Excerpt: DAYFALL by Michael David Ares (Tor)

AresMD-DayfallToday, we have an excerpt from Michael David Ares‘s new novel, Dayfall. Published by Tor Books, here’s the synopsis…

FEAR THE DAY

In the near future, patches of the northern hemisphere have been shrouded in years of darkness from a nuclear winter, and the water level has risen in the North Atlantic. The island of Manhattan has lost its outer edges to flooding and is now ringed by a large seawall.

The darkness and isolation have allowed crime and sin to thrive in the never-ending shadows of the once great city, and when the sun finally begins to reappear, everything gets worse. A serial killer cuts a bloody swath across the city during the initial periods of daylight, and a violent panic sweeps through crowds on the streets. The Manhattan police, riddled with corruption and apathy, are at a loss.

That’s when the Mayor recruits Jon Phillips, a small-town Pennsylvania cop who had just single-handedly stopped a high-profile serial killer in his own area, and flies him into the insanity of this new New York City. The young detective is partnered with a shady older cop and begins to investigate the crimes amidst the vagaries of a twenty-four hour nightlife he has never experienced before. Soon realizing that he was chosen for reasons other than what he was told, Jon is left with no one to trust and forced to go on the run in the dark streets, and below them in the maze of the underground. Against all odds he still hopes that he can save his own life, the woman of his dreams, and maybe even the whole city before the arrival of the mysterious and dreaded event that has come to be known as… DAYFALL.

Read on for the excerpt…

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Upcoming: MOTHERLAND by Lauren Beukes (Mulholland)

BeukesL-MotherlandUSI’m a big fan of Lauren Beukes‘s novels, so I was very excited to learn about her upcoming book, Motherland. Due to be published by Mulholland Books in April 2019 (so far away!), it sounds really interesting:

This is America, but not like you know it. Years after the decimation of the male population by a super-virus, the country has refashioned itself with new laws, new customs, and new methods of shame and punishment. Now, hiding a living and healthy male is one of the gravest offenses, rivaled only by the murder of a man. Cole is a mother on the run, guilty of both crimes, and desperate to find a safe life for her adolescent boy Miles.

As the two drift throughout the transformed states of the West, they hide Miles’ identity while evading a mysterious, powerful man bent on justice. From a commune in the Rockies to a high security laboratory in the redwoods of northern California, the two tensely negotiate an existence on the fringes of a new America.

Cole’s goal for her son and herself is escape, a family in South Africa, a slim chance at a better life. Mother and child see their chance, at last, in the wanderings and secret goals of a cult — if only Cole can keep Miles’ true self hidden, and as long as they can stay one step ahead of an ex-boyfriend from hell.

If you can’t wait that long, I’d highly recommend The Shining GirlsBroken Monsters and the graphic novel Survivors’ Club.

Also on CR: Reviews of The Shining Girls and Broken Monsters

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: RAVENCRY by Ed McDonald (Ace/Gollancz)

McDonaldE-2-Ravencry

This is the sequel to Ed McDonald‘s very well-received debut, Blackwing. Featuring a bleak, grimdark post-apocalyptic world and an interesting magic system and cast of characters, I’m quite looking forward to continuing Galharrow’s story. Ravencry is due to be published by Ace Books (US) and Gollancz (UK), here’s the synopsis:

For Ryhalt Galharrow, working for Crowfoot as a Blackwing captain is about as bad as it gets — especially when his orders are garbled, or incoherent, or impossible to carry out.

The Deep Kings are hurling fire from the sky, a ghost in the light known only as the Bright Lady had begun to manifest in visions across the city, and the cult that worship her grasp for power while the city burns around them.

Galharrow may not be able to do much about the cult – or about strange orders from the Nameless — but when Crowfoot’s arcane vault is breached and an object of terrible power is stolen, he’s propelled into a race against time to recover it. Only to do that, he needs answers, and finding them means travelling into nightmare: to the very heart of the Misery.

Also on CR: Interview with Ed McDonald (2017)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Interview with TYRELL JOHNSON

JohnsonT-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Tyrell Johnson?

Well, my Twitter bio says I’m a father, husband, writer, editor, and donkey trainer. So at least a few of those things MUST be true.

