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About The Iron Assassin: On an Earth that is not our own, Victoria never ascended the throne; the House of Hanover held England only briefly before being supplanted by the House of Harminster. It is a time of gaslamps and regularly scheduled airship flights, of trams and steam-driven clockwork with countless smoke-belching stacks. London, the capitol of the Empire of the Lion, is a filthy, crowded, fast-growing city where a series of shocking murders threatens the throne itself.
Energetic young inventor Jack Straker believes he has created a weapon to defend the Crown: a reanimated, clockwork-enhanced corpse he can control. He introduces “the Iron Assassin” to the highly placed Lords who will decide if Straker’s invention becomes a weapon of the Lion—or something to be destroyed.
It quickly becomes apparent that the Iron Assassin is more self-willed than Straker intended, and that the zombie’s past life is far more sinister than Straker thought. Has he created a runaway monster? Or the best guardian the Lion could ever hope for?
(Ends May 14)
About The Dragon Lantern: The Dragon Lantern is the second action-packed, steampunk adventure in the League of Seven series by the acclaimed author of Samurai Shortstop, Alan Gratz.
Archie Dent is convinced that he and his friends Hachi and Fergus are the first three members of a new League of Seven: a group of heroes who come together to fight the Mangleborn whenever the monsters arise to destroy humanity. His belief is put to the test when they are forced to undertake separate missions. Archie and his faithful Tik-Tok servant Mr. Rivets pursue a shapeshifting girl who has stolen the Dragon Lantern, an ancient artifact with mysterious powers. And Hachi and Fergus travel to New Orleans to find Madame Blavatsky, the only person who knows the circumstances surrounding the death of Hachi’s father.
In the course of their adventures the three heroes meet potential candidates to join their League. At the same time, they learn deep-rooted secrets that could destroy the League forever….
(Ends May 13)
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About Blood of the Cosmos: The second book in Kevin J. Anderson’s Saga of Shadows trilogy, Blood of the Cosmos is an epic space opera of the titanic conflict of several galactic civilizations against a life-destroying force of shadows, a dark cosmic force that has swept through the undercurrents of the human interstellar empire.
The intertwined plots, overflowing with colorful ideas, a large cast of characters, and complex storylines, span dozens of solar systems, alien races, and strange creatures.
As the second book of the trilogy opens, the humans and Ildirans, having narrowly escaped annihilation at the hands of the Shana Rei and their robot allies in Book One, are desperate to find a way to combat the black cloud of antimatter of the Shana Rei. The mysterious alien Gardeners, who had helped them previously, turn out to be a disaster in disguise and because of them, the world tree forests are again in danger. The allies believing they have found a way to stop their dreaded enemies, a new weapon is tested, but it’s a horrible failure, throwing the human race and its allies to the brink of extinction.
(Ends May 8)
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About Hover: Helicopter pilot Lt. Sara Denning joins a navy battle group with little fanfare–and that’s just the way she likes it. After her brother Ian’s tragic death, her career path seemed obvious: step into his shoes and enter the Naval Academy, despite her fear of water. Sara’s philosophy is simple–blend in, be competent, and above all, never do anything to stand out as a woman in a man’s world.
Somewhere along the way, Sara lost herself–her feminine, easygoing soul is now buried under so many defensive layers, she can’t reach it anymore.
When she meets strong, self-assured Lt. Eric Marxen, her defenses start to falter. Eric coordinates flight operations for a Navy SEAL team that requests Sara as the exclusive pilot. This blatant show of favoritism causes conflict with the other pilots; Sara’s sexist boss seems intent on making her life miserable, and her roommate and best friend, the only other woman on the ship, is avoiding her. It doesn’t help that her interactions with Eric leave her reeling.
The endgame of the SEALs’ mission is so secret, even Sara doesn’t know the reason behind her mandated participation. Soon, though, the training missions become real, and Sara must overcome her fears before they plunge her into danger. When Sara’s life is on the line, can she find her true self again and follow the orders of her heart before it is too late?
Anne A. Wilson’s Hover is a thrilling, emotional women’s journey written by a groundbreaking former navy pilot.
(Ends May 7)
By Marc Turner
Do you have any idea how many epic fantasy books are going to be published this year? No, neither do I, but I’m guessing it’s a lot. It’s hard as a new author to stand out from the crowd. People don’t like to think of writers competing with one another, but in some sense they do. No-one can possibly read every fantasy book, so how do you ensure yours is the one that makes it onto someone’s to-be-read list? I mean, there’s a book coming out later this year that features knights and dinosaurs. Knights and dinosaurs! Hey wait, where are you going? Come back!
You see the problem.
A while ago I came up with the idea of making a video trailer for my book. I’d just seen a teaser trailer for Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart that I thought was very effective. It features a woman walking up to the White House and summoning a ball of magical energy in her hand before throwing it at the building. That’s all. Nothing about the characters, nothing about the plot. But it certainly made me want to find out more.
The simplicity highlighted for me what I saw as a drawback in a lot of the video trailers for books that I’d seen previously: they tried to convey too much information about the story. That’s understandable, perhaps, but it’s difficult to summarise the plot of many fantasy books without making them sound silly. Try it with The Lord of the Rings. “So, there are these little people with hairy feet, and one of them has to throw a magic ring into a volcano to kill a Dark Lord . . .” Knowing nothing more, is that a book you’d rush out to buy? Of course, I’m not doing the book justice (who could?), but I’d argue it’s impossible to do it justice in the space you have available in a trailer.
The second problem with trying to convey too much story is that unless you’re using a voice actor you end up with lots of words on screen. But this is supposed to be a video, right? If someone wanted to read what the book is about, they’d look at the blurb. A trailer has to do something different. The best ones I’ve seen use images and music to create a mood, and tell you just enough about the book to spark your interest.
Unfortunately, finding the right images and music can be a challenge, particularly on a budget – and particularly for a fantasy book. My debut, When the Heavens Fall, tells the story of a man who steals an artefact that gives him power over the dead, then uses it to resurrect an ancient civilisation in order to challenge the Lord of the Dead for control of the underworld. That’s not the sort of subject matter most people are looking for when they go to a stock photo website. Put “undead army” into the website’s search box, and you won’t be inundated with options. No really, it’s true.
What about finding an image for your characters, though? That should be simple enough. Except you can never quite find a photograph that corresponds exactly to how you see the characters or (more importantly) to the detail in the book. Or the person in the picture is wearing the wrong sort of clothes, or standing in front of something that might just appear out of place in a medieval fantasy setting. Like a helicopter. Having looked through hundreds of images for my “main” character, Luker, I was forced to fall back on a photo of a man in a hood. But, hey, this is epic fantasy. It wouldn’t feel the same without a hooded man in there somewhere.
So, having robbed the process of all of its mystery, it’s time to invite you to sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the video trailer for When the Heavens Fall.
It’s best viewed with the lights turned down and the music turned up . . .
Marc Turner was born in Canada, but grew up in England. His first novel, When the Heavens Fall, is published in May this year from Tor in the US and Titan in the UK. A short story set in the world of the novel is coming soon at Tor.com. The story will also be available as a free audio file. Marc can be found on Twitter at @MarcJTurner and at www.marcturner.net.
About The Darkness Rolling: Upon his return from World War II, Seaman Yazzie Goldman realizes that not much has changed at his family’s trading post in Monument Valley–and yet everything is different. His grandfather, Moses Goldman, has suffered a debilitating stroke, and while Yazzie’s mother Nizhoni is doing her best, the post is slowly falling apart.
Nizhoni is thrilled that Yazzie has returned to help bring the trading post back to prosperity. Excitement comes from the nearby filming of a John Ford movie starring Henry Fonda. Director Ford enlists the tall, strong, half-Navajo and half-Jewish Yazzie to serve as a translator, and as a bodyguard for the beautiful actress Linda Darnell. Someone is sending Linda threatening letters, and as Yazzie investigates, he finds himself falling for her.
Yazzie isn’t the only one to have recently returned home. A man who calls himself Zopilote, the Buzzard, has spent the last twenty-five years in jail steeping himself in the ancient Navajo chant “Darkness Rolling” and consumed with rage at the people who put him there–Yazzie’s mother and grandfather.
A thrilling, heart-pounding read of family, adventure, romance, and vengeance,The Darkness Rolling is the first in an evocative historical mystery series by award-winning authors Win and Meredith Blevins.
(Ends May 6)