Upcoming: ITHACA by Claire North (Orbit)

NorthC-IthacaI stumbled across this in an Edelweiss catalogue, and my interested was immediately grabbed: first by the cover, then realizing it was by Claire North, and then the synopsis. It’s another novel in the growing body of mythological figure retellings (a sub-genre that has become especially popular in the last year or two). North’s novels are fantastic: always different, packed with intriguing and interesting ideas and twists, and often surprising. Due to be published in September, here’s the synopsis for Ithaca:

This is the story of Penelope of Ithaca, famed wife of Odysseus, as it has never been told before. Beyond Ithaca’s shores, the whims of gods dictate the wars of men. But on the isle, it is the choices of the abandoned women — and their goddesses — that will change the course of the world.

Seventeen years ago, King Odysseus sailed to war with Troy, taking with him every man of fighting age from the island of Ithaca. None of them has returned, and the women of Ithaca have been left behind to run the kingdom.

Penelope was barely into womanhood when she wed Odysseus. While he lived, her position was secure. But now, years on, speculation is mounting that her husband is dead, and suitors are beginning to knock at her door.

No one man is strong enough to claim Odysseus’ empty throne — not yet. But everyone waits for the balance of power to tip, and Penelope knows that any choice she makes could plunge Ithaca into bloody civil war. Only through cunning, wit, and her trusted circle of maids, can she maintain the tenuous peace needed for the kingdom to survive.

On Ithaca, everyone watches, including the gods. And there is no corner of the land where intrigue does not reign.

A daring, powerful, and moving tale that breathes new life into ancient myth, and tells of the women who stand defiant in a world ruled by ruthless men. It’s time for the women of Ithaca to tell their story…

I’m really looking forward to reading this. Ithaca is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK, on September 6th.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Interview with RICHARD SWAN, Author of THE JUSTICE OF KINGS

SwanR-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Richard Swan?

I am a 32 year-old writer from the UK! I have a wife and two very young boys, and for the better part of the last 10 years I was living in London working as a commercial litigator. As of October 2021, we moved to Sydney, where I am currently enjoying some time away from the world of law and focusing on my writing.

Your debut novel, The Justice of Kings, will be published by Orbit tomorrow. I’ve been lucky and have already read the novel (which I very much enjoyed). How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Here’s how I pitched it to my agent – I think it still holds up:

“[The Justice of Kings] is told through the eyes of Helena Sedanka, the clerk to and protégé of Sir Konrad Vonvalt. Sir Konrad is the titular Emperor’s Justice, a fantastical combination of C J Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake and Robert Harris’ Cicero, blessed with the powers of both a medieval Judge Dredd and Andrzej Sapkowski’s Geralt of Rivia. In essence, he is an Imperial policeman, mage and itinerant court rolled into one. Continue reading

Quick Review: AGE OF ASH by Daniel Abraham (Orbit)

AbrahamD-K1-AgeOfAshAn interesting start to a new fantasy series

Kithamar is a center of trade and wealth, an ancient city with a long, bloody history where countless thousands live and their stories unfold.

This is Alys’s.

When her brother is murdered, a petty thief from the slums of Longhill sets out to discover who killed him and why.  But the more she discovers about him, the more she learns about herself, and the truths she finds are more dangerous than knives.

Swept up in an intrigue as deep as the roots of Kithamar, where the secrets of the lowest born can sometimes topple thrones, the story Alys chooses will have the power to change everything.

I’ve been a fan of Daniel Abraham’s work since the Long Price Quartet, so every new novel of his is a highly-anticipated event. Each of his novels and series offers something new for readers. Age of Ash is the first in a new fantasy series, and is packed with interesting ideas and cool twists on fantasy tropes and elements. Continue reading

Quick Review: SHARDS OF EARTH by Adrian Tchaikovksy (Orbit/Tor UK)

TchaikovskyA-FA1-ShardsOfEarthUSHCAn excellent start to a new space opera series

The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery…

Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade him in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.

After earth was destroyed, mankind created a fighting elite to save their species, enhanced humans such as Idris. In the silence of space they could communicate, mind-to-mind, with the enemy. Then their alien aggressors, the Architects, simply disappeared — and Idris and his kind became obsolete.

Now, fifty years later, Idris and his crew have discovered something strange abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects — but are they returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy hunting for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, that many would kill to obtain.

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time is one of my favourite science fiction novel of the past decade or so (probably true for many others — it justifiably won the Arthur C. Clarke Award). Shards of Earth is the first novel in a new science fiction series from the author, and it’s quite the opening salvo: expansive, action-packed, and populated by varied and engaging characters. I very much enjoyed this. Continue reading

Annotated Excerpt: THE UNBROKEN by C. L. Clark (Orbit)

ClarkCL-MotL1-UnbrokenToday, I’m very happy to be able to share with you an annotated excerpt from The Unbroken by C. L. Clark. One of the most hotly-anticipated fantasy debuts of the year, and the first novel in the Magic of the Lost series, it is the story of two women who “clash in a world full of rebellion, espionage, and military might on the far outreaches of a crumbling desert empire”. Due out next week, here’s the synopsis:

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.

Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

And now, on with the excerpt…!

