Posts Tagged: Del Rey

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

Every Friday, Suvudu runs a feature called 50 Page Friday. It doesn’t take a genius to guess that they post the first fifty pages of a book, free of charge, to get you hooked. You know, like a drug dealer. This past week, they released a sneak peek at one of the year’s most anticipated novels: The Republic of Thieves.

Over on Suvudu, Lynch’s editor discusses the novel and why the rabid anticipation is justified:

I have said before that a good editor, like a good mom, tries not to play favorites. But sometimes you just can’t help it. Twice in my career, the same thing has happened to me—albeit with two different authors. Because twice I have received the first 100 or so pages of as-yet-uncompleted epic fantasy novels on submission, and twice I have felt that special shiver of gut-deep excitement and sheer acquisitiveness that said: This is something TRULY special. I must own this, and edit this. Like…NOW!

The first time I felt that was when I was given the first few chapters of a what would one day grow into A Game of Thrones. And the second time? Well, that was when I first encountered Scott Lynch. As with George Martin, I fell instantly in love with Scott’s words and Scott’s world, and then suffered (in not-quite silence) for the next year before I could finally discover What Happened Next!

The Lies of Locke Lamora is, to my mind, one of the world’s almost perfect books. It is epic, dramatic—almost operatic in its sense of glory and tragedy—and yet laugh aloud funny when it is not making you weep. The characters and the world are as memorable as any you will ever see on paper, and the concept alone—that of con men operating in a fantasy world that has never really encountered the art of the con—is sheer brilliance.

I’ll have a review of The Republic of Thieves soon, but, as a little sneak peek of my own, I’ll just say that I enjoyed the novel immensely and, despite my high expectations (and cautious optimism), Lynch impressed me with his ability to evolve the formula that worked so successfully in The Lies of Locke Lamora (if not so well in Red Seas Under Red Skies), and produced a novel that reminded me of why I fell in love with his world, characters and fiction so easily in the first place.

You can read the first 51 pages of The Republic of Thieves on Scribd… then, once you’re done that, you can salivate over the idea that the rest of the book’s only a few days away.

The High Druid's Blade Cover ArtIn recent years, Brooks has seen several revisions to the look and feel of his novels, even switching styles midway through a series because the first volume didn’t sell as well as expected (Armageddon’s Children to The Elves of Cintra). His most recent trilogy, The Dark Heritage of Shannara, used a bold, emblematic approach that I found quite appealing, so it’s interesting to see Del Rey shifting focus again to this new style. On first glance, I think it’s great all around. The typography and composition of the various cover elements is good, and the illustration is striking. It is sort of weird that the series title is larger than the book’s title and the two aren’t distinguished from one another, but that’s a small complaint. It’s funny, and somewhat telling, to see Terry Brooks all-of-a-sudden mimicing the look of Brent Weeks’ novels.

And I say all this despite the hooded man striking again. Even the big guys can’t get away from him. Who’s his agent, anyway?

Released alongside the cover is the first official blurb from the novel:

Paxon Leah never thought of the old family sword hanging above his living room hearth as anything other than an intriguing ornament—until his sister is kidnapped by a sorceror. Following the dark mage with nothing but this piece of steel to protect him, Paxon stumbles into a plot to remake the world . . . and accidentally unlocks the powers of the ancient blade.

In the most recent edition of ‘Ask Terry’ (a monthly feature where Brooks answers fan questions), Brooks revealed specifics about the plot that, when paired alongside this official description, paint a fairly clear image of the books’ plot:

The High Druid’s Blade is a stand-alone story, complete unto itself. But it is linked by a handful of common characters to two more stand-alones that will immediately follow. The principle link is complex and very dangerous sorcerer named Arcannen and a shared history of magic with Leahs and Ohmsfords. It will tie up a few loose ends from Witch Wraith, and it will further expand the growing conflict between magic and science. For the first time, the Druids and the Federation are mostly allies. The title to the book refers to a position created by the Ard Rhys of the Fourth Druid Order for a Druid protector.

In addition, Brooks’ official website reveals that The High Druid’s Blade, “features a Leah rather than an Ohmsford. It takes place about 100 years after the events of Witch Wraith. And it takes place largely in the Southland.”

Putting two-and-two together, it doesn’t take much to figure out that young Paxon is wielding the mythic Sword of Leah, imbued with the power of the druid’s, and likely fills the position referred to in Brooks’ answer. The book has been described to me as more character-focussed, with only two point-of-view characters (against Brooks more recent novels, most of which contained several POV characters), and less complex than usually expected.

I’m looking forward to this novel tremendously. After a few years of disappointment, Brooks had me grinning with his latest trilogy, which, if you ask me, is the best thing he’s written in a decade. Seriously, it’s that good.

Scott Lynch is auctioning off a (one-of-a-kind) Galley Proof of The Republic of ThievesCan’t wait to get your hands on The Republic of Thieves (possibly the most anticipated fantasy novel of the year)? Want to help support the families of the firefighters killed in a wildfire last month? In a show of absolute generosity, Scott Lynch is auctioning off a one-of-a-kind (literally, there’s only one of these) galley proof of The Republic of Thieves.

