Tag: drakenfeld

11Oct

Guest Blogs, Reviews

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.

Thirdly, nicely honest review of Drakenfeld in South African newspaper, the Mail & Guardian:

What Newton has come up with will go down well with those who appreciate politics in their fantasy.

Finally, at Fifty Shades of Geek, there’s another great review:

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.

9Oct

Publication Day, Review, Interviews

Bruichladdich

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’.

2Oct

More Drakenfeld Blog Reviews

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.

First up, The Tome said:

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.

Zachary Bonelli said:

In short, I expected not to like Drakenfeld. I’m very happy to report that I, in fact, did enjoy and appreciate Drakenfeld immensely.

Fantasy Opinion was a big fan of the book:

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.

9/10

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.

23Sep

Drakenfeld Reviews

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…

18Sep

Drakenfeld Updates

Drakenfeld

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:

Drakenfeld Map Tryum

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.

8Jul

Drakenfeld #2 Finished

So, the second Drakenfeld novel is complete – as much as these things ever are at this stage. The final draft has been sent to my agent to be whizzed through to my editor’s inbox. Only one week past the deadline…

I’ll probably not say anything about the book itself, given the first Drakenfeld novel is still on pre-order. Suffice to say, I think I’m enjoying the main characters, and I’m still having fun within the crime-fantasy hybrid genre. Ideally I want each of the novels to represent a different kind of crime story, so they each feel very different: the first was a locked-room mystery; this one is going to be something else; I like the idea of embracing a classic spy novel for the third, and so on. They’ll each be self-contained stories, too, which is much more preferable to writing a linear series.

Suffice to say, I’m relieved to have handed it in. I’m getting married at the end of the month, so I now have a few weeks to dedicate the mental space to that entirely. Anyway, for now, I’ll leave you with a picture of me at the weekend, picking strawberries in the Cotswolds, which was a rather lovely thing to do. And I only snacked a small few while we were in the field…

Me and Strawbs

28May

Drakenfeld Review Copies – A Call to New Bloggers

Drakenfeld

UPDATE: All proof copies have now been claimed! I’m completely out. BUT. Drop me a line around the end of September and I may well have a couple of extra hardcopies…

Advance reading copies for Drakenfeld have been printed! And no doubt they’ll be going out to reviewers and bloggers pretty soon. All good. All exciting.

But, I’ve always thought it’s pretty frustrating for those new bloggers to actually get their hands on review copies, trying to build up a catalogue of posts so that publishers will take notice enough to get you on their mailing lists. At the same time, I’m also a fan of supporting new blogs, new reviewers. It’s pretty healthy from time to time to spread the love a little; to get some new blood talking about books and to freshen up debate.

So I actually asked for some extra proof copies of Drakenfeld to be printed.

Here’s the deal. If you’re a relatively new blogger and fancy giving Drakenfeld a read, drop me a line about your blog and I’ll send you a copy. I’ll include your review – even if you hate the book – on a round-up of reviews. Maybe I can persuade my publisher to at least tweet it too.

I’ve only got a dozen or so extra copies spare for this purpose, so if you’re a new genre reviewer and you want a copy of Drakenfeld, you know what to do. Likewise if you’re an established blogger, please do give this post a tweet to this so that other bloggers can find out about it.

15Mar

Drakenfeld – Cover Design!

Drakenfeld Cover Art

Here we go, the cover design for Drakenfeld, which is published in October. This was created by the talented in-house team at Pan Macmillan. Pretty good, right? Told you there’d be no hooded figure.

Of all my many covers, this is by far the best and most appropriate. It really sums up the book, because nations (or rather nationalism) are core to the series, and the idea with the covers is that each novel features a coloured banner representing the country in which the novel takes place. The one above is the banner of Detrata, with a double-headed falcon, various glaives and swords and a lovely icon. It also evokes the classical world, which was – as regular followers of the blog might have guessed – a major inspiration for the novel. I like to think that the main continent of Vispasia could sit just off the classical maps, as some forgotten corner of the world yet to be discovered by archeologists.

Thumbnail goodness!Anyway, just as important as all that, I think this cover has pretty wide appeal, connecting with fantasy fans, while not putting off crime or historical readers. And it’s just very striking, either as a thumbnail (like here) or simply sitting on a bookshelf. In addition to this cover, there will be internal art as well such as maps. The whole book will be rather lovely to look at. Hopefully you’ll find the words are all in the right order, too.

Here’s the back cover text:

“I am Lucan Drakenfeld, second son of Calludian, Officer of the Sun Chamber and keeper of the peace. Sometimes people get in the way of that ambition…”

The monarchies of the Royal Vispasian Union have been bound together for two hundred years by laws maintained and enforced by the powerful Sun Chamber. As a result, nations have flourished but corruption, deprivation and murder will always find a way to thrive.

Receiving news of his father’s death Sun Chamber Officer Lucan Drakenfeld is recalled home to the ancient city of Tryum and rapidly embroiled in a mystifying case. The King’s sister has been found brutally murdered – her beaten and bloody body discovered in a locked temple. With rumours of dark spirits and political assassination, Drakenfeld has his work cut out for him trying to separate superstition from certainty. His determination to find the killer quickly makes him a target as the underworld gangs of Tryum focus on this new threat to their power.

Embarking on the biggest and most complex investigation of his career, Drakenfeld soon realises the evidence is leading him towards a motive that could ultimately bring darkness to the whole continent. The fate of the nations is in his hands.

Publication date: October, 2013.

13Mar

Drakenfeld Proofs

Manuscript
This is the fun stage. Having this big pile of paper arrive, and seeing drafts of the cover design, have made me rather excited to say the least. There are maps to be included (and potentially an extra illustration), but only now does Drakenfeld start to take the shape of a real book. It seems an opportunity for reinvention. The whole package, from story conception to the cover itself, feels more considered and mature. Yes, I’m definitely excited.