Edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

Stories by Joe Abercrombie, Daniel Abraham, David W. Ball, Paul Cornell, Bradley Denton, Phyllis Eisenstein, Gillian Flynn, Neil Gaiman, Matthew Hughes, Joe R. Lansdale, Scott Lynch,  George R.R. Martin, Garth Nix, Cherie Priest,  Patrick Rothfuss, Steven Saylor,  Michael Swanwick,  Lisa Tuttle, Carrie Vaughn, Walter Jon Williams  and Connie Willis

(Random House, $30, 832 pages)

Who is this author?

Some of these authors may be unfamiliar to you, but surely you have heard of Gillian Flynn, whose mega-best-selling thriller, “Gone Girl,” the movie version of which has just been released to frenzied expectations. Or Neil Gaiman, whose fantasy novels for adult and young adult readers are international best-sellers. Or certainly George R.R. Martin, whose brilliantly conceived and well-written “Song of Ice and Fire” fantasy novels became the wildly popular “Game of Thrones” series on HBO. Dozois has won 15 Hugo and 32 Locus editing awards and two Nebula Awards for his writing and  has written or edited more than100 books, among them many volumes of The Year’s Best Science Fiction.

What is this book about?                                                                           

Bad boys – and girls. Twists and turns. A new tale featuring a heretofore unknown character for the many fans of GOT, and an introduction by his creator Martin to boot.  This anthology offers 21 stories by mystery, thriller, science fiction and fantasy authors who understand the universal appeal of rule-breakers and plot reversals, and the writing is often as roguish as the characters. Their deeds and misdeeds span the globe – make that the universe, known or imagined, and many epochs. Here is mischief of many kinds, presented by masters of their crafts.

Why you’ll like it:                                                                                           

What these stories have in common, besides the roguish behavior of their central characters, is the skill of the writers who created them. As the success of countless books, movies and TV shows have proved, readers love  clever, brave scamps who can think way outside the box and let us come along for the escapades. You may not always approve of their deeds (and misdeeds), but you will enjoy reading about them.

What others are saying:                                                                             

Kirkus Reviews says: “Avast, ye varlets, intergalactic and otherwise: There are new bad boys and girls afoot on Mars and in Middle Earth, and you’ll like them, even if you’ll count your silverware after they leave.. . .They have in common an irresistible penchant for gaming the system, no matter what mess they leave for others to pick up. They also nurse a narcissistic dose of self-worth relative to other people, as well as a conviction that whatever they’re doing is right; thus, as Joe Abercrombie writes of one femme criminale, “To be caught by these idiots would be among the most embarrassing moments of her career.” Exactly: for a rogue, the worst crime is to be busted. Martin, of Game of Thrones franchise fame, and Hugo Award-winning editor Dozois assemble a lively collection of original stories across several fictional genres . . . The biggest draw in this sprawling collection is a new Song of Ice and Fire yarn by Martin, giving back story to a mid-Targaryen dynasty scamp. . . Of particular interest, too, are a grandly whimsical piece by Neil Gaiman that begs to be turned into a Wes Anderson film; a shaggy dog tale by Paul Cornell of a Flashman-ish character gone to seed; and, especially, an utterly arresting, utterly surprising tale by Gillian Flynn that begins, “I didn’t stop giving hand jobs because I wasn’t good at it.” Rambunctious, rowdy and occasionally R-rated: a worthy entertainment, without a dud in the bunch, that easily moves from swords and sorcery to hard-boiled Chandler-esque. “

Says Library Journal in its starred review: “Everyone loves a scoundrel. As themes go, this outstanding collection has chosen one with a generous flexibility and a surefire appeal. Beyond the general setup of characters who are a little dangerous, a little nefarious, and very unpredictable, the stories unfold in a delightful number of directions. Contributions from well-known mystery and thriller writers, as well as offerings from those who are better known for sf and fantasy, are included . . . VERDICT The wide array of styles and genres mean that this is easiest to dip in and out of rather than read cover to cover, but there is not a single bad story in the bunch. . . .”

“Overall, if I were to sum up the book in a single word, it would be Fun. These tales are generally fun reads, entertaining, full of action and adventure. In this, the genre mix works to the anthology’s advantage, offering a constant change of pace and variety, even while most are on the lighter side, with engaging narrative voices. It’s not a book full of true darkness, evil, gloom and depression. Rogues are fun, as long as we’re reading about them and not living with them,” says .

When is it available?                                                                                    

You can borrow “Rogues” from the Downtown Hartford Public Library.

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