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Review: The Eighth Court by Mike Shevdon- June 9, 2013


The Eighth Court
Author:  Mike Shevdon
Series:  The Courts of the Feyre
Publisher:  Angry Robot, May 28, 2013
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780857662279 (print)
Review copy:  Provided by the Publisher via NetGalley

Review: The Eighth Court by Mike Shevdon- June 9, 2013
The Eighth Court has been established, but petty rivalries and old disputes threaten its stability. The mongrels that make up the court are not helping, and Blackbird enlists the help of the warders to keep the peace.

Has Blackbird bitten off more than she can chew, and can the uneasy peace between the courts continue under such tension and rivalry?

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ A New Dawn | Uneasy Alliances | Eight Into One | End Of An Era ]


Melanie's Thoughts:

The Eighth Court is the fourth and final book in an all round excellent series. This book follows closely after Strangeness and Charm with Blackbird fighting to establish her court, the eighth court of half blood fey. The acceptance of their right to exist and to form a court has caused dissension amongst the other courts with some in favour and others against. Blackbird struggles to establish her court against her critics while raising her and Niall's young baby.

For Niall, this final book leads him on the chase across London for answers to the mystery of the theft of the nails and hammer from the Quit Rents ceremony. This ceremony and its importance was the focus from book 1 of this series, Sixty-One Nails. As he searches for answers he is plagued by memories from centuries ago....the memories from the protectors of humanity against the seventh court. These memories are like a mini history lesson where Shevdon cleverly merges fact and fiction in the history of the English monarchy.

The Eighth Court is very much a journey of discovery - Niall's journey to save the Quit Rents ceremony, Blackbird's journey to establish her court, Alex's journey to adulthood. There are so many wonderful things to say about this book but I hesitate to tell anything that would hinder your journey of discovery - the journey to discover whether Blackbird succeeds in establishing her court, whether Alex learns to control her powers, who has stolen the 61 nails and why, and finally what do Niall's memories really mean?

A number of the characters from the other books in the series make an appearance in this final book which make it feel like a bit of a homecoming. Shevdon is a master of mixing real historical events with fantasy and I always feel a bit smarter having finished one of these books. He got the balance right in this book with the pace, characterization and mystery. I was gripped from page one. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of reading this book and sad that it is the final one. It is truly bittersweet. While it is the final book with no more tales of Blackbird and Niall, I feel that Shevdon crafted the story so well that it fit perfectly over the four books. There aren't enough great things I can say other than leave you with this - this is a must read, a great book and one of my favourites this year.

Melanie's Week in Review - 2 June 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - 2 June 2013


Melanie's Week in Review - 2 June 2013My love of The Emperor's Edge series by Lindsay Buroker continued this week. I finished Conspiracy, which was book 4 of the series, book 5, Blood and Betrayal and just started Forged in Blood which is the penultimate book. I even read two of the novellas but liked Beneath the Surface the most and was quite lengthy for a short. 

Each book has alternating POV chapters between the lead character, Amaranthe and one of the secondary characters. Sometimes this can be a bit distracting with the story's focus switching so often.  However, it works well in this series to give the reader a balanced view of what is happening plus you really get to know the secondary characters.


Melanie's Week in Review - 2 June 2013In between this series I read The Eighth Court by Mike Shevdon. Even though I am reviewing this book soon I urge you to get it.  If you haven't read any of the other books in the Courts of the Feyre series then please, please, please get these on your TBR asap! Its a fantastic series and the final book is no exception.

I feel like I didn't accomplish that much this week on the reading front but prepare yourself for a bumper crop of books in my review next week as I am on holiday. I have a whole week with the 'outlaws' in the south of France so its a guarantee that I will get through a few books. Keep your fingers crossed that my Kindle behaves itself because it has been crashing constantly over the last two days. Very, very annoying.

I hope you have a great week and Happy Reading

Melanie's Week in Review - May 26, 2013


Melanie's Week in Review  - May 26, 2013


This has been a week that I can only describe as 'pants mcpantus'. I have had a week of almost 100% stress at work and looked forward to escaping into some really good books. I was mostly successful on this front.

Melanie's Week in Review  - May 26, 2013
For those of you have been checking out my 'week in review' you will know that last week I discovered Alex Bledsoe's Eddie La Crosse series. I enjoyed Blonde Edged Sword and Burn Me Deadly so much that I rushed to buy the third and fourth books of the series. I decided to be magnanimous and let the 'hubinator' read book 3 - Dark Jenny - before me.  I hope to be able to tell you a bit more about what I thought of these books next week.

Applause everyone!! I finished The Scrivener's Tale by Fiona McIntosh. This book has taken me an unusually long time to finish but I am reviewing it soon so keep your eye out what I thought of it.


Melanie's Week in Review  - May 26, 2013
OK....I confess.....I started a new series rather than reading one of the many, many books on my TBR. I got lured into buying a free book from my Kindle recommendations (can you buy a free book?) and am now on book 4 of the series.  So what tempted me to the dark side...the side of buying new rather than reading what I already have?  I ran across Lindsay Buroker's The Emperor's Edge series. Book 1  - The Emperor's Edge was for free, free, free, from Amazon and I really liked it so decided to get book 2 - Dark Currents. As my week turned more and more stressful from work I kept going on the series that I was already enjoying rather than risking something I hadn't read yet. So I finished Deadly Games today which was quite grisly and had a tiny bit more romance between our hero and heroine. I just started Conspiracy and its turning out to be another consistently good book from the series. These are self pubs and you won't be wowed by the covers but its what's inside that counts, after all.

I also started Mike Shevdon's The Eighth Court (Courts of the Feyre 4). I have enjoyed this series, especially the first two books. I am not that far into the book as I will be reviewing it and didn't want to read it too closely to The Scrivener's Tale.  


Melanie's Week in Review  - May 26, 2013
Lucky me also got J.T. Geissinger's new book Rapture's Edge from NetGalley. I have really enjoyed the Night Prowler series so far and I am certain to like this next installment. The nice people from Kindle also offered Mark T. Barnes's The Garden of Stones for £1.99 so it is now gracing my TBR. Another week of making my TBR grow rather than making it smaller!  At least I have some goodies to read next week.

I would love to know what you are reading so leave a comment or send me a tweet @mellidrama.  Wishing you a great week and Happy Reading!

Cover Revealed - The Eighth Court by Mike Shevdon

Here is the gorgeous cover for The Eighth Court (Courts of the Feyre 4) by Mike Shevdon. The cover art is by John Coulthart.


The Eighth Court
Courts of the Feyre 4
Angry Robot, May 28, 2013 (US/Can)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook
June 6, 2013 (UK)

Cover Revealed - The Eighth Court by Mike Shevdon
The Eighth Court has been established, but petty rivalries and old disputes threaten its stability. The mongrels that make up the court are not helping, and Blackbird enlists the help of the warders to keep the peace.

Has Blackbird bitten off more than she can chew, and can the uneasy peace between the courts continue under such tension and rivalry?

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ A New Dawn | Uneasy Alliances | Eight Into One | End Of An Era ]
Preorder





The Prior Novels in the Courts of the Feyre


Strangeness and Charm
Courts of the Feyre 3
Angry Robot, May 29, 2012 (US/Can)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook
June 7, 2012 (UK/RoW)

Cover Revealed - The Eighth Court by Mike Shevdon
The Courts of the Feyre, Vol III

Alex has been saved from the fate that awaited her in Bedlam, but in freeing her, Niall has released others of their kind into the population. Now, as Warder, he must find them and persuade them to swap their new-found liberty for security in the courts – but is the price of sanctuary to swap one cage for another?

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Folklore hero | Faerie Legend | Secret World | Magic London ]




The Road to Bedlam
The Courts of the Feyre 2
Angry Robot, October 26, 2010 (US/Can)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook
(The edition with this new cover was published on May 29, 2012)

Cover Revealed - The Eighth Court by Mike Shevdon
“There’s been an accident. It’s your daughter.” These are the words no parent ever wants to hear.

Learning to cope with the loss of a child is only the beginning of the new challenges facing Niall Petersen. An old enemy has returned and Niall already knows it’s not a social call.

As the new Warder of the Seven Courts he will be forced to choose between love and honour, duty and responsibility.

Those choices will lead him to discover dark secrets at the core of the realm, where the people in power have their own designs.

FILE UNDER: Urban Fantasy [ Undying Madness / Insane Magic / Secret Realities / Stolen Children ]




Sixty-One Nails
The Courts of the Feyre 1
Angry Robot, August 31, 2010 (US/Can)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook
(The edition with this new cover was published on May 29, 2012)

Cover Revealed - The Eighth Court by Mike Shevdon
There is a secret war raging beneath the streets of London.

A dark magic will be unleashed by the Untained… Unless a new hero can be found.

Neverwhere‘s faster, smarter brother has arrived.

The immense SIXTY-ONE NAILS follows Niall Petersen, from a suspected heart attack on the London Underground, into the hidden world of the Feyre, an uncanny place of legend that lurks just beyond the surface of everyday life. The Untainted, the darkest of the Seven Courts, have made their play for power, and unless Niall can recreate the ritual of the Sixty-One Nails, their dark dominion will enslave all of the Feyre, and all of humankind too.

FILE UNDER: Urban Fantasy [ Hidden War / Ancient Legend / Secret History / Deadly Duel ]






Winners x 7 - June 10, 2012

And the winners are...

All Spell Breaks Loose (Raine Benares 6) by Lisa Shearin - print book for US and eBook for international - Ended May 28, 2012 - Read the Guest Blog here.

Winners x 7 - June 10, 2012

Question:  What missing item would you have Raine Benares find for you?

abookandashortlatte who said...

A first edition of Jane Eyre.


Winners x 7 - June 10, 2012


Shakespeare Undead (Shakespeare Undead 1) by Lori Handeland - Ended May 30, 2012 - Read the interview here.

Winners x 7 - June 10, 2012

Question:  Favorite Shakespearean play that you've read or seen?

Victoria who said...

Macbeth. I love all of Shakespeare but Macbeth stuck with me.


Winners x 7 - June 10, 2012


ARC of Strangeness and Charm (The Courts of the Feyre 3) by Mike Shevdon - Ended June 2, 2012 - Read the Interview here.

Winners x 7 - June 10, 2012
SHOWN FOR ILLUSTRATION - THE ARC MAY BE DIFFERENT

Question: What do you think of the new covers?

Sinnaye who said...

I prefer the new cover too, they're quite something! These books look really good, so I followed the advice and bought them right away ;)

Still, a signed copy wouldn't be a misfit on my shelves either.

Thank you for the interview and giveaway!


Winners x 7 - June 10, 2012


Warrior Enchanted (The Sons of the Zodiac 4) by Addison Fox - Ended June 3, 2012 - Read the Interview here.

Winners x 7 - June 10, 2012

Question: What are your favorite sub-genres of Romance (Paranormal, SciFi, Contemporary, etc)?

Barb P who said...

Hi Addison! My favorite sub-genre is definitely paranormal. I do like to read a little suspense here and there, depending on who is writing it. Thanks so much for the fantastic giveaway!


Winners x 7 - June 10, 2012


A signed copy of Phoenix Rising (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences 1) by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris - Ended June 6, 2012 - Read the interview here.

Winners x 7 - June 10, 2012

Question:  Who is/are your favorite secret agent(s)? or What is one of your favorite Steampunk novels, stories, etc.?

