New Books (2015 Inaugural Edition)

BooksReceived-20150113

Featuring: Louis Bayard, Pierce Brown, Gail Carriger, Tom Doyle, Alan Finn, James Grady, Simon R. Green, Kevin Hearne, Jim C. Hines, Deborath Install, Ha Jin, Michael Moorcock, Haruki Murakami, Daniel José Older, Anthony Reynolds, Brandon Sanderson, Beth Shapiro, Brian Staveley, Olen Steinhauer, Ferrett Steinmetz, Duane Swierczynski, David Walton, Susan Wilkins

BayardL-RooseveltsBeastLouis Bayard, ROOSEVELT’S BEAST (Henry Holt)

A reimagining of Teddy and Kermit Roosevelt’s ill-fated 1914 Amazon expedition — a psychological twist on the smart historical thriller that first put Louis Bayard on the map

1914. Brazil’s Rio da Dúvida, the River of Doubt. Plagued by hunger and suffering the lingering effects of malaria, Theodore Roosevelt, his son Kermit, and the other members of the now-ravaged Roosevelt-Rondon scientific expedition are traveling deeper and deeper into the jungle. When Kermit and Teddy are kidnapped by a never-before-seen Amazonian tribe, the great hunters are asked one thing in exchange for their freedom: find and kill a beast that leaves no tracks and that no member of the tribe has ever seen. But what are the origins of this beast, and how do they escape its brutal wrath?

Roosevelt’s Beast is a story of the impossible things that become possible when civilization is miles away, when the mind plays tricks on itself, and when old family secrets refuse to stay buried. With his characteristically rich storytelling and a touch of old-fashioned horror, the bestselling and critically acclaimed Louis Bayard turns the story of the well-known Roosevelt-Rondon expedition on its head and dares to ask: Are the beasts among us more frightening than the beasts within?

This could be pretty interesting – Teddy Roosevelt is one of my favourite presidents to read about (he was a little nuts…), so this caught my attention. I wonder if it would be a good fictional accompaniment to Candice Millard’s River of Doubt? It’s published in the US by Henry Holt.

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BrownP-RR2-GoldenSonPierce Brown, GOLDEN SON (Del Rey/Hodder)

As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds — and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.

A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love — but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution — and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.

He must live for more.

The sequel to the extremely popular and lauded Red Rising, I imagine a lot of people are really excited about this novel. I tried reading Red Rising last year and I was… less than impressed. I’m not sure if it was because they hype had built to unsustainable (for me) levels, or if I just wasn’t in the mood for it. I’ve decided to give it another try, and then I’ll be able to get around to this one ASAP if my mind is changed. Published in the US by Del Rey and in the UK by Hodder.

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CarrigerG-CP1-PrudenceGail Carriger, PRUDENCE (Orbit)

Introducing the Custard Protocol series, in which Alexia Maccon’s daughter Prudence travels to India on behalf of Queen, country… and the perfect pot of tea.

When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (“Rue” to her friends) is bequeathed an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female under similar circumstances would do — she christens it the Spotted Custard and floats off to India. 

Soon, she stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier’s wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis (and an embarrassing lack of bloomers), Rue must rely on her good breeding — and her metanatural abilities — to get to the bottom of it all…

Much to my shame, I have still not read any of Carriger’s novels. I’ve bought them for three people, but have never got around to reading them myself. This sounds great, so I think Alyssa’s going to read it first (mainly because she lit up when she saw it and has made off with it), while I go back to the beginning and start there.

Review copy received from publisher

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DoyleT-AC1-AmericanCraftsmanTom Doyle, AMERICAN CRAFTSMEN (Tor/Forge)

In modern America, two soldiers will fight their way through the magical legacies of Poe and Hawthorne to destroy an undying evil — if they don’t kill each other first.

