news & reviews

21Sep

Review of “Nights of Villjamur”

A Fantasy Reader has reviewed Nights of Villjamur, and I’m really happy he got my general aim.

Nights of Villjamur is not a full-fledged epic fantasy novel. It’s the story of several disillusioned individuals every so often mixed up together in a grim epic setting, making the most of their life inside a grand city in a dire state. The way the author writes, you really feel like that the life of the characters in the book is a fantastical representation of our world (a bit on the pessimist side). Many aspect of our modern life (political power responsibility, individualism, cynicism, etc.) that are probably very important for him are integrated…

Why should you read this book? Because it stands out in term of writing style from the rest of the current fantasy writers crowd. Also because of all the possibilities that the next books will offer. There’s is some truly believable characters in this novel that merit your attention. And finally, consider that this is a stylish critique of our world in a fantastic ‘noir’ setting, so give it a try.

I was always intending to write an epic fantasy that wasn’t actually about the epic. More about a bunch of people having to cope with the epic going on around them, with normal lives, with their own issues to sort out.

18Sep

Convention Updates

I’ll be at Fantasycon this weekend. I’m on a panel on Sunday at 10-10.45am entitled “New kids on the block”, which I’ll assume has everything to do with the boyband. Watch out for as many song references as possible if you’re there. Other than that, by schedule is as follows:

Friday-Sunday: “Bar”

I’ll also be making my way down to Camber Sands for the mighty SFX Weekender gig in February 2010. (Main website.) It’s the first year of this event, so I’m not sure what to expect, but it’s by the sea, in winter, so how could I resist?

7Sep

City of Ruin

Bringing back the weird… Art by Benjamin Carre.

That’s Brynd, for any of you wondering. There’s a little more work to be done to the face apparently, but this is pretty much it. City of Ruin, the second book in the Legends of the Red Sun series.

My draft attempt at a blurb:

Villiren: a city of sin that is being torn apart from the inside. Its underworld is violent and surreal. Hybrid creatures shamble through shadows and there is a trade in bizarre goods. The city’s inquisition is rife with corruption. Barely human gangs fight turf wars and interfere in political upheavals. The most influential of the gang leaders, Malum, has nefarious networks spreading to the city’s rulers, and as his personal life falls down around him, he begins to embrace the darkness within.

Amidst all this, Commander Brynd Lathraea, commander of the Night Guard, must plan the defence of Villiren. A race that has broken through from some other realm and already slaughtered hundreds of thousands of the Empire’s people. As the enemy gather on the next island, Brynd must muster the populace – including the gangs. Importing soldiers and displacing civilians, this is a colossal military operation, and the stress begins to take its toll.

After a Night Guard soldier is reported missing, it is discovered that many citizens have also been vanishing from the streets of Villiren. They’re not fleeing the city, they’re not hiding from the terrors in the north – they’re being murdered. A serial killer of the most horrific kind is on the loose, taking hundreds of people from their own homes. A killer that cannot possibly be human.

It is whispered that the city of Villiren is about to fall – but how can anyone save a city that is already a ruin?

31Aug

Updates

Someone told me that my bios are far too minimal, so I’ve updated one with some random crap (including the caravan incident) if you are particularly bored.

Also, watch this space, because I should, within the next month or two, have an shiny new website courtesy of the web guru at Sevenoak Design. It will look very lovely.

Finally, I was pleasantly surprised to find Nights of Villjamur listed amongst “important works” for 2009, in Farah Mendlesohn’s A Short History Of Fantasy, which was rather nice considering it’s only been out a short while.

20Aug

Review In Total Sci-Fi

Another one in, this time in Total Sci-Fi Online:

The characters gracing these pages are filled with a bleak sense of determination – whether it’s for love, life, power or all three. Key in instigating this sentiment is the inescapable threat of the coming freeze, a welcome change of tack in a genre that thrives on conflict. A foe that cannot be stopped by sword or magic, this adversary has no face, and adds to the impressive ambience of Newton’s multi-tiered Villjamur…

Written in an offbeat, literary and often uncomfortable style, Newton’s technique serves to compliment the uneasy atmosphere that surrounds the story itself. The world he creates is almost palpable in its reality, demonstrating the author’s skill at generating atmosphere and bringing his setting to life.

I’ve been emailing Alice, the reviewer, on and off, so had hoped she might like it a bit more, but you can’t win ’em all. Still, chuffed with this one.

15Aug

Review Via The Medium Of Google Translate

A review on a Russian forum, and Google translate gives us a most entertaining translation into English:

Villdzhamur – a huge city in the world, where the dying red sun. People understand that they are ahead of Ice Age.

The main character – Brinda Latrea, albino, the commander of an elite squad of Imperial Guards Night. The emperor committed suicide, and now on the streets of the city there is chaos. Throne passes to the eldest daughter of the emperor, Dzhamur Rica. In the meantime, the treacherous intrigues pletet chief villain – the Chancellor Urtika. He had his far-reaching plans – for example, it is going to launch a war to strengthen their political influence.

