Tor.com have exclusively revealed Rod Duncan‘s The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter cover today, with a design process piece from artist Will Staehle, as well as alternative covers! Jump over to Tor.com to see the full article, but for now, here’s the cover!
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Just in time for summer we’re running a new deal through Amazon US and our website to offer you the following lovely books on sale throughout the whole of June! Perfect for your holiday reading list.
Elizabeth Barnabus lives a double life – as herself and as her brother, the private detective. She is trying to solve the mystery of a disappearing aristocrat and a hoard of arcane machines. In her way stand the rogues, freaks and self-proclaimed alchemists of a travelling circus.
But when she comes up against an agent of the all-powerful Patent Office, her life and the course of history will begin to change. And not necessarily for the better…
In the divided land of England, Elizabeth Barnabus has been living a double life – as both herself and as her brother, the private detective. Witnessing the brutal hanging of someone very close to her, Elizabeth resolves to throw the Bullet Catcher’s Handbook into the fire, and forget her past. If only it were that easy!
There is a new charitable organisation in town, run by some highly respectable women. But something doesn’t feel right to Elizabeth. Perhaps it is time for her fictional brother to come out of retirement for one last case? Her unstoppable curiosity leads her to a dark world of body-snatching, unseemly experimentation, politics and scandal. Never was it harder for a woman in a man’s world…
You’d have to be mad to steal from the feared International Patent Office. But that’s what Elizabeth Barnabus is about to try. A one-time enemy from the circus has persuaded her to attempt a heist that will be the ultimate conjuring trick. Hidden in the vaults of the Patent Court in London lie secrets that could shake the very pillars of the Gas-Lit Empire.
All that stands in Elizabeth’s way are the agents of the Patent Office, a Duke’s private army and the mysterious Custodian of Marvels.
Decades ago, Japan won the Second World War. Americans worship their infallible Emperor, and nobody believes that Japan’s conduct in the war was anything but exemplary. Nobody, that is, except the George Washington’s – a shadowy group of rebels fighting for freedom. Their latest subversive tactic is to distribute an illegal video game that asks players to imagine what the world might be like if the United States had won the war instead.
Captain Beniko Ishimura’s job is to censor video games, and he’s tasked with getting to the bottom of this disturbing new development. But Ishimura’s hiding something’ He’s slowly been discovering that the case of the George Washingtons is more complicated than it seems, and the subversive videogame’s origins are even more controversial and dangerous than the censors originally suspected.
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The amazing Rod Duncan, author of The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, Unseemly Science and The Custodian of Marvels, will be out and about at the following events over the next few months, so go along and get some tips and tricks from an industry expert.
This Thursday Rod Duncan, author of The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter will taking part in a Social Media and Writers Panel hosted by Leicester Writers’ Club. He’ll be talking about the role that blogging, social media and transmedia play in both his relationship with his fans and in society as a whole, with time for questions afterwards. As a lecturer in creative writing at De Montfort University, Rod is no stranger to the stage, so this promises to be an entertaining and educational evening. Tickets are only £5, so join us on Thursday 19 May from 7pm at Phoenix Arts, 4 Midland Street, Leicester, for a great night out.
For more information visit the events page.
Heads up, drones! The lovely folk over at Nook are running a ‘first in series’ promotion and are featuring eight Angry Robot titles! Please check below for titles and prices.
Each will be on sale from January 12 (today) until January 18.
For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse. Read More
Oh, it’s an exciting day at Robot Towers!
This time it’s the East Midlands Book Award (EMBA), which recognises talent from across the East Midlands.
Rod, who has also been nominated for a Philip K. Dick award, took a second off from celebrating to tell us:
The East Midlands Book Award is a reminder of the exceptional writing happening in this region. I’ve been involved in the writing scene here for more years than I care to admit. But I’ve never seen a more vibrant, diverse and creative mix than we have right now. To be shortlisted is a great honour.
The winner of the East Midlands Book Awards will be announced at a fabulous awards ceremony on 30 June at Bromley House Library in Nottingham. Until then, keep your fingers and toes crossed!
