This week's New York Times Bestsellers (July 28th)

In hardcover:

Deborah Harkness’ The Book of Life debuts at number 1. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes is down two positions, ending the week at number 8.

Diana Gabaldon's Written in My Own Heart's Blood returns at number 13.

In paperback:

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones maintains its position at number 1.

George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons maintains its position at number 5.

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game is up four positions, ending the week at number 9.

George R. R. Martin's A Clash of Kings is down three positions, ending the week at number 11.

George R. R. Martin's A Storm of Swords is up three positions, ending the week at number 12.

Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane is down two positions, ending the week at number 14 (trade paperback).

George R. R. Martin's A Feast for Crows is down one spot, finishing the week at number 15.

Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan's The Strain returns at number 17.

Stephen King's Doctor Sleep is down four positions, ending the week at number 20 (trade paperback).

Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches returns at number 23 (trade paperback).

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download the special digital edition of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander for only 4.99$ here!

Here's the blurb:

This eBook includes the full text of the novel plus the following additional content:

• An excerpt from Diana Gabaldon’s Dragonfly in Amber, the second novel in the Outlander series
• An interview with Diana Gabaldon
• An Outlander reader’s guide

Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another...

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an "outlander"—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire's destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life ...and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Win a copy of Ian Cameron Esslemont's ASSAIL


Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Transworld, I have a copy of Ian Cameron Esslemont's Assail for you to win. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Tens of thousands of years of ice is melting, and the land of Assail, long a byword for menace and inaccessibility, is at last yielding its secrets. Tales of gold discovered in the region’s north circulate in every waterfront dive and sailor’s tavern and now countless adventurers and fortune-seekers have set sail in search of riches. All these adventurers have to guide them are legends and garbled tales of the dangers that lie in wait - hostile coasts, fields of ice, impassable barriers and strange, terrifying creatures. But all accounts concur that the people of the north meet all trespassers with the sword. And beyond are rumoured to lurk Elder monsters out of history’s very beginnings.

Into this turmoil ventures the mercenary company, the Crimson Guard. Not drawn by contract, but by the promise of answers: answers that Shimmer, second in command, feels should not be sought. Also heading north, as part of an uneasy alliance of Malazan fortune-hunters and Letherii soldiery, comes the bard Fisher kel Tath. With him is a Tiste Andii who was found washed ashore and cannot remember his past and yet commands far more power than he really should. It is also rumoured that a warrior, bearer of a sword that slays gods and who once fought for the Malazans, is also journeying that way. But far to the south, a woman patiently guards the shore. She awaits both allies and enemies. She is Silverfox, newly incarnate Summoner of the undying army of the T’lan Imass, and she will do anything to stop the renewal of an ages-old crusade that could lay waste to the entire continent and beyond. Casting light on mysteries spanning the Malazan empire, and offering a glimpse of the storied and epic history that shaped it, Assail brings the epic story of the Empire of Malaz to a thrilling close.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam)gryphonwood.net with the header "ASSAIL." 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 download Greg Egan's Incandescence for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The Amalgam spans nearly the entire galaxy, and is composed of innumerable beings from a wild variety of races, some human or near it, some entirely other. The one place that they cannot go is the bulge, the bright, hot center of the galaxy. There dwell the Aloof, who for millions of years have deflected any and all attempts to communicate with or visit them. So when Rakesh is offered an opportunity to travel within their sphere, in search of a lost race, he cannot turn it down.

Roi is a member of that lost race, which is not only lost to the Amalgam, but lost to itself. In their world, there is but toil, and history and science are luxuries that they can ill afford.

Rakesh's journey will take him across millennia and light years. Roi's will take her across vistas of learning and discovery just as vast.

Win a copy of Lev Grossman's THE MAGICIAN'S LAND


I have a copy of Lev Grossman's The Magician's Land for you to win, courtesy of the folks at Viking. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Quentin Coldwater has lost everything. He has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams that he once ruled. Everything he had fought so hard for, not to mention his closest friends, is sealed away in a land Quentin may never again visit. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him. Meanwhile, the magical barriers that keep Fillory safe are failing, and barbarians from the north have invaded. Eliot and Janet, the rulers of Fillory, embark on a final quest to save their beloved world, only to discover a situation far more complex—and far more dire—than anyone had envisioned.

