Red River Seven by A J Ryan
A J Ryan , Horror , Orbit / October 31, 2023

A man awakes on a boat at sea with no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. He’s not alone – there are six others. None of them can remember their names, but all bear the scars of recent surgery. When a message appears on the onboard computer – Proceeding to Point A – the group agrees to work together to survive whatever is coming. But as the boat moves through the mist-shrouded waters, divisions begin to form, and the group is plagued by questions. Who is directing them, why have they lost their memories, and what are the screams they can hear beyond the mist? Regular readers of The Eloquent Page know I’m drawn to apocalyptic fiction like a moth to a flame. When it comes to the fall of humanity, I just can’t get enough. I’m not entirely sure what that says about me but we dont have time to unpick that right now. We’re here to discuss Red River Seven by A J Ryan.  That first paragraph is about as close to a spoiler as I can get when it comes to talking about this book. Something, somewhere has gone horribly wrong….

Saevus Corax Deals with the Dead by K J Parker
Fantasy , K J Parker , Orbit / October 20, 2023

From one of the most original voices in fantasy comes a twisted tale of murder, betrayal, and battlefield salvage. There’s no formal training for battlefield salvage. You just have to pick things up as you go along. Swords, armour, arrows – and the bodies, of course. Over the years, Saevus Corax has picked up a lot of things. Some of them have made him decent money, others have brought nothing but trouble. But it’s a living, and somebody has to deal with the dead. This week, I’m taking a look at the recently released Saevus Corax Deals with the Dead by K J Parker. The story really couldn’t be simpler*. Saevus Corax has an uncanny knack for rubbing people up the wrong way. Cleaning up after battles should be a straightforward business, everyone who could cause a problem is usually dead, but after managing to irritate the two largest militant banking orders on the entire continent Saevus is forced to go on the run. Stumbling from one potentially lethal incident to the next, this joyfully chaotic series of ever-escalating events is a great deal of fun**. More through luck than judgment, Saevus finds himself at the epicentre of everything. He’d…

House of Odysseus by Claire North
Claire North , Fantasy , Orbit / August 24, 2023

Please note, that House of Odysseus is a direct sequel to Ithaca. It is highly likely that if you’ve not read the first book what follows might contain something akin to spoilers. Dont say I didnt warn you! In the palace of Odysseus, a queen lies dreaming . . . On the isle of Ithaca, queen Penelope maintains a delicate balance of power. Many years ago, her husband Odysseus sailed to war with Troy and never came home. In his absence, Penelope uses all her cunning to keep the peace—a peace that is shattered by the return of Orestes, King of Mycenae, and his sister Elektra. Orestes’ hands are stained with his mother’s blood. Not so long ago, the son of Agamemnon took Queen Clytemnestra’s life on Ithaca’s sands. Now, wracked with guilt, he grows ever more unhinged. But a king cannot be seen to be weak, and Elektra has brought him to Ithaca to keep him safe from the ambitious men of Mycenae. Penelope knows destruction will follow in his wake as surely as the furies circle him. His uncle Menelaus, the blood-soaked king of Sparta, hungers for Orestes’ throne—and if he can seize it, no one will be…

Cyberpunk 2077 No_Coincidence by Rafal Kosik
Orbit , Rafal Kosik , Sci-Fi , Thriller / August 18, 2023

WELCOME TO NIGHT CITY. THE CITY OF DREAMS. IF IT HASN’T CHANGED YOU YET, IT WILL . . . AND IF IT DOESN’T KILL YOU, YOU MIGHT COME OUT THE OTHER SIDE AS A LIVING LEGEND. In neon-drenched Night City, a ragtag group of strangers have just pulled off a heist, robbing a convoy transporting a mysterious container belonging to Militech. The only thing the group has in common is that they were blackmailed into participating in the heist – and they have no idea just how far their mysterious employer’s reach goes, or the purpose of the artifact they stole. This newly formed gang – composed of a veteran turned renegade, a sleeper agent for Militech, a computer nerd, a therapist, a ripperdoc, and a techie – must learn how to overcome their differences and work together, lest their secrets be unveiled before they can pull off the next deadly heist. I’ll begin with an admission; I haven’t played Cyberpunk 2077. It’s a shame, I love CD Projekt Red’s other gaming monolith, The Witcher, but I just can’t do first-person games. They give me terrible motion sickness. That said, I am still a huge fan of near-future cyberpunk dystopias,…

