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Showing posts from 2017

Book Review: Deadhouse Landing

Deadhouse Landing by Ian C. Esslemont, Path to Ascendancy #2 After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To do so they join forces with a small band of Napans who have fled a civil war on their own home island. The plan, however, soon goes awry as Kellanved develops a strange and dangerous fascination for a mysterious ancient structure found on the island. The chaos in the region extends to the metaphysical planes also as a young priest of D'rek starts to question the rot at the heart of the worship of the god of decay. And back in Li Heng, Dassem, now the proclaimed Sword of Hood, finds himself being blamed for a plague which leads him to a crisis of faith - and searching for answers. During all this, war with the neighbouring island of Nap threatens, recruited allies wonder at Kellanved’s sanity, and powerful entities take more of an inter

Guest Blog: The Journey into Malaz by Ian C. Esslemont

The Journey into Malaz by Ian C. Esslemont The question of the journey of the Malazan Empire up to now is of course impossible to answer in any short form.  However, I suppose I could trace out a few ideas that Steve and I pursued, or hoped we’d managed to pursue.  Of course we both grew up on fantasy literature.  We love the genre; and as fans and budding writers and scholars of literature, we hoped to contribute to it, while, at the same time, providing something new – or at least different.  So, in sculpting our material (consciously and unconsciously), we decided to take from the extant fantasy genre the elements we enjoyed, while at the same time excising those elements we wished to leave behind (such as moral absolutes).  Then, we looked at other genres for models or other desirable elements, and we ended up importing aspects of war fiction, historical fiction, so-called ‘realism’, hard-boiled detective fiction, noir, ancient classical fiction, and others, to compile

Media Alert: The Fisher of Bones

Media Alert: The Fisher of Bones In The Fisher of Bones a tiny band of prophet-led outcasts, are guided by tablets and lured by the promise land. This time, however, the tablets are incomprehensible to most believers, and the original prophet dies with no promised land in sight. His heir, a resentful daughter (named Ducky, and then Fisher), cannot deny the sudden alteration of her vision and the cacophony of otherworldly voices that descend upon her as her father dies. Faith is for others; she has duty and marching orders. Their journey is almost at an end, but now, without the Prophet, Fisher must find a way to guide them to the place they will call Home. Through blood and through sand, against the will of her own flock, against the horrors that haunt the darkness, only she can bring her people Home. The Prophet is dead. Long live the Prophetess. This serial is written by Sarah Gailey. Hugo and Campbell award finalist Gailey is an internationally-published fiction and

Book review: The Blind

The Blind by AF Brady Sam James has spent years carefully crafting her reputation as the best psychologist at Typhlos, Manhattan's most challenging psychiatric institution. She boasts the highest success rates with the most disturbed patients, believing if she can't save herself, she'll save someone else. It's this savior complex that serves her well in helping patients battle their inner demons, though it leads Sam down some dark paths and opens her eyes to her own mental turmoil. When Richard, a mysterious patient no other therapist wants to treat, is admitted to Typhlos, Sam is determined to unlock his secrets and his psyche. What she can't figure out is why does Richard appear to be so completely normal in a hospital filled with madness? And what, really, is he doing at the institution? As Sam gets pulled into Richard's twisted past, she can't help but analyze her own life, and what she discovers terrifies her. And so the mind games begin.

Book Review: Inferno Squad

Inferno Squad by Christie Golden After the humiliating theft of the Death Star plans and the resulting destruction of the battle station, the Empire is on the defensive. In response to this stunning defeat, the Imperial Navy has authorized the formation of an elite team of soldiers, known as Inferno Squad. Their mission: infiltrate and eliminate the remnants of Saw Gerrera’s Partisans. Following the death of their leader, the Partisans have carried on his extremist legacy, determined to thwart the Empire—no matter what the cost. Now, Inferno Squad must prove their status as the best of the best and take down the Partisans from within. But as the danger intensifies and the threat of discovery grows, how far will Inferno Squad go to ensure the safety of the Empire? It has been a while since I read a Star Wars book, one of the last ones must have been Catalyst. Anyhow. Star Wars books are hot at the moment with the new movies coming out in a rapid pace. The great thing about thes

Book Review: Age of Assassins

Age of Assassins by RJ Parker, The  Wounded Kingdom #1 Girton Club-foot, apprentice to the land's best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives. But his latest mission tasks him and his master with a far more difficult challenge: to  save  a life. Someone, or many someones, is trying to kill the heir to the throne, and it is up to Girton and his master to uncover the traitor and prevent the prince's murder.  In a kingdom on the brink of civil war and a castle thick with lies Girton finds friends he never expected, responsibilities he never wanted, and a conspiracy that could destroy an entire kingdom. Age of Assassins  came as a surprise for me, this book wasn't on my radar. Assassins are hands down cool. The stealthy kind of killers that leave no trace... My first introduction to reading about assassins in a series was by Brent Weeks with The Way of the Shadows, which was a remarkable experience. And which was also published by Orbit

