Laird Barron's The Croning will be published by Night Shade Books in May 2012.
Laird Barron is the author of two short story collections (The Imago Sequence and Occultation). His stories have appeared in several magazines and anthologies. The Croning is his debut novel.
Here's a description of The Croning:
Strange things exist on the periphery of our existence, haunting us from the darkness looming beyond our firelight. Black magic, weird cults and worse things loom in the shadows. The Children of Old Leech have been with us from time immemorial. And they love us...
Donald Miller, geologist and academic, has walked along the edge of a chasm for most of his nearly eighty years, leading a charmed life between endearing absent-mindedness and sanity-shattering realization. Now, all things must converge. Donald will discover the dark secrets along the edges, unearthing savage truths about his wife Michelle, their adult twins, and all he knows and trusts. For Donald is about to stumble on the secret...
...of The Croning.
From Laird Barron, Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of The Imago Sequence and Occultation, comes The Croning, a debut novel of cosmic horror.
A REVIEW OF LAIRD BARRON'S THE CRONING
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has announced the nominees for the 2011 Nebula Awards.
Sherrida Woodley's Quick Fall of Light was published in 2010 by Gray Dog Press.
Here's a description of Quick Fall of Light:
Can A Shocking Resurrection From Extinction Save Mankind?
While the world succumbs to the horrors of a great flu epidemic, a woman vows to protect the perilous fate of a bird whose existence manipulates the destiny of man. In this suspenseful tale, part Michael Crichton, part Rachel Carson, a global virus sets the tone, but it's a one-pound bird that determines who lives... and who doesn't. Science collides head-on with the untamed in this powerful novel of redemption.
Click here to visit Sherrida Woodley's official website.
A REVIEW OF SHERRIDA WOODLEY'S QUICK FALL OF LIGHT
David Burrows' Prophecy of the Kings Trilogy was published in 2010.
Here's a short description of Prophecy of the Kings Trilogy:
The fate of three worlds are intertwined, that of men, dragons and demons. The time is fast approaching when the fabric separating the worlds will become sufficiently thin for demons to cross the divide once again, but the people are largely ignorant of this, preferring forgetfulness rather than confronting their fears. The Eldric, saviours of previous wars, have mysteriously disappeared from the world of men, leaving crumbling ruins where once stood proud cities. Vastra, recklessly ambitious and driven by greed for power, seeks an Eldric talisman and recruits Kaplyn and Lars to gain it. Together the three men unravel an ancient secret that could doom them all. The evil that is Trosgarth is spreading across the land, monarchs are slain to deny the Prophecy from coming to pass, Priest of Ryoch are trained to communicate via their Shaols (their guardian spirits), while grakyn and krell gather in the remote regions of the world. As yet the drums of war beat quietly but all too soon they will call aloud for all out war and who then will be ready...
Click here to visit David Burrows' official website.
A REVIEW OF DAVID BURROWS' PROPHECY OF THE KINGS TRILOGY (OMNIBUS)
Prophecy of the Kings Trilogy is an omnibus edition and it contains three fantasy books (Legacy of the Eldric, Dragon Rider and Shadow of the Demon).
During the last couple of years I've noticed that several lesser known traditional fantasy books are often more interesting and fascinating than well known traditional fantasy books. Prophecy of the Kings is one of these books, because it's pure entertainment from start to finish. When I began to read this book I didn't know much about it, but the story turned out to be surprisingly entertaining and it was fun to read what happened to the characters and what kind of plot twists the author had invented.
Prophecy of the Kings is a story about a group of peple who try to save their world. Demons and their worshipers are trying to open a gateway to a demon world, which would let demons loose in the world and all the inhabitants would either die or become slaves. The heroes of this story try to find the mysterious Eldric, which have disappeared and have left behind only certain items (the Eldric may be the only a hope against the demons, so finding them is important). This quest takes the heroes on a big adventure and changes their lives dramatically.
The four main characters are Kaplyn, Lars, Vastra and Lomar. Kaplyn is a prince who escaped from his home. Lars is a man who was shipwrecked and can't return home to his family. Vastra is a mysterious sorcerer who doesn't reveal much about himself. He hires Kaplyn and Lars, because he needs help in order to find what he's looking for. Lomar is an interesting character, because he's an Alvalah (the Alvalah are albinoes who live in the middle of a secluded forest in a place called Gilfillan).
