Friday, October 30, 2009

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy + And Another Thing... Giveaway Winners!

Hey guys and girls, the winners have been drawn. :-)

The winner of the full rejacketed set of books 1 - 5 of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and And Another Thing... is Mike Muller! Congrats, Mike! Your books will be with you shortly. :-)

But we have more winners!

Both Lood Du Plessis and Craig Smith have each won a copy of And Another Thing...! :-) Congrats to you both, your books will also be with you shortly. :-)

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway, and thanks to Penguin Books SA and Macmillan UK for supplying the prizes!



And don't forget, And Another Thing should now be in stores world-wide, and should be on the shelves of every Exclusive Books branch in South Africa - get your copy now! :-) If you're in the US, click here to order, and in the UK, click here. For those in SA who want to order online, click the Kalahari link on the top-right of the blog. :-)

Be EPIC!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

eBook Review: Uprising by Christopher Newman


I’ve had this eBook for a while, and yes, I took a long time getting this review done, I’ll admit that. But after reading Uprising, I find myself in the position of knowing that when something similar comes from Christopher Newman, I’ll be all over it! :-) Uprising is a hugely enjoyable read!

The story is as follows:

The world, and in particular, the US, is in the process of recovering from a zombie outbreak; a couple of years have passed, and life has, for the most part, gone back to normal. Zombies are still around –in fact, due to a certain confluence of events, they will always be around- but steps have been taken to guarantee that the non-infected are safe. These steps include legislation passed by the senate, and a new role for zombies, creating a ‘place’ for them in society.

I won’t say too much about the meat of the plot; suffice it to say that discovering this post-Outbreak world that Christopher has created is incredibly cool, especially the aspects that he focuses on, many of which have never found their way into any movies or other literature regarding zombies.

Now for a deeper delve into the novel; Christopher’s characters are well-realized, most of them being the kind of people we all know – people who are often times flawed, have different beliefs, ways of doing things that we might not agree with, as well as being misinterpreted at first glance. Christopher also likes jumping around, offering views into different sections of the society that has arisen after the initial Outbreak, and through these jumps we get a plethora of the needed points of view – without these jumps, the novel would quickly have degenerated into the kind of plot bad B-movies have, with perspectives limited to a few. Some of the characters don’t get developed at all, but it’s also not a problem at all, since one of the ways that this novel can be regarded is as a snapshot into the lives of these people and the choices they felt forced to make. Imagine for yourself surviving a zombie outbreak and I’m sure you’ll find yourself sympathetic. :-)

Christopher also has a great head for action – the novel itself is fast-paced (so yes, you will be devouring pages at a fair rate) and when it comes to action scenes, Christopher not only ups the pace but narrows the perspectives, so that you know what it feels like to have a lurching, rotten hungry thing reaching for you as you frantically search for any kind of weapon to use against it. There is plenty of absolutely disgusting (but cool) gore, though, so prepare yourself. If you don’t have the stomach for very descriptive violence, then don’t eat before reading this! :-)

The novel does have problems, though; you may find, as I did, that when the pace should be sustained it sometimes tapers off a bit, and the characters sometimes say things that sound utterly stereotypical. Also, too many exclamation marks – these shake up the reading experience a bit.

But the concept is so fresh, the action brutal and the zombies so cool –yes, they are looked at from a different angle, which is pretty damn scary and pulled off well- that what’s wrong with the novel doesn’t seem so bad; you will, in all probability, find yourself not minding the wobbles at all, and enjoying the journey. :-)

I hope that Christopher has more novels planned that deal with these zombies –and the other beings that crop up in the story- because he has created a world that I sincerely enjoyed stepping into. This is definitely a novel for those who like zombie stories – not only is it old-school enough to bring to mind the lurching horrors Romero visited (and still continues to) upon us, but it also offers some very interesting and fresh perspectives on the undead. :-)

I’m giving this a strong 7 / 10

Bring on more!



To order your copy of Uprising, visit the Dark Roast Press Website.

World Wide Release Day: The Wheel of Time Book 12 - The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

It's finally here!



The book is officially available, and I'm sure that millions of readers world-wide are already at least 50 pages into it! :-) To order your copies, click here for the US, and here for the UK.

Here in South Africa is another story, though; we'll have to wait until at least the first week of December to read The Gathering Storm. There mightmightmight be some good news regarding the book being made available earlier for us, so stay tuned for that. :-) I say might because it has in no way been confirmed. While you're waiting for that news, though, head on over to your closest Exclusive Books and put your name down for a copy or visit their website - from their, you can order a copy and have it delievered to the closest branch. :-) For those who frequent Kalahari, use the link at the top-right of the blog. :-)



I absolutely cannot wait to read this book (but then again, everyone who knows me knows how nuts I am about the worlds and characters Robert Jordan created), and I'm confident of the fact that Brandon Sanderson was a worthy choice to finish this fantasy epic. So you can be sure that I'll be the first person in South Africa to have a review for you; as soon as I have a copy, I'll trumpet it here. :-)

The Wheel has turned again...

...so, be EPIC!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Review - Mike Shevdon, Sixty-One Nails

Hey guys and girls.

David here, once again, First time here on the new blog.

With Halloween just around the corner I have a great review for you. Thanks to our friends over at Angry Robot I was Fortunate enough to get my hands on an amazing book. Now by that i mean I had to force myself to put it down every single time.

Today I'm bringing you a review on Mike Shevdon's amazing urban fantasy Sixty-One Nails. The first in the Courts of the Feyre series.



Images chaotic, a vision of a black cat, a building, a room, an underground chamber, and island of stone, a dark alter and an ominous iron door. These are the images the creature called Kareesh gave Niall. There meaning remains unsure but it is the only way for him to survive in this dark world he suddenly became a part of.

Now with his savior, the mysterious Blackbird, Naill must find his place in the world of the Feyre, forgetting his old life and learn to use his new found gifts, a gift that to the fey means nothing but death.

Will he succeed or will his failure result in the ancient seventh court returning from exile and bringing with them a new age of suffering for all human kind and half breeds.

Well there's your little teaser, and I hope it will make you as eager to read this book as I was.

Now I have to say in my opinion there is very little wrong with this piece of mastery. the characters are well shaped and developed. The storyline keeps a constant pace, which in turn keeps you locked in, and the research done for the book is superb.

Something that i loved about the book is the amount of detail Mike placed in it. Through your journey you encounter all the myths and superstitions that make tales of the fey so memorable. None of this new age stuff.

It all falls back to things such their weakness to cold iron, the power of a simple horse shoe, even the attitudes and types of behaviours that were originally associated with these beings. Even old lore about the power held within you name is included.

