Monday, 23 March 2015

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Batman: Arkham Knight delayed until 23rd June - Warner Brothers Interactive

Hail Might Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Warner Brothers, DC and Rock Steady Games have let us know that the forthcoming title, Batman: Arkham Knight will be delayed for release until 23rd June 2015.

This is because:
"We're a developer that hates to make any compromises, so we are sorry to say this means it's going to be just a little bit longer until you can play the epic conclusion to the Arkham trilogy. As a reward for your patience and understanding, and to make the wait even more unbearable, we are pleased to whet your appetite with a new gameplay video of Batman™: Arkham Knight.

Thanks so much from everyone at Rocksteady for your continued support. We are working as hard as we can to make you proud."


Please remember that if you preorder you'll also get to play Harley Quinn. as well as the fact that this title is next gen and will only be released on the following formats:  
Xbox One    

All the best,  

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

Friday, 20 March 2015

ALTERNATE HISTORY FICTION: The Hesperian Trilogy 1: Clash of Eagles - Alan Smale

Release Date: 20/03/15
Publisher:  Titan (UK), Del Rey (US)


Perfect for fans of military and historical fiction - including novels by such authors as Bernard Cornwell, Naomi Novik, and Harry Turtledove - this stunning work of alternate history imagines a world in which the Roman Empire has not fallen and the North American continent has just been discovered. In the year 1218 AD, transported by Norse longboats, a Roman legion crosses the great ocean, enters an endless wilderness, and faces a cataclysmic clash of warriors, worlds, and gods. Ever hungry for land and gold, the Emperor has sent Praetor Gaius Marcellinus and the 33rd Roman Legion into the newly discovered lands of North America. Marcellinus and his men expect easy victory over the native inhabitants, but on the shores of a vast river the Legion clashes with a unique civilization armed with weapons and strategies no Roman has ever imagined. Forced to watch his vaunted force massacred by a surprisingly tenacious enemy, Marcellinus is spared by his captors and kept alive for his military knowledge. As he recovers and learns more about these proud people, he can't help but be drawn into their society, forming an uneasy friendship with the denizens of the city-state of Cahokia. But threats - both Roman and Native - promise to assail his newfound kin, and Marcellinus will struggle to keep the peace while the rest of the continent surges toward certain conflict.


A strange and unusual alternate history title that takes readers into the strange world of “What if” where the roman war enginee invades the America’s with mixed results. Its in part reminiscent of “A Man Called Horse”, has some solid world building and whilst the combat seuqneces worked very well, it was more as an individual battle that the author did very well rather than as an overall army combat. Its definitely a very interesting premise and whilst I initially wasn’t as enthused with it as I thought I would be, I did find that as the tale moved on, I became more engrossed to see how the world would adapt.

Its got some quirky characters, some wonderful dialogue and when added to an arc that will lead the series into one hell of a war, its going to be a case of leaving the reader wondering how the adaptations alongside warfare will effect a world to which many readers are completely unfamiliar. Definitely a series to watch and for me, a tale I was very pleased that I stuck with to the end. Can’t wait to see what book two has in store.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Lego Jurassic World gets Trailer - Warner Borthers Interactive

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Warner Brothers Interactive, have let us know about the latest trailer for the forthcoming Lego Jurassic World game that spans the four films set on the popular franchise.

Its quirky, its going to be a ton of fun and when you add Lego into the mix, you know that its going to be a lot of fun.  (Here's also hoping I get to play as a dinosaur and do some human munching.  LOL)

So here for your viewing pleasure is the latest trailer:

For the latest news please follow the following feeds (alongside Falcata times)

We hope to see you on Isla Nublar on the Meurtes Archipelago.

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

Monday, 9 March 2015

MILITARY SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Confederation 4: Valour's Trial - Tanya Huff

Release Date: 17/04/14
Publisher:  Titan


The rousing military adventure (Locus) continues with a brand new Valor novel.

Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr is a Confederation Marines marine. She's survived more deadly encounters and kept more of her officers and enlistees alive than anyone in the Corps. Unexpectedly pulled from battle, Torin finds herself in an underground POW camp that shouldn't exist, where her fellow marine prisoners seem to have lost all will to escape. Now, Torin must fight her way not only out of the prison but also past the growing compulsion to sit down and give up not realizing that her escape could mean the end of the war.