Along with Plum, a brilliant young magician with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of gray magic and desperate characters. His new life takes him back to old haunts, like Antarctica and the Neitherlands, and old friends he thought were lost forever. He uncovers buried secrets and hidden evils and ultimately the key to a sorcerous masterwork, a spell that could create a magical utopia. But all roads lead back to Fillory, where Quentin must face his fears and put things right or die trying.

The Magician’s Land is an intricate and fantastical thriller, and an epic of love and redemption that brings the Magicians trilogy to a magnificent conclusion, confirming it as one of the great achievements in modern fantasy. It’s the story of a boy becoming a man, an apprentice becoming a master, and a broken land finally becoming whole.

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


For a limited time only, you can download Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Supernatural fantasy has a new antihero.

Life sucks, and then you die. Or, if you're James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth that is Los Angeles.

Now Stark's back, and ready for revenge. And absolution, and maybe even love. But when his first stop saddles him with an abusive talking head, Stark discovers that the road to absolution and revenge is much longer than you'd expect, and both Heaven and Hell have their own ideas for his future.

Resurrection sucks. Saving the world is worse.

Darkly twisted, irreverent, and completely hilarious, Sandman Slim is the breakthrough novel by an acclaimed author.

You can also get Kill the Dead: A Sandman Slim Novel, Devil Said Bang, and Aloha from Hell for the same price.

Shattering the Ley


The folks at Daw Books seemed to have high hopes for Joshua Palmatier's Shattering the Ley. As the first volume in a brand new trilogy, the novel was meant to be the opening chapter of a new and complex fantasy series. Sadly, the book suffers from a number of shortcomings which precludes its chances of ever making a great first impression, and those who will nonetheless persevere and read it to its end likely won't be hooked enough to wish to read any of the future installments. . .

And yet, Shattering of the Ley could well feature one redeeming quality. Throughout the novel, my mind kept reminiscing about Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series, especially The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages. Indeed, black and white characters plagued by boring inner monologues and a decidedly simple view of politics, Palmatier's new book offers a similar feel to that of Sanderson's trilogy. Minus the cool magical system and the thrilling action sequences, that is. Still, given the popularity of the Mistborn saga, pitched to the right crowd Shattering the Ley might do quite well commercially. On the other hand, I doubt that a better read and more demanding readership will find the novel appealing. . .

Here's the blurb:

Erenthrall—sprawling city of light and magic, whose streets are packed with traders from a dozen lands and whose buildings and towers are grown and shaped in the space of a day.

At the heart of the city is the Nexus, the hub of a magical ley line system that powers Erenthrall. This ley line also links the city and the Baronial plains to rest of the continent and the world beyond. The Prime Wielders control the Nexus with secrecy and lies, but it is the Baron who controls the Wielders. The Baron also controls the rest of the Baronies through a web of brutal intimidation enforced by his bloodthirsty guardsmen and unnatural assasins.

When the rebel Kormanley seek to destroy the ley system and the Baron’s chokehold, two people find themselves caught in the chaos that sweeps through Erenthrall and threatens the entire world: Kara Tremain, a young Wielder coming into her power, who discovers the forbidden truth behind the magic that powers the ley lines; and Alan Garrett, a recruit in the Baron’s guard, who learns that the city holds more mysteries and more danger than he could possibly have imagined . . . and who holds a secret within himself that could mean Erenthrall’s destruction -- or its salvation.

The premise of the tale was intriguing. The city of Erenthrall is powered by the magic of the ley lines. Years ago, the original flow of those ley lines were altered and used to make Erenthrall the greatest city of its time. The ley magic powers everything in the Erenthrall, turning the cityscape into something occasionally quite modern. Hence, Shattering the Ley is often a blend of fantasy and science fiction, at least to a certain extent. However, though compelling at the beginning, one soon discovers that this book suffers from a serious lack of depth and the worldbuilding aspect quickly loses most of its appeal.

