On the British Fantasy Society website, Elloise Hopkins has reviewed Thorns of a Black Rose by David Craig. After an outline of the plot, Elloise introduces the two main characters, Tamira and Shukara, characters that are “easily likeable to the reader”. She adds that David Craig presents “well-rounded, believable heroines alongside worldbuilding richly woven with influences from North Africa and ancient history”. She compliments the pace of the story and says that at the end there is a satisfying completion while “tantalisingly” leaving scope for further adventures – which she says would be very welcome. In conclusion she says that Thorns of a Black Rose is a “modern young adult story with its roots very firmly in traditional fantasy”.
You can read the full review on the BFS website here.
On her blog, Jill-Elizabeth has reviewed Working Weekend by Penelope Hill, which she describes as “an original spin on common supernatural themes, offered with a generous dose of humor and a peek behind the curtain at authors, writing, fandom, and the magic that is themed conventions”. She adds that it’s “snarky and funny and just the right amount of dark”. She says that it built a “nice tension” that kept her turning pages, and the characters were a good blend of personalities that “intermingled tropes and originality in a way I thought perfect”. She says that the ending left her cautiously optimistic that we might get to join Marcus in further adventures (take note Penelope!).
You can read the full review on Jill-Elizabeth’s blog here (it’s on Goodreads too).
On her blog Jill-Eliabeth has reviewed Lord of the Hunt by David Craig, the second book in the Sooty Feathers series. As she loved the first book, Resurrection Men (read about her review of that here), it is perhaps unsurprising that she also enjoyed this latest book. In her review she apologises for not having too much specific to say about the story as she doesn’t want to undermine the plot twists or introduce any spoilers.
She says that David Craig is a dab hand at “setting up expectations, only to knock them down like nine-pins” but without “ever generating an eye roll or sense of irritation”. She likes the fact that he doesn’t throw in red herrings to drive tension up artificially, his “misdirections and layered revelations are much more delicate and well-crafted than that and each one feels like an organic and utterly necessary part of the whole.”
Her conclusion is that Lord of the Hunt is entirely enjoyable and definitely worth reading (and if you haven’t already read Resurrection Men, which she describes as also excellent, she says “I definitely recommend reading these in order”). You can read the full review on her blog here (it’s also on Goodreads).
On her blog, Jill-Elizabeth has reviewed Million Eyes by C.R. Berry, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy. She previously read and reviewed the free-to-download collection of short stories set in the Million Eyes universe, Million Eyes: Extra Time (read about her review here). She starts her review of Million Eyes by saying that it was “a delight to read and offered a marvelous set-up to events to come”. She describes it as “a wild ride that whip-cracks back and forth through time”, with “time travel, history, alt-history, conspiracy theory, corporate greed, and a host of characters that range from the hapless to the harried to the horrible”. She admits that she is a fan of time-travel as a concept and the possibilities it allows for talented story-tellers like C.R. Berry.
She mentions that though there are many characters introduced in the various timelines, the two that she felt a real connection with were “Princess Diana, who jumped off the page for me, which is strange since I have never before felt so drawn to her” and the “horrifically corporate-evil queen Erica Morgan who felt like a perfect amalgamation of every corporate CEO I’ve ever known combined with every Disney villain-queen I’ve ever encountered”.
She says that her biggest concern is how long she will have to wait for the following two books in the series to find out what happens next!
You can read Jill-Elizabeth’s review on her blog here (it’s also on Goodreads).
Author C.R. Berry’s first book in the Million Eyes trilogy tells the story of the two investigators who uncovered the powerful people behind a shocking conspiracy, against the Royal family, that has shaped the last 1000 years.
DARTFORD, KENT – 09 March 2020 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of the print edition of Million Eyes, the first book in a new trilogy from author and conspiracy investigator, C.R. Berry, tackling power, corruption and destiny.
What if we’re living in an alternate timeline? What if the car crash that killed Princess Diana, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, and the shooting of King William II weren’t supposed to happen?
