Monday, July 28, 2014

New Books… (July/August)


Featuring: Guy Adams, Scott K. Andrews, Edward Cox, Matthew Dunn, Maria & Sergey Dyachenko, Ian C. Esslemont, William Gibson, Bill Granger, Lev Grossman, Marc Guggenheim, Jim C. Hines, Mark Hodder, James Lovegrove, Andy Miller, Fredrik T. Olsson, Gaie Sebold, Tricia Sullivan, David Shafer



Hot on the heels of the identity of the new Captain America, there’s more on the way! Today, Marvel unveiled the cover for Captain America & The Mighty Avengers #1, a second series to feature Sam Wilson-as-Captain America. The series will be written by Al Ewing. The cover above and internal art for the book are by Luke Ross. The series will spin out of the upcoming Marvel Event (yup, another one), Avengers & X-Men: AXIS.

Sam Wilson has inherited his new patriotic moniker, but is he up to the task of leading a team of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? The hero formerly known as Falcon has some new ideas for the rag-tag team of Mighty Avengers – but the events of AXIS may spell doom for the inexperienced leader. And not everyone on the team is happy with Sam’s new position as leader. Spider-Man is back, too – Amazing this time, NOT Superior. Luke Cage & Jessica Jones are still itching to give him some payback for trying to take their daughter to Child Services. And what is Luke Cage doing meeting with the head of the notorious Cortex corporation?

Here’s what Ewing had to say about the series, in an interview with

“As for the mission statement – same as it’s ever been. Help those in need, however they need it. This is where all the work over the previous series pays off – the Gem theater is refurbished, the hotline is in place, the field team is on standby to take care of problems nobody else can handle. The Mighty Avengers are hitting the ground running.”

Excerpt: OUR LADY OF THE STREETS by Tom Pollock (Jo Fletcher Books)



Chapter One

A girl hurried barefoot through the streets of what had once been East London.

She stumbled, clumsy in her haste, and caught herself with the iron railing she carried in her right hand. Her skin was covered in scales of tiny terracotta rooftops. A fringe of rubberised cable fell across her forehead from under the hood of her sweatshirt. The hair-fi ne streets that crisscrossed her back were flooded with oily sweat. As she ran, her shadow loomed and shambled in front of her, stretched by the dawn.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Upcoming: GLEAM by Tom Fletcher (Jo Fletcher Books)

FletcherT-G1-GleamUKNow this sounds pretty interesting. Don’t know much about the novel or the author, but it caught my eye earlier today (when I received a press release about it…). I do know it’s the first in a new trilogy. Here’s the synopsis:

The gargantuan Factory of Gleam is an ancient, hulking edifice of stone, metal and glass ruled over by chaste alchemists and astronomer priests.

As millennia have passed, the population has decreased, and now only the central district is fully inhabited and operational; the outskirts have been left for the wilderness to reclaim. This decaying, lawless zone is the Discard; the home of Wild Alan.

Clever, arrogant, and perpetually angry, Wild Alan is both loved and loathed by the Discard’s misfits. He’s convinced that the Gleam authorities were behind the disaster that killed his parents and his ambition is to prove it. But he’s about to uncover more than he bargained for.

Tom Fletcher’s Gleam is due to be published by Jo Fletcher Books in the UK, on September 4th, 2014. Fletcher is also the author of The Thing on the Shore, The Leaping, and The Ravenglass Eye. The author is also on Twitter.


I was rather unimpressed by the first two movies in this trilogy (which should never have been a trilogy to begin with). Nevertheless, one thing they are is visually stunning. Peter Jackson sure knows how to shoot beautiful movies. The poster for the third and final instalment does not disappoint. Check it out:


Smaug does not look like a happy bunny… (Found via IGN.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

An Interview with EDWARD COX


Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Edward Cox?

EdwardCox-AuthorPicI am a woefully undereducated village idiot, with gladness for blood and nothing but sunshine in my head. Every day I try – really hard – to be a cool and moody writer, but every day I fail. I have eternal faith in the human race, which some might say comes from naivety, but I do not care; I refuse to give up on us. Outside of my obsession for writing, I simply don’t know what I’m doing, and I’m always the last to understand what’s going on. I am also a husband and a father to two ladies who I love beyond measure.

However… If I ever do discover the secret to cool and moody, I will change my name to Thundermaster Volcanofists, and all shall fear me. 

I thought we’d start with your fiction: Your debut novel, The Relic Guild, will be published by Gollancz in September 2014. How would you introduce the novel to a new reader?

