my books


SFX Weekender Schedule

Just a quick update for next week’s SFX Weekender, for those of you who are going. I’ll be on a panel at 11am on the Saturday (‘What is Urban Fantasy’), along with Ben Aaranovitch, Paul Cornell, Benedict Jacka, Stacia Kane and Sam Stone; at 3pm I’ll be on the Forbidden Planet stand if anyone wants anything signed.

The full schedule is here. I’ll be around on the Friday and Saturday, so if you see me and want a chat, come and say hello. It’s a very informal event.


Two Reviews

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any reviews, but here are a couple of City of Ruin that caught my eye recently. First up is at Fantasy Faction, which was particularly pleasing because the reviewer really picked up on something that I was really trying get right after Nights of Villjamur:

And even more fantastic (and sadly far too rare in this male centric genre) is some absolutely fantastic female characters. Take a bow Bellis, Beami, Nanzi, Marysa and Artemisia. None of these are the sadly far too regular victim or princess waiting to be rescued that we still find in fantasy books being published even now, but are all interesting female characters that challenge the traditional female roles.

And a lovely one from last month at Functional Nerds:

More detail, more action, more danger, more romance. More fun. Newton juggles nearly a dozen characters, weaving their story-lines together, but still keeping them distinct. The setting is exotic, easily believable as the layering of thousands of years of history and culture. The stakes are high, and the action intense. Newton draws heavily on economic and social stress, showing the reality of a dying world and a very human reaction to it.


Cover Art – Nacht über Villjamur

Here’s the rather lovely cover art for the German edition of Nights of Villjamur, Nacht über Villjamur, which is published by Egmont-Lyx in April 2012 – and which you can pre-order here.

The extra good news is that my editor at Lyx, Anja, also enjoys single malt whisky. (I’m not sure that was a requirement of rights contract, but I’m considering making it one for all future deals.)


Interviews & Links

There’s a brief chat with me over at Rowena Cory Daniels’ blog, in which I say Many Things, and talk a little bit more about the new series:

The lead character, Lucan Drakenfeld, is a bit like a young lawyer-slash-detective, and certainly the polar opposite of a private eye (if anything, he’s a public eye). I’m really trying to steer away from noir pastiche because I feel that would be disrespectful to crime readers. The book is as much a crime novel as it is a fantasy novel. Imagine a mainstream writer trying their hand at a fantasy novel, and filled it with a paint-by-numbers story – they’d be strung up by the fanbase, which is why I’m not doing a paint-by-numbers crime novel, either.

There’s a video interview with my agent, John Jarrold, for those of you who are interested in tales and tips of publishing.

And I review a book about making compost for the Ecologist. More interesting than you might think…


New Two-Book World Rights Deal With Pan Macmillan


Bella Pagan, Senior Commissioning Editor at Tor UK, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, has acquired world rights to the first two volumes of a fantasy series by Mark Charan Newton. The agent was John Jarrold.

The first book in a series provisionally titled DRAKENFELD introduces the eponymous hero, an investigator. The series is set in a fantasy world, but will appeal to fans of historical mysteries. In this opening volume, Lucan Drakenfeld is called home after the death of his father – but is immediately thrown into the investigation of a royal death. He also finds that his father’s demise is not as clear-cut as it at first appears…

Pagan said ‘Mark writes compulsive adventures set in utterly convincing new worlds – he’s a terrific writer. I couldn’t ask for a better start to my new position at Tor UK than this first deal’.

Tor UK have successfully published three fantasy novels by Mark in the Legends of the Red Sun series since 2009, with a fourth to appear in the summer of 2012. They have been strongly acclaimed by China Miéville, Peter F Hamilton and reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic.

The first book in the new series will be published in 2014.

