Upcoming from Gollancz/Orion

Continuing my recently-reinstated series of Upcoming posts, here are a selection of the (many) interesting and anticipated upcoming releases from Gollancz and Orion. (This is just a selection, of course, as Gollancz and Orion publish so very many excellent novels. For more, check our their website.)

BeaulieuB-1-TwelveKingsUKBradley Beaulieu, TWELVE KINGS (September 3rd)

An epic new fantasy series of mystery, prophecy and death within the ancient walled city of the Twelve Kings . . .

In the cramped west end of Sharakhai, the Amber Jewel of the Desert, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall of the cruel, immortal Kings of Sharakhai, but she’s never been able to do anything about it. This all changes when she goes out on the night of Beht Zha’ir, the holy night when all are forbidden from walking the streets. It’s the night that the asirim, the powerful yet wretched creatures that protect the Kings from all who would stand against them, wander the city and take tribute. It is then that one of the asirim, a pitiful creature who wears a golden crown, stops Çeda and whispers long forgotten words into her ear. Çeda has heard those words before, in a book left to her by her mother, and it is through that one peculiar link that she begins to find hidden riddles left by her mother.

As Çeda begins to unlock the mysteries of that fateful night, she realizes that the very origin of the asirim and the dark bargain the Kings made with the gods of the desert to secure them may be the very key she needs to throw off the iron grip the Kings have had over Sharakhai. And yet the Kings are no fools-they’ve ruled the Shangazi for four hundred years for good reason, and they have not been idle. As Çeda digs into their past, and the Kings come closer and closer to unmasking her, Çeda must decide if she’s ready to face them once and for all.

I read and enjoyed Beaulieu’s debut novel, The Winds of Khalakovo in 2011 — for some reason, I never got around to finishing the series, but I think it was partly because I read the first book just before my year of living as something of a vagabond nomad… I’ll have to catch up at some point soon. Twelve Kinds is published in the US by DAW Books, on September 1st, 2015, as Twelve Kings in Sharakai.

Also on CR: Interview with Bradley Beaulieu (2011); Guest Post with Stephen Gaskell on “Co-Authoring Strata

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deBodardA-1-HouseOfShatteredWingsUKAliette de Bodard, THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS (August 20th)

A superb murder mystery, on an epic scale, set against the fall out — literally — of a war in heaven

Paris in the aftermath of the Great Magicians War. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black, thick with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.

House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation; or the architects of its last, irreversible fall . . .

I’ve featured this a few times, but any excuse to highlight it again… I have an ARC already, so expect a review soon. Published in the US by Roc Books, on August 18th, 2015.

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CoxE-RG2-CathedralOfKnownThingsUK smEdward Cox, THE CATHEDRAL OF KNOWN THINGS (Date)

In the end, all things are known. Return to the world of THE RELIC GUILD with this remarkable fantasy novel

Divided, hunted and short on resources, the surviving members of the Relic Guild are in real trouble. Their old enemy, the Genii, and their resurrected master have infiltrated Labrys Town and taken over the police force. 

So the Relic Guild must flee their home, and set off on a dangerous journey across the worlds of the Aelfir. One that will lead them to a weapon which might destroy the Genii. Or the whole universe…

And forty years before all this, the war which led to the fall of the Genii continues. And what happens to the Relic Guild during that conflict will change the course of their desperate flight.

I really enjoyed The Relic Guild, so I’m eager to get my mitts on a copy of the follow-up.

Also on CR: Interview with Edward Cox; Guest Post on “Writes and Wrongs

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GrassT-TwistUKPBTom Grass, TWIST (August 27th, PB)

Packed with action, love and betrayal, Tom Grass’s electrifying heist thriller is a gripping reinvention of the Dickens classic, OLIVER TWIST.

Eighteen-year-old Twist doesn’t have much. No money, no home and no family. All he has is his reputation as one of the most daring street artists in London — whose unique skills are matched only by his infamous talent as a climber and freerunner.