US Army Captain Dale Morton is a magician soldier — a “craftsman.” After a black-ops mission gone wrong, Dale is cursed by a Persian sorcerer and haunted by his good and evil ancestors. Major Michael Endicott, a Puritan craftsman, finds gruesome evidence that the evil Mortons, formerly led by the twins Roderick and Madeline, have returned, and that Dale might be one of them.

Dale uncovers treason in the Pentagon’s highest covert ranks. He hunts for his enemies before they can murder him and Scherie, a new friend who knows nothing of his magic.

Endicott pursues Dale, divided between his duty to capture a rogue soldier and his desire to protect Dale from his would-be assassins. They will discover that the demonic horrors that have corrupted American magic are not bound by family or even death itself.

This sounds like it should appeal to fans of Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops series. Luckily, I am a big fan of that series, so after seeing a few other reviewers say good things about the book, I decided to pick it up. Published by Tor/Forge, there is a sequel on the way: The Left-Hand Way (August 2015).

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FinnA-ThingsHalfInShadowAlan Finn, THINGS HALF IN SHADOW (Gallery)

Postbellum America makes for a haunting backdrop in this historical and supernatural tale of moonlit cemeteries, masked balls, cunning mediums, and terrifying secrets waiting to be unearthed by an intrepid crime reporter.

The year is 1869, and the Civil War haunts the city of Philadelphia like a stubborn ghost. Mothers in black continue to mourn their lost sons. Photographs of the dead adorn dim sitting rooms. Maimed and broken men roam the streets. One of those men is Edward Clark, who is still tormented by what he saw during the war. Also constantly in his thoughts is another, more distant tragedy — the murder of his mother at the hands of his father, the famed magician Magellan Holmes…a crime that Edward witnessed when he was only ten.

Now a crime reporter for one of the city’s largest newspapers, Edward is asked to use his knowledge of illusions and visual trickery to expose the influx of mediums that descended on Philadelphia in the wake of the war. His first target is Mrs. Lucy Collins, a young widow who uses old-fashioned sleight of hand to prey on grieving families. Soon, Edward and Lucy become entwined in the murder of Lenora Grimes Pastor, the city’s most highly regarded — and by all accounts, legitimate — medium, who dies mid-séance. With their reputations and livelihoods at risk, Edward and Lucy set out to find the real killer, and in the process unearth a terrifying hive of secrets that reaches well beyond Mrs. Pastor.

I shared an excerpt from this a little while ago — you can read it, here.

Review copy received from publisher

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GradyJ-LastDaysOfTheCondorUSJames Grady, LAST DAYS OF THE CONDOR (Forge)

Look in the mirror: You’re nobody anybody knows. You know pursuing the truth will get you killed. But you refuse to just fade away.

So you’re designated an enemy of the largest secret national security apparatus in America’s history. Good guys or bad guys, it doesn’t matter: All assassins’ guns are aimed at you. And you run for your life branded with the code name you made iconic: Condor.

Everyone you care about is pulled into the gunsights. The CIA star young enough to be your daughter—she might shoot you or save you. The savvy political aide who lets love trump the law. The lonely woman your romantic dreams make a fugitive. The Middle Eastern child warrior you mentored into a master spy.

Last Days of the Condor is the bullet-paced, ticking clock saga of America on the edge of our most startling spy world revolution since 9/11. Set in the savage streets and Kafkaesque corridors of Washington, DC, shot through with sex and suspense, with secret agent tradecraft and full-speed action, with hunters and the hunted, Last Days of the Condor is a breakneck saga of America’s secrets from muckraking investigative reporter and author James Grady.

I’m not entirely sure where in the series this falls. Well, ok, I know it’s the latest book in Grady’s Condor series, but I can’t figure out how many come before it… It sounds good, though, and I do like Washington, D.C., and US political thrillers, so I have relatively high hopes for this one. Published in February 2015 by Forge.

Review copy via NetGalley

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GreenSR-IJ1-DarkSideOfTheRoad-smSimon R. Green, THE DARK SIDE OF THE ROAD (Severn House)

Ishmael Jones is someone who can’t afford to be noticed, someone who lives under the radar, who drives on the dark side of the road. He’s employed to search out secrets, investigate mysteries and shine a light in dark places.

