by John O’Neill
Are you ready? The Fall Reading season has started in earnest, and all over the country trucks packed with heavy books are headed your way. The next four months will see over 400 new novels, collections, anthologies, art books and more crammed unto the shelves of your local bookstore. This is where you’ll find them first.
A Storm of Swords
- A Song of Ice and Fire, Vol. 3
- by George R.R. Martin
- Bantam Spectra, November 7, 2000
- 973 pp $26.95 (hardcover)
George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is arguably the most critically acclaimed fantasy series on the market today and the first two volumes (right) have proven the market for adult, sophisticated epic fantasy. Whatever the sales figures, the third volume is easily the most eagerly awaited novel of the year. Yes it’s overdue and, yes, at nearly 1000 pages it’s the heaviest installment so far. Make space on your bookshelf — Martin has now confirmed that the series will run a total of six books. The First Editon is now available in the UK, and Meisha Merlin has announced limited editions of the entire series, for those of you who have to have deluxe printings.
“The men of the Night’s Watch are ready for the coming of a great cold and the walking corpses that travel with it. But now they face a horde of wildlings twenty-thousand strong — hungry savage people steeped in the dark magic of the haunted wilderness — poised to invade the Kingdom of the North where Robb Stark wears his new-forged crown. But Robb’s defences are ranged against attack from the South, the land of House Stark’s enemies the Lannisters. His sisters are trapped there, dead or likely yet to die, at the whim of the Lannister boy-king Joffrey or his depraved mother Cersei, regent of the Iron Throne. Cersei’s ambition is unfettered while the dwarf Tyrion Lannister fights for his life, a victim of treachery. And on the other side of the ocean, the last of the Targaryens rears the dragons she hatched from her husband’s funeral pyre. Daenerys Stormborn will return to the land of her birth to avenge the murder of her father, the last Dragon King on the Iron Throne.”
- The Wayfarer Redemption, Book One
- by Sara Douglass
- Tor, September 20000
- 448 pg, $24.95 (hardcover)
Sara Douglass won the Australia’s 1996 Aurelis Award for StarMan, the third book in The Wayfarer Redemption series. While it’s been unavailable in the US until now, The Wayfarer Redemption is the bestselling fantasy series in Australian history, with more than 250,000 copies sold.
“One young woman, Faraday, betrothed of Duke Borneheld, learns that all she has been told about her people’s history is untrue. Her land lies in the grip of a millennia-old prophecy pronounced by the Forbiden Ones. Gorgrael, the ice-lord, drives south with his demonic frozen army and the ancient Forbidden threaten to once more bring her people under their tyrannical rule. Fleeing to safety from the dangerous land, Faraday rides with Axis, legendary leader of the Axe-Wielders–and hated half-brother of Borneheld. Faraday secretly loves Axis, although it would be death to admit it. She embarks on a journey, which will change her life forever, in search of the true nature of her people. This grand and heroic story tells the tale of one woman’s struggle to learn the truth and change the hearts and minds of her people forever. She fights against oppressive forces and will not desist until everyone knows the truth of the Star Gate.”
Child of Flame
- Crown of Stars, Volume 4
- by Kate Elliott
- DAW, October 10, 2000
- 850 pg, $24.95 (hardcover)
Kate Elliott has proven a talent for series — first with the 4-volume science fiction series Jaren from DAW (Jaran, An Earthly Crown, His Conquering Sword, and The Law of Becoming, all still in print), and now with a comparable series of fantasy novels, Crown of Stars. Unlike George R.R. Martin, however, Elliott also seems to have a gift for writing quickly: King’s Dragon was released in 1997, and she’s averaged better than a book a year since. Good thing, too, as it looks like this set’s going to carry on well past four volumes. Like your fantasy in large, nourishing installments? Look no further.
“Child of Flame takes us far beyond the borders of the war-torn kingdoms of Wendar and Varre as Alain is drawn into the heart of an ancient conflict between humankind and their dread enemy, the Cursed Ones; Liath faces her most difficult trial in a land of exile; and Sanglant struggles to reach Henry with a warning about the conspiracy of sorcerers who have sworn to put an end to the Aoi-no matter how much destruction may be unleashed by their workings of magic…..”
Servant of the Shard
- A Forgotten Realms novel
- by R. A. Salvatore
- Wizards of the Coast, October 31, 2000
- 352 pp $24.95 (hardcover)
- ISBN:: 0-786-91657-5
I’ve spent a lot of late nights (when I should be reading Black Gate manuscripts) poking through ice caves and frozen tombs in Interplay’s excellent D&D computer game Icewind Dale, set in the Spine of the World mountains of the Forgotten Realms — the setting of R. A. Salvatore’s famous early Icewind Dale trilogy: The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver, and The Halfling’s Gem. Now he returns to the same same setting with a new tale. Should I read it now, or finish the game first?
“The dark elf Jarlaxle is bent on becoming all-powerful. He gets his greedy hands on the Crystal Shard, but soon the evil artifact’s demonic force overcomes him. His assassin compatriot, Artemis Entreri, tries to help him break free, but the dark power of the Shard is too mighty. With time running out, they seek the assistance of the virtuous Cadderly.”