Watch the first four episodes of The Expanse online

Ratings are quite important and even in 2015 they remain the best indication of a show’s likelihood of staying on the air. And things are not going that well for The Expanse according to this article.

So if you want quality genre TV shows like James S. A. Corey's The Expanse to stay on the air, please watch them the traditional way when the episodes are aired, or on the channel's official website. If you don't, it just might be the next Firefly. . . =(

If you are based in the USA, you can watch all current episodes in HD for free on the Syfy website.

Unfortunately, the Syfy website features territorial rights, so it's not available everywhere around the world. So if, like me, its content is unavailable in your country, you can try watching the show for free in HD on Canada's Space channel's website.

I've watched all four episodes thus far and it's been pretty good. And the story went up a notch in the last episode, which bodes well for the rest of the season! =) But if the ratings remain low, then chances are that the show won't be renewed. So if at all possible, try to watch it live on TV when the episodes air each week. If you can't, as long as we watch it via legal means (TV, DVR, online on the network's official website or YouTube channel), they have something to show for it and it's good for the show. But the TV ratings remain the most important stat...

Check it out if you haven't already!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Laura Anne Gilman's Silver on the Road for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A heroic fantasy by an award-winning author about a young woman who is trained in the art of the sinister hand of magic, but at what price?

Isobel, upon her sixteenth birthday, makes the choice to work for the devil in his territory west of the Mississippi. But this is not the devil you know. This is a being who deals fairly with immense—but not unlimited—power, who offers opportunities to people who want to make a deal, and they always get what they deserve. But his land is a wild west that needs a human touch, and that’s where Izzy comes in. Inadvertently trained by him to see the clues in and manipulations of human desire, Izzy is raised to be his left hand and travel circuit through the territory. As we all know, where there is magic there is chaos…and death.

Terry Brooks contest winner!

This lucky winner will receive a copy of Terry Brooks' The Elfstones of Shannara! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

- David Porter, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Many thanks to all the participants!

Nemesis Games

If I keep saying it, maybe more and more people will finally listen to me! In my opinion, James S. A. Corey's Hugo-nominated and New York Times-bestselling Expanse sequence is the very best ongoing science fiction series on the market! This is space opera on a grand scale and as good as anything written by genre powerhouses like Peter F. Hamilton, Iain M. Banks, and Alastair Reynolds. With Leviathan Wakes, Caliban's War, and Abaddon's Gate, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, the two authors behind this pseudonym, have managed to raise the bar higher and higher with each new release.

Unfortunately, in the fourth installment, Cibola Burn, the authors elected to forgo the formula that made the first three books such memorable reads and tried a different approach which didn't work as well. My main gripe with Cibola Burn was that it appeared to be some sort of interlude between the opening chapters and what would occur in subsequent installments. Previous volumes were sprawling space opera affairs that hit all the right buttons. That book was much more limited in scope and was more of a transitional work. Mind you, it was a good read in its own right. Yet nowhere near as remarkable as the first three installments. The ending did open up the door for great things to come, but it remained to be seen if the authors could recapture the magic which made the first volumes so awesome. Well, let me set your mind at ease from the get-go. Nemesis Games could be the best one yet!

Here's the blurb:

A thousand worlds have opened, and the greatest land rush in human history has begun. As wave after wave of colonists leave, the power structures of the old solar system begin to buckle.

Ships are disappearing without a trace. Private armies are being secretly formed. The sole remaining protomolecule sample is stolen. Terrorist attacks previously considered impossible bring the inner planets to their knees. The sins of the past are returning to exact a terrible price.

And as a new human order is struggling to be born in blood and fire, James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante must struggle to survive and get back to the only home they have left.

The worldbuilding turned out to be of little importance in Cibola Burn, as the plot more or less followed the corporate power vs "innocent" squatters stand-off on Ilus. Reaching the end of the novel, the Avasarala epilogue revealed that the whole "interlude" that was Cibola Burn was meant to show that with this new frontier open to all comers, the powerful Martian space fleet, with their home planet soon to become a ghost town, will probably go to the highest bidder and might spark the first interstellar military conflict. Fast-forward to Nemesis Games, in which the worldbuilding was one of my favorite facets. Once more, the fragile political balance between Earth, Mars, and the Belt, is at the heart of the story and threatens everything. As was the case in the first three volumes, I loved how Abraham and Franck handled the political facets of the different plotlines, as well as the repercussions the politicking generates in the greater scheme of things. I loved how the whole concept behind the Ring and what lies beyond would come to affect mankind so profoundly. And when the proverbial shit finally hits the fan, mankind will never be the same.

Throughout this series, the stakes became higher as the tale progressed, with tension rising with each new chapter. Indeed, The Expanse reached new heights with every new installment, gradually becoming a very complex science fiction tale. Having gained such momentum, I was wondering why the authors decided to activate the hand-brake, so to speak, and pretty much bring everything to some sort of standstill for the duration of Cibola Burn. Be that as it may, the stakes have never been as high as they ultimately become within the pages of Nemesis Games. As an unthinkable terrorist attack kills millions of people back on Earth, relationships between Earth, Mars, and the OPA will never be the same again.