Your new novel, The Wolves of Winter, will be published by HQ this month. It looks rather fabulous: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s a post-apocalyptic thriller about a young woman surviving in the Yukon wilderness with her family. When she encounters a strange man in the wilderness, his dark past calls her to a role she never imagined. I’d love to announce that it’s part of a series, but since nothing is “in the books” yet, I don’t want to jump the gun. Continue reading

Quick Review: THE EMPEROR’S RAILROAD by Guy Haley (Tor.com)

HaleyG-EmperorsRailroadAn interesting new post-apocalyptic series

Global war devastated the environment, a zombie-like plague wiped out much of humanity, and civilization as we once understood it came to a standstill. But that was a thousand years ago, and the world is now a very different place.

Conflict between city states is constant, superstition is rife, and machine relics, mutant creatures and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land. Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities. Homes of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church claims. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out.

Until now…

This is an interesting novella, and one that shows a lot of potential for expansion. (According to the author, it is first in a possible/planned series of stories.) The story is told from the perspective of Abney, one of the travellers to whom the knight on the cover attaches himself. The three are travelling cross-country: the mother and son are trying to reach Winfort, an outpost in which a distant relative lives. Quinn, the knight’s motivation is shrouded in mystery, and pretty much remains so at the end of the novella. This is no bad thing, as it gives us a little hint as to what we should expect from upcoming stories in this setting. Abney recounts their journey, and offers us an introduction to the setting and characters — we don’t get too much, but we start to see their characters take shape, and in the process some tantalizing hints about how the world got to this state.

The biggest surprise for me was that the railroad in the title was… pretty much absent from the story. Not strictly speaking a bad thing, but an odd decision, given the title. The story does, however, have angels, dragons and some excellent tension. It’s a somewhat slow-burn, and is clearly setting things up for future adventures. It’s pretty satisfying, though.

If you enjoy post-apocalyptic stories, then this is a must-read. Very good.

The Emperor’s Railroad is published by Tor.com in April 2016.

Also on CR: Interview with Guy Haley

Guest Post/Excerpt: HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS by Aliette de Bodard

deBodard-AuthorPicThe Great Houses war is a central part of the book, though by necessity it’s always seen in flashbacks, as it took place sixty years before the events of the novel. It’s left marks on everyone, and of course it has also devastated Paris and given rise to the city in the book, a dystopic place where people cling to the Great Houses as their only source of safety. This scene is one of the strongest reminiscences from Philippe, who actually fought in it.

It also contains what is possibly my favourite lines in the book: the “magicians turned into soldiers… our best men turned into corpses”, which was one of those gifts from the muse: it came straight into the first draft and hasn’t really moved since.

The war. Philippe thought of the clamor of explosions; of huddling in the doorways of ruined buildings, peering at the sky to judge the best moment to rush out; of his lieutenant in House colors, urging them to lay down their lives for the good of the city; of his squad mates buried in nameless graves, on the edge of Place de la République. Ai Linh, who had had a laughter like a donkey, and always shared her biscuits with everyone else; Hoang, who liked to gamble too much; Phuong, who told hair-raising stories in the barracks after all lights had been turned off. “I don’t know what the war was like, inside the Houses,” he said, and it was almost the truth. Continue reading

Guest Post: “Don’t Hold the Horses” by Arianne “Tex” Thompson

ThompsonAT-AuthorPicYou know how there’s this one genre that we call “swords and horses” fantasy? It’s a heck of a thing. They’re kind of the PB&J of old-school fantasy: tasty, familiar, and they go so well together. But it’s not exactly an even relationship, is it?

I mean, the swords – let’s be real, The Sword – gets all kinds of literary limelight. It’s got a name, a big ol’ backstory, some awesomesweet epic powers, and probably a good chunk of the hero’s destiny riding around in its carbon-steel interior. More often than not, that sucker actually drives the plot.

So why no love for the horses? Size, sex, color, and that’s it. Maybe a name, if it’s going to be a long-term fixture, and not stolen by goblins or eaten by were-possums at the end of the first act. But unless the horse is some kind of magical creature (with a big tip o’ the hat to Misty Lackey’s Heralds of Valdemar series!), you can almost guarantee that it’s just a half-ton inventory item – as if only the fantasy elements of a fantasy story are allowed to be interesting or important.

I vote we change that. And I think a lot of writers would be up for trying – it’s just that we’re not really sure how. After all, most of us don’t live within thirty miles of a horse, nevermind own or ride one. The only time pop culture shows them to us as characters in their own right is either when they’re the focal point of the story (Black Beauty, Seabiscuit, etc.) or else when someone’s following the “basically furry humans with speech impediments” Disney sidekick model. Continue reading