DEATH DRAWS FIVE is one of the rarest of the Wild Cards series.
The series started with a twelve-volume run at Bantam Spectra, then moved to Baen Books in the early 90s for three books. (Not the brightest decision I ever made as editor, but that’s a long story for another day). The Baen books — the Card Sharks triad — were among our strongest, I thought, but for various and sundry reasons they did not sell nearly as well as the Bantam twelve, and afterward Wild Cards was without a publisher. Seven long years ensued, and for a time it appeared as if Wild Cards might be dead — to the dismay of all of us involved in the series. Then, as now, we loved the world we had created, and the amazing cast of aces, jokers, and deuces we had created to populate it.
Then Byron Preiss came to the rescue with iBooks (which had nothing whatsoever to do with iPhones, iPads, or iAnythingElse, let me add). A fan of the series, he stepped up with an offer to reprint some of the old Bantam titles, long out of print, and do two new originals as well. The first of those was DEUCES DOWN, an anthology of stories about those the Takisian virus had given small, useless, sometimes silly superpowers. Volume sixteen in the overall series. The second original, volume seventeen, was a solo novel by long-time Wild Cards stalwart John Jos Miller: DEATH DRAWS FIVE.
Though iBooks was a small publisher with limited distribution, the revived series was doing okay…. until Byron Preiss was killed in a tragic automobile accident on the Long Island Expressway. His company did not long survive him, alas. The last book they published was… you guessed it… DEATH DRAWS FIVE. iBooks closed up shop a week later and soon filed for bankruptcy. We were told that fewer than six hundred copies of John’s novel ever made it into the bookstores.
That was a shame. DEATH DRAWS FIVE is a damned good read, and it deserved better.
Later, another small publisher called Brick Tower acquired the assets of iBooks in a bankruptcy sale, and issued their own editions of DEUCES DOWN and DEATH DRAWS FIVE on a print-on-demand basis, but those did not get any distribution to speak of either, and the two volumes remained hard to find even for the most ardent Wild Cards fan.
But now… at long long last… DEATH DRAWS FIVE is getting a new lease on life, as a hardcover from Tor.
DEATH DRAWS FIVE features John’s popular ass-kicker Billy Ray, aka, Carnifex, and the long-awaited return of Fortunato, one of the most popular characters from the early days of the series. This is also the volume that introduces John Nighthawk, the oldest man in the Wild Cards universe, and the Midnight Angel. It’s a wild ride, and one you won’t want to miss.
On sale NOVEMBER 9 in hardcover from your favorite online bookseller or local bookshop. And yes, signed copies will be available via mailorder from Beastly Books in Santa Fe.
Current Mood: pleased