As for other aspects in the book. Mike even includes an explanation of where the Quit Rent ceremony comes from, which in turn forms an integral part of the storyline and is in fact an actual even. I believe it took place in London this week or last week.

The characters in the book are completely lovable. Right from the start you grow close to Naill, aka Rabbit, and Blackbird.

As you venture through the story you go through Rabbits joy and pain, frustration and confusion as he must come to terms with the fact that he is now one of the Fey and must discover and learn to use his new gifts in order to survive. You work with him to find a lost secret that will give him access to the Six Courts of the Feyre, and possible safety not only for himself but for his daughter as well.

Blackbird is also an amazing character, if not the better. Saving Rabbit and then leading him on the path to self discovery. A creature of the Fey herself, fire and air, also known as a fey'ree, she has been around for hundreds of years having both the knowledge on how to survive and the strength of character to do what must be done.

But there is a deeper story to her past as well, the reason why she has been hiding for so long and cannot even remember what she really looks like, shocking but yes. A story that is much closer to Naill then even he could have guessed.

Though i do feel sorry for Naill as she changes her glamour from an old lady to a voluptuous beauty every so often.

Well that's about that, I will leave the rest for you to discover. This is definitely a must read for me and one of my top books of the year.

The streets of London will never be the same with these two walking them.

Well done Mike, I can't wait for the next one, Road to Bedlam. Warden Alshirian, that should be interesting.

Now then for our reader the UK launch date for this book is the 29th of October 2009. Over here I'm not sure but it should hit our shelves early next year so keep an eye out for this one.



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Giveaway! The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

Hey guys and girls and Vogons of all ages! This is the new blog's first giveaway, and we're doing it in style!

I have the following to giveaway:

One set of:

Books 1 to 5 of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - that's right, the entire series, rejacketed,



and

5 (yes, five) copies of the sixth book in the series, written by Eoin Colfer, And Another Thing... :-)



So, 1 lucky reader will win a set of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and 5 lucky readers will win their own copy of And Another Thing... :-)

How do you enter? Well, just leave a comment on the post, with your email address, stating what you would most like to win. Remember, include your email address so that I can contact you if you win!

Rules:

1) Comment only once. If your comment has been saved, don't try again - I will delete both entries. If your comment doesn't show up at first, don't worry - I've set it that way.

2) You can enter for both giveaways, but specify that please - if you don't, I'll take it that you want the Hitchhiker's set. (But remember - 1 comment!)

3) Remember to include your email address - I will only draw the winning names from those who have included their email addresses.

4) Only entries from South Africa please - I will do a US/UK giveaway again some time, but it really hurts my finances. :-)



The giveaway will run from today (the 22nd) until next week Thursday (the 29th); the winner will be announced on the 30th - release day for And Another Thing... here in SA. :-)

So, spread the word! I have a total of 10 books to give away!

Click this link to go through to the site set up to celebrate the 30th Anniverssary of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and click this link to order And Another thing in the US and in the UK; for those in SA, please use the Kalahari link at the top-right of the blog, or get to your closest Exclusive Books and make sure they put aside a copy for you. :-)

So get those entries in and

Be EPIC!

P.S. To be EPIC! just drink a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. :-)

P.P.S. Due to some incredible stupidity on my part, many of you may have tried to enter (via commenting) and weren't able to - the problem has now been fixed. :-) Enter away!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Review: Star Wars - Fate of the Jedi Book 1: Outcast (Audio Book) by Aaron Allston and Marc Thompson

No, I haven't yet had the chance to read the book - that'll be coming up soon, though, since my beautiful hard cover arrived on Monday. :-) But I did manage to listen to the audio book.

So, the Legacy of the Force series has come to a close (I say it hasn't, since there was no real 'Legacy' evident at the end of the series) and a couple of years have passed. The Second Galactic Civil War has also ended, but the after-effects of this event are still being felt. There is a growing mistrust of the Jedi, and many see them as above the law elitists. At a time when bad publicity is the least needed, the Jedi son of one of the Order's most respected Masters goes rogue, mobilizing the Chief of State of the Galactic Alliance into action - while the Jedi try to pin down the cause of the malais that struck one of their own, Natasi Daala brings Luke Skywalker to task for allowing the once-hero of the New Republic and Galactic Alliance, Jedi Knight Jacen Solo, to become Darth Caedus.

I've been waiting for something like this to happen, to be honest. I mean, Kyp Durron destroys the Carida system, murdering billions; Corran Horn's misplaced trust in the Yuuzhan Vong commander, Sheddao Shai, gets Ithor destroyed, and before it all, Luke's own act of destroying the Death Star and causing the deaths of millions, was bound to lead somewhere. So bringing charges against Luke seems the logical step to take - after all, even if Jacen Solo had survived, how exactly would he have been punished? So Sith, not even Darth Vader, has ever seen the error of his / her ways - they believe (and this is the real reason why they will always be the biggest threat the Jedi will ever face) that they are right, that what they are doing is for the greater good (well, at least those Sith that have a measure of brains and vision). But the Jedi have no 5-year plan. For beings capable of using the Force to receive visions and glimpses of the future, they are very now-focused and reactive, and this is the main reason why I'm very glad to see this storyline in the Fate of the Jedi series. Call me a lover of what Karen Traviss did for Star Wars (and I am, through and through), but there hve to be consequences (and therefor, a measure of reality) for what the Jedi have been doing for the millennia they've been around. Having Luke realize that it is a neccessary path was one of my fist-pumping moments, and it was also a storyline that Aaron handled extremely well. We do, after all, have to see and understand both sides of the argument.

The trip that Luke and Ben go on to try and retrace Jacen's footsteps during his 5-year Odyssey is a bit of a reach, though I can understand that it's a neccessary plotline for Luke to be able to get a sense of Jacen in those situations - in certain respects, Luke knew Jacen better than his own parents. I would have substituted Ben Skywalker for Jaina Solo, though. Not only would that have made for some very interesting story-arcs with Ben on Coruscant, but it would have given Luke and Jaina the opportunity to really spend time together. Granted, Aaron did pull it off, and the glimpse into the world of Dorin and the Baran Do Sage's was interesting but ultimately of little value - the only story-driving point being that father and son now know where and how Jacen learned one particular ability.

The Kessel-arc was interesting, too, but I would have liked to know a bit more about how it ties into (if it does) the Celestials and Centerpoint Station. I can't wait, though, to find out just who contacted Allana... :-)

I do think, though, that Outcast was a better beginning to a 9-book series - sure, it's an almost sedate saunter into the plots that the series will be remembered for, and there's no "Holy Crap!" moment at the end (as when Jacen murders a fellow Jedi and chooses to become a Sith in Legacy of the Force: Betrayal), but Outcast definitely sets the arcs and the tone of Fate of the Jedi, so, in my opinion, a great, promising start. :-)

The storyline gets a solid 7 / 10 from me.

