More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Neal Stephenson's Seveneves for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anathem, Reamde, and Cryptonomicon comes an exciting and thought-provoking science fiction epic—a grand story of annihilation and survival spanning five thousand years.

What would happen if the world were ending?

A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain . . .

Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . . to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.

A writer of dazzling genius and imaginative vision, Neal Stephenson combines science, philosophy, technology, psychology, and literature in a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognizable. As he did in Anathem, Cryptonomicon, the Baroque Cycle, and Reamde, Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Vividly imagined, stunningly prophetic, and epic in scope, The Diamond Age is a major novel from one of the most visionary writers of our time.

Decades into our future, a stone’s throw from the ancient city of Shanghai, a brilliant nanotechnologist named John Percival Hackworth has just broken the rigorous moral code of his tribe, the powerful neo-Victorians. He's made an illicit copy of a state-of-the-art interactive device called A Young Ladys Illustrated Primer Commissioned by an eccentric duke for his grandchild, stolen for Hackworth's own daughter, the Primer’s purpose is to educate and raise a girl capable of thinking for herself. It performs its function superbly. Unfortunately for Hackworth, his smuggled copy has fallen into the wrong hands.

Young Nell and her brother Harv are thetes—members of the poor, tribeless class. Neglected by their mother, Harv looks after Nell. When he and his gang waylay a certain neo-Victorian—John Percival Hackworth—in the seamy streets of their neighborhood, Harv brings Nell something special: the Primer.

Following the discovery of his crime, Hackworth begins an odyssey of his own. Expelled from the neo-Victorian paradise, squeezed by agents of Protocol Enforcement on one side and a Mandarin underworld crime lord on the other, he searches for an elusive figure known as the Alchemist. His quest and Nell’s will ultimately lead them to another seeker whose fate is bound up with the Primer—a woman who holds the key to a vast, subversive information network that is destined to decode and reprogram the future of humanity.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Lev Grossman's The Magicians for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Quentin Coldwater is a brilliant but unhappy young man growing up in Brooklyn, NY. At 17, he remains obsessed with the fantasy novels he read as a child, set in the magical land of Fillory. One day, returning home from a college interview gone awry, he finds himself whisked to Brakebills, an exclusive college for wizards hidden in upstate New York. And so begins THE MAGICIANS, the thrilling and original novel of fantasy and disenchantment by Lev Grossman, author of the international bestseller Codex and book critic for TIME magazine.

At Brakebills, Quentin learns to cast spells. He makes friends and falls in love. He transforms into animals and gains powers of which he never dreamed. Still, magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he thought it would, and four years later, he finds himself back in Manhattan, living an aimless, hedonistic existence born of apathy, boredom and the ability to conjure endless sums of money out of thin air.

One afternoon, hung over and ruing some particularly foolish behavior, Quentin is surprised by the sudden arrival of his Brakebills friend and rival Penny, who announces that Fillory is real. This news promises to finally fulfill Quentin’s yearning, but their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than Quentin could have imagined. His childhood dream is a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.

At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, THE MAGICIANS pays intentional homage to the beloved fantasy novels of C. S. Lewis, T.H. White and J.K. Rowling, but does much more than enlarge the boundaries of conventional fantasy writing. By imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions, Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren’t black and white, love and sex aren’t simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.


This week's New York Times Bestsellers (November 5th)

In paperback:

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale is up two positions, ending the week at number 8 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Nora Roberts' Year One debuts at number 15 (trade paperback).

The Girl in the Fog


I gave Donato Carrisi's debut, The Whisperer, a perfect score a few years back. Dubbed the Italian literary thriller phenomenon, I have always remained on the lookout for anything else written by Carrisi and I've bought everything he has released thus far. Originally written in Italian, as I did with his other books I went for the French translation for this novel as well. Read The Vanished Ones, sequel to The Whisperer, during my Central American adventure earlier this year and I wasn't disapointed. Going through a rough patch as far as SFF titles are concerned lately, what with the new Glen Cook, Nicholas Eames, and Myke Cole not living up to the hype, I decided to give The Girl in the Fog a shot and I'm glad I did!

