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Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher published on 2 Comments on Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

aeronaut's windlass

This is the first in a new series by the author of the beloved (fanatically so, by many) Dresden Files, and the fact this is the twenty-third (published) novel by the author is evident by the deft story-telling, the elegant characterization, and the delicacy in building a world — and a mystery — that could endure for nine books. Butcher is a Master Builder, as is revealed in the Dresden Files, which is more like a canon of repeated themes growing ever more complex with each book than it is a traditional, plodding series. From here on out, I will decline to mention the Dresden Files, as this book is good enough and different enough to merit her own review without being overshadowed by her bossy and loud big brother.

The characters are carefully crafted. I like most of the characters in Cinder Spires. I’m intrigued by Benedict, his origin, and why Rowl calls him half-souled (except when he was injured badly). I’m intrigued by the Spirearch, and I’m looking forward to whatever book will really open up the politics — Aeronaut’s Windlass was an adventure story with some intrigue, but the stiff society is ripe for back-stabbing politics. I’m excited.

But mostly I love Folly. Butcher has really displayed his talent for writing with her. She is a singular character, and no once does he falter in his depiction of her. For all her quirks, she has an inherent consistency that a lot of authors can’t grasp the importance of. I can’t wait to learn more about her, and see where she goes.

Yes, the Folly in the book is really as adorable as Mandie Reese's Folly.
Yes, the Folly in the book is really as adorable as Mandie Reese’s Folly.

The pace is just right. Aeronaut’s Windlass is long without being bloated. A lot of authors choose to separate large works into different parts (or acts), but because the entire book (minus the prologue) takes place within a limited amount of time, Butcher chose instead to let the story momentum build without unnecessary breaks. Part of this was helped by the existence of multiple viewpoint characters. Butcher blends all of these characters together, manages to give them different voices, and allows them all to shine — even a cat (especially the cat). They drive the story. Not that this book was in any way character-driven: they drove the story the way Warboys drive, the way Furiosa drives. My favorites are Ferus, Folly, and Rowl, but I do like all of them.

The book is full of action. Butcher has a clear eye for action detail, so when there are battles, it is very apparent what is happening. And it’s almost terrifying. Ship battles are very different from fire fights or intense one-on-one. Butcher wrote them masterfully. His talent honestly can’t be quantified, because this is not simply a novel about naval battles – it’s a fantasy novel, and Butcher created (in his head, at least, even though it seems so real) his own technology, the drawbacks to the technology. He goes into detail about the crystals. There is a moment in which two characters are attempting a repair, and the language gets so organically technical that it’s hard to believe that they don’t work this way in our world.

There are enough points of commonality between this series and Dresden Files to drive me crazy. Look, I am not crazy. But there are a lot of similarities. There is a family named Astor (echoing Faith Astor), there is a spire named Aurora, and one of the main characters is named Gwendolyn Margaret Elizabeth. While those may be superficial grace notes, the MacGuffin is – not at all what I expected it to be, and it reminds me very much of a couple objects Harry had in his lab. It’s honestly enough to make me suspicious. But if there is a connection, the pay-off won’t be for many years in the future.
I can wait.

It is not only an excellent, five-star book, but it is an excellent, five-star start to a series — an important distinction. As always, Butcher knows his creation well, and is able to layer in interesting tidbits that I have learned from past encounters with his books will grow into stunning twists and mysteries.

Aeronaut’s Windlass will be followed by The Olympian Affair.

The book can be purchased at Amazon or probably just about anywhere books are sold.
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Folly’s photo was taken by the talented Andrea Rexrode Gonzales. She has a ton of photographs from the Cinder Spires cosplay at Dragon*Con.

You may recognize Mandie Reese from her work as Murphy for Dresden Files Fan Films.

