Great new interview with Guy Gavriel Kay


The Guardian just posted an excellent interview with Guy Gavriel Kay. It covers a lot of ground and is quite interesting! Here's a teaser:

Putting The Silmarillion together was “quietly exhilarating” – and almost entirely secret. Kay would spend his days in a barn behind a house eight miles from Oxford, either alone or with Christopher, very occasionally with JRR Tolkien’s biographer Humphrey Carpenter. “It was an exhilarating solitary focus for the year,” says Kay. “And I learned a lot about false starts in writing. I mean that in a really serious way. His [Tolkien’s] false starts. You learn that the great works have disastrous botched chapters, that the great writers recognise that they didn’t work. So I was looking at drafts of The Lord of the Rings and rough starts for The Silmarillion and came to realise they don’t spring full-blown, utterly, completely formed in brilliance. They get there with writing and rewriting and drudgery and mistakes, and eventually if you put in the hours and the patience, something good might happen. That was a very, very early lesson for me, looking at the Tolkien materials. That it’s not instantly magnificent. That it’s laboriously so, but it gets there. That was a huge, huge, still important lesson.”

[...]

Kay, a recent recipient of the Order of Canada for his “outstanding contributions to the field of speculative fiction” – and an author with sales approaching 3m copies worldwide, according to his publisher – is sanguine. “I’m still proud of the Fionavar Tapestry. The fact I don’t write the same way is as much as anything else the fact a man in his 50s doesn’t write the way a man in his 20s does – or he shouldn’t. We shouldn’t be interested in the same things, we shouldn’t be artistically frozen in amber at the point that we were when we first appeared on the scene. We should evolve. And that’s what it is for me,” he says.

Follow this link to read the interview!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


For a limited time, you can download the complete and uncut edition of Stephen King's classic The Stand for only 4.99$ here! That's 1213 pages of awesomeness!

Here's the blurb:

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.

And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides -- or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail -- and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.

In 1978 Stephen King published The Stand, the novel that is now considered to be one of his finest works. But as it was first published, The Stand was incomplete, since more than 150,000 words had been cut from the original manuscript.

Now Stephen King's apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil has been restored to its entirety. The Stand : The Complete And Uncut Edition includes more than five hundred pages of material previously deleted, along with new material that King added as he reworked the manuscript for a new generation. It gives us new characters and endows familiar ones with new depths. It has a new beginning and a new ending. What emerges is a gripping work with the scope and moral comlexity of a true epic.

For hundreds of thousands of fans who read The Stand in its original version and wanted more, this new edition is Stephen King's gift. And those who are reading The Stand for the first time will discover a triumphant and eerily plausible work of the imagination that takes on the issues that will determine our survival.

In addition, a number of other King titles are also discounted:

- The Shining
- Salem's Lot
- Different Seasons

Chris Evans contest winner!

Our winner will receive a complimentary copy of Chris Evans' Of Bone and Thunder, courtesy of the folks at Simon and Schuster. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

- Zachary Paul, from Haslett, Michigan, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

Another good deal!


Haven't received my copy yet, The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones can be purchased at 41% off on Amazon via this link.

Here's the blurb:

THE NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN HISTORY OF WESTEROS AND THE LANDS BEYOND • WITH HUNDREDS OF PAGES OF ALL-NEW MATERIAL FROM GEORGE R. R. MARTIN

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 & 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. García, 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, including

• full-color artwork and maps, with more than 170 original pieces
• full family trees for Houses Stark, Lannister, and Targaryen
• in-depth explorations of the history and culture of Westeros
• 100% all-new material, more than half of which Martin wrote specifically for this book

The definitive companion piece to George R. R. Martin’s dazzlingly conceived universe, The World of Ice & Fire is indeed proof that the pen is mightier than a storm of swords.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Glen Cook's first Dread Empire omnibus, A Cruel Wind, for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Before there was Black Company, there was the Dread Empire, an omnibus collection the first three Dread Empire novels: A Shadow of All Night's Falling, October's Baby and All Darkness Met.

And here's the blurb of the first volume, A Shadow of All Night's Falling:

Across the mountains called Dragon's Teeth, beyond the chill reach of the Werewind and the fires of the world's beginning, above the walls of the castle Fangdred, stands Windtower. From this lonely keep the Star Rider calls forth the war that even wizards dread, fought for a woman's hundred-lifetime love. A woman called Nepanthe, princess to the Stormkings...


You can also get your hands on Sam Sykes' newest, The City Stained Red, for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A long-exiled living god arises.

A city begins to break apart at the seams.

Lenk and his battle-scarred companions have come to Cier'Djaal in search of Miron Evanhands, a wealthy priest who contracted them to eradicate demons --- and then vanished before paying for the job.

But hunting Miron down might be tougher than even these weary adventurers can handle as two unstoppable religious armies move towards all-out war, tensions rise within the capital's cultural melting pot, and demons begin to pour from the shadows...

And Khoth Kapira, the long-banished living god, has seen his chance to return and regain dominion over the world.

Now all that prevents the city from tearing itself apart in carnage are Lenk, Kataria, a savage human-hating warrior, Denaos, a dangerous rogue, Asper, a healer priestess, Dreadaeleon, a young wizard, and Gariath, one of the last of the dragonmen.

Willful Child


I've been quite curious about Willful Child ever since it was announced that Steven Erikson would be publishing a Star Trek spoof. I've never been a Star Trek fan myself, but I was looking forward to reading Erikson's homage/parody. Considering how fun and humorous the Bauchelain and Korbal Broach novellas are, such a spoof promised to be hilarious. And having read it, I can report that it's exactly that!

Oddly enough given the synopsis, as I was reading the book a number of negative and luke-warm reviews began appearing on the internet. Apparently, some reviewers were expecting a blistering and fascinating foray into science fiction. WTF??? How could anyone have such expectations after reading the cover blurb? This title was always meant to be a parody, a comedy. No more and no less. And as such, this novel is a fun and entertaining read. Anyone expecting something dense and thought-provoking, or the Bridgeburners in space, will be sorely disappointed. Still, based on the fact that Willful Child was never marketed this way, I'm quite perplexed by the fact that some readers could have been expecting something so different from what has been announced. Strange world. . .

Here's the blurb:

From the New York Times Bestselling author Steven Erikson comes a new science fiction novel of devil-may-care, near calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through the infinite vastness of interstellar space.

These are the voyages of the starship A.S.F. Willful Child. Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life-forms, to boldly blow the...

And so we join the not-terribly-bright but exceedingly cock-sure Captain Hadrian Sawback and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child for a series of devil-may-care, near-calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through ‘the infinite vastness of interstellar space.’

