New Books (May)

ColbertReadSoDontTalkToPeople

Featuring: Michael Arnold, Rob Boffard, Mike Brooks, James L. Cambias, Wesley Chu, John Henry Clay, James S.A. Corey, Cindy Dees, Bill Flippin, David Hair, Laurell K. Hamilton, Nalo Hopkinson, Andrew Michael Hurley, N.K. Jemisin, Chuck Klosterman, Gayle Lynds, K.M. McKinley, David Mitchell, Keith Richards, Slash, Bradley Somer, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Mick Wall, Django Wexler, Bill Willingham

ArnoldM-MarstonMoorUKMichael Arnold, MARSTON MOOR (Hodder)

The Sixth in The Civil War Chronicles featuring Major Stryker – ‘the Sharpe of the Civil War’

FIVE ARMIES 

FORTY-SIX THOUSAND MEN 

ONE CROWN

THE BIGGEST BATTLE OF THE AGE

2 July 1644. Five armies converge outside York. It will be a battle for honour, glory, and the fate of three kingdoms. And it will pit two great leaders — Oliver Cromwell and Prince Rupert — directly against one another for the first time. It is a day that will change the course of history.

Into the cannon fire and musket smoke marches Major Innocent Stryker, battle-scarred hero of the Royalist cause. He must not only lead his men through the bloody horror and outwit his Parliamentary enemies, but uncover foul treachery on his own side. He will need every shred of experience and determination to survive.

Marston Moor will be the decisive turning point in the British Civil Wars.

This is the thrilling and shocking story of that battle.

I’d never even heard of this series before this arrived in the mail. As it’s book six, I’m not sure how quickly I’ll get around to this. I know I’m also not in a historical fiction place at the moment. Nevertheless, it does look good — and the “Sharpe of the Civil War” is a good pitch (I’ve read and enjoyed all of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe novels). Published by Hodder on July 16th, 2015.

Review copy received from publisher

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BoffardR-TracerUKRob Boffard, TRACER (Orbit)

IN SPACE

EVERY. SECOND. COUNTS.

Our planet is in ruins. Three hundred miles above its scarred surface orbits Outer Earth: a space station with a million souls on board. They are all that remain of the human race.

Darnell is the head of the station’s biotech lab. He’s also a man with dark secrets. And he has ambitions for Outer Earth that no one will see coming.

Prakesh is a scientist, and he has no idea what his boss Darnell is capable of. He’ll have to move fast if he doesn’t want to end up dead. 

And then there’s Riley. She’s a tracer — a courier. For her, speed is everything. But with her latest cargo, she’s taken on more than she bargained for.

A chilling conspiracy connects them all.

The countdown has begun for Outer Earth — and for mankind.

This is one of my most-anticipated novels of the year. Will be reading it very soon, schedule permitting. Tracer is published in the US and UK by Redhook/Orbit Books on July 2nd, 2015. Boffard’s US publisher has also put up a holding page for the author’s second novel (a sequel), Zero-G.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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BrooksM-DarkRunUKMike Brooks, DARK RUN (Del Rey UK)

The Keiko is a ship of smugglers, soldiers of fortune and adventurers, travelling Earth’s colony planets searching for the next job. And nobody talks about their past.

But when a face from Captain Ichabod Drift’s former life send them on a run to Old Earth, all the rules change.

Trust will be broken, and blood will be spilled.

This sounds like a lot of fun. Hopefully read it soon.

Review copy received from publisher

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CambiasJ-CorsairJames L. Cambias, CORSAIR (Tor)

In the early 2020s, two young, genius computer hackers, Elizabeth Santiago and David Schwartz, meet at MIT, where Schwartz is sneaking into classes, and have a brief affair. David is amoral and out for himself, and soon disappears. Elizabeth dreams of technology and space travel and takes a military job after graduating.

