Review: THE LAST MORTAL BOND by Brian Staveley (Tor)

StaveleyB-CUT3-LastMortalBondUSThe highly-anticipated conclusion to the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne trilogy

DEATH IS NEAR, ARMIES ARE GATHERED, AND THE FUTURE RESTS ON A KNIFE-EDGE 

The Annurian Empire is losing a war on two fronts — and it’s unclear who’s in command. Adare is stationed in the thick of battle, calling herself Emperor. However, she can’t hold back the nomadic Urghul forces forever. She needs her brilliant general, Ran il Tornja, but will he betray her again?

Adare’s brother Kaden is the true heir, yet he’ll accept a republic to save his divided people. And he faces something more terrible than war. He’s unmasked Ran il Tornja as a remnant of an ancient race, one that attempted to destroy mankind. The general now plans to finish what they started. Kaden has also discovered that capricious gods walk the earth in human guise — and their agendas may seal the fates of all.

In early 2014, I finally got around to reading Brian Staveley’s first two novelsThe Emperor’s Blades and The Providence of Fire. I was blown away — I read them back-to-back, which is something I haven’t done with a fantasy series since Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies, and Peter V. Brett’s The Desert Spear and The Daylight War. Staveley’s writing, his characters, and the fantastically composed and paced narrative just pulled me through. I was hooked. I still think the two novels are a fantastic example of what modern fantasy can be. (Seriously, go read them.) I had a rather different reaction to The Last Mortal BondContinue reading

Interview with COL BUCHANAN

BuchananC-AuthorPicWelcome back to CR! For the benefit of new readers, let’s start with an introduction: Who is Col Buchanan?

Thanks Stefan. A full author bio, including details of my Fantasy series, Farlander/The Heart of The World, can be found at my author site.

Think Irish rebel; a lover of trailblazers, truth-seekers and controversy.

Your next novel, Fierce Gods, will be published by Tor. It’s the fourth novel in your excellent Heart of the World series. How would you introduce the series to a potential reader? What can fans expect from the fourth book?

In the first book of the series, Farlander, the adventure starts with an ageing assassin and failed revolutionary, Ash, having to take on a young apprentice before he dies — just as he sets off on his most dangerous mission of all…

In books two and three, Stands a Shadow and The Black Dream, we follow this dynamic through an adventure of shocks and revelations.

With book four, Fierce Gods, we reach the climax of the series, along with the climax of the ten-year-long siege that has been happening throughout the previous books. It’s where everything and everyone finally collide. Continue reading

A Quick Chat with RJURIK DAVIDSON

Welcome back to CR! For new readers, let’s start with an introduction: Who is Rjurik Davidson?

An Australian writer who spends a lot of time in Europe. A person who moves from place to place, from forest to desert, across all sorts of levels of society, from lawyers to party animals, from politicians to workers, from the ancient to the modern. Someone who knows that the most interesting things happen on the fault lines between worlds.

Your new novel, The Stars Askew, has recently been published by Tor. It looks fantastic: How would you introduce the series to a potential reader? And what can fans of the first novel expect from this new book?

First of all, The Stars Askew is an epic story about a revolution. As with all revolutions, it’s filled with dramatic events. The city of Caeli-Amur is in flux. Revolutionaries are in control, but enemies lurk in the shadows. One of the leaders is found murdered in the city’s baths with two thaumaturgists, also killed. Why were they killed? Kata, a former philosopher-assassin sets out to find the killer. That’s the start of the novel. From there stakes rise and rise. The novel features prison camps and Gorgons, lost towers in the wilderness and betrayal. Continue reading

Upcoming: COLLAPSING EMPIRE by John Scalzi (Tor)

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There is a new stand-alone sci-fi novel coming from John Scalzi early next year: The Collapsing Empire. It sounds rather interesting, too:

Humanity moves away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our homeworld. It creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos ensures no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a safeguard against interstellar war – and a way of controlling the empire’s rulers. This future of faster-than-light travel is possible due to a huge discovery – the Flow. This is an extra-dimensional field which can transport us to other worlds. And while this field is eternal, like a river, it does change its course.

