Posts Tagged ‘angry robot’

The Dragon Engine

January 17, 2016 - 4:50 pm No Comments

The Dragon Engine
Blood Dragon Empire series book 1
Author: Andy Remic
Publisher: Angry Robot
591pp (eBook edition)
Release date: 3rd Sept 2015
reviewed by Chris Amies

“The Dragon Engine” tells the story of a group of humans who embark on a quest to possibly save the life of one of their number. And to claim the treasure of the supposedly lost Dwarf kingdoms while they’re at it. It begins, as such stories may, with a feast and the swearing of mighty oaths. In fact a lot of swearing generally. This is far less well-mannered fantasy than we have been used to in the past; the word Grimdark has been used and we are now habituated to such grim, bloody-slogging nightmare (or those people who read/watch it are) from Mr Martin’s Game of Thrones.
On the one side of this savage tale you have the band of fast friends who have, they thought, put their soldiering days behind them and taken to the pleasures of love, food and drink, but who come out of retirement for this quest. Our viewpoint character here is Beetrax, a huge axeman, uncouth and violent but who has hidden depths and capacities. On the other you have their enemy: a thoroughly nasty culture living underground and who are ruled by a dyarchy – so called because each ruler wants the other to die? Separation of church and state has led to on one side a king who might not be that nice but does believe that people shouldn’t be tortured to death; his opposite number is Skalg, Cardinal of the Church of Hate, who has no such qualms and is a colossal pervert, brutal both sexually and otherwise. Insurrection is in the air which means that by the time our heroes get there the situation is going to be even more complicated.
This is an impressively bloody novel, with no quarter given or asked from the many vicious fights and nasty situations our characters get into. The language is equally foul and indeed certain words crop up so often it’s beginning to look a lot like Tourette’s.
As well as the opposing titans already mentioned the other characters are well drawn, the relationships between the adventurers giving them a plausible back story. This is a novel which in many ways plays with fantasy tropes – dragons, dwarfs, stew (why is it always stew? as Diana Wynne Jones asked in ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland’: but it always is) and while using them goes beyond them. There are indeed dragons and what became of them, and the Dragon Engine of the title, is the engine (as it were) of the novel.
This is volume 1 of a new series which going on the evidence here will be worth keeping up with. I write this as someone who doesn’t really do Fantasy unless its characters can take time out for a latte (i.e. the Urban subtype) but go on, Andy Remic, do go on, you have convinced me. Not that the world depicted is one I would like to live in – not given the likelihood of sudden brutal death or worse – but in its sweaty, bloody self it is worth a visit.

Chris Amies Writer and translator

Reviewer biography: Chris Amies

Chris Amies was born in the suburbs south of London and lived for many years in Hammersmith, which district still appears in much of his fiction. He is the author of one published novel, one non-sfiction book (about pubs) and 25 short stories though the number is increasing, and has reviewed fiction for the BSFA and Tangent Online. He is currently preparing a collection of his older published works and recently diversified into anthology editing and full-length translations from French. His website is at


October 21, 2015 - 3:08 am No Comments


Theresa: Tell my readers a little bit about yourself

Marianne: I’m an Australian feminist SF/crime/YA writer with a passion for speculative fiction, cake, TV series, knowledge, and exercise. I’ve been writing professionally for about twenty years and have published 17 novels. The best way to find out about my work is to visit my three websites. is the overarching website, but at you can find out about my young adult and children’s writing, and at you can find out about my crime writing. My life has been about books and family.

Theresa: Your new novel is partly set in the Australian outback. Why is this?

Marianne: Well, actually, in my new series there isn’t much outback left! There’s one giant park that encapsulates what remains of the outback in Australia, which is one of the themes in the story – conservation. But I also puddle about in a bunch of other ideas, including the influence of mythology on human behaviour, social inequality, dislocated communities, and other things. Having lived in the outback for some years, I enjoyed writing the physical descriptions of the park, and I tried to get across both its ferocity and its fragility.

Theresa: What is it about fantasy/SF that appeals to you

Marianne: I’ve thought about this a lot over the years, and I keep coming back to the same notion of the “sense of freedom” it allows me as a writer. In futuristic narratives I can change the world, or invent new worlds. It’s the ultimate escapism. It also stretches my intellect and imagination. The phrase “use it or lose it” applies here. The more I stretch my imagination, the better my imagination is.

