It seems a while since I've done a Tales of Damasco update, and I'm tempted to say that that's because not a lot's been happening, but actually that isn't entirely true. I guess it's more than the news has been trickling in in dribs and drabs, and until now it hasn't quite added up to enough to warrant a full blog post.
Closest to my heart right now is that I'm finally entering the last leg of the first draft of Prince Thief. I'm five chapters from the end, and those five chapters are all conclusion ... the conclusion not only of this book but of the wider story I started in Giant Thief. That means that in the remaining twenty-five thousand words or so, I have to clear up once and for all the fates of not only the ever-scoundrelish Mr Damasco himself, but Saltlick, Marina Estrada, Alvantes, Castilio Mounteban, a host of secondary characters, two or three new and major characters you haven't met yet unless you're me, and ... oh, lest we forget ... the entirety of the Castoval.
So. No pressure, right? Or at least - right now anyway - only the self-imposed kind that involves a bit of my brain constantly screaming, "don't screw this up, Tallerman, it's taken you five bloody years!" But you know what? Five chapters and a month and a half to go until the end of this first draft, and I'm still feeling good about Prince Thief. I only hope I can say the same in six weeks time, as I oh so slowly and melodramatically finger-type THE END.
Meanwhile, Crown Thief has gone off to the typesetters, which means that from my point of view, it really is truly and completely and finally done at last. It even has a finished (well, a provisionally finished) cover, which is that bit of loveliness over on the right there.
Last up, there have been a few more reviews of Giant Thief trickling in since the release of the audiobook. And funnily enough, they all come to fairly similar conclusions, though with varying degrees of positiveness. Focusing specifically on the audiobook, The Guilded Earlobe says that "Giant Thief won’t distinguish itself as a modern classic of the Fantasy genre, but it’s a fun, clever adventure tale full of reluctant heroes and outrageous situations," and praises James Langton's reading in particular: "I felt instantly comfortable with [Langton], and I think he handled the characters and pacing of this novel just right." Meanwhile, Fantasy Book Critic thought that "overall Giant Thief is an entertaining fantasy novel, with a strong enough main character to make me look forward to the next volume in the series," and Ryan Skardal from Fantasy Literature, agreeing but not enjoying the experience so much, felt that "Giant Thief is an amusing, if familiar, fantasy novel."
Most interesting for me, though, was to hear the thoughts of Bull Spec editor Samuel Montgomery-Blinn; Sam published my story The Burning Room way back when and so I take his opinion a little more seriously than that of the average reviewer. Sad to say, he wasn't exactly bowled over, finding some of the plot turns in the second half unconvincing and drawing unfavourable comparisons with the mighty Mr Scott Lynch.* Sam also offers some interesting thoughts on the the cover art and its representation of Damasco; I won't repeat his thoughts here, as I suspect the subject he touches on warrants at the very least a blog post in its own right, but it's certainly a topic worthy of discussion. So I'm glad someone raised it and I recommend taking a look and then following the links that Sam's put in there.
* But hey, sometimes just getting the comparison in the first place is enough, you know?