Quick Review: IRONCLADS by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Solaris)

TchaikovskyA-IroncladsAn interesting new SF war novella with a twist

Scions have no limits

Scions do not die

And Scions do not disappear

Sergeant Ted Regan has a problem. A son of one of the great corporate families, a Scion, has gone missing at the front. He should have been protected by his Ironclad – the lethal battle suits that make the Scions masters of war – but something has gone catastrophically wrong.

Now Regan and his men, ill-equipped and demoralised, must go behind enemy lines, find the missing Scion, and uncover how his suit failed. Is there a new Ironcladkiller out there? And how are common soldiers lacking the protection afforded the rich supposed to survive the battlefield of tomorrow?

A new book from Adrian Tchaikovsky is always something to be cheered. Ironclads is something a little different — although, given Tchaikovsky’s growing body of varied work, this is perhaps something that we can now expect? Ironclads is an interesting re-imagining of the world: corporations have come to dominate the new world, but supernatural elements of the old world are pushing back. A squad of American soldiers are thrown into a special mission, and everything they thought they knew about the war turns out to have been wrong… Continue reading

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Upcoming: THE WARMASTER by Dan Abnett (Black Library)

AbnettD-GG-WarmasterThe Warmaster, the long-awaited fourteenth novel in Dan Abnett‘s Gaunt’s Ghosts series will soon be available! The series that did a hell of a lot to kickstart Black Library’s WH40k fiction range, not to mention establish so many norms and elements of the WH40k fictional universe. I’ve read all of the novels so far, and I’m interested to see what it will be like returning to the characters after so long. (It feels like an age since the last novel, 2011’s Salvation’s Reach.) Anyway, here’s the synopsis:

The Tanith First dispatched to defend the forge world of Urdesh against the armies of Anarch Sek.

After the success of their desperate mission to Salvation’s Reach, Colonel-Commissar Gaunt and the Tanith First race to the strategically vital forge world of Urdesh, besieged by the brutal armies of Anarch Sek. However, there may be more at stake than just a planet. The Imperial forces have made an attempt to divide and conquer their enemy, but with Warmaster Macaroth himself commanding the Urdesh campaign, it is possible that the Archenemy assault has a different purpose – to decapitate the Imperial command structure with a single blow. Has the Warmaster allowed himself to become an unwitting target? And can Gaunt’s Ghosts possibly defend him against the assembled killers and war machines of Chaos?

The Warmaster is due to be published by Black Library in December.

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Quick Review: MEPHISTON — BLOOD OF SANGUINIUS by Darius Hinks (Black Library)

An interesting, action-packed WH40k novel

The shrine world of Divinatus Prime has become lost to the light of the Astronomican and no ship can piece its veil. Only the Lord of Death himself, Blood Angels Chief Librarian Mephiston, has any hope of discerning the fate of this once pious world. After enacting a powerful blood ritual, Mephiston and an honour guard of his fellow Blood Angels reach the stricken shrine world to find it seized by religious civil war. Each faction fights for dominance of a potent artefact, the Blade Petrific, said to be wrought by the Emperor Himself. Yet there is more at work here than a mere ideological schism, for Mephiston believes Divinatus Prime could offer answers to how he became the Lord of Death, he who resisted the Black Rage, and possibly even a way to end the curse of ‘the Flaw’ in all Blood Angels.

It’s been quite some time since I last read something by Darius Hinks. I enjoyed what little of his work I have read (of particular note: Razumov’s Tomb and Sigvald). I’ve also recently been reading and enjoying a fair number of BL’s Space Marine Heroes/Legends novels. The Blood Angels have always been of interest, but never as much as the mysterious Dark Angels, or Norse/viking-inspired Space Wolves. This changed after I read Guy Haley’s Dante and James Swallow’s Fear to Tread. And so, when I learned that Hinks was writing his own Blood Angels novel, Blood of Sanguinius, my interest was piqued.

Continue reading

Review: PRINCE LESTAT AND THE REALMS OF ATLANTIS by Anne Rice (Knopf/Arrow)

RiceA-VC12-PrinceLestat&RealmsOfAtlanticUSPBThe twelfth Vampire Chronicle novel upends, once again, the origin story

“In my dreams, I saw a city fall into the sea. I heard the cries of thousands. I saw flames that outshone the lamps of heaven. And all the world was shaken…”

Lestat de Lioncourt is no longer alone.

