Saladin Ahmed's debut novel, Throne of the Crescent Moon is now available. The reviews so far are very positive and if you're not sure whether you should pick up the book or not, maybe this excerpt could help you decide (from Tor.com):
Nine days. Beneficent God, I beg you, let this be the day I die!
The guardsman’s spine and neck were warped and bent but still he lived. He’d been locked in the red lacquered box for nine days. He’d seen the days’ light come and go through the lid-crack. Nine days.He held them close as a handful of dinars. Counted them over and over. Nine days. Nine days. Nine days. If he could remember this until he died he could keep his soul whole for God’s sheltering embrace.He had given up on remembering his name.The guardsman heard soft footsteps approach, and he began to cry. Every day for nine days the gaunt, black-bearded man in the dirty white kaftan had appeared. Every day he cut the guardsman, or burned him. But worst was when the guardsman was made to taste the others’ pain.The gaunt man had flayed a young marsh girl, pinning the guardsman’s eyes open so he had to see the girl’s skin curl out under the knife. He’d burned a Badawi boy alive and held back the guardsman’s head so the choking smoke would enter his nostrils. The guardsman had been forced to watch the broken and burned bodies being ripped apart as the gaunt man’s ghuls fed on heart-flesh. He’d watched as the gaunt man’s servant-creature, that thing made of shadows and jackal skin, had sucked something shimmering from those freshly dead corpses, leaving them with their hearts torn out and their empty eyes glowing red.These things had almost shaken the guardsman’s mind loose. Almost. But he would remember. Nine days. Nine . . . . All-Merciful God, take me from this world!
Mark Lawrence, author of the great debut Prince of Thorns has an interesting idea. He's doing the edits for his next novel, King of Thorns that will be released in August, and he posted today the first of several "fragments" that were cut out from the final version. Here's why he cut them and the link:
Almost nothing was cut from King of Thorns in editing (quite a few additions). The only real casualties were small fragments from the view points of people in the background/scenery of the story. These were to nestle between chapters and put a human face on a grand conflict. In the end it was felt they distracted from / diluted the main thrust of storytelling.