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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New Greatcoats Competition from Jo Fletcher Books

deCastell-2-KnightsShadowUKToday marks the release of Knight’s Shadow, the highly-anticipated follow-up to Sebastien de Castell‘s debut, Traitor’s Blade. To celebrate, Jo Fletcher Books are running a competition on their website.

There is a test every magistrate must take before becoming a Greatcoat – it comes in the form of a puzzle from a very old book called Peritas Aequitum, which literally means Perils of Justice. It’s quite possible that this book was the original text used to train the very first Greatcoats in centuries past.

This puzzle asks the examinee to decide the outcome of a case for which Tristia’s complex laws provide several different — equally valid — legal outcomes. The Greatcoat confronted by this situation is thus forced to render a verdict even though any choice they make is guaranteed to make matters worse…

To be in with a chance to win a copy of the new novel, head on over to JFB’s website for full details on how to win. In the meantime, here’s the synopsis for the novel:

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…

I already have a copy of the novel, and I intend to start it ASAP – either next, or next-but-one.

Also on CR: Interview with Sebastien de Castell; Guest Post “Where Writers Get Their Groove”; Review of Traitor’s Blade

New Books (February #2)

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Featuring: Nick Aires, Jesse Armstrong, David Baldacci, Adam Christopher, Sebastien de Castell, David Downing, Mark Andrew Ferguson, Matthew Glass, Daryl Gregory, Austin Grossman, Randy Henderson, Antonia Honeywell, Kameron Hurley, Ben Kane, Dennis Lehane, Evie Manieri, D.J. Molles, Benjamin Percy, Tamora Pierce, Christopher Reich, Loren Rhoads, Anthony Ryan, V.E. Schwab, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Simon K. Unsworth, Jen Williams, Jonathan Wood Continue reading