Tag Archives: James A. Moore

James A. Moore’s New Series is Off to a Great Start

The Last Sacrifice
James A. Moore
Angry Robot Books
US/Canada Trade Paper $14.99/$18.99
UK Medium (B-format) £8.99
ebook £5.49 / US$6.99 / CAN $7.99

I really enjoyed James Moore’s previous fantasy series, Seven Forges AKA The Blasted Lands (I’ve seen it called both; individual novels in the series are reviewed here, here, here, and here).  His new series, called The Tides of War, starts with The Last Sacrifice.

The book opens with Brogan McTyre and a band of companions returning from a stint of acting as caravan guards.  Before he even gets home, Brogan is met on the road by a man bearing bad news.  Bad news and four gold coins.  The coins were left by The Undying, raiders who sweep through and take people as sacrifices to the gods.  They’ve take Brogan’s entire family. Continue reading

The Silent Army Takes on the Gods of War

TheSilentArmy-144dpiThe Silent Army
James A. Moore
Angry Robot Books
UK Print
Date: 7th April 2016
Format: Medium (B-Format) Paperback
R.R.P.: £8.99
North American Print
Date: 3rd May 2016
Format: Small (Mass-Market) Paperback
R.R.P.: US$7.99 / CAN$9.99
Ebook
Date: 5th April 2016
Format: Epub & Mobi
R.R.P.: £5.49 / US$6.99

The fourth volume in James A. Moore’s Seven Forges series hits shelves in the US today May 3.  [After I posted the review Angry Robot informed me the release date in the US has been moved back, so you’ve got time to get caught up on the series in need be and can preorder the book.  Meanwhile, I’m going to taunt you because I’ve been able to read this book and you have to wait.]  If you’ve been reading this blog long, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of this series.  (See reviews of the previous volumes here, here, and here.)  I’d like to thank Angry Robot Books for providing me the review copy.

The Silent Army has a lot to live up to from the previous volumes in this series.  I’m glad to say that it does.  The Fellein Empire has been losing every battle in the war with the Sa’ba Taalor.  Things are about to change.  The question is will it be enough or will they go down in defeat.

Moore pulls a few tricks out of his sleeve.  One thing about this series is that it keeps you on your toes.

I don’t want to give too much away, especially if you haven’t read the series.  (And if not, why not?  C’mon, what’s the matter with you?)  I will say this.  The silent army is awesome.  They’re stone warriors who protect the City of Wonders.  The first time one of them comes out of a wall to engage in combat, it’s one of the best, most exciting scenes in the book.

Which brings me to something I would like to point out.  At the risk of sounding like I’m sucking up, James A. Moore keeps getting better.  The cast of characters expands.  Moore juggles them with ease, giving each one some background so that they don’t all run together.

And the battle scenes, whether it’s individual combat or armies clashing, are riveting.  Plus the intrigue keeps on getting more complex.

The silent army has their work cut out for them.  They’re fighting a war against gods who are gods of war.  The Sa’ba Taalor are only the soldiers, they’re not the ones calling the shots.  What chance do stone and human armies stand against gods who can reshape the landscape and the armies that serve them?

The ending has some surprises in it.  My take on it is that The Silent Army is the end of an arc but not the end of the story.  The last few pages fairly say as much.

I don’t know if we’re going to see another volume in the Seven Forges series anytime soon or not.  I hope it won’t be long.  But if it is, or if The Silent Army wraps things up for good, it’s been a great ride with a good conclusion.

This is one is highly recommended.

War Comes to the City of Wonders

CityOfWonders-144dpiCity of Wonders
James A. Moore
Angry Robot Books

UK Print
Date: 5th November 2015
ISBN: 9780857665041
Format: Medium (B-Format) Paperback; R.R.P.: £8.99

North American Print
Date: 3rd November 2015
ISBN: 9780857665058
Format: Large (Trade) Paperback OR Small (Mass-Market) Paperback; R.R.P.: US$7.99 / CAN$9.99

Ebook
Date: 3rd November 2015
ISBN: 9780857665065
Format: Epub & Mobi; R.R.P.: £5.49 / US$6.99

With all the fantasy on the market today, it’s hard to know who to read.  That’s why I’m here.  I aim to help in that regard.  For instance, if you’ve not been reading James A. Moore’s Seven Forges series, you’ve been missing out.  (The first novel Seven Forges is reviewed here, and the second, The Blasted Lands, is reviewed here.)  There’s time to get caught up, because the next installment, City of Wonders, is out in North America two weeks from the day I write this.

