Review: AGE OF ASSASSINS by RJ Barker (Orbit)

BarkerRJ-AgeOfAssassinsUSAn interesting new debut fantasy series

It’s a game of assassin versus assassin

Girton Club-foot has no family, a crippled leg, and is apprenticed to the best assassin in the land.

He’s learning the art of taking lives, but his latest mission tasks him with a far more difficult challenge: to save a life. Someone is trying to kill the heir to the throne, and it is up to Girton to uncover the traitor and prevent the prince’s murder — and his own.

This is the first new fantasy series that I’ve read in quite some time. In fact, it’s only the second this year (the other was Ed McDonald’s Blackwing). Long-time readers of CR may have noticed that I’ve been struggling with the genre for a while, but Age of Assassins really worked for me. This is the start of an interesting, engaging and entertaining new fantasy series. I’m really looking forward to the sequel. Continue reading

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Upcoming: ADRIFT by Rob Boffard (Orbit)

BoffardR-AdriftUSNext summer, a new sci-fi novel from Rob Boffard will be hitting shelves! Adrift is due to be published by Orbit, and it sounds pretty cool:

In the far reaches of space, a tour group embarks on what will be the trip of a lifetime – in more ways than one…

At Sigma Station, a remote mining facility and luxury hotel in deep space, a group of tourists boards a small vessel to take in the stunning views of the Horsehead Nebula.

But while they’re out there, a mysterious ship with devastating advanced technology attacks the station. Their pilot’s quick thinking means that the tourists escape with their lives – but as the dust settles, they realize they may be the only survivors . . .

Adrift in outer space on a vastly under equipped ship, they’ve got no experience, no weapons, no contact with civilization. They are way out of their depth, and if they can’t figure out how to work together, they’re never getting home alive.

Because the ship that destroyed the station is still out there. And it’s looking for them…

Adrift will be published in both the US and UK by Orbit next year. The author’s previous series, Outer Earth, is also published by Orbit in the US and UK.

Also on CR: Interview with Rob Boffard (2015); Guest Posts on “What to Do if You’re Set Adrift in Space” and “Rob Boffard Raps 64 SFF Books”; Review of Tracer

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: AFTERWAR by Lilith Saintcrow (Orbit)

SaintcrowL-AfterwarUSIn May 2018, Orbit is due to publish Lilith Saintcrow’s latest novel, Afterwar. I stumbled across it in a catalogue, and I think it looks rather interesting. Here’s the synopsis:

They say the war’s over when the surrender is signed. It’s a lie.

America’s bloody Second Civil War lasted for years. When the surrender is signed, it’s supposed to be over; refugees flood the highways, trying to get back home. For Swann’s Riders — especially their newest addition Lara Nelson, snatched from certain death in the Firster kamp system-there’s no such thing as a home to return to.

Swann and his crew of partisans work for the Federal Army now, hunting through the wreckage for war criminals and kamp officials. Their next quarry is carrying something explosive, something that can level the nascent Federal government and turn the entire continent into a hellscape — well, more than it already is.

Across America, working against time and chaos, Swann’s Riders are back in the fight. And Lara, whose secrets may well end up consuming her too, has a vengeance of her own to deliver…

Afterwar will be published by Orbit in the US and UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Interview with CHRIS BROOKMYRE

BrookmyreC-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Chris Brookmyre?

I am a writer from Glasgow, Scotland, author of twenty-one novels, eighteen of them crime thrillers. My novel Black Widow won the 2016 McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and in 2017 was named Theakstons Old Peculier British Crime Novel of the Year. As well as writing books, I collaborated with videogame developers RedBedlam to adapt my 2013 novel Bedlam into a first-person shooter that was released in 2015 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

Your latest novel, Places in the Darkness, has recently been published by Orbit. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

It is a thriller in the tradition of the great Shane Black movies like Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, about two mismatched investigators forced to work together, but with two major differences. One is that the buddy cop duo are both women, and the second is that the whole thing takes place aboard the Ciudad de Cielo (City in the Sky), a space station where 300,000 people live and work developing what would be the Earth’s first interstellar craft. It is a place where ambitious scientists and engineers go to work on cutting edge technology, but also where many people go to escape the things that went wrong in their lives back on Earth. The city’s private police force boasts that there has never been a murder aboard (though they do have a liberal interpretation of what constitutes an accidental death), but that changes when a dismembered body is found floating in zero-gravity. Continue reading

Interview with DAVID DALGLISH

DalglishD-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is David Dalglish?

I’m a somewhat nerdy guy who grew up playing way too many video games, writing custom D&D campaigns, and re-reading Salvatore’s Dark Elf Trilogy an unhealthy number of times. Now I’m a dad of three, still just as nerdy, and still playing way too many games.

Orbit Books has recently published the final book in your Seraphim trilogy, Shadowborn. How would you introduce the series to a potential new reader, and what can fans of the first two books expect from the finale?

The apocalypse happened, and hundreds of years later, the tiny remnant of humanity lives on floating islands above an endless ocean, while above, the sky burns nightly with fire. Using prisms possessing magical powers, the elite of these islands fly about in fanciful gold and silver wings throwing fireballs and blasts of lightning at one another, until the prisms run out and they close in for mid-air sword fights. Continue reading

Upcoming: 84K by Claire North (Orbit)

NorthC-84KUSA new Claire North book is always something to cheer. The only problem is that we have to wait until next year… 84K, the author’s fifth novel, sounds fantastic:

What if your life were defined by a number?

What if any crime could be committed without punishment, so long as you could afford to pay the fee assigned to that crime?

Theo works in the Criminal Audit Office. He assesses each crime that crosses his desk and makes sure the correct debt to society is paid in full.

But when Theo’s ex-lover Dani is killed, it’s different. This is one death he can’t let become merely an entry on a balance sheet.

Because when the richest in the world are getting away with murder, sometimes the numbers just don’t add up.

84K is due to be published by Orbit Books in the UK and US, in May 2018.

Also on CR: Reviews of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry AugustTouch, the Gamehouse TrilogyThe Sudden Appearance of Hope

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Interview with ANNA SMITH SPARK

anna-smith-spark-author-photo-1Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Anna Smith Spark?

I tweet as QueenofGrimdark, I’m an ex-fetish model, and I have a PhD in Victorian occultism.

No, honestly.

I’m a fantasy novelist from London, UK.  I have a background in history and literature: I studied Classical History for my BA, Cultural History for my MA and English Literature for my PhD. Which really was about Victorian occultism, looking at the way it intersected with the physical sciences and with politics. My only real interests in life are history, mythology and literature. I spent several years as an obsessive D&D player, but sadly no longer play. I’m obsessed with Warhammer miniatures as well (Chaos Warriors … oh. Oh oh oh), but don’t actually play Warhammer either. Continue reading