Deborah Harkness contest winner!

This lucky guy will get his hands on a copy of Deborah Harkness' Time's Convert, compliments of the folks at Viking Books. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

Bobby V. Berry, Jr., from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download The Book of Swords, edited by Gardner Dozois, for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

New epic fantasy in the grand tradition—including a never-before-published Song of Ice and Fire story by George R. R. Martin!

Fantasy fiction has produced some of the most unforgettable heroes ever conjured onto the page: Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian, Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné, Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Classic characters like these made sword and sorcery a storytelling sensation, a cornerstone of fantasy fiction—and an inspiration for a new generation of writers, spinning their own outsize tales of magic and swashbuckling adventure.

Now, in The Book of Swords, acclaimed editor and bestselling author Gardner Dozois presents an all-new anthology of original epic tales by a stellar cast of award-winning modern masters—many of them set in their authors’ best-loved worlds. Join today’s finest tellers of fantastic tales, including George R. R. Martin, K. J. Parker, Robin Hobb, Scott Lynch, Ken Liu, C. J. Cherryh, Daniel Abraham, Lavie Tidhar, Ellen Kushner, and more on action-packed journeys into the outer realms of dark enchantment and intrepid derring-do, featuring a stunning assortment of fearless swordsmen and warrior women who face down danger and death at every turn with courage, cunning, and cold steel.


“The Best Man Wins” by K. J. Parker
“Her Father’s Sword” by Robin Hobb
“The Hidden Girl” by Ken Liu
“The Sword of Destiny” by Matthew Hughes
“‘I Am a Handsome Man,’ Said Apollo Crow” by Kate Elliott
“The Triumph of Virtue” by Walter Jon Williams
“The Mocking Tower” by Daniel Abraham
“Hrunting” by C. J. Cherryh
“A Long, Cold Trail” by Garth Nix
“When I Was a Highwayman” by Ellen Kushner
“The Smoke of Gold Is Glory” by Scott Lynch
“The Colgrid Conundrum” by Rich Larson
“The King’s Evil” by Elizabeth Bear
“Waterfalling” by Lavie Tidhar
“The Sword Tyraste” by Cecelia Holland
“The Sons of the Dragon” by George R. R. Martin

And an introduction by Gardner Dozois.

Priest of Bones

Urban fantasy author Peter McLean decided to switch subgenres and to try his hand at grimdark. And to be honest, if not for Mark Lawrence's positive review, chances are I would have passed on Priest of Bones. But when readers started claiming that the novel was Gangs of New York meets The Lies of Locke Lamora, well I knew I just had to give it a shot.

And even though the book suffers from too many shortcomings to be considered a gripping read, Priest of Bones was compelling enough for me to want to find out what happens next.

Here's the blurb:

It's a dangerous thing, to choose the lesser of two evils.

The war is over, and army priest Tomas Piety finally heads home with Lieutenant Bloody Anne at his side. When he arrives in the Stink, Tomas finds that his empire of crime has been stolen from him while at war. With his gang of Pious Men, Tomas will do whatever it takes to reclaim his businesses. But when he finds himself dragged into a web of political intrigue once again, and is forced to work in secret for the sinister Queen's Men, everything gets more complicated.

When loyalties stretch to the breaking point and violence only leads to violence, when people have run out of food, and hope, and places to hide, do not be surprised if they have also run out of mercy. As the Pious Men fight shadowy foreign infiltrators in the backstreet taverns and gambling dens of Tomas's old life it becomes clear; the war is not over.

It is only just beginning.

The worldbuilding is virtually nonexistent in this first installment of the War for the Rose Throne sequence. Pretty much all of the elements that have to do with this aspect are part of the blurb, which is more than a little disappointing. There was a war. Which is supposed to be over, but which isn't. Former gangster turned priest turned gangster again is once more forced to work for the Queen's Men by reclaiming the streets of Ellinburg. Why this is important in the greater scheme of things takes a long time to become evident, and when it does it doesn't ncessarily make for a great endgame. McLean plays his cards extremely close to his chest, which can be quite tricky this early in the game. Especially considering that this is the first volume in a new series from an author not known for writing grimdark. Indeed, if you want readers to show up and purchase the upcoming sequels, as a writer you need to give them reasons to come back. Unfortunately, the plot and its conclusion offer very few answers to the many questions raised by this novel. Time will tell if Peter McLean has done enough for readers to return to give Priest of Lies a chance next summer.

