Excerpt: THE FIRST BINDING by R. R. Virdi (Gollancz/Tor)

VirdiRR-ToT1-FirstBindingUKHCR. R. Virdi‘s The First Binding, book one in the author’s Tales of Tremaine epic fantasy series, generated a lot of great pre-publication buzz. It’s a hefty beast (clocking in at over 800 pages), but one that promises a deep, gripping, and immersive read. The novel is now available in the UK (Gollancz) and North America (Tor Books).

As part of the book tour celebrating the novel’s release, Gollancz has provided an excerpt for me to share with you today. Before we get to that, though, here’s the official synopsis:

All legends are born of truths. And just as much lies. These are mine. Judge me for what you will. But you will hear my story first.

I buried the village of Ampur under a mountain of ice and snow. Then I killed their god. I’ve stolen old magics and been cursed for it. I started a war with those that walked before mankind and lost the princess I loved, and wanted to save. I’ve called lightning and bound fire. I am legend. And I am a monster.

My name is Ari.

And this is the story of how I let loose the first evil.

Thus begins the tale of a storyteller and a singer on the run and hoping to find obscurity in a tavern bar. But the sins of their past aren’t forgotten, and neither are their enemies. Their old lives are catching up swiftly and it could cost them the entire world. No one can escape their pasts and all stories must have an ending.

This excerpt follows directly on from the previous stop on the blog tour, at Stephen’s Bookish Life. So, if you missed that one, go read the excerpt there before continuing below.

For those who are caught up… on with the excerpt!

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Excerpt: THREE MILES DOWN by Harry Turtledove (Tor)

TurtledoveH-ThreeMilesDownUSHCToday, we have an excerpt from Harry Turtledove‘s latest historical sci-fi mystery, Three Miles Down. Specifically, we have chapter two — if you’d like to read chapter one before reading this excerpt, that is over on The Tor/Forge Blog. Here’s the synopsis:

It’s 1974, and Jerry Stieglitz is a grad student in marine biology at UCLA with a side gig selling short stories to science fiction magazines, just weeks away from marrying his longtime fiancée. Then his life is upended by grim-faced men from three-letter agencies who want him to join a top-secret “Project Azorian” in the middle of the north Pacific Ocean — and they really don’t take “no” for an answer. Further, they’re offering enough money to solve all of his immediate problems.

Joining up and swearing to secrecy, what he first learns is that Project Azorian is secretly trying to raise a sunken Russian submarine, while pretending to be harvesting undersea manganese nodules. But the dead Russian sub, while real, turns out to be a cover story as well. What’s down on the ocean floor next to it is the thing that killed the sub: an alien spacecraft.

Jerry’s a scientist, a longhair, a storyteller, a dreamer. He stands out like a sore thumb on the Glomar Explorer, a ship full of CIA operatives, RAND Corporation eggheads, and roustabout divers. But it turns out that he’s the one person in the North Pacific who’s truly thought out all the ways that human-alien first contact might go.

And meanwhile, it’s still 1974 back on the mainland. Richard Nixon is drinking heavily and talking to the paintings on the White House walls. The USA is changing fast — and who knows what will happen when this story gets out? Three Miles Down is both a fresh and original take on First Contact, and a hugely enjoyable romp through the pop culture, political tumult, and conspiracies-within-conspiracies atmosphere that was 1974.

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Upcoming: IN THE SHADOW OF LIGHTNING by Brian McClellan (Tor Books)

McClellanB-GI1-InTheShadowOfLightningUSHCIt shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m looking forward to Brian McClellan‘s next novel. I’ve been reading his stuff since his debut, Promise of Blood — the novel that launched the Powder Mage series in fine style. The Powder Mage series was followed by Gods of Blood and Powder (same world, set later). With next year’s In the Shadow of Lightning, McClellan launches a new series — Glass Immortals — set in a wholly new fantasy world. Here’s the synopsis:

A brand-new epic fantasy where magic is a finite resource — and it’s running out.

Demir Grappo is an outcast — he fled a life of wealth and power, abandoning his responsibilities as a general, a governor, and a son. Now he will live out his days as a grifter, rootless, and alone. But when his mother is brutally murdered, Demir must return from exile to claim his seat at the head of the family and uncover the truth that got her killed: the very power that keeps civilization turning, godglass, is running out.

Now, Demir must find allies, old friends and rivals alike, confront the powerful guild-families who are only interested in making the most of the scraps left at the table and uncover the invisible hand that threatens the Empire. A war is coming, a war unlike any other. And Demir and his ragtag group of outcasts are the only thing that stands in the way of the end of life as the world knows it.

