Happy New Year!!

Hey guys!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year! May 2013 be everything you want it to be!  =)

Saladin Ahmed's THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON is out in paperback

It's kind of weird to release a book on New Year's Eve, but I just wanted to spread the word that Saladin Ahmed's debut, Throne of the Crescent Moon, has just been released in mass market paperback. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

One of the year's most anticipated fantasy debuts, from a finalist for the Nebula and Campbell Awards.

The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, land of djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, Khalifs and killers, is at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms.

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat, just wants a quiet cup of tea. A fat old man who has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, he's more than ready to retire from his dangerous vocation. But when an old flame's family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter's path.

Adoulla's young assistant Raseed, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God's justice. But even as Raseed's sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.

Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the power of the Lion-Shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man's title. She lives only to avenge her father's death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father's killer. Until she meets Raseed.

When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince's brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time - and struggle against their own misgivings - to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.

I know some of you were reticent to pay the hardcover price for a relatively short work, so here's your chance to get your hands on it at a much more affordable price!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

For sixty years Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a "temporary" safe haven created in the wake of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. The Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. But now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end.

Homicide detective Meyer Landsman of the District Police has enough problems without worrying about the upcoming Reversion. His life is a shambles, his marriage a wreck, his career a disaster. And in the cheap hotel where Landsman has washed up, someone has just committed a murder—right under his nose. When he begins to investigate the killing of his neighbor, a former chess prodigy, word comes down from on high that the case is to be dropped immediately, and Landsman finds himself contending with all the powerful forces of faith, obsession, evil, and salvation that are his heritage.

At once a gripping whodunit, a love story, and an exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption, The Yiddish Policemen's Union is a novel only Michael Chabon could have written.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (December 24th)

In hardcover:

Jim Butcher's Cold Days is down eight spots, finishing the week at number 20. For more information about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons is down one spot, finishing the week at number 23. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is up five positions, ending the week at number 6.

David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas is up two positions, ending the week at number 6 (trade paperback).

Max Brooks' World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is up four spots, finishing the week at number 7 (trade paperback).

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game is up nine spots, finishing the week at number 8.

Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus maintains its position at number 14 (trade paperback).

Stephen King's 11/22/63 maintains its position at number 16 (trade paperback).

George R. R. Martin's A Storm of Swords is up six spots, finishing the week at number 17.

George R. R. Martin's A Feast for Crows is up four positions, ending the week at number 18.

George R. R. Martin's A Clash of Kings is up fourteen spots, finishing the week at number 19.

Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole is down two positions, ending the week at number 21 (trade paperback).

Ernest Cline's Ready Player One returns at number 27.

A bit of humor. . .

Game of Thrones as a Seinfeld sitcom!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Raymond E. Feist's Flight of the Nighthawks for only 0.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A portent of annihilation awakens the powerful sorcerer Pug in the dead of night—a dread vision warning of a vast and terrible army descending upon the exposed heart of Midkemia. Even the formidable might of the Tsurani Empire will not beat back the alien invaders. And in far Stardock town, two boys—untrained, unready, and barely come of age—will be called upon by the mysterious Conclave of Shadows to confront a sinister plot that implicates even the highest-ranking nobles in the land. For a nightmare of treason, intrigue, and murder is brewing among an ancient Brotherhood of Death—a clan of merciless assassins whose name is spoken only in fearful whispers. . .

Win a set of Courtney Schafer's The Shattered Sigil

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Night Shade Books, I have a set of Courtney Schafer's The Shattered Sigil up for grabs! The prize pack includes:

- The Whitefire Crossing (Canada, USA, Europe)
- The Tainted City (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb for The Whitefire Crossing:

Dev is a smuggler with the perfect cover. He's in high demand as a guide for the caravans that carry legitimate goods from the city of Ninavel into the country of Alathia. The route through the Whitefire Mountains is treacherous, and Dev is one of the few climbers who knows how to cross them safely. With his skill and connections, it's easy enough to slip contraband charms from Ninavel--where any magic is fair game, no matter how dark--into Alathia, where most magic is outlawed.

But smuggling a few charms is one thing; smuggling a person through the warded Alathian border is near suicidal. Having made a promise to a dying friend, Dev is forced to take on a singularly dangerous cargo: Kiran. A young apprentice on the run from one of the most powerful mages in Ninavel, Kiran is desperate enough to pay a fortune to sneak into a country where discovery means certain execution--and he'll do whatever it takes to prevent Dev from finding out the terrible truth behind his getaway.

Yet the young mage is not the only one harboring a deadly secret. Caught up in a web of subterfuge and dark magic, Dev and Kiran must find a way to trust each other--or face not only their own destruction, but that of the entire city of Ninavel.

Here's the blurb for The Tainted City:

Dev is a desperate man. After narrowly surviving a smuggling job gone wrong, he’s now a prisoner of the Alathian Council, held hostage to ensure his friend Kiran — former apprentice to one of the most ruthless mages alive — does their bidding.

