On cold Thursday evening, down a charming Victorian lane we gathered together for the first ever Fantasy in the Court. Co-hosted by HoZ and the wonderful Goldsboro Books, where the event was held, we joined some of fantasy's most influential people to celebrate the best of the genre. The very talented Luke Scull was guest of honour for the evening as we toasted the official launch of his epic debut novel, The Grim Company.
A while ago, when I was working for a small start up company with a funny name, we found a book that we thought might put us on the map, a big-hearted saga with an indomitable heroine, an exotic location and a doomed love affair. The auction dragged on over two weeks, as the advance rose inexorably towards a sum that began to resemble the UK's annual budget deficit.
As someone who reads voraciously, and this year alone have read 27 books, it’s a question I always struggle with, which genre do you pick, which authors and their work do you leave out? It is also a movable feast because some authors improve as they write more books. Does a book have to be first-class writing to be in the top 10? Or does it also have to hold something else, something intangible, some nostalgia for what it meant at the time?
I love start-ups - which, if you look back over my publishing career, is just as well. Futura in 1973, Century in 1982, Orion in 1992, Preface in 2007 - and now Head of Zeus. Admittedly I wasn't quite in on the ground floor at HofZ, but I think we can stretch a point.
As I write this HoZ is advancing with steely determination towards its first million pounds in sales revenues. At the same time The Bookseller reports that Penguin notched up sales in 2012 of over one billion and recorded profits of £100m or so. This is more than a little scary and makes me feel like a fellow who has just put up a garden shed in the shadow of the Shard.
Or Something You Are?
With 101 customer reviews, almost all of which are five star, I have been desperate to add my voice to these reviews, but didn't because I thought it might be unethical - so I am really delighted to have my say on HoZ website instead. Amanda's stories are so powerful, full of heartache but so warm and uplifting at the same time. Her heroines are ordinary women who do extraordinary things for love, and she has a knack of making her characters leap off the page - reading What Have I Done, I cried for Katherine as if she were my best friend.
Welcome to the first book in an electrifying trilogy of thrillers, The Abomination is a breakneck race to uncover a secret that will rewrite history.
The Abomination will arrive in all good bookshops on 1st May, but if you would like to get your hands on an early ready copy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org telling us why you'd like to read it.
Sometimes you come across a fantasy book so epically brilliant that you want to shout from the rooftops – READ THIS BOOK!
The Grim Company by Luke Scull is that book.
So we’ve created an EPIC sample to match the epic proportions (and epic excitement). It’s an epic 67% of the whole book and you can download it here.