But when he finds himself on the run from the police, he knows that he could be about to lose the last thing he has left – his freedom. Until he is saved by the mysterious Dodge. When Dodge introduces him to con artist and art ‘collector’ Cornelius Faginescu, Twist realises that he finally has the chance to be part of something. All that he has to do is put aside his moral objections and learn to steal…

When this came out in hardcover, I don’t think I saw a single review or even mention on the various blogs I frequent or Twitter feeds I follow. Which is strange, as it sounds rather good. Maybe the paperback will get some more attention?

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JaconsJH-2-ForeignDevilsUKJohn Hornor Jacobs, FOREIGN DEVILS (Date)

Sequel to the critically acclaimed THE INCORRUPTIBLES — new lands, new wars, new dangers.

The world is on the brink of war. 

Fisk and Shoe — mercenaries, very much not wanting to get caught in the middle of a political whirlwind — must deliver a very important message, and find a very dangerous man. They have caught the eye of the powerful men of the world, and now the stakes are higher than they like.

And the Emperor has decreed that Livia Cornelius, pregnant with Fisk’s child, must travel to the far lands of the Autumn Lords on a diplomatic mission. It will mean crossing half the world, and facing new dangers. And in the end, she will uncover the shocking truth at the heart of the Autumn Lords’ Empire.

A truth which will make the petty politics of war and peace unimportant, and will change the world.

I quite enjoyed The Incorruptibles — the writing and world-building were very well done, and I’m very eager to read this sequel.

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LeGuinU-AlwaysComingHomeUK2015Ursula Le Guin, ALWAYS COMING HOME (October 8th)

An unsung masterpiece from one of fantastic literature’s greatest writers.

A long, long time from now, in the valleys of what will no longer be called Northern California, might be going to have lived a people called the Kesh.

But Always Coming Home is not the story of the Kesh. Rather it is the stories of the Kesh — stories, poems, songs, recipes — Always Coming Home is no less than an anthropological account of a community that does not yet exist, a tour de force of imaginative fiction by one of modern literature’s great voices.

I have not read enough of Le Guin’s novels. I’m glad Gollancz are re-releasing so many of them.

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LynchS-GB4-ThornOfEmberlainUK-SmScott Lynch, THE THORN OF EMBERLAIN (October 15th)

Locke and Jean find themselves sucked into the horror of war. Will things ever be the same again?

With 50,000 copies sold of The Republic of Thieves and with praise from the likes of Joe Abercrombie and George RR Martin the saga of the Gentleman Bastard has become a favourite and key part of the fantasy landscape. And now Locke Lamora, thief, con-man, pirate, political deceiver must become a soldier.

A new chapter for Locke and Jean and finally the war that has been brewing in the Kingdom of the Marrows flares up and threatens to capture all in its flames. 

And all the while Locke must try to deal with the disturbing rumours about his past revealed in The Republic of Thieves. Fighting a war when you don’t know the truth of right and wrong is one thing. Fighting a war when you don’t know the truth of yourself is quite another. Particularly when you’ve never been that good with a sword anyway…

I’m not sure there are many fantasy fans who aren’t eagerly awaiting this novel… I should probably get my skates on and read The Republic of Thieves ASAP — although, I would like to refresh on the first two… So many pages to get through before October… The first three novels in the series were published in the US by Del Rey, but their website doesn’t list this one, so not sure if this one’s theirs too.

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McDonaldI-Luna1-NewMoonUKIan McDonald, LUNA: NEW MOON (September 17th)

The new novel from a multi-award-winning writer: a corporate SF thriller and the deepest evocation yet of the terrors and rigours of life on the moon.

Having woven intricate and gripping plots around thought provoking looks at the future of countries like India, Brazil and Turkey, Ian McDonald now turns his attention to the moon. Luna is a gripping thriller about five corporate families caught in a bitter battle for supremacy in the harsh environment of the moon. It’s very easy to die on the moon but with its vast mineral wealth its also easy to make your fortune. This is SF that will be perfect for fans of Kim Stanley Robinson and Ken Macleod alike.

