The Books of the Cataclysm

Sean Williams returns to the fantastical alternate Australia that he created in his Books of the Change fantasy trilogy in his latest fantasy work, The Books of the Cataclysm. The opening book in the series, The Crooked Letter, takes readers to a world shattered into a million pieces, the second, The Blood Debt, moves on to a far corner of that world where blood is power and water is more precious than freedom, and the third, The Hanging Mountains, looks to ancient enemies stalking the ghostly fog forests of legend. The fourth and final book in the series, The Devoured Earth, is due out in Australia in June.

I’ve been reading Sean Williams work since the early 1990s, when he was submitting stories to a semiprozine that I was editing in Perth. While even then he was focussed on the science fiction that has made his name, he has passionately pushed his own personal envelope, working hard to create work that is engaging, entertaining, and challenging. You can see this in this quartet of fantasies, all of which I think will repay your attention.

As a special bonus, Sean has let me post the opening chapters from each of the four Books of the Cataclysm. They’re linked to as FlashPaper files. To read them you can either scroll through the files using the scrollbars on the side of the flash windows, or click on the page symbol at the top right of each toolbar to open the file in a fresh window. You can also zoom in or out using the zoom tool to read the text more clearly. Neat, huh.

I’d love to hear from Coode Streeters on how you like The Books of the Cataclysm and how you like the FlashPaper experiment. And remember, if you like the samples, the books are published by HarperCollins in Australia and PYR in the US, and they have cool Greg Bridges covers.

Read excerpts

1. The Crooked Letter

Read the sample

2. The Blood Debt

Read the sample

3. The Hanging Mountains

Read the sample

4. The Devoured Earth

Read the sample

Some reviews

I know readers like to hear what other people think of the books they’re reading, so I checked out some of the reviews for The Crooked Letter, the first book in Sean’s series. Turns out that Barnes and Noble’s reviewer calls it ” a page-turner of the highest order”, and it gets good notices here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here.

Note: So, WordPress doesn’t like embedding Flash movies. Darn. You can read these by clicking on the links. The files will then operate as described. Still cool, but only moderately cool.

5 thoughts on “The Books of the Cataclysm”

  1. Hi Jonathan,

    I’m reading The Crooked Letter right now and I like it very much. I think he does a great job of injecting some new, nifty ideas into Epic Fantasy. I’d almost classify this book as horror. At the very least, it has some appeal to the horror crowd.

  2. I’ve read The Crooked Letter and loved it, and have The Blood Debt ready to read next!

    In fact, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read of Sean’s… fangirl = me ;)

  3. I’m flattered. Thanks, Rob and Liz.

    And thanks, Jonathan, for the plug. The Pyr editions are so beautiful I want to eat them.

    I think of The Crooked Letter as a mix of science fiction, fantasy and horror, in that it borrows from all three genres fairly liberally. And “real” religion too. Great fun to write.

  4. Thanks again, Jonathan. I’m still pondering the “hard” issue and will report soon–without, of course, wanting to generate any “Newer Weird” style controversy…

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