Monday, 15 July 2013

Wilder's Book Review 2.0

Wilder's Book Review has MOVED! 

Update your feeds and let everyone know - Wilder's Book Review can now be found over at the dedicated site: 

Enjoy the new site and please:



Friday, 12 July 2013

Interview with Django Wexler

I'm in the middle of reading Django Wexler's debut novel, The Thousand Names, right now and am extremely impressed so far. My review will be up in the next week or so, but for now, enjoy this interview with the man himself. 

Hi Django, welcome to Wilder’s Book Review! And a big congrats on the publication of your debut novel, The Thousand Names!

Thanks so much! I’m very excited.

So, first up, give us three words that best describe The Thousand Names.

Hmm. I’ll go with “military”, “muskets”, and “magic”, because it’s nicely alliterative!

Can you give us a little more detail on the series the novel belongs to? How long will it be and what was your ultimate inspiration and motivation behind writing it?

The series, The Shadow Campaigns, will be five books in total. It got started when I first began getting into military history and read a really excellent book about the Napoleonic wars. I thought, “Man, I want to do that!” So originally, it was supposed to be a fantasy retelling of the career of Napoleon, but as I added stuff it diverged pretty wildly from that.

I wrote about this in a little more depth over at the Del Rey UK site: 

Much has been said about this being one of a few debut novels in 2013 that have started a new wave of epic fantasy with settings that feature fantasy worlds based in post-industrial societies. Was this always a particular focus you had when planning The Thousand Names, or did the setting grow more organically in the writing?

Well, for me, the setting came with the basic idea of the books -- if I was going to do the life of Napoleon, I need the Napoleonic trappings, with muskets and cannon and cavalry charges and so on. But after George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, I got really excited about the idea of a “realistic” fantasy world drawing heavily on actual history (as his does) and I definitely didn’t want to just do the usual knights-and-castles setup.

The idea of an epic fantasy world which has moved on from swords, knights and medieval values is one which, I think, has serious potential for authors when telling some of these vast fantasy stories. Post-Industrial fantasy aside, it seems to me that even eras such as early-modern Europe and the Renaissance are ripe for fantasy authors right now, looking for a slightly different take on epic fantasy settings. Would you agree, or is there still plenty of room for more medieval-based fantasy?

It has always seemed a little weird to me that with all of history to choose from, so many fantasy authors model their secondary worlds on a pretty narrow slice of time and space -- basically Western Europe in the 13th or 14th centuries. (Or, more accurately, that time and place as filtered through Mallory, Tolkien, and Gygax.)

Even without leaving Europe, there’s a huge amount of variety to be had -- I’d love to see a world based on Byzantium in the 1200s, or Swiss republics during their heyday -- and that’s not even counting the entire rest of the world. So I think authors are realizing there’s a lot of rich veins for world-building and mythology out there that have barely been tapped.

It’d be unfair of me to represent it as something that’s just starting now, though. It’s been a steady undercurrent in fantasy throughout the years (check out the works of KJ Parker, Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint, Elizabeth Bear’s Range of Ghosts, Guy Gavriel Kay’s Under Heaven, etc) that’s just getting a lot more attention. But I hope the trend continues -- as a history buff, this is the kind of thing I love to read!

In The Thousand Names you focus particularly on two main point-of-view characters. For such a large epic fantasy story, was this a stylistic choice, to narrow down the focus, or are you likely to broaden the POV cast in later books?

In general, I like to keep the number of points of view down to a minimum, because I think every page the reader spends with a particular point of view helps build sympathy and depth for that character. Spreading the narrative too thin can really hurt the character development, and over the course of a series lead to a kind of narrative fragmentation. (Because we want to know what happens to everybody we care about, but there isn’t a good reason for them all to stay together, so the story wanders all over the place.)

In The Thousand Names I knew I needed at least two POVs -- one to hang around with Janus and help talk about command decisions, and another “in the ranks” to show what things were like looking up from the bottom. I toyed with including another one, but ultimately, with a few short interludes from side characters, I thought I could get away without it.

