Tag Archives: Michael Pryor

Cover Reveal – The Extraordinaires: The Subterranean Stratagem

The theatre can wait. First there’s a mystery to solve, not to mention a world to save . . .

Kingsley Ward and Evadne Stephens are the Extraordinaires and they should be the toast of the town – but their juggling and escapology act is failing, and Kingsley is to blame. His wolfish side is breaking free, ruining performances and endangering those around him. The secret to controlling this wildness lies in his mysterious past. Was he really raised by wolves? Who were his parents? What happened to them?

The discovery of Kingsley’s father’s journal promises answers, but when it is stolen the Extraordinaires uncover ancient magic, a malign conspiracy, and a macabre plot to enslave all humanity. What begins as a quest to restore Kingsley’s past becomes an adventure that pits the Extraordinaires against forces that could shatter the minds and souls of millions.

I’m a huge fan of Michael Pryor.  His Laws of Magic series was brilliant and his latest series, The Extraordinaires is set to be even better.  I reviewed the first book in the series, The Extinction Gambit here on the blog and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the second book.

The Subterranean Stratagem is out 2 April from Random House Australia.

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My Most Anticipated May New Releases

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. But she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future.
Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she must be stronger than ever … because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.

 

Starters by Lissa Price

16-year-old Callie lost her parents when the ‘genocide spore’ wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first – the very young and very old. She and her little brother must go on the run, living as squatters, fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie. Hope comes in the form of the Body Bank run by a mysterious figure, known only as The Old Man. The Body Bank allows teenagers to rent out their bodies to ‘Enders’ – the elderly members of society – who want to be young again. But Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party in her body. She intends to commit murder…

 

The Phoenix Files: Fallout by Chris Morphew

The Shackleton Building has been turned into a concentration camp, and the last free people in Phoenix have been forced into hiding. Unless Jordan and the others can figure out where the Co-operative is keeping Tobias, everything they’ve fought for will be for nothing.

As Peter spins further out of control, can Jordan find a way to save Luke’s life, or is history doomed to repeat itself?

With only weeks left until Tabitha is released, Phoenix’s biggest secrets are still yet to be revealed.

And the clock is still ticking.

There are 35 days until the end of the world.

 

Dragonkeeper Book 4: Blood Brothers

The year is 325. The powerful Han Dynasty is a distant memory and tribes of barbarian soldiers fight over what was once the Empire. It is a dangerous time. Kai is 465 years old – a teenager in dragon years. He is searching for the person predestined to be his dragonkeeper. Kai’s search has led him to a Buddhist novice named Tao. But Tao is certain he is not the one; he has no interest in caring for a difficult dragon. He believes his path lies in another direction. But Tao must learn to listen to the voice within himself and that no journey ever reveals its true purpose until it is over.

 

10 Futures by Michael Pryor

Sam and Tara. Best friends in a future when artificial intelligence organises our lives, and micropets are the latest craze. Best friends when rationing means cold showers and no internet. Best friends when genetic matching makes asking a girl on a date a minefield of epic proportions.

But will they still be best friends in a future when plague wipes out most of humanity? Or a future when the Inquisitor asks Sam to choose one betrayal over another?

Michael Pryor, one of Australia’s best authors of speculative fiction, imagines what our next 100 years might be like. Utopia or dystopia? Miracle or catastrophe? Whatever might happen, it’s just around the corner. Which future will be yours?

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The Extraordinaires: The Extinction Gambit by Michael Pryor

I’ve been a fan of Michael Pryor’s ever since I first picked up Blaze of Glory, the first book in his Laws of Magic series.  I was captured by the old-style covers and as soon as I started reading I was transported to a world very similar to ours.  The series was full of magic, politics, intrigue, espionage and brilliantly witty characters.  When I found out that Michael had started a new series I was eager to delve into his new story and meet new characters.  His new series is called The Extraordinaires and the first book, The Extinction Gambit, introduces us to a shadowy London where dark creatures lurk just below the surface.

Kingsley Ward knows nothing of his parents.  His foster father, Dr Ward, refuses to tell him how he came to be looking after Kingsley.  On the night that he is to make his professional debut on stage with his death-defying escapology, his performance ends in disaster.  Kingsley has a wolfish nature that bursts free at the most inappropriate times, especially in the middle of his performance in front of hundreds of people.  A strange albino girl called Evadne comes to his rescue and takes him back to his foster father’s house, only to find his father is missing, the house keeper has been murdered, and two abnormally large, very ugly men are ransacking Dr Ward’s library.  Kingsley has no idea who these men or what they have done to Dr Ward.  Evadne takes Kingsley to her secret hideaway and explains that she is part of the Demimonde, the ‘world of the dispossessed and the fugitive, of outlaws, thieves and cutthroats, of the lost and abandoned, of the strange and uncanny.’  Through alternate chapters Michael Pryor introduces us to other members of the Demimonde: Jabez Soames, the human inside the Demimonde who wheels and deals and knows just how to bargain with the various groups in the Demimonde; the True Humans or Neanderthals (depending on whether you’re one of them or not) who want to wipe out the Invaders (Homo sapiens) by travelling back in time and killing them; and the Immortals, a group of immortal sorcerers who need to inhabit the bodies of children to live the longest.  As the story progresses the paths of these various groups cross and it’s up to Kingsley and Evadne to disrupt their plans before it’s too late.

