Early 2015 Most Wanted: Orbit Books


While browsing Orbit US’s catalogue of upcoming books, I spotted a few I think people should be aware of and check out. Some of them have featured already on the site (at the previous location), but what the hell. I’m really interested in reading them, and ’tis the season for sharing lists and so forth. Here they are, with details…

Featuring: Alex Marshall, Gail Z. Martin, Brian McClellan, Kim Stanley Robinson, Sam Sykes, Jaye Wells

MarshallA-CrownForColdSilverAlex Marshall, A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER (April)


Twenty years ago, feared general Cobalt Zosia led her five villainous captains and mercenary army into battle, wrestling monsters and toppling an empire. When there were no more titles to win and no more worlds to conquer, she retired and gave up her legend to history.

Now the peace she carved for herself has been shattered by the unprovoked slaughter of her village. Seeking bloody vengeance, Zosia heads for battle once more, but to find justice she must confront grudge-bearing enemies, once-loyal allies, and an unknown army that marches under a familiar banner.

Sometimes, you spot a cover and synopsis that burrow into your mind and don’t let go. A Crown For Cold Silver has been one of those — the premise, the cover… I really can’t wait to read this book.


Martin,GZ-WarOfShadowsGail Z. Martin, WAR OF SHADOWS (April)

The lines are drawn. The war has begun.

Blaine “Mick” McFadden has scored a victory and restored the magic, but new threats rise from the wreckage of the kingdom of Donderath. While the magic remains brittle and undependable, warlords both mortal and undead vie for power, fighting for control of the ruined Continent. McFadden and his unlikely band of convict heroes must choose their allies wisely as renegade talishte take long-awaited vengeance and powerful mages seek to control Donderath’s next king. Blaine McFadden must protect those loyal to him against the coming storm, and find a way to bind magic to the will of mortals before it destroys him, because time is running out…

The third novel in Martin’s Ascendant Kingdoms series, it’s been getting great reviews. I also have both of the previous novels — Ice Forged and Reign of Ash — but for reasons that escape me, I still haven’t managed to get around to reading them. I really need to sort that out… Here are the covers for the first two:



McClellanB-PM-ReturnToHonorBrian McClellan, RETURN TO HONOR (January)

Captain Vlora is a powder mage in the Adran army. Once the favored, adopted daughter of the field marshal, she is now a pariah amongst those she called her family. Her superior officers would like nothing more than to send her to a far off posting and forget about her, but no one is exempt when there is a war – and powder mages are desperately needed. 

When a traitorous guard captain goes on the run with information that could harm the war effort, Vlora is sent on his trail. She has three days to find him; she will have to make new friends and test the limits of her skills. Fail, and good soldiers will die. Succeed and maybe, just maybe, she can begin to work her way back into the field marshal’s good graces.

The latest Powder Mage novella from McClellan, Return to Honor takes place directly following the events of book one, Promise of Blood. I really like that McClellan is releasing so many of these short stories, filling in elements of the world and characters’ backgrounds he’s not able to get to in the novels. Superb, really.

McClellanB-PM3-AutumnRepublicBrian McClellan, THE AUTUMN REPUBLIC (February)

The capital has fallen…

Field Marshal Tamas returns to his beloved country to find that for the first time in history, the capital city of Adro lies in the hands of a foreign invader. His son is missing, his allies are indistinguishable from his foes, and reinforcements are several weeks away.

An army divided…

With the Kez still bearing down upon them and without clear leadership, the Adran army has turned against itself. Inspector Adamat is drawn into the very heart of this new mutiny with promises of finding his kidnapped son.

All hope rests with one…

And Taniel Two-shot, hunted by men he once thought his friends, must safeguard the only chance Adro has of getting through this war without being destroyed…

The third and final (?) novel in the Powder Mage series. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the first two — Promise of Blood and The Crimson Campaign — and can’t wait to see how it shapes up. Here are the covers for the first two:



RobinsonKS-AuroraKim Stanley Robinson, AURORA (May)

AURORA tells the incredible story of our first voyage beyond the solar system.

Our voyage from Earth began generations ago.

Now, we approach our destination.

A new home.


It feels like forever since I read a science fiction novel that wasn’t set in a shared universe (Star Wars or WH40k, for example). Aurora sound really interesting, despite the sparse synopsis. Perhaps inspired by my interest in Interstellar (and recent viewing of Cosmos), I’m really looking forward to this.


SykesS-04-TheCityStainedRedUSSam Sykes, THE CITY STAINED RED (January)

A long-exiled living god arises.

A city begins to break apart at the seams.

Lenk and his battle-scarred companions have come to Cier’Djaal in search of Miron Evanhands, a wealthy priest who contracted them to eradicate demons — and then vanished before paying for the job.

But hunting Miron down might be tougher than even these weary adventurers can handle as two unstoppable religious armies move towards all-out war, tensions rise within the capital’s cultural melting pot, and demons begin to pour from the shadows…

And Khoth Kapira, the long-banished living god, has seen his chance to return and regain dominion over the world.

Now all that prevents the city from tearing itself apart in carnage are Lenk, Kataria, a savage human-hating warrior, Denaos, a dangerous rogue, Asper, a healer priestess, Dreadaeleon, a young wizard, and Gariath, one of the last of the dragonmen.

Already out in the UK (published by Gollancz), Sykes’s fourth novel will be published in the US in January 2015. I actually already have two copies of The City Stained Red novel — an ARC from Orbit, and a finished copy from Gollancz. The universe really wants me to read this. Which is just as well, because I really want to read it, too. This is a continuation of Sykes’s first trilogy, featuring some of the same characters, but I’m not sure that it’s essential to have read the Aeons’ Gate trilogy to enjoy this. (I just, well, think you should read them, because they’re really good.) Here are the covers for the first three novels and also the UK cover (top):



WellsJ-PW-FireWaterJaye Wells, FIRE WATER (January)

Rookie cop Kate Prospero only has one more training assignment to pass before she’s officially sworn in to Babylon Police Department. But the veteran cop in charge of the river patrol boat is a salty old guy isn’t happy about playing tour guide to a rookie and seems even less interested in real police work. But while on patrol, they stumble on to what appears to be a floating dirty magic lab. This highly combustible situation might finally be the key to these two unlikely partners finding common ground.

A novella, set in the Prospero’s Wars series, released just a short few weeks before the third novel…

WellsJ-PW3-DeadlySpellsJaye Wells, DEADLY SPELLS (February)



After the grisly murder of a dirty magic coven leader, Kate Prospero and The Magical Enforcement Agency team up with the local police to find the killer. When a tenacious reporter sticks her nose in both the investigation and Prospero’s past in the covens, old ghosts resurface.

As the infighting between covens turns ugly, an all-out war brews in the slums of Babylon…

The third novel in the Prospero’s War series, Deadly Spells follows Dirty Magic and Cursed Moon. I have both of these books but, as with Gail Z. Martin above, I haven’t had a chance to get around to them just yet. I’ll try to get these read in advance of Fire Water‘s release, so I’m all caught up. It’s been a while since I read any urban fantasy like this. I think it may be time for me to revisit the (sub-)genre. Wells’s novels and Stacia Kane’s, I think. Here are the covers for the first two Prospero’s War novels:


These aren’t the only novels coming from Orbit that are of interest, of course. I’m hoping to put together more posts like this over the next few weeks, covering as many upcoming novels as I can, from as many publishers as I can. (If you work for a publisher, or are an author, let me know if you’d like your books featured.)

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