In the Shadow of Lightning is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, on June 21st, 2022.

Also on CR: Interview with Brian McClellan (2013); Guest Posts on “My Favourite Novel” and “Protagonist Ages in Epic Fantasy”; Excerpt from The Autumn Republic; Reviews of Promise of Blood, The Crimson Campaign, The Autumn Republic, and War Cry

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: DAUGHTER OF REDWINTER by Ed McDonald (Tor/Gollancz)

McDonaldE-RC1-DaughterOfRedwinterUSHCNext summer, Ed McDonald returns with Daughter of Redwinter, the first in a new fantasy series. (With that title, though, one can’t help but think it would have been more apropos to publish it in a colder season?) The author’s debut trilogy, the Raven’s Mark, was an extremely well-received grimdark affair, and no doubt fans are looking forward to reading more from McDonald (although, this new series might be a shade less grimdark). Here’s the synopsis:

Those who see the dead soon join them.

Raine can see — and more importantly, speak — to the dead. It’s a wretched gift with a death sentence that has her doing many dubious things to save her skin. Seeking refuge with a deluded cult is her latest bad, survival-related decision. But her rare act of kindness — rescuing an injured woman in the snow — is even worse.

McDonaldE-RC1-DaughterOfRedwinterUKHCBecause the woman has escaped from Redwinter, the fortress-monastery of the Draoihn, warrior magicians who answer to no king and who will stop at nothing to retrieve what she’s stolen. A battle, a betrayal, and a horrific revelation forces Raine to enter Redwinter. It becomes clear that her ability might save an entire nation.

Pity she might have to die for that to happen…

Daughter of Redwinter is due to be published by Tor Books in North America (June 28th) and Gollancz in the UK (June 30th).

Also on CR: Interview with Ed McDonald (2017); Annotated Excerpt from Ravencry

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Upcoming: THE KAIJU PRESERVATION SOCIETY by John Scalzi (Tor Books)

ScalziJ-KaijuPreservationSocietyUSHCJohn Scalzi has a new standalone novel coming out this spring! And it’s one that sounds like a lot of fun: The Kaiju Preservation Society. I’ve been lucky enough to get a DRC, so I’ll hopefully be reading it very soon. The novel will be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, with two quite different covers — while I like both, the UK cover (below) is quite striking. Here’s the synopsis:

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls “an animal rights organization.” Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

ScalziJ-KaijuPreservationSocietyUKHCWhat Tom doesn’t tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm and human-free world. They’re the universe’s largest and most dangerous panda and they’re in trouble.

It’s not just the Kaiju Preservation Society whose found their way to the alternate world. Others have, too. And their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die.

The Kaiju Preservation Society is due to be published by Tor Books in North America (March 15th) and in the UK (March 17th).

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Upcoming: DESTINY OF THE DEAD by Kel Kade (Tor Books)

KadeK-SoP2-DestinyOfTheDeadUSIn March 2022, Tor Books are due to publish Destiny of the Dead: the second novel in Kel Kade‘s Shroud of Prophecy series, and the sequel to the well-received Fate of the Fallen. I’ve fallen terribly behind on some of my reading, but Kade’s previous novel is rapidly ascending my TBR mountain, and I hope to get it read before the release of the sequel. Here’s the synopsis:

No more heroes.

The wealthy and powerful. The kings and queens. They all abandoned the world to fate when the chosen one died. All except a small group of broken people. Through dogged determination and maybe a bit of stupid bravery, Aaslo and his friends fought on. They continued the fight even when far greater heroes had given up.

Now, Aaslo must turn the tides. In a world swifly falling to chaos, Aaslo is determined to win this war… at any cost. He’s made a deal with the fickle fae, setting him and his friends on a collision course with the gods themselves.

Destiny of the Dead is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, on March 22nd, 2022.

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Upcoming: SWEEP OF STARS by Maurice Broaddus (Tor.com)

BroaddusM-SweepOfStarsNext year, Tor Books are due to publish the first book in Maurice Broaddus‘s new Astra Black trilogy: a sci-fi epic that explores the struggles of  members of the interstellar Muungano empire — a far-reaching coalition of city-states that stretches from O.E. (original earth) to Titan — as it faces an escalating series of threats. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of Broaddus’s previous work, and I’m rather looking forward to giving this a try. Here’s the synopsis:

“The beauty in blackness is its ability to transform. Like energy we are neither created nor destroyed, though many try.” — West African Proverb

The Muungano empire strived and struggled to form a utopia when they split away from old earth. Freeing themselves from the endless wars and oppression of their home planet in order to shape their own futures and create a far-reaching coalition of city-states that stretched from Earth and Mars to Titan.