If there's one thing that author did particularly well, it was to come up with a dark and brooding tale that should appeal to the grimdark audience. Morally ambiguous and flawed characters populate this war-torn universe. It can be a dismal and disturbing read at times, with a plot that includes alcohol and substance abuse, graphic violence, torture, juvenile prostitution, pedophilia, and sexual assault. So yes, it can make for a rather bleak read. There is no gallows humor moments à la Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch in Priest of Bones. McLean went into full grimdark mode, no doubt about that.

Tomas Piety's perspective is the only POV of the novel, which is not always beneficial. Not that he's not an interesting narrator, but like the author he's not very forthcoming when it comes to sharing information. Unlike the traditional fantasy main protagonist who doesn't know anything and who gradually learns things and connects the dot as the story progresses, the leader of the Pious Men knows a lot more than he lets on. He just doesn't really want to talk about it. Hence, I have a feeling that Priest of Bones would have been a much better novel had it featured additional perspectives, or a third person narrator. Without their own POVs, most of the supporting cast are more or less just nametags and not genuine characters in their own right. Other than Bloody Anne and Billy the Boy, that is.

My main gripe with the plot is that we discover early on that there's more than meets the eye and that the war appears to be far from over. So Tomas Piety as a former crime lord returning to Ellinburg with a group of loyal soldiers under his command who fought beside him in the war and who will now help him reclaim the streets he once ruled over felt like a somewhat generic street gang rivalry plot device that readers are forced to go through so we can move on to bigger and better things. And as such, Priest of Bones often feels like an overlong introduction that lacked enough material to make a full novel and was padded with a number of violent and fairly superfluous scenes. Too bad, because amidst the blood and the viciousness, there are a number of truly poignant moments.

The book suffers from some pacing issues, especially at the beginning and in the middle. Peter McLean can be extremely repetitive in his descriptions, which makes me wonder how theses repetitions survived the editing process. Things pick up in the last third of the novel, with the plot moving forward at a good clip toward an ending that offers little in terms of resolution. And yet, for all of its flaws, Priest of Bones turned out to be intriguing enough for me to want to see what the author has in store for his readers. Here's to hoping that McLean won't play his cards so close to his chest and that he'll elevate his game to another level. As I mentioned, this first installment was little more than an introduction. We'll have to wait and see if the author is ready to open things up and unveil what this series is all about.

Time will tell. . .

The final verdict: 7.5/10

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

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of R. A. Salvatore's Timeless for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

At long last, New York Times bestselling author R. A. Salvatore returns with one of fantasy's most beloved and enduring icons, the dark elf Drizzt Do'Urden, in an all-new trilogy full of swordplay, danger, and imaginative thrills.

Centuries ago, in the city of Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders, the City of Drow, nestled deep in the unmerciful Underdark of Toril, a young weapon master earned a reputation far above his station or that of his poor house.

The greater nobles watched him, and one matron, in particular, decided to take him as her own. She connived with rival great houses to secure her prize, but that prize was caught for her by another, who came to quite enjoy the weapon master.

This was the beginning of the friendship between Zaknafein and Jarlaxle, and the coupling of Matron Malice and the weapon master who would sire Drizzt Do’Urden.

R. A. Salvatore reveals the Underdark anew through the eyes of Zaknafein and Jarlaxle—an introduction to the darkness that offers a fresh view of the opportunities to be found in the shadows and an intriguing prelude to the intriguing escapes that lie ahead in the modern-day Forgotten Realms. Here, a father and his son are reunited and embark on adventures that parallel the trials of centuries long past as the friends of old are joined by Drizzt, Hero of the North, trained by Grandmaster Kane in the ways of the monk.

But the scourge of the dangerous Lolth’s ambitions remain, and demons have been foisted on the unwitting of the surface. The resulting chaos and war will prove to be the greatest challenge for all three.

You can now download R. F. Kuang's The Poppy War, which many consider the fantasy debut of 2018, for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

A "Best of May" Science Fiction and Fantasy pick by Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Audible, The Verge, SyFy Wire, and Kirkus.