Book Review: Strange Practice

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw,  Dr. Greta Helsing #1 Greta Helsing inherited the family's highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills - vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta's been groomed for since childhood. Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life. I was quite intrigued by the cover and the synopsis of Strange Practice . It sounded like music to my ears. When I was imaging this story I thought that this book would take place somewhere in the 1700's or 1800's and not the modern day as it was. Should have looked better on the cover with the London Eye. Anyway this was

Book Review: The Delirium Brief

The Delirium Brief by Charles Stross,  The Laundry Files #8 Bob Howard’s career in the Laundry, the secret British government agency dedicated to protecting the world from unspeakable horrors from beyond spacetime, has entailed high combat, brilliant hacking, ancient magic, and combat with indescribably repellent creatures of pure evil. It has also involved a wearying amount of paperwork and office politics, and his expense reports are still a mess. Now, following the invasion of Yorkshire by the Host of Air and Darkness, the Laundry’s existence has become public, and Bob is being trotted out on TV to answer pointed questions about elven asylum seekers. What neither Bob nor his managers have foreseen is that their organization has earned the attention of a horror far more terrifying than any demon: a British government looking for public services to privatize. There’s a lot of potential shareholder value in the Laundry’s “knowledge assets.” Inch by inch, Bob Howard and his

Book Review: The Management Style of the Supreme Beings

The Management Style of the Supreme Beings by Tom Holt When the Supreme Being and his son decide that being supreme isn't for them any more, it's inevitable that things get a bit of a shake-up. It soon becomes apparent that our new owners, the Venturi brothers, have a very different perspective on all sorts of things. Take Good and Evil, for example. For them, it's an outdated concept that never worked particularly well in the first place. Unfortunately, the sudden disappearance of right and wrong, while welcomed by some, raises certain concerns amongst those still attached to the previous team's management style. In particular, there's one of the old gods who didn't move out with the others. A reclusive chap, he lives somewhere up north, and only a handful even believe in him. But he's watching. And he really does need to know if you've been naughty or nice. For me Tom Holt is one of the funniest writers out there. Ever si

Book Review: A Gathering of Ravens

A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden To the Danes, he is  skraelingr ; to the English, he is  orcneas ; to the Irish, he is  fomoraig . He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind--the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days. Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that's changed. A new faith has arisen. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir's vengeance cannot be denied. Taking a young Christian hostage to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland a

Book Review: The Eternal Kingdom

The Eternal Kingdom by Ben Peek, Children Trilogy #3 A nation in fragments On the shores of Yeflam, Ayae struggles to keep her people together. She acts as liaison between the camp leaders and the immortals who could save them. Zaifyr's immortal siblings have arrived - but they have their own unfathomable agendas and Ayae is caught in their power games.  An army on the march Heast has returned to his role as Captain of Refuge, a mercenary unit that answers the call of lost causes. With help from an unexpected source, Heast and his band of mercenaries could turn the tide of war - if they live long enough. A world in danger Bueralan Le is trapped in the company of the new god, Se'Saera. Though he fights to prevent her from unleashing her forces on the world, he is bound by blood to her darkest creation. The future of the world may depend on his choices. When Ben Peek first came out with The Godless  I was awestruck. It was an amazing experience to read. The details of the cha

Excerpt: Scourge: A Novel of Darkhurst

Excerpt: Scourge: A Novel of Darkhurst Chapter One A HEAVY IRON candleholder slammed against the  wall, just missing Corran Valmonde’s head. “Son of a bitch!” “Try not to make her mad, Corran.” Rigan Valmonde knelt on the worn floor, drawing a sigil in charcoal, moving as quickly as he dared. Not quickly enough; a piece of firewood spun from the hearth and flew across the room, slamming him in the shoulder hard enough to make him grunt in pain. “Keep her off me!” he snapped, repairing the smudge in the soot line. Sloppy symbols meant sloppy magic, and that could get someone killed. “I would if I could see her.” Corran stepped away from the wall, raising his iron sword, putting himself between the fireplace and his brother. His breath misted in the unnaturally cold room and moisture condensed on the wavy glass of the only window. “Watch where you step.” Rigan worked on the second sigil, widdershins from the soot marking, this one daubed in ochre. “I don’t wa