Now onto the production of the audio book:

Once again, I'm in awe. :-) (Well, you wouldn't know it, since this is the first audio book I've reviewed on the blogs)

Marc Thompson does a stellar job of capturing the voices of the characters - he's a veteran now, so he should, but he always puts in effort, and it definitely comes across. You can also hear how much he enjoys what he does, which is great!

Music- and sound effects-wise it's excellent! You really do feel as if you're in the thick of things, hearing air-scrubbers on the ships, feeling the tension with the lightsabers and music; it really is cool! :-)

I'm also glad that the audio book is unabridged (the one I listened to, at least) - you really do get a sense that the story flows better. :-)

I give the audio book a solid 9 / 10,

So my combined rating for Fate of the Jedi Outcast is a promising and entertaining 8.5 / 10. :-)



To order your copies of the audio book, click here for the US and here for the UK; to order your copies of the book (still in Hard Cover), click here for the US and here for the UK; for those in South Africa, please use the Kalahari link at the top-left of the blog.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Celebration: The Silver Mage by Katherine Kerr

On October 28th (yes, next week), the final book in a long-running, best-selling and widely-loved epic fantasy series is being published: The Silver Mage (US, UK) by Katherine Kerr. :-)

The Silver Mage marks the end of the Cycle, begun in 1986 with Daggerspell (US, UK) and now The 15 Days of Deverry Party Committee is inviting everyone to celebrate with Katherine and millions of fans!



From the Press Release:

15 Days of Deverry is an online celebration of the successful conclusion of Katharine Kerr’s vision for this Celtic knot of inter-braided novels. The 15 Days stands for the 15 titles that constitute the cycle's sequence.***

A community at livejournal, deverry15 , has been set up as a clearinghouse where links will be noted. If you post any Deverry related material on your blog, anywhere (not just livejournal), please send the link to: rhi.rose@gmail.com . She’ll be collating the links.

For further information, join the deverry15 community at livejournal or go over to the 15 Days of Deverry page [C. here: when that entry's up, we can do a hot link to its permalink] on Deep Genre , where you can ask questions, join the discussion, and make additional suggestions.

We encourage you to post about your experience reading these books, as well as to post your congratulations to the author and her grand vision. You can post about how and when you first read one of the books, what attracted you to the series, which of the Deverry heroes ranks #1 in the Hotness Factor, the overarching themes and structure of the series -- or anything else about the Deverry world and books that has affected you. We hope you all will share your own unique views of Katharine Kerr's achievement.

We’re very excited by the successful completion of this Grand Fantasy Vision, so we're throwing a big party to celebrate! All of you are special guests. Please come! Post often! Bring your friends, your dog, your cat and your dragon too!


Now, I have to admit that I haven't yet read any of the Deverry books, nor anything by Katherine Kerr, but I'll be doing that, I promise! You know me and a huge series... I just can't resist! :-)

So, congratulations to Katherine and to her publishers, distributors and the booksellers (like me, yes, I have sold a bunch of KK) who made the Deverry Cycle such a success! :-)

Be EPIC!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stephen King's Under the Dome - Find the next Hidden Text Snippet!

Hey guys and girls, I've got another snippet you can look for! :-)

This time I've hidden it on the old blog - your clue is:

Half is split between two tales, the blood and the stalker hold your prize.

Trust me, this is much easier than the first snippet-search! :-)But as I'm sure you'll need an extra hint, here goes: There is more to the blog than the main page.

:-)



Be EPIC!

Pre-order Under the Dome here for US, here for UK, and for those in SA, please use the Kalahari link to your right. :-)

Friday, October 16, 2009

SFF - The TV / Motion Picture Adaptations

This subject has been at the back of mind since I started my first blog.

Not, you may ask, since the excellent trilogy of movies that made up the epic The Lord of the Rings? I hear you ask. Well, no. See, the thing is, I hadn't even discovered blogs yet. There might not even have been many of them (we're definitely spoiled for choice nowadays). And most of the discussion at that time took place in two groups - the one group being loyal followes of JRR Tolkien's work who were discussing the path Peter jackson took in adapting the novels for the big screen, the other group being those who had never even read the books before (shame on you!) and proceeded to either "Wow!" the movies, "It was okay, just too damn long," the movies, or not even watch it because "Faries and magic and crap like that isn't real, so I don't have time for it!" the movies. Now, I'm not saying there weren't discussions about future adaptations of SFF taking place - I'm saying that it just didn't seem to be anything particularly worth talking about. It was a coup, and most people thought it wouldn't be repeated.

But times have changed. I take as my prime examples the impending Pilot-shoot of George RR Martin's A Game of Thrones and the news that Peter V Brett's debut, The Painted Man / The Warded Man, is now optioned to become a motion picture. There are many more examples (the practically forgotten news of Terry Brooks' The Elfstones of Shannara movie, the -necessarily- dumbed-down The Legend of the Seeker. etc); practically every week new announcements are popping up, and there are a slew of projects busy taking shape as you read and a type this. My questions are the following:

1) What is the best medium for an adaptation - a TV series, done by those who know how (HBO?), or a movie done by a Hollywood studio?

2) If a motion picture is made, can the way these movies are made be changed to suit the material? For example, should SFF movies be longer, lets say 8 - 10 hours, with breaks in between? This would allow for proper character development, etc.

3) Which SFF novels (either stand-alone or in-series) do you think she be given an attempt?

4) Should we really take these movie- or TV-adaptions as seriously as we do? Author Steve Gould once said something to the effect of "The movie doesn't change my book in any way. There it is on the shelf - exactly the same as the day it was published."

For my part, in answer to the questions:

1) I vote for TV; TV offers not only the possibility of not having to change events so that the entire plot fits into 2, 2.5 hours on screen, but also allows for a more sustained (and therefore, more memorable) experience.

2) If movies have to be made, then I vote make them longer. It's the only way.

3) Steven Erikson's Malazan series and James Barclay's Raven-series are at the top of my list of must-be-done. :-)

4) Absolutely not. It's excruciating having to wait for A Game of Thrones and The Eye of the World, and I'm positive that most of us will be disappointed to some degree, but like Steve Gould says, the books will never change. That's were it began, that's where it'll end. :-)

So, what do you all think?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

House of Night: Tempted by PC and Kristin Cast - Book Trailer




The House of Night is a thrillingly engaging book series from St. Martin's Press. The series follows 16-year-old Zoey Redbird, who gets “Marked” by a vampyre tracker and begins to undergo the Change into an actual vampyre.

The New York Times best selling mother-daughter writing team of P.C. and Kristin Cast again prove why they have become a major force in teen fiction. With over 3 million copies of their books in print, a well-publicized film option, an updated interactive website, daily-growing fanbase, and now a first national book tour, the Cast duo will command your attention with every page turn!



If you'd like to read the first chapter of Tempted or listen to the first 2 chapters on audio, click this link; it'll take you through to the House of Night website, :-)

I can say with all honesty that this series is steadily growing in popularity here in South Africa - the books are selling incredibly well! Tempted will be on sale in SA soon, so go ahead a pre-order your copies by clicking on the Kalahari link on the top-right of the blog. Here are links for those in the US, and the UK.

And with the movie-deal done, I'm sure we can expect much, much more!

Be EPIC!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stephen King's Under the Dome - Find the Hidden Text!

Hey guys and girls!

To lead up to the impending (November 10) release of Under the Dome - Stephen King's incredible new novel (review will be up on November 10), my blog, as well as countless other blogs and websites have joined forces with Hodder and some excellently creative marketing people to offer you the chance to find and put together pieces of Under the Dome. :-)



There are 4500 snippets of the novel floating around out there, and the snippet I received, ID 490, is hidden somewhere below - search for it and find it! Once you've found it, go on through to this website and follow the instructions, and there's more to do besides, so, good luck! There are some awesome prizes!

***

aaaaaaaaboom.AAAAAAAsaaaaaaaaaifffffffff
someoneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehadddddddddddfired
ddddddddddddddddaaaaaaaaaaveryyyyyyyyyyy
yylargeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeegunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
nnnnn.Juniorrrrrrrrrrrrrpaidddddddddddno
oooooooooooooattention.WWWWWWWWWWWWhattt
ttttttttJuniorrrrrrrrrrrrrdidddddddddwas
sssssssssssssssssssssssssredoubleeeeeeee
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehisssssssssssssssssss
ssgrip,andddddddddddddddddddddddddattttt
tttttttlasttttttttttttttAngie'ssssssssss
ssssssssssssstrugglessssssssssssssbegann
nnnnnnnnnnnntoooooooooooooooooooooooowea
ken.Somewhereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemuchhhhh
hhhhhhhhhhhhhhcloserrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
rrrrrrbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyinnnnnnnn
nnnnnnnntheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehouse,onnnnnnn
nnnnnnnnnnnnthissssssssssssssssssfloorrr
rrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaalowwwwwwwwwwwww
wwwwwwwchimingggggggggggggggggggggggbega
n.Heeeeeeeeeeeeelookeddddddddddddddddddu
p,eyessssssssssssssssssssssssswide,atttt
ttttttttttttttfirstttttttttttttttttttsur
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeitttttttttttttttttt
ttttwasssssssssssssssssssssssssstheeeeee
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedoorbell.So
meoneeeeeeeeeeeeehaddddddddddddddhearddd
ddddddddddddtheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerucku
ssssssssssssssssssandddddddddddddddddddd
ddtheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeecopsssssssss
sssssssssssswereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
ehere.Hissssssssssssssssssssheaddddddddd
dddddddddddddddddd

***

Think you've got it? Sure? Here's are your clues: the snippet is 3 lines and consists of 68 words; eliminate the clutter and its yours! I haven't made it too difficult, maybe annoying, but not difficult! :-)

This is the best chance most of you will have (because not everyone can be lucky like us bloggers) to read the book, even if it might take a while. :-) So get started!

Be EPIC, and,

Prepare for Dome Day!

Spotlight: Fires in Eden Book 1 - Crown of Vengeance by Stephen Zimmer





Hey everyone, here's another spotlight for you about a novel that is sure to start grabbing attention - not only is it written by a great author (I'm reading this at the moment, and enjoying it) but it's also the launch of a new series. :-) Here's some info about the book for you all:


***
Begin an Epic Journey...

On a night that begins no different from any other, strange mists engulf Janus Roland, Erika Laesig, Mershad Shahab, and several others going about their lives in a quiet midwestern town. When the mist dissipates, they all find themselves looking up into the bright skies of a new, incredible world.

Without explanation of why it has happened, or any notion of where they are, they embark upon a grand adventure within the fantastical world of Ave. Some find themselves in the lands of the Saxan Kingdom, while others have emerged within the lands of the Onan, one of the tribes in the Five Realms confederation.

Storms of war loom over both Saxany and the Five Realms, as invasion forces mass under the inspiration of The Unifier, a mysterious, captivating figure whose influence has swept across the surface of Ave ever since His rise to power in the Gallean duchy of Avanor. It is a war that will be fought in the skies, upon the seas, on land, and even in places non-physical in nature.

A majestic, epic fantasy that begins many adventures and journeys across a diverse and enthralling world, filled with races and creatures both familiar and new, Crown of Vengeance lights the flame of the Fires in Eden series, bringing to life a bold, far-ranging, and grand new venture within the realms of fantasy literature.

Pre-Order Announcement for Crown of Vengeance:

Seventh Star Press proudly announces the release of Crown of Vengeance, the first book in the new epic fantasy series Fires in Eden, by author Stephen Zimmer (The Exodus Gate).

To commemorate the forthcoming release, publisher Seventh Star Press is offering pre-order packages for Crown of Vengeance, including a very special, limited edition hardcover version that is strictly limited to 100 copies.

To ensure full authenticity, the limited edition hardcover will be hand-numbered and signed by Stephen Zimmer, and also signed by editor Amanda DeBord and illustrator/cover artist Matt Perry. It will include an extra illustration, and designation plate as a limited edition within the book.

Both the limited edition hardcover and first edition trade paperback pre-orders come with a special package of collectibles, including a numbered set of art cards, a collectible set of 12 bookmarks, and a full color poster of the cover art.

Information on the pre-ordering options can be found at the new site for the Fires In Eden series, located at www.firesineden.com

For information on the publisher visit www.seventhstarpress.com, and for the author visit www.stephenzimmer.com
***

As a further treat for you all, Stephen has sent me an exclusive illustration to post here that'll be appearing in the book - revealed here for the first time!



This is definitely something I'm looking forward to reading!

Be EPIC!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Spotlight: The Illustrated Guide to Mythical Creatures




Here's some cool info for you all regarding a new illustrated guide that was published last month. :-)

DARE TO ENTER A WORLD OF STRANGE AND BIZARRE CREATURES—
AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO MYTHICAL CREATURES


NEW YORK, NEW YORK) July 2009—Have you ever imagined yourself aboard the Black Pearl with Captain Jack Sparrow, fighting off the giant Kraken? Perhaps you see yourself as a Greek hero, riding Pegasus to kill a fire-breathing Chimera? Or maybe you’ve gotten caught up in the Harry Potter phenomenon and are still trying to learn about Centaurs, Hippogriffs and Basilisks. Whatever your mythical fancy, uncover a world of myth and legend beyond your wildest dreams inside the pages of AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO MYTHICAL CREATURES (ISBN: 9780843716696; $15.99; Pub Month: September 2009).