It now seems the Flow is moving, which could isolate every human world in space forever. So three individuals will make a last attempt to find a solution. A scientist, a starship captain and the Empress of the Interdependency will see what, if anything, can be salvaged. For an interstellar empire is on the brink of collapse.

Due to be published by Tor Books in the US and UK in March 2017.

Upcoming: FIERCE GODS by Col Buchanan (Tor)

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Earlier this week, Tor UK unveiled the cover for Col Buchanan‘s fourth Heart of the World novel, Fierce Gods. If you’ve been reading CR for a while, you may have spotted that I really enjoyed the first two novels in the series, Farlander and Stands a Shadow. I haven’t yet had the chance to catch up with the third book, The Black Dream, but I hope to do so very soon. In the meantime, here’s the synopsis for Fierce Gods:

A time of reckoning has begun.

For ten years the Free Ports held their own against the despotic empire of Mann – but the empire is now poised to destroy them. The crucial fortress city of Bar-Khos is under attack and its freedom depends on a few unsteady hands.

Betrayal could come from any side, at any moment. While chaos reigns, Nico will search for his captive mother and attempt to defend his people. And Shard the Dreamer will hunt for legendary charts, which could yet save the city.  However, a Red Guard officer with gone rogue could bring about the end, 
and a visitor from another world has a hidden agenda.

With the war entering its darkest hours, will any of them survive?

Fierce Gods is due to be published by Tor UK on February 23rd, 2017.

Also on CR: Interview with Col Buchanan (2011); Reviews of Farlander and Stands A Shadow

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Upcoming: THE BEAR AND THE SERPENT by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor)

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A few days ago, Adrian Tchaikovsky revealed the cover for his next fantasy novel, The Bear and the Serpent, due to be published in the UK by Tor Books, on February 9th, 2017. It’s the second novel in the author’s Echoes of the Fall series. Here’s the synopsis:

Maniye, child of Wolf and Tiger, has a new soul and a new shape. But as Champion of the Crown of the World, does she represent an opportunity for the North — or a threat? Travelling as a bodyguard to the Southern prince, with her warband of outcasts, she hopes to finally discover her true place in the world.

But if only it was that simple. Tensions rise, and new allies face up to old enemies as civil war threatens to tear the South apart. Royal twins can’t share a throne, so one must be chosen. And whoever rules the southern Sun River Nation will hold the fate of the world in their hands. As the protector of one potential heir, Maniye soon finds herself at the eye of a political storm. Yet all the while, an enemy from the most ancient of times prepares for conquest, and could destroy everything in their path…

It is the sequel to The Tiger and the Wolf, which was also published by Tor in the UK (and is out now). Tchaikovsky is also the author of the critically-acclaimed Shadows of the Apt series, Guns of the Dawn, Children of Time and the upcoming Spiderlight.

Also on CR: Interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky (2012); Guest Posts on “Nine Books, Six Years, One Stenwold Maker”“The Art of Gunsmithing — Writing Guns of the Dawn”“Looking for God in Melnibone Places: Fantasy & Religion” and “Eye of the Spider”; Excerpt from Guns of the Dawn; Reviews of Empire in Black & Gold and Guns of the Dawn

Guest Post: “Stuck in the Middle with Sherlock” by Paul Cornell

CornellP-AuthorPicIt was the title that first came to me: Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? And from there, the pieces just fell into place. In the London of my Shadow Police novels, ‘ghosts’ are the collective memories of all Londoners, and so include fictional and mythical characters, as well as those who were once alive. Therefore, Sherlock Holmes would very much be present, in 221B Baker Street, as a phantom, visible only to those with ‘the Sight’, like my Metropolitan Police heroes. Perhaps the phantom’s cohesive presence could have been recently amped up, say by three different current versions of Sherlock Holmes all filming in London at the same time, creating ‘Sherlockmania’?

What if that ghost were to be ‘murdered’, found lying face down with a ceremonial dagger in his back? What’s the motive? What does killing a ghost even mean? Continue reading