news & reviews

2Jun

Two Reviews

Geek Planet Online is first up, with an erudite review, spotting many of the references within, which I’m chuffed about. Some snippets (warning: spoilers!)

…impressively avoids the stereotypical cast that typically populate epic fantasy. For example, gay characters like Brynd aren’t new, but what’s impressive about Nights of Villjamur is the way Newton subverts traditional sexual politics. This is a world where we find pretty-boy dance and sword instructors and handsome princesses, and where men are just as likely to prostitute themselves for money as women…

Nights of Villjamur is an excellent novel, and it’s nice to see something new written within the ‘Dying Earth’ subgenre… The writing is evocative and precise, the characterisation intriguing, the plot absorbing and the narrative speedily paced. Nights of Villjamur is a fab start to what looks to be a fascinating series, and if you’re looking for a hot summer read, you really should check out this piece of glacial storytelling.

And Rob Grant at Sci Fi London gives a lovely write-up too:

…a smart and accomplished debut, stylishly wrought, melding a noir detective story with strange creatures like Garudas and Jurro the Dawnir and all-the-while dealing with adult themes and mirroring real-world issues in a way that the fantasy genre doesn’t do often and doesn’t often do well. All-in-all, refreshingly deft storytelling from an author who clearly knows how to write and I look forward to the next in the series.

Enough of the ego. Enough. I’m going to find something useful to blog about now. Stay tuned.

1Jun

Next Read Reviews “Nights of Villjamur”

Another review, this time by Gav at Next Read:

…how does Mark Charan Newton taste?

Bet you’re interested now!

Nights is a mix of fantasy, science fiction, dying earth, mystery, crime, politics, coming of age, and genocide to name a few things he’s brought together in a book that’s under 500 pages…

He’s only two novels into his career (this is his debut with a mainstream publisher) and you can tell that Newton is going to stand out. He’s mindful that he needs to create texture and colour to his characters and give them a reason for moving on the page. He’s also put thought into the environment they inhabit…

A wonderfully thoughtful read from a strong writer who has the potential to become an even stronger voice in the future.

We never find out quite how I taste, but there will be an interview coming from Gav in the next week or so, and perhaps we’ll find out then.

31May

Hypnotic Fantasy

Let’s face it: the sun is out in force, and there’s a deadline looming, and finding interesting things to say is not happening. So I’m just going to link to yet another lovely review at The Truth About Books. I like this one: it makes me sound like the Paul McKenna of fantasy (or this chap), in that I write “hypnotic” fantasy. Perhaps a new subgenre?

“Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes, don’t look around my eyes, look into my eyes, you’re under.”

Hugely intelligent, hypnotic new fantasy…

Nights of Villjamur is an extremely ambitious novel; asking for some serious cranial activity in order for a reader to get into its rhythm. The plotlines are extravagant and elaborately fashioned, with each individual strand eventually falling into its rightful place in the bigger picture and plenty of action, blood, gore and sex to satisfy the most ravenous of readers… an intelligent novel, with subtleties and nuances, darkness and starkness, depth and superficialities and mildly hypnotic; it will slowly wrap itself around you like the coils of a python – squeezing everything else out until only the story exists.

Read on

29May

SFF World Reviews “Nights of Villjamur”

I’m very, very chuffed with this review of Nights of Villjamur over at SFF World, one of the largest Science Fiction and Fantasy review sites on the internet. Here are a few snippets:

Imagine a book that reads like Joe Abercrombie, set in a Jack Vance-like Dying Earth and written with characters the equal of Moorcock and Mieville. Too good to be true? This book might just meet your expectations…

In fact, NoV is a great book, which takes old tropes and re-imagines them into something new and memorable. It is an assured tale written with style, intelligence and skill, written inside a fantastically set premise and brilliantly focused novel that shows all the strengths of the genre and relatively few of the weaknesses…

In summary, though, very highly recommended. Definitely my favourite fantasy of the year so far, in what is a very good year for the genre. This will be a ‘best of the year’ novel, unless I’m much mistaken.

Read the rest of the review.

