It sometimes seems that books are like buses – you wait forever for one that piques your interest, and then a bunch come along at once. Anna Butler is a case in point. She has not one but two books being released within days of one another next month. I was lucky enough to read a draft of her Gilded Scarab, released by Dreamspinner Press on 14th February. The worldbuilding in this steampunk m/m novel, the sheer fun of encountering a full and rich history that’s taken a slightly different turn yet still remains recognisable, made it a delightful and deeply satisfying read. I’m itching to get my hands on a copy of the finished novel.
As if that is not enough, Gyrfalcon will be released by Wilde City Press on 18th February. I haven’t read this one – a treat in store – but I know Anna’s worldbuilding skills and her love of science fiction, and have no doubt that it will be just as splendid as it sounds.
COMING FROM WILDE CITY PRESS
18 February 2015
by Anna Butler
Earth’s dead, dark for thousands of years. Her last known colony, Albion, is fighting an alien enemy that no one has even seen. In Gyrfalcon, the first of the Taking Shield series, Shield Captain Bennet is dropped behind the lines to steal priceless intelligence. It’s a dangerous job, and Bennet doesn’t need the distractions of changing relationships with his long-term partner, Joss, or with his father—or with Flynn, the new lover who will turn his world upside-down. He expects to risk his life. He expects the data will alter the course of the war. What he doesn’t expect is that it will change his life or that Flynn will be impossible to forget.
All the warning he got was the slightest prickling of the hair on the back of his neck, then someone or something forcibly connected with his legs and brought him down. The impact had that foul-smelling air whooshing out of his lungs.
“Stay down!” hissed Bennet in his ear. “Two drones. Right behind me.”
Flynn tried to catch his breath. Bennet, arms and legs wrapped around him, rolled them both into the shelter of the rock that he’d evidently been hiding behind. For an instant they lay in the warm darkness, wrapped together. They were in deep shadow, and Flynn had to feel for Bennet’s face to touch it, to make sure that the Shield captain was really there. His hand found Bennet’s mouth, felt it curve into a smile, and he smiled himself.
Bennet disentangled himself, so that Flynn was undistracted again. Huh. Shame. Bennet had felt pretty good. He inched up to peer carefully around the rock. The two drones were about fifty feet away and marching towards them.
Bennet was breathing hard. “One each, then let’s get the hell out of here. Take the one on the right. On my count: three, two, one.”
They rolled in opposite directions from behind the rock. Flynn fetched up on his knees, bringing up the laser and firing several sharp short bursts. His drone staggered and fell onto its back, dropping the laser rifle it was holding, its circuitry fried by a plasma bolt to the head. The remaining one stood rigidly still, sparks shooting out from its chest circuitry. In an awful travesty of a human reaction, its hands were clawing at the hole in its chest. It toppled slowly over onto its face.
“Shit,” Flynn said. “What an exciting life you lead! Any more of them?”
Gyrfalcon will be available as an ebook from Wilde City Press from 18 February
Anna worked for many years as a communications specialist in the UK government, working in a range of central government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to running an internal TV service. She now spends her time indulging her love of old-school science fiction featuring handsome heroes running about shooting lasers. She doesn’t claim to be a romance writer – that her laser-wielding heroes are gay and their relationship is a real one are both integral to her Taking Shield series, but not the reason for it. When she isn’t writing, she looks out at her garden thinking that she really should get out there and tackle the weeds, but is easily distracted into building up the biggest collection of tiara images on Pinterest instead. She lives in London with her husband and Molly, the cockerpoo.