All posts by Lee Sibbald

2014 Book Illustration Competition winner announced

A Masters student at Camberwell College of Arts has won the 2014 Book Illustration Competition. Sean McSorley’s illustrations for Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad’s intensely visual masterpiece set in 19th-century Congo, beat hundreds of entrants from more than 30 countries. McSorley’s winning illustrations form part of a prestigious Folio Society commission, worth £5,000, to complete nine illustrations and a binding design for a new edition of Heart of Darkness, which is published by The Folio Society in October.

Sean McSorley illustration #1Sean McSorley illustration #2Sean McSorley illustration #3

© Sean McSorley, 2014

The annual Book Illustration Competition is open to student and professional illustrators, aged 18 and over, who have not been published by The Folio Society. The winner receives a highly sought-after Folio Society commission and five runners-up each receive £500 cash. Each year, three prizes of the six are awarded to student entries.

After intense deliberation, the winner was selected from a shortlist of six by a judging panel comprising artist, critic, curator and committee chairman for the Royal Academy Tom Phillips, independent curator and broadcaster and House of Illustration Trustee Kathleen Soriano, last year’s competition winner Finn Dean and Flora Craig from House of Illustration, together with The Folio Society’s Production Director, Editorial Director and Art Director.

“The aim of The Book Illustration Competition is to encourage and celebrate new illustration talent, and the consistently high standard of entries proves that there is a wealth of such talent out there – it was a pleasure to take part in the judging,” commented Kathleen Soriano, independent curator and broadcaster, House of Illustration Trustee.

“It was a real privilege to have been chosen to work on Heart of Darkness, and a real challenge too, since it was my first book illustration commission and I was juggling it around my MA work. I learnt a great deal throughout the process and I hope I’ve done some justice to Conrad’s complex and fascinating text,” added Sean McSorley, winner of the 2014 Book Illustration Competition.

The 2015 Book Illustration Competition will open for entries at 10am on Thursday 25 September.

Spotlight: Brand (The Book of the Fallen #1) by NC Thomas

Brand by NC Thomas book cover*** WARNING Explicit language and adult themes ***

A year ago Jenni was brutally tortured by the same creature that murdered her family. She fled to the bustling city of London in the hopes of disappearing amongst the masses of the capital. Her plan is simple: save enough money so she can escape further from the cursed British Isles which hold nothing but memories of the nightmare that still haunts her dreams every night.

One night whilst working in a club as a dancer, she meets Dylan who offers her an opportunity to advance her plan exceedingly – one week of her company for £25,000. However, events unfold that suggest their meeting is not just chance but connected to Jenni’s past and future.

N. C. Thomas can be found online at Goodreads and Facebook.

Special Feature: The Art of Greg Spalenka

The Art of Greg Spalenka cover imageGreg Spalenka graduated from the prestigious Art Center College of Design and has now been producing artwork for over 30 years. His selection of clients comprises of film studios including Warner Bros and New Line, magazines including Time and Rolling Stone, newspapers including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and numerous book publishers. Greg also gives lectures and seminars at art colleges across America.

“There has always been a yearning inside me to create art that has meaning. I desire to reflect this time and place in which I live, yet also to manifest that other landscape inside my mind and deeper still, inside my soul.”
Greg Spalenka

He is perhaps best known for his work on Neil Gaiman’s The Absolute Sandman and The Absolute Death, and his artwork has also adorned numerous books including Jennifer Johnston’s The Illusionist. Spalenka’s work has also been influential in the process of creating films such as The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of The Dawn Treader, The Golden Compass and The Ant Bully.

The Art of Greg Spalenka (Titan Books, 26th September, £24.99) is a comprehensive collection celebrating his diverse career, ranging from commercial to fine artwork.

With instructional elements designed to inspire the reader, this book is perfect for art students interested in pursuing a career in both fine and commercial art, as well as art admirers everywhere.

Below is an image gallery of some of Greg Spalenka’s finest – and best known – work.

Astral VespertinaMind BlowMind Power

Voyage of the Dawn Treader 4Voyage of the Dawn Treader 5

 

 

 

THE ART OF GREG SPALENKA
ISBN: 9781781168844
26th September 2014
Hardback
£24.99

Spotlight: Hell On Earth by David Bowen

Hell On Earth book cover imageWhen staunch trade unionist Reg Hallsworth gets relocated to Hell few can imagine the trouble it will cause. Certainly not Death Third Class number 221 of the Human Transition Department, who hides him there to cover up his own clerical error.