GRIFFINS, GIANTS AND DRAGONS…OH MY!
Dare to enter a world of strange and bizarre creatures in which unimaginable dangers and suspense await you! AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO MYTHICAL CREATURES is a wondrous introduction to the varied life forms of hearsay found in the myths, legends and folklore of cultures throughout time and across the globe. Featuring a detailed glossary at the back of the book, readers become true mythological experts, fluent in the world of magic and mysticism. From Europe to Africa, Asia to the Americas, a magical world of fantastical creatures unfolds, with the answers to questions like this—and much more!

• Who is the creepy shape-shifter that haunts the mysterious jungles of South America?

• What grotesque creature has the body of a lion and the head of a hawk?

• Why does a monstrous being from Greek mythology have locks of hair made of deadly, writhing snakes?

Using the magic of 3-D computer generated art—the kind used by Hollywood’s top special-effects experts—noted British illustrator David West creates a visually stunning universe, the likes of which you’ve never seen before. MYTHICAL CREATURES is divided into chapters exploring Dragons, Serpents & Worms; Flying Creatures; Chimera; Half-Human, Half-Beast; Water Beasts; Giants; Shape-Shifters; and Demons, Ghouls, & Ghosts. A true magical world, fans of computer generated art and gaming alike will be fascinated by pages of high-tech illustrations virtually leaping off the page.

Whether you are a mythology buff, computer art fanatic, adult or child, AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO MYTHICAL CREATURES reveals everything you need to know, from how to defeat an evil, blood-sucking shape-shifter of the night to how to capture the wild and brightly glowing Firebird. Be daring and discover why AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO MYTHICAL CREATURES is the coolest, most visually intense handbook about legendary beings you’ll ever read!


About Langenscheidt Publishing Group

Langenscheidt Publishing Group’s complete catalog is comprised of over 3,000 titles—including the largest selection of travel and language learning products in the world. Berlitz Publishing provides an unparalleled selection of phrasebooks, travel dictionaries, and audio programs. The maps and atlases with the American Map and Hammond World Atlas Corporation brands have long been a staple of students and road warriors in the U.S. LPG also owns several leading regional map and atlas brands including Hagstrom, the #1 brand in the New York metropolitan area, and ADC, the leader in the Mid-Atlantic. Most recently the exclusive North American distribution rights for Michelin Maps & Guides and HF Ullmann, and the U.S. distribution rights for Mobil Travel Guides, were added to Langenscheidt’s list of elite brands. To learn more, please visit www.langenscheidt.com.






Looks pretty interesting, right? I like the way the guide is set up; attention-grabbing images with just the right amount of info. :-) Let's hope a publisher in SA subs this over! :-)

Be EPIC!

Monday, October 12, 2009

John Ottinger: Grasping for the Wind (Spotlight)

Everybody should know who John Ottinger III is, and if you don't, then you're either a newbie to this whole blogging thing or you run a non-SFF blog; you may be forgiven (emphasis on 'may') if you spread the word of what he's done (and continues to do). :-)

For example, the SF / F / H Reviewer Link Up Meme, 2nd Edition. John set up a database of most (if not all) of the SFF / H blogs out there, inculding some non-english blogs, so there's no excuse when you're bored - if you're looking for blogs that focus on SF, check the list; want fantasy (epic, heroic, etc), check the list; urban fantasy? Yep, they're all there too. And much more besides! :-)

When you've decided to put this list on your own blog, visit John's new-look Grasping for the Wind blog (with the link above) and follow the instructions. :-) Here's the list for your viewing pleasure!

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Romanian French Chinese Danish Portuguese German


A




7 Foot Shelves

The Accidental Bard

A Boy Goes on a Journey

A Dribble Of Ink

Adventures in Reading

A Fantasy Reader

The Agony Column

A Hoyden’s Look at Literature

A Journey of Books

All Booked Up

Alexia’s Books and Such…

The Alternative

Andromeda Spaceways

The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Ask Daphne

ask nicola

Audiobook DJ

aurealisXpress

Australia Specfic In Focus

Author 2 Author

AzureScape


B




Barbara Martin

Babbling about Books

Bees (and Books) on the Knob

Best SF

Bewildering Stories

Bibliophile Stalker

Bibliosnark

Big Dumb Object

BillWardWriter.com

The Billion Light-Year Bookshelf

Bitten by Books

The Black Library Blog

Blog, Jvstin Style

Blood of the Muse

Book Love Affair

The Book Bind

Bookgeeks

Bookrastination

Booksies Blog

Bookslut

The Book Smugglers

Bookspotcentral

The Book Swede

Book View Cafe [Authors Group Blog]

Brain Harvest

Breeni Books


C




Calico Reaction

Cheaper Ironies [pro columnist]

Charlotte’s Library

Circlet 2.0

Civilian Reader

Cheryl’s Musings

Club Jade

Cranking Plot

Critical Mass

The Crotchety Old Fan


D




Daily Dose – Fantasy and Romance

Damien G. Walter

Danger Gal

It’s Dark in the Dark

Dark Parables

Dark Wolf Fantasy Reviews

Darque Reviews

Dave Brendon’s Fantasy and Sci-Fi Weblog

Dazed Rambling

Dead Book Darling

Dear Author

The Deckled Edge

The Discriminating Fangirl

The Doctor is In…

Dragons, Heroes and Wizards

Drey’s Library

Drying Ink

Dusk Before the Dawn


E




Enter the Octopus

Erotic Horizon

Errant Dreams Reviews

Eve’s Alexandria


F




Falcata Times

Fan News Denmark [in English]

Fantastic Reviews

Fantastic Reviews Blog

Fantasy Book Banner

Fantasy Book Critic

Fantasy Book News

Fantasy Book Reviews and News

Fantasy By the Tale

Fantasy Cafe

Fantasy Debut

Fantasy Dreamer’s Ramblings

Fantasy Literature.com

Fantasy Magazine

Fantasy and Sci-fi Lovin’ News and Reviews

Feminist SF – The Blog!