Oddly enough, although Donato Carrisi is a bestselling author in various countries, he continues to be virtually unknown in the USA. As is often the case, English language publishers have a tendency to be far behind the rest of the world when it comes to international bestsellers. One only has to look at Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, which became a worldwide literary phenomenon before it was even translated into English. Still, The Girl in the Fog was named the crime book of the month by the Sunday Times, so there might be hope yet.

Here's the blurb:

An atmospheric novel about the disappearance of Anna, fifteen, on a cold night in a small town in the Italian mountains close to the Slovenian border. Vogel, a policeman specialising in murder cases, has two suspects: a lonely literature professor who could be connected to the crime; and a teenage boy tracked down via Anna's diary. In true Carissi style, the lines blur between policemen and murderer and Vogel is a potential suspect in the case of Anna's death. Surrounding all this is a media storm with the girl's family at its centre - it culminates in a television interview between Vogel and the professor and a strange and shocking revelation about Anna's death.

As is usually his wont, a variety of sources were used by Donato Carrisi for this literary work, chief among them criminology and forensic psychiatry manuals, as well as several FBI papers regarding serial killers and violent crimes. Many true cases, finalized or ongoing, inspired a number of those found within the pages of the novel. With his homework done properly, like its predecessors Carrisi's latest novel has an unmistakable genuine feel to it. In an interview at the end of the book, the author explains that there are less violent scenes in this one because he wanted to focus on fear, especially the fear that you could lose someone, at any time and anywhere.

Once more, the characterization is top notch. Investigator Vogel's perspective takes center stage. An unscrupulous cop who has become a master at manipulating the media, a while back he fell from grace when he was accused of creating false evidence to solve a case. He means to use Anna Lou Kastner's disappearance to reclaim his star status and couldn't care less about uncovering the actual  truth. All he needs is a guilty party, a monster, regardless of the fact that there is evidence or not. Vogel is assisted by Borghi, a younger cop who doesn't always agree with Vogel's unorthodox methods. For the most part, the narrative is driven by both of their points of view. The third perspective is that of Dr. Flores, a local psychiatrist.

The structure of the plot goes back and forth through the timeline of events. It begins with a bang, sixty-two days following the girl's disappearance, as agent Vogel is involved in a car accident and appears to have murdered someone. Suffering from sudden memory loss, he is taken to Dr Flores, who has been charged with finding the truth behind what took place. And in true Carrisi fashion, the more you learn, the less you know.

Like its predecessors, The Girl in the Fog is as captivating as it is perturbing. As was the case with all the other Carrisi titles, it is another complex, multilayered thriller that stays with you long after you've reached the last page. It's another clever work with plots and subplots forming a frightening tapestry, all of which culminating toward an ending that will hit you like an uppercut. The Girl in the Fog is also an unapologetic critique of the media and how they cover crime investigations.

When all is said and done, this troubling work is everything a thriller is meant to be. If you are looking for compelling and disturbing books delving into psychology that stay with you long after you have finished reading them, give Donato Carrisi a shot as soon as humanly possible! You won't be disappointed!

The final verdict: 8/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Fonda Lee's Jade City, recent winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

In this epic saga of magic and kungfu, four siblings battle rival clans for honor and power in an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis.

* Aurora Award for Best Novel, winner
* Nebula Award for Best Novel, nominee
* Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, finalist
* World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, finalist

Jade is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. It has been mined, traded, stolen, and killed for -- and for centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their magical abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now, the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon's bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone -- even foreigners -- wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones -- from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets -- and of Kekon itself.

Jade City is the first novel in an epic trilogy about family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of blood and jade.

Book trailer for the new French edition of Steven Erikson's GARDENS OF THE MOON



Awesome! =)

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can download David Mack's The Midnight Front for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

On the eve of World War Two, Nazi sorcerers come gunning for Cade but kill his family instead. His one path of vengeance is to become an apprentice of The Midnight Front—the Allies’ top-secret magickal warfare program—and become a sorcerer himself.

Unsure who will kill him first—his allies, his enemies, or the demons he has to use to wield magick—Cade fights his way through occupied Europe and enemy lines. But he learns too late the true price of revenge will be more terrible than just the loss of his soul—and there’s no task harder than doing good with a power born of ultimate evil.