A balls out fantasy adventure! Or, to be more professional, I like to think of The Relic Guild as a story about people doing the right thing even when they’ve been given every reason not to. Also, I’ve been trying to refine a pitch for the book, and this is what I’m currently down to:

At the centre of a gigantic labyrinth, in a sprawling city trapped behind walls one hundred feet high, young Clara is about to become the unwitting participant in the machinations of higher magic. It falls to her to reunite the last of a secret band of magickers called the Relic Guild. Together they must find a way to save one million humans from an age old menace that is about to return.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Upcoming Re-Issues: KATHY MALLORY Series by Carol O’Connell (Headline)


I received a press release this morning that really piqued my interest. Over the course of this year (and maybe some of early 2015), Headline will be re-jacketing and re-issuing Carol O’Connell’s Kathy Mallory crime series. I have never read any of the series, I’m sad to say. However, one of the things I love is finding established series on which to binge. I’ve found two ‘new’ series that I was going to start working my way through (Matthew Dunn’s Spycatcher and Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series), but this one has to be added to the list, too. And may even be the first I try. I’m really looking forward to these re-issues.


Here’s the release scheduled:

Mallory’s Oracle – 14th August 2014

The Man Who Lied to Women – 14th August 2014

Killing Critics – 11th September 2014

Flight of the Stone Angel – 11th September 2014

Shell Game – 9th October 2014

Crime School – 9th October 2014

Dead Famous – 6th November 2014

Winter House – 6th November 2014

Shark Music – 4th December 2014

The Chalk Girl – Pub. Date TBC

It Happens in the Dark – Pub. Date TBC


Here’s the synopsis for the first novel, Mallory’s Oracle:

Mallory Book 1: the first NYPD detective Kathy Mallory novel from New York Times bestseller Carol O’Connell, master of knife-edge suspense and intricate plotting.

Detective Kathy Mallory. New York’s darkest. You only underestimate her once.

When NYPD Sergeant Kathy Mallory was an eleven-year-old street kid, she got caught stealing. The detective who found her was Louis Markowitz. He should have arrested her. Instead he adopted her, and raised her as his own, in the best tradition of New York’s finest.

Now Markowitz is dead, and Mallory the first officer on the scene. She knows any criminal who could outsmart her father is no ordinary human. This is a ruthless serial killer, a freak from the night-side of the mind.

And one question troubles her more than any other: why did he go in there alone?

Guest Post: “Writing Dystopians – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” by Melissa Davenport

MelissaDelport-AuthorPicIn recent years, dystopian fiction has taken the world by storm. Series such as The Hunger Games, Divergent and Delirium have exploded onto the book market and paved the way for this speculative genre, which explores social and political structures and is set in a societal structure that is headed for an irreversible oblivion, where justice, freedom and happiness are suppressed.

A speculative genre is commonly found in science-fiction, and the underlying concept is often an analogy for real-world issues. Some people even read these books as a political warning of things to come, should humanity make the wrong choices.

Today’s society is exposed to a particularly violent culture through television, gaming and rising crime. Dystopia’s are characterised by a “high stakes” scenario, with plenty of action and adventure, but they typically have a “hopeful” ending – and above all, people crave the presence of hope in a world where there is little to be had.

Upcoming: ONE NIGHT IN SIXES by Arianne “Tex” Thompson (Solaris)

ThompsonA-OneNightInSixesI’ve seen mentions of this novel on a number of blogs and online venues for what feels like ages. I’m intrigued to read it. It seems to be in the SFF Western sub-genre – one that I’m rather fond of, but also one in which I am woefully under-read. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that my attention wasn’t first drawn by that cover, which I think is really cool.

One Night in Sixes is the first novel in Arianne “Tex” Thompson’s Children of the Drought series, and is published this month by Solaris Books. Here’s the synopsis…

The border town called Sixes is quiet in the heat of the day. Still, Appaloosa Elim has heard the stories about what wakes at sunset: gunslingers and shapeshifters and ancient animal gods whose human faces never outlast the daylight.

And the daylight is running out. Elim’s so-called “partner” – that lily-white lordling Sil Halfwick – has disappeared inside the old adobe walls, hell-bent on making a name for himself among Sixes’ notorious black-market traders. Elim, whose worldly station is written in the bastard browns and whites of his cow-spotted face, doesn't dare show up home without him.

If he ever wants to go home again, he’d better find his missing partner fast. But if he’s caught out after dark, Elim risks succumbing to the old and sinister truth in his own flesh – and discovering just how far he’ll go to survive the night.

Upcoming: WE ARE NOT GOOD PEOPLE by Jeff Somers (Gallery)

SomersJ-WeAreNotGoodPeopleUSThis seems to be a re-issue of the author’s previous urban fantasy, Trickster.