Jim Butcher AMA September 2015

Jim Butcher AMA September 2015 published on 5 Comments on Jim Butcher AMA September 2015

I’ve never had him wiggling on literal hooks. Have I?
I’m pretty sure I haven’t.

adds to checklist

Yesterday, Jim Butcher participated in one of the infamous Reddit AMAs. This is always an exciting event. Who better to do an interview than fans? We know the material backward and forward, inside and out, and we’re not there to ask stupid questions. A lot of great material came out of the AMA, but if there is one thing I’ve found about Reddit AMAs it’s that not everyone is willing or able to read the Reddit interface. This is why I decided to write up everything Dresden-related that we found out, organized by category.

I’m not obsessive.

Without further ado:

PEACE TALKS

Seidmadr: What’s the progress on Peace Talks? I’m not trying to rush you here, but it’s fun to know how things are going along.

Jim Butcher: Should have it ready by the end of the year. This one has been a real roller coaster in my personal life.

onetwo_three: Will you make the Peace Talks dead line you mentioned of October first?

Jim Butcher: Nah, it’s been bumped to January 1. It’s been a hell of a year.

MIRROR MIRROR

Nicolasmilioni: AlternaHarry from Mirror Mirror, is his magic different from the harry we already know?

Jim Butcher: Mirror universe Harry is different by one choice. One. And everything else just follows after that.

Plastgeek: In the past, you’ve said that the events that happened in Changes were supposed to happen in book 10 of the series. You have also indicated that the Denarians show up in books numbered in multiples of five. So if Changes had ocurred as planned, how would the Nickelheads have factored into what went down?

Jim Butcher: I said that? Are you sure? I couldn’t have. Well maybe I did.
Scanning back on it, if the Denarians had been involved, Harry would probably have had to lean more toward Lasciel as his get-out-of-paralysis-free card, and Nicodemus as his new best frenemy rather than Mab, in order to make the whole thing work out. He would have instantly come into conflict with Sanya, as well, over the possession of the Swords, and maybe with Murphy as well. Molly would have had to make a really horrible choice at that point, and probably would have walked out of it even more guilty and more ready to destroy herself after Harry’s shooting. She probably would have wound up a Denarian herself.
Wow, that’s a dark story. Who would come up with something like that? What’s wrong with you?

WHITE COUNCIL

Ilwrath: Just how hard is it to make those Warden swords that have fallen out of use since Lucio was reembodied?

Jim Butcher: Super hard to make a Warden sword. You need a person who is capable of both highly powerful and extremely complex and subtle magic who is /also/ a swordsmith, able to take the weapon from ore to finished product with his or her own hands. That is a rare confluence of talent, especially since most of the people who have the first two don’t really have the time to come up with the third, or to spend their time in the forge making such swords happen.

OUTSIDERS

Seidmadr: Your ghouls seem to be quite heavily inspired by Lovecraft, same with the Fomor and the Outsiders… Are there any other major Lovecraftian inspirations? Do you consider yourself a Lovecraftian writer?

Jim Butcher: No, I consider myself a writer who played way too much Call of Cthulhu. :) I actually just finished a short story where Molly, in her first mission for the Court as the Winter Lady, pits herself (and Warden Ramirez) against a Cult of the Sleeper. :)

THE FAIRIES

Santa Claus:

HalcyonKnight: Vadderung is Santa Claus, is he also St Nicholas?

Jim Butcher: And Father Christmas and Sinterklaas and a variety of others. But in our modern era, a lot of people wear multiple hats on the job.

Mab and Titania

onetwo_three: Is Nic older than Mab?

Jim Butcher: He is.

Ostergard: I was talking with a friend about the faerie courts, and since we live in Australia, we were both wondering what the explanation is for the seasons being reversed in the southern hemisphere. Does Titania take a vacation down south for Christmas? Or is there a seperate pair of courts for the south?

Jim Butcher: Oh, no, they’ll just rotate interests. Mab has more power in the southern winter, Titania in the southern summer. Though, as fundamentally northern-hemisphere, basically Western European beings, they don’t have the kind of absolute reign there that they enjoy in other parts of the world, and their relationships there consist more of strong alliances and consensus influence among a much larger population of Wyld fae.

