Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Author: Rob Rhodes


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20 Heroes: Torsten

Fourteenth in our Heroes series, by our own Robert Rhodes. Art is courtesy of Tiziano Baracchi.

He wakes before the dawn bell. His hips and fingers ache, and the flagstones beside his cot send a shiver through his legs. He tugs his feet into his slippers, then stands with a soft grunt and pulls on his over-tunic. He takes a step toward the dim outline of the door and forces his fingers to search the shelf beside it until they grasp a shard from a broken urn.


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20 Heroes: Scarlet

Thirteenth in our Heroes series, by our own Robert Rhodes. Art is courtesy of Mates Laurentiu.

“Are you sure, then?” Mathias asked her. “I know this is the life I’ve led you to, lass.” He shifted his crutch, the wood slanting beside the ghost of his right leg. “Are you sure it’s the life you want?”

Scarlet finished buckling the saddlebags. She turned and took in his weathered face, the cottage and garrison wall behind him. Now or never. She looked down and smiled.

“Of course not,”


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20 Heroes: The Brute

Twelfth in our Heroes series, by our own Robert Rhodes. Art is courtesy of Chenthooran Nambiarooran.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re here from desperation. Because, most likely, a loved one’s been kidnapped or cursed. Or because you — dabbing your brow with a cloth, clutching it like the end of a rope — are the one cursed. And you’ve come to this tower, beside the Plaza of Red Shadows, where the blazing daylight might reveal the blade drawn against you, but never deter its master.


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The Battle for Middle Earth: Tolkien’s divine design in LOTR

The Battle for Middle Earth by Fleming Rutledge

Fleming Rutledge may be the ideal critic of The Lord of the Rings. An ardent student of English literature, an orthodox (Episcopal/Anglican) priest, and a gifted writer, she brings to bear impressive resources in analyzing an often- or over-analyzed work. In doing so, she builds an impressive case in support of a seldom-heard conclusion: Tolkien’s masterpiece is a masterpiece not only of storytelling, but also of theology and, perhaps, evangelism.

In making this case, Rutledge relies not only on her careful reading of the text (including its prequel,


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The Serpent and the Rose: Nothing new

The Serpent and the Rose by Kathleen Bryan

Averil is the daughter of a duke of Lys, trained from childhood in the magical arts on the Ladies’ Isle. Gereint is a fatherless farmboy who possesses a powerful, untamed streak of wild magic. As the sinister king of Lys and his advisor, both practioners of dark magic, unleash a plot to remove the realm’s nobles and awaken an ancient evil, Averil is summoned back to the mainland, while Gereint chases after a band of Knights of the Rose, hoping that their Order can train him. 


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The Eyes of God: Big fantasy beefsteak, not fully cooked

The Eyes of God by John Marco

The Eyes of God is a sprawling, medieval fantasy novel. The seed for the next book (The Devil’s Armor) is planted well in the first, and I hope more of the good than the bad from the first book carries over.

The Eyes of God consists of three parts. (And before that, a beautiful cover — one of its very best features.) The first is basically a rehashing of Camelot’s love triangle.


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20 Heroes: Ophelia

Eleventh in our Heroes series, by our own Robert Rhodes. Art is courtesy of Imogen Cane.

So many nights I simply wish I were normal. Almost every other young woman in Port Royal, rich or poor, is in bed now. Perhaps they are gossiping with a sister or friend, offering consolation for a day’s sorrow or whispering hopes and plans for the midsummer carnivals. Perhaps they are with a man. Or perhaps they dream.

I never remember my dreams. I did once,


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20 Heroes: Phineas

Tenth in our Heroes series, by our own Robert Rhodes. Art is courtesy of Christine Martino.

Of course I understand my life is hardly normal. And yes, it’s perfectly fair to call me touched. Mad is a bit strong, I think, and deranged is simply offensive. But it’s not my fault. Not entirely. I suppose I am partially responsible now, since I rather enjoy how my life runs widdershins to almost everyone else’s. But if anyone is responsible, it’s the Lady Herself — and who am I to question a goddess?


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Artemis Fowl: A flashy, funny little explosion of a book

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl is a fast-paced blend of 21st century technology and ancient fairy magic, written by Irishman Eoin Colfer for young enthusiasts of science-fiction and fantasy. The plot is straightforward: Artemis, a 12-year-old genius and the son of the missing overlord of a criminal dynasty, concocts a scheme to acquire the little golden book of fairy lore and, using its secrets, hold a fairy hostage for an enormous ransom. The only thing is, Colfer’s fairies aren’t delicate little Tinkerbell-types;


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20 Heroes: Cipher

Ninth in our Heroes series, by our own Robert Rhodes. Art is courtesy of Sabrina Moles.

He waits behind the curtain of crimson velvet, listening to the court’s gossip and chatter. At last, silvered trumpets blare — the least subtle of distractions — and he parts the curtain imperceptibly. Across the great ballroom, the Crown Prince and his wife appear in the broad doorway, their golden sashes seeming to glow beneath the gaslight sconces. Arm in arm, they proceed toward the wide curtained dais like pieces gliding on a chessboard of red and white marble.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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