I’d like to very much thank Angry Robot Books for the review copy.  Let me sum up my reaction to the book this way:  I WANT MOAR!

Wait, what’s that?  You want details?  Well, I’ll try.  (Geez, how am I going to do this without spoilers?)  Here goes: Continue reading

Autumn on My Mind

Blind VoicesSo it’s that time of year when the dry grass kinda crunches under foot, the Sun sets earlier, and the evenings are cooler less hot.  Classes have started.  Things begin to settle into a routine.  Orange decorations start to appear.

And my reading matter starts to produce more of a chill.

I’m not planning on doing a heavy Halloween related reading project this year, although there will be a few seasonal blog posts scattered among the things I put up here.  One of them will probably be about Tom Reamy’s Blind Voices.  It’s been years since I read it, but it’s one of those rare books that I can remember numerous details about years later. Continue reading

Cover Reveal for James A. Moore’s City of Wonders

So here it is.  The cover for the forthcoming third volume in James A. Moore’s epic fantasy series that began with Seven Forges.  The artist is Alejandro Colucci, who did the first two covers.  Mr. Colucci was nominated for a Gemmell Award for his cover of The Blasted Lands.  Well deserved, I say.  I also think he’s outdone himself with this one.

CityOfWonders-300dpi

I’d like to thank Penny Reeve of Angry Robot Books for providing me a copy of the cover and inviting me to participate in the cover reveal.   I’d also like to thank her for providing 5 copies of the first two books (that’s 5 copies of both Seven Forges and The Blasted Lands) as a giveaway.  To get in on the goodness of this series, email me at the email address at the top of the page (keith [at] adventuresfantastic [dot] com) and tell me which book you want, Seven Forges or The Blasted Lands, and why.  (Sorry, only one title per person.)  I’ll forward the email to Angry Robot, and they’ll contact you about where to send the book.  That will be faster than Angry Robot sending me the books to mail to you.  This is, of course, first come, first served.

Here’s the cover copy:

Old Canhoon, the City of Wonders, is having a population explosion as refugees from Tyrne and Roathes alike try to escape the Sa’ba Taalor. All along the border between the Blasted Lands and the Fellein Empire armies clash and the most powerful empire in the world is pushed back toward the old Capital. From the far east the Pilgrim gathers an army of the faithful, heading for Old Canhoon.

In Old Canhoon itself the imperial family struggles against enemies old and new as the spies of their enemies begin removing threats to the gods of the Seven Forges and prepare the way for the invading armies of the Seven Kings. In the distant Taalor valley Andover Lashk continues his quest and must make a final decision, while at the Mounds, something inhuman is awakened and set free.

War is Here. Blood will flow and bodies will burn.

City of Wonders goes on sale in November.  Remember in yesterday’s post how I said I hated waiting.  That’s especially true here.

Two Posts at Black Gate That Might Interest You

I’ve had a couple of posts at Black Gate recently that might be of interest to some of you.

What Rough BeastFirst, I’ve reviewed the weird western What Rough Beast, but James A. Moore and Charles R. Rutledge.  This chapbook has both a solid story as well as some superb production values.  And some monsters with a surprisingly understandable motivation.

The other post is the latest in my series covering the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series.  The topic in this one is James Branch Cabell’s Figures of Earth.

Check them out if they’re something you might be interested in.

My Halloween Posts Creep into Other Blogs

Blind ShadowsNot all of the things I’ve been reading for Halloween are getting reviewed here.  There have been two other posts that might be of interest to some of you.

The first post that went live was at Amazing Stories yesterday.  I had intended to have it ready to go a week earlier but an out of town wedding derailed my plans.