Told over two volumes this will do for the moon what the award winning River of Gods did for India, the award-winning Brasyl for Brazil and the award winning The Dervish House for Turkey – it will give it a vibrant, extraordinary and believable future.

Published in the US by Tor Books, on September 22nd, 2015.

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OliverN-MasterOfShadowsUKNeil Oliver, MASTER OF SHADOWS (September 10th)

From the lawless borderlands of Scotland to the crumbling majesty of Constantinople, the first novel from TV historian Neil Oliver is a sweeping, epic adventure and the story of a man all but forgotten by history.

In fifteenth-century Constantinople, Prince Constantine saves the life of a broken-hearted girl. But the price of his valour is high.

John Grant is a young man on the edge of the world. His unique abilities carry him from his home in Scotland to the heart of the Byzantine Empire in search of a girl and the chance to fulfil a death-bed promise.

Lena has remained hidden from the men who have been searching for her for many years. When she’s hunted down, at last she knows what she must do.

With an army amassing beyond the city’s ancient walls, the fates of these three will intertwine. As the Siege of Constantinople reaches its climax, each must make a choice between head and heart, duty and destiny.

The cover caught my attention, and the synopsis convinced me that I’d like to read this. (Also, I’m Scottish, and I lived in Istanbul — so… that’s another, weird, reason to be interested…)

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SheehanA-SpinningThornsUKAnna Sheehan, SPINNING THORNS (December 10th)

A superb new fairytale inspired novel from an award winning author. Once the fairy tale is told and the spell has been broken . . . what happens next . . . ?

Sleeping Beauty has woken.

The world has been renewed.

Everyone is living happily ever after . . .

Almost.

Sharp, blood-seeking thorns still surround the castle. A feud remains between those who wield magic and those who were subjected to it. And while the kingdom is divided against itself, nothing can thrive.

A rebellion may be needed — and that’s where Sleeping Beauty’s daughter comes in . . .

Don’t know anything about this novel save from the synopsis. And the cover, which is what drew my attention in the first place. There’s something akin to Into the Woods about the description, too, which could bode well.

Publisher Page

Cover: THE THORN OF EMBERLAIN by Scott Lynch (Gollancz)

LynchS-GB4-ThornOfEmberlainUK-SmToday, fantasy fans got a pleasant surprise from Gollancz: the UK cover for Scott Lynch’s fourth Gentlemen Bastard novel, The Thorn of Emberlain (right)!

I have said multiple times on CR that I love Lynch’s first two novels in the series, The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies, and also that they were the two novels that got me back into fantasy – or, really, started me on the busy, glorious road to fantasy fandom. I read them before CR was even a thought in my addled mind, so there are no reviews. Strangely, I have been rather hesitant to start The Republic of Thieves, the third novel in the series. Partly, this is because I’ve forgotten much of what happened in the first two, so want to re-read them before getting to the third. With the waves of other new novels coming in, though, it has meant I am equally hesitant to re-read. I need to get over this and get ready for The Thorn of Emberlain. Maybe a project for this summer?

The stormclouds of war are gathering and we’re off to the besieged republic of Emberlain. Buckle up, it’s bound to be a bumpy ride…

The Thorn of Emberlain is due to be published in the UK by Gollancz “at the end of 2015” – more details when they’re available.

A Quick Comment on the Gemmell Award Shortlists, and One of the Nominees. Sort of…

This post is a bit of a break from the norm for me. I’m also not really sure what it’s meant to do. It’s a bit waffley, for which I apologise only slightly, and in not entirely a heartfelt manner. Fiction awards mean very little to me, being neither author, editor, publisher, nor agent. (At least, not yet…) This means I have never (to my recollection) written a post of any worth/note about shortlists or winners.

Brett-DaylightWarUKAward lists tend to pass me by without comment or thought. Invariably, this is because there aren’t any books featured that I’ve read – or, if there is, it is one that didn’t leave much of an impression one way or another. This year has been a bit different, however. For example, Kameron Hurley’s God’s War has been cropping up on a few shortlists, and it’s a book I rather enjoyed. So that made a nice change.

