Spotlight: The Silent Army – James A. Moore

About the Book

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The City of Wonders has been saved by nearly miraculous forces and the Silent Army is risen, ready to defend the Fellein Empire and Empress Nachia at any cost.

The power that was hidden in the Mounds is on the move, seeking a final confrontation with the very entities that kept it locked away since the Cataclysm. Andover Lashk has finally come to accept his destiny and prepares to journey back to Fellein. The Sa’ba Taalor continue their domination over each country and people they encounter, but the final conflict is coming: The Great Wave of the Sa’ba Taalor stands to destroy an empire and the Silent Army prepares to stop them in their tracks.

Caught in the middle is the Fellein Empire and the people who have gathered together on the final battlefield. The faithful and the godless, the soldiers and killers alike all stand or fall as old gods and new bring their war to a world-changing end. Some struggles are eternal. Some conflicts never cease. The Gods of War are here and they are determined to win.

Publication date: May 3rd, 2016 (Angry Robot)

 

About the Author

Credit: Stephen H. Moore

Credit: Stephen H. Moore

James A. Moore is the award winning author of over twenty novels, thrillers, dark fantasy and horror alike, including the critically acclaimed Fireworks, Under The Overtree, Blood Red, the Serenity Falls trilogy (featuring his recurring anti-hero, Jonathan Crowley) and his most recent novels, Blind Shdows, Homestead and the soon to be released Seven Forges. He has also recently ventured into the realm of Young Adult novels, with his new series Subject Seven. In addition to writing multiple short stories, he has also edited, with Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, the British Invasion anthology for Cemetery Dance Publications.

The author cut his teeth in the industry writing for Marvel Comics and authoring over twenty role-playing supplements for White Wolf Games, including Berlin by Night, Land of 1,000,000 Dreams and The Get of Fenris tribe book for Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse, among others.  He also penned the White Wolf novels Vampire: House of Secrets and Werewolf: Hellstorm.

Cover Reveal: It Happened One Doomsday – Laurence MacNaughton

I recently received an ARC of this book from Pyr Books, but it’s only today that the final cover has been revealed! It looks like an interesting, quirky book, so I’m very keen to read it. It Happened One Doomsday will be published on July 12th, 2016.

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About the Book

Magic is real. Only a handful of specially-trained individuals can wield its arcane power to protect the world from demons, foul creatures, and the forces of darkness. These powerful sorcerers are descendants of an elite order. The best in the world at what they do.

Unfortunately, Dru isn’t one of them.

Sure, she’s got a little magic potential. She can use crystals to see enchantments or brew up an occasional potion. And she can research the heck out of anything in the library of dusty leather-bound tomes stacked in the back of her little store, sandwiched between a pawn shop and a 24-hour liquor mart. There, she scrapes by quietly selling crystals, incense, and magic charms.

Then she discovers that the Harbingers, seven fallen sorcerers, want to wipe the planet clean of humans and install themselves as new lords of an unfettered magical realm. And when they unearth the Apocalypse Scroll, the possibility of a fiery cosmic do-over suddenly becomes very real.

There’s only one chance to stop them. And it’s about to fall into Dru’s magically inexperienced hands.

Eagle in Exile – Hesperian #2 – Alan Smale

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Release date: March 22th, 2016
Publisher: Del Rey
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 576
Format: E-galley
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

 

In A.D. 1218, Praetor Gaius Marcellinus is ordered to conquer North America and turning it into a Roman province. But outside the walls of the great city of Cahokia, his legion is destroyed outright; Marcellinus is the only one spared. In the months and years that follow, Marcellinus comes to see North America as his home and the Cahokians as his kin. He vows to defend these proud people from any threat, Roman or native.
 
After successfully repelling an invasion by the fearsome Iroqua tribes, Marcellinus realizes that a weak and fractured North America won’t stand a chance against the returning Roman army. Worse, rival factions from within threaten to tear Cahokia apart just when it needs to be most united and strong. Marcellinus is determined to save the civilization that has come to mean more to him than the empire he once served. But to survive the swords of Roma, he first must avert another Iroqua attack and bring Cahokia together. Only with the hearts and souls of a nation at his back can Marcellinus hope to know triumph.

