Posts Tagged: Kate Elliott

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

Publisher: Saga Press - Pages: 640 - Buy: Book/eBook
The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

[Editor’s Note: What follows is a critical essay in the traditional sense: an in-depth and spoiler-filled analysis of Ken Liu’s The Grace of Kings—focused particularly on the women in the novel. It’s thoughtful, beautiful, and important—but if you’re sensitive to spoilers, you might enjoy reading it more after you’ve completed Liu’s epic novel. If you’re looking for an (almost) spoiler-free review to help you determine whether to buy it, let me suggest Justin Landon’s review on]

Many months ago Joe Monti, editor of Saga Press, Simon & Schuster’s SFF imprint, sent me a copy out of the blue of Ken Liu’s The Grace of Kings for a possible quote. More precisely, and using the proper polite etiquette, he contacted my editor at Orbit who forwarded his email to me.

I knew Ken’s name, of course. He’s a multiple award winner (Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy) for his short fiction. He has also done an important service to the sff field by translating short fiction and novels from Chinese into English, works that readers in the English-speaking market would not otherwise be able to enjoy. The Grace of Kings is Liu’s debut novel. Read More »

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 »

The Very Best of Kate Elliott

Buy The Very Best of Kate Elliott by Kate Elliott: Book

In a post last year here on A Dribble of Ink, Aidan kindly debuted the stunning illustration Julie Dillon painted of a scene from my novel, Cold Steel. In that post I mentioned how the commission came about:

When I decided to commission an artist to illustrate a short story in the Spiritwalker universe, I was thrilled that Julie Dillon agreed to work with me…

Besides the black and white drawings for The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal, I also asked Julie for two color illustrations. I picked the subjects based on passages from Cold Steel that I thought would be visually evocative.

I particularly wanted an illustration for a scene in which the heroines, Cat and Bee, emerge from a cave onto a beach whose strand, instead of sand, is “red coals and smoking ash.” Here in the spirit world the sea isn’t water; it’s smoke. In the scene a dragon rises out of the sea of smoke to confront them.

A bright shape emerged, smoke spilling off it in currents. The dragon loomed over us. Its head was crested as with a filigree that reminded me of a troll’s crest, if a troll’s crest spanned half the sky. Silver eyes spun like wheels. It was not bird or lizard, not was it a fish. Most of its body remained beneath the smoke. Ripples revealed a dreadful expanse of wings as wide as fields, shimmering pale gold like ripe wheat under a harsh sun. Read More »

Rising from the Sea of Smoke by Julie Dillon

After I finished writing Cold Steel, the third and final book in the Spiritwalker Trilogy, I knew I wanted to add a coda. The trilogy is narrated in first person by Cat Barahal, but her close friendship with her cousin Beatrice is the central relationship in the series.

Bee happens to be an artist who carries a sketchbook with her everywhere, and I conceived of the idea of writing a journal as from Bee’s point of view, in which she relates the adventures she had as she sees them, since in the trilogy everything is seen through Cat’s eyes. Such a journal would necessarily need illustrations “as drawn by” Bee.

Because the story is set in an alternate history 19th century, the illustrations would need to have a realistic style (rather than a comics or manga style) of art. To that end, I commissioned Julie Dillon to create a set of 29 illustrations to accompany the story I wrote. Read More »

Rising from the Sea of Smoke by Julie DillonRising from the Sea of Smoke by Julie DillonRising from the Sea of Smoke by Julie DillonRising from the Sea of Smoke by Julie Dillon

When Kate Elliott, author of The Spiritwalker Trilogy, approached me about the idea of debuting artwork from Julie Dillon, who’s just about the greatest thing going in fantasy and science fiction art at the moment, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. For all of genre’s current obsession on gritty-grimdark-[insert buzzword here], Dillon is a shining beacon of colour, imagination and diversity among the drab, grey-cloaked and tired masses.

Last week, I gave a sneak peek of the art on A Dribble of Ink’s new Tumblr page (check it out, yo.), and today I’m proud to debut “Rising from the Sea of Smoke,” artwork by Julie Dillon, inspired and commissioned by Kate Elliott. Read More »