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On Writing In Constraints by Jacqueline Carey

Cassiel's Servant by Jacqueline CareyWriters love a challenge and today Jacqueline Carey, author of Kushiel’s Dart and the upcoming companion novel, Cassiel’s Servant, joins us on the blog to discuss the constraints around writing. Check it out here!


By Jacqueline Carey

I enjoy writing in constraints.

I’m not talking about the kind that come with straps and buckles and blindfolds… although to be fair, I’ve written about those constraints more than your average fantasy author. When your heroine has been chosen by the angel of punishment to experience pleasure in pain, you’ve got to expect a healthy dose of spice.

No, literary constraints are what I’m talking about. CASSIEL’S SERVANT is a companion novel. It mirrors KUSHIEL’S DART at every step of the way. From the outset, we see our protagonists embark as children on parallel paths, growing into the roles that will define them. And once their paths merge, the entirety of Joscelin’s actions and dialogue in CASSIEL’S SERVANT is constrained by the framework of KUSHIEL’S DART. And since that novel was narrated by Phèdre nó Delaunay, who misses little and forgets less, there wasn’t a whole lot of wiggle room in terms of events.

So why write it?

A number of years ago, I wrote a poem on commission for a benefit. I pledged an Elizabethan sonnet and polled readers. Overwhelmingly, fans wanted a love poem from Joscelin, my stoic warrior-priest, to Phèdre, the daring courtesan who stole his heart. For the first time, Joscelin spoke. Not just lines of dialogue—he opened up his inner narrative. And it turns out that my taciturn hero given to letting his blades talk for him is more thoughtful and self-aware than I knew, with a keen sense of the absurd.

I wasn’t sold on it right away. I took a detour into the desert with a different warrior brotherhood in STARLESS, but it wasn’t enough to silence Joscelin’s inner voice. It was stuck in my head like a refrain. Finally, I allowed myself to imagine what Phèdre and Joscelin’s journey might look like through his eyes.

A lot different.

One thing about constraints, they force you to be creative, patient and diligent. My Sundering duology was constrained by the concept—LORD OF THE RINGS reenvisioned as epic tragedy. It was constrained by copyright issues that meant I had to recreate Tolkien’s plot structure and build a world to support it in forms that were at once original and yet recognizable as mirrors of the source material.

More recently, MIRANDA AND CALIBAN is a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest which was wholly constrained by the original source material. There’s a lot of empty space between the beginning and the ending of that play. Like twelve years’ worth! It allows room for creative improvisation.

Side note: Renaissance magic is wwaaaayy more boring than you might expect. My commitment to historical authenticity forged some surprising constraints. Renaissance magic is mostly astrology and casting horoscopes. Kind of like a slumber party for gouty mathematicians and their wealthy patrons.

In some ways, CASSIEL’S SERVANT might be the tightest literary squeeze yet. I had to adhere to my own original source material. Once we left the Prefectory of the Cassiline Brotherhood, there were very few opportunities for improvisation within the strictures of the plot.

But it doesn’t necessarily take a lot of space to land a knockout.

One thing (among many) for which Bruce Lee was famous was the “one-inch punch,” featured in various Southern Chinese martial arts styles. According to Wikipedia and the countless kung fu movies I watched in college, this is a skill which generates tremendous amounts of impact force at extremely close distances. MythBusters registered the impact of a one-inch punch at 153 lbs with a force gauge. Uma Thurman one-inch punched her way out of a buried coffin in Kill Bill.

For me, writing with constraints requires a similar skill. It forces me to concentrate on extracting the maximum dramatic impact from any pivotal scene. And the one place of freedom, of expansiveness, of infinite possibility, within the story as it unfurls is inside of Joscelin himself.

There’s a lot of intrigue in KUSHIEL’S DART. Picking apart the tangled threads is one of the pleasures Phèdre’s perspective as a courtesan, spy and pawn in this ongoing game of crowns and thrones affords.

Joscelin, on the other hand, would be hard put to care less about political intrigue. It’s not just that he’s uninterested in it—it takes a shocking turn of events for him to fully grasp the fact that this frivolous-seeming assignment is deadly serious. It’s also due to the fact that House Verreuil is basically a D’Angeline version of “old money”. Political maneuvering and speculation are considered gauche. If you have some interesting thoughts on dog breeding or hydraulics, they’re all ears, but money and politics are things one does not discuss in polite society.

Fittingly, Joscelin’s life is circumscribed by constraint. As the middle son of an old aristocratic family, he’s pledged from birth to the Cassiline Brotherhood, bound by tradition and filial duty. He’s bound by his vows and his own sense of honor. Falling in love with Phèdre is the one-inch punch that turns his world upside down and shatters his heart to pieces. Writing in constraints has its rewards!

There are plenty of fight scenes in CASSIEL’S SERVANT and I loved writing them from Joscelin’s view in the thick of the fray—even during the numerous times he went down swinging in captivity. But for me, nothing lands as hard as that one-inch punch of true love.

Jacqueline Carey is the New York Timesbestselling author of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Kushiel’s Legacy series of historical fantasy novels. Recent novels include the Shakespearean adaptation Miranda and Caliban and the epic fantasy standalone Starless. Carey enjoys doing research on a wide variety of arcane topics, and an affinity for travel has taken her from Iceland to China to date. She currently lives in West Michigan.

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Excerpt Reveal: Cassiel’s Servant by Jacqueline Carey

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Cassiel's Servant by Jacqueline Carey

The lush epic fantasy that inspired a generation with a single precept: “Love As Thou Wilt.”

Returning to the realm of Terre d’Ange which captured an entire generation of fantasy readers, New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Carey brings us a hero’s journey for a new era.

In Kushiel’s Dart, a daring young courtesan uncovered a plot to destroy her beloved homeland. But hers is only half the tale. Now see the other half of the heart that lived it.

Cassiel’s Servant is a retelling of cult favorite Kushiel’s Dart from the point of view of Joscelin, Cassiline warrior-priest and protector of Phèdre nó Delaunay. He’s sworn to celibacy and the blade as surely as she’s pledged to pleasure, but the gods they serve have bound them together. When both are betrayed, they must rely on each other to survive.

From his earliest training to captivity amongst their enemies, his journey with Phèdre to avert the conquest of Terre D’Ange shatters body and mind… and brings him an impossible love that he will do anything to keep.

Even if it means breaking all vows and losing his soul.

Please enjoy this free excerpt of Cassiel’s Servant by Jacqueline Carey, on sale 8/1/23


Chapter 3

As we descended at last from the Siovalese mountains, the air became thicker, warmer, and damper.

I missed the heights.

I missed my family, although I did my best not to think on it.

I missed fresh-baked bread, my mother and brothers and sisters, my father’s stern affection, the warmth of the great hall and the genial chaos of milling hounds.

At the same time, it was my first visit to a city, and I could not help but be excited. The city of Bergeroche spilled down the foothills of the Siovalese mountains along the course of a tumultuous river, broadening at the base where the river slowed and widened. All the streets were paved with cobblestones and bustling with activity. There was a market in the square at the city’s center with vendors selling various preserved goods and cellared root vegetables, as well as early spring crops like peas and sallet greens.

Although we arrived in the city with hours of daylight to spare, our mounts were weary from the long journey and our stores were low. In a spate of magnanimity, Master Jacobe determined that we would pass the night in a genteel inn where we might enjoy a hot meal and a decent pallet and our horses would be well tended.

