“Goldenhand” by Garth Nix (HarperCollins, 2016)

The long-awaited (whether it’s published two weeks after the last one or two years, it will always be long-awaited) fifth installment of the Old Kingdom is out! Goldenhand is the one fans have been waiting for, featuring many old friends we’ve cared for and wondered about for some time: Sabriel, the Abhorsen; King Touchstone; Lirael, Abhorsen-in-waiting; and Nicholas Sayre; and yes maybe Chlorr of the Mask is involved somehow too.

Sabriel and Touchstone are on their first vacation in a very long time. The word from the Clayr is nothing is going on and nothing is going to be going on involving necromancers or dark beasties. Lirael, the Abhorsen-in-waiting, is holding the wall – so to speak – for the time being. Of course, it is exactly then that things take a turn for the terrible and dark. After rescuing Nick Sayre from one of those scary, dark beasties, she makes the decision to take him to the Clayr’s Glacier on a paperwing to see if she can help him with his free magic problem. It is there she will eventually meet someone who knew her mother well, and who bears a very important message for her. A message that has far reaching ramifications that will affect people on both sides of the wall.

Fans will be absolutely delighted with Goldenhand. Nix has certainly not lost his touch, as readers are plunged into the creepy world of the Old Kingdom with its gates through death and the terrifying things that reside there. The story is compelling, as readers get to see some old friends they’ve dearly missed, while new views and plots about the Old Kingdom are revealed. Goldenhand may be one of the best in the series!

Originally written on November 22, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Goldenhand from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“By Blood We Live” Edited by John Joseph Adams (Night Shade Books, 2009)

By Blood We Livestarstarstar

Vampires and zombies continue to be incredibly popular, and after editing a collection of zombie stories in Living Dead, John Joseph Adams now turns to the tale of the vampire in By Blood We Live.  Featuring stories from Stephen King to Neil Gaiman to Kelley Armstrong to Jane Yolen; after reading this book you’ll either be sick of the blood-sucking fiends or be stocking up on garlic and crosses.

The collection kicks off with Neil Gaiman’s twisted tale of Snow White moving on to the only short story Anne Rice has published, “The Master of Rampling Gate.”  The book features thirty-six vampire stories including writers like Robert J. Sawyer, Garth Nix, and Eric Van Lustbader: writer’s you wouldn’t expect to be in this collection.  It runs the gamut from the terrifying to the romantic to the steamy to the outlandish to the science fiction type.  One of the most disturbing stories is from Harry Turtledove, “Under St. Peter’s,” as a newly elected pope must perform a sacred ritual under the gaze of an unknown order, where they travel deep beneath the Vatican and find a man waiting there, a man who has been there for a very long time, a man we all know very well . . . and he’s hungry for blood.

While overall readers may realize that there are only so many ways to tell a vampire story and that some featured in this collection may seem similar and somewhat mundane, By Blood We Live gives readers a chance to get their fill on these denizens of the night, as well as discovering a number of new authors they may never have planned to read.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on December 21st, 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.

“Fast Sails, Black Ships” Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (Night Shade Books, 2008)

Fast Ships, Black Sailsstarstarstar

While this may not be the first pirate story anthology, Fast Ships, Black Sails doesn’t hold back, with its captivating cover featuring a classic pirate standing proud at the prow of his ship, while small glowing-eye dragons fly around, a tiny dragon skeleton sits on his shoulder, and in the cloudy distance is what appears to be a ghost pirate ship.  This collection edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer features a combination of classic swashbuckling pirate tales, as well as fascinating stories of the fantastic from authors like Conrad Williams, Garth Nix, Elizabeth Bear, and many more.

In the opening story, “Boojum” from Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette – possibly the best in the collection – we are in space, and the mighty spaceships are living entities that grow and change and have mouths; they are biomechanical.  The authors do an excellent job of creating an interesting world that leaves the reader wanting more.  In Naomi Novik’s — author of the successful Temeraire series – “Araminta, or, The Wreck of the Amphidrake,” the daughter of a very important noble is kidnapped by pirates and thought murdered, but Araminta is a special woman with some unique powers allowing her to outwit the pirates who have taken her hostage.    In Michael Moorcock’s too short story “Ironface,” there are pirates in space and Ironface is the most feared in the solar system, who makes the trip to Venus to accept the expensive bribe that he collects each decade, then his ship, Pain, floats back out into the dark realms of space.

Fast Ships, Black Sails has the perfect pirate story for any reader, as it presents both the classic and the unusual stories of privateers and buccaneers sailing the high seas, as well as the dark matter clouds of the cosmos.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on November 21st 2008 ©Alex C. Telander.

For an interview with Jeff VanderMeer check out BookBanter Episode 22.

Travels With Garth Nix

After my interview with Garth Nix, and after someone nicely took the photo of us, I joked about how with the clear background, it would be easy to change it around.  So . . .


Here’s a photo of Garth and I in front of some pretty waterfalls.


And here we are on board a fancy new spaceship*.


And finally, we just had a enough time to pay a visit to the Sydney Oprah House.


We worked really hard at keeping the expressions and postures for each photo so they would all have something in common.  Garth was even holding the same book!

*Thanks to http://www.abfoglia.com/WIP.html

BookBanter Episode with Garth Nix

Angie's List

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Episode 20 of BookBanter features the first of the four interviews I did at the World Fantasy Convention in San Jose. In this episode, I had a chance to sit down and talk with bestselling Australian author Garth Nix. While Nix doesn’t have a new book due out until next March, with the final book in the Keys to the Kingdom series, Lord Sunday, he was a Guest of Honor at the convention and I was able to get him in the interview room for half an hour, sit him down, and get him talking about what he’s been working on, how he got started as a writer, the big news with the Old Kingdom books, what he likes to do in his spare time, what he thinks about long-distance traveling, and where he would live in the Old Kingdom.

Featured in the episode — after the interview — are my reviews for The Waking: Dreams of the Dead by Thomas Randall, Flesh by Richard Layman, and The Box: Uncanny Stories by Richard Matheson. If you would like to purchase any of the books mentioned or preorder the new Garth Nix book, simply click on the covers below:

Lord Sunday The Waking: Dreams of the Dead Flesh The Box

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Alan Jacobson

I would once again like to thank Cheryl Morgan for getting me all set up at the World Fantasy Convention.

After enjoying this episode, why not check out the new BookBanter Blog, where you can find out what I was up to at the World Fantasy Convention and which panels I attended.

I’ll see you next time, on December 1st, where I’ll be interviewing author Ken Scholes, who currently has to two books out of his Psalms of Isaak series: Lamentation and Canticle.

Until then, keep reading!

Alex C. Telander.

BookBanter Episode 19 with Alan Jacobson

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In episode 19 of BookBanter, I’m interviewing Alan Jacobson, bestselling author of The 7th Victim, his first novel featuring the great FBI profiler, Karen Vail, and his new novel and sequel, Crush. In the interview we talk about how Jacobson got involved in writing, how he exactly ended up researching for years with the FBI at Quantico, where Karen Vail originally came from, and what’s in store for his impressive protagonist.

If you would like to purchase The 7th Victim or Crush, click on the covers below:

The 7th Victim Crush

This episode of BookBanter is brought to you by East Bay and Footlocker, leading world suppliers of athletic footwear, apparel and sports equipment, featuring top athletic brands such as Adidas, Reebok, Converse, and Nike.  Go to East Bay.com and use the code AFBOOK15 to receive 15% off your order, or the code AFBOOK20 to receive 20% off your order of $75 or more.  Or go to Footlocker.com and use the code AFBOOKFL to receive 15% off your order.

Alan Jacobson

After enjoying this episode, why not check out the new BookBanter Blog, where you can find out what I was up to at the World Fantasy Convention.

I’ll see you next time, on November 15th, where I’ll be interviewing bestselling author Garth Nix, who — no surprise — turned out to be a really great guy, and find out what he’s up to with his next book, and what big news there is about his Old Kingdom books.

Until then, keep reading!

Alex C. Telander.

BookBanter Update

Just got back from a very long and exhausting weekend, but had a terrific time.  Friday was spent at the World Fantasy Convention, where I interviewed –in person — authors Ken Scholes, Jeff VanderMeer, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Garth Nix.  They all turned out to be fun and fascinating people.  My interviews with these authors will be airing on the following BookBanter episodes:

Episode 20 (November 15th): Garth Nix

Episode 21 (December 1st): Ken Scholes

Episode 22 (December 15th): Jeff VanderMeer

Episode 23 (January 1st): Guy Gavriel Kay

I also attended four panels on different aspects of writing and will be doing a post on each of those panels in the near future.

For now stay tuned, and Episode 19 will be up as soon as possible — furiously working on it right now!

Finally, I would like to extend a great thank you to Cheryl Morgan, who made my attending the World Fantasy Convention all possible.  Cheryl, thank you for giving me the opportunity and I hope to see you again soon.

BookBanter Schedule Change

Due to Seth Grahame-Smith (author of bestselling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) being too busy over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be unable to do our interview for BookBanter.  I had planned to have my interview with Seth for Episode 19, which will be available November 1st.  But now will be rescheduling for some future date with Seth, so with regards to that interview, stay posted for more info once I have it.

In which case for Episode 19, assuming everything goes to plan, will be my interview with Alan Jacobson, author of the bestselling The 7th Victim, and the recently released Crush.

Also with the addition of Guy Gavriel Kay to the lineup of interviews, the rest of the year and going into January 2010, BookBanter’s schedule is looking something like this:

Episode 19 (11/01/09): ALAN JACOBSON, author of bestselling The 7th Victim and recent release Crush.

Episode 20 (11/15/09): GARTH NIX, author of many books including the bestselling Old Kingdom, Keys to the Kingdom series, and Seventh Tower series, at the World Fantasy Convention.

Episode 21 (12/01/09): KEN SCHOLES, author of Lamentation and Canticle.

Episode 22: (12/15/09): JEFF VANDERMEER, writer, editor, and author of new book on writing, Booklife.

Episode 23: (01/01/10): GUY GAVRIEL KAY, author of a number of books including Tigana and Lions of Al-Rassan.

Episode 24: (01/15/09): S. G. BROWNE, author of Breathers.

World Fantasy Convention Interviews

Delighted to say that I’ve got four interviews lined up at the World Fantasy Convention.  I always prefer — if I can — to do the interviews in person, since it’s not only great to meet some of my favorite authors in the flesh, but makes for a better interview when I can gauge author’s reactions to questions, and we just end up connecting more.

So here are my four interviewees for October 30th:

Ken Scholes: Author the Psalms of Isaak series, the first two books of which are currently available.  You can find my review for Lamentation here, and I’m currently working my way through Canticle.  You can check out Ken Scholes’ site here.

Jeff VanderMeer: Author and editor of numerous books including Finch and Shriek: An Afterword.  You can find my review for one the books that Jeff edited, Fast Ships, Black Sails, here.  Jeff’s new book, Booklife, is all about being a writer in the 21st Century and what one can do to make things a little easier, more organized, and hopefully more successful.  You can check out the new Booklife site here, as well as Jeff’s site here.

Garth Nix: Author of the bestselling Old Kingdom series including Sabriel, Liriel, and Abhorsen, as well as the Keys to the Kingdom series and the Seventh Tower series.  I’m hoping to talk with Garth about the new Old Kingdom book he’s working on.  You can check out Garth’s site here, and his other site here.

Guy Gavriel Kay: Author of many books including: Tigana, The Sarantine Mosaic two-book series, Last Light of the Sun, and Ysabel (reviewed here).  I hope to be talking with guy about his new book due out next spring, Under Heaven.  You can check out Guy’s site here.

I think it’s going to be a truly spectacular day!  If anyone has questions that like to ask one or more of these authors, leave a comment, and I’ll see what I can do.