Certainly not Norris who knows nothing of the afterlife, so much so that he doesn’t even know Jenny, the girl he’s currently dating, is an Angel. His Guardian Angel if you really want to put a label on that sort of thing.

And certainly not Jenny who is far too busy trying to help Norris get over his epiphany, his life changing liberation… his nervous breakdown.

But with Hell on strike and sinners queuing up to get in they soon will. With a disaster of biblical proportions just around the corner it is up to these unlikely heroes to save the day and find a suitable location to build a new Hell… on Earth.

If you had to build a new Hell somewhere on Earth where would you put it?

David Bowen was born, of that he is pretty much sure, although it was so long ago he can’t remember any of the specific details. He lives in Cardiff, Wales and describes himself as terminally single. He fervently denies ever being there and has no previous convictions. Hell on Earth is his debut novel.

Spotlight: Echoes of a Storm by Alan Scott

Echoes of a Storm book cover image‘Echoes of a Storm’ is the first book in the ‘Storm Series’, and sets the scene and tone for this powerful bittersweet trilogy.

This dark, gritty, adult fantasy novel explores many themes such as, relationships, loss, power, prejudice and ultimately, the true ‘monster’ that lurks inside of us.

As you delve deeper into the book, you will come across heroes, villain, werewolves and witches, but not quite in the way you have met them before.

The cliff hanger at the end of ‘Echoes of a Storm’ sets up perfectly the start of ‘Scions of the Storm’ which continues this powerful trilogy.

Alan Scott was born and raised on the West Coast of Scotland, and returns regularly to top up his accent. He joined the RAF in 1989 and travelled the world, where he met the wicked and the witless, as well as the kind and thoughtful. He left in 2001.

Having been a lifelong avid reader of dark fantasy and good (really bad) pulp fiction, he finally decided to conquer his dyslexia and try writing his own, using his treasured homeland and love of music for inspiration.

With the help of a proofreader in Texas, USA, and an illustrator from Berlin, Germany, he has created ‘The Storm Series’, which currently consists of a trilogy of novels and two books of short stories. He is fan-friendly and welcomes all comments and reviews of his work. Search Facebook for Echoesofastorm for his homepage, or visit his website www.alankscott.com.

Alan’s greatest writing achievement so far is to have one of stories "Deadly Tap of a Cane" chosen by WorldReader for use by them. This charitable organisation (http://www.worldreader.org) aims to help spread ebooks and literacy in developing countries. The way they work is that they take tablets and kindles and they load them up with ebooks and learning materials, and then they send them to schools in developing countries. They’re a really great organisation and are backed by all the big publishing houses.

He still cannot help but smile when he sees that his work has been downloaded in as faraway places as Japan and Brazil. Alan is currently working on another book of short stories for the Storm Series.

Spotlight: The Sword of Feimhin by Frank P Ryan

Book three in The Three Powers Quartet

The Tyrant now threatens Earth as well as Tír…

In a violently dystopic London, where Mark and Nantosueta are searching for Padraig and the Sword of Feimhin, Penny Postlethwaite, a gifted but emotionally troubled teenager, is mapping two Londons, the tormented ‘City Above’ and an eerie and frightening ‘City Below’.

On Tír, an army of a hundred thousand Shee has invaded the Wastelands, intent on attacking Ghork Mega, the Tyrant’s capital city, but obstacles of malevolent cunning obstruct their path at every turn.

Meanwhile, in Dromenon, while exploring the labyrinthine roots of the Tree of Life in her attempts to save the Momu, Kate finds herself in the Land of the Dead. Her only recourse appears to lie with the serpent-dragon Nidhoggr, whose very soul is chaos…

Day by day and hour by hour the looming threat grows…

TheSwordOfFeimhinfull

Frank P Ryan is a distinguished and international bestselling author. He was born in Ireland but grew up, from his teens, in England.  He is currently writing an epic fantasy series, The Three Powers, which began with The Snowmelt River and continues with The Tower of Bones.  This  is already a top ten epic fantasy bestseller on amazon.co.uk.  He is also the author of a Book of the Year for the New York Times.

