The Book of Atrix Wolfe by Patricia A. McKillip Review

The award winning Patricia A. McKillip is one of the prominent authors within fantasy fiction, but whereas notable masters of the genre like J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin work on an epic scale, McKillip’s fantasies are more intimate and dreamlike. The Book of Atrix Wolfe can in many respects be likened to the detailed and colourful tapestries of the late medieval period, where vividly archaic figures of humans, animals and mythological creatures are intertwined with a myriad of organic ornamentation.

The Book of Atrix Wolfe

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Escapement by Jay Lake Review

Escapement is the sequel to Jay Lake’s critically acclaimed novel Mainspring, wherein he maps out an alternate Earth anno 1900. Lake has quite cleverly constructed a world that for the most part resembles ours yet differs in one very important aspect – Lake envisions the universe as an enormous clockwork whose brass mechanisms are, mostly, visible to the naked eye. Thus Earth is powered by a mainspring, hidden in its core, it circles around the Lamp of the Sun on a brass rail and it is divided by an enormous equatorial wall, topped by a brass gear train that physically connects the planet itself to its orbital trajectory around the sun.

Escapement Jay Lake

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Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey Review

Kushiel’s Dart is Jacqueline Carey’s highly successful debut and the first instalment of a trilogy that chronicles the exploits of Phèdre nó Delaunay – exquisite courtesan, talented spy and god-touched masochist. The book received the 2002 Locus Award for Best First Novel, and it established Carey as one of the new and innovative talents within the fantasy genre.

Kushiels Dart

*You can read a guest blog by Carey  and an interview with Jacqueline as well.

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Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky Review

Empire in Black and Gold is the debut of British author Adrian Tchaikovsky and the first installment in a trilogy titled Shadows of the Apt. In his debut Tchaikovsky gives us a heroic narrative where a small group of travellers offer resistance against overwhelming odds – a narrative pattern typical of epic fantasy.

Empire in Black and Gold

Check out an interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky.

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The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly Review

Irish author John Connolly is perhaps best known for his crime stories that hover on the edges between traditional detective stories and supernatural horror, but with The Book of Lost Things, Connolly travels deeper into fantasy-land, reinventing age-old fairy tales in a beautiful and poignant story of childhood and loss.

 John Connolly
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Dragon in Chains by Daniel Fox Review

Dragon in Chains is a stunning Oriental fantasy by Daniel Fox, which is the pen-name of the award-winning British writer Chaz Brenchley, known for the historical fantasy series The Books of Outremer. Dragon in Chains was conceived after a visit to Taiwan and both the story and world-building draws heavily on a vision of feudal China. It is the first installment in a trilogy called Moshui – the Books of Stone and Water, which shapes to be a wonderful epic of a world in turmoil, where revolution is ripping the social fabric of the empire apart and where the people of power, deep in political intrigues, remain blithely unaware of a more serious and sinister threat.

Daniel Fox

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Hand of Isis +Black Ships by Jo Graham Review

Last year Jo Graham made her debut as a novelist with Black Ship, a poignant and intimate re-working of the story of Vergil’s Aeneid, set in the Mediterranean Bronze Age, a world poised on the brink of collapse. Graham remains firmly entrenched in the Antique world with her second novel though it is set in a much later period where the Hellenistic culture that spread throughout the Ancient world in the wake of Alexander the Great now is on the retreat before Roman expansion.

Jo Graham

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Rifling Paradise by Jem Poster Review

Rifling Paradise is the second novel of the critically acclaimed novelist and poet Jem Poster. The praise is indeed well-deserved – Rifling Paradise is a very well-crafted piece of literary fiction; it is intense, vivid and thoughtful in its exploration of the hidden passions, forbidden desires and the unspoken social codes of Victorian society, all of which is subtly mirrored in and filtered through the more fundamental relationship between man and the natural world.

 Jem Poster

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The Republic of Vengeance by Paul Waters Review

The Republic of Vengeance marks the entry of a new and interesting author into the newly revitalized field of historical fiction. Paul Waters is trained as a classicist and his first novel is a testament to his historical expertise in its depiction of the Ancient world during the second century B.C.

Paul Waters

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Whiskey and Water + Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear Review

Whiskey and Water is the second novel published in Elizabeth Bear’s series of the Promethean Age and should be considered as an independent sequel to Blood and Iron. The story of Whiskey and Water takes place about seven years after the events of Blood and Iron and it features many of the same characters – mostly in minor roles – with a decided emphasis on the magus Matthew Szczegielniak, formerly of the Prometheus Club.

Elizabeth Bear

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Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier Review

Daughter of the Forest is the debut of the New Zealand author Juliet Marillier and the first book in the widely acclaimed Sevenwaters Trilogy. It offers a deep-felt re-telling of “Six Swans”, an old folk tale that exists in many variations throughout Germany and Scandinavia. With this novel, which was awarded the 2001 American Library Association Alex Award, Marillier follows into the footsteps of such literary giants as the famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, who set his version of the tale of the swan brothers to paper in 1838.

daughter of the forest

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The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia Review

History as it is written is full of holes, of secrets and of omissions. The so-called “secret histories”, fictional or otherwise, are the stories of the forgotten and the suppressed, the stories of those who have been deprived of a voice to tell their version of the past. Ekatarina Sedia’s The Secret History of Moscow is not a story about Moscow per se, but rather a novel about those broken and maladjusted people who lack a voice of their own and who don’t quite “fit” into our modern world of progress, improvement and self-realization.

Secret History of Moscow

Check out our interview with Ekaterina Sedia

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Ash: A Secret History by Mary Gentle Review

ASH – A Secret History can in many respects be regarded as Mary Gentle’s magnum opus, both in terms of volume (a whopping 1100 pages) and in terms of its ambition and scope. It is also a work of literature that is very difficult, if not impossible, to categorize. It is simultaneously historical fiction, alternate history, fantasy and science fiction. The novel was awarded the Sidewise Award for Alternate History in 2000. It should also be noted that while ASH is published in one volume by Gollancz in the UK, it is published in four volumes (A Secret History, Carthage Ascendant, The Wild Machines, Lost Burgundy) by Avon Eos in the US.

Mary Gentle

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Maledicte by Lane Robins Review

Maledicte marks Lane Robins’ first effort as a novelist, and a glance at the cover – which depicts and androgynous face in profile, eyes covered with an ornate Venetian-style domino, the title written with gothic type and the tagline: “A novel of love, betrayal, and vengeance” – it quickly becomes clear that Robins is aiming at a brand of dark fantasy of manners and courtly intrigue that have been very successful in the hands of writers like Jacqueline Carey and Ellen Kushner.


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