Best Fantasy Novel Of The Year? Yes, I Think It Is.

It’s Thanksgiving in the US and the start of a retail frenzy that will continue right through the Yuletide season. It’s a brutal time for authors. More books are sold than at any other time of the year. The stakes are high, everyone’s competing for attention so their book doesn’t get lost in the snowstorm. It’s going to be a backstreet knife fight from here on out. Not pretty.

And here’s where I jump into the fray. Look away now if you can’t bear brutal displays of marketing and attention-seeking in a bid to get everyone to notice the first Swords of Albion book, The Silver Skull, which is out NOW in the US. You know the one – Elizabethan spies versus Faerie on the eve of the invasion of England by the Spanish Armada.

And look – new reviews are in. Prestigious site Monster and Critics says “In a year of outstanding fantasies, The Silver Skull may just be one of the best.” Which comes on the back of’s reviewer claiming it’s their favourite book of the year. That sounds like a trend.

That provides a slight silver lining to the book not coming out in the UK until April. UK reviewers can now make it the best book of two years. Go on – you know you want to.

And look – here’s another review, this time from also-prestigious magazine Realms of Fantasy: “Chadbourn’s plot moves swiftly, from London to Scotland to Spain, with surprises galore along the way, and with memorable heroes and villains, especially the Faerie prince Cavillex, who is a worthy adversary for Swyfte, and a promising young playwright and sometime secret agent by the name of Christopher Marlowe. Smart, fun, at times surprisingly moving, and occasionally downright shocking, The Silver Skull is impossible to put down.”

Then there’s the recent review in the – yes – prestigious magazine Locus: “The Silver Skull has such an array of complex characters, deeply involved in their interesting times and guarding so many painful memories and secrets, there’s something here for anyone who wants more than a bunch of cardboard figures going through the motions while the body count keeps rising.”

Sick of all this pimping yet? Get used to it – there’ll be more. Much more…

0 thoughts on “Best Fantasy Novel Of The Year? Yes, I Think It Is.”

  1. Balls but this is frustrating :(
    All these great reviews, and I have to keep myself from ordering it from Amazon as I want to make sure it gets the best UK sales………
    Only for you Mark, only for you ;p

  2. !00% in agreement, A great writer in a time when they are in short supply, and original heart racing plots in a day when most writers want to re-write Lord of the Rings

  3. Being in New Zealand is it best for us to buy the UK version, Mark? I’m not too sure how and when we should get all these new novels.

    Just a side note – it appears that the US release of AoM has done wonders for our libraries in NZ. I no longer have to keep an ordered list of people who want to borrow my copies =)

  4. Good news about the libraries!

    I’ve just moved publishers to Random House so distribution in NZ (and Aus) should be *much* better. Bantam should be distributing to your local bookstores around the UK release, I gather.

  5. Cool – I’ll hassle my friend’s Mum who’s in charge of these things to make sure it at least arrives in all our Christchurch libraries =)

  6. Congratulations on all the praise, it’s well deserved. Over at we’re currently putting together our year end lists. a few of us reviewers will be talking about 2 or 3 books published this year that we felt stood above the rest. I’ve chosen two. The Silver Skull and Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold. Two amazing books that blew me away this year. A great year for the darker fantasy. I’m looking forward SOA #2. I also need to pick up The Age of Misrule books. Given the quality of The Silver Skull, they should be a real treat. Happy Holidays!

    Justin Blazier

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