But Kiran isn’t Dev’s only concern. Back in his home city of Ninavel, the child he once swore to protect faces a terrible fate if he can’t reach her in time, and the days are fast slipping away. So when the Council offers Dev freedom in exchange for his and Kiran’s assistance in a clandestine mission to Ninavel, he can’t refuse, no matter how much he distrusts their motives.

Once in Ninavel the mission proves more treacherous than even Dev could have imagined. Betrayed by allies, forced to aid their enemies, he and Kiran must confront the darkest truths of their pasts if they hope to save those they love and survive their return to the Tainted City.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam)gryphonwood.net with the header "SIGIL." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

New UK cover art for Peter F. Hamilton's The Nights Dawn trilogy

The series that made Peter F. Hamilton a bestselling science fiction author is getting new cover art! And if you want to get over 3000 pages of what many fans consider the best of what space opera can offer, the ebook editions of all 3 volumes are only £3.99 in the UK (Europe links).

- The Reality Dysfunction (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

In AD 2600 the human race is finally realizing its full potential. Hundreds of colonized planets across the galaxy host a multitude of wildly diverse cultures. Genetic engineering has pushed evolution far beyond nature’s boundaries, defeating disease and producing extraordinary spaceborn creatures. Huge fleets of sentient trader starships thrive on the wealth created by the industrialization of entire star systems. And throughout inhabited space the Confederation Navy keeps the peace. A true golden age is within our grasp.

But now something has gone catastrophically wrong. On a primitive colony planet a renegade criminal’s chance encounter with an utterly alien entity unleashes the most primal of all our fears. An extinct race which inhabited the galaxy aeons ago called it 'The Reality Dysfunction', and is the nightmare which has prowled beside us since the beginning of history.

- The Neutronium Alchemist (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

The ancient menace, man's worst nightmare, has finally escaped from Lalonde, and in the process it has shattered the Confederation's peaceful existence. Those who succumbled to the horror have aquired godlike powers, but now follow a far from divine gospel as they advance inexorably from world to world.

On planets and asteroids, individuals battle for survival against brutal forces. Governments teeter on the brink of anarchy, the Confederation Navy is dangerously over-stretched, and a dark messiah prepares to invoke his own version of the final night.

In such desperate times the last thing the galaxy needs is a new and terrifyingly powerful weapon. Yet Dr Alkad Mzu is determined to retrieve the Alchemist - so she can complete her thirty-year-old vendetta to slay a star. But people on both sides had ideas on how to use the ultimate doomsday device.

- The Naked God (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

The Confederation is starting to collapse politically and economically, allowing the 'possessed' to infiltrate more worlds. Quinn Dexter is loose on Earth, destroying the giant arcologies one at a time. As Louise Kavanagh tries to track him down, she manages to acquire some strange and powerful allies whose goal does not match her own. The campaign to liberate Mortonbridge from the possessed degenerates into a horrendous land battle, the kind that hasn't been seen by humankind for six hundred years. Then some of the protagonists escape in a very unexpected direction. . .

Joshua Clavert and Syrinx now fly their starships on a mission to find the Sleeping God - which an alien race believes holds the key to finally overthrowing the possessed.

Mazarkis Williams contest winner!

This lucky winner will receive a set of both volumes in The Tower and Knife series by Mazarkis Williams, compliments of the folks at Night Shade Books. The prize pack includes:

- The Emperor's Knife (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Knife Sworn (Canada, USA, Europe)

The winner is:

- David Lesseps, from San Francisco, California, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

Merry Christmas!

Hi guys!

Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! =)

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Lois McMaster Bujold's The Curse of Chalion for only 0.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A man broken in body and spirit, Cazaril returns to the noble household he once served as page and is named secretary-tutor to the beautiful, strong-willed sister of the impetuous boy who is next in line to rule. It is an assignment Cazaril dreads, for it must ultimately lead him to the place he most fears: the royal court of Cardegoss, where the powerful enemies who once placed him in chains now occupy lofty positions.

But it is more than the traitorous intrigues of villains that threaten Cazaril and the Royesse Iselle here, for a sinister curse hangs like a sword over the entire blighted House of Chalion. And only by employing the darkest, most forbidden of magics can Cazaril hope to protect his royal charge -- an act that will mark him as a tool of the miraculous . . . and trap him in a lethal maze of demonic paradox.

You can also download Janny Wurts' Curse of the Mistwraith for only 0.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The stunning first volume in Janny Wurts’s epic tale of two half-brothers cursed to life-long enmity.

The world of Athera lives in eternal fog, its skies obscured by the malevolent Mistwraith. Only the combined powers of two half-brothers can challenge the Mistwraith’s stranglehold: Arithon, Master of Shadow and Lysaer, Lord of Light.

Arithon and Lysaer will find that they are inescapably bound inside a pattern of events dictated by their own deepest convictions. Yet there is more at stake than one battle with the Mistwraith – as the sorcerers of the Fellowship of Seven know well. For between them the half-brothers hold the balance of the world, its harmony and its future, in their hands.

