A first class adventure
which moves with a pace and panache rarely seen these days. If you like good
future fantasy you'll love this. Reminiscent of M. J. Harrison or China
Miéville at their fascinating best. I enjoyed Stealing Into Winter a
This book goes back to the old values of
fantasy story-telling. It is well constructed and literate although it makes
no pretence to be ‘literary’. It is a pacy read presented with great style,
exciting, involving and, ultimately, satisfying. First class
Marion Millar – The Guardian
Stealing Into Winter
has that most treasured of all things - characters to fall in love with and
to feel empathy for. The tempo is fast-paced and the plot drives its
characters through hard life experiences in a Dystopian world… The reader
has to work out the history behind the scenes, the back-plot left to our
imagination. The immediacy of the story is placed to the fore, resonating
with today's world of struggle and war. Jeniche is alive and out there right
now, reflecting a society in which young people have to really fight hard to
This writer should be introduced to every-one.
Jelica Gavrilovic – The Guardian
Stealing into Winter
is a really good read and I am already looking forward to the sequel.
Janet C. Coyle – The Guardian
Stealing into Winter
is a great read. From the moment you pick it up you are automatically
transported to the world of
Stealing into Winter, the characters come to life and become hooked into
the story line. Can’t wait for the next installment.
A. Jackson - Amazon
If you are looking for a new fantasy
series to transport you to another place, Stealing into Winter is a
great read. The language […] brings the vivid scenery and characters to life
and the plot moves along at a steady pace, keeping you reading just one more
chapter before you put the book down... and then another... There is plenty
of scope for more adventures for Jeniche. The ending certainly implies this
and I hope it isn't too long before the next one appears.
Judith Parsons - Amazon
An excellent read which transported me
into another world and held me entranced and intrigued right to the end... I
just couldn't put it down, before I knew it, I was reading late into the
I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series and
hoping it will be available soon.
A Dias – Amazon
This is a great read, just what you'd
expect from a master storyteller like Graeme Talboys. Fascinating characters
in a strange but convincing landscape, questions raised and definitely not
all answered – next in the series asap, please!
O. Wojtas - Amazon
Brilliant storytelling with lots of
action – the story starts with an explosion and the pace never drops. I
quickly started to care about the main character, Jeniche – and read on late
into the night because I wanted to know what was going to happen to her. I'm
really looking forward to the next in the series – the final image in this
book is still lingering in my mind.
I've loved fantasy for a long time and this is an excellent addition to the
A. E. Godridge - Amazon
I found this book one of those where you
just keep reading till you reach the end – and then want more. Complex
characterisation and intriguing glimpses allow you to build your own
pictures. Maybe this is the 'Harry Potter' for adults!
Cathy Basel - Amazon
Along with Jeniche, I was catapulted
into this adventure, dodging dodgy characters and blazing buildings. As the
authour leads her away on her journey his prose draws us into the landscape
and wraps around the reader until I was living in his imagined world. From
the scorching heat to the bitter cold, [the] descriptive language is a
delight; the snow flakes become almost tactile; the raging river's roar,
Jeniche totally captivated me, the depiction of her strength
and frailties painting a portrait of a very realistic young girl doing what
she can to survive. Mystery builds, why is she being pursued, who is so
desperate to find her? Frustratingly I'll have to wait for the next part of
the chronicle to find out.
For a rollickingly good fantasy adventure, set in a beautifully
painted world, I cannot recommend this book more highly.
Mrs Julie M Mason – Amazon
What a fabulous piece of fantasy! I put
Stealing into Winter down willingly only when I had finished it and am
itching to get my hands on the next one. This is out of character for me,
I’m Robert Jordan damaged and the mere mention of ‘series’ with fantasy
tends to make me nervous. But I want book two!
I have a huge number of pet hates about fantasy fiction –
prophecies, epic fights between good and evil, ultimate evils, role play
game rip offs, people who can’t write combat, character free writing…. You
get the idea. I’m not an easy reader to please. Talboys gets everything
absolutely wonderfully right.
For a start we have a character led narrative line, from the
perspective of a young woman who dresses in clothes (no chainmail bikinis
here thank you) has a personality, friends, opinions, feelings, is enigmatic
and engaging and entirely believable. Then we have a plot that derives from
the actions of others. Another win. People, in a situation, doing stuff.
Huzzah! There are plenty of twists, turns, surprises and moments of
darkness, but nothing that made me lose my belief in the integrity of the
characters or their world.
All of the world building was done with skill through action
and observation. I hate clunky expositions in fantasy novels, and there’s
none of that here. Brilliant. Score another point Mr Talboys.
We are treated to lyrical, poetic writing that doesn’t go too
far – none of that wading through lavish treacle effect that slows the
action. This has the perfect balance between pace and description – another
There is an epic journey through a vast landscape. I’d say
Graeme Talboys has a pretty good idea what it’s like to walk a long way with
a heavy pack, to sleep rough and travel hard. If he’s not done it in person,
he’s clearly given it a lot of thought. Another pet hate of mine is when the
fantasy seeps into details of real life – like sleeping under the stars, or
trudging through a winter landscape. No magic boots of making it all far too
easy here. Instead both the landscapes and the journey through them are
utterly compelling. Another win.
Finally, the combat. I’ve held a sword, I know how to knife
fight, at least in theory, and I’m very sensitive to rubbish and implausible
combat sequences. Oh, but this book is wonderful. The fights are not only
physically convincing, but there’s a good portrayal of combat inspired
emotions in it too.
By the end I’d started to feel like the author was writing from
firsthand experience, and in fantasy, that’s saying something.
High adventure, gripping pace, strong characters, the sense of
a much bigger plot behind the available surface, beautiful writing… what
more is there to want? The next book. That’s my only gripe. I’ve got to wait
for the second book…
Nimue Brown - Goodreads
I really like this book, with one or two
reservations, […] but overall it's a romantic, romping, yomping fast paced
and absolutely beautifully described journey with a nice twist in the end,
followed by a final mystery that leaves you wanting more. Job done.
Graeme's powers of description are more than just evocative, it's
rare to read a book where complicated chase and battle scenes are so well
This isn't a long book, it's a perfect length for the subject matter,
once absorbed I found I was making the pilgrimage myself, it was nice to be
immersed, and there's real congruence in Jeniche, a lot of future fantasy
books lurch into surreal too much for me.
It has all the ingredients: action, philosophical challenge,
spirituality, mystery, struggle of good over evil, great descriptions of
terrain and, especially as the fascination of the fantasy for me is always
the context of a civilisation existing at some point in the future following
a global catastrophe – in Jeniche it's called the 'Evanescence' – following
which humanity has rebuilt but only at the developmental level of 14th or
15th century Europe.
Graeme pulls it off for me. He manages that difficult blend of
creating content that makes some kind of sense empathically, while drawing a
completely different civilisation recognisable as a cohesive, organic and
There will always be a hard core of Star Wars, Trekkies and Dr Who
fans but if the evidence is that fantasy books are overtaking the genre,
Graeme K Tallboys deserves to be a well regarded exponent of the form.
Rhiannon Daniel – zani.co.uk
I am absolutely thrilled that this is
going to be a series! There is no way that I could put this book down – so
many interesting characters, so much activity going on, a clear tone for the
politics, and for the environment.
The story revolves around a young girl named Jeniche, who supports
herself by being a thief. Yes, she has a conscious, and yes, she has
developed her own boundaries, including respect for herself as well as
respect for others.
In the opening moments we find Jeniche alone in her jail cell, having
been woken by the sound of one of the walls of her cell collapsing. This was
good news … of a sort. She found herself outside, in a city that was mass
chaos […] dodging the city police, who will want her back in jail, as well
as the soldiers who are invading.
Jeniche wants to leave the city, [but] she encounters a group of
monks and nuns, who want her to help them escape the city (the soldiers will
not allow them to leave), and lead them across the dessert back to their
The people and things that are encountered on this journey are mind
boggling … rooms filled with treasure, intricate swords, calligraphy on
stone walls that Jeniche thinks she has seen before, but she is not sure
where, dead bodies … and airships! Where do Jeniche and Alltud come from …
what is their history, and why were they brought together? At the end of the
journey, are the Occassan going to win, or do they have a surprise in store
for them? And what part does the amulet play in this saga?
Well written, fast paced, with a complex background and story line. I
certainly look forward to the next book in this series!
Bonnie Cehovet – Amazon US
This is a 'tour de force' of a book. It
grabs hold of your attention from the very beginning and doesn't let go. And
it leaves you looking around for the next book…
Jeniche, is a beautifully crafted character. Strong, vulnerable,
flawed and utterly believable, she takes us on her adventure from her known,
to her unknown. The scenes are almost painted out for you in words. Desert
The book is about survival, adventure, friendship and loyalty. But
then there are the hidden questions of the past, and the lessons that need
to be learnt in order to give guidance to the future.
I highly recommend this book.
Maria Watson – Amazon US
There are lots of sci fi / fantasy
novels around at the moment some very good and some very poor or
unimaginative. I am happy to say that this novel falls much closer to the
first category than the latter. I think fans of Michael Moorcock would enjoy
this novel. This is not an action adventure, though there are some action
sequences and it certainly starts with a bang! But it is a story that held
my attention from start to finish. There were a few moments when the next
chapter did not seem to follow on from the previous one.. I found myself
checking that I had not skipped pages […] however it soon became clear that
this was a way that the author moves things on from one episode to another,
a way of showing the passage of time rather than long drawn out blow by blow
descriptions of everything. I found that I liked this approach, It led me to
thinking about events more in my imagination.
I don't want to give the plot away, but the story centres on Jeniche,
a thief who escapes from prison to find her city under attack from an
invading army. As she goes about surviving in the city she acquires an
amulet, meets a group of monks who want her to lead them out of the city to
their home across the desert and makes the acquaintance of the mysterious
man Alltud. What is the link with the past? What are the invaders after,
will Jeniche help the Monks?
Having finished the book, I can say I am definitely looking forward
to reading the next book in the series.
Mr A. Ranger - Amazon
I've gotten pretty jaded with fantasy
novels over the years. There are tropes and plot devices and character types
that have been used over and over. It's hard to find a new one that keeps my
This one worked. Even though the main character is a thief (how many
times have we seen that in fantasy before?), the opening segment caught my
interest. We first see Jeniche in a prison dungeon as it starts to collapse
around her, the result of an invading army shelling the city. Between
dodging falling stonework and having to fight another, psychopathic,
prisoner in her effort to fully escape, the segment is breakneck, non-stop
action, very well done. It hooked me in.
Subsequent chapters begin to fill out the world Jeniche lives in.
It's an old world, largely fallen to pre-industrial levels. (There are
exceptions, like the dirigibles that show up late in the story.) Ancient
ruins, worn and eroded, are common, and one section takes place in a
long-abandoned city now buried beneath desert sands. This story may actually
take place in a far-future, fallen Earth; there's a passing mention of huge
windowless buildings that makes anyone who approaches too closely sicken and
die. (Nuclear power plants?)
What I liked about Talboys writing is that he doesn't explain
everything. The city of Makamba, where the story begins, is built up slowly
in the reader's mind. We learn some of Jeniche's backstory, and that of the
other characters, but not all of it, and it's not delivered in a lump, but
slowly, a bit at a time. The buried city, and the world's deep past, remain
largely a mystery.
One thing that some readers might find disconcerting is that there
are time breaks between chapters. Stuff happens during those time breaks,
and it's revealed by subsequent dialogue and interactions between Jeniche
and the group of monks and nuns she finds herself aiding in an epic journey
across the world, pursued by elements of the same army that invaded Makamba.
I didn't mind that technique. It made me pay closer attention to what
was said, and how the characters acted towards each other. If Talboys made
me work a little to keep track of what was going on, and to figure out some
of the backstory and history, I enjoyed the effort, and I'm hoping to see
further volumes of Jeniche's story, and to learn more about her history and
the forgotten history of the world she lives in.
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