A brilliantly imaginative talent makes her exciting debut with this epic historical military fantasy, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic, in the tradition of Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy.

When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

You can also download Joe Hill's NOS4A2 for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

Finally, you can get your hands on the digital edition of Carrie Vaughn's Bannerless for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A mysterious murder in a dystopian future leads a novice investigator to question what she’s learned about the foundation of her population-controlled society.

Decades after economic and environmental collapse destroys much of civilization in the United States, the Coast Road region isn’t just surviving but thriving by some accounts, building something new on the ruins of what came before. A culture of population control has developed in which people, organized into households, must earn the children they bear by proving they can take care of them and are awarded symbolic banners to demonstrate this privilege. In the meantime, birth control is mandatory.

Enid of Haven is an Investigator, called on to mediate disputes and examine transgressions against the community. She’s young for the job and hasn't yet handled a serious case. Now, though, a suspicious death requires her attention. The victim was an outcast, but might someone have taken dislike a step further and murdered him?

In a world defined by the disasters that happened a century before, the past is always present. But this investigation may reveal the cracks in Enid’s world and make her question what she really stands for.

Anne Rice contest winner!

This lucky winner will receive my advance reading copy of Anne Rice's Blood Communion! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

- Kelly Johnson, from Dallas, Texas, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Alex Marshall's A Crown For Cold Silver for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

"It was all going so nicely, right up until the massacre."

Twenty years ago, feared general Cobalt Zosia led her five villainous captains and mercenary army into battle, wrestling monsters and toppling an empire. When there were no more titles to win and no more worlds to conquer, she retired and gave up her legend to history.

Now the peace she carved for herself has been shattered by the unprovoked slaughter of her village. Seeking bloody vengeance, Zosia heads for battle once more, but to find justice she must confront grudge-bearing enemies, once-loyal allies, and an unknown army that marches under a familiar banner.


You can also download Tasha Suri's Empire of Sand for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A nobleman's daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods. Empire of Sand is Tasha Suri's captivating, Mughal India-inspired debut fantasy.

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.

When Mehr's power comes to the attention of the Emperor's most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.

Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance...

Empire of Sand is a lush, dazzling fantasy novel perfect for readers of City of Brass and The Wrath and the Dawn.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (December 10th)

In hardcover:

George R. R. Martin's Fire and Blood is down one position, ending the week at number 2. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Stephen King's Elevation is down one spot, finishing the week at number 11. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Cover art and blurb for Bradley P. Beaulieu's BENEATH THE TWISTED TREES

The folks at have just unveiled the cover art and blurb for Bradley P. Beaulieu's Beneath the Twisted Trees.

Here's the blurb:

The fourth book in The Song of Shattered Sands series—an epic fantasy with a desert setting, filled with rich worldbuilding and pulse-pounding action.

When a battle to eradicate the Thirteenth Tribe goes awry, the kingdoms bordering the desert metropolis of Sharakhai see the city as weak and ripe for conquest. Çeda, now leader of the Shieldwives, a band of skilled desert swordswomen, hopes to use the growing chaos to gain freedom for Sehid-Alaz, the ancient, undying king of her people. Freeing him is only the beginning, however. Like all the people of her tribe on that fateful night four centuries earlier, Sehid-Alaz was cursed, turned into an asir, a twisted, miserable creature beholden to the kings of Sharakhai—to truly free her king, Çeda must break the chains that bind him.

As Sharakhai’s enemies close in and the assault on the city begins, Çeda works feverishly to unlock the mysteries of the asirim’s curse. But danger lies everywhere. Enemy forces roam the city; the Blade Maidens close in on her; her own father, one of the kings of Sharakhai, wants Çeda to hang. Worst of all, the gods themselves have begun to take notice of Çeda’s pursuits.

When the combined might of Sharakhai and the desert gods corner the survivors of the Thirteenth Tribe in a mountain fastness, the very place that nearly saw their annihilation centuries ago, Çeda knows the time has come. She was once an elite warrior in service to the kings of Sharakhai. She has been an assassin in dark places. A weapon poised to strike from the shadows. A voice from the darkness, striving to free her people.

No longer.

Now she’s going to lead.

The age of the Kings is coming to an end . . .