You can download the second volume of Wurts' The Wars of Light and Shadow, The Ships of Merior, for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Janny Wurts’s epic tale of two half-brothers cursed to life-long enmity continues in this spectacular second volume.

The half-brothers Arithon, Master of Shadow, and Lysaer, Lord of Light, have defeated the Mistwraith and dispersed the fogs that smothered Athera’s skies. But their victory comes at a high price: the Mistwraith has set them at odds under a powerful curse of vengeance. The two princes are locked in deadly enmity, with the fates of nations and the balance of the world’s mystical powers entangled in their feud.

Arithon, forced out of hiding, finds himself hounded by Lysaer and his mighty army. He must take to his natural element – the seas – in order to evade pursuit and steal the initiative. However, his efforts are impeded by outside magical factions, not to mention a drunken prophet sent to safeguard his life, but who seems determined to wreck his cause by misadventure.

And you can download the third volume, Warhost of Vastmark, for 3.79$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Tricked once more by his wily half-brother, Lysaer arrives at the tiny harbour town of Merior, to find that his brother’s ship yards have been meticulously destroyed and abandoned. But where is Arithon? The forces of light and shadow circle and feint, drawing ever closer to a huge conflict.

Tricked once more by his wily half-brother, Lysaer, Lord of Light, arrives at the tiny harbour town of Merior to find that Arithon’s ship yards have been abandoned and meticulously destroyed, and that the Master of Shadow has disappeared as if into thin air.

Meanwhile Arithon and the Mad Prophet Dakar are travelling on foot through the treacherous Kelhorn Mountains towards the Vastmark clans, there to raise further support for his cause. But raising a warhost is a costly business. Is it mere coincidence that Princess Talith – Lysaer’s beautiful, headstrong wife – is taken captive and held for a vast ransom by a master brigand?

The forces of light and shadow circle and feint, drawing ever closer to a huge conflict. And in the background the Fellowship of Seven Sorcerers and the Koriani Enchantresses watch and plan, and wait

EDGE OF INFINITY contest winners!

These lucky winners will receive a complimentary copy of Edge of Infinity, an anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan, courtesy of the nice folks at Solaris. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winners are:

- Jonathan Kirshenbaum, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

- Joe Silber, from King George, Virginia, USA

- Marta Górecka, from Warsaw, Poland

- Carole Fleres, from Leudelange, Luxembourg (Alytha on asoiaf.westeros.org)

- Michel Nita, from London, England (Mostly.harmless on malazanempire.com)

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother's tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that's true enough, but there's something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse.

Once a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg's bleak past has set him beyond fear of any man, living or dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father's castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (December 17th)

In hardcover:

Jim Butcher's Cold Days is down eleven spots, finishing the week at number 12. For more information about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons is down two spots, finishing the week at number 22. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas is down one position, ending the week at number 8 (trade paperback).

Max Brooks' World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is down two spots, finishing the week at number 11 (trade paperback).

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is up thirteen positions, ending the week at number 11.

Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus is down one spot, finishing the week at number 14 (trade paperback).

Stephen King's 11/22/63 is up one position, ending the week at number 16 (trade paperback).

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game returns at number 17.

Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole is up one position, ending the week at number 19 (trade paperback).

George R. R. Martin's A Feast for Crows is up seven positions, ending the week at number 22.

George R. R. Martin's A Storm of Swords is up seven spots, finishing the week at number 23.

George R. R. Martin's A Clash of Kings returns at number 33.

Speculative Fiction Top 10 of 2012

Hey guys!

It's that time of year again! Here's my Speculative Fiction Top 10 novels of 2012!


1- The Coldest War by Ian Tregillis (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

In Ian Tregillis' The Coldest War, a precarious balance of power maintains the peace between Britain and the USSR. For decades, Britain's warlocks have been all that stands between the British Empire and the Soviet Union—a vast domain stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the English Channel. Now each wizard's death is another blow to Britain's national security.

Meanwhile, a brother and sister escape from a top-secret facility deep behind the Iron Curtain. Once subjects of a twisted Nazi experiment to imbue ordinary people with superhuman abilities, then prisoners of war in the immense Soviet research effort to reverse-engineer the Nazi technology, they head for England.

Because that's where former spy Raybould Marsh lives. And Gretel, the mad seer, has plans for him.

As Marsh is once again drawn into the world of Milkweed, he discovers that Britain's darkest acts didn't end with the war. And while he strives to protect queen and country, he is forced to confront his own willingness to accept victory at any cost.

2- Kings of the Morning by Paul Kearney (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

For the first time in recorded history, the ferocious city-states of the Macht now acknowledge a single man as their overlord. Corvus, the strange and brilliant boy-general, is now High King, having united his people in a fearsome, bloody series of battles and sieges. He is not yet thirty years old. A generation ago, ten thousand of the Macht marched into the heart of the ancient Asurian Empire, and fought their way back out again, passing into legend. Corvus’s father was one of those who undertook that march, and his most trusted general, Rictus, was leader of those ten thousand. But he intends to do more. The preparations will take years, but when they are complete, Corvus will lead an invasion the like of which the world of Kuf has never seen. Under him, the Macht will undertake nothing less than the overthrow of the entire Asurian Empire.