Contact John Jarrold or Chloe Healy for further details:

Chloe Healy: e-mail: phone: 020 7014 6000 twitter: @UKTor

John Jarrold: e-mail: phone: 01522 510544

21st November 2011

A little more? It’s very much a fantasy novel, but equally a crime novel, with a locked-room mystery at the heart of it. Whilst I’ve dabbled with the odd crime sub-plot before, it was mainly a pastiche – Drakenfeld is much more committed to the crime genre, perhaps along the lines of the CJ Sansom novels. (It needs to be rewarding for readers of both genres.) The world is very much a classically inspired setting (Ancient Rome in particular), and there virtually no weirdness. I’m also really enjoying writing the Drakenfeld novel, much more so than any of the previous series, and especially the locked-room element: the impossible crime.

The publication date is provisional: as a book-a-year writer, I presume that would be a 2013 release, but I think there’s a bit of flexibility, what with this being a new series and Pan Mac wanting to get everything set-up properly.


The Reef – back as an Ebook

The Reef – my original indie debut novel – is available back as an ebook. And what’s more, it’s a cheap one: £1.59 on the Kindle, or £1.99 on iTunes.

It was published a few years back with UK indie publisher, Pendragon Press, but only in limited numbers. So the folks at Tor UK decided it would be a great idea to make it available to buy as a digital edition – and for less than two quid. Quite a few people have asked about this title over the last couple of years, so it only seemed logical to bring it back in this format. Of course, it’s much more expensive to do these things with another print run, but one of the cool things about ebooks is being able to publish digital versions of books that wouldn’t otherwise have been released.

I feel I’ve grown a heck of a lot as a writer since this book. I wrote it when I was 23 or 24 years old, and that was an age when I was experimenting with themes and finding my feet. My outlook on the world is different, as is my awareness of various issues, but I’m still proud of this little tome.

Anyway, The Reef being a small press title, there’s not a huge amount of review coverage, but there’s a good review at the Wertzone here:

The Reef (****) is a very solid and enjoyable fantasy which achieves the enviable task of not actually feeling like an overt fantasy despite the near-constant presence of nonhuman species and fantastical concepts.

In the Guardian here:

… a metaphor for the relationship between all living things, and their interaction on every level. Just as the characters explore uncharted territory, both physically and psychologically, Newton treads new ground in his attempt to bring literary concerns to the fantasy genre.

And at Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review:

Whether you’re after soaking up the sights of a fantastically drawn world, or being challenged by the darker recesses of the human mind (or even both!), then this is the book for you.


Review & A Cabbage

There’s a rather pleasing review of The Book of Transformations over at Fantasy Book Review, where it gets a score of 9.8/10:

… one of the superheroes that the city’s cultists create is slightly different from the average superhero, mainly due to the fact that she’s transsexual, which is awesome. She isn’t a joke character… it’s just a fact that she happens to be a transsexual… It’s a long, long time since reading a book and series from a new author has made me this excited. How he manages to fit it all into one book is amazing. The style of writing is so clean, no paragraph is wasted. This is such a pleasure to read… I really believe in years to come we will be talking about new authors, and asking, are they the new Mark Charan Newton?

Well, if any authors are to be the new me, I shall set the new criteria – before any such claims are made, they will have to grow vegetables like this:

What a mighty cabbage! I had to wrestle the damn thing to get it out of the ground.


The Guardian on The Book of Transformations

The Guardian newspaper features The Book of Transformations in its SF and Fantasy review round-up:

The third volume of the Legends of the Red Sun continues the epic story of the city of Villjamur. The series is replete with many of the stock features of high fantasy: evil emperors, battling armies, sinister cultists, occult magic and, not least, the looming, eldritch setting of Villjamur itself. But Newton’s skill lifts the story beyond what might, in the hands of lesser fabulists, have been merely a string of clichés. This is a remarkable catalogue of transformations, embodied in the character of Lan, a “transwoman” making the arduous journey from male to female, from circus performer to an individual whose abilities will help to bring change to a city under threat from forces of evil within and without. The Book of Transformations is a dark and original vision.


Serving Suggestions

Just had to share this. Andrew Carter sent in this photo from his recent trip to a remote Scottish island (he didn’t get much reading done because the weather was too nice!). I very much recommend that this is the way to read City of Ruin – if not all books, in fact. The puffins don’t look that impressed by the cover or the empty bottle, mind you…