“…don’t get annoyed when things aren’t handed to you on a plate”

Fragments of a Broken Land is a rich, thought-provoking fantasy read with elements of horror.

Sean Wright’s review of Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl Undead on the review site Adventures of a Bookonaut, emphasises several important issues relating to the novel, including the richness of the world and its history, the fact that there are two interwoven plot threads (a “fairly straightforward fantasy quest” and another that deals with “the metaphysics, the unseen forces that impact on the first”) and the use of “poetry and song” (successfully, he argues). He also discusses the fact that the novel makes considerable demands on a reader’s attention (as have other reviewers — all positively, I’m happy to say).

It’s the mystery that pulls you through the book, the desire to know how Hood can pull the story, the world, together.

His conclusion on this point suggests that, in order to enjoy the book fully, a reader needs to take a “mature” approach to reading and he suggests that such readers  “…don’t get annoyed when things aren’t handed to [them] on a plate.”Read the full review here.

“a tale of heroes”: Another Excellent Review

Kyla Ward has reviewed Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl Undead on Tabula Rasa, displaying a wonderfully lyrical turn in describing the book — as we might have expected from a poet of her calibre. Take this, for example:

There are incredible depths to this world, depths that the novel’s plot skims like a pebble across a lake’s surface, gaining momentum with each skip.

The paragraph continues:

This is thanks to Hood’s skill at transmuting back story into exciting narrative vignettes: story-telling, reportage, bardic performance (with snarky commentary from Tashnark), memory, dream and hallucination induced by demon poison: all interwoven seamlessly with present events. The pace is truly frenetic, with running battles, storms and a ship-board zombie-wrestling sequence that can only be read, not described. If things ever slow, Tashnark can be relied upon to get them going again — he’s a gem of character, and the principal observer of how artificial all this heroism is.

I love this introductory summation:

This is a tale of heroes. It includes all sorts — born of the gods, descended from ancient, magical bloodline, member of a legendary order, reincarnated, last of their tribe and way too intimate with their own sentient weapon — cycling through various degrees of reluctant and unlikely. There is a villain, of course, although he’s thoroughly sick of the whole business; dark gods, giant monsters and an ancient magical artefact. But principally it is a tale of heroes, heroism and what it means to be in such an uncomfortable position.

Kyla’s conclusion?

As an interrogation of the assumptions of high fantasy rather than a parody, this book is a highly refreshing change. With its distinctive and not inaccurate Bob Eggleton cover, and solid production from Borgo Press, it makes a fine addition to Hood’s bibliography and the Australian fantasy canon.

But be sure read the full review here. Then, if you haven’t done so already, go and buy the novel.

“….a ship-board zombie-wrestling sequence that can only be read, not described.”

How can you resist?

Fragments First Official Event

Rob_Hood-at-Notions

On Saturday evening/night, Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl Undead wasn’t officially launched — that takes place at Conflux 9 in Canberra on Friday 26th April — but it had its inaugural official promotional event: a book signing in conjunction with a first birthday bash at Chuck McKenzie’s excellent bookshop Notions Unlimited in Chelsea, Victoria. Below is Chuck doing the honours:

Chuck_at_signingI didn’t say much, apart from “The book’s brilliant and a great read” and “You really should buy a copy” — at least not as part of a speech. I said plenty to anyone who asked, and to my delight they did. In attendance were some old friends, but also lots of strangers (to me anyway) and Chuck did a roaring trade in Fragments … well, maybe not a roaring trade, but it wasn’t a whimper either. I ended up signing a surprising number of copies (legitimately) and a few when Chuck wasn’t looking:

Rob_signing

Afterwards I signed more copies for Chuck (he asked me to!) and some of them are still available in store.

In between I bought a heap of graphic novels, just to make Chuck happy… no, really! Look, somehow the pile kept getting bigger. Okay! Meanwhile, attendees ate cake, bought more books, drank, laughed, discussed whether or not Marvel should make a movie featuring Deadpool. My ever-supportive partner Cat Sparks took some great pictures and all was right with the world.

Check out all Cat’s pictures here.

There’s this strange thing that authors do once their book appears in a bookshop — they take note of the books surrounding it on the shelves. Here’s mine:

Fragments-shelvedWilliam Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land and other books, such as a collection of Carnacki stories, Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg (which was filmed in 1986 as Angel Heart), some of Susan Hill’s books, including her great ghost tale, Woman in Black, Joe Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts — even some Robert E. Howard tomes. Terrific company!