His other fiction includes the thriller trilogy Goodbye Baby Blue, Sweet Summer and Tiger Tiger, his contemporary novels, Taking Care of Harry and Between Clouds and the Sea and a science fiction apocalyptic thriller, The Doomsday Genie.

In addition to writing, Frank has directed his own commercial art gallery and has retained strong links with the artistic community.

Reviews of the first two books in The Three Powers Quartet can be read here:

Book advertising opportunities on Fantasy Book Review | Rate card

On Fantasy Book Review we are able to offer perfectly targeted advertising to meet every budget. Campaigns can cost anything from £6 a month to £1,176 a month –  the maths are simple, you pay £0.01 every time your book advert is shown to a visitor.

Take a look at what we can offer below but before you do, there are some important things to bear in mind:

  • The book advert will only appear on pre-determined pages within the site (unless it is the site-wide option)
  • The advert will include the book’s title, author, cover, mini-synopsis and will link through to an internal page which will go into greater depth showing full book details, existing feedback, purchasing links (as many as you require) and anything else that can help promote the book.

Here is an example of what the book advert would look like:

image

If you would like to book an advert, or would like to discuss the options further, then please email using advertising@fantasybookreview.co.uk

Here are the packages we offer:

Site-wide

This book advert would be seen 117,564 times per month on every single page within the site. The current cost of the advert is £1,176 per month.

Top 100

This book advert would be seen 30,111 times per month on the most popular section on Fantasy Book Review, the Top 100 (consisting of 10 pages, 10 listings per page). The current cost of the advert is £301 per month.

Homepage

This book advert would be seen 7,090 times per month on the popular Fantasy Book Review homepage only. The current cost of the advert is £71 per month.

Fantasy sub-genre pages

If your book belongs in a specific sub-genre, for example high fantasy, post-apocalyptic or vampire fiction, then we offer advertising that will only display your book advert on pages of the identical sub-genre, providing the perfect audience for your advertising.

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This book advert would be seen 2,036 times per month on the recommended wizards and magicians fantasy books page and 4,170 times per month on all wizards and magicians fantasy book review pages (for example, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), making a grand total of 6,206 views a month. The current cost of the advert is £62 per month.

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This book advert would be seen 1,024 times per month on the recommended young adult fantasy books page and 2,700 times per month on all wizards and magicians fantasy book review pages (for example, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), making a grand total of 3,724 views a month. The current cost of the advert is £37 per month.

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This book advert would be seen 579 times per month on the recommended royalty / monarchy / empire page and 3,000 times per month on all royalty / monarchy / empire book review pages (for example, Prince of Thornes by Mark Lawrence), making a grand total of 3,579 views a month. The current cost of the advert is £36 per month.

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This book advert would be seen 320 times per month on the recommended science fiction/fantasy page and 1,065 times per month on all science fiction/fantasy book review pages (for example, The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers), making a grand total of 1,385 views a month. The current cost of the advert would be £14 per month.

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If you would like to book an advert, or would like to discuss the options further, then please email using advertising@fantasybookreview.co.uk

FAQ

  • Q. Why does the page link internally – can it not link directly to my website?
    A. This is for SEO (search engine optimisation) purposes. Having too many external links on a website can affect its search engine performance so we keep all the external links to just a single page.
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Shortlist for the fourth annual Book Illustration Competition announced

The Book Illustration CompetitionSix illustrators have beaten hundreds of entrants from over 30 countries to be shortlisted for the fourth annual Book Illustration Competition, a collaboration between House of Illustration and The Folio Society.

The Book Illustration Competition invited entrants, who must not already be published by The Folio Society, to submit three illustrations and a binding design for Joseph Conrad’s masterpiece about a life-changing journey, Heart of Darkness. The winner will receive a highly sought-after commission, worth £5,000, to complete a total of nine illustrations and a binding design for the book, which will be published by The Folio Society in September 2014. Five runners up will each receive £500 cash. Three prizes of the six are awarded to student entries.

The winner will be announced at an award ceremony on 24 September at House of Illustration in King’s Cross.

After extensive debate the shortlist was selected by a judging panel comprising artist, critic, curator and committee chairman for the Royal Academy Tom Phillips, former Royal Academy of Arts Director of Exhibitions and House of Illustration trustee Kathleen Soriano, last year’s competition winner Finn Dean and Flora Craig from House of Illustration, together with Folio’s Production Director, Editorial Director and Art Director.