The Ladies:

onetwo_three: Aurora, Maeves and Sarissas father was an austrian composer. Even though austria is very old, is it reasonable to assume that they were conceived between 1500 and 1900.

Jim Butcher: It is.

THE VAMPIRES

Louisthe: Are all Red Court and Black Court vampires evil? I ask that because I want to play the Dresden Files RPG with my friends and I wanted to create a character that was a RC Vampire, that still has a sense of honor and goodness, like Angel and Spike. The Red Court are my favorites! Is such a character possible in the Dresdenverse?

Jim Butcher: This is a pretty huge question and depends a lot on how you view the world.
Red Court vampires, by definition, to become a vampire, have to murder someone else to become what they are. They have to end another person’s life to satisfy a desire that does not /need/ to be satisfied in order for them to continue living. Every single one of them makes a choice to sate that desire rather than allow another human being to live–the Fellowship of St. Giles proves that.
(Of course, there are shades of grey involved–a half-vampire who was kept starving and without water in a basement for three days before they were thrown a mortal has a much more difficult time making a clear-headed choice than a half-vampire who was restrained yet cared for by a group of religiously fanatic monks at a Fellowship stronghold, but there’s still a choice being made.)
That could, by some people, be considered a working definition of evil. Sometimes unfortunate, sometimes understandable as to how someone could make that choice, but evil nonetheless.
Black Court Vamps are a different story. They’re actually tainted by something hideous and unworldly. They are driven to kill to survive. They don’t really have a lot of choice about it. They enjoy being what they are, and doing what they do. They can be sad that they don’t have someone who loves them, or upset that the world has passed them by and has changed on them, but at the end of the day, they’re basically black-hearts who occasionally pull out a few of the tattered remains of their humanity, fail to fit back into them like they used to, and get maudlin about their glory days when they could watch the sun rise.

Black Court
HalcyonKnight: How are Black Court Master Vampires made/elevated? Elders?

Jim Butcher: Mainly by growing more powerful by feeding on more lives. The more you kill, the stronger you are, as a Black Court vamp. Also by demonstrating that you can beat the stuffing out of your rivals. They’re very much a Darwinian society of might-makes-right.
But most of the old ones worked out that you can’t just go on killing sprees to farm XP. You’re helpless a large portion of every day, and the food will come find you and end you. So they wait for good opportunities for that kind of thing. Wars, famines, and plagues are awesome for leveling up.

Ilwrath: Would Butters be able to repel a black Court vampire with Polka music?

Jim Butcher: Butters could not repel a Black Court Vampire with polka music, though he could potentially scorch the crap out of one with a Kosher hot dog on the right day.

HELL

Halaku Armor: Question if you don’t mind, sir. While we know (or think we know) the current status of Lasciel, is Lash’s story over?

Jim Butcher: Bonea is Lash’s little girl. Lasciel wasn’t Lash, specifically, but you don’t get to be a fallen angel without having a certain amount of irrational egotism and pride. And we’ve well established that Dresden committed the worst sin possible in Lasciel’s eyes–he wounded her pride. >:)
You really think a being like that is going to let it end there?

HARRY DRESDEN

DaedelusMinion: So Dresden has been going from regular Wizard to semi-immortal over the course of the last few books- when you first started writing Dresden, did you ever imagine him to be this strong later on or was it just something that happened as you wrote the books?

Jim Butcher: Oh, he’s been leveling up since the very first short story I wrote him in, “Restoration of Faith.”
And yeah, he’s doing what I meant him to do from the get-go. :) We’ve got a ways to go yet, even now.
Though technically, he’s nowhere close to immortal. He’s a lot more formidable than he was when he got started, but honestly, most of the older wizards have got their own crazy background of powerups which they do not advertise. Listens-To-Wind’s shapeshifting isn’t purely a matter of wizardly skill (though his healing abilities are), for example.
But here’s the key thing about people of power in the Dresden universe (and in the real world): the truly dangerous folks do not advertise. Not ever. They have no need to show off, and constantly displaying how scary they are would be counter to their own interests. You generally only find out that that little old lady is a spooky-bizarro master of wing-chun when you actually break into her house and try to hurt her granddaughter. Or that the quiet little guy with the receding hairline and glasses is a former Navy Seal when you grab his wife and try to drag her into an alley.
All the senior wizards have got something up their sleeve, and every single one of them is hiding it from all the others. If they don’t know about it, they can’t plan for it, and the “knowledge is power” wizard crowd is all about planning for things.
But we are coming up on the time when people are going to have their backs to the wall and we’re going to start seeing what they’ve got. And I’ve been looking forward to writing it for nearly twenty years. >:)

Devils_advocate36: Love the Dresden series and have to ask how you as an author deal with the inevitable power creep as the stories go? When your hero/villain is at the point where they are so powerful that it’s hard to right a situation where they can’t just overpower every normal mundane challenge how do you make the story relate able to your audience?

Jim Butcher: You deal with power creep by having the story have an end.
I’m one of those people who thinks that stories aren’t stories unless they end, and that a “neverending story” is kind of an oxymoron. Harry has what he needs to thrash and scream and wriggle on the hook against whatever foe he has facing him, and he’ll continue to have just enough power to get himself well and truly into deep trouble, all the way through.
But, I know what the end game is, where he’s going to wind up, and what he’s going to wind up doing. So it’s not hard to make sure that he grows at more or less the right pace.

BONNIE

Ilwrath: Did he officially name the spirit Bonnie?

Jim Butcher: He named her Bonea, an old Scot name meaning “beautiful.” Plus it has the word “bone” in it and she lives in a skull, and his sense of humor has never been exactly subtle.
Bonnie is her everyday nickname. :)

onetwo_three: Is it important, that Bonnie does not look like Molly?

Jim Butcher: Bonnie’s a spirit. If she wants to look like something, she could probably practice and look like basically whatever she wanted. Right now she looks like a cute little ball of light. But I suspect that she’d instinctively be more likely to make herself look like Maggie than Molly, if only because the two of them are in something vaguely like the same relation to Harry.

onetwo_three: Is Bonnie going to have free will like a human, or does she need to obey her sister every time Maggie picks her up? Is the answer somewhere in the middle?

Jim Butcher: She’s a spirit of intellect, just like Bob. Same rules. :)

Nicolasmilioni: Could a spirit of knowledge like Bob [or Bonnie] possess a powerful wizard, being able to use the vast knowledge of a spirit together with the magic of a mortal wizard?

Jim Butcher: Potentially–though wizards are notoriously difficult to possess, especially for any length of time. Evil Bob tried it on Dresden and couldn’t hold him even long enough to really get inside.

Seidmadr: Why does Bob [and Bonnie] have to obey whoever owns his skull? Is it because of the enchantments on the skull, or is it just that all spiritual entities must obey whoever controls their sanctum?

Jim Butcher: It’s the bargain Bob made to be who he is, basically. The skull is essentially his contract–shelter in exchange for service.

GOODMAN GREY

Nicolasmilioni: Is goodman grey able to steal magic from wizards like the first naagloshi we ever saw could?

Jim Butcher: He /can/, but it’s ruinously costly for him. The more you become something other than you are, the less of you is left over. He could, theoretically, get a gulp of Dresden’s blood and become Dresden, power and all–but, especially with such a powerful will in question, he would /be/ Dresden at that point. There wouldn’t be anything of /Grey/ left over to make decisions. It would basically be a form of suicide, only with a really hard-on-buildings corpse left over.
The Naagloshii themselves, as immortals, are immutable. Grey has free will.

EBENEZAR

-EG-: A) Was the New Madrid earthquake event Eb’s first act or job as Blackstaff?
B) Did Eb accidentally kill his wife during said event?
C) What was the reason for the event? What beings or circumstances were present/occurring in Eb’s backyard that required him to act?

