Monday, 13 June 2016
After the prequel theme of Midnight Tides, Bonehunters drags us back to the current day. Picking up the story threads from House of Chains (an astonishing book, and perhaps one of the strongest) we rejoin the Fourteenth Army suppressing the 7 cities rebellion. The 14th, with Kalam and Quick Ben, pursue Leoman of the Flails north to a city famed for its grim history to the Malazans. Elsewhere we catch up with Icarium and Mappo; with Cutter and Heboric; and with Trull Sengar, and Onos. Throw in Ganoes Paran taking a more active role, and Apsalar totally kicking arse, and the sub-plots begin to swell. Everyone's favourite barbarian Karsa (witness!) gets plenty of attention, and it's fun working out how all their paths will cross and un-cross, and how we pick up threads from Midnight Tides to form one ongoing narrative (rather than the three plot arcs of the first half of the series).
So what's good about this book, in the context of the series. We get some significant plot advancement with regards the Empire, the various imperial armies, some of the key characters (such as Icarium, Karsa, Ganoes). The Edur really emerge as utter bastards, their ethics tainted by Rhulad and his master, the Crippled God. It's quite a stark jump from how we left them in Midnight Tides, and I hope it'll be expanded further in Reaper's Gale.
The big feature of this book is the gods becoming far more involved in the scrap. Erikson has had gods butting in all the way along: thus far Shadowthrone, Cotillion, K'rul, Crippled God, Oponn, and the ascendants. This book, however, we get a much more definite feel of their personal involvement. Poliel, and Soliel, are newcomers and key to the book, we get loads of Shadowthrone and a much more sympathetic version of Cotillion. A bunch of others pop in, and the primordial spirit, Eres' Al, whose relationship to Bottle (a superb character) is fundamental to the book.
I'd previously rallied against the Grecian-style hidden gods in Erikson's work, especially in Midnight Tides where it felt that Erikson pulled a god out of the bag to resolve several plot crises. I've no huge problem with it, as long as it's not used too casually to diminish the very real drama and tension the mortals undergo. Erikson needs to tread carefully with it.
There are some genuine stand out scenes in here: Y'Gbatan, and the escape; Ganoes 's trip across the Jhagut underworld; Icarium unleashed; and the astonishing scene with Kalam, Tavore and T'Amber in Malaz City. Superb pace and writing, and absolute page turners, which in a series as complicated and convoluted as this is admirable. I think what I'm trying to say is that despite the mounds of info here that Erikson can still crank up the pace and action pretty much unlike any other current fantasy writer.
Any down sides? Although there was a central story (the resolution of Seven Cities, the return to Malaz City, and the binding of the 14th), the numerous other side-plots (Edur, first throne, gods warring, Icarium's past, etc etc) made the book feel, perhaps for the first time, like a filler. I suppose that was inevitable, when you are into the second half of the series. And unlike book four in GRRM's Song of Ice and Fire series it's 'filler' that never drags: I continually wanted to know what was going on with the huge cast of characters.
So, top marks again, with the aforementioned caveats.
Thursday, 19 May 2016
The concept evolved, far broader than I'd planned as these things often do, and what was once a two book series expanded into three and then after splitting the first meaty tome in twain, into a six book series (despite the 'trilogy' title on the FB page... LOL).
And, six years after I put digit to keyboard, bringing to life scribbles in notepads, and over half a million words later, book six is almost here. In the last throes of proof-reading, I have the distinct pleasure to reveal the incredible new cover for the book.
One of the great relationships I have enjoyed from the early bizarre days of FIBP and through the growth of the mighty Myrddin Publishing Group is the one I have with Ceri Clark. As well as her skills as an author, and writer of internet guides, Ceri has a real talent for book cover design. This has worked in synergy with ideas I have had regarding images, and she can take the raw substance and create some remarkable work. As you'll see below, Ceri's six book covers in my Darkness Rising series, form a great set.
The latest cover was a real challenge. Thus far we have had representations of Emelia (bk1-2), Hunor (bk3), Orla (bk4) and Kervin (bk5). For Book 6 I had always planned for Jem, who is perhaps the other key character in the series (along with Vildor and Aldred). Yet from an early stage I had such a strong image of Jem in my mind that nothing could replace it (if you are interested, I visualise him as David Thewlis as Professor Lupin).