 

Review:

After reading Clash of Eagles, the first book in the Hesperian trilogy, I had some difficulty reviewing the book. I enjoyed the book, but I couldn’t quite connect with the main character and I had some doubts about his role in the new society he discovered. I’m really glad I got an opportunity to read the second book, Eagle in Exile, because all the things that didn’t work for me in the first book worked perfectly now. I started to care about Gaius Marcellinus almost right away and I was glad to see that he expressed the same doubts I had in the second book and tried to do something about it.

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Spotlight: The Emperor’s Railroad – Guy Haley

About the Book

 

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Global war devastated the environment, a zombie-like plague wiped out much of humanity, and civilization as we once understood it came to a standstill. But that was a thousand years ago, and the world is now a very different place.

Conflict between city states is constant, superstition is rife, and machine relics, mutant creatures and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land. Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities. Homes of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church claims. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out.

Until now…

 

Publication date: April 19th, 2016 (Tor)

 

About the Author

(From the author’s website)

I am, for want of a better Linean-type categorisation for my own peculiar sub-career, a science fiction journalist, and now a writer of the same. The principal difference being once I interviewed people about making stuff up, now I make my own stuff up. The latter is more fun.

I was born in 1973, the eldest of five boys, all of whom are arty media sorts, if short-tempered and, well, short (all except number 4, who is genuinely large enough to ride a horse). We were raised on the moors of Yorkshire, where we all survived to adulthood despite freezing temperatures, angry boggarts and proximity to the volatile Lancastrian border.

I began my career on SFX Magazine in 1997, where I eventually became deputy editor, before leaving to edit notable gaming magazine White Dwarf at Games Workshop. Three years later I ran away to be  involved in the launch of the ill-fated, if bold, SF magazine Death Ray, which I also edited. Since its demise in 2009 I have been wandering the media hinterlands as a pen for hire.

I live in Somerset with my wife Emma, young son Benny (yes really, and no, nobody under 107 years of age remembers Crossroads now), and a Malamute called Magnus.

Blog Tour: Saint’s Blood – Greatcoats #3 – Sebastien de Castell + Competition!

 

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Release date: April 7th, 2016
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 576
Format: Hardcover
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

How do you kill a Saint?

Falcio, Kest, and Brasti are about to find out, because someone has figured out a way to do it and they’ve started with a friend.

The Dukes were already looking for ways out of their agreement to put Aline on the throne, but with the Saints turning up dead, rumours are spreading that the Gods themselves oppose her ascension. Now churches are looking to protect themselves by bringing back the military orders of religious soldiers, assassins, and (especially) Inquisitors – a move that could turn the country into a theocracy. The only way Falcio can put a stop to it is by finding the murderer. He has only one clue: a terrifying iron mask which makes the Saints vulnerable by driving them mad. But even if he can find the killer, he’ll still have to face him in battle.

And that may be a duel that no swordsman, no matter how skilled, can hope to win.

 

Review:

Writing a consistently engaging Fantasy series is a difficult thing. As readers, we’ve all experienced it: as expectations for the next book grow, the risk of disappointment grows with it. Even the big names can’t always keep a consistent level of awesomeness. For example, I didn’t quite enjoy the 4th book in A Song of Ice and Fire. Sebastien de Castell’s first book, Traitor’s Blade, was an amazing debut. A vast majority of readers and reviewers raved about it. The second book, Knight’s Shadow, was eagerly anticipated and it blew me away. It was even better than Traitor’s Blade. Now the third book is here, titled Saint’s Blood. Expectations were high, but there is always that bit of fear that the book might not live up to them. Saint’s Blood obliterated that fear and even exceeded the high expectations I had. I’m having difficulty expressing how much I absolutely adore the Greatcoats series at this point.

