Future Treasures: The Wide World’s End by James Enge

Friday, November 21st, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Wide World's End-smallTurn off the television, unplug the phone, and disconnect the wireless. We just received an advance proof of The Wide World’s End, the latest Morlock novel from James Enge and our friends at Pyr Books. Don’t bother us for two days, okay? Unless you’re going to send food.

The tale of the early days of Morlock Ambrosius — master of all magical makers, wandering swordsman, and son of Merlin — concludes!

From beyond the northern edge of the world, the Sunkillers (undying enemies of everything that lives and breathes and is an individual) are reaching into the sky of Laent to drain out its light and warmth. Their hope is to scrape sky, land, and sea clean of mortal life and return to where they once dwelled, before the first rising of the sun. Against them stand only the Graith of Guardians, defenders of the peaceful anarchy of the Wardlands. But the agents of the Sunkillers are abroad even in the Wardlands: plotting, betraying, murdering among the Graith.

Married now for a century, Morlock Ambrosius and Aloê Oaij will take different paths to counter the threat. As Aloê ferrets out the enemy within the Graith, Morlock joins forces with his sister, the formidable Ambrosia Viviana, and crosses the monster-haunted plains of the deep north to confront the Sunkillers in their own realm. Morlock and Aloê think their parting is temporary, but it is final. They may or may not save the world, but they will not save each other, or themselves.

The Wide World’s End is the third volume of A Tournament of Shadows, the origin story of Morlock Ambrosius. It follows A Guile of Dragons (2012) and Wrath-Bearing Tree (2013). James’s tales of Morlock first appeared in Black Gate magazine, starting with BG 8.

The Wide World’s End will be published by Pyr Books on February 17, 2015. It is 409 pages, priced at $18 in trade paperback and $11.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Steve Stone.


Future Treasures: Sustenance, A Novel of the Count Saint-Germain, by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Monday, November 17th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Sustenance Chelsea Quinn Yarbro-smallI was pleased to be at the Awards ceremony at the World Fantasy Awards last weekend when Chelsea Quinn Yarbro was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Yarbro virtually invented the vampire romance, perhaps the most popular fantasy sub-genre of the past decade, with her popular Count Saint-Germain novels, the tales of gentleman vampire Saint-Germain and his adventures down through the centuries, beginning with Hôtel Transylvania in 1978. Sustenance, the 27th novel in the series, which finds the Count caught up in Cold War politics in 20th Century Europe, will be released next month.

Just after World War II, Saint-Germain travels throughout Europe, determining what of his business and properties survived the war, and offering what comfort and aid he can to refugees. Charis Treat, an American writer, academic, and professor, is one such. Persecuted by the House Un-American Activities Committee, Charis has left her husband and young sons in the United States and fled to Paris, falling in with a community of expatriate intellectuals.

When they meet, Saint-Germain is taken by Charis’s intelligence and by her grace under pressure, and they soon begin an affair. She introduces him to the other expats, and in so doing, brings him under the scrutiny of the fledgling CIA, who are determined to squelch Communist sympathizers at home and abroad. Such close examination might expose the vampire’s true nature, but Saint-Germain has long practice at convincing duplicity.

The expats are not so lucky. Illniss, accidents, and death begin to winnow their numbers, Saint-Germain wonders if the accidents are truly accidents, or if there is a traitor in their midst. In an international game of cat and mouse, it’s difficult to determine who is the prey and who is the predator.

We previously covered Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s novels To The High Redoubt and Night Pilgrims. Sustenance will be published on Dec 2 by Tor Books. It is 480 pages, priced at $29.99 in hardcover and $14.99 for the digital edition. Read an excerpt here.


Future Treasures: Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace

Thursday, November 13th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Archivist Wasp-smallOne of the great things about the World Fantasy Convention — or any decent convention, really — is the opportunity to attend readings. Just think about that for a second. You get to sit back in a comfortable chair in an intimate setting, while some of the finest fantasy writers in the field personally read their stories to you. Why would you waste your time doing anything else? (Except trolling the Dealer’s Room, of course.)

This year was especially rewarding, as I got to attend readings by Frederic S. Durbin, the delightful Liz Argall, Helen Marshall, Nathan Ballingrud, Christopher Barzak, Peter V. Brett, Guy Gavriel Kay, Tiffany Trent, Sharon Shinn, Bradley Beaulieu, Jeffrey Ford, Mike Allen, Elwin Cotman, Kathryn Sullivan, Andy Duncan, Kelly Link, and many others. But the reading that surprised and delighted me the most was by a new writer named Nicole Kornher-Stace, who read from her upcoming novel to be published by Small Beer this spring. A fast-paced and beautifully written story of ghosts, a mysterious post-apocalyptic world, and a young woman of extraordinary bravery, I predict Archivist Wasp will make a major splash when it arrives next May.

Wasp’s job is simple. Hunt ghosts. And every year she has to fight to remain Archivist. Desperate and alone, she strikes a bargain with the ghost of a supersoldier. She will go with him on his underworld hunt for the long-lost ghost of his partner and in exchange she will find out more about his pre-apocalyptic world than any Archivist before her. And there is much to know. After all, Archivists are marked from birth to do the holy work of a goddess. They’re chosen. They’re special. Or so they’ve been told for four hundred years.

Archivist Wasp fears she is not the chosen one, that she won’t survive the trip to the underworld, that the brutal life she has escaped might be better than where she is going. There is only one way to find out.

Archivist Wasp will be published by Small Beer Press on May 12, 2015. It is 256 pages, priced at $14 in trade paperback and $9.95 for the digital edition.


Future Treasures: The Very Best of Kate Elliott

Monday, November 10th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Very Best of Kate Elliott-smallKate Elliott is the bestselling fantasy author of Crown of Stars and Crossraods series, the Spiritwalker trilogy, and many other popular novels. Her first short fiction collection has been long awaited.

The Very Best of Kate Elliott showcases two decades of her best work, including many short stories that are long out of print, four essays appearing for the first time, and a brand new Crossroads story.

Strong heroines and riveting storytelling are the hallmark of groundbreaking fantasy author Kate Elliott (Crown of Stars, Crossroads). Elliott is a highly-compelling voice in genre fiction, an innovative author of historically-based narratives set in imaginary worlds. This first, retrospective collection of her short fiction is the essential guide to Elliott’s shorter works. Here her bold adventuresses, complex quests, noble sacrifices, and hard-won victories shine in classic, compact legends.

In “The Memory of Peace,” a girl’s powerful emotions rouse the magic of a city devastated by war. Meeting in “The Queen’s Garden,” two princesses unite to protect their kingdom from the blind ambition of their corrupted father. While “Riding the Shore of the River of Death” a chieftain’s daughter finds an unlikely ally on her path to self-determination.

Elliott’s many readers, as well as fantasy fans in search of powerful stories featuring well-drawn female characters, will revel in this unique gathering of truly memorable tales.

The Very Best of Kate Elliott will be published by Tachyon Publications on February 10, 2015. It is 501 pages, priced at $15.95 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital edition. The cover art is by Julie Dillon.


Future Treasures: Covenant’s End by Ari Marmell

Monday, November 3rd, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Covenant's End Ari Marmell-smallAri Marmell has been making a name for himself as a gaming writer and as a novelist for the past decade. He’s co-authored several excellent D&D releases, including Complete Mage (2006), Heroes of Horror (2005), Cityscape (2006), the Neverwinter Campaign Setting (2011), and the 4th Edition Tomb of Horrors (2010). Anyone who can adapt Gygax’s diabolical player-killer Tomb of Horrors and make it playable has serious cred in my book.

But it’s his recent fantasy novels that have really begun to get a lot of attention, including The Goblin Corps (2011), Hot Lead, Cold Iron (2014), and The Conqueror’s Shadow (2010), which John Ottinger III reviewed for us here. Perhaps his most successful series has been his YA novels featuring the thief Widdershins, starting with Thief’s Covenant (Feb 2012), False Covenant (June 2012), and Lost Covenant (Dec 2013).

Next year,Ari brings us a fourth Widdershins novel, with the rather ominous title Covenant’s End. Is this the final book in a much-loved series? You’ll have to wait until February to find out.

The thief Widdershins and her own “personal god,” Olgun, return to their home city of Davillon after almost a year away. While Shins expects only to face the difficulty of making up with her friends, what she actually finds is far, far worse. Her nemesis, Lisette, has returned, and she is not alone. Lisette has made a dark pact with supernatural powers that have granted her abilities far greater than anything Widdershins and Olgun can match.

Together, Widdershins and Olgun will face enemies on both sides of the law, for Lisette’s schemes have given her power in both Davillon’s government and its underworld. For even a slim chance, Shins must call on both old friends — some of whom haven’t yet forgiven her — and new allies.

Even with their help, Widdershins may be required to make the hardest sacrifice of her life, if she is to rid Davillon — and herself — of Lisette once and for all.

Covenant’s End will by published by Pyr on February 3, 2015. It is 273 pages, priced at $17.99 in hardcover and $11.99 for the digital version. The cover art is by Jason Chan.


Judges Guild Premium Editions Coming

Friday, October 31st, 2014 | Posted by Bob Byrne

JudgesGuild_KelnoreWhen I began playing Dungeons and Dragons in the late seventies, I was a Judges Guild fan. My friend, who had more money, would buy shiny TSR modules. And I would get the cheaper-covered Judges Guild products. F’Dech Fo’s Tomb, Ravenscrag, Inferno (with a real cover), City State of the World Emperor, Wraith Overlord… I loved reading those things.

Frontier Forts of Kelnore guarded the border of my kingdom of Troya, ruled by the great warrior, Astyannax (I got more creative over the years). I even subscribed to Pegasus magazine, right up to the day it was discontinued.

Now, I liked those Judges Guild modules and supplements, but looking back, many did not age well (though a few did). Gaming has changed a lot over the years and reading them is kind of like watching an early talkie from the thirties. They’re out of place.

Having said that, they can still be interesting. I recently considered updating Glory Hole Dwarven Mine to work with Forge of Fury as a Pathfinder dwarven adventure. However, converting those old AD&D/Universal modules would take a LOT of work.

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Goth Chick News: Clive Barker Lets His Fans Back Into Hell… Finally

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Scarlet Gospels-smallWaiting for a sequel for nearly two decades could be considered one of Satan’s personal jokes, were it not for the fact that in  this case the irony would be too blatant even for the Prince of Darkness himself.

Clive Barker’s The Scarlet Gospels has been teased for so long, and in so many incarnations, that it was beginning to look like one of the worst publicity stunts in publishing history. As far back as 1993, Barker talked about a new book of short stories that would include a sequel to The Hellbound Heart, the novella that introduced the world to the Cenobites.

Those rumors soon morphed into scuttle about a potential short novel pitting the most famous Cenobite, Pinhead, against another iconic Barker character, the occult detective Harry D’Amour.

However, as the story developed over the course of several years, Barker decided to expand the concept into a novel and the unrelated short stories were put aside.

Rumors of a release date were bantered about, sending Barker fans into repeated frenzies of speculation. But delays came in the form of Barker’s several throat surgeries, and in 2012 his lapse into a coma for eleven days following a trip to the dentist that led to blood poisoning. Barker recovered, but his near-death experience left him with “many strange visions” (which may or may not have found their way into his work).

Finally on Sept 9, 2013, Barker announced via social media that although no date has been set for release, “The Scarlet Gospels are finished.”

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Future Treasures: Apocalypse Girl Dreaming by Jennifer Brozek

Monday, October 20th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Apocalypse Girl Dreaming-smallYou know what’s marvelously satisfying? Watching writers who got their start in Black Gate going on to accomplish great things.

Jennifer Brozek began her professional writing career producing game reviews for Black Gate magazine a decade ago. I wish I could take credit for discovering her, but it was our games editor at the time, Don Bassingthwaite (who’s gone on to a stellar career of his own, with more than a dozen fantasy novels under his belt), who found and recruited her. Since then, Jennifer has written or co-written over half a dozen game titles, including the Fifth Edition Shadowrun rules, the Big Damn Heroes Handbook for the Serenity Role Playing Game, and the BattleTech novel The Nellus Academy Incident.

She’s also made a name for herself as an accomplished editor — with ten titles to her name, including the DAW anthology Human for a Day (co-edited with Martin H. Greenberg) and Grants Pass (with Amanda Pillar) — and author, of In a Gilded Light, The Lady of Seeking in the City of Waiting, and the Karen Wilson Chronicles, among others. Most recently, we reported here on her upcoming heroic fantasy anthology from Baen, Shattered Shields, co-edited with Bryan Thomas Schmidt.

