Tag: servant of the underworld

House of Binding Thorns cover reveal


So we’re having a good holiday, albeit one that turns out to have no internet connection (I’m typing this on someone else’s very limited 3G allowance)… But you know, there’s sea, sand, sun (not a lot), wind (lots), and entirely too many buckwheat pancakes. And edits (which are nearing their end) on The House of Binding Thorns, the sequel to The House of Shattered Wings. 

And, also, the UK cover for The House of Binding Thorns! (involves more foil :p)

The House of Binding Thorns continues the epic story of the fallout of the war in heaven that saw the angelic Great Houses of Paris assaulted and torn apart by mistrust and betrayal in The House of Shattered Wings. Among the ruins of Paris the Great Houses, shaken to their foundations, now struggle to put themselves back together, as powerful forces, gods and angels, men and demons, begin to circle the once unassailable Houses.

So… backstabbing, diplomacy and ancestral magic in a decayed and dangerous Paris — you know you want this!

If you’ve read The House of Shattered Wings: yes, this will be focused on the House of Hawthorn, and will have a bunch of returning characters, notably angel essence addict Madeleine — and a bunch new ones too, a Houseless Annamite with a link to powerful, unusual angel magic and a kick-ass dragon prince with a talent for getting into major trouble.

The House of Binding Thorns will be out in April 2017 (we’re on track for finishing revisions soon, when I can finally be convinced to pry my hands from this manuscript and declare it done!): stay turned for more info (I don’t have the UK buy links yet, at least not firmly enough for me to feel confident to send you to them!)

Praise for the previous volume in the series, the award-winning The House of Shattered Wings:

A fantastical spy thriller that reads like a hybrid of le Carré and Milton, all tinged with the melancholy of golden ages lost.

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review, Top 10 Autumn SF/Fantasy/Horror Pick)

It’s a whirlwind, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s one of the best fantasy novels of 2015.

Jessie Potts, RT Book Reviews (RT Top Pick for August Fantasy)

THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS is a Gothic masterpiece of supernatural intrigues, loves and betrayals in a ruined and decadent future Paris — wildly imaginative and completely convincing, this novel will haunt you long after you’ve put it down.

Tim Powers, author of The Anubis Gates

THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS exists in a rich, evocative Paris that is thick with magical history. Pathos and beauty intertwine in a novel filled with longing.

Mary Robinette Kowal, Multiple-Hugo award winning author of the Glamourist Histories


An intense, beautiful, brutal journey written with an eye for the stunning, vivid detail and the cruel demands of duty, loyalty, and leadership. Its portrait of a ruined Paris ruled by fallen angels is one I won’t soon forget.

Kate Elliott, author of the Spiritwalker Trilogy

Cover reveal: Obsidian and Blood ebooks


Been remiss in posting these, but very happy to reveal the new look for Obsidian and Blood. The ebooks will be sold through JABberwocky: they’re currently trickling their way through the system (I spotted them at Amazon and Kobo, but other retailers don’t yet have them). Will update when I have more info!

Aren’t these gorgeous? The design is by Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein (art direction), Melanie Ujimori & Jonathon Dalton (art and cover design). Also, creepy owls FTW!

“Obsidian and Blood” release day


Yup, that’s right, you can buy Obsidian and Blood, the massive omnibus containing the series of Acatl’s adventures, plus all the short stories (they’re all in the ebook edition but not in the print one due to space constraints; if you buy the print edition, you’ll get a link to download the ebook supplement). Get your complete trilogy now!

Obsidian and Blood cover

More info, including buy links, here. I’ll be guest posting at various places over the Internet, though it’s going to be a very short blog tour…

Now if you excuse me, I have a synopsis to polish the heck out of…

Misc update


Still brainstorming the %% urban fantasy. Gotta figure out how to tie together a violent break-in and a fire at a middle school into the same plot… (preferably without having the same vilainous figure involved in both, because it’s such a cliché). On the plus side, I now have my romantic options for the MC figured, except there’s a pesky husband in the way… (I’m tempted to inflict random grievous bodily harm, but it feels like a copout).