 

Falcio, Brasti and Kest are back, and how! The Greatcoats together with their allies are still trying to put Aline, the deceased King’s daughter, on the throne. Valiana is in the meantime acting as Realm’s Protector and teaching Aline everything she needs to know to become a good Queen. Falcio, the First Cantor of the Greatcoats, is trying to find all the Greatcoats that were sent out by King Paelis on individual quests right before his death. But this is Tristia and not everything goes according to plan. The Dukes are waiting to find a moment of weakness in the Realm’s Protector or the Queen to take back control. But then one of the Saints shows up, full of little cuts and with an iron mask clasped around her head. The mask has no openings to see through or hear through, only three little slits where the mouth should be. The Saint is dying and nobody knows who did this to her or why. Suddenly an old order of religious Inquisitors appears, who reluctantly admit that someone has been killing off all the Saints. It isn’t a big surprise that the Greatcoats and the Inquisitors don’t see eye to eye and Falcio is determined to find out who is murdering the Saints and why, without the interference from the Inquisitors.

 

The focus in Saint’s Blood is, as you can guess, strongly on the religion in Tristia. We had encountered Saints before in the previous books, we had heard about the Gods, but this time we learn a whole lot more about them and their history. It was fascinating to have this different part of Tristia highlighted. Towards the end of the book, when all the pieces fall into place, the interesting truth about religion in Tristia comes to light.
The three musketeers, Falcio, Kest and Brasti are still their entertaining selves. This time they are accompanied by Ethalia, the woman Falcio is in love with. Throughout the book familiar faces reappear and new ones come to join them.
Falcio has gone through a lot during his life and all of it seemed to culminate in this book. By now I’ve come to really care for Falcio. He is a very flawed man with a heavily burdened mind, but there is so much to love about him. I also really enjoyed reading how Aline grew more and more into her role as future Queen.
Another thing I really wanted to mention is how much I enjoyed reading the good cop/bad cop or angel/demon dynamic of King Paelis and Falcio’s deceased wife Aline, during his hallucinations. They were the most important people in Falcio’s life and seeing them battle it out in his mind was incredibly entertaining.

 

The pace didn’t slow down once. You are dragged along on a rollercoaster of incredibly detailed fights that will get your blood pumping, heart breaking moments that will move you to tears and the infamous banter that will make you chuckle. The ending of Saint’s Blood almost made my heart burst with pride and love for these characters. I literally couldn’t stop reading all through the last 100 pages. So much was happening and I was desperate to know how it would all play out. It really was the perfect ending for another epic book. The little epilogue/extra that came after the acknowledgements almost made me cry. Read it, but be prepared to have your heart broken.

 

With Saint’s Blood, the Greatcoats series has risen even higher on my favourites list and it was already pretty high up there. Sebastien de Castell keeps delivering amazing books, displaying his talent for weaving a web of humour, tension, ingenious plots and fantastic characters. Saint’s Blood was an exhilarating journey that took me at breakneck speed through a whole array of emotions. It’s beginning to feel as an addiction, because I can’t wait to have more. Can we have Tyrant’s Throne already? Please, please, please?

 

Competition (and it’s a BIG one!)

Jo Fletcher Books have set up an AMAZING competition to celebrate the publication of Saint’s Blood. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a competition with a better prizes than this one.

Want to find out more? Have a look at this blog post.

Hint: it involves the 4th and final book in the Greatcoats series AND a lot of books (a loooot of books)

Masks and Shadows – Stephanie Burgis

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Release date: April 12th, 2016
Publisher: Pyr
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 300
Format: ARC
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

The year is 1779, and Carlo Morelli, the most renowned castrato singer in Europe, has been invited as an honored guest to Eszterháza Palace. With Carlo in Prince Nikolaus Esterházy’s carriage, ride a Prussian spy and one of the most notorious alchemists in the Habsburg Empire. Already at Eszterháza is Charlotte von Steinbeck, the very proper sister of Prince Nikolaus’s mistress. Charlotte has retreated to the countryside to mourn her husband’s death. Now, she must overcome the ingrained rules of her society in order to uncover the dangerous secrets lurking within the palace’s golden walls. Music, magic, and blackmail mingle in a plot to assassinate the Habsburg Emperor and Empress–a plot that can only be stopped if Carlo and Charlotte can see through the masks worn by everyone they meet.

 

Review:

Can we first just take a moment to admire that gorgeous cover? It was the first thing that caught my eye about this book and it immediately made me want to read it. When I read the synopsis I only got more intrigued. Dark magic threatening the 18th century nobility and a strong focus on music and more specifically opera? I have to admit, I haven’t read anything like it before. Masks and Shadows is certainly an enjoyable read with a cast of interesting characters.

