Mini-Review: Veil of the Deserters by Jeff Salyards

VeiloftheDesertersScourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards was one of 2012’s most pleasant surprises in the fantasy field. The novel put a surprising twist on the burgeoning grimdark sub-genre by using an unexpected narrator, the inexperienced, bookish, somewhat timid scribe (Arkamondos) to recount the violent and blood-soaked adventures of a band of foul-mouthed Syldoon soldiers.

What happens when a young man, whose main experience in life consists of transcribing letters and maintaining ledgers for merchants, suddenly finds himself as the embedded reporter for a group of battle-hardened fighters who appear to be bent on causing mayhem in his homeland, for as yet unknown reasons? This is the story Jeff Salyards started in Scourge of the Betrayer (my review) and now, two years later, continues in Veil of the Deserters.

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Mind Meld: Should Unfinished Series Remain Unfinished?

I made a small contribution to SF Signal‘s latest Mind Meld: “What’s Your Take on Author Legacies? Should Unfinished Series Remain Unfinished?” You can find my answer (and several other folks’ answers) here at SF Signal!

Also: I’m still here! It’s been quiet at Far Beyond Reality lately, mainly because of some craziness going on in my personal life that’s seriously cut into my reading and writing time. However, I am planning to start posting reviews again soon, probably shorter ones than before because of lack of time, but still — some new book-related ramblings should be forthcoming soon! Ish. Meanwhile, thanks for your patience.

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Excerpt: The Wurms of Blearmouth by Steven Erikson

TheWurmsofBlearmouthI’m very pleased to present an excerpt from Steven Erikson’s brand new novella,  The Wurms of Blearmouth: A Malazan Tale of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach.

Here’s the synopsis from publisher Tor Books:

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, and 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.

Please enjoy this excerpt from The Wurms of Blearmouth. And… make sure to come back later this week for a new giveaway and the chance to win a copy of the novella!

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Lookin’ Good: Irregularity by Jared Shurin (Ed.)

IrregularityThis book. This book. I saw the announcement about the new Jurassic London anthology Irregularity earlier this week, and got properly excited because, well, did you see the table of contents? But, for some reason, I hadn’t noticed the cover. And then I did. Did you see that cover? I am reduced to incoherent birb speak.

Here’s all the info from Jurassic London‘s website:

Irregularity is about the tension between order and chaos in the 17th and 18th centuries. Men and women from all walks of life dedicated themselves to questioning, investigating, classifying and ordering the natural world. They promoted scientific thought, skepticism and intellectual rigour in the face of superstition, intolerance and abuses of power. These brave thinkers dedicated themselves and their lives to the idea that the world followed rules that human endeavour could uncover… but what if they were wrong?

Irregularity is about the attempts to impose man’s order on nature’s chaos, the efforts both successful and unsuccessful to better know the world.

Fom John Harrison to Ada Lovelace, Isaac Newton to Émilie du Châtelet, these stories showcase the Age of Reason in a very different light.

This anthology is published to coincide with two exhibitions at the National Maritime Museum taking place in 2014: a major exhibition on the story of the quest for longitude at sea and a steampunk show at the Royal Observatory. The Museum is also our partner for the publication of Irregularity, including access to their archives for materials, imagery and inspiration.

Click below for the full Table of Contents.

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“A Year and a Day in Old Theradane” by Scott Lynch

rogues (1)The following is a non-spoiler review of “A Year and a Day in Old Theradane”, a piece of short fiction by Scott Lynch included in the new Rogues anthology. The anthology, edited by Gardner Dozois and one George R.R. Martin, is the latest iteration of a series of themed cross-genre collections of short fiction by big name authors. (See also: Warriors, Dangerous Women, …)

Rogues contains stories by:

Joe Abercrombie • Daniel Abraham • David W. Ball • Paul Cornell • Bradley Denton • Phyllis Eisenstein • Gillian Flynn • Neil Gaiman • Matthew Hughes • Joe R. Lansdale • Scott Lynch  • George R.R. Martin • Garth Nix • Cherie Priest • Patrick Rothfuss • Steven Saylor • Michael Swanwick • Lisa Tuttle • Carrie Vaughn • Walter Jon Williams • Connie Willis

Tor.com asked me to write something non-spoilery about Scott Lynch’s story “A Year and a Day in Old Theradane”, and, well, here it is!

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Lookin’ Good: New AUDIO versions of Master of Whitestorm and Sorcerer’s Legacy by Janny Wurts!

The Master of WhitestormThis installment of Lookin’ Good should probably have been re-titled “Soundin’ Good”, as this is the first time I’m covering audio-books on Far Beyond Reality! I’m not an audio-book person, mainly because my attention tends to wander when listening to the spoken word, but I’ll happily make an exception for these two books by one of my favorite fantasy authors.

First up: Master of Whitestorm, an excellent standalone fantasy I reviewed here last year. Being a standalone, this is a great way to discover Janny Wurts. (The other standalone I always recommend to get started is her excellent To Ride Hell’s Chasm, reviewed here at Fantasy Literature.) Now, I don’t know the first thing about audio-books, but even I know the name of this book’s narrator: the great Golden Voice and Audie-winner Simon Prebble. Sold yet?

Listen to the first chapter of Master of Whitestorm here.

Sorcerer's LegacyNext up, Sorcerer’s Legacy, another classic standalone novel by Janny Wurts. Fun fact: Raymond E. Feist asked Wurts to collaborate on the Empire trilogy based on this novel! The audio edition of Sorcerer’s Legacy is narrated by yet another Audie winner, Emily Gray.

Listen to the first chapter of Sorcerer’s Legacy here.

And that’s it for this addition of Lookin’ Soundin’ Good. Go forth and get thee some great audio books!

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Defenders by Will McIntosh

DefendersIt’s 2029, and things aren’t looking good for the human race. Ever since the alien race known as the Luyten invaded Earth a few years ago, humanity has been fighting a losing war. Billions of people have died. The scattered survivors try to fight back, but their efforts are doomed from the start because the Luyten are telepathic: they always know when, where and how the next attack will happen. They use their electrocution and heating weapons with ruthless, impassive efficiency. The giant, starfish-shaped mind-readers appear to be an unstoppable foe.

It will take a miracle for the human race to survive and recapture their own planet. A miracle—or the Defenders….

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