On My Radar

Three titles have popped up on my radar for next year. There are obviously more than three titles that I am eagerly awaiting (hello Oracle, House Wars Book 5 by Michelle West AND [hopefully] Destiny’s Conflict by Janny Wurts)  but I’ve just seen covers for these ones and I am excited!

Brian Staveley was for me, the standout debut in 2014. I cannot wait for book two in this brilliant new epic fantasy series, I truly hope it lives up to the wonder of book one The Emperor’s Blades.

The Providence of Fire
Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne Book Two
By Brian Staveley

War is coming, secrets multiply and betrayal waits in the wings… The Annurian Empire’s ruling family must be vigilant, as the conspiracy against them deepens. Having discovered her father’s assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies. But few trust her, until she seems marked by the people’s goddess in an ordeal of flame.

As Adare struggles to unite Annur, unrest breeds rival armies – then barbarian hordes threaten to invade. And unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn has fallen in with forces mustering at the empire’s borders. The terrible choices they face could make war between them inevitable.

Fighting his own battles is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with two strange companions. While imperial forces prepare to defend a far-distant front, Kaden’s actions could save the empire, or destroy it.

Book one of Peter Orullian’s Vault of Heaven, The Unremembered came out sometime ago, unfortunately it didn’t grab me in quite the way I had hoped, for various reasons. However having read his short stories set within the same world, in particular Sacrifice of the First Sheason, my understanding of just where he is coming from has completely changed and I looking forward to seeing where he take the series.  

Trial of Intentions
Vault of Heaven Book Two
By Peter Orullian

The gods who created this world have abandoned it. In their mercy, however, they chained the rogue god — and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortalkind — in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne. The magical Veil that contains them has protected humankind for millennia and the monsters are little more than tales told to frighten children. But the Veil has become weak and creatures of Nightmare have come through. To fight them, the races of men must form a great alliance to try and stop the creatures.

But there is dissent. One king won’t answer the call, his pride blinding him even to the poison in his own court. Another would see Convocation fail for his own political advantage. And still others believe Convocation is not enough. Some turn to the talents of the Sheason, who can shape the very essence of the world to their will. But their order is divided, on the brink of collapse.

Tahn Junell remembers friends who despaired in a place left barren by war. One of the few who have actually faced the unspeakable horde in battle, Tahn sees something else at work and wonders about the nature of the creatures on the other side of the Veil. He chooses to go to a place of his youth, a place of science, daring to think he can find a way to prevent slaughter, prevent war. 

And his choices may reshape a world…

I first came across Mr Polansky when his debut, The Straight Razor Cure, was released in 2011. Unfortunately I got side-tracked finishing the book and only just picked it back up when I saw the cover for this new one. And boy I am glad I did. The Straight Razor Cure is brilliant and I will be reading books 2 and 3 in the trilogy very soon while I wait for this new one.

Those Above
The Empty Throne Book One
By Daniel Polansky

The first in an explosive new epic fantasy series by Daniel Polansky, perfect for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Mark Lawrence.
They enslaved humanity three thousand years ago. Tall, strong, perfect, superhuman and near immortal they rule from their glittering palaces in the eternal city in the centre of the world. They are called Those Above by their subjects. They enforce their will with fire and sword.

Twenty five years ago mankind mustered an army and rose up against them, only to be slaughtered in a terrible battle. Hope died that day, but hatred survived. Whispers of another revolt are beginning to stir in the hearts of the oppressed: a woman, widowed in the war, who has dedicated her life to revenge; the general, the only man to ever defeat one of Those Above in single combat, summoned forth to raise a new legion; and a boy killer who rises from the gutter to lead an uprising in the capital.

Those Above is the first of an extraordinary new fantasy epic by the author of the acclaimed Low Town series that will sweep the reader into a wholly alien, wholly recognizable world of rebellion and revenge, of love and of death, of intrigue and pitiless war.

The World of Ice & Fire – Not Really a Review

THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE
By George R.R. Martin, Elio Garcia 
and Linda Antonsson

If the past is prologue, then George R. R. Martin’s masterwork-the most inventive and entertaining fantasy saga of our time-warrants one hell of an introduction. At long last, it has arrived with The World of Ice and Fire.

This lavishly illustrated volume is a comprehensive history of the Seven Kingdoms, providing vividly constructed accounts of the epic battles, bitter rivalries, and daring rebellions that lead to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s Game of Thrones. In a collaboration that’s been years in the making, Martin has teamed with Elio M. Garcia, Jr., and Linda Antonsson, the founders of the renowned fan site Westeros.org-perhaps the only people who know this world almost as well as its visionary creator. Collected here is all the accumulated knowledge, scholarly speculation, and inherited folk tales of maesters and septons, maegi and singers.

