Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: Band of Brothers, by Alexander Kent

The Complete Midshipman Bolitho: Richard Bolitho, Midshipman, Midshipman Bolitho and the Avenger & Band of BrothersThe Complete Midshipman Bolitho: Richard Bolitho, Midshipman, Midshipman Bolitho and the Avenger & Band of Brothers by Alexander Kent
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this collection it was Band of Brothers I had not previously read. As always with Kent's Bolitho series, impeccable historical research and attention to detail. Character point of view tends to wander a bit, but not so that it's distracting. Great naval, Georgian/Regency Era escapism.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Audio book for From Mountains of Ice

A wee bit of good news this week for me. I signed a contract with Iambik Audiobooks this week to have my fantasy novel, From Mountains of Ice, released as an audiobook.

These things take time, so it could be six months before the audiobook is finally released. I'm told that in the meantime a call for auditions has now gone out. Whole new process for me to discover.

From Mountains of Ice is currently available in print and digital formats through major online retailers. Of course, you can also order a signed copy directly through Five Rivers.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: Anil's Ghost, by Michael Ondaatje

Anil's GhostAnil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ondaatje is a master of subtlety, of the ambiguity of life, of the grey that washes extreme situations. He is at his best in Anil's Ghost.

The story itself is a simple one: a woman (Anil) searches for the identity of a skeleton she finds when on an international human rights mission in war ravaged Sri Lanka. But as with most stories Ondaatje tells, simplicity becomes weighted with the emotional enganglements of both political and personal history. There is a conversation beneath the dialogue, a narrative never told but eloquent in its silence.

In some ways, I was reminded of Geoff Ryman's The King's Last Song. There is that same sense of a country unable to celebrate its vibrant history, left only with silent screams of those slaughtered on the altar of political expedience, and their ghosts. There is an eeriness in the environment Ondaatje creates.

Deserving of it accolades, Anil's Ghost is a masterpiece.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

The problem with hats

... is that I have too many. Metaphorically speaking, that is.

Despite all my best intentions to set aside each morning for my own writing, the windfall of authors and titles that have landed with Five Rivers have left me scratching for time to sleep, let alone write. I'm not complaining. It's a wonderful problem to have. But it does mean that I've had to once again set aside my own writing career for the necessity of business.

As a result I've pretty much ceased writing anything new on my latest oeuvre, The Rose Guardian. An ambitious undertaking to begin with, trying to juggle my life as a publisher and that of a dedicated writer has proven incompatible.

I have, however, managed to finish a revision of my novella, Caliban, and despite knowing it requires a few more tweaks by way of technical detail and back-story, I've sent it to Five Rivers' editor, Barb Geiger for first assessment. As Barb put it to me, it would be better to know if I am at least on the right track by way of plot, before investing too much effort in detail.

So, Barb, with insight and expertise, is deep into an edit. We'll see how much revision will be required when I get it back from her, and whether I'll actually have a new release out this year.

In the meantime, well, I'm editing, doing layouts, creating covers, handling marketing and promotion. You know -- stuff.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Review: Sourcery, by Terry Pratchett

Sourcery (Discworld, #5)Sourcery by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As always Pratchett delivers entertaining story-telling with wit and style. In this Discworld tale we return to Rincewind and the legendary Luggage, in a Discworld upheaval caused by the release of sourcery (essentially raw, wild magic) by a son held puppet by his father's power and consciousness that has been locked into an iron staff.

As a reader, it's refreshing to read a writer's work that suspends my disbelief (quite the feat given this immprobable world, and quiets the editor. Pure, entertainment at the top of its form.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Review: The Pattern Scars, by Caitlin Sweet

The Pattern ScarsThe Pattern Scars by Caitlin Sweet
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It would be very easy to wax poetic about Caitlin Sweet's, The Pattern Scars. Deservedly so. From the first sentences Sweet demonstrates her craftsmanship by translating the reader into a richly and perfectly realized world, populated by people who are very human despite extraordinary and sometimes dark abilities.

With astonishing subtlety, Sweet presents a relationship between a clairvoyant girl who is employed as a seer in a brothel, and a psychopathic and megalomaniacal seer who holds the trust of his lifelong friend, the king. What unfolds is a horrifically mesmerizing tale that is haunting and heart-breaking, and in the end even hopeful.

Throughout the novel the pace vibrates with tension, married to elegant yet simply drawn prose, spare on detailed description, allowing the reader to fall into the action. In fact, the only descriptions of significance are those of the seers' eyes, which brilliantly serves to heighten the importance and power of the characters.

If you are of a tender heart, as am I, it is a novel that will make you weep, and one you will return to time and again.

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