A Round of Covers

Friday, July 11, 2014

Brian Ruckley,  the author of the Winterbrith saga (my review of Winterbirth here) has a new book coming up... eventually... (Amazon list it as October 2014) and a new cover art for The Free surfaced on Amazon. A 'not final' cover was  unveiled last year and I liked it better, the lettering on the new one is kind of awful isn't it?

A warrior of legend. A warrior to be feared. 
The famed Yulan is leader of The Free, the last remaining band of mercenaries in the Hommetic Kingdom. Feared and revered, they were once seen as a threat to the Hommetic Kingdom's power -- until they outlasted it in the course of a bloody rebellion. 
With the oppressive monarch overthrown, The Free plan to finally lay down their weapons, hoping for a chance of peace at last -- until Yulan is offered one final contract that he is unable to refuse. The target is the very man responsible for the worst atrocity Yulan has ever witnessed, one that has haunted him ever since. And now is his last chance to right that wrong.
But as Yulan and his companions embark on their last journey, a potent mix of vengeance, love and loyalty is building to a storm. It is a storm so violent it is likely to destroy the last of the free companies. And only then will they discover the true price of freedom.

Sam Sykes posted a new cover art for his latest book, The City Stained Red.  This is a new evolution of the cover for the trade paperback edition of the book. You can also take a look at the previous iteration and the hardcover edition.

I have read the first book in the Moontide Quartet by David Hair (my review of Mage's Blood) and found it quite interesting.  I still haven't picked up the follow-up, Scarlet Tides but I intend to do so.  Here's the cover for the third novel in the series, Unholy War.


Finally but not the least, here's the very nice cover art for the Subterranean Press limited edition of Joe Abercrombie's latest YA oriented story, Half A King. Gorgeous.

July releases

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer time!!!

Here's my spotlight in Fantasy releases for the month of July 2014!

It's the US debut of The Wurms of Blearmouth : A Malazan Tale of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, the fifth book starring the infamous necromancers by Steven Erikson (July 8th)


Tower Lord
Raven's Shadow book 2
Anthony Ryan
July 1st
“The blood-song rose with an unexpected tune, a warm hum mingling recognition with an impression of safety. He had a sense it was welcoming him home.”  
Vaelin Al Sorna, warrior of the Sixth Order, called Darkblade, called Hope Killer. The greatest warrior of his day, and witness to the greatest defeat of his nation: King Janus’s vision of a Greater Unified Realm drowned in the blood of brave men fighting for a cause Vaelin alone knows was forged from a lie. Sick at heart, he comes home, determined to kill no more.  
Named Tower Lord of the Northern Reaches by King Janus’s grateful heir, he can perhaps find peace in a colder, more remote land far from the intrigues of a troubled Realm. But those gifted with the blood-song are never destined to live a quiet life. Many died in King Janus’s wars, but many survived, and Vaelin is a target, not just for those seeking revenge butf or those who know what he can do.  
The Faith has been sundered, and many have no doubt who their leader should be. The new King is weak, but his sister is strong. The blood-song is powerful, rich in warning and guidance in times of trouble, but is only a fraction of the power available to others who understand more of its mysteries. Something moves against the Realm, something that commands mighty forces, and Vaelin will find to his great regret that when faced with annihilation, even the most reluctant hand must eventually draw a sword.

The Shadow Throne
The Shadow Campaigns book 2
 Django Wexler
July 1st
Anyone can plot a coup or fire an assassin’s bullet. But in a world of muskets and magic, it takes considerably more to seize the throne. 
The ailing King of the Vordan lies on his deathbed. When he dies, his daughter, Raesinia Orboan, will become the first Queen Regnant in centuries—and a ripe target for the ambitious men who seek to control her. The most dangerous of these is Duke Orlanko, Minister of Information and master of the secret police. Having meticulously silenced his adversaries through intimidation, imprisonment, and execution, Orlanko is the most feared man in the kingdom. 
And he knows an arcane secret that puts Raesinia completely at his mercy. 
Exposure would mean ruin, but Raesinia is determined to find a way to break herself—and her country—out of Orlanko’s iron grip. She finds unlikely allies in the returning war hero Janus bet Vhalnich, fresh from a brilliant campaign in the colony of Khandar, and his loyal deputies, Captain Marcus d’Ivoire and Lieutenant Winter Ihernglass. 
As Marcus and Winter struggle to find their places in the home they never thought they would see again, they help Janus and Raesinia set in motion events that could free Vordan from Orlanko’s influence—at the price of throwing the nation into chaos. But with the people suffering under the Duke’s tyranny, they intend to protect the kingdom with every power they can command, earthly or otherwise.

