New Books (February #1)


Featuring: Joe Abercrombie, Mark Alder, Michel Bussi, Michael Christie, John Clarkson, Toby Clements, Myke Cole, Rowena Cory Daniells, William Dietz, Cecilia Ekbäck, Christopher Fowler, John French, Steven Harper, Lee Kelly, Jean Hanff Korelitz, Ursula le Guin, Stephen Marche, Marshall Ryan Maresca, George R.R. Martin, Paul McAuley, Ben Mezrich, Michael Moorcock, Michael Alan Nelson, Peter Orullian, Den Patrick, Justina Robson, Andrzej Sapkowski, Joe Schreiber, Harry Turtledove, Nicolle Wallace

AbercrombieJ-H2-HalfAWorldUSJoe Abercrombie, HALF THE WORLD (Del Rey)

Sometimes a girl is touched by Mother War.

Thorn is such a girl. Desperate to avenge her dead father, she lives to fight. But she has been named a murderer by the very man who trained her to kill.

Sometimes a woman becomes a warrior.

She finds herself caught up in the schemes of Father Yarvi, Gettland’s deeply cunning minister. Crossing half the world to find allies against the ruthless High King, she learns harsh lessons of blood and deceit.

Sometimes a warrior becomes a weapon.

Beside her on the journey is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill, a failure in his eyes and hers, but with one chance at redemption.

And weapons are made for one purpose.

Will Thorn forever be a pawn in the hands of the powerful, or can she carve her own path?

I enjoyed the first novel in the Shattered Sea series, Half a King, so I snapped this up as soon as I was able to get my mitts on it. I also loved the First Law trilogy, and consider Before They Are Hanged to be one of my favourite fantasy novels. Half the World is published in North America by Del Rey and in the UK by Voyager.


AlderM-SonOfTheMorningMark Alder, SON OF THE MORNING (Gollancz)

The Hundred Years War rages, and angels and demons stalk the earth…

Edward III stands in a burnt English church, destroyed in a French raid. A raid on his land, a raid on him. He is in debt and surrounded by doubters, only victory against France will save his throne.

But Philip of Valois can put 50,000 men in the field. He has sent his priests to summon the very angels themselves to fight for France. Edward could call on God for aid but he is a usurper. What if God truly is on the side of the French?

But for a price, Edward could open the gates of Hell and take an unholy war to France…

The paperback release of Alder’s magisterial historical fantasy. I’ve read a little bit of it already, but now I really need to get the whole thing read. I just finished two big book fantasies, though, so I may wait a few weeks before finishing it. (“Mark Alder” is a pseudonym for M.D. Lachlan, who writes the excellent Wolfsangel historical/viking fantasies, also published in the UK by Gollancz.)

Also on CR: Interview with M.D. Lachlan (2010) and Catch-Up (2012); Reviews of Wolfsangel and Fenrir

Review copy received from publisher


BussiM-AfterTheCrashUKMichel Bussi, AFTER THE CRASH (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

On the night of 22 December 1980, a plane crashes on the Franco-Swiss border and is engulfed in flames. 168 out of 169 passengers are killed instantly. The miraculous sole survivor is a three-month-old baby girl. Two families, one rich, the other poor, step forward to claim her, sparking an investigation that will last for almost two decades. Is she Lyse-Rose or Emilie?

Eighteen years later, having failed to discover the truth, private detective Credule Grand-Duc plans to take his own life, but not before placing an account of his investigation in the girl’s hands. But, as he sits at his desk about to pull the trigger, he uncovers a secret that changes everything – then is killed before he can breathe a word of it to anyone…

This sounded like an interesting thriller, and something a little different to what I usually pick up. Hopefully I’ll get to it soon.

Review copy received from publisher


ChristieM-IfIFallIfIDieUKMichael Christie, IF I FALL, IF I DIE (William Heinemann)

Will has never been to the outside, at least not since he can remember.

And he has certainly never got to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their little world comprises only the rooms in their home, each named for various exotic locales and filled with Will’s art projects. But soon the confines of his world close in on him.

Despite his mother’s protests, Will ventures outside clad in a protective helmet and braces himself for danger. He eventually meets and befriends Jonah, a quiet boy who introduces him to skateboarding.

Will welcomes his new world with enthusiasm, his fears fading and his body hardening with each new bump, scrape and fall. But life quickly gets complicated. When a local boy goes missing, Will and Jonah want to uncover what happened. They embark on an extraordinary adventure that pulls Will far from the confines of his closed-off world and into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers.

