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The Lampworks Lamplighter SF & Fantasy News & Reviews
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Sellenria now has a hardcover edition! Amazon finally added the ability to print hardcover books on demand, and at an affordable price. After some stretching and tweaking to make the cover image fit the slightly larger area, it’s now live. I know it’s not for everyone, since most of the sales are for the Kindle edition, but it’s nice to have the offering for people who really like a hardcover on the bookshelf. All editions have been updated with the new cover design and the revised first chapter. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, now’s a good time.
The one format still on my list is audiobooks. So far, the production costs have been prohibitive for a book of this length, relative to expected sales. Though I must confess that I’m not an audiobook customer myself. I’d much rather read a book at my own pace, imagine the voices the way I want to, take the time to re-read and maybe highlight a particular well-written phrase, or wander off in thought about the ideas that a good book generates. But maybe I’m misjudging the interest, given how many audiobooks are sold these days. Would you buy an audiobook copy of Sellenria or Knots if I made one? Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, or indicate your interest on our Facebook page.
Sellenria: The Starship and the Citadel
Chuck Boeheim, Daniel Elswit
It came as a shock to archaeologist Stenn Gremm to find that his ancestor had been a warlock.
As a scientist, Stenn didn’t believe in magic. But when a monster from legend ground his equipment into dust, Stenn was forced into roles for which he hadn’t prepared. Apprentice to an assassin for one, advisor to the heir to the throne for another. When archaeological digs were conducted via telepresence, he didn’t expect to get dirt under his nails and blood on his hands. Now his fate hinges on his ability to embrace his greatest role: the new warlock.
Readers have called this a cross between Star Trek and Lord of the Rings, as well as a tale of self-discovery, set in a journey through a fantastic land. All legends have a kernel of truth, but the full story can be surprisingly different.
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The Haunting of Tram Car 015
P. Djèlí Clark
In a slightly different Cairo, in 1912, the Djinn have been set free upon the land and magic is everywhere. So it’s a normal day when Inspector Hamed Nasr of the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities is assigned to investigate reports of a haunted tram car. What he finds is neither within his experience or his budget, so improvisation is the order of the day. It doesn’t help that the Station is packed with suffragettes that day, demanding the right to vote.
This is a richly-designed alternate world, with a middle-eastern steampunk vibe (call it magicpunk perhaps). It paints a picture of how the region might look if the northern European powers had been tossed out and the country left to chart its own course. It’s also a great example of what writers call a try-fail cycle, where everything the protagonists try blows up in their faces, but provides a clue to the eventual solution. This is a novella in a longer series; it has plenty of background to be a standalone story, and a good introduction to draw you into the series. I’ve added the next full-length novel to my reading list.
A Memory Called Empire
The Teixcalaan Empire dominates all power and culture in its sphere of the galaxy, and steadily annexes new systems to push its borders outwards. Ambassador Mahit Dzmare is summoned to the capitol to take the post left vacant by the death of her predecessor. She carries the memories of the previous ambassador in an implant in her head, but those are fifteen years out of date. She finds the Empire in tension, the old emperor in failing health and the power plays for the succession are a gathering storm. Everyone has secrets: the court, her aide, the Emperor, her own government, even Mahit herself.
This story is about identity on many levels. Independent systems like Mahit’s struggle not to be assimilated into Teixcalaan’s pervasive culture. But Mahit herself idolizes that culture, and wishes she was not an outsider — a barbarian. And with the voices of past ambassadors in her head, can she even be sure of who she is any longer? The story itself is a blend of court intrigue and non-stop action as the situation deteriorates and puts Mahit in danger.
The Goblin Emperor
Maia is the disregarded son of the fourth wife of the Elvish Emperor, and half-goblin to boot. He lives in exile until the morning that he’s awakened with the news that his entire family was killed in an airship crash. He’s now the Emperor. As he’s thrust into court intrigue that he can barely understand, and without friends or counselors that he can trust, he decides to try an unorthodox strategy for an Emperor: kindness. He’s about to find out how well that works out for him…
This book has a cast of thousands, perhaps not literally, but with everyone known by their family names, their titles, their offices, their familiar names, and various honorifics, only the most dedicated reader will keep them all straight, and probably with a spreadsheet in hand. Nonetheless, the story is surprisingly fast-paced and tense, so just remember the most important names and let the rest flow past like the scenery. It’s an excellent story of growth, of tearing down barriers, and of making alliances. Despite its length, I tore through it in a couple of evenings.
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The Crown of Stones: Magic-Price
C. L. Schneider
All he wanted was to end the war. Fate had other plans.
Ian Troy is one of the Shinree, a fallen race born with an addiction to magic. Enslaved and drugged to suppress their deadly desires, the Shinree live to serve their masters. After years of forced combat in Rella’s long, brutal war, Ian is desperate for peace. With defeat imminent, he defies the queen’s orders and wields the Crown of Stones: an ancient relic of untold power. Unaware of the artifact’s true nature, he ends the war, but pays a terrible price.
A decade later, Ian is still running from the blood in his veins and on his hands. Curbing his cravings with wine and regret, he struggles to forget. But when a fateful encounter with a pretty assassin brings him down that dark path again, Ian’s addiction is awakened–and denial is no longer an option. With the realm he gave up everything to protect once more in jeopardy, Ian becomes embroiled in a violent race for control of the Crown of Stones. As deceptions unfold, his path becomes clear. To save the realms, he must embrace the one thing he fears most: his own power.
On sale for .99 until November 7.
Buy via StoryOrigin
Brothers of Chaos Part Five: Vengeance Rising
Merick N.H. Ulrik
Vandryn and Zan Cadeyn seek revenge on the Dalantian Paladin’s who killed Elleezer and attempt to go on a rampage. But first they must flee from an army of trained Dalantian Men of Arms. But Zan and Vandryn are not the only ones seeking revenge. Will they survive and win against all odds? Liliath and Mercat’s relationship takes a whole new level while they face a storm of emotions and desires. Zylla finally gets the attention of a man she had been lacking. Vandryn and Zan cross paths with a rogue bard named Mavory. Things get stranger and darker and more bloodshed is soon to follow.
Buy via StoryOrigin
Rim Chronicles Boxset
Edita A. Petrick
Wars are started for many reasons…but wars are fought for one and only one reason—power.
Parv Zarinth learned early in life that if he wanted to defy his father, he’d have to do it from somewhere half-way across the galaxy. He does his best on Hettamir to represent his father’s interests. It’s a pleasure to do business on Hettamir. And Parv has been mixing business with pleasure for five years now. The business is to expand his father’s commercial interests. The pleasure has a name: Arun Dyem. And which one is worth going to war for, only time will tell…
This is a free copy offered for people who wish to review new books.
Free via StoryOrigin
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