The pace is atrocious. It drags and drags and drags, going through chapter after chapter without much taking place. Shattering the Ley occurs over the span of fifteen years or so, and in a nutshell is about a group of people trying to break the Baron's control over the ley lines. There are a number of cool moments throughout the novel, mind you, such as distortions and how to unravel them. But those are few and far between, which makes it impossible to maintain any degree of interest in the various storylines from cover to cover.

The characterization is definitely YA in style and tone. Which was understandable at first, given that every major character was a teenager or a child. But they grow up and become adults, yet there is very little character growth to speak of and they continue to act, think, and speak as if they were still more or less dumb adolescents. As mentioned above, they are all black and white men and women. There is not a single shade of grey within the narrative. The bad guys are bad, ugly, and they sneer a lot. As was the case with Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn, Joshua Palmatier's narrative is often made sluggish because he interrupts the already slow flow of the tale with a never-ending stream of unnecessary thoughts and feelings in every single POV. There are "inner monologues" going on in everyone's head, which often makes you want to throttle the protagonist whose POV you are reading. I found that off-putting to say the least.

There are a few cool and interesting episodes within the pages of Shattering the Ley, yet they remain too few to truly make an impression on the reader. The lack of depth, the subpar characterization and the absence of any engaging characters, as well as the snail's pace found throughout the book; all these shortcomings prevent the tale from ever getting off the ground. As readers, we are forced to simply go through the motions, hoping that something--anything--will finally take place and make reaching the end worthwhile. But it was not to be. . .

The final verdict: 5/10

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

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can still download Legends, a fantasy anthology edited by Ian Whates, for only 3.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Legends is an anthology of all original stories written to honour the memory of one of Britain’s greatest fantasy authors. Determined warriors, hideous creatures, wicked sorceries, tricksy villains and cunning lovers abound as fantasy’s finest imaginations do their best and their worst. James Barclay reveals the origins of his elite mercenary band The Raven, Adrian Tchaikovsky unveils new aspects of the realm of the Apt, Tanith Lee, Joe Abercrombie, Storm Constantine, Stan Nicholls, Juliet E McKenna and more weave their magic as only they can. Produced in cooperation with the David Gemmell Awards, Legends will, in part, act as a fund-raiser for the awards.

Steel yourself, throw caution to the wind, and dare to enter the realm of Legends:

Contents:

1. Introduction – Stan Nicholls
2. Or So Legend has It – James Barclay
3. A Blade to the Heart – Gaie Sebold
4. Return to Arden Falls – Ian Whates
5. The Drake Lords of Kyla – Storm Constantine
6. A Tower of Arkrondurl – Tanith Lee
7. Who Walks With Death – Jonathan Green
8. Skipping Town – Joe Abercrombie
9. The Land of the Eagle – Juliet E McKenna
10. All Hail to the Oak – Anne Nicholls
11. Swords and Circle – Adrian Tchaikovsky
12. Fairyland – Jan Siegel
13. Mountain Tea – Sandra Unerman
14. The League of Resolve – Stan Nicholls
15. About the Authors

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

In hardcover:

Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes is down four positions, ending the week at number 8.

Terry Brooks' The High Druid's Blade debuts at number 16.

In paperback:

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is up one position, ending the week at number 1.

George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons is up three spots, finishing the week at number 5.

George R. R. Martin's A Clash of Kings is up four positions, ending the week at number 8.

Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane is down one position, ending the week at number 12 (trade paperback).

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game is up two positions, ending the week at number 13.

George R. R. Martin's A Feast for Crows is up nine spots, finishing the week at number 14.

George R. R. Martin's A Storm of Swords is up two positions, ending the week at number 15.

Stephen King's Doctor Sleep is down seven positions, ending the week at number 16 (trade paperback).