Sometimes he kills people.

Invited by his employer, the enigmatic Colonel, to join him and his family for Christmas, Ishmael arrives at the grand but isolated Belcourt Manor in the midst of a blizzard to find that the Colonel has mysteriously disappeared. As he questions his fellow guests, Ishmael concludes that at least one of them – not least Ishmael himself – is harbouring a dangerous secret, and that beneath the veneer of festive cheer lurk passion, jealousy, resentment and betrayal.

As a storm sets in, sealing off the Manor from the rest of the world, Ishmael must unmask a ruthless murderer they strike again.

I’ve never read a Simon R. Green novel – despite knowing a fair bit about the Nightside and Secret Histories  series. This sounds interesting, and as it is (possibly) the first in a new series, I think it’s a good a starting point as any other. It’s published in the UK at the end of January and in North America at the beginning of May 2015.

Review copy via NetGalley

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Hearne-SW-HeirToTheJediKevin Hearne, HEIR TO THE JEDI (LucasBooks)

Luke Skywalker’s game-changing destruction of the Death Star has made him not only a hero of the Rebel Alliance but a valuable asset in the ongoing battle against the Empire. Though he’s a long way from mastering the power of the Force, there’s no denying his phenomenal skills as a pilot — and in the eyes of Rebel leaders Princess Leia Organa and Admiral Ackbar, there’s no one better qualified to carry out a daring rescue mission crucial to the Alliance cause.

A brilliant alien cryptographer renowned for her ability to breach even the most advanced communications systems is being detained by Imperial agents determined to exploit her exceptional talents for the Empire’s purposes. But the prospective spy’s sympathies lie with the Rebels, and she’s willing to join their effort in exchange for being reunited with her family. It’s an opportunity to gain a critical edge against the Empire that’s too precious to pass up. It’s also a job that demands the element of surprise. So Luke and the ever-resourceful droid R2-D2 swap their trusty X-wing fighter for a sleek space yacht piloted by brash recruit Nakari Kelen, daughter of a biotech mogul, who’s got a score of her own to settle with the Empire.

Challenged by ruthless Imperial bodyguards, death-dealing enemy battleships, merciless bounty hunters, and monstrous brain-eating parasites, Luke plunges head-on into a high-stakes espionage operation that will push his abilities as a Rebel fighter and would-be Jedi to the limit. If ever he needed the wisdom of Obi-Wan Kenobi to shepherd him through danger, it’s now. But Luke will have to rely on himself, his friends, and his own burgeoning relationship with the Force to survive.

The latest instalment in the Star Wars series post-Legends phase – after announcing the new movies, they decided that all novels already in print were no longer canon, which kind of irked me. Of the most recent SW novels, I’ve not been too impressed: Martha Wells’s Razor’s Edge did nothing for me, despite being quickly-paced (I was 25% in before I realised, but hadn’t enjoyed anything I’d read to that point). Because of that experience, I didn’t get around to reading James S.A. Corey’s Honor Among Thieves. This novel, though, is by an author I know I really like — Hearne’s Iron Druid urban fantasy series is easily among my favourites in that (sub-)genre. So, I have higher hopes for Heir to the Jedi, which is due to be published on March 5th, 2015, by LucasBooks/Del Rey. I think I may have to read this ASAP — I haven’t finished a SW novel in over a year, which is very unusual for me…

Review copy via NetGalley

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HinesJC-MEL3-UnboundUSJim C. Hines, UNBOUND (DAW)

For five hundred years, the Porters have concealed the existence of magic from the world.

