my books

23May

DeathRay Reviews “Nights of Villjamur”

Nights of Villjamur received a great review in DeathRay science fiction and fantasy magazine this month. Here are a few highlights:

The author’s style pushes this tale closer to literary work than most fantasy fare and in particular there’s a pleasing depth to the characters… It’s to Newton’s credit that there’s not a cliché among them; he paints his cast to harbour some wonderful contradictions hidden beneath their official faces… Newton’s characterisations are backed up by an obvious understanding of how the world works and this colours his writing… The plot is also multi-threaded, with story lines occasionally overlapping and characters occasionally appearing in the background of each other’s situations like an episode of Lost… Overall, this is an impressive novel from a new fantasy author.

And it turns out there wasn’t any Cobra beer at the wedding I went to at the weekend, but it was good fun nonetheless. I’d never been to a Hindu ceremony before, but it was at this fascinating Hare Krishna manor/temple, just north of London. We had to sit down on the floor, cross-legged, for some time whilst watching what was a 5,000 year old ceremony. I’ll hopefully get some photos up soon.

20May

Review, Blurb, etc.

Civilian Reader got to grips with Nights of Villjamur. And they liked it:

Villjamur is a dark, hard place, populated by a cast of characters so varied and colourful it is almost impossible not to be drawn in. Newton is adept at conveying his characters’ emotions and states-of-mind through his prose. Battle or action scenes (particularly in the beginning) are written in a way to convey the chaos and confusion his characters are likely to feel, making the novel all the more immersive. His characters are equally strong and flawed, and one finds oneself caring about their plight and struggles, rooting for them throughout. There are plenty of surprises along the way, as the author slowly reveals more and more about his characters – some true shocks, and some pleasant or interesting surprises…

Filled with strange and bizarre creatures (the “garudas”, for example), Nights of Villjamur is an excellent book indeed, standing out with the author’s considerable imagination and inventiveness and attention to detail.

A recommended, very good start to a new series.

And a blurb, from star SF and Fantasy editor Lou Anders:

“Mark Newton is poised to be a power in the new fantasy”

Which is lovely.

I’m heading off to my cousin’s wedding at the weekend; it’s an Indian ceremony, which means… posh curry. I wonder if they’ll have Cobra?. One can only hope.

12May

Final Copy Of The Book…

Is at the post office because I wasn’t in during the day.

Reasons to break in and rescue it:

1) Getting my copy of the book now
2) Sleeping well
3) Feeling smug

Reasons not to break in:

1) Prison

3:1 in favour. I do not like waiting for things.

7May

Press Release: Two-Book US Rights Deal to Del Rey

PRESS RELEASE – TWO-BOOK US RIGHTS DEAL FOR NEW BRITISH FANTASY WRITER

Margaret Halton, Rights Director at Pan Macmillan, has sold US rights in two fantasy novels by UK novelist Mark Charan Newton to Chris Schluep for a good five-figure sum in US dollars.

World rights in the novels, which open with Mark’s mainstream debut NIGHTS OF VILLJAMUR (to be published in hardback in the UK in June 2009), were acquired by Peter Lavery at Tor UK from John Jarrold in 2008.

Chris Schluep said: ‘I am so excited to be publishing NIGHTS OF VILLJAMUR, which is an absolutely wonderful book, and I’m very much looking forward to launching the U.S. career of an important and talented new writer in the field. I’m convinced that Mark has a bright future ahead of him; he’s one of those writers that you come across only on occasion . . .’

‘Chris acted quickly and with great enthusiasm. Mark and I are delighted, and looking forward to working with him and his colleagues at Del Rey, who I know well,’ said John Jarrold.

1May

Forbidden Planet Signing, Thursday 4th June, 6 – 7pm

A press release from Forbidden Planet!

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Diary Date: Thursday 4th June 6 – 7pm

Forbidden Planet is pleased to announce a signing by Mark Charan Newton. He will be signing his astounding novel Nights of Villjamur the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR, on Thursday 4th June 6 – 7pm

Already making a name for itself as ‘a contender for the best fantasy novel of 2009’, Nights of Villjamur is Mark’s epic debut work. With a richly convoluted plot and a corrupt and decadent culture, the story is told from multiple points of view, each with a distinct voice and agenda. Gloriously complex and beautifully evocative, Nights of Villjamur sets a new standard in fantasy fiction writing.

Born in 1981 and now live in Nottingham, UK, Mark writes strange and highly erudite fantasy fiction and brings a new level of literacy and awareness to the genre. When not wandering the streets of Villjamur, you’ll find him enjoying books, guitars, geeks, cheap indie-music bars – or escaping the big city completely.

Forbidden Planet is the largest store of its kind in the world. Some of the biggest names in Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Comics and Cult Entertainment have come to our London Megastore for signing events, including: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Terry Gilliam, Simon Pegg, William Gibson, Mark Millar, Guillermo Del Toro, Brian Froud and Stephen King.

For more news about our signings please go to: http://www.forbiddenplanet.com/Signings.html

Danie Ware
Tel: 020 7803 1890
Email: danie.ware@forbiddenplanet.com

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Note how I “enjoy”, amongst other things, geeks… (I think this was cut from the sidebar on the right, but hey, if you are a geek, chances are I will enjoy your company.)