SDCC 2014: Putting the Epic in Epic Fantasy panel

The folks ay Suvudu just uploaded this video from the San Diego Comic Con!

Game of Thrones, Season 4: Bloopers



;-)

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can download Songs of Love and Death, a speculative fiction anthology edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois featuring an all-star list of contributors, for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

In this star-studded cross-genre anthology, seventeen of the greatest modern authors of fantasy, science fiction, and romance explore the borderlands of their genres with brand-new tales of ill-fated love. From zombie-infested woods in a postapocalyptic America to faery-haunted rural fields in eighteenth- century England, from the kingdoms of high fantasy to the alien world of a galaxy-spanning empire, these are stories of lovers who must struggle against the forces of magic and fate.

Award-winning, bestselling author Neil Gaiman demonstrates why he’s one of the hottest stars in literature today with “The Thing About Cassandra,” a subtle but chilling story of a man who meets an old girlfriend he had never expected to see.

International blockbuster bestselling author Diana Gabaldon sends a World War II RAF pilot through a stone circle to the time of her Outlander series in “A Leaf on the Winds of All Hallows.” Torn from all he knows, Jerry MacKenzie determinedly survives hardship and danger, intent on his goal of returning home to his wife and baby—no matter the cost.

New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher presents “Love Hurts,” in which Harry Dresden takes on one of his deadliest adversaries and in the process is forced to confront the secret desires of his own heart.

Just the smallest sampling promises unearthly delights, but look also for stories by New York Times bestselling romance authors Jo Beverley and Mary Jo Putney, and by such legends of the fantasy genre as Peter S. Beagle and Tanith Lee, as well as many other popular and beloved writers, including Marjorie M. Liu, Jacqueline Carey, Carrie Vaughn, and Robin Hobb. This exquisite anthology, crafted by the peerless editing team of George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, is sure to leave you under its spell
.

Gail Z. Martin contest winner!

Our winner will get his hands on Gail Z. Martin's Deadly Curiosities, courtesy of the folks at Solaris Books. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

- Grigor Petrov, from Varna, Bulgaria

Many thanks to all the participants!

Win a copy of Hannu Rajaniemi's THE CAUSAL ANGEL


I'm giving away my review copy of Hannu Rajaniemi's The Causal Angel to one lucky winner! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

With his infectious love of storytelling in all its forms, his rich characterization and his unrivaled grasp of thrillingly bizarre cutting-edge science, Hannu Rajaniemi swiftly set a new benchmark for Science Fiction in the 21st century. Now, with his third novel, he completes the tale of the many lives, and minds, of gentleman rogue Jean de Flambeur.

Influenced as much by the fin de siècle novels of Maurice leBlanc as he is by the greats of SF, Rajaniemi weaves intricate, warm capers through dazzling science, extraordinary visions of a wild future,and deep conjectures on the nature of reality and story.

In The Causal Angel we will discover the ultimate fates of Jean, his employer Miele, the independently minded ship Perhonnen, and the rest of a fractured and diverse humanity flung throughout the solar system.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam)gryphonwood.net with the header "CAUSAL." 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 download Tom Lloyd's The Stormcaller for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Isak is a white-eye, feared and despised in equal measure. Trapped in a life of poverty, hated and abused by his father, Isak dreams of escape, but when his chance comes, it isn't to a place in the army as he'd expected. Instead, the Gods have marked him out as heir-elect to the brooding Lord Bahl, the Lord of the Fahlan. Now is the time for revenge, and the forging of empires. With mounting envy and malice the men who would themselves be kings watch Isak, chosen by Gods as flawed as the humans who serve them, as he is shaped and moulded to fulfil the prophecies that are encircling him like scavenger birds. The various factions jostle for the upper hand, and that means violence, but the Gods have been silent too long and that violence is about to spill over and paint the world the colour of spilled blood and guts and pain and anguish . . .

Cover reveal: WINDOW WALL by Melanie Rawn


Fantasy author Melanie Rawn just unveiled the cover art for Window Wall, the fourth installment in the Glass Thorns series which will be published next spring.

