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Launch Day – Thirteen Years Later by Jasper Kent

When you walk into your favourite bookstore in the UK, THIS should be on the shelves; Jasper Kent‘s latest novel!

That’s right, the sequel to the excellent Twelve, the second book in the Danilov Quintet, is officially available today!

Here’s some info about the book:

“As the name suggests, the story picks up in 1825, with Aleksei now a colonel and his son, Dmitry, about to leave home. But even Dmitry cannot escape his father’s past.”

Hopefully I’ll be getting my paws on the book soon, and I promise to have a review for you shortly thereafter (looking forward to it like you won’t believe!). If you’d like to order the book online, click here for Amazon UK.

Here’s a video for you, too, with Jasper talking about Thirteen Years Later (courtesy of John Jarrold):

And don’t forget, the book that started it all, Twelve, is up against a contender in the Fourth Annual BSC Review Book Tournament! You have until 8PM tonight to vote for Twelve and ensure that it makes it through to the next round! 🙂

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2010 in Announcements

 

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DON’T Read Thirteen Years Later by Jasper Kent!

Why? Well, for a very good reason. 🙂

You see, BSC is running the Fourth Annual BSC Review Book Tournament, and Jasper‘s excellent debut, Twelve (reviewed here) is up against Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins for votes; the books are matched up against each other, and are voted upon, with the winner making it to the next round. 🙂

(You thought I was going to suddenly viciously turn on Twelve and Jasper, didn’t you? ;-))

Voting begins on the morning of March 18 and closes at 8PM EST (midnight GMT) – that means that you need to get your votes in ASAP! 🙂 And it goes without saying that I’ll be voting for Twelve. 🙂

And when you’ve voted, go out and pick up your copy of Thirteen Years Later (which is being released, incidentaly, tomorrow!). 🙂 I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy, and as soon as I do I’ll have a review for you (well, a couple of hours later, that is). 🙂

Be sure to get your votes in! 🙂

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2010 in Announcements

 

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Release Day: Twelve by Jasper Kent in Paperback!

As reported here by Jasper Kent’s agent, John Jarrold, the mass market paperback edition of Twelve (Bantam UK) is officially available!

Twelve was the second best-selling Trade Paperback of 2008, beaten by some other book, and I’m sure that it’ll do even better in paperback! 2010 will be a huge year for Jasper, because the sequel to Twelve, Thirteen Years Later, will be hitting the shelves in March, and there’s no doubt that it’s one of 2010’s most anticipated titles! Check out the excellent cover art below:

So make your way down to your nearest book shop – there should be plenty of copies covering the shelves! 🙂 If you like ordering your copies online, here are the links you’ll need:

Amazon UK; and Kalahari for South African readers. The book will be on shelves in Exclusive Books in a matter of weeks, so be sure to pre-order your copies in-store. 🙂

Check out my review of Twelve here, and when you’ve picked up your copy, check the inside cover; you’ll know what I’m pretty damn chuffed today. 🙂

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2010 in Announcements

 

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John Jarrold’s Corner: Cover Art and Twelve News!

Hey Guys and Girls, here’s some news from your favourite agent and mine – John Jarrold! He’s got the beautiful cover of Robert VS Redick’s second novel for us, and some news about Jasper Kent’s Twelve! 🙂

The Rats and the Ruling Sea, Book 2 of the The Chathrand Voyage, will be available in the UK and in the Commonwealth in August! I’ve yet to read Book 1, The Red Wolf Conspiracy, but after reading the first chapter it’ll definitely jump to the top of my TBR list! 🙂

The Rats and the Ruling Sea

The Rats and the Ruling Sea

And in news about Jasper Kent’s excellent historical horror, Twelve:

Jasper Kent’s TWELVE, published in trade paperback by Bantam UK in January, is now number 11 on Borders UK’s overall paperback fiction bestseller list – many congratulations, Jasper!

This is even more impressive because it is competing directly with every recently-published – and much cheaper – mass-market paperback title, sale for sale.

