Begin #SPFBO Phase 2: A Spotlight on the Final Ten

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In case you are just joining us now for the coverage of the 2016 Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, The BiblioSanctum is part of a panel of ten blogs acting as judges to choose the winning book from out of 300 entries submitted this year. The first phase of SPFBO ended last month, which resulted in ten finalists that will be moving on to compete for the top spot.

This post serves to introduce and mark the start of Phase 2, which officially began on November 1, as well as to lay out our action plan. Also, we’d like to update everyone on the books that our reviewers will be looking at in this next stage of the competition, in case you missed the announcements elsewhere. We most definitely want to spotlight the final ten! Below you’ll find their covers and descriptions, along with links to their Amazon pages if you want to take a closer look. Congratulations to the authors!

fionn-defence-of-rath-bladhma-spfbo larcout-spfbo paternus-spfbo the-moonlight-war-spfbo outpost-spfbo

the-music-box-girl-spfbo the-path-of-flames-spfbo the-grey-bastards-spfbo Assassin's Charge by Claire Frank SPFBO the-shadow-soul-spfbo

Fionn: Defence of Ráth Bládhma by Brian O’Sullivan

fionn-defence-of-rath-bladhma-spfboIreland: 192 A.D. A time of strife and treachery. Political ambition and inter-tribal conflict has set the country on edge, testing the strength of long-established alliances.

Following their victory over Clann Baoiscne at the battle of Cnucha, Clann Morna are hungry for power. Meanwhile, a mysterious war party roams the ‘Great Wild’ and a ruthless magician is intent on murder.

In the secluded valley of Glenn Ceo, disgraced druid Bodhmall and her lover Liath Luachra have successfully avoided the bloodshed for many years. Now, the arrival of a pregnant refugee threatens the peace they have created together.

Based on the ancient Fenian Cycle texts, the Fionn mac Cumhaill Series recounts the fascinating and pulse-pounding tale of the birth and adventures of Ireland’s greatest hero, Fionn mac Cumhaill.

Larcout by K A Krantz

larcout-spfboBlood-beings can be chattel or char.

Fire seethes through the veins of every Morsam, demanding domination and destruction. Combat is a hobby. Slaughtering the inferior blood-beings is entertainment. Life is a repetitious cycle in the prison fashioned by the gods. But mix-race abomination Vadrigyn os Harlo suspects the key to freedom lies with safeguarding the blood-beings; until her blood-born mother uses foreign magic to turn the Morsam against Vadrigyn. Betrayed, bound, and broken, Vadrigyn struggles against the dying of her essential fire. Yet the ebbing flames unleash the dormant magic of her mixed heritage…

The magic to destroy free will.

Seized by the gods and dumped in the desert nation of Larcout to stop history from repeating, Vadrigyn discovers her mother’s legacy of treason and slaughter still festers. To survive the intrigues of the royal court, the roiling undercurrents of civil war, and the gods themselves, Vadrigyn must unravel the conspiracy behind her mother’s banishment. But manipulating free will unleashes a torrent of consequences.

If she fails the gods, she will return to the Morsam prison, stripped of all magic and all hope.

If she succeeds, she can rule a nation.

Kasthu. Roborgu. Inarchma.

Live. Learn. Burn.

Paternus by Dyrk Ashton

paternus-spfboThe gods and monsters of myth have returned. In a breathtaking story that takes place in a single day, two ordinary humans are caught up in the final battle of a war that’s been waged since the dawn of time.

Gods, monsters, angels, devils. Call them what you like. They exist. The epic battles between titans, giants, and gods, heaven and hell, the forces of light and darkness. They happened. And the war isn’t over.

17 year old Fi Patterson lives with her stuffy English uncle and has an internship at a local hospital for the aged. She doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life, misses her dead mother, wonders about the father she never knew. One bright spot is caring for Peter, a dementia-ridden old man whose faraway smile can make her whole day. And there’s her conflicted attraction to Zeke — awkward, brilliant, talented — who plays guitar for the old folks.

Then a group of very strange and frightening men show up for a “visit”…

Fi and Zeke’s worlds are shattered as their typical everyday concerns are suddenly replaced by the immediate need to stay alive — and they try to come to grips with the unimaginable reality of the Firstborn.

“Keep an open mind. And forget everything you know…”

The Moonlight War by S.K.S. Perry

the-moonlight-war-spfboThree caravans have vanished traversing the Cowcheanne Way. The legendary Tahsis platoon, warriors thought by most to be invincible, are dispatched to investigate and are never heard from again. Rumours of native uprisings and bandit armies grow wilder and more widespread every day, while the more devout whisper about the return of the Horde, a mythic foe from ages past.

The truce between the warring Kael-tii and Ashai nations is put to the test when a new caravan is outfitted and they are forced to travel The Way together. As an ancient evil is unleashed upon them, a group of heroes, friend and foe alike, must band together for survival.

When the true nature of their mission slowly comes to light, the growing distrust between the Kael-tii and Ashai camps threatens to tear the caravan apart. Can they set aside their differences in time to combat the menace that imperils them all, or are they doomed to join the ranks of lost souls claimed by the cursed Cowcheanne Way?

Outpost by F.T. McKinstry

outpost-spfboIn a war-torn realm occupied by a race of unseen immortal warlords called the Fylking, trouble comes with a price. Using the realm as a backwater outpost from which to fight an ancient war, the Fylking taught human seers to build and ward over an interdimensional portal called the Gate. The Fylking’s enemies, who think nothing of annihilating a world to gain even a small advantage, are bent on destroying it.