Michael Pryor has once again created a story filled with action, suspense, mystery and fantastic characters.  I loved the idea of this group of shady characters lurking underneath London and having a group of Neanderthals that didn’t die out is brilliant.  The Immortals at first sounded a little like vampires, but I think they’re far creepier.  There’s also a slight hint of the Frankenstein story creeping into this story, as the Immortals create their minions, the Spawn, from their own body parts that they cut off.  Like Aubrey in The Laws of Magic, Kingsley is a fantastic character who is intelligent and witty.  At first I thought Kingsley’s wolfish nature might be hinting at him being a werewolf, but the true is much more exciting, and is linked with Rudyard Kipling who is also a minor character.  Evadne is a girl who can look after herself (and Kingsley at times) and is also incredibly intelligent.  There is a sense that there are many layers of Evadne that Kingsley, and the reader, hasn’t been introduced to yet.   The Extinction Gambit is the perfect book for anyone who likes their supernatural/fantasy stories without the gushy romance.  I can’t wait to see what Michael Pryor has in store for Kingsley and Evadne next.

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Guest Author: Michael Pryor on The Extinction Gambit

It’s exciting to begin a new series. It’s like taking a first step through a secret door leading to places unknown with tantalising prospect of adventure awaiting. The release of ‘The Extinction Gambit’, the first book of ‘The Extraordinaires’, is just like that.

I also have a strange sensation that comes from leaving a series behind. In May 2011, ‘Hour of Need’ – the last book of ‘The Laws of Magic’ – was published. I’d worked on this series for more than eight years, and having it finally coming to an end was most peculiar. I’d lived with those characters for a long time, after all. I’d worked with them, I’d known their hopes, their dreams, their fears – and they’d been very patient with me as I subjected them to the bizarre, the dangerous and the embarrassing. Waving goodbye to them was sad. It was as if they were leaving home, going off and having more adventures and I wouldn’t be there to write about them.

And so, to ‘The Extinction Gambit’. Like ‘The Laws of Magic’, this new series is set in a world that is delightfully old-fashioned. It’s a world of manners and decorum, of society and class, of being dreadfully proper – and of some of the most stylish clothes you’re ever likely to see. Top hats anyone? Gorgeous lace? Silk capes and gloves?

Unlike ‘The Laws of Magic’, ‘The Extinction Gambit’ isn’t set in an alternative Edwardian world. It’s set fairly and squarely in London in 1908 – the time of the first London Olympic Games. The Olympics form the backdrop to a dizzying adventure that mostly takes place in the Demimonde, mysterious world that lies side by side with the ordinary world. The Demimonde is a world of magic, of lost legends and of sinister plots, of inhabitants who are startling, shadowy and highly unpredictable.

The main characters in ‘The Extinction Gambit’ are Kingsley Ward and Evadne Stephens. Kingsley is a young man, seventeen years old, who has decided to put his studies to one side and pursue a life in the theatre. He has always had a dream to be a stage magician. More than that, he wants to be an escapologist, one of that special breed of magician who escapes from handcuffs, from locked trunks, from straitjackets suspended over a pit of crocodiles. At his first ever professional engagement he meets Evadne Stephens, an astonishingly beautiful, outstandingly talented juggler, who also happens to be an albino and an inventor who delights in building frighteningly lethal weapons and other machines of destruction. She also makes an excellent cup of tea.

When Kingsley’s foster father is abducted, Kingsley hurries to find him. Evadne insists on coming along and soon proves her worth as they plunge into the Demimonde. They flee through drains, tunnels and along London’s long lost underground rivers. They battle ancient magic and strange devices. They encounter the last surviving Neanderthals who are fanatically determined to wipe out the human race. They are assaulted by a trio of immortal magicians who want Kingsley as part of their plan to enslave the world. They are assisted by a famous author who seems to have an agenda of his own.

None of this was what Kingsley had been imagining when he stepped onto the stage of the Alexandra Theatre, and it’s made more difficult for him as he constantly has to struggle with a side of him that is wild, uncontrollable and undeniably wolfish. This is only natural, of course, since he was raised by wolves as a young child.

In short, ‘The Extinction Gambit’ is a helter-skelter fantasy comedy adventure with sandwiches, at the appropriate time.

I’ve had a wonderful time writing ‘The Extinction Gambit’. As usual, I’ve had to undertake mountains of research, but this is almost as much fun as writing the actual story. I’ve uncovered surprising details about the underground geography of London, about the organisation of the Olympic Games and about the nature of Homo Neanderthalis. Much of this didn’t end up in the book, but nothing is ever wasted. After all, we have another two books to come in the series!

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The Extinction Gambit book trailer

One of my favourite Australian authors, Michael Pryor will be joining me on the blog tomorrow to talk about his new book, The Extinction Gambit, the first in his new series, The Extraordinaires.  I’m a huge fan of his Laws of Magic series (great mix of fantasy, history and political intrigue for kids/teens) so I’m eager to get my hands on a copy of The Extinction Gambit (due out December 1st).  To whet your appetite here is a book trailer for it that Michael himself produced.

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