Tor.com has published an excerpt of The House of Binding Thorns (chapter one, to be more specific). In which we return to the House of Hawthorn, its Fallen head Asmodeus, and to alchemist and angel essence addict Madeleine–aka “character in deep trouble” ^-^
I’ve spoken of it before, but preorders are super important–they help establish enthusiasm for the book, and also boost sales in that all-important first week. As an author they also feel special to me, because readers are making a great gesture of faith on a book that hasn’t been delivered yet. Last time, for The House of Shattered Wings, I offered an exclusive small ebook of short stories (which you can now read for free here). This time around, I considered several options, but in the end the exclusive short story was, once again, the one that polled best. So I set out to writing a really short prequel story set just before the beginning of The House of Binding Thorns, which would introduce some of the new characters, showcase some old favourites, and get readers ready for enjoying the book.
I ended up writing a novelette. All 12,000 words of it. So much for short, but on the plus side you should get an immersive, detailed read :p
So… preorder The House of Binding Thorns, and you get access to “Children of Thorns, Children of Water”, an exclusive prequel short long story set just before the events of the book. Here’s the cover:
If you don’t feel like hopping there, here’s more info about the story:
In a Paris that never was, a city of magicians, alchemists and Fallen angels struggling to recover from a devastating magical war…
Once each year, the House of Hawthorn tests the Houseless: for those chosen, success means the difference between a safe life and the devastation of the streets. However, for Thuan and his friend Kim Cuc, — dragons in human shapes and envoys from the dying underwater kingdom of the Seine — the stakes are entirely different. Charged with infiltrating a House that keeps encroaching on the Seine, if they are caught, they face a painful death.
Worse, mysterious children of thorns stalk the candidates through Hawthorn’s corridors. Will Thuan and Kim Cuc survive and succeed?
You can get the ebook of Children of Thorns, Children of Water if you preorder The House of Binding Thorns (ebook, audiobook or physical book): Gollancz has kindly agreed to fulfilling the US preorders in addition to the UK ones, so whichever edition you preordered (aka “the one with the sword” or “the blue one with the thorns”), just go here and fill in the form to get access.
Just a quick note that my Xuya short story “The Shipmaker” is now reprinted at Clarkesworld. This was the first of the mindship sequence (AIs incubated in human wombs and becoming part of human families). Bit of nostalgia for this one: it won me my first major award (British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Short Fiction), and was also the first story I wrote that had actual Vietnamese characters (more accurately, Vietnamese immigrants in a Chinese-dominated society. But still).
Also, my longer Xuya novelette, “Pearl”, a retelling of Da Trang and the Pearl, is available as part of The Starlit Wood, Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe’s anthology of retold fairytales. More info here.
And as promised, here’s the giveaway for one ARC of The House of Binding Thorns: ruined and decadent Paris, Fallen angels, alchemists, a dragon kingdom under invasion, and backstabbing aplenty! Open anywhere in the world–I’d of course much appreciate it if you could review the book on goodreads, for instance, (it does help the author *sheepish grin*).
I’ll close it next Thursday, and probably post some highlights of the food question as well.
Here are the promo cards:
(the HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS ones have got a random quote from the book at the back, the HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS ones come with both US and UK covers and have a pull quote)
The multi-award winning author of The House of Shattered Wings continues her Dominion of the Fallen saga as Paris endures the aftermath of a devastating arcane war…
As the city rebuilds from the onslaught of sorcery that nearly destroyed it, The Great Houses of Paris, ruled by fallen angels, still contest one another for control over the capital.
House Silverspires was once the most powerful, but just as it sought to rise again, an ancient evil brought it low. Phillippe, an immortal who escaped the carnage, has a singular goal—to resurrect someone he lost. But the cost of such magic may be more than he can bear.
In House Hawthorn, Madeleine the alchemist has had her addiction to angel essence savagely broken. Struggling to live on, she is forced on a perilous diplomatic mission to the underwater Dragon Kingdom—and finds herself in the midst of intrigues that have already caused one previous emissary to mysteriously disappear…
As the Houses seek a peace more devastating than war, those caught between new fears and old hatreds must find strength—or fall prey to a magic that seeks to bind all to its will.
He, what would you know, it’s January again (aka, wow, where did all the time go, and arggggggg I am so late on things!). The main thing I published in 2015 was my novel (I know, kind of hard to miss :p), The House of Shattered Wings, aka magical intrigues, deadly creatures and elusive wonders in a decadent turn-of-the-century Paris ravaged by a magical war.
It won a British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel, as well as being on the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2015. It also got starred reviews from Publishers’ Weekly and Library Journal. It’s eligible for the Hugos.
I can’t provide a copy of the complete text, but I have put together a short sampler of the first three chapters: bits and pieces of this have appeared online, but this is the first time that you can actually read all of it (I think? The kindle sampler is shorter than this, ending mid-chapter two). You can download it here in EPUB, MOBI, or PDF (if you need DOC or RTF, drop me a line via the contact form, and I’ll be quite happy to provide a copy. I just am not a big fan of putting Word formats online–too easy to modify them by mistake…).
If you came here wanting whole stories (which I can understand!), I do have a Xuya short story online, “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight”, which won a British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Short Fiction, and is at Clarkesworld (and is getting reprinted in Dozois’s Year’s Best). You can also downloadEPUB or MOBI.
And if anyone is interested and a Hugo or Nebula voter, contact me and I’d be quite happy to email you a copy of my novella “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls”, which appeared in Asimov’s Oct/Nov and is now a tad hard to find.
And now for the bulk of this, aka, the stuff that I read from 2015 and want to recommend. (this list is a slightly modified and expanded version of one I wrote for the Book Smugglers. I would urge you to go read it: these recs for 2015 are more up to date, but the Book Smugglers post also has my 2016 TBR pile, and it really looks awesome. I made a slight headstart on said TBR pile thanks to friends, and so far I haven’t been disappointed!).
Short stories “Variations on an Apple”, Yoon Ha Lee (Tor.com, October). It’s no secret that I love Yoon Ha Lee’s stuff, and this clever retelling of the Trojan war is no exception. Tackles mathematics, desire, and the consequences of decisions that aren’t always wisely made. Also, Illium and Helen are both awesome in different ways.
“Milagroso”, Isabel Yap (Tor.com, August). In a future where food is grown in labs and always perfect, there is still room for the miracles of saints… By turns exuberant and heartbreaking, this is a story of what we take for granted, how we seek to protect our children, and the price we pay.
“The Star Maiden”, Rokshani Chokshi. Tala’s grandmother used to be a star maiden, annd tells her granddaughter stories of longing for the sky. But Tala grows up and starts questioning the veracity of the story–and becomes ashamed of her grandmother’s oddness. There’s nothing really surprising in this one, but it’s very very well done (as in I broke down and cried at the end), and encapsulates the heartache of growing up.
“The Monkey House”, Tade Thompson (Omenana, March). The narrator returns to work after a breakdown–and finds that everything is *almost* normal. I love the sense of creeping unease of this one, the feeling that everything looks almost quite right (and that 1% “not right” that is downright unsettling). I’m not usually much of a reader for horror or dark, but this is perfect.
“If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler”, by Xia Jia (Clarkesworld, Nov). I love Xia Jia’s stuff, and this short story about a poet and her legacy–and how people handle it in the age of the internet and social media–is lovely and sharp.
“City of Salt”, Arkady Martine, (Strange Horizons, March). This one has stuck around in my head since I read it: the story of a man who comes back to a deserted city, to face the woman he once knew and what she has become… Poetic and elegiac in all the best ways.
I originally made In Morningstar’s Shadow available as a reward for people who had preordered The House of Shattered Wings (and shifted quite a few copies, thanks to everyone who took advantage of that!).
Since the book has been out for a while (a month which feels like a lifetime, wow), I figured I would make it available for free, as a sampler of what you can get if you buy the novel.
You can either download files below, or go to most online retailers and get it for free. Please note that I’ve done my best to encourage Amazon to price-match, but I can’t promise that all the countries followed suit: it’s free for sure in the US and UK, or you can download the MOBI file directly below if you can’t find it for free in your part of the world.
Download Now: EPUB | MOBI. Download from retailers:
(and if you’ve read the novel and want more short fiction set in the same universe, why not check out Of Books, and Earth, and Courtship, the adventure/courtship story featuring Emmanuelle and Selene?)
So… many many thanks to everyone who’s signal boosting The House of Shattered Wings: it’s pretty amazing to see the book in people’s hands!
I wanted to give people a heads-up that I recorded for the BBC World Service: it’s a roundtable on magic chaired by Tim Marlow and featuring Scott Penrose (head of the Magic Circle in the UK), Kevin O’Regan (experimental psychologist) and me as the fantasy novelist :). You can listen to it here, or it’ll be broadcast tomorrow at 8:00 GMT in the UK.
Also, because it’s been amazing, and because I put it late, I’m extending the preorder offer for another two weeks: get back to me with a picture of the book/your ebook reader with the book on it/the audiobook before September 8th, 23:59 GMT +1, and you can get a FREE copy of In Morningstar’s Shadow, an exclusive ebook of short vignettes that illuminates corners of the world and characters of the novel. For more info on the ebook see here.
ETA: this is for either the US or UK edition.
The caveat is that this is basically run solely by me and that I’m running a bit ragged: I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can–if I don’t, I beg for your patience.
(if you’re seeing this on LJ or DW, please go to the original post to send the form: the captcha isn’t working in crossposts).
So… I’m on a plane so I can’t really do much except fret (and write book 2!), but in the meantime, today is the release day for The House of Shattered Wings in the US, from Roc Books. So happy book day to everyone who was kind enough to preorder it or who’s going to pick up a copy soon–hope you enjoy!
So… with apologies for the delay (I meant to do this earlier, and then I got a little, er, overwhelmed with stuff). I know this is a bit last minute, but still…
Pre-orders for books are a bit like release week for movies: they’re important for how a book performs and therefore pretty important for the author. On the other hand, I’m well aware of how much trust you put in me as a writer, when you order a book a long time before you actually get *anything* in your hands. Accordingly, I would like to offer a little incentive…
If you preordered or preorder The House of Shattered Wings in any form (ebook or physical), you’ll get a free, exclusive ebook: a series of vignettes set in the world of The House of Shattered Wings, hopefully to whet your appetite. They start during the Great Houses War in 1917, and go up to twenty years before the start of the book; a condensed prequel with a glimpse at characters beyond the scope of the book.
Here’s a little teaser of each section:
The Face of Heaven (House Silverspires, Ile de la Cité 1917, during the Great Houses War) If one was dedicated, and silent, and watchful, one could learn to see angels again.
Paid Debts (Houseless areas near Galeries Lafayette, 1925) Imadan wasn’t a fool, ordinarily. He knew the rules and the strictures of post-war Paris; he knew all the dangers that should be avoided.
What has to be done (House Silverspires, Ile de la Cité, 1958) Emmanuelle woke up, still woozy with sleep; and then felt it.
(the actual ebook wouldn’t have come into fruition without Tade Thompson and Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein, who provided cover art and lettering for said cover art in record speed–I know everyone is very busy and am very thankful. Any issues with actual formatting, I’m afraid, are solely at my door…).
So… how do you get this?
It depends. In the UK/Commonwealth, Gollancz is very kindly running this: see below for details. If you preordered/preorder the UK ebook or the physical book (aka “the one with the multicoloured wings”), then follow the instructions there.
ETA: for accessibility reasons, the address is gollanczgeeks followed by the @, followed by “orionbooks.co.uk”.
If you ordered the US edition (US edition only please–the one with the burning feathers :p), then fill in the contact form below and I’ll email you EPUB/MOBI/PDF versions of the ebook. Because I’m at Worldcon anyway, I’m going to let this run on the same timescale as the Gollancz promotion (the deadline is 11:59pm GMT on August 19th), so you can actually order the US edition on release day or shortly after and you’ll still get the ebook.
ETA: if you have the actual book (which is either happening because you got an early UK edition at, say, Fantasy in the Court or Nine Worlds or some booksellers, or because it’s August 18th/19th in the US, or some other reason I’m not privy to :)), email me a picture of the book as your proof of purchase.
The caveat is that this last bit is basically run solely by me and that I’m running a bit ragged: I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can–if I don’t, I beg for your patience (also, I literally cobbled this form together this morning, so I hope it works).
So… by the magic of Rafflecopter, the following people have won a signed hardcover of The House of Shattered Wings:
-Peter S K
Yeah, I added a third hardcover as there were so many entries! Really delighted at the enthusiasm for this.
If you feel like you missed out: the RT Book Reviews giveaway of 5 ARCs is still on-going here. (and even if you don’t, there’s an extra excerpt with the giveaway, featuring geeky alchemist Madeleine and Head of House Hawthorn Asmodeus).