The latest outing for Torin Kerr and a title that delivered what I was expecting, hardcore action, top notch dialogue and of course a story arc that keeps on giving for the overall world. It’s a title that as usual with Tanya, is well written, has great prose and of course with Tanya’s identifiable writing style will keep you going from start to finish,. If you’re looking for a new Sci-Fi series with a great characters to keep you going over the Christmas period, then this is definitely the one for you.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

URBAN FANTASY THRILLER: Mick Oberon 1: Hot Lead, Cold Iron - Ari Marmell

Release Date: 23/05/14
Publisher:  Titan


" Mick Oberon may look like just another 1930s private detective, but beneath the fedora and the overcoat, he’s got pointy ears and he’s packing a wand. Among the last in a line of aristocratic Fae, Mick turned his back on his kind and their Court a long time ago. But when he’s hired to find a gangster’s daughter sixteen years after she was replaced with a changeling, the trail leads Mick from Chicago’s criminal underworld to the hidden Otherworld, where he’ll have to wade through Fae politics and mob power struggles to find the kidnapper and solve the case."


As a huge reader of Urban Fantasy, I always love it when I get a genre mix such as adding a touch of crime with the supernatural and whilst there’s been quite a few who’ve done it well before, I like it when someone steps away from the norm and to be honest that’s what Ari has done in this outing.

Set in the 30’s its full of action, gangsters and of course action that keeps it moving, however the major problem for me was that I had trouble associating with the principle character and his abilities that felt pretty useless. As a reader I do like the potential for this world and the events that can occur within however for a first outing it felt a little lacking for me.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

URBAN FANTASY THRILLER: Sherlock Holmes: The Spirit Box - George Mann

Release Date: 22/08/14
Publisher:  Titan


German zeppelins rain down death and destruction on London, and Dr Watson is grieving for his nephew, killed on the fields of France.
A cryptic summons from Mycroft Holmes reunites Watson with his one-time companion, as Sherlock comes out of retirement, tasked with solving three unexplained deaths. A politician has drowned in the Thames after giving a pro-German speech; a soldier suggests surrender before feeding himself to a tiger; and a suffragette renounces women's liberation and throws herself under a train. Are these apparent suicides something more sinister, something to do with the mysterious Spirit Box? Their investigation leads them to Ravensthorpe House, and the curious Seaton Underwood, a man whose spectrographs are said to capture men's souls..


Ah the latest outing for Urban Fantasy Holmes and Watson and for me, a series that really keeps on giving to the reader who loves a touch of the other to a cracking tale of murder and investigation. As with the other titles in this series, its well written, has great characters that still continue to grow which when added to dialogue that keeps the magic flowing all round gives me a read that more than kept me happy.

Back this up with top notch prose and of course an arc that keeps on giving with each page and all round I was a more than happy reader. Magic.

Friday, 6 March 2015

FANTASY REVIEW: Rogues - Edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois

Release Date: 29/08/14
Publisher:  Titan


If you are a fan of fiction that is more than just black and white, this latest story collection from #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin and award-winning editor Gardner Dozois is filled with subtle shades of gray. Twenty-one all-original stories, by an all-star list of contributors, will delight and astonish you in equal measure with their cunning twists and dazzling reversals. And George R. R. Martin himself offers a brand-new Game of Thrones tale chronicling one of the biggest rogues in the entire history of the Ice and Fire saga. Follow along with the likes of Gillian Flynn, Joe Abercrombie, Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Cherie Priest, Garth Nix, and Connie Willis, as well as other masters of literary sleight-of-hand, in this rogues gallery of stories that will plunder your heart and yet leave you all the richer for it.


Compendiums, the wonder of the new age for readers everywhere and when a fantasy gets George RR Martins name on it, you know that top notch quality is going to be revealed within. As you’d expect from this outing you have great characters, a whole host of short stories and when added to the sheer amount of talented authors within give the reader a book that is not only value for money, but a title that you really can’t afford to miss.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Tyrant: Force of Kings - Christian Cameron

Release Date: 04/12/14
Publisher:  Orion


The vast and deadly conflict between Alexander the Great's former generals as they battle for control of his empire has reached a tense stalemate. No one seems able to strike the decisive blow.