The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen sequence has taken his lifelong passion for Star Trek and transformed it into a smart, inventive, and hugely entertaining spoof on the whole mankind-exploring-space-for-the-good-of-all-species-but-trashing-stuff-with-a-lot-of-high-tech-gadgets-along-the-way, overblown adventure. The result is an SF novel that deftly parodies the genre while also paying fond homage to it.

Contrary to what Steven Erikson has accustomed us to in the past, the worldbuilding takes a backseat in this spoof. Don't expect anything as dense or richly-detailed as The Malazan Book of the Fallen. We get just enough to keep the story moving forward and nothing else. This is a parody and nothing gets in the way of the rhythm so that the jokes and weird/funny situations keep on coming. Willful Child isn't a work that takes itself too seriously and it's a joyride!

Following the hilarious misadventures of Captain Hadrian Sawback is a riot. Sexist and definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed, it's nevertheless impossible not to root for the guy. Incompetent, rude, too full of himself, and downright dumb at times, he could be the worst spaceship captain in the history of science fiction. In every way, Captain Hadrian Sawback is an over-the-top parody of the unforgettable Captain Kirk. In terms of caricature, the comic exaggerations are akin to those of the inimitable Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, played by Oscar-winning Jean Dujardin, in the two OSS 117 movies. Old-fashioned sexism, racism, and xenophobia often characterize Captain Hadrian Sawback, making him a throwback male protagonist from the 60S or the 70s. Terribly gauche with a veritable knack to turn a bad situation into a worse episode, he definitely is one of the highlights of Willful Child. The supporting cast is comprised of incompetent crew members and a number of buxom female officers hand-picked by the captain for their looks and nothing else, as well as a recalcitrant AI, and a few odd aliens along the way. There is also an evil chicken which could be another jab at Terry Goodkind. All in all, a fun bunch of men and women and aliens to follow!

By removing much of the depth and the details that habitually define Erikson's fantasy works, Willful Child is by far the most fast-paced novel the author has ever written. Too quickly do we reach the end of the book and here's to hoping that there will be a sequel down the line. Although I much prefer Steven Erikson's Malazan installments, occasional fun romps like Willful Child show a different side of the author and allow him to produce something totally different from what has made him a bestselling writer on both sides of the Atlantic.

If you are looking for a light and fun-filled science fiction novel, then Willful Child definitely is just what the doctor ordered! Just don't expect Malazan in space. This was always meant to be a parody/homage of Star Trek, nothing more. And as such, it works incredibly well.

The final verdict: 7.75/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

Extract from Katherine Kurtz's THE KING'S DERYNI


Here's an extract from Katherine Kurtz's The King's Deryni, courtesy of the folks at Ace. For more information on this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Katherine Kurtz’s novels of the Deryni have been hailed by Anne McCaffrey as “an incredible historical tapestry of a world that never was and of immensely vital people who ought to be.” Now Kurtz weaves a thrilling conclusion to the epic Childe Morgan trilogy, in which bonds of both magic and loyalty will be put to the ultimate test…

Alaric Morgan always knew his purpose in life—to stand alongside the king of Gwynedd. The old king knew that whichever of his sons succeeded to the throne would benefit from having a Deryni at his side. Alaric and the young Prince Brion Haldane were bound together by magic—a magic to be called upon when Brion was most in need.

Now eighteen, Brion has ascended to the throne and seven-year-old Alaric has come to court. Through the coming years, both will grow to manhood and come to realize their destinies. Brion will strive to solidify his power and position, seek out a bride to secure his legacy, and ultimately, when faced with an unbeatable foe, call upon Alaric to fulfill his oath.

Meanwhile, Alaric slowly learns the extent of his powers and how to use them, and will face the prejudice that many have against Deryni in its ugliest form. He will experience bittersweet first love, great personal loss, and the hard lessons one gains from both. And he will be there to unleash the full power of his Deryni magic at Brion’s command.

For Alaric is—and always will be—the King’s Deryni.

Enjoy!
--------------------------------

Standing in his own great hall at Rhemuth, surrounded by men sworn to uphold him, Brion King of Gwynedd knew that the faintly queasy sensation in his gut came of no rational fear for his safety. Nonetheless, the sight of a foreign king standing between him and his throne, armed and crowned, could not but give one pause, especially when that king was accompanied by another prince regarded as one of the most puissant warriors in all the Eleven Kingdoms.

That the two men were his royal uncles only partially reassured, for blood greed had been the downfall of many a young king come prematurely to his crown, with still much to learn of his craft as monarch and warrior—and Brion had been but fourteen at his coronation, hardly four years before.

Nonetheless, all experience before and since that day declared that Brion King of Gwynedd need harbor no such misgivings about these two men. For as long as he could remember, Prince Richard Haldane, younger half-brother of his late father, had been his teacher, his mentor, his most merciless critic when Brion failed to do his very best.

As for the goodwill of his other uncle—the one who wore a crown of his own—that, likewise, was beyond question. Illann King of Howicce and Llannedd was the beloved elder brother of Brion’s mother, the Dowager Queen Richeldis, come especially to honor this milestone in his nephew’s young reign. He stood now at Richard’s left, peacock-bright in the colors of Howicce and Llannedd amid all that Haldane crimson. Both he and Richard were the sons of kings, of blood equally royal to Brion’s own, yet they had come to their feet at their nephew’s approach, inclining their heads in respect.

The man who had presented the royal candidate, and had fixed the golden spurs to his heels, was also of blood both ancient and royal. Ewan Duke of Claibourne was a direct descendant of the last prince of Kheldour, to the north, and one of only four dukes in Gwynedd. Assisting him had been the scion of another great ducal family: Jared Earl of Kierney, deputizing for his ailing father, the Duke of Cassan. Like the royal uncles, both of these men also wore noble coronets upon their brows, and all of them bore steel at their hips.

By contrast, Brion King of Gwynedd wore no crown or other emblem of his royal estate, no rich raiment or even any weapon. With his sable hair caught back severely in a warrior’s knot, he had donned the robes traditional to any candidate for knighthood: the unadorned inner robe of white, signifying the purity of his honor, partially covered by the stark black over-tunic symbolic of the grave to which all eventually must come.

Over both lay the bloodred mantle: fittingly, in Brion’s case, of Haldane crimson. To such blood had he been born—blood which, even more than any mere knight, he must be willing to shed in defense of his realm, even unto death. At his coronation, the new king had pledged his life to his kingdom: reckoned a man, in law, for the governing of his realm, and well enough prepared in mind, but all too aware that he wore still the body of a half-grown youth, with much yet to learn of the warrior he must become, if he hoped to keep his crown.

That he had kept it thus far was due, in part, to his royal uncles, to the princely dukes flanking him, and to the loyalty and courage of the sandy-haired man standing close beside the throne: Sir Kenneth Morgan Earl of Lendour, who bore the great state crown of leaves and crosses intertwined as if it were no more burden than its mere weight of gold and precious stones, though he had saved it and Brion’s life on more than one occasion.