Now, old enemies have revealed the Porters’ secrets, and an even greater threat lurks in the shadows. The would-be queen Meridiana, banished for a thousand years, has returned in the body of a girl named Jeneta Aboderin. She seeks an artifact created by Pope Sylvester II, a bronze prison that would grant her the power to command an army of the dead. Michigan librarian Isaac Vainio is powerless to stop her, having been stripped of his power and his place among the Porters by Johannes Gutenberg himself. But Isaac is determined to regain his magic and to rescue his former student Jeneta. With no magic of his own, Isaac must delve into the darker side of black-market magic, where he will confront beings better left undisturbed, including the sorcerer Juan Ponce de Leon.

With his loyal fire-spider Smudge, dryad warrior Lena Greenwood, and psychiatrist Nidhi Shah, Isaac races to unravel a mystery more than a thousand years old as competing magical powers battle to shape the future of the world. He will be hunted by enemies and former allies alike, and it will take all his knowledge and resourcefulness to survive as magical war threatens to spread across the globe. Isaac’s choices will determine the fate of his friends, the Porters, the students of Bi Sheng, and the world.

Only one thing is certain: even if he finds a way to restore his magic, he can’t save them all…

The third novel in Hines’s Magic Ex Libris series, following Libriomancer and Codex Born. I’ve read the first, but haven’t got around to the sequel yet. It is another novel from last year that got popped on the TBR pile and was sadly missed. I’m quite looking forward to catching up with the series, now. It’s a must for fantasy fans and book lovers in general. Published in the US by DAW Books and in the UK by Del Rey.

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InstallD-ARobotInTheGardenUKDeborah Install, A ROBOT IN THE GARDEN (Transworld)

A story of the greatest friendship ever assembled.

Ben Chambers wakes up to find something rusty and lost underneath the willow tree in his garden. Refusing to throw it on the skip as his wife Amy advises, he takes it home.

Ben does not want children, or even a job, and now he has found yet another reason for staying in his study and ignoring everyone.

It is only when Amy walks out that Ben realises he has alienated all the human beings in his life. He now has one friend left.

This is the story of a unique relationship, and how one man opens his heart to a past he did not want, and a future he cannot lose.

This sounds pretty great. I started reading it on New Years Eve, and I was half delighted half irritated: the titular robot has the potential to be a very good character and the budding friendship between Ben and the ‘bot could be quite sweet. However, the way Ben’s relationship with his wife is written (at least in the few pages I’ve read) I found quite annoying — they’ve been married for over five years, and all she seems to do in the first chapter is nag him and act put-upon (for no discernible reason). I hope this changes, as I do think this novel has a lot of potential. Nevertheless, the first chapter didn’t click for me at the time, so I’ll put it to one side and save it for closer to the publication date (April 23rd 2015 in the UK via Transworld), and probably read it in March.

Review copy via NetGalley

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978-0-307-91160-5[1].JPGHa Jin, A MAP OF BETRAYAL (Pantheon)

A riveting tale of espionage and conflicted loyalties that spans half a century in the entwined histories of two countries — China and the United States — and two families.

When Lilian Shang, born and raised in America, discovers her father’s diary after the death of her parents, she is shocked by the secrets it contains. She knew that her father, Gary, convicted decades ago of being a mole in the CIA, was the most important Chinese spy ever caught. But his diary, an astonishing chronicle of his journey as a Communist intelligence agent, reveals the pain and longing that his double life entailed — and point to a hidden second family that he’d left behind in China. As Lilian follows her father’s trail back into the Chinese provinces, she begins to grasp the extent of his dilemma: he is a man torn between loyalty to his motherland and the love he came to feel for his adopted country. She sees how his sense of duty distorted his life, and as she starts to understand that Gary too had been betrayed, Lilian finds that it is up to her to prevent his tragedy from endangering yet another generation of Shangs.

A stunning portrait of a multinational family and an unflinching inquiry into the meaning of citizenship, patriotism, and home

I saw this reviewed in the New York Times and it sounded pretty interesting: The Americans if, instead of Russian, the spies were Chinese. I’ll hopefully read this very soon.