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Spotlight: Hex – Thomas Olde Heuvelt

About The Book

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The incredible, horrifying thriller from Thomas Olde Heuveult, the Hugo award-winning author of ‘The Day The World Turned Upside Down’, perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Adam Nevill and Stephen King.

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth-century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Blind and silenced, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s beds for nights on end. So accustomed to her have the townsfolk become that they often forget she’s there. Or what a threat she poses. Because if the stitches are ever cut open, the story goes, the whole town will die.

The curse must not be allowed to spread. The elders of Black Spring have used high-tech surveillance to quarantine the town. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break the strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into a dark nightmare.

Publication date: April 28th, 2016 (Hodderscape)

 

About The Author

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Dutch novelist THOMAS OLDE HEUVELT (1983) is the author of five novels and many short stories. His work has appeared in many languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and French. In 2015, his story The Day the World Turned Upside Down was the first ever translated work to win a Hugo Award. Two more of his stories have been nominated for both Hugo and World Fantasy Awards.

In 2016, Olde Heuvelt’s critically acclaimed novel HEX, which became a bestseller in The Netherlands, will be launched around the globe (In the US by MacMillan/Tor and in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton). Warner Bros. is currently developing a TV series based on the book.

Cover Reveal + Prologue: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Good news for the fans of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and Laini Taylor (and I know there are a lot of you out there): on September 27th of this year Laini’s new book Strange the Dreamer will be published! It is the first part of a duology and the second book in the series will be called The Muse of Nightmares.

What will Strange the Dreamer be about? According to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone website it’s a story about this:

The aftermath of a war between gods and men.
A mysterious city stripped of its name.
A mythic hero with blood on his hands.
A young librarian with a singular dream.
A girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled.
Alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.
Welcome to Weep.

 

I mean, if that doesn’t get you excited…

But there’s more! Every fan is always eager to find out what the cover of their highly anticipated books will look like. Wonder no more, because here it is (UK cover) and it’s absolutely gorgeous!

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Morning Star – Red Rising Trilogy #3 – Pierce Brown

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Release date: February 11th, 2016
Publisher: Hodderscape
Age Group: (Young) Adult
Pages: 510
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought

 

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.
Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied – and too glorious to surrender.

 

Review:

The long awaited conclusion to the Red Rising trilogy finally arrived in the beginning of February. People all over the world were eagerly waiting to read what had happened to Darrow and the uprising after the events in Golden Son. I was one of those people. I pre-ordered the book as soon as I could and practically screamed when it turned up on my doorstep the day of its release in the UK. I had expected to devour it in a day, but surprisingly I felt better giving it time. Brown has created an amazing trilogy, with Morning Star as a solid end. Well, it’s not really an end is it? Soon after its release, Brown revealed that he is writing another trilogy that focuses on life in Darrow’s world after what happened in Morning Star.

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Spotlight: Eagle in Exile – Alan Smale

About The Book

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Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell, Steve Berry, Naomi Novik, and Harry Turtledove, Alan Smale’s gripping alternate history series imagines a world in which the Roman Empire has survived long enough to invade North America in 1218. Now the stunning story carries hero Gaius Marcellinus deeper into the culture of an extraordinary people—whose humanity, bravery, love, and ingenuity forever change his life and destiny.

 
In A.D. 1218, Praetor Gaius Marcellinus is ordered to conquer North America and turning it into a Roman province. But outside the walls of the great city of Cahokia, his legion is destroyed outright; Marcellinus is the only one spared. In the months and years that follow, Marcellinus comes to see North America as his home and the Cahokians as his kin. He vows to defend these proud people from any threat, Roman or native.

After successfully repelling an invasion by the fearsome Iroqua tribes, Marcellinus realizes that a weak and fractured North America won’t stand a chance against the returning Roman army. Worse, rival factions from within threaten to tear Cahokia apart just when it needs to be most united and strong. Marcellinus is determined to save the civilization that has come to mean more to him than the empire he once served. But to survive the swords of Roma, he first must avert another Iroqua attack and bring Cahokia together. Only with the hearts and souls of a nation at his back can Marcellinus hope to know triumph.

Publication date: March 22nd, 2016 (Del Rey)

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