Tag Archives: Acacia

Double Review: The Other Lands & The Sacred Band by David Anthony Durham

With these reviews a circle closes. 🙂

Acacia was one of the first books I ever reviewed on this blog (in actual fact, the second book) and it definitely feels as if I’ve gone on a long, tempestuous, thrilling and ultimately fully rewarding journey with not only the readers who’s also enjoyed David’s Epic Fantasy trilogy buy have journeyed with David as he brought us this trilogy. (You can also read my 2008 interview with David here.)

And with announcements about the future of this blog on the way it’s only fitting that I post the reviews of these titles – as I said, a circle closes. 🙂

Book 1 (my review here, in case you’ve not yet read it) set up what promised to be a truly epic story – a promise which The Other Lands and The Sacred Band fulfilled wonderfully.

The Other Lands

The novel doesn’t open, thankfully, immediately after the events of Acacia – a risk on David’s part, since we were met by characters who were subtly different from when me were introduced to them in Acacia, but a risk that paid off. Not only did David manage to show and explain how the characters had grown since I last read about them, but he also managed to set in motion the new cycles of growth and change that needed to happen to push not only the characters but the plot forward. After all, in Acacia we were shown a small part (yet a very important part) of the world David created – books 2 and 3 needed to show more of this world, and did.

In book 1 David also took the risk of removing one of the most promising and important characters of the trilogy, the effects of which are felt throughout book 2, from the normal man on the street right up to the sister who had to try and manage the thrust into the highest position of leadership. I was really surprised at this character’s return and was worried (I’ll admit) at what effect it would have on the rest of the cast, but David handled this all beautifully. 🙂

The same can be said of many of the characters in the book – Corrin Akaran terrified me at the end of Acacia, and she continued to evolve in The Other Lands – I couldn’t help but compare her to Cersei Lannister, and to be honest, I don’t know who would come out on top if the two had to clash. Mena’s search for her place in the world (other than being an Akaran and the embodiment of a goddess) was heartfelt and beautiful, and I loved Dariel’s progression in the book, too. Each of the siblings reacted to the previous book’s events in ways that were both true to themselves (and to what they had survived) and in ways that echoed with me – one of the ways that we live through characters in novels, though they may be set in Fantasy-worlds) is through the character’s humanity and the author’s ability to evoke sympathy and empathy, something that David succeeded massively at in The Other Lands.

And the world that David created expands – Dariel travels to The Other Lands and I loved the strangeness, intensity and brutality of this place. Not only was it an excellent crucible to test and temper Dariel, but a way to explore a world intimately linked to the Known World but also brazenly different – it was handled and explained so well that I’m unable to decide which place is better.

The build towards the novel’s climax was suitably inexorable and tension-filled – the menace was palpable, leading me to not even want to guess at the conclusion in Book 3; the ‘good guys’ just seemed so overwhelmed that I had no idea how they were going to survive or triumpf – a very good thing to keep readers hooked and worrying.

All things considered, The Other Lands was an excellent bridging novel between the beginning of the trilogy and its conclusion in that it wasn’t only a bridging novel: it was a tale all its own, carrying forward some of the arcs (plot- and character-wise) from Book 1, creating satisfying new arcs, and leaving mysteries for The Sacred Band to explain. It’s the kind of novel that stands above most of the other Epic Fantasy novels on the shelves today – not least because of David’s Historical Fiction background, and shows that David is not only an author who can build convincing worlds but also a writer who excels at telling the all-important human stories within his beautiful and fantastical canvas. Highly recommended!

9 / 10

The Sacred Band

And now we come to what, especially in Epic Fantasy, is considered the make-or-break volume in a trilogy: the final book.

The first thing I’ll say is that I was pleasantly misled by the wonderful cover – and that David seems to have had the foresight to write a tale that not only explained the cover but then also surprised us with that explanation. Too many times a novel (especially Fantasy and its attendant sub-genres) are judged by the covers – whether in the stores before purchase or after putting the book down, and its rare that a cover manages to suit the novel (notice the plethora of Character-focused covers nowadays), so when an author manages to write a novel that gives the prospective reader an idea of what is awaiting him or her in the book -without having any directing input in the creation of the cover- that’s a well-done thing indeed. I know that David wrote the book first, believe me, but I truly like the cover for The Sacred Band because of the many layers of stories in the cover, all present in the novel. 🙂 So, (whoever you are because I just can’t seem to find info on the artist / designer of the cover), well done, awesome cover!