Follow this link to learn more and to read an interview with the author.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

First in the bestselling Dragon Prince series, explore a lush epic fantasy world replete with winged beasts, power games of magical treachery, and a realm of princedoms hovering on the brink of war • “Marvelous!”—Anne McCaffrey.

When Rohan became the new prince of the Desert, ruler of the kingdom granted to his family for as long as the Long Sands spewed fire, he took the crown with two goals in mind. First and foremost, he sought to bring permanent peace to his world of divided princedoms. And, in a land where dragon-slaying was a proof of manhood, Rohan was the sole champion of the dragons, fighting desperately to preserve the last remaining lords of the sky and with them a secret which might be the salvation of his people...

Sioned, the Sunrunner witch who was fated by Fire to be Rohan’s bride, had mastered the magic of sunlight and moonglow, catching hints of a yet to be formed pattern which could irrevocably affect the destinies of Sunrunners and ordinary mortals alike. Yet caught in the machinations of the Lady of Goddess Keep, and of Prince Rohan and his sworn enemy, the treacherously cunning High Prince, could Sioned alter this crucial pattern to protect her lord from the menace of a war that threatened to set the land ablaze?

Stronghold, the first volume in the second trilogy, is also 2.99$ here.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Tad Williams' excellent Otherland: City of Golden Shadow for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:


Surrounded by secrecy, it is home to the wildest dreams and darkest nightmares. Incredible amounts of money have been lavished on it. The best minds of two generations have labored to build it. And somehow, bit by bit, it is claiming the Earth’s most valuable resource–its children.

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Scott Hawkins' The Library at Mount Char for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

A missing God.
A library with the secrets to the universe.
A woman too busy to notice her heart slipping away.

Carolyn's not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts.

After all, she was a normal American herself once.

That was a long time ago, of course. Before her parents died. Before she and the others were taken in by the man they called Father.

In the years since then, Carolyn hasn't had a chance to get out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient customs. They've studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. And sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.

Now, Father is missing—perhaps even dead—and the Library that holds his secrets stands unguarded. And with it, control over all of creation.

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her, all of them with powers that far exceed her own.

But Carolyn has accounted for this.

And Carolyn has a plan.

The only trouble is that in the war to make a new God, she's forgotten to protect the things that make her human.

Populated by an unforgettable cast of characters and propelled by a plot that will shock you again and again, The Library at Mount Char is at once horrifying and hilarious, mind-blowingly alien and heartbreakingly human, sweepingly visionary and nail-bitingly thrilling—and signals the arrival of a major new voice in fantasy.

A Veil of Spears

I'm sure you recall that I gave Bradley P. Beaulieu's The Lays of Anuskaya glowing reviews, going as far as to claim that it was one of the most interesting fantasy series I had read in the last decade or so. Dark, ambitious, complex, and populated with a great cast of characters that leap off the pages, it was everything I wanted it to be. Sadly, it took everything I had just to go through Twelve Kings in Sharakhai because it featured nothing that made Beaulieu's first trilogy such a memorable work of fantasy.

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai was a major disappointment for me, no doubt about it. So much so that I thought The Song of the Shattered Sands just might not be for me. Took me two years to finally give the second installment a shot, but I was happy to discover that With Blood Upon the Sand was a much better read than its predecessor. Which is why I wasted no time reading A Veil of Spears and I'm glad to report that it's another good read.

Here's the blurb:

The third book in The Song of Shattered Sands series–an epic fantasy with a desert setting, filled with rich worldbuilding and pulse-pounding action.

Since the Night of Endless Swords, a bloody battle the Kings of Sharakhai narrowly won, the kings have been hounding the rebels known as the Moonless Host. Many have been forced to flee the city, including Çeda, who discovers that the King of Sloth is raising his army to challenge the other kings’ rule.

When Çeda finds the remaining members of the Moonless Host, now known as the thirteenth tribe, she sees a tenuous existence. Çeda hatches a plan to return to Sharakhai and free the asirim, the kings’ powerful, immortal slaves. The kings, however, have sent their greatest tactician, the King of Swords, to bring Çeda to justice for her crimes.

But the once-unified front of the kings is crumbling. The surviving kings vie quietly against one another, maneuvering for control over Sharakhai. Çeda hopes to use that to her advantage, but whom to trust? Any of them might betray her.