Rod Duncan is a man of many talents: he’s written crime novels – including one shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger, had screenplays produced, and has now written The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, a steampunk novel with one epic heroine that readers and reviewers alike are loving. You can listen to an interview with Rod here on Starburst, and here are a taste of the reviews:
• “Elizabeth and her alter-ego illusion of a brother drive The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter quite well. I was completely caught up in her adventure and her plight. I think steampunk readers and fantasy/sci-fi readers will enjoy this one, so I’m recommending it for them even though (and to some extent because) its use of steampunk is a bit different. I found it to be a refreshing change from more formulaic steampunk novels.” Popcorn Reads
• “Not only is this a fine stand-alone mystery, Duncan has done some remarkably adept world-building, which holds forth promise for the rest of the series. He’s subtle and avoids unnecessary exposition, letting the alternate history emerge organically from the story. For fans of light steampunk, alternate history and supernatural mysteries, The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter will be just what the gunsmith ordered.” LitRant
• “a clever, enjoyable refreshment of a book … and any fan of adventure, intrigue, steampunk or all three should certainly give it a try. I’m definitely glad I did, and I’ll be happy to return to the series for book two. Huzzah!” Over the Effing Rainbow
• “The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter is a fantastic story, complete with a richly detailed world, colorful characters, and interesting contraptions. The writing is wonderfully done and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series Unseemly Science…More, please!” Badass Book Reviews
• “Far from all style, or just another mystery yarn, The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter is an immersive read that takes the best of many genres and weaves them together. Fans of everything from historical fiction to fantasy, to detective novels and spy versus spy thrillers will find something to love in Duncan’s latest, which at turns evokes the likes of Geek Love, Sherlock Holmes and Firefly. If you’ve a taste for quirks and style with your substance, give this novel a try.” Examiner.com
• “The nitty-gritty: A rollicking steampunk adventure, filled with intricate twists and turns, top-notch world building, and a heroine that quickly became one of my favorites ever.” Books, Bones & Buffy
• “With its unique setting and premise, this book embodies the essence of what I’ve come to expect from Angry Robot over the years…a well-written novel, the story fantastically put together with elements of alternate history and steampunk, topped off with a strong, resourceful heroine. You can’t help but be drawn to Elizabeth Barnabus. I’m definitely looking forward to continuing her adventures in the sequel.” Bibliosanctum
• “There are a few gadgets, but the spirit of the world created by Rod Duncan strongly reminded me of Planesrunner by Ian McDonald. If you don’t mind a steady pace, less dashing heroines and very little gadgetry in lieu of alternative history exploration, this book is for you. Recommended!” Nocturnal Book Reviews
Book Riot have declared Kameron Hurley‘s The Mirror Empire an “absolute buy” and who is to argue with them! They’re not the one people excited about this epic fantasy – and there are 250 very happy readers who purchased early from Barnes and Noble to receive free copies of Book Two next year – and here’s a collection of some of the reasons why you need to be excited about this book, as well:
• “Hurley manages to balance plot, worldbuilding and character, while exploring issues of gender, race, class, violence and more, in organic and eye-opening ways. She also explores and subverts character tropes, resulting in new takes on old archetypes: the young chosen one, the bitter, old mentor, the young person thrust into power. All of these and more are turned on their head to wonderful results. Hurley plays it fast and loose in many parts, and while that can sometimes cause a little whiplash, it pales in comparison to how powerful this book is.” Book Riot
• “I highly recommend this book for all fans of good quality secondary world fantasy. Readers who — like me — prefer not to read unoriginal and trope-filled fantasy will be pleased with this book. And of course, anyone hoping to find more fantasy with female characters who are a) central and b) not marginalised need look no further. The gender-flip aspect (for lack of a better term) really is fascinating.” Tsana Rads and Reviews
• “there is no denying that The Mirror Empire, by Kameron Hurley, is one of the most important books of 2014.” Sense of Wonder