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MoorcockM-EC1-EternalChampionUSMichael Moorcock, THE ETERNAL CHAMPION (Titan)

John Daker dreams of other worlds, and a name: Erekosë. He finds the strength to answer the call, travelling to a strange land ruled by the aging King Rigenos of Necranal. Humanity is united in a desperate fight against the inhuman Eldren, and he must fight with them. But the actions of his brethren turns his loyalties, and as Erekosë he will take a terrible revenge.

Moorcock is one of the titans of the fantasy genre — prolific, certainly, but also beloved by many. And yet, as with so many other classic fantasy authors, I haven’t read any of this work. I noticed that Titan Books (US) were re-releasing this series, and shared the information in a blog post not so long ago. A number of people suggested I give the series a try, so I picked up the first book. It’s not very long, either, so hopefully I’ll be able to fit it in my schedule between the considerable number of Big Book Fantasies I’ve received recently (all of which are of great interest). I also picked up the second and third books in the series: Phoenix in Obsidian and The Dragon in the Sword.

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Murakami-StrangeLibraryHaruki Murakami, THE STRANGE LIBRARY (Doubleday Canada)

From internationally acclaimed author Haruki Murakami — a fantastical illustrated short novel about a boy imprisoned in a nightmarish library. A lonely boy, a mysterious girl, and a tormented sheep man plot their escape from the nightmarish library of internationally acclaimed, bestselling Haruki Murakami’s wild imagination.

I have never read anything by Murakami… The household thinks this is unnatural and even shameful. I’ll start with this one, and go from there…

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OlderDJ-BSR1-HalfResurrectionBluesUSDaniel Jose Older, HALF-RESURRECTION BLUES (Ace)

“Because I’m an inbetweener — and the only one anyone knows of at that — the dead turn to me when something is askew between them and the living. Usually, it’s something mundane like a suicide gone wrong or someone revived that shouldn’ta been.”

Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents — an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind — until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.

One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld — which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead.

But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life — and death…

The first novel in Older’s Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series — I read an early draft through work and really enjoyed it. Looking forward to reading the final version. Out now, published in North America by Ace Books. (Not sure if there’s a UK publisher/publication date on the horizon…)

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ReynoldsA-Kharn-EaterOfWorlds

Anthony Reynolds, KHÂRN: EATER OF WORLDS (Black Library)

The Horus Heresy is over and the Traitor Legions have scattered, fleeing the wrath of a vengeful Imperium. The World Eaters are leaderless, their primarch missing and their greatest hero, Khârn, in a coma. The surviving World Eaters have turned upon themselves, the Butcher’s Nails driving them to ever greater acts of berserk savagery. Poised on the brink of destruction, the Legion needs a leader. It needs Khârn – but will his awakening save them, or doom them entirely?

One of the most interesting characters from the Horus Heresy: in that series, he’s still moderately noble (or as noble as a member of the World Eaters can be), and this novel promises to portray his descent into utter psychotic madness. Reynolds is a good author, too, so I’m hoping he manages to do the character justice. This novel was released as the final installment in Black Library’s 2014 Advent Calendar.

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Brandon Sanderson, FIREFIGHT (Delacorte Press/Gollancz)

SandersonB-R2-Firefight

They told David it was impossible – that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart — invincible, immortal, unconquerable — is dead. And he died by David’s hand.

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realise he has questions. Big ones. And there’s no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.

Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David’s willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic — Firefight. And he’s willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

I rather enjoyed Steelheart and Mitosis, the first novel and novellas in the Reckoners series. Naturally, I was eager to get my hands on Firefight. The novel is published in North America by Delacorte Press, and in the UK by Gollancz. I will be reading it very soon.

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ShapiroB-HowToCloneAMammothBeth Shapiro, HOW TO CLONE A MAMMOTH (Princeton University Press)

Could extinct species, like mammoths and passenger pigeons, be brought back to life? The science says yes.In How to Clone a Mammoth, Beth Shapiro, evolutionary biologist and pioneer in “ancient DNA” research, walks readers through the astonishing and controversial process of de-extinction. From deciding which species should be restored, to sequencing their genomes, to anticipating how revived populations might be overseen in the wild, Shapiro vividly explores the extraordinary cutting-edge science that is being used — today — to resurrect the past. Journeying to far-flung Siberian locales in search of ice age bones and delving into her own research — as well as those of fellow experts such as Svante Paabo, George Church, and Craig Venter — Shapiro considers de-extinction’s practical benefits and ethical challenges. Would de-extinction change the way we live? Is this really cloning? What are the costs and risks? And what is the ultimate goal?

Using DNA collected from remains as a genetic blueprint, scientists aim to engineer extinct traits — traits that evolved by natural selection over thousands of years — into living organisms. But rather than viewing de-extinction as a way to restore one particular species, Shapiro argues that the overarching goal should be the revitalization and stabilization of contemporary ecosystems. For example, elephants with genes modified to express mammoth traits could expand into the Arctic, re-establishing lost productivity to the tundra ecosystem.

Looking at the very real and compelling science behind an idea once seen as science fiction, How to Clone a Mammoth demonstrates how de-extinction will redefine conservation’s future.

Cloning mammoths sounds like an awesome idea. So I requested this, and was approved.

Review copy via NetGalley

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StaveleyB-2-ProvidenceOfFireUKBrian Staveley, THE PROVIDENCE OF FIRE (Tor UK)

War is coming, secrets multiply and betrayal waits in the wings…

The Annurian Empire’s ruling family must be vigilant, as the conspiracy against them deepens. Having discovered her father’s assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies. But few trust her, until she seems marked by the people’s goddess in an ordeal of flame.

As Adare struggles to unite Annur, unrest breeds rival armies – then barbarian hordes threaten to invade. And unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn has fallen in with forces mustering at the empire’s borders. The terrible choices they face could make war between them inevitable.

Fighting his own battles is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with two strange companions. While imperial forces prepare to defend a far-distant front, Kaden’s actions could save the empire, or destroy it.

I have yet to read the first book in Staveley’s Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne series, The Emperor’s Blades, but I’ve heard nothing but good things from most people who have read it. Luckily, I also have it, so I really have no excuse to get to it ASAP.

Review copy received from publisher

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SteinhauerO-AllTheOldKnivesUSOlen Steinhauer, ALL THE OLD KNIVES (Minotaur/St. Martin’s Press)

Six years ago in Vienna, terrorists took over a hundred hostages, and the rescue attempt went terribly wrong. The CIA’s Vienna station was witness to this tragedy, gathering intel from its sources during those tense hours, assimilating facts from the ground and from an agent on the inside. So when it all went wrong, the question had to be asked: Had their agent been compromised, and how?

Two of the CIA’s case officers in Vienna, Henry Pelham and Celia Harrison, were lovers at the time, and on the night of the hostage crisis Celia decided she’d had enough. She left the agency, married and had children, and is now living an ordinary life in the idyllic town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Henry is still a case officer in Vienna, and has traveled to California to see her one more time, to relive the past, maybe, or to put it behind him once and for all.

But neither of them can forget that long-ago question: Had their agent been compromised? If so, how? Each also wonders what role tonight’s dinner companion might have played in the way the tragedy unfolded six years ago.

Despite slowly collecting all of his novels, I had not read anything by Steinhauer before this year. This novel is a stand-alone, so I thought it would be a good starting point. I have finished it, and will post a review ASAP. It was very good. All The Old Knives is due to be published in North America by Minotaur Books/St.Martin’s Press, in March 2015.

Review copy via NetGalley

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SteinmetzF-FlexFerrett Steinmetz, FLEX (Angry Robot)

A desperate father will do anything to heal his daughter in a novel where Breaking Bad meets Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files.

FLEX: Distilled magic in crystal form. The most dangerous drug in the world. Snort it, and you can create incredible coincidences to live the life of your dreams.

FLUX: The backlash from snorting Flex. The universe hates magic and tries to rebalance the odds; maybe you survive the horrendous accidents the Flex inflicts, maybe you don’t.

