New Books (February-March)

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Featuring: Aimee Agresti, E.M. Brown, Jack Carr, Sebastien de Castell, Ruthanna Emmys, Raymond E. Feist, Christopher Fowler, Jason Fry, Louisa Hall, Michael Harvey, Ken Jennings, Richard Kadrey, Barbara Kingsolver, Nancy Kress, Mark Lawrence, Roger Levy, Laura Lippman, K.M. McKinley, Sean Parnell, Charlton Pettus, Josh Reynolds, David Ricciardi, Karl Schroeder, Ricki Schultz, Julie Schumacher, J. Todd Scott, Michael Farris Smith, Wallace Stroby, Stuart Turton, Raymond A. Villareal, Martha Wells, JY Yang

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Interview with SEBASTIEN DE CASTELL

deCastell-AuthorPicSo, we’ve had you on CR before, but for new readers let’s start with an introduction: Who is Sebastien de Castell?

I’m the guy who wrote that thing about the dudes with the really cool coats, and the one guy is like, “I’m the greatest swordsman who ever lived, but I don’t like to talk about it,” but the other one is like, “arrows are just as good as swords, and anyway, I’m better looking” and then there’s the narrator, who’s like, “Justice! Why can’t we have more justice!”

I think it’s called the “Great Cloaks” or “Grey Coats” or something.

Maybe it’s better to look up the bio I gave in our previous interview. Continue reading

New Books (May 2017)

Featuring: Jeff Abbott, Curtis Armstrong, R.J. Barker, J. Patrick Black, Eric Brown, Sebastien de Castell, Anne Corlett, Greg Cox, Nate Crowley, Joel Dicker, Chris Dows, Jennifer Egan, Anthony Franze, Garbage & Jason Cohen, Max Gladstone, Daniel Godfrey, Dave Hutchinson, Eddie Izzard, Benedict Jacka, Cassandra Khaw, Richard Lange, Yoon Ha Lee, Graham McNeill, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Malka Older, Benjamin Percy, Josh Reynolds, Salman Rushdie, John Sandford, Tade Thompson, Wendy N. Wagner

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Books Received (April)

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Featuring: Andrew Bannister, Stephanie Burgis, Lee Child, Myke Cole, Sebastien de Castell, A.A. Dhand, N.S. Dolkart, Steven Erikson, Christie Golden, Stephen Graham Jones, Jessica Grose, Guy Haley, Peter Hanington, Samantha Hayes, Kaui Hart Hemmings, D.L. Hughley, Kij Johnson, Emma Kavanagh, Laura Lam, Owen Laukkanen, Ken MacLeod, Laurence MacNaughton, Jay McInerney, Barney Norris, Daniel O’Malley, Ann Patchett, Ben Peek, Leif G.W. Perrson, Gae Polisner, Adam Rakunas, Chris Roberson, J. Todd Scott, Helen Sedgwick, J.P. Smythe, Brian Staveley, James Swallow, Michael Swanwick, David Swinson, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Matt Wallace, Robin Yocum

Above Picture: Crop of Injection #7, by Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire (Image)

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Guest Review: TRAITOR’S BLADE by Sebastien de Castell (Jo Fletcher Books)

deCastellS-GC1-TraitorsBladeAnother perspective on the first Greatcoats novel

The King is dead, the Greatcoats have been disbanded, and Falcio Val Mond and his fellow magistrates Kest and Brasti have been reduced to working as bodyguards for a nobleman who refuses to pay them. Things could be worse, of course. Their employer could be lying dead on the floor while they are forced to watch the killer plant evidence framing them for the murder. Oh wait, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Now a royal conspiracy is about to unfold in the most corrupt city in the world. A carefully orchestrated series of murders that began with the overthrow of an idealistic young king will end with the death of an orphaned girl and the ruin of everything that Falcio, Kest, and Brasti have fought for. But if the trio want to foil the conspiracy, save the girl, and reunite the Greatcoats, they’ll have to do it with nothing but the tattered coats on their backs and the swords in their hands, because these days every noble is a tyrant, every knight is a thug, and the only thing you can really trust is a traitor’s blade.

Reviewed by Ryan Frye

I began reading Sebastien De Castell’s Traitor’s Blade late one night and the next thing I knew, it was even later, and I was already a fair chunk into the book. This is one of those books that grabbed my attention immediately and made it easy for me to submerse myself into this new fantasy world and all its trappings. De Castell does this with quick, action packed pacing and a first person narrative voice that makes the story easy to fall into. From page one, there’s great, witty dialog and a dragon’s horde of action. These two elements were the driving forces that kept me reading of Traitor’s Blade as I found some areas where I struggled with the novel. Continue reading

New Books (April-May)

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Featuring: Kate Atkinson, Jenny T. Colgan, Sebastien de Castell, Jeffery Deaver, Nelson DeMille, Katie Disabato, Richard Ford, Jonathan Freedland, S.L. Grey, Charlaine Harris, Aleksandar Hemon, Chris Holm, Jason LePier, Duff McKagan, Todd Moss, K.J. Parker, Joe Perry, John Sandford, Stephanie Saulter, Stefan Spjut, Sabaa Tahir, Dan Wells, Robert Charles Wilson Continue reading

Review: KNIGHT’S SHADOW by Sebastien de Castell (Jo Fletcher Books)

deCastell-2-KnightsShadowUKThe highly-anticipated sequel to Traitor’s Blade

Tristia is a nation overcome by intrigue and corruption. The idealistic young King Paelis is dead and the Greatcoats – legendary travelling magistrates who brought justice to the Kingdom – have been branded as traitors. But just before his head was impaled on a spike, the King swore each of his hundred and forty-four Greatcoats to a different mission.

Falcio Val Mond, First Cantor, with the help of fellow Greatcoats Kest and Brasti, has completed his King’s final task: he has found his Charoites – well, one at least, and she was not quite what they expected. Now they must protect the girl from the many who would see her dead, and place her on the throne of a lawless kingdom. That would be simple enough, if it weren’t for the Daishini, an equally legendary band of assassins, getting in their way, not to forget the Dukes who are determined to hold on to their fractured Kingdoms, or the fact that the heir to the throne is only thirteen years old. Oh, and the poison that is slowly killing Falcio.

That’s not even mentioning the Greatcoat’s Lament…

Sebastien de Castell’s debut, Traitor’s Blade, is one of my favourite novels from 2014 — it was fast-paced, swashbuckling, interesting and well-written. It brought back some of the fun to fantasy, while remaining somewhat (grim)dark. It was with much anticipation, therefore, that I dove in to Knight’s Shadow very shortly after I got my hands on a copy. Right from the start, we learn that this is a far more substantial, ambitious novel.
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