Guest Post: “Sex with the Clothes On” by Brian Staveley

StaveleyB-AuthorPicSometimes, sex feels like cheating. For a writer, I mean, a writer writing about sex.

There are some subjects that one has to really work at to snare a reader. Start a novel with the economic system of your invented city, for instance, or the heraldry of your protagonist, and you’ll lose the reader by the bottom of the first page. Almost no one, on the other hand, closes a book on a description of naked bodies doing what naked bodies do best. Even people who are offended by graphic depictions of sex, even people who will go on to write the author a very sternly worded letter after reading said descriptions — they still tend to read them. A fascination with sex is built into us at a limbic level. Continue reading

Excerpt: SKULLSWORN by Brian Staveley (Tor Books)

StaveleyB-SkullswornUSIn the first of today’s posts celebrating the release of Brian Staveley‘s stand-alone Skullsworn, we have an excerpt. First, though, here’s the synopsis:

For one apprentice assassin, the clock is ticking…

Pyrre Lakatur doesn’t like the description skullsworn. It doesn’t capture the beauty of her devotion to Ananshael, God of Death. And she’s not an assassin, but a priestess. Or she will be, if she can pass her final trial. The problem isn’t killing, as Pyrre has spent her life training for this. The problem is love. To pass the trial, she will have fourteen days to kill seven people detailed in an ancient song, including one true love, ‘who will not come again’. However, Pyrre has never been in love, time is short, and if she fails she’ll be given to her god.

Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to fail. So a month before the trial begins, she returns to the violent city of her birth, where she once offered an abusive father to the god. Here Pyrre hopes to find love – and end it with the edge of her knife.

Skullsworn is set in the same world as Staveley’s excellent, best-selling and critically-acclaimed Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne trilogy. On with the excerpt!

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Upcoming: SKULLSWORN by Brian Staveley (Tor)

StaveleyB-SkullswornUSJust stumbled across this in Tor’s new catalogue: a stand-alone novel set in Brian Staveley‘s Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne universe! Skullsworn is due to be published in the US by Tor Books, in April 2017 (so far away…). Here’s the synopsis:

Pyrre Lakatur doesn’t like the word skullsworn. It fails to capture the faith and grace, the peace and beauty of her devotion to the God of Death. She is not, to her mind, an assassin, not a murderer — she is a priestess. At least, she will be a priestess if she manages to pass her final trial. 

The problem isn’t the killing. Pyrre has been killing and training to kill, studying with some of the most deadly men and women in the world, since she was eight. The problem, strangely, is love. To pass her Trial, Pyrre has ten days to kill the ten people enumerated in an ancient song, including “the one you love / who will not come again.”

Pyrre is not sure she’s ever been in love. If she were a member of a different religious order, a less devoted, disciplined order, she might cheat. The Priests of Ananshael, however, don’t look kindly on cheaters. If Pyrre fails to find someone to love, or fails to kill that someone, they will give her to the god.

Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to quit, hates to fail, and so, with a month before her trial begins, she returns to the city of her birth, the place where she long ago offered an abusive father to the god and abandoned a battered brother — in the hope of finding love… and ending it on the edge of her sword.

Really looking forward to this. Will have to finish the first trilogy first, of course. Skullsworn is also due to be published in the UK by Tor Books (they also published the author’s debut trilogy) — not cover, yet.