You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Well of Darkness, first volume in the Sovereign Stone trilogy, for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Second in line for succession to the throne, Prince Dagnarus will have his crown...and his queen -- though his heart's prize is a married elfin beauty. Let his hated half-brother Prince Helmos and the Dominion Lords dare to oppose him. For Dagnarus's most loyal servant has ventured into the terrible darkness, where lies the most potent talisman in the realm. And once it is in the dark prince's hand, no power will deter his Destiny.


Finally, you can also download Dan Koboldt's The Rogue Retrieval for only 0.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Sleight of hand…in another land.

Stage magician Quinn Bradley has one dream: to headline his own show on the Vegas Strip. And with talent scouts in the audience wowed by his latest performance, he knows he’s about to make the big-time.

What he doesn’t expect is an offer to go on a quest to a place where magic is all too real.

That's how he finds himself in Alissia, a world connected to ours by a secret portal owned by a powerful corporation. He’s after an employee who has gone rogue, and that’s the least of his problems. Alissia has true magicians…and the penalty for impersonating one is death. In a world where even a twelve-year-old could beat Quinn in a swordfight, it's only a matter of time until the tricks up his sleeves run out.

Scientist and blogger Dan Koboldt weaves wonder, humor, and heart into this debut novel, The Rogue Retrieval. Fans of Terry Brooks and Terry Pratchett will find this a thrilling read.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (October 29th)

In paperback:

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale is down two positions, ending the week at number 10 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Nicholas Eames' Kings of the Wyld for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

GLORY NEVER GETS OLD.

Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best, the most feared and renowned crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk, or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay's door with a plea for help--the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.

It's time to get the band back together.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Alan Smale's Clash of Eagles for only 1.99$ here. This is a great series that deserve more attention. At this low price, it's the best time to give it a shot!

Here's the blurb:

Perfect for fans of action-adventure and historical fiction—including novels by such authors as Bernard Cornwell, Steve Berry, Naomi Novik, and Harry Turtledove—this stunning work of alternate history imagines a world in which the Roman Empire has not fallen and the North American continent has just been discovered. In the year 1218 AD, transported by Norse longboats, a Roman legion crosses the great ocean, enters an endless wilderness, and faces a cataclysmic clash of worlds, cultures, and warriors.

Ever hungry for land and gold, the Emperor has sent Praetor Gaius Marcellinus and the 33rd Roman Legion into the newly discovered lands of North America. Marcellinus and his men expect easy victory over the native inhabitants, but on the shores of a vast river the Legion clashes with a unique civilization armed with weapons and strategies no Roman has ever imagined.

Forced to watch his vaunted force massacred by a surprisingly tenacious enemy, Marcellinus is spared by his captors and kept alive for his military knowledge. As he recovers and learns more about these proud people, he can’t help but be drawn into their society, forming an uneasy friendship with the denizens of the city-state of Cahokia. But threats—both Roman and Native—promise to assail his newfound kin, and Marcellinus will struggle to keep the peace while the rest of the continent surges toward certain conflict.


You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Elizabeth Moon's Cold Welcome for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Nebula Award–winning author Elizabeth Moon makes a triumphant return to science fiction with a thrilling series featuring Kylara Vatta, the daring hero of her acclaimed Vatta’s War sequence.

After nearly a decade away, Nebula Award–winning author Elizabeth Moon makes a triumphant return to science fiction with this installment in a thrilling new series featuring the daring hero of her acclaimed Vatta’s War sequence.

Summoned to the home planet of her family’s business empire, space-fleet commander Kylara Vatta is told to expect a hero’s welcome. But instead she is thrown into danger unlike any other she has faced and finds herself isolated, unable to communicate with the outside world, commanding a motley group of unfamiliar troops, and struggling day by day to survive in a deadly environment with sabotaged gear. Only her undeniable talent for command can give her ragtag band a fighting chance.

Yet even as Ky leads her team from one crisis to another, her family and friends refuse to give up hope, endeavoring to mount a rescue from halfway around the planet—a task that is complicated as Ky and her supporters find secrets others will kill to protect: a conspiracy infecting both government and military that threatens not only her own group’s survival but her entire home planet.


You can also download M. R. Carey's The Boy on the Bridge, prequel to The Girl With All the Gifts, for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

From the author of USA Today bestseller The Girl With All the Gifts, a terrifying new novel set in the same post-apocalyptic world.

Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.

Dungeons and Dragons: Art and Arcana


I knew that Ten Speed Press were working on an illustrated tribute to Dungeons and Dragons. But I must have been sleeping at the wheel, for I had totally forgotten that Dungeons and Dragons: Art and Arcana was about to be released. It's only when the package showed up in my mailbox that I remembered. And what a pleasant surprise that was!

I immediately began to peruse the book and throughout it has been an amazing trip down memory lane. As I mentioned in previous posts, this is a gorgeous oversized high quality production with lots of illustrations. A "must own" title for anyone who, like me, grew up with Dungeons and Dragons and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. I was taken back to my first year of junior high, way back when I was first introduced to the game by other students. That first foray into role-playing games opened up a world of possibilities and led to my becoming a speculative fiction book reviewer down the line. Without Dungeons and Dragons when I was twelve years old, I'm not sure just how my life would have turned out to be.

Here's the blurb:

An illustrated guide to the history and evolution of the beloved role-playing game told through the paintings, sketches, illustrations, and visual ephemera behind its creation, growth, and continued popularity.

From one of the most iconic game brands in the world, this official DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS illustrated history provides an unprecedented look at the visual evolution of the brand, showing its continued influence on the worlds of pop culture and fantasy. Inside the book, you’ll find more than seven hundred pieces of artwork—from each edition of the core role-playing books, supplements, and adventures; as well as Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance novels; decades of Dragon and Dungeon magazines; and classic advertisements and merchandise; plus never-before-seen sketches, large-format canvases, rare photographs, one-of-a-kind drafts, and more from the now-famous designers and artists associated with DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS. The superstar author team gained unparalleled access to the archives of Wizards of the Coast and the personal collections of top collectors, as well as the designers and illustrators who created the distinctive characters, concepts, and visuals that have defined fantasy art and gameplay for generations. This is the most comprehensive collection of DandD imagery ever assembled, making this the ultimate collectible for the game’s millions of fans around the world.

Dungeons and Dragons: Art and Arcana is an illustrated history which provides an unprecedented look at the visual evolution of the game and its influence on the fantasy genre and pop culture. Within its 450 pages, the book looks back on over forty years of history and features over 700 pieces of artwork from all edition of the game's rulebooks, modules, and supplements, from Dragon and Dungeons magazines, as well as ads and licensed merchandise. You'll also find never-before-seen sketches and rare photos, making this book a visual archive that should be please all Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts!

Beyond being a visual history of the game, it's also the untold history of how Dungeons and Dragons was born and how it changed over the years. From the creation of TSR to its financial woes, ending with being bought by Wizards of the Coast, who were later acquired by Hasbro, and everything else in between. I particularly liked the trade ads and the in-house memos featured in the book. Like many people from my generation, I bought the now classic Dungeons and Dragons basic rules boxset, the infamous red box, back in 1986. Hence, I relished the opportunity to go back in time and relive the modest beginnings of Gary Gygax and his team and how TSR was born. This brought back so many memories, not all of them fond ones. I had forgotten that our high school forbade us to set up a club to play Dungeons and Dragons during our lunch breaks, all due to the rumors of satanism surrounding the game during the 80s. My classmates and I still played, but we were never able to recruit more people to join us. In no time we all "graduated" to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and proceeded to buy basically every core rulebooks graced with those beautiful Jeff Easley covers. The piece on the Temple of Elemental Evil module brought a chuckle out me. Our band of adventurers tried at least a dozen times to complete that module, but alas we all died in the attempt every single time. The World of Greyhawk campaign setting, and then came Dragonlance. Started playing that campaign in 8th grade and Sturm Brightblade was my character. Reading Weis and Hickman's Dragons of Autumn Twilight changed my life that year. And imagine my shock when I discovered that Sturm died in the second volume! But my DM said that I wouldn't necessarily die in the modules, which made it all right. I guess. Then came the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, with its myriad books that kept me awake past my bedtime for many a night. The Pool of Radiance computer game that we spent hours playing on my friend Martin's Commodore. The game evolving with the release of the 2nd edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and new settings like Spelljammer and Dark Sun. All told, the book covers the game's history all the way to the 5th edition and is a veritable encyclopedia.

But as interesting as all that information turned out to be, it's the illustrations that are the main draw. For me, it was mostly the pieces from my teenage years by such masters as Larry Elmore, Keith Parkinson, Jeff Easley, Clyde Caldwell, and Brom. Gorgeous high resolution images, some of them two-page spreads, are what makes this book worth every penny. Every era is covered, so there is definitely something for everyone, no matter when you fell in love with Dungeons and Dragons.

Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, and Sam Witwer did an amazing job compiling everything. Dungeons and Dragons: Art and Arcana is both a tribute and a love letter to the game cherished by millions of fans around the world. This visual history is a "must own" item that should be part of all Dungeons and Dragons aficionados' collection.

Dungeons and Dragons: Art and Arcana is everything you want it to be and then some!

The final verdict: 10/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Stephen R. Donaldson's The Mirror of Her Dreams for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

With The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Stephen R. Donaldson changed the face of fantasy fiction forever. In The Mirror of Her Dreams, the astonishing first novel in the two-volume Mordant’s Need series, Donaldson shows us a world of wondrous beauty and seductive illusion, where mirrors hold the deadliest of magics and nothing is what it seems. . . .

The daughter of rich but neglectful parents, Terisa Morgan lives alone in a New York City apartment, a young woman who has grown to doubt her own existence. Surrounded by the flat reassurance of mirrors, she leads an unfulfilled life—until the night a strange man named Geraden comes crashing through one of her mirrors, on a quest to find a champion to save his kingdom of Mordant from a pervasive evil that threatens the land. Terisa is no champion. She wields neither magic nor power. And yet, much to her own surprise, when Geraden begs her to come back with him, she agrees.

Now, in a culture where women are little more than the playthings of powerful men, in a castle honeycombed with secret passages and clever traps, in a kingdom threatened from without and within by enemies able to appear and vanish out of thin air, Terisa must become more than the pale reflection of a person. For the way back to Earth is closed to her. And the enemies of Mordant will stop at nothing to see her dead.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Brandon Sanderson's Oathbringer for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Times bestselling Stormlight Archive, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as great as their thirst for vengeance.

Dalinar Kholin’s Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost: The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction, and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that the newly kindled anger of the parshmen may be wholly justified.

Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the wonders of the ancient stronghold of the Knights Radiant and unearths dark secrets lurking in its depths. And Dalinar realizes that his holy mission to unite his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put aside Dalinar’s blood-soaked past and stand together—and unless Dalinar himself can confront that past—even the restoration of the Knights Radiant will not prevent the end of civilization.

Port of Shadows


Port of Shadows is the first Black Company installment in seventeen years. This more or less stand-alone tale was meant to be the perfect place to start for newbies not familiar with Glen Cook's signature series and an opportunity for long time fans to rejoice. Unfortunately, this new book failed to deliver on basically every front. The father of Grimdark Cook may be, but his latest effort was a total failure to launch.

Readers who have yet to get acquainted with the motley crew that is the Black Company should give this novel a wide berth and go for The Chronicles of the Black Company omnibus instead. And existing fans should simply try to forget that Port of Shadows was published. Indeed, it was that underwhelming.

Here's the blurb:

The soldiers of the Black Company don’t ask questions, they get paid. But being “The Lady’s favored” is attracting the wrong kind of attention and has put a target on their backs, and the Company’s historian, Croaker, has the biggest target of all.

The one person who was taken into The Lady’s Tower and returned unchanged has earned the special interest of the court of sorcerers known as The Ten Who Were Taken. Now, he and the company are being asked to seek the aid of their newest member, Mischievous Rain, to break a rebel army. However, Croaker doesn’t trust any ofthe Taken, especially not ones that look so much like The Lady and her sister…

The chapters "Tides Elba" and "Smelling Danger" and "Bone Candy" first appeared in various SFF anthologies between 2010 and 2014. Glen Cook fans were happy to see the author write new short fiction pieces featuring the endearing members of the Black Company. Personally, I thought that this particular story arc would continue to be explored through short stories every once in a while. But I reckon it was inevitable that a novel-length project would one day see the light. Problem is, I'm not sure the author had enough material to warrant a full novel at this point and it shows in several portions of Port of Shadows. This definitely was a case of all filler and no killer.

As far as I'm concerned, Croaker has always been the true voice of the Black Company. As a narrator, his witty and sardonic observations remain one of the highlights of the entire saga. The man is aware of his strengths and his flaws, and it's always a joy to follow his narrative. Hence, to have Croaker back as the narrator in Port of Shadows was, at least early on, a lot of fun. It felt as though Mischievous Rain would be a great new addition to the cast, but she soon became a dead end character. In many ways, it's the interaction between the members of the Black Company that has always made the characterization so special in this series. Unfortunately, fan favorites such as Goblin and One-Eye play very limited roles in the plot of this new book, and the focus remains more on the new faces comprising the supporting cast. Which would have been no problem had Cook taken time to develop them a bit. Alas. . .

Split into three distinct timelines that come together at different junctures in the plot, the structure of Port of Shadows takes a while to get used to. The "Once Upon a Time" section features the perspective of a necromancer who may have been nearly as powerful as the Dominator. The "Long Ago and Far Away" section features the point of view of young Credence Senjak. "In Modern Time" features Croaker's narrative, as the Black Company enjoys some downtime in Aloe until things take a turn for the worse.

There is no way to sugarcoat it. The pace is often absolutely horrendous. It feels as though Glen Cook is making everything up as he goes along. Port of Shadows is a meandering and occasionally downright boring work that has little in common with previous Black Company installments. Add to that all the misogynistic content, the rape, and the sexually perverted stuff like incest and necrophilia, and you can understand why this novel has many a fan, especially female readers, up in arms. There also appears to be continuity errors regarding the Senjak sisters that fans are not pleased with.

Finally, having everyone's memory wiped following the events of Port of Shadows to explain how no one can recall what happened in Aloe and in the Ghost Country was a half-assed plot device. In the end, like Croaker and the rest of the crew, I just wish I could forget about everything found within the pages of this novel. It was a chore to go through and took everything I had to reach the end. The endgame and the finale offer little satisfaction, so here's to hoping that no other Black Company novel-length projects are in the pipeline for the near future unless they can live up to the hype generated by their predecessors.

A major disappointment. . .

The final verdict: 5/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

Guest Blog: Gail Z. Martin


Gail Z. Martin returns to the Hotlist with a guest blog post for her Days of the Dead blog tour.

Space, Spells and Spooks

By Gail Z. Martin

Whether your taste runs to epic medieval fantasy, daring space adventure, or modern-day urban fantasy, we’ve got you covered.

I’ve written epic fantasy and urban fantasy for quite a while now, and I’ve come to enjoy flipping back and forth between series set in the past and in the present day. I love the history and legends that I draw from to create the worlds, religions and magical systems in my four epic fantasy series. And I really enjoy getting to know the modern cities and their folklore, history, and urban legends as I create the supernatural threats menacing real-world places in my three urban fantasy series.

So it just seemed inevitable that we’d add space to the mix.

Three of our newest books take readers to the Middle Ages, into outer space, or to historic, haunted Charleston, South Carolina.

Vengeance, the second book in my Darkhurst epic fantasy series, picks up where Scourge left off. When undertaker brothers Corran and Rigan Valmonde became outlaw monster hunters and fled beyond the walls of Ravenwood, they thought they had defeated the source of the abominations that killed so many of their friends and loved ones. But the more successful they become at destroying the creatures, the more they realize a greater evil is at work – larger and more monstrous than they ever could imagine…

I love the world of the Darkhurst books because it’s really different from the kinds of kingdoms I’ve written about before. The kingdom is a collection of city-states which are all bound together by trade agreements, yet all competing for most favorable terms, scarce resources, and the favor of the king. Think Medicis and Machiavelli, in a political system structured like the Hanseatic League. Building the world was a real challenge, and I’m enjoying following the story to its conclusion. I tell people it’s like Supernatural met Game of Thrones.