It is a chronicle which stretches from the Dawn Age to the Age of Heroes; from the Coming of the First Men to the arrival of Aegon the Conqueror; from Aegon’s establishment of the Iron Throne to Robert’s Rebellion and the fall of the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen, which has set into motion the “present-day” struggles of the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, and Targaryens. The definitive companion piece to George R. R. Martin’s dazzlingly conceived universe, The World of Ice and Fire is indeed proof that the pen is mightier than a storm of swords.
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What needs to be said about this one? Any fan of made up history (Hello! Guilty as charged), and/or A Game of Thrones, is going to devour this history of Westeros and the lands beyond.

The World of A Game of Thrones is staggering in its scope and as rich and complex as the events of the War of the Roses, as treacherous as Imperial Rome and could chew the Borgias’ up and spit them out without breaking a tooth.

This compendium work contains full colour artwork and maps, detailed family trees, new material that gives in-depth explorations of the history and culture of Westeros, half of which Martin has written for this book specifically.

It is the definitive companion to this masterwork of modern fantasy fiction and perfect for fans of the books and the TV show.

Skin Game – a cover

Skin Game
Dresden Files #15
By Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day….

Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful.

He doesn’t know the half of it….

Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains—led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone—to break into the highest-security vault in town so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

It’s a smash-and-grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure hoard in the supernatural world—which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the freaking Underworld and generally unpleasant character. Worse, Dresden suspects that there is another game afoot that no one is talking about. And he’s dead certain that Nicodemus has no intention of allowing any of his crew to survive the experience. Especially Harry.

Dresden’s always been tricky, but he’s going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this mess—assuming his own allies don’t end up killing him before his enemies get the chance….
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I’m kinda looking forward to this one… 😉

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Half A King – cover

I’m a little late with this one but can I just say – I am  loving this cover!

Not sure if this is for the US or the UK, or both, but regardless this is the one I want on my bookshelf.

Covers like this make me try and imagine what the cover for my book will look like… I have no idea. I hope it’s a cool as this though.

Moon’s Artifice

Moon’s Artifice
The Empire of a Hundred Houses: Book One
By Tom Lloyd

In a quiet corner of the Imperial City, Investigator Narin discovers the result of his first potentially lethal mistake. Minutes later he makes a second.

After an unremarkable career Narin finally has the chance of promotion to the hallowed ranks of the Lawbringers – guardians of the Emperor’s laws and bastions for justice in a world of brutal expediency. Joining that honoured body would be the culmination of a lifelong dream, but it couldn’t possibly have come at a worse time. A chance encounter drags Narin into a plot of gods and monsters, spies and assassins, accompanied by a grief-stricken young woman, an old man haunted by the ghosts of his past and an assassin with no past.

On the cusp of an industrial age that threatens the warrior caste’s rule, the Empire of a Hundred Houses awaits civil war between noble factions. Centuries of conquest has made the empire a brittle and bloated monster; constrained by tradition and crying out for change. To save his own life and those of untold thousands Narin must understand the key to it all – Moon’s Artifice, the poison that could destroy an empire.
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Having spent the last six years immersed in the world of the Twilight Reign series, Lloyd is stretching his wings, and his creative chops, launching us headlong into a new and compelling story set in the midst of the world spanning empire of the Hundred Houses.

Somewhat different to Lloyd’s first foray into epic fantasy, this series sees him playing on a stage set at the start of an industrial age, which lends itself to an exotic clash of cultural tropes that is at once both familiar and alien. Driven by a mystery, Lloyd fills the book with gods and demons, characters that leapt off the page and have kept me up way past my bedtime.

I always look towards a new work by a favoured author with a mix of excitement and trepidation. What if they are unable to re-create the magic that enthralled me in their previous work? Luckily that has not happened here. While the Twilight Reign was more traditional fantasy, The Empire of a Hundred Houses moves out of that comfort zone but contains enough of what makes Lloyd’s work his, and that is unmistakable and utterly readable.

I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to the next!

Turning Older Books into E-Books

Yay!

At long last one of my favorite series of all time – the Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts –  has been released as ebooks.

Well. Almost all of it.

For some strange reason I can only find Daughter of the Empire and Servant of the Empire on iBooks. There is no sign of book three Mistress of the Empire.

Wtf?

I want all three gods damn it!