Future Treasures: Steal the Sky by Megan E. O’Keefe

Monday, November 23rd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Steal the Sky Megan E. O'Keefe-smallMegan E. O’Keefe has published stories in Shimmer and Writers of the Future Volume 30. Her first novel launches an ambitious fantasy series set in an oasis city, featuring a noble conman on the run from some very powerful people who stumbles onto a complicated conspiracy… and a chance to pull off a heist of epic proportions.

Detan Honding, a wanted conman of noble birth and ignoble tongue, has found himself in the oasis city of Aransa. He and his trusted companion Tibs may have pulled off one too many cons against the city’s elite and need to make a quick escape. They set their sight’s on their biggest heist yet — the gorgeous airship of the exiled commodore Thratia.

But in the middle of his scheme, a face changer known as a doppel starts murdering key members of Aransa’s government. The sudden paranoia makes Detan’s plans of stealing Thratia’s ship that much harder. And with this sudden power vacuum, Thratia can solidify her power and wreck havoc against the Empire. But the doppel isn’t working for Thratia and has her own intentions. Did Detan accidentally walk into a revolution and a crusade? He has to be careful — there’s a reason most people think he’s dead. And if his dangerous secret gets revealed, he has a lot more to worry about than a stolen airship.

Steal the Sky is the first volume of The Scorched Continent. It will be published by Angry Robot on January 5, 2016. It is 448 pages, priced at $7.99 in paperback and $6.99 for the digital edition.

New Treasures: Thief of Midnight and Fell the Angels by Catherine Butzen

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Thief of Midnight Fell the Angels-small

Stark House puts out extremely interesting books. Just thhis year they’ve published Tracy Knight’s The Astonished Eye and Barry N. Malzberg’s Underlay, among many others. Last month they released the sequel to Catherine Butzen debut novel Thief of Midnight, featuring the return of the monster-hunting Society for the Security of Reality, which keeps the world safe from the nefarious plots of creatures such as werewolves, ghouls, faeries, and boogymen.

I completely missed Thief of Midnight when it was first released in 2010, so I’m pleased I have another chance to jump onto this series. Fell the Angels picks up the story a month after the previous novel, when Abby Marquise finds herself dealing with dark magic-wielding faeries who have invaded Chicago.

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Future Treasures: Daughter of Blood, Book 3 of The Wall of Night, by Helen Lowe

Friday, November 20th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Heir of Night-small The Gathering of the Lost-small Daughter of Blood-small

Helen Lowe’s The Wall of Night has been getting some good press. The opening volume won the Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Debut, and the second was nominated for the 2013 David Gemmell Legend Award. At my old stomping grounds SF Site, Katherine Petersen kicked off her review of the second volume as follows:

Helen Lowe’s Wall of Night series has the potential to become a classic, right up there with the likes of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. The Gathering of the Lost is the second of this four-book series and takes us deeper into the world of Haarth where the first book, The Heir of Night, mostly introduced us to Malian, heir to the House of Night and her friend and ally Kalan, both of the Derai. The nine houses of the Derai garrison a large, rugged mountain range that gives the series its title. But after the Keep of Winds where Malian grew up was breached five years ago by long-time Derai enemies, the Darkswarm, it’s the whole land of Haarth, not just the Derai in jeopardy…

Lowe has a lyrical prose style that often seems more like poetry. Sometimes it seems writers try too hard to evoke their characters or surroundings, but for Lowe it seems effortless.

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The Series Series: Why Do We Do This To Ourselves? I Can Explain!

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 | Posted by Sarah Avery

The Wheel of Time-small

What’s up with the Big Fat Fantasy books? Books that crest a thousand pages, books that fell forests, books that travel in savage packs of series. We wait three years, five years, ten years for the next volume. Meanwhile, the scope of what the author must remind readers about between installments expands  (a storytelling problem anatomized over here by Edward Carmien). We click over to the fan-run online encyclopedia to remind ourselves who the characters are, both because it’s been so long since the last volume, and because the cast size is just that large.

Yet many of us love such books. In my case — and maybe yours, too — not just a few odd specimens of the type, but the type itself.

