Prior to reading D.B. Jackson’s (aka: David B. Coe) most recent novel, my only exposure to the idea of a thieftaker, or a private individual hired to capture criminals, was Julian Sandar from Robert Jordan’s iconic Wheel of Time. Interestingly, my only experience with pre-Revolution America in genre fiction also came by way of Robert Jordan in his Fallon Blood series written under the pseudonym Reagan O’Neal. Jackson’s Thieftaker lifts both limitations, deftly blending historical fiction and urban fantasy to create a who-dun-it dressed up with tricorn hats and blood magic.
Set in 1765 in Boston, Massachusetts, during The Stamp Act riots, Thieftaker follows the exploits of Ethan Kaille, Jackson’s protagonist and only point of view character. Making his living finding stolen goods, Ethan is also a speller, capable of turning organic material into magical energy. When he’s asked to recover a necklace worn by the murdered daughter of a prominent royalist, he finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy to upset the delicate balance between Britain and her colonies.… Read the rest
Mieneke from A Fantastical Librarian invited me to answer some questions about me, my interest in genre fiction, and blogging. I was all too happy to reply, because let’s be honest, who doesn’t like talking about themselves?
She asked a lot of questions, but the one I found most fascinating was, “How do you think blogs and reviewers fit in the book business?” I’ve written about the topic at some length before, but I think my answer sheds some more light on where I stand.
With the decline of the bookstore the vast majority of people moving forward will buy their books on-line. Decline in bookstores, means a decline in conversation between two people who love books. Ask anyone out there, what’s the best way to sell books? Their answer is always, “Word of mouth.” Well what happens when people stop running into each other in the stacks? When book store employees aren’t there to recommend stuff?
I was planning on writing this post for a few weeks then the Mad Hatter, Pornokitsch, the OF Blog, and a host of others beat me to it. Jerks. In any case, it’s the halfway mark for the year. I’ve read 49 genre novels so far this year. Included below are very brief and very early looks at my best/worst of lists for the year.
It should bear noticing that three of the novels are from Orbit, and the sixth would have been K.J. Parker’s Sharps, yet another Orbit title. With Joe Abercrombie and Jesse Bullington both due out with novels later this year from Orbit, it appears to be a banner year for Hachette’s genre imprint.
Around these parts I commit myself to (at least try) finishing everything I start. Why, you ask? Because I think it’s important for me to help my readers make decisions about what they should buy and what they should avoid. If I only read things that I enjoy, how will I ever fulfill the second half of that commitment? I’m also loathe to spend 800 words eviscerating someone’s baby. Thus, Cheryl was born. Cheryl is my imaginary personal assistant who helps me “review” novels I really did not like. Instead of just doggedly attacking a novel’s failures, I try to have some fun with it and get some laughs. Hopefully it’s taken the way I intend it. This is my seventh installment of posts featuring Cheryl. If you enjoy this one, I suggest finding the Cheryl tag on the right sidebar for the others. This is the second time Cheryl has been deployed on a self published novel.… Read the rest
This has been a long week. My father-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a few weeks ago and this past Thursday he had surgery to remove it. Thankfully, the tumor was located in the head of the pancreas which allows for a surgical procedure known as the Whipple. Without boring everyone with the gory details, it’s an amazing operation that basically rewires the entire digestive system removing parts of the pancreas, stomach, and small intestine. For patients lucky enough to catch the cancer before it spreads, the Whipple is a life saving operation.
From my daughter’s Christening.
I’ve spent most of the last four days at Johns Hopkins. I can’t explain how blessed we feel to live 45 minutes from the hospital where this surgery was perfected. Dr. John Cameron, the man responsible for it, has done 2,000 of them himself. For a cancer as rare as this, that’s a mind numbing total.… Read the rest
It begins with the execution of Eirik 9968, rumored leader of the NWO. Vikram, his friend and sometime conspirator, watches from the crowd as the skadi carry out The Council’s sentence. Not a Citizen and only recently released from prison himself, he’s helpless to stop it. Also watching is Adelaide Mystik, daughter of a founding family, tabloid darling, and eternal disappointment. She can barely watch as Eirik drowns, chained to the bottom of a sealed tank. The Council hopes that Eirik’s death will quell the uprisings in Osiris’ western sector. They’re wrong.
Osiris, E.J. Swift’s debut novel, is a title pregnant with meaning. The Egyptian god of the afterlife and underworld, Osiris judges the dead, sending them on to their rewards, which for the elite of Egypt meant eternal life. Through the hope of new life after death Osiris also associates with nature, in particular the annual flooding of the Nile, and crops that spring from it.… Read the rest
Now that we’re at the halfway mark for the year, I thought it would appropriate to point out all the novels coming out from August-December that strike my fancy. I’ll be breaking my posts down by publisher. Below are the novels coming this Fall and Winter from Night Shade, Angry Robot, Baen, and Pyr that will be must reads for me. I’ll mention that there are likely some books from November and December here that aren’t currently listed on the publisher’s websites that I’ll end up wanting (Anne Lyle’s Merchant of Dreams is an example). Either way, I can’t read them all. So I’ll be looking forward to seeing what interests you. Here’s what caught my eye:
The Constantine Affliction by T. Aaron Payton (NSB – August)
1864. London is a city in transition. The Constantine Affliction–a strange malady that kills some of its victims and physically transforms others into the opposite sex–has spread scandal and upheaval throughout society.
I was so amped to read Amped. I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist.
In reality, I was moderately interested in Daniel H. Wilson’s follow up to his New York Times bestelling debut Robopocalypse. His first novel was an entertaining page turner that garnered far better press than it rightly deserved, but it demonstrated that Wilson was a capable story teller who would improve in future novels.
With that frame of mind I went into Amped hopeful that it would meet expectation. It did not. I finished it more convinced that Robopocalypse’s success had more to do with the formula (borrowed from World War Z) and marketing push than any inherent quality of the novel itself. It left me wondering whether the definition of a summer read has become wholly reflective of the summer blockbuster film — form over substance, effects over plot.
Wilson’s strength is in the merging of science and reality to create a believable future.… Read the rest
This week I turned my blog into David Anthony Durham central. Why did I do it? In short, because his Acacia Trilogy is one of the best completed series of the last ten years. I’m a huge fan. His books reintroduced me to fantasy. Below are links to my review and a tremendous interview:
Not only did I want to share that with all the people who read this blog, I also wanted to call attention to the fact that Durham and Anchor have reissued the entire series in trade paperback with a blurb from George R.R. Martin. I think the blurb is the main reason for the reissue, but Durham took the opportunity to do some edits, cutting 14,000 words from the first volume. I applaud the effort.
Now that we’re at the halfway mark for the year, I thought it would appropriate to point out all the novels coming out from August-December that strike my fancy. I’ll be breaking my posts down by publisher. Below are the novels coming this Fall and Winter from Tor that will be must reads for me. The truth is though, I can’t read them all. So I’ll be looking forward to seeing what interests you.
Here’s what caught my eye:
Black Bottle by Anthony Huso (August)
Tabloids sold in the Duchy of Stonehold claim that the High King, Caliph Howl, has been raised from the dead. His consort, Sena Iilool, both blamed and celebrated for this act, finds that a macabre cult has sprung up around her.
As this news spreads, Stonehold—long considered unimportant—comes to the attention of the emperors in the southern countries. They have learned that the seed of Sena’s immense power lies in an occult book, and they are eager to claim it for their own.