Urtika is not one. He liaises with Kultistami – individuals, who practice black sorcery. Kultisty outlawed, they hoped not only to the Chancellor to increase its power, but the warring clans стравить magicians in Villdzhamure.

If Brinda – this «white» hero (until the color of the hair), and Urtika – «black», then Rendur Estevo – «gray». This thief, who will remind you to Errol Flynn. Rendur zamutil romanchik with Princess Eyroy, younger sister successors. Missed small – should have been to the Empress podkatyvat … Their attitude will be pink nozzles run through the entire novel.

There is a novel, and other heroes – but Mark Newton focuses on these three. Epic battles and humming anthill characters he has left to other writers. However, rubilova and krovischi will bulk. Not for nothing is remembered Abercrombie.

The main characters and geography (aka lokeysheny) – these are the main advantages of the novel, scientists believe a hobby. City, where the action will remind you Virikonium (of the same works of M. John Harrison) and Lankmar (from «swords Lankmara» Fritz Leybnera).

The plot is a novel built around a murder investigation. One after another, killing the city consuls. People would be happy – every day at sea was the imperial officials. However, the investigation will not Brinda. At the scene is a new character – Investigating Lawyer Jerid, reymel (well, a race, Race). This is a classic hero-detective, descended from the Noir. Do it mate – Three hundred, but to work with the Three hundred and easy. Do that and the problem with his wife, and by raising the nose flying.

Most of these novels the reader begins to flounder, – who is who, and why the necromancer is not Ate Crown Prince for lunch. But, fortunately, the book is not from Newton. Action, action and re-operation, – the author does not give the reader a break. Dark alleys and mysterious tower, terrible monsters and ancient magic, unusual race and the struggle for power – the author skillfully brings together all these pieces of exquisite mosaics.

Hobby called «Night Villdzhamura» remarkable book. The author uses the familiar, we plot turns, but as soon as they gets the inside out – so that remains the only firm to hold a chair. The finale comes in time – not protracted and did not stop at the same time, we understand that he will leave a good zadelchik to continue.

Does the novel weaknesses? Of course! Once you have finished reading it – you just want to continue. And the author just wrote it … «This is the best book of the year – believed hobby. – Or I was very wrong ».

Do you hear that? Yeah.

13Aug

We Have A Title For Book Two

Yes, we have a title for book two of the Legends of the Red Sun series. I’m just not telling yet.

I will say that nearly all the action goes on in the city of Villiren. It’s a much darker place than Villjamur, seriously more violent. Yakuza-styled gangs pretty much run the show. Hybrid creatures shamble through the city’s underbelly. Citizens are shacked up in bland, oppressive buildings. The Night Guard are trying to organise the city’s defence and you have to wonder if such a cesspit is worth saving in the first place. The architecture isn’t great – think Los Angeles, where Villjamur was more like London.

Oh, and there’s a giant serial-killing spider…

More news soon.

6Aug

Updates & Another Review

I’ve been away for a few days in New York with work. A great city, once I stepped away from the Disneyland-esque Times Square. While I was there, on my final afternoon before I flew back home, I managed to meet up with my US editor at Del Rey, Chris Schluep, who is an absolute dude. And what great offices, overlooking Central Park – I would never get any work done with that view. We had exciting discussions, and it’s looking like Villjamur will get its US release in Summer 2010.

Back to the grindstone then. Fantasy Book Review begrudgingly gives Nights of Villjamur a good review of 8/10. Some choice highlights:

The book is littered with examples of how the author is in love with his grasp of vocabulary – never before have I had to go to the dictionary so much in one book, and I have a pretty good grasp of vocab.

Such fatuous, execrable, quixotic gobbledygook!

If you like it down and dirty, realistic to the core, show every wart and the pus that seeps from it, then you’ll like this.

Yes indeedy (to the tune of ‘Let’s Get It On’) if you want to get down and dirty… You know, if I wasn’t so jet-lagged, I’d run with this one for a paragraph or two, but I’ve spared you that.

So, did anyone break the interwebs while I was away?

31Jul

The Times Reviews “Nights of Villjamur”

Yeah, that book I wrote, lots of reviews, you thought I’d stopped talking about it by now, right? Wrong!

The Times reviews Nights of Villjamur:

Set in a far distant future where several different intelligent species co-exist and remnants of long-lost technologies provide the “magic powers” by which cult leaders impress the masses, this is epic fantasy strongly tinged with science fiction. At its best, I was reminded of Jack Vance or Gene Wolfe… this is a promising start to a series worth pursuing.

The book reminding anyone, let alone Lisa Tuttle in a national newspaper, of Vance and Wolfe is perhaps the Coolest Thing Ever.