East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


The Ministry of Thunder – an announcement

OK, drop everything you are doing and listen, because I have to make an announcement.
A big one.

The Ministry of ThunderI have just learned from my publisher, Acheron Books, that The Ministry of Thunder is their bestselling title on the international marketplace.
This makes me really proud.
The Ministry of Thunder was my first published novel and it helped me learn a lot about writing, and it was a fun ride, and I love the characters in it.
Felice Sabatini is like an old friend.
I am completely and unashamedly in love with Helena Saratova, but I also sort of fancy Pat Neil.
And Captain Asamatsu is such a wonderful antihero.
And LaFleur… ah, we go back a long time with Jacques LaFleur.

So, before we go on, I would like to thank all the readers that bought and enjoyed my novel and my characters.
Thank you, from the heart.

This said, there is a storm brewing over Shanghai.
And Sabatini is about to get back in town.

The Ministry of Lightning is going to happen.


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At work on Central Station

25986774With all the stuff that’s been piling up on my desk recently, I failed to post a note about the fact that I am having a lot of fun and a great time all around translating Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station for Acheron Books.
The novel’s so good and the author’s prose is so fluid that it is very easy to go through pages and pages of it almost without noticing.
Which of course means that I have to do a second pass to check all the small bits-and-pieces of the text.

Let me tell you about it… Continue reading

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Translating The Builders

Daniel Polansky’s The Builders has been one of the best fantasy stories I read in the last two years.
It was only natural that when Acheron Books gave me a gig as editor for Zenobia, their new line of science fiction and fantasy stories in translation, The Builders was one of the first three titles I put on my list.

I am now happy to share with you this press release

We are excited to announce the Italian publication of the fantasy novel THE BUILDERS, by Daniel Polansky, Hugo Award 2016 finalist. Coming soon for Acheron Books (Zenobia series, translated by Davide Mana – cover in progress by Alberto Besi)

While we wait for the Italian cover, here is the original…


… and now, back to translating.

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The Form of Desire: Zenobia

zenobiaGood old Zenobia.
My personal ancient-history crush.

Julia Aurelia Zenobia was the queen that, proclaiming herself Imperatrix Romanorum, defied the power of Rome and led the ill-fated Palmyrene Rebellion. They went down fighting, and a good fight it was. And we have been taught by captain Mal Reynolds that being on the losing side does not always mean being on the wrong side too.

I like the old girl. Always liked her.
I like that particular period of the Roman history known as the Third Century Crisis, and I like Zenobia, a woman defying an empire. The stuff of great stories. The stuff of legend.

According to Wikipedia…

Zenobia has become a popular name for exotic or regal female characters in many other works

… and they go on listing Hawthorne, Wodehouse, Golding, Heinlein and Robert E. Howard.

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Five Things I learned Writing “The Ministry of Thunder”

acheron_the__ministry_of_thunderMy first novel, The Ministry of Thunder, is six months old this week, and I thought it was high time I did some new post to bore you to death about it.
This will be a week of celebrations.

In case you missed it, The Ministry of Thunder is a pulp/fantasy novel set in 1936 China, in which a stranded Italian mechanic tries to recycle himself as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer.
Cue to mysterious artifacts, beautiful women, evil masterminds, Taoist magic, Chinese ghosts, lost cities, and the Ministry of Thunder and Storms.
And ninja.

So, I normally say that everything is part of the learning process – what did I learn (if I did), writing The Ministry of Thunder? Continue reading