Review: Talus and the Frozen King

Talus and the Frozen King by Graham Edwards

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-198-3

$8 .99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-7810-8-199-0

Published by Solaris Books

TALUS AND THE FROZEN KING

 

I started to read Talus and the Frozen King right after A Discourse in Steel by Paul S. Kemp, and at first I worried it would be too similar, a fantasy buddy adventure. As it turned out, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized the book was not really an action-adventure story, but rather a murder mystery. Now, if I had read the book cover, which proclaims that the book introduces the world’s first detective, maybe I wouldn’t have been surprised, but then again I might not have given it a chance because mysteries aren’t my first choice of reading.

At its base, Talus and the Frozen King is much like a familiar Sherlock Holmes and Watson story, except in this case, Holmes is a bard named Talus and Watson a former fisherman named Bran.

Talus is emotionally-stunted but clever and insightful. Bran, his sidekick, is more rough-and-tumble. He may not figure things out as fast as Talus does, but he understands human motivations in a way the bard-sleuth does not. It’s a familiar trope but both characters are fleshed out well enough that I had as much interest in them as in solving the mystery.

The details of the world building kept me interested at first, especially as I was going into the story blind, unsure of what type of fantasy it was. Interestingly, the level of magic in the story is open to interpretation. Many of the characters believe in it, but as it is a historical fantasy, this could simply reflect that many people in our history believed in magic and spirits.

While the world-building pulled me in to the story at first, the mysteries surrounding the frozen king’s murder eventually grabbed hold of me. By the halfway point of the novel, with mystery piling on top of mystery, including those in Bran and Talus’ past, I found myself racing to the end. I’d definitely buy the next book in the series, because while the book works as a stand-alone mystery, I definitely want to know where Talus and Bran’s adventures take them next.

Reviewer’s Note: I received a review copy of this book but as always this review is my honest reaction. I use Amazon Affiliate links so if you follow the link and buy the book, I might someday make enough to afford to buy a book on Amazon. :)

Free E-Books #2

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I ran across two sources for free e-books lately, so here’s a quick post to share them.

1) Free stories by Philip K. Dick: Open Culture collected a list of the PKD stories that are available as free e-books for download through Project Gutenberg. These include Beyond Lies the Wub and Second Variety. If you’re looking for longer works by PKD, you can’t go wrong with The Man in the High Castle or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the latter of which was the basis for the movie Blade Runner. They’re not free but they’re well worth the price.

2) A collection of (nearly) all fiction eligible for  this year’s John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. It’s a gigantic trove of short stories, novellas, and novel excerpts. Stupefying Stories is hosting the ebook, but due to popular demand, Tor.com and other sites are mirroring it. It says it’s up for a limited time only, but that time isn’t specified, so get it while you still can!

The writers eligible for the 2014 award must have had their first work of science fiction or fantasy published in a professional publication in 2012 or 2013.

Image of books by Peter Dutton on Flickr (CC BY).

Michael Moorcock E-Book Master List

This is my master list of e-book availability for Michael Moorcock’s works as of November 2013, as seen as a customer in the United States. Due to different publishing rights by territory, books available inside the U.S. may not be available to customers from other parts of the world, and vice versa. In fact, many more e-books are available in the UK, released recently by Gollancz. It’s enough to make a US fan pull out their hair, because the pickings are rather slim here in the United States.

Moorcock’s works have been reprinted many times with different titles, different edits, and different story order, so even when there is an e-book available (for Elric, say), it might be a different version than the volume on your shelf.

I’ll try to keep this list updated periodically, but if you notice anything that needs to be updated, please let me know.

I used Michael Moorcock’s bibliography from Wikipedia in compiling this list. You can find out more about Michael Moorcock at Moorcock’s Miscellany.