Quote of the Day

"Justice is the prerogative of the King," cried the Hutin with that sudden violence he was apt to show whenever he felt he was supporting a bad case.

"No, Sire," calmly replied he who was to become Philip the Long. "The King belongs to justice, is its expression, and is there to see that it triumphs."

- MAURICE DRUON, The Strangled Queen (Canada, USA, Europe)

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Ernest Cline's bestselling Ready Player One for only 3.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

Slice meets Myke Cole at the Phoenix Comic Con



Nice interview!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


I don't know for how long, but all the Mongoliad installments are now on sale! You can download the first volume for only 1.99$ here. You can also get your hands on the second installment for the same price here, and the same goes for the third volume here. And I just discovered that there are now a volume 4, Katabasis, and a volume 5, Siege Perilous, for 1.99$ each as well.

Here's the blurb for the first volume:

With bonus material! This Kindle edition features extra content only found in the Collector’s Edition of The Mongoliad: Book One, including an illustrated character glossary, a Foreworld map, and Sinner, a prequel to the Mongoliad series.

The first novel to be released in The Foreworld Saga, The Mongoliad: Book One, is an epic-within-an-epic, taking place in 13th century. In it, a small band of warriors and mystics raise their swords to save Europe from a bloodthirsty Mongol invasion. Inspired by their leader (an elder of an order of warrior monks), they embark on a perilous journey and uncover the history of hidden knowledge and conflict among powerful secret societies that had been shaping world events for millennia.


But the saga reaches the modern world via a circuitous route. In the late 19th century, Sir Richard F. Burton, an expert on exotic languages and historical swordsmanship, is approached by a mysterious group of English martial arts aficionados about translating a collection of long-lost manuscripts. Burton dies before his work is finished, and his efforts were thought lost until recently rediscovered by a team of amateur archaeologists in the ruins of a mansion in Trieste, Italy. From this collection of arcana, the incredible tale of The Mongoliad was recreated.

Full of high adventure, unforgettable characters, and unflinching battle scenes, The Mongoliad ignites a dangerous quest where willpower and blades are tested and the scope of world-building is redefined.

A note on this edition: The Mongoliad began as a social media experiment, combining serial story-telling with a unique level of interaction between authors and audience during the creative process. Since its original iteration, The Mongoliad has been restructured, edited, and rewritten under the supervision of its authors to create a more cohesive reading experience and will be published as a trilogy of novels. This edition is the definitive edition and is the authors' preferred text.

Musical Interlude



Classic track from Depeche Mode! Can't quite believe it's 30 years old. . .

Warning: Fake Twitter Account

Many thanks to Adam (Werthead) for the "heads up."

There is a fake Pat's Fantasy Hotlist account on Twitter. And since there are authors and other people in publishing following it, I just wanted to set the record straight. As things stand, I am not on Twitter, nor do I want to be.

I have taken steps to get this account deleted. . .

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

In hardcover:

Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes maintains its position at number 4.

Diana Gabaldon's Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is down two spots, finishing the week at number 7.

Ian Doescher's William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return debuts at number 12.

Jim Butcher's Skin Game is down six positions, ending the week at number 24. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones maintains its position at number 2.

George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons is down one spot, finishing the week at number 8.

Stephen King's Doctor Sleep maintains its position at number 9 (trade paperback).

Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane maintains its position at number 11 (trade paperback).

George R. R. Martin's A Clash of Kings is down one position, ending the week at number 12.

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game is down three positions, ending the week at number 15.

George R. R. Martin's A Storm of Swords is down three positions, ending the week at number 17.

George R. R. Martin's A Feast for Crows is down eight spots, finishing the week at number 23.

Cover art and blurb for Myke Cole's GEMINI CELL


SfSignal.com just unveiled the cover art and the blurb for Myke Cole's forthcoming Gemini Cell! The illustration is by Larry Rostant.

Here's the blurb:

Myke Cole continues to blow the military fantasy genre wide open with GEMINI CELL, an all-new epic adventure in the highly acclaimed Shadow Ops universe.