According to the publisher’s page, this is “Book One in the Ustari Cycle, the first portion of We Are Not Good People was originally published in an altered form as Trickster (Pocket Books)”. Not sure what this means for people (like me) who bought Trickster, or how “altered” this version will be, but here’s the synopsis for this version:

The ethics in a world of blood are gray – and an underground strata of blood magicians has been engineering disasters for centuries in order to acquire enough fuel for their spells. They are not good people.

Some practitioners, however, use the Words and a swipe of the blade to cast simpler spells, such as Charms and Cantrips to gas up $1 bills so they appear to be $20s. Lem Vonnegan and his sidekick Mags fall into this level of mage, hustlers and con men all. Lem tries to be ethical by using only his own blood, by not using Bleeders or “volunteers.” But it makes life hard. Soon they might have to get honest work.

When the pair encounters a girl who’s been kidnapped and marked up with magic runes for a ritual spell, it’s clear they’re in over their heads. Turning to Lem’s estranged master for help, they are told that not only is the girl’s life all but forfeit, but that the world’s preeminent mage, Mika Renar, has earth-shattering plans for her—and Lem just got in the way. With the fate of the world on the line, and Lem both spooked and intrigued by the mysterious girl, the other nominates him to become the huckleberry who’ll take down Renar. But even if he, Mags, and the simpletons who follow him prevail, they’re dealing with the kind of power that doesn’t understand defeat, or mercy.

We Are Not Good People is due to be published by Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster) in October 2014. One thing that’s clear to me is that the publisher is aiming for a new – or at least broader – audience: this cover is less “urban fantasy” and a bit more thriller. I’d love to know what, if any, difference this makes to its sales figures.

Upcoming: AS YOU WISH by Cary Elwes & Joe Layden (Touchstone)

ElwesC-AsYouWishInconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride

Based on the book by Goldman, the movie-adaptation of The Princess Bride is possibly one of the most beloved movies of the past few decades. Certainly, it has been a favourite of almost everyone I know. Later this year, Touchstone (Simon & Schuster) will publish Cary Elwes’s memoir of the making of the movie. Elwes played Westley in the movie (that dashing fellow on the cover, there).

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets, backstage stories, and answers to lingering questions about off-screen romances that have plagued fans for years!

With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.

Here’s the movie’s trailer (1987):

Elwes was also superb in Robin Hood Men in Tights, as the only Robin Hood with a genuine British accent…

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Short Story Reviews: David Annandale, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, and John French (Black Library)

Three good, recent short stories from BL’s Warhammer 40,000 range

Annandale-Yarrick4-TheGallowsSaintDavid Annandale, Yarrick: The Gallows Saint

Fresh from his victory against traitors on Mistral, Commissar Yarrick deploys to Abydos to watch a great triumph in honour of the forces who liberated the world from the grip of the alien tau. But when the planet’s governor is assassinated, Yarrick is drawn into a political game with deadly consequences for himself, his Steel Legion troops and Abydos itself. Can he unravel the mystery and reveal the true traitors on the world before it is too late?

Continuing his series detailing the career of Commissar Yarrick, Annandale here offers a short tale set after the conclusion of a conflict. On a world recently ‘saved’ from the influence of the Tau, Yarrick stumbles across a mundane, rather parochial conspiracy. The story moves very fast. This was not necessarily a bad thing, but I think it certainly would have benefited from expansion – as it stands, the story is a bit of a whirlwind, and Yarrick’s investigation is executed pretty much by luck and accident. True, there’s no reason to believe such a case could never happen. I think I was just greedy for a longer, more in-depth tale. Luckily, I have the first full-length Yarrick novel (Imperial Creed) to read, which I will be reading ASAP. (I know, I say that a lot.)

Despite this minor complaint, this is a very good story – Annandale continues to improve as a writer, and writes great stories. Let’s hope there are many more from him.

Also on CR: Reviews of The Carrion Anthem, Eclipse of Hope, Yarrick: Chains of Golgotha, The Dark Hollows of Memory, Stormseer; Interview with David Annandale; Guest Post


DembskiBowden-Abaddon-ChosenOfChaosAaron Dembski-Bowden, Abaddon: Chosen of Chaos

In the aftermath of battle, a group of Black Legion warlords – traitors to mankind, drawn from across the Legions of Chaos and sworn to the Warmaster – torture a prisoner, a captain of the Space Marines. Defiant to the last, the son of the Emperor is prepared to die, his duty fulfilled. But Abaddon, the Chosen of Chaos, has other plans for this brave warrior…

A very short story, introducing the post-Horus Heresy Abaddon: master of the Black Legion, and Warmaster of the Traitor Astartes, he has taken over from the slain Horus to wage his eternal war on the forces of the Imperium. This story, while very good, doesn’t really do anything, which was slightly frustrating. As an amuse bouche for Abaddon: Talon of Horus, however, it works very well indeed. As long-time readers of the blog will know, I’m a huge fan of Dembski-Bowden’s novels and writing, and Chosen of Chaos shows everything I’ve come to love about the way he writes. Only… not enough of it to be satisfying. I would, therefore, recommend you read this only when you don’t have a long wait until Talon of Horus.