The inn was called the Shepherd’s Sweetheart; it is peculiar, sometimes, the details that one recalls.

There was a brief silence that fell as we entered, which did not seem strange to me—I was a lord’s son, I was accustomed to people assuming a respectful silence in my father’s presence and it seemed to me that a pair of Cassiline Brothers were no less deserving. But I had also learned to listen to different kinds of silences in the past weeks; this one held a certain curiosity, too.

I learned why soon enough.

My younger brother Mahieu loved to build dams in a creek that flowed from a small mountain spring into Lake Verre, endlessly fascinated by the way the patterns of water changed with each branch or twig he placed. I could not help but think of that when the lone woman entered the inn’s common room, her presence preceded by the ripples of attention it sent through the place.

I thought nothing of it at first; she was a pretty dark-haired lady, not young but not old, either. She greeted a number of the inn’s patrons with a variety of familiar pleasantries—a gracious smile, a pleased nod, a lingering touch. She acknowledged those who struck me as fellow travellers with sidelong glances of warmth and welcome, a hint of merriment and promise lurking in the upturned corners of her mouth. The barkeep poured her a brimming cup of cordial unbidden, and it wasn’t until she turned to accept it that I saw the finial of the marque inked at the nape of her neck below her upswept hair and realized that she was a Servant of Naamah.

At ten years of age and pledged to the Cassilines, even I knew what that meant.

This is what I understood of the history and founding of Terre d’Ange: A thousand and a half years ago, the One God begat a divine son on a mortal woman and that son was Yeshua ben Yosef, who was revered for his wisdom by the people of his ancestors. But Yeshua and his teachings caused trouble and strife in the Tiberian Empire, and so the Imperator had his soldiers execute him by nailing him to a wooden cross like a criminal, taunting him and piercing his side with a spear. But they did not know that Yeshua was divine. As he hung dying, the woman who loved him best in the world, as much and more as his mother even, knelt at the foot of the cross and wept, covering her eyes with her hair. Her name was Mary of Magdala and my sister Jehane always insisted on taking her role when we staged a tableau. Of course, Luc was Yeshua, sagging dramatically on a wooden ladder, his head hanging and arms outflung, while I had to content myself with being a Tiberian soldier poking him in the ribs with a broom handle.

But a thousand and more years ago, Yeshua’s dripping blood mingled with the Magdelene’s falling tears in the soil, and there Blessed Elua was engendered and nourished in the womb of Earth.

As our own mother explained, the Earth is the Mother of us all, not just the ground upon which we walk. As the sun of the One God in his Heaven shines upon her, she brings forth all things: the wheat we grind into flour, the grapes we press into wine, the grass on which our flocks graze, the trees we hew into timber.

And she brought forth Blessed Elua.

Blessed Elua burst from the womb of Earth fully formed, laughing and singing; but the people of Tiberium reviled him as the scion of an enemy and the people of his ancestors regarded him as an abomination, for his birth seemed unnatural to them.

So Elua wandered the world, exploring it with no plan or purpose, simply rejoicing in its existence.

Our father had a great fondness for maps and he took considerable pleasure in charting Elua’s journey for us. “From here to here,” he would say, tracing a course with a hovering forefinger on a faded vellum map. “Elua wandered barefoot and alone, leaving a trail of flowers blooming in the wake of his footsteps. And thence to ancient Persis  ” He would look up at his attentive children with a bright, expectant gaze. “And of course, you know what happened there, do you not?”

There was always a clamor as all of us older children begged to be the one to tell how the King of Persis threw Blessed Elua into prison and the tale of the One God’s wayward grandson reaching Heaven at last. And while the One God turned his face away, still grieving for the earthly suffering and death of his rightfully begotten son Yeshua, there were eight members of the angelic hierarchy who were moved by Elua’s plight and descended from on high to attend to him.

Those were Elua’s Companions, and they were Shemhazai—the ancestor of my family’s line—Camael, Azza, Eisheth, Kushiel, Anael, Cassiel, and Naamah.

It was Naamah who beguiled the King of Persis into freeing Blessed Elua from his prison, and there were many adventures that followed until Elua and his Companions found their way to Terre d’Ange, where the people received them with open arms, and they knew that they were home.

Although I was bound for a life of celibacy, I was not above surreptitiously skimming the pleasure-books that Luc found on the high shelves in the library at Verreuil, so I understood to some extent what it meant that Naamah lay with the King of Persis to secure Blessed Elua’s freedom or that she lay with strangers on their journey to procure money for food, for Elua was half-mortal and unlike angels, must needs eat. I understood enough.

And there in Terre d’Ange, Elua founded the city that bears his name. His Companions divided the land amongst themselves into seven provinces and shared their gifts with the people. During their time on mortal soil, they begot a great many children—all save Cassiel, who claimed no province for his own and lay with no woman nor any man.

Those chosen to serve Cassiel followed in his footsteps.

Those who chose to serve Naamah followed in hers.

In the Shepherd’s Sweetheart, the dark-haired woman’s gaze alighted on our small party, seated at the far end of one of the long tables. Her eyes widened in curiosity at the sight of a pair of Cassiline Brothers. Léon blushed furiously and stared down at his trencher as she crossed toward us, gliding with a practiced elegance that would have turned my older sister green with envy.

Master Jacobe sighed.

“Messires Cassiline.” The dark-haired woman lifted her cup in salute. “Welcome to Bergeroche. Pray tell, what brings you?” Her gaze shifted to me. “Are you their ward, young messire?” The curve of her mouth deepened. “A royal heir in disguise, mayhap? You look as though you’re on an adventure.”

There was only warmth and no unkindness in her teasing, but it angered me nonetheless. I didn’t care to be treated like a playacting child and I didn’t like the way her presence turned Léon from a dazzling warrior to a blushing youth.

I stood and bowed with cold precision, relishing the thump of my crossed forearms. “I am Joscelin Verreuil, second-born son of my House,” I informed her. “And I am pledged to serve Cassiel.”

That wasn’t true in a strict sense, since nine years of training and a series of vows lay between me and the goal of becoming a Cassiline Brother, but it was true enough and it took the dark-haired woman aback. She looked at me in a brief moment of surprise, lips parted, then gave her head a rueful shake.

“Well then, may Elua bless and keep you, young messire,” she said to me.

“’Tis a challenging course you’ve set for yourself.” She cocked her head and angled her gaze at Master Jacobe, who returned it impassively. “I daresay you understand the full cost of the sacrifice you’re asking the boy to make even if he doesn’t yet,” she mused. “Is that why you begin training them so young?”

He didn’t deign to reply, but Léon jerked his chin up, eyes blazing. “It takes a fair bit more skill to become a warrior than a whore!”

This time, she didn’t flinch, only looked amused. “Oh, does it?”

“My lady.” Master Jacobe cleared his throat. “Forgive my students’ uncouth behavior. We did not come here to provoke.” He grimaced and kneaded his bad knee. “There may be fundamental disagreements of philosophy between the Servants of Naamah and Cassiel, but we are all D’Angelines, are we not?”

There were murmurs of agreement from the dozens of patrons eavesdropping on the entire encounter. I sat down, feeling chastened.

