People who know me know that I am a giant nerd. My friends know this. My colleagues here at Penguin know this. In fact, I think it would be safe to say, given my career path, that I’m a professional nerd. And nothing makes a professional nerd happier than a weekend when not one but two of her favorite fandoms collide. Thus it was with great joy that I greeted the return of both Doctor Who and Game of Thrones on television this past weekend. Yes, I know my joy will be short-lived; both of these shows have notoriously short seasons, and – in the case of Doctor Who – often go on a ridiculously long hiatus mid-season. (Seriously, BBC, what is up with that?) If you’re at all like me, you grok that even waiting a week between episodes can be torture. How, then, does a nerd kill time until the next episode of Doctor Who or Game of Thrones? If you’re lucky enough to work for one of the largest publishing companies on the planet – like I do! – you just might have a lot of nerdy editor pals offering book recommendations.
For all of you Doctor Who fans, we have a couple of books filled with wibbly wobbly timey wimey goodness:
Doctor Who: Shada by Gareth Roberts is based on the screenplay of an un-aired episode of Doctor Who written by the late, great Douglas Adams. Shada was originally intended to wrap up Season 17 (that would be the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker’s incarnation, for those keeping score) but a strike at BBC kept the episode from being completed. The storyline is considered Doctor Who canon, however. And props to Roberts, who does a superb job of keeping the tone of Douglas Adams’ original screenplay. For the avid Doctor Who fan, Doctor Who: Shada is a must-read.
Our second recommendation, Doctor Who: Wheel of Ice, is an all-original story by award-winning science fiction writer Stephen Baxter, and features the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton’s incarnation) and fan-favorite companions Jamie and Zoe (what, you thought only the Eleventh Doctor traveled with couples?). Wheel of Ice takes place on a giant ring of ice and metal orbiting Saturn, where children mine resources for a greedy Earth. Like every good Doctor Who story, there’s more here than meets the eyes, and the Doctor uncovers a mystery that harkens back to the creation of the solar system itself. (Come on, you KNOW you want to read this!)
Game of Thrones more your style? Lots of swords and beheadings and grubby soldiers? The occasional woman disguised as a man, battling at the front? Exiled princes struggling to regain a throne? Lots of mead drinking and fisticuffs in taverns? The rise and fall of entire kingdoms? Yeah, we got the good stuff right here:
Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire series – Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns and the forthcoming Emperor of Thorns – tells the tale of young Prince Honorious Jorg Ancrath. As a nine-year-old, Jorg is forced to watch a rival slaughter his family; by the time he is thirteen, he is the ruthless and amoral leader of a band of feared mercenaries. But his ultimate goal (like any good exiled royal!) is to retake his throne and wreak bloody vengeance on the men who destroyed his family. Lawrence offers up strong world building, memorable characters and an intense read; perfect for George R.R. Martin fans.
Want more epic with your fantasy? In Morgan Rhodes’ Falling Kingdoms, the murder of a young winemaker inadvertently leads to a series of events that threaten to topple three kingdoms and destroy a peace that has lasted for centuries. Written for younger readers, Falling Kingdoms is nevertheless an enjoyable read for adult fantasy fans, particularly fans of GRRM and Brandon Sanderson.
Want less magic and more history? Canadian bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay’s latest book River of Stars offers readers a breathtaking epic set in a richly reimagined Song Dynasty China. (Check out this amazing review in the Washington Post!)
In case those weren’t enough, here are some forthcoming titles to watch out for, too!
The City by Stella Gemmell: Stella Gemmell proves that she’s a worthy successor to her late husband David Gemmell in this extraordinary debut novel. (I was totally blown away by this book. This is some seriously dark epic fantasy.) Pubs on June 4, 2013.
The Thousand Names: Book One of the Shadow Campaigns by Django Wexler: Another fantastic debut novel, and one that has become an in-house favorite. (Don’t tell Rosanne that I stole a copy of this galley out of her office, okay?) Pubs on July 2, 2013.
The Grim Company by Luke Scull: Picture the Magnificent Seven set in an epic fantasy world. (Dude, just trust me on this.) Pubs on September 3, 2013.
Good reading, everyone!
- Colleen Lindsay