I'm very excited about this:
Two-time British Fantasy Award-winning author Mark Chadbourn has signed a six-book deal with US publisher Pyr.
The highly-acclaimed SF and fantasy imprint will publish the first of Chadbourn’s 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 Chadbourn’s British Fantasy Award-nominated Age of Misrule sequence, described as “One part Lord of the Rings, one part Illuminatus!, one part Arthurian romance – 100% original!” The three books—World’s End, Darkest Hour and Always Forever—will be published in Spring/Summer 2009.
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 (Click HERE for the Solaris deal details), that egregious oversight is about to be resoundingly corrected.”
The Swords of Albion, which will be published in the UK and Commonwealth by Transworld—Mark just signed the deal with the UK publisher yesterday, June 30th—follows Elizabethan England’s greatest spy:
Meet Will Swyfte—adventurer, swordsman, rake, swashbuckler, wit, scholar and the greatest of Walsingham’s new band of spies. His exploits against the forces of Philip of Spain have made him a national hero, lauded from Carlisle to Kent. Yet his associates can barely disguise their incredulity. What is the point of a spy whose face and name is known across Europe?
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!
Magical defences have been put in place by the Queen’s sorcerer Dr John Dee, who is also a senior member of Walsingham’s secret service and provides many of the bizarre gadgets utilised by the spies. Finally there is a balance of power. But the Cold War is threatening to turn hot at any moment…
Will now plays a constant game of deceit and death, holding back the Enemy’s repeated incursions, dealing in a shadowy world of plots and counter-plots, deceptions, secrets, murder, where no one—and no thing—is quite what it seems.
The entire world is the battleground: from Russia, across Europe, to the Caribbean and the New World. And while great events play out in the public eye, the true struggle takes place behind the scenes—the Spanish Armada, the Throckmorton Plot, the colonisation of the Americas, the Court intrigues, the battles in Ireland and against Spain, the death of Marlowe, the plagues, the art, the music, the piracy, the great discoveries…all are simply window-dressing as the great sweep of recorded history is peeled back to show the truth behind.
Lou Anders 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 Anders 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!”
Praise for Mark Chadbourn:
"A contemporary bard, a post-industrial Taliesin whose visionary novels are crammed with remixed mythologies, oneiric set-pieces, potent symbols, unsettling imagery and an engaging fusion of genre elements. His work is distinguished by breakneck but brilliantly controlled plots, meticulous research, deft characterisation and a crisp, accessible prose style" ~ Zone-SF.com
"Reminiscent of Alan Garner (the highest compliment I can pay to someone working in this mythic mode)." ~ SFSite.com