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Peter Higgins, author of Wolfhound Century

Myke Cole, author of Shadow Ops Series

John Brown John, translator of the Zamonia Novels

Jim C. Hines author of Libriomancer

Nick Harkaway author of Angelmaker (review here)

Martha Wells author of The Cloud Roads

David Tallerman author of Giant Thief

Mazarkis Williams author of The Emperor's Knife

Rob Ziegler author of Seed

Steven Gould author of 7th Sigma

Douglas Hulick author of Among Thieves (review here)

Mark Charan Newton author of Nights of Villjamur (review here)

Kameron Hurley author of God's War (review here)

Brent Weeks author of The Black Prism (review here)

Anthony Huso author of The Last Page (review here)

Brandon Sanderson author of The Way of Kings (review here)

Lou Anders Editor of Pyr Books

Ian Tregillis author of Bitter Seeds (review here)

Sam Sykes author of Tome of the Undergates (review here)

Benjamin Parzybok author of Couch (review here)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch author of Diving Into the Wreck (review here)

Ken Scholes author of Lamentation

Cherie Priest author of Boneshaker (review here)

Lev Grossman author of The Magicians (review here)

Character Interviews

Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Eva Forge from Tim Akers's The Horns of Ruin

Atticus from Kevin Hearne's Hounded


The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Control Point by Myke Cole

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
My BlogCatalog BlogRank Wikio - Top Blogs - Literature

Covers Unveiled for Lexicon by Max Barry

US Cover, Art by Will Staehle
I've been a fan of Max Barry's since his satirical Sci-Fi winner Jennifer Government, but it was Company that truly won me over with it hilarious views of corporate governance and organization. His last effort from 2011, Machine Man (reviewed here), was quite the twisted view on trans-humanism, but his latest Lexicon, goes after language itself. We've got two covers to gander at. They both do the job well enough, but the type treatment on the US is a bit stronger. The UK cover is clearly going after the style that was done on Jennifer Government. In either case I'm very interested with what going on in the inside. Whatever happens I expect a funny yet intelligent read.

UK Cover, Art by Ben Summers
Here's the blurb:
At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren’t taught history, geography, or mathematics—at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science .Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as “poets”: adept wielders of language who belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.

Whip-smart orphan Emily Ruff is making a living running a three-card Monte game on the streets of San Francisco when she attracts the attention of the organization’s recruiters. She is flown across the country for the school’s strange and rigorous entrance exams, where, once admitted, she will be taught the fundamentals of persuasion by Brontë, Eliot, and Lowell—who have adopted the names of famous poets to conceal their true identities. For in the organization, nothing is more dangerous than revealing who you are: Poets must never expose their feelings lest they be manipulated. Emily becomes the school’s most talented prodigy until she makes a catastrophic mistake: She falls in love.

Meanwhile, a seemingly innocent man named Wil Jamieson is brutally ambushed by two strange men in an airport bathroom. Although he has no recollection of anything they claim he’s done, it turns out Wil is the key to a secret war between rival factions of poets and is quickly caught in their increasingly deadly crossfire. Pursued relentlessly by people with powers he can barely comprehend and protected by the very man who first attacked him, Wil discovers that everything he thought he knew about his past was fiction. In order to survive, must journey to the toxically decimated tow nof Broken Hill, Australia, to discover who he is and why an entire town was blown off the map.

As the two narratives converge, the shocking work of the poets is fully revealed, the body count rises, and the world crashes toward a Tower of Babel event which would leave all language meaningless. Max Barry’s most spellbinding and ambitious novel yet, Lexicon is a brilliant thriller that explores language, power, identity, and our capacity to love—whatever the cost.
Lexicon hits the shelves in June.

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New Procurements

It is new book time!

To start us off we have two purchases. American Elsewhere is Robert Jackson Bennett's just released novel, which seems to channel a bit of Bradbury and King in small town America. I can't wait to dive in. Next is the first volume of The Manhattan Projects by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra, a twisted history of the secret program filled with one messed up Oppenheimer, an off Einstein, sadistic Von Braun, and a very vain Feynman. All in all  gorgeous art with a story that slants history towards the darker side. Bad Science indeed.