• “The world building in The Mirror Empire is so detailed and complete that I could see it coming to life before my eyes. Yet exposition is held to a minimum, exactly the way I like it. Even some of the plant life is sentient, including walking trees. Magic is everywhere and just taken for granted. Each gifted person pulls their strength and power from a particular moon or planet (I’ve called them all moons above) and, when it is ascendant, their power becomes amazing – for better or worse. Some societies are power hungry and others, like the Dhai, have chosen a path of learning and peace, having learned what happens when power corrupts a society. Assassins, mystics, sentient plants, political intrigue and worlds on a metaphorical collision course. Bottom line? The Mirror Empire features fascinating worlds, nail-biting action adventure, and makes for one hell of a read! I highly recommend it to anyone who likes intelligently written epic fantasy novels that come alive!” Popcorn Reads
• “This is world-building at its finest—an imaginative and fantastical world that is unrelenting in its immersiveness. And oh boy is it DARK. If George R.R. Martin, Joe Abercrombie, Matthew Woodring Stover, and Mark Lawrence are sitting around a table muttering and laughing maniacally to themselves while they torture characters, Kameron is sitting to the side, chiding them with a whispered “oh, my sweet summer child… The Mirror Empire takes a look at the epic fantasy patriarchy and gives it a firm kick in the balls.” Ristea’s Reads
• “this is what a truly epic fantasy should be. The Mirror Empire is the best fantasy I’ve read this year and one of the best of recent years. This is also an epic fantasy for people who have grown to hate what passes for epic fantasies in today’s marketplace. The Mirror Empire is highly recommended and will be on my award shortlists. I suggest people check it out.” Jason Sanford, Nebula-award finalist and BSFA and British Fantasy Award nominee
• “The Mirror Empire requires keen attention, but ultimately proves worth it, and will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next volume.” Shelf Awareness
• “It’s deep, and confusing, and deliciously thought provoking. This isn’t just a fantasy novel. This is the kind of book that will make you sit back and look at the world around you in a completely different way. The Mirror Empire is the first book in what is promising to be an epic saga that will redefine epic fantasy. I sincerely hope it does, because this is the kind of epic fantasy I am hungry to read.” Bookworm Blues
• “an incredibly ambitious and wonderful epic fantasy that throws out every rulebook trope of the genre to create a truly magical experience.” On Starships and Dragonwings
• “The Mirror Empire is polished and well executed. The multiple narratives serve one another and the larger plot. The reader learns about a profoundly unusual setting along with the characters within it. The balance of youth and experience is no accident, here. Broad vistas collapse into intimate moments in order to personify crises and resolutions. I was left with substantial questions and an incredible desire for more. So much so that I bought a second copy to get the second installment just a little early. Recommended for fans of portal fiction, leaps of faith, and the promise of speculative imagination.” The Dinglehopper
With the US and ebook release dates for our September titles – The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley and The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan – fast approaching, what better time to recap the wonderful and exciting things that are being said about these two fantastic books.
The Mirror Empire‘s release follows hot on the heels of Kameron‘s TWO Hugo awards at LonCon, and is certainly making waves in the fantasy circles. We are very excited for it be unleashed on the general public, and look forward to seeing and hearing reader reactions. For the full list of Kameron’s blog tour, check out her blog post here. For now, here are just some of the rave reviews The Mirror Empire has received, thus far:
STARRED REVIEW: “This is a hugely ambitious work, bloody and violent, with interestingly gender-flipped politics and a host of factions to keep straight, as points of view switch often. Although it is a challenging read, the strong narrative thread in this new series from Hurley (God’s War) pulls readers through the imaginative tangle of multiple worlds and histories colliding.”
– Library Journal
STARRED REVIEW: “Hurley (Rapture) reuses old tropes to excellent effect, interweaving them with original elements to create a world that will fascinate and delight her established fans and appeal to newcomers. Readers will blaze through this opening installment and eagerly await the promised sequel.”
– Publishers Weekly
“Hurley intelligently tackles issues of culture and gender, while also throwing in plenty of bloodthirsty action and well-rounded characters. This is a fresh, exciting fantasy epic that’s looking to the future and asking important questions. 4****/5″
– SFX magazine
“The Mirror Empire is a fresh, vigorous, and gripping entrant into the epic fantasy genre, able to stand toe-to-toe with any of the heavyweight series out there. I cannot recommend this novel highly enough.”
