More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Catherynne M. Valente's The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Every once in a great while a book comes along that reminds us of the magic spell that stories can cast over us–to dazzle, entertain, and enlighten. Welcome to the Arabian Nights for our time–a lush and fantastical epic guaranteed to spirit you away from the very first page.

Secreted away in a garden, a lonely girl spins stories to warm a curious prince: peculiar feats and unspeakable fates that loop through each other and back again to meet in the tapestry of her voice. Inked on her eyelids, each twisting, tattooed tale is a piece in the puzzle of the girl’s own hidden history. And what tales she tells! Tales of shape-shifting witches and wild horsewomen, heron kings and beast princesses, snake gods, dog monks, and living stars–each story more strange and fantastic than the one that came before. From ill-tempered “mermaid” to fastidious Beast, nothing is ever quite what it seems in these ever-shifting tales–even, and especially, their teller. Adorned with illustrations by the legendary Michael Kaluta, Valente’s enchanting lyrical fantasy offers a breathtaking reinvention of the untold myths and dark fairy tales that shape our dreams. And just when you think you’ve come to the end, you realize the adventure has only begun…

Sample chapters from Jim Butcher's THE AERONAUT'S WINDLASS


Jim Butcher posted the prologue and the first chapter from his upcoming The Aeronaut's Windlass on his website.

Here's the blurb:

Jim Butcher, the no.1 Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author of The Dresden Files and the Codex Alera novels, conjures up a new series set in a fantastic world of noble families, steam-powered technology, and magic-wielding warriors . . .

Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace.

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the leaders of Albion – to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.

And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake . . .

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – Thug Notes Summary & Analysis



Wow! Best summary of that novel I ever heard! :P

The Pale Criminal


Needing something different for my trip to Chicago, as a lover of history I decided to buy used copies of the first couple of Philip Kerr books and I brought them along for the ride. Having now read two of them, I was happy to realize that these historical murder mysteries were just what the doctor ordered. I went through the first two volumes of the Berlin Noir trilogy in no time, and I'm looking forward to discovering where the author will take his stories and characters next!

Here's the blurb:

Hailed by Salman Rushdie as a “brilliantly innovative thriller-writer,” Philip Kerr is the creator of taut, gripping, noir-tinged mysteries that are nothing short of spellbinding. In this second book of the Berlin Noir trilogy, The Pale Criminal brings back Bernie Gunther, an ex-policeman who thought he’d seen everything on the streets of 1930s Berlin—until he turned freelance and each case he tackled sucked him further into the grisly excesses of Nazi subculture. Hard-hitting, fast-paced, and richly detailed, The Pale Criminal is noir writing at its blackest and best.

The Pale Criminal occurs two years following the events of March Violets, in 1938, as Germany prepares to invade Czechoslovakia. As was the case with the first installment, it's that historical backdrop that gives the book its unique flavor. Though on occasions he is forced to rely on info-dumps to convey lots of elements, the author once again did a fantastic job recreating that particular period. It sets the mood and captures the political and social tension perfectly. The creeping paranoia encompassing Berlin and the rest of the country is particularly well-done.

As I mentioned in my review of March Violets, Bernhard Gunther is a tough, wise-cracking, and cynical PI. In the tradition of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe, he could be nothing else. At times, it felt as though the author was struggling a bit to find Bernie's voice. I'm glad to report that this is no longer the case in The Pale Criminal. Indeed, Kerr gives us a more well-defined protagonist, and the author appears in a full control this time around. One of the first volume's shortcomings will likely be present in every single Bernhard Gunther novel. Unfortunately, too often the narrative gets bogged down in Chandleresque similes that bring nothing to the story and are just distracting, or even groan-inducing. Again, I understand that, to a certain extent at least, these books are supposed to be some sort of homage to the classic hardboiled noir detective novels. But sometimes Philip Kerr pushes this a little too far and it cheapens the whole thing somewhat. The man can craft classic noir plots, full of complexity and tension, in a setting that sets his stories apart from his peers. Hence, I feel that Kerr could do without these similes and still shine.