If I Fall, If I Die has been getting quite a bit of praise, recently. I saw a particularly good review in the New York Times Book Review, so decided to pick it up. Before I could get to a store, however, I spotted it on NetGalley from the UK publisher, William Heinemann. It is published in the US by Hogarth. It is out now.

Review copy via NetGalley


ClarksonJ-AmongThievesUSJohn Clarkson, AMONG THIEVES (Minotaur Books)

They thought they could cover up what an out-of-control trader at a Manhattan brokerage firm did to Olivia Sanchez. She worked hard, played by the rules, but so what? Blackball her from the industry and be done with her.

Who’s going to stop them?

Nobody, until Olivia turns to her cousin Manny, an ex-con and ex-gang leader whose first reaction is to take care of the arrogant bastard who hurt his cousin—permanently. His partner, James Beck, part of a tight clique of ex-cons based in Brooklyn’s Red Hook, convinces Manny to hold off. Things can be complicated in the real world. But even the savvy Beck has no idea what’s really going on.

There’s much more at stake than Beck imagines, starting with enough money to ignite a level of ruthless greed that can wipe Beck and his partners off the face of the earth. It’s tens of millions of dollars, connected to arms dealing for a clandestine U.S. agency. 

Beck and his loyal band are forced into an escalating nonstop war against an arms dealer, war criminals, Russian mobsters, and even the NYPD. The only way to stay out of prison and survive is to outsmart, outfight, never concede, and ultimately rob their enemies of the source of their power: 116 million dollars.

This sounded like a good thriller, so I picked it up. Among Thieves is out now, published in North America by Minotaur Books/St. Martin’s Press.


ClementsT-Kingmaker-WinterPilgrimsUKToby Clements, KINGMAKER: WINTER PILGRIMS (Arrow)

February 1460

In the bitter dawn of a winter’s morning, a young man and a woman escape from a priory.

In fear of their lives, they are forced to flee across a land ravaged by conflict.

For this is the Wars of the Roses, one of the most savage and bloody civil wars in history.

Where brother confronts brother, king faces king.

And Thomas and Katherine must fight – just to stay alive …

Don’t know much about this novel, but I do know that I’d like to start reading more historical fiction. This could be a good place to start.

Review copy received from publisher


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

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…

A stand-alone novel set in Cole’s critically-acclaimed Shadow Ops series, this is set before the previous three novels. It’ll be interesting to see how the world reacted to the return of magic. Also – zombie special ops soldiers? Cool… And look at that cover – marvellous. Published in North America by Ace Books, and in the UK by Headline.

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


DaniellsRC-TheFallofFairIsleRowena Cory Daniells, THE FALL OF FAIR ISLE (Solaris)

A complete trilogy on one volume, this is the story of the The Last T’En, a majestic epic fantasy…

600 years have passed since the events of The Outcast Chronicles occurred and much T’En knowledge has been lost, hidden or cloaked by lies.

This is the story of Imoshen, named for her ancestor, Imoshen the First. The last pure T’En woman, she is a throwback to the mystics who settled Fair Isle.

When the Ghebite invader, General Tulkhan, conquers her island she is torn between her duty to smooth the transition of power and her betrothal to Reothe, last throwback T’En male who leads the rebellion against Tulkhan.

I haven’t read much by Daniells in the past. What I have read I have had mixed feelings about. This book is a complete trilogy, so it will certainly make it easier to read the whole story. Might get to it soon.

Also on CR: Interview with Rowena Cory Daniells (2011); Guest Post “Confessions of a TV Series-aholic”

Review copy received from publisher


DietzWC-MF1-DeadeyeUSWilliam C. Dietz, DEADEYE (Ace)

In the year 2038, an act of bioengineered terrorism decimated humanity. Those who survived were either completely unaffected or developed horrible mutations. Across the globe, nations are now divided between areas populated by “norms” and lands run by “mutants”…

Detective Cassandra Lee of Los Angeles’s Special Investigative Section has built a fierce reputation taking down some of the city’s most notorious criminals. But the serial cop killer known as Bonebreaker — who murdered Lee’s father — is still at large. Officially, she’s too personally involved to work on the Bonebreaker case. Unofficially, she’s going to hunt him to the ends of the earth.

