Friday, 24 October 2008

Early taster of 'Nights of Villjamur'

Mark Charan Newton, on his blog, has posted some snippets from his upcoming dying-Earth fantasy novel Nights of Villjamur:

Two young men talked in some local hand-language, their sentences needing a gesture and a glance for completion. Kids were sliding on patches of ice in horizontal freefall. A couple walked by, the blonde woman much younger than the man, and he judged them ‘respectable’ by the quality of their clothing. He was tempted to make eye contact with the woman, perhaps tease a reaction out of her. It seemed to matter, stealing a smile from that man’s life.


Lanterns were being lit by citizens who maybe had expected a brighter day. Glows of orange crept through the dreary morning, defining the shapes of elaborate windows, wide octagons, narrow arches. It had been a winter of bistros with steamed-up windows, of tundra flowers trailing down from hanging baskets, of constant plumes of smoke from chimneys, one where concealed gardens were dying, starved of sunlight, and where the statues adorning on once-flamboyant balconies were now suffocating under lichen.


Nothing had changed here for thirty or forty years, ever since it had been arrogated by the evening bohemians.
All along its lower walls were scribbles etched deep by knife blades over the centuries. Odes to lovers. Threats to all and anyone. Who watches the Night Guard? So-and-so sucks dicks. That sort of thing. Some of the cobbles were splashed with paint, too, and you could smell stale food despite the dampness. At night, lanterns would cast long, feral shadows down here, and if there was no breeze the darkness would become suffocating in such narrow confines.

I like this prose a lot, particularly the noir stylings. Personally I feel there's not enough decent stylists in the genre, so it's great to see a new author showing such strong prose...and also great that Tor are willing to publish something that may not be as commercial as the likes of Trudi Canavan, Karen Miller, etc...

Looking forward to this one very much indeed. Nights of Villjamur is out around June 2009. I'll be sure to do an interview with Mark nearer the time, as well as revealing the cover art (I've only seen a sketch of it so far, but it looks very promising).


Anonymous said...


I want to thank You for letting me know about David Gemmell.
(I put this in the most recent news so You wouldn’t miss it.)

I am a huge fan of Glen Cook and I often read reviews of his books. One of them was Your review of “The Black Company” from 6th of may 2008. That was the first book of Glen Cook I have read (in 2006) and I loved it. At the end You wrote “Recommended for fans of: Steven Erikson, David Gemmell, James Barclay”. Right away I found on Your site the post “Recommended reading: David Gemmell”. Some time later I bought “Legend” and I liked it very much. “The King Beyond the Gate” was even better, and right now I am reading “Quest for Lost Heroes”. I already bought or ordered the rest of the Drenai series.

Reading alternately books by Glen Cook and David Gemmell is a great experience. Both authors suit my liking, but their books are different. Overall Cook is better, but Gemmell is very good on his own.

I don’t know if you have read other books by Glen Cook but all I have read I loved or I just liked very much. Some of his books are not perfect, because he likes to change his style a little, even inside a particular series. His other series are also great:
1) Dread Empire series (I have read Cruel Wind omnibus – the first book is a little strange, but two other are great),
2) Garrett P.I. series (I have read first 3 books and I loved them. There is NOTHING I didn’t like. Highly recommended. These are detective stories in a fantasy world. There is a lot of action, humour and mystery. Try it!)
Also his two stand alone novels, that I have read, are great: “The Tower of Fear” (arguably his best book) and “The Dragon Never Sleeps” (this is science-fiction, not fantasy, but Glen Cook’s style is unbeatable).


James said...

Hey Marcin, thanks for the comment. Delighted that you've started reading Gemmell because of my recommendation. That's fantastic. And thanks for your own Cook recs - I'll be sure to read some more of his stuff in the future!

Anonymous said...

Early taster is not all that compelling. Oh well.