After two centuries of peace, the realm is at war. Seers are disappearing and their immortal guardians are blind, deceived by their own kind. A Gate warden with a tormented past discovers a warlock using Fylking magic to gather an army of warriors that cannot die. A King’s ranger who defends the wilds of the realm is snared in a political trap that forces him to choose between love and honor. And a knitter touched by the gods catches the eye of a dark immortal with the power to summon storms.

Forced to find allies in unlikely places, these three mortals are caught in a maelstrom of murder, treachery, sorcery and war. When they uncover the source of the rising darkness, they must rally to protect the Gate against a plot that will violate the balance of cosmos, destroy the Fylking and leave the world in ruins.

The god they serve is as fickle as a crow.

The Music Box Girl by K.A. Stewart

the-music-box-girl-spfboFOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC, FOR THE MUSIC OF LOVE

Steam and steel are king, nowhere more so than Detroit, the gleaming gem of the world’s industrial crown. A beacon of innovation and culture, it is the birthplace of the mechanical automatons, and the home of the famed Detroit Opera House. It is where people come with their dreams, their plans, and their secrets.

A young man with the voice of an angel and dreams of stardom.

A globe-trotting heiress with a passion for adventure and memories of a lost childhood love.

A mysterious woman with a soul made of pure music and a secret worth killing for.

Beneath the glitter and sparkle, something sinister lurks at the opera, and three lives will collide with tragic consequences.

The Path of Flames by Phil Tucker

the-path-of-flames-spfboThe first book in the new epic fantasy series readers are comparing to David Gemmell and Raymond E. Feist.

A war fueled by the dark powers of forbidden sorcery is about to engulf the Ascendant Empire. Agerastian heretics, armed with black fire and fueled by bitter hatred, seek to sever the ancient portals that unite the empire – and in so doing destroy it.

Asho–a squire with a reviled past–sees his liege, the Lady Kyferin, and her meager forces banished to an infamous ruin. Beset by tragedy and betrayal, demons and an approaching army, the fate of the Kyferins hangs by the slenderest of threads. Asho realizes that their sole hope of survival may lie hidden within the depths of his scarred soul–a secret that could reverse their fortunes and reveal the truth behind the war that wracks their empire.

The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French

the-grey-bastards-spfboLIVE IN THE SADDLE. DIE ON THE HOG.

Such is the creed of the half-orcs dwelling in the Lot Lands. Sworn to hardened brotherhoods known as hoofs, these former slaves patrol their unforgiving country astride massive swine bred for war. They are all that stand between the decadent heart of noble Hispartha and marauding bands of full-blood orcs.

Jackal rides with the Grey Bastards, one of eight hoofs that have survived the harsh embrace of the Lots. Young, cunning and ambitious, he schemes to unseat the increasingly tyrannical founder of the Bastards, a plague-ridden warlord called the Claymaster. Supporting Jackal’s dangerous bid for leadership are Oats, a hulking mongrel with more orc than human blood, and Fetching, the only female rider in all the hoofs.

When the troubling appearance of a foreign sorcerer comes upon the heels of a faceless betrayal, Jackal’s plans are thrown into turmoil. He finds himself saddled with a captive elf girl whose very presence begins to unravel his alliances. With the anarchic blood rite of the Betrayer Moon close at hand, Jackal must decide where his loyalties truly lie, and carve out his place in a world that rewards only the vicious.

Assassin’s Charge by Claire Frank

Assassin's Charge by Claire Frank SPFBOA cold-hearted assassin. A boy with a price on his head.

Rhisia Sen is one of the Empire’s highest paid assassins. Living a life of luxury, she chooses her contracts carefully, working to amass enough wealth so she can leave her bloody trade. She is offered a new contract on the outskirts of civilization, and almost refuses—until she sees the purse. It could be the last job she ever has to take.

But when she reaches the destination, she discovers her mark is a child.

The contract, and her reputation, demand she kill the boy—if she can banish his innocent face from her mind. But another assassin has been sent to kill her, and a notorious bounty hunter is on her trail. She doesn’t know why the boy is a target, or why her former employer wants her dead. Saving the child could be her only chance at survival.

The Shadow Soul by Kaitlyn Davis

the-shadow-soul-spfboWhen Jinji’s home is destroyed, she is left with nowhere to run and no one to run to–until she meets Rhen, a prince chasing rumors that foreign enemies have landed on his shores. Masquerading as a boy, Jinji joins Rhen with vengeance in her heart. But traveling together doesn’t mean trusting one another, and both are keeping a deep secret–magic. Jinji can weave the elements to create master illusions and Rhen can pull burning flames into his flesh.

But while they struggle to hide the truth, a shadow lurks in the night. An ancient evil has reawakened, and unbeknownst to them, these two unlikely companions hold the key to its defeat. Because their meeting was not coincidence–it was fate. And their story has played out before, in a long forgotten time, an age of myth that is about to be reborn…

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Here’s what will be happening in Phase 2: each book listed above will be read and scored out of 10 by the ten blogs, with those numbers going on to generate a cumulative score that will then be used to determine the overall winner. Over the course of the next six months though, we anticipate we’ll be bringing you full reviews for each of these books as well, again with the three of us sharing the work.

To follow along with Phase 2 progress, check out this page on SPFBO founder and author Mark Lawrence’s website, which will be updated with reviews and scores as they come in from the judges. The race is heating up, and we are excited to see how things will play out!

Tiara               Wendy 2                Mogsy 2

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3 Comments on “Begin #SPFBO Phase 2: A Spotlight on the Final Ten

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