Also on CR: Reviews of Cadian Blood, Soul Hunter, Blood Reaver, Void Stalker, Armageddon, The First Heretic, Betrayer, The Emperor’s Gift


FrenchJ-Ahriman-TheDeadOracleJohn French, Ahriman: The Dead Oracle

Ctesias, an ancient Space Marine and former prisoner of Amon of the Thousand Sons, tells the tale of one of the events that led him to his destiny. After Amon’s demise, Ctesias comes into the service of Ahriman, the exiled First Captain of the broken Legion, and is given power undreamed of – and drawn into a plot involving the otherworldly daemons of the warp, the machinations of Ahriman and the mysterious dead oracle.

This is set after the events of Ahriman: Exile, the first novel in French’s series focusing on the Thousand Sons’ greatest sorcerer. It is not, however, essential to have read Exile in order to follow or enjoy The Dead Oracle – I have yet to read the novel, but I really enjoyed this story. In fact, of these three stories reviewed here, this is by far my favourite. I think French has done a great job with Ahriman, painting him as a rather withdrawn, highly-focused and competent sorcerer, attempting to atone for and remedy what he has wrought on his Legion. The story isn’t from Ahriman’s perspective, however – rather, it is from Ctesias’s P.O.V. Through his eyes, we see how far Ahriman is prepared to go on his path to redemption. We also see just how powerful and learned he is about the way of Chaos. Not to mention how tricksy he can be, fooling even greater daemons of the Warp.

After finishing The Dead Oracle, my interest in reading Exile only grew. It has been moved up my TBR pile.


Quick Reviews: “The Cuckoo’s Calling” and “The Silkworm” by Robert Galbraith (Sphere/Mulholland)

Galbraith-CuckoosCallingJ.K. Rowling’s new series of London-based PI novels are fantastic.

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger…

I am not entirely sure how to review these novels. To discuss their plots at any length would ruin the plots – something that’s normal, but for some reason feels even more so the case here. The characters, however, are superb – and it is Cormoran Strike, Robin and their supporting cast that make these novels so good. If you haven’t read this series, yet, I strongly urge you to do so.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Upcoming: GEMINI CELL by Myke Cole (Ace Books)

Screw eloquence with this one: that’s one hell of a cover…


A Dribble of Ink got the scoop on the cover, which is by Larry Rostant. I must say, this is better than the covers for the US editions of the first trilogy – CONTROL POINT, FORTRESS FRONTIER and BREACH ZONE. (The UK covers were a lot better.)

GEMINI CELL is the fourth novel in Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops series, although it’s the start of a new trilogy within that ‘world’, set in the early days of the Reawakening of magic in the world. It’s due out in the US in late January 2015, published by Ace Books. Headline will be publishing in the UK, but I wasn’t able to find any more details. Here’s the synopsis:

US Navy SEAL Jim Schweitzer is a consummate professional, a fierce warrior, and a hard man to kill. But when he sees something he was never meant to see on a covert mission gone bad, he finds himself – and his family – in the crosshairs. Nothing means more to Jim than protecting his loved ones, but when the enemy brings the battle to his front door, he is overwhelmed and taken down.

That should be the end of the story. But Jim is raised from the dead by a sorcerer and recruited by a top secret unit dabbling in the occult, known only as the Gemini Cell. With powers he doesn’t understand, Jim is called back to duty – as the ultimate warrior. As he wrestles with a literal inner demon, Jim realizes his new superiors are determined to use him for their own ends and keep him in the dark – especially about the fates of his wife and son…

Also on CR: Interview with Myke Cole, Guest Post

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Upcoming: All New Captain America & Thor (Marvel)


Marvel has been in the process of shaking things up, this week. Not only did they announce an all-new, female Thor on The View (see below), but they have now unveiled, yesterday on The Colbert Report, who is going to be the (all-)new Captain America!

Interview with ERIKA JOHANSEN & Giveaway!

JohansenE-AuthorPicErika Johansen’s The Queen of the Tearling has been getting some great press ever since WFC 2013 (at least, that’s when I heard of it). The novel finally hits shelves in the UK today, and to celebrate its release, not only do I offer the interview that follows (organised by Transworld), but I also have one copy of the novel to give away to a UK reader! Details at the end. But first, the interview…

Can you give us a brief introduction to The Queen of the Tearling?