The rest of the stack are review copies including one of my most anticipated debuts Promise of Blood coming from Sanderson student Brian McClellan. It is a Flintlock Fantasy, which seems to be an up-and-coming area.  Next is a reissue of the classic The Iron King by Maurice Druon that is being heavily pitched as the direct inspiration for A Game of Thrones including a foreword by GRRM. Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill has been receiving a lot of early praise comparing it to Neverwhere and The Magicians. I'll have to see if it lives up to that.

Reviver is Seth Patrick's debut where the protagonist can bring back the dead for a short time period. It reminds me a bit of Mike Carey's Felix Castor novels, which is a good thing in my book. A few Sub Press novellas showed up including one I preordered called The Gist by Michael Marshall Smith, which has had an interesting journey. The book is comprised of 3 versions of the story with the original in English, a French Translation, then an English translation of the French version. Best of all the story focuses on a mysterious book. Next is The Last Fullmeasure by Lost Fleet author Jack Campbell. I must confess at never having read Campbell before so I might give this a go. Last in the novellas is The Guiding Nose of Ulfant Banderoz by Dan Simmons, which I read a few years ago when it was released as part of the Vance tribute Songs of Dying Earth. Blood Pride is Evie Manieri's US debut that has gotten a decent reaction so far. Gillian Philip's Firebrand has been out for over a year in the UK to much acclaim. At the bottom of the stack is the sequel to Doctorow's Little Brother, Homeland. Maybe a double feature is in order since I haven't read the first book and it seems to be his most universally acclaimed.

So many books....

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INTERVIEW | Bradley P. Beaulieu on His New Series

Already Bradley P. Beaulieu has released the first two books of The Lays of of Anuskaya series in the last two years. The third and final book The Flames of Shadam Khoreh is expected later this year along with his first Kickstarter collection Lest Her Passage Be Forgotten. The collection will also feature at least new 2 stories related to Lays. Now he is branching off into a new world and he just became much busier.

MH: You just signed for a new trilogy with DAW. It seems like the series name is Song of the Shattered Sands. What is the new series about and do you have a working title for the first book?

BRADLEY: That's right! The working title of the first book is Twelve Kings in Sharakhai. It's a story set in a powerful desert city that controls the flow of trade and spice through otherwise impassable terrain.

The story is about Çeda, a woman who fights in the pits to scrape a living from the cruel but beautiful city she calls home. As the story opens, she discovers that the book her mother left her before she died holds the clues to the unraveling the mystery of her mother’s death, which was tangled up in the story of the Twelve Kings of Sharakhai, men who have ruled the desert with an iron fist for nearly two hundred years. As Çeda begins to unlock the secrets hidden within the poems in the book—as well as what her mother was trying to do before she died—the Kings learn of her, and they will stop at nothing to keep those secrets buried in the desert where they belong. And so the chase is on. Çeda must unlock the hidden riddles of her mother’s book before the Kings find her. She had better hope she does, for she is the last hope for the people of the desert.

Beaulieu's Kickstarter Collection
MH: What was the germ of the idea that started it? Is it related to any of your short work?

BRADLEY: I wrote a story called "From the Spices of Sanandira", which was published by Scott Andrews in his literary adventure fantasy zine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies. You can still read the story there for free. Because it was (ahem) a longish short story, it was split over Issue 70 and Issue 71.

Spices had the same feel as I was shooting for with the new series, but I needed to widen the scope a bit and deepen some of what was there. I truly hate treading the same ground, so I used that story only as inspiration, groundwork for the new series. (Anyone who reads it, though, will see a return of the desert sailing ships, which I liked too much to get rid of.)

I also wanted to pay homage to stories that affected me when I was younger, so while there aren't direct influences, the astute reader will see touches of A Thousand and One Nights, Thieves' World, and perhaps even a touch of Elric of Melniboné in this epic tale.

MH: When might we see the first book?

BRADLEY: We'll see. The schedule is still up in the air. The first book is about a third written, and I plan to turn that in late this year. I don't know when the first book might get slotted but I'm hoping for late 2014 or early 2015.

MH: Now DAW seems like the perfect publisher for you. You write BIG books and DAW is known for their larger books and also supporting their authors long term.

BRADLEY: I completely agree. There are publishers I would have been proud to be a part of, but I do feel like my style is particularly suited to DAW Books. Part of that comes from reading so many stories published by DAW when I was younger. I paid no attention at all to publishers back then, but my future editor, Betsy Wollheim, was bringing along wonderful talents like Tad Williams and Celia Friedman, who would shape the way I read and now, how I write.

MH: What did you do to celebrate?

BRADLEY: Ha! Again, we'll see. I had a nice lunch with my wife the day I heard, but I like to do these things right. I'm a bit of a foodie, so I'm probably going to hit a favorite food place in Milwaukee or Chicago one of these weekends. I'm a huge Rick Bayless fan, so Topolobampo might be in order. Sanford's and the Hinterland Gastropub in Milwaukee are also abnormally good restaurants. So probably one of those three.


Follow Beaulieu on twitter or at his blog for the latest news.

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REVIEW | The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

REVIEW | The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

The Daylight War is the third book in the Demon Cycle series, which is planned at 5 books at this point. So it is very much a middle volume. Relationships are tested, alliances are made, and demons are killed. What more could you ask for? A book you stay up late for because you're lost in it perhaps? Well that's what Brett has given us.

As The Warded Man was Arlen's book and The Desert Spear was Jardir's the latest is Inevera's. While I do feel an important aspect of Brett's style is reveling in the back stories of his focus characters The Desert Spear felt too bloated on Jardir's part. The Daylight War gives Inevera the limelight this go around and it was much more balanced showing more of what other characters were up to. In fact, I wouldn't have minded a few more chapters on her past as some aspects of her personality were not addressed as much as I hoped. My liking of Inevera's part could be due to the fact it was more interspersed throughout the book rather than being dropped in larger chunks as Jardir's portion was.

Inevera's rise to Dama Ting is the mental game compared to the physical game Jardir rose to the top of. They are very much the two sides of the same coin. The female side of the Krasians society is explored in depth from the very bottom up. Brett's nod to his love of dice-throwing is finally showcased as we learn the secrets to Inevera's dice and how much they mean.

Killing demons seems very secondary to most of the book save a couple very large battles. It really comes down to whether Arlen or Jardir will lead humanity or somehow find a way to work together again.

Brett's characterization is at an all time high, giving each and every character nuance and depth. This is also the volume where I actually found myself liking Gared. Rojer begins to truly master his powers while also gaining companions of his own, which injects just the right amount of levity when needed. Renna goes to extremes to keep pace with Arlen while Leesha, having not decided on her options in time, is left with few alternatives. Renna's relationship with Arlen deepens in many unforeseen ways. She is keeping Arlen tethered to his humanity while she tempts losing her own. Yet even with all of this going on it was the trader Abban I kept waiting to hear from again. Abban comes alive showing his side of things. Or at least a partial view of his side as his grand plans are kept close to his chest. Mark my words he's up to big things.

The ending, while fulfilling some promises, did feel very rushed. It was a confrontation that seemed to warrant more page time given the amount spent on lesser entanglements.The abruptness may also throw off some fans, but at this point I trust that Brett can live up to what he has done so far.

The Daylight War keeps the quality to near the same level as previous volumes while turning up the pacing, but if you haven't dug what's happened so far than this isn't the series for you. If you like your Fantasy big, dramatic, and with characters you grow to love the Demon Cycle will be quite memorable. With The Daylight War, Brett reaffirms his high place in modern Epic Fantasy. I give The Daylight War 4 out of 5 hats. By the end it seems like the deliverer issue was put to bed so that the true war against the demons can begin. The wait for the fourth volume, The Skull Throne also begins...

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