Info from Lynch:

I’ve been a volunteer firefighter for eight (how can that be possible?) years now, and we’re all well-versed in the theory and actuality of wildland fires (though most of the grass and forest fires I’ve been on-scene for have been very tame by the standards of the big western/southwestern conflagrations). We know that these things can turn on a dime and be deadly in their capriciousness, but even so I don’t think we’re ever quite prepared for sudden mass casualty disasters, not in this day and age. Training and technology help us feel invincible, until suddenly we’re simply not. On June 30, 19 firefighters were killed near Yarnell, Arizona when the wildfire they were fighting overran their position.


This is straight from the desk of the author (yours truly), annotated and scribbled on in a number of places, containing assorted notes and corrections. This is the one and only unbound manuscript of any of my novels I am ever going to offer for public sale. All the others will be deposited (as have unbound manuscripts of The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies) in the Rare Books and Special Collections Department of the Northern Illinois University Libraries. So if you’ve ever wanted a truly rare piece of Lynchiana, or know anyone who does, this will probably be hard to beat.

This auction will last for five days, ending July 30th. Every penny of the proceeds will go to the Yarnell Hill NFFF Fire Hero Fund. I’ll post a photo of my check (with my personal info blotted out) when it’s about to go in the envelope.

So, if you’re interested in bidding on the auction, you can find it here on ebay. At the time of this being written, the auction is already at $260. A bargain, I’d say.

Witch Wraith by Terry Brooks

Publisher: Del Rey - Pages: 432 - Buy: Book/eBook
Witch Wraith by Terry Brooks

To begin this review of Witch Wraith I feel like I must dig into my past as not only a Terry Brooks fan, but also as a fan of Fantasy fiction, because the two are so inextricably intertwined that it is impossible to discuss one part of my fandom without crossing over into the other. It is not unusual for a Fantasy fan to cite Tolkien as the genesis of their fandom, as he certainly was for me, but it was ultimately Brooks, and then R.A. Salvatore, that cemented my love and created of it a lifelong obsession.

I first discovered Brooks after devouring The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings during my early adolescence. Eager, no, desperate for more Fantasy, I read any book my mom, the requisite Fantasy fan in my life, put in my hands. The most impressionable of these was Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara. It’s a novel that now, 35+ years after its first release, fights against its own beginnings as a Tolkien-inspired Fantasy that was crafted by its author and legendary editor Lester Del Rey to provide life and wind to the post-Tolkien doldrums that the genre fell into during the seventies. Where Stephen R. Donaldson, who published alongside Brooks, and was also edited by Lester Del Rey, chose to subvert Tolkien’s methods and themes, challenging the idea that Fantasy is myth and exploring its escapist nature — by casting a bitter adult, skeptical of the existence of the Fantasy world even as he walks through it — Brooks chose to emulate Tolkien by casting two plucky youths, a mysterious mentor, a world to save, and a keenness for adventure. Both stories feature a dark lord, but the their defeats come at the end of roads as different as those travelled by Samwise Gamgee and Meriadoc Brandybuck. Read More »

The Black Irix by Terry Brooks

Shea Ohmsford has had quite enough of quests. A year after surviving a harrowing odyssey, he is still plagued by troubling memories and dreams. A mysterious trafficker in spells and potions provides a restorative nostrum for the stricken Shea . . . along with a warning: Shea will break his vow to never again leave Shady Vale. And then the potion-maker’s prophecy comes to pass.

A thief, adventurer, and notoriously charismatic rogue, Panamon Creel unexpectedly appears in the Vale with a request for his long-time friend, Shea—journey into the untamed Northland, infiltrate the stronghold of a sinister dealer in stolen goods, and capture a precious artifact: the sacred Black Irix. Creel wishes to return this treasure to its rightful owners. Shea cannot refuse such a just cause. But what lies behind the black castle walls they must breach? And will this quest truly be their last?

This sounds kind of fun. Especially for Brooks fans who have stuck it out with his novels, through all the ups-and-downs, since his 35-year-old debut, The Sword of Shannara, which ‘The Black Irix’ is a direct sequel to. As Brooks returns to fan-favourites to tell a series of short stories set in his Shannara world, the Four Lands, it has been an enjoyable opportunity to rejoin old characters who Brooks hasn’t written of in years. Panamon Creel is one of the high points of The Sword of Shannara, and revisiting him on a crazy adventure is something fans have looked forward to for years. And this adventure seems kinda crazy. I mean, Creel’s decision to enlist Shea Ohmsford who, even after the end of The Sword of Shannara, is still a fairly typical and inexperienced inn-keeper’s son, is questionable, but the dynamic between Creel and Ohmsford has always been fun.

It’s also interesting to see that Brooks is exploring an area that is often left untouched by Fantasy writers: the repercussions, especially emotional, of untrained civilians (esentially) being thrust into dangerous, traumatic experiences. Myke Cole recently wrote a terrific essay on PTSD, and I think it’s encouraging to see someone like Brooks set a story in the uncomfortable aftermath of his hero’s ‘victory.’ It’s also somewhat amusing to see, after all the criticisms of Brooks’ first novel, that post-Sword of Shannara Shea Ohmsford suffers from something of the same ailment that eventually led Frodo Baggins to seek the Undying Lands at the end of Lord of the Rings. I guess Brooks just can’t get away from that story, no matter how hard he tries.

In all, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the first two volumes in Brooks’ Paladins of Shannara collection, particularly ‘The Weapon Master’s Choice,’ and look to ‘The Black Irix’ with some excitement and disappointment. I’ll be sorry to see Brooks leave this concept behind. It’s been nice to revisit old friends from my youth.