If you have not yet been introduced to the prolific cross-genre novelist Mark Anthony Tierno…then we get to do the honors. Our picks of his books run the gamut from high sword-and-sorcery fantasy epics, through to conspiracy cyberpunk thrillers. The thrillers share a unique, affectionate cyberpunk private-dick pastiche, and are all solid choices of you’re looking for a new series to binge-read on a cold winter night or your next vacation.
The first in a sprawling 13-book series, Maldene introduces a world in which magic and science co-exist, taking in rich Tolkien-inspired world-building, an old-fashioned quest, and elements of classic space opera. It also introduces a diverse cast of characters, including wily, gifted young wizard Sabu and companions, as they seek to uncover an ancient secret.
Book 2 of the Maldene series sees Sabu and friends seeking still, while the discovery of a seemingly unassuming map raises the stakes. Danger lurks for our heroes, as they begin to close in on supreme villain Miro’s motives. Mysteries of Olde marks a shift in tone, from the rollicking, good-humored adventuring of the series opener, framed once again by the narrator unspooling a tall tale over drinks.
The perfect read for sci-fi fans of a suspicious disposition, antecedent of the paranoiac stories of Philip K. Dick and a cynical antidote to the utopian, post-capitalist Star Trek universes. Cyberdawn evokes a future evolved beyond currency, property, and power struggles. But….there is a conspiracy
afloat that involves supernatural creatures that should not exist; a conspiracy that apparently dates back ten thousand years. It’s a “biblical-level conspiracy.” Thankfully there’s a man ready to investigate it. In his hard-boiled hero, Tierno also plays in Raymond Chandler’s thoroughly bleak but enjoyable sandbox.
Another highly imaginative detective debut, Project Looking Glass features a ‘mix of cyberpunk, futuristic noir, and anthropomorphic furries’. Its plot and cast evoke a wry, hard-bitten and unique procedural, which splices Zootopia with the work of Stieg Larson.
The second outing for Project Looking Glass’ harried Inspector Henry Flaatphut, this time kept busy with demanding sentient computers, femme fatales and a new, terrifying drug that enslaves its users for life hitting the mean streets of his city. Alongside sweeping flights of technological fancy, Tierno works in plenty of well-worn, nostalgic beats from ‘old flat-screen movies’ with brio and warmth.