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:

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Orson Scott Card's Pathfinder for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A powerful secret. A dangerous path.

Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg's strange talent for seeing the paths of people's pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him--secrets about Rigg's own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.

Rigg’s birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent…or forfeit control of his destiny.


And you can still download Orson Scott Card's classic Ender's Game for only 3.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

Ender's Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (July 7th)

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 5.

Jim Butcher's Skin Game is down five positions, ending the week at number 18. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is down one position, ending the week at number 2.

George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons is down three spots, finishing the week at number 7.

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

Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane is down five positions, ending the week at number 11 (trade paperback).

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

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is down two positions, ending the week at number 12 (trade paperback).

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game is down two positions, ending the week at number 12.

George R. R. Martin's A Storm of Swords is down five positions, ending the week at number 14.

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

Stephen King's Joyland is down four spots, finishing the week at number 20.

Sebastien de Castell contest winners!

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Jo Fletcher Books, our winners will get their hands on a copy of Sebastien de Castell's Traitor's Blade! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winners are:

- James Strand, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada

- Kai Mundwiler, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can download Sean Russel's The One Kingdom, first volume in The Swan's War trilogy, for only 0.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The cataclysm began more than a century earlier, when the King of Ayr died before naming an heir to the throne, and damned his realm to chaos. The cold-blooded conspiracies of the Renne and the Wills—each family desirous of the prize of rule—would sunder the one kingdom, and spawn generations of hatred and discord.

Now Toren Renne, leader of his great and troubled house, dreams of peace—a valiant desire that has spawned hostility among his kinsmen, and vicious internal plots against his life. In the opposing domain, Elise Wills's desire for freedom is to be crushed, as an unwanted marriage to an ambitious and sinister lord looms large. As always, these machinations of nobles are affecting the everyday lives of the common folk—and feeding a bonfire of animosity that has now trapped an unsuspecting young Valeman Tam and two fortune-hunting friends from the North in its high, killing flames.

But the closer Toren comes to achieving his great goal of uniting two enemy houses, the more treachery flowers. Nobles and mystics alike conspire to keep the realm divided, knowing that only in times of strife can their power grow.

And perhaps the source of an unending misery lies before an old king's passing, beyond the scope of history, somewhere lost in a fog of myth and magic roiling about an ancient enchanter named Wyrr—who bequeathed to his children terrible gifts that would poison their lives...and their deaths. It is a cursed past and malevolent sorcery that truly hold the land, its people, and its would-be rulers bound. And before the already savaged kingdom can become one again, all Ayr will drown in a sea of blood.

And you can get the two sequels for the same price: The Isle of Battle and The Shadow Roads.

Win a copy of Deborah Harkness' THE BOOK OF LIFE


I have three copies of Deborah Harkness' The Book of Life up for grabs, compliments of the folks at Viking. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

THE BOOK OF LIFE is the highly-anticipated final installment of the bestselling All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. The trilogy began with A Discovery of Witches which People magazine called, “A wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter or Twilight”. The sequel Shadow of Night debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and the Miami Herald called it, “Enchanting, engrossing and as impossible to put down as its predecessor...a perfect blend of fantasy, history and romance.” In total, over one million copies have been sold in the States with publications following in 38 countries, leaving legions of fans eagerly awaiting THE BOOK OF LIFE, the satisfying conclusion to this superbly written series.

THE BOOK OF LIFE picks up right where Shadow of Night left off. After traveling through time, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to continue their hunt for the magical alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, otherwise known as the Book of Life. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they re­unite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception—ready to face old enemies. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for the Book of Life and its miss­ing pages takes on even more urgency. In the tril­ogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and forbidden passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowl­edge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

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

Look what the cat dragged in. . . =)


MWAHAHAHA!!!

Just got home from work and look what was waiting for me on my doorstep!! =)The final Malazan installment, Ian Cameron Esslemont's Assail!! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Unfortunately for Malazan fans following the Hotlist, Erikson and Esslemont's editor at Transworld personally requested that I hold off my review until just before the pub date. This has never happened, not even for The Crippled God. Don't know if it's because there are major spoilers, but the long and the short of it is that I won't be able to provide an advance review the way I did with every Malazan book since Reaper's Gale.

Sucks to be you, I guess. . . :P But I'll keep you posted as I read along on the forums at malazanempire.com!

Tom Doyle contest winners!