Nearly ten years later, David is setting himself to become a billionaire by working in the shadows under a multiplicity of names for international thieves, and Elizabeth works in intelligence preventing international space piracy. With robotic mining in space becoming a lucrative part of Earth’s economy, shipments from space are dropped down the gravity well into the oceans. David and Elizabeth fight for dominance of the computer systems controlling ore drop placement in international waters. If David can nudge a shipment 500 miles off its target, his employers can get there first and claim it legally in the open sea. Each one intuits that the other is their real competition but can’t prove it. And when Elizabeth loses a major shipment, she leaves government employ to work for a private space company to find a better way to protect shipments. But international piracy has very high stakes and some very evil players. And both Elizabeth and David end up in a world of trouble. 

This sounds like it’ll be really good, so I picked it up (didn’t realize it was already out). Corsair is published by Tor Books in North America.

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ChuW-TimeSalvagerUKWesley Chu, TIME SALVAGER (Angry Robot Books/Tor)

In a future when Earth is a toxic, abandoned world and humanity has spread into the outer solar system to survive, the tightly controlled use of time travel holds the key to maintaining a fragile existence among the other planets and their moons. James Griffin-Mars is a chronman – a convicted criminal recruited for his unique psychological makeup to undertake the most dangerous job there is: missions into Earth’s past to recover resources and treasure without altering the timeline. Most chronmen never reach old age, and James is reaching his breaking point.

On his final mission, James meets scientist Elise Kim, who is fated to die during the destruction of an oceanic rig. Against his training and common sense, James brings her back to the future with him, saving her life, but turning them both into fugitives. Remaining free means losing themselves in the wild and poisonous wastes of Earth, and discovering what hope may yet remain for humanity’s home world.

Chu’s latest novel sounds great. I have to admit, I struggled to get in to the author’s debut, The Lives of Tao, but I did read it during a book-funk. Time Salvager is published in the UK by Angry Robot Books and in North America by Tor Books, in July 2015.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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CoreyJSA-E5-NemesisGamesJames S.A. Corey, NEMESIS GAMES (Orbit)

A thousand worlds have opened, and the greatest land rush in human history has begun. As wave after wave of colonists leave, the power structures of the old solar system begin to buckle.

Ships are disappearing without a trace. Private armies are being secretly formed. The sole remaining protomolecule sample is stolen. Terrorist attacks previously considered impossible bring the inner planets to their knees. The sins of the past are returning to exact a terrible price. 

And as a new human order is struggling to be born in blood and fire, James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante must struggle to survive and get back to the only home they have left.

The fifth novel in Corey’s best-selling Expanse series (currently filming for TV). I really need to get caught up with this series. And also Dan Abraham’s Dagger & Coin series (Abraham is one half of Corey, along with Ty Frank). Nemesis Games is published in the US and UK by Orbit Books, on June 2nd, 2015.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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ClayJH-AtRuinOfWorldUKJohn Henry Clay, AT THE RUIN OF THE WORLD (Hodder)

An epic novel of the fall of the Roman Empire, seen through the eyes of four very different characters.

A.D. 448. The Roman Empire is crumbling.

The Emperor is weak. Countless Romans live under the rule of barbarian kings. Politicians scheme and ambitious generals vie for power. 

Then from the depths of Germany arises an even darker threat: Attila, King of the Huns, gathering his hordes and determined to crush Rome once and for all.

In a time of danger and deception, where every smile conceals betrayal and every sleeve a dagger, three young people hold onto the dream that Rome can be made great once more. But as their fates collide, they find themselves forced to survive in a world more deadly than any of them could ever have imagined. 

What can they possibly do to save the Empire, or themselves, from destruction?

Romans! There seems to be a renaissance in Roman fiction. Maybe it never went away? I loved the first couple of Simon Scarrow’s Macro and Cato novels (Under the Eagle and The Eagle’s Conquest), but never really read much else in this sub-genre. I read a fair bit of historical fiction during my first and second years of undergrad (Scarrow, some Lindsey Davis, lots of Bernard Cornwell’s novels – actually, almost all of them). Maybe I should give this and more authors a try?