Gods of the Wyrdwood by R J Barker
Fantasy , Orbit , R J Barker / June 29, 2023

Cahan du Nahare is known as the forester – a humble man who can nonetheless navigate the dangerous Deepforest like no-one else. But once he was more. Once he was a warrior. Udinny serves the goddess of the lost, a goddess of the small and helpless. When she ventures into the Deepforest to find a missing child, Cahan will be her guide. But in a land at war, in a forest full of monsters – Cahan will need to choose between his past life and the one he leads now – and his choice will have consequences for his entire world. I loved both The Wounded Kingdom and The Tide Child trilogies, so I was excited when Gods of the Wyrdwood dropped through my letterbox with a satisfyingly solid thump. R J Barker’s latest is released this week and I’m pleased to confirm it is everything I have come to expect from the author, and more.  It’s clear that Cahan du Nahare is a man haunted by the ghosts of his past. Every action he takes is an attempt to run further away from who he once was. Cahan wants to live peacefully, under the radar of the authorities, but…

Infinity Gate by M R Carey
M R Carey , Orbit , Sci-Fi / March 30, 2023

INFINITY IS ONLY THE BEGINNING. The Pandominion: a political and trading alliance of a million worlds – except that they’re really just the one world, Earth, in many different realities. And when an AI threat arises that could destroy everything the Pandominion has built, they’ll eradicate it by whatever means necessary, no matter the cost to human life. Scientist Hadiz Tambuwal is looking for a solution to her own Earth’s environmental collapse when she stumbles across the secret of inter-dimensional travel. It could save everyone on her dying planet, but now she’s walked into the middle of a war on a scale she never dreamed of. And she needs to choose a side before it kills her. Hadiz Tambuwal knows our days are numbered. We’ve ravaged the planet without a second thought. Resources have been pillaged to the point of ecological catastrophe. Hadiz’s view of humanity is probably best described as dispassionate. That said she does want to try and save us, even when it looks like we’ve passed the tipping point. How best to do this? Well, it just so happens that Hadiz has stumbled upon the secret to interdimensional travel. If our Earth has depleted its resources beyond…

Dead Water by C. A. Fletcher
C A Fletcher , Horror , News , Orbit , Supernatural / August 8, 2022

AND THE WATER SHALL CALL THEM HOME A water-borne blight hits a small community on a remote Scottish island. The residents are a mix of island-born and newcomers seeking a slower life away from the modern world; all have their own secrets, some much darker than others. Some claim the illness may be a case of mass hysteria – or even a long-buried curse – but when ferry service fails and phone towers go down, inconvenience grows into nightmarish ordeal as the outwardly harmonious fabric of the community is irreversibly torn apart. This week’s review is the deliciously unsettling new horror novel Dead Water by C A Fletcher. Still broken by a traumatic loss, Sig lives a quiet existence. Shunning human contact whenever possible, she is happy to spend her time alone. Obsessed with free diving, Sig only finds real peace when swimming deeper and deeper below the waves. Dark thoughts swirl around in her mind. Would it be so bad if she just drifted away? Over the course of a weekend, Sig is forced to confront a supernatural force that has been released near her home as well as the inner demons plaguing her increasingly fragile mental state. In…

The Justice of Kings by Richard Swan
Fantasy , Orbit , Richard Swan / February 25, 2022