In the meantime, duty calls when the daughter of Bishop Screed, head of the Church of Human Purity, is kidnapped by mutants and taken into the red zone to be used for breeding. Assigned to rescue her, Lee must trust her new partner — mutant lawman Deputy Ras Omo — to guide her not only through the unfamiliar territory but through the prejudicial divisions between mutants and norms…

Better known for his Legion of the Damned military sci-fi novels, Deadeye will be my first novel by Dietz. It sounds interesting, and I’ve been on the lookout for more urban fantasy series. Published in North America by Ace Books (UK publication details still to come). Ace has already unveiled the details of the second novel in the series, Redzone, which is due to be published on July 28th, 2015.


EkbackC-WolfWinterCACecilia, WOLF WINTER (HarperCollins)

Swedish Lapland, 1717. Maija, her husband and their two daughters arrive from their native Finland, hoping to forget the traumas of the past and put down roots in this harsh but beautiful land. Above them looms Blackasen, a mountain whose dark history haunts the lives of those in its shadow.

While herding the family’s goats on the mountain, Maija’s elder daughter, Frederika, stumbles across the mutilated body of one of their neighbours, Eriksson. The community dismisses the death as a wolf attack, but Maija feels certain it was murder. Compelled to investigate despite her neighbours’ unconcern, Maija is drawn into the history of tragedies and betrayals that have taken place on Blackasen.

Meanwhile, young Frederika is pulled toward the mountain as well, feeling something no one around her seems to notice. The seasons change, and the harshest winter in memory-known as a “wolf winter”-descends upon them. Struggling to survive, the settlers are forced to come together, but Maija, not knowing whom to trust, is still determined to find answers. As the snow gathers, the settlers’ secrets are laid bare. Soon Maija will discover the true cost of survival under the mountain-and what it will take to make it to spring.

This got a fair bit of attention, in the run up to publication, so I decided to pick it up and check out what all the fuss is about. Hopefully read it in the not-too-distant future. The novel is out now in Canada, published by Harper Collins.


FowlerC-B&M12-BurningManChristopher Fowler, BRYANT & MAY: THE BURNING MAN (Doubleday)

London is under siege. A banking scandal has filled the city with violent protests, and as the anger in the streets detonates, a young homeless man burns to death after being caught in the crossfire between rioters and the police.

But all is not as it seems; an opportunistic killer is using the chaos to exact revenge, but his intended victims are so mysteriously chosen that the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to find a way of stopping him.

Using their network of eccentric contacts, elderly detectives Arthur Bryant and John May hunt down a murderer who adopts incendiary methods of execution. But they soon find their investigation taking an apocalyptic turn as the case comes to involve the history of mob rule, corruption, rebellion, punishment and the legend of Guy Fawkes.

At the same time, several members of the PCU team reach dramatic turning points in their lives – but the most personal tragedy is yet to come, for as the race to bring down a cunning killer reaches its climax, Arthur Bryant faces his own devastating day of reckoning.

‘I always said we’d go out with a hell of a bang,’ warns Bryant.

This is, as far as I can tell, the twelfth book in the Bryant & May series. Of which I have read… none. They sound interesting, though, so one day I would like to give them a try. We’ll see…

Review copy received from publisher


French-HH-Tallarn-ExecutionerJohn French, TALLARN: EXTERIMNATUS (Black Library)

As one of the many staging grounds for the forces serving in the Great Crusade, the verdant world of Tallarn has long served as a transfer point for the personnel and war machines of the Imperial Army. Now, destroyed by a deadly virus-bomb attack launched by the battered Iron Warriors fleet, the entire world is reduced to a toxic wasteland where the survivors must fight to defend what little remains of their home. The remnants of the once mighty Jurnian 701st armoured regiment emerge from their underground shelters, and the opening movements of the Battle of Tallarn begin… even as more clandestine powers seek to manipulate events on both sides of the conflict.

The latest limited edition Horus Heresy novella to be made less-limited, it follows on directly from Graham McNeill’s Angel Exterminatus. There is apparently more to come on the story of Tallarn, next month. I’m sure I’ll pick up the novel/novella/short story when it’s available. I’ve enjoyed French’s growing body of Black Library fiction – including his Heresy short fiction and Ahriman novels, he’s getting better and better. I have already read and reviewed the books, here.


HarperS-BBI1-IronAxeUSSteven Harper, IRON AXE (Roc)

A hopeless outcast must answer Death’s call and embark on an epic adventure…

Although Danr’s mother was human, his father was one of the hated Stane, a troll from the mountains. Now Danr has nothing to look forward to but a life of disapproval and mistrust, answering to “Trollboy” and condemned to hard labor on a farm.