As I said before, Bernie is a man of his time, made even harder by the demands of his profession and the fact that he was cast out of the police force because he doesn't support Hitler's regime. The man is not always the most likeable of fellows. And yet, he remains the perfect protagonist to solve the cases on which he investigates, and you can't help but to root for the guy:

"I'm no knight in shining armour. Just a weather-beaten man in a crumpled overcoat on a street corner with only a grey idea of something you might as well go ahead and call Morality. Sure, I'm none too scrupulous about the things that might benefit my pocket, and I could no more inspire a bunch of young thugs to do good works than I could stand up and sing a solo in the church choir. But of one thing I was sure. I was through looking at my fingernails when there were thieves in the store."

The murders are much more gruesome and graphic in The Pale Criminal. I liked the fact that Kerr elected to explore the themes of homosexuality and occultism in Nazi Germany, which added yet more layers to an already convoluted tale. The plot is more chilling than in the first volume, as young Aryan teenage girls are abducted and made to look as though they have suffered Jewish ritualistic murders. Philip Kerr pushes the envelope further and with aplomb brings this one to a satisfying ending that makes you beg for more Bernhard Gunther cases.

Once more, the complex plot focusing on terrifying murders and theft will take the private investigator through every level of German society, from high-ranking and influential Nazi officials such as Himmler, to gang members and prisoners. And as was the case in March Violets, the more Bernie digs, the more he uncovers dangerous political ramifications that could get him killed. The pace remains crisp throughout and in true noir detective novel tradition, The Pale Criminal is a real page-turner that keeps you going, chapter after chapter, unable to stop yourself.

The Pale Criminal is another compelling blend of historical fiction and hardboiled murder mystery, better and more ambitious than its predecessor. Philip Kerr's Bernhard Gunther remains a flawed but endearing protagonist who tells a gripping and elaborate tale of murder.

The final verdict: 8/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe. You can also get this one as part of the Berlin Noir omnibus, which contains Kerr's first three Bernhard Gunther novels: Canada, USA, Europe.

Get Bradley P. Beaulieu's TWELVE KINGS IN SHARAKHAI for as much as 60% off!


Bradley P. Beaulieu's Twelve Kings in Sharakhai was officially released yesterday and it's been garnering rave reviews for weeks. It's next on my reading list and I'm really looking forward to reading this one! Don't know for how long, but through the following links you can get both the digital edition and the hardback for as much as 60% off: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings — cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite ompany of Blade Maidens and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.

Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings’ laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings’ mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings’ power…if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don’t find her first.

The Shannara Chronicles: Official Trailer



Unveiled last night at the MTV VMA. . .

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download David Walton's science fiction technothriller Superposition for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Jacob Kelley’s family is turned upside down when an old friend turns up, waving a gun and babbling about an alien quantum intelligence. The mystery deepens when the friend is found dead in an underground bunker…apparently murdered the night he appeared at Jacob’s house. Jacob is arrested for the murder and put on trial.

As the details of the crime slowly come to light, the weave of reality becomes ever more tangled, twisted by a miraculous new technology and a quantum creature unconstrained by the normal limits of space and matter. With the help of his daughter, Alessandra, Jacob must find the true murderer before the creature destroys his family and everything he loves.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


Don't know for how long the sale will last, but all 4 volumes of the Robin Hobb's Rain Wilds Chronicles can be download for 0.99$ to 1.99$ each! That's an entire series for less than the price of a single book!

- Dragon Keeper
- Dragon Haven
- City of Dragons
- Blood of Dragons


You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Patrick Rothfuss' bestselling The Name of the Wind for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The riveting first-person narrative of a young man who grows to be the most notorious magician his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime- ridden city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard. It is a high-action novel written with a poet’s hand, a powerful coming-of-age story of a magically gifted young man, told through his eyes: to read this book is to be the hero.


And you can still download Kameron Hurley's The Mirror Empire 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.


Finally, the digital edition of George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is also available for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. To the south, the king’s powers are failing—his most trusted adviser dead under mysterious circumstances and his enemies emerging from the shadows of the throne. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the frozen land they were born to. Now Lord Eddard Stark is reluctantly summoned to serve as the king’s new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder not only his family but the kingdom itself.

