Upcoming: Heartwood by Freya Robertson (Angry Robot)


Shadowhawk takes a look at the upcoming debut novel from Angry Robot Books, the first in the Elemental Wars series.

“More incoming epic fantasy goodness from Angry Robot, a story about knights and quests and the end of the world. I think I’ll have more of that!” ~Shadowhawk, The Founding Fields

Angry Robot announced a while back that they had signed up author Freya Robertson to publish her Elemental Wars epic fantasy series. Now, they have finally revealed the cover for the first novel in the series, Heartwood. Typically, Angry Robot doesn’t appear to publish much in the way of epic fantasy. From what I’ve seen in the last year and a half, they usually go for novels that fit into multiple genres and are rather quirky even if they are single genre novels. With the former, novels such as Chris F. Holm’s Dead Harvest series come to mind, or even Adam Christopher’s Empire State duology. With the latter, novels such as Aliette de Bodard’s excellent Obsidian & Blood omnibus comes to mind, or Anne Lyle’s The Night’s Masque trilogy. What this all means is that Angry Robot publishes some really diverse fiction that goes beyond genre conventions and pushes at the boundary.

Recently, they’ve taken to more traditional epic fantasy, such as James A. Moore’s Seven Forges or even this one, Heartwood. And yet, these novels hint at the same kind of charm that I experienced reading through Aliette and Anne’s novels. They also appear to go really grand in scope and in doing so, enhance the publisher’s catalogue of works.

With Heartwood, being an epic fantasy fan, I love the premise and the instant imagery of the cover. It is perhaps a bit unambitious, the cover that is, but then, once you start observing the details and look at how the background and the foreground go together, it takes on a new meaning.

“A tree being hinted at in the background, signifying the Arbor tree that is at the heart of the Temple of Heartwood, with a knight standing guard before it as the tree’s leaves fall, signifying the change in the season that the premise of the novel hints through the quests that the knights of Heartwood must undertake…”

That’s what I get from looking at the cover. And all the floral designs and other embellishments on the knight’s armour and his sword really do stand out. Not very prominent, but then, I don’t think they need to be. I certainly like that cover.

Release: 29th October, 2013 US/Can Print and eBook and 7th November, 2013 UK Print

Large Trade Paperback: $14.99 US/$16.99 CAN | eBook: $5.49 US/$6.99 CAN | Medium Paperback: £8.99


Chonrad, Lord of Barle, comes to the fortified temple of Heartwood for the Congressus peace talks, which Heartwood’s holy knights have called in an attempt to stave off war in Anguis. But the Arbor, Heartwood’s holy tree, is failing, and because the land and its people are one, it is imperative the nations try to make peace.

After the Veriditas, or annual Greening Ceremony, the Congressus takes place. The talks do not go well and tempers are rising when an army of warriors emerges from the river. After a fierce battle, the Heartwood knights discover that the water warriors have stolen the Arbor’s heart. For the first time in history, its leaves begin to fall…

The knights divide into seven groups and begin an epic quest to retrieve the Arbor, and save the land.

What do you think?

Shadowhawk is a regular contributor to TFF. A resident of Dubai, Shadowhawk reads, reads and reads. His opinions are always clear and concise. His articles always worth reading.

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  • Paul Weimer

    Recently, they’ve taken to more traditional epic fantasy, such as James A. Moore’sSeven Forges or even this one, Heartwood.

    I noticed that trend, too, Abhinav.

  • Bibliotropic

    I’m really looking forward to reading Heartwood. Angry Robot hasn’t disappointed me yet!