Review copy received from publisher

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DeesFlippin-1-SleepingKingUSCindy Dees & Bill Flippin, THE SLEEPING KING (Tor)

The planet Urth was once a green and verdant paradise. Powerful elemental beings with deep magic were stewards to this wonder, but not all could agree on its destiny. When gods war, it is the small who always suffer and the First Great Age ended with a battle that nearly destroyed all life. To end the conflict an Accord was put in place to preserve the balance of life, and the elementals withdrew their influence to allow new, less powerful races to grow and to thrive in the world.

That balance was destroyed, however, when the Kothites, a race of near immortals, came to Urth. In the ensuing centuries they have wreaked havoc on the planet, and the mortal races of men, elves, and other creatures seek a way to break free of the Kothite menace.

There is a fable told to those who hope that there is a Sleeping King, a powerful elvish elemental trapped in a spell, who possesses powers that may bring Urth back to health.

Many seek this treasure: a mad Immortal Emperor who would destroy it to ensure his race’s power forever. An avaricious governor who seeks to enrich himself beyond measure. Old powers seeking to capture lost glory.

A young girl seeking to thwart property to save her future, and a young woodsman out to discover a lost past. Together they might finally extinguish the Black Flame of Koth.

I had never heard of this novel before it arrived. The synopsis is… well, pretty trope-heavy, and gives me pause. In fact, I’m not sure if that will attract readers or turn them off — taken individually, that doesn’t look like anything we haven’t read before, many times over. But, the fact that it’s published by Tor (in the US) does give me some hope that it won’t be as cliche as it may appear from the back cover copy. The Sleeping King is due out in September 2015.

Review copy received from publisher

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HairD-RoR1-PyreUKDavid Hair, THE PYRE (Jo Fletcher Books)

Mandore, Rajasthan, 769 AD: Ravindra-Raj, the evil sorcerer-king, devises a deadly secret ritual, where he and his seven queens will burn on his pyre, and he will rise again with the powers of Ravana, demon-king of the epic Ramayana. But things go wrong when one queen, the beautiful, spirited Darya, escapes with the help of Aram Dhoop, the court poet. 

Jodhpur, Rajasthan, 2010: At the site of ancient Mandore, teenagers Vikram, Amanjit, Deepika and Rasita meet and realize that the deathless king and his ghostly brides are hunting them down. As vicious forces from the past come alive, they need to unlock truths that have been hidden for centuries, and fight an ancient battle . . . one more time.

A new series from Hair, and this sounds really interesting. Will hopefully read it ASAP.

Review copy received from publisher

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HamiltonLK-AB-DeadIceUKLaurell K. Hamilton, DEAD ICE (Headline)

‘Voodoo of the blackest kind’… Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, faces her darkest hour yet.

My name is Anita Blake and I have the highest kill count of any vampire executioner in the country. I’m a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since master vampire Jean-Claude and I went public with our engagement, all I am to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude’s fiancée.

It’s wreaking havoc with my reputation as a hard ass – to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, I’m still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.

Someone is producing zombie porn. I’ve seen my share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn’t bother me. But the women being victimised aren’t just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signalling voodoo of the blackest kind.

It’s the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And my own soul may not survive unscathed…

Another series I’ve never read, this is the 24th novel in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. My neighbour during undergrad was reading this series, and he loved them. I never had the first book, Guilty Pleasures, and I’m not even sure I ever saw it in a bookstore, so I just never got around to trying it. I think I’ll have to give it a try at some point. I do like me some vampire action fiction… Headline will publish this in the UK on June 4th, 2015. The novel is published in North America by Berkley on June 9th, 2015.

Review copy received from publisher

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HopkinsonN-FallingInLoveWithHominidsNalo Hopkinson, FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS (Tachyon Publications)

Nalo Hopkinson (Brown Girl in the Ring, Skin Folk) has been widely hailed as a highly significant voice in Caribbean and American fiction. She has been dubbed “one of our most important writers,” (Junot Diaz), with “an imagination that most of us would kill for” (Los Angeles Times), and her work has been called “stunning,” (New York Times) “rich in voice, humor, and dazzling imagery” (Kirkus), and “simply triumphant” (Dorothy Allison).