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Tor Books, our two winners will get their hands on a copy of Tom Doyle's American Craftsmen! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winners are:

- Parto Barkhordari, from Leesburg, Virginia, USA

- Will Bryan, from Leary, Georgia, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can download Barbara Hambly's The Silent Tower, first volume in the Windrose Chronicles, for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A wizard and a computer programmer from opposite sides of an interdimensional portal must work together to save their worlds from destruction.

In a world where wizards are relegated to ghettos, it is no surprise to see one murdered in the street. But for Stonne Caris, a young warrior monk who sees the killing and gives chase to the culprit, there is nothing ordinary about seeing a murderer disappear into a black, inky portal. The Archmage sends him in search of Antryg Windrose—a half-mad mage who understands the nature of these passages between dimensions.

On the other side of the Void is Joanna, a programmer as mild as Caris is deadly. She has spent her life in cubicles, staring into computer terminals, as far from heroism as she can get. But when the power that is crossing between dimensions draws her through the Void, she finds herself battling to save a world she never even knew existed.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Barbara Hambly, including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.


You can also get your hands on Nalo Hopkinson's Sister Mine for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

WINNER OF THE 2013 ANDRE NORTON NEBULA AWARD

Nalo Hopkinson--winner of the John W. Campbell Award, the Sunburst Award, and the World Fantasy award (among others), and lauded as one of our "most inventive and brilliant writers" (New York Post)--returns with a new work. With her singular voice and characteristic sharp insight, she explores the relationship between two sisters in this richly textured and deeply moving novel . . .

SISTER MINE

We'd had to be cut free of our mother's womb. She'd never have been able to push the two-headed sport that was me and Abby out the usual way. Abby and I were fused, you see. Conjoined twins. Abby's head, torso, and left arm protruded from my chest. But here's the real kicker; Abby had the magic, I didn't. Far as the Family was concerned, Abby was one of them, though cursed, as I was, with the tragic flaw of mortality.

Now adults, Makeda and Abby still share their childhood home. The surgery to separate the two girls gave Abby a permanent limp, but left Makeda with what feels like an even worse deformity: no mojo. The daughters of a celestial demigod and a human woman, Makeda and Abby were raised by their magical father, the god of growing things--a highly unusual childhood that made them extremely close. Ever since Abby's magical talent began to develop, though, in the form of an unearthly singing voice, the sisters have become increasingly distant.

Today, Makeda has decided it's high time to move out and make her own life among the other nonmagical, claypicken humans--after all, she's one of them. In Cheerful Rest, a run-down warehouse space, Makeda finds exactly what she's been looking for: an opportunity to live apart from Abby and begin building her own independent life. There's even a resident band, led by the charismatic (and attractive) building superintendent.

But when her father goes missing, Makeda will have to discover her own talent--and reconcile with Abby--if she's to have a hope of saving him . . .


Finally, Hopkinson's Brown Girl in the Ring is available for the same price here.

Here's the blurb:

The rich and privileged have fled the city, barricaded it behind roadblocks, and left it to crumble. The inner city has had to rediscover old ways-farming, barter, herb lore. But now the monied need a harvest of bodies, and so they prey upon the helpless of the streets. With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, and the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother.

She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.

A Guide For Getting Laid At Anime Conventions


This ludicrous article has been linked a whole lot on Facebook and elsewhere and this morning I finally had time to sit down and read it. Coming from Return of Kings, I wasn't expecting much in terms of eloquence and intelligence. I mean, as a blog for heterosexual, masculine men, they preach to their own choir. Still, I was taken aback by how insulting and demeaning this piece turned out to be. Here are a few bits to give you a general idea of its content:

The average convention goer is most likely the reverse of what you expect from a nerd convention. The skinny lanky nerd and his buddy the obese manchild are still going to conventions. They will be there giving presentations, but a whole new breed of people is in to anime.

This new breed is young attractive women with mental issues. Women have jumped on to the anime bandwagon. Most of them joined because they’re the second tier of attractive women. They can’t compete with the front runners because of a flaw or two (they might have the body but the nose is way too big). These women would be considered Bargain Bin to regular society. However, to anime loving nerds, these are the new 9′s and 10′s for the anime world. Women love it, because they have a ton of beta orbiters and some creepy omegas. They get to rule over and be the queens of anime conventions. I decoded the code for an alpha guy to go to these conventions and make that second string duchess bow down to your manliness.

[...]