Anyway, if you’re a fan of pulp fantasy and horror, this is one you need to put on your radar.  There are a number of nice treats (and no tricks) in this novel.  It’s about a pair of former police partners.  One is now the sheriff and the other is a private investigator.  The book opens with the discovery of the body a former classmate of theirs.  He’s been ritually murdered.  Blind Shadows is a great combination of pulp, horror, and hard boiled adventure.

Lovecraft Sarnath frontI’ve been doing a series of posts at Black Gate for about a year now on the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series.  My goal was to have one completed about once a month, but that isn’t quite what has happened.  Things have been a little more irregular than that.

This afternoon, my latest went live.  It’s over H. P. Lovecraft’s The Doom that Came to Sarnath.  This is a collection of stories written as Lovecraft was transitioning from fantasy in the vein of Lord Dunsany to his better known work in the Mythos.  Many of these stories are quite short, but overall they’re an interesting read as they show a writer moving from imitation to his own unique voice.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to at other venues for Halloween.

The Blasted Lands by James A. Moore

TheBlastedLands-144dpiThe Blasted Lands
James A. Moore
Angry Robot Books
Mass Market Paperback US$7.99 / CAN$9.99
UK Medium (B-Format) Paperback £8.99
Epub & Mobi £5.49 / US$6.99

I really liked the first volume of this series, Seven Forges. The Blasted Lands is at least as good, if not better.

In order to avoid spoilers to Seven Forges, I’m going to be a little vague on plot details since The Blasted Lands opens days after the previous book closed.

Merros Dulver finds himself General of the army of the Empire of Fellein, an army that is ill equipped to fight. The enemy they are facing, the Sa’ba Taalor may well be undefeatable. Desh Krohan has received a vision warning him that the summer capital will soon be destroyed. The new Empress doesn’t realize that as dangerous as the Sa’ba Taalor are (and make no mistake, they are very dangerous indeed), the members of her own family may be just as dangerous.

There is plenty of action and intrigue in this novel, but I suspect there will be a great deal more in the next volume. Oh, and we find out why the Sa’ba Taalor wear those veils on their faces. Talk about creepy.

Moore did something that few writers can do. He kept me interested in all the players. In most epic fantasies, the storyline will become complex, with numerous people doing different things in scattered places. I usually will become more interested in one or two sets of characters and wish the author would get one with it when I’m not reading about those few.

That wasn’t the case in this book. Moore kept my interest. I think the was he was able to do that was by not giving me every detail of every character’s back story. Rather he gave what details were necessary at that time in the story, only those details. The result was a story that moved, and moved quickly.

This is a pretty dark novel, but it didn’t feel that way. I think it was because so many of the characters, in spite of some flaws, were good people trying to do the right thing, which usually ended up with some type of heroics. They were well fleshed out, and were the types of folks you wanted to spend time with.

Which brings me to another point. The Sa’ba Taalor are a nation of warriors, which includes women warriors. There’s been a lot of noise manifestos screaming and yelling polite and reasoned discussion about the need for strong women characters in fantasy.  This has too often come to mean women fighters who are as good or better than every man in the book.  In other words, Conan with boobs.  To the exclusion of other types of women and other types of strength.

That’s not the case here.  Moore balances out his characters, both women and men, but I want to focus on how he handles women, many writers could learn a thing or two here.  There are women warriors.  There are schemers.  There are sex-pots, or at least former sex-pots.  There’s a description, brief though it is, of the wife of the commander of the City Guard which makes her sound like an interesting and unique woman.

And then there’s Dretta March, who quickly became one of my favorite characters in the book.  She never lifts a sword or any other weapon, but she’s (IMO) the toughest woman in the book.  She isn’t afraid to confront the general in charge of the Empire’s armies (that would be Merros) about how he took her husband from her and lead him to his death.  She is capable of forgiving Merros and feeding him on a regular basis and befriending him.  (There are hints that they are growing to love each other.)  And she doesn’t take any of his BS when she questions him about rumors that the city is going to be evacuated.  Rather she gives him some good advice, whether he wants it or not.

In short, she came across as a real person.  That’s the thing that makes this series such a strong one.  The characters are all individuals.  Moore’s fantasy world feels more real than many, and more real than the real world as it’s often presented in books, movies, and TV shows.

I recommend The Blasted Lands without reservation.

I’d like to thank Angry Robot for the review copy and apologize for taking so long to get to the book. Below is an excerpt.


 

2013: An Assessment – Individual Authors and Titles

This is the second part of my assessment of 2013.  The first looked at publishers.  Here I’ll feature some authors and/or individual titles that I thought were standouts.  Links for books will be to my reviews (the reviews will have links to buy if you’re interested.)  Since I’ve been doing a weekly post at Amazing Stories, with only one week missed, I’ll be including some of the titles I reviewed there in this list.

As with the publishers, these are in alphabetical order.  I’m probably overlooking someone or a particular book.  I apologize in advance.  This list consists of titles and authors I read in 2013 and isn’t intended to be inclusive.  Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments.  Again, I’m including mystery, crime, and science fiction as well as fantasy. Continue reading

Seven Forges Begins a Promising New Series

SevenForges-144dpiSeven Forges
James A. Moore
Angry Robot Books
UK Print Date: 4th October 2013
ISBN: 9780857663825
Format: Medium (B-Format) Paperback R.R.P.: £8.99

US/CAN Print  Date: 24th September 2013
ISBN: 9780857663832
Format: Large (Trade) Paperback  R.R.P.: US$14.99 CAN$16.99

Ebook Date: 24th September 2013
ISBN: 9780857663849
Format: Epub & Mobi  R.R.P.: £5.49 / US$6.99

While this novel is his first epic fantasy, James A. Moore has been working in the horror field for some years now. After reading this book, I’m glad he’s turned his hand to epic fantasy. Seven Forges was one of the best books I’ve read this year. I’d like to thank Angry Robot Books for providing me with an e-ARC.

There are a number of viewpoint characters, but the main character is a mercenary named Merros Dulver. He’s leading an expedition through the Blasted Lands to a chain of mountains known as the Seven Forges. It turns out there is an entire valley on the other side of the Forges. An inhabited valley, and the inhabitants have been waiting for Dulver. Not the expedition he’s leading, but Dulver himself. Before he goes to meet with him, one of the women traveling with the expedition prophesies about what will happen to him after he leaves.

The inhabitants of this region are some serious badasses. They believe each mountain is the home of one of their gods, and their gods are gods of war. While some of these gods believe in mercy, not all of them do. And their worshipers’ devotion to them is absolute. They follow the directions of their gods without hesitation.

Dulver brings a contingent of them back with him to the Empire of Fellein. He and the person who hired him, a sorcerer who has served as advisor to the Emperor for hundreds of years, hope to establish peaceful relations with the strangers. Of course, the words “war is coming” on the cover above the title should tell you that’s probably not going to happen.

I’m not spoiling anything by telling you that. It’s obvious where the story is heading to anyone who is paying attention. What Moore does is use that knowledge to build tension. Something is going to go wrong, but what? And when? Who will end up dead? (You know people will.)

Moore develops his cast well, fleshing out all the major players and many of the minor ones. He makes you care about them. There were a couple of places where I felt some of the foreshadowing was a bit on the heavy side, but that’s a minor quibble. The other quibble was that the e-ARC didn’t have a map. I was almost done with the book before I realized I had the geography turned around in my head. Hopefully, the print edition will have a map. If not, then maybe in the second book, which is scheduled for release sometime next year.

Moore handles the story and the different characters well. He hints at things that make you wonder and want to know more.  His fight scenes are visceral and compelling. The political intrigues are  multi-layered. We get enough glimpses of the magic system, or systems probably is more accurate, to want to know more about how magic works.  Pay attention to what Moore tells you. Pay attention to what he doesn’t.

I finished Severn Forges in four nights, staying up later than I should to do so. It’s not often I’ll stop and reread a scene, but I did more than once. I’m looking forward to see where Moore takes the story next. The prophecy Dulver received early in the book hasn’t been completely fulfilled yet.

Angry Robot hasn’t posted an excerpt yet, or I would include it here.  It hits shelves on this side of the Atlantic on Tuesday, in the UK ten days later.  Preorder your copy now so you won’t have to wait longer than necessary.