Top 10 fantasy audio-book downloads (November 2010)

Below is a list of the top 10 science fiction and fantasy audio-books downloaded on www.audible.co.uk during November 2010.

  1. Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist (Unabridged)
    Oskar and Eli. In very different ways, they were both victims. Which is why, against the odds, they became friends – and how they came to depend on one another for life itself.  Oskar is a 12-year-old boy living with his mother on a dreary housing estate at the city’s edge. He dreams about his absentee father, gets bullied at school, and wets himself when he’s frightened. Eli is the young girl who’s moved in next door. She doesn’t go to school and never leaves the flat by day. She is a 200-year-old vampire, forever frozen in childhood, and condemned to live on a diet of fresh blood. John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel is a huge best seller in his native Sweden – a unique and brilliant fusion of social novel and vampire legend. It is also a deeply moving fable about rejection, friendship, and loyalty.
  2. Towers of Midnight, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson (Unabridged)
    The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One’s prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unravelling, and the armies of the Shadow have begun to boil out of the Blight. The sun has begun to set upon the Third Age. Perrin Aybara is now hunted by spectres from his past: Whitecloaks, a slayer of wolves, and the responsibilities of leadership. All the while, an unseen foe is slowly pulling a noose tight around his neck. To prevail, he must seek answers in Tel’aran’rhiod and find a way – at long last – to master the wolf within him or lose himself to it forever. Meanwhile, Matrim Cauthon prepares for the most difficult challenge of his life. The creatures beyond the stone gateways – the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn – have confused him, taunted him, and left him hanged, his memory stuffed with bits and pieces of other men’s lives. He had hoped that his last confrontation with them would be the end of it, but the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills.  The time is coming when he will again have to dance with the Snakes and the Foxes, playing a game that cannot be won. The Tower of Ghenjei awaits, and its secrets will reveal the fate of a friend long lost. This penultimate novel of Robert Jordan’s number-one New York Times best-selling series – the second of three based on materials he left behind when he died in 2007 – brings dramatic and compelling developments to many threads in the Pattern. The end draws near. Dovie’andi se tovya sagain. It’s time to toss the dice….
  3. Dark Matter, Michelle Paver (Unabridged)
    January 1937. Jack Miller has just about run out of options. His shoes have worn through, he can’t afford to heat his rented room in Tooting, and he longs to use his training as a specialist wireless operator instead of working in his dead-end job. When he is given the chance to join an arctic expedition, as communications expert, by a group of elite Oxbridge graduates, he brushes off his apprehensions and convinces himself to join them. As the young men set sail from a gloomy Britain on the verge of war, Jack feels the overwhelming excitement of not knowing what lies ahead. Little can he imagine the horrors that await him in their destination, Gruhuken, a place that cannot escape the savage echo of its past.
  4. Surface Detail, Iain M. Banks (Unabridged)
    The dazzling new Culture novel from a modern master of science fiction – a tour de force of brilliant storytelling, world-building and imagination. It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters. It begins with a murder. And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself. Lededje Y’breq is one of the Intagliated, her marked body bearing witness to a family shame, her life belonging to a man whose lust for power is without limit. Prepared to risk everything for her freedom, her release, when it comes, is at a price, and to put things right she will need the help of the Culture. Benevolent, enlightened and almost infinitely resourceful though it may be, the Culture can only do so much for any individual. With the assistance of one of its most powerful – and arguably deranged – warships, Lededje finds herself heading into a combat zone not even sure which side the Culture is really on. A war – brutal, far-reaching – is already raging within the digital realms that store the souls of the dead, and it’s about to erupt into reality. It started in the realm of the Real and that is where it will end. It will touch countless lives and affect entire civilizations, but at the centre of it all is a young woman whose need for revenge masks another motive altogether.
