Interview with R. S. FORD

FordRS-AoU1-EnginesOfEmpireWelcome back to CR! For newcomers, let’s start with an introduction: Who is R.S. Ford?

Nice to be back. R. S. Ford has been writing fantasy for around 10 years now. I started with a little novel called Kultus back in 2011, and since then I’ve written two fantasy trilogies – Steelhaven and War of the Archons. During that time I’ve also worked as a TTRPG editor for various publishers, and as a computer game writer for Frontier Developments. As well as starting a new trilogy that opens with Engines of Empire, I’ve recently branched into historical fiction too, with the novel Oath Bound.

Engines of Empire, the first novel in your third fantasy series, is due to be published by Orbit in January. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s the first book in a brand new epic fantasy trilogy, The Age of Uprising – a sprawling tale of family, intrigue and betrayal, set in a continent teetering on the edge of war. That’s certainly the elevator pitch anyway. Continue reading

Quick Review: THE JUSTICE OF KINGS by Richard Swan (Orbit)

SwanR-EotW1-JusticeOfKingsAn excellent start to a new fantasy series

NO MAN IS ABOVE THE LAW

The Empire of the Wolf simmers with unrest. Rebels, heretics and powerful patricians all challenge the power of the imperial throne.

Only the Order of Justices stands in the way of chaos. Sir Konrad Vonvalt is the most feared Justice of all, upholding the law by way of his sharp mind, arcane powers and skill as a swordsman. In this he is aided by Helena Sedanka, his clerk and protégé, orphaned by the wars that forged the empire.

When the pair investigate the murder of a provincial aristocrat, they unearth a conspiracy that stretches to the very top of imperial society. As the stakes rise and become ever more personal, Vonvalt must make a choice: will he abandon the laws he’s sworn to uphold in order to protect the empire?

I remember reading the synopsis for Richard Swan’s debut quite a while ago. “That sounds interesting,” I thought to myself, and made a note. The buzz for the novel grew over the next few months, as it was sent out to authors for blurbs. So, when I was able to read an early copy, I jumped at the chance. The Justice of Kings is a very strong debut, and an engaging start to a new fantasy/crime series. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE JUSTICE OF KINGS by Richard Swan (Orbit)

SwanR-EotW1-JusticeOfKingsPrinted ARCs of Richard Swan‘s debut novel, The Justice of Kings, have already been doing the rounds among the lucky few, and the reception seems to have been pretty universally positive (even glowing). I’m always on the look-out for new fantasy series (well, any series, really) to give a try, and this one sounds rather intriguing. Here’s the synopsis:

Sir Konrad Vonvalt, an Emperor’s Justice, who is a detective, judge and executioner all in one. But these are dangerous times to be a Justice…

No man is above the law.

The Empire of the Wolf simmers with unrest, rife with rebels, heretics and powerful patricians who would challenge the power of the imperial throne.

Only the Order of Justices stands in the way of chaos. Sir Konrad Vonvalt is the most feared Justice of all, upholding the law by way of his sharp mind, arcane powers and skill as a swordsman. In this he is aided by Helena Sedanka, his clerk and protégé, orphaned by the wars that forged the empire.

When the pair investigate the murder of a provincial aristocrat, they unearth a conspiracy that stretches to the very top of Imperial society. As the stakes rise and become ever more personal, Vonvalt must make a choice: will he abandon the laws he’s sworn to uphold in order to protect the empire?

The Justice of Kings is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK, on February 22nd, 2022.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: EYES OF THE VOID by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Orbit/Tor)

TchaikovskyA-FA2-EyesOfTheVoidThe cover for the second novel in Adrian Tchaikovsky‘s Final Architecture series, Eyes of the Void, was unveiled a little while ago (perhaps officially today). If you haven’t had a chance to read the first book — Shards of Earth — then I’d definitely recommend you get on that ASAP (I cannot recommend the author’s work highly enough). A series “about humanity on the brink of extinction, and how one man’s discovery will save or destroy us all”, here’s the synopsis for book two:

After eighty years of fragile peace, the Architects are back, wreaking havoc as they consume entire planets. In the past, Originator artefacts – vestiges of a long-vanished civilization – could save a world from annihilation. This time, the Architects have discovered a way to circumvent these protective relics. Suddenly, no planet is safe.