Falling in Love with Hominids presents more than a dozen years of Hopkinson’s new, uncollected fiction, much of which has been unavailable in print, including one original story. Her singular, vivid tales, which mix the modern with Afro-Carribean folklore, are occupied by creatures unpredictable and strange: chickens that breathe fire, adults who eat children, and spirits that haunt shopping malls.

Love the cover and title. Haven’t read anything by Hopkinson in the past, so I’m looking forward to giving her work a try. Also, fire-breathing chickens…? Falling In Love With Hominids is published by Tachyon Publications in August 2015.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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HurleyAM-LoneyUKAndrew Michael Hurley, THE LONEY (John Murray)

If it had another name, I never knew, but the locals called it the Loney — that strange nowhere between the Wyre and the Lune where Hanny and I went every Easter time with Mummer, Farther, Mr and Mrs Belderboss and Father Wilfred, the parish priest.

It was impossible to truly know the place. It changed with each influx and retreat, and the neap tides would reveal the skeletons of those who thought they could escape its insidious currents. No one ever went near the water. No one apart from us, that is.

I suppose I always knew that what happened there wouldn’t stay hidden for ever, no matter how much I wanted it to. No matter how hard I tried to forget…

The only thing I know about this book is that those who have read it think it’s excellent. So, I’m pretty intrigued.

Review copy received from publisher

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JemisinNK-BE1-FifthSeasonN.K. Jemisin, THE FIFTH SEASON (Orbit)

This is the way the world ends. For the last time.

A season of endings has begun. 

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. 

It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. 

It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. 

This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.

The first novel in Jemisin’s new series, The Broken Earth. I loved the author’s first trilogy, and have been eagerly awaiting this one ever since the cover was first teased (what feels like ages ago). It sounds fantastic. The Fifth Season will be published by Orbit Books in the US and UK, in August 2015.

Review copy received from publisher

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KlostermanC-KillingYourselfToLiveUSChuck Klosterman, KILLING YOURSELF TO LIVE (Scribner)

For 6,557 miles, Chuck Klosterman thought about dying. He drove a rental car from New York to Rhode Island to Georgia to Mississippi to Iowa to Minneapolis to Fargo to Seattle, and he chased death and rock ‘n’ roll all the way. Within the span of twenty-one days, Chuck had three relationships end — one by choice, one by chance, and one by exhaustion. He snorted cocaine in a graveyard. He walked a half-mile through a bean field. A man in Dickinson, North Dakota, explained to him why we have fewer windmills than we used to. He listened to the KISS solo albums and the Rod Stewart box set. At one point, poisonous snakes became involved. The road is hard. From the Chelsea Hotel to the swampland where Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane went down to the site where Kurt Cobain blew his head off, Chuck explored every brand of rock star demise. He wanted to know why the greatest career move any musician can make is to stop breathing… and what this means for the rest of us.

I’m on a quest for good non-fiction at the moment, and someone recommended Klosterman to me. So I got this. (It’s also music-related, and I’ve been doing a fair bit of music-memoir-reading, so it kind of fits in with my mood at the moment.) Killing Yourself to Live is published in Canada by Scribner.

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LyndsG-AssassinsUSGayle Lynds, THE ASSASSINS (St. Martin’s Press)

Six master assassins — each a legend in the dark corners of international espionage — band together to steal a fortune from the middle of a war zone. But the mission goes tragically wrong, and they retreat into the shadows.

Now THE ASSASSINS are back. Former military spy Judd Ryder is walking to his D.C. home when he spots a man coming out of his row house who looks like Ryder and is wearing his clothes. As Ryder slows to follow, the imposter is killed in a hit-and-run that’s no accident. Was the man the intended victim, or was it Ryder himself?

Soon Ryder learns that the key to the mysterious events of the past and to his double’s murder is an infamous Cold War assassin, the Carnivore. Two of the last people to see the Carnivore were Ryder and CIA trainee Eva Blake, and someone is using them to lure him out.

From Washington D.C. to Marrakech and Baghdad, the assassins wage a final battle — this time against one another — fighting for their reputations and Saddam Hussein’s long-missing billion-dollar fortune. In the end, only one can be left standing.

