The Windrose Chronicles
The Silent Tower
Tower is set in two worlds, separated from each other by the mysterious Void. In the
Empire of Ferryth are Caris, a warrior of the Council of Wizards, and Antryg, a slightly-demented
and imprisoned wizard. In California (which, let's face it, could be yet another world, separated from the rest of the US by a tenuous Gate in the Void) is Joanna, a shy computer programmer who is being
stalked by persons unknown. When Joanna
is kidnapped by an unknown wizard from Ferryth and carried through the Void, she meets up with
the escaped Antryg, who she believes is the man who kidnapped her, and goes with them on their
quest to stop the evil wizard, Suraklin, who died long ago but has been using the bodies of others to
continue his work. Their discovery of the reason behind the mysterious life-drain complicates
Caris' original decision to turn Antryg back over to his captors. The development of a
relationship between Joanna and Antryg adds another tangle to the plot...until the last page,
you don't know who to trust...and neither does Joanna.
This is one of my favorites, one that I return to over and over again. The characters are people you feel you know, the plot weaves in enough twists and fun to make it truly interesting, the feel of the world and setting are very solid (betraying Hambly's background in history), and an array of amazingly unique similes pepper the pages. I write from a biased view, of course; the Windrose books were my first-and-favorites, but they are for me characteristic of her writing, of why I started searching for the other Hambly books, and are why I eventually started this page.
Published by Del Rey books, December 1986.
"I'm tired of walking around looking like I've just escaped from the cover of a historical romance!" -Joanna Sheraton
The Silicon Mage
The sequel to The Silent Tower, these are the continuing adventures of Joanna, Caris, and Antryg, and their quest to end the strange life-drain alluded to in the previous book. Upon returning to California after her previous adventure, Joanna realizes that her betrayal of Antryg was the wrong decision, and follows the new incarnation of Suraklin through the Void in order to rescue him. She finds Caris, and a new friend in the wife of the Regent of Angelshand, Pella. After Antryg is found, they again chase after Suraklin and attempt to stop him from achieving his final incarnation, in a supercomputer pilfered from the other side of the Void while avoiding the various groups of people after the three of them. By the time the story winds down, everyone has undergone re-discoveries and changes involving love and trust.
Published by Del Rey books, April 1988. Tower and Mage were published together as the hardcover omnibus Darkmage in 1988 by the Science Fiction Book Club.
"You don't happen to have a hacksaw about you, do you, my dear?"
Antryg Windrose and Joanna are now living in California after the last set of escapades had them both condemned to death in the Empire on the other side of the Void. But when Joanna is kidnapped from her apartment by someone in the robes of a mage, Antryg is forced to respond to the calls of his fellow wizards from Ferryth in order to find her again. Once he arrives at the Citadel of Wizards, he finds that they want him there for a totally different reason from revenge or imprisonment - and that they have no idea where Joanna could be.
Locus award nominee, 1994.
Published by Del Rey books, February, 1993.
Stranger at the Wedding
Set in the world from the Windrose Chronicles, although devoid of Antryg or Joanna, this book deals with Kyra, a minor character in the previous books. Kyra, six years after being disowned and leaving for the Citadel of Wizards to study, returns to her home in Angelshand in time for her sister Alix's wedding. At the Citadel, something was twisting her magic, portending evil, portending Alix's death on her wedding night. Kyra decides to return home, not for the ceremony, but to stop the wedding. As she interacts with her family, their servants, and Blore Spenson, her sister's fiancé, a series of flashbacks tells the story of Kyra's discovery, years ago, of her power. Under the tutelage of Tibbeth of Hale, a dog wizard, young Kyra learned that magic was not simply a part of her, it was her, a part of her she could never deny, not even for her family, who were dismayed and alarmed by her being mageborn. When Tibbeth was killed, and Kyra disowned, Kyra sought out the wizards of the Mages Yard in Angelshand to begin Council training. In the present, Kyra tries a myriad of things to delay the wedding, all the while working to figure out who or what is trying to kill Alix. Things take a turn for the worse when Alix disappears. Kyra, the Witchfinders on her tail, races to reach her sister before the enemy she cannot yet identify - who might be acting in revenge for Tibbeth's death years ago -strikes. Kyra's struggles in the past, to accept herself, and in the present with wizardry, love, and her family, are touchingly written. Kyra herself, red-haired, clumsy, tall, and truly outlandish, must have been a fun character to write.
Published by Del Rey books, 1994. The alternative title for this book (in the UK) is Sorceror's Ward.
The Darwath Trilogy
original ceramic Ingold
by Valerie J. Roebuck
The Time of the Dark
For Gil, it started with the dreams; of a city being abandoned because of some nameless horror that was slowly invading, and of the wizard Ingold, who later appeared in her kitchen. For Rudy, it started with an ill-fated beer run that linked him with Gil and Ingold and drew him into a world unlike his, where the infamous Dark was invading. A world where academic Gil became a warrior and punk/artist Rudy a mage, and where everyone was working to reach a haven from the Dark.
Published by Del Rey books, 1982.
The Walls of Air
Rudy and his mentor, Ingold, travel to the home of the wizards in Quo, while Gil stays behind in the Keep as part of the Guards of Gae. The wizards seek help from Quo, both knowledge and help in turning back the Dark. Meanwhile, back at the Keep, Gil and Minalde, the Queen of Gae, and Rudy's lover, seek knowledge of their own from the massive, mysterious building. Who built the Keep, and why? What runs the generators that move air and water within the Keep in a world without electricity or machines? When a crew of rag-tag magicians arrives back at the Keep, it is the knowledge found by the girls that begins to give some hope to the situation.