As Çeda works to lift the shackles from the asirim and save the thirteenth tribe, the kings of Sharakhai, the scheming queen of Qaimir, the ruthless blood mage, Hamzakiir, and King of Swords all prepare for a grand clash that may decide the fate of all.

In my humble opinion, one of the shortcomings that sunk Twelve Kings in Sharakhai was that the author kept his cards way too close to his chest. Beaulieu plunged his readers into the heart of the tale without offering a whole lot in terms of explanation or information. There were hints of hidden depth throughout, mind you, but we were mostly left in the dark about most facets of the plot. Which, given that the ending offered very little in terms of payoff and resolution, was quite off-putting. Not so with With Blood Upon the Sand, however. Revelations were made and secrets were unveiled regarding the kings, the Moonless Host, the gods, the asirim, and much, much more. Beaulieu definitely elevated his game in the second volume and it made for a more satisfying read. With a lot of the groundwork already laid out, he continues to build on those storylines in A Veil of Spears and adds more layers to a plot that resounds with more and more depth with each new installment. Which bodes well for the future.

In terms of characterization, The Lays of Anuskaya trilogy was all shades of gray. As a matter of fact, it was adult fantasy the way it should be. Nothing clear-cut or juvenile about it, nothing so simple as good vs evil. The relationships between characters were complex and morally ambiguous, the way they normally are in real life. Which was true for the first trilogy, but not for Twelve Kings in Sharakhai. There was no depth to speak of when it came to the main protagonists. Everything was black and white through and through, with not a single shade of gray anywhere within the storylines. Çeda was too badass for her own good, and I found it impossible to care for or root for her. With Çeda being a hardcore girl trained to be a weapon, I was expecting Beaulieu to use our own preconceptions against us, the way he has often done in the past, and surprise and shock us when we least expected it. Alas, that was not to be. In previous works, the author's protagonists, though not flamboyant, were always solid, genuine, and three-dimensional men and women that remain true to themselves. Still, I found Çeda to be far more compelling and likeable in With Blood Upon the Sand and the same can be said about this third installment. Once again, the character development made a world of difference and made me care about her plight a lot more this time around. Emre, who gradually fell under the yoke of the Moonless Host, was another decidedly black and white character with no depth in the first volume. He was also further fleshed out in the last book, and even more so in A Veil of Spears. Once more, the same can be said of the Moonless Host and how it operates. Getting to know more about its past, its leaders and their ties to other characters and how they came to be was quite interesting. It was nice to discover that they're not just fundamentalist terrorist nutjobs. But with things moving forward, their plotline gets more and more interesting in this one. Ramahd and Meryam's storyline took off in fascinating fashion, opening up a slew of possibilities for things to come in the second installment, and just keep gaining momentum and importance in the greater scheme of things. The kings's POVs and Davud's perspective continue to add layers to the plot, with Bradley P. Beaulieu finding yet more ways to elevate his game in every aspect of his writing.

While no Bradley P. Beaulieu book has ever been called a fast-paced affairs, With Blood Upon the Sand was probably the author's most fluid work to date. I felt that there was a nice balance between the various perspectives and that the plot progressed at a good clip. The rhythm may not be as good in Beaulieu's newest, but it's never really an issue.

Beaulieu closed the show with style in With Blood Upon the Sand, setting the stage for bigger and better things to come in A Veil of Spears. And though the pace suffers here and there throughout the novel, this third installment's endgame and finale will have readers lining up for the next one, Beneath the Twisted Trees. There are three books left to be published to conclude The Song of the Shattered Sands and it will be interesting to discover what Beaulieu has in store for us.

The final verdict: 7.5/10

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

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A number-one New York Times bestseller when it was originally published, THE SILMARILLION is the core of J.R.R. Tolkien's imaginative writing, a work whose origins stretch back to a time long before THE HOBBIT.

Tolkien considered THE SILMARILLION his most important work, and, though it was published last and posthumously, this great collection of tales and legends clearly sets the stage for all his other writing. The story of the creation of the world and of the the First Age, this is the ancient drama to which the characters in THE LORD OF THE RINGS look back and in whose events some of them, such as Elrond and Galadriel, took part. The three Silmarils were jewels created by Feanor, most gifted of the Elves. Within them was imprisoned the Light of the Two Trees of Valinor before the Trees themselves were destroyed by Morgoth, the first Dark Lord. Thereafter, the unsullied Light of Valinor lived on only in the Silmarils, but they were seized by Morgoth and set in his crown, which was guarded in the impenetrable fortress of Angband in the north of Middle-earth.

