Hellboy and Me

Hellboy – big red guy, cigar-chomping, protects humanity from the hordes of the supernatural. If you haven’t read Mike Mignola’s brilliant, scary, funny, wildly imaginative series of comics and graphic novels, you’ve probably seen the movie starring Ron Perlman and directed by Guillermo del Toro.

I’ve been invited to contribute to a collection of short stories to coincide with the release of the movie sequel this summer. Hellboy: Oddest Jobs will be published on July 25 by Dark Horse and will also feature contributions from Garth Nix, China Mieville, Joe R Lansdale and others.

My story, Straight No Chaser, involves Hellboy on a quest through the zombie jazz, soul and blues clubs of London. Even the dead deserve a nightlife, right?

Personally, I found writing the story a blast. Hellboy is a great character and a testament to Mike Mignola’s unique imagination. You can pre-order the book here.

Jack Of Ravens Review

There’s a review of Jack of Ravens here which raises some very interesting issues.

What I’ve been working on for the last few years is an epic story covering more than two thousand years of human history, numerous mythologies, a huge cast of characters with complex motives and inter-relations, an enormous range of antagonists, monsters, creatures and Fabulous Beasts, each with their own history, and a fair smattering of mysticism, psychology and philosophy thrown into the mix.

Unlike, say, The Wheel of Time, where the books are successively numbered so you know exactly which one to read next, I’ve told this fantasy tale over a trilogy of trilogies – the Age of Misrule, Dark Age and Kingdom of the Serpent sequences.

I’ve attempted to provide background information so new readers can drop into the story pretty much anywhere, but I think I’ve got to face up to the fact that they can’t. If you’re a new reader to Jack of Ravens, you’re just not going to get the depth, subtelty and interplay unless you’ve read Age of Misrule. You’ll certainly get a rattling good yarn, but it will lack what I intended as the author.

The problem is, the trilogies have each been packaged in such a radically different way that the casual reader would find it hard to tell that they’re all part of this massive canvas – although the excellent design for the Age of Misrule Omnibus has brought it in line with Jack of Ravens.

What I think I need to do now is get the word out more that this is one big, sprawling story. I’d hate for a reader to come to the books under the false pretences of thinking they’re starting a standalone trilogy (and only in fantasy can you use those words…) and be disappointed.

Year’s Best Fantasy

My short story, Who Slays the Gyant, Wounds the Beast, starring Will Swyfte, Elizabethan England’s greatest spy, has been selected as one of the best short stories of the year for the prestigious Year’s Best Fantasy anthology.

Edited by David G Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, the annual book – this one is number eight – also features work by Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, Tad Williams, Elizabeth Hand, Jeffrey Ford and more. Full list on the link above.

The story, originally published in the Solaris Book of New Fantasy has received a fair amount of pleasing praise from various corners, including media commentator and editor Lou Anders among others.

All of this bodes very well for more tales of Will Swyfte and his secret war with faerie.

New Book Deal – The Lord Of Silence

A press release issued today by Solaris:

Solaris is proud to announce a new acquisition from popular British fantasy novelist Mark Chadbourn.

The Lord of Silence is a thrilling new epic fantasy. When the great hero of the city of Idriss is murdered, Vidar, the Lord of Silence, must take his place as chief defender against the mysterious terrors lurking in the dense forest beyond the city’s walls. But Vidar is a man tormented—by a lost memory and a vampiric jewel that demands the life energy of others. Now, with a killer loose within Idriss, and the threat from without mounting, Vidar must solve a three thousand year old religious mystery to unlock the terrifying secrets of his own past.

A two-time winner of the British Fantasy Award, Mark Chadbourn is the author of eleven novels and one non-fiction book. A former journalist, he is now a screenwriter for BBC television drama. His other jobs have included running an independent record company, managing rock bands, working on a production line, and as an engineer’s “mate”. He lives in a forest in the English Midlands.

Mark Chadbourn said, “After several years writing my own particular and peculiar brand of urban fantasy, I wanted to try something completely different. The Lord of Silence is me cutting loose and experimenting way out of my comfort zone—a completely new world, new characters, a twisted take on magic, and a mystery that spans several thousand years. It’s a sword and sorcery, noir, puzzle-cracking, romance, serial killer, adventure-mystery. With mad, dancing magicians.”

Publisher Marc Gascoigne added: “It’s always been puzzling to me why a writer of Mark’s immense talent, and with such a huge British fanbase, has rarely been offered the opportunity to release his books in the US. It’s time to remedy that, with the best book of his career so far.”

The Lord of Silence will be released in 2009 in the US and UK.

Please note – this book will be in addition to my regularly scheduled novels published by Victor Gollancz.

Devil In Green Sells out…Again

The Devil in Green has sold out of its latest printing. This volume of The Dark Age sequence is a key read if you’re interested in getting the full The Burning Man effect so if you haven’t got one yet, place an order with your bookseller, online or real world – a good load of advance orders will get my publisher to shift it up the reprint queue.

Jack of Ravens Out Today

The paperback version of Jack of Ravens: Kingdom of the Serpent Book One is on the shelves from today.

The hardback sold out in record time, and I know it’s been a long wait for people keen to get their hands on a copy. Advance orders are running very high, so if you want a first printing it’s probably a good idea to buy early.

The story: modern day archaeologist Jack Churchill wanders out of the mists into ancient Celtic Britain. Desperate to get back to his own time, he embarks on a long quest through more than 2,000 years of history. But the denizens of Faerie are a constant threat…and a dark force waits for him at the end of his journey.

You can buy it from Amazon here for just £3.99 (currently).