First reviews of The House of Binding Thorns are coming in… And Publishers’ Weekly gave it a starred review!
“Meddling gleefully in the affairs of devils and dragons, this affective sequel to 2015’s The House of Shattered Wings touches the heart as often as it cuts throats (…) Having fully crafted her world, de Bodard is now completely in control: she can move swiftly from gentle poetic touches to bloody Grand Guignol gestures, and she sure-handedly holds the reader by exposing the vulnerabilities and needs that drive even the seemingly all-powerful figures of rebel angels and ancient serpents to surrender to a higher collective power.”
I usually put this up way sooner but this was a bit of an overwhelming year for me, for several reasons, apologies…
I feel like I should start with the usual call to action/disclaimer: if you’re eligible to vote for any of the awards (Nebulas/Hugos/etc.), then please do so, even if you felt you haven’t read enough. It’s a big field and few people can claim to have read everything that came out last year–and generally the people who recuse themselves from voting tend to be marginalised folks, which skews ballots. So please please vote?
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.
So… going on a bit of a holiday (hahaha I wish, two young kids at home plus deadlines don’t make for a restful holiday season). Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates, and I hope everyone has a happy holiday season and a happy new year.
Quite happy to announce that my Xuya BCS story “A Salvaging of Ghosts” is going to be reprinted in Jonathan Strahan’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year (complete TOC here), and in Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy (complete TOC here courtesy of Lavie Tidhar).
It was originally published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies for their science fantasy issue: you can read it online 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.
The dragon has decided, being Chinese, that it wants to hoard knowledge rather than gold.
Ok, ok, not much knowledge there unless you count a dark fantasy Gothic thriller as knowledge (I’m sure you’ll learn lots of things about Paris :p).
I’ll be setting up a giveaway but that’ll have to wait until next week as the house is currently in the throes of plague (aka norovirus plus laryngitis, a combo I heartily don’t endorse).
(like last time, pre-order and/or buy in the first week after release and you’ll get something–I can’t give details yet but there will definitely be a reward to make it worth your while. Pre orders help me, the author, too, because they tell the publisher that readers are enthusiastic for the book and obviously I want to keep my publisher happy!)
For reference: I go to these cons to meet people, so unless I’m on my way to somewhere else I’m quite happy to be chatted to (and I don’t bite, promise!). Also quite happy to sign books, etc. if you have them, even if it’s not my “official” signing (which, for the record, is at Gigamesh on Saturday 18:30). Also: my Spanish is darn rusty but I’ll try my best 🙂 If you’re curious, I’ll be at Chronos on Saturday at 17:00, where we’ll be doing an interactive interview in Spanish with Silvia Schettin–“interactive” because I foresee I’ll be spending a lot of time asking vocabulary questions from the audience…
I will also have the shiny business cards above on me: TheHouse of Binding Thorns ones have got a random quote from the book, so if you want a peek at the book, do get one (The House of Shattered Wings ones have got a choice of covers plus glowing review quotes :)).
(do bear in mind I’ll be with the librarian though, so if I look like I’m running somewhere that’ll be it. Experience has shown that I spend my cons running from one place to another, and con + baby is a killer combo in that regard…)
Courtesy of Christopher Kastensmidt (whose Elephant and Macaw banner stories you should be reading if you’re not already! Swords and muskets in colonial Brazil!), I’m reposting the entire list of Brazilian SF in English that he posted to Facebook, cleaned up and linked.
All text is Chris’s, not mine 😀 (the original post is here).
So I kind of needed to give someone something and I thought I’d try my hand at these–and Gillian Polack is entirely right, they are dead easy to make and so so good! You can replace oranges with any citrus fruit (I kind of want to try lemon now).
Recipe here. I’m not posting a picture of the orangettes (the chocolate-candied peels) because mine ended up looking a bit weird due to coating issues with the chocolate (they still taste great though, but they’re not very presentable!).