The second book, The Shadow Throne, will introduce the POV of Raesinia Orboan, Princess Royal of Vordan and heir to the throne. (And bearer of a nasty magical secret.) But I think that should be it for the series -- if things go as planned, I shouldn’t need any more in books three, four, or five.

My post last Monday at Anne Lyle's blog talks a bit about POV, and why it can be a mistake to spread it too widely. See it here

What were some of your main genre influences in writing the series?

George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire was a big one, as I said. I loved how he put a little
bit of the grit back into fantasy, brought it a little closer to its historical models, and I have always wanted to do something similar. S. M. Stirling and David Drake’s series The General gave me the initial idea of taking the framework of historical events as the basis for a story.

I’m a big fan of how Joe Abercrombie does his battles and fighting in the First Law series, and a bit of that definitely made it in. A lot of the magic and more fantastical elements were influenced by Steven Erikson’s The Malazan Book of the Fallen, with its gigantic, ambitious world and very slow build-up. In particular, I love the way he gets you into the story but only hints at the ultimate very quietly; I’m definitely hoping to achieve something similar with The Shadow Campaigns.

You’re quite heavily into the study of history. What were some of the particular eras of research you looked into for The Thousand Names?

A lot of my ‘research’ never really felt like research, because it’s just the sort of thing I read for fun anyway. The Thousand Names is rooted pretty closely in the period of the Napoleonic Wars, from around 1790-1815. So I obviously read a lot about the French Revolution and the wars that followed.

In particular, I’m always on the lookout for books that bring together first-hand accounts to give a soldier’s eye view of things. It’s (relatively) easy to grasp the higher levels of a campaign, but finding out what it was actually like to be on the ground is surprisingly difficult.

The nice thing about fantasy is that you don’t have an obligation to be 100% accurate. An actual historian reads a neat story or telling detail and has to go look at other evidence to see if it’s true or not; as a novelist, I can just say, “That sounds great, let’s go with it!” I grabbed pieces from quite a few sources outside the period proper (from the American Civil War, for example) and fit them together, hopefully without introducing too many anachronisms.

When did you decide you wanted to become an author, and can you tell us a little about your first attempts?

I knew that I liked writing by about the end of high school. (Before that, my creative efforts were mostly limited to RPGs, as detailed here) I tried my hand at short stories and sent a few to SF magazines, but never really got anywhere with it. Then I drifted into fan-fiction for a while and ended up writing some really long pieces. Around my junior year of college, after three novel-length fan-fics, I decided I was going to write something that I could potentially sell.

I still wasn’t planning to be a full-time author, at least not until the distant future. The book I wrote was called Memories of Empire, which I sold to a small publisher called Medallion Press. I wrote one more for them, Shinigami, but between them they only sold a few thousand copies total. The next book I wrote, Gaze Into Shadow, was part of an absurdly over-ambitious fantasy project, intended as Book One of Seven Million, and I never managed to do anything with it.

After messing around with that for a while, I ended up putting it aside and starting a fresh project with the explicit goal of getting an agent and a “big” publisher -- that ended up being The Thousand Names, though it took a while to get it there.

What kind of writer are you? Do you plot down to the last detail, or just start writing and see where the words take you?

I used to be very much a “discovery” writer and hated outlines, but a couple of years ago I had something like a conversion experience. My agent said that before he could sell The Thousand Names, he needed outlines for the rest of the series, so the publisher could see that I knew what I was doing. Over the course of about a month, with much grumbling, I wrote four outlines, and somewhere along the way I came to appreciate how amazingly helpful the process was. When the time actually came to write book two, it was so much easier because I didn’t keep running into blind alleys.

I still don’t plot out everything, especially character development. A lot of that arises naturally from the twists and turns of dialogue, and I don’t want it to seem forced. My outlines are pretty flexible, too, and sometimes the finished product only resembles the plan in broad strokes. I’m still very much working on my process, so in a couple of years I’m sure I’ll have learned a lot more about it.

What’s next in the pipeline for you Django? Is it Book Two of The Shadow Campaigns, or is there anything else to come in between?