Theresa: If the world was about to end what three objects would you take with you, one of which must be a book?

Marianne: Wow, I think I could spend a lifetime just thinking up an answer for this question! But right at this moment that would be: The Greater Oxford Dictionary, a rug, and a pillow.

Marianne de Pierres is the author of the acclaimed Parrish Plessis and award-winning Sentients of Orion science fiction series. The Parrish Plessis series has been translated into eight languages and adapted into a roleplaying game. She’s also the author of a bestselling teen dark fantasy series entitled Night Creatures and writes award-winning crime under the pseudonym Marianne Delacourt.
She lives in Brisbane, Australia.
Visit Marianne online at her and follow her @mdepierres on Twitter.

Mythmaker: Peacemaker Series Book 2
Author: Marianne de Pierres
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release date: 1st Oct 2015
Page Count: 432pp

Virgin Jackson is in a tight spot.
A murder rap hangs over her head and isn’t likely to go away unless she agrees to work for an organisation called GJIC (the Global Joint Intelligence Commission). Being blackmailed is one thing, discovering that her mother is both alive and the President of GJIC is quite another, particularly as her mother abandoned her as a child in favour of her career.. Then there’s the escalation of Mythos sightings and the bounty on her head. Oddly, Hamish is the only one she can rely on. Life is complicated.

Set within the glorious backdrop of a desolate Australian outback, Mythmaker blends the energy of an old style Western with the splendour of classic SF. Hypnotic, lyrical language adds depth to this background, which Virgin is desperately trying to conserve. The technology used in this future world is also feasible and realistic.
I enjoyed the tense and fraught relationship Virgin has with her partner, Marshal Nate Sixkiller. There is a burgeoning chemistry here. It doesn’t help that Virgin is a strong female character with her own eagle spirit guide, Aquila, with its own personality, and she will argue any point with Nate.
I felt comfortable reading this sequel without having read the first book in the series, and easily picked up on the mythology of the Mythos. Mythos are other-wordly creatures from classic myths and legends causing chaos in our world. One of the most interesting creatures in the book is the Pocong; “a burial shroud wrapped around a dead ‘un”
The mixture of creatures such as Aswang, outside the norm is interesting and adds dimension. Altogether an excellent book I would highly

Angry Robot at Forbidden Planet

August 25, 2015 - 7:32 am No Comments

I was delighted last Thu to attend a multi-book signing by Angry Robot authors at the new and improved Forbidden Planet Birmingham.

First off, as well as there being books! There were biscuits and for us poor souks on Slimming World, bananas 😫

There was a great level of bantering going on, an interesting panel item on world building and the like hosted by Penny Reeve, chatting to the four authors in attendance, in no particular order; Andy Remic, Rod Duncan, Susan Murray and Matthew De Abaitua. We also had a bonus arrival of Gav Thorpe. It was great to meet old friends like Gav and Andy and meet new friends such as Penny, Susan, Matthew and Rod (who is a guest at a convention I help to organise. Novacon 45 held in Nottingham at the Park In 13 – 15 Nov.)

Here is a little bit about the books they were talking about;

The Dragon Engine: Andy Remic

Five noble war heroes of Vagandrak get drunk one night and sign a contract – to journey to the Karamakkos in search of the Five Havens. There, it is written, there lies untold, abandoned wealth and, more importantly, the three Dragon Heads, legendary jewels claimed to give unspeakable power and everlasting life to those who wield them.
But the Dragon Heads aren’t what the adventurers think they are, and the world has not encountered their like in many, many generations!

If Then: Matthew De Abaitua

In the near future, after the collapse of society as we know it, one English town survives under the protection of the computer algorithms of the Process, which governs every aspect of their lives. The Process gives and it takes. It allocates jobs and resources, giving each person exactly what it has calculated they will need. But it also decides who stays under its protection, and who must be banished to the wilderness beyond. Human life has become totally algorithm-driven, and James, the town bailiff, is charged with making sure the Process’s suggestions are implemented.
But now the Process is making soldiers. It is readying for war — the First World War. Mysteriously, the Process is slowly recreating events that took place over a hundred years ago, and is recruiting the town’s men to fight in an artificial reconstruction of the Dardanelles campaign. James, too, must go fight. And he will discover that the Process has become vastly more sophisticated and terrifying than anyone had believed possible.