Jim Butcher: Hmmm, let me think what I can share out.
Eb’s enemies got to his wife. That is, ultimately, why he hid his daughter and had little to do with her until she was grown and had shown that she had power. And, ultimately, why she wound up being a wild child and rebel and getting into a world of trouble that ultimately resulted in her death (but also Harry Dresden).
Drakul wasn’t a scion of anything! He was something entirely unhuman that got trapped in human form. Dracula was his half-human child, who naturally had enormous paternal issues, and wound up creating himself as the first Black Court Vampire in an effort to win his father’s approval.
It didn’t work out so well.

onetwo_three: You said before that Eb’s wife was mortal, but is Eb’s wife Harry’s grandmother?

Jim Butcher: She is.

Book Gossip: Volume Two

Book Gossip: Volume Two published on

You didn’t hear it from us, but…

 

The final book in Alma Alexander’s Were Chronicles is due out in November, but the writer is already hard at work on several different projects (we’re not entirely sure when she has time to sleep). All of these are at different stages of completion. Included in this is a Byzantium-based historical fantasy – normally, I would be dying to read this, but I was privileged to read it a couple years ago. It’s looking for a home, and it needs a home. Alexander is so good at evoking a particular historical era, and the labyrinthine court of the Byzantine Empire is one of my favorites. Not only has she completed this project, but she’s got a couple other Eastern European projects in the works. But what she’s really focusing on now is a very American story, about the building of the transcontinental railroad.

110509_this_day_golden_ap_328

Subterranean Press – well known for their collector’s editions of beloved books – has bought Lois McMaster Bujold’s Penric’s Demon. I’m sure we can expect a beautifully rendered edition of the novella set in the “Five Gods” world. Subterranean Press has guided any number of novellas and novels from utilitarian novels to works of art, and I am excited to see how Penric’s Demon will be transformed. Lois McMaster Bujold’s writing has always seemed very lyrical and artistic to me, so it’s easy to see how her words could inspire fans and professional artists to want to build off of her creativity.

Nalini Singh won’t be outdone when it comes to novellas. Her Psy/Changeling series is getting a little update: A collection of novellas set in that world was just sold to Berkley.

We all know that Jim Butcher has a new release out this month (Aeronaut’s Windlass, September 29), and that he’s hard at work on Peace Talks, the next installment in the Dresden Files. That didn’t stop him from giving his fans a lot of information at his solo panel at Dragon*Con. Most interestingly, he discussed the book following Peace Talks and Mirror Mirror, and how it will involve some of the Greek gods, and how they’re gaining followers and worshipers by being involved with the WWE.

johncena

Fitting, right? Butcher hasn’t revealed a title for this one yet, but my guess is Cut Man – unless that term is exclusive to boxing, in which case – hey, there’s a reason why I gossip about books, not sportsing. His Dragon*Con interview is filled with all sorts of exciting tidbits like that.

In other news…

1) The third book in Juliet Marillier’s Blackthorn and Grim series has a working title of Heartwood House

2) Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Sarah Michelle Gellar wrote a cookbook to be published in 2017 – I bet it has a lot of stake recipes.

3) Tad Williams is not only writing a novella set between Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn and the new trilogy, but he is seriously considering writing a (short) novel set between the last two books in the Last King of Osten Ard trilogy. Considering that the first book in the new trilogy is a whopping 350,000 words, I can only imagine that a short novel from Tad Williams is 100,000 words.

4) David Levithan recently signed a four-book deal. Included in this is the concluding volume of the story begun in Every Day, and continued in Another Day.

Jim Butcher Interview: Dragon*Con 2015

Jim Butcher Interview: Dragon*Con 2015 published on 4 Comments on Jim Butcher Interview: Dragon*Con 2015

Jim Butcher seems delighted to find so many of his fans in the room at 10am on a Sunday morning. The moderator is really charming!

GENERAL INFO

1) The Cinder Spires is potentially nine books long.

2) He’s been wanting to write naval combat battles since he saw Star Trek II. (As someone who has read the book — you can tell he loves it. The action scenes are incredible.)