“Ah, old man.” The dark-haired woman’s tone softened. “Yes, and I hear the admonishment you are too courteous to say aloud. You are right, it was unbecoming of me to bait your young students.” She studied him. “Though you’re not so old, are you? It’s only that your body has known no mercy, no tenderness.” Reaching down, she laid a gentle hand upon his knee. “I studied with an adept of Balm House in my younger days. Let me make amends and ease your pain.”

I was fairly sure wagers were laid on the outcome of his response.

“No.” Politely but firmly, Master Jacobe removed her hand from his knee. “Be assured, my lady, that I do believe your offer was made in good faith. But please understand that it does not accord with my faith.”

Behind me, I heard the discreet clink of coins being exchanged. Wagers had definitely been laid.

She straightened. “I spoke only of comfort.”

A muscle in his jaw twitched. “Nonetheless, it is a luxury I cannot afford.”

The dark-haired woman inclined her head, her gaze filled with regret. “As you will, messire.”

To that, Master Jacobe made no reply.

When my thoughts chanced across that encounter many years later, I wondered if my mentor truly understood what was offered and refused that evening; and mayhap he did, for he was a man who thought and felt deeply in his own quiet way. I think it is likely, however, that he did not.

As for me, there was no way my ten-year-old self could have known the encounter for a harbinger of events not yet set in motion.

That was likely for the best.

Copyright © 2023 from Jacqueline Carey

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EPICLY FANTASTIC MEGA EBOOK SALE DAY: 10/16/22

Big News: We’re all eBook sale, all day, but only for today (Sunday, 10/16/22)! Get every title on this epic list for $2.99 for the next 24 hours!


Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonaldDaughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald

Raine can see—and speak—to the dead, a gift that comes with a death sentence. All her life she has hidden, lied, and run to save her skin, and she’s made some spectacularly bad choices along the way.

But it is a rare act of kindness—rescuing an injured woman in the snow—that becomes the most dangerous decision Raine has ever made.

Because the woman is fleeing from Redwinter, the fortress-monastery of the Draoihn, warrior magicians who answer to no king, and who will stop at nothing to reclaim what she’s stolen. A battle, a betrayal, and a horrific revelation force Raine to enter the citadel and live among the Draoihn. She soon finds that her secret ability could be the key to saving an entire nation.

Though she might have to die to make it happen . . .

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Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline CareyKushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

A nation born of angels, vast and intricate and surrounded by danger… a woman born to servitude, unknowingly given access to the secrets of the realm…

Born with a scarlet mote in her left eye, Phédre nó Delaunay is sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics, foreign languages, the arts of pleasure. And above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Exquisite courtesan, talented spy…and unlikely heroine. But when Phédre stumbles upon a plot that threatens her homeland, Terre d’Ange, she has no choice.

Betrayed into captivity in the barbarous northland of Skaldia and accompanied only by a disdainful young warrior-priest, Phédre makes a harrowing escape and an even more harrowing journey to return to her people and deliver a warning of the impending invasion. And that proves only the first step in a quest that will take her to the edge of despair and beyond.

Phédre nó Delaunay is the woman who holds the keys to her realm’s deadly secrets, and whose courage will decide the very future of her world.

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The First Binding by R. R. VirdiThe First Binding by R. R. Virdi

All legends are born of truths. And just as much lies. These are mine. Judge me for what you will. But you will hear my story first.

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My name is Ari.

And this is the story of how I let loose the first evil.

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Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen CookChronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook

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Then comes the prophecy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more…

This omnibus edition comprises The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose—the first three novels in Glen Cook’s bestselling fantasy series.

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Fate of the Fallen by Kel KadeFate of the Fallen by Kel Kade

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Gardens of the Moon by Steven EriksonGardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

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For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…

Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order—an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.

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The Ruin of Kings by Jenn LyonsThe Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Kihrin grew up in the slums of Quur, a thief and a minstrel’s son raised on tales of long-lost princes and magnificent quests. When he is claimed against his will as the missing son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds himself at the mercy of his new family’s ruthless power plays and political ambitions.

Practically a prisoner, Kihrin discovers that being a long-lost prince is nothing like what the storybooks promised. The storybooks have lied about a lot of other things, too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, and how the hero always wins.

Then again, maybe he isn’t the hero after all. For Kihrin is not destined to save the world.

He’s destined to destroy it.

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With the aid of his War Master tutor, herself an undercover mage, Emrael discovers his own latent and powerful talents.

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At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor’s final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing—and risk everything—to see that justice is meted out.

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The Unspoken Name by A. K. LarkwoodThe Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood

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Csorwe does—she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

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The Starless Crown by James RollinsThe Starless Crown by James Rollins

A gifted student foretells an apocalypse. Her reward is a sentence of death.

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A drunken prince, who steps out from his beloved brother’s shadow and claims a purpose of his own.

An imprisoned thief, who escapes the crushing dark and discovers a gleaming artifact – one that will ignite a power struggle across the globe.

On the run, hunted by enemies old and new, they must learn to trust each other in order to survive in a world evolved in strange, beautiful, and deadly ways, and uncover ancient secrets that hold the key to their salvation.

But with each passing moment, doom draws closer.

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SFF Books We Read for the Romance

Love is in the stars and other faraway places! No, we’re not just talking about fate and honeymoons—this is an article about romance in Science Fiction and Fantasy! Check out these sometimes sizzling sometimes sweet SFF reads that’ll have you feeling the love 😍


A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz MeadowsA Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows

Velasin vin Aaro never planned to marry at all, let alone a girl from neighboring Tithena. When an ugly confrontation reveals his preference for men, Vel fears he’s ruined the diplomatic union before it can even begin. But while his family is ready to disown him, the Tithenai envoy has a different solution: for Vel to marry his former intended’s brother instead. Caethari Aeduria always knew he might end up in a political marriage, but his sudden betrothal to a man from Ralia, where such relationships are forbidden, comes as a shock. With an unknown faction willing to kill to end their new alliance, Vel and Cae have no choice but to trust each other. Survival is one thing, but love—as both will learn—is quite another.

Winter's Orbit by Everina MaxwellWinter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

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Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline CareyKushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

Born with a scarlet mote in her left eye, Phédre nó Delaunay is sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics, foreign languages, the arts of pleasure. And above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Exquisite courtesan, talented spy…and unlikely heroine. But when Phédre stumbles upon a plot that threatens her homeland, Terre d’Ange, she has no choice. Betrayed into captivity in the barbarous northland of Skaldia and accompanied only by a disdainful young warrior-priest, Phédre makes a harrowing escape and an even more harrowing journey to return to her people and deliver a warning of the impending invasion.

A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra RowlandA Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland

Kadou, the shy prince of Arasht, finds himself at odds with one of the most powerful ambassadors at court—the body-father of the queen’s new child—in an altercation which results in his humiliation. To prove his loyalty to the queen, his sister, Kadou takes responsibility for the investigation of a break-in at one of their guilds, with the help of his newly appointed bodyguard, the coldly handsome Evemer, who seems to tolerate him at best. In Arasht, where princes can touch-taste precious metals with their fingers and myth runs side by side with history, counterfeiting is heresy, and the conspiracy they discover could cripple the kingdom’s financial standing and bring about its ruin.

Dance with the Devil by Kit RochaDance with the Devil by Kit Rocha

Maya uses her wealth of secrets to weaken the TechCorps from within. Dani strikes from the shadows, picking off the chain of command one ambush at a time. And Nina is organizing their community—not just to survive, but to fight back. When Maya needs to make contact with a sympathetic insider, Dani and Rafe are the only ones with the skill-set and experience to infiltrate the highest levels of the TechCorps. They’ll go deep undercover in the decadent, luxury-soaked penthouses on the Hill. Bringing Dani face-to-face with the man who turned her into a killer. And forcing Rafe to decide how far he’ll go to protect both of his families—the one he was born to, and the one he made for himself.

Under the Whispering DoorUnder the Whispering Door by TJ Klune by TJ Klune

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead. And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead. But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days. Hilarious, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door is an uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home.

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Chonky Fantasy Series to Get You Through the Rest of Whatever Year It Is

Back in 2020, we put together an article to highlight some fantasy series of REALLY BIG BOOKS that we could all get lost in until upon reaching the end, finally, we would emerge into a brighter post-2020 future.

For literally absolutely no reason at all, we’ve decided to bring this list back with some additional entries!


Image Placeholder of - 6A Chorus of Dragons series by Jenn Lyons

The Discord of Gods marks the epic conclusion to Jenn Lyons’s A Chorus of Dragons series, closing out the saga that began with The Ruin of Kings, for fans of Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss.

Rampant demons, political intrigue, ancient rituals, living avatars of stars, long-lost royals, and the unstable future of an empire combine to create an epic fantasy series you’ll never forget.

Image Place holder  of - 8Wake the Dragons series by Kevin J. Anderson

Kevin J. Anderson is a master of the epic. In addition to co-authoring Dune’s Caladan Trilogy, he also wrote a saga of expansive and critically-lauded chonky fantasy: Wake the Dragons.

Two continents at war: the Three Kingdoms and Ishara have been in conflict for a thousand years. But when an outside threat arises—the reawakening of a powerful ancient race that wants to remake the world—the two warring nations must somehow set aside generations of hatred to form an alliance against a far more deadly enemy.

Place holder  of - 18The Caladan Trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson and Frank Herbert

Hey remember in that last entry when I mentioned that Kevin J. Anderson co-authored the Caladan Trilogy, a series of novels that flesh out Frank Herbert’s massively popular Dune universe? Yeah. That’s the next series you should check out!

Any Dune fan will devour this tale of a legend coming into his own.

Dune: The Heir of Caladan is on sale 10.18.22!

Placeholder of  -83Mistborn: Wax and Wayne series by Brandon Sanderson

#1 New York Times bestseller Brandon Sanderson returns to Scadrial, world of the Mistborn, as its second era, which began with The Alloy of Law, comes to a world-breaking conclusion in this fall’s forthcoming The Lost Metal.

Wanna know what happens to the fantasy world when the hero of prophecy has failed? Ever wonder if eating cool rocks could give you special powers? At the intersection of these two time-honored philosophical quandaries lays the Wax and Wayne Series.

The Lost Metal is on sale 11.15.22!

Poster Placeholder of - 75The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson

The Stormlight Archive is the latest epic fantasy from the imaginative mind of Brandon Sanderson: welcome to the remarkable world of Roshar, a world both alien and magical, where gigantic hurricane-like storms scour the surface every few days and life has adapted accordingly. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war.

book-wheeloftimeThe Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time is a story that takes place both in our past and our future. In his fantasy world, the Dark One, the embodiment of pure evil, is breaking free from his prison. The overall plot is about a man who learns that he is the reincarnation of the world’s messiah and is once again destined to save the world from the Dark One — but possibly destroy it in the process. This saga is not only his story, but the story of an entire world’s struggle to deal with war and change, destruction and hope.

book-kushielKushiel’s Legacy by Jacqueline Carey

In this epic fantasy series, step into the land of Terre d’Ange, a place of unsurpassed beauty and grace. The inhabiting race rose from the seed of angels and men, and they live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt. Phèdre nó Delaunay was sold into indentured servitude as a child. Her bond was purchased by a nobleman, the first to recognize that she is one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. He trained Phèdre in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber–and, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze.

The Ascendent series by K Arsenault Rivera

K Arsenault Rivera’s epic fantasy Ascendant trilogy is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil. “Rich, expansive, and grounded in human truth…simply exquisite.”—New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab (on The Tiger’s Daughter)

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$2.99 eBook Sale: Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

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The ebook edition of Kushiel’s Dartfirst in Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy series, is on sale now for $2.99. This offer will only last for a limited time, so order your copy today!

About Kushiel’s Dart: “When Love cast me out, it was Cruelty who took pity on me.”

In a kingdom born of angels, Phedre is an anguisette, cursed or blessed to find pleasure in pain. Sold to the Court of Night Blooming Flowers, her fate as a beautiful but anonymous courtesan was sealed. Her bond was purchased by the nobleman Anafiel Delauney, who recognized the scarlet mote in Phedre’s eye as the rare mark of one touched by a powerful deity. Under Delauney’s patronage she is trained in history, politics, language, and the use of body and mind as the ultimate weapon of subterfuge in a dangerous game of courtly intrigue.

Guided into the bed chambers of Terre D’Ange’s most influential nobles, Phedre uncovers a conspiracy against the throne so vast that even her teacher cannot see the whole of it. As her nation is besieged by invading hordes from the north, the most unthinkable threat to her beloved home comes from traitors within. Betrayed and blindsided by her own longings, only Phedre and her trusted bodyguard Josselin are left to cross borders and warring armies in a race to stop the final blow from falling.

Enter a lush world of pleasure houses, ambitious warlords, scheming courtiers, and the harsh justice of blessed deities through the eyes of a heroine like no other. Sprawling and darkly sensual, Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart is the start of a truly original fantasy series.

Buy Kushiel’s Dart here:

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This sale ends May 31st.

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#FearlessWomen We Admired Growing Up

Whether we got into science fiction and fantasy as kids or adults, there were plenty of women in the pages of our favorite books that inspired us. The fearless women in these books taught us how to be adventurous, how to be strong, and how to be self-confident. Here are just a few of our favorite women of the science fiction and fantasy books we read growing up. Who’s on your list?

Phèdre nó Delaunay from Kushiel’s Legacy by Jacqueline Carey

Image Placeholder of - 34 While the scale of Jacqueline Carey’s first Kushiel trilogy is breathtaking, there is no better guide to this lushly imagined world than Phèdre nó Delaunay. Trained as a spy and a courtesan, Phèdre was constantly underestimated—even by herself. But as she was thrown into increasingly dangerous situations and emerged triumphant (if often a bit bloody), her self-confidence grew until she took her rightful place as one of the more powerful women in Terre d’Ange. Her journey from scared, unwanted child to intelligent, powerful, sex-positive woman was an inspiration.

Lauren Oya Olamina from Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

Placeholder of  -61 The future that Octavia Butler painted in the first Earthseed novel is a bleak one. Lauren, the teenage protagonist, suffers from hyperempathy, meaning she feels the emotions of those around her, from pain and fear to happiness. When her community is destroyed and Lauren sets off on a journey to create a new home, that hyperempathy makes her journey even more difficult. Confronting racism, sexism, and physical danger at every point along the way, Lauren was the kind of teenager we looked up to: strong, determined, intelligent, charismatic, and above all, caring.

Simsa from Forerunner by Andre Norton

Place holder  of - 68 In the very first novel Tor ever published, our main point-of-view character is Simsa, the orphaned Burrower who dreams of more. After having to hide her differences for most of her short life, Simsa starts to take chances when her caregiver, the not-so-caring Ferwar, dies. The adventures Simsa had with Starman Thom made us long for a chance to go on a hunt for a long lost city of our own—especially if we got to have our own zorsal (a batlike creature) as we did it!

Ti-Jeanne from Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

Image Place holder  of - 73 Hopkinson’s powerful 1998 debut novel about a young woman rising up against the powers that be takes place in a futuristic Toronto that’s been ravaged by economic downturn and vicious gangs. In the Burn, the slums at the center of the city, a pregnant Ti-Jeanne moves back in with her grandmother after leaving her drug-addicted boyfriend. Her grandmother is respected in their Caribbean-Canadian community as an herbalist and Obeah (seer), but Ti-Jeanne has always rejected her grandmother’s spiritualism. But when Ti-Jeanne’s boyfriend runs afoul of a local gang who wants him to harvest a human heart for a powerful politician, she discovers the power of magic, reconnecting with both her grandmother and her culture. We loved following Ti-Jeanne’s journey as she finds the strength within herself, and recognizes the strength that’s always existed in the women in her family.

Arienrhod and Moon from The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge

Poster Placeholder of - 11 Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen was a staple fairy tale of many of our childhoods. So when we learned that Joan D. Vinge had adapted into a science fiction novel, we were incredibly excited. Plus, in a time when most science fiction novels were dominated by male main characters, Vinge’s The Snow Queen was full of women—and women in power, at that. The story focused on the power struggle between the titular Snow Queen, Arienrhod, and the Summer-tribe sibyl, Moon. Add in Vinge’s spectacular worldbuilding, and we desperately wished we could visit the planet Tiamet and meet the women who ruled there.

Jessica from My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due

Jessica and David are happily married, with a wonderful 5-year old daughter. Until Jessica makes a startling discovery—David is actually 500 years old. Due is a master of beautiful prose and horrifying plot twists. This beloved dark classic combines history, horror, and the supernatural, but what really stands out is watching Jessica fight for herself and her daughter. When a beloved partner turns unexpectedly different and alien (alas, not something not just found in fiction), Jessica’s struggle sparks both chills and cheers for her courage.

Sorcha from Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

If there was ever a book that demonstrated that there’s more than one kind of strength, it’s Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. Rather than strength of arms, swinging a sword at her every problem, Sorcha’s is the strength of endurance—the ability, thanks to her love of her family, to continue on her journey despite difficulty after difficulty, heartbreak after heartbreak. Marillier’s story is lyrical and atmospheric, and tore us to pieces over and over again. And it was worth every tear.

Lessa from the Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

Imagine surviving the slaughter of your family. Imagine hiding in plain site in your ancestral home, constantly performing back-breaking labor as a drudge in the home you should rule. And then imagine walking away when the opportunity arises to take back your legacy and your home, because the world at large needs your help. That’s only part of the journey taken by Lessa of Ruth, later Lessa of Pern, in the first of Anne McCaffrey’s iconic Dragonriders of Pern series. Her strength, and her bond with her queen dragon, were things we truly envied when we first read Dragonflight. Add in magnificent dragons, the deadly threat of threads, and a stubborn population that doesn’t believe in the coming danger, and you have a winning combination.

Kerewin Holmes from The Bone People by Keri Hulme

Any woman who would rather live in a tower made of seashells and books than be around other humans is already the kind of heroine we love. But, more than this, Kerewin on a quest to save not the world, not her country of New Zealand, but to rediscover her own artistic voice. An artist who can no longer look inside herself to make art, she is forced to connect with a young, mute European boy who has washed up on her beach from a mysterious shipwreck. The boy’s Maori foster father also provides a painful lesson on love and destruction that paints a vivid, fantastical portrait of Maori myth, post-colonialism, and redemption.

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Celebrate Valentine’s Day with our Favorite Relationships in SF/F

The term shipping doesn’t just refer to boats or how fast you can get your package. These days, it also has meaning in relationships—fictional ones, that is. Ships are the couples from fiction, whether books, tv, or movies, that you desperately want to get together in a romantic way—whether the creator intended them to or not. Over time, fans have created some pretty famous ships (cough*Harry-and-Draco*cough) and some super bizarre ships (Elsa and Jack Frost, really?). Many have gained a life of their own, with fan art, fan fic, and more.

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, we started thinking about our favorite relationships as well as our favorite ships in science fiction and fantasy. We’re celebrating the holiday by sharing our list with you! What couples are your list?

Phèdre nó Delaunay and Joscelin Verreuil

Image Place holder  of - 9 One of the things we love about Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy series is the number of relationships to wish for, root for, and cry buckets over. Alcuin and Delaney, Ysandra and Drustan, Phèdre and Hyacinthe, Phèdre and Melisande, Phèdre and Joscelin…okay, really Phèdre and anyone who can make her happy. But we polled the Tor staff, and found that most of us were rooting for the opposites attract relationship of Phèdre, courtesan to kings, and Joscelin, warrior-priest and sworn virgin (at least, at the beginning). Those crazy kids belong together, and they prove it by supporting each other through increasingly dire and dangerous situations, all the way to the ends of the world.

Mat Cauthon and Tuon (Fortuona Athaem Devi Paendrag, Daughter of the Nine Moons)

Placeholder of  -96 The Wheel of Time is full of relationships, both good and bad. How could it not be, with 14 books spanning years? And while Rand and his relationship with Elayne, Aviendha, and Min was fun to read, our favorite relationship in WoT is the one between Mat and Tuon. The scene where Mat accidentally marries Tuon (be careful what you repeat three times in fantasy novels, guys!) made some of us laugh, and when she finally completes the ceremony, there may have been tears. Their elaborate courtship dance in between, and the sense that Tuon is always one step ahead of Mat, just makes their romance even better.

Baru Cormorant and Tain Hu

Place holder  of - 15 Sometimes you just want a relationship that makes you cry. Amid all the politics, intrigue and plot twists that made The Traitor Baru Cormorant such a fantastic read, the budding—and forbidden—romance between Baru Cormorant and Tain Hu was definitely a highlight. Two ruthless, competent women who begin on opposite sides, but come together to start a revolution against an ever-growing colonial force—what more could you want? Of course, love in wartime is never easy, and there are plenty of hidden agendas at play that make it even harder. Fair warning: not every favorite romance has a happy ending.

Eddi McCandry and the Phouka

Poster Placeholder of - 21 This classic urban fantasy is both a slice of rock life in the 80s (you know Prince was totally one of the fey), and a delightful story of learning who you are accompanied by a wonderful romance. We’ve all been Eddi McCandry at some point—juggling the one-two punch of a bad ex and trying to figure out your life—and the Phouka is a babe.
 
 
Richard St. Vier and Alec

Image Placeholder of - 39 Not only is this a wonderful, tangled world of duels fought with swords and over tea in parlors, but the heart of the story is the tangled, snarled, tricky, unlikely and utterly swoon-worthy pairing of a sword for hire and his difficult inamorata. Fireworks, banter, tension (all kinds), and so much more in a beloved m/m pair. As Jo Walton says in her Tor.com review, is Richard and Alec’s relationship love, or is it a duel? Finding out is part of the fun.

Nienna and Ulmo

Two literary characters who we think deserve one another are Nienna and Ulmo from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. Nienna is one of the Valar, whose purview is grief, mourning, and mercy, ever turning sorrow to wisdom. While Ulmo, the Lord of the Waters, is the Vala who was fondest of the Children of Ilúvatar (Elves and Men). But like Nienna, Ulmo is a loner. All the other godlike Valar were married—why not these two?

Quick Ben and Kalam

If ever there was a “they argue like an old married couple” in Epic Fantasy, it is Quick Ben and Kalam. One is a trickster mage who might be the most powerful magician around, the other is an Assassin that really distrusts magic. They’ve been together since they were rebels fighting the empire, so long that they’re reached the pinnacle of couple-dom in fiction: they can finish each other’s sentences.

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Fantasy Firsts Sweepstakes

It’s November, which means we are entering the last month of our Fantasy Firsts program. We wanted to say thank you with a special sweepstakes, featuring ALL the titles we highlighted this past year. That’s 40 fantastic reads from 40 different series to add to your TBR stack! Plus, we’re including an added bonus: two sandblasted book dragon mugs, so you can enjoy your coffee or tea in style while you read.

Sign up for a chance to win:

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Fantasy Firsts Sweepstakes

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. OPEN ONLY TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES, D.C. AND CANADA (EXCLUDING QUEBEC) WHO ARE 13 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER AT THE TIME OF ENTRY. U.S. LAW GOVERNS THIS SWEEPSTAKES. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

  1. ELIGIBILITY: The Fantasy Firsts Sweepstakes (the “Sweepstakes“) is open only to persons who as of the date of entry (and, if a winner, as of the date of prize fulfillment) are a legal resident of the 50 United States, District of Columbia or Canada (excluding Quebec) and who are 13 years of age or older. We are sorry for the geographic restrictions, unfortunately it is required for various legal reasons. Persons who as of the date of entry (and, if a winner, as of the date of prize fulfillment) are an employee of Tom Doherty Associates (“Sponsor“) or any of Sponsor’s Affiliates (as defined in Section 5), and members of the immediate family or household (whether or not related) of any such employee, are not eligible. Eligibility determinations will be made by Sponsor in its discretion and will be final and binding. U.S. law governs this Sweepstakes. Void in Quebec and where prohibited by law.
  1. HOW TO ENTER: The entry period for the Sweepstakes begins at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 and continues through 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, November 19, 2017 (the “Entry Period“). No purchase is necessary. Any entrant who is under 18 years of age or otherwise under the legal age of majority in the jurisdiction in which the entrant resides (a “Minor“) must obtain permission to enter from his or her parent or legal guardian, and the agreement of the parent or legal guardian to these Official Rules, prior to entry. To enter the Sweepstakes, during the Entry Period, entrants must access, complete and submit the Sweepstakes entry form (which will require entrant to submit his or her e-mail address and such other information as Sponsor may require), found in entrant’s Facebook newsfeed or alternatively by visiting Sponsor’s website located at https://www.torforgeblog.com/2017/11/01/fantasy-firsts-sweepstakes-15/ (the “Website”) and following the on screen entry instructions. The Facebook entry form may be pre-filled with information provided by the Facebook platform. There is a limit of one entry per person and per email address. All entries must be completed and received by Sponsor prior to the conclusion of the Entry Period. Entry times will be determined using Sponsor’s computer, which will be the official clock for the Sweepstakes. Normal time rates, if any, charged by the entrant’s Internet or mobile service provider will apply. All entries are subject to verification at any time. Proof of submission does not constitute proof of entry. Sponsor will have the right, in its discretion, to require proof of identity and/or eligibility in a form acceptable to Sponsor (including, without limitation, government-issued photo identification). Failure to provide such proof to the satisfaction of Sponsor in a timely manner may result in disqualification.
  1. WINNER SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION: Following the conclusion of the Entry Period, one (1) potential Grand Prize winner(s) will be selected in a random drawing conducted by Sponsor or its agent from among all eligible entries received during the Entry Period. The odds of winning will depend on the number of eligible entries received. The potential winner will be notified by e-mail (sent to the e-mail address provided by the entrant when entering), or using other contact information provided by the potential winner, in Sponsor’s discretion. If the initial notification requires a response, the potential winner must respond to Sponsor’s initial notification attempt within 72 hours. The potential winner is subject to verification of eligibility and may, in Sponsor’s discretion, be required to complete, sign and return to Sponsor an Affidavit of Eligibility/Release of Liability or an Affirmation of Eligibility/Release of Liability, as determined by Sponsor, and, if legally permissible, a Publicity Release, collectively, a “Declaration and Release” for residents of Canada) and any other documentation provided by Sponsor in connection with verification of the potential winner’s eligibility and confirmation of the releases and grant of rights set forth herein (as applicable, “Winner Verification Documents“), within seven days of attempted delivery of same. The potential winner if a U.S. resident may also in Sponsor’s discretion be required to complete and return to Sponsor an IRS Form W-9 within seven days of attempted delivery of same. If the potential winner is a Minor, Sponsor will have the right to request that the potential winner’s parent or legal guardian sign the Winner Verification Documents on behalf of the winner, or to award the prize directly in the name of the winner’s parent or legal guardian, who in such event will be required to sign the Winner Verification Documents and/or, if a U.S. resident, an IRS Form W-9. If the potential winner is a Canadian resident, he or she will be required to correctly answer a mathematical skill testing question without mechanical or other aid to be administered via telephone, email or another manner determined by Sponsor in its discretion at a pre-arranged mutually convenient time. If the potential winner cannot be reached or does not respond within 72 hours of the initial notification attempt or fails to complete, sign, and return any required Winner Verification Documents or, if a U.S. resident, IRS Form W-9 within seven days of attempted delivery of same, or in the case of a Canadian selected entrant, fails to correctly answer the mathematical skill testing question without mechanical or other aid, or if the potential winner does not otherwise comply with these Official Rules and/or cannot accept the prize as awarded for any reason, “then the potential winner may be disqualified and an alternate winner may, at Sponsor’s discretion, be selected from among the remaining eligible entries as specified in these Official Rules (in which case the foregoing provisions will apply to such newly-selected entrant).
  1. PRIZE: One (1) Grand Prize(s) will be offered. The Grand Prize consists of one (1) hardcover copy of THE GUNS ABOVE by Robyn Bennis, one (1) trade paperback copy of RED RIGHT HAND by Levi Black, one (1) hardcover copy of ROAR by Cora Carmack, one (1) hardcover copy of THE ALCHEMY OF MASQUES AND MIRRORS by Curtis Craddock, one (1) hardcover copy of CHILD OF A HIDDEN SEA by A.M. Dellamonica, one (1) trade paperback copy of TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard, one (1) hardcover copy of CROSSROADS OF CANOPY by Thoraiya Dyer, one (1) hardcover copy of DEATH’S MISTRESS by Terry Goodkind, one (1) hardcover copy of STEEPLEJACK by A.J. Hartley, one (1) hardcover copy of DEADMEN WALKING by Sherrilyn Kenyon, one (1) hardcover copy of EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire, one (1) trade paperback copy of THE HUM AND THE SHIVER by Alex Bledsoe, one (1) trade paperback copy of RANGE OF GHOSTS by Elizabeth Bear, one (1) trade paperback copy of A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS by Marie Brennan, one (1) trade paperback copy of SERIOUSLY WICKED by Tina Connolly, one (1) trade paperback copy of THE LIBRARIANS AND THE LOST LAMP by Greg Cox, one (1) trade paperback copy of DANCER’S LAMENT by Ian C. Esslemont, one (1) trade paperback copy of FORGE OF DARKNESS by Steven Erikson, one (1) trade paperback copy of FINN FANCY NECROMANCY by Randy Henderson, one (1) trade paperback copy of ROYAL STREET by Suzanne Johnson, one (1) trade paperback copy of THE EYE OF THE WORLD by Robert Jordon, one (1) trade paperback copy of THE SHARDS OF HEAVEN by Michael Livingston, one (1) trade paperback copy of THE MAGIC OF RECLUCE by L.E. Modesitt, Jr., one (1) trade paperback copy of RIDERS by Veronica Rossi, one (1) trade paperback copy of THE WAY OF KINGS by Brandon Sanderson, one (1) trade paperback copy of A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab, one (1) trade paperback copy of THE EMPEROR’S BLADES by Brian Staveley, one (1) trade paperback copy of UPDRAFT by Fran Wilde, one (1) ARC of THE MIDNIGHT FRONT by David Mack, one (1) mass market paperback copy of THE SIX-GUN TAROT by R.S. Belcher, one (1) mass market paperback copy of THE DINOSAUR LORDS by Victor Milan, one (1) mass market paperback copy of THE SLEEPING KING by Cindy Dees and Bill Flippin, one (1) mass market paperback copy of TOUCHSTONE by Melanie Rawn, one (1) mass market paperback copy by THE INCREMENTALISTS by Steven Brust and Skyler White, one (1) mass market paperback copy of CROWN OF VENGEANCE by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, one (1) mass market paperback copy of IMAGER by L.E. Modesitt, Jr., one (1) mass market paperback copy of LAMENTATION by Ken Scholes, one (1) mass market paperback copy of THE ETERNA FILES by Leanna Renee Heiber, one (1) mass market paperback copy of KUSHIEL’S DART by Jacqueline Carey, and one (1) mass market paperback copy of AMERICAN CRAFTSMEN by Tom Doyle, and one (1) set of two Book dragon mugs. The approximate retail value (“ARV“) of the Grand Prize is $551.56 USD. All prize details that are not expressly specified in these Official Rules will be determined by Sponsor in its discretion. The prize will be awarded if properly claimed. No substitution, cash redemption or transfer of the right to receive the prize is permitted, except in the discretion of Sponsor, which has the right to substitute the prize or any component of the prize with a prize or prize component of equal or greater value selected by Sponsor in its discretion. The prize consists only of the item(s) expressly specified in these Official Rules. All expenses or costs associated with the acceptance or use of the prize or any component of the prize are the responsibility of the winner. The prize is awarded “as is” and without any warranty, except as required by law. In no event will more than the number of prizes stated in these Official Rules be awarded. All federal, state and local taxes on the value of the prize are the responsibility of the winner. For U.S. residents, an IRS form 1099 will be issued if required by law.
  1. RELEASE AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY: By entering the Sweepstakes, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, each entrant on behalf of himself or herself and anyone who succeeds to entrant’s rights and responsibilities including without limitation entrant’s heirs, executors, administrators, personal representatives, successors, assigns, agents, and attorneys, and with respect to minors entrant’s parents and legal guardians (collectively the “Entrant Parties“) releases Sponsor, each of Sponsor’s Affiliates, the licensees and licensors other than Entrant Parties including authors of each of the foregoing, all other companies involved in the development or operation of the Sweepstakes, Facebook, the successors and assigns of each of the foregoing and the directors, officers, employees and agents of each of the foregoing (collectively, the “Released Parties“) from and against any and all claims and causes of action of any kind that entrant and/or the Entrant Parties ever had, now have or might in the future have arising out of or relating to the Sweepstakes, participation in the Sweepstakes, the use of the Website, the provision, acceptance or use of any prize or any component thereof or any use of the entrant’s name as permitted pursuant to these Official Rules, including without limitation any and all claims and causes of action: (a) relating to any personal injury, death or property damage or loss sustained by any entrant or any other person, (b) based upon any allegation of violation of the right of privacy or publicity, misappropriation, defamation, or violation of any other personal or proprietary right, (c) based upon any allegation of infringement of copyright, trademark, trade dress, patent, trade secrets, moral rights or any intellectual property right, or (d) or based upon any allegation of a violation of the laws, rules or regulations relating to personal information and data security. Each entrant on behalf of himself or herself and the Entrant Parties agrees not to assert any such claim or cause of action against any of the Released Parties. Each entrant on behalf of himself or herself and the Entrant Parties assumes the risk of, and all liability for, any injury, loss or damage caused, or claimed to be caused, by participation in this Sweepstakes, the use of the Website, or the provision, acceptance or use of any prize or any component of any prize. The Released Parties are not responsible for, and will not have any liability in connection with, any typographical or other error in the printing of the offer, administration of the Sweepstakes or in the announcement of the prize. The Released Parties are not responsible for, and will not have any liability in connection with, late, lost, delayed, illegible, damaged, corrupted or incomplete entries, incorrect or inaccurate capture of, damage to, or loss of entries or entry information, or any other human, mechanical or technical error of any kind relating to the operation of the Website, communications or attempted communications with any entrant or Entrant Parties, the submission, collection, storage and/or processing of entries or the administration of the Sweepstakes. The term “Affiliate” of Sponsor means any entity that directly or indirectly, through one or more intermediaries, controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with Sponsor. The term “control” means the possession, directly or indirectly, of the power to direct or cause the direction of management and policies of an entity, or the ownership, directly or indirectly, of more than fifty percent (50%) of the equity interests of the entity.
  1. GENERAL RULES: Sponsor has the right, in its sole discretion, to modify these Official Rules (including without limitation by adjusting any of the dates and/or timeframes stipulated in these Official Rules) and to cancel, modify or suspend this Sweepstakes at any time in its discretion, including without limitation if a virus, bug, technical problem, entrant fraud or misconduct, or other cause beyond the control of the Sponsor corrupts the administration, integrity, security or proper operation of the Sweepstakes or if for any other reason Sponsor is not able to conduct the Sweepstakes as planned (including without limitation in the event the Sweepstakes is interfered with by any fire, flood, epidemic, earthquake, explosion, labor dispute or strike, act of God or of public enemy, communications failure, riot or civil disturbance, war (declared or undeclared), terrorist threat or activity, federal, state or local law, order or regulation or court order) or in the event of any change to the terms governing the use of Facebook or the application or interpretation of such terms. In the event of termination of the Sweepstakes, a notice will be posted on the Website or Sponsor’s Facebook page and a random drawing will be conducted to award the prize from among all eligible entries received prior to the time of termination. Sponsor has the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify or prohibit from participating in the Sweepstakes any individual who, in Sponsor’s discretion, Sponsor determines or believes (i) has tampered with the entry process or has undermined the legitimate operation of the Website or the Sweepstakes by cheating, hacking, deception or other unfair practices, (ii) has engaged in conduct that annoys, abuses, threatens or harasses any other entrant or any representative of Sponsor or (iii) has attempted or intends to attempt any of the foregoing. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SWEEPSTAKES OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAW. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR HAS THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES (INCLUDING ATTORNEYS’ FEES) FROM ANY PERSON INVOLVED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. The use of agents or automated devices, programs or methods to submit entries is prohibited and Sponsor has the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any entry that it believes may have been submitted using such an agent or automated device, program or method. In the event of a dispute regarding who submitted an entry, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the email address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” means the person who is assigned an email address by an internet provider, online service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational institute, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address. An entrant may be required to provide proof (in a form acceptable to Sponsor, including, without limitation, government-issued photo identification) that he or she is the authorized account holder of the email address associated with the entry in question. All federal, state, provincial, territorial and local laws and regulations apply. All entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be verified or returned. By participating in this Sweepstakes, entrants on behalf of themselves, and to the extent permitted by law on behalf of the Entrant Parties agree to be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor, which are final and binding in all respects. These Official Rules may not be reprinted or republished in any way without the prior written consent of Sponsor.
  1. DISPUTES: By entering the Sweepstakes, each entrant on behalf of himself or herself and the Entrant Parties agrees that, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, (a) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with the Sweepstakes, or the provision, acceptance and/or use of any prize or prize component, will be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action (Note: Some jurisdictions do not allow restricting access to class actions. This provision will not apply to entrant if entrant lives in such a jurisdiction); (b) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering the Sweepstakes, but in no event attorneys’ fees; and (c) under no circumstances will any entrant or Entrant Party be permitted to obtain any award for, and each entrant and Entrant Party hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, special, incidental or consequential damages and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules or the rights and obligations of the entrants, Entrant Parties and Sponsor in connection with the Sweepstakes shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of New York in the United States of America without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions that would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. Any legal proceedings arising out of this Sweepstakes or relating to these Official Rules shall be instituted only in the federal or state courts located in New York County in the State of New York, waiving any right to trial by jury, and each entrant and Entrant Party consents to jurisdiction therein with respect to any legal proceedings or disputes of whatever nature arising under or relating to these rules or the Sweepstakes. In the event of any conflict between these Official Rules and any Sweepstakes information provided elsewhere (including but not limited in advertising or marketing materials), these Official Rules shall prevail.
  1. USE OF INFORMATION: Please review the Sponsor’s Privacy Notice at https://us.macmillan.com/privacy-notice. By entering the sweepstakes, entrant hereby agrees to Sponsor’s collection and use of their personal information in accordance with such Notice, including the use of entrant’s personal information to send email updates about Tor Books and other information from Sponsor and its related companies.
  1. WINNER NAME AND RULES REQUESTS:For the name(s) of the winner(s), which will be available two weeks after the conclusion of the Entry Period, or a copy of these Official Rules, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Fantasy First Sweepstakes, Tom Doherty Associates, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. Winner name requests must be received by Sponsor within six months after the conclusion of the Entry Period.
  1. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. The Sweepstakes is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