  5. The Passage, Justin Cronin (Unabridged)
    Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old, and her mother thinks she’s the most important person in the whole world. She is…. Anthony Carter doesn’t think he could ever be in a worse place than Death Row…. He’s wrong. FBI agent Brad Wolgast thinks something beyond imagination is coming…. It is. The Passage. Deep in the jungles of eastern Colombia, Professor Jonas Lear has finally found what he’s been searching for – and wishes to God he hadn’t. In Memphis, Tennessee, a six-year-old girl called Amy is left at the convent of the Sisters of Mercy and wonders why her mother has abandoned her. In a maximum security jail in Nevada, a convicted murderer called Giles Babcock has the same strange nightmare, over and over again, while he waits for a lethal injection. In a remote community in the California mountains, a young man called Peter waits for his beloved brother to return home – so he can kill him. Bound together in ways they cannot comprehend, for each of them a door is about to open into a future they could not have imagined. And a journey is about to begin. An epic journey that will take them through a world transformed by man’s darkest dreams, to the very heart of what it means to be human. And beyond. The Passage.
  6. Consider Phlebas, Iain M. Banks (Unabridged)
    The first Culture novel, now available as an unabridged audio download. The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction – cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender. Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction. Consider Phlebas is a space opera of stunning power and awesome imagination.
  7. The Fall, Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan (Unabridged)
    The tension-filled sequel to The Strain, from the world-famous director whose films include Pan’s Labyrinthe and Hellboy. Humans have been displaced at the top of the food chain, and now understand – to their outright horror – what it is to be not the consumer, but the consumed. Ephraim Goodweather, director of the New York office of the Centers for Disease control, is one of the few humans who understands what is really happening. Vampires have arrived in New York City, and their condition is contagious. If they cannot be contained, the entire world is at risk of infection. As Eph becomes consumed with the battle against the total corruption of humanity, his ex-wife, Kelly, now a vampire herself, is ever-more determined to claim their son, Zack. As the Biblical origins of the Ancient ones are gradually revealed, Eph learns that there is a greater, more terrible plan in store for the human race – worse even than annihilation….
  8. The Evolutionary Void, Peter F Hamilton (Unabridged)
    Peter F. Hamilton’s startling perspectives on tomorrow’s technological and cultural trends span vast tracts of space and time, his stories are as compelling as they are epic in scope, and yet they are always grounded in characters – human, alien and other – who, for all their strangeness, still touch our hearts and fire our imaginations. Now, in The Evolutionary Void, Hamilton concludes the highly acclaimed Commonwealth saga that has unfolded in The Dreaming Void and The Temporal Void.
  9. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke (Unabridged)
    Shortlisted for Audible’s Listen of the Year, 2006. English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory. But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr. Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England’s magical past and regained some of the powers of England’s magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French. All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative, the very opposite of Mr. Norrell. Strange thinks nothing of enduring the rigors of campaigning with Wellington’s army and doing magic on battlefields. Astonished to find another practicing magician, Mr. Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil. But it soon becomes clear that their ideas of what English magic ought to be are very different… Sophisticated, witty, and ingeniously convincing, Susanna Clarke’s magisterial novel weaves magic into a flawlessly detailed vision of historical England. She has created a world so thoroughly enchanting that 32 hours leave readers longing for more.
  10. Red Dwarf: Better Than Life, Grant Naylor (Unabridged)
    Red Dwarf – Better Than Life is the second and final instalment of this hilarious sci-fi comedy. Narrated by Chris "Rimmer" Barrie, Better Than Life finds the crew trapped in a mind-boggling computer game that is threatening their lives and safety of the ship. One by one, they enter the game to rescue each other – and one by one, they become trapped! Holly will have to use his mega brain to solve this one.