3) Aeronaut’s Windlass is the longest book he has ever written, and is just over 200,000 thousand words. The excitement he feels toward it really comes through here — you can tell he loved writing it.

NEW DRESDEN INFO!

1) “Cold Case” is a Molly novella, and details her first job as the Winter Lady. It’s a Molly/Ramirez team-up. It’s in Shadowed Souls, an anthology he edited. This might be the new name for Fierce. It’s a novella, woo hoo! The entire novella was written to the song “Gonna Make You Sweat”, and that will be funnier when we read it.

2) Dresden’s first day on “Jury Duty” will be published in Shawn Speakman’s anthology, Unbound.

3) Butters’s first mission as a Knight is being written right at this moment. The way Butters gets a call to action is he sees exclamation points over someone’s head. He doesn’t get a still small voice, he gets WOW.

4) The romance between Murphy and Harry was pretty inevitable from the first moment he tried to annoy her by opening the door for her. He never wanted to plan out the romance. He wanted the characters to grow into whatever was going to happen. Like, he didn’t know Susan was going to die awfully until he was writing it.

5) He sent chapter 14 of Skin Game to his beta readers, and his only feedback was gifs of people throwing over tables.

6) “If you were weird enough, you could get magic to do some really weird things.” One of the main duties of the Council is to make sure wizards don’t do crazy stuff — like take out ads in the Yellow Pages.

7) MOST of the Knights of the Cross pick up the Sword for a day, then put it down. There are a lot of Knights who died, also, doing the right thing. It’s meant to be a sacrifice, and some laid their life down.

8) I don’t understand why people are so skeptical that he planned this out — it’s obvious that he knows the major landmarks.

9) Mab was not the first Mab. Mab was the Winter Lady. Lea was her handmaiden, so when Mab got a power boost, so did Lea. The first Winter Queen died the last time things really went to hell in the Wizarding world. Just like they’re about to now. (I wonder who Molly’s handmaiden will be…?)

10) A funny guy stood up and said he’d tweeted Butcher after he finished the second Alera book, asking why he wrote the way he did, and Butcher tweeted back: “I need money, I need you now.”

11) Loki is not in Demonreach. There are no snakes dripping venom there, and Norse gods are literal. Several of the gods are pro wrestlers because you get much more worship as WWE than you do as a Greek god. This will be the subject of book 18, which I hope will be called Cut Man.

12) Lea will have a big part in Peace Talks.

13) Bob is sort of a mirror to whomever is holding him. The Sword will be way easier to misuse; it has less of an affect on regular human beings. It will be hell on wheels against the truly evil.

14) He’s writing the next book right now: “Poor Murphy.” (Yay!)

15) Basically, we’re spending the worst weekend of his year with Harry Dresden. He will be writing more after Mirror Mirror, when he establishes the parallel realities, and how much trouble he can get into with them.

16) He will not delve too deeply into the Sidhe. They were created by certain agents who felt they did not have enough influence on the mortal world.

17) Bob was originally created by Etienne the Enchancer. He was born in more or less the same way that the new spirit baby (her name is Bonnie), but a different agent. Athena was born in the same way. Bonnie has a lot of knowledge but little experience. Like, she’s realized that pancakes are inanimate, and that’s big for her. (LOL)

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Andrea Gonzales not only provided the video for the panels Jim Butcher was part of at Dragon*Con, but also was the official photographer for his Cinder Spires cosplay team. If you’d like yet another reason to be excited for the September 29 release of Aeronaut’s Windlass, you should check them out!

Book Gossip: Volume One

Book Gossip: Volume One published on 6 Comments on Book Gossip: Volume One

shhh

The last book in Jacqueline Carey’s Agent of Hel trilogy, Poison Fruit, came out last fall. So what has she been working on? Two projects, it turns out. The first is a novella, “One Hundred Ablutions”, which will be published in Yanni Kuznia’s Fantasy Medley 3. It will tell the tale of Dala – a young woman chosen by her people’s overlords to be a slave among slaves, and will include themes of ritual and redemption. The anthology will also include novellas from Kevin Hearne, Laura Bickle, and Aliette de Bodard.