The characterization remains the aspect which makes this series such a remarkable read. Their latest misadventure on Ilus has left the ship in need of major repairs, which essentially sidelines the entire Rocinante crew on shore leave. With a lot of time to kill, each crew member decides to attend to some personal matters before they can rejoin the rest of the team. I must admit that I was a bit scared at the beginning, for I thought that this would be another kind of intermission. And though it is, at least to a certain extent, the storylines are as far-reaching and multilayered as those that characterized the earlier volumes. The structure of Nemesis Games gives us a chance to get the perspective of each crew member, something that I have been waiting for a long time. As a matter of course, do-gooder Holden is back as a POV character and will probably continue to be present as the series progresses. But what makes this fifth volume so special is that we also get the points of view of Alex, Amos, and Naomi. Which means that we finally get the backstories of all three, and that's a doozy. By far the most shocking and the most touching, Naomi's POV packs a powerful emotional punch and is the heart of the tale. At times, how each member of the crew finds themselves right where they need to be for the plot to move forward felt more than a little contrived. But that's just nitpicking. It doesn't take anything away from the overall reading experience.

Similarly to Abaddon's Gate, Nemesis Games is paced in a way that always makes you beg for more. A true page-turner, this novel is almost impossible to put down!

Like most of its predecessors, this one is vast in scope and vision. The Expanse sequence, with its passionate and compelling characters, with its textured, detailed, and thoroughly imagined world, is shaping up to be one of the very best space opera series of all time. Believe me when I tell you that it doesn't get much better than this! Nemesis Games is the best SFF novel of 2015!

The final verdict: 9/10

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

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

For just a few hours, you can download Tad Williams' latest collection of short fiction, A Stark and Wormy Knight, for only 4.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A fat new collection by best-selling fantasy and science fiction author Tad Williams, containing new material original to this book.

Tad Williams is an acknowledged master of the multi-volume epic. Through such popular series as Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn and Otherland, he has acquired a huge and devoted body of readers who eagerly await each new publication. A Stark and Wormy Knight offers those readers something both special and surprising: a virtuoso demonstration of Williams's mastery of a variety of shorter forms.

The range of tone, theme, style, and content reflected in this generous volume is nothing short of amazing. The title story is a tale within a tale of dragons and knights and is notable for its wit and verbal inventiveness. "The Storm Door" uses The Tibetan Book of the Dead to forge a singular new approach to the traditional zombie story. "The Terrible Conflagration at the Quiller's Mint" offers a brief, independent glimpse into the background of Williams's Shadowmarch series. "Ants" provides an ironic account of what can happen when a marriage goes irrevocably wrong.

Two of the longer entries show Williams working, with great facility, within the fictional creations of other writers. "The Thursday Men" is a hugely entertaining foray into the world of Mike Mignolla's Hellboy comics. The wonderfully titled "The Lamentably Comical Tragedy (or the Laughably Tragic Comedy) of Lixal Laqavee" is both a first-rate fantasy and a deeply felt homage to Jack Vance's immortal Dying Earth. Two other pieces offer rare and hard-to-find glimpses into other facets of Williams's talent. "Bad Guy Factory" is the script for a proposed series of DC Comics that never came to fruition. "Black Sunshine" is the immensely readable screenplay for a movie that remains, at least for the moment, unproduced. One can only hope.

These and other stories and novellas comprise a stellar collection that really does contain something for everyone. For longtime Williams readers, and for anyone with a taste for literate imaginative fiction, A Stark and Wormy Knight is a welcome, and indispensable, volume

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (December 21st)

In hardcover:

Stephen King’s The Bazaar of Bad Dreams maintains its position at number 4. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Dean Koontz’s Ashley Bell debuts at number 12.

George R. R. Martin's A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is down one position, ending the week at number 16.

In paperback:

Andy Weir's The Martian maintains its position at number 1 (trade paperback).

Andy Weir's The Martian is up one position, ending the week at number 3.

Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle is down three spots, finishing the week at number 5 (trade paperback).

Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is down one position, ending the week at number 6 (trade paperback).

Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven is down one position, ending the week at number 15 (trade paperback).

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now downoad Robin McKinley's Sunshine for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature: In a world where darkness threatens, there is Sunshine . . .

Although it had been mostly deserted since the Voodoo Wars, there hadn’t been any trouble out at the lake for years. Rae Seddon, nicknamed Sunshine, head baker at her family’s busy and popular café in downtown New Arcadia, needed a place to get away from all the noise and confusion—of the clientele and her family. Just for a few hours. Just to be able to hear herself think.

She knew about the Others, of course. Everyone did. And several of her family’s best regular customers were from SOF—Special Other Forces—which had been created to deal with the threat and the danger of the Others.

She drove out to her family’s old lakeside cabin and sat on the porch, swinging her feet and enjoying the silence and the silver moonlight on the water.

She never heard them coming. Of course, you don’t when they’re vampires.

And there are a number of other titles by the same author you can get for the same price. . .

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the The Inheritance Trilogy omnibus by N. K. Jemisin for only 9.99$ here. The omnibus includes the novels The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of Gods, as well as a new novella set in the same world, The Awakened Kingdom.

Here's the blurb for the first volume:

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother's death and her family's bloody history.

With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Yeine will learn how perilous it can be when love and hate - and gods and mortals - are bound inseparably together.

Speculative Fiction Top 10 of 2015

1- Nemesis Games by James S. A. Corey (Canada, USA, Europe)
2- Fool's Quest by Robin Hobb (Canada, USA, Europe)
3- The Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence (Canada, USA, Europe)
4- Gemini Cell by Myke Cole (Canada, USA, Europe)
5- Originator by Joel Shepherd (Canada, USA, Europe)
6- Half a War by Joe Abercrombie (Canada, USA, Europe)
7- Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald (Canada, USA, Europe)
8- The Border by Robert McCammon (Canada, USA, Europe, and Subterranean Press)
9- Half the World by Joe Abercrombie (Canada, USA, Europe)
10- Heritage of Cyador by L. E. Modesitt, jr. (Canada, USA, Europe)

Hey guys!