This is wonderful news for Jasper and John! 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2009 in John Jarrold's Corner

 

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An Interview with Jasper Kent

Hey all, received this yesterday already, but my net-connection was giving me some uphill, so I’m posting it today. 🙂

Jasper Kent

Jasper Kent

Welcome to the South African SFF scene, Jasper! 🙂 First of all, will you please tell us a bit about yourself – the Jasper Kent that we readers don’t know?

I trained as a physicist, I work as a software consultant and my ambition has always been to be a composer. Also, I keep rats.

Can you share with us what the spark or collection of ideas was that led to Twelve?

I think it was a copy of the painting of Napoleon on the Pont d’Arcole by Baron Gros. I’d just put it up on my wall when the idea first came to me. Bonaparte looks somewhat drawn and wan in it, and I think that was what gave me the idea of Napoleonic vampires.

My first thought was to do something set in Spain, after many of the Sharpe novels, but I was also reading The Brothers Karamazov at the time, so that’s what brought Russia to mind.

Also, somewhere at the back of my mind was a story from the comic 2000AD called Fiends on the Eastern Front, which was about vampires in the Second World War. I haven’t consciously taken anything directly from that, but I think the idea of vampires in wartime has stuck with me since I read that (many years ago).

Can you give a snap-shot of what a general writing-day is like for you?

I usually get to my desk about nine and start by going through email and anything else I can find to waste my time. I’ll usually start writing about eleven. If I haven’t got going then I’ll break for lunch, but if I’m firing on all cylinders I’ll carry on straight through till about eight or nine at night, perhaps later. On a bad day, I’ll usually be happy if I get 3000 words done, but sometimes I can churn out as many as 6000-7000.

Twelve is replete with the vivid imagery that fills Russia – how did your trip go, and were there any funny or strange incidents that occurred while you were there?

I’d actually already completed Twelve before I went to Russia, though I did have time to do some redrafting based on what I’d learned. Ideally, I’d prefer to visit a location both before and after writing, but visiting afterwards allows me to be very specific about checking details. Moreover, it meant I could do some research for the sequel in advance.

Perhaps the most unusual fact about the trip was that I travelled out there all the way from England by train. There were various reasons for the choice, but one was to get a clearer impression of just how far Moscow is from Western Europe, and the journey that the French had to cover. I was in Warsaw less than a day after setting off, and yet the journey still wasn’t at its halfway mark.

The really strange thing about the journey was the fact that Russia and Belarus have a different gauge for the rails from the west. You might think that at the changeover in Brest, the easiest thing would be simply for the passenger to get off one train and onto another. Instead, they split up the train carriages and roll them all into a shed where the wagons are jacked up off the old bogies, the new ones are slid under and the wagon is lowered down again. And all this with the passengers still in the carriage! I’m glad I was forewarned.

In general, both Moscow and Petersburg were fascinating, though both have been through a lot in the last two centuries, so one has to be careful not to confuse what is and what was. Having said that, since the end of the Soviet Union there has been a lot of restoration done, often with whole buildings being recreated as they originally were.

There was one slightly spooky thing that happened while I was in Moscow. While I was in the hotel restaurant one evening, I noticed I young lady sitting at the bar, chatting up another, male guest. Since she was Russian and he was Belgian, their only common language was English, so I was quite able to eavesdrop. She was quite obviously a hooker, and so it was surprising that she was allowed to operate in a 3-star hotel. But the odd thing that I realized when they had gone was that, though I only saw her from the back, from that angle her description exactly matched that of Domnikiia, most notably the long, dark brown hair. Read Twelve to understand just how eerie that is.

What were the themes you wanted to explore in Twelve, and were these themes there from the beginning or did some of them grow out of telling the tale?

When I started writing, the biggest thematic idea I had was the idea that if you recruit soldiers to your cause who have no ideological reason for fighting with you, then once the battle is won, they may turn on you. At the time I was particularly thinking of how the Mujahedin, whom the USA encouraged to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, to a degree transformed into Al-Qaeda. Whilst that feature of the plot is obviously there, I quickly gave up any attempt to press the analogy.