Carey’s next novel will be a dark retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and will chronicle the lives of the titular characters Miranda and Caliban. It will be published in July 2016. I am still hoping that this is a code, and what it really means is that she is writing a new trilogy set in Terre D’Ange, but that hope is dwindling fast.

Seth Skorkowsky will be publishing a new collection of Black Raven stories in October, and is also hard at work on the third book in his wonderful Valducan series: Ibenus. He gave us a brief teaser of the plot, and it looks fantastic. Don’t believe us? Read it for yourself.

After surviving a demon attack, disgraced police detective Victoria Martin tracks down the Valducans in search of answers. Recognizing her potential, and despite the warnings of the other knights, Allan Havlock, protector of Ibenus, takes her in as his apprentice. As the Valducans travel to Paris to destroy a demon nest infesting the catacombs, the knights find themselves hunted by an Internet group intent on exposing them. Victoria, who belongs this group, must desperately play both sides to not only protect herself, but Allan whom she has begun to love. Ibenus, however, has other plans.

Back in April, Guy Gavriel Kay announced his new novel, Children of Earth and Sky, which will be published in spring 2016. This will, of course, be one of his lyrical and thoughtful fantasies in which he reveals a culture that has its roots in our world, but is obscured by a fantastical lens.

In The Children of Earth and Sky Kay returns to the familiar territory established in several earlier works, a reimagining of the melting pot of the medieval Mediterranean. In his hands well-known places and events are transformed into the wonderful and strange through the lens of fantasy, and brought to life with brilliantly drawn characters and the most graceful of styles, which will seduce his many fans and new readers alike.

Isn't this a beautiful cover?

The interesting bit about this is that in February of last year, he sold not one, but two books. Could Children of Earth and Sky be the first in a duology like the Sarantine Mosaic or Under Heaven and River of Stars? It’s a wonderful notion – how many of us wish Tigana had been the first of two (or, maybe, seventeen) books?

Perhaps he could take a page from Robin Hobb? Her Realm of the Elderlings series is made up of sixteen novels.

robin hobb

Assassin’s Fate, the book every single one of her fans longs for, yet are terrified by, is the culminating novel. It is sure to be wonderful and bittersweet at the same time, especially since she allows her story to take her to dark places. I can’t say that she ever simply “kills off” characters for the fun of it (or to add some drama), but she is devoted to the story she wishes to tell. No one is safe. No one is safe from having to wait, either. Typically, Hobb has a publishing schedule that has a book by her out every year. To my deepest sorrow, it looks like we will have to wait until spring 2017. It will be worth it. The best things are worth waiting for.

Fortunately, sometimes patience wins the day! Our wait for Grim Oak Press’s Unbound is nearly over, however. Shawn Speakman, expert author wrangler and talented writer, has put together another anthology that is… bound… to be a fantastic read. A lot of anthologies celebrate a particular theme, or joke, or location. Unbound is a compilation of stories that the authors just wanted to write. The Table of Contents is impressive, with Kristen Britain, Tim Marquitz, Terry Brooks, Shawn Speakman, and Jim Butcher. (Yes, the Butcher story will involve our first glimpse of Harry Dresden post-Skin Game). Speakman prizes collectibles, and knows exactly what book lovers want. Follow the link to Grim Oak Press to purchase limited editions and ARCs.

In other news:
1. The first book in Tad Williams’s new Osten Ard trilogy has been delayed by one full year due to publishing shenanigans.
2. Christopher Moore is working on a book called Noire, set in 1947 San Francisco. Will the Author Guy never cease to surprise us?
3. Ernest Cline, author of Armada and Ready Player One, has signed another contract for a science fiction novel to be delivered at a later date.
4. Jeff Vandermeer spent the month of August away from social media, and came away 100,000 words richer. He is working on not one but two new novels for us.

That’s it until next time! Feel free to share in the comments any juicy book-related gossip.

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