And the towheaded boy at Kenneth’s side, who had proudly carried the golden spurs now affixed to the king’s heels, and assisted in their fastening, was cut from the same cloth as his sire: quick and earnest, utterly devoted to Brion, and so much more than he appeared to be, for all that he was only seven years of age. Because his mother had been heiress to a great duchy, Alaric Morgan would be Duke of Corwyn when he came of age, one of the most powerful men in the land. But Alyce de Corwyn had also been Deryni, possessor of powers both feared and resented by ordinary folk—which meant that many feared who and what young Alaric was, and what he might become.

The Church, in particular, had made its position abundantly clear regarding Deryni, for those trained in that heritage were believed to wield extraordinary powers that could compromise another’s free will and even enslave the soul of the unwitting. Several of Gwynedd’s bishops, some of whom were present today, had been particularly vocal in their condemnation, and one of them had nearly been the death of Alaric’s mother before he was even born.

Yet King Brion’s father, only days before his death, had commended the boy Alaric to Brion’s especial attention and care, promising a legacy of benign magical powers to be employed in Brion’s service, and further powers to be imparted for Brion’s own use.

Was it true? Brion was not sure he remembered all that had been told him, but he believed and hoped that further knowledge would be revealed to him in due course—hopefully, well before he really needed it! And it was all somehow linked to the blond boy holding a crimson pillow beside the throne of Gwynedd.

But that was for the future—with any luck, some years in the future, when Alaric Morgan was grown. For now, Brion returned his full focus to his uncles, from whom he was about to receive the knightly accolade, which only another knight might bestow.

“Your Royal Highness,” a herald intoned, addressing Richard, “having been invested with the spurs, the noble squire Brion Haldane now presents himself before the throne of Gwynedd to request the accolade from your hand, that he may henceforth be recognized as a knight.” Richard inclined his head, a faint smile curving within the sable mustache and close-clipped beard as his eyes met Brion’s, Haldane grey to Haldane grey. In that moment, wearing Haldane crimson and a royal diadem, with one hand resting on the hilt of the sword at his hip, he very much resembled his late brother.

“Kneel now, Brion Haldane,” he commanded.

With a nod of his head that was more jerky than intended, Brion moved forward to kneel on the scarlet cushion that young Alaric Morgan now set atop the first step of the dais; before, it had borne the golden spurs. As he settled himself and looked up, Richard turned to the crimson-clad duty-squire standing behind him: Brion’s younger brother and heir presumptive, the twelve-year-old Prince Nigel, who extended the hilt of the sheathed Haldane sword, borne by many generations of Haldane kings. He retained the jeweled scabbard as his uncle drew forth the blade in a hiss of fine steel, clasping it to his breast in wide-eyed awe as Richard raised the blade and briefly brought the sword’s cross-hilt to his lips in salute.

Richard paused then as King Illann reached across to rest his bejeweled hand atop Richard’s, in pointed reminder that this knighthood came by way of two lines of royal kings and noble knights. The significance was not lost on Brion or, indeed, on any of those present.

Very briefly, as the flat of the blade descended toward his right shoulder, Brion closed his eyes and prayed that he might be worthy of this new charge, then lifted his gaze to Richard’s once more, as the flat of the blade touched his right shoulder and Richard spoke.

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son”—the blade lifted to touch the left shoulder—“and of the Holy Spirit”—the blade arched upward to briefly rest atop Brion’s head—“be thou a good and faithful knight. Amen.”

Great deal!


Today marks the release date of Patrick Rothfuss' The Slow Regard of Silent Things! And you can get it at 40% off through the American Amazon link which follows. The Canadian and British sites offer it at 28% and 23% off respectively. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Deep below the University, there is a dark place. Few people know of it: a broken web of ancient passageways and abandoned rooms. A young woman lives there, tucked among the sprawling tunnels of the Underthing, snug in the heart of this forgotten place. Her name is Auri, and she is full of mysteries.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a brief, bittersweet glimpse of Auri’s life, a small adventure all her own. At once joyous and haunting, this story offers a chance to see the world through Auri’s eyes. And it gives the reader a chance to learn things that only Auri knows….

In this book, Patrick Rothfuss brings us into the world of one of The Kingkiller Chronicle’s most enigmatic characters. Full of secrets and mysteries, The Slow Regard of Silent Things is the story of a broken girl trying to live in a broken world.

Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes contest winner!

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Tor Books, our winner will receive a set of Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes’ Storm Riders and The Seventh Sigil! For more info about the final volume: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

- Chad Huckabaa, from Moreno Valley, California, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


For a limited time, you can get your hands on the digital edition of Robin Hobb's bestselling Fool's Assassin for only 6.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Nearly twenty years ago, Robin Hobb burst upon the fantasy scene with the first of her acclaimed Farseer novels, Assassin’s Apprentice, which introduced the characters of FitzChivalry Farseer and his uncanny friend the Fool. A watershed moment in modern fantasy, this novel—and those that followed—broke exciting new ground in a beloved genre. Together with George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb helped pave the way for such talented new voices as Scott Lynch, Brandon Sanderson, and Naomi Novik.

Over the years, Hobb’s imagination has soared throughout the mythic lands of the Six Duchies in such bestselling series as the Liveship Traders Trilogy and the Rain Wilds Chronicles. But no matter how far she roamed, her heart always remained with Fitz. And now, at last, she has come home, with an astonishing new novel that opens a dark and gripping chapter in the Farseer saga.

FitzChivalry—royal bastard and former king’s assassin—has left his life of intrigue behind. As far as the rest of the world knows, FitzChivalry Farseer is dead and buried. Masquerading as Tom Badgerlock, Fitz is now married to his childhood sweetheart, Molly, and leading the quiet life of a country squire.

Though Fitz is haunted by the disappearance of the Fool, who did so much to shape Fitz into the man he has become, such private hurts are put aside in the business of daily life, at least until the appearance of menacing, pale-skinned strangers casts a sinister shadow over Fitz’s past . . . and his future.

Now, to protect his new life, the former assassin must once again take up his old one. . .

Extract from L. E. Modesitt, jr.'s HERITAGE OF CYADOR


Thanks to the generosity of the author, here's an extract from L. E. Modesitt, jr.'s newest Recluce installment, Heritage of Cyador. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

From New York Times bestselling author L.E. Modesitt comes Heritage of Cyador, the new novel in the Saga of Recluce.

Scarcely a year after the events of Cyador’s Heirs, Lerial uses his mastery of Order and Chaos, the competing natural forces that shape his world and define the magic that exists within it, to utterly destroy an Afritan military force crossing into Cigoerne.

Five years later, Lerial, now an overcaptain and a field commander of Cigoerne’s Mirror Lancers, must lead three companies of troops into Afrit on a mission of mutual interest: neighboring Heldya is threatening to invade Afrit, and if that nation falls, Cigoerne is certain to be next.

