Tor.com has published an excerpt of The House of Binding Thorns (chapter one, to be more specific). In which we return to the House of Hawthorn, its Fallen head Asmodeus, and to alchemist and angel essence addict Madeleine–aka “character in deep trouble” ^-^
The Citadel of Weeping Pearls was a great wonder; a perfect meld between cutting edge technology and esoteric sciences—its inhabitants capable of teleporting themselves anywhere, its weapons small and undetectable and deadly.
Thirty years ago, threatened by an invading fleet from the Dai Viet Empire, the Citadel disappeared and was never seen again.
But now the Dai Viet Empire itself is under siege, on the verge of a war against an enemy that turns their own mindships against them; and the Empress, who once gave the order to raze the Citadel, is in desperate needs of its weapons. Meanwhile, on a small isolated space station, an engineer obsessed with the past works on a machine that will send her thirty years back, to the height of the Citadel’s power.
But the Citadel’s disappearance still extends chains of grief and regrets all the way into the fraught atmosphere of the Imperial Court; and this casual summoning of the past might have world-shattering consequences…
A new book set in the award-winning, critically acclaimed Xuya universe.
I’ve spoken of it before, but preorders are super important–they help establish enthusiasm for the book, and also boost sales in that all-important first week. As an author they also feel special to me, because readers are making a great gesture of faith on a book that hasn’t been delivered yet. Last time, for The House of Shattered Wings, I offered an exclusive small ebook of short stories (which you can now read for free here). This time around, I considered several options, but in the end the exclusive short story was, once again, the one that polled best. So I set out to writing a really short prequel story set just before the beginning of The House of Binding Thorns, which would introduce some of the new characters, showcase some old favourites, and get readers ready for enjoying the book.
I ended up writing a novelette. All 12,000 words of it. So much for short, but on the plus side you should get an immersive, detailed read :p
So… preorder The House of Binding Thorns, and you get access to “Children of Thorns, Children of Water”, an exclusive prequel short long story set just before the events of the book. Here’s the cover:
If you don’t feel like hopping there, here’s more info about the story:
In a Paris that never was, a city of magicians, alchemists and Fallen angels struggling to recover from a devastating magical war…
Once each year, the House of Hawthorn tests the Houseless: for those chosen, success means the difference between a safe life and the devastation of the streets. However, for Thuan and his friend Kim Cuc, — dragons in human shapes and envoys from the dying underwater kingdom of the Seine — the stakes are entirely different. Charged with infiltrating a House that keeps encroaching on the Seine, if they are caught, they face a painful death.
Worse, mysterious children of thorns stalk the candidates through Hawthorn’s corridors. Will Thuan and Kim Cuc survive and succeed?
You can get the ebook of Children of Thorns, Children of Water if you preorder The House of Binding Thorns (ebook, audiobook or physical book): Gollancz has kindly agreed to fulfilling the US preorders in addition to the UK ones, so whichever edition you preordered (aka “the one with the sword” or “the blue one with the thorns”), just go here and fill in the form to get access.
First reviews of The House of Binding Thorns are coming in… And Publishers’ Weekly gave it a starred review!
“Meddling gleefully in the affairs of devils and dragons, this affective sequel to 2015’s The House of Shattered Wings touches the heart as often as it cuts throats (…) Having fully crafted her world, de Bodard is now completely in control: she can move swiftly from gentle poetic touches to bloody Grand Guignol gestures, and she sure-handedly holds the reader by exposing the vulnerabilities and needs that drive even the seemingly all-powerful figures of rebel angels and ancient serpents to surrender to a higher collective power.”
I usually put this up way sooner but this was a bit of an overwhelming year for me, for several reasons, apologies…
I feel like I should start with the usual call to action/disclaimer: if you’re eligible to vote for any of the awards (Nebulas/Hugos/etc.), then please do so, even if you felt you haven’t read enough. It’s a big field and few people can claim to have read everything that came out last year–and generally the people who recuse themselves from voting tend to be marginalised folks, which skews ballots. So please please vote?
Just a quick note that my Xuya short story “The Shipmaker” is now reprinted at Clarkesworld. This was the first of the mindship sequence (AIs incubated in human wombs and becoming part of human families). Bit of nostalgia for this one: it won me my first major award (British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Short Fiction), and was also the first story I wrote that had actual Vietnamese characters (more accurately, Vietnamese immigrants in a Chinese-dominated society. But still).
Also, my longer Xuya novelette, “Pearl”, a retelling of Da Trang and the Pearl, is available as part of The Starlit Wood, Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe’s anthology of retold fairytales. More info here.
