Thrall by Steven Shrewsbury

Reviewed by Andy Venn

Set in one of those indeterminate ages, this novel tells the story of Gorias La Gaul, an ancient warrior and slayer of dragons. On a trip to visit his grandson he comes across a plot to bring Carlato Wyss, a necromancer of dark renown, back to life for the information that he has in his head. He is persuaded to put an end to the cult and stop an ancient book being rewritten. But two forces are converging. An army intent on conquest led by a general with a soul not his own. And a horde of barbarians dead set against them. Continue reading “Thrall by Steven Shrewsbury”

Queen and Country Def. Edition Vol 2 Greg Rucka

Reviewed by Stephen Aryan

This collected edition of the Queen and Country comic series from Oni press collects three trade paperbacks worth of stories involving Tara Chace. She is an operative of SIS and we see her getting involved in all manner of espionage games at home and abroad. The first mission, Operation Blackwall is a very personal one for Tara which see her visit France and try to get to the bottom of a blackmail case that involves one of her friends who was filmed in a very compromising situation. Unfortunately this person is merely a pawn and it is her father who is being blackmailed. Tara is sent in to find out what is going on, who is involved and to clean it all up before the information goes public. Whilst Tara is away we also find out a bit more about her private life and the cost of being an agent and what she has to personally sacrifice to get the job done. As ever Tara is tough, efficient and very cold when she needs to be. But there are no stereotypes here. She is not a frosty ice-maiden who hates men. At times she has to cover herself in armour to survive, to do the job and get results. Both stories in fact show us a bit more about Tara as an individual and all that she is capable of. Continue reading “Queen and Country Def. Edition Vol 2 Greg Rucka”

Superman Earth One by JMS and Shane Davis

Reviewed by Stephen Aryan

This is a new independent Superman comic book that is aimed at a new generation of comic readers and fans. It is the first volume of hopefully many and they will build into an epic ongoing story. You don’t need to have read any Superman comics ever before to read this, and it doesn’t connect to any others out there, past or present. But it does assume you have a vague idea of who Superman is and what he can do. Rather than starting with the traditional destruction of his planet as a baby, the story begins with Clark Kent as a young man coming to Metropolis in search of something. The story is told in a non-linear fashion and it moves back and forth at times, dipping into his childhood and then back to the present. We witness his birth parents and all that they did for him, and there are also several important and defining moments with his human parents, Martha and Jonathan Kent. So even if you only knew the name of Superman, you can read this and still follow the story without any difficulty. Continue reading “Superman Earth One by JMS and Shane Davis”

Brayan’s Gold by Peter V Brett

I think it’s a fairly well known fact that I’m a sci-fi reader that dabbles in fantasy from time to time. Back in 2009 I read a debut fantasy from Peter V Brett called The Painted Man (The Warded Man in the US), and instantly became a fan. There was just something about it that ticked the right boxes for me – the setting, the history, the magic, the demons, the characters – all of these worked extremely well together. While waiting for the sequel, The Desert Spear, to be released Subterranean Press announced that they were going to be releasing a limited edition novella called The Great Bazaar. This was very welcome news, and when the limited edition I bought arrived I couldn’t help but drool over it. The quality was awesome, the art excellent, and the story and extras it contained well worth the money. Continue reading “Brayan’s Gold by Peter V Brett”

Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes

Reviewed by Stephen Aryan

Lenk leads a band of adventurers, the lowest of the low. People who fight not for a cause but for their own monetary gain and gratification. This means the main cast are very unpleasant for the most part with bad attitudes, bad language and loose morals. When the going gets tough they demand more money or they walk away. These are not burly heroes who will stand against a monstrous horde of enemies because it’s the right thing to do. The world of Tome is painted with a hundred shades of grey. Continue reading “Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes”

Never the Bride by Paul Magrs

Reviewed by Stephen Aryan

And what with satanic beauty salons, roving psychic investigators and the frankly terrifying owner of the Christmas Hotel there’s plenty to watch. But the oddest thing in Whitby may well be Brenda herself. With her terrible scars, her strange lack of a surname and the fact that she takes two different shoe sizes, Brenda should know that people as, well, unique as she is just aren’t destined for a quiet life. Continue reading “Never the Bride by Paul Magrs”

The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin

Reviewed by Daniel Burton

A brilliant industrialist named Justin Cord awakes from a 300-year cryonic suspension into a world that has accepted an extreme form of market capitalism. It’s a world in which humans themselves have become incorporated and most people no longer own a majority of themselves. Continue reading “The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin”

The Lost Fleet: Fearless by Jack Campbell

I really enjoyed the first Lost Fleet book, Dauntless, and thought the series had a lot to offer with the premise that was set up. I jumped straight into Fearless wondering whether it would be more of the same, or whether Jack Campbell would give further reason to continue reading about the journey to Alliance space. Continue reading “The Lost Fleet: Fearless by Jack Campbell”

Grandville: Mon Amour by Bryan Talbot

Reviewed by Stephen Aryan

This is the second graphic novel by British writer and artist Bryan Talbot about Inspector LeBrock of Scotland Yard. The story is set in a steampunk, anthropomorphic world with an alternate history and while the majority of the population are animal based, there is the occasional human or dough-face, who are essentially second class citizens. Without giving away too many spoilers for the first story, this second adventure starts with LeBrock in a very bad place and then one of his worst nightmares comes true. A renowned murderer who he hunted down and arrested has somehow managed to escape on the day he was due to be executed for his crimes. This sends LeBrock into a rage which gets him into trouble with his superiors and as a result he ends up suspended. Of course this tiny detail isn’t going to stop the relentless LeBrock from pursuing the killer to France where he has started murdering prostitutes, seemingly at random. Continue reading “Grandville: Mon Amour by Bryan Talbot”

Small Favour by Jim Butcher

Reviewed by Stephen Aryan

This is book 10 of the Dresden files and will contain some spoilers for the previous books. As with many of Dresden’s cases, the story starts with something fairly simple. Mab, the Winter Queen, asks Dresden for a favour, and because he owes her two favours and she is one of the most powerful Sidhe around, who could freeze his blood in the blink of an eye, he can’t really refuse. The only problem is he’s been asked to find and save Gentleman Johnny Marcone, a Chicago mobster who is a thoroughly ruthless and unpleasant man who Harry has run into several times in the past. He doesn’t like Marcone, he finds what he does deplorable, and now Mab has told him Marcone has been kidnapped and Harry has to save him to wipe away one of the favours. Continue reading “Small Favour by Jim Butcher”