Di who said...

I've been curious to read a Steampunk story since I've enjoyed movies in the genre (League of Mysterious Gentleman & the new Sherlock Holmes series); and a do enjoy spies (James Bond (love the gadgets(, Jason Bourne)


Winners x 7 - June 10, 2012


Spellcrossed (Crossroads Theatre 2) by Barbara Ashford - Ended June 7, 2012 - Read the interview here.

Winners x 7 - June 10, 2012

Question:  Which cover do you like better - Spellcast's or Spellcrossed's?

Maria who said...

Enter me!

I don't know which cover I like. They don't go together although the color tries to bring them closer. Standing my themselves, the first book almost looks like a mystery or cozy, while the second has that paranormal feel. Hard to pick because they are so different. I guess...maybe the first cover, but I don't think it's all that accurate a depiction of the paranormal!!!


Winners x 7 - June 10, 2012


Seeker of Shadows (Moonlight 6) by Nancy Gideon - Ends June 9, 2012 - Enter HERE. US ONLY

Winners x 7 - June 10, 2012

Question:  Who is/are your favorite shapeshifter(s)?

BookAttict who said...

My first thought was Curran too! I also love Brand Geirson from Coral Moore's Broods of Fenrir and Johnny from the Persephone Alcmedi series by Linda Robertson!

I've read the first 4 books of the By Moonlight series and really enjoyed them! I'm looking forward to reading Seeker of Shadows!

Thanks for another amazing giveaway!


Winners x 7 - June 10, 2012


The winners have been notified and have until 11:59PM US Eastern Time on Sunday, June 17, 2012 to respond or The Qwillery will very randomly choose a new winner or winners.

Thank you!

Interview with Mike Shevdon and Giveaway - May 26, 2012

The Qwillery is delighted to have an interview today with Mike Shevdon. Mike is the author of The Courts of Feyre series, which you should run out and buy or download immediately. Strangeness and Charm, the third novel in The Courts of the Feyre series, will be published in the US and Canada on May 29, 2012. The rest of the world has to wait until June 7th.


TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery.

Mike:  Thank you for inviting me; it’s good to be back.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Mike:  Many people have writing quirks - they need a special pen, or a coffee first, or to be in a particular place, in order to write. I used to work in London, and commuting in and out took about three hours every day. I also travelled internationally on business to the US, Europe and elsewhere. These are noisy disruptive places with announcements and interruptions every five minutes, but at first, this was the only time I got to write.

As a consequence, I’ve written on trains, planes, in the back of cars in traffic jams. I’ve written in airport lounges, in hotel rooms when I’m jet-lagged and awake at 4am, and on sun-loungers when I’m on holiday. I’ve written in a notepad, on a phone, on a PC or a Mac, on an ancient Psion organiser. I make notes on napkins, business cards, and in desperation on my skin. Oddly, the place I find easiest to write is on trains, though I often have no memory of the journey or who I sat next to. Occasionally I have missed my stop.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Mike:  I’m a plotter. I’m the arch-plotter. When you’re writing a four-book series and you’re layering in plots and sub-plots and character plots and sub-character plots, you need a plan. My plans stretch across four different media, has flow-charts, mind-maps, card-indexes, outlines and timelines covering a thousand years. It’s hard to describe, but sometimes you have an entire plot in your head and you turn it - the entire thing - in your head, to view it from a different perspective. It can make your ears bleed.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Mike:  Continuity. I have upwards of eighty individual characters with their own idea of where they’re going and what they’re doing. Keeping track of who knows what, and their motives, what they know, and when they knew it, is challenging. Know thy people. It’s a mantra.

TQ:  What inspired you to write the Courts of the Feyre series?

Mike:  Two things. The first is the perception of people in ‘normal life’. I’ve seen people walk past the same thing for years and then, when you point it out to them they say, Wow! that’s amazing. People get absorbed into their own reality. They don’t see what’s in front of them.

The second is English folklore. It’s full of stories that make you want to explore and ask questions. How does it feel? What does it mean? Where did it come from? They are the what-if questions that for me are at the heart of stories.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for the series?

Mike:  I generally start with a question and I find a thread and I start to pull. I follow where it goes, even when it doesn’t seem relevant. I’m rarely disappointed. Of course, the Internet is wonderful, but it tends to disguise opinion as fact. It makes a great starting point to discover things, but you have to follow through and chase down the references. In the end, there’s no substitute for being there. When I was researching The Road to Bedlam I spent three days exploring the East Yorkshire Coast. My aim was to know what it smelled like, sounded like, how the people were, and how they interacted in that environment.

TQ:  Why did you decide to write ‘hidden world’ Urban Fantasy?

Mike:  Because so few people do, I guess. I found out why they don’t. It’s because maintaining a consistent reality with a changing baseline is difficult. Reality shifts and moves under you. I wrote about a little shop in the Royal Courts of Justice, just inside the door. When I wrote the book it was there, and now it’s not. Does it make it less true to say it’s there? No. The shop stays, even though it’s not real. You can’t always do that. If someone wrote about a meeting in the Twin Towers in New York and then 9/11 happened, it can’t stay. Keeping in touch with reality is hard. A hidden world is rewarding, though, because if you do it right there is this nagging thought that it could be true. It makes people look at the worlds with new vision, they lift their eyes and see.

TQ:  Tell us something about Strangeness and Charm (Courts of the Feyre 3) that is not in the book description.

Mike:  Niall wants to believe that his daughter is okay. She’s been through some stuff, but he wants to believe she came through it unscathed. In his heart he knows that’s not true. She bears the scars and he knows she’s been affected, but he wants to believe she’s okay. It’s who he is. She’s not okay, though, and neither is he.

TQ:   In Strangeness and Charm, who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Mike:  The easiest to write is Niall. He’s the most like me, although he isn’t me, but when I look at things and think, what would Niall do? I just know.

The hardest was Alex. I’m not female, I’m not sixteen. I’ve never been female and sixteen and had that experience. When my female beta-readers came back to me and said, you write extraordinarily well as a teenage girl, I knew I had it right.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Strangeness and Charm?

Mike:  What, I have to pick only one? Oh dear. But I love them all. Okay, the very last scene. It was an indulgence, a closing off of a loose thread, but it means so much more. It has a character that I would love to return to (and will, if I can) and a perfect scene. It’s whole. It’s beautiful. And it represents all of what the Courts of the Feyre is about.

TQ:  Which character from the three Courts of the Feyre novels has surprised you the most?

Mike:  Raffmir. Without a doubt. He’s a homicidal, genocidal, might-is-right unreconstructed hawk. He plays fast and loose, murders witnesses, and systematically persecutes those he doesn’t like. He’s pompous and self-centred. He’s fiercely loyal to his friends, intelligent, gifted and witty. He thinks on his feet and is a joy to write. I’d love to meet him, though on second thoughts, that might be a bad idea.

TQ:  The series has new covers (which means I’ll be buying the first 2 books again). Do you believe that the new covers more accurately capture the novels?

Mike:  Oh, that’s hard to say. I loved the original cover to Sixty-One Nails. It’s clean and sparse with such iconic imagery. John Coulthart’s new covers, though, are beautiful. They have such detail in such exquisite rendering that they’re impossible not to love. He’s captured the iconography and the mystery of the books in the covers and I think he does them justice. If the purpose of a cover is to make you want to pick up the book, then John has succeeded.

TQ:  What's next?

Mike:  I’m writing book four at the moment - The Eighth Court - the final book in this series. That will bring together the threads of the previous three books and we will learn what’s been going on. It’s the culmination, for me, of ten years work.

That will keep me busy for a while and then there will be edits and revisions and all that good stuff that gets us to a finished book. After that, I have some other projects I want to work on. I have a science fiction book I’d like to write, about water, and another book set in the modern day which is almost a ghost story but not quite. Then there’s a completely new series which we might call Attack of the Squid People for development purposes. We’re into 2015 now, is that far enough?

TQ:   Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Mike:  Thank you, my pleasure.


In March 2011, Mike wrote an extremely informative guest blog for The Qwillery about the word "Feyre."  Rather than just link to it, I decided to include it here for your reading pleasure.

Mike's Guest Blog

I was asked by Sally (Qwill) how 'Feyre' - as in the Courts of the Feyre - was pronounced. The answer is easy; I pronounce it the same way as 'fair', but you can pronounce it any way you want. But why Feyre? Why not Fae or Fey or Faerie? That question requires a longer answer.

It's been an issue of some controversy - several reviewers have commented that having the Courts of the Feyre wasn't true to mythology or consistent with other writers who wrote about faerie, fey, or fae, creatures. It seems like an obviously made up word and for some people that jars. There is even one notable rant on the subject on the web, though I suspect that is prompted by other motives related to the website owner's own work.

So why invent a word when other words already exist?

The idea for the Courts of the Feyre was prompted by a question. What if the creatures of English folklore really existed? A question like this prompts other questions: Why can't we see them, why don't we read about them in the newspapers? The answer to that is simple - they have magic that conceals them, but that sparks its own questions: What kind of magic? How does it work? It also spawns more subtle issues - what happens when these creatures die? Where is the evolutionary trail, the fossil record?

Some authors spend a huge amount of time world-building before they begin to write their stories. I guess they need a full picture of their world before they begin, but that's not how I approached it. I began with the ideas spawned by the questions and the rest of the world is consequences.
We can't see these creatures because they have magic.
If they have magic, why don't they rule the world?
There are too few, though they live a long time.
Why aren't there more of them?
Because they're dying out.
Why are they dying out?
Politics.
There are a number of authors who use Celtic mythology in their stories, some in very innovative ways, and Celtic mythology has it's own stories and cycles, but that's not my background and not my heritage. I'm English - about as English as it gets. My family tree disappears into Anglo-Saxon, possibly Viking immigrants (bloody Danes, coming over here, stealing our jobs, what's the ninth century coming to?) - at least as far as anyone knows. So when I created my world I wanted an English, not a Celtic, mythos.

I also wanted a modern world - if possible our world - the one where we go to work, eat burgers, have iPods and mobile phones, where there are police and CCTV. Again, it went back to a question - what if English folk-lore had a basis in truth - not the literal truth, but stories based on a reality that was only partly visible in the first place? What if the source of those stories was still there?

If you read enough English folklore there are themes that emerge. Time is not constant. A man meets a group of people on the road and they invite him to a party. The party is under a hill, but he goes with them and enjoys a fine night of feasting and entertainment. The next day he emerges to discover that everyone thinks he's dead. His wife has re-married and his children don't recognise him. Years have passed.

Children are a recurring theme. A baby is switched for a child that looks the same, but its eyes are knowing in a way that speaks of something far older. A search for the real baby ensues. A deal is made, a bargain to retrieve what was lost. The fascination with children and the concept of deals and bargains are threaded all through English folklore. These themes feed into the answers:
Why the fascination with children?
Because they don't have many children of their own.
Why not?
Infertility has crept in and they are no longer able to reproduce.
Why are they infertile?
They breed slowly because they live a long time.
That wouldn't make them infertile, though, would it?
It would if they've been selectively breeding themselves.
Why would they do that?
To reinforce the magic, to bring out the traits that leads to power.
But if they were selectively breeding themselves, then that would imply governance, or at least a societal pressure to conform. Where would such a pressure come from? And how do you explain that these creatures are all different? There are hobs and goblins, boggarts and brownies, trolls and nixies. Surely this isn't one race of creatures, but many?
What if they're all the same creature in different forms?
How would they get to be different forms?
A small change in DNA, a specific mutation, will result in differences in appearance.
Wouldn't that even out in a population over time?
It would, unless that population deliberately segmented itself based on appearance.
Why would it do that?
Because the outward appearance is related to the power that goes with it. Different appearance, different abilities.
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, so if you had the power to change the world according to your will, wouldn't you eventually destroy yourselves? Isn't that what magic is - the power to change your world to suit yourself? But if many people have that power then surely they will come into conflict? There will be war, and that will destroy everyone.