With the wisdom of their ancestors, the leadership of their elders, the power and vision of their scientists and warriors they charted a course to a better future. But the old powers could not allow them to thrive and have now set in motion new plots to destroy all that they’ve built.

In the fire to come they will face down their greatest struggle yet.

Amachi Adisa and other young leaders will contend with each other for the power to galvanize their people and chart the next course for the empire.

Fela Buhari and her elite unit will take the fight to regions not seen by human eyes, but no training will be enough to bring them all home.

Stacia Chikeke, captain of the starship Cypher, will face down enemies across the stars, and within her own vessel, as she searches for the answers that could save them all.

The only way is forward.

Maurice Broaddus’s Sweep of Stars is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, on March 29th, 2022.

Also on CR: Interview with Maurice Broaddus (2017); Guest Post on “Worldbuilding Pimp My Airship

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Upcoming: LAST EXIT by Max Gladstone (Tor)

GladstoneM-LastExitUSI can’t remember when or where I first heard about Max Gladstone‘s upcoming new novel, Last Exit (probably from a catalogue), but after the cover was revealed my interest was well and truly piqued — I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but just look at it. Described as “American Gods meets The Dark Tower in Last Exit,” I think this is going to be a good one. Here’s the synopsis:

Ten years ago, Zelda led a band of merry adventurers whose knacks let them travel to alternate realities and battle the black rot that threatened to unmake each world. Zelda was the warrior; Ish could locate people anywhere; Ramon always knew what path to take; Sarah could turn catastrophe aside. Keeping them all connected: Sal, Zelda’s lover and the group’s heart.

Until their final, failed mission, when Sal was lost. When they all fell apart.

Ten years on, Ish, Ramon, and Sarah are happy and successful. Zelda is alone, always traveling, destroying rot throughout the US.

When it boils through the crack in the Liberty Bell, the rot gives Zelda proof that Sal is alive, trapped somewhere in the alts.

Zelda’s getting the band back together ― plus Sal’s young cousin June, who has a knack none of them have ever seen before.

As relationships rekindle, the friends begin to believe they can find Sal and heal all the worlds. It’s not going to be easy, but they’ve faced worse before.

But things have changed, out there in the alts. And in everyone’s hearts.

Fresh from winning the Hugo and Nebula Awards, Max Gladstone weaves elements of American myth ― the muscle car, the open road, the white-hatted cowboy ― into a deeply emotional tale where his characters must find their own truths if they are to survive.

Max Gladstone’s Last Exit is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, on February 22nd, 2022.

Also on CR: Interview with Max Gladstone & Amal El-Mohtar (2019)

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Upcoming: YOU SEXY THING by Cat Rambo (Tor Books)

RamboC-YouSexyThingIn addition to having a rather eye-catching title, Cat Rambo‘s next novel has an unusual pitch: “Farscape meets The Great British Bake Off“. My interest in You Sexy Thing has certainly been piqued. Due to be published in September, here’s the synopsis:

Just when they thought they were out…

TwiceFar station is at the edge of the known universe, and that’s just how Niko Larson, former Admiral in the Grand Military of the Hive Mind, likes it.

Retired and finally free of the continual war of conquest, Niko and the remnants of her former unit are content to spend the rest of their days working at the restaurant they built together, The Last Chance.

But, some wars can’t ever be escaped, and unlike the Hive Mind, some enemies aren’t content to let old soldiers go. Niko and her crew are forced onto a sentient ship convinced that it is being stolen and must survive the machinations of a sadistic pirate king if they even hope to keep the dream of The Last Chance alive.

Cat Rambo’s You Sexy Thing is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, on September 7th, 2021.

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Upcoming: CERTAIN DARK THINGS by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Tor Nightfire)

MorenoGarciaS-CertainDarkThings2021Next month, Tor Books are reissuing Silvia Morena-Garcia‘s The Beautiful Ones; in August, Del Rey are due to publish Velvet Was the Night. Fans of Moreno-Garcia’s work can look forward to yet another new book this year: in September, Certain Dark Things is also due to be re-issued! The stunning North American cover for this “pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore” was unveiled earlier today by Night Worms. Really looking forward to reading this. Here’s the synopsis:

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.

Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.

Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Certain Dark Things is due to be published on September 7th, by Tor Nightfire (North America), and Jo Fletcher Books (UK — I’ll add the cover when it’s available).

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