Kings of Morning is the thrilling conclusion to Paul Kearney's Macht trilogy.

3- Caliban's War by James S. A. Corey (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

We are not alone.

The alien protomolecule is clear evidence of an intelligence beyond human reckoning. No one knows what exactly is being built on Venus, but whatever it is, it is vast, powerful, and terrifying.

When a creature of unknown origin and seemingly impossible physiology attacks soldiers on Ganymede, the fragile balance of power in the Solar System shatters. Now, the race is on to discover if the protomolecule has escaped Venus, or if someone is building an army of super-soldiers

Jim Holden is the center of it all. In spite of everything, he's still the best man for the job to find out what happened on Ganymede. Either way, the protomolecule is loose and Holden must find a way to stop it before war engulfs the entire system.

CALIBAN'S WAR is an action-packed space adventure following in the footsteps of the critically acclaimed Leviathan Wakes.

4- Rapture by Kameron Hurley (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

After years in exile, Nyxnissa so Dasheem is once more a bel dame, part of a sisterhood of elite government assassins trained to a cut a target's head off without remorse. But the end of a centuries-long war has thrown her native land of Nasheen into turmoil. A huge influx of unemployed--and unemployable--young soldiers have brought Nasheen to the brink of civil war, even as an alien spaceship stations itself in orbit above the capital.

With aliens in the sky and revolution on the ground, Nyx figures it's a good time to get the hell out of Nasheen, so she assembles a team of renegades, shape-shifters, magicians, and mercenaries to rescue a missing political leader who may be the difference between peace and bloodshed.

Just one problem: the politician is an old enemy whom Nyx once left to die in a ditch . . .

5- The Straits of Galahesh by Bradley P. Beaulieu (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

West of the Grand Duchy of Anuskaya lies the Empire of Yrstanla, the Motherland. The Empire has lived at peace with Anuskaya for generations, but with political turmoil brewing and the wasting disease still rampant, opportunists from the mainland have begun to set their sights on the Grand Duchy, seeking to expand their empire.

Five years have passed since Prince Nikandr, heir to the scepter of Khalakovo, was tasked with finding Nasim, the child prodigy behind a deadly summoning that led to a grand clash between the armies of man and elder elemental spirits. Today, that boy has grown into a young man driven to understand his past - and the darkness from which Nikandr awakened him. Nikandr's lover, Atiana, has become a Matra, casting her spirit forth to explore, influence, and protect the Grand Duchy. But when the Al-Aqim, long thought lost to the past, return to the islands and threaten to bring about indaraqiram - a change that means certain destruction for both the Landed and the Landless - bitter enemies must become allies and stand against their horrific plans.

From Bradley P. Beaulieu, author of the critically acclaimed debut novel The Winds of Khalakovo, comes Book Two of The Lays of Anuskaya, The Straits of Galahesh.

6- Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

Forge of Darkness: Now is the time to tell the story of an ancient realm, a tragic tale that sets the stage for all the tales yet to come and all those already told...

It's a conflicted time in Kurald Galain, the realm of Darkness, where Mother Dark reigns. But this ancient land was once home to many a power… and even death is not quite eternal. The commoners' great hero, Vatha Urusander, is being promoted by his followers to take Mother Dark's hand in marriage, but her Consort, Lord Draconus, stands in the way of such ambitions. The impending clash sends fissures throughout the realm, and as the rumors of civil war burn through the masses, an ancient power emerges from the long dead seas. Caught in the middle of it all are the First Sons of Darkness, Anomander, Andarist, and Silchas Ruin of the Purake Hold...

Steven Erikson entered the pantheon of great fantasy writers with his debut Gardens of the Moon. Now he returns with the first novel in a trilogy that takes place millennia before the events of the Malazan Book of the Fallen and introduces readers to Kurald Galain, the warren of Darkness. It is the epic story of a realm whose fate plays a crucial role in shaping the world of the Malazan Empire.

7- Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer.

Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the dead, and set everything they touch ablaze

Army officer Oscar Britton sees the worst of it. A lieutenant attached to the military's Supernatural Operations Corps, his mission is to bring order to a world gone mad. Then he abruptly manifests a rare and prohibited magical power, transforming him overnight from government agent to public enemy number one.

The SOC knows how to handle this kind of situation: hunt him down--and take him out. Driven into an underground shadow world, Britton is about to learn that magic has changed all the rules he's ever known, and that his life isn't the only thing he's fighting for.

8- Red Country by Joe Abercrombie (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

They burned her home.

They stole her brother and sister.

But vengeance is following.

Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she’ll have to sharpen up some bad old ways to get her family back, and she’s not a woman to flinch from what needs doing. She sets off in pursuit with only a pair of oxen and her cowardly old stepfather Lamb for company. But it turns out Lamb’s buried a bloody past of his own, and out in the lawless Far Country, the past never stays buried.

Their journey will take them across the barren plains to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feud, duel and massacre, high into the unmapped mountains to a reckoning with the Ghosts. Even worse, it will force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, and his feckless lawyer Temple, two men no one should ever have to trust. . .

9- King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

The boy who would be King has gained the throne...

Prince Honorious Jorg Ancrath vowed when he was nine to avenge his slaughtered mother and brother—and punish his father for not doing so. When he was fifteen, he began to fulfill that vow. Now he is eighteen—and he must hold on by strength of arms to what he took by torture and treachery.

King Jorg is a man haunted: by the ghost of a young boy, by a mysterious copper box, by his desire for the woman who rides with his enemy. Plagued by nightmares of the atrocities he committed, and of the atrocities committed against him when he was a child, he is filled with rage. And even as his need for revenge continues to consume him, twenty thousand men march toward the gates of his castle. His enemy is far stronger than him. Jorg knows that he cannot win a fair fight.

But he has found, in a chamber hidden beneath the castle, ancient and long-lost artifacts. Some might call them magic. Jorg is not certain—all he knows is that the secrets they hold can be put to terrible use in the coming battle...

10- The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

Bobby Dollar would like to know what he was like when he was alive, but too much of his time is spent working as an extremely minor functionary in the heavenly host judging recently departed souls.

Until the day a soul goes missing, presumed stolen by ‘the other side’.

A new chapter in the war between heaven and hell is about to open. And Bobby is right in the middle of it, with only a desirable but deadly demon to aid him

Although many of the heavyweights are absent, it's been another good year for speculative fiction readers everywhere!

Roll on 2013! =)

New survey: AMoL body count?

The Last Battle is here.

The proverbial shit is about to hit the fan. 

Big time.

But this is Robert Jordan. Which means that most of the important characters have gone through the ups and downs of The Wheel of Time without so much as a paper cut. In my opinion, none of them will get offed in the upcoming A Memory of Light (Canada, USA, Europe).

Out of this list of main characters, how many do you believe will die in the series' grand finale?

The nominees:

- Rand
- Mat
- Perrin
- Lan
- Nynaeve
- Elayne
- Min
- Moiraine
- Egwene
- Gawyn
- Galad
- Siuan
- Aviendha
- Cadsuane
- Thom

Register your vote in the top right corner of the Hotlist.

Worldbuilders 2012: Patrick Rothfuss (Update)

Hey guys!

Patrick Rothfuss and his minions have now raised over 150,000$ for Worldbuilders. That's awesome, but they are still far from the main objective of 500,000$.

To learn more about the myriad ways you can help Rothfuss raise funds and win cool stuff in the process, follow this link to Rothfuss' Worldbuilders 2012 page.

For the most recent update regarding the auctions and new goodies available in the store, follow this link to Patrick Rothfuss' latest blog spot on the subject.

This from Pat:

Just for fun, I've attached a picture of my assistant Amanda, wearing one of our new T-shirts and a Jayne hat (both of which we're selling in our store.) Brandishing the aforementioned portal gun and showcasing some Cthulhu plushies.

It really embodies everything that's cool about the fundraiser. Indiscriminate geekery.

One of the cool auctions you can bid on is for a chance to play D&D with SFF authors such as Patrick Rothfuss, Peter V. Brett, Saladin Ahmed, Myke Cole, and more! Check it out here!

There will be more announcements in the coming weeks, so keep you eyes peeled! =)

Extract from Mazarkis Williams' KNIFE SWORN

To help promote the release of Mazarkis Williams' latest, Knife Sworn (Canada, USA, Europe), as well as the trade paperback release of The Emperor's Knife (Canada, USA, Europe), here's an exclusive extract from the second installment.

Here's the blurb for Knife Sworn:

After a lifetime locked in his tower room, Sarmin has come into his own. He is the crowned emperor; he has wed Mesema of the horse tribes; the Pattern- Master is dead. Everything should be happy ever-after.

But war ignites in the north, and in the palace, Sarmin’s new baby brother is seen as a threat to Mesema’s unborn child. Scheming courtiers surround the Petal Throne, and when a peace envoy is invited, their plots blossom. Sarmin has no royal assassin as proof against their treachery: no one to whom he can give the twisted Knife.

Those whom Sarmin saved from the Pattern- Master’s curse, unsure how to live without the Many, turn to Mogyrk, the god of their ancient foe, for comfort. And Sarmin has not been left alone: the remnants of the Many haunt his thoughts; he hears their voices in the darkness of his room. The worst damage left by the Pattern-Master is about to take Sarmin unawares…


Sarmin paced, fifteen by twenty, fifteen by twenty. The tower that held him safe for seventeen years offered no comfort. The walls where Aherim and the others once hid now lay pitted, and dust bled from the scars Mesema had left there, covering his old books with a layer of grey. Whorls of ink and shadow had both hidden and revealed the angels who lived in his room, and the demons. It had taken years to find them. Now Sarmin stared at crumbling plaster and broken lines.