I sent off everything for the Obsidian and Blood omnibus as well: all being well (haven’t heard back yet), the volume will contain all three Acatl short stories in addition to all three novels, a new Introduction by the author aka me, and a character index that was sadly missing from Master of the House of Darts. And I’m hoping we’ll be able to fix various egregious mistakes that were around in the text (as pointed out to me by translator extraordinaire Laurent Philibert-Caillat). So definitely worth investing if you’re a fan 😀

Misc other Obsidian and Blood news: Master of the House of Darts has been entered into Book Spot Central’s annual tournament, where books face off against each other. It’s in the same bracket as Patrick Rothfuss, Mira Grant, N.K. Jemisin and other powerhouses, so very much doubting it’ll get past the first round. But just in case… voting is March 13th-March 15th, I’ll try to post a reminder when it actually happens.
And Servant of the Underworld is book of the month over at Absolute Write Water Cooler’s Book study, so if you feel like discussing its merits (or lack thereof), feel free to hop on over to the thread and speak at length.

Meanwhile, we’re having stuffed zucchini with soy sauce, and I’m once again amused by the fact that, whenever we’re given a choice, the H uses the French/Western-shaped knives, whereas I feel much better when I have the santoku in my hands (I hate French knives, they feel all wrong, balance-wise).

Linky linky


-A rather lovely review of Servant of the Underworld by Keith Harvey, discussing its relation to the cozy mystery (anything that compares Brother Cadfael with Acatl is awesome, check it out!)

-The evolution of Vietnamese clothing, via lilsuika and Jhameia (amazing to see all the different styles together like this).

China Miéville on racism and the Belgian decision to publish Tintin in Congo without acknowledging its racist clichés. For the record, Tintin was also a part of my childhood. I have very fond memories of some of the BDs in the series (mainly the later ones), but I don’t think they’re books I could enjoy today, and I’m not really sure they’re books I’d hand to my children. Every single nationality around the globe basically got skewered in a racist fashion (including but not limited to Africans, Arabs, Asians, Gypsies–you name it, he skewered it), and it’s very much boys’ adventures–wimmen need not apply. There are other BDs from my childhood that are far, far better than those.
Also, this quote?

there is a distinction between having the legal right to say something & having the moral right not to be held accountable for what you say

Smartest quote about freedom of speech, ever.

The New York Times on Explaining Londoners. Definitely worth a laugh. I would like to point out that although the French do greet each other by kissing cheeks, we only do the one-on-each-cheek in Paris (every area of France basically has its own idea of how many kisses you should give)

-Fellow VDer Stephen Gaskell has started a new blog, Creepy Treehouse, aimed at educating the young-ish crowd better than dry school lectures. He’s running a series of posts on how to survive the apocalypse that are rather fab.

Brief update


Mostly catching up on post-VN stuff…

-The cover of the omnibus edition of Obsidian and Blood has now been released: remember the uber-cool Larry Rostant cover that graced the French edition? Well, now it can be in your living room, with the complete Acatl novels. We’re currently discussing what will go in the omnibus beyond the text of the three novels, but I expect there’ll be bonus extras.
Obsidian and Blood cover

-My Nebula Awards interview (from last year) by John Ottinger III, is now up at the SFWA website–I talk about cooking, diversity in genre, and my fave bools with fabulous settings. Thanks to the tireless Charles Tan for organising everything, and to John for the perceptive questions.

-I will be Guest of Honour at the British Science Fiction Foundation/British Science Fiction Association AGM/mini-convention, on June 9th in London, at the Royal Astronomical Society. The other GOH is astronomer Marek Kukula. I’m also likely to hang around in London for the weekend (basically, I want to avoid getting up early and returning late, so I’m looking into being there Sunday as well). More details as I have them.

(PS: as some of you on FB and Twitter know, I jammed my right hand in a steel-reinforced door. I’m currently typing with my left hand and an index finger, so I’m not exactly fast on my feet at the moment. It’s much better than it was Tuesday night though, and I don’t think anything is broken. But apologies if I owe you long mails or edits, I can’t handle those well at the moment)

Saturday update


(ETA: yes, I’m aware it’s still Friday by 30 minutes… I screwed up with my posting system, and I don’t feel like undoing the automatic twitter and FB notifications)

So, a very quick update, because 15+ people are showing up tonight tomorrow night at my house, in order to see off the Lunar Year in style (ok, I lie, nothing to do with that. We’re housewarming with a bad sense of timing).

