Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Author: Pat Doherty


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A Place Called Armageddon: Deftly written historical fiction

A Place Called Armageddon by C.C. Humphreys

“I am Constantine Palaiologos, emperor, son of Caesars. I am a baker, a ropewright, a fisherman, a monk, a merchant. I am a soldier. I am Roman. I am Greek. I am two thousand years old. I was born in freedom only yesterday. This is my city, Turk. Take it if you can.”

In C.C. Humphreys’ novel A Place Called Armageddon, it’s 1453, and the Byzantine Empire is an empire only in name.


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The Barrow: Will have you by the teeth

The Barrow by Mark Smylie

At first glance at the cover and blurb for Mark Smylie’s prose debut The Barrow, you’ll notice that something sets it apart from a significant portion of recent fantasy. There are no warring states, no fight for the throne. There is no greater evil or battle between light and dark. The Barrow, at its heart, is a treasure hunt — an adventure. Sure, it’s got fae and curses, a band of anti-heroes, and a very Dungeons &


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The Last Banquet: A feast of emotions

The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood (pseudonym of Jon Courtenay Grimwood)

Jean-Marie Charles d’Aumont is first and foremost a chef. Even the title chef is a gross understatement. Jean-Marie is a connoisseur on an adventure to taste as many different things as he can in his lifetime. As The Last Banquet opens up, we find Jean-Marie as an orphan sitting by a dung heap munching on beetles. With each beetle consumed, he notes that they often taste like what they’d consumed prior to being eaten. There’s a very wry,


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The Crimson Shield: Heroic fantasy

The Crimson Shield by Nathan Hawke

Last year I was looking through the Gollancz catalogue and one book in particular caught my eye: Nathan Hawke’s The Crimson Shield. Notice anything unusual about the cover? The title and author aren’t there — they’re on the binding. And with a cover that beautiful, it’s both a bold strategy and a no-brainer.

Nathan Hawke, a pseudonym of Stephen Deas, author of the MEMORY OF FLAMES, THIEF-TAKER’S APPRENTICE, and SILVER KINGSseries,


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The Path of Anger: Superb narrative, excellent translation

The Path of Anger by Antoine Rouaud

“Attack someone from behind?
There’s no honor in fighting like that!”
“There’s no honor at all in killing someone, lad.
No matter how you strike.
There’s no glory to be had in taking a life.”

General Dun-Cadal Daermon was one of the most famous generals of the Empire. In the years since the Empire’s fall, the general has been drinking his life away, waiting for death to come and attempting to remove the betrayals of his friends from his mind.


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Mayhem: A dark, elegantly written murder mystery

Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough

Two things drew me to Sarah Pinborough’s Mayhem. First, the cover — exceptionally elegant and very fitting for this 19th century tale. Second, Jack the Ripper. If for some reason you are unaware of who he was, Jack was a serial killer in late 19th century London who targeted female prostitutes and murdered them in brutal ways. He killed at least five women, likely more, but get this — he was never caught. This anonymity led to widespread terror throughout the area for years to come.


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Salute the Dark: A total and utter world war

Salute the Dark by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Salute the Dark is the fourth book in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s SHADOWS OF THE APT series. At this point, the world of the Apt and Inapt is in total war. The expansionist Wasp Empire is sweeping across the Lowlands and any outlying city that sparks a glint in Emperor Alvdan II’s eye. War Master Stenwold Maker’s agents are scattered everywhere in attempt to give the Lowlands any sort of advantage against the encroaching horde. Cities like Sarn and Myna are in open rebellion.


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Ex-Heroes: A zombie story with superheroes

Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines

I don’t really enjoy reading about superheroes. While it may be fun to read about Superman or Batman kicking ass and taking names against enemies far less powerful, I usually lean toward reading about flawed heroes or at least ones that can die. Having a hero like Superman, who’s nigh-invulnerable, removes the element of tension and the thrilling feeling you get when the hero is in danger. On that basis, I was hesitant to read Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines, but Mihir at Fantasy Book Critic convinced me otherwise.


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Drakenfeld: “Crime fantasy”

Drakenfeld by Mark Charan Newton

Lucan Drakenfeld is a member of the Sun Chamber, the CSI unit of the Royal Vispasian Union. Drakenfeld is given a letter that tells him of the death of his father, and he must return to his home after ten years abroad. He and his partner, Leana, are soon tasked to investigate the murder of the sister of King Licintius of Tryum in what would prove to be the biggest case of Drakenfeld’s career, and he soon finds himself fighting off thugs and other unpleasant characters as the conspiracy unravels.


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Off Armageddon Reef: Overlong, but worth it

Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber

Picture this: an incredibly powerful race of aliens known as the Gdaba halted the human exploration in space and all but wiped humanity out. The remainder of the human fleet splits up — one half cloaks and stops moving, the other continues flying to draw the Gdaba away. The half of the fleet that cloaked and escaped colonized an Earth-like planet called Safehold.

Here’s the catch — the Gdaba can detect any technology of the industrial level or higher. Humanity is forced to revert to a medieval society,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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