Seal of the Worm
Shadows of the Apt book 10
Adrian Tchaikovsky
July 3rd
The Empire stands victorious over its enemies at last. With her chief rival cast into the abyss, Empress Seda now faces the truth of what she has cost the world in order to win the war. The Seal has been shattered, and the Worm stirs towards the light for the first time in a thousand years. Already it is striking at the surface, voraciously consuming everything its questing tendrils touch. Faced with this threat, Seda knows that only the most extreme of solutions can lock the Worm back in the dark once again. But if she will go to such appalling lengths to save the world from the Worm, then who will save the world from her? The last book in the epic critically acclaimed Shadows of the Apt series.

The Dark Blood
The Long War book 2
A.J. Smith
July 3rd
In the court of every city in the lands of Ro, a sorceress sits. And in the minds of that city's people, each sorceress weaves a song. She and her sisters sing of the liberation of the land, the taming of the highland tribes, and the birth of a precious new race: the children of a dead god.
Of course, they do not sing of the death of young Prince Christophe at the hands of that god. Particularly as his replacement dances so well to their tune. 
Yet all songs have an end. An ending speeded when the assassin Rham Jas Rami accepts a commission from Bromvy Black Guard, traitor duke of Canarn. 
The rebellion of Ro has begun...

Half a King
Joe Abercrombie
July 8th
“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.
Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?
But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

A Plunder of Souls
Thieftaker Chronicles book 3
D.B. Jackson
July 8th
Boston, 1769: Ethan Kaille, a Boston thieftaker who uses his conjuring to catch criminals, has snared villans and defeated magic that would have daunted a lesser man. What starts out as a mysterious phenomenon that has local ministers confused becomes something far more serious. 
A ruthless, extremely powerful conjurer seeks to wake the souls of the dead to wreak a terrible revenge on all who oppose him. Kaille's minister friends have been helpless to stop crimes against their church. Graves have been desecrated in a bizarre, ritualistic way. Equally disturbing are reports of recently deceased citizens of Boston reappearing as grotesquely disfigured shades, seemingly having been disturbed from their eternal rest, and now frightening those who had been nearest to them in life. But most personally troubling to Kaille is a terrible waning of his ability to conjure. He knows all these are related…but how? 
When Ethan discovers the source of this trouble, he realizes that his conjure powers and those of his friends will not be enough to stop a madman from becoming all-powerful. But somehow, using his wits, his powers, and every other resource he can muster, Ethan must thwart the monster's terrible plan and restore the restless souls of the dead to the peace of the grave. Let the battle for souls begin in A Plunder of Souls, the third, stand-alone novel in Jackson's acclaimed Thieftaker series.

The High Druid's Blade
The Defenders of Shannara book 1
Terry Brooks
March 11th
The High Druid's Blade: The Defenders Of ShannaraLegend has it that Paxon Leah is descended from the royals and warriors who once ruled the Highlands and waged war with magical weapons. But those kings, queens, and heroes are long gone, and there is nothing enchanted about the antique sword that hangs above Paxons fireplace. Running his familys modest shipping business, Paxon leads a quiet lifeuntil extraordinary circumstances overturn his simple world . . . and rewrite his destiny. When his brash young sister is abducted by a menacing stranger, Paxon races to her rescue with the only weapon he can find. And in a harrowing duel, he is stunned to discover powerful magic unleashed within himand within his ancestors ancient blade. But his formidable new ability is dangerous in untrained hands, and Paxon must master it quickly because his nearly fatal clash with the dark sorcerer Arcannen wont be his last. Leaving behind home and hearth, he journeys to the keep of the fabled.

The Scorched Earth
Chaos Born book 2
Drew Karpyshyn
July 15th
The Children of Fire—four mortals touched by the power of Chaos—each embody one aspect of a banished and fallen immortal champion: Keegan, the wizard; Scythe, the warrior; Cassandra, the prophet; Vaaler, the king. Now grown to adulthood, the Children are in search of the ancient Talismans that can stop the return of Daemron the Slayer, ancient enemy of the Old Gods. But in acquiring Daemron’s Ring, they’ve left in their wake death, destruction, and a queen bent on revenge.
For the discovery of the Talismans has unleashed a flood of Chaos magic on the land—and now their strength will be tested and their faith tried as never before. Beset on all sides by both mortal and supernatural enemies, they race to find Daemron’s Sword, the last of the ancient Talismans, before the entire mortal world is engulfed in the flames of war and Chaos that will herald the return of the Slayer.

