Posts Tagged ‘Gollancz’

The Vanishing Throne (Falconer 2) Elizabeth May

August 4, 2017 - 6:36 pm No Comments

The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer Trilogy: Book 2)
Author: Elizabeth May
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: 362pp
Release date: 18th Nov 2015
(The third book The Fallen Lingdom was released 15th June 2017) Grab it now!


The first book in this series ‘The Falconer’ introduced us to a post-Regency world of early polite 19th Century society in Edinburgh, where Lady Alieana Kameron plays the game of ‘lady’ whilst tinkering with inventions.
On meeting pixie Derrick and Fae Kiaran, she discovers she is the ‘Falconer’ – the one who is strong enough to fight the fae – who wish to destroy the human world. There is much more to the first book (death, betrayal, love, passion, magic) but – spoilers darling!
Now, in the second book, having failed to save the world in a very Buffy-like manner – she is half dead and prisoner of Lonnrach – a baobhan sith – a vampire-like fae who holds Alieana in the faerie realm sucking her memories dry to find the information he needs to take a throne. The Vanishing Throne.
Time moves at a different pace in the Sith-bhruth – a week there can be months in the world of humans. But every day in her faerie prison is a day of torture – Lonnrach’s bite leaving physical and emotional scars, as his venom runs through her veins. But it is the guilt that consumes her, as much as the need to escape – she is shown visions of a desolate Edinburgh and knows she failed to save it.
Thankfully help comes in the form of Kiaran’s sister Aithinne.
There’s a nice little nod to The Princess Bride in here as Alieana escapes through the forests and rocks with Aithinne.
Though the imprisonment and escape is tense, emotional and intriguing, it was great to move on into Alieana’s normal world to see her reaction, and to see some old favourite characters.
Derrick the tiny winged pixie is particularly funny, as is Aithinne’s jubilant use of ‘normal’ swear words (implied at and stopped at just the right moment rather than expressed) and her sibling rivalry with Kiaran. Never mind Alieana’s love for Kiaran- a powerful fae she is only just getting to know.
When Derrick is drunk on honey he is very productive and at one point makes new clothes for Alieana- who huffs – to which Derrick replies “so just because the world ends you can’t dress fancy anymore?” Point made! I can almost feel Joss Whedon’s influence here, in reflect of sparkling dialogue at the least.
As for Kiaran, he has taught himself not to feel compassion after centuries in faerie, but seeing Alieana again stirs something deep inside, and when she is hurt at one point by another character his anger is cold. Bound from killing humans he still points out, “It’s incredible what the human body can endure without dying.” He’s your ‘Angel’ to Alieana’s Buffy; sexy, brooding, stalwart, strong – and lethal.
As a team, our heroes are formidable adversaries for Lonnrach, each character having different attributes to bring to the party; carrying on with the Buffy analogy – the ‘Scooby Gang’, each one valuable in their own right, with believable personalities to match.
With the gang and the surviving humans forming a truce with the pixies, we see an extraordinary underground city; glittering quartz domes, bee hive shaped houses, obsidian buildings, and food from everywhere in the world, which the pixies can create from nothing. But the sparkling fae disturb Alieana who still bears the scars of her torture.
However, for the reader, the city is awesome; you can smell, taste and feel this place. Stunning. Yet for Alieana there’s something missing that the real world has. Yet that real world is shattered and can’t be returned to right now. That won’t stop Alieana from trying to save the world that exists now – with a fairy killing gun (a blunderbus of her own design) her own innate powers and her team as back up.
This is a hero I can get on with. And here’s why;
“No – I don’t want balls (now now trader! not that type), or parties, or dresses again. No elevenhours or fourhours or being forced into marriage.
Those things all kept me caged …”
This is an awesome blend of Austen-era bad-assery heroines, magical steampunk, fae legend and urban fantasy.

Blackwing: The Raven’s Mark 1 Ed McDonald

July 30, 2017 - 6:38 pm No Comments

Blackwing
Author: Ed McDonald
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: 435pp
Release Date: 27th July 2017
Online: @EdMcDonaldTFK, @Gollancz, @StevieFinegan, #Blackwing

Captain Ryhalt Galharrow has brought a crew of mercenaries/soldiers into the ‘Misery’ where sympathisers have fled. And it’s his job to get them back. On his arm, he has a tattoo of a raven, which materialises in an incredibly painful way into real life and allows him to talk to Crowfoot; one of the Nameless and his boss of sorts. Stuck in the Misery, Crowfoot suddenly Orders the Captain and his crew to head for Station Twelve to find a woman.
There are plenty of twists and turns on our journey and it is a blend of Grimdark fantasy, magic and a kind of post apocalyptic setting.
“Everything in the Misery is broken. Everything is wrong”.
Ah, the Misery. Difficult to explain without too many spoilers but I’ll give it my best shot.
If you’re into genre TV, for me it felt like a mix between the underside in Stranger Things with a blend of Purgatory from S7/8 of Supernatural.
It’s a dark, unforgiving place that feels ‘other’. And the creatures tha live there are deadly, weird as hell and dangerous.
Captain Galharrow, the narrator, has that rugged, worn, anti-hero vibe going on, tarnished by life. A perfect example is how he describes his band of followers;
“How I’d managed to pick up such worthless gutter rats I couldn’t recall. Out of brandy, twenty miles into the Misery and a troop of vermin at my heels.” Brilliant tone of voice full of sarcasm and nonchalance with a good dose of pessimism here.
One of my favourite of the Gang is Nenn; a female cutthroat with her nose torn off, a wooden one in its place. She chews black sap, swears, fights and is the right hand woman for the captain. I love the fact that McDonald points out quite early, she is not ‘with’ Galharrow in a romantic or sexual sense. In fact, he uses humour to effect as Galharrow tells the reader he’s not exactly handsome, his jaw had “certainly taken enough of a pounding” and though Nenn claims to get a ‘hellcat in the sack’ their relationship remains platonic. We have a strong, unique female character who is judged by her skills and qualities not her skill in the bedroom. Fabulous.
The banter and ribaldry between the crew is really entertaining and humorous, the dialogue sharp and witty. There is a penetrating darkness to the environment and the action that happens in the book, making this a gritty and sometimes cruel read. There’s plenty of bloodshed and a fair old body count to be had here! This is not for the faint hearted.

Just an additional note yo add is it’s a beautiful looking book to hold in your hands, the paper edges dyed black and a gloriously grim and mysterious cover.
A brilliant gripping debut that I suspect will garner awards in 2018.

Archangel’s Heart

June 21, 2017 - 12:24 pm No Comments

Archangel’s Heart
Guild Hunter Book 9
Author: Nalini Singh
Publisher: Gollancz
Page Count: 381pp
Release date: 2nd Nov 2016
Tweet if you like it: @NaliniSingh, @Gollancz, @StevieFinegan
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Archangels-Heart-Book-Guild-Hunter-ebook/dp/B01D8ZZWO2/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498047841&sr=1-5&keywords=nalini+singh

 

