Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Alisdair Stuart on Book of Secrets

Alisdair Stuart has weighed in on the forthcoming Book of Secrets with some kind words:
Chris Roberson’s Book of Secrets heads up the second pair of releases, scheduled for the 6th of August. Spencer Finch is a reporter searching for a book that everyone from cat burglars to mnks seems to want. It’s a difficult case, a rabbit hole that he finds himself running headlong down and that appears to have something to do with a chest of golden age pulp magazines left to him by his grandfather. Something terrible is bound up in the book of secrets, and whether he likes it or not, Spencer’s life is intimately connected with it.

Expanded from Voices of Thunder, one of Roberson’s earliest novels, Book of Secrets incorporates many of the author’s favourite tropes. The love for golden age pulp is here as is the idea that books hold power, that ideas have weight and shape and form. It’s a fascinating book, paced at breakneck speed with a hard nosed first person narrative and some great offhand jokes. A lost Greek play is referred to as ‘No Mr Nice God’, armies of masked vigilantes parade across the page and the true history of mankind is revealed. Which isn’t bad going for a journalist who just wants to file a story.

The real star here is Roberson’s easy going prose, that carries some big ideas along with elegance and grace and places the story in a unique hinterland somewhere between steampunk and action thriller, weaving Spencer’s life into ancient Greek literature and the pulp stories written by his grandfather. It’s arguably the most commercial of the four books but that isn’t to say that it’s the least. This is a smart, literate thriller written by an author whose love for the form is clear.

Stuart has also reviewed the other three initial Angry Robot titles in the link, so check it out.


I'm certainly intrigued. I'm behind on my reading, though. I have both End of the Century and Three Unbroken, both as yet unread, in my giant to-read pile.

(Although I did read the electronic form of Three Unbroken already, of course)
Well, I certainly can't complain about that! (And I hope that End of the Century doesn't disappoint!)
Hi Chris

I was wondering if there is any news on a paperback release of Iron Jaw and Hummingbird ?
Miles, I haven't heard anything definitive from Viking, but given that the hardcover of Iron Jaw and Hummingbird sold horribly (largely because it (a) wasn't reviewed by most of the major outlets and (b) wasn't stocked by any of the large chain stores), my guess is that a paperback edition is probably a long-shot at this point.
Thanks Chris

Sorry to hear that - I like your Celestial Empire novels and stories as a change from my usual reading fare (that's a compliment, honest !)
Thanks, Miles! Glad to hear that you liked them!
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