D’Obsidienne et de Sang, the French translation of Servant of the Underworld, would appear to be a finalist for the Prix Masterton, a French literary award for SFF and horror (mainly geared towards horror and dark fantasy if the list of past winners is to be believed). The shortlist includes China Miéville’s The City and the City, and Gail Carriger’s Soulless (opening novel of a series which, amusingly, I’m reading right now) Er, wow? (and yes, the irony of being listed under “Fiction translated into French” has not escaped me).
-Couple Obsidian and Blood spottings: Cynthia Ward mentions both Servant and Harbinger in her end-of-year recap for Acqueduct Press, Harbinger gets noted by Duncan Lawie in his end-of-year review for Strange Horizons; Jacob at Drying Ink (who did this amazing interview with me a while back) ponders why you should read Historical Fantasy in front of a rather fetching cover of Master of the House of Darts
-hum, did I mention “The Bleeding Man” was going to be in Ian Whates’ Dark Currents, an anthology debuting at Eastercon which includes Adrian Tchaikovsky, Adam Nevill, Tricia Sullivan, Rod Rees, Nina Allan, Andrew Hook, Finn Clarke, Lavie Tidhar, Jan Edwards, Emma Coleman, Rebecca J Payne, Sophia McDougall, Una McCormack, Neil Williamson, V.C. Linde? No, I don’t think I did (I’ve known for a bit, but it wasn’t public).

I’m working on an SF story involving probabilities, and finally got in my nominations for the BSFA (short fiction, since I didn’t actually read any 2011 novels except for the aforementioned Gail Carriger (Heartless, which technically I haven’t started, having just downloaded it to my ereader).

Actual content to come, including mini-reviews of Elizabeth Bear’s Range of Ghosts (short version: you have to pre-order this book now), and David Gemmell’s Troy.

Obsidian and Blood news, plus bonus content!


First off–hats off to Nathan McKnight, who has produced an Obsidian and Blood glossary for the Kindle, which you can use to call up characters’ names and special meanings. If you’ve always wanted to dip into the books but found the names too troublesome, the glossary is your friend! Download it here.

Oh, and, now that AR has officially announced it: there will be an Obsidian and Blood omnibus! Called Obsidian and Blood, it will gather all three books in one handy paperback (or ebook), and will be released in July 2012. More details here (not much for the moment other than ISBNs, but there should be some cover art at some point).

Costs £13 or $16, depending on whether you’re in the US or UK, and £8 as an ebook, about or less than the price of two volumes–so, if you’ve got fewer than 2 Obsidian and Blood books and want a complete set in a nice package, you know where to head…

Meanwhile, if anyone’s read Master of the House of Darts and wants to post a few reviews on amazon, I’d be very grateful, ’cause I can’t say the book’s getting a lot of attention at the moment…

Linky linky


-Malinda Lo on “What does ‘authentic’ mean, anyway?”. Some really interesting thoughts, especially the impossibility of saying “so-and-so is more authentic than…” (ie, authenticity isn’t an objective criteria and everyone has different experiences). Even though it’s a tricky business, I definitely think that Malinda is right when she says you can have, say, a character in Ancient Vietnam who insults her mother–but you have to be aware that, within the wider culture, she’s going not only to be viewed as unusual, but as an unfilial daughter, and there will be heavy consequences for her.

-Somehow ended up on deepad’s DW, where I found an old-ish post about emigrants vs. sourcelanders (to over-simplify, the diaspora versus those who remained in the “home” country). Interesting discussion especially as regards authenticity (though I’m not sure I agree with everything. Some of the arguments about who “owns/gets to write about” the cultural heritage of a particular country, for instance, make me more than a little uneasy, though a. I’m hardly neutral on the issue, obviously, and b. I can see where the frustration comes from–an all-too-familiar case of minorities/majorities in Western countries getting more attention than their “sourcelander” counterparts). ETA: sorry, this is the blog post in question. As a bonus and because, on second thought, the post, its comments and some of the attendant assumptions make me deeply uneasy, here’s a set of links to Asian people blogging about their various hyphenate experiences and how it’s affected them. Especially love this one by ciderpress.

-Two Dudes in an Attic reviews Servant of the Underworld (particularly like the description of Acatl as an emo wanker who would be moping and writing bad love poetry, were he alive today).

-Amy Sanderson reviews Servant of the Underworld.