30Apr

SFX Shoot

Yesterday I had a photo shoot for SFX magazine, where apparently there will be a double page feature of me, you poor, poor readers. There was an accompanying phone interview earlier in the week, but worryingly, they required a full-page shot. Let it be known that cameras and myself do not get on, and as a writer all I want to do is be a hermit (well, a hermit with wireless internet access and an Apple computer).

So after a few tentative snaps around the area just outside of Nottingham Castle, we ended up going into the Trip to Jerusalem, one of the oldest pubs in England, and in which, I shit you not, knights gathered before heading off to the Crusades in 1189AD.

Hats off to Digby, the cellar manager there, who spotted us taking pictures and then let us use the cellar which is part of the cave system. Actual caves! What a great location – and surrounded by so many barrels of ale. I think (hope) the photo they’ll use is one of the many which were taken of me perched on a piece of sandstone, alongside a sabre and helm (yes, they were down there), and it was dark and atmospheric enough so that you can’t see me all that well. It was a fantasy protagonist’s wet dream. Digby even helped by holding the flash to one side and lighting the candles behind me. Clichés, perhaps, but fun clichés, and I was all over the opportunity like a bad aftershave.

Afterwards I bought Digby a pint for his help, hospitality, and his fascinating history of the pub’s cellars.

The things a writer has to do…

17Apr

Graeme Visits Villjamur / As Does King Of The Nerds

Yep, I’m being solipsistic again. Here’s another review over at Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review.

I finally got round to picking the book up last weekend and finished it last night in a fit of ‘I can’t stop reading, I really must find out how it all ends…’ It turns out that everyone was right and my anticipation of ‘Nights of Villjamur’ was well founded…

… The bottom line is that Newton writes an engaging tale full of different subplots that all come together to form a picture you’d only half guessed at while you were reading. ‘Nights of Villjamur’ has something for everyone and it’s all good. If you’re after a noir thriller then follow Inquisitor Jeryd down the mean streets as he attempts to solve a murder that has everyone baffled. If you’re after something political then Villjamur is full of competing factions that are all out for power and will stop at nothing to get it. If all you want is a bit of honest thievery and the sound of swords clashing in anger then there is plenty of that as well.

The events portrayed in ‘Nights of Villjamur’ are guaranteed page turners and the characters involved are just as engaging. Newton takes his time going into what it must be like living in a world approaching its end and how this can affect people’s decisions. Some characters stick to what they know whether that’s the upholding of the law or following their own base desires. In a dying world where change can be seen as pointless some characters do develop and these journeys are the ones that are worth following. There is enough going on in these pages to make reading the sequel pretty much essential as far as I’m concerned…

Nine and a Quarter out of Ten

I don’t know where I lost that .75 of a point. Must. Try. Harder.

And here’s another just in, from King of the Nerds (what a great blog name!):

This was by and large one of the best titles I’ve read this year. Had Tor U.K. not sent me an ARC for review I’d be converting my dollars into pounds and not regretting that fact for a single moment…

The subtle blending of fantasy, horror, noir, and fantasy results in an interesting and enthralled final product that has a lot to offer just about any reader. Marketing material and reviews mentioned Charon amongst such speculative fiction luminaries as M. John Harrison, Stephen Erikson, and even China Mieville. To an extent those comparisons are accurate but to be fair I think Newton has managed a synthesis of styles that deserves to be examined in its own right rather than solely with the context of his literary forbears. As I’m almost certain I’ve mentioned before that is courtesy I do not necessarily extend every book my way. As a debut novel (at least with a major publisher, The Reef had a small print run but I might have to track it down anyway, but even as a second novel) Nights of Villjamur is surprisingly mature bit of prose that I would hope to see on any list of modern fantasy classics and in the coming years I’m willing to be we’ll be seeing Newton’s name amongst those aforementioned luminaries (maybe on some other new author’s book). As I said before there is no official U.S. date, a shame for fantasy fans here stateside and the U.K. market has to wait to June to pick this one up. This is a book that fantasy fans are going to want read; highly recommended.

Now that’s set the weekend up very nicely indeed.

14Apr

Review @ The Agony Column

Rick Kleffel over at the popular review site The Agony Column has written up a lovely review of Nights of Villjamur.

an impending ice-age, driving refugees to seek solace in a city that takes its cues from The Pessimist’s Guide to the Afterlife, a city populated by cults like that of Sri Chinmoy, a city where the dead are banging at the gates. That would be Villjamur, where a variety of intriguing characters are on a collision course, none of whom is a wise wizard waiting to retire, a farm-fresh country boy with a special destiny or hot farm girl handy with a sword. Instead, you get a dash of Lear, with a King’s daughter, and, always a great sub-plot driver for entertaining fantasy, a murder mystery. Cults, con-men and genocide round out this sunny vision without giving a single hint that everything will be solved in climactic sword fight between the farmboy and a wizened but magically-powerful antagonist.

This is all very well and good, but for readers, the proof is in the reading. Newton writes prose that’s both direct and detailed, moving the action but embedding it in a heavy, grungy atmosphere. He does a great job of integrating the supernatural, the science fictional and the surreal into his fantasy.

I’m sure someone is bound to rip into the book sooner or later. At this rate I’ll be getting a touch of the Joe Abercrombies…