Next week, our next entry in the Foreworld SideQuests will be released (on March 19th; click on the cover if you’d like to go pre-order it now). It’s the first post-Medieval era story, set in Spain during the 1520s, and it inaugurates our Renaissance era stories. I know this is quite a jump from the mid-1200s, but after the release of the third book of The Mongoliad, we wanted to make it abundantly clear we were going to branch out into other eras, and oh boy, but do we with The Book of Seven Hands.
It’s written by Barth Anderson, who is a new name for Foreworld, but he’s been blogging about the food and agriculture industries for several years and he’s quite an accomplished novelist in his own right. You should check out his author page for more information.
As for The Book of Seven Hands, here’s the promo text.
Expert swordsmen Basilio and Alejo have one last mission before they go their separate ways: they must recover their teacher Don Manuel’s ancient fighting manual and take it to remote Cataluña in order to have it translated by the famous alchemist Paracelsus. Unbeknownst to them, however, Don Manuel has been murdered, and a host of powerful forces has come looking for the coveted book – everyone from old lovers and lifelong archenemies to the King’s assassin, and the Spanish Inquisition.
The adventures of Basilio and Alejo usher in a new era of adventures in Foreworld, one wherein the Shield-Brethren, the fabled warrior monks of the medieval era, have been stricken from history. Old traditions are threatened and long-standing secrets are in danger of being revealed.
The first volume of The Mongoliad has been selling well, and we’re coming up on the release of the second volume (as well as the hardback release of both Book One and Book Two). This is as good a time as any to run through the reviews that were written about Book One.
- Blogcritics: “The characters are intriguing, the plots interesting and complex without being convoluted, and the fighting and descriptions of battle scenes realistic and exciting while not shirking from describing the more brutal truths of the horrible things humans are capable of doing to each other. In other words this has all the characteristics of being a must-read series in the making.”
- Fanboycomics.net: “Think Lord of the Rings without all that pesky fantasy. Group A tries to walk and ride from here to there. Along the way, interesting things happen. In this case, group A is an order of knights who are, perhaps, the best fighters of the European style. Here is Europe, and there is the seat of the Mongolian Empire. Why is to assassinate the most powerful man in the world. Along the way is a tremendously good read.”
- Great Geek Manual: “. . . expect a long, richly detailed read fraught with nerd-worthy minutia, protracted exposition, and action sequences that read like they were shot in bullet-time. In short, this is historical fiction for geeks and nerds.”
- io9: “The first book to come out of the app that Stephenson and friends created in 2010, this off-beat alternate history of Eurasia could be your new obsession.”
- Kirkus Reviews: “The Mogoliad was born as a community-driven, enhanced serial novel set in the year 1241, when only a small band of warriors and mystics stood between Europe and the Mongol Horde. But don’t let its unconventional beginnings steer you wrong; this story is pure adventure, with much swordplay and swashbuckling.”
- Locus: “As it stands, the book itself is a romp through this thinly fictional historic period, one that is full of well-described swordplay and richly imagined characters. The transitions between the voices of Bear, Teppo, deBirmingham, Bear (again), Brassey, and Moo is seamless. The Mongoliad: Book One feels like the start of a truly epic adventure.”
- Publishers Weekly: “An outstanding historical epic with exceptional character development and vivid world building… In addition to the heroic battles—including swordfights, archery, wrestling, and martial arts—romance, political intrigue, and promises of betrayal and rebellion are suffused throughout this cinematic tale.”
- Shelf Awareness: “. . . individual chapters crackle with a fast-paced energy, particularly the vigorous action scenes.”
- Tor.com: “The pacing is taut throughout, and as befits the original serialized format, each chapter ends with a solid hook that pulls the reader along swiftly to the next part of the story. And unsurprisingly, given the book’s origins in the study of pre-Renaissance fighting techniques, the fight scenes in particular are written exceptionally well, with a clarity and subtlety missing from just about every other representation of medieval warfare in prose or on film.”
Speaking of the hardcover release, here is the final cover for Book One.
Well, almost final. It’s missing the mention that there are a dozen plus character illustrations by Mike Grell.