Three rousing cheers, champagne and fireworks … okay, cheese and crackers, not fireworks. Might frighten the neighbours. My author copies of Blackdog have arrived.There’s nothing quite like that first moment of opening a box and viewing those shiny copies of the New Book, and this new book was particularly grand. You’d think, having done this nineteen times, by the twentieth one might be a bit blasé about it, but it’s not like that at all. This was as exciting as viewing a shiny stack of Torrie and the Dragons way back when, except, in some ways, even more thrilling because Blackdog is such a gloriously fat book. Not, perhaps, quite an Empress of Blandings of a book; I think the silver medal in the fat books class at the Shropshire Agricultural Show would be bound to go to Erikson, but still, at 547 pages Blackdog is respectably hefty in the hand. And Raymond Swanland’s cover is something I’d love to hang on my wall. I also had a great editor at Pyr in Lou Anders, a pleasure to work with, and that adds to the general air of jubilation — the book is everything I wanted it to be. It’s available now in the US, a bit ahead of its originally-scheduled release date, and should be shipping soon up here north of the border.
Blackdog, for those of you who are following our manga saga, takes place a couple of centuries after “The Storyteller“, which was originally written to fill in some backstory for the novel. So, Blackdog was written first, and then revised in light of “Storyteller”, but it stands entirely on its own. It’s actually more logical to read Blackdog first, and then the short story “The Storyteller” — and much much later, after we’re done, The Storyteller: Sword of Ice and Shadows, because the manga version of the short story is filling in some interesting details, as well as raising some interesting questions (such as, so why would a man fall in love with a mostly dead-and-buried skeleton, anyway?)