Suvudu has an exclusive look at the upcoming novel from Russian author Max Frei, The Stranger, which is garnering a fair bit of early buzz.

The Stranger by Max Frei

A synopsis:

Once a self-described “classic loser” who, if it weren’t for bad luck, wouldn’t have any luck at all, Max is an insomniac who sleeps all day, a night owl in a world of larks, a social outcast and a glutton with nothing to show for himself but empty cigarette packs. At twenty-something, Max is never the early bird and he never gets the worm. Then one day he suddenly finds himself transplanted into an alternate dream universe in the city of Echo, summoned by the chief of the Secret Police. In this world, he is deemed a species of magical secret agent, is made a member of the Department of Absolute Order, and must solve unimaginably extravagant cases with his exceptional new powers. Fate smiles on Max in the city of Echo, where everything that happens to him happens for a reason, and the one-time slacker is known reverently as the “unequalled Sir Max.” As Max learns how to navigate through his bizarre new reality, he takes readers on the journey of a lifetime punctuated by incredible events and a cast of unforgettable characters.

In an additional twist of fantasy, the true author behind the endearing narrator of The Labyrinths of Echo series is revealed in reality as Russian writer Svetlana Martynchik. In the hands of this literary ventriloquist, Max Frei comes alive in the tradition of Sergei Lukyanenko’s internationally bestselling Night Watch trilogy. Similarly sprawling, inventive, and destined for success, The Stranger is soon to become a favorite fixture in bookshelves all over the world.

From Kirkus:

If Harry Potter smoked cigarettes and took a certain matter-of-fact pleasure in administering tough justice, he might like Max Frei, the protagonist of this fantasy novel… Well-written, well-paced grown-up fantasy with a strong dose of reality.

You can find Chapter Four of the novel HERE.

When The Red Wolf Conspiracy was released last year in the UK, early buzz had it pegged as the debut of the year, even the next Patrick Rothfuss. It’s now been released in North America, so it’ll be interesting to see how it fares over on this side of the pacific.

The Imperial Merchant Ship Chathrand is the last of her kind. Six hundred years old, the secrets of her construction long forgotten, the massive vessel dwarfs every other sailing craft in the world. It is a palace with sails, a floating outpost of the Empire of Arqual. And it is on its most vital mission yet: to deliver a young woman whose marriage will seal the peace between Arqual and its mortal enemy, the secretive Mzithrin Empire. But the young woman in question-Thasha, the daughter of the Arquali ambassador-has no intention of going meekly to the altar. For the ship’s true mission is not peace but war-a war that threatens to unleash an ancient, all-consuming evil.

As the dark conspiracy at the heart of the voyage unfurls, Pazel Pathkendle, a lowly tarboy with an uncanny gift, will find himself in an unlikely alliance with Thasha and her protectors: Hercól, a valet who is more than he appears; Dri, the queen of a race of tiny stowaways who have their own plans for the great ship; and Ramachni, a powerful sorcerer from another world. Arrayed against them are the Chathrand’s brutal captain, Nilus Rose; the Emperor’s spymaster and chief assassin, Sandor Ott; and the enigmatic Dr. Chadfallow, a longtime friend to Pazel’s family whose kind words may hide a vicious betrayal.

As the Chathrand navigates treacherous waters to complete its mission, Pazel, Thasha, and their allies-including a singularly heroic rat-must also navigate a treacherous web of intrigue to uncover the secret of the legendary Red Wolf.