Published by Del Rey books, March, 1983.
The Armies of Daylight
After a force is deployed to seek out the Nests of the Dark, there is some hope that they can be wiped out with the new flame-throwers Rudy has discovered in the abandoned laboratories within the Keep. With the departure of Ingold, Rudy finds himself personae non grata with Minalde's brother, and sentenced to death, while the rest of the wizards are exiled from the Keep. To have any hope of getting home again, Gil has to find a way to save the wizards from their fate. But when Ingold finally re-appears, she and Rudy have to make a decision. After three months in the strange world, do they return to California and the lives they left behind?
Published by Del Rey books, July, 1983.
Mother of Winter
Five years after the original books and the vanquishing of the Dark, things are anything but perfect in the Keep of Dare. Between the persistent slunch devouring the crops, the strange creatures crawling periodically from it who are attacking wizards, and the coming of icestorms, life seems as perilous as it once was. Ingold and Gil travel to the South to search out three strange mages under Saycotal Xyam - the Mother of Winter, a mountain in the South - who may be causing the changes in weather and the slunch itself. After an attack by one of the strange slunch-born creatures, Gil begins changing, fighting down the new violent impulses that are telling her to kill Ingold. In the Keep of Dare, Rudy has found new answers to the original riddle of the Keep itself - how it works, how it was made, and why it was there, with the help of Tir, now old enough to access the ancestral memories of his lineage. Excellent, excellent story. Although it's said that this book can be read without having read the previous books, I would recommend not doing that, simply because you'll have more fun if you already know Ingold, Rudy, and Gil.
Published by Del Rey books, October, 1996.
Locus award nominee (fantasy) for 1997.
Well, this doesn't have anything to do with the book itself, but I really thought that the woman on the front cover looked a little like Hambly herself (minus the excess decorations, and the lack of hair).
The poor people of the Keep of Dare. Just when they think that everything is going well again, some new disaster strikes. Two years have passed since Mother of Winter, and the Keep-dwellers have learned to live with the slunch. The hydroponics tanks are churning out enough food to live off of, and the ice in the north is still advancing. Ingold is gone on another book-foraging quest, this time leaving both Gil and Rudy behind.
But strange things begin to happen after the Icefalcon brings in two strangers, victims of a bandit attack not far from the Keep. Although the Icefalcon believes he recognizes the man, he cannot remember where he knows him from. The man's niece claims to be able to channel the spirit of a mage from the Times Before. Before Gil-Shalos can question her too closely, the strangers have disappeared, taking the young Lord Tir with them.
The Icefalcon, furious at himself for bringing the strangers to the Keep in the first place, follows, watching as the man he thought he knew transforms back into his true form, that of Betkis, the Court Mage. Rudy, badly injured while attempting to get Tir back from Betkis, retuns with Gil return to the Keep. The Icefalcon continues to track Betkis, who now owns some strange magical object that gives him far more power than he ever possessed. Besides Betkis and the woman posing as his niece are several men who all look exactly alike, men whom Gil called clones before she left the Icefalcon.
Back at the Keep, the armies of the Alketch are attacking, holding the impregnable Keep under siege. Why attack the Keep of Dare when it's impossible to get by the door, and the people inside have already a store of food? No one understands. Ingold is away from the Keep, and Rudy lays near death.
In the north, the Icefalcon is joined by his sister, the shaman Cold Death, and another White Raider from a different tribe, Loses His Way. They track Betkis and Tir as they join up with Vair na-Chandros, the husband of Yori-Ezrikos, a man who has found a machine from the Times Before to create the clones who now make up his army. He wants Tir for his memories, to find secrets now hidden under the ice in the North, secrets to help him take over the Keep of Dare and attack the kingdoms his wife rules in the Alketch.
Parallel to the story in the present, though, is the story of Icefalcon's history - why the barbarian of the Real World joined the Guards, and why he came to Renwath Vale in the first place. The story of his betrayal and exile from the Talking Stars People unfolds as he journeys through the land of his childhood, now covered by ice, and falls back into the ways of his people. But before long, despite his continuous ridicule of the "mud-diggers," the civilized people, he begins to realize that perhaps his heart has changed, and that the revenge he seeks on the one who betrayed him is not what he wants for his life after all.
Published by Del Rey Books, February, 1998. Mother of Winter sample chapter.
White Raiders analysis, written by Gil Patterson.
Icefalcon's Quest sample chapter.
Sun Wolf and Starhawk
The Ladies of Mandrigyn
When Sun Wolf, a mercenary captain, turned down an elegant lady from the town of Mandrigyn and her preposterous request that he fight for her an unwinable battle, he had no idea what trouble he was getting into. Sheera had no intention of taking no for an answer, and as an unwilling prisoner, Sun Wolf begins to train the women of Mandrigyn as a fighting force. His lieutenant, Starhawk, follows his trail to the city where all the men have been imprisoned by the last wizard to walk to the earth. Sun Wolf is foced to admit, before long, that he has violated ever rule about wizardry and love that his father handed down to him, and once reunited, both Sun Wolf and Starhawk (in a theme which soon becomes familiar during their subsequent travels), are forced to leave Mandrigyn at the end of the story - and the newly-freed men to the surprises that their battle-trained wives and daughters have become.
Locus award nominee, 1985
Published by Del Rey books in 1984.