As promised, here's my top 10 SFF novels of 2015! I'm still missing that Nemesis Games review, but I will put it up before the year if through! My mom underwent what should be her last breast cancer-related surgery on Wednesday and it sort of screwed up the family's Holiday plans. It was originally scheduled for later this winter, so lots of things have changed for all of us. She's all right and doing well considering that the surgery took place less than 48 hours ago, but we weren't able to celebrate Christmas last night. Will do so today, so no worries. =)

So anyway, we have all been called upon to help these last couple of days, and that's why I'm late with my reviews. Which is also why I probably won't have time to come up with my year-end awards this year. Will try to get back on track and have the Hotties appear at the end of 2016. . .

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone! =)

Sample chapter from Peter V. Brett's THE CORE

As a winter solstice present for his readers, bestselling author Peter V. Brett just posted the first chapter from the upcoming The Core on his website.

You can read it here.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can download Kameron Hurley's The Mirror Empire for only 3.85$ here!

Here's the blurb:

A stunning new epic fantasy from two-time Hugo Award winner Kameron Hurley.

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

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

Stretching from desolate tundra to steamy, semi-tropical climes seething with sentient plant life, this is an epic tale of blood mages and mercenaries, emperors and priestly assassins who must unite to save a world on the brink of ruin.

As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war; a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family to save his skin; and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father's people or loyalty to her alien Empress.

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

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

Its sequel, Empire Ascendant, is available for only 4.01$ here.

And if you want to treat yourself to something special for this Holiday season, why not download the omnibus containing all three volumes of Kameron Hurley's Bel Dame Apocrypha (God's War, Infidel, and Rapture) for 19.24$ here?

Here's the blurb for the first installment:

Nyx had already been to hell. One prayer more or less wouldn't make any difference...

On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there's one thing everybody agrees on--

There's not a chance in hell of ending it.

Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx's ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war--but at what price?

The world is about to find out

Finally, and this deal is only available in Canada at the moment, you can get your hands on the digital edition of Sebastien de Castell's Traitor's Blade for only 0.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Falcio is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are travelling Magisters upholding King’s Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom, and impaled their King’s head on a spike.

Now Tristia is on the verge of collapse and the barbarians are sniffing at the borders. The Dukes bring chaos to the land, while the Greatcoats are scattered far and wide, reviled as traitors, their legendary coats in tatters.

All they have left are the promises they made to King Paelis, to carry out one final mission. But if they have any hope of fulfilling the King’s dream, the divided Greatcoats must reunite, or they will also have to stand aside as they watch their world burn…

And the sequel, Knight's Shadow, can be downloaded for only 2.99$ here.

The Best of Gary the Stormtrooper

Just saw this on

That was pretty funny!

The Royal Succession

Like many other SFF readers, it's thanks to George R. R. Martin that I recently discovered the excellent The Accursed Kings by French author Maurice Druon. As the main inspiration for A Song of Ice and Fire, I was eager to give this series a shot. The first two installments, The Iron King and The Strangled Queen, were very good reads, but the third volume, The Poisoned Crown, failed to live up to the expectations generated by its predecessors. This last book focused on Louis X's brief reign. A feeble and arrogant man, the Hutin was far from an engaging character and his many ineptitudes signaled the beginning of the end of an era for the kingdom of France.

As unfit to rule as Louis X turned out to be, his death will plunge the country into chaos, and this fourth installment focuses on the aftermath of the king's murder. And against this disorderly and dangerous backdrop, a new Pope must be elected. Hence, we have all the ingredients required for another satisfying read. And it is just that!

Here's the blurb:

'No woman shall succeed in Salique land'

Louis X is dead, poisoned, murdered, by the hand of Mahaut d’Artois. Her plan is simple – to clear the path to the throne for her son-in-law Philippe. However, there is the small matter of Queen Clemence and her unborn child.

As the country is thrown into turmoil, Philippe of Poitiers must use any means necessary to save his country from anarchy. However, how far is he willing to go to clear his path to the throne and become King in his own right?

If Clemence survives and her unborn child turns out to be a boy, a Regent will have to be named. Otherwise, France shall have a new King and the ambitious factions which undermined Louis' reign and brought the kingdom on the brink of collapse will now fight in order to put their respective leader on top. Meanwhile, in Lyons the Cardinals are holding Conclave and must elect the man who will become the new Pope. But the Conclave is also riddled with opposing factions and the fate of Christendom hangs in the balance. Once more, Maurice Druon demonstrates that he has an incredible eye for historical details and his narrative truly comes alive as you read along.

Once again, I found the translation to be quite good. As was the case in the first three installments, it is at times literal, creating occasional odd turns of phrase here and there. But other than that, there's absolutely nothing to complain about. As is habitually his wont, instead of relying on info-dumps, Druon opted for footnotes sending you to the back of the novel for more historical background and clarification. This maintains a fluid pace throughout the novel, and one reaches the end all too quickly. As I said before, in this day and age when speculative fiction and historical books are veritable doorstopper works of fiction, these novels are quite short. Too short, if you ask me. Indeed, they are episodic in nature, and instead of a seven-book cycle the reissue of The Accursed Kings should probably have been released as a trilogy, or as omnibus editions containing three or four volumes each.

