#WELCOME TO EPIC: PRESS START TO PLAY#.On New Earth, Epic is not just a computer game, it's a matter of life and death. If you lose, you lose everything; if you win, the world is yours for the taking.Seeking revenge for the unjust treatment of his parents, Erik subverts the rules of the game, and he and his friends are drawn into a world of power-hungry, dangerous players. Now they must fight the ultimate masters of the game -- The Committee. But what Erik doesn't know is that The Committee has a sinister, deadly secret, and challenging it could destroy the whole world of Epic.
Conor Kostick is a writer and historian living in Dublin. As a novelist he was awarded the Farmleigh writer's residency for the summer of 2010 and a place on the nominees list for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2012 and 2013. At their 2009 awards, the Reading Association of Ireland gave him the Special Merit Award 'in recognition of his significant contribution to writing for children in Ireland'. Epic is Conor's most successful book, selling over 100,000 copies worldwide. It was awarded a place on the International Board on Books for Young People "White Ravens" list for 2006 and on the Booklist Best Fantasy Books for Youth list for 2007. As an historian, Conor Kostick's holds a PhD and a gold medal from Trinity College Dublin. He won first prize in the 2001 Dublinia Medieval Essay Competition, and has held fellowships from the Irish Research Council and the University of Nottingham. In 2013, he was awarded a Marie Curie research grant from the EU. Conor was twice chairperson of the Irish Writers' Union. His facebook readers page is here.
It is moral without moralising, the distinctions between good and bad are blurred, as it suggests that everyone has the capacity for both. Its inherent existentialist philosophy gives the reader something to ponder, long after the book has been completed. -- Books Ireland Books Ireland I think the book was good because it is futuristic and it doesn't drag. I would recommend the book for the 10-13 age group. -- Andrew Burrows, Cork - Evening Echo This is, in my view, the most important Irish novel of this year -- Celia Keenan - The Sunday Independent A fictional masterpiece, my only regret is that the game doesn't exist. Eagerly awaiting a sequel. I was surprised to get a book that i had heard nothing of. But I think all people over 12 should read your book. Especially if they are interested in Sci-Fi. -- Shane Hunt (13), Chester a triumph of control, focus and a truly dazzlingwriting style that takes us through a world of avatars and ogres, orcs and dwarves, of human concerns and human feelings; a narrative that itself jestly deserves the word 'epic'. It succeeds on so many levels without ever resorting to the asinities of allegory but cannot fail to present resemblances to the nascent imperialism of our own world. Yet the book remains first and foremost an attention-grabbing, action tale in the new genre that might be called 'cyber-fiction'. -- Tony Hickey - Village Magazine I think that your book is brilliant. It is among the best books I've read and they include books by J.K. Rowling, Darren Shan and Eoin Colfer. 'Epic' really captured my imagination -- I loved the descriptions of the characters. The book is a real page tuner and I couldn't put it down. I've recommended it to the school librarian, local Scottish bookshops and my friends! Good luck with the next book. Send me an e-mail as soon as it is finished. -- Jamie (aged 12), Aberdeen It isn't all questing knights and hideous monsters ... A well-crafted novel ... It will appeal to older teenagers and adults who enjoy computer games -- Audrey Baker - Inis Magazine Inis Magazine Four stars: 'Call your first novel Epic and you run the risk of being thought, at the very least, ambitious - not that such a description will carry anything but the most favourable connotations when the book in question is something such as Kostick's. This is a fantasy novel which, while retaining many of the stock elements of the genre (dragon slaying, a magic ring, cataclysmic battles, treasure chests, fearsome weapons, inter alia), moves well beyond these conventional bits and pieces to allow for the incorporation of a challenging intellectual dimension. This, concerned essentially with political systems and the role of violence in such systems, may at time prove (especially in the earlier chapters of the novel) rather demanding and dense for younger teenage readers. For them, however, there will be other rewards: there will be the two interlocking parallel worlds of the novel and the cleverly devised 'Epic' role-playing computer game which the young Erik Haraldson and friends ultimately attempt to turn to their advantage when opposing the dictatorship of the 'small, self-selected elite' known as the Central Allocations committee. We are now ready for epic confrontations, in various senses, and for the vivid portrayal of a society (with some oblique allusions to our own) on the edge of disintegration. 