It really is a pipeline -- there’s a long stretch of time between when I finished The Thousand Names (in this case, in fall of 2011) and the final release. While I was waiting to see if it sold, I decided I wanted to write something a little lighter and simpler, which turned out to be a children’s fantasy. (I have no idea how to write a children’s fantasy. It’s just the same writing I always do, without sex, gore, or swearing.) Long story short, my agent sold that one as well, and it comes out in April 2014 as The Forbidden Library, beginning another five-book series. 

After that I started work on The Shadow Campaigns Book Two, now called The Shadow Throne, and finished a first draft of that around summer of 2012. Then I did the second Forbidden Library book (which still doesn’t have a title), a novella (which is still searching for a home) and Shadow Campaigns short story (which ended up on io9 as ThePenitent Damned ). Now, finally, I’m back to work on The Shadow Throne, which needs to go through rewrites and editing over the summer so we can get it ready for (hopefully) a release next year.

What’s something the people reading this interview might be surprised to learn about Django Wexler?

A lot of people have been surprised to hear that Django Wexler isn’t a pen name. I’m named after Django Reinhardt, a famous jazz guitarist. Other than that, though, I’m an almost archetypical SFF/software geek -- computer games, D&D, anime, cats.

And, finally, what are you reading right now?

I tend to have several books going at once, usually one fiction, one non-fiction, and one audio. At the moment, I’m reading Daniel Abraham’s A Shadow in Summer, which was recommend to me by Aidan over at A Dribble of Ink and which I’m really enjoying. Non-fiction-wise, I’ve got Rick Atkinson’s An Army At Dawn, about the Allied invasion of North Africa in WWII. And on my MP3 I have Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, which is fantastic even if I have no idea where he’s going with it.

Thanks Django! 


Django Wexler graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with
degrees in creative writing and computer science, and worked for the university in artificial intelligence research.  Eventually he migrated to Microsoft in Seattle, where he now lives with two cats and a teetering mountain of books.  When not planning Shadow Campaigns, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays games of all sorts.

The Thousand Names is Django Wexler's first novel, and is available now. You can find him at his website, or follow him on Twitter at @DjangoWexler

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Most Anticipated Releases For The Rest of 2013 (Doug's Picks)

I sometimes find as a reader in the genre that I'm a bit behind on new releases, or that they often spring out at me from nowhere. So now that the blog is taking off somewhat, I thought it would be worth having a post to talk about the releases (Big and Small) in the genre that I'm really looking forward to in the second half of 2013. Hopefully there might be a few here that you can add to your own lists! Alex will be along later in the week with his own list, but for now - here's mine:

The Thousand Names by Django Wexler 

In the desert colony of Khandar, a dark and mysterious magic, hidden for centuries, is about to emerge from darkness.

Marcus d'Ivoire, senior captain of the Vordanai Colonials, is resigned to serving out his days in a sleepy, remote outpost, when a rebellion leaves him in charge of a demoralised force in a broken down fortress.

Winter Ihernglass, fleeing her past and masquerading as a man, just wants to go unnoticed. Finding herself promoted to a command, she must rise to the challenge and fight impossible odds to survive.

Their fates rest in the hands of an enigmatic new Colonel, sent to restore order while following his own mysterious agenda into the realm of the supernatural.

The Thousand Names has just been released worldwide, and I'm actually reading it now. One of the big releases in epic fantasy this year, and along with Brian Mclellan's Promise of Blood, one of a new wave in so-called "Flintlock Fantasy". I'm not sure what I think of the labelling of yet another subgenre, but it's certainly shaping up to be a good read. I'll have that review up soon, and an interview with Django at the end of this week.

Released: Out now.

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

We have fought battles that left more than a hundred corpses on the ground, and not a word of it has ever been set down. The Order fights, but often it fights in shadow, without glory or reward. We have no banners.

Vaelin Al Sorna's life changes for ever the day his father abandons him at the gates of the Sixth Order, a secretive military arm of the Faith. Together with his fellow initiates, Vaelin undertakes a brutal training regime - where the price of failure is often death. Under the tutelage of the Order's masters, he learns how to forge a blade, survive the wilds and kill a man quickly and quietly.