Ultimately, the key theme can be summed up in a single word – faith. This really came along quite late on. Although there are plenty of elements that relate to it in the plot, it only became crystallized in my mind as a major topic after an early conversation between Aleksei and Maks on the subject.

The other big theme is one that I can’t sum up in a single word, or even a phrase – so much for being a writer – and anyway, I’m not going to tell you what it is, because it would give too much away for those yet to read it.

What, in your opinion, is the fascination with supernatural beings? Immortality? A suspension of morals?

I think it is a suspension of morals, but not in an entirely obvious way. Essentially, I think that all horror – books and movies – is black comedy, and the skill is to make sure that nobody laughs (unless you intend them to – League of Gentlemen, Theatre of Blood etc.). But ultimately, nobody is expected to take it seriously – or at least to take the events themselves seriously. If you write about horrific events that are or could be real – serial killers and so forth – then you have to be much more careful about not doing anything that’s in bad taste or exploitative. Let’s face it; this is just entertainment.

Thus, I think, the use of supernatural beings allows me as an author to feel safe that the reader is suspending judgment on my own morals. Nobody is going to wonder if there is any germ of reality in the less salubrious characters I write. I think it’s similar to the reasons we tell children supernatural fairytales, not real ones.

Twelve is written in Aleksei’s voice – when writing in the first-person, have you ever found that your voice comes through more than the character’s voice?

I’m not too worried about that. Aleksei is a much bolder character than I am, so if I were to come through, it would be in Aleksei NOT doing something or NOT saying something – and that’s fairly easy to fix. Occasionally, perhaps, Aleksei does think a little too much, where others in his place would act, but that all adds to his character. Generally, if I had something to say, I’d get Maks’ to say it.

From your point of view, what is the greatest aspect of storytelling? And are there any real story-tellers left?

Before I started writing, I always thought it a bit strange when some authors, discussing their work, dwelt on this aspect of ‘storytelling’, but now I realize that, at least for my style of writing, storytelling is the key thing. Fundamentally, I’m not trying to say ‘here’s an interesting character’ or ‘this is a troublesome moral dilemma’, but ‘here’s an unusual thing that happened to some people.’ Once I’ve got the reader’s attention with that, with the desire to know what happened next, then I’ve got a framework from which I can hang all those other important things such as character and philosophy. Of course, that’s not the only way to write, but it’s how I do it.

Philip Pullman is the name that jumps to mind when thinking of a great, contemporary storyteller – also Boris Akunin. There are dozens of others too.

How is work progressing on the sequel to Twelve, Thirteen Years Later? And will it have anything to do with the Decembrist Revolt?

An early draft of Thirteen Years Later has just gone into the publishers, so I’m bracing myself to react with calmness and reason to suggested changes. And yes, as the name suggests, it’s set in 1825, which saw two major historical events in Russia: the death of Tsar Alexander I and the Decembrist Uprising against his successor. Aleksei manages to be involved in both.

And if Twelve could be described in a word as being about faith, then Thirteen Years Later is about resurrection.

Finally, any words of advice for aspiring writers? For instance, if you could go back to yourself at the beginning and say…?

I don’t think there’s much, if anything, I’d tell myself to do differently. I started writing seriously five years ago, and now I have a novel about to be published, so I can’t really complain, or wish I’d done it another way.

The only advice I’d give, is to pick and choose from the advice you’re given. I do some things that other authors have suggested if they feel like they’ll work for me, ignore others, and make a lot of it up for myself.

Thanks, Jasper, for taking the time to answer these questions, and we all wish you continued and greater success with Twelve and all your future projects! 🙂

Twelve

Twelve

For more info on Jasper and Twelve, go to Jasper’s official website, and read my review of Twelve. 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2008 in Interviews

 

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Review: Twelve – Jasper Kent

Twelve

Twelve

I finished this book two days ago, and I’m only posting the review now because we seem to have used up our bandwidth at home for the month. 🙂

First off, I thouroughly enjoyed this book! I’ve never read any of Jasper’s novels before, and honestly, when Emily at Random House SA sent the first ARC through I gave it to one of my friends – he’s a huge fan of historical fiction and holds in high esteem the likes of Iggulden and Durham, and I had lots of Fantasy and Sci-Fi novels to get through, but when the second ARC arrived, I thought, Well, this means I have to read it! I’m a big believer in events that are fated to happen, and I’m pretty sure the reading of Twelve was one of them. 🙂

Twelve follows the story of Aleksei, a soldier-spy in the Russian army, who, together with three long-time friends and comrades, does the work behind the scenes that slow down entire armies. Russia is threatened by the invading forces of Napoleon, and Dmitry, the man who once saved Aleksei’s life, brings help – the Oprichniki, a group of Twelve mercenaries that have been hired to help sabotage Napoleon’s advance. As the Twelve begin to do their thing, Aleksei begins to realize -at great cost- that perhaps their methods are overkill, and that there is indeed something… different, about them.

This novel is incredibly atmospheric – while I was reading, I was in the bitter cold of Russia; I could envision every poor tree, every strecth of ground, and even Moscow itself bloomed before me with its unique architecture and thriving citizens. Travelling with the characters was not only a journey with vibrant personalities, but also a tour of Russia as it must have been in 1812, and it seems strange that I don’t have any photos to prove that I was there. 🙂

The characters themselves are great, especially Aleksei (Lyosha) and and certain female friend – we get many different views into the mulitudes of people that must exist anywhere. We get to know soldiers, prostitutes, bakers, traitors, patriots and many others, and the able way in which Aleksei giudes us through the events that change his life leave us knowing him; he truly lives, and he has the faults and quirks and fears to prove it. His comrades, Maks, Vadim and Dmitry are all different sides of the same coin – Maks is an idealist, a man of great courage and insight; Vadim is the official leader of the group, and Dmitry is the man who means well, but, as always… You get what I mean. 🙂

And the Twelve? Well, as soon as we meet them, the menace-factor rises; from then on, each journey is made with the feeling of watching eyes, and as Aleksei learns about the true nature of the Twelve, you can’t help cheering him on and wanting to run in terror at the same time! 🙂 And then I’m not even talking about the twist at the end…!

All in all, this is great genre-spiltting novel – I haven’t researched the historical events in the novel, but other reviews have spoken of them being correct according to the records, and the horrific elements truly make your skin crawl. I’m definately looking forward to the sequel, provisionally titled ‘Thirteen Years Later’. 🙂

Oh, and as a small taster, let me leave you with this: the Twelve have the Russian-styled names of the Twelve Apostles… 🙂

8/10

For more info on Jasper Kent and his work, and to see photos of his trip to Russia, follow this link to his website. 🙂

P.S. Look out for my interview with Jasper soon. 🙂

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2008 in Reviews

 

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It’s been a slowww week…

Hey all, this’ll be my attepmt to add something at least moderately interesting to your week. 🙂

First of all, I’ve got about 50 pages left of Jasper Kent’s Twelve – very cool book, and I’ll have my review for it up soon (and then an interview with Jasper, too, a bit later). 🙂

Saw this on Pat’s blog today, and in keeping with bloggers being interviewed, Pat’s got a link of an interview that was done with him in September – well worth a read, and it’s great to hear that Pat isn’t just a blogger, but a writer, too… 🙂

Also, I received news from Penguin yesterday that the ARC’s and samples they have for me have been sent off, so I’ll have a few book-porn (absolutely love that term!) pics up soon, and hopefully Del Rey’s marketing people will be in contact with me soon, but more on that project a bit later. 🙂

Also, Malazan Audio Update: I bought a new mic yesterday, and it works like a dream – I actually felt like tossing the three mics I was using before, but then the karaoke parties may become a thing of the past! Hehehe! I swear it’s true, I sing a kickass ‘My Way’. 🙂 Anyway, the audio is crisp and wonderful, and I’m hoping to make this little project the big step in getting Steven Erikson’s work recorded as audio books! 🙂 Got a few publishers who are interested in hearing it, too. 🙂

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2008 in Announcements

 

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