Facing impending extinction, the Human Colonies are in turmoil. While some believe a unified front is the only way to stop the Architects, others insist humanity should fight alone. And there are those who would seek to benefit from the fractured politics of war – even as the Architects loom ever closer.

Idris, who has spent decades running from the horrors of his past, finds himself thrust back onto the battlefront. As an Intermediary, he could be one of the few to turn the tide of war. With a handful of allies, he searches for a weapon that could push back the Architects and save the galaxy. But to do so, he must return to the nightmarish unspace, where his mind was broken and remade.

What Idris discovers there will change everything.

Eyes of the Void is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America (May 3rd) and Tor Books in the UK (April 28th).

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Annotate Excerpt: THE SHADOW OF THE GODS by John Gwynne (Orbit Books)

GwynneJ-B1-ShadowOfTheGodsUSThanks so much for the invite onto Civilian Reader, I’m chuffed to be here and have this opportunity to share with you a chapter from my latest release, The Shadow of the Gods, book 1 of the Bloodsworn Saga.

This book is set in a world called Vigrið, the Battle-Plain, and is heavily influenced by my love for Norse mythology.

I grew up on tales of mythology – when I was a child I fell in love with the stories Arthur and his quest for the Grail, of Troy and dark lairs and minotaur’s, and tales of those enigmatic and fickle Norse gods. Amongst my favourites were the legends Beowulf and his band of monster-hunting shield men, and of Ragnarök, that end-of-days battle amongst the Norse gods, and to my mind this book and series is my love-letter both to Norse mythology and Viking-era history, merging the blood and grit of shield walls with the terror and thrill of monster hunting.

I hope that it feels markedly different from my previous books in its tone and world-setting, but there are also similarities. Family and friendship are themes that I will always write about, and you will find them here, although I’ve come at them from different angles than you find in my previous works.

Other things you should expect are: shield walls, longships, betrayal and vengeance, and a lot of monsters. Continue reading

Upcoming: FAR FROM THE LIGHT OF HEAVEN by Tade Thompson (Orbit)

ThompsonT-FarFromTheLightOfHeavenThe cover and synopsis for Tade Thompson‘s next novel — Far From the Light of Heaven — was unveiled by Orbit Books a little while ago. In addition to that eye-catching artwork, the novel’s synopsis also grabbed my attention, and I’m very much looking forward to reading this:

The colony ship Ragtime docks in the Lagos system, having traveled light-years from home to bring thousands of sleeping souls to safety among the stars.

Some of the sleepers, however, will never wake — and a profound and sinister mystery unfolds aboard the gigantic vessel as its skeleton crew make decisions that will have repercussions for the entire system — from the scheming politicians of Lagos station to the colony of Nightshade and the poisoned planet of Bloodroot, poised for a civil war.

Tade Thompson’s Far From the Light of Heaven is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK, on October 26th, 2021. Thompson is also the author of the superb Molly Southbourne novellas, the Wormwood Trilogy, and Making Wolf — all out now!

Also on CR: Reviews of The Murders of Molly Southbourne and The Survival of Molly Southbourne

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Very Quick Review: THE FIRST OMEGA by Megan O’Keefe (Orbit)

What happens when a corporate hunter is deemed obsolete…?

It doesn’t matter what you call her. Riley. Burner. She forgot her name long ago. But if you steal from the supply lines crossing the wasteland, her face is the last one you’ll see.

She is the force of nature that keeps the balance in the hot arid desert. Keep to yourself and she’ll leave you well enough alone. But it’s when you try to take more than you can chew that her employers notice and send her off to restore the balance.