So, as promised, the giveaway results…
Congratulations to Clare Henry (who won the ARC), Asha Bardon (who won the HoSW paperback), Chesley Cox, Donna Kelly, Margo, Keith Manuel and Joanne Burrows (who won a set of House of Binding Thorns promo cards).
And also as promised: the food most people would miss in a post-magical-war Paris would seem to be viennoiseries (pain au chocolate and croissant) and cheese. I was really impressed by the Vietnamese food ones–some classics such as banh mi and pho, but also things like bun vit mang or nom hua chuoi! And nope, probably not happening in a post apocalyptic Paris, they’ve got enough trouble finding the fish sauce already °_°
Thank you very much for taking part, it was fun to read everyone’s entries 🙂
Should you want more info on House of Binding Thorns, it’s here. And, hum, if you didn’t win the ARC but happen to want to pre-order here are the links (again, I know it’s hard and not everyone can afford to buy, but it does help the book. It’s very much appreciated if you do preorder, and I should be able to announce the preorders rewards a bit later–hopefully early next year, with my publishers’ blessing)
And as promised, here’s the giveaway for one ARC of The House of Binding Thorns: ruined and decadent Paris, Fallen angels, alchemists, a dragon kingdom under invasion, and backstabbing aplenty! Open anywhere in the world–I’d of course much appreciate it if you could review the book on goodreads, for instance, (it does help the author *sheepish grin*).
I’ll close it next Thursday, and probably post some highlights of the food question as well.
Here are the promo cards:
(the HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS ones have got a random quote from the book at the back, the HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS ones come with both US and UK covers and have a pull quote)
The multi-award winning author of The House of Shattered Wings continues her Dominion of the Fallen saga as Paris endures the aftermath of a devastating arcane war…
As the city rebuilds from the onslaught of sorcery that nearly destroyed it, The Great Houses of Paris, ruled by fallen angels, still contest one another for control over the capital.
House Silverspires was once the most powerful, but just as it sought to rise again, an ancient evil brought it low. Phillippe, an immortal who escaped the carnage, has a singular goal—to resurrect someone he lost. But the cost of such magic may be more than he can bear.
In House Hawthorn, Madeleine the alchemist has had her addiction to angel essence savagely broken. Struggling to live on, she is forced on a perilous diplomatic mission to the underwater Dragon Kingdom—and finds herself in the midst of intrigues that have already caused one previous emissary to mysteriously disappear…
As the Houses seek a peace more devastating than war, those caught between new fears and old hatreds must find strength—or fall prey to a magic that seeks to bind all to its will.
The dragon has decided, being Chinese, that it wants to hoard knowledge rather than gold.
Ok, ok, not much knowledge there unless you count a dark fantasy Gothic thriller as knowledge (I’m sure you’ll learn lots of things about Paris :p).
I’ll be setting up a giveaway but that’ll have to wait until next week as the house is currently in the throes of plague (aka norovirus plus laryngitis, a combo I heartily don’t endorse).
(like last time, pre-order and/or buy in the first week after release and you’ll get something–I can’t give details yet but there will definitely be a reward to make it worth your while. Pre orders help me, the author, too, because they tell the publisher that readers are enthusiastic for the book and obviously I want to keep my publisher happy!)
Tor.com has kindly agreed to reveal the cover for the US edition of The House of Binding Thorns. It’s still by the awesome Nekro, with art direction by Adam Auerbach, and it looks gorgeous.
Here’s a little teaser:
Head on over to Tor.com for the full cover, and the official cover copy aka “what this book is about in more detail”. Be warned, however, that if you haven’t read The House of Shattered Wings and intend to (though you don’t need to have read The House of Shattered Wings to enjoy this, it’s standalone), this contains major spoilers.
If you want a between-the-books snippet and a look at the Pinterest board, you can head on over to the official novel page on this website, here.
The book will be out April 4th in hardcover from Roc in the US, and April 20th from Gollancz in the UK and the Rest of the World, and you can pre-order the US edition right now  (*cough* pre orders are really important for authors because they’re an indicator of how much people are excited about the book, so if you happen to want this I’d be very grateful if you did preorder. Also, did I mention this is standalone? It is standalone, you don’t need to have read The House of Shattered Wings to enjoy it, and my admittedly biased opinion is that this is a better book because I definitely gained a level in novel-writing between both books.*cough* )
I put in the link for the preorder of the UK edition but I’m a little less sure about this: the Kindle link looks right, but the default amazon link is to a hardback edition that I’m pretty sure isn’t coming out (and last time people who did order the hardback edition never got their books, so I’m a little leery of the same thing happening again).
There will also be preorder freebies like the last time, but I’m still working on what these should be!