“I applaud the thought, skill and time that everyone put into their illustrations for the competition and hope to work with many of the entrants in the future! We were all particularly impressed by the intelligent responses to the text by the shortlist. Each has a unique style but is equally strong in technique and ingenuity,” said Folio Society Art Director Sheri Gee.

"A wonderfully varied collection of entries that were often surprising in their boldness and desire to depict the themes of the story and did a great job in capturing the atmosphere of the book," added last year’s Book Illustration Competition winner Finn Dean.

The Shortlist

Reto Crameri graduated in visual communication from Geneva University of Art and Design. In 2012 he was awarded with a grant for book illustration by the City of Geneva. He has also performed live drawing and worked on playful visual settings for exhibitions.

Max Häring studied at the Akademie der bildenden Künste München in Munich, Germany, and has worked as an independent artist since 1983. He works in mixed media in pen, ink and acrylics then digitally adds shading.

Sean McSorley is a freelance illustrator, originally from Cumbria but now based in London. He graduated with a degree in English Literature at Queen Mary University of London in 2006, and in 2014 he completed an MA in Visual Arts: Illustration at Camberwell College of Arts. His clients have included Sony Television, Paramount and Universal Pictures. Sean’s work combines traditional ink drawing and printmaking with digital techniques, his subject matter often reflecting his interest in early- and mid-twentieth-century cinema and literature.

Kit Russell is a 23-year-old Scottish designer living in London. Having graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone college of Art & Design in 2013 with a First Class honours degree in Illustration, he has spent the last year offering freelance design services as well as interning at some of the top design agencies in London. Kit was runner up in last year’s Book Illustration Competition and also won ‘Best of Year’ in the D&AD student awards 2013.

Magdalena Szymaniec is a Polish illustrator currently residing in Richmond, VA. She will graduate Ringling College of Art and Design, majoring in Illustration, in 2014. Her digital work is inspired by traditional media including watercolour painting and printmaking. She aims to create decorative and intellectually stimulating illustrations. Symbolism and literature are her main inspirations for narrative work. She likes cats and David Bowie.

Bethany White is a 22-year-old artist and illustrator from Manchester. Her work aims to lift the veil on the esoteric and arcane, delving into the vast subjects of occult philosophy and the pantheons of ancient mythology. This is explored through the combination of highly controlled dot work, ungoverned chance textures, and a range of different print mediums. Since graduating from Manchester School of Art, Bethany has participated in group exhibitions across the United Kingdom and produced work for occult musicians. Her latest artwork will be released via the Italian record label ‘I Voidhangar Records’ towards the end of 2014.

Congratulations to all those short-listed and here are there fantastic illustrations. Which one would you award as winner? My personal favourite is bottom right.

Shortlisted illustrations 1-3

Shortlisted illustrations 4-6

Assassins, Wurms, Martin and Hobb

Fantasy Book Review, August 2014

This is the first of what I hope will be a regular-as-clockwork monthly blog post rounding-up our latest reviews of the new releases and golden – or perhaps not-so golden – oldies. The post will also feature popular news items and anything else which I hope people will find interesting.

Fool's Assassin book cover imageThe stand-out book of the month for me is Fool’s Assassin, the latest addition to Robin Hobb’s superlative Elderlings series and an example of just how lucky the fantasy genre is to have an author of this calibre working within it. Joshua, who read and reviewed the book first, summed everything up nicely: “Fool’s Assassin is, quite simply, one of the best books I have read in years. Brandon Sanderson might have all the attention at the moment, but there is something to be said for the quiet simplicity of a FitzChivalry Farseer story and the world around it. Robin Hobb has dealt a serious blow to all those contending for best book of 2014, and I believe is set to return herself to the centre of attention with this new series.”

And I couldn’t agree more. Read the full Fool’s Assassin review

This month has also found me reading another of my all-time favourite authors, Steven Erikson. The Malazan series of ten wonderful tomes (for they be chunky) completely blew me away and I constantly find myself going back and re-reading them but thankfully there are also occasions when I can read something new from this awe-inspiring and fascinating world.

