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A Ripple in the Glass by A. F. E. Smith Mar27

A Ripple in the Glass by A. F. E. Smith...

Every book holds up a mirror to the world, and to humanity. Sometimes the reflection shows us as we are. Sometimes it shows us as we might be. Fantasy is particularly good at this, I think, because it puts a ripple in the glass. That ripple changes the reflection, makes it show a world that’s different from the one we know; yet at the same time, it can make certain aspects of what it means to be human stand out more prominently. If you want to know what courage means, or friendship, or love (or, if you tend towards a pessimistic view of human nature, hate and cruelty and destruction) then fantasy is as good a place to look as anywhere. And always – consciously or unconsciously – what’s shown in the mirror of any book reflects the biases and beliefs, the hopes and fears, of the author who created it. Windsinger is the most personal book I’ve ever written. That’s partly because when I wrote it, I was in a dark and difficult place. I’d sunk gradually into depression. Mild depression, to be sure – high-functioning depression, in that I could still go to work and be a parent and put on a mask that said I was fine – but depression nonetheless. If you have any experience with such conditions, you’ll know that they’re far easier to fall into than to claw your way back out from. You’ll also know that depression and creativity do not sit well together. I thought I was useless. I thought everything I did was useless. I would sit and stare at the screen, wondering what on earth was the point of trying to complete this book when I was so obviously a second-rate writer with nothing...

How to be a good supporting cast member – A guest post from Peter Newman about The Vagrant and the City Feb27

How to be a good supporting cast member – A guest post from Peter Newman about The Vagrant and the...

It was an interesting challenge writing this story. It had to: • Be a complete narrative on its own while fitting into the overall arc of the trilogy. • Reveal something interesting about the characters but nothing so important that readers would need it to understand the main books. • Be fun to read! At its worst, a secondary story (or DLC in a story based game) can feel empty and pointless, where you meet a bunch of watered down secondary characters and follow stories that are so removed from the main plot as to seem irrelevant. The trick seems to be to deepen the experience for the reader, allowing them to enjoy the other books in a richer way, without damaging the main stories for those who haven’t read the shorter works. I feel like the comics do this sort of thing on a near daily basis, with Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series being a standout example, where a number of smaller human stories (each complete narratives) feed into the greater mythos of Dream and the Endless. Often, Dream is a pivotal but secondary character in these stories. Another example that comes to mind is the Mass Effect series. There are three games (that function like a trilogy), and each has DLC that provides extra content and adventures. One of my favourite bits of DLC was the Lair of the Shadow Broker mission. Not only did it include some dramatic locales, but there were was a reveal about one of the secondary characters that changed my relationship with the third game. I also feel like I’d be a bad human not to mention The Split Worlds short stories by *cough* Emma Newman. There are over 50 shorts that focus mostly on the minor characters...

Jimmy and the Crawler...

The Crawler: a name whispered in fear… In the crime-ridden back alleys of Krondor a rival gang has sprung up to threaten the Upright Man’s Mockers. Does the Crawler control the rival gang? Where does his power come from? And does it threaten the peace of the Kingdom? James, personal squire to Prince Arutha of Krondor, but in the underworld known as the thief and trickster Jimmy the Hand, must travel to Kesh in disguise. There, working with William, lieutenant of the prince’s household guard and son of the magician Pug, and Jazhara, niece to the Keshian lord Hazara-Khan, he must attempt to unmask the mysterious Crawler and rid Krondor of his...

A Dance with Dragons (Enhanced Edition)...

Stay on top of the epic story lines with annotations, glossaries, and family trees. Follow each main character’s journey with interactive maps. Explore the symbolism of every house’s sigil. In addition to hundreds of enhancements, you’ll find an excerpt of The Winds of Winter, the hugely anticipated sixth book in Martin’s series. The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance—beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’ claim to Westeros forever. Meanwhile, to the north Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice. In a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of...

Royal Assassin

Honesty is the bedrock for any relationship. But how can Fitz – royal bastard, trainee assassin, holder of secrets crucial to the security of the kingdom – bare his soul to his beloved Molly? Danger lies all around him – from the raiders savaging the coastal towns, and from within the court. The king has been struck down by a mystery illness and his eldest son, Verity, is bound up in the defence of the realm. When Verity leaves the court in search of the mythical Elderlings, Fitz finds himself friendless apart from his wolf, Nighteyes, and the king’s strange, motley-clad fool, exposed to Prince Regal’s malign ambitions. He will be asked to sacrifice everything – his heart, his hope, even his life – for the sake of the...

The Vagrant and the City...

‘It’s a story that grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and refused to let go…’ Fantasy Faction

Red Sister

“I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin” At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist. But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse. Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive… A brilliant new series from the bestselling author of PRINCE OF...

Red Sister

“I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin” At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist. But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of...