Extract of Towers of Midnight Chapter One

Untitled-4 The 2nd of November will come and bring the release of the penultimate Wheel of Time book, ‘Towers of Midnight’, but if you’re wanting a taste now, Orbit have you covered.

“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose above the misty peaks of Imfaral. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.”

Click here for to read the full extract from chapter one of ToM.

Want to keep your WoT self satisfied over the next few weeks? Fear not, and go back and read all the blog posts that Brandon Sanderson – heir appointed to Robert Jordan – wrote as he re-read the series in preparation for starting on ‘A Memory of Light’.

Click here for the introduction to the re-reads.

Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings US book tour dates announced

TheImage: The Way of Kings book cover Way of Kings by fantasy author Brandon Sanderson is an epic fantasy novel due to be released in the US on August 31, 2010 by Tor Books. The novel will be published in the UK on December 30, 2010, by Gollanz. It is the first volume in The Stormlight Archive, a series that will run to ten novels.

According to mythology mankind used to live in The Tranquiline Halls. Heaven. But then the Voidbringers assaulted and captured heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms. And the Voidbringers followed . . . They came against man ten thousand times. To help them cope, the Almighty gave men powerful suits of armor and mystical weapons, known as Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, mankind finally won. Or so the legends say. Today, the only remnants of those supposed battles are the Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world is at war with itself – and has been for centuries since the Radiants turned against mankind. Kings strive to win more Shardblades, each secretly wishing to be the one who will finally unite all of mankind under a single throne. On a world scoured down to the rock by terrifying hurricanes that blow through every few day a young spearman forced into the army of a Shardbearer, led to war against an enemy he doesn’t understand and doesn’t really want to fight. What happened deep in mankind’s past? Why did the Radiants turn against mankind, and what happened to the magic they used to wield?
visit on his book tour this

Sanderson’s book tour promoting The Way of Kings is currently underway and the author will be available to sign books at the following bookstores in the US:

  • Monday, August 30th (Midnight) BYU Bookstore: Provo, UT
  • Tuesday, August 31st (7:00 PM) West Jordan Barnes & Noble: West Jordan, UT
  • Wednesday, September 1st (7:00 PM) St. Louis Barnes & Noble: Chesterfield, MO
  • Thursday, September 2nd (7:00 PM) Orlando Barnes & Noble: Orlando, FL
  • Friday, September 9th – Sunday, September 9th (*Eagle Eye Bookstore*) Dragon*Con and Decatur Book Festival
  • Tuesday, September 7th (7:30 PM) Quail Ridge Books: Raleigh, NC
  • Wednesday, September 8th (7:30 PM) Washington D.C. Borders: Baileys Crossroads, VA

Paloppa option film rights on Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy

On January 11, 2010 Paloppa Pictures LLC and Brandon Sanderson announced that Paloppa has taken an option on film rights to Sanderson’s NY Times bestselling Mistborn fantasy trilogy.

Sanderson is the most successful new fantasy writer of the past decade, and the Mistborn series, published by Tor Books, is his most successful to date. The trilogy commenced with publication of Mistborn: The Final Empire in 2006, followed by The Well of Ascension in 2007, and The Hero of Ages in Fall in 2008. The Hero of Ages debuted at #21 on the NY Times Hardcover Fiction bestseller list. Subsequently, Sanderson co-wrote, with Robert Jordan, The Gathering Storm, which in November 2009 dethroned Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol to become #1 on the NY Times hardcover fiction list and every other major bestseller list.

The principals in Paloppa Pictures LLC are Christopher Geary, Rob Micai and Marc Bryant. Micai is a co-producer of the forthcoming Letters to God, a Possibility Pictures release through Vivendi-Universal. Bryant has a strong background in commercial projects via DNP Studios for companies such as Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Lockheed Martin and Nickelodeon. Geary has been partnered with Micai since their graduation from the University of Central Florida’s Film Program in 1999, with the two working in the live stage, music videos, commercial productions and other areas, and it was Geary who was the driving force behind the Mistborn option.

Said Geary, “As I was reading the book I felt more and more that this was a story that just had to be seen on the big screen. I contacted Brandon Sanderson, and was able to persuade him that Paloppa Pictures was the right team for the job. Obviously we’re very excited by the opportunity to bring his work to life.”

As part of his efforts to woo Brandon Sanderson, Christopher Geary flew up to New York City during Sanderson’s national tour in support of The Hero of Ages in 2008. Sanderson said, “When I arrived, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and when I left I knew I wanted to be in business with Chris Geary and his partners in Paloppa. Chris knew the books, had palpable enthusiasm for them, and most of all had a real and relatable vision for adapting the series that was at once exactly how I envisioned and distinctly filmic.”

In summer 2010, Tor will commence publication of a new fantasy series from Sanderson with The Stormlight Archives Bk. 1: The Way of Kings. Sanderson is published in twenty languages, and the Alcatraz novels are currently under option to Dreamworks Animation.

Eagerly anticipated fantasy books: October 2009

Steven Erikson’s Dust of Dreams and Robin Hobb’s Dragon Keeper were the books that we were most looking forward to this year. But luckily the anticipation does not stop there and there are still several titles due out in the next couple of months that are sure to be bestsellers.

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

October 1 2009 will see the release of Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals:

Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork – not the old fashioned, grubby pushing and shoving, but the new, fast football with pointy hats for goalposts and balls that go going when you drop them. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they’re in the mood for trying everything else. The prospect of the Big Match draws in a street urchin with a wonderful talent for kicking a tin can, a maker of jolly good pies, a dim but beautiful young woman, who might just turn out to be the greatest fashion model there has ever been, and the mysterious Mr Nutt (and no one knows anything much about Mr Nutt, not even Mr Nutt, which worries him, too. As the match approaches, four lives are entangled and changed for ever. Because the thing about football – the important thing about football – is that it is not just about football. Here we go! Here we go! Here we go!

