New Books (April-May)

Featuring: James Abbott, Nina Allan, Fredrik Backman, Bandi, Paul Beatty, Robert Jackson Bennett, Marie Brennan, Jesse Brown, M.R. Carey, Don Carpenter, Ben Coes, Jenny T. Colgan, Mason Cross, Cory Doctorow, Alan Drew, Amy Engle, Steve Erickson, Nigel Foster, David Guymer, John Gwynne, Tom Holt, Christopher Husberg, James Islington, Howard Jacobson, Stephen King, Andrew Lane, Dale Lucas, Grace O’Connell, Sam Peters, Eliza Robertson, Vivian Shaw, Michael Farris Smith, Brian Staveley, Allen Steele, Stephan Talty, Gav Thorpe, Alison Umminger, Jeff Vandermeer, Paul Vidich, Chris Wraight

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Upcoming: CITY OF MIRACLES by Robert Jackson Bennett

BennettRJ-3-CityOfMiraclesUK

Spotted this a few minutes ago, and shared it on Twitter, but I wanted to pop this cover on the site, too: the third novel in Robert Jackson Bennett‘s Divine Cities series, CITY OF MIRACLES! Easily one of my most-anticipated novels of 2017 (it’s out in January), it’ll be published in the UK by Jo Fletcher Books (and Crown in the US). Here’s the synopsis (possible spoilers):

Sigrud je Harkvaldsson is back, and this time he’s out for vengeance.

Shara Komayd, once Prime Minister of Saypur, has been assassinated. News travels fast and far, even to a remote logging town somewhere northwest of Bulikov, where the silent, shaven-headed Dreyling worker ‘Bjorn’ picks up the newspaper and walks out. He is shocked and grieved and furious; he’s been waiting thirteen years for Shara, his closest friend, to reach out to him — to tell him to come home. He’s always believed she was running a long operation, that there would be a role for him at the right time. Now he has no one else in his life, and nothing to live for — except to find the people who did this.

Sigrud wasn’t there for the death of his daughter Signe, and he wasn’t there when his old comrade Shara was murdered. Now Bjorn is dead and Sigrud is back. And he will find answers, for Shara, and for himself. He’s made a promise…

Jo Fletcher Books have also published the first two books in the series: City of Stairs and City of Blades.

Also on CR: Interview with Robert Jackson Bennett; Guest Post on “City of Stairs & the Super Tropey Fantasy Checklist”; Excerpt from City of Stairs; Reviews of The Company Man and City of Stairs

BennettRJ-DivineCities2016

New Books (October-November)

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Featuring: Fiona Barton, Robert Jackson Bennett, Lee Bermejo, Mike Brooks, Nick Cole, Steve Coogan, Nate Crowley, David Dalglish, Matthew Dunn, Kate Elliott, Christopher Fowler, Alexander Freed, Teresa Frohock, Christopher Golden, Charlaine Harris, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Mark Hodder, Drew Karpyshyn, Julia Knight, Victor Lavalle, Peter Liney, Peter McLean, Claire North, Megan O’Keefe, Steven Rowley, Jane Smiley, Paul Starkey, Tom Toner, Ian Tregillis

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Upcoming: CITY OF BLADES by Robert Jackson Bennett

I loved the first novel in Robert Jackson Bennett‘s new series, City of Stairs. Not long ago, Bennett’s US publisher Crown unveiled their cover for the sequel, City of Blades:

BennettRJ-2-CityOfBladesUS

Today, though, I spotted the UK cover for City of Blades over on Quercus’s website (below). Sadly, fans of the series will have a bit of a wait — the novel is not due to be published until January 2016.

BennettRJ-2-CityOfBladesUK

Here’s the synopsis (from Goodreads):

The city of Voortyashtan was once the domain of the goddess of death, war, and destruction, but now it’s little more than a ruin. General Turyin Mulaghesh is called out of retirement and sent to this hellish place to try to find a Saypuri secret agent who’s gone missing in the middle of a mission, but the city of war offers countless threats: not only have the ghosts of her own past battles followed her here, but she soon finds herself wondering what happened to all the souls that were trapped in the afterlife when the Divinities vanished. Do the dead sleep soundly in the land of death? Or do they have plans of their own?

Also on CR: Interview with Robert Jackson Bennett; Guest post on City of Stairs & the Super Tropey Fantasy Checklist”; Reviews of City of Stairs and The Company Man

Excerpt: CITY OF STAIRS by Robert Jackson Bennett (Jo Fletcher Books)

BennettRJ-CityOfStairsUKRobert Jackson Bennett‘s City of Stairs was one of my favourite novels from last year. Just released in paperback in the UK by Jo Fletcher Books, the publisher has provided and extract for me to share here. But first, the synopsis:

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.

Read on for Chapter 1…
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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

Guest Post: “City of Stairs and the Super Tropey Fantasy Checklist” by Robert Jackson Bennett

RobertJacksonBennett-AuthorPicCity of Stairs is definitely a fantasy novel. It’s got dead gods, magic, monsters, political skullduggery, and a healthy serving of mayhem. (I actually think all my novels are fantasy, but that’s beside the point.)

However, despite the popular aphorism, the clothes don’t make the man: if I put on a policeman’s uniform, for example, that doesn’t make me a cop.

So despite City of Stairs having a huge amount of fantasy elements, I sometimes find myself wondering – does it act like a fantasy? Content does not dictate behavior, in other words. Continue reading