters upholding King’s Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom, and impaled their King’s head on a spike.

Now Tristia is on the verge of collapse and the barbarians are sniffing at the borders. The Dukes bring chaos to the land, while the Greatcoats are scattered far and wide, reviled as traitors, their legendary coats in tatters. All they have left are the promises they made to King Paelis, to carry out one final mission.

But if they have any hope of fulfilling the King’s dream, the divided Greatcoats must reunite, or they will also have to stand aside as they watch their world burn…

And, finally, you can read an interview with Sebastian de Castell, here. I really can’t wait to read the next book in the series. Long may Falcio et al find their adventures in print!