The mission is both delicate and dangerous; Lerial’s value in the effort to repelling Heldya is undeniable, but his troubled history against Afrit may reopen old wounds that will never truly heal.

Enjoy!
----------------------------

From the low rise where he has reined up, the Mirror Lancer undercaptain glances eastward to the Swarth River, slightly more than five hundred yards away, its waters far lower than usual in the hot afternoon, an afternoon more like late summer or early harvest. Then his eyes turn westward, taking in the open lands, whose grass is dry and brown and barely calf-high. More to the north are the few scattered plots that have brought forth little enough from the drought-plagued past harvest. Less than a kay behind him beside the small stream that flows down the middle of the swale between the rolling rises is a scattering of cots and hastily built shelters – structures thrown together by the people of Ensenla after they had fled the town of the same name, a town less than two kays north of where he waits, a town burned to the ground early that morning and now marked only by trails of smoke rising into the silver-hazed green-blue sky. Roughly fifty yards in front of him is a single post, stained a faded green. There is another such post a quarter kay to the east, overlooking the river, and another a quarter kay to the west, and that line of posts extends a good ten kays west of the river, perhaps farther, since the undercaptain has not measured the precise distance they extend in the three eightdays since he arrived to patrol the area.

The undercaptain studies the lay of the land, and the approach to the rise, knowing that a full battalion of Afritan Guards rides toward him and Eighth Company. They are less than half a kay to the north, just out of sight on the dirt road that has linked the burned-out town to the Cigoernean hamlet of Penecca for the past twenty years.

The undercaptain continues to reach out to the skies, frowning as he does. Still… there is enough moisture there to continue to create the clouds he would prefer but does not need.

“Ser?” asks the senior squad leader.

“Five companies. They’re riding up the slope just on the other side of the border. They’ll want us to stand aside so that they can slaughter the people who fled. We can’t let them do that.”

“Strange that the Duke isn’t here, ser.”

The undercaptain knows that the senior squad leader is suggesting a withdrawal might be in order. “It’s better that he isn’t.”

“Begging your pardon, ser…”

“The blood won’t be on his hands.” The undercaptain is being obscure, but he also knows that obscurity will serve him and the Duke far better than clarity in the matter.

The Afritan battalion appears at the north side of the top of the rise perhaps two hundred yards from the undercaptain and the senior squad leader. The Afritans continue forward until the lead riders are within fifty yards of the border post, and the line of five companies abreast comes to a halt. All five companies re-form into a five man front, then dress their ranks, and even their files.

An armsman carrying a white banner bordered in the dull crimson of Afrit rides forward, stopping just short of the border post.

The undercaptain motions for him to proceed, even as he separates order and chaos in the air above the rise, watching as the cloud above expands and darkens slightly.

The Afritan rides forward, reining up ten yards short of the Mirror Lancer undercaptain.

Neither speaks, but the undercaptain gestures.

The lancer clears his throat, then begins. “Majer Ehraam is pursuing traitors who have rebelled against his Mightiness Duke Atroyan. He would appreciate your not impeding his duty.”

“These are the lands of Duke Kiedron. While we understand the majer’s desire to do what he perceives as his duty, our duty is not to allow the armsmen of another land to murder and ride down those who have fled to Cigoerne for refuge.”

“I am commanded to inform you, Undercaptain, that you and your men will be treated as allies of those who are traitors if you stand in the majer’s way.”

“Might I ask if Arms-Commander Rhamuel accompanies the field commander?”

The Afritan armsman does not answer.

“Surely, you must know,” prompts the undercaptain.

“The majer has the authority of His Mightiness.”

The undercaptain nods. “You may inform the majer that we will not harm him or his men so long as he does not cross the border into Cigoerne. My Mirror Lancers are posted a hundred yards south of that border.”

“The majer must insist on the right to bring traitors to justice.”

“He has the right to bring them to justice in Afrit, not in Cigoerne. That is the rule in all lands, and that is the agreement between Duke Kiedron and Duke Atroyan. We will enforce that right by force of arms if necessary.”

“The majer has declared that he will pass.”

“If the majer crosses the border with his battalion, we will enforce our right to protect ourselves.”

“Then… the majer says you will suffer the consequences.”

“So will he and all his men.” The undercaptain glances at the small but thickening cloud that has gathered partly above him and mainly over the center of the rise to the north of where Eighth Company has reined up, arms ready.

Abruptly, the Afritan armsman turns and rides back to the massed formation.

The undercaptain waits.

“Ser…?” ventures the senior squad leader.

“Have the squads hold their positions. I’ll give the order if we need to attack.”

“Yes, ser.”

While the senior squad leader relays the order, the undercaptain concentrates, extending his order senses and beginning to create order lines as parallel as he can make them to the dancing chaos within the small thundercloud overhead, a cloud that darkens moment by moment as raindrops begin to fall across the top of the rise.

A trumpet triplet sounds, and the Afritan battalion starts forward at a fast walk.

Carefully and precisely, the undercaptain eases apart order and chaos in both the air above the advancing Afritans and in the ground below them. The Afritan riders break into a canter as they pass the faded green boundary post.

As he senses, with what he thinks of as brilliant light, the interplay between a deeper level of order and chaos, an interplay within all things, the undercaptain begins to separate small bits of order and chaos in the ground under the mounted mass of Afritan riders. Seemingly just before, but in fact, a calculated time before that point where his separations would unleash massive power, he limits the separation, and creates a quadruple ten-line order coil with the power going into a shielded circle around the Afritans.

HSSSST!!!!

Lightnings flare from ground and sky in a pattern that crisscrosses men and their mounts, galvanizes blades with such force that they are ripped from the hands of men who do not even feel their death. Thunder with the force of mighty winds slams into everything within that fiery circle, and the charred fragments of men and mounts are thrown to the ground, consumed almost totally by flame and then covered with fine ash that is all that remains of the browned grass of harvest.

The undercaptain shudders in his saddle as a wave of silver-gray flows over him, a wave unseen by any but him. His eyes blur, and tears stream down his cheeks. His head feels as though it is being pounded with a wooden mallet. He squints, enough to sharpen his blurred vision so that he can make out what lies before him on the top of the rise.

All that remains of a battalion of mounted Afritan armsmen is a circle of ash and blackened ground some two hundred yards across.

The senior squad leader gapes, then looks to the undercaptain, his mouth open, but wordless.

“The skies and storms favor Cigoerne,” says the officer. After a long silence, he adds, “Have second squad continue the patrol. The other squads will return to our camp. We need to tell the people of Ensenla that it is safe to reclaim what they can from their old town. They’re entitled to it. They’ve little enough left to their names.”

“Yes, ser.”

