By Lou Anders
Cover by Justin Gerard
Published by Crown Books (Random House Children’s Books)
Out: 15th August 2014
The Book: Fantasy fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series will embrace this first novel in an adventure-filled, Viking-inspired series by a debut author.
Meet Karn. He is destined to take over the family farm in Norrøngard. His only problem? He’d rather be playing the board game Thrones and Bones.
Enter Thianna. Half human, half frost giantess. She’s too tall to blend in with other humans but too short to be taken seriously as a giant.
When family intrigues force Karn and Thianna to flee into the wilderness, they have to keep their sense of humour and their wits about them. But survival can be challenging when you’re being chased by a 1,500-year-old dragon, Helltoppr the undead warrior and his undead minions, an evil uncle, wyverns, and an assortment of trolls and giants.
Readers will embark on a sweeping epic fantasy as they join Karn and Thianna on a voyage of discovery.
Antics and hair-raising escapades abound in this fantasy adventure as the two forge a friendship and journey to unknown territory. Their plan: to save their families from harm.
Debut novelist Lou Anders has created a rich world of over twenty-five countries inhabited by Karn, Thianna, and an array of fantastical creatures, as well as the Thrones and Bones board game.
About the Author: Lou Anders is the Hugo Award winning editorial director of Pyr Books, as well as the WFC award nominated editor of many critically-acclaimed anthologies. He’s also a Chesley Award winning art director.
The Review: First up, a declaration. It was very hard to write this review, simply because I’ve known Lou Anders for nearly a 20 years now, ever since I commissioned his first work on Star Trek Magazine while I was at Titan Magazines. This is a guy who went above and beyond the call of duty to feed my insatiable appetite for great features and interviews for years, not only for Star Trek but particularly Babylon 5 Magazine. Heck, we even went on a road trip together to Skywalker Ranch.
In short, I’m honoured to have worked with this guy… I’ve watched him carve a deserved path from feature writer to award-winning publisher and editor… and then he asks me to review his first novel, something he’s worked on for years, developing the world behind the story, character building and the rest. What the heck was I going to say to him if I didn’t like the damn thing?
Well, I needn’t have worried. Thrones & Bones: Frostborn is a terrific debut novel in what I’m sure is going to be a great trilogy, crammed with action and adventure, believable characters you can genuinely care about and some wonderfully funny moments as Karn and Thianna battle all manner of foes, including the undead and a really petulant dragon.
Story-wise, this is a bit of a “quest”-style fantasy adventure as Karn and Thianna fall foul of their enemies and are forced to run, across mostly frozen country, negotiating avalanches and natural disaster as well as wyvern attacks and zombie-like killers but, unlike many trilogies, the story “wraps” in a satisfying way, so you’re not left finding yourself mid-story on the last page. Of course, there is more to come, and the threads for the follow up novels are finely woven into the whole: but they don’t detract from your enjoyment of this debut tale, in my view.
The fact that Lou has clearly spent so much time building the world of Norrøngard (and beyond) gives readers plenty more to enjoy beyond the story itself. As the story unfolds, revelations and hints at a deeper history to the conflict Karn and Thianna are embroiled in all help to enrich an enjoyable story.
Given this novel is aimed at a Young Adult audience, you won’t be surprised to learn that as well as the book itself, Frostborn is being launched not only with a US book tour (dates so far below) but a full-on social media promotional package (links below, too). The backing is well deserved. I’m looking forward to the TV series/ films, the game, the figurines… because I can see them coming!
• Buy Thrones and Bones: Frostborn from amazon.com
• Official web site: www.thronesandbones.com
• Lou Anders Official Site: www.louanders.com
• Thrones & Bones is on Twitter at @ThronesandBones
Lou Anders on Tour
Saturday August 09, 2014 4:00 PM
The Official Launch: Barnes and Noble Reading/Signing
Barnes and Noble @ The Summit Birmingham
Summit Shopping Center, 201 Summit Boulevard Suite 100, Birmingham, AL 35243
Thursday August 29 – Monday September 1, 2014
Panel Appearances and Signing at The Missing Volume
Exact date and time of signing TBD
Wednesday September 03, 2014 5:30 PM
Barnes and Noble Reading/Signing
2999 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80301
Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 6:30 PM
Young Authors Program
Forsyth County, Georgia
Event and location details forthcoming
Thursday, September 18, 2014 7:00 PM
757 Brookwood Village, Birmingham, AL 35209
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Tweens Read Book Festival
South Houston High School
3820 Shaver St, South Houston, TX 77587
Friday-Sunday, November 14-16, 2014
Westin Lombard Yorktown Center
70 Yorktown Shopping Center, Lombard, IL 60148
* Not a Frostborn-specific event. Lou is Editor Guest of Honor, but will happily sign books.
Additional dates in other cities are being added. I’ll update this list as they are confirmed.