Gardner Dozois (Ed.): The Book of Swords
Published by Harper Voyager 19th October 2017
An epic collection of fantasy tales in the grand tradition, including a
never-before-published A Song of Ice and Fire story by George R.R. Martin and an
introduction by Gardner Dozois. Fantasy fiction has produced some of the most unforgettable heroes ever
conjured onto the page: Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian, Michael
Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné, Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.
Classic characters like these made sword and sorcery a cornerstone of fantasy
fiction, and an inspiration for a new generation of writers, spinning their own
tales of magical adventure. Now, in The Book of Swords, acclaimed editor and bestselling author Gardner
Dozois presents an anthology of sixteen original epic stories by a stellar cast
of modern masters, including George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb, Garth Nix, Ken Liu,
Daniel Abraham, Scott Lynch, Cecelia Holland, Ellen Kushner, and more on
journeys into the outer realms of dark enchantment and intrepid adventure,
featuring a stunning assortment of fearless swordsmen and warrior women who face
down danger and death at every turn with courage, cunning, and cold steel.
Gardner's introduction to this superb anthology is simply breathtaking - as he reminisces about discovering the genre of sword and sorcery and how it waxed and waned over the years. The stories are quite spectacularly good - I particularly liked Robin Hobb and Cecelia Holland, but the common theme that binds the stories together is now a timeless one. The book itself is exquisitely handsome...
Star Wars: From A Certain Point Of View
Published by Century 3rd October 2017
40 Years. 40 Stories.
Experience Star Wars: A New
Hope from a whole new point of view.
On May 25, 1977, the world
was introduced to Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2,
Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and a galaxy full of possibilities. In
honor of the fortieth anniversary, more than forty contributors lend
their vision to this retelling of Star Wars. Each of the forty short
stories reimagines a moment from the original film, but through the eyes of a
supporting character. From a Certain Point of View features contributions
by bestselling authors, trendsetting artists, and treasured voices from the
literary history of Star Wars
- Gary Whitta bridges the gap from
Rogue One to A New Hope through the eyes of Captain Antilles.
Aunt Beru finds her voice in an intimate character study by Meg Cabot.
Nnedi Okorofor brings dignity and depth to a most unlikely character: the
monster in the trash compactor.
- Pablo Hidalgo provides a chilling glimpse
inside the mind of Grand Moff Tarkin.
- Pierce Brown chronicles Biggs
Darklighter's final flight during the Rebellion's harrowing attack on the Death
- Wil Wheaton spins a poignant tale of the rebels left behind on
Plus thirty-four more hilarious, heartbreaking, and astonishing
Ben Acker - Renee Ahdieh - Tom Angleberger - Ben Blacker -
Jeffrey Brown - Rae Carson - Adam Christopher - Zoraida Cordova - Delilah S.
Dawson - Kelly Sue DeConnick - Paul Dini - Ian Doescher - Ashley Eckstein - Matt
Fraction - Alexander Freed - Jason Fry - Kieron Gillen - Christie Golden -
Claudia Gray - E. K. Johnston - Paul S. Kemp - Mur Lafferty - Ken Liu - Griffin
McElroy - John Jackson Miller - Daniel Jose Older - Mallory Ortberg - Beth Revis
- Madeleine Roux - Greg Rucka - Gary D. Schmidt - Cavan Scott - Charles Soule -
Sabaa Tahir - Elizabeth Wein - Glen Weldon - Chuck Wendig
authors have generously forgone any compensation for their stories. Instead,
their proceeds will be donated to First Book--a leading nonprofit that provides
new books, learning materials, and other essentials to educators and
organizations serving children in need. To further celebrate the launch of this
book and both companies' longstanding relationships with First Book, Penguin
Random House has donated $100,000 to First Book, and Disney/Lucasfilm has
donated 100,000 children's books--valued at $1,000,000--to support First Book
and their mission of providing equal access to quality education. Over the past
sixteen years, Disney and Penguin Random House combined have donated more than
eighty-eight million books to First Book.
This amazing book contains so much Star Wars material, and all writtenfor such a good cause, it's difficult to find anything wrong with it - it is a tribute to the greatest science fiction genre, with the emphasis on "fiction", because there are more Star Wars books in print than any other SF series, with the possible exceptionof Star Trek. I'm a sucker for both series, but I have to say that the Star Wars books come my way whilst the Star Trek ones don't. There is a newbook out about The Last Jedi, from publisher Abrams, and I'm hoping it's on its way, but maybe not in time for this issue. This book is here, it is now, and it is fabulous!
Ausma Zehanat Khan: The Bloodprint
Published by Harper Voyager 19th October 2017
The author of the acclaimed mystery The Unquiet Dead delivers her first
fantasy novel―the opening installment in a thrilling quartet―a tale of religion,
oppression, and political intrigue that radiates with heroism, wonder, and
hope. A dark power known as the Talisman has risen in the land. Born of ignorance
and persecution, it is led by a man known only as the One-Eyed Preacher. A
superstitious patriarchy, cruel and terrifying, the Talisman suppresses
knowledge and subjugates women. And it is growing. But there are those who seek to stop the oppressive spread of the Talisman. A
resistance formed of the Companions of Hira – a group of rebels versed in the
power of ancient scripture, a magic known as the Claim – believe they have
discovered the key to destroying the One-Eyed Preacher and his fervid followers:
The Bloodprint. Finding this dangerous manuscript that the Talisman has tried to erase from
the world promises to be their most dangerous undertaking yet: a perilous
journey deep into Talisman territory which may prove to be their last.
Top fantasy from Ausma Khan - this is deep and meaningful, not sword and sorcery as such, but nevertheless an extremely readable fantasy with references to religion and religious iconography that will whet your appetite for more of the same.
Janny Wurts: Destiny's Conflict
Published by Harper Voyager 5th October 2017
The long-awaited second book of the fourth story arc - Sword of the Canon -
in the epic fantasy series, the Wars of Light and Shadow. Lysaer’s unstable integrity lies under threat of total downfall, and as his
determined protector, Daliana will face the most frightening decision of her
young life. Arithon, Master of Shadow, is marked for death and still hunted, when his
critical quest to recover his obscured past entangles him in a web of deep
intrigue and ancient perils beyond his imagining. Elaira’s urgent pursuit of the Biedar Tribes’ secret embroils her in the
terrible directive of the Fellowship Sorcerers, while Dakar ― the Mad Prophet ―
confronts the hard reckoning for the colossal mistake of his misspent past, and
Tarens is steered by a destiny far from his crofter’s origins. The penultimate volume of The Wars of Light and Shadow will touch the grand
depths of Athera’s endowment, and deliver the thrilling finale of arc IV, the
Sword of the Canon. War, blood, magic, mystery – and the most hidden powers of all – will stand
or fall on their hour of unveiling.
This is pure fantasy, on the other hand, in the tradition of Terry Brooks and George R R Martin - Wurts creates worlds that rival those of Asimov's Foundation, and yet there is intricate detail as well. Spellbinding stuff.
Peter V Brett: The Core
Published by Harper Voyager 28th September 2017
Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author Peter V. Brett brings one
of the most imaginative fantasy sagas of the twenty-first century to an epic
close. The war has begun… For time out of mind, bloodthirsty demons have stalked the night, culling the
human race to scattered remnants dependent on half-forgotten magics to protect
them. Two heroes arose―men as close as brothers, yet divided by bitter betrayal.
Arlen Bales became known as the Painted Man, tattooed head-to-toe with powerful
magic symbols that enable him to fight demons in hand-to-hand combat―and emerge
victorious. Ahmann Jardir, armed with magically warded weapons, called himself
the Deliverer, a figure prophesied to unite humanity and lead them to triumph in
Sharak Ka―the final war against demonkind. But in their efforts to bring the war to the demons, Arlen and Jardir have
set something in motion that may prove the end of everything they hold dear―a
Swarm. Now the war is at hand, and humanity cannot hope to win it unless Arlen
and Jardir, with the help of Arlen’s wife, Renna, can bend a captured demon
prince to their will and force the devious creature to lead them to the Core,
where the Mother of Demons breeds an inexhaustible army. Trusting their closest confidantes, Leesha, Inevera, Ragen, and Elissa, to
rally the fractious people of the Free Cities and lead them against the Swarm,
Arlen, Renna, and Jardir set out on a desperate quest into the darkest depths of
evil―from which none of them expects to return alive.
I remember reading the first in Peter Brett's series, several years ago, and here we are, several volumeslater, about to reach the long-awaited conclusion. Again, this is Terry brooks-style fantasy, and Brett is one of the greatest modern proponents of the genre. Expect greatness - it's cramed with it, from start to finish. A worthy ending to a brilliant series.
The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its sixteenth year on the web, is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul Norman. You can contact me here. If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email and I'll let you know where to send it.