The rain is already beginning to let up as the undercaptain and the bulk of Eighth Company begin their return to the temporary camp and post in Ensenla, a post that the undercaptain knows full well will soon become a large and permanent base for protecting the northern border of the duchy.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (October 20th)

In paperback:

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones returns at number 19.

Win a set of David Hair's SCARLET TIDES and MAGE'S BLOOD


One lucky winner will receive copies of David Hair's Scarlet Tides and its predecessor, Mage's Blood, compliments of the folks at Jo Fletcher Books. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

The Moontide has come, and a scarlet tide of Rondian legions is flooding into the East, slaughtering and pillaging in the name of Emperor Constant. But the Scytale of Corineus, the source of ultimate magical power, has slipped through the emperor’s fingers. His ruthless Inquisitors are desperately seeking the artefact, before it falls into the hands of those who would bring down the Empire.

But there are some who have pledged to end the cycle of war and restore peace to Urte. They are the unlikeliest of heroes: a failed mage, a gypsy and a lowly market-girl.

As East and West clash more violently than ever before, Urte will discover that love, loyalty and truth can be forged into weapons as deadly as swords and magic.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam)gryphonwood.net with the header "TIDES." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

Extract from Jasper Kent's THE LAST RITE


Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Random House, here's an extract from Jasper Kent's The Last Rite. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Russia – 1917. Zmyeevich, king of all vampires, is dead.

History records that the great voordalak – known across Europe as Dracula – perished in 1893 beneath the ramparts of his own castle, deep in the mountains of Wallachia. In Russia, the Romanov tsars are free of the curse that has plagued their blood for two centuries.

But two decades later and Tsar Nicholas II faces a new threat – a threat from his own people. War has brought Russia to her knees and the people are hungry for change. Revolution is in the air.

Mihail Konstantinovich Danilov – who himself carries Romanov blood – welcomes the prospect of a new regime. Like his ancestors he once fought to save the Romanovs from the threat that Zmyeevich brought them. Fought and won. But now he sees no future for a Russia ruled by a tyrant. He is joined in the struggle by his uncle, Dmitry Alekseevich - a creature born in a different era, over a century before. For more than half his existence he has been a vampire, and yet he still harbours one very human desire; that his country should be free.

But the curse that infects the blood of the Romanovs cannot be so easily forgotten and Mihail soon discovers that it – that he – may become the means by which a terror once thought eradicated might be resurrected . . .

Enjoy!
------------------------------

An Anatolian Folk Tale

On the twenty-third day of the month of Nisan, in the eighteenth year of the principate of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian,in the city of Nicomedia, the gift of martyrdom was bestowed upon the Tribune George – son of Gerontius – his head severed from his body for his refusal to renounce his faith. For this sacrifice he was acclaimed a saint. The anniversary of his death, 23 April, came to be celebrated as the feast day of Saint George. But it is not for his death that he is famed.

Long before, as the Roman Empire swept across the world, the Tribune George had slain the monster which was to make him renowned throughout history. By command of his emperor he had been dispatched to the province of Libya and one day, journeying with his slave Pasicrates, he found himself near the city which some call Lasia and others Silene, by which they may mean Cyrene. There George encountered a hermit, who told him of the city’s curse.

‘Close to this place,’ the hermit said, ‘lies a great lake, as wide as the Earth and as deep as the sea, beneath whose waters a monster makes its lair: a dragon who demands a tribute of the people. Every day they must offer up two sheep from their flocks upon which the beast may feed. They offer no resistance. They do as they are told, for they know that if they refuse the monster will drag itself from the depths and descend upon the city, breathing destruction.

‘But it is not fire that the monster breathes as many such creatures do. It breathes poison – a noxious miasma far worse than flames, which may be extinguished. The dragon’s breath brings all who scent it to die in agonizing torment, such that no man who has witnessed it can describe.’

‘Two sheep each day seems a meagre price,’ said George.

The old man shrugged. ‘Greater than our king is prepared to surrender. He paid the tribute for many years, but then famine came, and the flocks dwindled, and even two became more than the people could afford. And so now they offer up a human sacrifice, a subject of the king, which the beast is more than happy to accept. All are equal before the serpent. Lots are drawn. Any might become the chosen one – young or old, male or female. But today the duty has fallen upon the king’s daughter, the Princess Sabra. The king has tried to prevent it, but the people are adamant. They insist that the princess must obey the law which binds them all. And the princess herself is willing, knowing justice better than her father.’

The hermit looked up and pointed out across the plain towards the water. ‘Behold! There they go now, the princess and her entourage, down to where the serpent waits. It will not take long.’

But George felt only anger at the story; at the greed of the dragon, at the ingratitude of the people to their king, and at the disobedience of his daughter. The tribune mounted his horse and rode swiftly towards the lake. He passed Sabra and her attendants and shouted that they should stop; that he alone would face the creature. They did as he told them, some believing that he would do what he had said, others reasoning that this stranger would make an ample sacrifice, if only for today.

As the saint approached the shore he slowed his horse and surveyed the water, gazing into its still depths, searching for the monster. And then the waters became turbid and began to boil, even though the day was cool. The surface rose and separated and the monster was revealed, half serpent, half dragon. Its head towered above George, its body’s length five times greater than the saint’s height, with more still submerged and invisible beneath the waves. George looked up into its eyes and knew that this was no animal; no part, however vile, of God’s creation. This was a manifestation of Satan himself that had somehow burst up through the Earth from the flames below. Perhaps the monster he faced truly was the Beast of Saint John’s Revelation.

George turned his horse and galloped away from the water’s edge, seeming afraid. But the act was not born of fear. Soon he turned and saw what he had hoped to see, that the creature had followed him out of its watery domain and into the realm of men. George levelled his lance, holding it out in front of him, pointing its iron tip at the leviathan’s heart. Then he spurred his horse and began to charge. The monster reared its head, inhaling deeply before expelling a vast cloud of its noxious, death-delivering breath. But George was not deterred. As he rode forward he spoke loudly, without a break between words so that he would never have a chance to breathe in, reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Thus even if some of the deadly vapour did infiltrate him the holy words would protect him from the venom.

And so George arrived beneath the creature’s shadow unharmed, and his lance was true, and although it was shattered into a thousand pieces by the armour of the monster’s scales, its iron-clad tip penetrated through them and into the dragon’s heart, killing it and sending its soul back down to Hell. But even as the dragon perished, its head thrashed and its teeth fell upon the saint, and bit into him, and drew his blood. It was the tiniest of wounds, and caused him little pain, and healed quickly. And yet he would always remember it, as would his children and their children too.

Afterwards George went into the city of Lasia and was honoured for what he had done. The king begged to know what reward he would accept, and in return George asked only that the people of Lasia should become Christians, a request to which the king happily agreed. That day twenty thousand were baptized, not counting the women and the children. The king had a church built in honour of Saint George and of the Virgin, and from its altar there still issues a natural spring whose waters cure all illnesses.