Continue reading

Upcoming: THE BLACK COAST and THE SPLINTER KING by Mike Brooks (Orbit/Solaris)

BrooksM-1-BlackCoastUKMike Brooks‘s first foray into epic fantasy, the God-King Chronicles series, arrives this year! The first novel, The Black Coast, is already out now in the UK (published by Orbit), and is due out in mid-March in North America. Fans of the first novel won’t have to wait long for the sequel, though, as The Splinter King is due out in July! The series has an intriguing premise, and I’m looking forward to reading the novels. For readers in North America, here’s the synopsis for book one…

WAR DRAGONS.
FEARSOME RAIDERS.
A DAEMONIC WARLORD ON THE RISE.

When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them because they know who is coming: for generations, the keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Tjakorsha. Saddling their war dragons, Black Keep’s warriors rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own land by a daemonic despot who prophesises the end of the world, the raiders come in search of a new home…

Meanwhile the wider continent of Narida is lurching toward war. Black Keep is about to be caught in the crossfire – if only its new mismatched society can survive.

BrooksM-2-SplinterKingUKAnd, for those who have already had the chance to read the first novel, here’s the synopsis for The Splinter King

THE WORLD FRACTURES AS A DEAD GOD RISES…

Darel, dragon knight and the new leader of Black Keep, must travel to the palace of the God-King to beg for the lives of his people. But in the capital of Narida, Marin and his warrior husband will be drawn into a palace coup, and Princess Tila will resort to murder to keep her hold on power.

In the far reaches of the kingdom an heir in exile is hunted by assassins, rumours of a rival God-King abound, and daemonic forces from across the seas draw ever nearer…

Mike Brooks’s The Splinter King is due to be published by Orbit in the UK (July 7th) and Solaris Books in North America (September 7th). The two covers above are for the UK editions — I’ll update the post when I find the North American cover. In the meantime, the North American cover for The Black Coast is below. Brooks has also written a number of short stories and novels for Black Library, and is the author of the Keiko sci-fi trilogy (Del Rey in UK; Saga Press in North America).

Also on CR: Interview with Mike Brooks (2015)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter Continue reading

Upcoming: SHARDS OF EARTH by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Orbit/Tor UK)

TchaikovskyA-ShardsOfEarthUSAdrian Tchaikovsky has a new sci-fi novel due out in 2021: Shards of Earth! The first in the Final Architecture series (not sure if this will be a trilogy or more), it sounds bold and ambitious. Pitched as “an extraordinary new space opera about humanity on the brink of extinction, and how one man’s discovery will save or destroy us all”, I’m really looking forward to reading this.

The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery…

Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade him in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.

After earth was destroyed, mankind created a fighting elite to save their species, enhanced humans such as Idris. In the silence of space they could communicate, mind-to-mind, with the enemy. Then their alien aggressors, the Architects, simply disappeared – and Idris and his kind became obsolete.

Now, fifty years later, Idris and his crew have discovered something strange abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects – but are they returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy hunting for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, that many would kill to obtain.

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shards of Earth is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America (August 3rd) and Tor Books in the UK (May 27th).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Interview with RJ BARKER

barkerrj-authorpicWelcome back to CR! For newcomers, let’s start with an introduction: Who is RJ Barker?

Probably a bit of an oddball. I’m English, I live in Yorkshire, in Leeds, in an old house with lots of weird taxidermy, strange art, noisy music, my family and a very pretty but unpleasant cat. I also write books. But you probably knew that if you’re realising this here as it’s all about books. Or maybe you didn’t. If so, books are great, buy loads. You literally can never have enough

The second novel in your Tide Child series, Call of the Boneships, is due out on November 24th via Orbit. How would you introduce the series to a new reader? And what can fans of book one expect from the follow-up?

Right at the beginning I sort of described it as Hornblower vs. Godzilla. Which makes me laugh and is kind of true but like everything I do it’s about people and how they react to the world. It’s all set in a world that will be very unfamiliar to most people, full of strange creatures and a Matriarchal society that isn’t like ours and people that don’t think in quite the same way we do. But they still have relationships, and they still fear and they still fight for what they believe to be right. And there are massive sea dragons. Absolutely huge. Continue reading

Interview with ESSA HANSEN

HansenE-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Essa Hansen?

I’m a writer and also a sound designer on science fiction and fantasy films such as Big Hero 6, Doctor Strange, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, and Pixar’s Onward. My day job is to make up sounds for mythical beasts, aliens, robots, magic, spaceships, and future technology. Perfect, right? I’ve been writing/storytelling for as long as I can remember, but only pursued publishing in the past few years.

I grew up in backcountry areas of the West Coast and Canada, spending a lot of time out in nature. No surprise that my stories are filled with lush environments, biotech, and creatures. I still enjoy backpacking, and while time for hobbies is thin right now, I’ve covered many of the fantasy ones: horsemanship, swordsmanship, some archery, and falconry. Continue reading

Interview with TYLER WHITESIDES

WhitesidesT-KoG1-ThousandDeathsOfArdorBenn2020Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Tyler Whitesides?

Ah, I see we’re starting out with the hardest question… I would say I am a man of many hobbies and endless interests. When I’m not writing you might find me fly fishing, hiking, woodworking, cooking, acting, or playing Dungeons & Dragons (yes, I am the dungeon master).

I live in the mountains of northern Utah in the western United States with my two sons. My career as a writer has been mostly focused on books for younger readers. I have a series of five books called Janitors, and a duology called The Wishmakers. Continue reading