Monday, 7 April 2014

Book Review: 'Valour' by John Gwynne.

The axe isn't just for show...

Valour – John Gwynne.

The Good: The stuff of legends, for fans young and old, page-burning pace.

The Bad: Overcomes the ‘difficult second book’ syndrome and whilst it lives up to the debut I felt that the overarching plot was second to the characters’ journeys.

The Ugly Truth: The ‘Chosen-One’ offspring of George R R Martin and J K Rowling, raised on the bedtime stories of Tolkien and whipped into fighting shape by David Gemmell…but still 100% Gwynne.

For Those That Like: Epic battles, Coming-of-age epics, fantasy with a pinch of fairytale-dust, and world-ending prophecies.

Battle is joined in the Banished Lands.
A crusade sweeps the land. Kings are put to the sword. Traitors lurk in every shadow. Ancient weapons emerge from forgotten histories…
But the war of the Gods has only just begun.

King Nathair has declared war on Asroth the Fallen. With the allegiance of kings, queens, corsairs giants, and the angelic Ben-Elim, Nathair marches to defend his kingdom from the coming of the Black Sun, avatar of darkness. The prophecy has come to pass – ‘at Midwinter’s height, bright day shall become darkest night’ – and as the chosen ‘Bright Star’ Nathair is the last hope for the Banished Lands and those faithful to the benevolent god Elyon.
Or so it seems…
Corban and his companions are on the run. Battered and bruised, but not yet broken, the motley company head for sanctuary in a foreign kingdom. Hunted across the land, Corban cannot escape the company’s pursuers, or his encroaching destiny. Trained daily in the sword dance by the mysterious Gar, and schooled in the fabled Earth Power, Corban is coming to realise that a certain prophecy might just have a ring of truth to it.

Whilst the Banished Lands are plunged into war, dark forces in the Otherworld prepare to enter the fray. The final struggle is nearing, and the Fallen will destroy the Faithful.

John Gwynne comes out swinging in ‘Valour’, second novel in his ‘The Faithful and the Fallen’ series. Comes out swinging a big axe that is! ‘Valour’ is a saga true to form, set in a richly-realised world, and populated with a cast of heroes, heroines and hell-spawn.

‘Valour’ picks up directly from where ‘Malice’ left off, following Corban and company as they flee their home. Nathair’s pursuit is delayed by the politics of the realm and the squabbles of other kingdoms, but his attention turns to greater rewards, namely the Seven Treasures as they once war emerge from the forgotten corridors of history. Maquin should be dead – and he believes he’d be better off that way after witnessing the murder of his friend, Kastell. Driven by the need for revenge, Maquin crosses land and sea to exact his bloody judgement. Cywen has been abandoned by friend and family alike, but she cannot escape the attention of Nathair and his advisor Calidus. If she ever wants to be reunited with those she loves, she’ll have to slip past her guards, a traitorous swordmaster, a giant, a draig, and the ever watchful eye of a god’s avatar.

Returning to the Banished Lands is as if you never left. The world rushes out to meet you for the pages, the backdrop of myth and legend enriching every detail. The story is wrought with a master plan in mind, and as the plot progresses you can see the pieces moving on the board. Gwynne plays for the long haul, never once revealing his ‘full hand’, giving the reader just enough to keep them hooked. When the checkmate does come in the final chapters it’s so masterfully done that you’re not quite sure if you’re rooting for the winning side, and who exactly is meant to be the hero.

Whilst I did feel that ‘Valour’ directed the reader away from the overarching plot and instead favoured the individual characters’ journeys and development, I welcomed the cast’s evolution which added further weaves to the ever-thickening tapestry. It’s a hefty tome too, but no sentence is spared. The pace was not sacrificed in light of this, as the book goes from page-burner to page-turner. I snatched time to read between taxis, trains, planes and coffee breaks, and the book in turn snatched me from the real world so much so that I read late into the night and early in the morning.

Gwynne has gone from strength to strength in the past year, earning critical acclaim, securing further publishing contracts, and winning no less than the David Gemmell Morningstar award. In the past other authors have been backed into the corner with the ‘difficult second novel’ but Gwynne delivers hard-hitting and gutsy. For an author still cutting his teeth in the big blue ocean that is the mainstream fantasy catalogue, John Gwynne wades in with a depth of world building that’d see most newbie authors flounder.

