Night’s Rose: The Dark and Dangerous World of a Faerie Princess
By Heather Osborn, Editor
Ah, fairy tales. Sugar-sweet, innocent stories about plucky young heroines overcoming evil enemies, relatives, and the occasional woodcutter before meeting their respective Prince Charmings and living happily ever after. At least, that’s how most modern retellings go. But dig a little deeper into the world of fairy tales and you’ll find the original stories. Dark, dangerous, and subversive. Stories meant to warn children about the dangers of breaking society’s rules. It’s these macabre tales that inspired author Annaliese Evans to write her historical paranormal romance, Night’s Rose.
Night’s Rose uses the tale of Sleeping Beauty—the original version—to launch the story of Rosemarie Edenburg, a deadly ogre slayer. Brutally woken from her hundred-year sleep, Rosemarie gets bloody revenge on her abuser—a bloodthirsty ogre—and begins a long career as an ogre slayer in the employ of the Fae de la Nuit, the dark faeries. Determined to eradicate what she sees as a menace to all human and faerie kind, Rose is judge, jury, and executioner for ogres throughout England, France, and the rest of the Continent. With the help of her handsome fae advisor, Ambrose Minuit, and the dashing vampire warrior Gareth, Lord Shenley, Rose battles a huge ogre uprising, while at the same time battling her feelings for both men.
Fairy tales have always interested me; the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Charles Perrault all had a place on my nightstand. I loved Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre (anyone else remember that?), and Disney movies like Snow White, Cinderella, and of course, Sleeping Beauty. It was only when I got older that I realized the stories I’d enjoyed so much as a child were not the original tales. In fact, it wasn’t until I discovered a book entitled Grimm’s Grimmest that I saw the true extent of how violent, disturbing, and downright macabre many fairy tales could be. Of course, I was hooked.
Look beyond Cinderella’s happy ending and see the maimed, bleeding, and mutilated step-sisters left behind. Snow White’s wicked stepmother tried to kill her with not just a poisoned apple, but with bespelled stay-laces and a poisoned comb as well, before being clapped in a pair of red-hot iron shoes as punishment for her crimes. The prince didn’t wake the Sleeping Beauty with a kiss, but instead took advantage of the sleeping woman, who became pregnant, gave birth to twins, and only awakened after one of the infants sucked the splinter out of her fingertip. Wow. Intense, melodramatic, over-the-top. What’s not to love?
That’s why I was so thrilled when Night’s Rose crossed my path. Annaliese Evans has taken the darkest, bleakest version of Sleeping Beauty, and, without dumbing it down or prettying it up, crafted a beautiful romance, a dark mystery, and an exciting adventure story all in one. Rosemarie Edenburg is a woman who has been through hell but has emerged stronger for the trip. I thoroughly enjoyed this new version of an old fairy tale, and I hope you do, too.
Night’s Rose (978-0-7653-6166-0; $6.99) by Annaliese Evans was released from Tor on March 31st. Visit the author’s website at annalieseevans.com.
Creating a new world of magic and mystery with Imager
By L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
A combination of steampunk, political, semi-thriller, and romantic fantasy? That’s about as close a one-line description as is possible to the books of the Imager Portfolio, which opens with Imager. Rhenn is a journeyman portraiturist on his way to becoming a master painter who discovers, with fatal consequences, that he is one of the few imagers in the city of L’Excelsis, capital of the continent nation of Solidar. Imagers are feared, valued, and vulnerable, and must live separately on the river isle in the middle of the river that divides the capital city, while providing services and skills to the ruling Council.
As a late-developing imager, Rhenn finds himself under the tutelage of one of the most powerful imagers—who forces the equivalent of a university education on Rhenn in months, before dispatching him to serve as a security assistant to the Council. Along the way, Rhenn makes enemies he shouldn’t, falls in love with the beautiful daughter of a family with connections in the underworld, and becomes a target for both the enemies of Solidar and a powerful High Holder.
One of the challenges of writing the Imager Portfolio was to realistically depict a different and sophisticated culture of a capital city. In my own experience of close to twenty years in politics, most of it in Washington, D.C., I found that there was a minimal amount of actual violence, but an enormous amount of pressure and indifference, great superficial charm, and continual indirect jockeying for power, with very little real concern for people as people. I’ve attempted to convey some of those dynamics, as they are expressed in a steam-and-coal-powered society that has the added benefit of some “imaging” magic. One of the key elements that illustrates the difference of this fantasy-steampunk culture is the religion. Because the deity cannot be named, there’s an underlying cultural skepticism and worry about emphasis on the importance of names, memorials, and the like, as well as a distrust of other cultures that exalt names and fame.
Because Rhenn has come to the Collegium Imago in his early twenties, having just begun to achieve a certain recognition as a portrait painter, he’s neither a youth learning the ropes nor a person of fully defined talents. Instead, he is essentially an adult faced with a mandatory career change, and one that could be fatal if he fails to make the transition from portraiturist to imager.
Imager (978-0-7653-2034-6 $25.95), the first book in the Imager Portfolio by L.E. Modesitt, Jr., became available from Tor on March 17, 2009. For more information about the series, visit lemodesittjr.com. To see L.E.Modesitt, Jr. on tour, visit: tor-forge.com/imager for cities and dates near you!
A conversation between the Kollin Brothers about their debut novel, The Unincorporated Man (Sort of…)
Eytan: How the hell are we going to do this?
Dani: The same way we’ve done everything—we’ll wing it.
Eytan: Um…shouldn’t they be asking us the questions?
Dani: Technically they did—they asked us to interview each other.
Eytan: You’ve got to be kidding. Isn’t that like them buying a book from us and us asking them to write it?
Dani: Yes, that’s what’s it’s like but at this point we’re in the “thank you, sir—may I have another” phase of our career.
Eytan: Well, since we’re in the bend over stage, let’s get this over with.
Dani: Don’t say “over with;” it will sound like we’re ungrateful.
Eytan: For this, I’m ungrateful.
Dani: There are no “for this”s for us, bonehead.
Eytan: All right. I’ll be good…Gee whillikers, Dani. This is a great opportunity.
Dani: Don’t push it, butthead.
Eytan: Why’d we write this book, again?
Eytan: Oh yeah. Dear reader; Along with all the other reasons one writes books, and there are some really great ones—fame, accomplishment, adulation, actually being one of the guys in your social group who’s successful—I miss my hair.
Dani: And you somehow think this book will get you your hair back?
Eytan: Well, maybe not just this one. But c’mon, dude. I had really great hair.
Dani: Yeah, you did.
Eytan: So you still have your hair, &#$@! What’s your excuse?
Dani: Didn’t have anything better to do.
Eytan: Oh yeah. That’s right. You were unemployed.
Dani: As were you.
Eytan: Hey, I wasn’t the one living at my in-laws’ house.
Dani: Right. And where are you living now?
Eytan: I hate glass houses, man.
Dani: We still haven’t told them about the book and I’m pretty sure we’re running out of words. In fact…hold on…181 words left, no wait. Now it’s…
Eytan: Stop it! Besides we don’t have to talk about the book.
Dani: Uh…isn’t that whole purpose?
Eytan: No…not really. Think about it. Somewhere in this newsletter Tor must have talked about the book already, so I’m thinking this is just about us.
Dani: Stop thinking, bonehead. We need to talk about the book.
Eytan: Dude, I’ve been talking about the damned book for seven years, can’t we talk about something else?
Dani: What? The wind velocity of a sparrow carrying two coconuts?
Eytan: African or European?
Dani: Now you’re just trying to delay.
Eytan: Well of course I’m trying to delay. I don’t want to talk about the book anymore.
Dani: Dude, it’s our friggin’ job!
Eytan: Fine. How many words do we have left?
Dani: Let me check…wait a second…
Eytan: Since you’re so all-fired up about your book, what do you want to say?
Dani: Dude! It’s your book too!
Eytan: Oh, I know exactly what I want to say about the book.
Dani: What is it?
The Unincorporated Man (978-0-7653-1899-2, $25.95) by Dani & Eytan Kollin was released by Tor on March 31, 2009. For more information visit theunincorporatedman.com.