The Witches of Wenshar
Sun Wolf and Starhawk, after being outsted from Mandrigyn, leave in search of someone who might be able to train Sun Wolf in his new-found powers. They end up in a desert city, where Starhawk joins the guards, and Sun Wolf is hired to tutor the son of the palace in the arts of war. Sun Wolf is intrigued by the rumors surrounding the nearby deserted city of Wenshar, where an ancient order of witches once lived. When strange deaths at Court, and the strange abilities of the princess Tazey are brought to light, Sun Wolf travels to Wenshar to seek the answers. And yes, they're pretty much outsted from the city at the end, too.
Locus award nominee, 1988.
Published by Del Rey books in 1987. Ladies and Witches make up The Unschooled Wizard - an omnibus edition published in 1987 by the Science Fiction Book Club.
The Dark Hand of Magic
Wolf and Hawk finally re-join Sun Wolf's band of mercenaries in this book, wintering with them in their camp. This winter, though, there seems to be a plague of very bad luck on the whole company, and Sun Wolf suspects a small, unprepossessing man who was captured from one of the looted cities, thought to be a wizard. And when Starhawk is close to death, Sun Wolf has to decide between her and the well-being of his former troop. In case you hadn't guessed, they are forced to leave the camp at the end, too.
Published by Del Rey books, 1990.
The Rainbow Abyss
When Rhion's master, the wizard Jaldis, tells him of the Dark Well, a portal to other universes, and the magical cry for help he heard from it, he is inclined to not care. The world he and Jaldis live in fears, hates, and mistrusts wizards. What few mages exist are splintered into several sects. But Jaldis fears that the mysterious other world, where magic is dead, may mean that magic could die in their world as well and wishes to go to their aid. Before they can mount an expedition though the Dark Well, though, they are chased out of the city, and several years pass before Jaldis can make another Well, and try to go though. Rhion emerges from the Well into a strange and alien place...
Locus award nominee, 1992.
Published by Del Rey books, 1991
"Fifty years I am learning the wisdom of great men, the Torah and the Talmud and the names of the angels of each sphere of the world and the numbers by which the Lord rules the universe, and now at my age I find I should have studied to be Tarzan instead." -Rebbe Leibnitz
The Magicians of Night
Rhion alone makes it into the other world, the world dead to magic, to find himself in Nazi Germany at the time of WWII. There, the Germans are trying to re-discover magic for use in the war effort. Rhion, as their prisoner, is doing his best to leave the war-torn and magicless world he has landed in - with the help of a red-and-black haired Jewish girl and her father. And if he succeeds, what will be left of the mages and magic in his own world? Hambly does a very good job with Rebbe Leibnitz (see quote above).
Published by Del Rey books, 1992 Locus award nominee, 1993.
Together, these two make up the Sun-Cross hardcover omnibus published by the Science Fiction Book Club in 1992.
Benjamin January Mysteries
A Free Man of ColorNew Orleans in the 1830s is a place of change mixed with tradition. Benjamin January, a free man of color, has returned home after many years in Paris, fleeing a city that seems to speak his dead wife's name every time he turns around. A musician and doctor, Benjamin is en route to a Carnival octaroon ball when a masked young woman calls for help in the street, shouting his name. After rescuing her, and progressing to the ball in time to start the first dance, he realizes the woman was an old piano student of his. Between dances, he slips out to see her, for Madeline, a white woman, has defied custom and tradition by invading the octaroon (to go into what all the names for colored people in New Orleans at this time mean would take up too much space, but it's in the introduction) ball January is playing for - a ball for white men and their colored mistresses, their placees. Next door, in another, adjoining ballroom, are the white sisters, mothers, and wives of these same men, (as Hambly puts it, wondering with pretend ignorance where their menfolk could have gone to...). January urges Madeline to leave before someone recognizes her and her reputation is ruined. She, however, refuses to leave unless he sets up a meeting for her with the octaroon woman she has come to see - the most flamboyant of the free women of color present, Angelique, the placee of Madeline's recently deceased husband. Between the next set of dances, January does attempt to find Angelique, but she runs him off when a prospective lover enters the room. He returns to the ballroom proper and begins playing again. When Angelique disappears before the evening's planned tableaux, Benjamin watches with amusement as his sister Dominique, and her friends, search frantically for the girl - amusement that turns to horror when Angelique is found dead. When the police come to investigate, January realizes that he is the last person to have seen the girl alive, since the young man she was with when he left the room has fled to a country estate and is hiding from questioning. The social climate is already chilly toward men of color, even free ones, and January finds himself having to go to great lengths to have to clear his name - and to find out what really did happen to Angelique during the Mardi Gras ball. Check out the signature on the front cover of this book. Published by Bantam Books, July, 1997.
Fever Season"Bronze John" stalks through the summer-hot streets of New Orleans in the second Benjamin January mystery. A cholera epidemic has seized New Orleans, sending the upper eschelons of both colored and white society to cooler and safer locations. Benjamin remains in New Orleans to treat the sick and dying, where he becomes tangled with a runaway slave girl named Cora, who is wanted for poisoning her master, Otis Redfern, and stealing several thousand dollars. But Benjamin isn't sure she was truly the culprit. Then Cora goes missing, like several other colored people before her. In searching for Cora, Benjamin meets up with Cora's friend, Rose Vitrac, a free woman of color who runs a school for girls in New Orleans. Rose and Benjamin work to find Cora and untangle the mystery of Otis Redfern's death and Cora's disappearance, helped along the way by the usual suspects of Hannibal and Abishag Shaw. And even when most of the clues fall into place, there are still surprises left. Interestingly, this book was based on a true historical incident, which was fairly horrific in nature, and this is detailed in the afterward. Published by Bantam Books, July, 1998. Named as a New York Times Notable Mystery Book of 1998
Graveyard DustNumber three in the Benjamin January series.
