Pictured: the original cover, left, and the new Orbit cover, right
It’s always a treat when a self-published author catches the eye of the trad publishing world. We all feel validated by it to some degree. We indies all get to stand on our chairs and say, “Hey world, guess what? There’s some FANTASTIC self-published stuff out there! Go read it!” It’s a particularly special treat when it’s a new author who gets picked up by a reputable powerhouse publisher. And for me, it hits even closer to home when it’s a fellow fantasy indie getting snatched up.
When all of the above are true, AND the author in question happens to be a personal friend and business associate… well, it’s flat out time to party. So, let’s get those balloons and streamers out for my dear friend and fellow Epic Fantasy Fanatics sponsoring author Evan Winter, whose debut The Rage of Dragons has been picked up by none other that Hatchette’s Orbit imprint.
First, a little about the book. The blurb calls The Rage of Dragons “Game of Thrones meets Gladiator.” You don’t say? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY. But it gets even cooler than that. Check out some of these critical review quotes:
“Evan Winter’s battles are visceral, bloody masterpieces”―David Dalglish, author of the Shadowdance Series
“an exciting and immersive world of magic, vengeance and wonder”―Micah Yongo, author of Lost Gods
“unique use of dragons and demons, the complex martial and class hierarchy, and it has a magic system unlike anything I’ve seen before”―David Anthony Durham, author of The Acacia Trilogy
“Intense, vivid and brilliantly realized”―Anna Smith Spark, author of The Court of Broken Knives
OK, well, sure, we’d expect nothing less than a fantastic tale from a book that hung around the Amazon fantasy best-sellers lists – internationally – for a couple YEARS. But there’s another layer to Winter’s The Rage of Dragons that has readers and industry folks excited… Rage is one of very few epic fantasies set in an African-based world, with an African cast of characters, and written by someone actually raised in Africa. For fantasy fans of African descent who have been clamoring to see themselves authentically represented in this wonderful genre, your time has come.
The Rage of Dragons is loosely based on the Xhosa, a South African people traditionally living in the Eastern Cape Province. A lifelong fantasy fan, born in England and raised in South Africa, Winter’s life experiences and personal familiarity with cultures of Europe and Africa provide a unique perspective that shines through in his storytelling, appealing broadly to epic fantasy fans of any ethnic or cultural background.
I’m not going to tell you more about the book or about Evan. Just go read it. You’ll be glad you did.
And if you’re reading this Evan, on behalf of all of us at Epic Fantasy Fanatics (and that other group… you know which one), we are SO friggin’ proud of you, happy for you, and excited to see how your career blossoms from here! We love you man!