I have a new house, I am unpacked (mostly) and I now have an internet connection after many days struggling along without one. I am still writing though – lots of things, it seems – and normal service will resume shortly, though this may be a quiet month.
news & reviews
With Retribution out this week, I am in other people’s internets. First off at Pornokitsch, where I kind of come out talking about the benefits of dictators:
Looking at Classical history, it was easy to see how tyrants and dictators got shit done. There was one vision (their own, no matter how weird or corrupt) and that vision continued uninterrupted and unchallenged for years. Think about the change of governments in whatever pseudo-democracy we now live in: with politicians being voted in and out, there’s a huge amount of short-term focus. Budgets are raised by one lot and slashed by another. Looking back, there’s very little coherent vision on that sort of politics.
And secondly at The Book Plank, where I am a little bit more sane:
What Lucan Drakenfeld is about? Well, both him – and the series – are experiments to see if good characters can be interesting and complex too, whilst exploring the fringes of genres: fantasy, crime and history. Retribution goes a little deeper into this, but with a much darker storyline – as I mentioned earlier it features a serial killer and attempts to look at some moral grey areas.
That picture’s from Empire online, which has been decorated rather nicely in Drakenfeld paperback colours. Advertising aside, there’s an interview with me over at Fantasy Faction – the questions being asked by fellow fantasy scribe Juliet McKenna. I talk about history, books, writing etc.
You’re absolutely right, and women were far more powerful in history than we tend to believe. Figures such as the legendary Empress Theodora of the Byzantine era are among the most interesting and powerful characters in all of history, for my money. Women had pretty much equal rights to men during Anglo Saxon Britain, something conveniently forgotten by those who make claims in their own work that it’s just how things were for women. Imagine what life would be like if it wasn’t for the Norman conquest and those rights hadn’t been taken away?
With Drakenfeld Newton moves in a very different direction than his previous series, but the world and characters he creates are instantly compelling and very entertaining. I loved the details Newton inserted into his world building, such as the graffiti everywhere and the political structures not just of Tryum, but of the Vispasian Union over all. Drakenfeld is a wonderful start to the series and I can’t wait to read Lucan and Leana’s next adventure later this year in Retribution.
Just a note to those who read this blog via the RSS feed, there’s been a bit of decorating going on here. With a new template and slightly different back-end system, there might well be one or two things out of place. Do let me know if there is.
For those of you in the UK, I’m going to be on a Science Fiction and Fantasy Panel at the Lincoln Drill Hall, on Friday May 9th at 7.15pm. I’ll be there with authors David Barnett and Gareth L Powell, as well as our agent John Jarrold, to talk all things genre. More details here.
Drakenfeld has been getting about a bit recently. A few meaty reviews have come in, which is great to see. The first is by Andrew Liptak over at the mighty io9.com:
Drakenfeld is a contagiously optimistic novel, from its politics to its characters. Newton’s ancient-styled world also belies the real nature of his novel: this is a cutting-edge political thriller that for the most part, wouldn’t be out of place in a major city like London or New York or modern day Rome.
The second is from Ana over at the Book Smugglers:
But the thing is: [Drakenfeld’s] choices? Are choices that also come from privilege – they are choices that he can do because he has never really suffered it directly. So, it is easy for him to make them. One great moment in the book is how he questions Leana for how she easily she seems to fight and kill: she directly calls him on that because she didn’t have that choice when her entire village and everyone she ever knew were destroyed in a violent attack.
The third is by Patrick Doherty over at Fantasy Literature:
Not every story has to have its own completely unique and original world. Sometimes taking inspiration from a past era works out better than creating a new world, and Mark Charan Newton proves that he can do both
Which is a pretty good week’s work as far as I’m concerned.
If you’re there, I’ll be here:
THURSDAY – 03:00-04:00 pm – Living in the Past: Writing Historical Fantasy (Oxford)
When writing historical fantasy, how important is it to stick to the facts, or is the past fair game for authors of fantastic fiction to manipulate how they wish?
Aidan Harte, Helen Marshall (mod.), Sophia McDougall, Mark Charan Newton, Tim Powers, Kari Sperring.
SATURDAY 4:00-5:00 pm (Hall 8)
Tor UK double-launch of HOUSE OF SMALL SHADOWS by Adam Nevill, and DRAKENFELD by me.
Other than that, I’ll be around and about. Give me a tweet if you want to say hello.
There was a big round-up of SF and Fantasy titles this weekend in the Independent on Sunday, and Drakenfeld was among them:
Drakenfeld is a flawed yet appealing hero and Newton has wrought a fast-paced fantasy thriller which should appeal to readers of C J Sansom.
Which is cover-quote gold if you ask me. Read the rest of the genre review section.
Hot off the press:
Jon Mitchell, Senior Rights Manager at Macmillan, has sold Italian rights to DRAKENFELD, the opening novel in a new fantasy crime/thriller series by Mark Charan Newton, to Fanucci.
World rights in the first two titles in this series were acquired by Julie Crisp at Tor UK from agent John Jarrold. DRAKENFELD has just been published in the UK, and the sequel has been delivered.
SFX said of DRAKENFELD:
“This is a grounded and realistic example of secondary world-building that works well as an intelligent locked-room mystery and also gives us a cerebral, multi-layered protagonist. Game of Thrones fans will find plenty to enjoy in the story’s sharply-played political skulduggery…”
Tor.com’s review said:
“The several evenings I spent reading it were so perfectly pleasant that I struggle to recall the last fantasy novel I felt such unabashed fondness for.”
Contact Jon Mitchell or John Jarrold for further information:
Jon Mitchell – e-mail: email@example.com phone 020 7014 6151
John Jarrold – e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 01522 510544.
21st October 2013