– SF Revu
“The Mirror Empire is epic in every sense of the word. Hurley has built a world – no, worlds – in which cosmology and magic, history and religion, politics and prejudice all play crucial roles. Prepare yourself for sentient plants, rifts in the fabric of reality, and remarkable powers that wax and wane with the stars themselves. Forget all about tentative, conventional fantasy; there’s so much great material in here that Hurley needs more than one universe in order to fit it all in.”
– Brian Staveley, author of The Emperor’s Blades
“Taking epic fantasy down challenging and original paths. Thoughtful and thought-provoking with every twist and turn.”
– Juliet E. McKenna
“For me [The Mirror Empire] did all the things a fantasy should do — holding our own societies up to the light by reflecting off worlds that are very different. Add in a magic system where the users are only powerful some of the time, and semi sentient vegetation that is possibly more of a threat than the magic users, and I happily sank into this book with a satisfied sigh.”
– Francis Knight
– Courtney Schafer, author of The Whitefire Crossing
“The Mirror Empire is the most original fantasy I’ve read in a long time, set in a world full of new ideas, expanding the horizons of the genre. A complex and intricate book full of elegant ideas and finely-drawn characters.”
– Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of The Shadows of the Apt series and finalist for the 2014 Gemmel Legend Award
“There’s a powerful yet elegant brutality in The Mirror Empire that serves notice to traditional epic fantasy: move over, make way, an intoxicating new blend of storytelling has arrived. These are pages that will command your attention.”
– Bradley Beaulieu, author of The Lays of Anuskaya trilogy
“With vividly inventive world building and a fast-paced plot, The Mirror Empire opens a smart, brutal, and ambitious epic fantasy series. Book two is already on my must-read list.”
– Kate Elliott , author of the Spiritwalker Trilogy
“The Mirror Empire takes look at epic fantasy patriarchy & gives it a firm kick in the balls…[it] will be the most important book you read this year.”
– Alex Ristea, Ristea’s Reads
“In the two worlds of The Mirror Empire, we get Deadly Plants, Blood Magic, and yes, Brutal Women. The Mirror Empire is both a chance for fantasy fans to get to know Hurley’s writing, and for previous fans of her work to see what she can do in a new vein. And for readers new to her work, this is in many ways the best place to start. 4.5****/5.”
– Paul Weimer, SF Signal
“One of the most stunning epic fantasies I’ve read this year. The setting is unique and plays a major role in the story. A spectacular novel.”
– Books Without Any Pictures
“I can’t even tell you how much I liked this book. It was long, yes, but I didn’t mind it because there was just so much awesome happening. I classify it as a fantasy, but it could also be considered science fiction, what with the parallel universes and binary star system and all.”
– In Case of Survival
“At its best this novel is as good as anything I have read this year. Expect to hear ‘ambitious’ a lot; I couldn’t imagine the mental and physical mapping it would take to hold all these pieces together but hold together they do. The world is alive, the world is unique, and the world is actually built rather than borrowed.”
– Fantasy Review Barn
Not content with releasing The Mirror Empire in September, we also have the award-winning author Rod Duncan with The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, a riotous novel of alternate history, set in a divided England. The cover is the first thing to catch everyone’s attention, and rightly so. This beautiful creation is by the fantastically talented Will Staehle, and visit Tor.com for Will’s exclusive post on his design process. The first book in the Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire has certainly struck a cord with readers, and here’s some of the reasons why reviewers are loving Elizabeth Barnabus and her story:
“Steeped in illusion and grounded in an alternative history of the Luddite Rebellion, Duncan’s strong supernatural mystery serves ably as both a standalone adventure and the start to a series…Strategically placed steampunk tropes inform but do not overwhelm Elizabeth’s headlong quest to find a missing aristocrat sought by the Patent Office, which is fixated on both achieving perfection and eliminating “unseemly science.” A hazardous border crossing into the permissively corrupt Kingdom of England and Southern Wales provides ample excitement, and a glossary at the novel’s conclusion hints enticingly at a much more involved story to come.”
