Wednesday, 9 April 2008

On the horizon...recommendations for 2008

First Patrick Rothfuss declared that the sequel to The Name of the Wind will not see the light of day for some time, then comes the news that Scott Lynch has missed his deadline for The Republic of Thieves. Subsequently, neither book is going to materialise until 2009. This appears to have caused some readers in online forums to agitatedly squeal "what books coming out this year can I read instead?"

Plenty, as it happens. Even without Rothfuss and Lynch, there's plenty to look forward to. I thought I'd do a series of features on novels due to be published this year that are worth stockpiling your shiny little pennies for. So without further ado, here's the first:

A Dance with Dragons

George R. R. Martin

The big one, and not just for me. I think it's fair to say this is the most anticipated release of the year. That's not to say that it will be released this year of course. The mooted publication date - in the UK - is 3 November 2008, but past experience however suggests that this may be a shot in the dark. We can but hope.

Here's the blurb:

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance once again-beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has three times three thousand enemies, and many have set out to find her. Yet, as they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

To the north lies the mammoth wall of ice and stone-a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge yet. For he has powerful foes, not only within the Watch, but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice. And from all corners, bitter conflicts soon re-ignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all…

I don't feel this novel really needs much introduction, other than it will be the latest instalment in what I would argue is the best epic fantasy series ever. Taking up the stories of the characters that were absent in the slightly disappointing A Feast For Crows (regrettably absent, I would say) it will continue the epic saga of the battle for the Iron Throne in the seven lands of Westeros. If you've read Martin before, then you'll know what to expect. If you haven't, there's plenty of time to rectify that grave error before this novel is released. The last novel drew some of the first serious criticism the series has thus far received, with detractors suggesting that Martin was in danger of succumbing to the longevity issues that afflicted The Wheel of Time. Expect Martin to come out all guns blazing in response.

It's been a bit of a wait, but A Dance With Dragons should be more than worth it.


Jeff C said...

I would add The Born Queen to the list. I just finished it last night and will have the review up later today...but it was absolutely fantastic. I can't imagine it not being in my top 3 best books of the year.

As for the Martin series..I cant decide whether to wait for the series to complete before starting it. I hate waiting..and his series has such a huge wait between books now...

J.G. Thomas said...

Thanks for the recommendation Jeff, I'll have to check that book out.

As for Martin, I think there's a couple more books to come after A Dance with Dragons, so you'll probably be waiting another 5 to 6 years (at the current rate of Martin's progress) for the series to be complete.