Feybound

Fiction is so Overrated

The Fix

The Foghorn Review

Follow that Raven

Forbidden Planet

Frances Writes

Free SF Reader

From a Sci-Fi Standpoint

From the Heart of Europe

Fruitless Recursion

Fundamentally Alien

The Future Fire


G




The Galaxy Express

Galleycat

Game Couch

The Gamer Rat

Garbled Signals

The Geeky Bookworm

Genre Reviews

Genreville

Got Schephs

Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review

Grasping for the Wind

The Great Gnome Press Science Fiction Odyssey

a GREAT read

The Green Man Review

Gripping Books


H




Hasenpfeffer

Hero Complex

Highlander’s Book Reviews

Horrorscope

Hot Cup of Coffee

The Hub Magazine

Hypatia’s Hoard of Reviews

Hyperpat’s Hyper Day


I




I Hope I Didn’t Just Give Away The Ending

Ink and Keys

Ink and Paper

The Internet Review of Science Fiction

io9


J




Janicu’s Book Blog

Jenn’s Bookshelf

Jumpdrives and Cantrips


K




Kat Bryan’s Corner

Keeping the Door

King of the Nerds


L




La Bloga

Lair of the Undead Rat

Largehearted Boy

Layers of Thought

League of Reluctant Adults

The Lensman’s Children

Library Dad

Libri Touches

Literary Escapism

Literaturely Speaking

ludis inventio

The Luminous Page

Lundblog: Beautiful Letters


M




Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf and Book Review

Mari’s Midnight Garden

Mark Freeman’s Journal

Mark Lord’s Writing Blog

Marooned: Science Fiction Books on Mars

Martin’s Booklog

MentatJack

Michele Lee’s Book Love

Missions Unknown [Author and Artist Blog Devoted to SF/F/H in San Antonio]

The Mistress of Ancient Revelry

MIT Science Fiction Society

Monster Librarian

More Words, Deeper Hole

Mostly Harmless Books

Multi-Genre Fan

Musings from the Weirdside

MyBlog2.0

My Favourite Books

My Overstuffed Bookshelf


N




Neth Space

The New Book Review

NextRead

Not Free SF Reader

Nuketown


O




OCD, Vampires, and Rants, o my!

OF Blog of the Fallen

The Old Bat’s Belfry

ommadawn.dk

Omphalos Book Reviews

Only The Best SciFi/Fantasy

The Ostentatious Ogre

Outside of a Dog


P




Paper Spaceships

Paranormality

Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist

Patricia’s Vampire Notes

The Persistence of Vision

Piaw’s Blog

Pink Raygun

Pizza’s Book Discussion

Poisoned Rationality

Popin’s Lair

pornokitsch

Post-Weird Thoughts

Publisher’s Weekly

Punkadiddle

Pussreboots: A Book Review a Day


Q




R




Ramblings of a Raconteur

Random Acts of Mediocrity

Ray Gun Revival

Realms of Speculative Fiction

Reading the Leaves

Review From Here

Reviewer X

Revolution SF

Rhiannon Hart

The Road Not Taken

Rob’s Blog o’ Stuff

Robots and Vamps


S




Sacramento Book Review

Sandstorm Reviews

Satisfying the Need to Read

Science Fiction and Fantasy Ethics

Science Fiction Times

ScifiChick

Sci-Fi Blog

SciFiGuy

Sci-Fi Fan Letter

The Sci-Fi Gene

Sci-Fi Songs [Musical Reviews]

SciFi Squad

Scifi UK Reviews

Sci Fi Wire

Self-Publishing Review

The Sequential Rat

Severian’s Fantastic Worlds

SF Diplomat

SFFaudio

SFFMedia

SF Gospel

SFReader.com

SF Reviews.net

SF Revu

SF Safari

SFScope

SF Signal

SF Site

SFF World’s Book Reviews

Silver Reviews

Simply Vamptastic

Slice of SciFi

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

Solar Flare

Speculative Fiction

Speculative Fiction Junkie

Speculative Horizons

The Specusphere

Spinebreakers

Spiral Galaxy Reviews

Spontaneous Derivation

Sporadic Book Reviews

Stainless Steel Droppings

Starting Fresh

Stella Matutina

Stomping on Yeti

Stuff as Dreams are Made on…

The Sudden Curve

The Sword Review


T




Tangent Online

Tehani Wessely

Temple Library Reviews

Tez Says

things mean a lot

Tor.com [also a publisher]

True Science Fiction


U




Ubiquitous Absence

Un:Bound

undeadbydawn

Urban Fantasy Land


V




Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic

Variety SF

Veritas Omnia Vincula

Vons Books


W




Walker of Worlds

Wands and Worlds

Wanderings

Wendy Palmer: Reading and Writing Genre Books and ebooks

The Weirdside

The Wertzone

With Intent to Commit Horror

The Wizard of Duke Street

WJ Fantasy Reviews

The Word Nest

Wordsville

The World in a Satin Bag

WriteBlack

The Written World

The Wry Writer


X




Y




Young Adult Science Fiction


Z




Romanian




Cititor SF [with English Translation]


French




Elbakin.net

Mythologica


Chinese




Foundation of Krantas

The SF Commonwealth Office in Taiwan [with some English essays]

Yenchin’s Lair


Danish




Interstellar

Ommadawn.dk

Scifisiden


Portuguese




Aguarras

Fernando Trevisan

Human 2.0

Life and Times of a Talkative Bookworm

Ponto De Convergencia

pós-estranho

Skavis


German




Fantasy Seiten

Fantasy Buch

Fantasy/SciFi Blog

Literaturschock

Welt der fantasy

Bibliotheka Phantastika

SF Basar

Phantastick News

X-zine

Buchwum

Phantastick Couch

Wetterspitze

Fantasy News

Fantasy Faszination

Fantasy Guide

Zwergen Reich

Fiction Fantasy


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Romanian French Chinese Danish Portuguese German


Be EPIC!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Welcome to Realms & Galaxies!

Hey Guys and Girls and book-lovers everywhere (hey, even dogs have been known to -shall we say- mark a book as their own), Dave-Brendon de Burgh here. :-)

Welcome to the new blog!

I'm sure your first question is "Why a new blog?" Well, to be honest, I was getting a bit bored and was in the market for something new. :-) I was getting a bit bored with Wordpress and its limitations - I wanted something that, with some trial and error of course, I could use as I really wanted to, and not be held back. Wordpress was great, still is, and the old blog will still be there (Now, did you honestly think I would go and delete it, thereby cutting off all the links to it?), with all the posts, but the blog will undergo a name-change (first thing) and a direction change (gradual).