Sweeping from a harsh land of cold to a summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, A Game of Thrones tells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; a child is lost in the twilight between life and death; and a determined woman undertakes a treacherous journey to protect all she holds dear. Amid plots and counter-plots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, allies and enemies, the fate of the Starks hangs perilously in the balance, as each side endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

Unparalleled in scope and execution, A Game of Thrones is one of those rare reading experiences that catch you up from the opening pages, won’t let you go until the end, and leave you yearning for more.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (August 24th)

In hardcover:

Robin Hobb's Fool's Quest debuts at number 14. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Ernest Cline's Armada is down one position, ending the week at number 19. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

In paperback:

Andy Weir's The Martian maintains its position at number 2 (trade paperback).

Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is up two spots, finishing the week at number 6 (trade paperback).

Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven is up two positions, ending the week at number 7 (trade paperback).

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is up three positions, ending the week at number 12.

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game returns at number 14.

Win a copy of David Walton's SUPERSYMMETRY


Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Pyr, I have two copies of David Walton's Supersymmetry for you to win! For mor info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Ryan Oronzi is a paranoid, neurotic, and brilliant physicist who has developed a quantum military technology that could make soldiers nearly invincible in the field. The technology, however, gives power to the quantum creature known as the varcolac, which slowly begins to manipulate Dr. Oronzi and take over his mind. Oronzi eventually becomes the unwilling pawn of the varcolac in its bid to control the world.

The creature immediately starts attacking those responsible for defeating it fifteen years earlier, including Sandra and Alex Kelley—the two versions of Alessandra Kelley who are still living as separate people. The two young women must fight the varcolac, despite the fact that defeating it may mean resolving once again into a single person.

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


For a limited time, you can download the entire The Soldier Son trilogy by Robin Hobb for only 2.99$ here. This omnibus edition is comprised of Shaman's Crossing, Forest Mage, and Renegade's Magic.

Here's the blurb for Shaman's Crossing:

Here's the blurb:

Nevare Burvelle is the second son of a second son, destined from birth to carry a sword. The wealthy young noble will follow his father—newly made a lord by the King of Gernia—into the cavalry, training in the military arts at the elite King's Cavella Academy in the capital city of Old Thares. Bright and well-educated, an excellent horseman with an advantageous engagement, Nevare's future appears golden.

But as his Academy instruction progresses, Nevare begins to realize that the road before him is far from straight. The old aristocracy looks down on him as the son of a "new noble" and, unprepared for the political and social maneuvering of the deeply competitive school and city, the young man finds himself entangled in a web of injustice, discrimination, and foul play. In addition, he is disquieted by his unconventional girl-cousin Epiny—who challenges his heretofore unwavering world view—and by the bizarre dreams that haunt his nights.

For twenty years the King's cavalry has pushed across the grasslands, subduing and settling its nomads and claiming the territory in Gernia's name. Now they have driven as far as the Barrier Mountains, home to the Speck people, a quiet, forest-dwelling folk who retain the last vestiges of magic in a world that is rapidly becoming modernized. From childhood Nevare has been taught that the Specks are a primitive people to be pitied for their backward ways—and feared for their indigenous diseases, including the deadly Speck plague, which has ravaged the frontier towns and military outposts.

The Dark Evening brings the carnival to Old Thares, and with it an unknown magic, and the first Specks Nevare has ever seen . . .

Extract from Ian McDonald's LUNA: NEW MOON


The folks at tor.com just posted an extract from Ian McDonald's forthcoming Luna: New Moon. It's the author's first adult novel in a few years and I'm really excited about it! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

The Moon wants to kill you. Whether it's being unable to pay your per diem for your allotted food, water, and air, or you just get caught up in a fight between the Moon's ruling corporations, the Five Dragons. You must fight for every inch you want to gain in the Moon's near feudal society. And that is just what Adriana Corta did.

As the leader of the Moon's newest "dragon," Adriana has wrested control of the Moon's Helium-3 industry from the Mackenzie Metal corporation and fought to earn her family's new status. Now, at the twilight of her life, Adriana finds her corporation, Corta Helio, surrounded by the many enemies she made during her meteoric rise. If the Corta family is to survive, Adriana's five children must defend their mother's empire from her many enemies... and each other.