This is a site I really respect, and means a lot. So, erm, woohoo!

28May

Reminder & Signed Editions

A quick reminder about my signing at Forbidden Planet next Thursday, 4th June from 6-7pm. Come. Bring friends. Bring friends’ parents. Bring old ladies off the street. Don’t make me the shifty looking guy on his own loitering at the back of the shop.

At the weekend I signed and quoted and lettered for a limited edition of Nights. If you want to look into more of these, email Carl Marsh on bigfootcomic [at] hotmail [dot] com for details.

And it appears that some venues have begun selling the book. Go! Leave nothing but the finest of five-star reviews. (I’m selfishly thinking of you earning yourself good karma by doing so.)

23May

DeathRay Reviews “Nights of Villjamur”

Nights of Villjamur received a great review in DeathRay science fiction and fantasy magazine this month. Here are a few highlights:

The author’s style pushes this tale closer to literary work than most fantasy fare and in particular there’s a pleasing depth to the characters… It’s to Newton’s credit that there’s not a cliché among them; he paints his cast to harbour some wonderful contradictions hidden beneath their official faces… Newton’s characterisations are backed up by an obvious understanding of how the world works and this colours his writing… The plot is also multi-threaded, with story lines occasionally overlapping and characters occasionally appearing in the background of each other’s situations like an episode of Lost… Overall, this is an impressive novel from a new fantasy author.

And it turns out there wasn’t any Cobra beer at the wedding I went to at the weekend, but it was good fun nonetheless. I’d never been to a Hindu ceremony before, but it was at this fascinating Hare Krishna manor/temple, just north of London. We had to sit down on the floor, cross-legged, for some time whilst watching what was a 5,000 year old ceremony. I’ll hopefully get some photos up soon.

20May

Review, Blurb, etc.

Civilian Reader got to grips with Nights of Villjamur. And they liked it:

Villjamur is a dark, hard place, populated by a cast of characters so varied and colourful it is almost impossible not to be drawn in. Newton is adept at conveying his characters’ emotions and states-of-mind through his prose. Battle or action scenes (particularly in the beginning) are written in a way to convey the chaos and confusion his characters are likely to feel, making the novel all the more immersive. His characters are equally strong and flawed, and one finds oneself caring about their plight and struggles, rooting for them throughout. There are plenty of surprises along the way, as the author slowly reveals more and more about his characters – some true shocks, and some pleasant or interesting surprises…

Filled with strange and bizarre creatures (the “garudas”, for example), Nights of Villjamur is an excellent book indeed, standing out with the author’s considerable imagination and inventiveness and attention to detail.

A recommended, very good start to a new series.

And a blurb, from star SF and Fantasy editor Lou Anders:

“Mark Newton is poised to be a power in the new fantasy”

Which is lovely.

I’m heading off to my cousin’s wedding at the weekend; it’s an Indian ceremony, which means… posh curry. I wonder if they’ll have Cobra?. One can only hope.

7May

Press Release: Two-Book US Rights Deal to Del Rey

PRESS RELEASE – TWO-BOOK US RIGHTS DEAL FOR NEW BRITISH FANTASY WRITER

Margaret Halton, Rights Director at Pan Macmillan, has sold US rights in two fantasy novels by UK novelist Mark Charan Newton to Chris Schluep for a good five-figure sum in US dollars.

World rights in the novels, which open with Mark’s mainstream debut NIGHTS OF VILLJAMUR (to be published in hardback in the UK in June 2009), were acquired by Peter Lavery at Tor UK from John Jarrold in 2008.

Chris Schluep said: ‘I am so excited to be publishing NIGHTS OF VILLJAMUR, which is an absolutely wonderful book, and I’m very much looking forward to launching the U.S. career of an important and talented new writer in the field. I’m convinced that Mark has a bright future ahead of him; he’s one of those writers that you come across only on occasion . . .’

‘Chris acted quickly and with great enthusiasm. Mark and I are delighted, and looking forward to working with him and his colleagues at Del Rey, who I know well,’ said John Jarrold.