Right, things are a little complicated if you don’t know the series or haven’t read the previous books, but Singh drops in pieces of exposition during the first couple of chapters. So, I’m going to summarise the gist of it here for you.
This is the ninth book in the Guild Hunter series, a series in which an Archangel named Raphael is betrothed/mated (call it what you will) to his consort Elena. Raphael is in charge of New York, a city where angels, humans and vampires roam. Vampires are created by Archangels/angels, who repay the debt of saving their life and making them immortal, with a 100 years of servitude. Some angels can be brutal towards their ‘property’ indulging themselves in sexual torture, physical abuse and downright nastiness. But in the main, they are treated well, for instance, Montgomery was made by Raphael and works happily for him as a kind of butler/organiser/PA. He is also happily married to his partner of choice. Raphael is madly in love with his Elena (Guild Hunter-turned angel) who is the equivalent of a toddler in terms of angelic power. She returns his passion in spades. As for the Guild Hunters, they basically hunt ‘naughty’ vampires who runaway from their masters.
At this stage of the series, Elena is coming into her powers. This book is set two years after the events of the last book. Archangel Alexander awoke from ‘Sleep’ claiming back half of his lands from the current ruler Favashi. Cue tension and possible war. At the same time two years ago, after making zombie-ish creatures to try and take power, Lijuan was last seen disappearing into the distance (presumed not-dead due to her age) and there was the ‘cascade’, causing untold destruction and changes in the world hierarchy. Now, as Lijuan has been missing/dead for two years, a mysterious and ancient order of angels, the Luminata, call the Cardre of Archangels together to discuss the fate of Lijuan’s territory. But if she is not in ‘Sleep’ and is in fact alive, there will be eleven Archangels awake at the same time; with possibly deadly and disastrous consequences.
Elena is allowed to accompany Raphael to the compound but only as consort, so bringing her faithful guards with her is out of the question. So death is a very real possibility. Especially as her best friend Bluebell (Illium) will remain on duty in New York. He, too, is becoming a staggering angel in his own right. Thankfully though, she can take one of Raphael’s other ‘Seven’, Aodhan. Still bearing the dual scars from his time in hell, Aodhan has finally returned to art. Yet his creative side belies a clever, dangerous angel.
So, the trio set off in the skies to meet with the Luminata and the other Archangels and co.
When they get there, the architecture is stunning, as is the Morrocan scenery, bringing back all manner of memories for Elena about her mother. But something is not right at their lair. And lair is probably the best word for Lumia; for it feels more like another Archangel’s refuge than a pseudo-religious/mystic and peaceful land it pretends to be. The angels at Lumia ring alarm bells for Raphael, Elena and Aodhan. Secrets abound. Adding to this is the evidence of bloodlust attacks and the possibility that it could worsen, and the need for proof as to what has indeed happened to Lijuan.
When Elena visits the local town, it’s clear the villages are scared to death of angels – the question is ‘why?’.
Between various mysteries and story threads, Singh delivers an intricate sometimes confusing world build. If you’re new to the series, this isn’t the best book to start with, as it’s heavy on the politics and world build.
I love that Singh delivers multicultural societies in her novels, reflective of the world in which we live (without the mythical creatures that is) and she is brave enough to deal with Aodhan’s PTSD among other issues. However, I have to confess, of the series, it wasn’t my favourite, though it did give us a glimpse into Elena’s history, and the relationship between Raphael and his mother Caliane was explored.
Enjoyable, romantic and lots going on.
A solid 3.5/5

Adam Roberts Aquisition

May 28, 2017 - 1:16 pm No Comments

Adam Roberts is taking over the SF world – again.

Bringing you more news on his recent adventures is @Gollancz guru Marcus Gipps (@marcusgipps)

Hitchcock-inspired Adam Roberts (@arrroberts) novel and sequel to Gollancz

Gollancz is delighted to announce the acquisition of World rights to The Real-Town Murders and an untitled sequel from award-winning author Adam Roberts.

 

Gollancz Commissioning Editor, Marcus Gipps, bought the rights directly from Professor Roberts. The first book, which was inspired by a scene Alfred Hitchcock wanted to film for NORTH BY NORTHWEST but couldn’t manage, is a near-future conspiracy thriller told with Adam’s trademark wit and intelligence.

Alma is a private detective in a near-future England, a country desperately trying to tempt people away from the delights of Shine, the immersive successor to the internet. But most people are happy to spend their lives plugged in, and the country is decaying.

Alma’s partner is ill, and has to be treated without fail every 4 hours, a task that only Alma can do. If she misses the 5 minute window her lover will die. She is one of the few not to access the Shine. So when Alma is called to an automated car factory to be shown an impossible death and finds herself caught up in a political coup, she knows that getting too deep may leave her unable to get home.

What follows is a fast-paced Hitchcockian thriller as Alma evades arrest, digs into the conspiracy, and tries to work out how on earth a dead body appeared in the boot of a freshly-made car in a fully-automated factory.

Adam Roberts said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted to be publishing again with Gollancz: not only the best SF list in Britain, the best in the world. In this novel I’ve tried to play fair with an impossible murder and a couple of near-future science fiction technologies, but I wrote the whole book under the tutelary spirit of Alfred Hitchcock, and what I came to realise, as I was going along, is that he’s a much trickier customer than many people realise. I hope the SF puzzle and its working-out plays fair, for all that. I think it’s my most ingenious so far.’

