Interviews, Reviews, British News, and Teddy Bears from Hell


The weather in this part of the world has been a trifle more damp than is usual. Which is to say, that there have been torrential rains, and much flooding, and the dams are all overflowing, and the rivers have all burst their banks, and the roads are all slick. None of which was sufficient deterrent to prevent me from embarking on a road trip down to the coast, to stay with friends in the beach town of Ulladulla. The drive from Canberra to the coast is one I have made many, many times.  There is a selection of important landmarks:

–       You always warily eye that gigantic doll outside the antique shop in Bungendore (the thing is like two storeys tall, and has wheels coming out of its dress. It is the stuff of nightmares).

–       You always stop in Braidwood for something from the bakery.

–       You always pray that your brakes don’t fail on the switchbacking road down the mountainside.

My favorite, however, is the long stretch of highway that is characterized by a multitude of teddy bears that have been nailed to trees along the side of the road. There are many rumours about why they are there (they show the route to a teddy bears’ picnic, people nail up a bear when they get married, it’s set up as something to entertain children on long car rides), but the fact remains that those bears have been out there, in the elements, for several years. They’re beginning to look increasingly weathered. And fungal. And ominous. One gets the feeling that they have been placed there as a warning, but for whom?

In any case, we counted fifty of them on the way to the beach.

Fifty evil, rotting teddy bears.

Down in Ulladulla, my hosts and I had various adventures, but the best thing was that we went to the Milton Show (for my non-Australian readers, a show is like a county fair.) And it was excellent. We checked out the livestock (I was tempted to buy a goat, but didn’t) and poultry (there were two roosters that gave me the evil eye. They were ready to bust out of those cages and shred me like a toilet roll.) We admired the handicrafts, and plotted how to break into the glass cabinets and steal the cakes.

On the book front, various pieces of extremely exciting news. Firstly, I get to announce (because it’s already on the internet) that The Rook is going to be published in the United Kingdom. The publishing company Head of Zeus has taken me under their wing, and the British Isles will be receiving its own edition of The Rook. For more details (although not many more,) take a look at .

Also, I was on the bus the other day, and I saw a complete stranger reading a copy of The Rook! At first I wasn’t sure if it was actually my book, so I spend a good ten minutes subtly craning my neck to try and see if it was. Then, finally, the guy stood up, and I saw that familiar black cover and red spine. It was an important moment. This was a person I don’t know. He wasn’t obliged out of good manners to buy the book. I resisted the urge to introduce myself, and snatch the book out of his hands to sign it, but it was pretty hard.

And I got invited to chat with a book group, in my old college town of East Lansing, Michigan. It took us a little time to work out schedules (the 14-hour difference always makes things confusing), and then Skype and the Google-phone-thing failed to work, so I ended up chatting with them on Facebook chat, which made for some confusing moments when conversations diverged, and then typing mistakes got made, but it was very cool, nonetheless. I was especially interested in hearing about the theories that everyone had had. Their ideas about Gestalt, Ingrid, and Wolfgang really took me aback.

Since the last blog update, there have been quite a few new Rook-related things released upon the web:

At ,  you can read an interview with me by Stellar Four.

Austin Grossman asks some probing questions about secret organizations and which games make for the best motif at  .

Wired magazine’s GeekDad interrogated me at

And the newspaper at Michigan State University (which both of my parents and I attended) interviewed me, although really, they were much more interested in interviewing my Mom.


Also, there have been some nice reviews put out in the world, and my Mom has put them up on the fridge. But since you can’t see the fridge, I shall make them available here.

The Dallas Morning News:

Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing:

The National Post:

Fantasy Book Critic:

A Wall Street Journal Review (The Wall Street Journal!):

The San Antonio Express News:

My Awful Reviews:

Also, I was featured in the Public Service News. (This review got more commentary from people I work with than the and the Canberra Times articles combined.)

9 thoughts on “Interviews, Reviews, British News, and Teddy Bears from Hell”

  1. 50 bears????? I clearly am looking at something else on my rides down the coast. Though last time I did notice that pooh bear corner seems not to be there anymore…

    Next time in Braidwood, on the way back from the coast, stop at the ice-cream shop. Yum!

    I’ve seen your book twice in the wild, in people’s hands. Once was on a flight going to Wellington, once in the hand of a friend – who I hadn’t told about it. He also said he liked it… And seeing the pile of them in the airport bookshop in Sydney was pretty cool.

  2. Will you post the Canberra Times review, please sir? Very happy to hear all the great news!

  3. Deborah Harkness (author of A Discovery of Witches) gave you a shout out on Twitter yesterday. I read the first chapter online and then headed to my local bookstore to pick up a copy.

    Quite annoyed I have to be at work instead of my nose in a book.

  4. Hey. Just finished your book. It was good. Internet flying slow-mo high-five!

    Sad that we’re done with the Thomas letters, but after the solid waste hit the ventilation apparatus at the midpoint of the book, they did start to clash with and drag down the pacing of the present day stuff a bit. Still, sad.

    Also, you seem to only have names for two more sequels. My suggestion? Organize the structure of the post-merger Checquy around Capablanca Chess. Or Tamerlane Chess. Or Warhammer 40k.

    Also, being Russian, I’d appreciate it if/when you start writing about other national agencies, the bits about the Russians would be less KGB STALIN PUTIN POLONIUM KGB GULAG EXPERIMENTS KGB and more of a “Yeah, yeah, we sometimes don’t really like you. But Cthulhu,” NASA-RosKosmos kind of international cooperation and it’s not just UK/USA running around saving the entire world. That would be nice. It gets annoying, y’know?

    Anyway, thanks for the book. Looking forward to the next one.

    1. Megazver, I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. And don’t worry, I have a bunch of cool concepts for Russia’s supernatural world, and they’ve got nothing to do with the KGB.

  5. Hi Daniel

    Both my husband and I thorougly enjoyed your book and are eagerly waiting for the next. When do you anticipate having a new one out?

    1. Hi Caroline, I am labouring away on the sequel, even as we speak. It’s early days yet, but my nose is applied firmly to the grindstone.

  6. Katherine Neville’s comment about “Harry Potter meets Ghostbusters” is apt. Also loved the Dallas reviewer’s “as if Neil Gaiman took Buffy the Vampire Slayer and crossed it with Torchwood.” And I suspect that Thursday Next is related to your heroine.

    One quibble: surely it cannot be correct to refer to Sir Henry Wattleman as “Sir Wattleman”?

    1. Sue, I’m glad you enjoyed the book. You’re quite right about the correct way of referring to Sir Henry, and I can’t believe I got it wrong. Thanks for catching my mistake. I have let the publisher know, and it shall be fixed in the paperback version.

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