Caught in the crossfire, Judd and Eva go on the run while desperately unraveling the tangled past and battling not only for their lives, but for their destinies.

I think I bought one of Lynds’s novels ages ago, when it was a Kindle deal or something. Inexplicably (or, perhaps, inevitably) it has been forgotten on my Kindle. With this stand-alone coming out very soon, I think I’ll get this read ASAP. The Assassins is published by St. Martin’s Press on June 30th, 2015.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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McKinleyKM-GoW1-IronShipK.M. McKinley, THE IRON SHIP (Solaris)

Merchant, industrialist and explorer Trassan Kressind has an audacious plan – combining the might of magic and iron in the heart of a great ship to navigate an uncrossed ocean, seeking the city of the extinct Morfaan to uncover the secrets of their lost sciences.

Ambition runs strongly in the Kressind family, and for each of Trassan’s siblings fate beckons. Soldier Rel is banished to a vital frontier, bureaucrat Garten balances responsibility with family loyalty, sister Katriona is determined to carve herself a place in a world of men, outcast Guis struggles to contain the energies of his soul, while priest Aarin dabbles in forbidden sorcery.

The world is in turmoil as new money brings new power, and the old social order crumbles. And as mankind’s arts grow stronger, a terror from the ancient past awakens…

This highly original fantasy depicts a unique world, where tired gods walk industrial streets and the tide’s rise and fall is extreme enough to swamp continents. Magic collides with science to create a rich backdrop for intrigue and adventure in the opening book of this epic saga.

The first book in the author’s Gates of the World fantasy series, The Iron Ship is due to be published by Solaris on May 26th (US) and June 18th (UK).

Review copy received from publisher

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MitchellD-BoneClocksUKPBDavid Mitchell, THE BONE CLOCKS (Sceptre)

Run away, one drowsy summer’s afternoon, with Holly Sykes: wayward teenager, broken-hearted rebel and unwitting pawn in a titanic, hidden conflict.

Over six decades, the consequences of a moment’s impulse unfold, drawing an ordinary woman into a world far beyond her imagining. And as life in the near future turns perilous, the pledge she made to a stranger may become the key to her family’s survival…

In 1984, teenager Holly Sykes runs away from home — a Gravesend pub. Sixty years later, she is to be found in the far west of Ireland, raising a granddaughter as the world’s climate collapses.

In between, Holly is encountered as a barmaid in a Swiss resort by an undergraduate sociopath in 1991; has a child with a foreign correspondent covering the Iraq War in 2003; and, widowed, becomes the confidante of a self-obsessed author of fading powers and reputation during the present decade. Yet these changing personae are only part of the story, as Holly’s life is repeatedly intersected by a slow-motion war between a cult of predatory soul-decanters and a band of vigilantes led by one Doctor Marinus. Holly begins as an unwitting pawn in this war — but may prove to be its decisive weapon.

The arc of a life, a social seismograph, a fantasy of shadows and an inquiry into aging, mortality and survival, THE BONE CLOCKS could only have been written by David Mitchell.

I’ve always wanted to read Mitchell’s novels. For some reason or another, I’ve always managed to… not. Usually, because I’m distracted by some other new shiny or another. I’ve recently been told by one of my housemates that to not have read the author’s other works doesn’t matter too much, when it comes to reading The Bone Clocks, but that I would miss some things if I hadn’t… The completist in me makes me really hesitant to read this before his other novels… Which I hope to do at some point, but I’ll have to pick them up first.

Review copy received from publisher

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RichardsK-LifeKeith Richards, LIFE (Orion)

Once-in-a-generation memoir of a rock legend…

With the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards created the riffs, the lyrics and the songs that roused the world, and over four decades he lived the original rock and roll life: taking the chances he wanted, speaking his mind, and making it all work in a way that no one before him had ever done.

Now, at last, the man himself tells us the story of life in the crossfire hurricane. And what a life. Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records as a child in post-war Kent. Learning guitar and forming a band with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones. The Rolling Stones’ first fame and success as a bad-boy band. The notorious Redlands drug bust and subsequent series of confrontations with a nervous establishment that led to his enduring image as outlaw and folk hero. 