The events and humour within reminded me often of that channelled through Kruppe in Gardens of the Moon and Tehol and Bugg in Midnight Tides – it is funny and farcical but but at the same time hints at hidden power and a long and dark history. Any who have read The Lees at Laughter’s End or the Collected Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach will know exactly what to expect – and will not be disappointed.

Read the full The Wurms of Blearmouth review

Of the other books that have been reviewed this month, the following are all highly recommended:

For those who like historical fiction we recommend Robert Carter’s Language of Stones and for science-fiction fans, Peter F. Hamilton’s The Naked God.

George and Robin

The news that created the biggest buzz was when HarperVoyager announced that they will host an event with George RR Martin and Robin Hobb in a central London venue on 19th August 2014. Tickets will be £45 each and will include a hardback copy of Hobb’s latest novel Fool’s Assassin (you know how much we love this book).

HarperVoyager poster for George R. R. Martin and Robin Hobb London event.

This unique event offers readers the perfect opportunity to spend an evening listening to two of the world’s greatest storytellers, discussing how they build their fictional universes, create their characters and balance fantasy and reality; about their influences and inspirations, their struggles and successes.

The event is sponsored by ebook retailer blinkbox Books and in support of their pledge to bring readers closer to authors, they will be streaming the full event  for free – live and exclusively – on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/blinkboxbooks. HarperVoyager and blinkbox Books newsletter subscribers will be first to hear about tickets: http://harpervoyagerbooks.co.uk/subscribe/.

The event will have the #GeorgeAndRobin hashtag.

So that’s it for the August round-up, join us in September for a more comprehensive look at the month on FBR.

The best selling fantasy audiobooks, August 2014

Magician audiobook cover imageSpecial mention: I’m currently listening to Peter Joyce reading Raymond E. Feist’s classic fantasy novel, Magician. Very highly recommended.

There is no surprise in George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones still being number one when you take into account the ongoing popularity of the HBO series and then add to that the fact that Audible are offering a free copy when new members sign up. I have listened to all 5 A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks and have been very impressed, although Daenerys and the Lannister’s accents have travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles (you just have to roll with it).

Keith C. Blackmore’s free short story, The Hospital has risen to #2, and it is great to see Anthony Ryan’s sublime Blood Song enter the top ten at #3.

A new entry that really caught my eye was The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey – the synopsis sounds fantastic and it’s now on my wish-list.

If you’re always looking for great fantasy audiobooks then this page here: My favourite audio-book narrators, provides a good list of all that is fantastic in audiobook fantasy.

Without any further ado… below are the 10 most downloaded titles from Audible.co.uk.

    1. A Game of Thrones (Part One): Book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire
      A Game of Thrones audiobook cover imageUNABRIDGED
      By George R. R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice
      Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plot, lusts and intrigues; to the vast and savage eastern lands; all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men… all will play the Game of Thrones. Winter is coming…

    2. The Hospital: The First Mountain Man story
      The Hospital audiobook cover imageUNABRIDGED
      By Keith C. Blackmore, narrated by R. C. Bray
      "Mountain Man" Augustus Berry is a survivor in undead suburbia. He scavenges what he can from what’s left over. He is very careful in what he does and where he goes, taking no chances, no unnecessary risks, and weighing every choice… until he decides to visit the hospital at the edge of town, and experiences terror the likes he’s never encountered before.

    3. Blood Song: Book 1 of Raven’s Shadow
      Blood Song audiobook cover imageUNABRIDGED
      By Anthony Ryan, narrated by Steven Brand
      We have fought battles that left more than a hundred corpses on the ground and not a word of it has ever been set down. The Order fights, but often it fights in shadow, without glory or reward. We have no banners. Vaelin Al Sorna is the Sixth Order’s newest recruit. Under their brutal training regime, he learns how to forge a blade, survive the wilds, and kill a man quickly and quietly – all in the name of protecting the Realm and the Faith. Now his skills will be put to the test. War is coming. Vaelin must draw upon the very essence of his strength and cunning if he is to survive the coming conflict. Yet as the world teeters on the edge of chaos, Vaelin will learn that the truth can cut deeper than any sword.

    4. A Game of Thrones (Part Two): Book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire
      UNABRIDGED
      By George R. R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice
    5. The Jester
      The Jester audiobook cover imageUNABRIDGED
      By Michael J. Sullivan, narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds
      Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candle maker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap… and what happens to them is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive.