A strange, otherworldly spirit has resurfaced, taking possession of his body and soul. All-seeing, all-knowing, its voice whispers in his ear, telling the hypnotic tale of Atlantis, the great sea power of ancient times…

Prince Lestat is seduced by the power of this ancient spirit, but is he right to trust it? Why has Lestat, leader of the vampires, been chosen as its bodily host?

And what of Atlantis, the mysterious heaven on earth? Why must the vampires reckon so many millennia later with the terrifying force of this ageless, all-powerful Atalantaya spirit?

It falls to Lestat to discover the truth.

I do love this series. As I have written (so very many times) on the site, I consider Rice’s The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned to be one of my favourite books — I always read them together, so I think of them as one. With each novel, Rice has built on the impressive vampire mythos she’s created. In Prince Lestat, the author took a pretty bold step in developing the mythology: in fact, she pretty much upended everything we’ve come to learn so far. I was surprised, and a little nervous, when I realized that, in Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis, the author was going to do it again… Continue reading

Interview with JANE O’REILLY

OReillyJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Jane O’Reilly?

I used to describe myself as a housewife with a laptop, but I suppose at this point that doesn’t cut it anymore! I’m a novelist living near London, though I’m originally from much further north. I’m a parent, a redhead, and a frequenter of museums. I have endometriosis. I like Captain America and biscuits.

Your new novel, Blue Shift, will be published by Piatkus. It looks rather interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Blue Shift is the first in a trilogy. It’s space opera, heavy on the adventure and light on the hardcore science, so it’s for readers looking for something fun and entertaining. It will also work for anyone who avoids science fiction because they find it heavy going – you won’t feel like you need a degree in physics to follow the plot. It’s about a genetically modified woman who uncovers an intergalactic conspiracy and has to work with a man who has plenty of secrets of his own in order to survive the aftermath. There are space pirates and aliens and explosions. Deep Blue, the second book in the series, will be released in June next year and I am already so excited about it. Continue reading

Upcoming: LUNA–MOON RISING by Ian McDonald (Tor Books)

McDonald-Luna3-MoonRisingUSHCThe third novel in Ian McDonald‘s critically-acclaimed Luna trilogy has a US cover: Moon Rising! And, as with the first two covers, it’s fantastic. Tor Books will publish the novel in North America, in July 2018. That’s quite a way away, sadly. In the meantime, here’s the synopsis:

A hundred years in the future, a war wages between the Five Dragons — five families that control the Moon’s leading industrial companies. Each clan does everything in their power to claw their way to the top of the food chain — marriages of convenience, corporate espionage, kidnapping, and mass assassinations.

Through ingenious political manipulation and sheer force of will, Lucas Cortas rises from the ashes of corporate defeat and seizes control of the Moon. The only person who can stop him is a brilliant lunar lawyer, his sister, Ariel.

Witness the Dragons’ final battle for absolute sovereignty in Ian McDonald’s heart-stopping finale to the Luna trilogy.

The novel will be published in the UK by Gollancz, around the same time. Here are the aforementioned, great covers for the first two books in the series:

McDonald-LunaSeriesUS2017

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Guest Post: “Writing a Trilogy — Lessons Learned” by Tom Doyle

DoyleT-AuthorPicThe final book in my American Craft trilogy, War and Craft, has just been released. It’s like sending the last kid to college — bittersweet emotion with a practical “so now what?” Before I move on to my next project, I’d like to share with you a few of my personal observations about the process, particularly if you’re a new writer planning on writing a series.

First lesson: never plan on writing a series.

Yeah, sounds like a joke, but seriously, don’t do it–unless someone has already said that they’re going to pay you for it. When I wrote American Craftsmen, I had intentionally not planned for a series. I recommend this same self-discipline to all new writers — don’t engage in heavier worldbuilding than necessary for something which may never see the light of day. The odds are long against your selling any given book to a publisher, so every minute you spend creating further material in that book’s universe has a high probability of being wasted. The best thing you can do for yourself while trying to sell a book is to start writing a completely different one. Continue reading