Now his new skills will be put to the test. War is coming. Vaelin is the Sixth Order's deadliest weapon and the Realm's only hope. He must draw upon the very essence of his strength and cunning if he is to survive the coming conflict. Yet as the world teeters on the edge of chaos, Vaelin will learn that the truth can cut deeper than any sword.

Another recent release and one with a bit of a backstory behind it. Originally self-published, this one was seriously acclaimed before Orbit snapped it up. Very excited to see what all the fuss is about, and it certainly sounds like a proper, big-as-hell epic fantasy.

Released: Out now. 

Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

Lawrence brings his highly acclaimed epic fantasy series – The Broken Empire – to its devastating conclusion.

The path to the throne is broken – only the broken can walk it

The world is cracked and time has run through, leaving us clutching at the end days. These are the days that have waited for us all our lives. These are my days. I will stand before the Hundred and they will listen. I will take the throne no matter who stands against me, living or dead, and if I must be the last emperor then I will make of it such an ending.

This is where the wise man turns away. This is where the holy kneel and call on God. These are the last miles, my brothers. Don't look to me to save you. Run if you have the wit. Pray if you have the soul. Stand your ground if courage is yours. But don't follow me.

Follow me, and I will break your heart.

The final part in Mark Lawrence's acclaimed Broken Empire trilogy; a deep, disturbing character study into one of the darkest creations in recent genre history. Fans of this series are eagerly awaiting this one. I'll be reviewing the entire series come August. 

Released: 1st August 2013 

The Glass Republic by Tom Pollock

Pen's life is all about secrets: the secret of the city's spirits, deities and monsters her best friend Beth discovered, living just beyond the notice of modern Londoners; the secret of how she got the intricate scars that disfigure her so cruelly - and the most closely guarded secret of all: Parva, her mirror-sister, forged from her reflections in a school bathroom mirror. Pen's reflected twin is the only girl who really understands her.

Then Parva is abducted and Pen makes a terrible bargain for the means to track her down. In London-Under-Glass, looks are currency, and Pen's scars make her a rare and valuable commodity. But some in the reflected city will do anything to keep Pen from the secret of what happened to the sister who shared her face.

Book two in Tom Pollock's critically acclaimed Skyscraper Throne series. I haven't had the chance to read The City's Son yet, but I will be doing so as soon as possible. There's quite a buzz around Tom's series and it sounds like the kind of weird urban fantasy I enjoy.

Released: 1st August 2013

The Crown Tower/The Rose and The Thorn by Michael J. Sullivan 

Two men who hate each other. One impossible mission. A legend in the making.

Hadrian, a warrior with nothing to fight for, is paired with Royce, a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm's most prized possessions. But it isn't gold or jewels that their employer is after, and if he can only keep them from killing each other, they might just get him his prize.


Two thieves want answers. Riyria is born.

For more than a year, Royce Melborn has tried to forget Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved him and his partner Hadrian Blackwater when all other doors were closed against them. Unable to stay away any longer, they return to Medford to a very different reception - she refuses to see them.

Once more she is shielding them, this time from the powerful noble who abused her. She was right to suspect Royce wouldn't care about rank and privilege or fear any repercussions from reprisal. What she didn't realise is what he was capable of - until now.

Anyone who follows my blog will know what a big fan I am of Michael J. Sullivan's Riyria Revelations series. There's something so easily readable and familiar about them, but they still manage to be clever and well-layered books. Classic fantasy brought up-to-date and a pair of cracking lead characters. I really can't wait for these two books.

Released: The Crown Tower - 6th August 2013
              The Rose and The Thorn - 17th September 2013

Swords of Good Men by Snorri Kristjansson

To Ulfar Thormodsson, the Viking town of Stenvik is the penultimate stop on a long journey in this riveting adventure of clashing Viking powers. Tasked with looking after his cousin after disgracing his father, he has traveled the world and now only wants to go home.

Stenvik is different: it contains the beautiful and tragic Lilja, who immediately captures Ulfar’s heart-–but Stenvik is also home to some very deadly men, who could break Ulfar in an instant.

King Olav is marching on Stenvik from the East, determined to bring the White Christ to the masses at the point of his sword, and a host of bloodthirsty raiders led by a mysterious woman are sailing from the north.

But Ulfar is about to learn that his enemies are not all outside the walls.

So, a epic fantasy? I'm not entirely sure how far into the realm of fantasy this goes, and how much of a historical background it has, but it certainly sounds like an interesting read from the ever-dependable Jo Fletcher Books. Something a bit different maybe - look for a review of this one very soon.

Released: 1st August 2013

Three by Jay Posey

The world has collapsed, and there are no heroes any more.

But when a lone gunman reluctantly accepts the mantel of protector to a young boy and his dying mother against the forces that pursue them, a hero may yet arise.

Ahh Angry Robot. We can always depend on Angry Robot to give us something different, and it looks to have done just that with Three. Seemingly a sort-of...SF/Fantasy/Post-Apocalyptic hybrid. I've no idea what it's going to be like, but I'm excited to read it. Review soon.

Released: 1st August 2013

The Black Guard by A.J. Smith 

The Duke of Canarn is dead, executed by the King's decree. The city lies in chaos, its people starving, sickening, and tyrannized by the ongoing presence of the King's mercenary army. But still hope remains: the Duke's children, the Lord Bromvy and Lady Bronwyn, have escaped their father's fate.

Separated by enemy territory, hunted by the warrior clerics of the One God, Bromvy undertakes to win back the city with the help of the secretive outcasts of the Darkwald forest, the Dokkalfar. The Lady Bronwyn makes for the sanctuary of the Grass Sea and the warriors of Ranen with the mass of the King's forces at her heels. And in the mountainous region of Fjorlan, the High Thain Algenon Teardrop launches his Dragon Fleet against the Red Army. Brother wars against brother in this, the epic first volume of the long war.

This one sounds like it could be a lot like A Game of Thrones, but with more magic. Certainly going by the blurb and that cover, it's being marketed towards that crowd. I like the sound of it from the blurb, but I hope it has a bit of originality about it at the same time.

Released: eBook out now, Hardback out 1st August 2013.

Apocalypse Now Now by Charlie Human

'I don't even know how to describe reading this book, so just look at my wide eyes and my silently mumbling mouth and take my shell-shock as a good sign that you need to read this book right now.' Chuck Wendig


Baxter Zevcenko's life is pretty sweet. As the 16-year-old kingpin of the Spider, his smut-peddling schoolyard syndicate, he's making a name for himself as an up-and-coming entrepreneur. Profits are on the rise, the other gangs are staying out of his business, and he's going out with Esme, the girl of his dreams.

But when Esme gets kidnapped, and all the clues point towards strange forces at work, things start to get seriously weird. The only man drunk enough to help is a bearded, booze-soaked, supernatural bounty hunter that goes by the name of Jackson 'Jackie' Ronin.

Plunged into the increasingly bizarre landscape of Cape Town's supernatural underworld, Baxter and Ronin team up to save Esme. On a journey that takes them through the realms of impossibility, they must face every conceivable nightmare to get her back, including the odd brush with the Apocalypse.

I dunno if this one is still a bit under-the-radar, but man alive - I want, nae NEED this book in my life. Seriously - is there any genre fan out there who doesn't want to read this? With a blurb that utterly bonkers and yet another eye-popping Joey Hi-Fi cover...I can't wait.

Released: 8th August 2013

War-Fighting Manuals by Den Patrick


Written in the form of a soldier's manual on strategy, tactics and weapons THE ORCS WAR-FIGHTING MANUAL is an innovative and fun way for readers and gamers to add colour and excitement to their knowledge of fantasy's premier villains.

Translated from the original Orcish the book contains details on Orc strengths and weakness, key tactics, survival and field tips and accounts of notorious battles from Orc history as well as key tips on defeating Elves and Dwarves. Puny humans are not considered worth discussing.

With companion volumes for Elves and Dwarves, gaming and comics writer Den Patrick builds up his very own fantasy world and tells its history in a unique and entertaining way.

Illustrated throughout and comes complete with battle and formation maps.

Up and coming Gollancz author Den Patrick has his first offering out this year, and it (they) comes in the form of some satirical "war manuals" from the sides of the orcs, elves and dwarves. Expect to see more from Den next year, but for now I'm looking forward to seeing his particular brand of humour unleashed in a classic fantasy setting. 

Released: Orcs - 15th August 2013; Elves - 19th September 2013; Dwarves - 17th October 2013

The Ace of Skulls by Chris Wooding

All good things come to an end. And this is it: the last stand of the Ketty Jay and her intrepid crew.

They've been shot down, set up, double-crossed and ripped off. They've stolen priceless treasures, destroyed a ten-thousand-year-old Azryx city and sort-of-accidentally blew up the son of the Archduke. Now they've gone and started a civil war. This time, they're really in trouble.

As Vardia descends into chaos, Captain Frey is doing his best to keep his crew out of it. He's got his mind on other things, not least the fate of Trinica Dracken. But wars have a way of dragging people in, and sooner or later they're going to have to pick a side. It's a choice they'll be staking their lives on. Cities fall and daemons rise. Old secrets are uncovered and new threats revealed.

When the smoke clears, who will be left standing?

Another series that ends this year, and one I'll be very sorry to see go. If you haven't read the Tales of the Ketty Jay yet, do yourself a favour and go buy Retribution Falls. Superb series, and The Ace of Skulls can't come fast enough. 

Released: 19th September 2013

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning - and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

It's no real secret I'm not the biggest Brandon Sanderson fan. I'm by no means a detractor, but what I have read is generally not as phenomenal as so many seem to claim it is. But I'm quite excited to read Steelheart. I think it sounds quite different from Sanderson's usual stuff. Legion was the best thing I've probably read of Sanderson's original fiction, and this being a return to urban fantasy (of a sort) bodes well I think. 

Released: 26th September 2013

Seven Forges by A.J. Moore 

The people of Fellein have lived with legends for many centuries. To their far north, the Blasted Lands, a legacy of an ancient time of cataclysm, are vast, desolate and impassable, but that doesn't stop the occasional expedition into their fringes in search of any trace of the ancients who once lived there - and oft-rumoured riches. Captain Merros Dulver is the first in many lifetimes to find a path beyond the great mountains known as the Seven Forges andencounter, at last, the half forgotten race who live there. And it would appear that they were expecting him. As he returns home, bringing an entourage of the strangers with him, he starts to wonder whether his discovery has been such a good thing. For the gods of this lost race are the gods of war, and their memories of that far-off cataclysm have not faded.

Yes, it sounds like typical fantasy fare, what with half-forgotten races, northern mountain passes and lost gods, but it's actually pretty rare to see something like this come from Angry Robot, so my expectations are quite high. Definitely a debut I'm anticipating. 

Released: 3rd October 2013

Drakenfeld by Mark Charan Newton

“I am Lucan Drakenfeld, second son of Calludian, Officer of the Sun Chamber and keeper of the peace. Sometimes people get in the way of that ambition…”
The monarchies of the Royal Vispasian Union have been bound together for two hundred years by laws maintained and enforced by the powerful Sun Chamber. As a result, nations have flourished but corruption, deprivation and murder will always find a way to thrive.
Receiving news of his father’s death Sun Chamber Officer Lucan Drakenfeld is recalled home to the ancient city of Tryum and rapidly embroiled in a mystifying case. The King’s sister has been found brutally murdered – her beaten and bloody body discovered in a locked temple. With rumours of dark spirits and political assassination, Drakenfeld has his work cut out for him trying to separate superstition from certainty. His determination to find the killer quickly makes him a target as the underworld gangs of Tryum focus on this new threat to their power.
Embarking on the biggest and most complex investigation of his career, Drakenfeld soon realises the evidence is leading him towards a motive that could ultimately bring darkness to the whole continent. The fate of the nations is in his hands.
I haven't read anything from Mark Charan Newton yet, but this just sounds fantastic. A completely fresh sounding fantasy, with a setting genuinely original in the genre. Can't wait to try it. 
Released: 10th October 2013 

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

After their adventures on the high seas, Locke and Jean are brought back to earth with a thump. Jean is mourning the loss of his lover and Locke must live with the fallout of crossing the all-powerful magical assassins, the BondsMagi.

It is a fallout that will pit both men against Locke's own long lost love. Sabetha is Locke's childhood sweetheart, the love of Locke's life and now it is time for them to meet again. Employed on different sides of a vicious dispute between factions of the Bonds, Sabetha has just one goal - to destroy Locke for ever.

The Gentleman Bastard sequence has become a literary sensation in fantasy circles and now, with the third book, Scott Lynch is set to seal that success.

There's not much I can say about this one that hasn't already been said. We're all eagerly awaiting it, it's finally out this year. Yup - this is the big one. 

Released: 10th October 2013

The Prince of Lies by Anne Lyle

Elizabethan spy Mal Catlyn has everything he ever wanted – his twin brother Sandy restored to health, his family estate reclaimed and a son to inherit it – but his work is far from over. The renegade skraylings, the guisers, are still plotting – their leader, Jathekkil, has reincarnated as the young Prince Henry Tudor. But while he is still young, Mal has a slim chance of eliminating his enemies whilst they are at their weakest.

With Sandy’s help, Mal learns to harness his own magic in the fight against the guisers, but it may be too late to save England. Schemes set in motion decades ago are at last coming to fruition, and the barrier between the dreamlands and the waking world is wearing thin…

Another release, another conclusion. The final part in Anne Lyle's superb Night's Masque trilogy - and Elizabethan Fantasy that's been one of the most original reads I've had in the genre over the last couple of years. Really looking forward to this one. 

Released: 29th October 2013

The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

Tonight is a special, terrible night.

A woman sits at her father's bedside watching the clock tick away the last hours of his life. Her brothers and sisters - all traumatised in their own ways, their bonds fragile - have been there for the past week, but now she is alone.And that's always when it comes.

As the clock ticks in the darkness, she can only wait for it to find her...

I'm starting to lose count of how many books Sarah Pinborough plans to release in 2013, but this one certainly sounds like an absolute must-read. I'm not sure what it's even really about, but with that blurb from Neil Gaiman and an absolutely jaw-dropping cover, it's one to look out for come Christmas.

Released: 5th December 2013

The Abominable by Dan Simmons 

June 1924. On the brutal North East Ridge of Mount Everest, famous adventurers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine vanish into the snow-whipped night.

Daredevil explorer Richard Deacon devises a plan to follow in the men's footsteps, accompanied only by two friends. Off piste and with no support team, the three men strike for Everest's peak and the most vicious climate on earth.

As the winds rise and the temperature and oxygen levels drop, Deacon and his companions hear howls in the distance. Some dark creature is tracking them up the mountain, sending them scrabbling blindly into Everest's dangerous heights to escape it.

Soon they will discover what happened to Mallory's crew - but can they escape the same hideous fate?

A gripping thriller by a master of the genre, The Abominable blends historical fact with spine-tingling drama - this is one of the most chilling and unforgettable novels you will ever read.

I'm cheating a little with this one as it's technically not out in Hardback until 2014 (it just creeps in), but I can't wait to read it. Simmons is always worth a look and this just sounds incredible.

Released: 2nd January 2014 

Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett 

No synopsis as yet for this, the 40th Discworld novel, but a new Discworld book is always a reason to celebrate, and from what we can glean from the sparse info released so far, Raising Steam sounds like it could be a cracker. Discworld's first steam train, the possible return of Moist Von Lipwig, or even a brand new major character - sounds like a lot of fun.

Released: November 2013


So that's my (by no means comprehensive) list of anticipated releases for the latter half of 2013. There's not really very much sci-fi on my list, which is disappointing, but hopefully a few of these will be added to your lists aswell. 

Please let me know what I missed and comment with any other big releases you just can't wait to get your hands on!