Tuesday, January 3, 2012

News about the Demon Cycle saga by Peter V. Brett ( By Mihir Wanchoo)

(Photo Credit: Peter V. Brett)

At Fantasy Book Critic, Liviu and me are big fans of Peter V. Brett’s Demon Cycle series. The first book The Painted Man was something of a book of the year for me. The author soon followed it up with The Desert Spear and the sequel built upon its predecessor’s premise and also doubled the POV list. The book’s ending made the next book seem very promising however the next book wasn’t complete and 2012 was tentatively floated around as a publication date of sorts but it was never confirmed. The writing however took its own time and around the same time the author also had to contend with health issues which reduced his writing speed.

So it was to my pleasure when I saw Peter blog about it and give out a release date of sorts for The Daylight War, the third book in the series. The current date heralded by the author is February 4, 2013. While it does seem a bit far away fans need not despair, along with the date proclamation. Peter also revealed a bunch of stuff about his series namely clearing the air about it not being a trilogy but a quintet. Also after the series gets over there will be a sixth book featuring a minor character called Selia Barren and is tentatively titled “Tibbet’s Brook”. To quote Peter it is basically “Selia’s life story and how it affects her decisions in the present as she contends with corelings, Krasians, and the growing power of Southwatch, all while wrestling the demons of her own past.”

Following the pattern of his previous novellas "The Great Bazaar" and "Brayan's Gold" there will be another novella out which is tentatively called “Mudboy” and features the titular character who originally was part of the Daylight War storyline however the author felt the character deserved his own story and hence the novella. There will be other novellas released in between the books and more information will revealed as time passes.

The remaining books in the Demon Cycle saga have the following titles and all of them are subject to change:
- The Forest Fortress [4th book of the Demon Cycle]
- The Core [5th book of the Demon Cycle and series end]
- Tibbet’s Brook [ 6th book in the series and a standalone work]

With such wonderful news being revealed I can’t wait to read the next book and novella and see where Peter plans to take the reader next in his demon infested world.

A Quick Take on 3 Recent Orbit Books, Lilith Saintcrow, Philip Palmer and John Fultz (by Liviu Suciu)

As I already have a pretty much full schedule of reviews to be done for the next 2-3 months - though of course anything unexpected that blows my mind will get the "gold treatment" here - I will present a quick take on 3 recent Orbit novels, though you may see a different take and a full review from Mihir on Seven Princes if he is not as underwhelmed as I was.


The Hedgewitch Queen by Lilith Saintcrow was billed as a sort of "Kushiel" lite - namely without the explicitness which while quite common in mainstream fiction today, is still a bit unheard of in the sff genre which clings to conservative/puritan expression modes all too often. From the map, subject and first person narration the novel lived to this expectation and the great first line:

"If not for a muddy skirt, I would have been dead like all the rest. Dead—or worse, perhaps."

kept me interested despite a noticeable slowing down in the first few chapters. The novel picks then up and has a great ending that kept me hooked for the second installment. The blurb below is reasonably accurate and the novel is a quite entertaining fantasy with a mixture of secondary world and alt-Earth world building. If it expands its universe and scope which for now are still a bit narrow and far from the rich tapestry of the Jacqueline Carey novels, I see a great future for this series.

"Vianne di Rocancheil has been largely content to play the gawky provincial. As lady in waiting at the Court of Arquitaine, she studies her books, watches for intrigue, and shepherds her foolhardy Princesse safely through the glittering whirl. Court is a sometimes-unpleasant waltz, especially for the unwary, but Vianne treads its measured steps well.

Unfortunately, the dance has changed. Treachery is afoot in gilded and velvet halls. A sorcerous conspiracy is unleashed, with blood, death, and warfare close behind. Her Princesse murdered and her own life in jeopardy, Vianne must flee, carrying the fate of her land with her--the Great Seal of Arquitaine, awake after its long sleep. Invasion threatens, civil war looms, and the conspiracy hunts for Vianne di Rocancheil, to kill or to use her against all she holds dear.

A life of dances, intrigues, and fashion has not prepared her for this. Nor has it prepared her for Tristan d'Arcenne, Captain of the King's Guard and player in the most dangerous games conspiracy can devise. Yet to save her country and avenge her Princesse, Vianne will become what she must, say what she should, and do whatever is required.

A Queen can do no less."


Artemis by Philip Palmer is a sort of sequel to his wonderful debut Debatable Spaces. In small doses, I greatly enjoy Philip Palmer's cinematic style prose and ultra-violent sf, while his fractured prose brings a change from the genre conservativeness I talked about above also. But here it lies also the problem with his books, namely that all too often there is an element of artificiality, of "this is a Matrix like game" that tends to take away the enjoyment a little.

Artemis was a page turner for most of its length and while I felt the book did not cohere well enough - maybe it tried too hard to tie up too many loose ends and lots of stuff that came as "big revelations" felt forced imho - I would still recommend it for the great "kick butt and take no prisoners" heroine of the title and the sense of closure it brings to the Debatable Spaces action too. Here is the blurb:

"Artemis McIvor is a thief, a con-artist, and a stone cold killer. And she's been on a crime-spree for, well, for years. The galactic government has collapsed and the universe was hers for the taking.

But when the cops finally catch up with her, they give Artemis a choice. Suffer in prison for the rest of her very long life, or join a crew of criminals, murderers, and traitors on a desperate mission to save humanity against an all-consuming threat.

Now, Artemis has to figure out how to be a good guy without forgetting who she really is."


As mentioned above there is a chance that Seven Princes by John Fultz will see a proper review here, but I felt remiss not to express my huge disappointment about this book which I felt was a big step down in quality from the usually good to superb novels Orbit publishes. A just by the numbers fantasy with mediocre writing, I basically browsed through after reading the first five pages and feeling "why do I waste my time with this??". Still, I persevered and read more ahead and more, hoping to get a "hook" to interest me. I even read the ending and it was as bland and as boring as the rest. Here is the blurb:

"It is an Age of Legends.
Under the watchful eye of the Giants, the kingdoms of Men rose to power. Now, the Giant-King has slain the last of the Serpents and ushered in an era of untold peace and prosperity. Where a fire-blackened desert once stood, golden cities flourish in verdant fields.

It is an Age of Heroes.

But the realms of Man face a new threat-- an ancient sorcerer slaughters the rightful King of Yaskatha before the unbelieving eyes of his son, young Prince D'zan. With the Giant-King lost to a mysterious doom, it seems that no one has the power to stop the coming storm."

It is an age of War