© 2017 Macmillan. All rights reserved.





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Books to Fill the Long Wait Until the Final Season of Game of Thrones

Season 7 of Game of Thrones went out with a bang. The final season may air in 2018, but we may also have to wait until 2019 to see how everything is going to wrap up. So what are we going to do in the meantime? Read, of course! We asked our fellow Tor employees what books they would recommend for Game of Thrones fans, and they came through in a big way. In no particular order, here’s a reading list with enough books to keep you busy until 2019 (unless you’re a speed reader).

Image Placeholder of - 54 Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
The Malazan series is big, sprawling, nihilistic epic fantasy perfect for a Game of Thrones fan. The series is complete, so there’s no waiting for the next book. Start with book one, Gardens of the Moon, or pick up the entire 7,392 page series as an ebook bundle: The Complete Malazan Book of the Fallen.
Recommended by Christopher Morgan, Associate Editor

Poster Placeholder of - 93 The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
Is your favorite part of Game of Thrones watching the Stark children try to survive in the wake of their father’s death? Try The Emperor’s Blades, the first novel in the epic fantasy Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne trilogy. The story focuses on the three children of a slain emperor as they battle conspiracies, meddlesome gods, and each other, in the struggle to hold their empire together.
Recommended by Marco Palmieri, Senior Editor

Placeholder of  -78 The Black Company by Glen Cook
If you’re a fan of the fact that no one is safe on GoT, try this one. Released in 1984, The Black Company is arguably the reason GrimDark became a thing. Think of it as Game of Thrones from the view of the infantry. The story follows a band of mercenaries as they struggle to survive lose-lose situations.
Recommended by Robert Davis, Manager of Administration, and Christopher Morgan, Associate Editor

Image Place holder  of - 9 Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
If Arya had ended up meeting a warrior nun instead of the Faceless Man, she and the heroine of Red Sister would be best friends. Raised in a convent of warrior, assassin nuns, Nona may be their most powerful. Dark and gritty and moving, with heroines you adore.
Recommended by Diana Gill, Executive Editor

Place holder  of - 93 The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
Do you love conflicted characters like Jaime Lannister? Try The Traitor Baru Cormorant, a geopolitical tragedy of empire and colonization. Filled with intrigue, treachery, rebellion, weaponized economics, and a protagonist who is simultaneously the hero and villain of her own story.
Recommended by Marco Palmieri, Senior Editor, and Joseph Bendel, Channel Marketing Manager

The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V.S. Redick
Pazel, a war orphan, is working as a tar boy on a ship–and has to deal with magical fits that allow him to speak any language. Like Game of Thrones, there’s a lot of focus on politics, with the backdrop of magic. No dragons, sadly, but there’s a magical ferret and a rat that doesn’t know when to stop talking.
Recommended by Lauren Levite, Publicity Assistant

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
Is the sheer scope of Game of Thrones your favorite part about it? Then Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series is for you. Truly epic fantasy on the grand scale, it will keep you reading (hopefully) until GRRM finishes The Winds of Winter.
Recommended by Diana Gill, Executive Editor

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is all about revenge and a battle for the throne…though there are actual gods involved. Jemisin has won back-to-back Hugo Awards and devoted fans, and you can see why in her debut effort. You won’t be disappointed.
Recommended by Diana Gill, Executive Editor

Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald
Do you love Game of Thrones, but think it would be even better if it took place IN SPACE? Luna: New Moon is definitely for you. On the moon, corporate families attempt to outmaneuver each other. McDonald substitutes cocktails for GoT’s eel pie though.
Recommended by Christopher Morgan, Associate Editor, and Desirae Friesen, Publicist

Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
If you love Dorne, the Red Viper, and the Sand Snakes, Kushiel’s Dart is for you. Imagine if Littlefinger used his courtesan spies for good! Phaedre’s journey slides the razor edge of pain and pleasure, and you will love every minute.
Recommended by Diana Gill, Executive Editor, and Theresa Delucci, Associate Director of Advertising and Promotions

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton
Sure, it’s not out yet, but it will be out before the next season of Game of Thrones. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s King Lear, Gratton’s epic fantasy novel features three daughters fighting for a throne as surrounding kingdoms look to prey on the island’s vulnerability. The perfect read if you’re loving the battle of the queens in GoT.
Recommended by a bunch of raccoons in a trench coat, Associate Digital Marketing Manager, and Miriam Weinberg, Senior Editor

The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin
If you just want to stay in Westeros a little while longer, let us recommend the beautifully illustrated The Ice Dragon. These ice dragons aren’t the same as what became of poor Viserion, but they’re still terrifying beasts. Read the story of the brave winter child Adara and her friend, the ice dragon.
Recommended by Cassie Ammerman, Assistant Director of Digital Marketing

Feature image courtesy of HBO

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