Elric of Melniboné

Elric of Melniboné
The Sailor on the Seas of Fate
The Weird of the White Wolf
The Sleeping Sorceress/The Vanishing Tower
The Bane of the Black Sword
Stormbringer
Elric at the End of Time

Later novels featuring Elric include:
The Fortress of the Pearl
The Revenge of the Rose

An additional trilogy, featuring Oona von Bek as well as Elric, was published from 2001–2005:
The Dreamthief’s Daughter (later titled Daughter of Dreams)
The Skrayling Tree (later titled Destiny’s Brother)
The White Wolf’s Son (later titled Son of the Wolf)

Del Rey reprinted the series as Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melniboné from 2008–2010. Elric: To Rescue Tanelorn included a reprint of Moorcock’s British Fantasy Award-winner “The Jade Man’s Eyes” while Elric: Swords and Roses included the first book publication of “Black Petals”, a story originally published in the March–April 2008 issue of Weird Tales.

Del Rey reprints

Elric: The Stealer of Souls
Elric: To Rescue Tanelorn
Elric: The Sleeping Sorceress
Duke Elric
Elric in the Dream Realms
Elric: Swords and Roses

A new Elric story, “Red Pearls”, was featured in the 2010 anthology Swords and Dark Magic.

Corum Jhaelen Irsei

The first trilogy

The Knight of the Swords
The Queen of the Swords
The King of the Swords

The second trilogy

The Bull and the Spear
The Oak and the Ram
The Sword and the Stallion

Dorian Hawkmoon

The first quadrilology

The Jewel in the Skull
Sorcerer’s Amulet/The Mad God’s Amulet
The Sword of the Dawn
Secret of the Runestaff /The Runestaff

The Chronicles of Castle Brass

Count Brass
The Champion of Garathorm
The Quest for Tanelorn

Jerry Cornelius

The Final Programme
A Cure for Cancer
The English Assassin
The Condition of Muzak

The Lives and Times of Jerry Cornelius

The Entropy Tango
The Adventures of Una Persson and Catherine Cornelius in the 20th Century
The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle (a.k.a. Gold Diggers of ’77)
The Alchemist’s Question

Firing the Cathedral
Modern Times 2.0

Cornelius also appeared in The Distant Suns (with James Cawthorn)

The von Bek family

The War Hound and the World’s Pain
The Brothel in Rosenstrasse
The City in the Autumn Stars

Erekosë

The Eternal Champion
Phoenix in Obsidian
The Dragon in the Sword

Kane of Old Mars

Warriors of Mars (aka City of the Beast)
Blades of Mars (aka Lord of the Spiders)
Barbarians of Mars (aka Masters of the Pit)

Jherek Carnelian and the Dancers at the End of Time

The original trilogy

An Alien Heat (Harper and Row, 1972)
The Hollow Lands (Harper and Row, 1974)
The End of All Songs (Harper and Row, 1976)

Legends from the End of Time
The Transformation of Miss Mavis Ming (aka A Messiah at the End of Time)

The Multiverse trilogy

The Sundered Worlds (aka The Blood Red Game)
The Fireclown (aka The Winds of Limbo)
The Twilight Man (aka The Shores of Death)

Oswald Bastable

The Warlord of the Air
The Land Leviathan
The Steel Tsar

Travelling to Utopia

The Wrecks of Time (aka The Rituals of Infinity)
The Ice Schooner
The Black Corridor

Second Ether

Blood
Fabulous Harbours
The War Amongst the Angels

Karl Glogauer

Behold the Man
Breakfast in the Ruins

Jerry Cornell

A duology of comic spy adventures (revised from two Nick Allard books, see below):

The Chinese Agent (revised from Somewhere in the Night)
The Russian Intelligence (revised from Printer’s Devil)

Nick Allard

The first was as by Roger Harris (who had written the book, with some edits by Moorcock), the other two were by Moorcock writing as Bill Barclay:

The LSD Dossier
Somewhere in the Night (later revised as the Jerry Cornell novel, The Chinese Agent)
Printer’s Devil (later revised as the Jerry Cornell novel, The Russian Intelligence)

Colonel Pyat

Byzantium Endures
The Laughter of Carthage
Jerusalem Commands
The Vengeance of Rome

Doctor Who

The Coming of the Terraphiles

Sexton Blake and Monsieur Zenith

A Caribbean Crisis (Sexton Blake)
The Metatemporal Detective (Monsieur Zenith)
Another Moorcock Zenith story, Curare, appeared in the 2012 anthology Zenith Lives!

