Legends Anthology – Pelicos the Brave Swings into Action!

That last post concerning the winding up of the David Gemmell Legend Awards was something of a downer. But earlier this week NewCon Press announced the table of contents for the third – and now final – Legends Anthology, packed full of stories in tribute to the late great master of modern fantasy fiction, David Gemmell.

I’m over the moon about this, because – look! That’s me, on the cover, alongside a whole host of extra-talented and awesome folks! There’s an RJ! And an Anna! And a Danie! KT Davies is in there too! Seriously, I’m excited to read the other stories in this, not least because what I’ve seen so far is absolutely top notch. Plus, it’s NewCon Press, y’all – Ian Whates makes his books with love and attention.

Cover artist: Dominic Harman

1. Introduction by Stan Nicholls
2. Blood Debt – Gail Z. Martin
3. A God’s Mercy – Richard Webb
4. Berserker Captain – Neal Asher
5. The Price of Passage – Keris McDonald
6. Summoner – Danie Ware
7. Pelicos the Brave and the Princess of Kalakhadze – Steven Poore
8. The Timekeeper’s Tarot – Den Patrick
9. Her Grail – Ben North
10. Piercing the Mist – Shona Kinsella
11. Chosen of the Slain – K.T. Davies
12. The Dying Land – Nick Watkinson
13. A Hero of Her People – Anna Smith Spark
14. All Deaths Well Intention’d – RJ Barker
15. By Any Other Name – Justina Robson

So – what’s my story?

Heir To The North and The High King’s Vengeance were both at heart stories about stories. One of the heroes of these shaggydog tales within the narrative, often merely mentioned in passing, was Pelicos the [Insert Noun]. A swashbuckler with a heart of fool’s gold, Pelicos undertook every daft quest you could think of, and more besides. In Pelicos the Brave and the Princess of Kalakhadze, our titular jack-of-all-trades scales the heights of a fabled island city to rescue the Dunundaya Heir from her tower cell so that she and her beau can elope together! Except, of course, that’s not what really happened…

Keen readers will observe a cameo appearance by a certain warlock. And, in keeping with my liking of buried histories, the Princess of Kalakhadze feeds gently into the setting of the upcoming Age of Talons trilogy. But sssshhh…. go, preorder, and enjoy!

On the Gemmell Awards

Everything ends.

Over the last decade, the David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy have honoured the best in fantasy fiction and artwork as chosen by the readers. With a roll of honour taking in current genre luminaries such as John Gwynne, Robin Hobb, Mark Lawrence, Peter Newman, Brandon Sanderson, Andrezj Sapkowski, Brent Weeks and many more, with all of these winners chosen by a public vote, the awards have brought focus to some of the most exciting books, authors and artists in recent times.

Unfortunately, after ten years, the Gemmell Awards will draw to a close with immediate effect. With a lack of suitable volunteers to take on current committee roles, and insufficient manpower to deliver the wide range of tasks involved, the present team has been left with no choice but to wind up the awards.

The remaining members of the team would like to thank everyone who has supported the awards, including the publishers that have worked with us, our past committee members and volunteers, all the authors and artists who have offered their support, the events and venues who have hosted our ceremonies, everyone who has ever voted on the awards over the last decade and all the fans who have helped share and spread the word on the awards.

Departing Gemmell Awards Chair Stan Nicholls said: ‘This is a decision that has not been taken lightly, and indeed is one that myself and my committee members make with a heavy heart. It was always important to us to do things to a high standard, and in the current situation I don’t think that we could deliver something befitting the reputation the Gemmell Awards has. I hope that the awards will be remembered for the good work they have done in supporting and championing the cause of fantasy fiction over the last ten years, and that we’ve left a legacy behind that people can look at fondly in years to come.’

From a personal point of view, I would like to celebrate the work Stan, Anne Nicholls, Alex Davis, and the rest of the DGLA team have undertaken to bring so much brilliant fantasy to the attention of so many people across the world. As a tribute to David Gemmell’s legacy, the Awards can stand as proud as Dros Delnoch itself. And, like Druss the Legend, the character whose axe Snaga inspired the shape of the original award, the DGLA will surely inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

Everything ends… but not while we remember it.

New review!

In case you’d forgotten, The High King’s Vengeance is on the long list for the David Gemmell Legend Award this year. (I’m sure you haven’t forgotten, really.)

(It’s also eligible for the British Fantasy Awards, if you enjoyed it and are that way inclined, but you need to hurry because the extension for voting runs out tomorrow.)

And because you should always start the week the way you mean to carry on, there’s a wonderful, gosh-I’m-embarrassed review of HKV on Goodreads from Teresa Edgerton, whose Goblin Moon and Hobgoblin Night set the high standard for elegance and Regency-style fantasy of manners back in the 1990s (and which are now available once more from Tickety Boo Books, and yes you should buy them). The full review is linked here, but this paragraph is probably why the cat is looking at me funny right now:

But what makes this book special, I believe, is the characters, who are well-drawn, many-sided, and believable. Even those we thought we knew reveal new sides of themselves under the press of circumstances, and Poore handles these developments so well that none of it seems too convenient or too contrived, but rather the inevitable outcome of who these people truly are, their past experiences, and the choices they face.

No pressure for the ongoing project AoT1 then, eh? 🙂

Cassia hits the long lists!

It’s Friday the 13th, a good day for burying your head in the cushions, locking the doors, and generally avoiding the world altogether. But if you did that today, you’d have missed the announcements coming from the David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy – the long lists are up, and open for voting!

A slice of the long list!
A slice of the long list!

For the last eight years the Gemmell Awards – there are three in total, the Legend Award itself, the Morningstar (best debut), and the Ravenheart (best cover art) – have looked to honour the very best in fantasy fiction, especially those works that chime with some of the themes in heroic and epic fantasy that David Gemmell himself wrote about. Nominated authors in the past have included Kameron Hurley, Patrick Rothfuss, Brian Staveley, Brandon Sanderson, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Helen Lowe, Kristen Britain, Saladin Ahmed, Juliet Marillier… the list goes on, it really does.

This year’s long lists look strong. And this year, I have a very personal interest in them. No, the screen shot does not lie – Heir to the North is there in the main Legend Award long list. You could, if you feel strongly enough that Cassia’s quest to overturn the centuries-old curse on the lands of Caenthell was one of the best books you read last year, vote to put Heir to the North through to the whittled-down shortlist. Of course in doing so you’d be ignoring the frankly brilliant Guns of the Dawn (Adrian Tchaikovsky), the riproaring, levelled-up The Iron Ghost (Jen Williams), Edward Cox, Kate Elliott, Joanne Hall, Robin Hobb…

but, well, I wouldn’t stop you.

Whichever way you want to vote, you can do so here, until Friday 24th June: http://www.gemmellawards.com/award-voting-2016/

And those lists should sort your reading out for the rest of this year too. 🙂