Chris Willrich is one of the shining stars of modern sword & sorcery. His story “The Lions of Karthagar,” set in the world of Gaunt and Bone, appeared in the last issue of Black Gate. Forrest Aguirre, author of Heraclix and Pomp, reviewed the story on his blog:
I was also impressed by “The Lions of Karthagar,” by Chris Willrich. The main characters in this tale, the Weatherworkers Blim the Damp and Miy Who Sing Storms, whose friendship develops against the background of an invasion of an incredibly rich country by their armies, each of which seeks to take possession of the golden land. Poetic and even touching, this story tugged at my emotions like most Sword and Sorcery does not.
Chris’s heroes Gaunt and Bone have appeared in five stories published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and Beneath Ceaseless Skies (including the novelette “The Sword of Loving Kindness,” which you can read for free at BCS here).
But they have gained serious attention recently with the publication of two novels, The Scroll of Years (2013) and The Silk Map (2014), both from Pyr. Of the former, BiblioSanctum said, “I cannot remember the last time I came across a book like this. Highly recommended for readers of fantasy who love a good action-adventure tale.”
Now the third novel featuring Gaunt and Bone is set to be published in early July by Pyr. In The Chart of Tomorrows, the two find their plans to retire interrupted when their son becomes the chosen vessel of a powerful spirit…
The poet Persimmon Gaunt and the thief Imago Bone had sought only to retire from adventuring and start a family, but they never reckoned on their baby becoming the chosen vessel of the mystical energies of a distant Eastern land. With their son Innocence hunted by various factions hoping to use him as a tool, they kept him safe at the cost of trapping him in a pocket dimension of accelerated time.
Now free, the thirteen-year-old Innocence has rejected his parents and his “destiny” and has made dangerous friends in a barbaric Western land of dragon-prowed ships and rugged fjords. Desperately, Gaunt and Bone seek to track him down, along with their companion Snow Pine and her daughter A-Girl-Is-A-Joy, who was once trapped with Innocence too.
But as the nomadic Karvaks and their war-balloons strike west, and a troll-king spins his webs, and Joy is herself chosen by the spirit of the very land Innocence has fled to, Gaunt and Bone find themselves at the heart of a vast struggle — and their own son is emerging from that conflict as a force of evil. To save him and everything they know, they turn to a dangerous magical book, The Chart of Tomorrows, that reveals pathways through time. Upon the treacherous seas of history, Gaunt and Bone must face the darkness in each other’s pasts, in order to rescue their future.
Chris Willrich is also the author of the Pathfinder Tales novel The Dagger of Trust (2014).
The Chart of Tomorrows will be published by Pyr Books on July 7, 2015. It is 541 pages, priced at $18 in trade paperback and $11.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Kerem Beyit.
See all of our recent coverage of upcoming fantasy here.