US Navy SEAL Jim Schweitzer is a consummate professional, a fierce warrior, and a hard man to kill. But when he sees something he was never meant to see on a covert mission gone bad, he finds himself – and his family – in the crosshairs. Nothing means more to Jim than protecting his loved ones, but when the enemy brings the battle to his front door, he is overwhelmed and taken down. It should be the end of the story. But Jim is raised from the dead by a sorcerer and recruited by a top secret unit dabbling in the occult, known only as the Gemini Cell. With powers he doesn’t understand, Jim is called back to duty – as the ultimate warrior. As he wrestles with a literal inner demon, Jim realises his new superiors are determined to use him for their own ends and keep him in the dark – especially about the fates of his wife and son…

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


Today only, you can download Richard Kadrey's Butcher Bird for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Spyder Lee is a happy man who lives in San Francisco and owns a tattoo shop. One night an angry demon tries to bite his head off before he's saved by a stranger. The demon infected Spyder with something awful - the truth. He can suddenly see the world as it really is: full of angels and demons and monsters and monster-hunters. A world full of black magic and mysteries. These are the Dominions, parallel worlds full of wonder, beauty and horror. The Black Clerks, infinitely old and infinitely powerful beings whose job it is to keep the Dominions in balance, seem to have new interests and a whole new agenda. Dropped into the middle of a conflict between the Black Clerks and other forces he doesn't fully understand, Spyder finds himself looking for a magic book with the blind swordswoman who saved him. Their journey will take them from deserts to lush palaces, to underground caverns, to the heart of Hell itself.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can still get your hands on Stephen King's 11/22/63 for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

This Enhanced eBook Edition contains a 13-minute film, written and narrated by Stephen King and enhanced with historic footage from CBS News, that will take you back—as King’s novel does—to Kennedy era America.

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King’s heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination—a thousand page tour de force.

Following his massively successful novel Under the Dome, King sweeps readers back in time to another moment—a real life moment—when everything went wrong: the JFK assassination. And he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history.

Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.

Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life – a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.

A tribute to a simpler era and a devastating exercise in escalating suspense, 11/22/63 is Stephen King at his epic best.

Free Random House 2014 Sampler


This from the folks at Random House:

Maybe you’re finally ready to take the plunge into an epic saga such as George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire or Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Maybe your inner Star Wars fan lights up at the thought of new novels that expand the canon of the original trilogy. Maybe you’ve been waiting for a sneak peek at the triumphant return of Robin Hobb or Peter F. Hamilton. Or maybe you’re curious about one of the exciting debuts, genre-bending trilogies, or short-story collections that come along every so often and upend everything you think you know about fiction. There’s really no good reason not to check out this free sampler. Ranging from space opera and high fantasy to alternate history and twisted fairy tales, this one-of-a-kind-and did we mention, free?-eBook includes excerpts from:

THE ABYSS BEYOND DREAMS by Peter F. Hamilton
CLASH OF EAGLES by Alan Smale
THE DARWIN ELEVATOR by Jason M. Hough
FOOL’S ASSASSIN by Robin Hobb
A GAME OF THRONES by George R. R. Martin
HALF A KING by Joe Abercrombie
THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA by Scott Lynch
OLD VENUS, edited by George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois
OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon
RED RISING by Pierce Brown
ROGUES, edited by George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois
A STUDY IN SILKS by Emma Jane Holloway
STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE JEDI by Kevin Hearne
STAR WARS: LORDS OF THE SITH by Paul S. Kemp
STAR WARS: A NEW DAWN by John Jackson Miller
STAR WARS: TARKIN by James Luceno
UPROOTED by Naomi Novik

Follow this link to download the free sampler!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Blake Crouch's Pines for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

2013 International Thriller Award Nominee.

Now a Major Television Event from FOX, debuting winter 2015.

