As promised in my previous article Fantasy: What’s Next? these are my most anticipated fantasy debuts coming in 2014. If you have any recommended reads for this year, please share them in the comments below. I hope you enjoy!
(These are in no particular order!)
#1 – Traitor’s Blade (The Greatcoats) by Sebastian de Castell
It’s being marketed as Joe Abercrombie crossed with Alexandre Dumas. Heroic fantasy with a streak of darkness. Plus, some awesome cover art makes this a compelling debut.
Falcio is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are travelling Magisters upholding King’s Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom, and impaled their King’s head on a spike.
Now Tristia is on the verge of collapse and the barbarians are sniffing at the borders. The Dukes bring chaos to the land, while the Greatcoats are scattered far and wide, reviled as traitors, their legendary coats in tatters.
All they have left are the promises they made to King Paelis, to carry out one final mission. But if they have any hope of fulfilling the King’s dream, the divided Greatcoats must reunite, or they will also have to stand aside as they watch their world burn…
Release Date: 6th March 2014
#2 – The Boy With the Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick
He’s being compared to Mervyn Peake and Robin Hobb with this, his debut novel, set in a pseudo-Renaissance Italy. Den has also written a trio of ‘War Manuals’, written from the point of view of Dwarves, Orcs and Elves. You can find them on Amazon. Really cool stuff.
Lucien de Fontein has grown up different. One of the mysterious and misshapen Orfano who appear around the Kingdom of Landfall, he is a talented fighter yet constantly lonely, tormented by his deformity, and well aware that he is a mere pawn in a political game. Ruled by an insane King and the venomous Majordomo, it is a world where corruption and decay are deeply rooted – but to a degree Lucien never dreams possible when he first discovers the plight of the ‘insane’ women kept in the haunting Sanatoria.
Told in a continuous narrative interspersed with flashbacks we see Lucien grow up under the care of his tutors. We watch him forced through rigorous Testings, and fall in love, set against his yearning to discover where he comes from, and how his fate is tied to that of every one of the deformed Orfano in the Kingdom, and of the eerie Sanatoria itself.
Release Date: 20th March 2014
#3 – The Incorruptibles by John Hornor Jacobs
A really exciting debut which centres around the slow journey of a steamboat, the mercenaries who protect it and the elf-like stretchers who lurk along the banks of the river.
In the contested and unexplored territories at the edge of the Empire, a boat is making its laborious way up stream. Riding along the banks are the mercenaries hired to protect it – from raiders, bandits and, most of all, the stretchers, elf-like natives who kill any intruders into their territory. The mercenaries know this is dangerous, deadly work. But it is what they do.
In the boat the drunk governor of the territories and his sons and daughters make merry. They believe that their status makes them untouchable. They are wrong. And with them is a mysterious, beautiful young woman, who is the key to peace between warring nations and survival for the Empire. When a callow mercenary saves the life of the Governor on an ill-fated hunting party, the two groups are thrown together.
For Fisk and Shoe – two tough, honourable mercenaries surrounded by corruption, who know they can always and only rely on each other – their young companion appears to be playing with fire. The nobles have the power, and crossing them is always risky.
And although love is a wonderful thing, sometimes the best decision is to walk away. Because no matter how untouchable or deadly you may be, the stretchers have other plans.
Release Date: August 2014
#4 – The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
This is an interesting one. It doesn’t sound that original just by reading the blurb, but there is a huge amount of praise going around about this author right now. Definitely one worth checking out.
The circle is closing. The stakes are high. And old truths will live again . . .The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy. His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but after several ‘accidents’ and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action, he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation.
Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. And Kaden, heir to the empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways – which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?
Release Date: Out Now!
#5 – The Copper Promise by Jen Williams
This is the debut I’m personally looking forward to most. Here is a story that sounds like it has it all: magic, secret chambers, imprisoned gods (and a dragon by the look of the cover). And, most exciting of all, we managed to interview Jen in anticipation of this release. Check it out as we draw closer to The Copper Promise’s release in February!
There are some far-fetched rumours about the caverns beneath the Citadel: some say the mages left their most dangerous secrets hidden there; others, that great riches are hidden there; even that gods have been imprisoned in its darkest depths.
For Lord Frith, the caverns hold the key to his vengeance. Against all the odds, he has survived torture and lived to see his home and his family taken from him … and now someone is going to pay.
For Wydrin of Crosshaven and her faithful companion, Sir Sebastian Caverson, a quest to the Citadel looks like just another job. There’s the promise of gold and adventure. Who knows, they might even have a decent tale or two once they’re done.
But sometimes there is truth in rumour. Sometimes it pays to listen. Soon this reckless trio will become the last line of defence against a hungry, restless terror that wants to tear the world apart. And they’re not even getting paid.
Release Date: 13th February 2014