As an Emperor’s Justice, Sir Konrad Vonvalt always has the last word. His duty is to uphold the law of the empire using whatever tools he has at his disposal: whether it’s his blade, the arcane secrets passed down from Justice to Justice, or his wealth of knowledge of the laws of the empire. But usually his reputation as one of the most revered—and hated—Justices is enough to get most any job done.  When Vonvalt investigates the murder of a noblewoman, he finds his authority being challenged like never before. As the simple case becomes more complex and convoluted, he begins to pull at the threads that unravel a conspiracy that could see an end to all Justices, and a beginning to lawless chaos across the empire. For reasons too complicated to explain, it has been one hell of a week. The only hope of retaining any shred of my tattered sanity was escaping into some truly exceptional genre fiction. The good news is that The Justice of Kings by Richard Swan arrived at the top of my review pile. The early buzz I’ve heard promised something great and I’m glad to report I was not disappointed. I was reminded…

Azura Ghost by Essa Hansen
Essa Hansen , News , Orbit , Sci-Fi / February 4, 2022

Please note Azura Ghost is the second book in an ongoing series. If you’ve not read Nophek Gloss then what follows will likely contain some spoilery type detail. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya! Caiden has been on the run for ten years with his unique starship in order to keep his adversary, Threi, imprisoned. But when an old friend he’d once thought dead reappears, he is lured into a game of cat and mouse with the one person whose powers rival Threi’s: Threi’s sister Abriss. Now with both siblings on the hunt for Caiden and his ship, Caiden must rescue his long-lost friend from their clutches and uncover the source of both his ship’s power and his own origins in order to stop Abriss’s plan to collapse the multiverse.  Back in 2020, I read Essa Hansen’s debut novel, Nophek Gloss. It was thoroughly entertaining stuff. The sequel has just been released and the good news is it’s also well worth your time. Character-wise, I was unsurprised that Endirion Day and C* remain firm favourites. There is, undeniably, a lot going on with the main protagonist Caiden, but I would quite happily read an entire novel following Endirion Day’s adventures….

The Fall of Babel by Josiah Bancroft
Fantasy , Josiah Bancroft , Orbit / November 15, 2021

Please note, The Fall of Babel is the final novel in The Books of Babel sequence. If you haven’t read what has transpired before it is highly likely the review that follows will contain spoilers. Don’t say you have not been warned! As Marat’s siege engine bores through the Tower, erupting inside ringdoms and leaving chaos in its wake, Senlin can do nothing but observe the mayhem from inside the belly of the beast. Caught in a charade, Senlin desperiately tries to sabotage the rampaging Hod King, even as Marat’s objective grows increasingly clear. The leader of the zealots is bound for the Sphinx’s lair and the unimaginable power it contains. In the city under glass at the Tower’s summit, Adam discovers a utopia where everyone inexplicably knows the details of his past. As Adam unravels the mystery of his fame, he soon discovers the crowning ringdom conceals a much darker secret. Aboard the State of Art, Edith and her crew adjust to the reality that Voleta has awoken from death changed. She seems to share more in common with the Red Hand now than her former self. While Edith wars for the soul of the young woman, a greater…

Notes From The Burning Age by Claire North
Claire North , Orbit , Thriller / July 22, 2021

Ven was once a holy man, a keeper of ancient archives. It was his duty to interpret archaic texts, sorting useful knowledge from the heretical ideas of the Burning Age—a time of excess and climate disaster. For in Ven’s world, such material must be closely guarded so that the ills that led to that cataclysmic era can never be repeated. But when the revolutionary Brotherhood approaches Ven, pressuring him to translate stolen writings that threaten everything he once held dear, his life will be turned upside down. Torn between friendship and faith, Ven must decide how far he’s willing to go to save this new world—and how much he is willing to lose. The release of a new Claire North novel is always cause for much celebration here at The Eloquent Page. Over the last few years, she has cemented herself as one of my favourite authors. 84K, The Gameshouse and The Pursuit of William Abbey are all exceptional. Recently, I was given the opportunity to read her latest, Notes from the Burning Age. Unsurprisingly I found I was powerless to resist. In a post-apocalyptic vision of Europe, two factions vie to control the direction of our future. A young…