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Daniel Abraham

Daniel Abraham fantasy authorDaniel Abraham has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Awards, and was awarded the International Horror Guild Award. He writes epic fantasy under his own name and writes urban fantasy under the name M.L.N. Hanover. He also writes with Ty Franck as James S.A. Corey (reviewed on our Corey page). Read excerpts of some of his books at Daniel Abraham’s website.


Find M.L.N. Hanover’s books here and James S.A. Corey’s books here.

The Long Price Quartet

The Long Price Quartet — (2006-2009) Publisher: In this brilliant and original epic fantasy of Machiavellian intrigue and unique magic, Daniel Abraham portrays fully realized women and complex, conflicted men in love, caught between the forces of money and power. The city-state of Saraykeht dominates the Summer Cities: commerce and trade fill the streets. Any desire, however exotic or base, can be satisfied in its soft quarter. The people live and work secure in the knowledge that their city is a bastion of progress in a harsh world. It would be a tragedy if it fell… At the heart of the city’s influence is the poet-sorcerer Heshai and the captive spirit Seedless which he controls. Heshai is at once the linchpin of and the most vulnerable point in Saraykeht’s greatness. Far to the west, the armies of Galt have conquered many lands. To take Saraykeht, they must first destroy its prosperity. Marchat Wilsin, head of Galt’s trading-house in the city, is planning a terrible crime against Heshai and Seedless. If he succeeds, Saraykeht will fall. Amat, House Wilsin’s business manager, her apprentice Liat, and two young men from the farthest reaches of their society stand alone against the dire threat to the city. But in this city of power and intrigue, no one is without secrets. The price they must pay to save Saraykeht may be greater than they can afford…

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A Shadow in Summer: A book worth re-reading

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A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham

The Cities of the Khaiem shine like jewels in the East, and the brightest is the port of Saraykeht. The realm's profitable cotton trade flows through the city, quickened by the artistry of the poet Heshai. For in the East, a poet's art can become incarnate as a powerful spirit-slave (andat), and it is on the shoulders of Heshai, master of the andat Seedless, that the weight of Saraykeht's continuing prosperity balances... a weight outsiders would gladly topple.

In these delicate times, first-time novelist Daniel Abraham chronicles the poignant choices of a handful of characters seldom seen in the "fantasy" genre: a middle-aged, female overseer of a foreign merchant house; her aging employer, the house's lord; her young assistant; the assistant's lover (a common dock-laborer); and Heshai's newly-arrived apprentice. Together and individ... Read More

A Betrayal in Winter: Utterly tragic

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A Betrayal in Winter by Daniel Abraham

“Constant struggle is the price of power.”

A Betrayal in Winter, the second book in Daniel Abraham’s LONG PRICE QUARTET begins about 15 years after the events of A Shadow in Summer (which you probably should read before beginning A Betrayal Winter or before reading this review).

Maati, the poet of Saraykeht, was disgraced by the disappearance of the andat Seedless and the subsequent downfall of the cotton trade in Saraykeht. He and Liat had a baby boy, but Liat left Maati years ago because he seemed to be going nowhere and didn’t seem wholly committed to his family. Maati hasn’t seen them in years, and he has also not seen his former friend Otah since that fateful night when Seedless disappeared. Maati’s life is dull and... Read More

An Autumn War: Even more exciting than the first two novels

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An Autumn War by Daniel Abraham

This third novel in Daniel Abraham’s LONG PRICE QUARTET is even more exciting than the first two novels. In the first book, A Shadow in Summer, we saw the Galts (the enemies of the city-states of the Khaiem) destroy the industry of the Khaiem’s most glorious city, Saraykeht. In the second book, A Betrayal in Winter, the Galts attempted to get control of the city of Machi by killing off the Khai’s sons and installing their own man as Khai. However, the failed poet Otah, the youngest son of the Khai, managed (with the help of his old friend Maati) to uncover the plot and become Khai in Machi.

Fourteen years later, the Galts have not given up. That’s because they still suffer from the way they were treated by the Khaiem generations ago when the Khaiem’s andats destroyed Galt and tu... Read More

The Price of Spring: Finale of one of the best fantasy epics in recent years

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The Price of Spring by Daniel Abraham

I’ve been a big fan of Daniel Abraham’s Long Price Quartet and The Price of Spring, its concluding volume, confirms my view that it is one of the more original and best-written fantasy epics in recent years.

If you haven’t read the third volume, An Autumn War, stop reading here as you’ll run into spoilers for that book.

As has been the pattern in the series, the story picks up years after the events of An Autumn War. Otah and Maati reappear as major characters, while other familiar faces show up in relatively minor roles — Balasar Gice, Cehmani, Sinja, Idaan, and others. New characters, both major and minor, are added to the mix, including Otah’s daughter Eiah, his son Danat, Danat... Read More

The Dagger and the Coin

The Dagger and the Coin — (2011-2015) Publisher: Summer is the season of war in the Free Cities. Marcus wants to get out before the fighting starts. His hero days are behind him and simple caravan duty is better than getting pressed into service by the local gentry. Even a small war can get you killed. But a captain needs men to lead — and his have been summarily arrested and recruited for their swords. Cithrin has a job to do — move the wealth of a nation across a war zone. An orphan raised by the bank, she is their last hope of keeping the bank’s wealth out of the hands of the invaders. But she’s just a girl and knows little of caravans, war, and danger. She knows money and she knows secrets, but will that be enough to save her in the coming months? Geder, the only son of a noble house is more interested in philosophy than swordplay. He is a poor excuse for a soldier and little more than a pawn in these games of war. But not even he knows what he will become of the fires of battle. Hero or villain? Small men have achieved greater things and Geder is no small man. Falling pebbles can start a landslide. What should have been a small summer spat between gentlemen is spiraling out of control. Dark forces are at work, fanning the flames that will sweep the entire region onto The Dragon’s Path — the path of war.

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The Dragon’s Path: Looking forward to more

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The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham

As I’ve said previously in my reviews, I’d place Daniel Abraham’s THE LONG PRICE QUARTET among the top four or five fantasy series of the past decade. So when his new series, entitled THE DAGGER AND THE COIN, was announced, I was more than eager to see what he would do for a follow-up. I was not disappointed. The first book in the series, The Dragon’s Path, is one of my favorite reads so far this year and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t make it onto my year’s best list at the end.

The Dragon’s Path is set in a world long ago ruled by dragons. Over time the dragons created thirteen subspecies of humans to act as specialized slaves, breeding one group with the attributes of warriors and another with traits better suited to underground ... Read More

The King’s Blood: It’s been a great year for fantasy so far

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The King's Blood by Daniel Abraham

The King’s Blood is the worthy follow-up to Daniel Abraham’s The Dragon’s Path, which was one of my top reads last year. The book picks up where the first left off for the most part and continues on with the same major characters, as well as adding a few others (and subtracting some of the originals).

The story continues some of the basic storyline, but offers up a lot of new plot. Geder Palliako is the new hero of Antea based on the events of the prior book, and here he continues his meteoric rise, becoming even more powerful as Antea embarks on war with its neighbor. With this rise, however, he gains powerful enemies who question not only his goals but those of the strange priests he brought back with him. Cithrin has managed to avoid prison or worse based on her deception that... Read More

The Tyrant’s Law: Best. Quest. Ending. Ever.

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The Tyrant’s Law by Daniel Abraham

Best. Quest. Ending. Ever.
Seriously.
Ever.

If that isn’t enough, then keep reading to see all the other reasons to continue with Daniel Abraham’s THE DAGGER AND THE COIN series, via book three — The Tyrant’s Law. But really — Best. Ever.

As in the prior two books (The Dragon’s Path and The King’s Blood), Abraham tells his story through several focused POVs, the four main characters getting pretty much the same 10-12 POV chapters (the novel is bookended by two other characters’ POVs). In the Antea capital city of Camnipol, Lord Regent Geder Palliako continues, under the influence of the Spider Goddess’ high priest, to turn Antea into both an internal police state and an aggressive, genocidal Empire eager to gobble up its neighbors. Meanwhile, Clara, the disgrace... Read More

The Widow’s House: A consistently excellent series

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The Widow’s House by Daniel Abraham

I have to hand it to Daniel Abraham; the guy takes some risks. In his first series, the absolutely masterful LONG PRICE QUARTET (read it if you haven’t), he had metaphor as the central conceit — a bit subtle and certainly less flashy than what most probably expect in a fantasy series. In his current series, THE DAGGER AND THE COIN, he makes banking one of the core action threads. Yes, I said banking. And yes, I said action. In fact, in the latest book, The Widow’s House, banking is perhaps THE pivot point of the story. I don’t how he does it, but not many authors, perhaps none, can, as he has done, have one banker explain to another banker what is basically the creation of a paper monetary system and have the reader thrill at the possibility of what that means to the plot. Yes, I said thrill.
... Read More

The Spider’s War: Brings a great series to a more-than-satisfactory close

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The Spider’s War by Daniel Abraham

I thought Daniel Abraham was one of the best writers working in the craft when I first read A Shadow in Summer nearly ten years ago, and the rest of that series, THE LONG PRICE QUARTET did nothing to dissuade me of that first impression. Nor has what followed over the years, which includes the ongoing EXPANSE science fiction series (co-written with Ty Franck) and the fantasy series, THE DAGGER AND THE COIN, which wrapped up this spring with The Spider’s War, bringing to an end another great series in unsurprisingly excellent fashion. I’m going to assume you have already read the previous books and so won’t bother recapping/explaining previous events or characters.