With both ‘Malice’ and ‘Valour’ setting Gwynne’s standards high, it’s safe to say that one of fantasy’s newest authors has raised the bar for his next offering.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Book Review: 'The Red Knight' by Miles Cameron

Note from the reviewer: After the Malice review David tracked me down to my lair at Sharpe Towers – trekking through a maze of Oracle manuals, six nations programming, theories on the Blacklist and the occasional beer to  ask me for another review.  So here we go...)

As I said in a previous review – 2013 was a great year for books, one of which was The Red Knight by Miles Cameron.  The book follows a band of mercenaries commanded by the Red Knight as they ride to garrison a fortress in a Middle Age English world.

 Sounds simple, like it’s been done before.  Well don’t be it hasn’t… and it’s bloody and brilliant (I put the and in as I am polite).

Bloody in that Miles Cameron is a re-enactor and he writes battles be they one on one or a cavalry charge against infantry very realistically and people die, some suddenly some bloody.

Brilliant in that it combines multiple POV’s in a believable world, with multiple believable magic systems – well a first glance they are different.

The book has a great cast of characters, where Miles got the some of the names from I have no idea. – There’s the Red Knight, Sauce, Bad Tom, Wilful Murder and Mr Smythe.

The “villain” of the book would be sympathetic if he wasn’t so pompous – his reasoning will, I am sure, be expanded in further books  the other “villainous” character Jean d'Vrailly, the self-styled "greatest knight in the world – must be the most obnoxious man in the Fantasy genre at the minute.  So much so that you want the Red Knight or Bad Tom to introduce him to Mr Slap.

 At over 600 pages this is a hefty book, so don’t expect action all the way, Miles has paced it just right as there are lulls in between the various skirmishes for both the characters and the readers to catch their breath.

Then at the very end of the book – BAM – Miles expands the plot and you realise that all is not what it seems and that there are other things going on and the red Knight will be a very busy chap.

I have two complaints about this book – firstly the editing is a bit shaky, bad grammar the company going west when the map says east.  Secondly the character of the Queen of Alba doesn’t really do a lot – but I am hoping that gets rectified in future novels.

All in all a great start to what I hope will be a future classic series.

And lastly !!!!!!!

Lachan for Aa  (read the book you’ll understand).

Rob Sharpe when not writing Oracle IT code is a keen reader. 
Rob first started of with Tolkien, Donaldson and Eddings before moving on heroic fantasy  - especially Brirsh heroic fantasy and the late great David Gemmell. 
Rob can be found, if you can track him down, busy reading books by John Gwynne, James Barclay, Joe Abercrombie, Anthony Ryan, Richard K Morgan, GRRM, Miles Cameron and a host of others.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Interview: John Gwynne, author of 'Malice' & 'Valour'

John Gwynne. Heroic Fantasy at its best - axes and warhounds.
To celebrate the release of 'Valour' - John Gwynne's second novel in his Faithful and the Fallen series - we invited John back to 'WwaS' for another interview. It's been a busy year for John receiving critical acclaim for 'Malice', picking up awards, and extending his publishing rights across the world as part of his plan for global domination.

So how does a fantasy writer deal with the fame and the success? A good day out at Warner Brother Studios exploring the world of Harry Potter! So without further ado, let's begin.

1.     Hi John, welcome back to ‘WWAS’ (Written With A Sword). Since we last spoke way-back-when in 2013, you’ve had a busy year of awards and further publishing contracts. What’s been your highlight of the past year?
Hi David - thanks for inviting me back. You’re right, it has been a pretty crazy year for Malice and its sequels. The year started very nicely with Orbit US buying the American rights for Malice and Valour, and soon after Fanucci bought the Italian rights. A little later in the year Tor UK bought books 3 and 4 in the Faithful and the Fallen series. In October Malice won the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for best fantasy debut of 2012. I’ve also attended some great events, such as Goldsboro Books Fantasy in the Court, as well as the David Gemmell Awards and World Fantasy Con 2013. Malice was released in the US in December 2013. And behind all of that Valour was going through the editorial process, which has been great fun, ending with me seeing a glimpse of the artwork in December (love that axe!)
So yes, a pretty full year. The highlight, though. It has to be Malice winning the Morningstar at the David Gemmell Awards. It came as such a monumental surprise, and kept me grinning for a very long time - I still am, in fact, whenever I think of it.
2.     Being a fan of David Gemmell yourself, what does it feel like to have won the Morningstar award?
 Utterly amazing. I’ve been a fan of David Gemmell’s since my teens, when I discovered Legend and read it in one sitting - right through the night. It was a great moment for me when I saw Malice on the shelf in Waterstones alongside Legend, so when I heard that Malice was in the longlist for the Gemmell Awards I was absolutely thrilled.
The Gemmell Awards has really been the only award that I have ever taken any interest in, partly because of Mr Gemmell’s name attached to it, and also because it is a readers vote, which appeals to me. I’ve voted on it every year, and often bought books in the shortlist.
When I heard that Malice made it through to the shortlist I was over the moon, especially considering the other titles on that list - all great books that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.
To win the Morningstar - it was such a wonderful moment. My daughter, Harriett, is profoundly disabled and requires a high level of care, so I rarely get out these days. By a pleasant twist of fate the Gemmell Awards took place in Brighton, only a short distance from where I live. I thought it would be a nice opportunity to have a rare night out with the family, so we all went along. Not expecting to win, just looking forward to a night out together amongst some lovely company. And it was great fun - right from James Barclay’s opening rendition of a Druss speech. Winning the Morningstar came as an absolute shock. It was a wonderful moment, made all the better by my family being there with me.
3.     As humble a man as you are, I hear your speech at the DG award ceremony was completely off the cuff. Is this the same for your writing process, or do you go with the flow and see what happens?
 I didn’t have a speech prepared because I did not for one second think Malice would win. When my name was read out I was clapping the winner, not realising that it was me! So I did wing it - can’t actually remember what I said, it’s a bit of a happy blur. There were some thank-you’s, and a reference to my fatness!
As far as writing goes, there is a lot more order. I spent a long time researching for Malice and the Faithful and the Fallen series. George R. R. Martin is often quoted for saying writers fall into two camps -  architects or gardeners. For me I’d say my writing style falls somewhere in the middle - there are definite key events all along my story that are clearly set out, but the character journeys between those events have been subject to change, or at least to considerable meandering!
4.     The release of ‘Valour’ marks what some authors claim to be ‘the difficult second book’. Did you find it difficult to rise to the occasion with book number two, or was it all the more enjoyable as you were getting deeper into the story?
 To be honest I didn’t feel much of that ‘second book syndrome.’ Valour was a much smoother write for me. A lot of Malice was a learning curve, balancing character, plot, action, world-building, scene-setting, whereas in Valour most of that is in place, so it was just a case of getting on with the story. And I was getting to points that I’ve been imagining for many years. I really enjoyed writing it. Also I had a deadline for Valour, which for me really helped me get my head down - although with a little added stress.
5.     Between Malice and Valour, have you discovered anything new in how you write? Any lessons learnt?
 Absolutely. The whole experience has been one long learning curve - and I’m most definitely still learning. Having a great editor has helped immensely. My editor at Tor UK, Julie Crisp, has been amazing. Never heavy-handed or dictatorial, all of her editing comes in the form of questions.
To my mind it’s all about getting the balance right. Description, character, plot, action. I don’t know how other people write, but I tend to visualise a scene first, try and put on the character’s head and see things from their point of view, then try and write that.
6.     In your opinion is writing an honed skill or a natural talent? And, how do you gauge when a chapter/book is ‘finished’ to its final standard?
 I don’t know that I’m the right person to be asking that question! I still feel that Malice being published is due as much to luck as any other factor.
Writing (and reading) is such an objective experience, as much art as anything else. I suppose if I were to try and answer your question I’d say - both (not a cop out, honest).
Any creative undertaking usually starts with a dollop of natural talent, but to take it anywhere it has to be practised, refined, improved. As my agent John Jarrold is very fond of saying, “writer write.”
7.     What’s a ‘day at the office’ of writing for you?
 There is no typical day. My daughter Harriett is profoundly disabled, and my wife and I are her carers. A lot of Harriett’s practicalities fill the day - eating, changing, washing etc. Harriett also likes to be sung to, which is strange as my wife and I have possibly the worse voices in known history.
Also my wife and I run a vintage furniture and accessories business (bills have to be paid). It is something that’s fairly flexible that we can manage mostly from home. My wife’s the brains in this, so for me it mostly means lifting, carrying, fixing, sanding, painting and restoring old furniture.
And of course, lets not forget the other children. Three boys - the oldest, James has left home, although his regular drop-ins manage to leave the fridge and cupboards picked clean of all food. The other two - Edward (the Teenager) and William. For them my wife and I interchangeably fill the roles of taxi driver and referee!
Writing fits in around the above - usually at night, when it’s dark and quiet, and more so in the day when dead-lines loom!
8.     In 10 years time what would you like readers to remember from your books?
 Crikey, I’ve not thought of that one before. I suppose to be moved emotionally (hopefully not by hatred or loathing of my books). For me my favourite books are the ones that stir and hook me emotionally. They’re the ones that I think back on, that I sneak off to the loo to read the next chapter. That I stay up later than I should reading. If anything I’ve written has that kind of effect on someone else then I’d be really pleased.
When I was writing Malice my wife Caroline and my middle son Edward were my only readers for a while. He cried at a point in Malice and I remember feeling very happy at that - sick parent, I know. But I suppose that is the highest praise, that another person can be moved emotionally by the arrangement of words on a page. He cried whilst reading Valour, as well. A good sign in my book!
Thanks John! VALOUR is out today (27th March).

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Guest Book Reviewer Rob Sharpe & 'Malice' by John Gwynne

To celebrate the upcoming release of John Gwynne's 'Valour' the second novel in his 'The Faithful and The Fallen' series, here on WwAS we're running a few extra features on the award-winning debut 'Malice'. And rather than start with what WE think of 'Malice', we've gone out into the world and tracked down a reader in it's natural territory. On the way we trekked through swamps of coffee-rings, edged our way along the precipice of many a pile-o'-books, and were sworn at more than a few times on the London Underground for trying to read someone's Kindle over their shoulder. Alas, we have emerged successful (though not unscathed thanks to an unfortunate incident with unexpected breaking and an accidental screen-touch on an ereader!) and found a reader! So, without further delay, please let me introduce Rob Sharpe and his interview for 'Malice'.

I picked Malice up last year on a whim, and am glad to say that this time my whim made me very happy.  So happy that it was my favourite book of 2013, in the face of some stiff competition.  2013 was a good year for my bookshelf.

 Malice, in the current UK trend of  “grimdark”, is a coming of age story -  but this isn’t any old coming of age story – the characters are all very well fleshed out, there are twists and turns, politic machinations, deaths, some very well written battle scenes, that Bernard Cornwell would tip his hat to, and GIANTS…

 John Gwynne the author has stated that he has been influenced Gemmell, Tolkein and GRRM amongst other.  Certainly he, like GRRM uses multiple POV’s, my two favourite POV’s are the sister of one of the main protagonists, and the sworn man of the other protagonist, and he isn’t afraid to get rid of major characters or POV characters.

From my point of view there are two Gemmell related themes running through Malice – “The End never justifies the means” and “Evil only exists when good men stand aside and doing nothing”.  You’ll have to read the book to understand what I mean.

I cannot praise this book enough, and have tried not to give away too many spoilers – the reason being is that I want the people reading this review to pick up the book and enjoy every page as I have.

I would like to thank John, whom I have met, for such a great novel, and to D.E.M Emrys for publishing this review.

I can’t wait until March 27th for Valour (Book 2)

Rob Sharpe when not writing Oracle IT code is a keen reader. 
Rob first started of with Tolkien, Donaldson and Eddings before moving on heroic fantasy  - especially Brirsh heroic fantasy and the late great David Gemmell. 
Rob can be found, if you can track him down, busy reading books by John Gwynne, James Barclay, Joe Abercrombie, Anthony Ryan, Richard K Morgan, GRRM, Miles Cameron and a host of others.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Book Review: The Final Empire - Brandon Sanderson

The Good: new play on old favourites, inventive magic system, stand-out female protagonist.

The Bad: A lull in pace toward between the beginning & middle, and there’s only so many times you can read ‘Vin pushed/pulled on her metals’...

The Ugly Truth: An impressive tome of high fantasy with all the usual tropes and suspects turned on their heads to make for a truly original and enjoyable (if at times effort-centric) read.

For Those That Like: Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ novels (and not just because Sanderson finished the series), Tolkien-esque universes, good vs evil, novels with a young adult feel to them, stories about the ‘coming of age’, anime/manga fight scenes, and ‘a greater purpose’.

Ash blackens the sky.

Blood stains the land.

Evil rules the age.

For a thousand years a dark lord has ruled the Final Empire with an iron fist. The common people are forced into slavery, toiling to clear the ash fields as volcanoes choke the sky. The aristocracy live to their whims, throwing glamorous balls amidst games of power play, safe in the knowledge that the Inquisitors and metal-magic Allomancers crush any threat to the status quo.

 The Allomancers are key to the Lord Ruler’s reign, and by way of approved marriages, the powers of allomancy are contained within the aristocracy.

Yet rumour surfaces of a man who survived the Lord Ruler’s judgement. Together with an underground faction of criminals he plans to pull off the greatest heist the world has ever known.

But to do it, the crew are going to need insiders, willing-to-die recruits, a fortune’s worth of luck… and the power of allomancy.

Brandon Sanderson is a household name in the fantasy genre. Rising to the challenge of finishing Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ series, he further launched himself into the fray with his acclaimed ‘Elantris’ follows by the renowned ‘Mistborn’ series. ‘The Final Empire’ is the first novel in this series and with a title that promises epic-ness from the get-go its certain to catch your eye on the book shelf.

‘The Final Empire’ boasts a return to the usual fantasy tropes with a difference – the forces of good lost the war and evil rules unchained. Sanderson carries this trend throughout, subverting stereotypes wherever possible, making for some pretty big plot twists. There’s a sense of ‘something greater at play’ running throughout, meaning that every time our heroes scale the mountain that is their mission, they soon find themselves at the edge of a precipice.

The story in concept sounds like something we’ve all read before. Dark lord vs band of underdogs. Looking at the bare bones of ‘The Final Empire’ this is true, but it’s the subtle differences that count here. Evil here has its purpose and motive, a refreshing change from the usual ‘wants to see the world burn / fancies a legion of minions / you stole my lunch from the office fridge and now you shall feel my wrath’.

The cast of underdogs include our leading lady Vin – a Skaa thief with untold powers, the save-the-day mastermind hero Kelsier, his downtrodden brother Marsh, the aptly named soldier Ham, Breeze the master of social manipulations, and Elena the noble romanticist long overdue a rude awakening to reality. Each character goes through their personal journey and development arc. Vin does a standout job of being a remarkable female protagonist, showing true character growth whilst sticking true to her roots. Is she a Mary Sue? I haven’t decided yet, but it’s a nice change to have a female wear the trousers in the story, kicking ass and taking names.

Sanderson is known for his unique magic systems, and whilst I won’t discuss this in too much detail as other reviews have already done so, let me just say a few things. 1. Allomancy is a nice change from the usual spellbook of fireballs and demonic conjurings, but there’s only so many times I could read the words ‘Vin pushed/pulled on her metals’ before I skipped sentences. 2. Each reader to their own, whilst I don’t mind magic systems being explained to me, this did detract from the pace of the story at times. 3. If you’re a fan of anime/manga style fight sequences this book is for you, and it would also make for a fantastic video game.

Normally I stay well clear of books surrounded by hype and I’m glad that I did with this. By waiting for the series to be released as a whole I was able to storm through the books in record time, so stay tuned for a further two reviews.

My take on ‘The Final Empire’? Whilst a lot of popularity surrounds the series and Sanderson himself, the story holds its own and lives up to its reputation. From the pitch I was expecting something darker, but this YA/coming-of-age tale is charmingly inventive and strives to do everything a little bit differently. It might not be the genre-changing titan that you’d expect but it’s a page-turner well deserving of its shelf-space.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2014 - In with the new, out with the old!

Well, hello there dear readers! Long time no speak. I hope all is well with you in your world and that you had a fantastic holiday season. But with the passing of a new year comes the ever looming return to work and with it the return to reality.

Speaking of reality, last year was something of a fairy tale in my household. What with the arrival of baby Brandon and the return from military life to 'civdiv' aka civilian status. It'll be a hard-pushed year to top the last but we'll see how we go.

Look for a return to form on my part, in particular on the reviewing front. I'm currently re-reading/finishing Steven Erickson's titanic Malayan series so stay posted for that, and I'll try squeeze in a few more interviews and author guest posts.

With all that said and done all that's left to do is to wish you all a very happy new year!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

David Gemmell Morningstar Award Guest Post: John Gwynne, Author of 'Malice'.

John Gwynne doesn't just write heroic-fantasy, he lives it, too. On the 'Hero's Requirement' list, he's ticked all the box.

Son of a warrior - check. His father was in the Royal Air Force.
Seen the world - check. Born in Singapore, waited tables in Canada, lectured in Brighton University, and now restoring vintage furniture in East Sussex (heck, even heroes need to pay the bills).
A Heart of Gold - Full time father of four, including his disabled daughter, Harriet.
Fair maiden - check. Though I'm sure she's now damsel in distress!
A Mighty Steed - well, he's got three dogs, each much not smaller than a horse!
Legendary Weapon - A WHOPPING great big axe!

So, when John put his pen to paper, it was only natural that an epic saga be born from the ink. A tale of heroes and heroines, nightmarish creatures and black magic. A world in which a black sun rises on the horizon of tomorrow, and with it comes a war to end all wars...

But even in a world where angels and demons vie for power on the battlefield, even the lowliest of mortal beings can change the tide. John brings his human nature to fantasy, reminding us that even everyday heroes can make a difference.

John Gwynne is one of the shortlist nominees for the David Gemmell Morningstar Award 2013. If you'd like to vote for him - or any of the other authors - please visit the site and show your appreciation for your favourite books, and the great men and women who write them.

Firstly I’d like to say a huge thank-you to David Emrys for inviting me back to his blog.

I love David Gemmell’s books. My first encounter was with ‘Legend,’ way back in the mists of my teenage years. Back when there was hair on my head. I remember buying ‘Legend’ from my local Waterstones, heading home and settling in. I finished it in the small hours of the next morning, feeling both exhausted and elated. Ever since then David Gemmell has been responsible for a distinct lack of sleep in my life.

Much to my regret I never met him, although I did discover that we lived in the same area. I know this because of something that he wrote in the acknowledgements of one of his books, ‘Sword in the Storm’ - which also happens to be one of my top reads ever, I just LOVE IT - I’ll quote in full the acknowledgement.

“My thanks to my editors Liza Reeves and Broo Doherty, and also to Alan Fisher, Val Gemmell, Mary Sanderson, Bill Woodford, Tony Fenelon, and Jan Dunlop for feeding the imagination. And to the staff at Deep Pan Pizza, the Crumbles, Eastbourne, for their warmth, their friendliness, and their Regular Americano with extra bacon and pepperoni.

How cool is that. If I had not already been a complete fan of David Gemmell’s then that acknowledgement would have finished the deal. What a cool bloke.

I live in Eastbourne and have done on and off since I was 15. The Crumbles was Eastbourne’s first out-of-town retail park. Originally it consisted of a cinema, a furniture shop, a supermarket, and Deep Pan Pizza. It was the height of sophistication to go to Deep Pan first, and then on to the cinema. These days the Crumbles is much bigger. Unfortunately Deep Pan Pizza is gone, the same building taken over by Frankie and Benny’s (another favourite of mine - my wedding reception was held there as we had a 1940’s/50’s theme; my wife and I are total vintage nuts).

Anyway, I’ve shown that acknowledgement from ‘Sword in the Storm’ to a lot of people, usually saying something like ‘I’ve been there/eaten/ordered that pizza,’and considered it a claim to fame. Things have gone a little mad this last year with the release of my debut novel, Malice, and now I have a new claim to fame.

This is a photo of Malice on a bookshelf in my local Waterstones - the same bookshop that I bought my first Gemmell book, Legend, from - next to a couple of the Big Man’s books.

It feels pretty surreal to even see Malice in a bookshop at all - I can still vividly remember it being scattered notes on my desk, and I feel exceptionally fortunate to see it in print. There have been lots of great, memorable moments along the path to publication and beyond - my agent John Jarrold taking me on was a big ‘am I dreaming’ moment, as was the phone call from him telling me of Julie Crisp’s pre-emptive offer from Tor UK.

Seeing Malice on the same shelf as David Gemmell is my latest ‘pinch-me-because-I-must-be-dreaming’ moment. Now, I don’t know about you, but in my book that is cool. 

- John Gwynne, 2013.