The shortlists for the Gemmell Awards were announced today at Eastercon. In a real break from the norm, the shortlist for the Legend Award (best fantasy) features not only five authors I have read, but also a book I feel particularly strongly about. So I thought I’d write a quick blog post about it. The book in question is Peter V. Brett’s The Daylight War, the third in his Demon Cycle series.

[Before I continue, let me just state that my focus on this book is not an indictment of the other authors nominated for the award. I just feel particularly strongly about this one. The other Legend nominees – Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch, Adrian Tchaikovsky, and Brandon Sanderson – are great authors, too, whose works I have enjoyed very much. I just haven’t read their nominated novels.]

I’ve been experiencing a phase of fantasy disenchantment, lately. In fact, looking back over the past year or so, I’ve read far less (epic) fantasy than I would have expected. I have picked up and discarded more fantasy novels than I usually do, too. I just can’t get into anything, nor can I rustle up the enthusiasm to sit through hefty tomes.

Brett-DaylightWarUSThere is one clear exception to that, though, and that’s Brett’s series. Every time I think about reading a fantasy novel, I find myself wistfully wishing that the next novel in the Demon Cycle was already available. This is because there are very few authors who do it better. That’s not to say other fantasists writing today aren’t good, or are lacking in talent – far from it. But, really, I think the only epic fantasy series I would happily drop everything to read the next book in, is the Demon Cycle. Everything about the novels just works for me – the story, prose, characters… everything. I don’t think, across the three novels published so far, I’ve come across anything that gave me pause. I read the first, The Painted Man, in three sittings – the final sitting a 300-page marathon, which I finished at 4am. I read the second and third novels back-to-back (something I rarely do), eschewing everything else – true, I was unemployed at the time, and had little else to do; but nevertheless, all I wanted to do was read the books.

I haven’t experienced that level of Reading Insistence since I read Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora – the book that got me back into reading fantasy in the first place (as I think I’ve mentioned ad infinitum on the blog). In the case of Lynch’s series, I went straight out and bought Red Seas Under Red Skies when I was only two-thirds of the way through the first book – I even didn’t mind that it was the (frankly ghastly) shiny red-covered edition. Since then, and given the understandable delay before the third book came out, I have been almost afraid to go back and re-read the series to catch up.

Oh actually, that’s not entirely true – I was also incredibly impatient about getting hold of Brent Weeks’s Night Angel Trilogy. I must have pestered the Orbit publicist to the point of irritation, requesting the final two books… I was also really late to Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy, and I do consider Before They Are Hanged to be one of my favourite novels.

Regardless, the point I’m trying to make is that very few epic fantasy novels have really grabbed hold of my imagination and attention. And, I think, none more so than Brett’s Demon Cycle.

So, to bring this ramble back around to the topic at hand, I really hope The Daylight War wins the Legend Award.

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The David Gemmell Awards ceremony will take place at London’s Magic Circle on June 13th, 2014.

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Peter V. Brett’s The Daylight War is published in the UK by Voyager, and in the US by Del Rey. The first two volumes in the series – The Painted Man (UK)/The Warded Man (US) and The Desert Spear are published by the same publishers. Two novellas have also been collected into a single volume: The Great Bazaar and Brayan’s Gold. If you haven’t read them yet, and have any interest in fantasy, then I could not recommend them enough. You won’t regret reading them, I’m sure.

My reviews of the books: The Painted Man, The Desert Spear, The Daylight War and The Great Bazaar and Brayan’s Gold.

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Regarding the Other Shortlists…

For the Morning Star category (best debut), I really enjoyed Brian McClellan’s Promise of Blood – it is also the only novel on the shortlist I’ve read.

In the Ravenheart category (best artwork), I actually like them all, and quite a lot. But I don’t understand why any of the covers for Elizabeth Bear’s Eternal Sky fantasy trilogy didn’t make it onto the final list… (I haven’t read any of the novels, but I want to, and those covers are frankly stunning.)