my books


Aidan Reviews “Nights of Villjamur”

Aidan, over at SF/F blog A Dribble Of Ink, gives a very satisfying review of Nights of Villjamur, and picks up on all the main things I was hoping for: mainly that it can be enjoyed on numerous levels.

The most immediately jarring asset of Newton’s debut is the prose. Shockingly contemporary, one has to wonder if this tale of political intrigue might be set not on a fictional fantasy world, but in a far future version of our own, corrupted beyond recognition. Newton sets few ground rules with his prose – noirish and moody…

Certainly happy that the graft gets noticed!

Nights of Villjamur is being bandied about by reviewers and publicists as a literary fantasy, delving into the underused Dying Earth sub-genre and written to appeal to those looking for something more from their fantasy. While this is certainly true, I was surprised at how much more there was to the novel from the perspective of a Terry Brooks fan. I was worried I would find a dense, overwritten piece of philosophical literature hidden under a fantasy verneer (think Terry Goodkind’s Naked Empire, but not piss-poor), but what I found instead was a tightly plotted novel that worked just as well as a fantasy novel as it did a piece of introspective literature.

Splendid. Now, time for some beer.


Major Book Club Deal

Some splendid news, as reported on my agent’s blog:

I’m delighted to say that the SF and Fantasy Book Club have selected NIGHTS OF VILLJAMUR by Mark Charan Newton (being published by Tor UK in June) as one of their ‘Cosmic 5’ debut titles for 2009 – this makes it one of their most important titles of the year, and it will receive major support in the club magazine and website.

Which is awesome.


A Delightful Review Of “Nights of Villjamur”

Thanks to the magic of Google Ego Alerts, I spotted a new review of Nights of Villjamur over at Wertzone, a top science fiction and fantasy review blog. Here’s an outline:

what is (relatively) unusual is that the author brings an interesting prose style and a more measured pace to bear on the book. The storyline unfolds deliberately, carefully, and the book’s rich writing draws you into its world, the story and the lives of the characters in an accomplished manner… a work that immerses you in its world and demands you pay attention… this is a polished and accomplished debut novel and is well-recommended.

I’m slowly managing to calm down now, what with all the angst of waiting to see what people think.


Nights of Villjamur: The Playlist

A stack of tunes I deemed to be the soundtrack to Nights of Villjamur. Song, then artist/band. Some irony involved. Pretty soon I’ll work out how to get this on iTunes.

Ghouls — We Are Scientists
Long Live the Queen — Frank Turner
Title And Registration — Death Cab for Cutie
Everything In Its Right Place — Radiohead
Casey’s Song — City and Colour
Alina’s Place — Fredrik
Round Here — Counting Crows
32 Flavors — Ani DiFranco
Flamenco Sketches — Miles Davis
Against All Odds — The Postal Service
John Wayne Gacy Jr. — Sufjan Stevens
We Flood Empty Lakes — Yndi Halda
Giving Up The Ghost — DJ Shadow
The Limit To Your Love — Feist
I Love The Rain The Most — Joe Purdy
Archive It Everywhere — Youthmovies
Just Watch The Fireworks — Jimmy Eat World
Silver Stallion — Cat Power
Queremos Paz — Gotan Project
Mojo Pin — Jeff Buckley
Take Five — Dave Brubeck
Mayonaise — Smashing Pumpkins
Pardon Me (Acoustic) — Incubus
This Could Be Anywhere In The World — Alexisonfire
Journey — Nitin Sawhney
Sleeping In — The Postal Service
I Might Be Wrong — Radiohead
Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car — Iron & Wine
Dusk and Summer — Dashboard Confessional
Can’t Have It All — Jay Brannan
Ballad Of A Thin Man — Bob Dylan
Pink Moon — Nick Drake
How Soon Is Now — The Smiths
We Are All Very Worried About You — Fun Lovin’ Criminals
Over — Portishead
New Born — Muse
Can’t Stand Me Now — The Libertines
Pot Kettle Black — Wilco
Sure Shot — Beastie Boys
Morning Theft — Jeff Buckley
Midnight Lullaby — Tom Waits
Use Somebody — Kings Of Leon
Rock the Casbah — The Clash
Twice — Little Dragon
Hunted By a Freak — Mogwai
Shampoo Suicide — Broken Social Scene
Nantes — Beirut
Watch The World Cave In — The New Amsterdams
Orange Sky — Alexi Murdoch
45 Forever — The All New Adventures Of Us
The Thrill Is Gone — Chet Baker
New York City Serenade — Bruce Springsteen
Open Heart Zoo — Martin Grech
A Certain Romance — Arctic Monkeys
Hold On — Tom Waits
The Girl — City And Colour
Beautiful Day — Donavon Frankenreiter
Since I’ve Been Loving You — Led Zeppelin
I’m Old Fashioned — John Coltrane
Made Up Love Song #43 — Guillemots
Everything You Need — Adem
Scenic World — Beirut
Insomnia — Electric President
On — Bloc Party
Mr. Brightside — The Killers
Icky Thump — White Stripes
Diesel Power — The Prodigy
Hearts Burst Into Fire — Bullet for My Valentine
Konstantine — Something Corporate
Couches In Alleys (feat. Ben Gibbard) — Styrofoam


More Updates, An Extract, & A Review

Well, I’ve been looking at the page proofs for Nights of Villjamur, which displays the layout of the book. How it will actually look in the real thing. And I’m getting a fetish for the font they’ve used—yes I am that much of a geek. I don’t know what it is yet, but I’ll find out. It’s pretty. And this raises a point: I don’t know about anyone else, but can a font change your perception of the actual book? I’m convinced it helps alter the mood slightly, and perhaps for some even the overall impression.

And there’s an excerpt of the first chapter over at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist. It went up a week or so ago.

Finally: how lovely, a great review at Speculative Horizons.


Proof Copies Arrive

After marching around the house preparing to curse the postman for every minute he was late, they arrived. Here, finally, are the proofs (advance reading copies) of Nights of Villjamur. (Thanks, Julie!)

It’s not quite the final product, but it will certainly do for me. This, incidentally, will be sent out to various reviewers, in the vague hope they will praise it immensely, and not rip it to shreds. It also acts very nicely as a paperweight, raised gaming terrain and fuel (in these harsh economic times), should the reviewer find the literary substance somewhat lacking, which I hope they don’t. And it’s also uncorrected, so I’m bound to have littered it with hundreds of brand new grammatical constructs. Marvel at how I push language boundaries unintentionally! It’s received the high-level structural edits, as well as the line edit, so it’s pretty polished, but the copy-edit has only recently taken place – which means that there will be the odd typo. The main thing is that reviewers can get their paws on it before the book hits the shelves in June.

The pictures aren’t great quality since they were rushed on my iPhone whilst trying to contain stupid sounds of glee. What I’m most struck by is how much the artwork looks like a photograph of a fantasy city if you’re casually glancing at it. I’d certainly recommend a visit there…


The Investigator

The hardest cynic, the investigator thought, is often fundamentally the most romantic person, because they so often feel let down by the world. He couldn’t detect much romance in himself today, but all the cynicism he could wish for.

He could hear the rain driving against the old stone walls. He liked the sound: it reminded him of the outside world. Lately, he’d spent far too many days in this gloom, had begun to feel a little too disconnected from Villjamur. Everything the city stood for these days was something he found a struggle to perceive.