But with everything in the balance, a secret emerges: hidden in the remote mountains is a young man who could change everything: Herakles, the son of Alexander.

Whoever aspires to Alexander's mantle must now control his one legitimate heir - or destroy him - and a war being played across the known world is set for its final, bloody conclusion. As the rival armies converge on the village of Ipsus, twin monarchs Satyrus and Melitta know that they too must gamble their own lives and the survival of their Black Sea kingdom on the outcome...


The latest Christian Cameron title and as usual, one that is on form to give you not only hardcore action but great prose with a cracking storyline.

As a fan of Chrisian’s writing I don’t have a clue how he can turn out so many books with such great form in a year and when you add to this characters that you just want to spend time around which when accompanied with the authors own indomitable writing style all round gives you a cracking treat for the holiday period or even for a time of year you want picking up.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Mad Max Announces Pre-Order Bonus - Warner Brothers Interactive

 Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Warner Brothers Interactive have let us know about the Pre-Order Bonus tied in with the forthcoming Mad Max game (available on the 4st September) for the following formats:
Xbox One

Here's what they had to say:
"Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today revealed new pre-order bonus details for Mad Max™. All those who pre-order Mad Max™ will receive an additional Magnum Opus car body called “The Ripper,” which packs a powerful V8 engine, upgraded exhaust with custom off-road tires, a ramming grill and a tuned suspension so it can take on a variety of Wasteland surfaces. Also revealed today was box art for the game.

Mad Max™ delivers open world gameplay in a post-apocalyptic setting where cars are the key to survival. Developed by Avalanche Studios, gamers become Mad Max, a lone warrior who must fight to stay alive in The Wasteland, using vicious on-ground and vehicular combat against savage bandits. Following the theft of his iconic Interceptor, Max must align himself with a gifted, but peculiar, mechanic named Chumbucket and others to build the ultimate war vehicle as he works to escape from the dangerous Wasteland. For more information visit

STEAMPUNK REVIEW: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures - Edited Sean Wallace

Release Date: 18/09/14
Publisher:  Robinson Publishing


From the editor of The Mammoth Book of Steampunk, this anthology of steam-powered short stories, dirigibles aloft, retro-tech wonders, and astounding adventure will set clockwork-loving hearts hammering with delight. Longtime steampunk fans: prepare to gleefully grab your goggles to read these remarkable stories! Newcomers: prepare to become fans of this popular genre involving both the past and present-entertainingly and provocatively re-thought, re-invented, and re-evaluated. With stories by K.W. Jeter, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Ken Liu, Cherie Priest, Carrie Vaughn, and many others.

Full list of contributors: Christopher Barzak; Tobias Buckell; C. S. E. Cooney; Aliette de Bodard; Lisa L. Hannett; Samantha Henderson; K. W. Jeter; Caitlin R. Kiernan; Jay Lake; Ken Liu; Alex Dally MacFarlane; Tony Pi; Cherie Priest; Cat Rambo; Chris Roberson; Margaret Ronald; Sofia Samatar; Gord Sellar; Nisi Shawl; Benjanun Sriduangkaew; E. Caterine Tobler; Genevieve Valentine; Carrie Vaughn; AC Wise; Jonathan Wood.


OK, as most know I’m a huge fan of compendium titles and whilst you tend to get quite a few for other genres, Steampunk has often been one where readers have to make a hard choice between individual books without the knowledge of whether they like the authors writing style or not.

What this title does is give you the chance to sample so many authors (some from outside the Steampunk genre) and gives you a whole host of tales that you can delve into when you want something to read during either travel time or during a lunch break. As a reader I love to have any chance to escape from the real world and give myself over fully to fantasy.

Thank you Robinson for a cracking steampunk offering and one that is full of cracking prose and of course so many heroes that I love to spend time with. Magic.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

HISTORICAL FICTION: The Empress of Rome 4: The Lady of the Eternal City - Kate Quinn

Release Date: 03/03/15
Publisher:  Berkley


National bestselling author Kate Quinn returns with the long-awaited fourth volume in the Empress of Rome series, an unforgettable new tale of the politics, power, and passion that defined ancient Rome.