    6. The Book of Life: The All Souls Trilogy, Book 3
      The Book of Life audiobook cover imageUNABRIDGED
      By Deborah Harkness, read by Jennifer Ikeda
      Historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home in France they reunite with their families – with one heart-breaking exception. But the real threat to their future is yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on a terrifying urgency. Using ancient knowl­edge and modern science, from the palaces of Venice and beyond, Diana and Matthew will finally learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

    7. A Storm of Swords (Part One) – Steel and Snow: Book 3 of A Song of Ice and Fire
      A Storm of Swords audiobook coverUNABRIDGED
      By George R. R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice
      The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud, and winter approaches like an angry beast. Beyond the Northern borders, wildlings leave their villages to gather in the ice and stone wasteland of the Frostfangs. From there, the renegade Brother Mance Rayder will lead them South towards the Wall. The men of the Night’s Watch are ready for the coming of a great cold and the walking corpses that travel with it. But now they face a horde of wildlings twenty-thousand strong – hungry savage people steeped in the dark magic of the haunted wilderness – poised to invade the Kingdom of the North where Robb Stark wears his new-forged crown. But Robb’s defences are ranged against attack from the South, the land of House Stark’s enemies the Lannisters. His sisters are trapped there, dead or likely yet to die, at the whim of the Lannister boy-king Joffrey or his depraved mother Cersei, regent of the Iron Throne. Cersei’s ambition is unfettered while the dwarf Tyrion Lannister fights for his life, a victim of treachery. And on the other side of the ocean, the last of the Targaryens rears the dragons she hatched from her husband’s funeral pyre. Daenerys Stormborn will return to the land of her birth to avenge the murder of her father, the last Dragon King on the Iron Throne.
    8. The Girl with All the Gifts
      The Girl with All the Gifts audiobook cover imageUNABRIDGED
      By M. R. Carey, narrated by Flinty Williams
      Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her ‘our little genius’. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favourite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

       
    9. A Clash of Kings (Part One): Book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire
      A Clash of Kings audiobook cover imageUNABRIDGED
      By George R. R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice
      The Iron Throne once united the Sunset Lands, but King Robert is dead, his widow is a traitor to his memory, and his surviving brothers are set on a path of war amongst themselves. At King’s Landing, the head of Lord Eddard Stark rots on a spike for all to see. His daughter Sansa is betrothed still to his killer’s son Joffrey – Queen Cersei’s son, though not the son of her late husband Robert. Even so, Joffrey is now a boy-king, Cersei is his regent, and war is inevitable. In Dragonstone, Robert’s brother Stannis has declared himself king, while his other brother Renly proclaims himself king at Storm’s End – and Eddard Stark’s fifteen year old son Robb wears the crown of the north at Winterfell. A comet in the night sky, red and malevolent, the colour of blood and flame, can only be an omen of murder and war. Stannis’s child Princess Shireen dreams of dragons waking from stone. And a white raven has brought word from the Citadel itself, foretelling summer’s end. It has been the longest summer in living memory, lasting ten years, and the small folk say it means an even longer winter to come… The first rule of war is never give the enemy his wish. But winter will be the biggest enemy. From beyond the Wall the undead and Others clamour for freedom, and from beyond the sea the long-dead Dragon King’s daughter hatches her revenge. Robb Stark will be exceedingly lucky to reach adulthood.

    10. Ark Royal
      Ark Royal audiobook cover imageUNABRIDGED
      By Christopher G. Nuttall, narrated by Ralph Lister
      Seventy years ago, the interstellar supercarrier Ark Royal was the pride of the Royal Navy. But now, her weapons are out-dated and her solid-state armour nothing more than a burden on her colossal hull. She floats in permanent orbit near Earth, a dumping ground for the officers and crew the Royal Navy wishes to keep out of the public eye. But when a deadly alien threat appears, the modern starships built by humanity are no match for the powerful alien weapons. Ark Royal and her mismatched crew must go on the offensive, buying time with their lives And yet, with a drunkard for a Captain, an over-ambitious first officer and a crew composed of reservists and the dregs of the service, do they have even the faintest hope of surviving… And returning to an Earth which may no longer be there?