Creating immortal riffs such as the ones in ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ and ‘Street Fighting Man’ and ‘Honky Tonk Women’. Falling in love with Anita Pallenberg and the death of Brian Jones. Tax exile in France, wildfire tours of the US, ‘Exile on Main Street’ and ‘Some Girls’. Ever increasing fame, isolation and addiction. Falling in love with Patti Hansen. Estrangement from Mick Jagger and subsequent reconciliation. Solo albums and performances with his band the Xpensive Winos. Marriage, family and the road that goes on for ever. 

In a voice that is uniquely and intimately his own, with the disarming honesty that has always been his trademark, Keith Richards brings us the essential life story of our times.

First gig I ever went to was a Rolling Stones concert in Basel, Switzerland (I lived in Germany at the time, and Basel was the closest airport – so we went there all the time). The experience completely blew me away, and I was never the same after. Music came to dominate my free time, and continues to do so today. I would later see the Stones play again in London, a few years back. It’s a bit surprising, therefore, that I never got around to reading this sooner (it was originally published in 2010). Life is published in the UK by Orion, and in the US by Back Bay Books.

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SlashSlash w. Anthony Bozza, SLASH: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY (Harper)

The mass of black curls. The top hat. The cigarette dangling from pouty lips. These are the trademarks of one of the world’s greatest and most revered guitarists, a celebrity musician known by one name: Slash.

Saul “Slash” Hudson was born in Hampstead to a Jewish father and a black American mother who created David Bowie’s look in The Man Who Fell to Earth. He was raised in Stoke until he was 11, when he and his mother moved to LA. Frequent visitors to the house were David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Ronnie Wood and Iggy Pop.

At this time Slash got into BMX bikes and would eventually turn professional, winning major awards and money, but at 15 his grandmother gave him his first guitar. Sessions with numerous local LA rock bands followed until a fateful meeting with singer W Axl Rose… and the rest was rock history. Guns N’ Roses spent two years builiding their reputation before Appetite for Destruction was unleashed on an unsuspecting world.

Chart success and global domination followed but with it came the inevitable fall – addicted to heroin, booze and cigarettes the band imploded in a rift between Axl and Slash that is as deep today as ever. But with a new wife, kids and new band Velvet Revolver, Slash is back on track. As raucous and edgy as his music, Slash sets the record straight and tells the real story as only Slash can.

The first album I ever bought was Use Your Illusion I. Guns ‘n’ Roses have been a mainstay on my stereo/MP3 player ever since. I recently finished and very much enjoyed Duff McKagan’s It’s So Easy and I wanted to get another side of the story, and also read about Slash’s other exploits (McKagan’s book does a great job of focusing on just his story, and not speculating or intruding on the other bandmates’ stories). Slash is published by Harper in the UK (2008).

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SomerB-FishbowlUSBradley Somer, FISHBOWL (St. Martin’s Press)

A goldfish named Ian is falling from the 27th-floor balcony on which his fishbowl sits. He’s longed for adventure, so when the opportunity arises, he escapes from his bowl, clears the balcony railing and finds himself airborne. Plummeting toward the street below, Ian witnesses the lives of the Seville on Roxy residents.

There’s the handsome grad student, his girlfriend, and the other woman; the construction worker who feels trapped by a secret; the building’s super who feels invisible and alone; the pregnant woman on bed rest who craves a forbidden ice cream sandwich; the shut-in for whom dirty talk, and quiche, are a way of life; and home-schooled Herman, a boy who thinks he can travel through time. Though they share time and space, they have something even more important in common: each faces a decision that will affect the course of their lives. Within the walls of the Seville are stories of love, new life, and death, of facing the ugly truth of who one has been and the beautiful truth of who one can become. 

Sometimes taking a risk is the only way to move forward with our lives. As Ian the goldfish knows, “An entire life devoted to a fishbowl will make one die an old fish with not one adventure had.”