Onto the meat and mead of the novel:

After the end of The Other Lands only one thing was for sure – the shit was going to hit the fan. David had manoeuvred his characters to where they needed to be and this invariably left them in places that were incredibly dangerous – Corrin in the Known World, having to prepare for a massive war, Mena in the ice trying to prepare herself for the coming carnage and Dariel in the Other Lands, facing not only hostile natives but approaching overlords…

I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t think David will be able to pull this climax off. Why? Well, because of the threats facing the Akaran siblings and the Known World. I’ve read another book recently where the threat is just so massive that it couldn’t really be dealt with, and as I was feverishly plowing through The Sacred Band I was genuinely worried (readers of the novels will know what threats I’m talking about – I’d rather not spoil it for those that haven’t), but David not only managed to bring the climax, but also to bring it in a manner that was both satisfying and true to the characters and the story-arc they were part of. A tall order, indeed, when the characters didn’t suffer because of it – and neither did the tension, the action, the menace, the humanity. The novel and the series doesn’t end the way you think it will, I guarantee it – but the ending, and where this ending leaves the characters and the world, is immensely satisfying. 🙂

Why am I not giving you any actual detail about the book itself, the characters, etc.? Well, to do so would spoil much of what is set up in Book 2 and all of what happens in The Sacred Band. 🙂 I felt the ending was perfect and definitely consider it the most important part of the series – not because it should be but because it brings full-circle and basically explains the heart of what David was doing in this trilogy. More than that I don’t feel I should have to say – it’s an incredible book and an incredible trilogy, definitely one of the best I’ve had the pleasure of reading. 🙂

9 / 10

Trilogy Rating: 9 / 10

To order your copies of The Other Lands, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa.

To order your copies of The sacred Band, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa.

And do head over and check out David’s website – you can read excerpts from the novels, there are order-links, and David also runs a blog there. In case you didn’t know, David has also written:

Gabriel’s Story,

Walk Through Darkness,

and Pride of Carthage.

David’s next novel will focus on telling the story of Spartacus. 🙂

Until next time,


UPDATE: Thanks to fellow reader Andre Philander, the guy responsible for The Sacred Band’s awesome cover is Paul A Romano. Thanks Andre!

Final UPDATE: It appears Andre made a mistake and that Wikipedia is also wrong: the true artist is this man – and he work is AWESOME.


Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Reviews


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New WoT Book 12 Release Date & David Anthony Durham Wins!

my my, what a day! 🙂 Not only did I find out today that I’ve been -whoops, can’t break the news yet (no no, it’s not huge or anything, and will make absolutely no difference to your lives, but it makes a huge difference to me!), but suffice it to say that I got really good news today- but there has been some incredible news regarding The Gathering Storm and coming from David Anthony Durham! 🙂

First off, The Gathering Storm will be available in October! 🙂 Yep, you heard that right! Check out this post at Dragonmount for the details! And SA-WoT fans, have no fear – I’ll make sure that Penguin SA has this info first email in the morning, and I’ll be damned if we’re not getting the book a minimum of 2 or 3 days after the new publication date! 🙂

Awesome, awesome news!! 🙂 Think we all need to stare in wondrous admiration at that cover again…


Now onto news from David Anthony Durham, author of the incredible Acacia – he was down at Worldcon for a few days, chatting to author-folk, part of panels and such, and then he won this award – AWESOME AWARD – and you know what, David thoroughly deserves it! 🙂 Now, if you’re wondering why David won the award, then get Acacia, Book 1 of The War with the Mein. You’ll know why! 🙂 And then you can join the ever-increasing legion of fans worldwide in anticipation of the sequel to Acacia – The Other Lands!