Published by Bantam Books, July, 1999.
Sold Down the River
It was rather bizarre request, really. What free man of color would give up what few freedoms he possessed to return to life as a slave?
But when Benjamin January’s old master, Simon Fourchet appears in his mother’s parlor one autumn day, Ben does just that. On Mon Triomphe, Fourchet’s plantation, someone - or something - is wreaking havoc with the sugar harvest, the roulaison, the busiest and most grueling time of year for the entire plantation. Strange voodoo marks have appeared, an unknown poisoner tampering with the master’s wine cellar accidentally claims the life of a pilfering valet, a fire and accident at plantation’s sugar mill claim both precious harvest time and a life. January goes to Mon Triomphe with Hannibal Sefton - his incorrigible and opium-addicted fiddler friend - under the pretense of being his valet, and is “loaned” to Fourchet to help get the harvest in. He and Abishag Shaw contrive a system of messages in case something goes wrong, and cache copies of his freedom papers. It is with this admittedly miniscule protection that he goes into the situation. For January, the life of a field hand is torture tinged with memory; his boyhood was spent in just such a place, and the lives of the other slaves mesh with his in the community made up of shared experience. It is because of these others that he is there as a spy - in the edge-balanced life of a plantation, when the entire group of slaves can and will be blamed for the poisoning, the sabotage of the harvest, for January to find the culprit will mean to save the others from the consequences of shared blame. But to find the culprit, he learns, means to find a motive, and on Mon Triomphe, there are more motives than one can shake a stick at. Revenge, in many forms, creates a rich background of possibilities for a culprit. But when Hannibal leaves for a short trip and never returns, and Fourchet lies on his deathbed, the identity of the sabotager may not do January any good at all. Hambly creates, as usual, a rich and intriguing world in which her characters move. The tone of this one is slightly darker than the three previous January books, and this is mostly due to the setting. In writing about the lives of the slaves of Mon Triomphe, neither they nor her readers are spared. However, despite this, she manages to bring out the feeling of shared community, a feeling that although life is admittedly terrible, there is a knack to living it, and a way to have something that can neither be measured nor sold. The ending is (thankfully, for those still reeling from the end of Knight of the Demon Queen) both resolved and fairly happy, if in a bittersweet way. Published by Bantam Books on July 5, 2000.
Die Upon A KissBook five. The title comes from the play Othello, in case you're curious, and the book is about opera in New Orleans. I kissed thee ere I killed thee. No way but this,
Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.
-Othello Published by Bantam Books on June 19, 2001.
Wet GraveBook six, the "Jean Lafitte's Treasure Hunt book" Published on June 25, 2002.
Days of the DeadBenjamin January number 7, publication date July 2003 (paperback April, 2004). This book takes place in Mexico City, and includes the first encounter of January and Hannibal.
Dead WaterPublished on August 3, 2004. Dead Water at the Bantam publisher's site, includes an excerpt for those of you who'd like a preview. Excerpt/review from A Free Man of Color.
Excerpt/review from the Random House site of Fever Season
Excerpt/review from Graveyard Dust.
Excerpt/review from Sold Down the River.
Die Upon A Kiss review and first chapter. Wet Grave: publisher site including excerpt. Days of the Dead, at the Bantam site, and including an excerpt.
James Asher/Vampire Series
"My name is Don Simon Xavier Christian Morado de la Cadena-Ysidro, and I am what you call a vampire."
Those Who Hunt the Night
Someone - or something - is killing the vampires of London while they sleep during the day. Don Simon Ysidro, the oldest of the London vampires, hires Dr. James Asher, a retired member of the British Secret Service, to find this killer. Asher, who accepts this job for the price of his wife (Lydia)'s life, delves into the shadowy world of the vampires to find a killer that increasingly seems to be one of their number. The UK title for this book is Immortal Blood, the book has been optioned for a film several times, and won the Locus award in 1989 for Best Horror Novel.
Published by Del Rey books, December, 1988 (hardcover) and July, 1989 (paperback). Published in the UK as Immortal Blood. Those Who Hunt The Night promotion from Del Rey
"Bon voyage, then, mistress. And bonne chance in your dealings with the Undead." -Don Simon Ysidro
Traveling With the Dead
The sequel to Those Who Hunt the Night. While attending a funeral, James Asher spots a vampire known to him from before conversing with an Austrian spy. He leaves immediately to try and warn the British government of the danger. Meanwhile, his wife Lydia, upon learning that James is leaving, seeks out Ysidro's help, and the two travel James's route behind him. What they find in various parts of Europe, both about themselves, vampires, love, and state secrets make the chances of returning safely to London slim. The dangers of traveling with the dead are not to be taken lightly.
Locus award nominee (dark fantasy/horror), 1996. Winner of the 1996 Lord Ruthven award (fiction).
Published by Del Rey books, September, 1995 (hardcover) and November, 1996 (paperback). Traveling With the Dead sample chapter
Vampire page This actually doubles as a sort of interview with Hambly about her vampire novels. Some good quotes about her writing style and attention to detail are included.
For those of you who wondered previously why Hambly had not attempted dragons. This was another personal favorite. Jenny, a partially-trained wizard, and her husband, John, the local ruler, meet up with a prince of the kingdom, who begs them to come and rescue their land from a black dragon. For, you see, John is the Dragonsbane; the title bestowed on him after he and Jenny slew a (admittedly small) dragon some years previous. Jenny, once in the capital city, must deal not only with the fact that she may lose John to the huge black dragon, but also the jealousy of meeting another (more powerful, and younger) wizard-woman. When Jenny makes a deal with the dragon for John's life, she is forced to make the biggest decision of her life - between the passion for magic that is part of her, and the love she shares with John that she cannot live without.
The artwork for the cover was done by Michael Whelan, and can be purchased as a poster or as a bookmark. When following the link, you should be taken to the Whelan site - the pictures move around, but the whole site's worth a look. This link should bring you to an archived copy of the same picture.
Locus award nominee, 1986 and 1987.
Published by Del Rey books, 1986.
Published by Del Rey books, March, 1999.
Locus award nominee (fantasy), 2000.
Knight of the Demon Queen
Part two in the new trilogy about Jenny, John, and Morkeleb, published in February, 2000.
Locus award nominee (fantasy), 2001.
Part three in the new trilogy; here's to happy endings! Dragonshadow review and first chapter.
, or try the scanned-in excerpt.
Knight of the Demon Queen review and first chapter, and the scanned-in bit.
Dragonsbane scanned-in exerpt. Dragonstar exerpt on the publisher's web site.
Sisters of the RavenCold, alien magic, dark with hate - a power much stronger than the one still waking within her - a searching directed at her. In a society which had not even the word for it - a ‘woman-who-does-magic’ not being a moniker to trip blithely off the tongue - Raeshaldis was the first-ever woman to be taken as a novice by the Sun Mages of the Yellow City, responsible for the annual singing in of the rains which sustained the desert city. The magic of men was fading to the point where candles and lanterns were now kindled for mageborn eyes which had always seen clearly in darkness. Raeshaldis was accustomed to the petty hatred of her fellow novices, all male, but knew that neither they nor the senior mages were behind the dark power seeking to kill her. They had the hate, that she might have believed, but who in the Yellow City still possessed the power? The slow disappearance of the other mage-women - the Raven women patiently gathered by the Summer Concubine, lover and beloved of Oryn, the King, and the reoccurrence of the dark, terrifying dreams were frighteningly inexplicable. Like Raeshaldis, the Summer Concubine felt the alien, searching power in her dreams. In her waking hours, news of the latest missing Raven women filled her with dread. Were she and Shaeldis next? Meanwhile, Oryn, her King, an ostentatious, fashionable popinjay, outlandish but with a heavy practical streak (and a most hilarious servant), was fighting every Lord in the Yellow City to build an aqueduct to bring water to the city. Despite days of Summoning, the rains were not coming, and water was needed desperately. Most of the lords could not even pronounce “aqueduct” and wanted only for the Sun Mages to get on with it already while they angled to gain more power from the situation. In the slums of the city, amid the anger and fear of the people, a strange prophet proclaimed a new god, one with water and food to spare for a slowly despairing population, and gathered followers. The city had depended on the mages. Without them, whether they liked it or not, they had only the Raven sisters. But would the remaining mage-women be able to find the threat to their lives and power before they, too, were taken? Sisters of the Raven is hard to categorize as a straight fantasy work, as I found it as much mystery as fantasy, but whatever the label, it was worth waiting for. Like all of Barbara's mysteries, the motives of the myriad characters were almost impossible to discern until the very end. The male-centric culture, reminicient of the Alketch from the Darwath books, was novel, although with the awakening of the power of the Raven sisters, one might think that the society was going to undergo an upheaval in the near future. And although the ending was satisfactorily finished (no cliff-hangers here, thank you!), one feels that much more could happen in this world (later note: a sequel is indeed in-progress; see below). Publisher: Warner Aspect. Publication date August, 2002.
Cover art for Sisters of the Raven can be found here, compliments of Amazon. Sisters of the Raven sample chapter ( and the scanned-in version from Amazon.) See also Quest for Glory, a hilarious recount of the "casting" of Sisters of the Raven.
Circle of the MoonThe sequel to Sisters of the Raven (working title was Circle of the Crafty Ones). For more details, see the March, 2005 Monthly Update. The publication date has been set for September 22, 2005, and the cover art for this book can be viewed here. More information, including an excerpt, can be found at the publisher's site; another excerpt is available here.
Bride of the Rat-God
I admit to being a little taken aback by the title, but this one, although very unlike earlier works, was very good. Christine, a 1920's Hollywood movie star and her cousin Norah are dragged into the middle of strange happenings when Christine unwittingly becomes a target for an ancient Chinese curse by wearing the necklace of the Rat-God and thus designating herself as his wife. Supposedly, Hambly got the idea of this one from her own Pekinese dogs, and it combines elements of Hollywood history, magic, Chinese culture, cameras, dogs, romance, and a myriad of adventure for some believable and interesting characters.
Locus award nominee (dark fantasy/horror), 1995.
Published by Del Rey books, 1994. Bride of the Rat-God sample chapter
Search the Seven Hills (The Quirinal Hill Affair)
After much searching (no pun intended), I finally located a copy of this out-of-print book. It was worth the wait. Marcus, a philosopher of Rome, in A.D. 116, meets his childhood love, Tullia on the Quirinal Hill, and learns that she is to marry. As he despairingly watches her chair moving away from him, she and her chair-bearers are attacked, and Tullia is carried off. A fish charm found in the alley she was dragged into speaks to her being abducted by the dreaded Christians of Rome. Marcus, not much of an adventure-seeker, is nonetheless very much in love, and throws himself into finding Tullia again. His trek brings him into contact with Sixtus (a retired man with many secrets, a wonderful power of deduction, and an interesting, womanizing slave), a horde of Christians (constantly bickering about whose teacher correctly interprets the teachings of Christ - this is absolutely hysterical; they argue all the time, even when being dragged into the torturing rooms), and the guards of Rome. Marcus grows as a person, losing some of his philosopher's detachment as he risks everything to find Tullia. But what he finds about the Christians, especially the enigmatic figure Papa who seems to be the leader of the Christians, changes his views of them. The complex web of motive behind Tullia's abduction slowly unravels until you're left surprised at how things end up. The history here is truly well-integrated, as well as accurate (you've got to love it when someone talks about visiting the vomitorium during a banquet), and Marcus is yet another Hambly character estranged from his family (another set of enjoyable characters), which provides a good sub-plot for the action. As a fun note, Hambly, who admits that she is not good with titles, originally wanted to call this The Baby Eaters.
Published by St. Martin's Press, 1983 .
Magic TimeThis is a collaborative project with author Marc Scott Zicree. The book will be published on November 27, 2001 by Harper-Collins. It is unconnected with any previous series. In the October 2001 Monthly Update, Barbara wrote, "I never know quite what to say about MAGIC TIME. It was a difficult collaboration, and the characters and portion of the storyline that I contributed were tailored closely to dovetail with Marc Scott Zicree's novelization of his screenplay for an unproduced TV pilot. Thus it isn't any of my usual casts of characters or even the type of characters I generally write about. Marc is a very fine writer, but as a TV writer he tells a story, and uses his characters, quite differently than I do." From Publishers Weekly :
Television writer Zicree teams with fantasy and SF bestselling Hambly (Knight of the Demon Queen, numerous Star Wars and Star Trek novels) on a story straight out of the Hollywood mold for vintage sci-fi disaster films. A government experiment so secret even the president doesn't know about it produces strange energy flows that wreak havoc with the space-time continuum, resurrecting skeletal prairie wolves and disturbing ancient Indian burial grounds. Despite his misgivings, Dr. Fred Wishart continues the questionable experiments, only to blast the United States with a force so destructive all electricity and communications are knocked out nationwide. The bulk of the book concerns various characters' attempts to adjust to the chaos left in the wake of the catastrophe one made still more dangerous by the frightening mutations it produces in the population. Cal Griffin, a young New York City lawyer, finds his vibrant teenage sister turning into a near-translucent ghost of herself. Meanwhile, Cal's boss is transformed into a demonic, reptilian killer who stalks Cal as he tries to lead his sister and a hodgepodge of friends safely out of the city. Zicree's TV experience he's written for Star Trek: The Next Generation and Sliders, among others is obvious in the swift, episodic pacing; unfortunately, that doesn't give Hambly's usual gift for characterization much to work with. Like the pilot for a new television series, this effort promises much and delivers only hints of bigger things. (Dec. 4)Forecast: Before the World Trade Center attack, this would have been a natural candidate for screen adaptation. Chances are the public will now have less of a taste for fictional disasters set in New York City. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Read an interview with Marc . Take a look at the cover art: here.
Publication date, November 27, 2001.
Barbara and Marc Scott Zicree at a Magic Time book-signing (January, 2002).
The Emancipator's Wife
Also known (to date) as The Big Project (see the Feb. 1, 2002 Monthly Update, this is a historical novel about Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States. Currently, this book is in the final stages of pre-publication, with publication set for January 25, 2005. See the Publisher's Site for more details, including a sample chapter. I could be wrong, but I think 624 pages is the record for any Hambly book to date! Cover art can be viewed here. While it may be a bit over-the-top, the following bit of propaganda can be found on the Bantam up-and-coming-books page concerning The Emancipator's Wife:
The historical mystery author of several New York Times Notable Books delivers the novel she was born to write: a searing and compassionate story of one of the most maligned and least understood women in our nation's history: Mary Todd Lincoln, wife and widow of the Great Emancipator. Barbara Hambly's intimate and touching portrait of this First Lady provides us with a mirror of America in a period of cataclysmic change.The Emancipator's Wife is a finalist for the 2006 Michael Shaara Prize for Excellence in a Civil War Novel.
"And, Bantam has picked up a follow-on to THE EMANCIPATOR’S WIFE – a historical novel about the First Three Ladies: Martha, Abigail, and Dolley... and, of course, Sally Hemmings as well." Publication has been set for January 30, 2007. To see more details about Patriot Hearts, see the Bantam (publisher) Patriot Hearts page, and read the excerpt.
Night's Edge is a unique project, perhaps an attempt by Barbara to be represented in all the major genres. Harlequin is publishing this book, a collection of three novellas by Barbara Hambly (Someone Else's Shadow), Maggie Shayne (Her Best Enemy), and Charlaine Harris (Dancers in the Dark). Apparently this is meant to be a spooky collection of tales, out in time for the Halloween festivities. Barbara's story involves a haunted building, ghostly disappearances, and a heroine belly-dancer and tarot-card reader who finds romance amongst strange happenings in New York City. Not the usual Hambly fare, but tightly-written and an enjoyable read. I have not yet read Shayne's offering, but the story by Harris was both unique and good fun. The cover art can be seen here. Published October, 2004, by Harlequin Books.
Renfield: Slave of Dracula
Published on September 5, 2006. More information, including cover art, can be found on the publisher's site.
Star Wars Universe
Children of the Jedi
Hambly's foray into the Star Wars universe. Anyone familiar with the SW books will recognize the format- switching as it does between Luke's adventures with the androids on a huge ship, abandoned, and rumored to have been owned by the late Emperor Palpatine, and Leia and Han search for the lost children of the Jedi, and (of course) run into problems of their own. However, Hambly's touch makes this adventure a little richer through her use of subtle touches and her - gasp! - giving a girlfriend of sorts to Luke. This angle is played out further in Kevin Anderson's "Darksaber" - (although I have to warn you that it's not played too far out; the entire book could have been compressed into twenty pages, as far as I'm concerned).
