Interview with DAVID WRAGG

WraggD-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is David Wragg?

Hi! I’m a middle-aged white British man of impractical height, and the author of the Articles of Faith series, the first of which is The Black Hawks. When not writing, I work as a freelance software engineer, and at home I am generally surrounded by/buried beneath cats and small children (usually mine).

Your debut novel, The Black Hawks, will be published by Voyager. It looks like a lot of fun: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s the first in a two-part series, which I’m apparently not supposed to call a Bilogy. I’d summarise it briefly as: ‘a story about a young man with strongly held opinions about the world, and the intersection of said opinions with said world.’ More prosaically, it’s about a bunch of people just trying to make a living in the middle of a fantasy plot-line. Continue reading

Quick Review: TO BE TAUGHT, IF FORTUNATE by Becky Chambers (Voyager/Hodder)

ChambersB-ToBeTaughtIfFortunateUSA stand-alone novella from the award-winning author of the Wayfarers series

At the turn of the twenty-second century, scientists make a breakthrough in human spaceflight. Through a revolutionary method known as somaforming, astronauts can survive in hostile environments off Earth using synthetic biological supplementations. They can produce antifreeze in subzero temperatures, absorb radiation and convert it for food, and conveniently adjust to the pull of different gravitational forces. With the fragility of the body no longer a limiting factor, human beings are at last able to journey to neighboring exoplanets long known to harbor life.

A team of these explorers, Ariadne O’Neill and her three crewmates, are hard at work in a planetary system fifteen light-years from Sol, on a mission to ecologically survey four habitable worlds. But as Ariadne shifts through both form and time, the culture back on Earth has also been transformed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the story of the wonders and dangers of her mission, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.

I’ve been looking forward to reading this novella ever since I read the synopsis. I was not disappointed: this is an engaging, very well-written novella about exploration and the decisions and ethics that surround it. Continue reading

Upcoming: A PALE LIGHT IN THE BLACK by K.B. Wagers (Voyager)

WagersKB-NeoG1-APaleLightInTheBlackUSK.B. Wagers is the author of the acclaimed Indranan War and Farian War series, published by Orbit (the latter is still ongoing). Next year, the author launches a new series — NeoG — which will be published by Voyager. A Pale Light in the Black is a “rollicking” first entry in the NeoG series, that introduces readers to the Near-Earth Orbital Guard: a military force patrolling and protecting space inspired by the real-life mission of the U.S. Coast Guard. Here’s the synopsis for the upcoming novel:

For the past year, their close loss in the annual Boarding Games has haunted Interceptor Team: Zuma’s Ghost. With this year’s competition looming, they’re looking forward to some payback — until an unexpected personnel change leaves them reeling. Their best swordsman has been transferred, and a new lieutenant has been assigned in his place.

Maxine Carmichael is trying to carve a place in the world on her own — away from the pressure and influence of her powerful family. The last thing she wants is to cause trouble at her command on Jupiter Station. With her new team in turmoil, Max must overcome her self-doubt and win their trust if she’s going to succeed. Failing is not an option — and would only prove her parents right.

But Max and the team must learn to work together quickly. A routine mission to retrieve a missing ship has suddenly turned dangerous, and now their lives are on the line. Someone is targeting members of Zuma’s Ghost, a mysterious opponent willing to kill to safeguard a secret that could shake society to its core… a secret that could lead to their deaths and kill thousands more unless Max and her new team stop them.

Rescue those in danger, find the bad guys, win the Games. It’s all in a day’s work at the NeoG.

There seems to be a trend in sci-fi at the moment: plucky bands of adventurers venturing out into space and getting up to shenanigans. Personally, I am very much on board for this trend.

A Pale Light in the Black is due to be published by Voyager in North America and in the UK, in March 2020.

Also on CR: Interview with K.B. Wagers (2016)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: THE BLACK HAWKS by David Wragg (Voyager)

WraggD-1-BlackHawksUKI only learned about David Wragg‘s upcoming novel, The Black Hawks via the recent uptick in mentions on Twitter — ARCs have been made and (maybe) sent out to a luck few reviewers, and it is starting to generate some good buzz. The cover is attention-grabbing — same artist as for R.F. Kuang’s novels, perhaps? — and the synopsis also piques one’s interest:

Life as a knight is not what Vedren Chel imagined. Bound by oath to a dead-end job in the service of a lazy step-uncle, Chel no longer dreams of glory – he dreams of going home.

When invaders throw the kingdom into turmoil, Chel finds opportunity in the chaos: if he escorts a stranded prince to safety, Chel will be released from his oath.

All he has to do is drag the brat from one side of the country to the other, through war and wilderness, chased all the way by ruthless assassins.

With killers on your trail, you need killers watching your back. You need the Black Hawk Company – mercenaries, fighters without equal, a squabbling, scrapping pack of rogues.

Prepare to join the Black Hawks.

The Black Hawks is the first novel in the Articles of Faith series, and is due to be published by Voyager in the UK, on October 3rd, 2019. (I couldn’t find a North American publisher, but that doesn’t mean one isn’t in the offing.) I’m very much looking forward to reading this one.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: TO BE TAUGHT, IF FORTUNATE by Becky Chambers (Voyager / Hodder)

ChambersB-ToBeTaughtIfFortunate

Above you can see the North American and UK covers for To Be Taught, If Fortunate, the upcoming new novella by Becky Chambers. Chambers is the critically-acclaimed author of the Wayfarer sci-fi series. This novella is a stand-alone, and one that sounds really interesting:

At the turn of the twenty-second century, scientists make a breakthrough in human spaceflight. Through a revolutionary method known as somaforming, astronauts can survive in hostile environments off Earth using synthetic biological supplementations. They can produce antifreeze in subzero temperatures, absorb radiation and convert it for food, and conveniently adjust to the pull of different gravitational forces. With the fragility of the body no longer a limiting factor, human beings are at last able to journey to neighboring exoplanets long known to harbor life.

A team of these explorers, Ariadne O’Neill and her three crewmates, are hard at work in a planetary system fifteen light-years from Sol, on a mission to ecologically survey four habitable worlds. But as Ariadne shifts through both form and time, the culture back on Earth has also been transformed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the story of the wonders and dangers of her mission, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.

To Be Taught, If Fortunate is due to be published in North America by Voyager (September 3rd), and in the UK by Hodder (August 8th). I’m really looking forward to reading this one.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Upcoming: THE RUTHLESS by Peter Newman (Voyager)

NewmanP-D2-RuthlessUKFor some reason, I missed this series when the first book was published, but I find myself intrigued. The Ruthless, sequel to Peter Newman‘s The Deathless, is due to be published by Voyager in June 2019. The series has a new cover style, too, which I really like: it’s much more eye-catching than the original cover. Here’s the synopsis for The Ruthless:

Are you ready to return to The Wild?

Return to a world of crystal armour, savage wilderness, and corrupt dynasties.

That’s… not especially illuminating. So, here’s the synopsis for The Deathless, which gives us a bit more about the world/series:

The demons…

In the endless forests of the Wild, humanity scratches a living by the side of the great Godroads, paths of crystal that provide safe passage and hold back the infernal tide. Creatures lurk within the trees, watching, and plucking those who stray too far from safety.

The Deathless…

NewmanP-1-DeathlessUKPBIn crystal castles held aloft on magical currents, seven timeless royal families reign, protecting humanity from the spread of the Wild and its demons. Born and reborn into flawless bodies, the Deathless are as immortal as the precious stones from which they take their names. For generations a fragile balance has held.

And the damned…

House Sapphire, one of the ancient Deathless families, is riven by suspicion and madness. Whole villages are disappearing as the hunting expeditions holding the Wild at bay begin to fail.

Then, when assassins strike, House Sapphire shatters.

Nothing lasts forever.

The paperback edition of The Deathless is due to be published by Voyager on May 2nd.

Also on CR: Interview with Peter Newman (2015)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: RULE OF CAPTURE by Christopher Brown (Voyager)

BrownC-RuleToCaptureIn 2017, Voyager published Christopher Brown‘s thought-provoking debut novel, Tropic of Kansas. I rather enjoyed that novel, and have been keeping my eyes open for news of the author’s next book. In August 2019, Voyager are due to publish Rule to Capture. It is described as “Better Call Saul meets Nineteen Eighty-Four“, which is certainly intriguing. It is also the first in a new series of legal thrillers set in the same dystopian world as Tropic of Kansas. Here’s the synopsis:

Defeated in a devastating war with China, America is on the brink of a bloody civil war. Seizing power after a controversial election, the ruling regime has begun cracking down on dissidents fighting the nation’s slide toward dictatorship. For Donny Kimoe, chaos is good for business. He’s a lawyer who makes his living defending enemies of the state.

His newest client, young filmmaker Xelina Rocafuerte, witnessed the murder of an opposition leader and is now accused of terrorism. To save her from the only sentence worse than death, Donny has to extract justice from a system that has abandoned the rule of law. That means breaking the rules — and risking the same fate as his clients.

When Donny bungles Xelina’s initial hearing, he has only days to save the young woman from being transferred to a detention camp from which no one returns. His only chance of winning is to find the truth — a search that begins with the opposition leader’s death and leads to a dark conspiracy reaching the highest echelons of power.

Now, Donny isn’t just fighting for his client’s life — he’s battling for his own. But as the trial in the top secret court begins, Xelina’s friends set into motion a revolutionary response that could destroy the case. And when another case unexpectedly collides with Xelina’s, Donny uncovers even more devastating secrets, knowledge that will force him to choose between saving one client… or the future of the entire country.

Rule to Capture is due to be published by Voyager in North America and in the UK, in August 2019.

Also on CR: Review of Tropic of Kansas

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter