New Books (October)


Featuring: Ben Aaronovitch, Ray Bradbury, Ron Chernow, Douglas Coupland, Charles Cumming, David Dalglish, William C. Dietz, Gavin Extence, Tana French, Jilly Gagnon, John Grisham, Laurell K. Hamilton, Liz Harmer, Oliver Harris, Michael Harvey, Annie Hauxwell, Tracy & Laura Hickman, James Islington, Paulette Jiles, Reed Karaim, Joseph Knox, Mur Lafferty, Mike MacDonald, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, Elan Mastai, Will McIntosh, Nnedi Okorafor, J.D. Oswald, Benjamin Percy, Plutarch, Daniel Pyne, Scott Reardon, Noah Richler, Adam Roberts, James Rollins, John Sandford, George Saunders, Laurence Scott, Marcus Sedgwick, A.J. Smith, Gerard Stembridge, Gav Thorpe, Ian Tregillis, K.B. Wagers, Brent Weeks, Ronald Wright, Roger Zelazny

Above Image: Cover Crop of Bunker #19 (Oni Press)


aaronovitch-pg6-hangingtreeuksmBen Aaronovitch, THE HANGING TREE (DAW/Gollancz)

Suspicious deaths are not usually the concern of PC Peter Grant or the Folly, even when they happen at an exclusive party in one of the most expensive apartment blocks in London. But Lady Ty’s daughter was there, and Peter owes Lady Ty a favour.

Plunged into the alien world of the super-rich, where the basements are bigger than the house and dangerous, arcane items are bought and sold on the open market, a sensible young copper would keep his head down and his nose clean. But this is Peter Grant we’re talking about.

He’s been given an unparalleled opportunity to alienate old friends and create new enemies at the point where the world of magic and that of privilege intersect. Assuming he survives the week…

The long awaited sixth novel in Ben Aaronovitch’s incredibly successful Peter Grant/Rivers of London series. Published by DAW Books in North America in January 2017; and next week in the UK by Gollancz.

Review copy received from publisher


boonee-2-skitterusEzekiel Boone, SKITTER (Atria)

The carnivorous spiders are running rampant—but for what’s left of humanity, the worst is yet to come…

Tens of millions of people around the world are dead. Half of China is a nuclear wasteland. Mysterious flesh-eating spiders are marching through Los Angeles, Oslo, Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, and countless other cities. According to scientist Melanie Gruyer, however, the spider situation seems to be looking up. Yet in Japan, a giant, truck-sized, glowing egg sack gives a shocking preview of what is to come, even as survivors in Los Angeles panic and break the quarantine zone. Out in the desert, survivalists Gordo and Shotgun are trying to invent a spider super weapon, but it’s not clear if it’s too late, because President Stephanie Pilgrim has been forced to enact the plan of last resort: The Spanish Protocol. America, you are on your own.

The sequel to the entertaining The Hatching, is published in April 2017, in the US by Atria and in the UK by Gollancz.

Also on CR: Review of The Hatching

Review copy received via NetGalley


chambersb-2-aclosedcommonorbitusBecky Chambers, A CLOSED AND COMMON ORBIT (Harper Voyager)

Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.

Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for — and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.

The sequel to the highly popular The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, I’m looking forward to getting them read. Published in North America by Voyager (March 2017), and in the UK by Hodder (out now).

Review copy received via Edelweiss


chernowr-alexanderhamiltonukRon Chernow, ALEXANDER HAMILTON (Head of Zeus)

The riveting life of Alexander Hamilton, an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean who overcame all the odds to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp and the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.

Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated than Alexander Hamilton. In this masterful work, Chernow shows how the political and economic greatness of America today is the result of Hamilton’s willingness to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. He charts his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Monroe and Burr; his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds; his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza; and the famous and mysterious duel with Aaron Burr that led to his death in July 1804.

This is the (massive) biography that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s fantastic musical Hamilton is based on. Picked this up on sale for Kindle. Published in the UK by Head of Zeus, and in North America by Penguin. It is a very long biography. Long enough that it could keep you occupied until the show opens in the UK, in September 2017…


couplandd-bitrotDouglas Coupland, BIT ROT (Random House Canada)

“Bit rot” is a term used in digital archiving to describe the way digital files can spontaneously and quickly decompose. As Coupland writes, “Bit rot also describes the way my brain has been feeling since 2000, as I shed older and weaker neurons and connections and enhance new and unexpected ones.”

Bit Rot the book explores the ways humanity tries to make sense of our shifting consciousness. Coupland, just like the Internet, mixes forms to achieve his ends. Short fiction is interspersed with essays on all aspects of modern life. The result is addictively satisfying for Coupland’s legion of fans hungry for his observations about our world. For almost three decades, his unique pattern recognition has powered his fiction, and his phrase-making. Every page of Bit Rot is full of wit, surprise and delight.

This sounds really interesting. Published in Canada by Random House, in the UK by William Heinemann, and in the US by Blue Rider Press.


cummingc-tk3-adividedspyusCharles Cumming, A DIVIDED SPY (St. Martin’s Press)

Thomas Kell thought he was done with spying. A former MI6 officer, he devoted his life to the Service, but it has left him with nothing but grief and a simmering anger against the Kremlin.

Then Kell is offered an unexpected chance at revenge. Taking the law into his own hands, he embarks on a mission to recruit a top Russian spy who is in possession of a terrifying secret. As Kell tracks his man from Moscow to London, he finds himself in a high stakes game of cat and mouse in which it becomes increasingly difficult to know who is playing whom.

As the mission reaches boiling point, the threat of a catastrophic terrorist attack looms over Britain. Kell is faced with an impossible choice. Loyalty to MI6 — or to his own conscience?

I am a big fan of Cumming’s novels — ever since I read Typhoon, I’ve eagerly awaited his next offering. This is the third novel in the author’s Thomas Kell series, the first two of which I thoroughly enjoyed. A Divided Spy is published by St. Martin’s Press in North America on February 14th, 2017; it is out now in the UK, published by Harper.

Also on CR: Guest Post/Interview with Charles Cumming; Reviews of TyphoonThe Trinity SixA Foreign Country and A Colder War

Review copy received via NetGalley


dalglishd-s2-firebornDavid Dalglish, FIREBORN (Orbit)

Bree and Kael Skyborn have seen their island invaded, their Seraphim disbanded, and their royal family imprisoned.

A rebellion grows from the ashes, demanding Bree to be their Phoenix, their symbol against Center’s tyranny, and for Kael to find the doomsday prophet Johan and sway his cult to their side.

Should they fail, the hope of their rebellion fails with them.

The second novel in the Seraphim series, the sequel to Skyborn. Published by Orbit Books in the US and UK in late November 2016.

Review copy received from publisher


dietzwc-ar1-intothegunsukWilliam C. Dietz, INTO THE GUNS (Titan)

America is rising from the ashes of a global catastrophe, but in the wasteland that was once the USA, only the strong can survive…

On May Day, 2018, sixty meteors entered Earth’s atmosphere and exploded around the globe with a force greater than a nuclear blast. Earthquakes and tsunamis followed. Then China attacked Europe, Asia, and the United States in the belief the disaster was an act of war.

Washington, D.C. was a casualty of the meteor onslaught that decimated the nation’s leadership and left the surviving elements of the armed forces to try and restore order as American society fell apart. As refugees across America band together and engage in open warfare with the military over scarce resources, a select group of individuals representing the surviving corporate structure makes a power play to rebuild the country in a free market image as The New Confederacy…

This is the first novel in Dietz’s latest series, America Rising. I’m often interested in a good post-apocalyptic/dystopian action story, so this sounded like it could be interesting (a bit like DMZ, only writ larger, maybe?). Published in the UK by Titan, and in North America by Ace. Ace has already posted details about the second novel in the series, Seek and Destroy, due out in June 2017 (no UK details, yet).

Review copy received from publisher


extenceg-empathyproblemukGavin Extence, THE EMPATHY PROBLEM (Hodder)

Driven by money, power and success, Gabriel has worked ruthlessly to get to the very top of the banking game. He’s not going to let the inconvenience of a terminal brain tumour get in his way.

But the tumour has other ideas. As it grows, it appears to be doing strange things to Gabriel’s personality. Whether he likes it or not, he seems to be becoming less selfish, less mercenary, less unlikeable.