These women are dressed up as animated characters out in public. Most of them spend hundreds of hours to get the details down right. They also have to make sure their diet is right and everything matches. This type of woman is slightly smarter than the average American bar-fly. She can talk about more complicated subjects, but it comes at a price. There is a high chance that an attractive women walking around half naked at a convention center is mentally ill. I can ascertain that a lot of the famous cosplayers have personality disorders like borderline and narcissisism. Generally this is noticeable through things like cut marks, daddy issues, eating disorders and a lot of them are in to hard drugs. These “nerd” girls have the same problems as the average American girl. They are just slightly more intelligent and have lower self-esteem.

[...]

Landwhale:

These are the main species of women at anime conventions. They’re the thirstiest women in existence. These women require no game whatsoever but doing fat chicks lowers your reputation a lot if you want to be with the skinnier hotter cosplay women. You need to not let their advances succeed. The attractive girls will think something is mentally wrong with you if you slept with a hippo. Also, note that these are the chicks who publicly complain about “sexual harassment” because only creepy ugly men would give them the time of day. Even at the anime conventions themselves.

Game Tips: If you’re enough of a degenerate to have sex with a landwhale from an anime convention, wrap it up. They are not the types to take care of their innards including the part you want access to. Vagisil and antibiotic’s aren’t a miracle cure for jumping in to the garbage dump of a vagina.

[...]

Fat Neckbeards:

These are the mostly stereotyped males who go to an anime convention. They’re fat, usually not into hygiene and have a multitude of social problems. Generally, these men will only offend through the olfactory gland. I can’t state enough how smelly the overweight neckbeards are at anime clubs. It is probably illegal under the Geneva Convention to allow these men in the same room as POWS. These men are also white knights but aren’t of the active kind. They just want to eat their fried foods and stock up on body pillows. Compared to all the types of men at anime conventions, these are the most benign.

White Knights:

They’re quite similar to the neckbeard but more virulent. The white knight is fat but not as morbidly obese as the neckbeard. The neckbeard wants to sit in the videogame or video room most of the convention. The white knight has more energy to walk around. They will beta orbit the hottie even if she publicly calls them losers in front of their face. White knights and ugly fat chicks are the ones to be on guard of. They will do anything to stop a player from scoring, even by spreading horrendous false rumors. You may have compassion for the fat neckbeard, but I would give none whatsoever for white knights who want to impede your goals. They also tend to smell but that’s the least offensive thing about them.

[...]

The convention ended and you’re on your way back. You were able to get some notches but feminists have taken notice. They are writing articles like this about “consent”. The undesirables of society (fat chicks, manchildren, ugly women) are trying to keep anime conventions in the domain of blue pillers. Anime conventions will always try to shut us redpillers out but if we start to invade, and remain stealth about it, they can’t do anything. I hope I see more members of ROK at anime conventions. Cosplay chicks are sick of betas and need some alpha’s to come to the conventions and satisfy their sexual needs.
--------------------

That last sentence leaves me speechless. . . This self-proclaimed "alpha male" seems to be one piece of work. His so-called guide to get laid offers absolutely no advice. He is just pissing on everyone, from the hot chicks he would like to bed to the "regular" anime fans. Looks like this heinous article was written by someone whose entire sexual life revolves around the free porn videos found on the internet. Not only is it done in extremely poor taste, but it is incredibly demeaning toward women in general and the female anime fans in particular.

To any of those so-called alpha males thinking of attending an anime convention any time soon, if you intend to follow this guide in order to score some nookie, I'm afraid that your nights will end up with you jerking off in the shower. . . As it should be.

Wow. . . Ignorant douchebag is too mild a phrase to characterize the author of this piece. No need to be a feminist or even a woman to be offended by this stereotypical crap. The good thing, though, is that no one basing his actions on the content of this article will likely ever get laid at a convention. So there is some poetic justice to that. . . =)

Follow this link to read the full article. . .

Extract from Sebastien de Castell's TRAITOR'S BLADE


Here's an extract from Sebastien de Castell's Traitor's Blade, courtesy of the folks at Jo Fletcher Books. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

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…

Enjoy!
--------------------------

He kicked his horse and took off down the street, Brasti following behind. I looked back at the dead men on the ground and wondered how long the Greatcoats could last before we became what people said we were: Trattari.

The second worst feeling in the world happens when your body dis- covers that yet again it’s about to get into a fight for its life. Muscles start to clench, you start to sweat, you start to smell (luckily, nobody ever notices that at the time) and your stomach sinks down to your nether regions.

But the first worst feeling in the world is when your body realises the fight is over. Your muscles start to give out, your head throbs, you keep sweating and – oh yes, you notice the smell. Last but not least, you realise there’s a crossbow bolt sticking out of your thigh. It was the crossbow bolt that finally forced me to stop.