I'll be using the olf blog to post my thoughts on non-SFF subjects, though it will still be focused on books and publishing, and I will also be using it to post whatever I write, fiction-wise. Now, I'm sure it'll take a while for traffic to get through to this new blog, but I'm happy with Blogger and what it has to offer (plus, I'll admit, I've got even bigger plans for the blog down the ways a bit that Blogger might be perfect for, but more on that muuuch later). :-)

So, I'm sure you've all already had a look at the blog - let me say, it's still a work in progress: there are still plenty of links I have to add (if you don't see your link right now and it's on the old blog, don't stress - it'll be here in time), and much more, so you'll see the blog take full shape through the next month or so. :-)

David Jooste is still helping me with everything blog-related, too, which I'm very happy to say. :-) The man has been a great asset to the old blog (not to mention the fact that he reads wayyy faster than I do!), and I'm sure he'll most definitely be one half of the reason why this blog will be successful, too. :-)

But let me go ahead and give you a run-down of the sidebar

First up is the audio extract I did for Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon (actually named properly now, too), which will be up for the duration. I've made it the first item on the sidebar because of some questions I've received asking just where the hell it was. :-) Now it's visible to all. :-) And if it's not, install what you need to. :-)

Next up is the affiliate-link to South Africa's Amazon-equivelent, Kalahari (dot) Net. Every link to a book will have links to Amazon US and UK, but for readers here in SA who shop on Kalahari, they've now got a link from my blog to the online-supermall. :-) And yes, David and I will probably get some money if you fellow South African's use that link to purchase from Kalahari. :-)

Underneath the Kalahari link are the details to get in contact with us,

Under that is the countdown widgit to The Gathering Storm (I will be insanely jealous when this book is published at the end of this month, because we're getting the book in December!),

Under that is the old blog's Facebook Fan Page (busy setting up one for the new blog right now - who says men can't multitask?!), so go ahead a join (if you're a FB user, otherwise become one ;) ) and become a fan (pretty please!),

Under that is the Under the Dome countdown widgit - not only will it do that (count down to Dome Day), but it's also a link to much, much more. I know it's small, but there'll be a big version with my review of Under the Dome. :-)

Under that are badges (and a widgit) of the various places on the web that I'm a member of (not a very good member, I'll admit, but I do pop in when I can), including Wonderlands, The David Gemmell Legend Award, Book SA, Book Blogs, Goodreads, and Twitter, with more coming (I hear you, Liz!). :-)

Then the widgit for Karen Traviss' second Gears of War novel, Jacinto's Remnant (this new blog will see my review of Karen's first Gears novel),

then the search-field,

then the Followers field (please become a Follower - gonna start following like crazy myself),

and then the first group of links: Authors, the blogs I read on Google Reader, my fave SFF-related sites, Links of Note, and then publishers and retailers, including the South African ones,

and finally the blog's archive. :-)

Now, you wont see absolutely everything from the old blog in here, but it really was a slog to get everything shifted and I thought I'd focus on reviews and interviews. :-) But as you all know, the content will grow and diversify. :-)

So there we go! Welcome to Realms and Galaxies!


Review: Under the Dome by Stephen King

It's officially Dome Day! And here's the review I (enthusiastically) posted last month. :-)

So I'm finally done, and I feel kind of drained. I'm not relieved -to the contrary, I wish it could have gone on longer- but I am glad that I've finished Under the Dome. This is a book I'll be celebrating as long as books and storytelling exist, a book that I'll always be happy to talk about.

I received (was very lucky, being one of 6 readers in South Africa) the 187th proof copy of Under the Dome from a very cool lady who runs this blog after I had found her on Twitter and sent an @ her way - Twitter is so damn awesome! :) And when I had the copy in my hands (it came with a plastic enclosing-sleeve, even), I was trembling. And this was after waiting 3 years for the book. And back when I heard about it, I never once thought that I would be lucky enough to be given a chance to read it before publication! But I did, and let me tell you, it was definitely worth the 25-year wait (that's how long the King took to write the book)!

I dare every one of you out there, be you a fan of Stephen King or not, to read the first chapter of Under the Dome when it's released. I dare you. Because I tell you what, you wont want to put it down. You might, I allow, but with just the first section (focusing on a plane and a little bird) Stephen hooks the reader and pulls, pulls until you tumble all the way in. The Dome literally closes around you, and if I could paraphrase Ray Bradbury's opening line of Fahrenheit 451 I would, but I don't want to, yet I think you understand what I'm getting at. Being pulled in was at once terrifying and exhilarating.

Getting further into the book, Stephen starts to showcase that amazing eye for characterization he is known for - the back of the proof states that Under the Dome features "more than 100 characters" and that's no lie, trust me. The main character-group (those who get the most POVs) are headed by Dale Barbara on one side and Jim Rennie on the other, but there are so many other characters (including an awesome Corgi that had me wiping away tears at the end) representing so many different and conflicting points on view (conflicting, yes, but doesn't everyone's POV come into conflict with someone else's?) that you not only are immersed in their lives, hearts and heads, but that the town of Chester's Mills comes so vibrantly alive with them that so can actually convince yourself that you can see these places and people without any apparent effort. Match Stephen's amazing characters to his incredible ability to build worlds, and it takes the breath away. You will hate some the people you will meet; you will love some, too. Many will surprise you, even with how deep they fall or rise, and all of them will speak to something within you. What are characters in novels, when it comes down to it? They are all echoes and explorations of what we could be, if the world was a bit different, and Stephen understands this. I've got those I love and those I hate fixed firmly in my mind's eye, and once you've read the book, you'll agree that some are very welcome, and some not so much.

Something that also kicks the book into high gear from page 1 is the structure of it; I'm sure you all know that Stephen King doesn't really use chapters - instead, he breaks the narrative up into myriad sections, with each section consisting of around 20 parts, sometimes more or less, (sounds like such a terrible word to use but I can't think of anything else at the moment) and he does the same here. But the thing that leapt out at me as soon as I hit the second section-chunk was that he was drawing our attention to a specific scene or event or character in that section, and once I understood that I had to check myself to avoid racing through the book; it really served to ramp up the pace, which each section delivering a gut-punch, repeated all the way to the end, until the final, incredible climax. Now, I'm sure that there'll be an opinion different to mine on the climax of Under the Dome (and I welcome it), but just remember one thing; Stephen has been doing this for a long time now, and he is the master at it. :-), but all I can say is I loved it, it was fitting and incredible, it's still sinking in.

Under the Dome is, in all ways, an incredible novel, and Stephen an incredible storyteller (anyone who calls him a novelist should be smacked upside the head), and Under the Dome is another rampaging super bestseller, no doubt about it, but it's also a book that you'll want to re-read and re-live more than once; Stephen has a way of layering his work, a way of raising and lowering the blinds that'll have you once again settling that book in front of you and being terrified to death and back. There was for me a moment set in a pantry that creeped me the hell out but hand me laughing myself sore, too; the only guy I know who can do that is the King, and the wonderful pleasure of books would never have been the same without him and his work!

I give this book a very strong, fist-pumping-in-the-air 9 /10; you'll enjoy being under the Dome, no doubt about it!



To check out the amazing cover in all its HD glory, click here!

I will also soon be posting an awesome Dome-related treasure-hunt (wish I could say it was my idea) soon, so keep an eye out for that. :-)

To pre-order your copies, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and for those in SA, please use the Kalahari link at the top of the blog. :-)

The official Under the Dome website is also up and running, and click here to go to Stephen King's official site


Review: Transition by Iain Banks


Hey there girls and guys, time for another review.

This week I’m bringing you my views on Iain Banks new novel, Transition.

Now I’m not that familiar with Iain’s books but this was truly a difficult read for me, great story, but not the easiest to read.

But I will get to all that in time. :-)

Let say that not only the universe itself is infinite but alternate dimensions as well, and in everyone there is an earth.

Now what if there was a secret organisation made up of special individuals with the ability to transition from one version of earth to the other.

Put this together, add some conspiracy, a council member mad with power, a rebel, an assassin and a few odds and ends, including a mysterious patient in a psych ward, and you have the premises for a very interesting journey.

Now then, Transition. The story is very interesting and quite captivating, when u get to it.

This book was both very good and tedious at times. :-) :-(

You have several characters throughout the story to work with, the main one being the transitionary/assassin Mr Oh. Each chapter is divided between several of the characters. Though Iain indicates to you which characters you are busy with, when dealing with Mr Oh he tends to think of previous times and when this happens you are left confused until you figure out that you are actually dealing with a memory and no part of the current story.

This does however help to give you a better understanding of where Mr Oh comes from and what happened in the past to lead to the actions as they are currently unfolding.

Mr Oh’s character in itself is also a very interesting character to follow, most likely the most so of the whole bunch. Well he is after all the main character :-)

He is already a fully developed character so there is no real character development, instead you find yourself standing right beside him as he works at uncovering the conspiracy that has wrapped itself around the Concern, the organisation he worked for.

The second problem I found in reading this book is that you are left completely confused and in the dark for almost the first 100 pages. There is no explanation of what is going on or any indication of a story line. :-(

This is however is corrected after about 100 pages, and trust me when you find out what the storyline is and what’s really going on, shocking and speechless. Pure genius. :-)

From there on the story progresses relatively well, despite the amount of clutter which I will get to in a minute.

Once the storyline has been revealed, it starts to flow in a more understandable pattern, events start to make sense, and you can really start to live yourself into the story.

The final problem I had with the story was the amount of distracting information. There would be entire pages discussing theoretical, ethical, and academic concepts. On their own they are truly interesting and worth a read, but placed into the story as they are they form more of a distraction and thus resulting in a very heavy/difficult read. At times I would find myself skipping over pages just to get past all of this information. :-(

Despite all this distracting information you still find a very well written story filled with intrigue, corruption, action, romance and of course the supernatural. :-)

Iain Banks is a great writer and this is a spectacular story, but due to the fact that I had such difficulty getting through it, it will not be making its way onto my best book list.

If you want to find out more about Iain Banks and his books then you can find his official website here.


To order your copies, click here for US, here for UK, and for those in SA, please use the link at the top of the blog.

Nights of Villjamur Character Interview: Investigator Rumex Jeryd


Hey Guys and Girls, I’m back with Investigator Rumex Jeryd! :-) He was good enough to give up some of his time to answer the questions I had, and here’s the result:


Dave: Thanks for agreeing to this interview, Inspector Jeryd, I appreciate you giving up your time during this important investigation. First off, what brought you to the Inquisition? And why in Villjamur? Surely there are quieter spots throughout the Empire?

Jeryd: Well it wasn’t the paperwork, that’s for sure. It’s been so long since I’ve joined – decades and decades – that I can’t really remember why. A calling. A safe job. The need to do some good in this city. I was born and raised in Villjamur, but I don’t fancy making my way out in the sticks. It’s not as violent as some cities. And sure it’s quieter out in the country, but there’s no protection, no guarantee of food, risk of attacks from tribal uprisings and the likes. Plus now the ice is kicking in, I’m glad I’m behind these city walls.

Dave: When you’re not persuing a suspect, when you feel the need to relax for a time, where do you go? What do you do?

Jeryd: Time to relax? Very little of that these days. Back in the day, me and my wife, Marysa, we’d take in some of the underground theatre shows – she loves a golem show. Maybe dinner out, read a book. My breaks are when I get to a bistro, and I watch the world go by. There are a lot of characters in Villjamur. There’s a lot going on beneath the surface – but you need to look hard to see what’s really going on.

Dave: Coming to your wife; How does she handle your work? Has it put a strain on your marriage or does she handle it well?

Jeryd: Hey, I’m hardly the guy to answer that one well am I? I mean, I guess you have to work at relationships, right? But with Inquisition work, well, it just takes over your life. I’m hardly there to see to her needs and when I am everything seems trivial to murders or whatever. No, I’m not so good when it comes to these things. I’d like to think I can turn things around though.

Dave: Well, the city does have a way of bringing out the best or worst in a person. Coming back to the Inquisition, can you give us a short history of the Inquisition? Do you know anything of how it was formed and how long its been in charge of justice in Villjamur?

Jeryd: As to how it was formed in the first stage, no one really knows. Most of the stories suggest it started with Jamur Joll, the Emperor who five thousand years ago re-named the settlement as Villjamur, and had the walls built. He established some kind of order (though you might think that order never really came), and the Inquisition was to enforce civil obedience. The Inquisition really took hold within the last couple of thousand years – in its current capacity. There was a great deal of combat between human and rumel, and the upshot of these tensions were that the rumel would be allowed to form the main rank of Investigators. It was a peace offering of sorts, to force two races to live side-by-side in peace. And we’re a relatively liberal city compared to others, so I’ve heard, so I guess the policy worked.

Dave: Granted, it does seem to have worked. Looking back over your years in Villjamur, is there a memory that stands out more than most? Something good or bad that you’ll never forget.

Jeryd: Memory is a strange thing. My species can live for a good couple of hundred years, so I tend not to rely on what happened all that long ago. We can distort things in our minds even after a few hours – think what that’s like for a few decades! Nah, whatever I’m thinking about probably isn’t how it was.

Dave: That seems a sad way to live, but understandable from a rumel’s point of view. Is there then something you’re looking forward to? A dream that you’ve been nurturing?

Jeryd: I’m realistic! You’ve got to think practically to be in the Inquisition. None of this emotions nonsense. I look forward to building a better marriage, but as for things to look forward to? Well, believe it or not, I’m a big fan of the theatre. I’d love more free time to take my wife to see a lot of the shows. Villjamur has great underground shows, and even in an ice age there’s a lot going on. I’m trying not to think too far ahead – what with the ice, nothing is certain.

* * *

The next Villjamur interview that’ll I’ll post will be with Commander Brynd Lathraea! :-)

To order your copies, click here for US, here for UK, and for those in SA, please use the link at the top of the blog.