I flipped through A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham, which just so happens to be this week's Tor Free E-book Giveaway, and was immediately taken with the author's dedication:
To Fred Saberhagen,
the first of my many teachers
The name Fred Saberhagen sure brings back some memories. I absolutely devoured his Swords books when I was younger. The fact that Mr. Abraham so notes his own appreciation of Saberhagen has me stoked to see what A Shadow in Summer is all about.
I snagged this synopsis fragment from Bookmarks Magazine:
Debut novelist Daniel Abraham bolts out of the gate with an enthusiastic recommendation from SF guru George R. R. Martin. The critics agree with Martin's appraisal, and reviewers welcome Abraham's rich characterization, deft plotting, and the particularly ambitious central conceit that ideas can be made flesh—and controlled by poets, no less.
The Empire hangs on, literally, by a thread; the cloth industry depends on the ability of andat Seedless to magically remove seeds from cotton plants to keep commerce flowing and the barbarians in check.
Sounds intriguing. Anytime you find a real economic system put into a fantasy setting you have some great potential for realism and world-building.
I did a little digging on the author: Mr. Abraham's web site is sorely outdated, the last bits of news having been posted in May of 2007. He does, however, have a blog which at least shows some activity as recently as last month. He has an impressive list of short fiction and a handful of novels, A Shadow in Summer being his first. It is, in fact, the first book of the "Long Price Quartet", so if you like this first installment you have some more of his writing to experience in the same world.
I also noticed as I was searching around that you can view the entire book on Google Book Search. Or, of course, sign up for Tor.com's newsletter and get it as a free download.
For a running list of all of Tor's free e-books, go here.