Tangled Web, the third novel in my Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series, is set in Charleston, and as usual, it draws on local legends and lore as well as European myth. When zombies rise in Charleston cemeteries, dead men fall from the sky, and the whole city succumbs to the “grouch flu,” Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren suspect a vengeful dark witch who is gunning for Teag and planning to unleash an ancient horror. Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren—and all their supernatural allies—will need magic, cunning, and the help of a Viking demi-goddess to survive the battle with a malicious Weaver-witch and an ancient Norse warlock to keep Charleston—and the whole East Coast—from becoming the prey of the Master of the Hunt.

I always enjoy writing the Deadly Curiosities series, because I’ve come to love Charleston and the characters. Charleston has so much rich history and so many wonderful scandals and ghost stories that there’s plenty of inspiration to draw from!

Salvage Rat is the first solo novel by my husband (and frequent co-author) Larry N. Martin. It’s definitely space opera/adventure not hard sci-fi, so the characters and action take center stage, not the physics. Larry’s wanted to do this for a while now, ever since we did three short stories in this universe for some of the themed anthologies at Origins Game Fair. I think of it as Bonnie and Clyde meets V for Vendetta in a Firefly-esque universe.

Here’s the blurb: Star Force pilot and hero Wyatt McCoy left his medals and career behind after the Rim Wars, disillusioned and bitter when he learns the truths behind the conflict. He takes his converted gunship, the Nellie B, and heads to the Near Fringe, salvaging derelict ships and abandoned stations and mining colonies. Dr. Beth Parker is a space archeologist, documenting the history of planetary expansion and colonization for Kalok Enterprises and the Interplanetary Mining Group. A piece of alien technology embeds itself in Beth’s arm, giving her the ability to see the energy impressions of long ago people and events. When Beth uncovers proof of genocide that could bring down the big mining companies, she’s the target of assassins. Wyatt makes a split-second decision to intervene, launching them both into a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game with some of the most powerful organizations in the system. They can prove Kalok and Interplan killed millions—but can they live long enough to tell their story?

Whether you like epic fantasy, urban fantasy or space adventure, we’ve got something to help you read through the winter cold!

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for my stories. You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Get all the details about my Days of the Dead blog tour here:

Book swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! All of my guest blog posts have links to free excerpts—follow the tour and grab them all! Enjoy this excerpt for Vengeance https://docs.google.com/file/d/15JT0DGmrMAq1_HgL-XsqWTebVIdKgFFH/edit?usp=docslist_api&filetype=msword

For Tangled Web https://docs.google.com/file/d/1bJEi7jqpOGMb4rNRbzXrU37LtZWa3w7G/edit?usp=docslist_api&filetype=msword

And Salvage Rat: https://www.ascendantkingdoms.com/books/salvage-rat/salvage-rat-excerpt/

Enter my Rafflecopter giveaway to win a Kindle Prize Package with a free copy EACH of — Tangled Web, Assassin’s Honor, Salvage Rat, The Dark Road and Sons of Darkness! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9751c04215/? Let me give a shout-out for #HoldOnToTheLight 2018, back for more with new authors and fantastic new posts! 150+ genre authors blogging about their personal struggles with depression, PTSD, anxiety, suicide and self-harm, candid posts by some of your favorite authors on how mental health issues have impacted their lives and books. Read the stories, share the stories, change a life. Find out more at www.HoldOnToTheLight.com

About the Authors

Gail Z. Martin writes urban fantasy, epic fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, Falstaff Books, SOL Publishing and Darkwind Press. Urban fantasy series include Deadly Curiosities and the Night Vigil (Sons of Darkness). Epic fantasy series include Darkhurst, the Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, and the Assassins of Landria. Newest titles include Tangled Web, Vengeance, The Dark Road, and Assassin’s Honor. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance. Books include Witchbane, Burn, Dark Rivers, Badlands and the upcoming Lucky Town.

Larry N. Martin is the author of the new sci-fi adventure novel Salvage Rat. He is the co-author (with Gail Z. Martin) of the Spells, Salt, and Steel/New Templars series; the Steampunk series Iron & Blood; and a collection of short stories and novellas: The Storm and Fury Adventures set in the Iron & Blood universe. He is also the co-author of the upcoming Wasteland Marshals series and the Cauldron/Secret Council series.