THE SILMARILLION is the history of the rebellion of Feanor and his kindred against the gods, their exile from Valinor and return to Middle-earth, and their war, hopeless despite all their heroism, against the great Enemy. This second edition features a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien describing his intentions for the book, which serves as a brilliant exposition of his conception of the earlier Ages of Middle-earth.

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Tolkien's The Fall of Gondolin for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:


In the Tale of The Fall of Gondolin are two of the greatest powers in the world. There is Morgoth of the uttermost evil, unseen in this story but ruling over a vast military power from his fortress of Angband. Deeply opposed to Morgoth is Ulmo, second in might only to Manwë, chief of the Valar: he is called the Lord of Waters, of all seas, lakes, and rivers under the sky. But he works in secret in Middle-earth to support the Noldor, the kindred of the Elves among whom were numbered Húrin and Túrin Turambar.

Central to this enmity of the gods is the city of Gondolin, beautiful but undiscoverable. It was built and peopled by Noldorin Elves who, when they dwelt in Valinor, the land of the gods, rebelled against their rule and fled to Middle-earth. Turgon King of Gondolin is hated and feared above all his enemies by Morgoth, who seeks in vain to discover the marvellously hidden city, while the gods in Valinor in heated debate largely refuse to intervene in support of Ulmo’s desires and designs.

Into this world comes Tuor, cousin of Túrin, the instrument of Ulmo’s designs. Guided unseen by him Tuor sets out from the land of his birth on the fearful journey to Gondolin, and in one of the most arresting moments in the history of Middle-earth the sea-god himself appears to him, rising out of the ocean in the midst of a storm. In Gondolin he becomes great; he is wedded to Idril, Turgon’s daughter, and their son is Eärendel, whose birth and profound importance in days to come is foreseen by Ulmo.

At last comes the terrible ending. Morgoth learns through an act of supreme treachery all that he needs to mount a devastating attack on the city, with Balrogs and dragons and numberless Orcs. After a minutely observed account of the fall of Gondolin, the tale ends with the escape of Túrin and Idril, with the child Eärendel, looking back from a cleft in the mountains as they flee southward, at the blazing wreckage of their city. They were journeying into a new story, the Tale of Eärendel, which Tolkien never wrote, but which is sketched out in this book from other sources.

Following his presentation of Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien has used the same ‘history in sequence’ mode in the writing of this edition of The Fall of Gondolin. In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, it was ‘the first real story of this imaginary world’ and, together with Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin, he regarded it as one of the three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (December 3rd)

In hardcover:

George R. R. Martin's Fire and Blood debuts at number 1. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Stephen King's Elevation is down two spots, finishing the week at number 10. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Musical Interlude

Makes you want to go back to Thailand. . .

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Tad Williams' To Green Angel Tower for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

The evil minions of the undead Sithi Storm King are beginning their final preparations for the kingdom-shattering culmination of their dark sorceries, drawing King Elias ever deeper into their nightmarish, spell-spun world.

As the Storm King’s power grows and the boundaries of time begin to blur, the loyal allies of Prince Josua struggle to rally their forces at the Stone of Farewell. There, too, Simon and the surviving members of the League of the Scroll have gathered for a desperate attempt to unravel mysteries from the forgotten past.

For if the League can reclaim these age-old secrets of magic long-buried beneath the dusts of time, they may be able to reveal to Josua and his army the only means of striking down the unslayable foe....

After the landmark Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy, the epic saga of Osten Ard continues with the brand-new novel, The Heart of What Was Lost. Then don’t miss the upcoming trilogy, The Last King of Osten Ard, beginning with The Witchwood Crown!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Dan Simmons' excellent The Terror for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Greeted with excited critical praise, this extraordinary novel-inspired by the true story of two ice ships that disappeared in the Arctic Circle during an 1845 expedition-swells with the heart-stopping suspense and heroic adventure that have won Dan Simmons praise as “a writer who not only makes big promises but keeps them” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). THE TERROR chills readers to the core.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can get your hands on the digital edition of Paul Kearney's excellent The Wolf in the Attic for only 3.46$ here. One of the best fantasy titles of 2016, no question!