Then she gets the latest call. A supply truck knocked over too cleanly. Too precise. And the bodies scattering the wreckage weren’t killed by her normal prey of scavengers. These bodies are already rotting hours after the attack.

Cowering in the corner of the wreckage is a young girl. A girl that shouldn’t be there. A girl with violently blue eyes. Just like hers.

The First Omega is a new, stand-alone novella from the author of (most recently) the acclaimed Protectorate sci-fi series. When it was first announced, the description that this was like “Mad Max meets X-Men” caught my attention. A bleak picture of a blasted future, one with a Western feel, it is a story of nature-vs-nurture, and how to face obsolescence. I rather enjoyed it. Continue reading

Upcoming: NOTES FROM THE BURNING AGE by Claire North (Orbit)

NorthC-NotesFromTheBurningAgeA new novel from Claire North is always something to cheer. This year, Orbit are due to publish the author’s latest novel, Notes From the Burning Age, which is “a story set in an age after the world has burned, which explores whether humankind can change the paths we seem fated to follow”. The publisher unveiled the cover earlier today. Really looking forward to this. Check out the synopsis:

Once, we lived through the Burning Age — the time when we cared so little for the world that it went up in flames. It was a punishment. But it was also a gift, and centuries of peace followed.

Once, Ven was a holy man, studying texts from the ashes of the past, sorting secrets from heresies. But when he gets caught up in the political scheming of the Brotherhood, he finds himself in the middle of a war, fuelled by old knowledge and forbidden ambition.

There was a time when the world burned. Now, some want to set the fire again…

Claire North’s Notes From the Burning Age is due to be published by Orbit Books (July 6th) in North America and in the UK (July 8th).

Also on CR: Reviews of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry AugustTouchThe Gameshouse, The Sudden Appearance of Hope, and Sweet Harmony

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Upcoming: THE FIRST OMEGA by Megan O’Keefe (Orbit)

OKeefeM-FirstOmegaYesterday, Orbit unveiled the eye-catching cover for The First Omega by Megan O’Keefe. Described as “Mad Max meets X-Men“, it certainly caught my attention. Check out the synopsis:

It doesn’t matter what you call her. Riley. Burner. She forgot her name long ago. But if you steal from the supply lines crossing the wasteland, her face is the last one you’ll see.

She is the force of nature that keeps the balance in the hot arid desert. Keep to yourself and she’ll leave you well enough alone. But it’s when you try to take more than you can chew that her employers notice and send her off to restore the balance.

Then she gets the latest call. A supply truck knocked over too cleanly. Too precise. And the bodies scattering the wreckage weren’t killed by her normal prey of scavengers. These bodies are already rotting hours after the attack.

Cowering in the corner of the wreckage is a young girl. A girl that shouldn’t be there. A girl with violently blue eyes. Just like hers.

Megan O’Keefe’s The First Omega is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK, on March 30th, 2021. Looking forward to reading this.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: THE PARIAH by Anthony Ryan (Orbit)

RyanA-CoS1-PariahAnthony Ryan has a new novel out this year! The Pariah is the first in a new fantasy series, the Covenant of Steel. In addition to that moody cover (which I rather like), the novel’s premise promises an action-packed fantasy of revenge, intrigue, and more:

Born into the troubled kingdom of Albermaine, Alwyn Scribe is raised as an outlaw. Quick of wit and deft with a blade, Alwyn is content with the freedom of the woods and the comradeship of his fellow thieves. But an act of betrayal sets him on a new path – one of blood and vengeance, which eventually leads him to a soldier’s life in the king’s army.

Fighting under the command of Lady Evadine Courlain, a noblewoman beset by visions of a demonic apocalypse, Alwyn must survive war and the deadly intrigues of the nobility if he hopes to claim his vengeance. But as dark forces, both human and arcane, gather to oppose Evadine’s rise, Alwyn faces a choice: can he be a warrior, or will he always be an outlaw?

The Pariah is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK, on August 24th, 2021.

Also on CR: Guest Post on “Inspiration for Fantasy Authors”

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