Secret service agent Ethan Burke arrives in Wayward Pines, Idaho, with a clear mission: locate and recover two federal agents who went missing in the bucolic town one month earlier. But within minutes of his arrival, Ethan is involved in a violent accident. He comes to in a hospital, with no ID, no cell phone, and no briefcase. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into the disappearance of his colleagues turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he get any phone calls through to his wife and son in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what is the purpose of the electrified fences surrounding the town? Are they meant to keep the residents in? Or something else out? Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the world he thought he knew, from the man he thought he was, until he must face a horrifying fact—he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive. Intense and gripping, Pines is another masterful thriller from the mind of bestselling novelist Blake Crouch.

American Craftsmen


A few months ago, I first heard of Tom Doyle's American Craftsmen when SFF readers were bitching about the fact that the upcoming novel appeared to be a rip-off of Myke Cole's excellent Shadow Ops series. Being a Myke Cole fan, I must admit that I was intrigued by the cover blurb and wanted to give the book a shot. If only to see if indeed it was a rip-off or not.

I'm glad to report that Doyle's American Craftsmen is an original story and it has absolutely nothing to do with Myke Cole's series. Other than magic being used by the military for covert operations, these two military fantasy series have nothing in common.

Here's the blurb:

In modern America, two soldiers will fight their way through the magical legacies of Poe and Hawthorne to destroy an undying evil—if they don’t kill each other first.

US Army Captain Dale Morton is a magician soldier—a “craftsman.” After a black-ops mission gone wrong, Dale is cursed by a Persian sorcerer and haunted by his good and evil ancestors. Major Michael Endicott, a Puritan craftsman, finds gruesome evidence that the evil Mortons, formerly led by the twins Roderick and Madeline, have returned, and that Dale might be one of them.

Dale uncovers treason in the Pentagon’s highest covert ranks. He hunts for his enemies before they can murder him and Scherie, a new friend who knows nothing of his magic.

Endicott pursues Dale, divided between his duty to capture a rogue soldier and his desire to protect Dale from his would-be assassins. They will discover that the demonic horrors that have corrupted American magic are not bound by family or even death itself.

In Tom Doyle's thrilling debut, American Craftsmen, Seal Team Six meets ancient magic--with the fate of the United States hanging in the balance . . .

The backdrop of Tom Doyle's tale is that from the very beginning, magic-users have pledged themselves in service to the American government in exchange for protection and secrecy. Magic is known as the Craft, hence the name Craftsmen instead of wizards or other denominations. Interestingly enough, many of the American founding families such as the Mortons, Endicotts, Hutchinsons, and the Attuckses have magical abilities and some rivalries between them date back generations. The history of those fighting families is woven throughout America's history and it's interesting to discover that the Craft was used during the Civil War, World War II, etc.

The weakest aspect of American Craftsmen was the characterization. The poor execution in that regard sort of killed the fascinating concept of the Craft and the founding family. Captain Dale "Casper" Morton is the typical badass American military hero who, unfortunately, doesn't have what it takes to carry such a story on his shoulders. Major Michael "Sword" Endicott, a somewhat devout Christian fucktard, cannot, either. And since the POVs are pretty much evenly balanced between these two protagonists, though there are other POV characters it pretty much garantees that this book remains a failure to launch. There are a lot of cool concepts and fascinating ideas, but witnessing everything unfold through the eyes of these two military men can make for a painful and awkward reading experience. Early on, it seemed that Scherie would help turn things around. Yet very quickly one realizes that she is nothing more than a plot device. . . The dialog is also an issue. Since we are dealing with battle-hardened soldiers, it is often hardass and full of profanities and one-liners.

Tom Doyle keeps the tale moving at a rather crisp pace, which is nice. Although more often than not the reader doesn't necessarily understand what is going on, there is never a dull moment and the author's action-packed narrative keeps you turning those pages. If only he had managed to make any of the main characters more engaging, this could have been a very good debut.

Doyle closes the show unexpectedly with style at the end and the stage is set for a more interesting second installment. Only time will tell if the off-putting and inferior characterization of American Craftsmen will prevent readers from giving it a chance. Personally, though I am intrigued and would like to discover where the author will takes his tale next, right now I'm uncertain whether or not I'd read the second volume. . .