Until, without warning, strange creatures come down from the mountains to attack the village. Spirits walk the land, terrifying the living. Trolls creep out from under the mountain, provoking war with the elves. And Death herself calls upon Danr to set things right.

At Death’s insistence, Danr heads out to find the Iron Axe, the weapon that sundered the continent a thousand years ago. Together with unlikely companions, Danr will brave fantastic and dangerous creatures to find a weapon that could save the world — or destroy it.

The first in a new series, The Books of Blood and Iron, Harper is not to be confused with Canadian prime minister of the same name (with a “-ph-“, though). I haven’t read Harper’s previous novels, the Clockwork Empire series, but I’m looking forward to reading this. Iron Axe is published in North America by Roc Books, and is out now.


KellyL-CityOfSavagesLee Kelly, CITY OF SAVAGES (Saga Press)

After the Red Allies turn New York City into a POW camp, two sisters must decipher the past in order to protect the future in this action-packed thriller with a dual narrative.

It’s been nearly two decades since the Red Allies first attacked New York, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp, ruled by Rolladin and her brutal, impulsive warlords. For Skyler Miller, Manhattan is a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city’s borders. But for Sky’s younger sister, Phee, the POW camp is a dangerous playground of possibility, and the only home she’d ever want.

When Sky and Phee discover their mom’s hidden journal from the war’s outbreak, they both realize there’s more to Manhattan—and their mother—than either of them had ever imagined. And after a group of strangers arrives at the annual POW census, the girls begin to uncover the island’s long-kept secrets. The strangers hail from England, a country supposedly destroyed by the Red Allies, and Rolladin’s lies about Manhattan’s captivity begin to unravel.

Hungry for the truth, the sisters set a series of events in motion that end in the death of one of Rolladin’s guards. Now they’re outlaws, forced to join the strange Englishmen on an escape mission through Manhattan. Their flight takes them into subways haunted by cannibals, into the arms of a sadistic cult in the city’s Meatpacking District and, through the pages of their mom’s old journal, into the island’s dark and shocking past.

A new imprint for Simon & Schuster, this is their first release (I think). So, always interested in trying new things, I decided to get this – it also sounds pretty interesting.


KorelitzJH-TheWhiteRoseUSJean Hanff Korelitz, THE WHITE ROSE (Grand Central Publishing)

Passion, infidelity, social climbing, and one very special white rose weave a seductive narrative in this intelligent and tender novel.

At forty-eight, Marian Kahn, a professor of history at Columbia, has reached a comfortable perch. Married, wealthy, and the famed discoverer of the eighteenth-century adventuress, Lady Charlotte Wilcox, she ought to be content. Instead, she is horrified to find herself profoundly in love with twenty-six-year-old Oliver, the son of her eldest friend. When Marian’s cousin, the snobbish Barton, announces his engagement to Sophie, a graduate student in Marian’s department, Marian, Oliver, and Sophie find their lives woefully entangled, and their hearts turned in unfamiliar directions. All three of them will learn that love may seldom be straightforward, but it’s always a gift.

From the West Village to the Upper East Side, from the Hamptons to Millbrook, THE WHITE ROSE is at once a nuanced and affectionate reimagining of Strauss’s beloved opera, Der Rosenkavalier, and a mesmerizing novel of our own time and place.

Korelitz is the author of Admission, the novel that inspired the Tina Fey and Paul Rudd-starring movie (which I rather enjoyed). The White Rose sounds quite different in tone, but I am interested in reading Korelitz’s fiction (I have Admission, too, I’m just being slow about getting to it). The White Rose is published by Grand Central Publishing on March 17th, 2015 in the US.

Review copy from NetGalley


LeGuinUK-Unreal&Real-Vol.2-OuterSpaceInnerLandsUrsula le Guin, THE UNREAL AND THE REAL, Vol.2: OUTER SPACE, INNER LANDS (Gollancz)

The second volume of collected short stories by multiple award-winner Ursula K. Le Guin, selected by the author herself.

THE UNREAL AND THE REAL is a two-volume collection of stories, selected by Ursula Le Guin herself, and spans the spectrum of fiction from realism through magical realism, satire, science fiction, surrealism and fantasy.