A 19 year-old girl, Kelsea Glynn, is the heir to the throne of a degenerate kingdom. Having been raised far from the capital city, she’s not prepared to be the Queen, but she will need to learn quickly. Both the neighboring ruler and Kelsea’s own uncle would like to see her dead. Her kingdom is a mess, drowning in corruption and inequality. All Kelsea has are a strong moral compass, a lot of courage, an unwieldy temper and two hereditary sapphires which may or may not be magical in her hands.

Who are the main characters of the book?

The main characters include Kelsea, the Queen; Mace, her Captain of Guard; the Red Queen, who rules the neighboring kingdom; Javel, a guard in the Tear castle; and Father Tyler, a priest in the Tearling’s central church. Please don’t ask me to explain in a nutshell how they intersect.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

HORNS Teaser Trailer… Looks fantastic.

I haven’t read Joe Hill’s novel, yet (it’s yet another on my ever-growing, never decreasing TBR mountain), but this teaser trailer for HORNS looks fantastic…

Found the clip via The Film Stage, which also had this cool poster…


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Upcoming: OF BONE AND THUNDER by Chris Evans (Gallery)

EvansC-OfBoneAndThunderI have never read any of Chris Evans’s novels. As with so many authors, I’m not sure why. I even met him, once, in New York at a drinks event (in a very cool underground bar, in 2011). I think, however, that my unfamiliarity with his novels is about to end. Described as “Apocalypse Now meets The Lord of the Rings”, I think OF BONE AND THUNDER sounds pretty great:

Channeling the turbulent period of the Vietnam War and its ruthless pitting of ideologies, cultures, generations, and races against each other, military historian and acclaimed fantasy writer Chris Evans takes a daring new approach to the traditional world of sword and sorcery by thrusting it into a maelstrom of racial animus, drug use, rebellion, and a growing war that seems at once unwinnable and with no end in sight. In this thrilling epic, right and wrong, country and honor, freedom and sacrifice are all put to the ultimate test in the heart of a dark, bloody, otherworldly jungle.

In this strange, new world deep among the shadows under a triple-canopy jungle and plagued by dangers real and imagined, soldiers strive to fulfill a mission they don’t understand and are ill-equipped to carry out. And high above them, the heavy rush of wings slashing through the humid air herald a coming wave of death and destruction, and just possibly, salvation.

I also really like the cover – it’s not your typical fantasy cover, and does have more in common with non-speculative fiction, only with an added dragon. I think they’ve done a great job. Of Bone and Thunder is published by Gallery Books in October 2014.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Upcoming: STORM by Tim Minchin (Orion)

MinchinT-StormOn October 16th, Orion will publish STORM, an illustrated book of beat-poetry by comedian, musician, actor Tim Minchin. I don’t have a lot of experience with Minchin’s work, but I’ve seen some clips of his music and comedy, as well as a couple of appearances on UK panel shows (QI in particular stood out). This book, therefore, is of quite some interest. Here’s the press release description of where the idea or seed of STORM came from…

STORM is an illustrated book born from the hit YouTube animation of Tim Minchin’s sublime beat-poem of the same name. With over three million views STORM has won support from high-profile experts in science and scepticism, becoming an anthem for critical thinking worldwide…

In the confines of a London dinner party, comedian Tim wages a verbal and intellectual battle with a hippy named Storm, the fifth guest at the table. While Storm herself may not be converted, audiences have been won over by Tim's wordplay and the timely message of the piece in a society where science is attacked as the enemy of belief.

The YouTube animation was nominated for an Animated Short Film BAFTA. Tim Minchin had the following to say about the publishing deal:

“I’m so glad this poem has been made into a book: now I can literally hit people over the head with my opinions.”

STORM will come with a foreward by Neil Gaiman, a new introduction by Tim Minchin, and illustrations by D.C. Turner.

Hot Damn: Joey Hi-Fi Covers KILL BAXTER by Charlie Human (South Africa Edition)

How awesome is this cover for Charlie Human’s second novel, Kill Baxter?


It’s by Joey Hi-Fi, who has now done four covers for Charlie’s novels – one for each novel for the UK and South African markets. Here’s the synopsis:


The world has been massively unappreciative of sixteen-year-old Baxter Zevcenko. His bloodline may be a combination of ancient Boer mystic and giant shape-shifting crow, and he may have won an inter-dimensional battle and saved the world, but does anyone care? No.

Instead he’s packed off to Hexpoort, a magical training school that’s part reformatory, part military school, and just like Hogwarts (except with sex, drugs, and better internet access). The problem is that Baxter sucks at magic. He’s also desperately attempting to control his new ability to dreamwalk, all the while being singled out by the school’s resident bully, who just so happens to be the Chosen One.

But when the school comes under attack, Baxter needs to forget all that and step into action. The only way is joining forces with his favourite recovering alcoholic of a supernatural bounty hunter, Ronin, to try and save the world from the apocalypse. Again.

Here are the other three covers:


Quite like the way the two Apocalypse Now Now cover have close-ups of Baxter and what’s going on inside his head, while the Kill Baxter covers have pulled back a bit.

Kill Baxter is published this week in the UK by Century, and will be published in South Africa by Umuzi/Random Struik and the US by Titan Books. I’m not actually sure when Apocalypse Now Now and Kill Baxter will be officially released in the US.

For more on Charlie’s novels and writing, be sure to follow him on Twitter. Also, check out my review of Apocalypse Now Now.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New Books … (July #2)


Featuring: Daniel Abraham, Katherine Addison, David Annandale, John Connolly & Jennifer Ridyard, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Richard Ford, John French, Gary Gibson, Howard Jacobson, D.J. Molles, James Rollins, Neely Tucker, Brent Weeks, Jaye Wells, & anthologies

Friday, July 11, 2014

Upcoming & New Cover Art: THE CITY STAINED RED by Sam Sykes (Orbit US)

SykesS-4-TheCityStainedRedUSShamelessly pinching this from Justin at Staffer’s Book Review (shameless, I say!), here’s the US cover for Sam Sykes’s upcoming fourth novel, The City Stained Red. To be published by Orbit in October 2014 (eBook) and January (print), here’s the synopsis, from the author’s website

Every city has its secrets, every man has his demons.

The city of Cier’Djaal has grown rich from the silk its horse-sized spiders spin.  From their unimaginable wealth, the fasha ruling class built a city the likes of which legends strain to capture: spires that glitter gold in the desert sunlight, streets choked with people carrying burdens of coin and silk, a world where the differences between thieves and nobles are so small that an outsider might not even know.

And where there is wealth, there is war.

A radical upstart cult has risen from the slums and sewers of the city, intent on toppling its wealthy masters and spilling their gold upon the streets for the downtrodden.  The ruling thieves’ guild has come to meet them with fire and blade, intent on preserving the rule of their own bloody law.  Foreign armies intent on conquering the city and their opportunity to use the violence as an excuse to seize the city’s vast wealth for itself.  And beneath human heels, the tribal shicts and ferocious tulwar clans seethe, waiting to strike back against the society that has trampled them underfoot.

And into this, Lenk comes seeking a new life.  A life where he can set his sword down and leave the violence of his adventuring life behind him.

But there are whispers of something darker behind the wars, a sinister hand moving pieces across a board, intent upon ushering in a new world, free of gods, of fear, of humanity.  And its gaze has just settled upon Lenk.

I read a very early draft of the novel, in 2013, and really liked it. I enjoyed the first two of Sam’s novels – Tome of the Undergates and Black Halo – and this was even better. The City Runs Red will be published in the UK by Gollancz (only, as “A…” rather than “The…”).

Some Pieces of Wolverine Art… (Marvel)

Despite my belief that the mini-series will either be a disappointment, fail to deliver, or quickly retconned, Marvel has released some pretty cool artwork for Death of Wolverine. Today, for example, the following three images arrived in my inbox. They’re a selection of three work-in-progress versions of the same page: pencils, inks, and colours…




The artwork is by Steve McNiven (pencils), Jay Leisten (inks), and Justin Ponsor (colours). The series is written by Charles Soule. Issue one of Death of Wolverine will be published on September 3rd, 2014 – it will also include 20 pages of bonus content, like these progression pages.

In addition to these three versions of the page, Marvel have also unveiled some Canadian variant covers. Why Canada? Well, Wolverine is Canadian. Here are the variant covers and the series synopsis…


Born in Alberta, Canada – James Howlett’s long and eventful life now comes to an end. He has been counted among the X-Men, the Avengers and Canada’s own Alpha Flight.  He’s fought alongside heroes in numerous wars. He’s been the headmaster of a school for gifted youngsters. He has been the best there is at what he does for over a century. But the day has come where his best is not enough…

Left without his mutant healing factor, his enemies now close in for the kill – and the Wolverine faces his greatest battle alone. As he runs the gauntlet of his deadliest foes, be there when the once indestructible killing machine makes his final stand! What does a world without Wolverine look like?


In case you’re wondering, the plethora of Maple Leaves all over those covers is kind of appropriate…

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

A Quick Chat with CARRIE PATEL

PatelC-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Carrie Patel?