As if that weren’t enough to keep her busy, Jennifer is also the author of some 50 short stories, and early next year sees the publication of her very first collection: Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, from Evil Girlfriend Media. Here’s the book description:

Evil Girlfriend Media is pleased to release the cover of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, a short story collection, by Jennifer Brozek. This collection features dark speculative fiction ranging from tie-in stories in the Valdemar and Elemental Masters worlds, weird west horror to satirical science fiction to urban fantasy with a horrific bent.

A first collection is a pretty big milestone for an author and we think congratulations are in order. And maybe a cake.

Apocalypse Girl Dreaming will be published on January 16, 2015 in e-book and paperback format. No word yet on price or page count. The cover art is by Fernando Cortes, with graphic design by Matt Youngmark. Learn more at the Evil Girlfriend website.


Future Treasures: A Play of Shadows by Julie E. Czerneda

Monday, October 13th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

A Play of Shadows Julie Czerneda-smallCanadian writer Julie E. Czerneda has published over a dozen acclaimed science fiction novels and has rapidly built an enviable fan base.

She first dipped her toe into fantasy with Scott Taylor’s groundbreaking anthology Tales of the Emerald Serpent (announced right here back in March 2012), and its sequel, A Knight in the Silk Purse. She took the plunge with her first full-length fantasy novel, A Turn of Light, earlier this year.

The upcoming sequel, A Play of Shadows, returns to the pastoral valley of Marrowdell, home to a pioneer settlement of refugees, enigmatic house toads, and Jenn Nalynn, the turn-born who has always dreamed of exploring beyond the valley’s borders… and who finds that increasingly impossible.

What would you risk for family?

In the second installment of Night’s Edge, Bannan Larmensu, the truthseer who won Jenn Nalynn’s heart, learns his brother-in-law was sent as a peace envoy to Channen, capitol of the mysterious domain of Mellynne, and has disappeared. When Bannan’s young nephews arrive in Marrowdell, he fears the worst, that his sister, the fiery Lila, has gone in search of her husband, leaving her sons in his care.

The law forbids Bannan from leaving Marrowdell and travelling to Mellynne to help his sister. In this world. As a turn-born, Jenn Nalynn has the power to cross into the magical realm of the Verge, and take Bannan with her. Once there, they could find a way into Mellynne.

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Future Treasures: The Lady by K. V. Johansen

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Lady Johansen-smallThe first novel in K. V. Johansen’s two book Marakand series, The Leopard, appeared in June from Pyr Books and was widely praised. Even the esteemed James Enge was impressed, saying, “I’m hooked. The mix of magic, Tibetan-style religion, and Harold Lamb-style adventure is pretty addicting.”

I’m pleased to see that Pyr isn’t keeping us waiting for the final volume — it will be released in December, barely six months after the first appeared. If you can’t wait, you can always sample her first fantasy novel for Pyr, Blackdog.

Possessed by a ghost who feeds on death, the undying assassin Ahjvar the Leopard has been captured by the Lady of Marakand, enslaved by necromancy to be captain of her Red Masks. His shield-bearer Ghu, a former slave with an uncanny ability to free the captive dead, follows Ahjvar into the war-torn lands of the Duina Catairna to release him, even if that means destroying what is left of Ahj’s tormented soul.

Deyandara, the last surviving heir of the Catairnan queen, rides into a land ravaged by disease and war, seeking the allies she abandoned months before, though they have no hope of standing against the army led by the invulnerable Red Masks of Marakand and the divine terror of the Lady.

In the city of Marakand, former enemies ally and old friends seek one another’s deaths as loyalists of the entombed gods Gurhan and Ilbialla raise a revolt, spearheaded by the Grasslander wizard Ivah, the shapeshifting Blackdog, and the bear-demon Mikki. The Lady’s defenses are not easily breached, though, and the one enemy who might withstand her, the Northron wanderer Moth, bearer of the sword Lakkariss, has vanished.

The Lady will be published December 9, 2014 by Pyr Books. It is 445 pages, priced at $18 in trade paperback and $11.99 for the digital version.


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