The structure of these books revolves around a number of disparate POVs which allow readers to witness events through the eyes of a variety of protagonists. This helps generate more emotional impact, as you see the web of scandal and intrigue which weaves itself around Clemence and her unborn child from both sides of the conflict. Monseigneur Duèze and Guccio's points of view provide readers with a perspective of what goes on during the Conclave. The conflict between Robert of Artois and Philippe of Poitiers takes center stage, first regarding the Regency and then the crowning of a new monarch. Fate has a lot in store for Marie de Cressay in this novel and her POV takes us behind the scene for a lot of unexpected developments. As was the case with the previous volumes, the often amusing POV of Guccio Baglioni helps create a bit of a balance with the darker elements of the main story arc.

The Poisoned Crown didn't stand as well on its own as its predecessors. But The Royal Succession sets the bar as high as the first two volumes. Maurice Druon continues to weave a vast number of threads in what is a great tapestry of men, women, and events that will shake the foundations of the kingdom of France and the rest of Europe.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: With family rivalries, politicking, betrayals and back-stabbings, ASOIAF fans will find a lot to love about Maurice Druon's The Accursed Kings. Especially with this fourth volume, which is the darkest one yet. And considering that these books were first published in the 50s, I have to admit that they have aged well and are as easy to read as any contemporary novels on the market today.

The final verdict: 7.75/10

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

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

Don't know for how long, but the price is now even cheaper than last month! The digital omnibus containing all 10 volumes of Steven Erikson's The Malazan Book of the Fallen is available for only 46.22$ here!

Here's the blurb:

Included in this collection are:

Gardens of the Moon
Deadhouse Gates
Memories of Ice
House of Chains
Midnight Tides
The Bonehunters
Reaper’s Gale
Toll the Hounds
Dust of Dreams
The Crippled God

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

In addition, every installment of The Malazan Book of the Fallen in ebook format but Gardens of the Moon can be downloaded for between 4.19$ and 5.99$ here!

Quote of the Day

Polka will never die.

- JIM BUTCHER, Dead Beat (Canada, USA, Europe)

Finished Blood Rites and now reading Dead Beat. Hadn't realized just how much I missed Harry Dresden!

40 Unforgivable Plot Holes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I'm not in the habit of quoting the Huffington Post, but this article pretty much sums up everything that didn't work for me when I watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens last Friday.

Spoilers alert! Only read if you have seen the movie. . .

A bit of humor. . .

Cersei is not impressed! :P

US cover art and blurb for Mark Lawrence's THE WHEEL OF OSHEIM

The folks at have just unveiled the cover art and blurb for Mark Lawrence's forthcoming The Wheel of Osheim. The cover was once again illustrated by Jason Chan. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

All the horrors of Hell stand between Snorri Ver Snagason and the rescue of his family, if indeed the dead can be rescued. For Jalan Kendeth, getting back out alive and with Loki’s key is all that matters. Loki’s creation can open any lock, any door, and it may also be the key to Jalan’s fortune back in the living world.

Jalan plans to return to the three w’s that have been the core of his idle and debauched life: wine, women, and wagering. Fate however has other plans, larger plans. The Wheel of Osheim is turning ever faster, and it will crack the world unless it’s stopped. When the end of all things looms, and there’s nowhere to run, even the worst coward must find new answers. Jalan and Snorri face many dangers, from the corpse hordes of the Dead King to the many mirrors of the Lady Blue, but in the end, fast or slow, the Wheel of Osheim always pulls you back. In the end it’s win or die.

Can't wait to get my hands on this book!!!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can download Jay Kristoff's Stormdancer for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The first in an epic new fantasy series, introducing an unforgettable new heroine and a stunningly original dystopian steampunk world with a flavor of feudal Japan.


The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.


The hunters of Shima's imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.


Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Clifford D. Simak's Way Station for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

An ageless hermit runs a secret way station for alien visitors in the Wisconsin woods in this Hugo Award–winning science fiction classic.

Enoch Wallace is not like other humans. Living a secluded life in the backwoods of Wisconsin, he carries a nineteenth-century rifle and never seems to age—a fact that has recently caught the attention of prying government eyes. The truth is, Enoch is the last surviving veteran of the American Civil War and, for close to a century, he has operated a secret way station for aliens passing through on journeys to other stars. But the gifts of knowledge and immortality that his intergalactic guests have bestowed upon him are proving to be a nightmarish burden, for they have opened Enoch’s eyes to humanity’s impending destruction. Still, one final hope remains for the human race . . . though the cure could ultimately prove more terrible than the disease.

Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel, Way Station is a magnificent example of the fine art of science fiction as practiced by a revered Grand Master. A cautionary tale that is at once ingenious, evocative, and compassionately human, it brilliantly supports the contention of the late, great Robert A. Heinlein that “to read science-fiction is to read Simak.”

Win a copy of Kevin Hearne's STAKED

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Del Rey, I have a copy of Kevin Hearne's Staked for you to win! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Iron Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, hero of Kevin Hearne’s epic New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series, has a point to make—and then drive into a vampire’s heart.

When a Druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he’s bound to run afoul of a few vampires. Make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers—led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus—have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It’s time to make a stand.

As always, Atticus wouldn’t mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it’s not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki’s mark and elude his powers of divination—a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares.

As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won’t come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam) with the header "STAKED." 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!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the first volume of Cherie Priest's The Clockwork Century, Boneshaker, for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born.

But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.

Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenaged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history.

His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.

L. E. Modesitt, jr. contest winner!

Our winner will receive a copy of L. E. Modesitt, jr.'s Solar Express, compliments of the folks at Tor Books! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

- Guillermo Cantu, from Hidalgo, Texas, USA (naugem at

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A tale of contention over love and money—among dragons.

Tooth and Claw.

Jo Walton burst onto the fantasy scene with The King's Peace, acclaimed by writers as diverse as Poul Anderson, Robin Hobb, and Ken MacLeod. In 2002, she was voted the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Now Walton returns with a very different kind of fantasy story: the tale of a family dealing with the death of their father, of a son who goes to law for his inheritance, a son who agonizes over his father's deathbed confession, a daughter who falls in love, a daughter who becomes involved in the abolition movement, and a daughter sacrificing herself for her husband.

Except that everyone in the story is a dragon, red in tooth and claw.

Here is a world of politics and train stations, of churchmen and family retainers, of courtship and country which, on the death of an elder, family members gather to eat the body of the deceased. In which society's high-and-mighty members avail themselves of the privilege of killing and eating the weaker children, which they do with ceremony and relish, growing stronger thereby.

You have never read a novel like Tooth and Claw.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (December 14th)

In hardcover:

Stephen King’s The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is up one spot, finishing the week at number 4. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

George R. R. Martin's A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is up two positions, ending the week at number 15.

In paperback:

Andy Weir's The Martian maintains its position at number 1 (trade paperback).

Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle is up one spot, finishing the week at number 2 (trade paperback).

Andy Weir's The Martian is down one position, ending the week at number 4.

Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is up one position, ending the week at number 5 (trade paperback).

Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven maintains its position at number 14 (trade paperback).


Just found out that Mark Lawrence released a collection of short fiction titled Road Brothers: Tales from the Broken Empire yesterday! I wasn't even aware that this collection was on its way, so I'm quite happy!

Here's the blurb:

10 short stories from the lives of Jorg and his Road Brothers. Contains spoilers for the Broken Empire trilogy. 5 of the stories have previously been published in anthologies. Contains the short story 'Sleeping Beauty' that is also sold separately. A total of 43.000 words or just over half the length of Prince of Thorns.

You can download it through these links: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Sergei Lukyanenko's The Night Watch Collection, an omnibus edition comprised of the first three Night Watch books, for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Sergei Lukyaneko's first three books in his internationally bestselling Night Watch series—Night Watch, Day Watch, and Twilight Watch—are now available for the first time in a single volume. This collection also includes an excerpt from the newest book in the series, New Watch.

And here's the blurb for the first volume so you can get a better idea of what the series is all about:

Others. They walk among us. Observing.

Set in contemporary Moscow, where shape shifters, vampires, and street-sorcerers linger in the shadows, Night Watch is the first book of the hyper-imaginative fantasy pentalogy from best-selling Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko.

This epic saga chronicles the eternal war of the “Others,” an ancient race of humans with supernatural powers who must swear allegiance to either the Dark or the Light. The agents of the Dark – the Night Watch – oversee nocturnal activity, while the agents of the Light keep watch over the day. For a thousand years both sides have maintained a precarious balance of power, but an ancient prophecy has decreed that a supreme Other will one day emerge, threatening to tip the scales. Now, that day has arrived. When a mid-level Night Watch agent named Anton stumbles upon a cursed young woman – an uninitiated Other with magnificent potential – both sides prepare for a battle that could lay waste to the entire city, possible the world. With language that throbs like darkly humorous hard-rock lyrics about blood and power, freedom and responsibility, Night Watch is a chilling, cutting-edge thriller, a pulse-pounding ride of fusion fiction that will leave you breathless for the next instalment.

Win a copy of Dave Bara' STARBOUND

I have a copy of Dave Bara's Starbound up for grabs, compliments of the folks at Daw Books. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

The Lightship H.M.S. Impulse is gone, sacrificed in a battle against First Empire ships. And though the fragile galactic alliance has survived the unexpected invasion, the Union forces might not prove victorious against a full onslaught by this legendary enemy.

For Peter Cochrane, serving as an officer aboard his world’s flagship, H.M.S. Starbound is a dream come true. Tasked with investigating a mysterious space station in a rediscovered star system, Peter and Starbound face a surprise attack by unknown forces and suffer terrible losses.

But there is no time to grieve or even regroup as Peter is thrust into a new crisis, a potential civil war on the Union world of Carinthia. Caught between his rank in the navy and his status as a royal heir, Peter is put on trial for the loss of Impulse, used as a political pawn as Carinthia stands on the brink of a devastating conflict. Peter escapes but faces the prospect of interstellar war when he learns of a possible alliance between the First Empire and Carinthia, a coalition which could tear the Union apart!

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam) with the header "STARBOUND." 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!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of K. J. Parker's The Last Witness for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

When you need a memory to be wiped, call me.

Transferring unwanted memories to my own mind is the only form of magic I've ever mastered. But now, I'm holding so many memories I'm not always sure which ones are actually mine, any more.

Some of them are sensitive; all of them are private. And there are those who are willing to kill to access the secrets I'm trying to bury...

A classic Parker tale with a strong supporting cast of princes, courtiers, merchants, academics, and generally unsavory people.

The Call of the Sword

When I was forced to move out of my loft in late 2010, I stumbled upon my Roger Taylor books as I was packing. I wrote a post about the author back then, asking if anyone knew what he was up to these days. Roger Taylor is a British fantasy author whose novels used to be published by Headline during the late 80s and early 90s. The books sported very nice covers, and I was a big fan of his for many a year.

Oddly enough, I have never read the 4-book sequence that started it all. I discovered Taylor by reading Dream Finder and the author's subsequent novels. All of them are stand-alone sequels featuring certain characters who are wandering in the same universe and following storylines set in motion by the events taking place in the Chronicles of Hawklan. When I realized that all the books I'd been reading were linked to that first series, I managed to get my hands on it. This was the pre-Amazon era, so finding older or out of print titles could involve a lot of legwork back then. And though I ended up reading every other novel but the final installment linking together all the rest, I never did read the original series.

Every time I've talked about Roger Taylor since then, I've been meaning to give these books a shot to see if they have aged well. Written between 1984 and 1990, the Chronicles of Hawklan predates the rise of huge epic fantasy titles that were made popular by such authors as Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, and George R. R. Martin. It is more akin to series written by David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Raymond E. Feist, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Melanie Rawn, and other fantasy authors who often found themselves on the NYT bestseller list around that period. Feeling a bit nostalgic, I decided that the time had come to finally read The Call of the Sword.

Here's the blurb:

The castle of Anderras Darion has stood abandoned and majestic for as long as anyone can remember. Then, from out of the mountains, comes the healer, Hawklan - a man with no memory of the past - to take possession of the keep with his sole companion, Gavor.

Across the country, the great fortress of Narsindalvak is a constant reminder of the victory won by the hero Ethriss in alliance with the three realms of Orthlund, Riddin and Fyorlund against the Dark Lord, Sumeral, hundreds of years before. But Rgoric, the ailing king of Fyorlund and protector of the peace, has fallen under the malign influence of the Lord Dan-Tor, and from the bleakness of Narsindal come ugly rumours. It is whispered that Mandrocs are abroad again and that the Dark Lord himself is stirring.

And in the remote fastness of Anderras Darion, Hawklan feels deep within himself the echoes of an ancient power and the unknown, yet strangely familiar, call to arms...

"The Call of the Sword" is Book One of The Chronicles of Hawklan.

You can read an extract from the book here.

Weighing in at only 268 pages, The Call of the Sword likely would not exist in this day and age. Since its only purpose is to act as an introduction meant to establish the protagonists and the storylines, in today's market its plot would probably have been included in the second volume and the series would have been turned into a trilogy. The main problem with fantasy series of that era is that they're often derivative Tolkien clones. But Taylor claimed to have taken some pains to avoid prophesies, curses, magic artefacts, trolls, elves, dragons, wizards, etc. In his opinion Tolkien dealt with these both excellently and definitively and he cast a long shadow over later writers. Hence, even though the blurb can certainly feel derivative, the plot isn't. At least not that of this first installment. The backdrop is the traditional pseudo-European medieval setting. But there are hints of another, more technologically advanced, civilization which disappeared in a distant past. They left behind marvels such as the castle of Anderras Darion. The trope of the forgotten ancient enemy stirring back to life is exploited to the fullest and is one of the underpinnings of the overall story arc. Especially as far as the Great Harmony of Orthlund is concerned. I would have liked to learn more about the secrets of Anderras Darion and the fortress of Narsindalvak, the Dark Lord Sumeral and his downfall, Ethriss and the Guardians, and much, much more. But as The Call of the Sword is only a brief introduction, these questions will have to wait for the sequels before we can get any answers.

Having an amnesic person as the main character makes Hawklan an interesting protagonist. And though there are enough hints to help readers discover his true identity, I'm hoping that Roger Taylor will play with our preconceptions to surprise us when we least expect it. His mysterious raven companion Gavor also seems to be hiding a number of secrets. Often the comic relief, the bird's interaction with Hawklan will make you chuckle time and again. But his referring to Hawklan as "dear boy" all the time gets old real fast. Another plotline involves Rgoric, king of Fyorlund and supposed protector of the peace. More and more unstable, he is reminiscent of GRRM's Mad King Aerys II. Having suspended the ancient ruling council of the Geadrol and formed his own High Guard, the king's decision will prompt fours Lords, Eldric, Arinndier, Darek, and Hreldar, to travel to the royal city of Vakloss and demand answers from their monarch. This was by far the most engaging storyline and it appears to set the stage for the rest of the series. Lord Dan-Tor seems to be the typical evil protagonist, so hopefully Taylor has more in store for him, as well as a few shades of gray to help flesh him out.

Although the pace is not particularly fast-moving, one reaches the end of this slender work quite fast. As an introduction, it does its job remarkably well. It establishes the characters and the plotlines, and it sets the stage for what is to come in the following three volumes. And even though Roger Taylor keeps his cards close to his chest in this first installment, there are numerous hints that imply that there is a lot more depth to this series and its sequels. Whether or not said depth will be unveiled in this series, or if it is a product of the eight sequels, is unclear at the moment. Time will tell. . .

With many a reader fed up with the darker and grittier fantasy novels published these days, and many of them wishing for the more "classical" approach of good-versus-evil, I believe that The Call of the Sword could work for anyone looking for something that recaptures the 80s in terms of style and tone. Though too short for my liking, Taylor's debut was nevertheless compelling enough to make me want to read the rest of the series.

The final verdict: 7.5/10

And you can download the ebook version of The Call of the Sword for only 0.99$ here.

Independence Day: Resurgence movie trailer

Looks like it will be pretty much the same as the first one. . .

Speculative fiction books/series that deserve more attention

Ever since I created the Hotlist a decade ago, there is one thing that never changed. Every week, I receive random messages from SFF readers looking for recommendations. As you know, I have a reading list that I usually post once a year. But today, instead of posting that same old list, I've decided to post a number of SFF novels/series that I feel remain criminally unread. With the Holidays just around the corner, take this opportunity to fill up on these quality reads! =)

When available, click on the title of each book to read my review.

The Sarantine Mosaic by Guy Gavriel Kay

- Sailing to Sarantium (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Lord of Emperors (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb for the first volume:

Sarantium is the golden city: holy to the faithful, exalted by the poets, jewel of the world and heart of an empire. Artisan Caius Crispus receives a summons from the emperor and sets off on a journey toward the Imperial city. But before Crispin can reach Sarantium, with its taverns and gilded sanctuaries, chariot races and palaces, he must pass through a land of pagan ritual and mysterious danger.

In Sailing to Sarantium, the first volume of the brilliant Sarantine Mosaic, Guy Gavriel Kay weaves an utterly compelling story of the allure and intrigue of a magnificent city and the people drawn into its spell.

Of course, I could have recommended that you read Kay's incredible Under Heaven (Canada, USA, Europe), or the terrific The Lions of al-Rassan (Canada, USA, Europe), or the beautiful Tigana (Canada, USA, Europe). To be honest, anything by this author should be read and cherished. At the top of his game, Guy Gavriel Kay is as good or better than any other speculative fiction writer out there, alive or dead. But fantasy fans usually prefer series, so this two-book cycle is just what the doctor ordered and the perfect way to sample the length and breadth of Kay's talent and imagination.

The Magisters trilogy by C. S. Friedman

- Feast of Souls (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Wings of Wrath (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Legacy of Kings (Canada, USA, Europe)

Friedman made a name for herself with the amazing Coldfire trilogy. Indeed, these books established the author as a master of dark fantasy during the 90s. If you haven't read Black Sun Rising (Canada, USA, Europe), When True Night Falls (Canada, USA, Europe), and Crown of Shadows (Canada, USA, Europe), stop what you are doing right now and get your hands on these novels! Sadly, the Magisters trilogy, although awesome, flew so low under the radar that very few people seem to have read it. If more and more people actually gave these books a shot, we might soon refer to the Coldfire trilogy as the Friedman's other fantasy series. Yes, it's that damn good!

Dreamsongs by George R. R. Martin

- Dreamsongs, Volume 1 (Canada, USA, Europe)

Even before A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin had already established himself as a giant in the field of fantasy literature. The first of two stunning collections, Dreamsongs: Volume I is a rare treat for readers, offering fascinating insight into his journey from young writer to award-winning master.

Gathered here in Dreamsongs: Volume I are the very best of George R. R. Martin’s early works, including his Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker award–winning stories, cool fan pieces, and the original novella The Ice Dragon, from which Martin’s New York Times bestselling children’s book of the same title originated. A dazzling array of subjects and styles that features extensive author commentary, Dreamsongs, Volume I is the perfect collection for both Martin devotees and a new generation of fans.

- Dreamsongs, Volume II (Canada, USA, Europe)

Dubbed “the American Tolkien” by Time magazine, #1 New York Times bestselling author George R.R. Martin is a giant in the field of fantasy literature and one of the most exciting storytellers of our time. Now he delivers a rare treat for readers: a compendium of his shorter works, all collected into two stunning volumes, that offer fascinating insight into his journey from young writer to award-winning master.

Whether writing about werewolves, wizards, or outer space, George R.R. Martin is renowned for his versatility and expansive talent, highlighted in this dazzling collection. Included here, in Volume II, are acclaimed stories such as the World Fantasy Award-winner “The Skin Trade,” as well as the first novella in the Ice and Fire universe, “The Hedge Knight,” plus two never-before-published screenplays. Featuring extensive author commentary, Dreamsongs, Volume II; is an invaluable chronicle of a writer at the height of his creativity—and an unforgettable reading experience for fans old and new.

I am well aware that some angry fans refuse to read anything that Martin is involved in unless it's The Winds of Winter. Now, I'm looking forward to the next A Song of Ice and Fire installment as much as the next guy. But the truth is, GRRM's body of work is impressive and spans several different genres. And nothing gives you a better taste of that body of work than this collection of short fiction. As a matter of fact, Dreamsongs is an unbelievable read, one that is surpassed in quality only by the unforgettable A Storm of Swords. So do yourself a favor and get these two "slender" volumes for Christmas. You'll thank me. . . =)

The Godless World by Brian Ruckley

- Winterbirth (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Bloodheir (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Fall of Thanes (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb for the first volume:

An uneasy truce exists between the thanes of the True Bloods. Now, as another winter approaches, the armies of the Black Road march south, from their exile beyond the Vale of Stones.

For some, war will bring a swift and violent death. Others will not hear the clash of swords or see the corpses strewn over the fields. Instead, they will see an opportunity to advance their own ambitions.

But soon, all will fall under the shadow that is descending. For while the storm of battle rages, one man is following a path that will awaken a terrible power in him -- and his legacy will be written in blood.

Dark, bloody, depressing, uncompromising, ruthless, with a poignant ending that should satisfy most fans and characters that stay true to themselves till the very end, The Godless World is definitely one of the best fantasy series of the new millennium. For fans of GRRM, Abercrombie, and Morgan, this is grimdark the way it was meant to be!

The Gap Saga by Stephen R. Donaldson

- The Real Story (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Forbidden Knowledge (Canada, USA, Europe)
- A Dark and Hungry God Arises (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Chaos and Order (Canada, USA, Europe)
- This Day All Gods Die (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb for the first installment:

Author of The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, one of the most acclaimed fantasy series of all time, master storyteller Stephen R. Donaldson retums with this exciting and long-awaited new series that takes us into a stunningly imagined future to tell a timeless story of adventure and the implacable conflict of good and evil within each of us.

Angus Thermopyle was an ore pirate and a murderer; even the most disreputable asteroid pilots of Delta Sector stayed locked out of his way. Those who didn’t ended up in the lockup–or dead. But when Thermopyle arrived at Mallory’s Bar & Sleep with a gorgeous woman by his side the regulars had to take notice. Her name was Morn Hyland, and she had been a police officer–until she met up with Thermopyle.

But one person in Mallorys Bar wasn’t intimidated. Nick Succorso had his own reputation as a bold pirate and he had a sleek frigate fitted for deep space. Everyone knew that Thermopyle and Succorso were on a collision course. What nobody expected was how quickly it would be over–or how devastating victory would be. It was common enough example of rivalry and revenge–or so everyone thought. The REAL story was something entirely different.

Another great space opera series from the 90s that for some reason no one talks about these days. If there was such a thing as science fiction grimdark, this would be it. There is violence, intrigue, politicking, backstabbing, the whole nine yards. Some scenes can be psychologically repulsive and will disturb you. But keep reading and you'll be rewarded with one of the very best science fiction series of all time. Don't stop after the first one, as The Real Story was meant to be a stand-alone novella. By the time you get to the halfway point of the second volume, you start to understand just how vast in scope and vision The Gap series truly is and then you can't let go.

The Jump 225 Trilogy by David Louis Edelman

- Infoquake (Canada, USA, Europe)
- MultiReal (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Geosynchron (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb from the first volume:

How far should you go to make a profit?

Infoquake, the debut novel by David Louis Edelman, takes speculative fiction into alien territory: the corporate boardroom of the far future. It’s a stunning trip through the trenches of a technological war fought with product demos, press releases, and sales pitches.

Natch is a master of bio/logics, the programming of the human body. He’s clawed and scraped his way to the top of the bio/logics market using little more than his wits. Now his sudden notoriety has brought him to the attention of Margaret Surina, the owner of a mysterious new technology called MultiReal. Only by enlisting Natch’s devious mind can Margaret keep MultiReal out of the hands of High Executive Len Borda and his ruthless armies.

To fend off the intricate net of enemies closing in around him, Natch and his apprentices must accomplish the impossible. They must understand this strange new technology, run through the product development cycle, and prepare MultiReal for release to the public—all in three days.

Meanwhile, hanging over everything is the specter of the infoquake, a lethal burst of energy that’s disrupting the bio/logic networks and threatening to send the world crashing back into the Dark Ages.

With Infoquake, David Louis Edelman has created a fully detailed world that’s both as imaginative as Dune and as real as today’s Wall Street Journal.

Ambitious, vast in scope, with flawed protagonists and a deftly executed plot, and impeccable prose from start to finish, David Louis Edelman's The Jump 225 trilogy is a fascinating read. And yes, I'm aware that you may never have heard of it. It's up to you to remedy that situation. . . =)

The Avery Cates books by Jeff Somers

- The Electric Church (Canada, USA, Europe)
- The Digital Plague (Canada, USA, Europe)
- The Eternal Prison (Canada, USA, Europe)
- The Terminal State (Canada, USA, Europe)
- The Final Evolution (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb for the first installment:

Avery Cates is a very bad man. Some might call him a criminal. He might even be a killer - for the Right Price. But right now, Avery Cates is scared. He's up against the Monks: cyborgs with human brains, enhanced robotic bodies, and a small arsenal of advanced weaponry. Their mission is to convert anyone and everyone to the Electric Church. But there is just one snag. Conversion means death.

Jeff Somers' first series features Avery Cates, a far from likeable gunner you can't help but root for. Often down on his luck and not always the sharpest tool in the shed, Cates' first person narrative is a highlight from this series since the opening chapter of the very first volume. If you like balls-to-the-wall noir techno-thrillers set in a futuristic dystopian Earth, chances are you'll love these books!

The Macht trilogy by Paul Kearney

- The Ten Thousand (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Corvus (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Kings of the Morning (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb for the first volume:

Isca is fallen; Antimone draws Her veil over the dead. Rictus, a young soldier of the city, is now ostrakr – homeless, devoid of purpose. He dons the red cloak of the mercenary and sets out to find a road for himself.

On the world of Kuf, the Macht are a mystery, a fierce, barbaric people whose discipline and prowess on the battlefi eld is the stuff of legend. If they did not war endlessly on themselves, they would conquer the world. Beyond their home in the remote Harukush Mountains, the teeming races and peoples of Kuf are united under the Great King of Asuria, who can call up whole nations to battle, and whose word is law.

But now the Great King’s brother means to take the throne by force, and has sought out the Macht. Rictus – and ten thousand more mercenary warriors – will march into the heart of the Empire. They will become legends.

The Macht trilogy is military fantasy at its best. And yet, although it's often all about the stark realism of military campaigns, Paul Kearney delivers more than a few poignant and touching moments that demonstrate just how gifted an author he can be. If you love great characterization, action, and superior storytelling, give Kearney's signature work a shot!

This should keep some of you busy for a little while. . . ;-) Happy Holidays to everyone!