P.S. I’m back tomorrow with my review of A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans! And then Thursday, I’m Hitchhiking… towel included! 😉

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Posted by on August 11, 2009 in Announcements


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The Other Lands & Nights of Villjamur

Just a very quick post to let you all know (for those who don’t already know) about some very cool news:

First of all, Gav over at Nextread has posted a very cool interview with Mark Charan Newton! Mark even drops some hints about the sequel to Nights of Villjamur! 🙂

And David Anthony Durham shows off galley-proofs of the eagerly-awaited sequel to Acacia, The Other Lands! 🙂 Guess you all know me too well – I definitely want me one of those! 🙂

Anyway, next post will be an excerpt of Kaaron Warren’s Slights! 🙂 Keep an eye on your RSS feeds, it’ll be up soon. 🙂


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Posted by on June 8, 2009 in Announcements


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The Other Lands – David Anthony Durham: Cover Art and Description

A little over an hour ago David Anthony Durham sent me and three other bloggers this info, and I’ve got to tell you, I couldn’t have been happier to see it! 🙂 What you see below is the official cover art to the much-anticipated sequel to Acacia, Book 1 of The War with the Mein, The Other Lands! 🙂

David told us the following:

I just this morning got something from my editor, and I immediately thought of showing it you guys. You were so kind to Acacia when it came out, and I’m really keen to make sure you and your readers know that the follow up, The Other Lands, is really coming soon! I’m putting the finishing touches on the manuscript right now, but Doubleday has already gone into production on it. Looks like the Sept pub date might really happen. I think the UK and the French won’t be far behind either.

As part of what Dday has been up to, they’ve just shown me the cover! I’ve attached it. You may recognize the cover image from the German edition of Acacia. Strange but true, Doubleday fell in love with it enough that they wanted to do their own version of it for The Other Lands.

So, are you guys ready for that? I know I am! 🙂 The world David created is one of the most vibrant in any epic fantasy novel I’ve ever read, and the characters are so alive that it’s scary (one of them in particular, in fact; remember her?), and if you haven’t yet read Acacia, get to it! 🙂 Here’s the link to my review, and after you’ve read that, you can click on ‘Acacia’ above to order your copy. 🙂 C’mon, you know you want to! 🙂

Here’s the cover:

Book 2 of The Acacia Trilogy

The Other Lands: Book 2 of The Acacia Trilogy

And now for the description – and I’m giving out a spoiler warning here, guys and girls! If you haven’t yet read Acacia, don’t spoil it and read this description of The Other Lands! You have been warned! 🙂

The apocalyptic struggle against the conquering Mein now won, Queen Corinn rules over the Acacian Empire of the Known World with a stern hand—aided by increasing mastery of the occult powers contained in the Book of Elenet. But far across the seas the mysterious inhabitants of the Other Lands seemingly control the fate of her empire—supported as it is by an underground trade in drugs and slaves. When she sends her brother Dariel on a secret mission across the hazardous Grey Slopes to investigate, it begins another cycle of world-shattering and shaping events.

In this bold and imaginative sequel, David Anthony Durham’s epic imagination continues to expand the Known World of the novel into yet undiscovered lands, drawing on a literary tradition that stretches from The Iliad to George R.R. Martin.

Pre-order your copy now! 🙂

Be Fantastic!

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Posted by on February 12, 2009 in Announcements


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An Interview with David Anthony Durham

David Anthony Durham

David Anthony Durham


After David Anthony Durham had graciously agreed to this interview, I thought that I would be able to use the same kind of questions I had used in Peter Brett’s interview, but as I progressed through Acacia I began to realize that the book brought up different questions, so I decided to suit each interview to the book and the author (I’ve seen some interviews in which this doesn’t happen). J Some of the questions will necessarily be the same (I had to say that before I got quoted or something. J), but without any further a-do, here’s the interview:


First off, welcome to the South African fantasy-reading public, David, and thank you for doing this interview! J


My pleasure, Dave. Thanks very much for asking me.


Would you please tell us a bit about yourself?


Hmmm… How about if I avoid a straight biographical answer to that one? The details are out there already, and on my website, etc. So, some other random things about myself…


I’m married to a woman from the Shetland Isles, Gudrun. I have two kids. My daughter, Maya, is eight and an awesome writer. She’s penned several novels already, and they’re actually pretty good. Her artwork is tops, too. My son, Sage, is seven and has an encyclopedic Star Wars memory. He’s especially good with obscure Jedi’s and with identifying alien wildlife…


Me? Well… I tend to put ground hot peppers on just about anything I eat.


I spent four days naked and fasting in the Arizona desert in 1987.


