Archive for category Books and Reviews
I am pleased to announce that Angry Robot Books have agreed to publish two more books in the series, The Courts of the Feyre. The third book in the series, Strangeness & Charm, concerns what happens when the escapees from The Road to Bedlam are released into the wider community, and the fourth brings this series to a finale with The Eighth Court.
These books will feature Niall and Blackbird as well as Niall’s wayward daughter Alex. The stories will be complete in themselves as with Sixty-One Nails and The Road to Bedlam, but will be best enjoyed as a series following Niall’s adventures through the four-book sequence.
The reason for the late announcement on the website is that I have been on a research trip to track down a rare medieval survivor, along with some surprises that even I did not suspect. All I can say at this stage is that these fit perfectly into the stories being written at the moment and you will see the fruits of that trip presently.
Strangeness & Charm is scheduled for June 2012, with the fourth book, The Eighth Court, due for release in early 2013.
Well, the polls have closed and the votes counted and I am delighted to announce the SciFi & Fantasy Book of the Year for 2010 is: ~
The Road to Bedlam
I would like to thank everyone who voted in the poll for making it such an interesting and engaging race, and everyone who voted for The Road to Bedlam in particular for your support and enthusiasm.
My thanks and appreciation go to Ant at SFBook.com for hosting the competition in sometimes difficult circumstances and for sticking with it and sorting it all out in the end.
I am told that the poll will run again next year, so look out for twelve new books to vote for.
Today is the release day for The Road to Bedlam in the United States and Canada and we’re celebrating here at Shevdon Manor by giving away copies of both books: Sixty-One Nails and The Road to Bedlam as a pair, in the US edition, signed and dated 26th October 2010, to be posted anywhere in the world, free of charge.
In order to win, you will need to put your thinking caps on. In the books, fey power is an expression of five elements. These are Fire, Earth, Air and Water and the Void, as in the early classical elements of Buddhist, Hindu and Greek philosophy. These are not literal elements, but a way of understanding how fey power manifests, which is through combinations of these elemental aspects. The void does not combine with other elements but underpins all, so it stands alone.
There are situations where fey power is used in Sixty-One Nails, but in case you haven’t read it yet (why not?) an example would be; Blackbird is a creature of Fire and Air and she can create a swarm of hornets by breathing into her cupped hands, releasing stinging mayhem upon an attacker. The troll, Gramawl, is a creature of Earth and Water, and can move silently, no matter what surface he walks upon.
In order to win the books, you must imagine that you are able to combine two elements from Fire, Air, Earth and Water to express a magical fey power. Email me to explain what the power is, how it works and, importantly, what limits it has. Note that the Void is excluded from the competition as it stands alone, and for reasons that may become clear in future books.
The most imaginative and interesting entry will win the signed copies and, potentially, may be included in book three as one of the powers of an escapee – the relevance of that word will become clear as you reach the end of The Road to Bedlam.
Send your entries by email to mike (at) shevdon (dot) com with a subject of BEDLAM COMPETITION ENTRY, including your name and contact details so that I can get in touch if you win. You need to explain in the email which pair of elements create the ability, and what this achieves for the fey concerned. Remember that this could end up in a book, so dream up something urban, magical and edgy – but not so powerful that it unbalances the rest of the story, otherwise I won’t be able to use it.
I may award secondary prizes for close runners-up and even post the best ones on the blog for all to see. As usual in these matters, family members and those involved with producing or publishing the books are excluded from the competition. The rules are as I make them, and I reserve the right to change them if I need to.
The best entries will win points, and you know what points mean….
It’s not often that I feature a review on my blog. I keep track of reviews and sometimes copy extracts into my reviews page for those who want to browse them, but I don’t tend to post them. When the reviewer is Publisher’s Weekly, though, it gets my immediate attention.
Sixty-One Nails Mike Shevdon. HarperCollins/Angry Robot, $7.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-199406-7
Spinning British folklore and history into a one-step-over-from-reality vision of the streets underneath London, Shevdon’s debut introduces the supernatural Feyre and their complex relationship with the human half-breeds created to maintain the fertility of the dying Feyre races. Niall Petersen, renamed Rabbit by those who know true names have power, awakens from a heart attack and finds himself in the care of the mysterious Blackbird. His previously unknown Feyre heritage has puts him in the sights of the human-hating Untainted. It also makes him uniquely suited to defending the barriers keeping the Feyre from the human world. An impressively accessible hero, Niall anchors the reader on a journey of discovery that feels constantly off-balance but never jarring. Comparisons to Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere are both inevitable and erroneous; Shevdon’s grittily believable, charmingly described underworld packs a dark punch all its own. (June)
If you don’t know Publisher’s Weekly then you’re probably not in the business. It’s an insider’s journal and probably one of the most respected literary publications on the planet. Given that this review was June, I obviously missed it, but I found a reference to it in Locus Magazine and just had to follow it to the source.