Eleanor

1985 Agnes’s daughter Eleanor is six years old. She sharesher name with the grandmother she never knew andeverything else with her identical twin, Esmerelda. Butto Agnes, only Eleanor is a constant reminder of the past. 1993 After a dark event leaves her family in tatters, Eleanor,now fourteen, is left caring for her alcoholic mother,whose grief has torn her apart. But when Eleanor’sreality begins to unravel, she starts to lose her grip ontime itself, slipping from the present into strange otherlands where she’s in danger of losing herself altogether. Eleanor is the story of choices that ripple through timefar beyond the moment they’re made. And what happenswhen, just sometimes, bonds are so powerful they reachbeyond this world and into...

Players of the Game

Windsinger

The Malice

In the south, the Breach stirs. Gamma’s sword, the Malice, wakes, calling to be taken to battle once more. But the Vagrant has found a home now, made a life and so he turns his back, ignoring its call. The sword cries out, frustrated, until another answers. Her name is...

The Wheel of Osheim

All the horrors of Hell stand between Snorri Ver Snagason and the rescue of his family, if indeed the dead can be rescued. For Jalan Kendeth getting out alive and with Loki’s Key is all that matters. The key can open any lock and possession of it may enable Jal to to return to the three Ws that have been the core of his debauched life: wine, women, and wagering. But the Wheel of Osheim is turning ever faster and it will crack the world unless it’s stopped. When the end of all things looms, and there’s nowhere to run, even the worst coward must find new...

The Release

The Release

A Clash of Kings

The Iron Throne once united the Sunset Lands, but King Robert is dead, his widow is a traitor to his memory, and his surviving brothers are set on a path of war amongst themselves. At King’s Landing, the head of Lord Eddard Stark rots on a spike for all to see. His daughter Sansa is betrothed still to his killer’s son Joffrey – Queen Cersei’s son, though not the son of her late husband Robert. Even so, Joffrey is now a boy-king, Cersei is his regent, and war is inevitable. In Dragonstone, Robert’s brother Stannis has declared himself king, while his other brother Renly proclaims himself king at Storm’s End – and Eddard Stark’s fifteen year old son Robb wears the crown of the north at Winterfell. A comet in the night sky, red and malevolent, the colour of blood and flame, can only be an omen of murder and war. Stannis’s child Princess Shireen dreams of dragons waking from stone. And a white raven has brought word from the Citadel itself, foretelling summer’s end. It has been the longest summer in living memory, lasting ten years, and the smallfolk say it means an even longer winter to come… The first rule of war is never give the enemy his wish. But winter will be the biggest enemy. From beyond the Wall the undead and Others clamour for freedom, and from beyond the sea the long-dead Dragon King’s daughter hatches her revenge. Robb Stark will be exceedingly lucky to reach...

The Remnant

This is the sequel.

A Feast for Crows (Enhanced Edition)...

Stay on top of the epic story lines with annotations, glossaries, and family trees. Follow each main character’s journey with interactive maps. Explore the symbolism of every house’s sigil. In addition to hundreds of enhancements, you’ll find an excerpt of The Winds of Winter, the hugely anticipated sixth book in Martin’s series. After centuries of bitter strife and fatal treachery, the seven powers dividing the land have decimated one another into an uneasy truce. But it is not long before the survivors, renegades and carrion eaters start to pick over the bones of the dead and fight for the spoils of the soon-to-be dead. In the Seven Kingdoms, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed, while surprising faces are seen emerging from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges ahead. It is a time when the wise and the ambitious, the deceitful and the strong will acquire the skills, the power, and the magic to survive the stark and terrible times that lie before them. It is a time for nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages to come together and stake their fortunes . . . and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the...

The Memory Palace

In the vast library of the Palace there are many books about the fabulous land of Malthassa and its Archmage Koschei – books written by Guy Parados. Fantasy novels that have brought Parados fame and wealth in his own world. Guy Parados believes that he invented the Archmage. He thinks he alone built the Memory palace and that it contains his memories. Instead, it contains his soul, and the Archmage Koschei has need of it. In Gill Alderman’s powerful novel, magic crosses over from the realm of fantasy to the present day, and it is strange, beautiful and...

Lilith’s Castle...

When the magician Koschei escaped through the mind of his creator Guy Parados into the world where he is fiction, he became Guy Parados. And Parados became the Red Horse in the land of Malthassa… his own invention, he believed. But Malthassa has deeper roots, as deep as hell, and it is there the Red Horse must go. Gry’s father passed along the road to the Palace of Shadows where Asmodeus rules, King of the Lightless Garden. Pursued by the shaman Aza and riding the Red Horse, Gry must follow the same road, though it is the road to hell. From hell all other places are accessible: this is a reason to go there, the only one not steeped in madness. But it is not Gry’s reason. Gry is only running from home, riding the Red Horse which was once her father’s horse – not a woman’s. And surely she is mad, for the Red Horse talks to her… At the Fortress of Lilith the two worlds will meet, and between the two walk the...