– Publishers Weekly
A “detective story with a difference…Chapters begin with quotes from the legendary Bullet-Catcher’s Handbook, phrases that introduce not only the idea of illusion that pervades the novel, but also the author’s sly humour. [Duncan’s misdirection is] subtly and well done, all the way through the book, right to a neat little twist at the end, a play on the title that had me nodding in approval. Each [character] is vividly portrayed, lively enough to feel like the heroes of their own stories, all with distinctive voices; it’s always a good sign when you find yourself reading dialogue out loud, rolling your lips and tongue around the words.
Rod Duncan’s talent has combined inventive plot and characterisation to create a smart, amusing and fascinating tale that had me reading long into the night.”
– Fantasy Faction
“It’s all steampunk and circus wonder as we follow the adventures of Elizabeth Barnabas.The double crosses along the way keep the plot tight and fun, and the conclusion sets us up nicely for book two.”
– The Washington Post, Best New Science Fiction and Steampunk
“If I had a bowler hat, I’d take it off to the author of this beautifully crafted steampunk novel.”
– Chris D’Lacey, author of The Last Dragon Chronicles
“Rod Duncan’s The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter is a magic box pulsating with energy. Compulsive reading from the get-go, the blend of steampunk alternate history wrapped in the enigma of a chase makes for first-rate entertainment in this finely crafted novel.”
– Graham Joyce, author of Year of the Ladybird
“The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter is off to a solid start. Rod Duncan has created a wonderful setting in The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter taking in account the big as well as the small things that are needed to make a world go round. He has struck a perfect balance between both highlighting the characters, from our main protagonist Elizabeth Barnabus down to the secondary characters, and the world itself, using bits and pieces of exisiting history spinning it in his own way by adding enough fantasy influences to make it one-of-a-kind. It is with these kind of books that make sure the fantasy genre is kept fresh. If you are looking for something new and refreshing make sure you read The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, it’s is everything you want and much more!”
– The Book Plank
“Looking for a good book? Mystery, duplicity, secret societies, alchemy, romance, action … The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan has it all and promises to be the talked-about/must-read book for sci-fi/fantasy enthusiasts this year!”
– Looking For A Good Read
“Really, a fine and well crafted novel. As per the glossary, Elizabeth plays a key role in the fall of the Gas-lit empire. Cheers to that as she is a captivating character. Angry Robot has picked a winner.”
– Koeur’s Book Reviews
“Steampunk at its best. Engaging characters, spectacular settings and snappy dialogue.”
– Cayocosta72 Book Reviews
“I was immediately hooked by the world Duncan created. What would the world look like if the Industrial Revolution had been halted, even reverse? What really made this book for me was Elizabeth Barnabas. Her unusual upbringing in a traveling circus and her five years of forced independence have made her clever and strong. She’s a wonderful character and it was a treat to watch her work through the challenges the cropped up as she find out why everyone wants to get their hands on the Duchess’s missing brother.
“The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter is the opening book in a series and I will be eagerly waiting for the next installment of Elizabeth’s adventures.”
– Summer Reading Project
“The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter is an entertaining book that has some genuine, original touches combined with a clever story and even cleverer characters.”
– SF Book Reviews
“Rod Duncan has successfully written an absorbing tale from the perspective of a woman in the early nineteenth century. This is science-fiction with the sub genre of Steampunk, so technology is unorthodox and fascinating. A cracking read.”
– Fancy Pans Cafe
“Duncan has crafted a credible and intriguing world where the twists of a society founded on very different ideals are perhaps even more important than the technology. That makes this novel, while solidly a steampunk offering, feel very fresh and engaging. The backdrop of the circus and the surprising way Elizabeth manages to make a living give the whole story real depth. This is the first in a planned series of novels entitled The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire: I’m certainly looking forward to the next installments. Fabulous.”
