New Books (November #1)


A quieter month — I don’t know if that’s just because there’s less coming out, or because I’ve somehow missed a bunch of new releases that never made it on to my radar. Feel free to add suggestions and recommendations in the comments, if you think I’ve missed something I shouldn’t have.

Featuring: Ben Aaronovitch, Stephen Blackmoore, Myke Cole, Francesca Haig, Stephen King, E.C. Myers, Ben Okri, Matthew Reilly

Aaronovitch-PG5-FoxgloveSummerUKBen Aarnovitch, FOXGLOVE SUMMER (Gollancz)

In the fifth of his bestselling series Ben Aaronovitch takes Peter Grant out of whatever comfort zone he might have found and takes him out of London — to a small village in Herefordshire where the local police are reluctant to admit that there might be a supernatural element to the disappearance of some local children. But while you can take the London copper out of London you can’t take the London out of the copper.

Travelling west with Beverley Brook, Peter soon finds himself caught up in a deep mystery and having to tackle local cops and local gods. And what’s more all the shops are closed by 4pm…

I’ve only recently started reading the Peter Grant series, despite hearing great things for years (and also owning Rivers of London since the day it was first released…). It’s a good, light-but-not-flippant London police series with added supernatural and magical elements. I brought my copies of the first four novels to Canada with me, and since then the whole household has devoured them (so, that’s an extra three readers here). This is the fifth book in the series, and I’m very much looking forward to catching up.

Fans in North America will have to wait until January 2015 before DAW Books publishes Foxglove Summer (not, as some people on Twitter seem to believe, through any sinister money-making scheme — not that I can figure out the logic behind such a belief). The novel is out now in the UK.

Review from UK publisher


BlackmooreS-MythbreakerStephen Blackmoore, MYTHBREAKER (Abaddon)

Louie “Fitz” Fitzsimmons is getting out of the drugs business. It was never what you might call a career, anyway; he’s got problems – strange, violent, vivid hallucinations that have plagued him since he was a kid – and what with one thing and another, this is where he’s ended up. So he’s been cooking Hollywood gangster Blake Kaplan’s books, and putting a little aside for a rainy day – fifteen million, give or take – and he figures it’s time to cut and run. Until a vision hits at the worst possible moment, and now he’s in hospital and looking at a stretch in County on a possession charge.

Then a Lithuanian goddess of the hunt murders her way into the hospital, and Fitz ends up on the run from a pissed-off angel, and there’s new gods – gods of business and the internet – hunting him down, and what started as a bad day gets a whole lot worse. Because Fitz is a Chronicler, a prophet – a modern Moses or Hesiod – with the power to make, or break, the gods themselves…

The first in this series was penned by Chuck Wendig. It looks interesting, and I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything I’ve read published by Abaddon Books. So, hopefully soon.

Review from publisher


ColeM-SO4-GeminiCellUSMyke Cole, GEMINI CELL (Ace Books)

US Navy SEAL Jim Schweitzer is a consummate professional, a fierce warrior, and a hard man to kill. But when he sees something he was never meant to see on a covert mission gone bad, he finds himself — and his family — in the crosshairs. Nothing means more to Jim than protecting his loved ones, but when the enemy brings the battle to his front door, he is overwhelmed and taken down.

That should be the end of the story. But Jim is raised from the dead by a sorcerer and recruited by a top secret unit dabbling in the occult, known only as the Gemini Cell. With powers he doesn’t understand, Jim is called back to duty — as the ultimate warrior. As he wrestles with a literal inner demon, Jim realizes his new superiors are determined to use him for their own ends and keep him in the dark — especially about the fates of his wife and son…

It should come as no surprise to long-time readers of CR that I’m a fan of Myke Cole’s series. I was lucky enough to get an early copy of his debut, Control Point, which set me on a merry reading path down the military fantasy (sometimes called “guns ‘n’ sorcery”) rabbit hole. I’ve dipped in already, and it shows that, once again, Cole continues to improve and write some pretty great stuff.

Gemini Cell is published in North America by Ace Books on January 27th, 2015; and by Headline in the UK on February 12th, 2015.

Review copy from NetGalley

Also on CR: Reviews of Fortress Frontier and Breach Zone; Interview with Myke Cole; Guest Post


HaigF-FireSermonTempFrancesca Haig, FIRE SERMON (Gallery)

Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha — physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega — burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: Whenever one twin dies, so does the other.

Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.

This has been getting a lot of attention on Twitter, and so I was rather pleased when my request for an eARC was approved. If I’m honest, it doesn’t sound especially groundbreaking or even exciting. But, the near-unanimous interest and excitement over the book certainly has my attention piqued. It’s rare for a novel to be so buzzed before even the publicity campaign begins. I’ll try to read this ASAP, but I’m not sure when will be best to post a review.

Published in North America by Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster) on March 10th, 2015; and in the UK by Voyager on February 26th, 2015.

Review copy from NetGalley


KingS-RevivalUKStephen King, REVIVAL (Hodder)

A spectacularly dark and electrifying novel about addiction, religion, music and what might exist on the other side of life.

In a small New England town, in the early 60s, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister, Charles Jacobs. Soon they forge a deep bond, based on their fascination with simple experiments in electricity.

Decades later, Jamie is living a nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll. Now an addict, he sees Jacobs again – a showman on stage, creating dazzling ‘portraits in lightning’ – and their meeting has profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revivalhas many meanings.

This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It’s a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe.

I’m still woefully short on my Stephen King reading. Aside from his Kindle Single on Guns (very good), The Shining (not what I was expecting), and an abortive attempt to get into Dreamcatcher (WTF? No), I haven’t read anything. I have recently acquired a clutch of his books — including Mr. MercedesOn Writing, Doctor Sleep, and Joyland — so I hope to remedy my lack of familiarity with his works.

Revival is published by Hodder in the UK and Scribner in North America. It is out now.

Review copy from UK publisher (although, I also bought it in Canada)


MyersEC-SilenceOfSixE.C. Myers, THE SILENCE OF SIX (Adaptive Studios)


These are the last words uttered by 17-year old Max Stein’s best friend Evan just moments before he kills himself after hacking into the live-streaming Presidential debate at their high school.

Haunted by the unforgettable image of Evan’s death, Max’s entire world is upended as he suddenly finds himself the target of a corporate-government witch-hunt. Fearing for his life and fighting for his own innocence, Max goes on the run with no one to trust and too many unanswered questions.

Max must dust off his own hacking skills and maneuver through the dangerous labyrinth of underground hacktivist networks, ever-shifting alliances and virtual identities – all the while hoping to find the truth behind the “Silence of Six” before it’s too late.

I enjoyed Myers’s debut, Fair Coin, but for some reason I missed the follow-up Quantum Coin. I think it must have been an ARC that arrived when I was going through one of my many location shifts (I was moving way too frequently, and a lot got missed and lost in the cracks…).

Also on CR: Interview with E.C. Myers

Review copy from NetGalley


OkriB-AgeOfMagicBen Okri, AGE OF MAGIC (Head of Zeus)

‘The Age of Magic has begun. Unveil your eyes.’

Eight weary film-makers, travelling from Paris to Basel, arrive at a small Swiss hotel on the shores of a luminous lake. Above them, strewn with lights that twinkle in the darkness, looms the towering Rigi mountain. Over the course of three days and two nights, the travellers will find themselves drawn in to the mystery of the mountain reflected in the lake. One by one, they will be disturbed, enlightened, and transformed, each in a different way.

An intoxicating and dreamlike tale unfolds. Allow yourself to be transformed. Having shown a different way of seeing the world, Ben Okri now offers a different way of reading.

I stumbled across this at the library, and thought it sounded quite interesting. Let’s hope my first impressions aren’t disappointed — if for no other reason than Okri’s written a number of other novels, which would mean I’d have a bunch more books to read. (Because I always need more excuses for that…).

Age of Magic is published in the UK by Head of Zeus, and is out now.


Reilly-GreatZooOfChinaUSMatthew Reilly, THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA (Gallery)

It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for forty years. They have found a species of animal no one believed even existed. It will amaze the world. Now the Chinese are ready to unveil their astonishing discovery within the greatest zoo ever constructed.

A small group of VIPs and journalists has been brought to the zoo deep within China to see its fabulous creatures for the first time. Among them is Dr. Cassandra Jane “CJ” Cameron, a writer for National Geographic and an expert on reptiles. The visitors are assured by their Chinese hosts that they will be struck with wonder at these beasts, that they are perfectly safe, and that nothing can go wrong.

Of course it can’t…

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything of Matthew Reilly’s novels that I’ve read (which is, as it turns out, all but two), and while I’ve been remiss at not reading The Tournament in a timely manner, I do hope to read this new one very soon — perhaps over the Christmas break.

The Great Zoo of China is published by Gallery Books in North America in January 2015; by Orion Books in the UK on February 2015; and Macmillan in Australia/New Zealand on November 10th, 2014.

Review from NetGalley


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