Terry Pratchett is the acclaimed creator of the Discworld series, started in 1983 with The Colour of Magic, and which has now reached 37 novels with Unseen Academicals. Worldwide sales of his books are 60 million, and they have been translated into 37 languages. Terry Pratchett was knighted for services to literature in 2009.

Terry Pratchett biography
The Colour of Magic book review
Lords and Ladies book review
The Light Fantastic book review
Night Watch book review
Mort book review
The Wee Free Men book review
A Hatful Of Sky book review
Wintersmith book review
Nation book review

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson

October 27, 2009 will see the release of the penultimate novel in Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series. The last two books will be completed by Brandon Sanderson due to Jordan’s death in 2007. Entitled The Gathering Storm, early reviews have been positive:

The most eagerly anticipated fantasy novel of the last two decades, THE GATHERING STORM has been completed by acclaimed fantasy author Brandon Sanderson from Robert Jordan’s extensive notes. It will begin the final chapter of the compelling saga that started almost twenty years ago with THE EYE OF THE WORLD.

Robert Jordan was born in 1948 in Charleston. He was a graduate of the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, with a degree in physics, and served two tours in Vietnam. His hobbies included hunting, fishing, sailing, poker, chess, pool and pipe collecting. He died in September 2007.

A Dance with Dragons by George RR Martin

Possibly the most eagerly expected of all books released in October is the fifth volume in George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series:

George RR Martin biography
A Game of Thrones book review
A Clash of Kings book review
A Storm of Swords 1: Steel and Snow book review

The long-awaited fifth volume in the hugely popular and highly acclaimed epic fantasy A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE The last of the Targaryons, Daenerys Stormborn, the Unburnt, has brought the young dragons in her care to their terrifying maturity. Now the war-torn landscape of the Seven Kingdoms is threatened by destruction as vast as in the violent past. Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf with half a nose and a scar from eye to chin, has slain his father and escaped the Red Keep in King’s Landing to wage war from the Free Cities beyond the narrow sea. The last war fought with dragons was a cataclysm powerful enough to shatter the Valyrian peninsula into a smoking, demon-haunted ruin half drowned by the sea. A DANCE WITH DRAGONS brings to life dark magic, complex political intrigue and horrific bloodshed as events at the Wall and beyond the sea threaten the ancient land of Westeros.

So, all-in-all, it is going to be a bit of a bumper October for fantasy fans with all three books mentioned above likely to be extremely popular and above all, very good, books.

We’ll take a look at the releases for November soon as well as the books that will make great Christmas presents this year.

Sapkowski wins David Gemmell Legend Award

Blood of Elves, by Polish fantasy author Andrzej Sapkowski, has received The David Gemmell Legend Award for establishing honour and lending dignity to the fantasy genre.

Sapkowski’s UK editor, Jo Fletcher, collected the award in front of an audience of publishing professionals, authors, media and fans at the Magic Circle headquarters in Euston, London. The inaugural award had the official support of Stella Gemmell and the trophy, supplied by Raven Armoury, took the form of a butterfly axe, named Snaga, that featured in Gemmell’s fiction.

Fantasy Book Review would like to offer Andrzej its warmest congratulations.

Read our full review of Blood of Elves

The runner-ups were each presented with a miniature version of Snaga. They were Joe Abercrombie (Last Argument of Kings); Juliet Marillier (Heir to Sevenwaters); Brandon Sanderson (The Hero of Ages) and Brent Weeks (The Way of Shadows).

Andrzej Sapkowski was born on the 21st of June 1948 in Lodz, Poland. Sapkowski studied economy and business, but the success of his fantasy cycle about the sorcerer Geralt de Riv turned him into a bestselling writer and he is now one of Poland’s most famous and successful authors, selling more in his own country than Stephen King or Michael Crichton. Sapkowski has won five Zajdel Awards, including three for short stories Lesser Evil in 1990, Sword of Destiny in 1992 and In a Bomb Crater in 1993, and two for the novels Blood of the Elves in 1994 and Narrenturm in 2002.