His old bed, stripped down to wood and ropes, did not invite. The mattress, soaked with blood from when Grada stabbed him, had been taken away and burned. Broken plaster bit through his silk slippers. A jagged tooth of alabaster jutted from the window frame. Grada had smashed his window, opened his eyes to the world. The shard threw yellow light upon his right foot, then his left. He came to the edge of the room and turned.

One room. Seventeen years. Safe years.

You were never safe.

Sarmin squinted at the broken wall but it was not Aherim who had spoken. When the sun fell a sea of voices rose from some dark infinity. The Many he had saved he had returned to their own flesh, and now they shivered lonely in it. The Many beyond saving still rested with Sarmin. Those whose bodies would no longer receive them—their flesh perhaps too torn to hold a spirit, or the spirit too changed to fit in that which had once contained it. At night they raised their voices.

Sundown had arrived, but a different kind of clock spelled out this day. Mesema had screamed. They tried to shut the door, tried to hush her, but he’d heard it. Her time was upon her; Beyon’s child would be born this night, beneath a scorpion sky. Sarmin had tried to see her, but too easily he had let them turn him away. Women’s work, Magnificence. Women’s work. And an emperor had been turned aside by Old Wives. And so he had come here, to search one more time for Aherim.

His fingers fell upon the old table where he’d carved the pattern. Tried to save his brother. None of them had seen this future in the pattern. Had Helmar?

Women die in childbirth every day. Someone had said that to him as if it were a comfort. The rough-carved shapes writhed beneath his fingers, but they were his to alter and cheat, not to command. That spell had been Helmar’s, and Helmar was dead. Another spare branch of the family tree pruned away, albeit belatedly.

“Aherim. Show yourself.”

He searched for a pattern. Two eyes together. A nose and a mouth beneath them. “Will she die, Aherim?”

He saw nothing.

“Zanasta?” Always the last to reveal himself.

Gone. Mesema herself had cast Zanasta out and now he would not help her.

Below the window and to the left an area of the old decoration lay untouched, a tangle of dense calligraphy that had yielded no face in all the long days of Sarmin’s inspection, no voice, only confusion mixed with beauty. He went to it now, set his fingers to the fabric, traced the scroll of the lines written out in black and in deepest blue.

She comes.” Sarmin jerked his hand back, fingertips stung. The voice had rung through him, spilled from his mouth. “Who?” he whispered. His hand didn’t want to return to the wall; the ache of it ran in each tendon. Even so he set his fingers to the pattern once more. None of the angels ever spoke with such authority. Not even Aherim. Of all the devils even Zanasta never chilled him so. “Who comes?” Only silence and the defiant complexity, as if the artist had written in knots rather than script. “A daughter? Our child will be a girl?”

She comes.” Again the shock but Sarmin forced his hand to maintain the contact. A jagged line tore his vision. Mountain tops. The sun sinking behind serrated ridges of stone.

“Who?” Sarmin demanded it but the voice kept silent. “Who?”


A knocking brought him back to himself. It repeated.

“My Emperor?” Azeem’s voice from outside.

The door-handle turned. From long habit Sarmin ignored it. His guards had always checked the door, but never entered. Now the hinges creaked and silk rustled as Azeem entered the room. He took silent stock of the ruined walls and broken window before touching his forehead to the floor.

Sarmin gathered himself. “How is my wife, Azeem? The child?”

Azeem leaned back, onto the balls of his feet. “I know nothing of the women’s hall,” he said. “I have other news.”

Sarmin looked down upon the courtyard where his brothers had died. “Then tell it.” Azeem stood now. Sarmin without looking imagined him smoothing the silk of his robe, brushing the plaster dust from its folds.

He will betray you—the boys, where are the boys?—so much blood—I’m frightened.

Be quiet, all of you.

After several moments Azeem said, “Govnan’s mage whispers upon the wind: the peace embassy from Fryth draws near.”

“Such magics.” Sarmin turned and met the vizier’s gaze. Azeem looked away. “Such powers exerted that men might talk across miles.” Fryth was the outermost colony of Yrkmir, the closest corner of its empire, and yet still so far.

“Battles can turn on such a thing. Wars can be won because a message was lost, or heard.” Azeem laced his fingers, perhaps not trusting himself not to fidget. “And yet when we stand face to face we have so little to say to each other.” “Even so,” Azeem said, eyes on his hands. He wore no rings on those long dark fingers.

“Let us hope a peace can turn on the right words at the right time.”

Azeem bent his head in agreement. “Indeed we must move carefully. With victory so close Arigu was not pleased to call a truce, and he has many allies in Nooria.”

Arigu’s pleasure mattered nothing. A truce would be had. Sarmin’s messengers had been stopped by snow in the passes, unable to reach Fryth and prevent the general from launching his attack. Now too many people had died. Sarmin felt each one as a loss, a shape removed from a pattern. He spoke the words he had meant to keep behind his lips. “Let us hope my council understands Arigu better than I, for in truth I don’t know what he sought through bloodshed.”

“It is the doom of good men that they cannot see what evil men desire, and their salvation that men of evil will not believe it,” Azeem said.

Sarmin returned to the wall, his fingers exploring the ruination. “You were a slave, taken from the Islands.”

“Yes, My Emperor.” A shield of formality raised without hesitation.

“My servant, Ink, is from Olamagh. His true name is Horroluan. He says in that land there are birds brighter and more colourful than peacocks and that they speak like men.”

“Olamagh is to the south, in wild seas where pirates and sharks infest the waters, Magnificence.” Azeem raised his head. “My home was Konomagh, a place of spice trees and old learning. We had no birds that talked.”

“And your name?”

“Was Toralune.” Azeem smiled at some memory.

“Wit and service earned your freedom. My cousin Tuvaini raised you high.”

“I serve at your pleasure, My Emperor. If there is some other better suited I would be honoured to return to my former station. I made a better master of house and coin to Lord Tuvaini than I did a vizier. I think perhaps he wanted me near for the comfort of a familiar face rather than for my skills as a diplomat, which are sadly lacking.

“In the Islands, where even children learn to swim, we have a saying. ‘To be out of one’s depth’—it means to lose the seabed before you have mastered swimming. Tuvaini led me into waters deeper than I am tall and I have never learned to swim.”

Sarmin had to puzzle over “swimming.” In the end he recalled an illustration in The Book of Ways, heads and arms above a sea of waving lines. Swimming. The palace held a deep pool, marble set with gold, where a man might drown, but none swam there.

His fingers returned to the wall. “Did you ever have an imaginary friend, Azeem?” “I had a real friend, Magnificence, and after he died for many years I imagined his ghost followed me. I would tell him my secrets, and leave him a portion of my food, but he only followed and watched, and could never join in my games.”

“I had an imaginary friend once.” Sarmin raised plaster-white fingers to his face. “Sometimes I think all of my friends have been imaginary.”

Sarmin crossed to his desk and sketched Aherim’s face with a white finger. It didn’t look like Aherim. “Perhaps we can be friends, Azeem?”

The pause spoke the “No” plain enough.

“An emperor cannot afford friends, Magnificence,” Azeem said. In Sarmin’s mind the Many laughed. “Least of all low-born or slave-taken friends. Your flesh is golden, your robe brighter than the sun. The empire requires you that way, needs you that way, and the touch of lesser men sullies you. The touch of the Untouchable—”

“Of Grada. You may say her name.” Sarmin rubbed the chalk face from his desk, an angry motion.

“As high vizier I am little but advice. My advice is to send Grada away, never to return. You have been gifted many concubines—”

Those concubines, gifts from the scheming, whispering lords, might as well have been snakes in Sarmin’s view—no less so for their high status. That was why he had sent Grada to find out about them, Grada whom he trusted, she who had carried him with her.

“Tell me,” he said, stalking closer to the vizier, “how long did it take the palace to turn Toralune to Azeem? Do you remember when and where we taught the Island boy to despise? When our traditions, dry-born of the desert, replaced the sea-born freedoms of the Isles?”

Azeem let the anger run off him. “Traditions are what hold you in your throne, Magnificence.”

“You would not speak so to Beyon.” Nobody would speak an awkward truth to Beyon. Perhaps that was what killed him. “Go now. I’ll speak to you in the other room.” Azeem made his obeisance and left.

Sarmin had a world of two rooms now. The one room he stood in, and a second, larger room that held everything beyond his doorway. Two rooms, one full of wonders, the other full of dust, and sometimes he felt more trapped than ever he had when fifteen and twenty paces had bound him.

In the other room a child was being squeezed into the world, pushed into it in pain and blood. Mesema would be screaming and yet even the emperor himself could not push past tradition, tear through custom, and see her, offer comfort. Or maybe his own fears held him. In the other room a man could drown. Even an emperor could find himself out of his depth.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download John Scalzi's Old Man's War for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army.

The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce—and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity’s resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You’ll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine—and what he will become is far stranger.

SEASON OF WONDER contest winner!

Thanks to the folks at Prime Books, our winner will receive a complimentary copy of Season of Wonder, edited by Paula Guran. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

- Joel Berger, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Many thanks to all the participants! =)

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You can now download Tad Williams' latest illustrated ebook, Diary of a Dragon, for only 3.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

You hold in your hand a sacred trust—a dragon’s diary. My diary. And that trust has been horribly violated by that dreadful Princess Lillian, or you wouldn’t be holding it. My own personal diary, published for all to see! That human female has no shame.

I do, however. I do not wish my secrets spread about. Please, I beg you, put this book down now and walk away, kind browser. Respect an old dragon’s privacy. No matter what the princess thinks, these matters of violence, blackmail, and unnecessary romance are not for the eyes of others!

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After loving Kameron Hurley's God's War (Canada, USA, Europe) and Infidel (Canada, USA, Europe) to such a degree, I was really looking forward to the final chapter in this trilogy. The first two installments were brutal, uncompromising, brilliant, and enthralling. And both were awesome reads!

The questions was: Could Kameron Hurley close the show in style and with as much aplomb as she demonstrated in the first two volumes? Well, the answer is a resounding yes! Hurley has now joined my short list of speculative fiction "must read" authors. Whatever project she works on next -- and here's to hoping it will be another novel/series set on Umayma, for we know too little about that strange, mutating world and what we do know makes us want to beg for much more -- I'll read it as soon as it becomes available.

Here's the blurb:

After years in exile, Nyxnissa so Dasheem is once more a bel dame, part of a sisterhood of elite government assassins trained to a cut a target's head off without remorse. But the end of a centuries-long war has thrown her native land of Nasheen into turmoil. A huge influx of unemployed--and unemployable--young soldiers have brought Nasheen to the brink of civil war, even as an alien spaceship stations itself in orbit above the capital.

With aliens in the sky and revolution on the ground, Nyx figures it's a good time to get the hell out of Nasheen, so she assembles a team of renegades, shape-shifters, magicians, and mercenaries to rescue a missing political leader who may be the difference between peace and bloodshed.

Just one problem: the politician is an old enemy whom Nyx once left to die in a ditch . . .

As was the case in both God's War and Infidel, the worldbuilding was my favorite aspect of Rapture. Hurley's vision continues to be unique and the universe she created comes alive as the story progresses. Once more, her narrative creates a vivid imagery that makes the ravaged world of Umayma and its characters leap off the pages. The backstory remains the same. Centuries ago, Islam took to the stars. And yet, the religion has evolved and strife began hundreds of years before the events chronicled in this series while the men and women still lived on the moons and magicians terraformed the planet to make it habitable. My main problem with Infidel was that too much, I felt, remained undisclosed. Revelations were few and far between. True, it made reading those two books all the more fascinating. Nonetheless, it also made reading them a little frustrating. I felt that information regarding the backstory was essential in order to understand what led to the holy war and the planet's isolation. Sadly, most of the interesting concepts retained a definite mysterious aura with very few answers in sight.

Hence, I was looking forward to discovering more about the origins of the long-lasting war and the different societies/religions populating Umayma. To my surprise, Rapture was a bit more forthcoming in that regard. Not as much as I would have liked, unfortunately. But through Safiyah, readers are offered a number of tantalizing glimpses into Umayma's distant and not-so-distant past. As expected, those revelations only increase your interest in the backstory. Which is why I'm dearly hoping Hurley has plans to revisit Umayma in the near future.

In my opinion, Hurley keeps her cards too close to her chest again, which means that we don't learn much concerning the strange insectile technology and magic. Both aspects give this series its unique "flavor," so it would have been nice to learn more. But Safiyah's revelations regarding conjurers and magicians did shine some light on certain questions I had since the first installment. There is so much depth to the worldbuilding of this series, so much left to be explored.

Not everyone is pleased with the new peace following an interminable war, and once again politicking is at the heart of this novel. Beyond the grittiness, the blood, and the violence, the Bel Dame Apocrypha is much more multilayered than meets the eye. Though there were several hints in that regard in God's War and Infidel, Rapture demonstrates just how talented Kameron Hurley truly is and just how complex her series has been from the very beginning.

The protagonists are the product of a war-torn, unforgiving, and contaminated world. Don't expect anyone to see life through rose-tinted lenses. Hurley's characterization is similar to that of gritty SFF authors such as Joe Abercrombie, Richard Morgan, and George R. R. Martin. Hence, not for the faint-hearted, but oh so satisfying. The three principal POV characters remain Nyx, Rhys, and Inaya. Once more, I felt that with their disparate personalities the author created a good balance between the POVs. I was a bit confused at the beginning of the novel, for all three characters have parted ways and their storylines appear to be unrelated. But it was evident that Hurley was setting the stage to bring them back together, and you can expect quite a few unanticipated surprises along the way. The cast of secondary characters was also quite interesting, and throughout Rapture they get occasional POV sections. I particularly enjoyed Ahmed, Isabet, and Kage.

Unlike Infidel, the rhythm throughout Rapture isn't balls-to-the-wall and fast-moving. The trek through the desert was especially slow-moving, giving us a taste of just how demanding the undertaking was. Yet at no point will you encounter a dull moment. Kameron Hurley knows how to pace a novel and Rapture will keep you turning those pages, eager to see if she can close the show with a bang.

As is her wont, Hurley's prose remains dark and brooding throughout Rapture. And yet, much like Robin Hobb, she still manages to take you by surprise with a number of poignant moments that pack a powerful emotional punch.

If the legendary Frank Herbert and Richard Morgan had ever teamed up to write something together, the Bel Dame Apocrypha is the sort of creation they would have come up with. Dark, violent, complex, touching, compelling, populated with flawed but endearing and unforgettable characters, the Bel Dame Apocrypha could well be the very best science fiction series of the new millennium thus far.

At the top of her game, Kameron Hurley ranks among the best science fiction authors writing today. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for her.

This series deserves the highest possible recommendation.

The final verdict: 9/10

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