Stealing into Winter

Reviews

 

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 lot.
Michael Moorcock

*

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 entertainment...
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 survive.
   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 night!
   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 genre.
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, deafening.
   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 big tick.
   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 drawn.
  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 complete environment.
  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 homeland.
  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 to snowscape.
  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 interest.
  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.
Undulant Fever Blog

 

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