So the image on book six is a representation of one of my series favorites, Ekris, the thespian assassin whose journey with Aldred was driven by his need for vengeance towards Hunor. Book five's finale saw the long awaited fight between the two master-swordsmen, and Book six takes Ekris into some strange uncharted territory in a way you simply won't believe. The hooded assassin, bearing a passing likeness to Ezio from Assassin's Creed, is stood in the ruins of a once great city--the finale location of the series, Erturia.
So... let's finish with the blurb, and the promise that the book is almost almost here.....
'There's no change without loss. No gain without sacrifice. Redemption is rarely painless.'
War has ripped apart Artoria as the dark forces of Vildor prepare for the final battle. Flying north to battle, Lady Orla forms an uneasy alliance with the Artorians. Yet her heart remains heavy with the guilt of recent betrayal.
In the wilderness of the Wastes, Emelia has succumbed to Vildor's black charm and watches
helplessly as his schemes come to their terrible conclusion. Separated from his partner, Hunor, the Wild-Mage Jem races across Artoria to save Emelia. But more than just Vildor stands in his way as the terrors of the past seek to steal the might of the crystals from his grasp, and with them all hope of salvation.
OOOHH... getting excited now :-D
* If you want to check Ceri Clark's website and work out, then click here
Sunday, 8 May 2016
Friday, 22 January 2016
Tuesday, 22 December 2015
Tuesday, 24 November 2015
“Please, listen to what I have to say. One person with sufficient magic at their disposal could sneak in and at least find out if mother is there. If so, she could be rescued and brought back before Gengaruk and his men even know she’s gone. There must be something in the magic you’ve set around the area which would prevent mother from freeing herself using her own gifts. This is where I have the advantage and the best of both worlds. Not only do I possess the magic of Idenvarlis, but Taivass-Maa also. So I would assume my air magic would not be affected by whatever you have in place to keep those animals trapped in that land.
“A battalion of your men would be seen and heard from a fair distance and unless you gave them bracelets to allow them immunity from the magic, they would get stuck there and besides, I’m guessing they don’t possess the full range of abilities we do, or am I wrong on that score?” Kailani’s voice was commanding and self-assured.
Silence so absolute you couldn’t even hear breathing suffused the throne room. Jaanis, Shivla, and Bellis looked thoughtful and Kailani breathed a sigh of relief. They were actually taking her seriously. Bellis was the first to break the silence. His voice sounded extraordinarily loud after the quiet, yet he was only speaking at his normal volume.
“You say you have all the magics from both worlds, how do you know this?”
Kailani unfastened the cape and pushed her hair to one side. Under her ear, indented into the skin, were three birthmarks: three wavy lines, a teardrop, and an icicle. Bellis bent closer to examine them and ran his finger over each one.
“Am I missing any?” she asked innocently.
“No, and they are genuine,” he replied, more for his parents’ benefit than Kailani’s, or so she felt. “What magics do you have from the air world?” She reached up and peeled back a little of her dress to reveal her left shoulder; goosebumps smothered her skin. Four raised birthmarks could clearly be seen: a star, moon, sun, and a flash of lightning. “What can you do with them?”
“I can teleport, I’m telepathic, I can shoot light rays from my eyes which have the burning power of the sun, and I can manifest blades of fire just by thought, to name but a few.” She covered her shoulder up quickly and pulled her cloak tighter around her.
Bellis turned to his parents. “Kailani must be the most powerful individual who ever came to Idenvarlis. As she said, she has the best of both worlds. I think she could stand a chance of finding Garalia if you could give her an immunity bracelet, Father.” Kailani gazed at Bellis in disbelief and was surprised to see something very different in his eyes to what came from his lips. A calculating look shone there and she knew something wasn’t right. Now wasn’t the time to find out more, although she vowed to herself that she would on her return. Her instincts were on full alert and they told her that Bellis wanted her gone. He didn’t want to share his parents’ attention with her, so would support any madcap scheme she came up with to rescue his sister in the hope she wouldn’t return.
If you can't wait for my review, you can read Carlie's book at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/ICE-AIR-Eagle-Eye-Editors-ebook/dp/B0186I74JC?tag=smarturl-gb-21