The Waterborne Exile: Susan Murray

A nameless priestess will stop at nothing to get revenge on the killers of her lover.
In a world of turmoil, following the king’s death, the traitor Vasic is struggling to secure his rule over the combined Peninsular Kingdoms whilst the exiled queen, Alwenna, has taken refuge with a freemerchant community whose elders fear her dark power.
Mistrust rules the day with bribery, drugs, trafficking of children, and murder rife throughout the kingdom.
As the priestess’ plot for revenge continues, Alwenna leaves to seek the outcast group of loyal kinsman. Marten attempts to restore Alwenna to the throne but as the priestess closes in, will he succeed?

Unseemly Science: Rod Duncan

In the divided land of England, Elizabeth Barnabus has been living a double life – as both herself and as her brother, the private detective. Witnessing the brutal hanging of someone very close to her, Elizabeth resolves to throw theBullet Catcher’s Handbook into the fire, and forget her past. If only it were that easy!
There is a new charitable organisation in town, run by some highly respectable women. But something doesn’t feel right to Elizabeth. Perhaps it is time for her fictional brother to come out of retirement for one last case? Her unstoppable curiosity leads her to a dark world of body-snatching, unseemly experimentation, politics and scandal. Never was it harder for a woman in a man’s world…

It was great to hear about various methods used including editing styles, use of tools such as Dragon Dictate, gender politics in The Waterborne Exile and the engorged cock in Andy’s book, which pretty much sold it to me!

Anyway, as always, Forbidden Planet were great hosts and the staff are well informed and great to chat to. Make sure you attend one of their signings soon!

Penny Reeve
Fiction Publicity Manager
Angry Robot Books

Angry Robot Books
twitter: @angryrobotbooks | @penelopebabs

An imprint of Watkins Media Ltd. • Company No. 9171151 • Reg. office: 19 Cecil Court, London, WC2N 4HE, UK

Reviews Coming Soon

March 5, 2014 - 10:21 am No Comments

As you can imagine my reading list is quite full, but to intrigue you and entice you into reading my blog, here are some of the reviews you can expect to read over the next two months:

The Darkness Within: Final Cut
Sam Stone

Christopher Golden with

The Pretenders: Book One (Graphic Novel)
Christopher Golden and Charlaine Harris

The Language of Dying
Sarah Pinborough

The League of Sharks
David Logan

The Axe Factor
Colin Cotterill

Once Upon a Time in Hell
Guy Adams

Stuck on You
Jasper Bark

Best British Horror 2014
(Ed) Johnny Mains

Straight to You
David Moody

Ack Ack Macaque & Hive Monkey
Gareth L Powell

Where You Live
Gary McMahon

And that’s just for starters! I’ll also be posting reviews for DVDs and book reviews by Andy Angel. on my site I’ll also regularly blog about my plans for KnightWatch Press and about formidable Women in Horror

Last God Standing

March 5, 2014 - 10:07 am No Comments

Last God Standing
Author: Michael Boatman
Publisher: Angry Robot
Page count: 416pp
Release Date: 25th March 2014
Reviewer: Andy Angel

An interesting premise here, and one that works really well. After 2000 years doing “the job he was created to do” God has quit and come to live among humanity. He is now Lando Cooper, living in Chicago and working in his Dad’s Auto supplies shop…….he also aspires the make it as a stand up comedian.

Unfortunately for Lando he is being regularly challenged by God’s from the elder pantheon (think Greek, Roman, Indian God’s and you get the idea) who want to take his place as Supreme Being. On top of all this a murderous new God known only as The Coming is on the horizon and getting closer.

This novel has a lot going for it. The idea on it’s own is a good one – God lives among us (as do other God’s and even Lucifer) but he is just a regular guy! There are several battles between Lando and other Gods and at times these can be quite epic but there is also home life (the interactions between Lando, his parents – both separated – and their partners are, at times funny enough to make your sides ache) and his love life.

So, all Lando has to do is face and beat an array of God’s, The Coming, and win the girl’s hand while not letting anyone know who he is/was. Oh, and win a slot at the comedy club night and host a TV customers show. There is, needless to say, quite a lot going on but it is to the author’s credit that at no point does it feel rushed or crammed. There are moments that will make you chuckle, touching moments and one’s to make you laugh out loud (the restaurant scene with his girlfriend and her family is a work of comedy genius in my opinion).

The other plus for me is that although the main character is God the book itself is not overly religious or preachy – just a good fun read that I will happily recommend to anyone