Dragonfly Falling, Blood of the Mantis, Salute the Dark and Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Release Date: Late June
Adrian Tchaikovsky is a staff and customer favourite, and I try to carry as much of his work as I can. Unfortunately his first series, the ten-volume Shadows of the Apt was mostly out of print. That’s why I’m thrilled that TOR UK will be re-issuing them this month, starting with the first four.
Since this is such a big series, a one paragraph synopsis is not really feasible and anyway I think folks should experience it for themselves. What I would like to highlight is the way that Adrian subverts the common and for me quite annoying trope of filling a fantasy world with nations that are basically rebranded ethnic groups. Instead, each person in the series will belong to one or more Kinden, which replace race and ethnicity. Many generations ago pacts were made between people and Insect Ancestor spirits, pacts that changed those who made them and their descendants. For example, while all Kinden look human, Spider Kinden are thin and long-limbed, Beetle Kinden are solid and stocky and Ant Kinden are short and wiry. Kinden have access to other abilities too, depending on the Insect Ancestor they are connected to. These can include flight, the spinning of silk and other materials, natural camouflage or bone growths that can be used in combat.  There’s actually a lot more to the Kinden-Ancestor insect relationship than I’ve covered, but I’m sure that you get the general idea.
Those are the people, but what about the world? Well, while I’ve called the series fantasy Tchaikovsky was somewhat ahead of the curve, still having magic but incorporating technology like airships and steampunk elements into the series in a way that’s extremely popular now but was uncommon back in 2008 when these first came out. The story? It’s classic fantasy. Evil empires disrupting an age of peace, sieges, escapes, betrayals, courage and history turning on the actions of a few often unwilling heroes. I’ve heard a few people lately comment that they miss big, fat, multi-volume fantasy epics now that tighter and shorter series’ are the norm. This should take care of that nicely. I’m expecting books five to eight sometime around November and the last two early in 2022.