Elegant, secretive Sabina may be Empress of Rome, but she still stands poised on a knife’s edge. She must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Rome’s brilliant and sinister Emperor; and battered warrior Vix, who is her first love. But Sabina is guardian of a deadly secret: Vix’s beautiful son Antinous has become the Emperor’s latest obsession.

Empress and Emperor, father and son will spin in a deadly dance of passion, betrayal, conspiracy, and war. As tragedy sends Hadrian spiraling into madness, Vix and Sabina form a last desperate pact to save the Empire. But ultimately, the fate of Rome lies with an untried girl, a spirited redhead who may just be the next Lady of the Eternal City . . .


I originally came across Katie in a compendium with Ben Kane and for me, it was not only a great experience having so much talent in one book, but allowed me other area’s to get my Historical Fiction fix from, one of which was Katie’s wonderfully crafted tale that turned me on to her writing.

So whilst I hadn’t read any other stories by her I was more than happy to give this book a go as I loved the way that she not only weaved the arc but also brought characters to life in such a way that you couldn’t help but want to see what would unfurl in their lives.

As with her short story, this tale was wonderfully crafted, the prose was sharp, easy to get into and when added to characters that I just couldn’t get enough of alongside an overall arc that just kept me reading all round made this a wonderful experience. A great story and for me, a series that I’ll be checking out from the beginning as soon as time allows.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Science Fiction Review; Judge Dredd: Year One Omnibus - Matthew Smith, Michael Carroll, Al Ewing

Release Date: 28/10/15
Publisher:  Abaddon


Three celebrated Judge Dredd writers take you back to Dredd's first year on the streets of Mega-City One as a full-eagle Judge, in three novellas. Bred to dispense Justice, the young Dredd is not the wizened veteran we know, but a Judge with built-in determination and little experience. In City Fathers, the brutal murder of a Justice Department-sanctioned spy uncovers something new and dangerous in the sector's murky black market. Unless Dredd can stop it, chaos will be unleashed. In Cold Light of Day, a savage killing spree results in the deaths of two highlyregarded Judges, and many consider Dredd to be responsible: a decision he made five years earlier - while he was still a cadet has come back to haunt him. The third story in the collection will debut in this collection and is guaranteed to thrill.


Ah the chance to go back to a young not quite so grizzled young Joe Dredd with a series of short stories that bring Mega City One to life for the reader. Whilst you know that Dredd is never in any danger (as otherwise he wouldn’t become the single-minded natural force that we all come to love.)

The tales are sharp, really get to the seedy underside of the big meg and when added to some cracking sleight of hand, some wonderful weaving all round give you a book that I had a lot of fun with.

Sunday, 1 March 2015


Release Date: 30/10/15
Publisher:  Gollancz


The Gurus came in peace, bearing gifts.

They were a highly advanced, interstellar species who brought amazingly useful and sophisticated technology to the human race. There was, of course, a catch. The Gurus warned of a far more malevolent life form, beings who have hounded the Gurus from sun to sun, planet to planet, across the cosmos. Pundits have taken to calling them the Antagonists - or Antags - and they have already established a beachhead on Mars. In exchange for all they've done for us, the Gurus would now like our help.

Enter Master Sergeant Michael Venn, a veteran Skyrine (a Marine who is specially trained for off-world combat) who is dropped onto the Red Planet with his band of brothers on a mission to take down as many Antags as possible.

But from the moment they're dropped through the thin Martian atmosphere, their mission goes horribly, terribly wrong. From a group of female special ops Skyrines with secret orders, to mysterious humans who've settled on Mars, to the overwhelming and highly-reinforced Antags themselves, Venn and his brothers will face impossible odds just to survive - let alone make it home alive.


The first book in a brand new series from Sci-Fi fan favourite Greg Bear. As usual Greg likes to weave a tale that takes readers to the edge of the universe and beyond as events take the lead hero through on hell of an adventure. Yet for all the things I was looking forward to in this title I felt a little let down with this title as it didn’t seem to have the usual umph that I’d expect almost starting out well and then ending on a bit of a damp squib.

All round its an OK book but for me, sadly one that didn’t deliver what I was hoping for. Whilst I will continue to read Greg’s work, I’m not sure that this series will have me returning to any time soon.