I’m an expatriate Texan living in California where I work as a narrative designer for Obsidian Entertainment. In my free time, I write books!

Your debut novel, The Buried Life, is due to be published by Angry Robot Books in July 2014. How would you introduce the novel to a new reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s the first in a series about a stratified underground society that forms after a world-shaking catastrophe. The Buried Life follows two different characters – an inspector and a laundress – trying to unravel a series of murders surrounding the wealthy and powerful.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Music Video: “Rusted Nail” by In Flames

In Flames is one of my favourite bands – their last couple of albums haven’t had as much of an impact on me, though. Reroute to Remain and The Quiet Place are still two of my favourite albums. They recently unveiled a new video for “Rusted Nail”, the first single from their upcoming album Siren Charms. Here it is, via Metal Hammer:

It’s not bad. Not their best, but still pretty good. Think it’ll grow on me after a few more listens. A softer sound for the band, too, which is interesting.


Mini-Review: “Back Story” by David Mitchell (Audible / Harper)

MitchellD-BackStoryA marvellous memoir by one of Britain’s best new(ish) comedians

David Mitchell, who you may know for his inappropriate anger on every TV panel show except Never Mind the Buzzcocks, his look of permanent discomfort on C4 sex comedy Peep Show, his online commenter-baiting in The Observer or just for wearing a stick-on moustache in That Mitchell and Webb Look, has written a book about his life.

As well as giving a specific account of every single time he’s scored some smack, this disgusting memoir also details: the singular, pitbull-infested charm of the FRP (‘Flat Roofed Pub’); the curious French habit of injecting everyone in the arse rather than the arm; why, by the time he got to Cambridge, he really, really needed a drink; the pain of being denied a childhood birthday party at McDonalds; the satisfaction of writing jokes about suicide; how doing quite a lot of walking around London helps with his sciatica; trying to pretend he isn’t a total **** at Robert Webb’s wedding; that he has fallen in love at LOT, but rarely done anything about it; why it would be worse to bump into Michael Palin than Hitler on holiday; that he’s not David Mitchell the novelist. Despite what David Miliband might think…

The synopsis does a very good job of suggesting the tone and content of the memoir. But what it doesn’t fully convey is just how good it is. Delivered in Mitchell’s distinctive voice, with just the right amount of sarcasm and cynicism, this could very well be the best memoir I’ve listened to from Audible, or at least an equal to Stephen Fry’s The Fry Chronicles. This memoir had me laughing out loud plenty of times (something only Tina Fey and Jane Lynch have done so far).

Monday, July 07, 2014

Guest Post: “‘You’re doing what?’ – Why I Decided to Self-Publish My Next Series” by Rachel Aaron

RachelBach-authorphotoWhenever a New York published author decides to self-publish, there’s always the implicit assumption that Something Happened. Why else, after all, would an author who was presumably happily settled in a nice, big publishing house suddenly strike out on her own, like a child running away from home? Clearly, something terrible must have occurred. Was there a fight? A hot tempered editorial phone call where bridges were burned like kindling? Or perhaps it was the book itself? Maybe the story failed to meet the publisher’s expectations, and now the slighted author is unloading drek onto her fans for a quick buck?

Whatever imagined tragedy you prefer, they all start with the same opening: Something Happened. Something fundamental went horribly wrong in the publishing relationship. There’s simply no other plausible explanation why an author who’d already “made it,” who’d cleared the slush pile, gotten the agent and the book deal and gone on to write multiple series would give it all up and go it alone in self-publishing, the last refuge of the desperate and rejected.

I don’t blame anyone for assuming such things. I used to think them, too, and with good reason. Ever since I decided to get serious about my writing in 2004, I have been reading and researching and educating myself on the American publishing industry. If you’re going to be trying to make a living from something, it’s only common sense to figure out how it works. This education has been an ongoing process over all the years of my career, and for many of those, self-publishing was exactly what I described above: the place you went once everyone else had rejected you, a final long shot riddled with fraudsters eager to cash in on authors still desperately clinging to their great dream of being published.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Book Received … (July)


Featuring: Annie Hauxwell, David Hosp, C.C. Humphreys, David Ignatius, Tim Lebbon, Rebecca Levene, D.J. Molles, Marie Phillips, William Shaw, & graphic novels

Friday, July 04, 2014

Guest Post: “Whosoever touches the Tarot of Eternity…” by Rachel Pollack


Tarot cards appear in my novel, The Child Eater, in a number of ways, in particular a mysterious pack called the Tarot Of Eternity. In the story, the original has been lost for many centuries, so that the pack is known only through “a copy of a copy,” or even “a copy of a copy of a copy.” At the same time, the pack is seen as so significant that even these copies several times removed, but hand-created by magicians, have great power.