The Faithful and the Fallen book 2
John Gwynne
July 22nd
War has erupted in the Banished Lands as the race for power intensifies. 
Corban flees his homeland searching for peace, but he soon discovers that there is no haven in the west as the agents of Rhin and roaming bands of giants hound his every step. 
Veradis leaves the battleground and rushes to his King's side. But he has witnessed both combat and betrayal and his duty weighs heavily upon him. 
Maquin seeks only revenge, but pirate slavers and the brutal world of pit-fighting stand in his way. 
Nathair becomes embroiled in the wars of the west as Queen Rhin marches against King Owain. The need to find the cauldron of the giants drives him on. 
Sides are chosen and oaths will be fulfilled or broken in a land where hell has broken loose.

2014 Gemmell Legend awards winners

Monday, June 16, 2014

For a sixth year, The David Gemmell Legend Awards 2014 took place (here is the shortlist) and someone received a beautiful axe based upon Snaga (the legendary axe of Druss the Legend). The winners were announced on Friday, June 13th. Back when the shortlist was unveiled, I highlighted my favorites and my predictions as such (bold for my favorites and underline for my predictions):

Legend Award
(Best novel)

Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (Harper Collins UK)
A Memory of Light by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan (Tor/Forge)

Morningstar Award
(Best debut novel)

Promise of Blood by Brian McLellan (Orbit)

Ravenheart Award
(Best cover art)

Benjamin Carre for the cover of The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
Gene Mollica and Michael  Frost for the cover of Promise of Blood by Brian
McClellan (Orbit) 

Two of my favorites won but I got only one prediction right.... the winners are (Award page):

Jason Chan for the cover of Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (Harper Collins UK)

Promise of Blood by Brian McLellan (Orbit)

Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (Harper Collins UK)

Congrats Mark, Jason and Brian!  I'm really glad that Mark Lawrence won for this great book.  I know that awards are not everyone cup of tea but judging by the list of nominees and winners, I think that this year wasn't bad for the David Gemmell Legend awards for Fantasy.

My review of Emperor of Thorns and my review of Promise of Blood.

What about you, what do you think of this year winners?

Interested in the award?

Previous winners:

Legend award - Andrzej Sapkowski for Blood of Elves

Legend award - Graham McNeill for Empire
Morningstar award - Pierre Pevel for The Cardinal's Blades
Ravensheart award - Didier Graffet, Dave Senior and Laura Brett for the cover of Best Served Cold

Legend award -Brandon Sanderson for The Way of Kings
Morningstar award - Darius Hinks for Warrior Priest
Ravensheart award - Olof Erla Einarsdottir for Power and Majesty (written by Tansy Rayner Roberts)

Legend award - Patrick Rothfuss for The Wise Man's Fear
Morningstar award - Helen Lowe for Heir of Night
Ravensheart award - Raymond Swanland for Blood of Aenarion (written by William King)

Legend award - Brent Weeks for The Blinding Knife
Morningstar award - John Gwynne for Malice
Ravensheart award - Didier Graffet and Dave Senior for the cover of Red Country (written by Joe Abercrombie)

He Drank, and Saw the Spider review

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

He Drank, and Saw the Spider is the fifth book for Eddie LaCrosse, the sword jockey who investigated the downfall of a horse goddess, discovered a dragon cult and offspring, saved the Excalibur-like wielding ruler of an Arthurian-like kingdom and tackled famous pirates. This sword and sorcery mystery novel was released earlier this year and there's still no word from Bledsoe on Eddie's next story. I'm glad to say that Mr. LaCrosse is still going strong!
After he fails to save a stranger from being mauled to death by a bear, a young mercenary is saddled with the baby girl the man died to protect. He leaves her with a kindly shepherd family and goes on with his violent life. 
Now, sixteen years later, that young mercenary has grown up to become cynical sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. When his vacation travels bring him back to that same part of the world, he can’t resist trying to discover what has become of the mysterious infant. 
He finds that the child, now a lovely young teenager named Isadora, is at the center of complicated web of intrigue involving two feuding kings, a smitten prince, a powerful sorceress, an inhuman monster, and long-buried secrets too shocking to imagine. And once again she needs his help. 
They say a spider in your cup will poison you, but only if you see it. Eddie, helped by his smart, resourceful girlfriend Liz, must look through the dregs of the past to find the truth about the present—and risk what might happen if he, too, sees the spider.
I have grown very fond of good old sword-jockey Eddie LaCrosse. It's the kind of character you can't feel indifferent about. He's a genuine honest bad ass with many flaws but much experience and a knack to find himself in front of a punching fist for the sake of his job or of those in need for whom he can't refuse some help. Add to this a tendency toward witty remarks and a girlfriend who's probably the only person in the world who can really get the best out of him and you get closer and closer to Eddie. To top it all, Mr. Bledsoe chose to write his books in the first person perspective, the best choice to make us enjoy the man's adventures, investigations and ruminations to its fullest. This novel is testament enough.