Here's the blurb:

1920s Oxford: home to C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien... and Anna Francis, a young Greek refugee looking to escape the grim reality of her new life. The night they cross paths, none suspect the fantastic world at work around them.

Anna Francis lives in a tall old house with her father and her doll Penelope. She is a refugee, a piece of flotsam washed up in England by the tides of the Great War and the chaos that trailed in its wake. Once upon a time, she had a mother and a brother, and they all lived together in the most beautiful city in the world, by the shores of Homer's wine-dark sea.

But that is all gone now, and only to her doll does she ever speak of it, because her father cannot bear to hear. She sits in the shadows of the tall house and watches the rain on the windows, creating worlds for herself to fill out the loneliness. The house becomes her own little kingdom, an island full of dreams and half-forgotten memories. And then one winter day, she finds an interloper in the topmost, dustiest attic of the house. A boy named Luca with yellow eyes, who is as alone in the world as she is.

That day, she’ll lose everything in her life, and find the only real friend she may ever know.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (November 26th)

In hardcover:

Stephen King's Elevation is down two spots, finishing the week at number 8. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can download the first ten installments of L. E. Modesitt, Jr.'s Imager saga for only 2.99$ each here. There is a price match in Canada. This is the perfect opportunity to give this series a shot!

Here's the blurb for the first volume:

Although Rhennthyl is the son of a leading wool merchant, he has spent years becoming a journeyman painter. With his skill and diligence, Rhenn stands to be considered for the status of master artisan. Then, his entire life is transformed when his master patron is killed in a flash fire, and Rhenn discovers he is an imager—one of the few in the entire world who can visualize things and make them real.

He must leave his family and join the Collegium of Imagisle. Imagers live separately from the rest of society because of their abilities (they can do accidental magic even while asleep), and because they are both feared and vulnerable. In this new life, Rhenn discovers that all too many of the “truths” he knew were nothing of the sort. Every day brings a new threat to his life.

Willful Child: The Search for Spark

Like many Erikson fans everywhere, my curiosity was piqued when it was announced that the author would be publishing a Star Trek spoof. Personally, I've never been a Star Trek fan, but I was looking forward to reading Erikson's homage/parody. Considering how fun and humorous the Bauchelain and Korbal Broach novellas have always been, such a spoof promised to be hilarious. And the first two Willful Child installments were just that!

The first volume garnered some negative and luke-warm reviews from readers expecting a blistering and fascinating foray into science fiction by the author. How could anyone have had such expectations after reading the cover blurb, I'll never know. This series was always meant to be a parody. Anyone expecting something dense and thought-provoking, or the Bridgeburners in space, was sure to be disappointed. And yet, for those who thoroughly enjoyed Willful Child and Willful Child: Wrath of Betty, I can tell you that this third installment is just as fun and entertaining as its predecessors. If anything, it's even more over-the-top!

Here's the blurb

The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen series, continues his hilarious science fiction series--parodying and paying homage to exploring the final frontier--with Willful Child: The Search for Spark.

These are the adventures of the starship A.S.F. Willful Child. Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life-forms.

We join the not terribly bright but exceedingly cocksure Captain Hadrian Sawback and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child for a series of devil-may-care, near-calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through the infinite vastness of interstellar space.

Steven Erikson has taken his lifelong passion for Star Trek and transformed it into a smart, inventive, and hugely entertaining spoof on the whole overblown mankind-exploring-space-for-the-good-of-all-species-but-trashing-stuff-with-a-lot-of-high-tech-gadgets-along-the-way adventure. The result is a novel that deftly parodies the genre while also paying fond homage to it.

Steven Erikson is renowned for multilayered worldbuilding that resounds with depth, but once more this facet takes a backseat in this new Star Trek spoof. We get just enough to keep the story moving forward and that's it. This is a parody/comedy and nothing gets in the way of the rhythm so that the jokes and weird/funny situations can keep on coming. As I mentioned, Willful Child: The Search for Spark just might be even more over-the-top than the first two volumes. It appears that Erikson was gunning for at least a laugh/chuckle on every single page and it's pretty much what we get. Once again, Erikson's latest isn't a work that takes itself too seriously and it's a joyride from start to finish! And all current affairs topics are fair game. The author takes on Trump, Brexit, the rise of far Right movements, politicians, corruption, Disney's acquisition of Star Wars, capitalism, and many, many more!

Following the hilarious misadventures of Captain Hadrian Sawback continues to be a riot. Sexist, incompetent, rude, too full of himself, and downright dumb at times, it's nonetheless impossible not to root for the poor guy. In every way, the man remains an over-the-top parody of the memorable Captain Kirk. Old-fashioned sexism, racism, and xenophobia often characterize his character, making him a throwback male protagonist from the 60S or the 70s. And understandably, he continues to take center stage in this novel. The supporting cast is comprised of incompetent crew members and a number of buxom female officers hand-picked by the captain for their looks and nothing else, as well as the recalcitrant chicken AI Tammy, and a few odd aliens along the way. Between Sawback and his incredibly inept crew, an AI from the future who wishes to see its captain fail miserably, Affiliation officers bent on orchestring Sawback's military and personal downfall, and friendly and not-so-friendly alien species populating known and unknown parts of interstellar space, how could things possibly go well for the Willful Child and its crew? Follow them on another unexpected and fun-filled journey across time, space and dimensions! Yes, the premise appears to be the same as that of its predecessors, but this work is more about the journey and not the destination.

By removing much of the depth and the details that have come to define Erikson's fantasy works, Willful Child: The Search for Spark is another fast-paced book. There is never a dull moment within its pages. Although I much prefer Steven Erikson's Malazan installments, occasional fun romps like these wacky scifi parodies are like a breath of fresh air that show a totally different side of the author. In my last review, I said that time will tell just how many of these fun and entertaining science fiction comedies Erikson can get away with. As enjoyable as this third installment turned out to be, at times it felt as though things were a bit rehashed. I believe that fans will clamor for yet more adventures featuring the inimitable Captain Hadrian Sawback and his crew as the voyage of the Willful Child continues. But for now, it might be best for the author to concentrate his efforts on the Witness trilogy and to complete the Kharkanas trilogy.

Still, if you are looking for yet another light and hilarious science fiction spoof, then Willful Child:The Search for Spark is just what the doctor ordered! Once again, this Star Trek parody/homage, with a number of Star Wars references thrown in for good measure, continues to work incredibly well.

Don't miss out on another opportunity to journey deeply in the deepest depths of deep space.

The final verdict: 7.5/10

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

Musical Interlude

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

For Cyber Monday, you can download Cixin Liu's The Three-Body Problem for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience the Hugo Award-winning phenomenon from China's most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.

Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Daryl Gregory's Spoonbenders for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Teddy Telemachus is a charming con man with a gift for sleight of hand and some shady underground associates. In need of cash, he tricks his way into a classified government study about telekinesis and its possible role in intelligence gathering. There he meets Maureen McKinnon, and it’s not just her piercing blue eyes that leave Teddy forever charmed, but her mind—Maureen is a genuine psychic of immense and mysterious power. After a whirlwind courtship, they marry, have three gifted children, and become the Amazing Telemachus Family, performing astounding feats across the country. Irene is a human lie detector. Frankie can move objects with his mind. And Buddy, the youngest, can see the future. Then one night tragedy leaves the family shattered.

Decades later, the Telemachuses are not so amazing. Irene is a single mom whose ear for truth makes it hard to hold down a job, much less hold together a relationship. Frankie’s in serious debt to his dad’s old mob associates. Buddy has completely withdrawn into himself and inexplicably begun digging a hole in the backyard. To make matters worse, the CIA has come knocking, looking to see if there’s any magic left in the Telemachus clan. And there is: Irene’s son Matty has just had his first out-of-body experience. But he hasn’t told anyone, even though his newfound talent might just be what his family needs to save themselves—if it doesn’t tear them apart in the process.

Finally, you can also download Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A gripping vision of our society radically overturned by a theocratic revolution, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has become one of the most powerful and most widely read novels of our time.

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules.

Like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Handmaid’s Tale has endured not only as a literary landmark but as a warning of a possible future that is still chillingly relevant.