But this is not George’s story. Neither is it the story of the monster he slew, nor of the princess he saved nor even of his slave Pasicrates, though it is through Pasicrates that we know all this to be true. This is the story of the lance that George used to slay the dragon, an artefact that would outlive all of them; that as yet did not even have a name.

As George was returning to Lasia to claim his laurels, it fell to Pasicrates to deal with the destruction he had wrought. Pasicrates surveyed the scene and felt proud of his master. The monster was dead. The lance was broken. But as Pasicrates looked he saw that the tip of the spear still protruded from the serpent’s scales. He reached forward and grasped it, putting his foot on the creature’s chest to brace himself. And after more than a little effort the shaft came free – like the sword Arthur pulled from the stone, although that story was yet to be written.

Pasicrates looked at his prize. There was little of it left – less than the length of his forearm, and he was not long-limbed. The iron tip remained embedded in the monster’s heart, but the wood he held was still sharpened to a point – still stained with the blood it had drawn. It would make a fine relic, better certainly than the other shattered fragments of the lance that lay strewn beside the lake. Others might take them and sell them as sacred artefacts, but his was the shaft that had killed the beast. And he would not sell it. He would keep it for when the time came for him to write his story – which was to say the story of his master, the Tribune George.

Pasicrates travelled with his master until George’s martyrdom in Nicomedia. But a slave cannot be held to account for his master’s faith – and Pasicrates lived long enough to write an account of the life of Saint George. He left Nicomedia and travelled throughout Anatolia and into the Holy Land, settling finally in the town of Ashkelon on the Mediterranean coast, not far from Jerusalem. And there he died, bequeathing the lance and all his possessions to the Karaite elders of the city by way of thanks for the kindnesses they had shown him. For almost eight centuries the lance remained there.

And it was during that time the lance inevitably acquired its name – the name of the city in which it dwelt – ‘Ashkelon’, or ‘Ascalon’ as the Crusaders who captured both the city and the relic pronounced it.

It was in 1099 that Ashkelon fell to the Christian knights and that Ascalon was taken from it, along with the rest of their plunder. Many of the Crusaders had been looking for relics – for the Ark of the Covenant or for the Holy Grail – but none of them understood what they held in their hands. A few might have taken it for a fragment of the true cross, but there were plenty enough of those being sold in market places across Palestine – across the whole of Europe.

The Karaite elders of Ashkelon pleaded for the return of their treasures, and for the ransom of captives, offering money they had collected from every citizen. Whether they got all they wanted, no one knows, but it was not the Jews that the Crusaders regarded as their enemy, and so Ascalon was returned.

But the lance did not stay long in the city whose name it bore. The Karaites were a scattered community and they shared their possessions across the world, knowing that anywhere would be safer than the turbulent Holy Land. Ascalon was sent north, across the Dark Sea to a citadel high in the mountains, known as Chufut Kalye. The Karaites who lived there claimed they had settled in the cave dwellings at the time of the Babylonian Exile, but few believed it. They lived there by the sufferance of the Crimean Khanate, but Ascalon could not be kept hidden from the ruling Tartars and soon it disappeared once again.

And it is here, just as we might expect mists of history to begin to reveal their secrets, that the story becomes its most vague. Ascalon was next seen in Buda, a city on the river Hister, also known as the Danube. It was 370 years since the Crusaders had taken it from Ashkelon, 200 since it had arrived in Chufut Kalye. How it reached Buda remains shrouded in confusion, but it cannot be mere chance that Constantinople had so recently fallen to the Muslim hordes, and it would have been no great journey for the lance to be carried from Chufut Kalye to the ancient capital of the Roman Empire. Who it was that brought it from there to Buda is untold, but it is claimed by some that the man who then took it from Buda to Visegrád was Fyodor Kuritsyn, emissary of the Grand Prince of Muscovy. Others deny that Kuritsyn could ever have been in Hungary at the time, but none doubt the identity of the solitary prisoner in the castle at Visegrád.

Prince Vlad, later known as T¸epes¸, once Voivode of Wallachia, had been betrayed by a man he thought his friend; it was neither the first nor the last time it would happen to him. He had come to Hungary seeking refuge and had instead been thrown into gaol, and left there friendless and alone. Is it any wonder that, when he was visited by the Russian Boyar and spoken to kindly by him, he began to place his trust in the man?

Kuritsyn – or whoever it may have been – showed Ascalon to the Wallachian prince, showed him the traces of the dragon’s blood that still tainted it, and told of the power that it possessed. The Muscovite ambassador had reasons of his own for what he disclosed, but that did not mean that the magic he spoke of was not real. He spent many long hours talking to Vlad, but in the end he left him alone, left him with Ascalon, and with the knowledge of what it could do for him, if only he would dare allow it.

And so in the depth of his despair, after twelve years in gaol, with no hope of release – with no hope at all – T¸epes¸ took Ascalon, cradling it in his hand. And with only a moment’s hesitation he performed with it the rite that Kuritsyn had described. And just as the Boyar had explained, Vlad entered immortality. And at the same moment, just as Kuritsyn had known he would, but had never told, Vlad descended into Hell.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


Today marks the release date of Sixth of the Dusk, a new Cosmere novella by Brandon Sanderson, for 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A fascinating new novella in Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere, the universe shared by his Mistborn series and the #1 New York Times bestselling Stormlight Archive.

Sixth of the Dusk, set in a never-before-seen world, showcases a society on the brink of technological change. On the deadly island of Patji, where birds grant people magical talents and predators can sense the thoughts of their prey, a solitary trapper discovers that the island is not the only thing out to kill him. When he begins to see his own corpse at every turn, does this spell danger for his entire culture?

--------------------

A note from the publisher: For a detailed behind-the-scenes look at the creation of this novella, including brainstorming and workshopping session transcripts, the first draft, line-by-line edits, and an essay by Brandon, please see Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology.

You can read an extract from the novella here.

The Lost Girls of Rome


You may recall that I gave Donato Carrisi's debut, The Whisperer, a perfect score a few years back. Dubbed the Italian literary thriller phenomenon, I have remained on the lookout for anything else written by Carrisi. Read the first one in French, so I bought the French translation for this one as well. Even better, a sequel to The Whisperer titled The Vanished Ones recently came out in French and it's also availabe in the UK. Meant to read The Lost Girls of Rome last summer during my Middle Eastern trip, but sadly I didn't find the time. With most 2014 SFF releases leaving something to be desired these days, I elected that the time was just about right for a quality thriller.

The English title is kind of weird, considering that the original Italian title can be translated into The Tribunal of Souls. Such was the French title, which leaves me wondering exactly why the publishers for the English translation went for something so generic that has pretty much nothing to do with what the novel is all about. The same goes for the cover blurb, which totally overlooks the second main protagonist as if his own storyline was unimportant. From a marketing standpoint, given that Marcus is arguably the most important character of this story, I find this odd indeed. . .