– Geek in Sydney
Have you pre-ordered your copy yet? Both books are released in the US and on ebook next Tuesday, 26 August with UK and ROW releasing Thursday, 4 September. Happy reading!
We’re welcoming in the month of August with a round-up of some of the latest reviews and activity from our authors.
• Publishers Weekly rewarded Kameron’s epic fantasy novel with a starred review: “Hurley reuses old tropes to excellent effect, interweaving them with original elements to create a world that will fascinate and delight her established fans and appeal to newcomers. Readers will blaze through this opening installment and eagerly await the promised sequel.”
• It’s hard to choose just one or two great lines from Alex Ristea‘s review but here’s a taster of why he loved it so much: “This is world-building at its finest—an imaginative and fantastical world that is unrelenting in its immersiveness…The Mirror Empire takes a look at the epic fantasy patriarchy and gives it a firm kick in the balls.” Alex ends his rave review by saying, The Mirror Empire “will be the most important book you read this year.”
• When the most a reviewer dislikes about a book is the wait for its sequel, it’s safe to say we’re pretty happy. Thus was the case when In Case of Survival read The Mirror Empire: “I can’t even tell you how much I liked this book…I cannot wait to come back to the Worldbreaker universe and find out what the characters are up to.”
• Fantasy Review Barn awards with 4 stars: “The Mirror Empire will make your head hurt in a very good way. I couldn’t imagine the mental and physical mapping it would take to hold all these pieces together but hold together they do. This book deals with gendered expectations on every page yet could be read for the story alone; different conventions and expectations are ingrained into the societies portrayed so naturally that they shouldn’t even raise a brow. The world is alive, the world is unique, and the world is actually built rather than borrowed.”
• Can’t wait for The Mirror Empire‘s release? Check out Tor.com‘s excerpt, and lastly, here’s a hat tip to Amanda Rutter, former Strange Chemistry editor, who worked on The Mirror Empire and has been blogging about it on Floor to Ceiling Books.
Rod Duncan‘s The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, September 2014, charmed Publishers Weekly early on, “Duncan’s strong supernatural mystery serves ably as both a standalone adventure and the start to a series.”
• Alister at Fantasy Faction is blaming TBCD for some late nights and tired mornings: “It’s fair to say I was smitten by The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter. Rod Duncan’s talent has combined inventive plot and characterisation to create a smart, amusing and fascinating tale that had me reading long into the night.”
• Annie over on the Summer Reading Project “was immediately hooked by the world Duncan created.” Eagerly awaiting the next instalment, what made this book for Annie “was Elizabeth Barnabas. Her unusual upbringing in a traveling circus and her five years of forced independence have made her clever and strong. She’s a wonderful character and it was a treat to watch her work through the challenges the cropped up as she find out why everyone wants to get their hands on the Duchess’s missing brother.”
• I’m glad to see Looking For A Good Book trusted us with an unknown author: “There wasn’t a single moment that I felt bored or wanted to skip ahead a little. I was mesmerized early and the story and characters blossomed before me with precision…Looking for a good book? Mystery, duplicity, secret societies, alchemy, romance, action … The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan has it all and promises to be the talked-about/must-read book for sci-fi/fantasy enthusiasts this year!”
• SF Book: “The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter is an entertaining book that has some genuine, original touches combined with a clever story and even cleverer characters.”
• While Avid Fantasy Reviews thinks The Shadow Master is one of the strangest books we here at Angry Robot Books have published, it seems that works as it’s rated 8.5 / 10 and one of the best books she’s read all year!
• Upcoming4.me have Craig’s Story Behind his Story, and for more details on Craig’s inspiration for The Shadow Master, click here
• Craig has also been on Tor.com for his Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe.
• The Blogger Girls “loved, loved, loved the world and the characters” of Blades of the Old Empire, and I’m sure are looking forward to The Guild of Assasins!
• Anna is on Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog talking about her Favourite Bit of The Guild of Assassins
• On August 4 Anna starts a Blog Tour with full details here, with a chance to win both Blades of the Old Empire and The Guild of Assassins as well this banner, courtesy of Tasty Book Tours: