Tuesday 1 July 2008

Mark Chadbourn confirms major deal for Elizabethan fantasy

Received this press-release yesterday:

Two-time British Fantasy Award-winning author Mark Chadbourn has signed a major three-book deal with UK publisher Transworld for an epic Elizabethan fantasy.

‘The Swords of Albion’ will be published annually from 2010, in the UK and Commonwealth. The sequence has also been acquired by a US publisher (announcement forthcoming).

Chadbourn says, “This is an epic story filled with intrigue, mystery, adventure and romance, set against the rich backdrop of the Elizabethan era, that I hope will appeal to readers of both fantasy and historical fiction. I’m very excited to be working with Transworld for the first time on the launch of this new series.”

About ‘The Swords of Albion’:

‘Spies are men of doubtful credit, who make a show of one thing and speak another.’ ~ Mary, Queen of Scots

A devilish plot to assassinate the Queen, a Cold War enemy hell-bent on destroying the nation, incredible gadgets, a race against time around the world to stop the ultimate doomsday device…and Elizabethan England’s greatest spy!

Meet Will Swyfte – adventurer, swordsman, rake, swashbuckler, wit, scholar and the greatest of Walsingham’s new band of spies. His exploits against the forces of Philip of Spain have made him a national hero, lauded from Carlisle to Kent. Yet his associates can barely disguise their incredulity – what is the point of a spy whose face and name is known across Europe?

But Swyfte’s public image is a carefully-crafted fa├žade to give the people of England something to believe in, and to allow them to sleep peacefully at night. It deflects attention from his real work – and the true reason why Walsingham’s spy network was established.

A Cold War seethes, and England remains under a state of threat. The forces of Faerie have been preying on humanity for millennia. Responsible for our myths and legends, of gods and fairies, dragons, griffins, devils, imps and every other supernatural menace that has haunted our dreams, this power in the darkness has seen humans as playthings to be tormented, hunted or eradicated.

But now England is fighting back!

Magical defences have been put in place by the Queen’s sorcerer Dr John Dee, who is also a senior member of Walsingham’s secret service and provides many of the bizarre gadgets utilised by the spies. Finally there is a balance of power. But the Cold War is threatening to turn hot at any moment…

Will now plays a constant game of deceit and death, holding back the Enemy’s repeated incursions, dealing in a shadowy world of plots and counter-plots, deceptions, secrets, murder, where no one… and no thing…is quite what it seems.

The entire world is the battleground – from Russia, across Europe, to the Caribbean and the New World. And while great events play out in the public eye, the true struggle takes place behind the scenes: the Spanish Armada, the Throckmorton Plot, the colonisation of the Americas, the Court intrigues, the battles in Ireland and against Spain, the death of Marlowe, the plagues, the art, the music, the piracy, the great discoveries…all are simply window-dressing as the great sweep of recorded history is peeled back to show the truth behind.

Praise for Mark Chadbourn:

'A contemporary bard, a post-industrial Taliesin whose visionary novels are crammed with remixed mythologies, oneiric set-pieces, potent symbols, unsettling imagery and an engaging fusion of genre elements. His work is distinguished by breakneck but brilliantly controlled plots, meticulous research, deft characterisation and a crisp, accessible prose style' ~ Zone-SF.com'Reminiscent of Alan Garner (the highest compliment I can pay to someone working in this mythic mode).' ~ SFSite.com

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I have to say I'm quite excited by this announcement. Chadbourn gave us a glimpse of Will Swyfte in his story Who Slays The Gyant, Wounds the Beast, which appeared in the Solaris Book of New Fantasy. I enjoyed the story and hoped at the time that we might see a bit more of Will and the alternative Elizabethan world revealed in the story, so it seems now I got my wish...

Definitely one to watch out for.


Todd Newton said...

The story sounds good. "Will Swyfte" does not. Misspelling stuff on purpose is one of those weird literary grey areas but sometimes I feel like it relegates literature to the same level as naming a store "Stuff-4-Less" for no other reason than because numbers are fancy. Just using "Swift" would have been better than "Swyfte" (making me want to pronounce it like swiftie) because it's an actual word and doesn't make my eyes want to cough every time they see it.

Okay, I'm done complaining. Other than that, sounds fantastic.

James said...

I can definitely see your point, though personally it doesn't bother me. I don't think it is so much a misspelling as a traditional spelling. Swyfte was possibly how the word used to be spelt, so I guess it fits in with the Elizabethan period.

But yeah, it definitely sounds like a lot of fun.