The Spider’s War picks up s... Read More

Hunter’s Run: A fast but sophisticated read

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Hunter's Run by George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, Daniel Abraham

Hunter's Run is somewhat interesting in that it's a collaboration novel that you can't really tell is a collaboration and a science-fiction novel that relies surprisingly little on science fiction. And these are by no means complaints. The collaboration's seamlessness speaks to the craft and professionalism of the three writers while the lack of reliance on science fiction allows for a fine mix of quick-paced adventure and character introspection.

Don't get me wrong — the science fiction elements are essential to the plot: space-faring races, a planet being colonized (slowly) by humanity who have become seemingly the general laborers of this universe, a high-tech blaster. You need the sci fi to get the story going. But once it does get going, the sci-fi elements fade d... Read More

Leviathan Wept: A collection of entertaining stories

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Leviathan Wept: And Other Stories by Daniel Abraham

Leviathan Wept is a collection of short fiction by Daniel Abraham, author of The Long Price Quartet, one of my favorite fantasy epics of the past several years. I’ll admit up front that I’m not usually gung ho about story collections. I find they tend to be uneven just as part of their nature (i.e., it’s hard to get a collection of all excellent stories) and I just have a personal preference for the depth and richness of the novelistic form versus the short form. That confession said, how does Leviathan Wept stack up against my admitted bias? Actually, surprisingly well.

There are only nine stories in Leviathan Wept (though they tend to be long so it’s still nearly 300 pages) and while I don’t know if Daniel Abraham has only written ... Read More

Balfour and Meriwether in the Incident of the Harrowmoor Dogs: A short steampunk adventure

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Balfour and Meriwether in the Incident of the Harrowmoor Dogs by Daniel Abraham

"I can’t say we’d have shied away from the devil, if he’d been able to assure the stability and greatness of England. It’s an ugly truth, and we don’t proclaim it from the rooftops, but in governance, expedience often wins over principle."

Daniel Abraham is best known for his epic fantasy (THE LONG PRICE QUARTET and THE DAGGER AND THE COIN), the urban fantasy he writes under his penname M.L.N. Hanover (BLACK SUN’S DAUGHTER) and the science fiction he writes as James S.A. Corey (THE EXPANSE). But he’s also been writing a series of steampunk stories about a couple of British secret agents named Balfour and Meriwether. The first ... Read More

Magazine Monday: Clarkesworld, April 2014

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Issue 91 of Clarkesworld opens with “Passage of Earth” by Michael Swanwick. Swanwick is one of my favorite authors when he’s not writing about talking dogs, and this is not a Darger and Surplus story, so I was already inclined to like it. Hank, the protagonist, is the county coroner in a small rural community. One morning, in the wee small hours, an ambulance brings a Worm to his morgue, and Evelyn, a member of the (unidentified) Agency who also happens to be his ex-wife, instructs him to perform an autopsy. The anatomy of the creature, a member of the only other intelligent species in the universe that humans have yet encountered, is so completely different from that of humans that humans don’t know how to combat them — assuming combat is necessary, and the humans appear to be spoiling for war. It’s a tale of interspecies conflict writ s... Read More

Inside Straight: A WILD CARDS reboot

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Inside Straight edited by George R.R. Martin

The year 2008 saw the (second?) rebirth of the WILD CARDS series edited and co-written by George R.R. Martin. These are ‘mosaic’ novels — stories written by several authors and set in a shared universe. The first book, Wild Cards, appeared in 1987. Inside Straight (2008) is book 18. To make this 18th book a good entry point, Martin and his companions created something of a Wild Cards: the Next Generation to reboot the series.

