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The Lampworks Lamplighter SF & Fantasy News & Reviews
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Got to keep things fresh. In the next week or two, we’ll be re-releasing Sellenria with some improvements. First is a new cover in brighter colors, with larger fonts and a zoomed-in graphic. It will be easier to see in the postage-stamp-sized previews that you often get — especially in the mobile devices that people increasingly use. There’s a preview below, though it’s not live on Amazon yet.
I’ve also had feedback that the beginning is a little slow, with too many details that don’t surface again in the book. With that in mind, I’ve condensed the first four chapters down to one. I think that starts it out on the pacing that is maintained for most of the book while still getting across all the background information needed to launch the quest. I’ll let you know when it’s live and you can check it out.
I’ve now made it officially part of a series, “Missives from Sellenria,” ready for the addition of a second and eventually a third book, both of which are in preparation.
If you have read it and haven’t yet left a review, it would be very helpful to us if you take a moment to leave one. Just a few words help new readers decide to take the plunge. Just click on the link for the book below and leave a review on the page. We appreciate every word.
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 Flaw in All Magic
Tane Carver fakes his way into a University of magic despite having no abilities of his own, solely because he has an unparalleled grasp of theory. When he’s found out, he isn’t rewarded, he’s expelled. But then a murder occurs, and he’s the only one who can solve it.
Dodson has created a world of magical creatures and half-breeds that defy the usual stereotypes, starting with the female half-orc policeman who decides that Tane is going to be her partner, no matter what he says. The story is light and amusing and the twists are clever. This is good entertainment that has fun upending a lot of tropes.
The Good Guys are how the small supernatural crime-fighting unit describes itself, though not infrequently with a question mark. They’re part of the Spanish Foundation, a group that is dedicated to keeping magic secret and enforcing moral standards. Against them are the Mystici, a shadowy group that takes a more libertarian approach and is willing to employ much more questionable tactics.
Life in the unit is bound by bureaucracy, penny pinching, second-guessing supervisors, and rules that just beg to be bent to get the job done, especially when they’re on the track of a serial killer. The dialogue is snappy and sarcastic, the trail is twisty and laden with red herrings, and seems to be leading back inside the organization that they work for. The central question of the book is “Who are the Good Guys here?”
The Lies of Locke Lamora
Locke Lamora is a name of convenience for the orphan who didn’t know his parents. He is the leader of a ragtag band of highly skilled thieves. They’ve graduating from common pickpockets to running elaborate scams and confidence tricks against wealthy merchants and nobles. In Camorr, crime isn’t just organized, it’s regulated and taxed. Locke and his gang risk reprisals through schemes outside — way outside — the boundaries of the system. In the thick of an elaborate ruse, a new player threatens to topple the entire system, using Locke as a lever.
This is a detailed and imaginative world, built on the ruins of an older civilization. The characters have deep backstories that drive their skills, their quirks, and their decisions. Lynch has given them such distinctive voices that you never have to wonder who is speaking. Twist after improbable twist keeps you guessing, but each one seems inevitable once it’s sprung. It’s brutal in places, but that underscores that the stakes are about as high as they can get. One thing is a constant; Locke Lamora lies about everything to everyone, including himself.
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Rain, rain, go away… Something deadly lurks in the waters around Holland’s windmills
Holland’s windmills were once vital to protect the lowlands from flooding and from something else… something that lived in the polder, the lands protected by Holland’s dikes. Fifteen years ago, Arjan van den Berg uncovered the polderbeest just before it awakened. As the storms raged and the windmills struggled to drain the polder, the polderbeest awakened and raged. Moving beneath the waters, it struck again and again. Its fury cost Arjan dearly, but it went to ground again. Now as the storms rage again, Arjan and polderbeest prepare to meet again.
Free via StoryOrigin
Ranger of Kings
C. J. R. Isely
Training to be a knight isn’t fun … if you die
Living as a lowly village boy, Will finds himself thrown into a world he could only dream of when he meets the mischievous son of an influential Lord and a calculating last heir of a powerful Count. Brought to Alamore castle, he can not believe his luck when he is invited to join his two new friends in training to become knights of the realm.
But training isn’t all the grandeur and chivalry he imagined.
After he and his friends stumble upon a secret set of tunnels beneath the castle that hide a clan of traitors to the crown, they are plunged into new dangers. Their lives are at risk from new threats beneath the fortress while, beyond Alamore’s walls, alliances crumble and the uneasy peace begins to fracture.
When fate twists again, Will must face the reality that more than good fortune brought him to Alamore. There are secrets he must uncover, truths he has to find, in order to help keep Alamore from falling into war.
But the only person who holds the answers that might keep Alamore from falling, that will help him to discover who he is, is a man more dangerous than the tunnels themselves. A man known only as the Ranger of Kings.
Buy via StoryOrigin
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