I was once a whitewater raft guide, Outward Bound instructor, rock climber and a pretty keen kayaker as well. I’ve slowed down considerably, but I still get out hiking and camping as often as I can with my family. Actually, as I’m typing this interview we have the car packed up for trip we’ll be taking to Big Sur tomorrow. Camping. Swimming. Cycling. Stories in the tent. Should be good fun.


I used to work in sushi restaurant. My nickname in Japanese translated to “Octopus Head”.


The most important pieces of furniture in my house are my bookshelves (and the books on them).


I should probably mention that I’ve written books before Acacia, three of them, actually: Pride of Carthage, Walk Through Darkness, and Gabriel’s Story. They’re historical, but don’t hold that against them. They’re pretty good, too.


That enough?


Can you please give us a small taster of what readers can expect from ­Acacia?


I hope they’ll find it to be a grown-up fantasy, one that acknowledges the joys of grand adventures in foreign and fantastic lands, while also being about complex characters and nuanced political and social situations. It’s a novel of big power struggles, war and empire and all that, but it’s not the sort of good versus evil story that is a feature of so much fantasy. My bad guys have some very credible grievances; my good guys have centuries worth of blood on their hands. I approached Acacia as if I was writing an historical novel like my third one, Pride of Carthage, with the added fun that it’s an imagined world that includes bizarre beasts and banished sorcerers, ancient curses and warrior princesses, etc.


‘The Known World’ is a vast and beautiful fantasy world; how did you approach the worldbuilding process? Was every region and landscape already clear in your mind’s eye before you began writing?


The details weren’t clear, of course, but the basic layout of the world was. I’d had it in mind for a few years before I began writing it. It was a matter of taking many influences from our own world’s cultures – European, African and Asian, in particular – that I shuffled around and recast. Some of the pieces fell into similar places. Some things took on very different forms.


For example, the Vumu people that live far out on an island archipelago are ethnically kinda like Sri Lankans, but they’re religious practices combine Epic of Gilgamesh-type tales with a certain amount of animal worship, with a bit of West Indian stick fighting as a local custom and a clam farming style from Japan. Oh, and they have problems with giant birds that was inspired by New Zealand’s Haast eagles…


I took a lot of pleasure out of pulling from disparate sources and blending together a world that won’t be entirely alien to readers, but which also provides possibilities different than good old Earth.


Without spoiling anything, can you tell us a bit about the themes you wanted to explore and the concepts (such as good & evil) that you blurred?


I’m not very interested in lily-white good versus night-black evil. I’ve rarely seen the world to work that way, so I’m not inclined to go that direction with my fiction. Instead, I’m all for combining the storytelling tradition of epic fantasy with themes that reflect on very real problems. The plot description of Acacia is that it’s about a four royal siblings who have to rush into hiding when their father’s empire is overthrown. When they mature, they set out to win back the throne and make a better world than either their enemy or their father had made.


That’s the plot. But thematically I’d say Acacia is about questioning the notion of whether benevolent empires are possible. It’s about looking at the ways nations use mythology and selective history to explain away crimes. It’s about a culture that uses a nationally distributed drug to dull the minds of the masses, so they won’t notice that their children are being sent into slavery in foreign lands. It’s about a world in which a few trading conglomerates control just about everything…


Lest that all sound too depressing, it’s also a novel in which idealism does move millions to positive action. It’s very much about recognizing those ills and trying to do something about it.


Oh, did I mention it features mass battlefield nudity? There’s a “theme” in that, too.


Were there times that you had to take a break, such as after some of the more intense scenes in the book, and clear your mind a bit?


Not as much as you might think. In terms of specific scenes, actually writing the “intense” ones doesn’t feel much different than writing quieter scenes. I have to focus on the details, on vibrant descriptions and complex characters and in putting on the page the things I see in my head. That – the craft of it – is where my attention is when I’m writing. But I’m not usually emotionally involved while I’m in the process. That comes later, when I have distance from it.


If there was one character from Acacia that you would not like to run into in a dark alley, who would that be?


Interesting question… It gives me pause because the badass guys in this, guys like Hanish, Maeander, Thasren or Larken know a lot of ways to kill you and they’re not too troubled about doing it. Thing is, there are generally a reason for the things they do, objectives. So if I just ran into one of them in a dark alley it might be no big deal, unless they believed that my ancestors had put that horrible curse on their ancestors, the one that could only be reversed with a certain blood ritual…


Honestly, the scariest person in this book is the one that’s in power at the end. That’s who I wouldn’t want to have any sort of run in with!


Was the character of Igguldan a nod at a certain other writer of historical fiction?


I’d be lying if I said the name wasn’t a variation on Conn Iggulden. I just dug that name, and it felt right as the template for how Aushenian names should sound. On the other, there’s no message or symbolism or anything in the choice. It was just a small moment of petty thievery.


What, if anything, from the writing of your previous novels helped in the writing of Acacia?


Everything. They all build on each other.


Gabriel’s Story was very much about learning to write with landscape as a character. That’s was important in Acacia also, and I certainly used muscles in describing the various landscapes that I first worked out in that first novel.


Walk Through Darkness was about characters trying to live their lives – to love and raise children and dream – in a time when the world is throwing up so many barriers and hurdles. In that novel it was important that I not loose sight of the small desires we all share as humans, even while the characters were racing through dangers pressed upon them by the world. I wanted to do the same in Acacia. My Akaran siblings may be out to capture an empire, but they also have the same sort of internal doubts, memories, insecurities, hopes that we all do. I didn’t want to loose that side of them as characters, even when the world is blowing up around them.


And Pride of Carthage was my big battle novel. Over and over again, I had to find fresh ways to show people dying by the tens of thousands in hand to hand combat. When I began the novel, I wasn’t sure just how I was going to accomplish that. By the end, I realized I’d relied on the characters to see my through it. Lots of different perspectives, lots of different eyes seeing the carnage. That reliance on characters and multiple points of view was something I used in Acacia.


What can we expect from Book 2, The Other Lands?


It obviously includes some sort of voyage to the Other Lands. The League and the Empire’s leadership has an ambitious plan for striking a new trading deal with them, but nothing goes as they intended. Before long there’s a great threat to Acacia awakened than anything Hanish Mein could have thought up. In general… more drama, more adventures, more development of all the main characters, more magic and a lot more strange beasts!


You’ve recently announced that Acacia may be in line to get big-screen treatment; should this happen (and we hope that it does! J) what are your hopes for it, and would you like to be involved in the process of getting it made?


Relativity Media and Michael DeLuca Productions acquired it. I’m very happy about that. We did have another offer at the same time, but DeLuca’s people really got the book and were passionate about it. And Relativity Media doesn’t just snatch up rights because they can (some of the bigger name companies do that, by the way). They buy rights when they believe their going to make the movie. So, all good there. Still a longshot, but a pretty good start, I think.


My hopes for it are that it’ll be huge and awesome and announce an entirely new type for 21st Century epic fantasy film! Do I expect that to happen? Well, no, not really. One can dream, though.


Hey, I’ll be happy if it gets made at all. And I’ll be really happy if it doesn’t suck. As for being involved, I’d rather keep writing my novels. There’s way too much Hollywood voodoo out there. It’s not really a language I speak, and that’s fine with me.


By the way, both Gabriel’s Story and Walk Through Darkness are optioned too. Much more modest hopes for them, but there are good people out there working to get them to the screen, too.


If you could have given yourself one piece of advice with regards to learning the craft of writing back when you were writing your first novel, what would that be?


It’s not exactly a craft thing, but if I could have said something to myself back then I’d have warned myself that everything in publishing takes longer than it should and that that’s not necessarily a bad thing.


I wrote two novels before Gabriel’s Story. I had an agent for them and they got shopped around and rejected all over the place. At the time that was hard to deal with. I so badly wanted to be published, and I thought those books deserved to be. Now, though, looking back, I know that I’m much better off for having begun my career with my third novel. It meant I started with a major publisher, with a top team on my side, and with a book that received great review and award attention. So, those years of early rejection were a blessing, even though I didn’t see that at the time.


Finally, out of all the covers (those that you’ve seen) that have been commissioned for the various editions, is there any one that you think represents your novel better than the others? Were you able to offer any input in the selection of the covers?


About the only input I had is that I mentioned that the Akaran royal flag included a silhouette of an acacia tree. There you go. That’s the extent of it. The reality of being with a publisher as big as Doubleday (Random House) is that they’re professionals and have many, many professionals working for them in all categories. I may be a professional writer, but I’m not a professional artist or designer. So I’m pretty happy to let them take care of that.


To answer your question…


Well, I can’t. There are things in all of them that capture different aspects of the book. The French cover may be the most on topic; it has the acacia tree and the looming signs of armies massed for battle. But the German cover has such a magnificent sense of awe and exoticness to it; I want to go to that city and walk those streets! The Italian cover is totally different yet again, but it suggests an old, dark, tragic and kinda classic story. I love that about it. I like the crisp images on the UK cover, and the wacky feel of the Numreks marching on the Swedish cover… I know some hard core fantasy fans didn’t think the US cover was “fantasy” enough, but I’ve always liked it. In particular, I like the feel of the book when you actually have it in your hand, and can touch the raised lettering and shiny bits, etc.


I guess I’m easy to please.


Thank you, David, for a wonderful book! Now go and finish Book 2! J


Okay. I will.


Acacia Book 1 of The War with the Mein Uk Cover

Acacia Book 1 of The War with the Mein Uk Cover


Posted by on August 20, 2008 in Interviews


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Acacia – David Anthony Durham

As I type this, it is the 14th of August, and on the evening of the 12th, at around ten minutes to one (yes, it was early morning), I finally read the last sentence of Acacia and closed the book. Setting it aside was both a relief and a chore, and not for the reasons you might think.


I remember sitting there, smoking a cigarette, thinking, David, that’s not fair, not fair at all! How can you give us a novel like this and then expect us to have to wait to read the next book? I laughed at myself and realized that I’m not the only one who had this reaction, and knew that David Anthony Durham had accomplished exactly what he wanted to accomplish; he had written a book that people would not stop thinking about when they set it down.


(And I now find myself in a quandary; I now have The Painted Man and Acacia filling my head! J)


Acacia ­revolves around the story of the Akaran’s, being King Leodan (Bitter but resolved to right ancient wrongs), and his children, Aliver (oldest son and next in line for the throne), Corinn (oldest daughter and stunningly beautiful), Mena (Youngest daughter and most emotionally sensitive) and Darian (Youngest son). The Akaran dynasty has been in control of Acacia (which is situated on an island) and the surrounding lands for centuries, having subdued the weaker cultures that live on the mainland by means both fair and foul, but they are all in for a surprise: the Akaran’s ancient enemy, the Meins (who were exiled to the far north of the continent) have plans to take vengeance on the ruling family. It is the story of how these plans unfold and affect the central characters that the book is about. 


As I’m sure others had found during and after reading Acacia, Durham’s first fantasy novel is an intense read; this is no sit-back-and-drift read, but I say this with admiration. Durham draws us in emotionally, using characterization and POV so well that you feel what the characters are feeling, and since this novel revolves around the terrible affliction of war and the pain and confusion that spring from it, you end up feeling battered and bruised and elated and teary-eyed, laughing out loud when the characters do and gritting your teeth in determination as the characters are. I can honestly say that I have never been so exhausted by a novel, and this is especially strange for me because of the fact that I enjoyed it so much. J


That being said, Durham also knows how to write battle scenes, scenes filled with romance, humour, tragedy (especially after a shocking act in the third chapter) and sheer wonder. The ways in which Durham uses the fantasy staples of epic battles, the progress toward one’s destiny, and magic are new and refreshingly unique, and one of the many things that Durham does incredibly well is blur the lines between good and evil – every character has a bad and a good side, some of the good ones show their true colours and the bad ones make us wonder at our own misconceptions of what we have been raised to know is evil. I can’t help but think that Acacia is going to become one of the truly excellent fantasy books of this generation, but Durham has his work cut out for him for sure; after starting with such a powerful opener, he’s got to have some incredible things planned for Book 2, ­The Other Lands. I don’t think he will disappoint, though. J


I almost wish that these authors would give us a break sometimes! Erikson, Brooks, Jordan, Brett, Martin, Durham; hell, how many writers are we going to get hooked on?! J



Acacia UK Edition Cover

Acacia UK Edition Cover


And now, go and check out David’s website! 🙂


Posted by on August 15, 2008 in Reviews


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It’s all starting to pay off. :-)

Man, what a pleasure these past two days have been. 🙂 The first lot of good news is that I’ve finally sent off my interview questions to David Anthony Durham and Dr. Ben Bova, and also that I’ve completed my review of Durham’s Acacia. (Which will be going up in my next post. 🙂 )

More good news: I’ve had the good fortune of hearing about a young South Africa guy who managed to get his Sci-Fi novel published with the SA-arm of the Penguin Group, and trust me when I say that this is incredibly good news! I’m going to be recieving the manuscript in a few weeks (thank you Penguin), and I’ll give it a read; if his novel can break into the industry here, it’ll blow the doors wide open for SA genre writers! (And that is also good news for your’s truly, since I’m writing my own fantasy trilogy. :-)) Obviously, it has to be a good, engaging story, but that aside, just getting it published here already bodes well; so hold thumbs! 🙂

And finally: I have to thank the following publishers – Jonathan Ball, Penguin, and Random House – and the wonderful people that work there -Elmarie and Louise, Sonja, and Emily – for helping me with proof copies and getting this blog (and the next bit of news I’ll be blogging about) off the ground. Without you guys, I would never have been able to organize the interviews with Peter Brett, Jo Graham, Ben Bova and David Anthony Durham and get this off the ground –

 – which brings me to this: the company that I work for, Fascination Books, has recently gone live with an incredible online store, and I now have my own page there, called ‘A Word with Dave’. It’s aimed at the SA fantasy & sci-fi reading market, but all book-related news will be going in there (something I don’t think any SA company has ever tried to do before), so thanks to the MD, Mr. A, the man who runs the website (Mr. D) and the marketing man, Mr. C, as well as all the authors who have not given me a choice! 🙂 Hehe! I mean, how could I not want to talk about these amazing books? 🙂

Here’s the link to Fascination Books; go check it out – you’ll be amazed at what we have!

And go do yourself a favour and check out Peter Brett’s blog, Pepphole; there’s a priceless photo of him reading The Warded Man (which can be pre-ordered here and here ) to his baby girl. 🙂

If you can’t find the link to Peter’s website on the right, here it is:

So there we go, all the good news! 🙂

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Posted by on August 15, 2008 in Announcements


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A short but cool update.

First off, I’m still patiently waiting for Peter Brett to email me the anwers to the interview questions I sent him. 🙂 I cannot blame or fault him – after all, Cassandra must be keeping her parents pretty busy. 🙂 But once again, I’ll have that up here as soon as I get it back from him.

Next up, I finished reading Acacia last night – WOW! There I was, half-past nine in the evening, thinking I was going to sit down and read two or three chapters before climbing in next to my girlfriend (from here on, I’ll refer to her by her name, which is just fair – Leana)… but do you think that happened? Ohhh no, because Mr Durham wrote such a bloody good book that I sat there reading for four hours and twenty minutes until I finished it! 🙂 Every chapter ended with such a damn cliff-hangeresque sentence that I had to carry on reading! 🙂 Anyway, I’ll be sending David the questions for his interview tomorrow, and I’ll post my review here tomorrow. 🙂

And tomorrow will also be the day that I’m sending Dr. Ben Bova his interview questions, so hopefully I get those back ASAP, which will be incredible. It’s amazing (and stunning) to think that I’ll have such a legend on this blog!

Okay, so that’s the update. 🙂

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Posted by on August 12, 2008 in Announcements


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Exciting Announcements!

Today was a very good day!

I emailed around seven or eight authors today (trying to set up interviews), and got three replies; one from an email that I sent last week, and two from emails I sent today.

The first reply came from Jo Graham, author of Black Ships, agreeing to the interview! So now I’ve got to finish Acacia, get that review and the interview with David Durham done and posted, and then read Black Ships so I can get that review and interview posted. 🙂

The second reply came from none other that one of the most legendary and influential figures in SF ever, Dr. Ben Bova! He kindly agreed to an interview (gave me a date that would suit him), so you can all expect that soon, too. 🙂

The third reply came from Shawn Speakman, and if you don’t know who that is, go check out; Shawn’s the head honcho there, and a published author in his own right. I posted a question on the ‘Ask Terry’ portion of the site, querying the possibility of an interview with Terry Brooks, and Shawn replied and laid out for me what I need to do, so hold thumbs for that!

Other news: I’ve queried a few authors for interviews, not all of which will be posted on this blog (some authors write in genres other than SF & Fantasy), but as soon as I’ve got confirmation of the interviews (and the reviews (if any) that precede them) I’ll let you all know here.

Suffice it to say that things are picking up speed here folks!

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Posted by on August 6, 2008 in Announcements


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