Monthly Archives: September 2011

From Brooks’ official website:

The Wards of Faerie, Book I in the Legacy of Shannara series, will be published in August 2012. It is the story set 100 years after the events of the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, where the people of the Four Lands have become largely distrusting of magic after the failed Third Council of Druids. But when a Druid stumbles upon information that might lead to the re-discovery of the lost Elfstones of Faerie, Ard Rhys of Paranor Khyber Elessedil must decide to undertake the most dangerous of missions to acquire them—at all costs.

Jeez, a quest to find the Elfstones? How original. I’m a longtime Brooks fan, but in recent years, I’ve become tired of his re-using the same tools and ideas in novel-after-novel. His creativity was one of the staples of his early books (if, I suppose, you disregard The Sword of Shannara‘s purposeful similarities to The Lord of the Rings and instead look at the several novels that followed), but has been sorely lacking since Antrax. Whatever. I’ll read them, and probably make the same complaints I do every time. The most interesting news, though, comes from details about the publishing schedule:

That means fans will be able to read the entirety of the Legacy of Shannara trilogy in the span of a year—August 2012 (The Wards of Faerie), March 2013 (Book II), and August 2013 (Book III) respectively!

But that’s not all. Del Rey Books has agreed to make The Wards of Faerie a very special publication in its own right. Here are the highlights:

  • Interior color artwork for the first time since publication of The Sword of Shannara
  • A new two-page map of the Four Lands and beyond by Russ Charpentier
  • Detailed schematics of Paranor

In a world where George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss and Scott Lynch are ostracised for taking years between volumes, Brooks writes so bloody fast these days that he’s a couple of books ahead of publishing schedule. Crazy. Still, there’s a definite reflection of this on the quality of his work. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll actually hold true to my promise to myself and wait until the trilogy is out in its entirety and read it as one long novel (which I’ve always felt might improve my experience with Brooks’ more recent works, which are, essentially, long novels split over three volumes.)

It’ll be cool to have interior illustrations, which were a huge factor in first attracting me to The Sword of Shannara way back in the day. And, well, Charmentier’s maps are always gorgeous, so I certainly can’t complain about that.

What do you think, Shannara fans?

SPELLBOUND by Blake CharltonTo celebrate today’s release of Spellbound by Blake Charlton (a very generous and kindly friend-of-the-blog), I’ve got two chapters from the novel, ripe for the reading. If you’re curious about my affection for the series, my review of Spellwright should shed some light on that:

Charlton’s inventive debut is comfortable in its tropes, but also willing to turn convention on its head and remind us of that sense of wonder than drew us to Fantasy in the first place.

Today we’ve got Chapter Three and tomorrow I’ll be rolling out Chapter Four. Bu… but, what about the first two chapters? Ain’t those important, too?

Well, yeah, and, luckily,’s got you covered with Chapter One and Chapter Two of Spellbound, all ready to go.

So, then, here’s today’s excerpt, Chapter Three!


Chapter Three


High up in Avel’s sanctuary, Nicodemus crouched in a dark hallway and waited for the sound of footsteps. If this raid on Typhon’s library was timed correctly, he would shatter the demon’s mind as if it were a stained-glass window. For nearly ten years, Nicodemus had waged clandestine war against the demon. It was almost time to end that war.

But the attack had to be perfect. He needed to catch all three librarians together and unaware.

So he crouched in the dark and waited for footsteps.

None came.
Read More »


This is the Game of Thrones game that actually looks… decent-to-good. Unlike the RPG.

“A Game of Thrones – Genesis” is the video game adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s best-seller series of novels A Song of Ice and Fire. In this strategy game developed by Cyanide Studio, your political prowess will be as important as your strategic and military skills!

Thanks to a well-developed single player campaign written under supervision of the author, “A Game of Thrones – Genesis” immerses you into the heart of the battles and intrigues between the Houses that shaped the Kingdom of Westeros.

From Nymeria’s arrival in the Kingdom of Dorne to the awakening of the “Others” beyond the Wall, you’ll live the origins of the A Song of Ice and Fire saga through more than 1000 years of history. From year -750 to year 299, you will take part in Westeros’ founding events and largest battles, such as Aegon the Conqueror’s invasion of the continent or the War of the Usurper.

“A Game of Thrones – Genesis” is also a great multiplayer game. Up to 8 players confront each others to claim the Iron Throne in intense games where alliances, betrayals, cheap shots, and pitched battles take place!

It’s an interesting approach, setting the game in the past to allow gamers to witness some of Westeros’ most iconic moments, but you have to wonder how involved George R.R. Martin was in the whole process. Are the developers just making shit up and filling in the blanks, or was Martin providing them with actual canon, revealing parts of the series that have been clouded for readers. Likely the former.

The notion of peace and war is very important in A Game of Thrones and, in part, fixes your strategy and how you will gain control of territories.

At the start of each game, harmony usually reigns. However, every action taken by the players has an effect, be it positive or negative, on the apparent peace. Every killing, assassination, imprisonment and other treachery actions will lead toward War. To the contrary, sending messages of peace to enemy castles (if the envoy manages to reach his destination alive!), freeing captured enemy units, and other actions, will maintain peace. Depending on your strategy and plans, you may want to maintain peace, or to precipitate war.

Setting alliances with townships, castles and other control points is only possible during peace, by sending either an envoy to agree on a wealthy, open alliance, or a spy to build up a less profitable, but secret alliance. You may also marry your Great Lord in a town or castle to set an unbreakable blood alliance. Be wary though, if your Great Lord is assassinated and did not have any heir… the game is lost!

When war breaks out, there is no turning back. The lords in their towns and castles become Loyal, and show their true allegiance if a secret alliance was in place. The more alliances you have when War comes, the better. Spies and envoys may not set alliances any longer, so the only way to capture towns and castles is to lay siege to them.

Sounds like a solid mix of a Warcraft 3-style RTS (hero-based, real-time, tactical combat with units) and a Civilization-style strategy game (building up your kingdom/army, alliances, assasination, marriage), which is certainly something to look forward to.

The game even looks fairly decent:


More screenshots can be found HERE and more info can be found on the newly launched website, and the game can now be pre-ordered on Steam and (I assume) other digital download platforms.

What do you think? Excited. Couldn’t care less? Want the RPG instead?

THIS RIVER AWAKENS by Steven Erikson

What is this. I don’t even… It’s a placeholder, right? Should even placeholder covers be this bad? I mean, I know it’s not a Malazan novel (can you imagine?), or even Fantasy, but this is bad by any genre’s standards.

All I can think of is this.