I’ve been a fan of crime fiction probably for as long as I’ve been a fan of fantasy books, even though I’ve not delved into the heritage of the genre as much. So for Drakenfeld – which is every bit as much a crime book as it is a fantasy novel – I wanted to use part of the crime genre’s heritage as a vehicle for the plot. I didn’t want to write hardboiled fiction, nor did I want to write a thriller – even though I enjoy both. Also, I wasn’t writing the type of urban magical crime, so I couldn’t rely on those things to carry the narrative. So I decided to make it not just a whodunnit, but a howdunnit by using one of the crime genre’s great formats: the locked-room mystery. Or rather, in my case, a locked-temple mystery. The set-up is a lot of fun – because it’s not just about an unreliable narrator, it’s about a manipulative author. Continue reading
Posts Tagged: Mark Charan Newton
I’ve made something of a career out of ripping into the many covers for Mark Charan Newton’s novels. Sometimes it’s in good fun, sometimes I’m legitimately offended. He’s got so many covers at this point that I’ve lost track of them all. This time around, however, Pan Macmillan has crafted together a cover that, I, well… like. It’s impactful, maybe a little plain, but steps away from the more traditional ‘Epic Fantasy Hooded Figure/Badass/Brooding’ cover trao that a few of Newton’s other covers fell into. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this angled at a Historical Fiction audience.
Newton discusses the cover, and why he feels like it fits so well:
Of all my many covers, this is by far the best and most appropriate. It really sums up the book, because nations (or rather nationalism) are core to the series, and the idea with the covers is that each novel features a coloured banner representing the country in which the novel takes place. The one above is the banner of Detrata, with a double-headed falcon, various glaives and swords and a lovely icon. It also evokes the classical world, which was – as regular followers of the blog might have guessed – a major inspiration for the novel. I like to think that the main continent of Vispasia could sit just off the classical maps, as some forgotten corner of the world yet to be discovered by archeologists.
I’ve read a portion of an early draft of Drakenfeld and enjoyed it quite a bit. I think Newton is spot on in his description of the cover. The multi-coloured flag approach is interesting, and, should the publisher follow through with it, should provide a nice looking set of books when the series is done.
I’m fairly certain that Newton and the art team at Tor UK are just trolling me at this point. An old geezer and a melancholy Dashboard Confessional fan who doesn’t even know how to properly wear a bag with a shoulder strap? Le sigh. I’m far more interested in the fact that Newton spent some time combing through the first volume, Nights of Villjamur, and smoothing out some of the wrinkles:
There’s more, though: I’ve actually made quite a few (over a hundred) changes to Nights of Villjamur. Call it the ambitions of a first-time author, call it crap writing, but there were a few points of the text in this book that I believed caused a clunky experience. I’ve managed to iron many, many of these out, thankfully. It’s only a word or two here, a line there – not a complete re-edit, mind you, but enough to give me peace of mind that the most ridiculous of the excesses have now been removed.
This sort of thing happens all the time when authors are given a chance to tinker with their own work (David Anthony Durham recently mentioned that he’s done the same thing to the first volume of his Acacia trilogy). Nevertheless, it would be interesting to compare the revision.
Via the Pan Macmillan website:
War spills into the Boreal Archipelago, as two rival cultures bring their eternal battle into this adjacent realm.
Fresh from a military victory, Commander Brynd Lathraea plans to rebuild the city of Villiren, where he is confronted with a dilemma. There are friendly forces who have no other choice but to live alongside his own people, and their numbers will be required to fight in the looming conflict. The commander turns politician as he seeks to build bridges and embrace mysterious new technologies to further his ambitions. However, many in Villiren are sceptical of aliens coming to their city, tensions run high, and even the dream of a peaceful future brings with it inevitable clashes of beliefs.
Meanwhile, Villjamur has been destroyed. A vast swathe of refugees from the legendary city are now on the run from an immense alien presence in the sky. Villages are being cleared and people are dying en masse. And Inquisitor Fulcrom finds himself at the helm of an operation to aid the refugee exodus to the coast, but it’s a race against time before this threatened genocide is complete. Ancient civilisations line up on the field of battle. Exotic creatures and a possible god walk alongside citizens of the Empire. As the Legends of the Red Sun series draws to a close, there will be one final and immense conflict to decide the fate of multiple cultures forever.
The Broken Isles concludes Newton’s Legends of the Red Sun tetralogy, which reminds me that I still have to read the third volume, The Book of Transformations, especially since I enjoyed City of Ruin (REVIEW) so much.
Are you looking forward to the concluding volume of Newton’s series? What do you think of the first three volumes?
Small, and presumably an early draft, but this should give us a good idea of what will be gracing the final volume of Newton’s Legends of the Red Sun. Also, obviously meant to tie in with the trade paperback release of The Book of Transformations, though, again, a different artist/style from the previous volumes of the series. This is, I believe, the first time that the title of the novel has been mentioned.
My thoughts: another hooded figure, but the execution looks decent.