Marcus Gipps said: ‘A new Adam Roberts project is always a delight, and this is a wonderful introduction to his work. We can’t wait for people to read this blend of Hitchcock and SF.’

The Real Town Murders | Adam Roberts | 24/08/207
HB £16.99 | Export TPB £13.99 | eBook

Adam Roberts is commonly described as one of the UK’s most important writers of SF, and has won or been shortlisted for all of the major awards. He is the author of numerous novels and literary parodies. He is Professor of 19th Century Literature at Royal Holloway, London University and has written a number of critical works on both SF and 19th Century poetry.

Gollancz is the oldest specialist SF & Fantasy publisher in the UK. Founded in 1927 and with a continuous SF publishing programme dating back to 1961, the imprint of the Orion Publishing Group is home to a galaxy of award-winning and bestselling authors. Through our long-running SF and Fantasy Masterworks programme, and major digital initiative the SF Gateway, Gollancz has one of the largest ranges of SF and Fantasy of any publisher in the world.

The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter

April 26, 2017 - 5:48 pm No Comments

THE MASSACRE OF MANKIND by Stephen Baxter
Gollancz / 464 pgs / £18.99 hardback / ISBN 1473205093
Reviewed by Carol Goodwin.


This novel is a sequel to H G Wells’ THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, and the new story revolves around the Martians return to Earth in the 1920’s. Whilst other authors have previously written sequels, this version is listed as “authorised by the H G Wells Estate” and I presume was timed to coincide with 2016 being the 150th anniversary of Wells’ birth. The author, Stephen Baxter has previously written another authorised H G Wells’ sequel, THE TIME SHIPS which was a follow-up to THE TIME MACHINE and marked the centenary of that book’s publication.
It is fourteen years since the Martians invaded England, and the world has changed considerably. Examination of wrecked and abandoned Martian machinery has led to significant advances in technology. History as we know it has changed as a consequence of the original invasion; most significantly, a recovering UK formed an alliance with Germany, and a “Schlieffen War” between Russia and Germany is still ongoing. The governments of Earth scan the skies, but as another close approach between Earth and Mars nears, they are confident that their progress and prior knowledge means that this time they are prepared for the Martians. But when another Martian fleet begins to land, it becomes obvious that the Martians have also learned lessons and adapted so that yet again mankind is in deadly peril.
Writing in another author’s world, especially one so well-known and iconic as this one, is always going to be a difficult task. What is done very well is the attention to the details of 1920’s geography, vocabulary and appropriate technology. It is clear that a considerable amount of research has gone into writing this novel, and I also enjoyed the little nods to other people or works connected to Mars, ranging from Schiaparelli through to Grover’s Mill.
The worldbuilding is excellent and like the original, there are some suitably gruesome accounts of the Martians’ treatment of captured humans. However, I found myself a little frustrated with the pacing. The first section of the book, which deals with the initial landing, consolidation and the flight of refugees is the most successful in my opinion. After that however, there is an interlude of a couple of years where the Martians in England spend a long time just consolidating this bridgehead, without any attempt to spread further, and I found the urgency and menace of the story evaporating in this section. Towards the later part of the book there are further landings around the world, and the pace picks up but it felt to me like there was then too little space left to give these invasions sufficient details and thus engage the reader.
Fans of Wells’ will appreciate that the narrative does link back and reference the original story. It also includes many of the characters from the Wells’ story, including the original narrator, Walter Jenkins and the artilleryman, although much of the tale is now told by Julie, the sister-in-law of Walter Jenkins. However, I felt that the major focus was on the plot and that thus the characters often seemed to lack depth and I often found it hard to care much about their struggles.
Finally, it was always going to be difficult to find an ending with equivalent impact to the original. Without giving away the conclusion, this story finishes with a resolution that feels a little too “easy” and hence unsatisfying, although there is a “epilogue” which leaves scope for future developments. To summarise, this is a “curate’s egg” of a book – there are some very good bits but other bits that didn’t work for me. CG
(ARC kindly donated at Gollancz SF Gateway anniversary party)