Here's the blurb:

A grieving young widow, seeking answers to her husband’s death, becomes entangled in an investigation steeped in the darkest mysteries of Rome.

Sandra Vega, a forensic analyst with the Roman police department, mourns deeply for a marriage that ended too soon. A few months ago, in the dead of night, her husband, an up-and-coming journalist, plunged to his death at the top of a high-rise construction site. The police ruled it an accident. Sanda is convinced it was anything but.

Launching her own inquiries, Sanda finds herself on a dangerous trail, working the same case that she is convinced led to her husband’s murder. An investigation which is deeply entwined with a series of disappearances that has swept the city, and brings Sandra ever closer to a centuries-old secret society that will do anything to stay in the shadows.

Once again, the action occurs in Italy, in and around both Rome and Milan. As was the case with The Whisperer, a variety of sources were used by Carrisi to write this book, chief among them criminology and forensic psychiatry manuals, as well as several FBI papers regarding serial killers and violent crimes. With his homework done properly, Carrisi's second novel has an unmistakable genuine feel to it. As a former jurist specializing in criminology and behavioral science, the man truly knows what he's talking about.

With both French and Italian sharing the same roots, the translation was good. I was told that the English translation for The Whisperer wasn't that great, so hopefully the same cannot be said of the English version of The Lost Girls of Rome. A more literal translation will mean occasional odd turns of phrase, yet here's to hoping that it nevertheless captures the essence of the story.

The characterization was awesome. As was the case with its predecessor, a man and a woman are the principal protagonists. Sandra Vega, a forensic analyst, lost her husband the year before. Marcus is a man without a past. Coming out of a coma after being shot in the head in a Prague hotel room, he is told he's the only person who might find a kidnapped female student before she is murdered. Unexpectedly, their paths will cross and bring them to a crossroads where they'll have to choose between vengeance and forgiveness. During the investigation, a dark secret hidden by the Roman Catholic Church will be unveiled and is at the heart of all the disappearances and murders. I particularly enjoyed how flawed both main characters are and how their POVs create an interesting balance between them. The point of view of the hunter which occurs in a different timeline feels a bit discordant at first, but becomes more and more fascinating as one realizes just how it is linked to the other storylines.

Much like in The Whisperer, there is a thought-provoking theme underlying the entire book: The true essence of evil. Does it exist within all of us, latent and just waiting to be released? As engrossing as it is disturbing, Donato Carrisi's The Lost Girls of Rome is not as remarkable a read as Carrisi's debut. Still, it is a complex and multilayered thriller that hits all the right buttons. It's a clever work with plots and subplots forming a chilling tapestry, all of which culminating toward an ending that will shock you. Involving the Roman Catholic Church gives Carrisi's second novel a special feel that is akin to Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. Still, the novel is based on true law enforcement investigation techniques and the religious aspect of the tale only adds another dimension to an already complicated plot.

Overall, this perturbing work is everything a thriller is supposed to be. The Lost Girls of Rome is another page-turner that begs to be read. If you are looking for compelling and disturbing books delving into psychology that stay with you long after you have finished reading them, give Donato Carrisi a shot ASAP!

The final verdict: 9/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

Peter F. Hamilton contest winner!

This lucky winner will get his hands on my ARC of Peter F. Hamilton's The Abyss Beyond Dreams! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

- Donny Schwartz, from Sacramento, California, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

Quote of the Day

“Attention crew. We will soon be arriving at the Known Rim, where it is likely we will find ourselves engaged in a hopeless battle against impossible odds, facing an implacable foe intent on destroying not just the Affiliation, but all other sentient life-forms in the galaxy. In other words, just another day in the adventures of Captain Hadrian Sawback and the crew of the Willful Child.

“My advice to everyone is, get used to it. Events like this could well become a weekly affair. We’ll face death. We’ll clash with terrible forces and belligerent enemies. We’ll uncover mysteries and probably get seriously grossed out in the process. But one thing must be understood, and have no doubt about this: No one dies on this ship! Well, bearing in mind my warning about kitten pictures.

“In a short while, we will be at battle stations. Do what you’ve been trained to do. And if we all blow up anyways, well, that’s just how it is. Sometimes, my friends, space just sucks. Captain out.”

- STEVEN ERIKSON, Willful Child (Canada, USA, Europe)

Just finished this one and it was a real joy ride! =) Let's hope we'll see more of Captain Hadrian Sawback and the rest of the crew of the Willful Child!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


For a limited time on the other side of the pond, you can get your hands on all three volumes of the Void trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton for only £0.99 here.

Here's the blurb for the first volume, The Dreaming Void:

It's AD 3580 and the Intersolar Commonwealth has spread throughout the galaxy. Its citizens are privileged and protected by a powerful navy. Yet at the centre of this galaxy is the Void, a sealed universe created by aliens billions of years ago. And the Void is far from inert. Its expansion has gradually been consuming nearby star systems - now it's trying to make contact. The Void chooses Inigo as its conduit, and he channels dreams of a simpler life within its bounds. Disaffected humanity hungers for this vision, adopting him as their prophet.

But Inigo disappears and his followers instigate a pilgrimage to take them into the Void itself. An act that could trigger its expansion and thereby damage our galaxy beyond repair. Meanwhile, within the Void, a junior constable called Edeard begins his journey to greatness. He takes on his corrupt city, giving his people hope. He also becomes the focus of Inigo's dream - and thereby humanity's greatest hero.

Win a copy of Patrick Rothfuss' THE SLOW REGARD OF SILENT THINGS


I recently learned that no review copies would be sent prior to the novella's pub date. Still, thanks to the generosity of the great folks at Daw Books, I have a copy of Patrick Rothfuss' The Slow Regard of Silent Things up for grabs! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Deep below the University, there is a dark place. Few people know of it: a broken web of ancient passageways and abandoned rooms. A young woman lives there, tucked among the sprawling tunnels of the Underthing, snug in the heart of this forgotten place. Her name is Auri, and she is full of mysteries.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a brief, bittersweet glimpse of Auri’s life, a small adventure all her own. At once joyous and haunting, this story offers a chance to see the world through Auri’s eyes. And it gives the reader a chance to learn things that only Auri knows….

In this book, Patrick Rothfuss brings us into the world of one of The Kingkiller Chronicle’s most enigmatic characters. Full of secrets and mysteries, The Slow Regard of Silent Things is the story of a broken girl trying to live in a broken world.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam)gryphonwood.net with the header "SILENT THINGS." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on Jack Finney's classic Time and Again for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Now with masterfully restored original artwork, lovers of time travel, romance, and adventure can rediscover Time and Again, the beloved classic hailed as “THE great time-travel story” by Stephen King, author of 11/22/63, and praised as a “pure New York fun” by Alice Hoffman, author of The Museum of Extraordinary Things.

