For anyone who is interested, PS Publishing in the UK has recently released my collection, The Library of Forgotten Books. There’s a plain hardcover and a cool jacketed and signed hardcover. The reviews so far have been pretty positive.
One of the reviewers writes:
Once in a while a book comes out of nowhere and impresses me so much that I either have to review it on the spot if it is relatively current, or write a “pre-review” post…
I have not heard of Rjurik Davidson before but the title and cover of the book attracted my attention and when I checked its contents, the second part of the collection consisting of tales of Caeli-Amur jumped at me. Standing at about 160 pages The Library of Forgotten Books consists of 6 stories, four original to the collection and one available online at the link above.
The Library of Forgotten Books starts with two alt-history tales, one set in France of the 60’s and one in an Australia with an inland sea that made it a superpower in the late 40’s and early 50’s and then come the pieces of resistance, four stories set in the Caeli-Amur milieu of rival houses that have magicians and geneticists – including the title story set in Varenis a totalitarian rival of Caeli-Amur.
ANALYSIS: The themes of the collection are the star-crossed lovers against a harsh and unforgiving world, deception and survival, intrigue and murder, all against a noirisih city background, whether in France, Australia or in Caeli-Amur’s universe…
Overall The Library of Forgotten Books (A++) is the best collection I have read in a long time – and that in a year in which I have previously read five very impressive collections…. No story that missed for me and three awesome ones I plan to reread for a long time to come. I really want more from the author and any Caeli-Amur story is a must for me, while a novel set in that superb universe would be a big time asap.
If the book has a theme, I think it’s doomed or impossible love. The first three stories concern lovers who are prisoners of their situations, the fourth a widow in love with the public image of her dead partner, the fifth an assassin in love with her target, and the sixth a librarian intrigued by the writers whose books she buries in the stacks. In but one of the stories is escape from the trap truly possible, and even then it’s thanks only to the protagonist’s newly discovered thaumaturgical powers. But though Rjurik Davidson’s world can be bleak, it’s full of beauty and imagination and ideas, where even the grossest distortions of the human body are described with careful eloquence – and in trapping its characters, or forcing them apart, it reminds us of our own freedom.
For those who would like to check out a couple of my stories for free, you can find my story, ‘The Interminable Suffering of Mysterious Mr Wu’ at the new online journal, Verity La, who also did an interview with me about the story. They’ve also got my vignette, ‘Otherworld’ there as well. Or you can download a podcast of my story, ‘The Fear of White’ at Terra Incognita. Finally, there’s ‘The Passing of the Minotaurs’, which is the only of these stories contained in the collection.