To close out my week of guest blogging here at Jo Fletcher Books, I wanted to take a look at the debuts Jo has lined up for us in the first six months of 2013. With novels ranging from mythical fantasy to genetic modification science fiction and settings inspired by cultures all over the world, we can look forward to an interesting crop of debut novelists in the next few months.
Amish – The Immortals of Meluha (January 3rd 2013)
1900 BC: the once-proud Suryavanshi rulers of the Meluha Empire are in dire peril. The empire’s primary river, the Saraswathi, is slowly drying up. There are devastating terrorist attacks from the east, the land of the Chandravanshis – and to make matters worse, the Chandravanshis appear to have allied with the Nagas, an ostracised race of deformed humans with astonishing martial skills.
The only hope for the Suryavanshis is an ancient prophecy: when evil reaches epic proportions and all seems lost, a hero will emerge . . .
First up is Amish’s The Immortals of Meluha. A runaway success in his home country India, this first book in the Shiva trilogy sounds fascinating, not just because of its unfamiliar settings, but because of its mythological roots and philosophical exploration of the nature of evil. And as a bonus, the second book in the trilogy, The Secret of the Nagas is due to be published soon after on April 25th.
Naomi Foyle – Seoul Survivors (February 28th 2013)
A meteor known as Lucifer’s Hammer is about to wreak destruction on the earth, and with the end of the world imminent, there is only one safe place to be.
In the mountains above Seoul, American-Korean bio-engineer Dr Kim Da Mi thinks she has found the perfect solution to save the human race. But her methods are strange and her business partner, Johnny Sandman, is not exactly the type of person anyone would want to mix with.
Drawn in by their smiles and pretty promises, Sydney – a Canadian model trying to escape an unhappy past – is an integral part of their scheme, until she realises that the quest for perfection comes at an impossible price.
This standalone cyber-thriller is set in a near-future Seoul, which already gives it a head start in the unique setting stakes. On the author’s website mention is made of a revolutionary gaming theme park, colluding arch enemies and a world in eco-collapse threatened by an impending meteor strike. Colour me intrigued.
Stephanie Saulter – Gemsigns (June 6th 2013)
For years the human race was under attack from a deadly Syndrome, but when a cure was found – in the form of genetically engineered human beings, Gems – the line between survival and ethics was radically altered.
Now the Gems are fighting for their freedom, from the oppression of the companies that created them, and against the Norms who see them as slaves. And a conference at which Dr Eli Walker has been commissioned to present his findings on the Gems is the key to that freedom.
But with the Gemtech companies fighting to keep the Gems enslaved, and the horrifying godgangs determined to rid the earth of these ‘unholy’ creations, the Gems are up against forces that may just be too powerful to oppose.
I love books that pose these kinds of ethical questions; when is a being human, how do we treat those who are Other? Stephanie Saulter’s Gemsigns sounds like it has some fascinating answers and a great future setting as well. This is definitely one novel I’m looking forward to.
Snorri Kristjansson – The Swords of Good Men (June 6th 2013)
To Ulfar Thormodsson, the Viking town of Stenvik is the penultimate stop on a long journey. Tasked with looking after his cousin after disgracing his father, he has travelled the world and now only wants to go home.
But Stenvik is different; it contains the beautiful and tragic Lilja, who immediately captures Ulfar’s heart. Because of her, he persuades his cousin to stay. But Stenvik is also home to some very deadly men, who could break Ulfar in an instant.
King Olav is marching on Stenvik from the East, determined to bring the White Christ to the masses at the point of his sword, and a host of bloodthirsty raiders led by a mysterious woman are sailing from the north. But Ulfar is about to learn that his enemies are not all outside the walls.
Vikings! What more do I need to say? Well, actually, there is a lot more to say about this debut. It’s a book in which the Old Gods confront the new and where betrayal is just around the corner. It’s also written by a true Viking descendant, as Snorri is originally from Iceland. However, the book was written in English, a feat I find astonishing, because even if my English isn’t shabby, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to write an entire novel in it. Then again, I can’t imagine writing a novel in Dutch either, so I’m impressed by anyone who can write a good story. The Swords of Good Men has been on my radar ever since Jo announced she’d signed Snorri and I’m looking forward to finally being able to read the book come June.
These are the four debuts currently lined up for the first six months of 2013. What do you think? Any one of them catch your eye?