The book moves back and forth between two worlds, the first a medieval-style land ruled by wizards, the second a contemporary small city America. In the medieval world, an abused boy named Matyas runs away from his violent father to study magic. In the second, a lonely boy named Simon Wisdom desperately tries to suppress his deep psychic abilities, partly because he knows that no one likes him “reading” their minds, and more, because they bring him terrifying visions—dead children begging him for help, severed heads that live on in pain, and a gray man with an ancient stone knife. Matyas has similar visions, and he too does his best to forget them.

What bridges the two worlds, or rather crosses between them, is the Tarot of Eternity.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Mini-Review: “Impact” by Adam Baker (Hodder)

Baker-ImpactUKSuperb fourth novel in Baker’s horror survival series

The world is overrun by an unimaginable horror. The few surviving humans are scattered in tiny outposts across the world, hoping for reprieve – or death. Waiting on the runway of the abandoned Las Vegas airport sits the B-52 bomber Liberty Bell, revving up for its last, desperate mission. On board – five crew members and one 10-kiloton nuclear payload. The target is a secret compound in the middle of the world's most inhospitable desert.

All the crew have to do is drop the bomb and head to safety.

But when the Liberty Bell crashes, the surviving crew are stranded in the most remote corner of Death Valley. They’re alone in an alien environment, their only shelter the wreckage of their giant aircraft, with no hope of rescue. And death is creeping towards them from the place they sought to destroy – and may already reside beneath their feet in the burning desert sands.

Impact is the gripping, suspenseful fourth novel set in Baker’s post-apocalyptic reality. Everything I liked about Terminus, the previous novel in the series, is evident here: the tightly-plotted story, the stripped-down prose, realistic characters, sinister atmosphere, and addictive, chilling suspense. From the first page until the last, I was hooked.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Mini-Review: “Drama” by John Lithgow (Audible/Harper)

Lithgow-DramaOne of America’s great contemporary thespians on his actor’s education

Through the vivid stories in Drama, John Lithgow shares a backstage history of his struggle, crisis, and discovery, and the scenes of his early life and career that took place before he became a nationally-known star. Above all, Drama is a tribute to the most important influence in John Lithgow’s life: his father, Arthur Lithgow. An actor, director, producer, and great lover of Shakespeare, Arthur brought theatre to John’s boyhood, where performance and storytelling were a constant and cherished part of family life. Lithgow brings the theatre worlds of New York and London to life as he relives his collaborations with renowned performers and directors including Mike Nichols, Bob Fosse, Liv Ullmann, Meryl Streep, and Brian De Palma. Lithgow’s ruminations on the nature of theatre, performance, and storytelling cut to the heart of why actors are driven to perform, and why people are driven to watch them do it. At once hilarious and reflective, Drama pulls back the curtain on the making of one of our most beloved actors.

This memoir took me a little by surprise. For one thing, Lithgow doesn’t linger so much on the projects in which he has performed – rather, he focuses more on the lessons he’s learned, the experiences he’s enjoyed, and some of the people he has met along the way. It’s an interesting memoir, and a really good listen.


Recently, Penguin Books organised a Q&A with Elizabeth Gilbert, the mega-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love. With the recent publication of her latest book, the novel The Signature of Things, I’m sharing some excerpts from that long Q&A…

GilbertE-AuthorPic (JenniferBailey)After the incredible dual successes of your memoirs Eat, Pray, Love and Committed, the safer, more obvious choice for you would have been to continue in nonfiction. What was it that prompted you to return to writing novels with THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS?

I needed to come home to my roots as a writer. Fiction is where I began my writing journey, and all I ever wanted to be was a pure novelist. Fate intervened and led me into the world of memoir (and believe me, I am grateful for my success there!) but the next thing I knew, a dozen years had passed since I’d written a word of fiction. I simply couldn’t let another year go by, so I embarked on this novel.

How difficult is it for you to shift gears between genres?

I thought it would be more difficult than it was. I feared I had lost the skill of fiction entirely (almost the way you can lose a foreign language if you don't practice it often) and so I was intimidated by the prospect of returning to the form of a novel. As a result of my fear, I over-prepared for this book ridiculously. I did ten times the research I actually needed, just to feel covered and safe. Up till the very day I put down the research and began actually writing the novel, I honestly wasn’t sure if I could do it. But as soon as I began, the moment Alma was born, I realized, “Oh! I was so wrong! Fiction isn’t a foreign language; it’s my mother tongue!” I had forgotten nothing, except the joy of it. It felt like a homecoming.