Volume Two, OUTER SPACE, INNER LANDS, showcases Le Guin’s acclaimed stories of the fantastic, originally appearing in publications as varied as AMAZING STORIES, PLAYBOY, the NEW YORKER and OMNI, and contains 20 stories, including modern classics such as the HUGO AWARD-winning ‘The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas’, NEBULA-nominee ‘Nine Lives’; JAMES TIPTREE, JR MEMORIAL AWARD-winner (and HUGO and NEBULA-nominee) ‘The Matter of Seggri’; NEBULA AWARD-winner ‘Solitude’; and the secret history ‘Sur’, which was nominated for the HUGO AWARD and included in THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES.

The second collection of short stories from the legendary, groundbreaking author.

Review copy received from publisher


MarescaMR-1-ThornOfDentonhillUSMarshall Ryan Maresca, THE THORN OF DENTONHILL (DAW Books)

Veranix Calbert leads a double life. By day, he’s a struggling magic student at the University of Maradaine. At night, he spoils the drug trade of Willem Fenmere, crime boss of Dentonhill and murderer of Veranix’s father. He’s determined to shut Fenmere down.

With that goal in mind, Veranix disrupts the delivery of two magical artifacts meant for Fenmere’s clients, the mages of the Blue Hand Circle. Using these power-filled objects in his fight, he quickly becomes a real thorn in Fenmere’s side.

So much so that soon not only Fenmere, but powerful mages, assassins, and street gangs all want a piece of “The Thorn.” And with professors and prefects on the verge of discovering his secrets, Veranix’s double life might just fall apart. Unless, of course, Fenmere puts an end to it first.

I stumbled across this title a little while ago, and ever since, the premise has stuck in my mind (not so much the cover, which… isn’t the best). I’ll be reading this very soon – next but one of the one after that. It’s out now.

Review copy received from publisher


MarcheS-HungerOfTheWolfNAStephen Marche, THE HUNGER OF THE WOLF (Simon & Schuster)

Hunters found his body naked in the snow…

So begins this bold and breathtakingly ambitious new novel from Stephen Marche, the provocative Esquire columnist and regular contributor to The Atlantic whose last work of fiction was described by the New York Times Book Review as “maybe the most exciting mash-up of literary genres since David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.” In The Hunger of the Wolf, Marche delivers a modern morality tale about the rapacity of global capitalism that manages to ask the most important questions we face about what it means to live in the new Gilded Age.

The body in the snow belonged to Ben Wylie, the heir to America’s second-wealthiest business dynasty, and it is found in a remote patch of northern Canada. Far away, in post-crash New York, Jamie Cabot, the son of the Wylie family’s housekeepers, must figure out how and why Ben died. He knows the answer lies in the tortured history of the Wylie family, who over three generations built up their massive holdings into several billion dollars’ worth of real estate, oil, and information systems despite a terrible family secret they must keep from the world. The threads of the Wylie men’s destinies, both financial and supernatural, lead twistingly but inevitably to the naked body in the snow and a final, chilling revelation.

The Hunger of the Wolf is a novel about what it means to be a man in the world of money. It is a story of fathers and sons, about secrets that are kept within families, and about the cost of the tension between the public face and the private soul. Spanning from the mills of Depression-era Pittsburgh to the Swinging London of the 1960s, from desolate Alberta to the factories of present-day China, it is a powerfully affecting work of fiction that uses the story of a single family to capture the way we live now: an epic, genre-busting tale of money, morality, and the American Dream.

I saw this and thought it sounded pretty interesting. It’s published by Simon & Schuster, and is out now.


Adobe Photoshop PDFGeorge R.R. Martin, THE ICE DRAGON (Voyager)

In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child — and the ice dragon who loved her — could save her world from utter destruction.

This will be the first book by GRRM that I read. I know, I’ve been running an SFF-content-heavy website for almost eight years, and I’ve still not read anything by GRRM – not A Song of Ice and Fire series nor even Fevre Dream (both of which I have). I just never got around to it, and then the Game of Thrones TV series came out and I… well, cheated. I do intend to eventually read ASoIaF, but while I still have plenty of new books coming in, not to mention works by authors who don’t get nearly the same level of publicity GRRM gets, I’m not sure that it’ll be high priority on my TBR mountain. The Ice Dragon is published by Voyager Books.


McAuley-SomethingComingThroughPaul McAuley, SOMETHING COMING THROUGH (Gollancz)

The aliens are here. And they want to help. The extraordinary new project from one of the country’s most acclaimed and consistently brilliant SF novelists of the last 30 years.