Tor.com has kindly agreed to reveal the cover for the US edition of The House of Binding Thorns. It’s still by the awesome Nekro, with art direction by Adam Auerbach, and it looks gorgeous.
Here’s a little teaser:
Head on over to Tor.com for the full cover, and the official cover copy aka “what this book is about in more detail”. Be warned, however, that if you haven’t read The House of Shattered Wings and intend to (though you don’t need to have read The House of Shattered Wings to enjoy this, it’s standalone), this contains major spoilers.
If you want a between-the-books snippet and a look at the Pinterest board, you can head on over to the official novel page on this website, here.
The book will be out April 4th in hardcover from Roc in the US, and April 20th from Gollancz in the UK and the Rest of the World, and you can pre-order the US edition right now  (*cough* pre orders are really important for authors because they’re an indicator of how much people are excited about the book, so if you happen to want this I’d be very grateful if you did preorder. Also, did I mention this is standalone? It is standalone, you don’t need to have read The House of Shattered Wings to enjoy it, and my admittedly biased opinion is that this is a better book because I definitely gained a level in novel-writing between both books.*cough* )
I put in the link for the preorder of the UK edition but I’m a little less sure about this: the Kindle link looks right, but the default amazon link is to a hardback edition that I’m pretty sure isn’t coming out (and last time people who did order the hardback edition never got their books, so I’m a little leery of the same thing happening again).
There will also be preorder freebies like the last time, but I’m still working on what these should be!
Just a quick note that if you’ve wanted to buy The House of Shattered Wings but thought the hardback was too expensivve, or if you just want to see what all the fuss is about… today is the release date of the US trade paperback edition (and the ebook prices have been lowered to match, too). In a turn-of-the-century Paris devastated by a magicians’ war, political and magical intrigues, Fallen angels, Vietnamese immortals, and rather too many dead bodies…
Just a quick note that the UK paperback edition of The House of Shattered Wings is now out, and can be found in all good bookshops. This is the “gold foil” edition which also includes an exclusive short story, “The House in Winter”, set twenty years before the story and which, though standalone, sets up characters and situations for the standalone sequel The House of Binding Thorns (it’s in the manner of easter eggs: not compulsory to have read before reading book 2, but very nice to have!).
I’d obviously be really very grateful if you felt like checking it out/signal boosting/reviewing on amazon or goodreads, book sales having the importance they have, especially in the first few weeks after release… (I would normally have set up more promo stuff, but I have had literally zero energy for the past three months, for, er, obvious reasons *cough* newborn *cough* said newborn is doing fine but sleep remains an elusive thing, alas).
So we’re having a good holiday, albeit one that turns out to have no internet connection (I’m typing this on someone else’s very limited 3G allowance)… But you know, there’s sea, sand, sun (not a lot), wind (lots), and entirely too many buckwheat pancakes. And edits (which are nearing their end) on The House of Binding Thorns, the sequel to The House of Shattered Wings.
And, also, the UK cover for The House of Binding Thorns! (involves more foil :p)
The House of Binding Thorns continues the epic story of the fallout of the war in heaven that saw the angelic Great Houses of Paris assaulted and torn apart by mistrust and betrayal in The House of Shattered Wings. Among the ruins of Paris the Great Houses, shaken to their foundations, now struggle to put themselves back together, as powerful forces, gods and angels, men and demons, begin to circle the once unassailable Houses.
So… backstabbing, diplomacy and ancestral magic in a decayed and dangerous Paris — you know you want this!
If you’ve read The House of Shattered Wings: yes, this will be focused on the House of Hawthorn, and will have a bunch of returning characters, notably angel essence addict Madeleine — and a bunch new ones too, a Houseless Annamite with a link to powerful, unusual angel magic and a kick-ass dragon prince with a talent for getting into major trouble.
The House of Binding Thorns will be out in April 2017 (we’re on track for finishing revisions soon, when I can finally be convinced to pry my hands from this manuscript and declare it done!): stay turned for more info (I don’t have the UK buy links yet, at least not firmly enough for me to feel confident to send you to them!)