I was amazed how fluently the author wrote about the adventures of the characters and the events, which ranged from travelling in the forest to a war with the demons. Reading about beautiful landscapes, magical happenings and action scenes was enjoyable. The author has created an interesting history for his fantasy world, so revelations about the past were fascinating.
I think it's good to mention that the story is surprisingly complex. Although this book is clearly traditional epic fantasy, it's more complex than several other similar books, because David Burrows has had ambition to create a complex story. It's nice that the author manages to end Legend of the Eldric and Dragon Rider in an addictive way so that the reader wants to know what happens in the final book.
The author's love for traditional fantasy can be seen in this book, because the story is true to the genre in almost every possible way. This can either be seen as a good thing or a bad thing depending on the reader's interest in traditional fantasy (I know that there are several readers who don't like traditional fantasy, because they only want to read realistic adult fantasy without traditional fantasy elements, but there are also readers who enjoy good old-fashioned fantasy). I personally found this book to be entertaining, because I've always liked traditional fantasy and I've been able to enjoy reading it. (I'm not trying to be a spokesperson for traditional fantasy, but I have to mention that it seems that more and more people have become alienated from traditional fantasy, which is a shame.)
This book is full of intresting details and lots of traditional fantasy elements (sorcerers, magic, demons, dwarves, spirits, dragons etc). What I liked most was that the author wrote fascinatingly about the demigods (Kalanth), which were guardians of the world. I also enjoyed reading about the dwarves and the Alvalah, because both races were different and had their own cultures. Reading about the ancient and extinct Eldric was very fascinating, because the author managed to prolong telling about them and didn't reveal what happened to them in the beginning of the book. I also have to mention that the author has come up with an original idea involving aging and magical sleep (this kind of fantasy elements can usually be found in fairy tales, so it was interesting to read about it).
The home of the Alvalah, Gilfillan, reminded me a bit of Lothlórien (the forest realm of the elves in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings). I'm not sure if Lothlórien has been an inspiration for this forest realm, but it's nice that the author invented Gilfillan, because it's a beautiful creation and the author writes almost poetically about it and its wonders.
In my opinion Prophecy of the Kings Trilogy is a good example of a neglected fantasy trilogy, which deserves to get more publicity, because several fans of epic fantasy stories may find it interesting. This kind of traditional fantasy is fun to read and it offers harmless entertainment for its readers, because the reader simply has to allow the story to transport himself/herself to an imaginary fantasy world. I'm sure that fans of Terry Brooks will like this kind of fantasy very much because there are certain similarities between Brooks' Shannara books and this trilogy. Fans of old-fashioned quest fantasy may also enjoy this trilogy.
I'll also mention that it was refreshing to read a fantasy book, which didn't contain sexual situations or swearing. The lack of these things makes this book ideal reading for younger readers (I'm sure that young adults will enjoy reading this book).
Although I liked this book, I think it's good to mention that there were some rough spots in this book. The character development could have been a bit better, because it would've been nice to read more about the feelings of the characters and how they grow as persons. Certain situations were solved a bit too easily and fast (this can be a bit annoying for readers who have read lots of traditional fantasy books), but this is normal in traditional fantasy. I think that the author's purpose has been to keep the story flowing as fluently as possible so that the reader doesn't become bored, because the heroes have to face many kinds of threats and problems and have to find a way out of difficult situations.
Despite certain shortcomings, Prophecy of the Kings Trilogy is an exciting, easily likeable and fast-paced fantasy adventure, which is difficult to put down once you start reading it. Fans of adventure stories will be delighted by how easily the author keeps the story flowing and delivers plot twists along the way (if you're looking for an enjoyable fantasy adventure, this trilogy will offer good entertainment for a few hours). I can recommend this book to readers who enjoy reading traditional epic fantasy stories, because it's among the best new traditional fantasy books published during the recent years.
Graham Diamond's Chocolate Lenin will be published by Lion Books (New York) in May 2012.
Here's a short description of Chocolate Lenin:
The plot of Chocolate Lenin involves a crazed scientist in a chocolate factory recreating Lenin and restoring him to life. An elite but very quirky security team is formed to stop a new revolution from creating worldwide pandemonium and trouble.
More information about Graham Diamond can be found here.
A REVIEW OF GRAHAM DIAMOND'S CHOCOLATE LENIN