Find them at www.GailZMartin.com , on Twitter @GailZMartin and @LNMartinAuthor, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at www.DisquietingVisions.com blog, on www.Pinterest.com/Gzmartin and on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin. She is also the organizer of the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign www.HoldOnToTheLight.com Never miss out on the news and new releases—newsletter signup link http://eepurl.com/dd5XLj

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

“The single most resonant and carefully imagined book of Dick’s career.” —New York Times

It’s America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war—and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan.

This harrowing, Hugo Award–winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to wake.

Winner of the Hugo Award.


You can also download M. R. Carey's The Girl With All the Gifts for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius."

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

The Girl With All the Gifts is a groundbreaking thriller, emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end.


You can also download China Miéville's Kraken for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from China Miéville’s Embassytown.

With this outrageous new novel, China Miéville has written one of the strangest, funniest, and flat-out scariest books you will read this—or any other—year. The London that comes to life in Kraken is a weird metropolis awash in secret currents of myth and magic, where criminals, police, cultists, and wizards are locked in a war to bring about—or prevent—the End of All Things.

In the Darwin Centre at London’s Natural History Museum, Billy Harrow, a cephalopod specialist, is conducting a tour whose climax is meant to be the Centre’s prize specimen of a rare Architeuthis dux—better known as the Giant Squid. But Billy’s tour takes an unexpected turn when the squid suddenly and impossibly vanishes into thin air.

As Billy soon discovers, this is the precipitating act in a struggle to the death between mysterious but powerful forces in a London whose existence he has been blissfully ignorant of until now, a city whose denizens—human and otherwise—are adept in magic and murder.

There is the Congregation of God Kraken, a sect of squid worshippers whose roots go back to the dawn of humanity—and beyond. There is the criminal mastermind known as the Tattoo, a merciless maniac inked onto the flesh of a hapless victim. There is the FSRC—the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime Unit—a branch of London’s finest that fights sorcery with sorcery. There is Wati, a spirit from ancient Egypt who leads a ragtag union of magical familiars. There are the Londonmancers, who read the future in the city’s entrails. There is Grisamentum, London’s greatest wizard, whose shadow lingers long after his death. And then there is Goss and Subby, an ageless old man and a cretinous boy who, together, constitute a terrifying—yet darkly charismatic—demonic duo.

All of them—and others—are in pursuit of Billy, who inadvertently holds the key to the missing squid, an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all that is, was, and ever shall be.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (October 22nd)

In paperback:

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale maintains its position at number 8 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Stephen King and Owen King's Sleeping Beauties maintains its position at number 14 (trade paperback).

Dungeons and Dragons: Art and Arcana on sale


I've already said that Dungeons and Dragons: Art and Arcana is absolutely gorgeous and a "must own" title for anyone who grew up with Dungeons and Dragons and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. The book hits the shelves tomorrow and right now the pre-order promotions allow you to save between 35% and 40% off the cover price through the links below. Well worth the investment, if you ask me. =)

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

An illustrated guide to the history and evolution of the beloved role-playing game told through the paintings, sketches, illustrations, and visual ephemera behind its creation, growth, and continued popularity.

From one of the most iconic game brands in the world, this official DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS illustrated history provides an unprecedented look at the visual evolution of the brand, showing its continued influence on the worlds of pop culture and fantasy. Inside the book, you’ll find more than seven hundred pieces of artwork—from each edition of the core role-playing books, supplements, and adventures; as well as Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance novels; decades of Dragon and Dungeon magazines; and classic advertisements and merchandise; plus never-before-seen sketches, large-format canvases, rare photographs, one-of-a-kind drafts, and more from the now-famous designers and artists associated with DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS. The superstar author team gained unparalleled access to the archives of Wizards of the Coast and the personal collections of top collectors, as well as the designers and illustrators who created the distinctive characters, concepts, and visuals that have defined fantasy art and gameplay for generations. This is the most comprehensive collection of DandD imagery ever assembled, making this the ultimate collectible for the game’s millions of fans around the world.

Kay Kenyon contest winner!

Thanks to the generosity of the author, this lucky winner will receive a set of Kay Kenyon's Dark Talents installments! The prize pack includes:

- At the Table of Wolves (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Serpent in the Heather (Canada, USA, Europe)

The winner is:

- Guillaume Bergeron, from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Many thanks to all the participants!