'Epic,' as one of the committee remarks at one point, 'is a strange game with greater depths, more than perhaps we realise.' Like game, like book: 'clip on', as the characters say when play begins, and enjoy! -- Robert Dunbar - Books for Keeps Humanity has migrated to a new Earth. The social order is tough and weird. Citizens progress in society by winning points in a gigantic interactive computer game, and Erik's parents are losing badly. Erik applies his unconventional mind to winning. And why stop there? Why not go after the Committee that runs the game? A thoughtful, exciting science-fiction epic, with strong interpersonal and political resonances. The author is a games designer, and it shows. This book will appeal to computer-games zombies, and makes a good introduction to science-fiction. -- Sam Llewellyn, Author of Little Darlings kids in this country would love this book, as video games are a big component in kid life these days, and some even come to question gaming's place in the world at large. Can we really siphon off the all-too-human desire for violence and adventure through gaming? This book takes that idea about as far as it can go, and gives us some honest answers, while entertaining us right to the finish line. -- Sherwood Smith - sfsite.com this is a fantastic novel. The story has both depth and action. Buy it. -- Sue Ellis - Writeaway.org.uk Amid so many books in which the loss of knowledge seems inevitable and the tearing down of society a given, it was wonderful to read a book in which each movement was part of a set of sane, sensible, but fundamentally unpredictable chains of decision. More please. -- Farah Mendelsohn - The Inter-Galactic Playground These are highly-praised sci-fi novels for the 10+ age group ... would have appeal for readers who love their games too! -- Woman's Way a swiftly paced episodic structure faithfully renders the experience of the online game through which conflict in the novel is resolved ... takes Irish children's fiction into a number of new arenas ... justly celebrated. -- Inis Magazine Conor Kostick's science fiction novels pose ambitious questions about the nature of existence, representation and experience ... Three breathtaking page-turners that quietly and subtly trouble the reader long after the novels have been put aside ... The three novels are firmly contemporary in their immediate engagement but universal I the questions they ask ... Just like the characters who populate the epics and sagas and eddas of mythology, the protagonists of Kostick's novels undergo physically and psychologically dangerous quests into terra-incognita that take place in space and time ... perilous explorations undertaken by carefully constructed, individuated characters with unique, complex lives, loves and motivations ... It's the updating of the notion of genre and character, together for a generation of technological natives that places Kostick's novels firmly in the bracket of children's literature ... The connection between the deeply serious and the highly playful is in some ways homage to the Horation dictum that the purpose of literature is to teach and to delight ... The success of the books internationally is another measure of their universal appeal ... important novels precisely because they propose contemplating the present by examining an imagined future through the lens of a carefully considered past. -- Amanda Piesse, Inis Magazine Kostick's writing is consistently marked by a deep respect for his young readers and their ability to respond to complex and dense ideas ... exploration of the digital figure of the avatar and its postmodern challenge to conventions of the body, gender and culture. -- Patricia Kennon, Inis Magazine an ideal choice for a teen boy or girl with an interest in computer games, science fiction or fantasy ... Without preaching or being moralistic, this book encourages young adults to get interested in the world outside of computer games through illustrating a world where computer games do have real-life stakes ... This science-fiction book also shows how one person's thoughts and actions can make a difference, while also illustrating the importance of teamwork. -- Best Teen Book Review, hubpages.com Full of beautiful, detailed imagery, Epic is a great ride with something for everyone, a thoroughly developed, well-written exploration of virtual reality and the morality behind many laws and regulations ... Recommended for fans of Orson Scott Card's new book Pathfinder, among others. -- Our Time in Juvie