Reflections on 2019
It has been an eventful year at Five Rivers. We published the last two novels by Dave Duncan, Pillar of Darkness, and the final novel in the King’s Blades series, The Ethical Swordsman. We also released in audiobook the first in that series, The Gilded Chain, skillfully narrated and produced by Austin Vanfleet. It was bittersweet, but also hopeful because Dave’s work lives on. In an irony that follows so many individuals involved in the arts, Dave’s work has had a resurgence of interest, hitting new sales records (for Five Rivers), and this not just in North America, but throughout the EU (do we still count the UK as part of the EU despite Brexit turmoil?) and Australia.
In August we also released the second novel in Michael Skeet’s The French Intrigues, a delicious historical fantasy: A Tangled Weave. Michael’s attention to historical detail and material culture is wonderful, pleasing even this harsh critic, and his skill as a storyteller who creates believable and engaging characters involved in believable and engaging plots, makes for intelligent escapist literature at its finest. It was such a pleasure to edit this novel and see it become a reality.
We also released a new novel from me in August, a magic realism story set in present-day Ontario. There’s a funeral, an inheritance, and the cage of conversations which will now never occur. The Rose Guardian has been well-received by readers, garnering mostly five-star reviews.
Looking forward to 2020
Although we’ve chosen to slow down our acquisitions, that doesn’t mean we don’t have some great work coming in 2020.
The second novel in D.G. Valdron’s Tales of the Nameless series will release August 1: The Luck. It is a brilliant, dark novel which continues the story of the nameless arukh we met in The Mermaid’s Tale. I find it fascinating how Den has taken well-known fantasy constructs and morphed them into something completely new and gritty. This is intelligent reading. There is much about societal and political commentary here, little say a very good read.
We’re also expanding our audiobook offerings in 2020, with the release of two more of Dave Duncan’s King’s Blades novels, both narrated by Austin Vanfleet: The Lord of the Fire Lands, and Sky of Swords. Austin will also be narrating and producing another of Ann Marston’s wonderful Rune Blades of Celi novels: Cloudbearer’s Shadow.
We’re also very pleased to announce Nate’s Hendley’s insightful, investigative book, The Boy on the Bicycle, which was shortlisted for a 2019 Arthur Ellis Award, will release in audiobook, narrated and produced by Douglas James.
On a personal note
I’d like to express my gratitude to all Five Rivers’ authors and creative team for your patience and support this past year while I underwent two knee replacements. The surgeries and resulting physiotherapy resulted in me having to focus on my health instead of the publishing house. Without your understanding and kindness the success of those surgeries would have not gone as well as they did, and I am mindful of the community we’ve created together, and the amazing things we can do.
To all of you, and to all our readers and fans, I wish you laughter and contentment during this festive season; good health, prosperity and peace in 2020. Together we can do amazing things.
And now I leave you with this music video from Canadian traditional folk artists, Le Vent du Nord.