Posts Tagged: Bel Dame Apocrypha

God's War by Kameron Hurley

Buy God’s War by Kameron Hurley: book/eBook

Yesterday, Angry Robot Books announced the Worldbreaker Saga, a new fantasy/science fiction trilogy from Kameron Hurley (remember her?). “The Mirror Empire will be published worldwide in September this year, with the sequel to follow a year later,” explains Angry Robot.

Surprising to note, The Mirror Empire is set to release this September, a very quick turnaround in the world of traditional publishing, and sure to set some readers to shuffling around their fall reading list. It’s instantly become one of my most anticipated novels of 2014.

Hurley’s best known for her Bel Dame Apocrypha, a slim trilogy (by genre standards) about the bounty hunter Nyx, which Dan Hartland of Strange Horizons described as, “like a live grenade, lobbed with abandon and not a little mischief.” So, I was rightfully surprised when she described The Mirror Empire to me. “This is Game of Thrones meets Fringe,” she said. “Across three respectable doorstoppers.”

Along with the announcement, we also have an early synopsis:

On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.

In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin. At the heart of this war lie the pacifistic Dhai people, once enslaved by the Saiduan and now courted by their former masters to provide aid against the encroaching enemy.

Stretching from desolate tundra to steamy, semi-tropical climes seething with sentient plant life, this is an epic tale of blood mages and mercenaries, emperors and priestly assassins who must unite to save a world on the brink of collapse. As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler struggles to unite a country fractured by civil war; a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family to save his skin; and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.

Through tense alliances and devastating betrayals, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.

In the end, only one world will rise – and many will perish.

Art by Jung Park

Art by Jung Park

I caught up with Hurley to chat about the new deal an what to expect of her new trilogy. “his book has been a long time coming,” she said. “It’s one of those projects that brews at the back of your brain for nearly twenty years, waiting for you to achieve the skill you need to actually pull it off.”

Hurley’s first trilogy has been a huge critical success (most recently, God’s War was nominated for a BSFA), but she wasn’t ready to return to that world for novel-length material, so began this new project.

“After I finished my God’s War trilogy, I needed a break from writing a world mired in apocalyptic war… so of course I sat down and wrote The Mirror Empire, which is about a world at the brink of apocalyptic war with multiple worlds. Because one world at war just isn’t, you know, enough for me. It’s the most intricate and complex book I’ve ever written, and I had a lot of help along the way, in particular from my agent, Hannah Bowman, who has a very keen sense for how to thread together multiple plot lines over multiple worlds and… well… a lot of multiple things, as folks will note pretty early on.”

“I’m pretty jazzed to see what folks think of it.”

God's War by Kameron Hurley

There has long raged a debate about the quality of UK vs. US cover art and the different ideals behind design aesthetics in the two regions. In general, fans seem to consider the UK to be the stronger market, and for a long time they were, but it’s my feeling that in the past couple of years, thanks to publishers like Tor, Night Shade Books, Pyr Books and Orbit Books, that the US has eclipsed the UK and is generating much more interesting cover art in general. Hurley herself said, “I am told the UK market is way more stuck-up about their covers. I adore my Conan covers, but $1 says the more mainstreamy-cover sells more books.”

If this is a ‘mainstreamy’ cover, I’m not sure I like where Del Rey UK is taking the series. Still, It’s nice to see Hurley seeing a release from a major publisher. What some people might not know is that Del Rey was originally meant to publish Hurley in the US, first picking up her novel, God’s War, before, for a variety of reasons that I’m not clear on, deciding to let Hurley and the series go. It, and its edits, were then picked up by Night Shade Books. Read More »

Infidel by Kameron Hurley

Publisher: Night Shade Books - Pages: 300 - Buy: Book/eBook
Infidel by Kameron Hurley

There’s a fine line between dark and compelling and horrifying and off-putting. When a story comes right up to the line without crossing it a certain dichotomy comes into existence whereby I want to look away and forget about it, but can’t. No author in recent memory walks this line better that Kameron Hurley whose second novel, Infidel, compliments that description perfectly.

Picking up some time after the end of God’s War, the centuries-long holy war between Nasheen and Chenja is taking its toll. Nyx is a bodyguard in Mustallah, the capital city of Nasheen,where shortages and rationing are causing the Queen to lose power and popularity. While protecting the daughter of a diplomat, Nyx is attacked by a group of assassins. She survives, but finds herself caught up in a whirl-wind of intrigue involving a plot against the monarchy. She has to figure out who’s trying to kill her, and the Queen, while avoiding the wrath of the person she’s trying to protect.

A continuation of Hurley’s brilliantly constructed characters, authentic and fully realized world building

Suffice to say the characters that survived God’s War are back in Infidel along with some new ones. There’s a significant jump in time between the two and Hurley does a solid job of filling in the details. Generally speaking, the narrative is much smoother, eschewing the choppiness and pacing issues that plagued God’s War in the early going. That, combined with a continuation of Hurley’s brilliantly constructed characters, authentic and fully realized world building, and pull no-punches style, makes Infidel not only a worthy addition to God’s War, but a wholesale improvement.
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God's War by Kameron HurleyYou like free things, right? And you like good, critically-lauded novels? Of course you do.

Thanks to Night Shade Books, you can pick up eBook versions of the first two novels by Kameron Hurley (remember her? She wrote this awesome blog post), God’s War and Infidel. How do you get ’em? It’s easy, just send an email to the following address:

[email protected]

It’s that easy. And, you know, you’re just not going to find a better deal than that this week. So, hop on it. Conveniently, this promotion comes just in time for the release of Rapture, the third and final volume in the Bel Dame Apocrypha

If you’re curious about why you should be excited by Hurley’s series, check out Justin Landon’s recent review of God’s War, and keep an eye on A Dribble of Ink for upcoming reviews of both Infidel and Rapture.

God's War by Kameron Hurley

Publisher: Night Shade Books - Pages: 288 - Buy: Book/eBook

Beginning with Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl three years ago, Night Shade Books has made a concerted effort to produce meaningful debut novels. 2011 was a bold year in that regard. God’s War by Kameron Hurley, subsequently nominated for a Nebula Award, was the mother ship of that movement. It’s the kind of novel that plants a flag, making a statement about the deficiencies of genre fiction and challenging societal perceptions as a matter of course.

Nyxnissa is a bounty hunter. She’s rather good at her job, mostly because she manages to chop off the heads of anyone dumb enough to get in her way. She’s got an unlucky team around her, headlined by the not so talented magician, Rhys, whose good looks and steady hands make up for his deficiencies. Once a government sponsored bel dame (assassin), Nyx has been down her luck for a while when she’s called before the Nasheen Queen to hunt down an alien who might have access to genetic technology that could end the never ending war between Chenja and Nasheen. Of course, her team isn’t the only one looking. Conflict ensues.

What makes God’s War such an accomplishment has little to do with plot. It is, in fact, somewhat of a failure as a narrative. The novel is littered with disjointed blanks that demand filling and the first fifty pages are more of a novella than the opening to a novel. Other details, like why Nyx’s team is so loyal to her and the relationships between Nyx and the various arms of the government, lack an equal amount of lucidity. What rescues the novel is Hurley’s unremitting authentic voice, the sheer audacity of her ideas, and brilliantly conceived and executed characters. Read More »