Perhaps there was war, but so long ago that no-one remembers. They only remember what came from it, a division, a mechanism for peace and if not harmony, then separation. A population divided on their ability to manifest particular sorts of power, bent on strengthening and fostering that power, to the exclusion of all else. Seven Courts, established to provide peace and justice, and to prevent war.

For the name of these courts I looked first at Fey and Fae, but these words have connotations of flightiness and unreliability. My courts were about justice and judgement, and they made life and death decisions, so fae wasn't quite the right word. The idea of justice and judgement led to the phrase, The Fair Folk, a term used to describe faerie creatures, but the Courts of the Fair didn't quite work for my purposes, because they weren't always fair. Sometimes they were pragmatically unfair, even brutally so.

So I went back to the Middle English word 'fayerye', derived from the Old French 'faerie'. Not a pure French word, but one that was notably English in style and spelling. After all, no English dictionary existed until A Table Alphabeticall in 1604, produced by Robert Cawdrey: "A table alphabeticall conteyning and teaching the true writing, and vnderstanding of hard vsuall English wordes, borrowed from the Hebrew, Greeke, Latine, or French, &c.

From 'feyerye' I derive the Courts of the Feyre, a very English interpretation of mythical folklore in a modern setting. It's anachronistic, in the way that a creature that lives for a very long time would be.

In this world the themes from folklore are all there; lost children, deals and bargains, hidden worlds and lost time, but these are interpreted against a modern backdrop where ancient history is just below the surface and secrets and mysteries are hidden under our noses.

And for those who feel I have taken a liberty with the English language by creating a new word for creatures that have been part of English folklore for a very long time, I would ask your indulgence and for you to bear in mind that for the majority of that time, the spelling of words has been somewhat variable, and my spelling may not be as original as it seems.


About The Courts of the Feyre

Strangeness and Charm
Courts of the Feyre 3
Angry Robot, May 29, 2012 (US/Can)
June 7, 2012 (UK/RoW)

Interview with Mike Shevdon and Giveaway - May 26, 2012
The Courts of the Feyre, Vol III

Alex has been saved from the fate that awaited her in Bedlam, but in freeing her, Niall has released others of their kind into the population. Now, as Warder, he must find them and persuade them to swap their new-found liberty for security in the courts – but is the price of sanctuary to swap one cage for another?

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Folklore hero | Faerie Legend | Secret World | Magic London ]


The Road to Bedlam
The Courts of the Feyre 2
Angry Robot, October 26, 2010 (US/Can)
(The edition with the new cover will be out of May 29, 2012)

Interview with Mike Shevdon and Giveaway - May 26, 2012
“There’s been an accident. It’s your daughter.” These are the words no parent ever wants to hear.

Learning to cope with the loss of a child is only the beginning of the new challenges facing Niall Petersen. An old enemy has returned and Niall already knows it’s not a social call.

As the new Warder of the Seven Courts he will be forced to choose between love and honour, duty and responsibility.

Those choices will lead him to discover dark secrets at the core of the realm, where the people in power have their own designs.

FILE UNDER: Urban Fantasy [ Undying Madness / Insane Magic / Secret Realities / Stolen Children ]


Sixty-One Nails
The Courts of the Feyre 1
Angry Robot, August 31, 2010 (US/Can)
(The edition with the new cover will be out of May 29, 2012)

Interview with Mike Shevdon and Giveaway - May 26, 2012
There is a secret war raging beneath the streets of London.

A dark magic will be unleashed by the Untained… Unless a new hero can be found.

Neverwhere‘s faster, smarter brother has arrived.

The immense SIXTY-ONE NAILS follows Niall Petersen, from a suspected heart attack on the London Underground, into the hidden world of the Feyre, an uncanny place of legend that lurks just beyond the surface of everyday life. The Untainted, the darkest of the Seven Courts, have made their play for power, and unless Niall can recreate the ritual of the Sixty-One Nails, their dark dominion will enslave all of the Feyre, and all of humankind too.

FILE UNDER: Urban Fantasy [ Hidden War / Ancient Legend / Secret History / Deadly Duel ]


About Mike

Mike Shevdon was born in Yorkshire, grew up in Oxfordshire and now lives in Bedfordshire, so no-one can say he hasn’t travelled. An avid reader of fantasy since his early teens, he has a bulging bookshelf going back more than thirty years. His love of fantasy started with Edgar Rice Burroughs and C S Lewis and expanded rapidly, spilling over into SF, crime fiction (usually mystery in the US), thrillers, the back of cereal packets, instruction manuals and anything else with words on it.

He is a keen cook (his wife would use the word ‘messy’ but that’s another story) and is the inventor of Squeaky Cheese Curry. He particularly loves food from South East Asia and is on a life-long quest to create the perfect satay sauce.

Interview with Mike Shevdon and Giveaway - May 26, 2012
Photo courtesy of Mark Lewis Photography

His favourite books include Barabara Hambly’s Darwath Trilogy, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and any of John Le Carre’s George Smiley books. He is a big fan of Robert Crais and the Elvis Cole series and loves all the Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Plum novels. He believes Sir Terry Pratchet’s knighthood is richly deserved.

Mike draws his inspiration from the richness of English folklore and from the history and rituals of the UK. The Courts of the Feyre is a series that follows the adventures of Niall and Blackbird as Niall discovers a world of dark magic and strange creatures hidden in plain sight.

The first two books in the series, Sixty-One Nails and The Road to Bedlam are available now worldwide. Both books are complete stories in themselves and may be read independently, though they are probably best enjoyed in sequence. There are two more books scheduled – Strangeness & Charm in summer 2012 and The Eighth Court in 2013.

Website
Facebook
Twitter


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a signed ARC of Strangeness and Charm (The Courts of the Feyre 3) from Mike!

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What do you think of the new covers?

Here are the older covers for comparison purposes:

Interview with Mike Shevdon and Giveaway - May 26, 2012

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Saturday, June 2, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

The View From Monday - May 21, 2012

It's Monday again! This week at The Qwillery:

Monday - Guest Blog by Lisa Shearin author of the Raine Benares series. All Spell Breaks Loose, the final novel in the series, will be published on May 29, 2012.

Tuesday - 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interview with Cassie Alexander. Cassie's debut, Nighshifted (Nightshifted/Edie Spence 1), will be published on May 22, 2012.

Wednesday - Interview with Lori Handeland. Zombie Island, the second novel in the Shakespeare Undead series, will be published on May 22, 2012.

Thursday - 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Post by Megan Powell. No Peace for the Damned, Megan's debut, will be published on July 10, 2012.

Friday - Interview with Michael Sullivan, author of the Riyria Revelations series.

Saturday - Interview with Mike Shevdon. Strangeness and Charm (The Courts of Feyre 3) will be published on May 29, 2012.


May 20, 2012
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Talisman Of El
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Alecia Stone F



May 22, 2012
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The King's Blood
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Daniel Abraham F - Dagger and Coin 2
Nightshifted (d)
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Cassie Alexander UF - Nightshifted/Edie Spence 1
Dark Jenny (tp2mm)
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Alex Bledsoe F/M - Eddie Lactrosse Mystery 3
The Paths of the Dead (h2tp)
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Steven Brust F - Viscount of Adrilankha 1
Destroyer of Worlds
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Mark Chadbourn F - Kingdom of the Serpent 3
Out of the Waters (h2mm)
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
David Drake F - Books of the Elements 2
Orb Sceptre Throne (tp and h)
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Ian C. Esslemont F - Malazan Empire 4
A Tree of Bones
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Gemma Files F - Hexslinger 3
The Vampire Dimitri (tp2mm)
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Colleen Gleason PNR - Recency Draculia 2
Legacy (h2mm)
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
David L. Golemon SF - Event Group Adventure 6
Midnight's Master
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Donna Grant PNR - Dark Warriors 1
Zombie Island
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Lori Handeland F - Shakespeare Undead 2
Nebula Awards Showcase 2012
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
James Patrick Kelly
John Kessel
SF - Anthology
Princeps
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
L. E. Modesitt, Jr. F - Imager Portfolio 5
Beauty and the Werewolf (h2mm)
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Mercedes Lackey GR - Five Hundred Kingdoms 6
The Walls of the Universe (h2mm)
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Paul Melko SF - Walls of the Universe 1
The Enemy's Kiss
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Zandria Munson PNR
Honeyed Words (h2mm)
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
J. A. Pitts F - Sarah Beauhall 2
Further: Beyond the Threshold
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Chris Roberson SF
2312
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Kim Stanley Robinson SF
Dark Magic
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
James Swain ST/O
Guardian of the Night
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Linda Thomas-Sundstrom PNR - Vampire Moons
Shadow Bound
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Rachel Vincent UF - Unbound 2
Dog Days
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Elsa Watson FR
Blue-Blooded Vamp
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Jaye Wells UF -Sabina Kane 5
Nightworld (ri)
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
F. Paul Wilson H - Adversary Cycle 6



May 23, 2012
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Ultramarines: The Second Omnibus
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Graham McNeill SF - Warhammer 40,000 : Ultramarines



May 25, 2012
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
House of Doors (h2tp)
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Chez Brenchley H - Keys to D'Esperance 2



May 28, 2012
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Closed Horizon
The View From Monday - May 21, 2012
Peter Lantos SF



d - Debut
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
tp2mm - Trade Paperback to Mass Market Paperback
ri - Reissue or Reprint

F - Fantasy
FR - Fantasy Romance
GR - Gothic Romance
H - Horror
M - Mystery
O - Occult
PNR - Paranormal Romance
S - Supernatural
ST - Supernatural Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy

Winner, Winner, Winners, Winner, Winner - March 30, 2011

Here are some winners of recent giveaways:

Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Winner, Winner, Winners, Winner, Winner - March 30, 2011
Sinnaye who said


"I am totally in love with the waters in the Wicklow Mountains (Dublin), those little rivers who ens up in the big lakes are breathtaking. Especially the Guinness Lake

Would love to be there again... *sigh*"












Women Know Everything! by Karen Weekes

Winner, Winner, Winners, Winner, Winner - March 30, 2011
Bethany C. who said

Hmm, when you say women from 'history' I presume they have to not still be alive. I'll have to say Susan B. Anthony since she was so instrumental in the women's movement and suffrage.













Taste Me by Tamara Hogan (2 copies)

Winner, Winner, Winners, Winner, Winner - March 30, 2011
Book Groupie who said

I love all different sorts of music, but lately the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Santigold and Arcade Fire have been especially inspirational. Great interview, I'd really like to read this book!

and

rissatoo who said

The music depends on what kind of 'inspiring' I need. Cleaning? Something I can bop around to and sing along (loudly!) with. The soundtrack to Mama Mia! works well for this. Driving? I love to listen to Country radio. Writing or just enjoying quiet time? Classical, like Pachelbel's Canon or Sleepsong by Secret Garden. Dancing? 80's alternative.


Bonded by Blood by Laurie London

Winner, Winner, Winners, Winner, Winner - March 30, 2011
KimberlySue who said...

My indulgence was applying for teaching jobs in every single state in order to try to get out of this miserable Pennsylvania weather....and my indulgence in sending my resumes out led to an awesome 8th grade Language Arts teacher in Arizona!













Sixty-One Nails and The Road to Bedlam by Mike Shevdon

Winner, Winner, Winners, Winner, Winner - March 30, 2011Winner, Winner, Winners, Winner, Winner - March 30, 2011






Dolly who said...

I always find it irritating when people start complaining about a particular author's vision. There is a reason why these books are under "Fiction" - author has the right to change words or make them up.

What lurks beneath my city ...well, of course all creatures come and go, but a particular emphasis on shapeshifters, vampires, even some fairies and such - not the happy kind, but more the evil ones. Cities are good for predators. So many people to prey upon









Winners have been contacted and have until 11:59PM US Eastern Time on Wednesday April 6, 2011 to respond or The Qwillery will very randomly choose another winner or winners.

Guest Blog by Mike Shevdon & Giveaway - March 18, 2011

Please welcome author Mike Shevdon to The Qwillery:

I was asked by Sally (Qwill) how 'Feyre' - as in the Courts of the Feyre - was pronounced. The answer is easy; I pronounce it the same way as 'fair', but you can pronounce it any way you want. But why Feyre? Why not Fae or Fey or Faerie? That question requires a longer answer.

It's been an issue of some controversy - several reviewers have commented that having the Courts of the Feyre wasn't true to mythology or consistent with other writers who wrote about faerie, fey, or fae, creatures. It seems like an obviously made up word and for some people that jars. There is even one notable rant on the subject on the web, though I suspect that is prompted by other motives related to the website owner's own work.

So why invent a word when other words already exist?

The idea for the Courts of the Feyre was prompted by a question. What if the creatures of English folklore really existed? A question like this prompts other questions: Why can't we see them, why don't we read about them in the newspapers? The answer to that is simple - they have magic that conceals them, but that sparks its own questions: What kind of magic? How does it work? It also spawns more subtle issues - what happens when these creatures die? Where is the evolutionary trail, the fossil record?

Some authors spend a huge amount of time world-building before they begin to write their stories. I guess they need a full picture of their world before they begin, but that's not how I approached it. I began with the ideas spawned by the questions and the rest of the world is consequences.


We can't see these creatures because they have magic.
If they have magic, why don't they rule the world?
There are too few, though they live a long time.
Why aren't there more of them?
Because they're dying out.
Why are they dying out?
Politics.

There are a number of authors who use Celtic mythology in their stories, some in very innovative ways, and Celtic mythology has it's own stories and cycles, but that's not my background and not my heritage. I'm English - about as English as it gets. My family tree disappears into Anglo-Saxon, possibly Viking immigrants (bloody Danes, coming over here, stealing our jobs, what's the ninth century coming to?) - at least as far as anyone knows. So when I created my world I wanted an English, not a Celtic, mythos.

I also wanted a modern world - if possible our world - the one where we go to work, eat burgers, have iPods and mobile phones, where there are police and CCTV. Again, it went back to a question - what if English folk-lore had a basis in truth - not the literal truth, but stories based on a reality that was only partly visible in the first place? What if the source of those stories was still there?

If you read enough English folklore there are themes that emerge. Time is not constant. A man meets a group of people on the road and they invite him to a party. The party is under a hill, but he goes with them and enjoys a fine night of feasting and entertainment. The next day he emerges to discover that everyone thinks he's dead. His wife has re-married and his children don't recognise him. Years have passed.

Children are a recurring theme. A baby is switched for a child that looks the same, but its eyes are knowing in a way that speaks of something far older. A search for the real baby ensues. A deal is made, a bargain to retrieve what was lost. The fascination with children and the concept of deals and bargains are threaded all through English folklore. These themes feed into the answers:


Why the fascination with children?
Because they don't have many children of their own.
Why not?
Infertility has crept in and they are no longer able to reproduce.
Why are they infertile?
They breed slowly because they live a long time.
That wouldn't make them infertile, though, would it?
It would if they've been selectively breeding themselves.
Why would they do that?
To reinforce the magic, to bring out the traits that leads to power.

But if they were selectively breeding themselves, then that would imply governance, or at least a societal pressure to conform. Where would such a pressure come from? And how do you explain that these creatures are all different? There are hobs and goblins, boggarts and brownies, trolls and nixies. Surely this isn't one race of creatures, but many?


What if they're all the same creature in different forms?
How would they get to be different forms?
A small change in DNA, a specific mutation, will result in differences in appearance.
Wouldn't that even out in a population over time?
It would, unless that population deliberately segmented itself based on appearance.
Why would it do that?
Because the outward appearance is related to the power that goes with it. Different appearance, different abilities.

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, so if you had the power to change the world according to your will, wouldn't you eventually destroy yourselves? Isn't that what magic is - the power to change your world to suit yourself? But if many people have that power then surely they will come into conflict? There will be war, and that will destroy everyone.

Perhaps there was war, but so long ago that no-one remembers. They only remember what came from it, a division, a mechanism for peace and if not harmony, then separation. A population divided on their ability to manifest particular sorts of power, bent on strengthening and fostering that power, to the exclusion of all else. Seven Courts, established to provide peace and justice, and to prevent war.

For the name of these courts I looked first at Fey and Fae, but these words have connotations of flightiness and unreliability. My courts were about justice and judgement, and they made life and death decisions, so fae wasn't quite the right word. The idea of justice and judgement led to the phrase, The Fair Folk, a term used to describe faerie creatures, but the Courts of the Fair didn't quite work for my purposes, because they weren't always fair. Sometimes they were pragmatically unfair, even brutally so.