What do you need to know about the back story of the Wild Cards? Not a lot really. In 1946 an alien virus hit earth. It killed ninety percent of those infected, disfigured nine percent and left a lucky one percent with su... Read More

Suicide Kings: Surprising depth

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Suicide Kings edited by George R.R. Martin

Suicide Kings is the third part in the latest reincarnation of the long-running WILD CARDS series. Together with Inside Straight and Busted Flush it forms the Committee trilogy. I guess you could consider this trilogy WILD CARDS the next generation. These books are meant to be an entry point for new readers. Like most of the previous novels, Suicide Kings is a collaborative effort. This volume is written by six authors — Daniel Abraham, S.L. Farrell, Victor Milán, Read More

The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2007

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The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007

In many ways, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007 anthology is a difficult book to review. For one thing, to me and a lot of my reading/writing circle, this is easily the definitive bible when it comes to short stories of the genre. For another, many of the stories that are included in this collection have been featured in other anthologies as well, so there's an overlap in terms of stories featured. But I'll try and talk about what makes this anthology unique from other similar anthologies.

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror is quite comprehensive about its subject matter, not just featuring short stories but poems and articles. The first dozen pages are articles summarizing the important events that happened in the two genres including the obituaries of the previous year. That’s really qui... Read More

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Two

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The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Two edited by Jonathan Strahan

The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Two is one of several anthologies that collects the best science fiction and fantasy of 2007. I've read many of the stories included, yet revisiting them actually made me appreciate them more rather than feel exhausted. One thing I noticed is that there's a stronger science fiction balance in this anthology compared to the previous volume, although that might also be because the lines between science fiction and fantasy easily get blurry.

The opening piece, Ted Chiang's "The Merchant and The Alchemist's Gate," is a good example. This is easily my favorite story and arguably Chiang's most accessible piece. The physics of time travel is narrated with an ... Read More

The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2008

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The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008

For me, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008 has been a two-headed beast. On one hand, it's an eagerly anticipated book by people involved in the industry, usually for the summation at the front of the book and the honorable mentions list at the back. The various editors are quite thorough and detailed when it comes to this part. The other aspect is, of course, the story/poetry selection, which is what will likely attract the casual reader.

So, how does it actually fare? Well, with regards to the first aspect, there are no disappointments. When covering the highlights of the previous year (and alas, the obituaries) and the various media (comics, movies, and music) in which either fantasy or horror plays a part, the book has it covered. The writing is functional and achieves what it sets out to do.

With re... Read More

Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded

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Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded is the second steampunk anthology edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, following 2008’s first installment. It contains about twice as many stories as its predecessor, but unlike the first collection the quality is more uneven here, resulting in a less impressive but still fascinating anthology that should please fans of the genre.

While the first anthology only contained one story I was less than happy with, there are at least four or five in Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded that I could have done without. There are also a few stories here that are at best marginally connected to steampunk, although that probably depends more on how you define steampunk. After all, there are probably as many definitions of steampunk as th... Read More

Golden Reflections: Stories that boldly blend sci-fi and alternate history

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Golden Reflections (Mask of the Sun & stories) edited by Joan Spicci Saberhagen & Robert E. Vardeman

Golden Reflections is an anthology of stories based on Fred Saberhagen’s Mask of the Sun, the premise of which is the existence of certain goggles that allow the wearer to see events in the future. But it only works sometimes, and it's unclear what it chooses to show the wearer and why. Golden Reflections includes Saberhagen’s original Mask of the Sun while bringing together several well-known sci-fi/alternate history writers who build on his original concept and its world.

Mask of the Sun is classic sci-fi time-travel, strong alternate history, and richly woven historica... Read More

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories

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The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

I haven’t actually read every page of The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, yet I’m giving it my highest recommendation. Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Master and Mistress of Weird, The Weird is 1126 pages long and should really be considered a textbook of weird fiction. It contains 110 carefully chosen stories spanning more than 100 years of weird fiction. Here’s what you can expect to find in this massive volume:

A “Forweird” by Michael Moorcock gives us a brief history of the weird tale, discusses how it has defied publishers’ attempts to categorize it into neatly-bordered genres, and gives examples of writers who are revered by modern reade... Read More

Why You Should Read… Daniel Abraham

If you'd like to contribute a column to this series, please contact Kat.

Our latest guest to talk about a favourite and worthy author is none other than Aidan Moher, the brain behind A Dribble of Ink and contributor to SF Signal. He wants to talk to you today about the author Daniel Abraham.

When I was asked to come up with an author for Why You Should Read…, the answer was easy. Daniel Abraham. Everything about him is perfect under the criteria. He's a young author, mentored by Read More

FanLit Asks… About style

We often post our chats with authors on Tuesdays, but we're trying something new today. Instead of asking one author several questions, we've asked several authors just one question. Please leave a comment and let us know how you like this format. We'll choose one commenter to win a copy of Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver on audio CDs (or something else from our stacks).

Question: Which speculative fiction writer has had the greatest influence on your own writing style and what, specifically, do you find most inspirational about that writer’s style?

Daniel Abraham / M.L.N. Hanover: Read More