2013 was a nice year for Tor UK, we published some great books, won a few awards - and then had a nice restful Christmas. And we came back in January all refreshed and rejuvenated and looking ahead to 2014 and the bumper crop of titles we have forthcoming this year.
THE EMPEROR'S BLADES by Brian Staveley (publishing January)
Bella Pagan: The Emperor’s Blades is such a terrific, page-turning, imaginative read from Brian Staveley. And as it’s his debut novel, I’m even more impressed! I can still remember tearing through it for the first time, staying up way later than reasonable on work nights to finish it and then being *so* excited when genre readers in-house shared that excitement. This is a high-adrenaline adventure against a background of empire, intrigue and betrayal. And I think it’s just the thing for those waiting for the next season of Game of Thrones or next Douglas Hulick book.
BANISHED by Liz de Jager (publishing February)
Bella Pagan: Banished by Liz de Jager is a very special book for many reasons. I love her protagonist Kit – and Liz takes us on fast-paced adventure where we discover a dangerous fae world living in the shadow of our own. And she expertly incorporates all kinds of fairy tale myths and legends that bring real richness and depth to the tale. Also, I’ve known Liz for years as an enthusiastic book blogger, so seeing her mature as a writer and learn about publishing from the inside is wonderful and vicariously exciting to see. Especially when great authors such as Mike Carey say: ‘De Jager's fantasy world is enthralling and immersive, many fathoms deep . . . wonderful’. Lastly, did I mention that the book is clothed in glorious raiment of silver metallic ink?! Cue shrieks of glee when I saw the final book.
UNWRAPPED SKY by Rjurik Davidson (publishing April)
Julie Crisp: The first time I read this I was blown away by the intense, unique and vibrant world-building. It put me in mind of the first time I read Perdido Street Station by China Miéville and falling wholly in love with the prose, the characters, the originality of the storyline. No small praise! It's already had rave reviews from Garth Nix and Hannu Rajaniemi. I was SO excited by this book and think that anyone who reads it will feel the same way. If you want a taster of the world you can read this short story here.
THE GODLESS by Ben Peek (publishing August)
Julie Crisp: You reach a stage when you're a commissioning editor when you look at the list and think, right no more buying books for a while. I reached that stage. Then along comes Ben. . . I couldn't resist. For me it was the strong female character that I really liked, her storyline was wonderful. I also loved that there were three very different perspectives and a real mixture of cultures involved in the world. Add a lot of action, a damaged immortal, a god under a mountain and a mercenary with morals - well, what's not to like?!
A LITTLE BIT OF FANTASY
We've got some fantastic fantasy novels coming this year - some of which I know the fans have been eagerly awaiting.
VALOUR by John Gwynne (publishing March)
Julie Crisp: John's first novel, Malice, won the David Gemmell Morningstar award for best debut fantasy novel and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Malice has had terrific reviews and the second novel is just as good as the first continuing the story. You want more character development? More action? More giants? A BIG axe on the front cover? You got it.
SWORN IN STEEL by Douglas Hulick (publishing May)
Bella Pagan: People are still talking about Among Thieves, Douglas Hulick’s stand out fantasy debut. It was on the Fantasy Faction blog’s ‘Most anticipated’ list for 2014 too, which was great to see. And now (drum roll) we have book two coming up in just a few months. Sworn in Steel is just as exciting, gritty and squash-buckling as book one. It's an adventurous tale of Drothe, set against the backdrop of two shadowy cities, both riddled with mayhem. He’s an anti-hero who tries to do the right thing while balancing the complementary occupations of spy and thief (there weren’t many career options round his way). Then he stumbles upon secrets of empire, magic and a brotherhood of immortal swordsman . . . Brent Weeks said book one was ‘an unalloyed pleasure: a fast moving, funny, twisting tale’. He also said of Hulick ‘there’s a new talent in the game’, and we hope you agree with Brent’s words of wisdom there.
THE SEAL OF THE WORM by Adrian Tchaikovsky (publishing July)
Julie Crisp: The tenth and concluding novel in Adrian's brilliantly imagined Shadows of the Apt series. I can't tell you how wonderful this series is - I've been completely hooked since book one. And I can tell you that the ending is every bit as dramatic, emotional and fantastic as you'd expect from this hugely original writer. If you haven't dipped into the series already you should really give it a go - start off with Empire of Black and Gold, you really won't regret it.
RETRIBUTION by Mark Charan Newton (publishing October)
Julie Crisp: If you didn't catch Drakenfeld when it came out last year in October then you'll be happy to know it'll be available in paperback in July with the new book following shortly on its heels. Mark's always been an innovative writer and a brilliant world-builder and the richly imagined backdrop to Drakenfeld with its intricate storyline and locked room mystery was a hugely entertaining read that appealed as much to crime readers as it did to fantasy fans.
OUT OF THIS WORLD SCIENCE FICTION
EXTINCTION GAME by Gary Gibson (publishing September)
Bella Pagan: I am so very impressed with Execution Game, this new series starter from Gary Gibson. He’s given his science fictional storytelling a twist and instead of drawing on the far-future, this one is set much closer to home. Namely, a slightly alternative (you’ll be glad to hear…) near-future earth. Here Jerry is plucked from a dying earth by persons unknown, who place him with a group of apocalypse survivalists on a different version of our world. This team harvests weapons from dying worlds. But who is the organisation pulling their strings and – what the hell do they want? I’ve just read the edited manuscript, and this is a real game-changer from Gary. It’s his biggest, boldest and most brilliant novel yet. I was blown away by the tension and ideas crammed into this one and have a *very* good feeling about it. I get to feel a bit special because I’ve read it first (!) but … it’s coming to a bookseller or ebook vendor near you in September this year. The cover looks amazing too.
THE FALLERS: THE ABYSS BEYOND DREAMS by Peter F. Hamilton (publishing October)
Julie Crisp: A new Peter F. Hamilton novel publishing is always one for the diary and I for one can't wait to read the script when it lands. Peter and his agent have been teasing us with snippets and descriptions and I can tell you it sounds like it's going to be one heck of a read. Watch this space . . .
CHILLS AND THRILLS
And last, but certainly not least - we're determined to give you all goosebumps with our offering of horror novels.
Julie Crisp: I'm sure most of you will have watched this incredibly atmospheric and beautifully shot TV series earlier this year when it aired on Channel 4. And if you haven't, you really should. It attracted just under eight million viewers in the UK, has sold worldwide, won an International Emmy, took the US by storm and is being adapted there as well. The story of a small group of villagers who return to their homes and families, several years after their deaths. Seth Patrick, author of The Reviver, is currently working on the novelizations of this and the second series. So we're hugely excited to see what spin he puts on the storyline . . .
NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE by Adam Nevill (publishing October)
Julie Crisp: Adam delivered me his new novel just before Christmas and I read it within a few days. I can't tell you how good it is. Set in Birmingham, it's the ultimate woman in jeopardy thriller. But in jeopardy from what?! ;-)
Stephanie feels she can go no lower. Cash-strapped, working part-time for agencies and living in shoddy accommodation, just to eek out a survival. When she comes across the ad in the local post office for a cheap room, she thinks its the answer to her prayers. But 82 Edgware Road is just the start of her worst nightmares . . .
Now obviously we have LOTS more on the list and if you'd be interested in seeing what we have scheduled for the year then just let me know and I'll pop one on site (with the proviso that's nothing's set in stone and things can move or change!). But hopefully there will have been at least one book that piqued your interest - do let us know what you like the look of!