I’d seen this novel mentioned a few times, and thought it sounded quite interesting. Fishbowl is due to be published in August 2015 by St. Martin’s Press in the US (who approved the ARC request), and Ebury Press in the UK.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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TchaikovskyA-ChildrenOfTimeUKAdrian Tchaikovsky, CHILDREN OF TIME (Tor UK)

A race for survival among the stars… Humanity’s last survivors escaped earth’s ruins to find a new home. But when they find it, can their desperation overcome it’s dangers?

WHO WILL INHERIT THIS NEW EARTH?

The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age — a world terraformed and prepared for human life.

But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind’s worst nightmare.

Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?

New Tchaikovsky? Of course I’m interested.

Also on CR: Interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky; Guest Posts on “Nine Books, Six Years, One Stenwold Maker” and “The Art of Gunsmithing – Writing Guns of the Dawn; Excerpt from Guns of the Dawn

Review copy received from publisher

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WallM-EnterNightMetallicaUKMick Wall, METALLICA: ENTER NIGHT (Orion)

Mick Wall moves on from Led Zeppelin to produce a definitive doorstop on Metallica.

Alongside contemporaries Slayer, Megadeath and Anthrax, Metallica came to prominence in the eighties as one of the ‘big four’ of thrash metal. Metallica were to thrash, though, what the Sex Pistols were to punk. Nearly thirty years on, their tale is one of alcohol, rule breaking and tragically early death. But allied to that are colossal sales figures for their records — they are the fifth-highest selling recording artists of all time – and members with backgrounds that touch on jazz and classical music. Metallica, in fact, have garnered more critical acclaim than any heavy rock band since Led Zeppelin.

I wouldn’t exactly call the book a “doorstop” as the synopsis does, but it does look like a substantial read. Wall is perhaps best known for When Giants Walked the Earth, his biography of Led Zeppelin (which I also have). I am more familiar with Metallica’s work than LZ’s, though (save the few songs my dad would play for us when we were younger). Published by Orion in the UK and St. Martin’s Griffin in the US.

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WexlerD-SC-ShadowOfElysiumUSDjango Wexler, THE SHADOW OF ELYSIUM (InterMix)

The wagons travel north across the mountains, carrying cargo of great value: Hamveltai glass and porcelain; Deslandai jewelry in heavy iron strongboxes; fine cloth from the cities of the Old Coast. And Abraham.

Bound and tied, guarded day and night, Abraham has been stolen from his village, from the arms of the man he loved. He is being sent to the fortress-city of Elysium to serve a dark and ancient order, the Priests of the Black. They have discovered the secret he kept all his life: that inside him dwells a demon which allows him to heal… and to kill.

But Abraham is not alone. A young woman named Alex, similarly possessed, rides with him. And as a bond grows between them, they begin to wonder if they can turn the demons that have damned them into their salvation.

I enjoyed the first novel in Django Wexler’s Shadow Campaigns, but for some reason have been dragging my heels in getting to the sequel, The Shadow Throne. This novella is set in the same world, but somewhat separate from the novels, so it’s not essential to have read the books (apparently). With the publication of The Price of Valor fast approaching, I’m eager to get caught up. The Shadow of Elysium is published by InterMix/Penguin, and is out now.

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Fables-Deluxe-10ArtBill Willingham et al, FABLES DELUXE, BOOK TEN (Vertigo)

In an epic from FABLES #77-82, JACK OF FABLES #33-35, and THE LITERALS #1-3, the existence of the Fables is threatened by The Literals, who just don’t like their messy, mythical lives. And in the original graphic novel FABLES: WEREWOLVES OF THE HEARTLAND, Bigby Wolf goes on a quest to find a new location for Fabletown, only to find a village populated by werewolves!

I picked this up on impulse – not that I hadn’t intended to buy it, I just hadn’t realized it was out until I spotted it on the shelves of my local bookstore. So… yeah. Have a bit of catching up to do first (about to start Deluxe Eight), but I think I may do a binge-read in the next couple of weeks or so, schedule permitting. It’s an amazing series, and I highly recommend it to everyone with an interest in fables, storytelling, and fantasy.

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JonStewartBookEntertainsYourForHours

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