Ex-history teacher, Gregory Ferro, found evidence that a cabal of time travellers is responsible for several key events in our history. These events all seem to hinge on a dry textbook published in 1995, referenced in a history book written in 1977 and mentioned in a letter to Edward III in 1348. Ferro teamed up with down-on-her-luck graduate, Jennifer Larson, to get to the truth and discover the relevance of a book that seemed to defy the arrow of time. But the time travellers were watching closely. Soon, Ferro and Larson were targeted by assassins willing to rewrite history to bury them.
Million Eyes was initially published in a digital edition in January, to widespread acclaim despite a social media campaign waged against author C.R. Berry by those behind the conspiracy. Thankfully, the attention apparently made it more difficult for them to carry out the threats they had made against Berry. Million Eyes is available from today in a print edition, to encourage more readers to discover the truth that is undoubtedly out there.
Notes for Editors
About C.R. Berry
C.R. Berry caught the writing bug at the tender age of four, and has never recovered. He realised pretty quickly that his favourite characters were usually the villains. He wonders if that’s what led him to become a criminal lawyer. After a few years spent getting a more rounded view of human nature’s darker side, he quit lawyering and turned to writing full-time. He now works as a freelance copywriter and novelist and blogs about conspiracy theories, time travel and otherworldly weirdness. He grew up in Farnborough, Hampshire, a town he says has as much character as a broccoli. He’s since moved to the “much more interesting and charming” Haslemere, in Surrey.
Set in a hot desert land of diverse peoples, this is a world away from the Scottish author’s previous book (set in Victorian Glasgow) but has the same masterful storytelling.
DARTFORD, KENT – 03 July 2019 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of Thorns of a Black Rose by Scottish speculative fiction author, David Craig. Following on the success of his debut novel, Resurrection Men, a sequel to which is planned for next year, comes David’s new epic fantasy set in a hot desert land of diverse peoples who are dealing with demons, mages, natural disasters … and the Black Rose assassins.
Although set in an imaginary land, the scenery and peoples were inspired by Egypt, Morocco and the Sahara. Mask is a living, breathing city, from the prosperous Merchant Quarter whose residents struggle for wealth and power, to the Poor Quarter whose residents struggle just to survive. It is a coming-of-age tale for the young thief, Tamira, as well as a tale of vengeance and discovery. There is also a moral ambiguity in the story, with both the protagonists and antagonists learning that, whatever their intentions or justification, actions have consequences.
David says, “This novel, and those to follow, were born of a desire to write stories set in a large, varied world, from vast, hot deserts to claustrophobic, humid rainforests, to snow-capped mountains and dark, frozen forests. A volatile, living world viewed through the eyes of a band of diverse, intrepid, morally ambiguous adventurers getting caught up in all sorts of trouble. My ambition is tell a series of sword & sorcery-esque adventures that stand alone in their own right while contributing towards a larger over-arching story.”
Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press, says, “David has an uncanny skill to quickly transport you, as a reader, to the scene of his story. It may be a real place that is already familiar, such as Victorian Glasgow in Resurrection Men; or an invented city like Mask in the hot desert of Thorns of a Black Rose, where you can almost smell the aromas and exotic scents filling the air in the souk, or feel the heat radiating from the baked mud-brick walls. But, more than that, David introduces you to characters that you will soon truly care about, following them on their adventure: excited, worried, thrilled, shocked. David’s books are ideal examples of what speculative fiction does best, transporting readers to another world; a perfect way to escape, albeit temporarily, from the banality or absurdity of the real world – which is especially welcome at the moment!”
Thorns of a Black Rose will be available to buy on all popular eBook platforms from 26th July 2019 and is already available to pre-order. The paperback edition will be available on 21st October 2019.
Notes for Editors
About David Craig
Aside from three months living on an oil tanker sailing back and forth between America and Africa, and two years living in a pub, David Craig grew up on the west coast of Scotland. He studied Software Engineering at university, but lost interest in the subject after (and admittedly prior to) graduation. He currently works as a resourcing administrator for a public service contact centre, and lives near Glasgow with his wife, daughter and two rabbits.
Being a published writer had been a life-long dream, and one he was delighted to finally realise with his debut novel, Resurrection Men, the first in the Sooty Feathers series, published by Elsewhen Press in 2018. Before the next book in the Sooty Feathers series though, Elsewhen Press are publishing his latest fantasy epic Thorns of a Black Rose.
About the book
Title: Thorns of a Black Rose
On a quest for vengeance, Shukara arrives in the city of Mask having already endured two years of hardship and loss. Her pouch is stolen by Tamira, a young street-smart thief, who throws away some of the rarer reagents that Shukara needs for her magick. Tracking down the thief, and being unfamiliar with Mask, Shukara shows mercy to Tamira in exchange for her help in replacing what has been lost. Together they brave the intrigues of Mask, and soon discover that they have a mutual enemy in the Black Rose, an almost legendary band of merciless assassins. But this is just the start of their journeys…
Fiction / Fantasy / Epic; Fiction / Fantasy / Action & Adventure
Print edition: ISBN 978-1-911409-45-8, 256pp, Demy; RRP £9.99 / €11.99 / US$17.99 (21 Oct 2019)
On the Locus Magazine website, is a list of Recommended Reading from 2018 (here). Included in the ‘First Novel’ category is our very own Juliet Kemp’s novel The Deep and Shining Dark. You can vote for your favourites in their 2019 Poll and Survey – support Juliet and vote for The Deep and Shining Dark 😉
On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed Timekeepers by Dave Weaver, which he describes as “an entertaining combination of old-fashioned time travel adventure, modern storytelling and suspense”. Seregil says he is a fan of well written time travel fiction, and is happy to say that Timekeepers is “one of the best offerings to date”, very much in the same vein as The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Successfully blending young adult fiction elements with adult fiction that works well because “the story is gripping and suspenseful”.
Seregil complimented Dave Weaver’s characterisation, believable vision of a Roman Britain, use of alternate history, time travel technology, artificial intelligence, and his deft handling of challenging themes and issues. He sums up with “a highly enjoyable, suspenseful and well written tale”.
You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow here.
Don’t Look Back, the definitive retrospective collection of short stories by John Gribbin is now available to pre-order from major eBook retailers. Many of the stories in this collection were originally published in Analog and other magazines. Some were precursors to John’s classic novels Innervisions, Double Planet, The Alice Encounter and Father to the Man. As well as 23 Science Fiction short stories, three of which John wrote with his son Ben Gribbin, this collection includes two Science Fact essays on subjects beloved of science fiction authors and readers. In one essay, John provides scientifically accurate DIY instructions for creating a time machine; and in the other, he argues that the Moon is, in fact, a Babel Fish!
A real scientist writing science-fiction with real science ￼￼￼￼￼￼– what more could one ask? John Gribbin is a visionary, ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼and one heck of a good storyteller. – Robert J. Sawyer Hugo Award-winning author of QUANTUM NIGHT
Complementing John’s stories is the fantastic cover designed by legendary space artist David A. Hardy.
Don’t Look Back will be published in eBook formats on the 5th May and in paperback on the 7th August.
When Time Agency agent Radames Trafshanian is not trying to impress her good friend in the Transdimensional Authority, her very special friend, if you know what we mean (and, if you do, could you please tell us, because we’re not entirely certain…), she is busy trying to solve crimes against time (that is, crimes that are themselves against time, not trying to solve them against time – she’s not on the clock… well, she sort of is, but you know what we mean don’t you. You don’t? Well then, you’ll have to read It’s Just the Chronosphere Unfolding as it Should to find out).
In this novel, which is not nearly as parenthetical as the previous paragraph may have led you to believe, we accompany Radames on her latest case, followed by her previous case (time travel’s like that) and on the way we find out much more about the origin of the Time Agency itself and why it’s organised like a Library, which is very timely (see what we did there?). Featuring guest appearances by Noomi Rapier, Elvis Presley and Margaret Atwo–.
* (really, would it have killed him to plan the series more in advance? George R. R. Martin planned the first 137 books in his series – it will take more generations in his family to write than the books themselves actually chronicle – before he wrote a single word, and everybody knows where they stand with him)