The Jackaroo have given humanity 15 worlds and the means to reach them. They’re a chance to start over, but they’re also littered with ruins and artifacts left by the Jackaroo’s previous clients.

Miracles that could reverse the damage caused by war, climate change, and rising sea levels. Nightmares that could for ever alter humanity – or even destroy it.

Chloe Millar works in London, mapping changes caused by imported scraps of alien technology. When she stumbles across a pair of orphaned kids possessed by an ancient ghost, she must decide whether to help them or to hand them over to the authorities. Authorities who believe that their visions point towards a new kind of danger.

And on one of the Jackaroo’s gift-worlds, the murder of a man who has just arrived from Earth leads policeman Vic Gayle to a war between rival gangs over possession of a remote excavation site.

Something is coming through. Something linked to the visions of Chloe’s orphans, and Vic Gayle’s murder investigation. Something that will challenge the limits of the Jackaroo’s benevolence…

This looks great. I’ve always wanted to read McAuley’s novels, but just never got around to it. Now I have no excuse.

Review copy from publisher


MezrichB-SevenWondersUKBen Mezrich, SEVEN WONDERS (William Heinemann)

A globe-trotting thriller in the vein of The DaVinci Code – rife with historic secrets, conspiracies, intrigue, and a whole lot of adventure.

When the reclusive mathematician Jeremy Grady is murdered, it’s up to his estranged brother Jack to find out why. His search leads him on a far-flung journey – from Brazil, India, Peru, and beyond – as he unravels the mystery that links the Seven Wonders of the World, and discovers that Jeremy may have hit upon something that has been concealed for centuries. With the help of scientist Sloane Costa, they discover a conspiracy to hide a roadmap to the Garden of Eden – and the truth behind a mythological ancient culture.

This is the first in a new series by the bestselling author of The Accidental Millionaires, the story of Facebook and the inspiration behind the film The Social Network (both the book and film are superb). It’ll be interesting to see what Mezrich’s fiction is like. Published by William Heinemann in the UK, Seven Wonders is out now.

Also on CR: Review of The Accidental Millionaires

Review copy via NetGalley


MoorcockM-ACorneliusCalendar2015Michael Moorcock, A CORNELIUS CALENDAR (Gollancz)

Jerry Cornelius is an English assassin, physicist, rock star, and messiah to the Age of Science. Cornelius’s adventures have been credited with inspiring dozens of writers and artists to rethink the genre of science fiction.

Set in a shifting, fluid version of the counter-culture 1960s, these books were among the most prominent ‘New Wave’ SF books. Jerry Cornelius is one of the most remarkable and distinctive characters in Moorcock’s work, and his time-travelling, trippy and bizarre adventures are must-reads. Here are a selection of shorter novels and novellas, ranging across time and space…


I can’t quite tell how this collection connects to the two other Calendar-related books listed on Gollancz’s website. Maybe the third? Without having the first two, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get caught up, but I do really want to. Just as I also want to read the Eternal Champion re-issues that just came out via Titan Books (which I’ve also bought) and The Whispering Swarm (which I’ve also recently picked up).

Review copy received from publisher


MoorcockM-KaneOfOldMars2015Michael Moorcock, KANE OF OLD MARS (Gollancz)

The final volume of the seminal Michael Moorcock Collection revisits some of his earliest influences with these tales of Old Mars.

Very much intended as an affectionate homage to the Barsoom stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Kane is a John Carter stand-in, an Earthman torn from his home and forced to explore a strange new world, becoming caught up in the political machinations of the strange and wonderful creatures that live there. And, possibly, falling in love.


The fourth volume of Mars-related stories. Not sure how quickly I’m going to be able to catch up with the first three…

Review copy received from publisher


NelsonMA-H1-HexedMichael Alan Nelson, HEXED (Pyr)

Luci Jenifer Inacio das Neves, Lucifer for short, isn’t your typical teenaged girl. She’s a thief who survives by stealing bad things from bad people in the magical and mystical underworld hidden beneath our own. So when a policeman’s daughter, Gina, is kidnapped by a force he can’t explain, Lucifer is the only one who has a chance at getting his daughter back.

With the unsolicited help of Gina’s friends, including Gina’s boyfriend David, Lucifer’s investigation leads to the unfortunate truth of the kidnapping. Gina was taken to an otherworldly dimension by a creature of unspeakable evil: one of the Seven Sisters of Witchdown. Against all odds, Lucifer must use every magical tool hidden in her trick bag to steal her way into the Shade and bring Gina back before the Sister sacrifices her for her own dark ends. But the closer Lucifer gets to Gina, the closer she gets to David. And David to her. Lucifer must risk her life by confronting demons, witches, and the cruel demigoddess controlling her destiny – all to save the one girl who stands in the way of Lucifer finally finding love.

I’ve read and enjoyed the Hexed comic series, published by Boom Studios, so I’m looking forward to checking out this novel set in the same world. I should also have an interview with Nelson going up in the next couple of weeks.

Review copy received from publisher


Orullian-2-TrialOfIntentionsPeter Orullian, TRIAL OF INTENTIONS (Tor)

The gods who created this world have abandoned it. In their mercy, however, they chained the rogue god—and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortalkind—in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne. The magical Veil that contains them has protected humankind for millennia and the monsters are little more than tales told to frighten children. But the Veil has become weak and creatures of Nightmare have come through. To fight them, the races of men must form a great alliance to try and stop the creatures.

But there is dissent. One king won’t answer the call, his pride blinding him even to the poison in his own court. Another would see Convocation fail for his own political advantage. And still others believe Convocation is not enough. Some turn to the talents of the Sheason, who can shape the very essence of the world to their will. But their order is divided, on the brink of collapse.

Tahn Junell remembers friends who despaired in a place left barren by war. One of the few who have actually faced the unspeakable horde in battle, Tahn sees something else at work and wonders about the nature of the creatures on the other side of the Veil. He chooses to go to a place of his youth, a place of science, daring to think he can find a way to prevent slaughter, prevent war. 

And his choices may reshape a world…

Peter Orullian’s debut, The Unremembered got a fair bit of attention in the lead up to its release. But it’s been quite some time since it came out (it has also been re-released recently). Apparently this second novel in The Vault of Heaven series can stand on its own, so unless I get around to picking up a copy of The Unremembered, I’ll be diving into this pretty soon. Given that this is due to be published in May 2015, there’s a chance I’ll be able to get caught up before getting stuck into this book.

Review copy received from publisher


PatrickD-2-BoyWhoWeptBloodDen Patrick, THE BOY WHO WEPT BLOOD (Gollancz)

With his rich evocation of the Italian Renaissance-like realm of Landfall, his uniquely appealing way with flawed yet empathic characters and his ability to write gripping scenes of both action and subterfuge, Den Patrick has already established himself as a new favourite for fans of Scott Lynch and Robin Hobb alike.

Ten years have passed since the disappearance of Lucien and his protege, the young swordsman Dino, is struggling to live up to Lucien’s legacy. Sworn to protect the silent queen Anea as she struggles to bring a new democracy to Demesne, Dino finds himself drawn into a deadly game of political intrigue as the aristocratic families of Landfall conspire to protect their privilege. Always ready to prove himself as a swordsman Dino is anguished to discover that in order to fulfil his vow he must become both spy and assassion.

And all the while the dark secret at the heart of Demesne is growing towards fulfilment.

The sequel to The Boy With the Porcelain Blade (which I need to finish), I know a lot of people who have been eagerly awaiting this novel.

Also on CR: Interview with Den Patrick

Review copy received from publisher


RobsonJ-GloriousAngelsJustina Robson, THE GLORIOUS ANGELS (Gollancz)

The groundbreaking new novel from one of the genre’s most respected authors: a thrilling mix of science, magic and sexual politics.

A cutting-edge novel of science, adventure and ideas.

On a world where science and magic are hard to tell apart, a stranger arrives in a remote town with news of political turmoil to come. And a young woman learns that she must free herself from the role she has accepted.

Gollancz have a pretty amazing line-up for 2015… I hope to read as many of them as is humanly possible. This is a definite read for me, as I’ve never read anything by Robson before, but everyone I know who has considers her among the best of contemporary British sci-fi writers. So that bodes well.

Review copy received from publisher


Sapkowski-04-BaptismOfFireUKAndrzej Sapkowski, BAPTISM OF FIRE (Gollancz)

Geralt the Witcher is on a mission: to save his ward, Ciri, and with her the world…

The Wizards Guild has been shattered by a coup and, in the uproar, Geralt was seriously injured. The Witcher is supposed to be a guardian of the innocent, a protector of those in need, a defender against powerful and dangerous monsters that prey on men in dark times.

