The world is dying.
The Sunset Lands are broken, torn apart by a war of ideology paid for with the lives of the peasants. Drought holds the east as famine ravages the farmlands. In the west, borders slam shut in the face of waves of refugees, dooming all of those trying to flee to slow starvation, or a future in forced labor camps. There is no salvation.
In the city of Lord’s Reach, Seraphina, a slave with unique talents, sets in motion a series of events that will change everything. In a fight for the soul of the nation, everyone is a player. But something ominous is calling people to Lord’s Reach and the very nature of magic itself is changing. Paths will converge, the battle for the Sunset Lands has shifted, and now humanity itself is at stake.
First, you must break before you can become.
Lucius Shepard's Viator Plus was published in late 2009 by PS Publishing. This short story collection contains an expanded version of the short novel Viator, which was originally published by Night Shade Books.
Here's a description of Viator Plus from the publisher's website:
In this, his seventh major collection, Lucius Shepard is as magisterial in narration and darkly eloquent in style as ever. The stories gathered here conduct the reader from the wastelands of the near future to the zoned-out bacchanals of Hollywood, from the fevered bordellos of Central America to the hallucinated revels of redneck country, from the broken hearts of wandering loners to alluring fantasy realms just beyond the threshold of perception. And when the journey is over, eternal contrasts – of man and woman, bosses and workers, responsibility and escape, conformity and freedom – stand in more powerful definition than ever before...
The title novel, Viator, is here published in its full, intended text for the first time – the previous version was some 20,000 words shorter – and is revealed as Shepard’s masterpiece of the decade. Five men of Swedish descent, drifters and drunks on the mend, are assigned to live aboard a derelict ship on the Alaskan coast, only to perceive that they are on the brink of a voyage beyond our world, one of beckoning glamour and incipient madness. Long sentences, alternately languorous and urgent, run moodily throughout the tale, in a feast of metaphoric language limning the perils of a soul caught between anchoring love and transcendent illusion.
And other stories set out equally resonant crises of the conflicted psyche. A mine manager who knows his domain for the very image of Hell bids for redemption, or at least survival. A scriptwriter in Hollywood finds that false appearances exist not only in films. A veteran rock singer, the “Queen Mother”, confronts apparitions with muddled resolve. A town in Latin America witnesses abasements emblematic of the region’s poverty. A foolish man loses his lover and pursues her image to nowhere. And the emergence of a monster on an American beach is not at all what it seems.
Viator Plus is a book of charismatic distinction, one of the finest collections of the year.
A REVIEW OF LUCIUS SHEPARD'S VIATOR PLUS
Steven Erikson's Crack'd Pot Trail will be published in late 2009 by PS Publishing.
Here's a short description of Crack'd Pot Trail from the publisher's website:
It is an undeniable truth: give evil a name and everyone's happy. Give it two names and... why, they're even happier.
The intrepid necromancers Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, scourges of civilization, raisers of the dead, reapers of the souls of the living, devourers of hope, betrayers of faith, slayers of the innocent and modest personifications of evil, have a lot to answer for and answer they will. Known as the Nehemoth, they are pursued by countless self-professed defenders of decency, sanity and civilization. After all, since when does evil thrive unchallenged? Well, often: but not this time.
Hot on their heels are the Nehemothanai, avowed hunters of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach. In the company of a gaggle of artists and pilgrims, stalwart Mortal Sword Tulgord Vise, pious Well Knight Arpo Relent, stern Huntsman Steck Marynd, and three of the redoubtable Chanter brothers (and their lone sister) find themselves faced with the cruelest of choices. The legendary Cracked Pot Trail, a stretch of harsh wasteland between the Gates of Nowhere and the Shrine of the Indifferent God, has become a tortured path of deprivation.
Will honour, moral probity and virtue prove champions in the face of brutal necessity? No, of course not. Don't be silly.
Here's Risingshadow.net's review of Crack'd Pot Trail.
A REVIEW OF STEVEN ERIKSON'S CRACK'D POT TRAIL
Rick Hautala's Reunion will be published in late 2009 by PS Publishing. Here's Risingshadow.net's review of Reunion.
A REVIEW OF RICK HAUTALA'S REUNION
Malcolm Walker is a new fantasy author, who's written The Stone Crown (Risingshadow.net's review of The Stone Crown can be found here).
Risingshadow.net has had the honour of interviewing Malcolm Walker.
AN INTERVIEW WITH MALCOLM WALKER
Here's a description of The Stone Crown from the publisher's website:
Emlyn and Maxine are both newcomers, both misfits in their own way. But their lives are linked and their paths destined to cross in ways that neither can begin to imagine. Drawn to the ancient site known as Sleeper's Spinney, Emlyn and Maxine unleash an unearthly power when they unwittingly remove one of a group of wooden horsemen hidden beneath the earth. Containing the trapped spirits of Arthur and his men, the carvings have been held in check since the Dark Ages by a long line of Keepers, the McCrossans. With the Keepers prepared to stop at nothing to recover what has been stolen, Emlyn and Maxine are drawn into a parallel world of myth, magic and the supernatural. Arthur is awake – and he is no revered, grey-bearded king come back to save the Isles. Its thrilling climax sees a race against time as Emlyn and Maxine try to destroy the figures before Arthur and his guard are let loose and released into the world of twenty-first century Scotland.
And here's Risingshadow.net's review of this book.
A REVIEW OF MALCOLM WALKER'S THE STONE CROWN