Other novels

The Time of the Hawklords (with Michael Butterworth)
Gloriana
The Golden Barge
Mother London
Silverheart (with Storm Constantine)
King of the City
The Sunday Books (with Mervyn Peake)
Sojan the Swordsman

C.J. Cherryh E-Book Master List

This is my master list of e-book availability for C.J. Cherryh’s works as of November 2013, as seen as a customer in the United States. Due to different publishing rights by territory, books available inside the U.S. may not be available to customers from other parts of the world, and vice versa.

One of my pet peeves is the spotty availability of authors’ works in e-book format, and while C.J. Cherryh has many books available, there are some huge gaps in her bibliography, too. I’m especially disappointed that in the nearly two years since I last checked this list, only two books have been added.

I’ll try to keep this list updated periodically, but if you notice anything that needs to be updated, please let me know.

I used C.J. Cherryh’s bibliography from Wikipedia in compiling this list. You can find out more about C.J. Cherryh on Closed Circle and her personal website, Wave Without a Shore. You can also find a recent interview at Curiosity Quills Press.

The Alliance-Union universe

The Company Wars

Heavy Time
Hellburner
Downbelow Station
Merchanter’s Luck
Rimrunners
Tripoint
Finity’s End

The Era of Rapprochement

Serpent’s Reach
Forty Thousand in Gehenna
The Scapegoat (novella)
Cyteen

The Chanur novels

The Pride of Chanur
Chanur’s Venture
The Kif Strike Back
Chanur’s Homecoming
Chanur’s Legacy

The Mri Wars

The Faded Sun: Kesrith
The Faded Sun: Shon’Jir
The Faded Sun: Kutath

Merovingen Nights (Mri Wars Period)

Angel with the Sword – Merovingen Nights #0
Festival Moon – Merovingen Nights #1 (as editor)
Fever Season – Merovingen Nights #2 (as editor)
Troubled Waters – Merovingen Nights #3 (as editor)
Smuggler’s Gold – Merovingen Nights #4 (as editor)
Divine Right – Merovingen Nights #5 (as editor)
Flood Tide – Merovingen Nights #6 (as editor)
Endgame– Merovingen Nights #7 (as editor)

The Age of Exploration

Alternate Realities (contains Port Eternity, Voyager in Night, Wave Without a Shore)
Cuckoo’s Egg

The Hanan Rebellion

At the Edge of Space (contains Brothers of Earth and Hunter of Worlds)

The Morgaine Cycle

Gate of Ivrel
Well of Shiuan
Fires of Azeroth
Exile’s Gate

Other science fiction

The Foreigner universe

Foreigner
Invader
Inheritor
Precursor
Defender
Explorer
Destroyer
Pretender
Deliverer
Conspirator
Deceiver
Betrayer
Intruder
Protector
Peacemaker (due April 2014)

Finisterre universe

Rider at the Gate
Cloud’s Rider

Gene Wars

Hammerfall
Forge of Heaven

Miscellaneous

Hestia

Fantasy

The Fortress series

Fortress in the Eye of Time
Fortress of Eagles
Fortress of Owls
Fortress of Dragons
Fortress of Ice

Ealdwood

The Dreamstone ( includes material from Cherryh’s short story “The Dreamstone” and the novelette Ealdwood)
The Tree of Swords and Jewels

The Russian stories

Rusalka
Chernevog
Yvgenie

Heroes in Hell

The Gates of Hell (with Janet Morris)
Kings in Hell (with Janet Morris)
Legions of Hell

Miscellaneous

The Paladin (was available from Baen, but has since been pulled)
The Goblin Mirror
Faery Moon (updated version of Faery in Shadow)