Praise for the previous volume in the series, the award-winning The House of Shattered Wings:
A fantastical spy thriller that reads like a hybrid of le Carré and Milton, all tinged with the melancholy of golden ages lost.
THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS is a Gothic masterpiece of supernatural intrigues, loves and betrayals in a ruined and decadent future Paris — wildly imaginative and completely convincing, this novel will haunt you long after you’ve put it down.
An intense, beautiful, brutal journey written with an eye for the stunning, vivid detail and the cruel demands of duty, loyalty, and leadership. Its portrait of a ruined Paris ruled by fallen angels is one I won’t soon forget.
Ok so this is going to be really really embarrassing…
I’m writing the acknowledgements to HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS and I would like to not forget anyone. The book, however, was written during my pregnancy and I, hum, kind of am not sure I’ve got everyone covered…
So if you had any input in it (brainstorming, beta reading, recommending research books etc.) could you let me know either here or privately via contact form?
Tade Thompson, D Franklin (& Zoe!), Dario Ciriello, Kate Elliott, Mia SN, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Vida Cruz, Alan Bellingham, Margo-Lea Hurwizc, John Hopkins, I’ve got you already 😀
This is the UK paperback edition of The House of Shattered Wings, which includes “The House, in Winter”, an exclusive short story set twenty years before the book, during Asmodeus’s coup in House Hawthorn (yes, that’s the first paragraphs of said short story in the last picture). And will you look at all this shiny foil 🙂
To celebrate, I’m giving away 5 (signed) copies: all you have to do is enter below. Open worldwide, I’ll pick a winner in a week’s time. If you win I would obviously love it if you left a review on amazon/goodreads (which do help a lot), but that’s not an obligation, I know this is a large time investment!
Paris in the aftermath of the Great Magicians War. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black, thick with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.
My Xuya short story “A Hundred and Seventy Storms” has been published online as part of Uncanny Magazine‘s July/August 2016 issue. Aka “wow I hadn’t actually used Kepler’s Laws in a long, long time” (I needed to do some quick and dirty planetary design. Was very proud I remembered most of them °_°).
This is the room where The Snow Like a Dancer dies, year by year and piece by piece.
When they wheel in the cradle where she rests, she always thinks—for a bare, suspended moment—that it will be all right, that it will all end well—and then nausea tightens around her, and the white and stark walls seem to press down on her, unbearably sharp, a faint memory of Third Aunt and Cousin Lua asleep, and the incessant noise of machinery monitoring her, drips and feeds hooked into her broken, disconnected limbs.
You can read it here.
You can also buy the issue it’s part of (which has Cat Valence, Sabrina Vourvoulias and many other fine folk) here.
Many many thanks to Stephanie Burgis who read it in record time, as well as to everyone who suggested life changing events when I asked on Facebook (I needed something against which to set the story)–particularly Kari Sperring who came up with large weather events.
And yeah, this is based on my experience of giving birth to the Librarian, at least the bit where I was lying down, tethered to an IV and in pretty strong pain (epidural came too late so I essentially gave birth on a light dosage of painkillers. There were… a couple of really not fun moments).
My novelette “Memorials”, originally published in Asimov’s, has been reprinted in Apex Magazine‘s June 2016 issue, alongside fiction by Mary Pletsch, Douglas F. Warrick, and a novel excerpt from the awesome E. Catherine Tobler.
Virtual realities, powerful aunties, and trafficking in the dead. Also, three-colour chè. Because.
Cam finds Pham Thi Thanh Ha in her house, as she expected. By now, she doesn’t question the aunts’ knowledge or how they came by it. She does what she’s told to, an obedient daughter beholden to her elders, never raising a fuss or complaining– the shining example of filial piety extolled in the tales her girlfriend Thuy so painstakingly reconstitutes in her spare hours.