The city of Rasenna is divided, in more than one sense of the word. Geographically speaking, the city is split in two by the river Irenicon, which was blasted straight through the middle of the ancient city using Wave technology, a major feat of engineering by the Concordian Empire to subdue its main rival.
Maybe more importantly, though, the people of Rasenna are divided into factions. Competing families on each side of the river continually launch deadly raids and vendettas against each other. Bandieratori fight on the streets and roofs for dominance. Sofia, heir of the old Scaligeri ruling family and soon-to-be Contessa, is powerless to stop the waves of violence that weaken the already-divided city.
Then everything changes: Giovanni, an engineer of the same Concordian Empire that originally caused the Wave, arrives in Rasenna to build a bridge across the Irenicon. Concord once again wants to expand its reach, and Rasenna is in its way…
Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins (review) was one of last year’s strongest debuts, a unique dystopian fantasy set in an alternate Stalin-era USSR with Russian mythological elements and vague hints of something science fictional happening out in space.
The story of downtrodden investigator Vissarion Lom hunting down the terrorist Josef Kantor at the behest of the totalitarian Vlast was mostly set in Mirgorod, a gray, rainy city that seemed to fall somewhere between New Crobuzon and Moscow. Wolfhound Century was one of the first novels in a long time that actually deserved the frequent comparisons to China Miéville, thanks in large part to Peter Higgins’ beautiful prose.
Truth and Fear is the direct sequel to Wolfhound Century and, as expected, picks up more or less directly where the previous novel left off—“as expected” because the one major disappointment about Wolfhound Century was its ending, which was, well, really not much of an ending at all.
Toby is the seventeen-year-old scion of the McGonigal family, which is in the process of colonizing Sedna, one of the countless unclaimed orphan planets that can be found in interstellar space, far beyond Pluto but light years away from the next-nearest star. To secure ownership of the planet, the McGonigals must also claim every single one of its moons, so when a distant satellite of the planet is discovered, Toby is dispatched to go claim it for the family. But then something goes horribly wrong…
When Toby wakes up from coldsleep, he makes a number of startling discoveries. For one, his ship has been drifting through space for 14,000 years. In that time, humanity has spread out across the mostly lifeless universe, populating 70,000 or so planets that are now collectively known as the “Lockstep Empire.” And, somehow, his own family is at the center of all of this: his brother Peter is the tyrant-like figure known as the Chairman.
So begins Lockstep, the newest standalone science fiction novel by Canadian author Karl Schroeder.
The winners of last week’s giveaway are…
Brittain B. of Shoreline, WA
Michele M. of Woodinville, WA
Chi S. of Salem, OR
Stephenie S. of Bel Air, MD
Chris T. of Taunton, MA
Congratulations to all five winners! Your copies of Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins will be sent out shortly, courtesy of the nice folks at Orbit.
And… for those of you who didn’t win this time: thanks for dropping by the site and participating, and make sure to keep an eye on Far Beyond Reality. I will have some more great giveaways coming up soon, as well as the usual slew of reviews and other SF/F-related ramblings!
I came to the works of Adam-Troy Castro quite late. Specifically, the first story I remember of his is “Of a Sweet Slow Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs” in the excellent dystopian anthology Brave New Worlds, edited by John Joseph Adams. (This anthology ended up being my springboard to a number of other great authors, but that’s another story.) Shortly after I read that collection, the author’s name popped up on the Nebula short list a few times, for “Her Husband’s Hands” and “Arvies.”
I’m bringing this up because I believe that, based on the three stories I’ve mentioned so far, there may be many people who labor under the misapprehension that Castro only writes short fiction that is so extraordinarily dark that it borders on the disturbing. In the afterword for his newest collection, Her Husband’s Hands and Other Stories, the author explains at length that he has also written many optimistic, entertaining and uplifting stories and novels, and that he is “not just a sick bastard.” Well, sure. I’ll take his word for it. However, you really couldn’t tell from the stories in this collection, which is as grim as it is brilliant.
Thanks to the kind folks at Orbit, I have a grand total of five paperback copies of Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins to give away to five lucky readers in the US or Canada.
If you’re not familiar with the novel: Wolfhound Century is an excellent novel set in a fantasy world that has many parallels to Stalin-era USSR. It’s one of the few books that actually deserved the comparisons to China Miéville. If not for Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, this would have easily been my choice for Debut of the Year. Plus: Wolfhound Century‘s sequel Truth and Fear is due out in March, making this giveaway a great opportunity to catch up! (For more information about Wolfhound Century, check out my review.)
To enter the giveaway, simply send an email with subject line “WOLF” to fbrgiveaway AT gmail DOT com with your full name and mailing address. One entry per person, please: multiple entries will result in immediate disqualification, but please feel free to tell your friends! Please note again that, at the publisher’s request, this giveaway is limited to the US and Canada.
This giveaway ended on Sunday, March 30th at 11:59 PM.
Peter Higgins (Photo Credit Jackie Allen)
Peter Higgins’ debut novel Wolfhound Century was easily one of my favorite books of 2013. With its luminous prose and original world-building, the novel took me utterly by surprise. Today, just about a year later, Orbit and Peter Higgins deliver the second installment in the trilogy, entitled Truth and Fear.
On the occasion of the new novel’s release, I’m extremely proud to present this guest post by Mr. Higgins, who (in addition to these two excellent novels) has had short stories appear in Fantasy: Best of the Year 2007, Best New Fantasy 2, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Fantasy Magazine, Zahir and Revelation, and in Russian translation in the St Petersburg magazine Esli. He lives with his family in South Wales.
Please click below for Mr. Higgins’ guest post “Impossible Genres: Are There Books That Can’t Be Written?”, and make sure to check back here tomorrow for a great giveaway: I’ll have five copies of Wolfhound Century to give away!