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“We’re looking to publish The Thorn of Emberlain before the end of 2015,” revealed the Gollancz blog. Lynch’s release dates are notoriously slippery, but this is encouraging news.

Details on the volume are slim, but the blog post did give readers a sweeping taste of what to expect. “As you can tell from the armour, the business like blades and the scarlet banner Scott’s new book takes Locke into a new world of risks and adventure,” Gollancz said. “You could say that The Lies of Locke Lamora was the book of the con, that Red Seas Under Red Skies was the pirate book and The Republic of Thieves took Locke into politics. Now, with The Thorn of Emberlain the Gentleman Bastard is going to war.”

The cover art is by London-based Uruguayan artist Alejandro Colucci.

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“What’s your new book about?” readers ask writers all the time. It’s not such an easy question to answer, Daniel Polansky told me when we started chatting about his new book, Those Above “It’s meant kindly, hardly an unreasonable question given that you did write the damn thing, bound to bring an author to the brink of despair.”

If there are a thousand readers, there are a thousand answers to that question, and Polansky often attempts to find the correct answer to fit the person who’s asking. “There’s the answer that I give to bloggers or interviewers or editors or anyone else who might help generate sales,” he said. “Those Above is the story of a civilization of near-perfect, almost-immortal humanoids who live in a wondrous city at the center of the world, and of the attempts of their enslaved human population to shake off this yoke. There are multiple intersecting viewpoints, there’s political scheming and moral quandaries, there’s sword fights and murder and just enough sex to keep the thing entertaining.” Read More »

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Brooding Swordsman: 1

Hooded Man: 0

I call it a win.

The heart of civilization bleeds.

Cier’Djaal, once the crowning glory of the civilized world, has gone from a city to a battlefield and a battlefield to a graveyard. Foreign armies clash relentlessly on streets laden with the bodies of innocents caught in the crossfire. Cultists and thieves wage shadow wars, tribal armies foment outside the city’s walls, and haughty aristocrats watch the world burn from on high.

As his companions struggle to keep the city from destroying itself, Lenk travels to the Forbidden East in search of the demon who caused it all. But even as he pursues Khoth-Kapira, dark whispers plague his thoughts. Khoth-Kapira promises him a world free of war where Lenk can put down his sword at last. And Lenk finds it hard not to listen.

When gods are deaf, demons will speak.

In all likelihood, this is an unfinished catalogue cover and will change (slightly or wholly) before release. The Mortal Tally is the follow-up to Sam Sykes’ The City Stained Red and is due for release from Orbit Books on January 5th, 2016.

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Kate Elliott’s fiction first came to my attention in the mid-’90s. In the age before the rise of massive social media, I discovered authors through publications like Locus, and through things like award nomination lists. When King’s Dragon showed up on the Nebula shortlist for novels published in 1997 (a ballot that also coincidentally included an unassuming novel titled by a chap named Martin), I was excited to try a new author, and one tackling epic fantasy at that! I was pleased to find that King’s Dragon offered deep and intricate worldbuilding, strong female characters, perspectives on issues and facets of epic fantasy worlds that don’t always get much play, and a willingness to go dark when necessary. This was definitely something different than the epic fantasy of the ’80s I devoured as a teenager. I was hooked on Kate’s work. Hard.

I started reading backward into her œuvre, and then forward ever since.

Though also an author of several science fiction novels (Jaran, for instance, might be considered as Genghis Khan meets Jane Austen in space!), Elliott is best known for being one of the cornerstones of epic fantasy writing starting in the mid 90s and continuing strongly to this day. While many of the innovations and style of Elliott’s rising carries through all of her work, the series’ themselves are individual and distinct in manner, matter, and tone. There is a Kate Elliott fantasy series for nearly every taste of reader. Read More »