Thomas Parker laid out all the objections that can be leveled against the sprawl of our genre’s most popular novels, not as an outsider but precisely as an insider shocked at what has become normal to him. (Embrace the tongue-in-cheek hyperbole and just go with it — the main point’s still sincere.)

Someone please tell me. Why? Why do we do this to ourselves, we devotees of science fiction, horror, and (especially) fantasy? What did we do to deserve this? What crime did we commit in some previous existence that we now have to expiate with such bitter tears? Judge, I deserve to know! I demand answers!

If readers are asking themselves that question in that way, even in jest, you can bet the authors are, too, often with a greater level of frustration.

I have to marshal all my hubris to say this in public, but guys, I think I might have the answer. Seriously, not just an answer, but maybe the central answer.

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Future Treasures: Vendetta, a Deadly Curiosities Novel by Gail Z. Martin

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Deadly Curiosities-small Deadly Curiosities Vendetta-small

Gail Z. Martin has a fine reputation among sword & sorcery fans, and I’ve followed her career with keen interest. She’s produced no less than three series in the last eight years: the four-volume Chronicles of the Necromancer, the two-volume Fallen Kings Cycle, and the Ascendant Kingdoms trilogy. She’s also the author of Iron and Blood, the opening book in a new steampunk series co-authored with her husband Larry N. Martin.

But I missed Deadly Curiosities, the first novel in her urban fantasy series set in Charlotte, North Carolina, when it came out last year. Which is a pity, because I think this might be her most appealing one yet. Following the proprietors of an antique shop whose owners track down and eliminate deadly artifacts, Deadly Curiosities revealed “a realistic underworld” (Publishers Weekly) and included “pirates and smugglers whose deaths are tied to the evil threatening the city… Martin is clearly in her element” (Fiction Vortex).

In the new volume Vendetta, on sale next month, Martin ratchets up the tension as Cassidy and Teag find themselves squaring off against an unknown enemy with strong magic, powerful resources… and a very long memory.

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How I Used Steampunk to do George Orwell (But With More Sword Fights and Magic)

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015 | Posted by M Harold Page

SVT 256

“Holy ####! I’m a Steampunk author!”

“Holy ####! I’m a Steampunk author!”

I was staring at the Amazon Kindle rankings and the first volume of Swords Versus Tanks had just crept into the top 10.

Actually, I like Steampunk, but the story was supposed to be Heroic Fantasy or even Sword and Sorcery. After all, swords is what I do for fun.

Back when I was planning what I hoped would be my début novel, I wanted to put magically-enhanced medieval knights up against tanks, but I didn’t want to involve a modern military — too sophisticated with too much tech; I would end up spending most of the novel finding magical ways to break drones and cruise missiles that didn’t also break the medieval setting.

If my tanks were going to be pre-modern, then I might as well pick the era with the coolest looking tanks — that gave me WWI, which also gave me Zeppelins.

So Great War tanks and Zeppelins and semi-automatic weapons. That made at least half the story Steampunk  (Decopunk actually)… not half the novel as in the first (or second) half. Rather half the genre. The other half is Heroic Fantasy. As a reviewer kindly put it:

…it’s like every fantasy, steam punk or alternative history novel thrust screaming into a thunderdome and told to fight for our entertainment.

But Steampunk provided more than just carefully calibrated tactical situations with nice aesthetics, it also let me write about big ideologies.

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Future Treasures: A Daughter of No Nation by A. M. Dellamonica

Monday, November 16th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Child of a Hidden Sea-small A Daughter of No Nation-small

Child of a Hidden Sea, the first novel in A. M. Dellamonica’s new fantasy trilogy The Hidden Sea Tales, was published in hardcover last June. It introduced us to twenty-four-year-old Sophie Hansa, who found herself transported from a San Francisco alley into the warm and salty waters of Stormwrack, the magical world where her birth parents met. Stormwrack is a world of island nations with a variety of cultures — and where a hidden conspiracy could destroy everything she has just discovered. With the help of a sister she has never known, and a ship captain who would rather she had never arrived, she navigated the shoals of the highly charged politics of Stormwrack… until she found herself effectively deported from Stormwrack. You can read an excerpt at Tor.com, and the digital version is available now for just $2.99.

The second novel in the trilogy, A Daughter of No Nation, will be released from Tor Books on December 1. Here’s the plot synopsis, and a link to a brand new excerpt.