When advertising artist Si Morley is recruited to join a covert government operation exploring the possibility of time travel, he jumps at the chance to leave his twentieth-century existence and step into New York City in January 1882. Aside from his thirst for experience, he has good reason to return to the past—his friend Kate has a curious, half-burned letter dated from that year, and he wants to trace the mystery.

But when Si begins to fall in love with a woman he meets in the past, he will be forced to choose between two worlds—forever.

Called “the great time-travel story” by Stephen King, Time and Again is admired for its rich, painstakingly researched descriptions of life in New York City more than a century ago, and for the swift adventure at its core. With newly digitized art, you will fall in love with this refreshed classic all over again.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (October 13th)

In hardcover:

David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks is down one spot, finishing the week at number 7.

In paperback:

George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons is down six positions, ending the week at number 19.

Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane is down three positions, ending the week at number 20 (trade paperback).

Hell Yeah!!!


Can't believe I was caught sleeping at the wheel, but I had no idea that Katherine Kurtz's new Deryni installment was coming up in a few short weeks! So imagine my surprise when The King's Deryni showed up today! For more information on this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Katherine Kurtz’s novels of the Deryni have been hailed by Anne McCaffrey as “an incredible historical tapestry of a world that never was and of immensely vital people who ought to be.” Now Kurtz weaves a thrilling conclusion to the epic Childe Morgan trilogy, in which bonds of both magic and loyalty will be put to the ultimate test…

Alaric Morgan always knew his purpose in life—to stand alongside the king of Gwynedd. The old king knew that whichever of his sons succeeded to the throne would benefit from having a Deryni at his side. Alaric and the young Prince Brion Haldane were bound together by magic—a magic to be called upon when Brion was most in need.

Now eighteen, Brion has ascended to the throne and seven-year-old Alaric has come to court. Through the coming years, both will grow to manhood and come to realize their destinies. Brion will strive to solidify his power and position, seek out a bride to secure his legacy, and ultimately, when faced with an unbeatable foe, call upon Alaric to fulfill his oath.

Meanwhile, Alaric slowly learns the extent of his powers and how to use them, and will face the prejudice that many have against Deryni in its ugliest form. He will experience bittersweet first love, great personal loss, and the hard lessons one gains from both. And he will be there to unleash the full power of his Deryni magic at Brion’s command.

For Alaric is—and always will be—the King’s Deryni.

Can't wait to read it! =)

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download N. K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

In this brilliantly original debut fantasy, a young woman becomes entangled in a power struggle of mythic proportions.

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother's death and her family's bloody history.

With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Yeine will learn how perilous it can be when love and hate - and gods and mortals - are bound inseparably together.

Win a copy of Steven Erikson's WILLFUL CHILD


I have three copies of Steven Erikson's Willful Child for you to win, courtesy of the fine folks at Tor Books. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

From the New York Times Bestselling author Steven Erikson comes a new science fiction novel of devil-may-care, near calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through the infinite vastness of interstellar space.

These are the voyages of the starship A.S.F. Willful Child. Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life-forms, to boldly blow the...

And so we join the not-terribly-bright but exceedingly cock-sure Captain Hadrian Sawback and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child for a series of devil-may-care, near-calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through ‘the infinite vastness of interstellar space.’

The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen sequence has taken his lifelong passion for Star Trek and transformed it into a smart, inventive, and hugely entertaining spoof on the whole mankind-exploring-space-for-the-good-of-all-species-but-trashing-stuff-with-a-lot-of-high-tech-gadgets-along-the-way, overblown adventure. The result is an SF novel that deftly parodies the genre while also paying fond homage to it.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam)gryphonwood.net with the header "CHILD." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


I don't know for how long, but right now you can download Kameron Hurley's The Mirror Empire, her first epic fantasy novel which has everyone talking, for only 1.99$ here!

Here's the blurb:

A stunning new epic fantasy from two-time Hugo Award winner Kameron Hurley.

On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past... while a world goes to war with itself.

In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin. At the heart of this war lie the pacifistic Dhai people, once enslaved by the Saiduan and now courted by their former masters to provide aid against the encroaching enemy.

Stretching from desolate tundra to steamy, semi-tropical climes seething with sentient plant life, this is an epic tale of blood mages and mercenaries, emperors and priestly assassins who must unite to save a world on the brink of ruin.

As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war; a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family to save his skin; and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father's people or loyalty to her alien Empress.

Through tense alliances and devastating betrayal, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.

In the end, one world will rise - and many will perish.

Quote of the Day

“I have been observing human interactions with alien species, Captain.”

“Exciting, aren’t they?”

“They invariably conclude with the sudden, violent deaths of thousands of biologicals, not to mention semi-sentient artificial personalities.”

“Are you suggesting a pattern, Tammy?”

“I conclude that your particular species, Captain, advances by way of deadly incompetence, willful ignorance, deliberate misunderstanding, and venal acquisitiveness, combined with serendipitous technological superiority.”

“Ever since Columbus landed on the shores of Old America, Tammy. What’s your point?”

- STEVEN ERIKSON, Willful Child (Canada, USA, Europe)

About 200 pages into this one and I'm having a ball! =)

Why didn't you. . .


Fantasy author Mark Lawrence just wrote an interesting blog post about readers' complaints regarding Prince of Fools and his writing in general. Here's a teaser:

Often these 'whys' are asked in a manner that indicates the questioner has a very firm idea of the (my) writing process in their head. I must have sat down with a ruler and set square and designed each element of my tale, weighing up the choices, wondering what message they'd send and what world view they're promoting...

[...]

The medieval-esque setting (like the Eastern setting, the cold north with bearded axemen, the hot south with arab-esque inhabitants) is part of the landscape of the reader's imagination - there to be taken advantage of, saving 400 pages and a fuck-load of confusion.

[...]

So, yes, if you want the focus to be on how clever and imaginative you are ... weird me out. If you want the focus to be on your plans for utopia or your critique of modern society, play those games. But if you're going to criticise fantasy as conservative or me for drawing on the architecture of existing fantasy to furnish my pages with stuff for my characters to play with ... then you've very much missed the point of what most authors are trying to do.

Why didn't I play the rather heavy handed gender-politics games that excite a certain rather vocal section of the blog-o-sphere?

Because those are not the games that excite me.

Follow this link to read the full article.

Jacqueline Carey contest winners!

Our winners will get their hands on a copy of Jacqueline Carey's Poison Fruit, compliments of the folks at Roc! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winners are:

- Christine LaRue, from Elverta, California, USA

- Nicole McFadyen, from Stouffville, Ontario, Canada

- Angela Heid, from Merrillville, Indiana, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!