So I went back to the Middle English word 'fayerye', derived from the Old French 'faerie'. Not a pure French word, but one that was notably English in style and spelling. After all, no English dictionary existed until A Table Alphabeticall in 1604, produced by Robert Cawdrey: "A table alphabeticall conteyning and teaching the true writing, and vnderstanding of hard vsuall English wordes, borrowed from the Hebrew, Greeke, Latine, or French, &c.

From 'feyerye' I derive the Courts of the Feyre, a very English interpretation of mythical folklore in a modern setting. It's anachronistic, in the way that a creature that lives for a very long time would be.

In this world the themes from folklore are all there; lost children, deals and bargains, hidden worlds and lost time, but these are interpreted against a modern backdrop where ancient history is just below the surface and secrets and mysteries are hidden under our noses.

And for those who feel I have taken a liberty with the English language by creating a new word for creatures that have been part of English folklore for a very long time, I would ask your indulgence and for you to bear in mind that for the majority of that time, the spelling of words has been somewhat variable, and my spelling may not be as original as it seems.

 
About Mike's Books
 
Sixty-One Nails
Courts of the Feyre 1
(US - August 31, 2010)
Guest Blog by Mike Shevdon & Giveaway - March 18, 2011
There is a secret war raging beneath the streets of London. A dark magic will be unleashed by the Untained… unless a new hero can be found.
 
Neverwhere’s faster, smarter brother has arrived. The immense SIXTY-ONE NAILS follows Niall Petersen, from a suspected heart attack on the London Underground, into the hidden world of the Feyre, an uncanny place of legend that lurks just beyond the surface of everyday life. The Untainted, the darkest of the Seven Courts, have made their play for power, and unless Niall can recreate the ritual of the Sixty-One Nails, their dark dominion will enslave all of the Feyre, and all of humankind too.

FILE UNDER:
Urban Fantasy [Hidden War / Ancient Legend / Secret History / Deadly Duel]


The Road to Bedlam
Courts of the Feyre 2
(US - October 26, 2010)
Guest Blog by Mike Shevdon & Giveaway - March 18, 2011
There’s been an accident. It’s your daughter. These are the words no parent ever wants to hear.

Learning to cope with the loss of a child is only the beginning of the new challenges facing Niall Petersen. An old enemy has returned and Niall already knows it’s not a social call. As the new Warder of the Seven Courts he will be forced to choose between love and honour, duty and responsibility. Those choices will lead him to discover dark secrets at the core of the realm, where the people in power have their own designs.

FILE UNDER:
Urban Fantasy [Hidden War / Ancient Legend / Secret History / Deadly Duel]






About Mike

Guest Blog by Mike Shevdon & Giveaway - March 18, 2011
Photo courtesy of Mark Lewis Photography
Mike Shevdon lives in Bedfordshire, England with his wife and son, where he combines his various interests of writing, cookery and technology with the study of martial arts, particularly archery.

His blend of real history and folklore was launched on an unsuspecting world last year with his debut novel, Sixty-One Nails, published by Angry Robot Books. It interleaves forgotten legends and faerie tales with real history and ancient rituals that are still performed at the core of the realm to this day. A refreshingly different take on Urban Fantasy, The Courts of the Feyre is a series exploring humanity's relationship with the creatures that inspired the oldest of stories, weaving a modern faerie-tale into the fabric of reality. The sequel, The Road to Bedlam, was published in Autumn 2010, revealing more of the relationship between the everyday world and the secret world of magic and darkness beneath.

Mike's books are available in good bookshops around the world as well as online and as eBooks.


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:   One commenter will win Mass Market Paperback copies of Sixty-One Nails and The Road to Bedlam by Mike Shevdon.

How:   Leave a comment answering this question: What do you imagine lurks beneath the surface of your city or town? Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Friday, March 25, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


All views in guest blogs are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this blog or blog owner.

The View From Monday... on Sunday - March 13, 2011

Happy Daylight Savings Time in the US! Springing Forward is much less enjoyable for me than Falling Back.

As you've noticed it's not actually Monday. We did not spring forward an entire day. So why is The View From Monday on Sunday? Because I have an interview and giveaway for you tomorrow. Here's the schedule: interview with debut author Tamara Hogan (Taste Me) on Monday, interview with debut author Laurie London (Bonded by Blood) on Wednesday and guest post by Mike Shevdon (Sixty-One Nails, The Road to Bedlam) on Friday. There will be giveaways also.

Here is the release list for this week. Please remember that release dates do change and my list is never a list of every book being published.

March 15, 2011

Vampires: The Recent UndeadPaula Guran (Ed)Anthology
Kraken*China MiévilleF
ShimmerAlyson NoëlYA - Riley Bloom 2
MidnightL.J. SmithYA - Vampire Diaries: The Return 3
WhedonistasLynne M. Thomas (Ed) Deborah Stanish (Ed)Anthology (essay collection)
SteelCarrie VaughnYA
The Sorceror's House*Gene WolfeF


March 17, 2011

ChimeFranny BillingsleyYA
The Screaming SeasonNancy HolderYA - Possessions 3

*Paberback release or reissue
F - Fantasy
YA - Young Adult

Anthology:



Book Trailers


Review: The Eighth Court by Mike Shevdon- June 9, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - 2 June 2013Melanie's Week in Review  - May 26, 2013Cover Revealed - The Eighth Court by Mike ShevdonWinners x 7 - June 10, 2012Interview with Mike Shevdon and Giveaway - May 26, 2012The View From Monday - May 21, 2012Winner, Winner, Winners, Winner, Winner - March 30, 2011Guest Blog by Mike Shevdon & Giveaway - March 18, 2011The View From Monday... on Sunday - March 13, 2011

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