‘It’s going to have to come out,’ Brasti said sagely, looking down from the rooftop where he was scouting for the constables.

I could have killed him, but that would require asking my body to repeat the whole cycle again and, frankly, I smelled bad enough as it was. We had found ourselves a decent alleyway with two exits to hole up in for a breather. The horses didn’t like trying to race around corners on cobbled streets, and we needed to deal with my leg.

Kest looked at me. ‘Punch-pull-slap?’

I sighed. It hurt. ‘I don’t suppose we have time to find a doctor, do we?’

Brasti climbed back down from the roof of the building. ‘They’re doing a house-to-house. The men don’t look all that eager to find us, but the head guy – the senior constable, the one who shot you – is pushing them hard. It’s only going to be a matter of minutes before they get to this alley.’

Damn. ‘Punch-pull-slap,’ I said, already dreading it. ‘But make it hard this time, Brasti.’

Kest poured water on the wound, making me whistle through my teeth.

‘Just don’t scream this time,’ Brasti said. ‘We’re trying to avoid being caught.’

While I prayed to Saint Zaghev-who-sings-for-tears to come down just this one time and meet my good friend Brasti, Kest got a firm grip on the shaft and then nodded at Brasti.

The three of us invented ‘punch-pull-slap’ some time ago. One of the things you discover after you’ve been wounded enough times is that the body really only keeps track of one source of pain at a time. So, for example, if your tooth hurts and someone pokes you in the stomach, your body momentarily forgets about the tooth.

So the way this is supposed to work is like this: Brasti punches me in the face, Kest pulls the arrow out of my leg and then Brasti slaps me so hard my brain never has time to register the bolt and therefore I don’t scream at the top of my lungs.

I screamed at the top of my lungs.

‘Shhh! You need to keep quiet, Falcio,’ Brasti said, leaning in and wagging a finger at me. ‘They might hear that. You need to toughen up.’

‘I told you to hit me hard!’ I said, watching the stars form in my vision.

‘I hit you as hard as I could from that angle. Kest was in the way.’

‘You hit like a girl.’

Kest stopped bandaging my leg and said, ‘Almost a third of King Paelis’ Greatcoats were women. You trained most of them. Didn’t they hit hard enough?’

It was a fair point, but I wasn’t in the mood for semantics. ‘They hit like angry bloody Saints. Brasti hits like a girl,’ I grumbled, holding onto the end of the bandage while Kest padded the wound.

‘So I suppose we’re off to Baern, then?’ Brasti asked.

I pushed myself up. The leg felt a lot better with the bandage on tight: a throbbing pain instead of a burning one. ‘It’s that or stay here and try to teach you how to not hit like a girl.’

‘Falcio, if you say that again, I’ll punch you myself,’ Kest said.

‘It’s just a phrase, “you hit like a girl.” Everyone says it. It’s funny.’

He handed me back my rapier. ‘No,’ he said, ‘it just sounds absurd.’ ‘It’s funny because it’s absurd,’ I replied.

Brasti slapped me on the back. ‘Don’t pay him any mind, Falcio. He lost his sense of humour the day he learned to swing a sword.’

Oddly, since Brasti had no way of knowing it, he was absolutely right.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (June 30th)

In hardcover:

Diana Gabaldon's Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is down two spots, finishing the week at number 3.

Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes is down two spots, finishing the week at number 4.

Rogues, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois debuts at number 7. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Jim Butcher's Skin Game is down five positions, ending the week at number 13. 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 1.

George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons maintains its position at number 4.

Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane is up one position, ending the week at number 6 (trade paperback).

George R. R. Martin's A Clash of Kings maintains its position at number 7.

George R. R. Martin's A Feast for Crows is up five spots, finishing the week at number 8.

George R. R. Martin's A Storm of Swords maintains its position at number 9.

Stephen King's Doctor Sleep is up three positions, ending the week at number 9 (trade paperback).

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game is down four positions, ending the week at number 10.

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones maintains its position at number 10 (trade paperback).

Stephen King's Joyland is up two spots, finishing the week at number 16.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Mira Grant's Parasite for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.

We owe our good health to a humble parasite -- a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the Intestinal Bodyguard worm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system -- even secretes designer drugs. It's been successful beyond the scientists' wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.

But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives . . . and will do anything to get them.

Authors at Google: James S. A. Corey

Extract from Ian Cameron Esslemont's ASSAIL

The folks at tor.com just posted the first chapter from Ian Cameron Esslemont's Assail. 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.

Follow this link to read the sample chapter. . .