The final verdict: 7/10

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

Win a copy of Steven Erikson's THE WURMS OF BLEARMOUTH


I have three copies of Steven Erikson's The Wurms of Blearmouth for you to win, compliments of the folks at Tor Books. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

A new novella from New York Times bestselling author Steven Erikson, set in the world of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, The Wurms of Blearmouth.

Tyranny comes in many guises, and tyrants thrive in palaces and one-room hovels, in back alleys and playgrounds. Tyrants abound on the verges of civilization, where disorder frays the rule of civil conduct and propriety surrenders to brutal imposition. Millions are made to kneel and yet more millions die horrible deaths in a welter of suffering and misery.

But leave all that behind and plunge into escapist fantasy of the most irrelevant kind, and in the ragged wake of the tale told in Lees of Laughter’s End, those most civil adventurers, Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, along with their suitably phlegmatic manservant, Emancipor Reese, make gentle landing upon a peaceful beach, beneath a quaint village at the foot of a majestic castle. There they make acquaintance with the soft-hearted and generous folk of Spendrugle, which lies at the mouth of the Blear River and falls under the benign rule of the Lord of Wurms in his lovely keep.

Make welcome, then, to Spendrugle’s memorable residents, including the man who should have stayed dead, the woman whose prayers should never have been answered, the tax collector everyone ignores, the ex-husband town militiaman who never married, the beachcomber who lives in his own beard, the now singular lizard cat who used to be plural, and the girl who likes to pee in your lap. And of course, hovering over all, the denizen of the castle keep, Lord—Ah, but there lies this tale.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam)gryphonwood.net with the header "BLEARMOUTH." 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 download Shawn Speakman's SFF anthology Unfettered for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

You define life or it defines you.

In Shawn Speakman’s case, it was both.

Lacking health insurance and diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011, Shawn quickly accrued a massive medical debt that he did not have the ability to pay. That’s when New York Times best-selling author Terry Brooks offered to donate a short story that Shawn could sell tohelp alleviate those bills—and suggested he ask the same of his other writer friends.

Unfettered is the result: an anthology built in order to relieve that debt, featuring short stories by some of the best fantasy writers in the genre.

Twenty-three tales comprise this incredible collection, and as the title suggests, the writers were free to contribute whatever they wished.

Here is the table of contents:

- Foreword by Patrick Rothfuss
- Introduction: On Becoming Unfettered
- Imaginary Friends by Terry Brooks
- How Old Holly Came To Be by Patrick Rothfuss
- The Old Scale Game by Tad Williams
- Game of Chance by Carrie Vaughn
- The Martyr of the Roses by Jacqueline Carey
- Mudboy by Peter V. Brett
- The Sound of Broken Absolutes by Peter Orullian
- The Coach with Big Teeth by R.A. Salvatore
- Keeper of Memory by Todd Lockwood
- Heaven in a Wild Flower by Blake Charlton
- Dogs by Daniel Abraham
- The Chapel Perilous by Kevin Hearne
- Select Mode by Mark Lawrence
- All the Girls Love Michael Stein by David Anthony Durham
- Strange Rain by Jennifer Bosworth
- Nocturne by Robert V.S. Redick
- Unbowed by Eldon Thompson
- In Favour with Their Stars by Naomi Novik
- River of Souls by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
- The Jester by Michael J. Sullivan
- The Duel by Lev Grossman
- Walker and the Shade of Allanon by Terry Brooks
- The Unfettered Knight by Shawn Speakman

With the help of stalwart friends and these wonderful short stories, Shawn has taken the gravest of life’s hardships and created something magical. Unfettered is not only a fantastic anthology in its own right, but it’s a testament to the generosity found in the science fiction and fantasy community—proof that humanity can give beyond itself when the need arises.

After all, isn’t that the driving narrative in fantasy literature?

Blade Runner: Anime Trailer

Found this cool anime trailer on sfsignal.com: