Stealing Into Winter

Stealing Into Winter

being the first adventure from the chronicles of Jeniche of Antar

Thief, Jeniche, challenges the imperial ambitions of the fictional Occassan nation.

  • Paperback £9.99 || $16.95Sep 28, 2012

  • e-book £6.99 || $9.99Sep 28, 2012


    A first class adventure which moves with a pace and panache rarely seen these days. If you like good future fantasy youll love this. Reminiscent of M. J. Harrison or China Miéville at their fascinating best. I enjoyed Stealing Into Winter a lot.
    Michael Moorcock

    When Jeniche, a sometimes successful thief, found her prison cell collapsing around her, she knew it was not going to be a good day. Certainly, the last thing she wanted once she had escaped into the war-torn city was to become involved with a group of monks and nuns on pilgrimage. Even less did she want to help them escape and guide them through the desert and into the mountains so they could get home. Of course, the last thing you want is often the first thing you get.

    In a world growing painfully from the ruins of a long past catastrophe, it is not just the Imperial ambitions of the Occassan nation that worries people; it is the all too real danger of the past rearing its vicious and mysterious head. What did happen all those centuries ago? What has it do with a thief? And why are the Occassans so interested in her skills?


    I am absolutely thrilled that this is going to be a series! There is no way that I could put this book down – so many interesting characters, so much activity going on, a clear tone for the politics, and for the environment. Right from the start we have a fairly good idea that everything that is going on is not strictly on the physical or earth plane. Through the interactions of the various characters we find that many of them have special skills, and a special “knowing”. Well written, fast paced, with a complex background and story line. I certainly look forward to the next book in this series! ~ Bonnie Cehovet,

    Stealing into Winter Review 12 November 2012 The Science Fiction genre is dying, according to fiction watchers. So what are people reading? Well, apart from celebrity biogs and cookery books, it seems the Future Fantasy is going some of the way to replacing Sci-fi. Jeniche of Antar (currently out on Kindle) by Graeme K Talboys, is one of the latest. I've probably been through the collections of four or five FF authors in the past ten years or so, and have watched the niche grow myself. I really like this book, with one or two reservations, naturally, they are mostly writer nitpicks about structure and the balance between characterisation and action, but overall it's a romantic, romping, yomping fast paced and absolutely beautifully described journey with a nice twist in the end, followed by a final mystery that leaves you wanting more. Job done. Graeme's powers of description are more than just evocative, it's rare to read a book where complicated chase and battle scenes are so well drawn. As I said I did have to fill in the gaps myself a bit to engage fully with the five or six main protagonists as real, three- dimensional beings, but to be fair, as a female reader, I find with male writers this is often a challenge, I hope Graeme would take this as positive feedback especially as it appears that most of the market for this subject matter is dominated by women! This isn't a long book, it's a perfect length for the subject matter, once absorbed I found I was making the pilgrimage myself, it was nice to be immersed, and there's real congruence in Jeniche, a lot of future fantasy books lurch into surreal too much for me. It has all the ingredients: action, philosophical challenge, spirituality, mystery, struggle of good over evil, great descriptions of terrain and, especially as the fascination of the fantasy for me is always the context of a civilisation existing at some point in the future following a global catastrophe – in Jeniche it's called the 'Evanescence' – following which humanity has rebuilt but only at the developmental level of 14th or 15th century Europe. I don't know exactly why this is always such a fascinating notion, there are probably sociological reasons but it's a very popular fantasy, probably kicking off in earnest around the time of the Mad Max movies. There's the current obsession with getting back to basics, a romanticised idea of a pre-technological society, thoughts about a real possible global conflagration and the outcome, all of which thread through much of literature, movie and games themes right now, so it's pretty clear that this interest will feed the growing future fantasy genre, too. Graeme pulls it off for me. He manages that difficult blend of creating content that makes some kind of sense empathically, while drawing a completely different civilisation recognisable as a cohesive, organic and complete environment. "There are more fantasy successes, and a constant wave of new writers who are being heralded as the next big thing." according to lit blogger Mark Charan Newton. "It seems readers can't get enough of fantasy fiction." Since we're reviewing a book loosely in the genre, it's worth looking at how hardcore readers are buying in to what is currently a bit of a double edged book market. Reading for pleasure, especially among boys, is at an all time low. Conversely, the advent of e-book readers has given the cultural import of reading a boost, although looking at the cost of Kindle downloads, not a great deal of financial nourishment. Hard to tell if this is due to recession or cultural shift, time will tell. Newton agrees that it's partly because more women than men read books. Women read much more Fantasy fiction, especially Dark Fantasy, than SF. Increasing rates of change in science and technology are also making it more difficult for anyone writing near-future SF to stay ahead. And literary fiction is starting to pinch SF ideas. Jeanette Winterson, Toby Litt and Margaret Atwood have all taken SF motifs and commercially adapted them. New readers have been primed on the books and films of Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings. There will always be a hard core of Star Wars, Trekkies and Dr Who fans but if the evidence is that fantasy books are overtaking the genre, Graeme K Tallboys deserves to be a well regarded exponent of the form. ~ Rhiannon Daniel, Zani -

    Jeniche is a complex and central character in this novel. With her companions, she leads you into a difficult world, where keeping alive and finding food, clothing and shelter are daily priorities. Avoiding the occupying soldiers is a continuing life-threatening struggle. While her friends become important, those characters she mistrusts, you begin to keep at arm's length. The world of Jeniche is complex and sometimes bewildering. As you travel the countries of the plot, there are hidden puzzles which the imagination struggles to solve. Some episodes provide tantalising glimpses of other plots to follow, encountering characters, places and time frames the reader hopes to eventually revisit. Stealing into Winter is a really good read and I am already looking forward to the sequel. ~ Janet C. Coyle, The Guardian

    This book goes back to the old values of fantasy story-telling. It is well constructed and literate although it makes no pretence to be ‘literary’. Whatever back story and world-building the author has undertaken is not fed to us; we have to work for it by reading the story closely. Because another of this book's virtues is that it is tightly written with many layers lurking beneath the surface. Unusually for a book of this nature, it is character led – they are not ciphers there to progress a convoluted plot, nor are they long lost princes trying to restore the status quo by claiming their throne. There's far too much of that imperialistic garbage about. Here we have real people caught up in events they don't understand and trying to survive. It is a pacy read presented with great style, exciting, involving and, ultimately, satisfying. First class entertainment of a quality rarely seen these days. ~ Marion Miller, The Guardian

    Stealing Into Winter has that most treasured of all things - characters to fall in love with and to feel empathy for. Graeme writes clearly and with maturity in the genre of fantasy and brings people to us in a real life way. The tempo is fast-paced and the plot drives its characters through hard life experiences in a Dystopian world which Graeme excels in. The reader has to work out the history behind the scenes, the back-plot left to our imagination. The immediacy of the story is placed to the fore, resonating with today's world of struggle and war. Jeniche is alive and out there right now, reflecting a society in which young people have to really fight hard to survive. This writer should be introduced to everyone. ~ Jelica Gavrilovic, The Guardian

    A first class adventure which moves with a pace and panache rarely seen these days. If you like good future fantasy youll love this. Reminiscent of M. J. Harrison or China Miéville at their fascinating best. I enjoyed Stealing Into Winter a lot.

    ~ Michael Moorcock

    Graeme Talboys
    Graeme Talboys Graeme K Talboys is the author of a number of books. He lives in Scotland.
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