Monday, August 09, 2010

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 8/7

Hey, it's Monday again! I may still be asleep as this posts, since I'm expecting to be out late at a concert on Sunday night, but don't let that stop any of you from being busy and productive on this lovely Monday morning. (Or from slacking off and wasting time on the Internet, which is what you're actually doing if you're reading this.)

As always, this post goes up early Monday morning and covers the books that came in my mail last week. I haven't read any of those books yet, but I can describe them and talk about them in general terms, in hopes of sparking interest from some of you. When I started doing "Reviewing the Mail," I had a steady flow of books, which peaked sometime last year but has ebbed somewhat since. (It's particularly ebbed recently, probably because of the No One In Publishing Gets Anything Done In The Summer effect, which I've noticed in my own career.)

Anyway, here's what we have this week:

The paperback edition of Terry Goodkind's contemporary thriller, The Law of Nines, which is being published by Jove on August 31. I wrote a little about the interesting story behind Goodkind's jump to Penguin Putnam (parent company of Jove) a few months back, and about his subsequent jump back to Tor, which "discovered" him and built him up into a bestseller with the "Sword of Truth" books -- and I also wrote a few little, mostly quizzical, pieces about Law of Nines as it was sold and marketed and published. But I've never actually read Law of Nines -- which takes place, as I understand it, entirely in our world, but has a female character who claims to come from a world where magic works, and has had evil forces from that world following her -- so I can't speak to the story on any level. (It sounds like a book somewhere in a broad territory outlined by Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and Peter Straub -- probably more towards the Koontz sector of that map.) But it's been no secret that Goodkind felt uncomfortable in the fantasy genre and perhaps constrained by the "Sword of Truth" series -- and writers have been dealing with their series characters being more popular than the author since Arthur Conan Doyle, at least -- and that he saw Law of Nines as a chance to try something new and break away from that "fantasy writer" perception. It didn't quite happen with the hardcover of Law of Nines, and Goodkind is already tacking somewhat back to fantasy with his new Tor deal, but it would be ironic if Law of Nines found a massive non-fantasy audience for him in this edition. Since I love irony -- and since I always want to see books succeed -- I'm rooting for that to happen.

The Ragged Man is the fourth book in Tom Lloyd's "Twilight Reign" series, and the giant scary dragon on the cover (another fine piece of Todd Lockwood art) is your signal that this book is unabashed about falling into the epic fantasy genre. I haven't been reading this series, so I can't give you much detail on the doings of Lord Isak, Kastan Styrax, King Emin, and the Farlan -- but I can find those names on the back cover and pretend that I know something. Ragged Man will be published by Pyr in trade paperback on August 17.

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