But now that dark times have fallen upon the world, Geralt is helpless until he has recovered from his injuries.

While war rages across all of the lands, the future of magic is under threat and those sorcerers who survive are determined to protect it. It’s an impossible situation in which to find one girl – Ciri, the heiress to the throne of Cintra, has vanished – until a rumour places her in the Niflgaard court, preparing to marry the Emperor.

Injured or not, Geralt has a rescue mission on his hands.

The fourth book in the Witcher series to be translated into English. I haven’t read any of the novels (nor played any of the games), but I did have the first novel on my Kindle before this arrived. I have since picked up the second and third novels, too, so I can get properly caught up.

Review copy received from publisher


Schreiber-SW-MaulLockdownPBJoe Schreiber, MAUL: LOCKDOWN (Arrow)

In a tale of retribution and survival set before the events of The Phantom Menace, Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious dispatch Sith apprentice Darth Maul on a secret mission to infiltrate a criminal empire operating from inside Cog Hive Seven — a hidden prison teeming with the galaxy’s most savage criminals. There, he must contend against the scummiest and most villainous in gladiatorial death matches while carrying out his masters’ clandestine commands. Failure is not an option; success will ignite the revenge of the Sith against the Jedi Order.

I haven’t read any of Schreiber’s Star Wars fiction. Also, since the announcement that the novels I’ve read in the series for the past fifteen years is being jettisoned from the canon, I’ve not been too eager to read new novels in the “Legends” collection. So, I guess this is unlikely to be read any time soon.

Review copy received from publisher


TurtledoveH-JoeSteeleUSHarry Turtledove, JOE STEELE (NAL)

The election of a United States President whose political power will redefine what the nation is—and what it means to be American…

President Herbert Hoover has failed America. The Great Depression that rose from the ashes of the 1929 stock market crash still casts its dark shadow over the country. Despairing and desperate, the American people hope one of the potential Democratic candidates—New York governor Franklin D. Roosevelt and California congressman Joe Steele—can get the nation on the road to recovery.

But fate snatches away one hope when a mansion fire claims the life of Roosevelt, leaving the Democratic party little choice but to nominate Steele, son of a Russian immigrant laborer who identifies more with the common man than with Washington D.C.’s wealthy power brokers.

Achieving a landslide victory, President Joe Steele wastes no time pushing through Congress reforms that put citizens back to work. Anyone who gets in his way is getting in the way of America, and that includes the highest in the land. Joe Steele’s critics may believe the government is gaining too much control, but they tend to find themselves in work camps if they make too much noise about it. And most people welcome strong leadership, full employment, and an absence of complaining from the newspapers—especially as Hitler and Trotsky begin the kind of posturing that seems sure to drag America into war. 

Harry Turtledove is an author I have been familiar with for years – his novels are available everywhere, really. And yet, as with so very many bestselling authors, I’ve never read anything by him. Joe Steele, however, caught my eye recently and the idea has latched on to my imagination. As someone who has studied and written about US politics and the presidency, I’m particularly interested in seeing what Turtledove envisions for a world in which FDR died before he won the presidency. I hope to read this very soon.

Review copy received from publisher


WallaceN-CK3-MadamPresidentUSNicolle Wallace, MADAM PRESIDENT (Atria/Emily Bestler Books)

Charlotte Kramer, the forty-fifth President of the United States, has done the unprecedented in allowing a network news team to document a day in her life—and that of her most senior staff. But while twenty news cameras are embedded with the president, the unthinkable happens: five major attacks are leveled on US soil. Her secretary of defense, Melanie, and her press secretary, Dale, must instantly jump to action in supporting the president and reassuring the country that the safety they treasure is in capable hands.

But secrets have always thrived in President Kramer’s White House. With all eyes on them and America’s stability on the line, all three women are hiding personal and professional secrets that could rock the West Wing to its very foundations…and change the lives of the people they love most.

With an insider’s sharp eye and her trademark winning prose, Nicolle Wallace delivers a timely novel of domestic and political intrigue that is impossible to put down.

The third novel in Wallace’s political fiction/thriller series featuring Charlotte Kramer – following Eighteen Acres and It’s Classified. I haven’t read the first two, but it sounds like an interesting take on US political fiction. I’m cautiously optimistic. Madam President is due to be published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books in April 2015.

Review copy via Edelweiss


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