Now in its second year, the David Gemmell Legend Award picks out the finest fantasy novel of the last 12 months. On top of the the big prize for the best of the best (won last year by Andrzej Sapkowski's Blood Of Elves), there are two new awards this year: the Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer, and The Ravenheart Award for Best Fantasy Cover Art. The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Magic Circle in London on Friday 18 June. You can influence the results by voting for your favourites at www.gemmellaward.com until 31 May.
You could also be there on the night – but seats at the venue are extremely limited, so you'll have to be quick. "Friend & Fan" tickets cost £20, and will give you the chance to be there when the winners are announced. All you have to do is click here , and look for the "Message Me" link at the bottom of the page, where you'll be asked for your email address, how many tickets you require (up to a maximum of two per person), and your name and address. Don't pay any money yet, though. Wait until you've heard your request has been confirmed – then you can pay via the PayPal "Donate" button on the site.
And now, the contenders:
DAVID GEMMELL LEGEND AWARD
The Gathering Storm
Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Sanderson takes on the monumental task of wrapping up the late Jordan’s epic Wheel Of Time series. He didn’t manage it in one book – there’s another two titles to come – but so far his bold move has come up trumps.
In what could be a key moment for franchise fiction, McNeill’s New York Times bestseller Time Of Legends novel finds itself sitting pretty among the cream of fantasy writing.
A second nomination for Sanderson, who let his story of gods and zombie soldiers to develop, rough drafts and all, in the very public arena of his website. It didn’t turn out too badly.
Best Served Cold
SFX described Abercrombie’s anti-heroic fantasy as a “15 th century take on Kill Bill ”. Aside from the fact that the title’s taken from an old Klingon proverb, what more do you need to know?
The Cardinal's Blades
The French author introduces magic and dragons to the musketeer-heavy world of Alexandre Dumas with dragons, making you wonder why Dumas didn’t do it in the first place.
THE MORNINGSTAR AWARD
The Cardinal's Blades by Pierre Pevel
The Drowning City by Amanda Downum
The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas
The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bullington
Lamentation by Ken Scholes
THE RAVENHEARD AWARD
Jon Sullivan for illustration and Sue Michniewicz for art direction on The Cardinal's Blades
Jon Sullivan for Empire
Larry Rostant for illustration and Loulou Clarke for art direction on Fire by Kristin Cashore
Didier Graffet and Dave Senior for illustration and Laura Brett for art direction for Best Served Cold
Jackie Morris for illustration and Dominic Forbes for art direction on The Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb