Wednesday, 30 October 2013

From the Viking undead to zombie knights and Napoleonic revenants: this is the Secret Zombie History of the World

The Secret Zombie History of the World
by Paul Finch, Matthew
Sprange & Toby Venables

Coming to life on 10th Dec
in paperback (US & Can)
and ebook (worldwide)

$12.99/$14.99 ISBN 978-1-78108-160-0

Northern Europe, 976 AD: a Viking crew find themselves in a bleak land of pestilence, where the dead return as draugr to feed on the flesh of their kin and a dark castle in a hidden fjord hides a terrible secret.

Britain, 1295 AD: A young English knight joins a force sent to capture a castle from Welsh rebels, but druids summon an army of the undead, bent on revenge. Will the stronghold – once thought impregnable – hold out?

The Cape of Good Hope, the 1820s: Captain Havelock discovers his ship and the French frigate he has been ordered to hunt down are not alone as an enemy thought long since vanquished rises from the deeps...

This is The Secret Zombie History of the World – an omnibus of historical zombie stories, released in this new format for the North American market, that reveals the outbreaks that have plagued mankind for hundreds of years. From Viking ‘draugr’ to the medieval undead and Napoleonic corpses, this trio of tales from the popular Tomes of the Dead series will keep you awake at night wondering just how close humanity has come to joining the hordes of the infected!

Toby Venables, Matthew Sprange, and Paul Finch each weave historical fact into thrilling tales of rotting revenants and cutthroat cadavers!

About the Series
Rotten bone and raddled flesh, shuffling perils and moaning menaces – Tomes of the Dead re-imagines the zombie genre not as an endless retread of the same tired themes, but as a prism crack’d, exploring the gut-churning, flesh-biting world of the shambling dead from new, different and unexpected directions!

About the Authors

Paul Finch is a former cop and journalist, now turned full time writer. He first cut his literary teeth penning episodes of the British TV crime drama, THE BILL, and has written extensively in the field of children's animation. However, he is probably best known for his work in horrors and thrillers. He has won two British Fantasy Awards and the International Horror Guild Award, and has written Doctor Who audio dramas for Big Finish as well as scripts for several movie adaptations of his own stories and novellas. Paul lives in Wigan, Lancashire, with his wife Cathy and his children, Eleanor and Harry.

Matthew Sprange has a solid history in roleplaying design as well as writing over two dozen gaming books, including the Babylon 5, Judge Dredd and Starship Troopers games, and has won two Origins Awards for his work in miniature wargames. Death Hulk is his second novel, with his first being a trip into the Babylon 5 universe, entitled Visions of Peace.

Toby Venables is a novelist, screenwriter and lecturer in Film Studies at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. He has since worked as a journalist and magazine editor – launching magazines in Cambridge, Peterborough, Oxford and Bristol – and once orchestrated an elaborate Halloween hoax for which he built and photographed a werewolf. He still works as a freelance copywriter, has been the recipient of a radio advertising award, and in 2001 won the Keats-Shelley Memorial Prize.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013



So we're so keen to get you into our critically-acclaimed Afterblight Chronicles and Pax Britannia series that we're offering the first book in each series, Simon Spurrier's The Culled and Jonathan Green's Unnatural History, absolutely free!

They're free on our own website, and on as many online stores as we can manage. GET THEM! YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN WE'LL CHANGE OUR MINDS!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Abaddon/Solaris signing schedule for next week's World Fantasy con is now up!

Well, World Fantasy Con is almost upon us, when the genre publishing world descends upon Brighton and makes it 27.1% more crazy...

We have a host, no, a bevvy of book-writing braves attending the con who will be furiously scribbling their monikers into books thrust beneath their clever noses. The Abaddon and Solaris signing schedule looks thusly:

Lou Morgan
Jonathan Green
Steve Rasnic Tem
Guy Adams
Jonathan Strahan
Jan Siegel (Amanda Hemingway)
Paul Kane
Clifford Beal
Gareth L. Powell

Geoffrey Gudgion
James Lovegrove
Ian Whates
Gaie Sebold
Simon Bestwick
Ben Jeapes

We're looking forward to it - hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Phrases That You Almost, But Don't Quite Use Correctly

Word Nerd

So I was doing some editing the other day and reflected that there are a bunch of phrases in English - quotes, popular coinages and so on - that are widely (but generally only by a small degree) misunderstood. So widely, in fact, that the distorted meaning is the generally accepted one, and most people don't know the original sense at all. They don't irritate me - English is a wonderful, fluid language, and usage changes all the time - but they fascinate me nonetheless.

So I thought, heck, I'll just blog about it. Here are four of my favourites: 

Nature, Red in Tooth and Claw

Where It's From: Tennyson's In Memoriam A. H. H., a lengthy elegiac to his friend Arthur Hallam, who'd died suddenly in 1833. It's a long, meandering discourse on love, loss, and human nature. 

How It's Used: Usually to describe the violent and impersonal nature of Nature; them animals, they do so love to bite and scratch and stuff. Grr.

What It Really Means: It's actually about people! Tennyson was struggling with humanity's tendency to selfishness, and the growing materialistic worldview that was doing such a good job of explaining what it saw. If we are all driven by the simple mechanisms of evolution, then where can we see proof that love - God's ultimate law - does or should govern us?

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravin, shriek'd against his creed 

Turn the Other Cheek

Where It's From: A little thing I like to call The Bible. Matthew, chapter 5. It's from the middle of Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount," where he passes down the law on how people are gonna behave from now on. 

How It's Used: This is something your mum or teacher used to tell you if you were bullied or provoked at school. It suggests stoicism and self-discipline; just look away ("turn your cheek") and ignore them.

What It Really Means: Jesus was going a bit further than just "don't rise to their bait." He's telling you to actively participate in your own victimisation; if a man hits you on one cheek, he says, then turn the other cheek so that he can hit that one too. Your mum should not be telling you to do this. The Sermon is famously one of the most challenging parts of Christian doctrine, presenting such an extreme model of virtue that it's usually seen as rhetorical rather than intended literally.

I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.

The Game is Afoot

Where It's From: Shakespeare, baby. Specifically, Henry IV Part 1, Act 1, Scene 3. Although it's also probably Sherlock Holmes's most-quoted line (from The Adventure of the Abbey Grange) after "Elementary, my dear Watson."

How It's Used: Generally, to suggest a game - you know, with dice and a board, and cards or something. It means something interesting and challenging has begun in earnest.

What It Really Means: It's a hunting metaphor. The "game," in this instance, is an animal hunted for its meat (as in "game bird" or "game pie"). When the game is "afoot," it's on the run and the hunt has begun. Holmes most certainly used it in that sense - his "game" being Sir Brackenstall's murderer - but hunting is less relevant to most of us than it used to be, and so nowadays we mostly assume he's talking about chess or something. He liked chess, right?

"Come, Watson, come!" he cried. 
"The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!"

(Good) Samaritan

Where It's From: The Bible, natch. Luke, chapter 10. It's one of the "Parables," which were sort of moral riddles that Jesus used to tell his followers. He was crazy about riddles.

How It's Used: A Samaritan, "good" or otherwise, usually means someone who helps a stranger - especially one in dire need, who others are ignoring - with no expectation of reward or recognition. Aww. There's even a suicide charity called The Samaritans - without the "Good," which makes me insanely suspicious of them.

What It Really Means: The Good Samaritan of the parable behaved in exactly that way, sure enough. But the point of the story was that Samaritans were famed for their selfishness and officiousness; "good Samaritan" was intended as a surprising dichotomy. A bit like saying "good investment banker" or something (of course, the Samaritans are an ethnic and religious community that exists to this day, but I guess it's okay to be a bit racist when you're quoting the Bible).

And a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.

So those are four of my favourite slightly misused phrases. What are yours?

Friday, 18 October 2013


If you missed out on this summer’s best books from Solaris, Abaddon and Ravenstone, now’s your chance to catch up with all of these recent releases at just £4 each!

Act now! This sale is only on this weekend!

SAXON’S BANE by Geoffrey Gudgion 
AGE OF GODPUNK by James Lovegrove 
PLASTIC by Christopher Fowler 
CRASH by Guy Haley 
LUPUS REX by John Carter Cash 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Solaris and Abaddon Books Mob gear up for World Fantasy Con...

It is now a month until the crème de la crème of genre publishing meet in Brighton for World Fantasy Con. We're VERY much looking forward to this veritable bacchanal of book bods - last year's event in Toronto was a blast and now that it's come back to Britain 

We here at Solaris and Abaddon have gathered together a tip top table of talent for the weekend's festivities, ranging from debut authors to old hands. We're very pleased to announce that the following authors will be appearing at WFC13:

Guy Adams (The Good The Bad and the Infernal)
Clifford Beal (Gideon's Angel)
Simon Bestwick (The Faceless and Tide of Souls)
Chaz Brenchley (Desdaemona)
Ellen Datlow (Poe)
Jetse de Vries (Shine)
Paul Finch (Stronghold)
Jonathan Green (Pax Britannia)
Amanda Hemingway (The Devil's Apprentice)
Ben Jeapes (Phoenicia's Worlds)
Paul Kane (Hooded Man trilogy)
James Lovegrove (Pantheon series)
Juliet McKenna (Hadrumal Crisis series)
Lou Morgan (Blood and Feathers)
Libby McGugan (The Eidolon)
Gareth L. Powell (Ack-Ack Macaque)
Gaie Sebold (Babylon Steel)
Lavie Tidhar (Osama)
Jonathan Strahan (Edge of Infinity)
Steve Rasnic Tem (Deadfall Hotel)
Ian Whates (Solaris Rising)
Conrad Williams (Loss of Separation)
Geoffrey Gudgeon (Saxon's Bane)

To celebrate the coming storm, we'll be giving away books all month on our blogs and Twitter - so stay tuned!