Follow this link to read the excerpt!

Extract from C. A. Higgins' LIGHTLESS


Here's an extract from C. A. Higgins' Lightless, courtesy of the folks at Del Rey. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

With deeply moving human drama, nail-biting suspense—and bold speculation informed by a degree in physics—C. A. Higgins spins a riveting science fiction debut guaranteed to catapult readers beyond their expectations.

Serving aboard the Ananke, an experimental military spacecraft launched by the ruthless organization that rules Earth and its solar system, computer scientist Althea has established an intense emotional bond—not with any of her crewmates, but with the ship’s electronic systems, which speak more deeply to her analytical mind than human feelings do. But when a pair of fugitive terrorists gain access to the Ananke, Althea must draw upon her heart and soul for the strength to defend her beloved ship.

While one of the saboteurs remains at large somewhere on board, his captured partner—the enigmatic Ivan—may prove to be more dangerous. The perversely fascinating criminal whose silver tongue is his most effective weapon has long evaded the authorities’ most relentless surveillance—and kept the truth about his methods and motives well hidden.

As the ship’s systems begin to malfunction and the claustrophobic atmosphere is increasingly poisoned by distrust and suspicion, it falls to Althea to penetrate the prisoner’s layers of intrigue and deception before all is lost. But when the true nature of Ivan’s mission is exposed, it will change Althea forever—if it doesn’t kill her first.

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

The room was vast and empty and white, and Ida sat on a cold steel chair behind a cold steel table in precisely its center, facing the door over the empty chair across from her. On the table beside her a System regulation polygraph and interrogation camera had been placed, not yet recording and, like Ida, waiting.

The steel door across the room swung open, and framed in its tiny square beneath the wide featureless stretch of white wall above, Ida Stays saw him, her subject, Leontios Ivanov, dressed all in black with his blond hair cropped short. His gaze darted around the room before settling on her, the only creature inside. His wrists were chained behind his back.

Ida let the smile she’d been holding locked away unfurl on her lips, and Ivanov watched her, the full subject of his gaze.

When Domitian gave Ivanov a shove to move him forward, he started to walk straight toward her, and there was consciousness of her attention in every step he took. When he reached the other side of the table, the empty chair with its back to the door, Domitian grabbed him by the back of his neck and pushed him harshly down, pushing him to bend forward over the table until his chin was just above the surface of the table so that Domitian could unchain his wrists. A line was digging into Ivanov’s forehead between his brows as Domitian handled him roughly, but as Ida continued to watch, he looked up at her, his face smoothing over, and smirked at her.

The problem with Leontios Ivanov, she thought as Domitian pulled him back upright against the hard back of the chair and started to chain his wrists to the armrests, was that Ivanov was handsome, and knew it, and intelligent, and knew it. He could not help overplaying both hands. Ida was smarter than he, and Ida had him precisely where she wanted him to be.

Domitian tightened the last chain and took a step back, waiting behind Ivanov’s chair, looking to Ida and wordlessly waiting for instructions, just as he was supposed to. The camera and the polygraph sat to the side on the table between Ivan and Ida, out of the immediate way, but their very presence was a threat.

Ida let the silence of the interrogation room linger a moment longer.

“It’s good to meet you at last, Ivan,” she said, and watched his face for a reaction. “Ivan” was what Gale called him, and Constance Harper; presumably Abigail Hunter did, too. “Ivan” was what he called himself to his friends, to his equals.

Ivan hardly reacted. He tilted his chin very slightly to the side and said, after a breath too long to represent anything but careful consideration, “May I call you Ida, or should I stick to Miss Stays?”

He had recognized her. Ida swallowed her thrill.

“Ida, of course,” she said, and leaned forward slightly, pleasant and charming, and he smiled back in the same way, taking his cues from her. He wore his black turtleneck like armor. “I see you recognized me.”

“Of course.” Ivan’s accent was Terran in full force, as crisp and sharp as only one raised on Earth could achieve, and for an irrational moment Ida wondered if he could hear the hidden traces of Venus in her own imperfect Terran affectation.

“I wanted to know the name of the beautiful woman who has been asking after me for months,” Ivan continued. “So I looked you up.”

Her inquiries had not been clumsy, but they had not been terribly discreet, either. Still, it indicated a greater degree of awareness on Ivan’s part than Ida’s superiors, for certain, would have expected. The glow of gratification had started to fill her chest.

“And is that all you found out?” she asked, as if charmed. “My name and my face?”

Ivan leaned forward, too, as far as the chains would allow. Their faces were still separated by the wide expanse of the table, but the movement imagined intimacy, and he said confidingly, with a curl of amusement in his voice, “I heard that you’re the woman who’s always right. All of your interrogations have resulted in convictions, and all of your suspects have—so far—been found guilty. There are people who think that one day you’ll be head of System Intelligence, or the System itself, if you can keep up your reputation.”

“And does my reputation frighten you?” If his words had pleased her, it was only because they were all true, not because someone had spoken them about her.

Ivan smiled. This smile was different from the others—dangerous, bitter, almost wolfish—and Ida memorized it, cataloged it, filed it for later consideration.

“Not yet,” he said.

Ida would see him afraid before this interrogation was done.

“Have you ever been interrogated before, Ivan?” she asked, and leaned back from the table, leaving him bent forward toward her almost as if partway through a bow. He had been interrogated before, of course, and on the record, but information was not the purpose of the question.

“Not like this,” Ivan said, leaning back into his chair as well. He looked quite at ease, but his eyes were fixed on her in a way that she thought might indicate wariness.

“Then here’s how it’s going to go,” said Ida, as if she wanted this to be as easy as possible for him. “I’m going to ask you questions, and you’re going to answer them all honestly, with as much detail as I am pleased to hear. You will not lie to me or refuse to answer, because if you do, I am authorized to resort to less pleasant methods to obtain the truth. Do you understand me?”

“I understand you,” Ivan said. “But I don’t know what you’re hoping to get from me. I already told your mastiff”—he jerked his chin to the side and beside him in the general direction of Domitian, who was still standing in stony silence—“ what he wanted to know about why I was on board. What else do you want from me?”

The perfect opening, handed, wrapped, into her hands.

“Remember, Ivan,” she said, “I am the woman who is always right, and I know all about you.”

He was wary. She imagined she could smell it.

“I know that you know the name of the Mallt-y-Nos,” said Ida Stays, “and I know that you’re going to tell it to me.”

***

There was nothing more to be gained from the computer terminal at the base of the ship, of course. When Althea came back up and sat down in her appointed position across from Ivanov’s empty cell, she glared at it as if it, empty, were still in some way a part of the person it usually held. He had gotten into her head somehow, yes, but he wouldn’t again.

With no small amount of relief for the guaranteed peace now allotted to her, Althea focused again on her baby, falling deep into that blissful zone of total absorption in her work. Because of this, she probably did not notice the sounds as soon as she should have. When they finally filtered into her consciousness, Althea pulled herself slowly out of her trance, as if waking from a dream.

Excerpted from LIGHTLESS by C.A. Higgins Copyright © 2015 by C.A. Higgins. Excerpted by permission of Del Rey Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can still download Peter Clines' Ex-Heroes for only 2.99$ here. This is the opening volume of a series that's been a very pleasant surprise thus far!

Here's the blurb:

Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes, using their superhuman abilities to make Los Angeles a better place.

Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Billions died, civilization fell, and the city of angels was left a desolate zombie wasteland.

Now, a year later, the Mighty Dragon and his companions protect a last few thousand survivors in their film-studio-turned-fortress, the Mount. Scarred and traumatized by the horrors they’ve endured, the heroes fight the armies of ravenous ex-humans at their citadel’s gates, lead teams out to scavenge for supplies—and struggle to be the symbols of strength and hope the survivors so desperately need.

But the hungry ex-humans aren’t the only threats the heroes face. Former allies, their powers and psyches hideously twisted, lurk in the city’s ruins. And just a few miles away, another group is slowly amassing power . . . led by an enemy with the most terrifying ability of all.

Win a copy of Bradley P. Beaulieu's TWELVE KINGS IN SHARAKHAI


I have three copies of Bradley P. Beaulieu's Twelve Kings in Sharakhai up for grabs, compliments of the folks at Daw Books. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings — cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite ompany of Blade Maidens and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.

Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings’ laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings’ mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings’ power…if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don’t find her first.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam)gryphonwood.net with the header "TWELVE." 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 download Stephen R. Lawhead's The Bright Empires Collection, an omnibus edition comprised of The Skin Map, The Bone House, The Spirit Well, The Shadow Lamp, and The Fatal Tree, for only 1.99$ here. That's five volumes and about 2000 pages for less than 2$!!!

Here's the blurb for The Skin Map:

It is the ultimate quest for the ultimate treasure. Chasing a map tattooed on human skin. Across an omniverse of intersecting realities. To unravel the future of the future.

Kit Livingstone’s great-grandfather appears to him in a deserted alley during a tumultuous storm. He reveals an unbelievable story: that the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legend or the weekend hobby of deluded cranks, but pathways to other worlds. To those who know how to use them, they grant the ability to travel the multi-layered universe of which we ordinarily inhabit only a tiny part.

One explorer knew more than most. Braving every danger, he toured both time and space on voyages of heroic discovery. Ever on his guard and fearful of becoming lost in the cosmos, he developed an intricate code—a roadmap of symbols—that he tattooed onto his own body. This Skin Map has since been lost in time. Now the race is on to recover all the pieces and discover its secrets.

But the Skin Map itself is not the ultimate goal. It is merely the beginning of a vast and marvelous quest for a prize beyond imagining.

The Bright Empires series—from acclaimed author Stephen R. Lawhead—is a unique blend of epic treasure hunt, ancient history, alternate realities, cutting-edge physics, philosophy, and mystery. The result is a page-turning, adventure like no other.

Joe Abercrombie news!

This from the author's official website:

I’m delighted to announce that my collection of short stories is (nearly) complete and will be published by Gollancz in the UK and Orbit in the US in April 2016. It shall be called Sharp Ends: Stories from the World of the First Law, and will contain 13 stories, all set in the Circle of the World over a period that starts some ten years before the beginning of The Blade Itself and ends a few years after Red Country closes, featuring a rogue’s gallery of familiar and unfamiliar characters. Most of these have been (or will have been) published somewhere else before – in anthologies with other authors or special editions of the First Law books, but in general they haven’t been available that widely. Several are entirely new, including one that teeters on the edge of being defined a novella.

Follow this link to check out the table of contents!

Win a copy of Jeff Somers' "The Pale"


I have three print copies of Jeff Somers' upcoming short story, "The Pale," for you to win! The Avery Cates e-stories are only available online at the moment, so these print copies are super rare! Even better, the author will sign and personalize them for the winners!

Here's the blurb:

Continuing from The Shattered Gears and The Walled City, Avery tries to put distance between himself and The Angels and meets an old man with an unusual companion named The Pale. When they accompany Avery thinking he'll provide them protection on the road, they come to regret it. Because someone's hunting Avery.

You can pre-order "The Pale" for only 0.99$ here. The first two installments, The Shattered Gears and The Walled City, are available for the same price.

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

For more information about the Avery Cates short stories, you can visit their official website.

And here's the trailer:

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Glen Cook's The Dragon Never Sleeps for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

For four thousand years, the Guardships have ruled Canon Space—immortal ships with an immortal crew, dealing swiftly and harshly with any mercantile houses or alien races that threaten the status quo.

But now the House Tregesser has an edge: a force from outside Canon Space offers them the resources to throw off Guardship rule. This precipitates an avalanche of unexpected outcomes, including the emergence of Kez Maefele, one of the few remaining generals of the Ku Warrior race-the only race to ever seriously threaten Guardship hegemony. Kez Maefele and a motley group of aliens, biological constructs, an scheming aristocrats find themselves at the center of the conflict. Maefele must chose which side he will support: the Guardships, who defeated and destroyed his race, or the unknown forces outside Canon Space that promise more death and destruction.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (August 17th)

In hardcover:

Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dragonbane debuts at number 10.

Ilona Andrews’ Magic Shifts debuts at number 16.

Stephen King’s Finders Keepers is down two spots, finishing the week at number 17.

Ernest Cline's Armada is down nine positions, ending the week at number 18. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

In paperback:

Andy Weir's The Martian maintains its position at number 2 (trade paperback).

Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven is up two positions, ending the week at number 7 (trade paperback).

Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is up two spots, finishing the week at number 8 (trade paperback).

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is down three positions, ending the week at number 15.

March Violets


Due to the disappointment associated with the last few novels I read this summer, I wanted to read something outside of the genre. I needed something different for my trip to Chicago, something that would grab hold of my imagination and keep me turning those pages. But not something too dense or sprawling. When I feel the need to step outside of speculative fiction, I usually go for thrillers. Yet I wanted to try something else this time around.

I love history and Philip Kerr's Bernhard Gunter novels have been on my radar for a number of years. When I found a few of them available on the cheap at a used bookstore, I realized that these historical murder mysteries were just what I needed for this trip. And I sure am glad to have given them a shot!

Here's the blurb:

Bernhard Gunther is a hard-boiled Berlin detective who specializes in tracking down missing persons--mostly Jews. He is summoned by a wealthy industrialist to find the murderer of his daughter and son-in-law, killed during the robbery of a priceless diamond necklace.

Gunther quickly is catapulted into a major political scandal involving Hitler's two main henchmen, Goering and Himmler. The search for clues takes Gunther to morgues overflowing with Nazi victims; raucous nightclubs; the Olympic games where Jesse Owens tramples the theory of Aryan racial superiority; the boudoir of a famous actress; and finally to the Dachau concentration camp. Fights with Gestapo agents, shoot-outs with adulterers, run-ins with a variety of criminals, and dead bodies in unexpected places keep readers guessing to the very end.

Philip Kerr's March Violets is a classic noir tale set in a decidedly unusual setting, that of Nazi Germany in 1936. It's that historical backdrop that gives this novel its flavor. Although he occasionally must rely on info-dumps to convey a panoply of elements, the author did a fantastic job recreating that particular period. It sets the mood and captures the political and social tension perfectly.

As a matter of course, Bernhard Gunther is a tough, wise-cracking, and cynical PI. In the tradition of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe, Bernie could be nothing else. Though there are now plenty of installments featuring this detective, March Violets was Kerr's first novel focusing on this protagonist and at times it felt as though the author is struggling a bit to find his voice. This is no longer the case in the second volume, The Pale Criminal, but in this one it sometimes felt like Bernhard Gunther is not as well-defined as he should be. Speaking of Chandler, too often the narrative gets bogged down in Chandleresque similes that bring nothing to the story and are just distracting. I understand that, to a certain extent, these books are supposed to be some sort of homage to the classic hardboiled noir detective novels. But sometimes Philip Kerr pushes this a little too far.

Although it's not without its flaws, both in terms of plotlines and characterization, the setting captivated me from the very beginning. A man of his time, made even harder by the demands of his profession and the fact that he was cast out of the police force because he doesn't support Hitler's regime, Bernhard Gunther is not always the most likeable of fellows. And yet, he remains the perfect protagonist to solve the cases on which he investigates. Appearances by historical Nazi figures such as Goering and Heydrich were also a nice touch.

The complex plot focusing on murders and theft will take the private investigator through every level of German society, from rich industrials to high-ranking and influential Nazi officials to gangsters and street scum. Understandably, the more Bernie digs, the more he uncovers dangerous political ramifications that could get him killed. The pace remains crisp throughout and in true noir detective novel tradition, March Violets is a page-turner.

Even though Philip Kerr is at times struggling to establish the voice of his main character, March Violets remains a satisfying blend of historical fiction and hardboiled murder mystery. I can already vouch for the fact that the second installment is better and more ambitious. Nevertheless, Kerr's March Violets introduces readers to a flawed but endearing protagonist and tells a compelling and convoluted tale of murder.

Looking forward to what comes next!

The final verdict: 7.5/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe. You can also get this one as part of the Berlin Noir omnibus, which contains Kerr's first three Bernhard Gunther novels: Canada, USA, Europe.

Win a copy of Chuck Wendig's ZER0ES


I have a copy of Chuck Wendig's Zer0es up for grabs, courtesy of the fine folks at HarperCollins. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Five hackers—an Anonymous-style rabble-rouser, an Arab Spring hacktivist, a black-hat hacker, an old-school cipherpunk, and an online troll—are detained by the U.S. government, forced to work as white-hat hackers for Uncle Sam in order to avoid federal prison. At a secret complex known only as "the Lodge," where they will spend the next year working as an elite cyber-espionage team, these misfits dub themselves "the Zeroes."

But once the Zeroes begin to work, they uncover secrets that would make even the most dedicated conspiracy theorist's head spin. And soon they're not just trying to serve their time, they're also trying to perform the ultimate hack: burrowing deep into the U.S. government from the inside, and hoping they'll get out alive. Packed with electric wit and breakneck plot twists, Zer0es is an unforgettable thrill ride through the seedy underbelly of "progress."

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


For a limited time, you can download Laird Barron's third collection of short fiction, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Over the course of two award-winning collections and a critically acclaimed novel, The Croning, Laird Barron has arisen as one of the strongest and most original literary voices in modern horror and the dark fantastic. Melding supernatural horror with hardboiled noir, espionage, and a scientific backbone, Barron’s stories have garnered critical acclaim and have been reprinted in numerous year’s best anthologies and nominated for multiple awards, including the Crawford, International Horror Guild, Shirley Jackson, Theodore Sturgeon, and World Fantasy awards.

Barron returns with his third collection, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All. Collecting interlinking tales of sublime cosmic horror, including “Blackwood’s Baby,” “The Carrion Gods in Their Heaven,” and “The Men from Porlock,” The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All delivers enough spine-chilling horror to satisfy even the most jaded reader.

Robin Hobb contest winner!

This lucky gal will receive a copy of Robin Hobb's Fool's Quest, compliments of the folks at Del Rey. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

- Ashley Van Winkle, from Baker City, Oregon, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Kim Stanley Robinson's Galileo's Dream for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

At the heart of a provocative narrative that stretches from Renaissance Italy to the moons of Jupiter is the father of modern science: Galileo Galilei. To the inhabitants of the Jovian moons, Galileo is a revered figure whose actions will influence the subsequent history of the human race. From the summit of their distant future, a charismatic renegade named Ganymede travels to the past to bring Galileo forward in an attempt to alter history and ensure the ascendancy of science over religion. And if that means Galileo must be burned at the stake, so be it. From Galileo’s heresy trial to the politics of far-future Jupiter, Kim Stanley Robinson illuminates the parallels between a distant past and an even more remote future—in the process celebrating the human spirit and calling into question the convenient truths of our own moment in time.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can get your hands on the digital edition of Michael Crichton's State of Fear for only 0.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Michael Crichton delivers another action-packed techo-thriller in State of Fear.

When a group of eco-terrorists engage in a global conspiracy to generate weather-related natural disasters, its up to environmental lawyer Peter Evans and his team to uncover the subterfuge.

From Tokyo to Los Angeles, from Antarctica to the Solomon Islands, Michael Crichton mixes cutting edge science and action-packed adventure, leading readers on an edge-of-your-seat ride while offering up a thought-provoking commentary on the issue of global warming. A deftly-crafted novel, in true Crichton style, State of Fear is an exciting, stunning tale that not only entertains and educates, but will make you think.

Robin Hobb contest winners!

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Del Rey, these winners will get their hands on a copy of the mass market paperback edition of Robin Hobb's Fool's Assassin! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winners is:

- Lee Hulbert, from Gloversville New York, USA

- Ed Curtis, from Huntington West Virginia, USA

- Marc Savoie, from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

- Tomas Diaz, from Houston, Texas, USA

- Pete Rauske, from Chicago, Illinois, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

Musical Interlude



Just saw the movie (which is pretty damn good!), so I had to go old school on your asses! :P