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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org phone 020 7014 6151
John Jarrold – e-mail: email@example.com phone: 01522 510544.
21st October 2013
For those of you after a signed copy of Drakenfeld, there’s a big pile of them now available at London bookseller Goldsboro Books.
Also, I realised I hadn’t updated the site with an extract for the book, so you can now find one here.
A couple of Drakenfeld reviews have rolled in, both of them rather lovely. The first is over at the mighty Tor.com, probably the largest and thorough (and occasionally cutting) genre review site going these days:
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.
That pretty detailed review actually really captures most of what I was going for with the novel – and certainly the spirit of what I was after – so I’m delighted with it.
With its perfect blend of fantasy and mystery and an excellent cast of characters, Drakenfeld gave me one of the more unique reading experiences I’ve had this year, and I think those who enjoy both those genres will really like this one. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, definitely check this one out. (5/5)
… 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… a world that’s challenging and provocative without falling into grimdark cliches.
4 stars in SFX. I’ll take that from the UK’s biggest genre magazine.
Given I’ve a book out, I am in your internets. Firstly, I’m at the Book Smugglers, talking about the need to move on from violence and gritty fantasy, which was part of the reason I wrote Drakenfeld in the first place.
Secondly, I wrote a guest post at Tor UK, talking about great books on the classical age that fantasy fans should read.
What Newton has come up with will go down well with those who appreciate politics in their fantasy.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Drakenfeld. It’s a cleverly crafted mystery told in a beautiful way. However, what really stood out for me is that beneath this mystery there runs a strong current of engaging human relationships. From Lucan’s relationships with his dead father or with Leana, right up to the King and the people around him, it’s a story very much driven by the emotional ties between its characters. This, in addition to its readability, makes it almost certainly the best book I’ve read this year, and I am looking forward to the next instalment. Highly recommended.
This rather lovely present was a publication day gift from Pan Macmillan (though publication is tomorrow – the 10th – I’m still opening this now). Good, innit? There might be a few things going on over the next few days, in which I whore myself or cause a stir. There are also things like reviews, such as this one:
I expect that Newton’s new series will be an immediate success, thanks partly to its depth of worldbuilding, managing to create a secondary classical world that is familiar enough to be so, yet still completely his own. Lucan Drakenfeld is a complex character with a good core—and this is just the kind of character I feel has been largely missing from certain veins of fantasy. There’s been too much darkness. It was about time that something lighter, yet still no more stereotyped or clichéd, should break through that darker branch of the genre.
And interviews such as this one.
Oh, and Drakenfeld is currently less than a tenner on Amazon. Just sayin’.
Remember when I did that call to new bloggers to get copies of Drakenfeld ARCs? It was partly to give airtime to new bloggers, who otherwise don’t get much exposure. But another handful of blog reviews of Drakenfeld have come in. Go visit these sites and tell them I sent you.
All in all Drakenfeld is a great novel to pick up if you are looking for something new. Its setting is fresh and exciting and extremely well done. If you want to be spirited away to a world that is different, this is the novel that might do it for you.
In short, I expected not to like Drakenfeld. I’m very happy to report that I, in fact, did enjoy and appreciate Drakenfeld immensely.
I really like Mr. Newton’s writing style, and it makes his prose a joy to read. I’ve not read that many murder mystery novels, but I’m surely going to be following this series very closely. This is a very fun book that made me think back on it, well after I’ve read it. Now that is what I look for in a story.
Finally, Dom’s Fantasy Review Hotlist said:
Drakenfeld was a very enjoyable read, with a clever plot and intrigue that builds as the pages turn. New twists are added just as you start to feel comfortable with where the story is going, easily keeping your attention until the final page.
A couple more of note, which are excellent blog fodder. (Besides, it’s been too lovely outside for me to spend much time finding interesting things online.)
First up, Mark Yon at SFF World enjoys the book:
As a Romanesque detective story – an “I-Sherlockius” perhaps? – there’s a lot to enjoy in this novel. I understand that Drakenfeld is the first of a series, if successful. I sincerely hope that that is the case. This is a solid, enjoyable page-turner with a wide appeal that I would personally like to read more of.
Sci-Fi Now magazine also likes it. It’s in print, so no link, but they conclude that the book is:
“… a richly written and always engaging work”
I’ll take that even if they did get my name wrong. Not the middle one, either…
It’s here! Nearly. It’s on pre-order anyway. If you don’t like reading words, especially my words, then there are some very nice maps inside, so you should still buy a copy:
There are actually a couple of early blog reviews floating around at the moment. The first is up at The Forged Forest, which said:
More Cadfael than Conan, Drakenfeld is a refreshing change of pace. Newton crafts a vivid, living world that mixes modern thought with ancient aesthetics and tastes, whilst expertly mixing together crime and historical fiction with a hint of fantasy. For those new to Newton’s writing, this book is a perfect starting point, and those who are already fans will once again be captivated by his fiction.
Fantastical Imaginations also reviewed the book. Among the nice things he said:
Like I said was the worldbuilding very thorough and the setting reminded me most of all of tv-series like Rome and Spartacus, mixed with the movie Gladiator.
Which is all right by me. I also did a brief interview at the same site, in which I shared a few of my thoughts about the creation of the novel:
… it’s my effort to try something different to the non-ironic, nihilistic violence that seems to be the trend in genre media at the moment. Drakenfeld is someone who, at heart, abhors violence. He is cerebral, and will always think before hitting someone with a sword. It’s not to say he doesn’t hit anyone with a sword, but that violence is something that ought to be justified.