Published by Bantam Spectra, May, 1995.
Children of the Jedi scanned exerpt.
Planet of Twilight
Another chapter in the Star Wars saga. The story begins with a terrifying disease spreading through the New Republic ships carrying Leia to an important, but secret diplomatic mission to Nam Chorios. The conference with Seti Ashgad, a leader of the planet who wishes to open it to trade, is ending as the disease begins to kill off everyone on the ship except Leia, whom Seti takes prisoner. He brings her onto the planet itself, to the home of the Hutt Beldorion, to a place where the Force is strangely muted, covered by a background of unidentifiable origin, and where small bugs tunnel their way into human skin and then disappear. Thread two follows Luke, still searching for Callista, rumored to be on Nam Chorios, where he has crash-landed. Thread three belongs to Han, Chewie, and Lando, searching for Leia once her disappearance becomes apparent. Artoo and C-3PO are thread four; they have their own work to do, trying to catch up with someone to tell of the danger Leia is in. Although everyone finally meets up at the end, this story concentrates on Luke and Leia, delving into thought and feeling. In this book, finally, Leia comes to terms with being a Jedi, accepting that part of herself, and using it - something I have been waiting a long time for some author to finally have her do.
Published by Bantam Spectra, May, 1997.
Not being a devoted Star Trek fan (I've seen all the originals, though!), I didn't know how well I and this book would get along. Surprisingly, I could hear the voices of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the others as I read. This book was evidently a cross-over between the shows Here Come the Brides and Star Trek. At any rate, Spock gets catapulted back into time, into a Seattle logging town where several women have been brought from the East to start a new life as wives to the men in the town. It's a fun story, not wholly predictable, and the ending is great.
Published by Pocket books, 1985, #23.
Now available as an e-book!
Ghost-WalkerPublished by Pocket books, February, 1991, #53. Yet another strange world has been visited by the starship Enterprise, this time a backwater planet inhabited by the Migwins, a species delighting in the formation of the Consciousness Web, a kind of mind-linking used to create a community feeling and mutual love. But after Captain Kirk mind-links with a suspicious Migwin named the Ghost-Walker, those around him start noticing strange behavior. Helen, his beloved (for this story, at least!), is increasingly alarmed as his personality seems to change before her eyes. Adding to the tension is the haunting of the ship - strange knockings and cold sensations are being reported by even the most steadfast of the crew. What's going on? Is Kirk really Kirk?
CrossroadPublished by Pocket books, September, 1994. #71.
Now available as an e-book! Pocket Books (the publisher of the Star Trek books)'s review/blurb for Ishmael.
Cool! A listing of "inside" references from Ishmael.
Pocket Book's review/blurb of the Star Trek book Crossroad.
Pocket Book's review of the Star Trek book Ghost-Walker.
Now available as an e-book!
Beauty and the Beast(based on the TV show)
Beauty and the Beast
A beautiful retelling of the television series; at least the first few episodes. After being brutally attacked in New York's Central Park, Catherine is found by Vincent, an odd lion-ish beast-man, and brought to the world Below - a group of recluses living underneath New York City in abandoned subway and steam tunnels, and surviving on what the upper world throws out.
Published by Avon books, 1989.
Song of Orpheus
This one is a meshing-together of three B&B episodes, all set in the spring. Tragedy confronts the underground group when pirate treasure is found; Catherine is threatened by a shifty art dealer and tries to deal with love in the world Above, while Vincent still visits her by night. Although Father - who turns out to have a secret past - does not approve of Vincent's love for Catherine, her intervention in times of trouble Below draws her closer to the group of outcasts.
Published by Avon books, 1990.
Short Stories(editor/contributor and contributor)
I read somewhere that Once Upon a Time contained Hambly's first story and was published in 1981. However, I now have a copy of it, and it's from 1991. Edited by Rita Kessler and Lester Del Rey, Once Upon a Time contains some very nicely-written fairy tales. Hambly's story was called "Changeling". After killing the dragon who has been terrorizing the land, a man finds within the dragon's cave a girl and two strange creatures. Winter has fallen, and he takes them home to his wife and two children, where the three newcomers find a place in the family. When new tales of a dragon spring up, though, both the man and his wife are forced to take a better look at what they have fostered. A non-Hambly comment here - the art in this book is gorgeously done by artist Michael Pangrazio.
Published by Del Rey books, 1991.
Sisters of the Night
A collection of vampire tales, one of which is actually by Hambly; I have never read such a great collection of stories - some funny, some sinister, some very thought-provoking. Hambly's story from this is called "Madeline". Madeline is a vampire cursed by a human to know her victims, upon which she begins to hear their voices in her head.
This book was originally going to be called Women of the Night, so if you're searching for that book, it does not actually exist. Confusingly enough, Barnes and Noble has also published this anthology under the title Girls' Night Out: Twenty-Nine Female Vampire Stories
Published Warner Aspect books, 1995. Warner Aspect's SOTN page.
Review of Sisters of the Night.
The Little Tailor and the ElvesFrom Xanadu 2, edited by Jane Yolen, and published by Tor books in 1994. New York dweller Iris Levitsky is married to an abusive, tailor husband who has been trying to live up to his father's suit-making abilities for years. With a young daughter and the books for the shop to take care of, she naturally doesn't set a priority on doing housework, although Ira, her fanatical husband, constantly absuses her for this lack. And when her aging friend tells her about elves, she's inclined to chalk it up to old age...until she starts seeing them herself. But the ending...I laughed for a long time. So very fitting.
The Horsemen and the Morning StarFrom South from Midnight. edited by Richard Gilliam, Martin H. Greenberg, and Thomas R. Hanlon, published by Southern Fried Press, 1994. This story also appears in the anthology MOJO: Conjure Tales, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and published in April, 2003 by Warner Aspect. Read an excerpt from this story.
A Night With the GirlsFrom Did You Say Chicks?!: Smile When You Say That, edited by Esther Friesner. Yes, I actually blushed at the look the bookstore clerk gave me after he looked at the cover. Okay, so the cover art is not something I'd put on my wall, but this was truly a case of not judging a book by it's cover (or at least not taking the cover too seriously), because Hambly's story is about Starhawk of Wyrnde, and what happens one night when she returns to the mercenary troop on a summons meant for Sun Wolf. The story is set some two years after The Dark Hand of Magic. Published by Baen books in 1998.
Each Damp ThingFrom The Sandman: Book of Dreams, published by HarperPrism in 1996 (a reprint mass-market paperback verison appeared in 2004) and edited by Neil Gaiman and Ed Kramer. In Each Damp Thing, the Lord of Dreams is away, and while his palace crumbles, Cain (as in Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve), explores the Palace and steals a magic mirror covered with paint. When he scrapes the paint off, a nightmare world opens for him, his brother, and the inhabitants of the palace of the Dreaming, pulling them, and a myriad of dreamers, into a situation that only one person can save them from - the Lord of the Dreaming himself. Dark and twisting, this tale fits well into a book filled with tales of wonderful, horrifying, terrifying things. In fact, don't just read this story, read all of them. Very good book. If you're unfamiliar with the Sandman world, there's a handy introduction that will help.
The Man Who Loved His CraftFrom The Transition of H.P. Lovecraft: The Road to Madness, edited by H. P. Lovecraft, and published by Del Rey in 1996. The introduction to this was written by Ms. Hambly. Evidentially she came under a lot of fire (at least in the newsgroups) for her views on/critique of Lovecraft. However, the introduction was nicely done - not criticizing, but simply an introduction to his mind set (a good introduction should include something like this), mixed with appreciation and admiration of his stories, and fun (read the part about role-playing and fake blood). Since she's admitted to being a fan of his works and she's an excellent writer herself, her writing this introduction seemed perfectly suitable to me.
Lovecraft page, with some details about the introduction Hambly wrote.
’Til DeathFrom Bending the Landscape: Horror, edited by Nicola Griffith and Stephen Pagel. Published in 2001 by Overlook Press.
Immortal BloodFrom Gaslight and Ghosts, edited by Stephen Jones and Jo Fletcher. Published in 1988 by World Fantasy Con/Robinson Pub. Contains an excerpt from Those Who Hunt the Night.
Soldier of the QueenFrom War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches, published in 1996 by Bantam Spectra and edited by Kevin J. Anderson.
Tales from Jabba's Palace
Whoever thought that the tale of the cook in Jabba's Palace could be this interesting? Taster's Choice: The Tale of Jabba's Chef takes place at the same time that Leia was held prisoner by Jabba. The collection was edited by Kevin J. Anderson, and published by Bantam books in 1996.
Tales from the Mos Elsley Cantina
Hambly's story from this is called Nightlily: The Lover's Tale. For the first little while of this story, you wonder when lovers or a nightlily will show up, but then you figure it out. I was amused by the ending and by the way part of Star Wars's plot was worked in. Very nicely done. This is also out there as an audio book. Kevin J. Anderson edited the collection, published by Bantam books in 1995.
Murder in Slushtime
I have packed this book already, so I can't give a lot of details, but it's a short story concerning Callista, in one of the Star Wars Adventure Journals. Thanks to Jennifer for tipping me off about this book some time ago, and to Abel for reminding me to put it on the book list.
The Dollmaker of Marigold Walk
In the anthology My Sherlock Holmes: Untold Stories of the Great Detective, edited by Michael Kurland and published in early 2003. I haven't read this one yet, but it features the first Mrs. Watson. More information can be found at the editor's page here. In addition, a short excerpt of the story can be viewed here.
The Invisible Labyrinth
Barbara has recently finished up a graphic novel for Pennyfarthing Press. Her story is called The Invisible Labyrinth, included in the Act III : Self-Estrangement graphic novel. More information about this (and ordering information) can be found on Penny-farthing Press's The Victorian page.
This is truly a George Alec Effinger book, published in September of 2003 by Golden Gryphon Press, but Barbara wrote the introduction. I haven't actually read (or seen, as yet) this book, so if anyone else has information you could share, I'd be happy to include it.. A second volume of GAE tales, entitled (drolly) George Alec Effinger Live! From Planet Earth will be appearing in May of 2005. Barbara has also contributed to this volume, and more details can be obtained at the publisher's web site.
The Adventure of the Antiquarian's Niece
From a recent Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos crossover anthology called Shadows Over Baker Street, published by Del Rey books in September 2003 and edited by Michael Reaves and John Pelan. I have not seen this book yet, so forgive the lack of details here. More information can be found at the publisher's web site.
The current short-story "upcoming" list includes two Benjamin January short stories: Libre will appear in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in their New Orleans issue (November, 2006 publication date; the publisher says it will ship in September), and There Will Your Heart Be Also will be in the New Orleans Noir anthology (more details closer to publication).