PAUL TSABO: The obsessed bureaucromancer who’s turned paperwork into a magical Beast that can rewrite rental agreements, conjure rented cars from nowhere, track down anyone who’s ever filled out a form.

But when all of his formulaic magic can’t save his burned daughter, Paul must enter the dangerous world of Flex dealers to heal her. Except he’s never done this before – and the punishment for brewing Flex is army conscription and a total brain-wipe.

This sounds pretty interesting. And it’s been a long while since I last read an Angry Robot titles. Flex is due to be published in March 2015.

Review copy via NetGalley

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SwierczynskiD-C1-CanaryUSDuane Swierczynski, CANARY (Mulholland)

It’s dangerous enough when an ordinary college girl turns confidential informant. Even more dangerous when she’s smarter than the kingpins, killers, and cops who control her.

Honors student Sarie Holland is busted by the local police while doing a favor for her boyfriend. Unwilling to betray him but desperate to avoid destroying her future, Sarie has no choice but to become a “CI” — a confidential informant.

Philly narcotics cop Ben Wildey is hungry for a career-making bust. The detective thinks he’s found the key in Sarie: her boyfriend scores from a mid-level dealer with alleged ties to the major drug gangs.

Sarie turns out to be the perfect CI: a quick study with a shockingly keen understanding of the criminal mind. But Wildey, desperate for results, pushes too hard and inadvertently sends the 19-year-old into a death trap, leaving Sarie hunted by crooked cops and killers alike with nothing to save her — except what she’s learned during her harrowing weeks as an informant.

Which is bad news for the police and the underworld. Because when it comes to payback, CI #1373 turns out to be a very quick study…

This sounds pretty cool. I received an eARC from Mulholland Books, who are publishing in the US on February 24th, 2015.

Review copy via NetGalley

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WaltonD-SuperpositionUSDavid Walton, SUPERPOSITION (Pyr)

A QUANTUM PHYSICS MURDER MYSTERY.

Book One of a Mind-Bending, Near-Future, Science Fiction Technothriller Duology.

Jacob Kelley’s family is turned upside down when an old friend turns up, waving a gun and babbling about an alien quantum intelligence. The mystery deepens when the friend is found dead in an underground bunker… apparently murdered the night he appeared at Jacob’s house. Jacob is arrested for the murder and put on trial.

As the details of the crime slowly come to light, the weave of reality becomes ever more tangled, twisted by a miraculous new technology and a quantum creature unconstrained by the normal limits of space and matter. With the help of his daughter, Alessandra, Jacob must find the true murderer before the creature destroys his family and everything he loves.

Don’t really know much about this book, but it sounds interesting.

Review copy received from publisher

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WilkinsS-TheInformantSusan Wilkins, THE INFORMANT (Pan Macmillan)

A story of ruthless criminals, corrupt cops, obsessive love and the villainy that operates on both sides of the law.

As a drug-fuelled teenage tearaway, Kaz Phelps took the rap for her little brother Joey over a bungled armed robbery and went to jail.

Six years later she’s released on licence. Clean and sober, and driven by a secret passion for her lawyer, Helen, Kaz wants to escape the violence and abuse of her Essex gangster family.

Joey is a charming, calculating and cold psychopath. He worships the ground Kaz walks on and he’s desperate to get her back in the family firm. All Kaz wants is a fresh start and to put the past behind her.

When Joey murders an undercover cop, DS Nicci Armstrong is determined to put him behind bars. What she doesn’t realize is that her efforts are being sabotaged by one of their own and the Met is being challenged at the highest level.

The final test for Kaz comes when her cousin, Sean, gets out of jail. He is a vicious, old-school thug and wants to show Kaz who is boss. Kaz may be tough enough to face down any man, but is she strong enough to turn her back on her family and go straight?

Never read anything by Wilkins. This sounds interesting, but I’m not sure how high up the TBR pile it will go. It has a lot of competition.

Review copy received from publisher

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