Always Forever US Cover

Here’s the final version of the cover to the Pyr US edition of Always Forever, Age of Misrule Book Three. Another fantastic piece of work by the artist John Picacio. Warning: don’t look directly into Balor’s eye…

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There’s a detailed account of the process of creating all three covers for the US editions of Age of Misrule over on Tor.com, with contributions from John, editor Lou Anders, and a few of my own ruminations on how the original idea came to be.

And just so you can see how much thought has gone into the design of these editions, here are the spines for all three books:

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The Silver Skull US Cover

Here’s the cover for the Pyr edition of The Silver Skull, by Chris McGrath, published in the US this October.

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From the blurb:

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.

But Swyfte’s public image is a carefully-crafted façade 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!

World’s End – US Collectors’ Item!

Book collectors in the US are racing to snap up Pyr’s first edition of World’s End, Book One of the Age of Misrule, I’m told. A printer’s error resulted in the Pyr logo being left off the spine. It will be corrected for the forthcoming second edition, making those first Pyr-less copies unique and – apparently – collectable.

Cover artist John Picacio has written about it here and here.

If you do want a first edition, you’ll need to hurry. Only a few remain in the warehouse – and that’s a whole month before the official publication date. You can get it here.

The Dark Age Goes To America

I’ve just signed contracts with Pyr to publish the three books of The Dark Age sequence – The Devil in Green, The Queen of Sinister and The Hounds of Avalon – in the US. They are scheduled to appear across three months in early 2010.

The Dark Age is a continuation of the story begun in Age of Misrule, which Pyr is publishing in May, June, and July this year. As UK readers know, this is all part of a sprawling nine-book sequence – a mosaic of interlocking trilogies – which tell a story spanning two thousand years of human history, dealing with the mythologies of several world religions, and set in this world, the Otherworld, and the world beyond death. Yes, it’s a big story.

I’ll also be writing a new essay as an introduction to detail how The Dark Age fits into the wider story started in Age of Misrule. Some UK readers were a little baffled originally and thought it was a completely different story. Wouldn’t want that happening again.

World’s End – US Cover Final Version

Here’s the final version of John Picacio’s cover for the US publication of World’s End – Age of Misrule Book One out from Pyr in May.

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If you compare it to the earlier version I previewed below, you can see some subtle changes that John has introduced to make the work even better. I’m very pleased indeed.

And if you go to John’s blog he details his working method and the process for this piece, with initial sketches included.

The New Fantasy

Pyr editor Lou Anders discusses “the New Fantasy” in the latest Agony Column podcast from Rick Kleffel. Here’s the direct link.

The New Fantasy is a catch-all title for a specific, grittier kind of fantasy by Joe Abercrombie, Tom Lloyd, Joel Shepherd, James Enge, Justina Robson, Matthew Sturges, Chris Roberson and yours truly, according to Lou. Listen to the podcast to get the full picture.

New US Deal – Six, Count ’em, Six Books!

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s announcement, I can reveal that I’ve just agreed a six-book deal with US publisher Pyr.

The highly-acclaimed SF and fantasy imprint will publish the first of my epic Elizabethan fantasy sequence, The Swords of Albion, in Fall 2009, with books two and three in subsequent years.

Pyr has also acquired the rights to my British Fantasy Award-nominated Age of Misrule sequence. The three books – World’s End, Darkest Hour and Always Forever – will be published in Spring/Summer 2009.

Here’s the rest of the press release:

Chadbourn says: “I’m very excited to be working with Pyr on the launch of The Swords of Albion and the US debut of Age of Misrule. Pyr has a dynamic, cool and smart approach to the genre, which, of course, is an excellent fit for my writing!”

Pyr Editorial Director Lou Anders says: “Mark is a brilliant writer – who not only has a tremendous imagination but manages to marry his vision to a very readable, accessible and fast-paced style. It’s amazing to me it’s taken this long to get him to America, but between these six books and the epic fantasy trilogy that Solaris recently acquired, that egregious oversight is about to be resoundingly corrected.”

The Swords of Albion, which will be published in the UK and Commonwealth by Transworld, follows Elizabethan England’s greatest spy, Will Swyfte – adventurer, swordsman, rake, swashbuckler, wit and scholar.

Lou says of The Swords of Albion: “I first encountered Elizabethan Superspy Will Swyfte in the short story “Who Slays the Gyant, Wounds the Beast,” originally published in The Solaris Book of New Fantasy (and subsequently selected for Hartwell and Cramer’s Year’s Best Fantasy), and fell in love at first read. I was weaned on Ian Fleming and Fritz Leiber, and this wonderfully fun character seemed to marry both these loves into one. I wrote Mark to ask if there were any more planned outings for Swyfte, and was thrilled to hear back within minutes that a proposal for a trilogy was going out the very next day. Naturally, I couldn’t wait for the next day. Now, I can’t wait for him to finish writing the first novel. And the second. And the third…”

The Age of Misrule deals with the return of the Celtic gods to modern day Britain and is steeped in the mysticism and mythology of the Isles with an edgy modern take – from Fabulous Beasts firebombing the rush hour-packed motorway outside London to the ancient secrets of Avebury stone circle.

Lou says of The Age of Misrule: “Every once in a while you read a work that treats its subject so well you realize it’s the last and final word on the topic. Like the way a certain Boy Wizard pretty much owns the school for magic space, and the idea of all of reality being a virtual illusion ends (for the foreseeable future) with the film The Matrix. That’s the sense I got reading the books of the Age of Misrule. Mark’s rigorously-researched exploration of Britain’s sacred sites reads with such authenticity that I can’t imagine there being any other explanation. That it underpins a fantastic adventure story chocked full of great characters – a sort of modern day Lord of the Rings transposed onto contemporary Britain – makes for a simply irresistible combination. I can’t wait to spring it on unsuspecting Americans – they have no idea what’s in store for them!”

With the Solaris book, and another unannounced tome, I’ve got six books out in the US next year, which, I think, justifies a trip…