To get a starred review is a rare privilege; they are not easily come by. Hence you’ll forgive me for front-paging a review on this particular occasion.
It’s the busiest of busy weeks her at Shevdon Manor with, not one, but two releases. Firstly, Sixty-One Nails is now out in the United States and Canada and there have been some great comments from across the pond. Thanks to everyone for the good wishes – initial signs are very promising indeed.
The sequel, The Road to Bedlam, is out now in the UK and Australasia, with the first reviews coming out this week: ~
It is the Neverwhere for Generation X and as such when backed up with great dialogue, an emotional roller coaster alongside kick ass plot outline, you know that you have something special. ~ Falcata Times
There’s also an interview with Falcata Times where we talk about writing, reading, archery and warm sausage rolls – oh dear, my secret’s out.
Then, over on Dark Fiction Review, I’m talking about the State of the Genre and what Anne McCaffrey has to do with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and what happens when the shelves fill up with vegetarian vampires and tame werewolves – maybe not what you think.
All in all, it’s turning into quite a week.
Early next week, Sixty-One Nails will be released in the USA and Canada and the sequel, The Road to Bedlam will be released in the UK and Australasia, giving us an excuse for a double celebration here at Shevdon Manor.
Due to the global nature of publishing, there are already fans in the US who are spreading the word and looking forward to the release of The Road to Bedlam in the US in late October, but they won’t necessarily have seen some of the earlier articles on the background and history to Sixty-One Nails, and I thought it was worth posting some links to articles that new readers might find interesting.
Red Light District in a Convent Garden is an article on the history of Covent Garden, one of the main locations for Sixty-One Nails, proving that truth can sometimes be more surprising than fiction. This is a genteel area in the heart of the West End now, but it has a seedy past.
Temple and the Templars looks at the history behind the Inns of Court and the area around the Royal Courts of Justice, showing how the forge in Tweezers Alley came to be there and charting the rise and fall of the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon.
Lethal London looks at the underground rivers that flow beneath the streets of London, hidden from view in all but the most obscure of locations, including the river that flows openly through the basement of an antiques shop. Though the Thames may be London’s famous river, it is by no means the most dangerous.
Quit Rents Ceremony 2009 is an account is the ceremony held annually at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London, which I attended so that I could watch the testing of the knives and the presentation of the nails and the horse-shoes. It’s a fascinating event, and highly recommended if you happen to be in London in October.
There are other articles with a historical leaning to be found under the History link in the sidebar; please feel free to explore and browse. I will be posting some articles on the background to The Road to Bedlam in the near future, so keep an eye out for those. There is also an RSS feed for those using that service.
Sixty-One Nails will be released in the United States of America and Canada on August 31st 2010, and The Road to Bedlam is released in the UK and Australasia on 1st September. It’s going to be an exciting week.
The launch of a new book is always a tense time for a writer. WIll new readers like it? Will fans of earlier books be delighted or disappointed? We writers aim to please, but as always, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
So, what’s being said? Well, here’s a small extract from a review in the Falcata Times, which will be published when the book is released….
What makes this series so engrossing is the fact that its just so different from the numerous Urban Fantasy titles out there as whilst most are concentrating on exotic locations (well exotic to the UK) Mike writes it based here in Britain, whilst most write about Vamps and Werekin, Mike writes about the Fey and magic in the modern world. It is the Neverwhere for Generation X and as such when backed up with great dialogue, an emotional roller coaster alongside kick ass plot outline, you know that you have something special.
And here are some comments from SciFi and Fantasy Books…
The Road to Bedlam is a rich, detailed and impressive sequel to one of the best novels of 2009 with a gripping plot, superb characterisation and is such an effortless joy to read. If you have read Sixty One Nails you just have to get this, and for those of you who haven’t read Sixty One Nails, what are you waiting for, buy them both!