SFF Author: Jon Courtenay (Jonathan) Grimwood


Marion chats with Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Jon Courtenay Grimwood was born in Malta and grew up in Southeast Asia, Norway and Britain. He won the British Science Fiction Association Award for best novel in 2003, for Felaheen, the third book in his ARABESK trilogy, and again in 2006 for End of the World Blues. His work has been described as post-cyberpunk and “alternate future.” Confounding the labelists, Grimwood has set his current trilogy, THE ACTS OF THE ASSASSINI, in an alternate 15th-century Venice. Book Two, The Outcast Blade,

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ARABESK: How to get the reader to suspend disbelief

ARABESK: Pashazade, Effendi and Felaheen
In this review, I’m going to write about the willing suspension of disbelief. Perhaps more precisely, I’m writing about the intersection of world-building and the willing suspension of disbelief. Enter Jon Courtenay Grimwood and the ARABESK trilogy: Pashazade, Effendi and Felaheen.

In Grimwood’s world, the Ottoman Empire never collapsed. Woodrow Wilson brokered peace between London and Berlin in 1915, World War II never happened, and the major world powers seem to be Germany,

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Stamping Butterflies: Comes together too late

Stamping Butterflies by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

I  picked up John Courtenay Grimwood’s Stamping Butterflies because Marion thinks so highly of his work and I thought a stand-alone novel which has just been released in audio format would be an ideal introduction to the author. While I found much to admire about Grimwood’s style, I didn’t enjoy Stamping Butterflies as much as I expect to enjoy some of his other work.

The non-linear three-pronged plot of Stamping Butterflies is ambitious.

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End of the World Blues: Grimwood is a superb stylist

End of the World Blues by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Roger Zelazny, on top of writing a number of immensely popular books and stories, was one of the genre’s great stylists, with noir minimalism utilized in nearly all his works. He was likewise predictable for his main characters, often world-weary men with personal issues who find themselves facing situations they would rather avoid. I have come to think of Jon Courtenay Grimwood, who bases his fiction on these two same elements, as a successor to Zelazny, but significantly upgraded for the (post-) modern world.

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The Fallen Blade: A wild, improbable adventure in Renaissance Europe

The Fallen Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

CLASSIFICATION: Combining alternate history with the supernatural, The Fallen Blade is kind of like Jasper Kent’s Twelve and Thirteen Years Later crossed with Anne Rice’s vampires and Underworld’s lycans, written in the style of Glen Cook.

FORMAT/INFO: The Fallen Blade is 464 pages long divided over two Parts, sixty-three numbered chapters,

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The Outcast Blade: Good news and bad news

The Outcast Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

I have good news and bad news about The Outcast Blade, the second book in Jon Courtenay Grimwood’s ACTS OF THE ASSASSINI series.

The good news is that the book is as captivating as its predecessor, The Fallen Blade. It’s a heady brew of magic, military strategy, politics, mystery, betrayal and love. Grimwood’s descriptions of Venice are grounded rather than lyrical, creating a living city that is gritty and fantastical,

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The Exiled Blade: A satisfying finish to an imaginative series

The Exiled Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

But the real battle was with himself. All the battles that really mattered were with yourself.

Jon Courtenay Grimwood ends The Exiled Blade, book three in his Acts of the Assassini series, with a spectacular three-act battle, and a wedding. This is a pleasing, sad, and haunting ending to his alternate history fifteenth century Venetian tale, where political intrigue and martial prowess function side by side with shape-shifters, demons and magic.

At the end of the second book,

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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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  1. Not sure I can be persuaded on two of these articles. When I was young book-banning meant you couldn't sell…

May 2023