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New Treasures: The Wheel of Time Companion by Robert Jordan, et al

Sunday, November 15th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Wheel of Time Companion-smallRobert Jordan’s 15-volume The Wheel of Time series is one of the most popular fantasy series written in the last 50 years, with over 44 millions copies sold (second only to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, with 60 million). It hasn’t enjoyed the same level of scholarship as Martin’s epic… but all that changed with the arrival of a single book, the massive 815-page Wheel of Time Companion, published by Tor Books on November 3.

Since its debut in 1990, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan has captivated millions of readers around the globe with its scope, originality, and compelling characters. Over the course of fifteen books and millions of words, the world that Jordan created grew in depth and complexity. However, only a fraction of what Jordan imagined ended up on the page, the rest going into his personal files. Now The Wheel of Time Companion sheds light on some of the most intriguing aspects of the world, including biographies and motivations of many characters that never made it into the books, but helped bring Jordan’s world to life.

Included in the volume in an A-to-Z format are:

– An entry for each named character
– An inclusive dictionary of the Old Tongue
– New maps of the Last Battle
– New portraits of many characters
– Histories and customs of the nations of the world
– The strength level of many channelers
– Descriptions of the flora and fauna unique to the world
– And much more!

The Wheel of Time Companion will be required reading for The Wheel of Time‘s millions of fans.

The Wheel of Time Companion: The People, Places and History of the Bestselling Series was written by Robert Jordan, Harriet McDougal, Alan Romanczuk, and Maria Simons, and published by Tor Books on November 3, 2015. It is 815 pages, priced at $39.99 in hardcover and $19.99 for the digital edition.

Future Treasures: Ash and Silver by Carol Berg

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Ash and Silver-smallThe first two novels set on the world of Sanctuary were Flesh and Spirit (2007) and Breath and Bone (2008). She returned to Sanctuary with Dust and Light last year, which BG writer D. B. Jackson called “A tale of magic and politics, of intrigue and betrayal.” Now she concludes the saga of a sorcerer whose past is veiled in shadows with Ash and Silver.

Ever since the Order of the Equites Cineré stole his memory, his name, and his heart, thinking about the past makes Greenshank’s head ache. After two years of rigorous training, he is almost ready to embrace the mission of the Order — to use selfless magic to heal the troubles of Navronne. But on his first assignment alone, the past comes racing back, threatening to drown him in conspiracy, grief, and murder.

He is Lucian de Remeni — a sorcerer whose magical bents for portraiture and history threaten the safety of the earth and the future of the war-riven kingdom of Navronne. He just can’t remember how or why.

Fighting to unravel the mysteries of his power, Lucian must trace threads of corruption that reach from the Pureblood Registry into the Order itself, the truth hidden two centuries in the past and beyond the boundaries of the world…

Ash and Silver will be published by Roc on December 1, 2015. It is 475 pages, priced at $16 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital edition. The cover art is by Gene Mollica.

New Treasures: The Lazarus Gate by Mark A. Latham

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Lazarus Gate-smallMark Latham has had an interesting career. He’s the former editor of White Dwarf, Games Workshop’s flagship magazine, and the head of their ultra-successful Warhammer 40K line. He’s also a game designer is his own right, with several tabletop games to his credit.

His debut novel, The Lazarus Gate, is the opening volume in a new Victorian supernatural series. Captain John Hardwick, a tough but troubled army veteran, is recruited by a mysterious club to combat a growing threat to the British Empire. It’s an intriguing new gaslight fantasy, reminiscent of James Blaylock and Arthur Conan Doyle.

London, 1890. Captain John Hardwick, an embittered army veteran and opium addict, is released from captivity in Burma and returns home, only to be recruited by a mysterious gentlemen’s club to combat a supernatural threat to the British Empire.

This is the tale of a secret war between parallel universes, between reality and the supernatural; a war waged relentlessly by an elite group of agents; unsung heroes, whose efforts can never be acknowledged, but by whose sacrifice we are all kept safe.

The Lazarus Gate was published by Titan Books on September 29, 2015. It is 399 pages, priced at $14.95 in trade paperback, and $5.99 for the digital edition. The cover was designed by Julia Lloyd.

See all of our recent New Treasures here.

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