The story starts with one of the tales of Eddie's past life as a mercenary. He stumbles upon a baby in the arms of a dying man and gets her to the nearest small town.  He meets a woman would could have been the love of his life (even after his previous tragic lost love) and leaves the little girl, who bears a strange tattoo on her back.... anything strange or foreboding here? Indeed. When the story jumps back to the present, what do you think will happen? Will the little girl reappear in Eddie's life?  Don't worry, I'm not trying to subtly say that the story is predictable. It may seem so at first but the author won't leave it at that save for a few hiccups.

Eddie is then following his beloved Liz in one of her deliveries.  After stumbling upon a presumably mad king and his sorceress, they decide to roam the countryside for a little vacation.  Most of the tale of He Drank, and Saw the Spider actually happens in a backwater country town and scenery. Even if it's less spectacular or grandiose, what matters is the interaction of the protagonists and the mystery behind Isadora.  A couple of secondary characters are thrown into the mix, a young incognito prince and his father, a Frankenstein monster-like experiment, a whole family of peculiar farmers turned rich, you name it. With fertility festival just around the corner, the right mix for an intrigue mixing the mighty and the commoners is created.

Sadly, the whole resolution of the secret of Isadora's true identity and past isn't handled has deftly as the author has accustomed us to. It's a denouement for the not so complex plot with some action involved and some surprises but it's not what I will remember the most from the tales of Eddie.

Another element nicely woven into each of Eddie's stories is magic.  There's no "magic systems" to speak of but there's always some witchcraft involved that may look like tricks from charlatan or become incredible supernatural representations. It's often just a touch and the characters are usually oblivious of it but for the most part, Bledsoe isn't getting out of tricky situation with a twist of unexplained magic. In the book, it's the sorceress who plays that role and even if at first I thought that this tale in particular wouldn't be based upon some common trope, it still is, in part. Still, Eddie has to save the day even if it's not really his life who's in danger.

Eddie's true to himself for the whole endeavor. He's as funny as usual (cynical and sarcastic), has the right amount of brawling, shows his wits and gets emotional.  He takes it very personal to find out what happened to Isadora and even if in retrospect I think that the story may be less breathtaking. However, it has all the charms to make it a nice page-turner, with Bledsoe usual straightforward prose and nimble pace. So, not the best LaCrosse novel but a nice addition to the list.

If you haven't read any LaCrosse books... shame on you!!! :)... you should pick up The Sword-Edge Blonde first. Here's my favorite LaCrosse books so far:
  1. The Sword-Edge Blonde
  2. Wake of the Bloody Angel
  3. He Drank, and Saw the Spider
  4. Burn Me Deadly
  5. Dark Jenny
Cover: I love the font used and the return of the same "guy" for Eddie but he still doesn't look like the man I imagined... too young maybe?  Anyway, it's a good fit with the previous books.
Release date: January 14th 2014 (Tor)
Map: No
Number of pages: 320 (hardcover edition)
Other: No appendices, dramatis personae or glossary

I liked...Was disappointed by...
Eddie's backstory explorationThe scope of the tale
An adventure with LizThe denouement
Eddie's drunken sequenceSome lack of peril

He Drank, and Saw the Spider review rating :

A Round of Covers

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The US cover art for Joe Abercrombie's second "YA" oriented novel, Half the World has been revealed. It's kind of.... special... it will catch the eye but it probably won't be showing up face first in our bookshelves... If you don't remember, here's the US and UK covers for the previous entry, Half a King.

What do you think?


Next is the UK cover for Django Wexler's upcoming The Shadow Throne (the second one is the previously unveiled US cover art).  I think I prefer the UK art but the face of the masked man... ouch, really not sure about that... it seems off...

Which one do you prefer?


Finally for this round, Orbit UK will be releasing new paperback editions of the whole Wheel of Time series and even if the new covers aren't as inspired as the e-book art from 2010 (over here if you want to see them again), they look nice.  Here's the link for Orbit's page.

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