Once he could dismiss the rest of humanity as irrelevant. Now he’s not so sure. Women, in particular, are becoming worryingly three-dimensional. And none more so than Caitlin, the ‘unremarkable’ girl he sees busking on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral. When she plays her violin, Gabriel could almost believe that he has a soul…

But as each day that passes brings him closer to his last, has time run out for second chances?

I heard good things about the author’s debut, The Universe Versus Alex Woods (the London Underground was plastered with posters covered in praise for the novel), but never got around to reading it for some reason (I bought it when it went on sale on Kindle, I think). When I first read the synopsis for The Empathy Problem, I thought it sounded pretty interesting, and popped it on my Kindle Wish List. The other day, it dropped in price quite a bit, so I decided to buy it on a whim. Sounds pretty good. Published in the UK by Hodder.


frencht-dms6-tresspasserTana French, THE TRESPASSER (Viking)

Being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point.

Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her — except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before.

And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette’s road. Aislinn’s friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be.

Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?

The latest novel in French’s Dublin Murder Squad series. I really need to read the others, too… Published in Canada by Viking, in the UK by Hodder, and in the US also by Viking.


grishamj-whistlerusJohn Grisham, THE WHISTLER (Knopf/Doubleday)

We expect our judges to be honest and wise. Their integrity and impartiality are the bedrock of the entire judicial system. We trust them to ensure fair trials, to protect the rights of all litigants, to punish those who do wrong, and to oversee the orderly and efficient flow of justice.

But what happens when a judge bends the law or takes a bribe? It’s rare, but it happens.

Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, not a cop, and it is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct. After nine years with the Board, she knows that most problems are caused by incompetence, not corruption.

But a corruption case eventually crosses her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business with a new identity. He now goes by the name Greg Myers, and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined. And not just crooked judges in Florida. All judges, from all states, and throughout U.S. history.

What’s the source of the ill-gotten gains? It seems the judge was secretly involved with the construction of a large casino on Native American land. The Coast Mafia financed the casino and is now helping itself to a sizable skim of each month’s cash. The judge is getting a cut and looking the other way. It’s a sweet deal: Everyone is making money.

But now Greg wants to put a stop to it. His only client is a person who knows the truth and wants to blow the whistle and collect millions under Florida law. Greg files a complaint with the Board on Judicial Conduct, and the case is assigned to Lacy Stoltz, who immediately suspects that this one could be dangerous.

Dangerous is one thing. Deadly is something else.

I seem to have a mixed reaction to Grisham’s novels. Some are excellent (The Firm, The BrethrenThe Pelican Brief and The Confession), while others are… fine. The last couple (Gray Mountain and Rogue Lawyer) fell in the latter category, so I’m hoping The Whistler is a return to form. Published by Doubleday in North America, and Hodder in the UK. I also picked up Witness to a Trial, a prequel short story, which is also available in North America and the UK.

Also on CR: Reviews of A Time To KillThe BrethrenThe AssociateThe ConfessionThe LitigatorsThe RacketeerGray Mountain and Rogue Lawyer


hamiltonlk-ab25-crimsondeathukLaurell K. Hamilton, CRIMSON DEATH (Headline)

Anita has never seen Damian, her vampire servant, in such a state. The rising sun doesn’t usher in the peaceful death that he desperately needs. Instead, he’s being bombarded with violent nightmares and blood sweats.

And now, with Damian at his most vulnerable, Anita needs him the most. The vampire who created him, who subjected him to centuries of torture, might be losing control, allowing rogue vampires to run wild and break one of their kind’s few strict taboos.

Some say love is a great motivator, but hatred gets the job done, too. And when Anita joins forces with her friend Edward to stop the carnage, Damian will be at their side, even if it means traveling back to the land where all his nightmares spring from… a place that couldn’t be less welcoming to a vampire, an assassin, and a necromancer: Ireland.

This is the 25th novel in Hamilton’s bestselling Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. That’s a pretty amazing milestone. Unfortunately, I have read none of the preceding 24 novels… Published in the UK by Headline, and in North America by Berkley.

Review copy received from publisher


harmerl-amateurscaLiz Harmer, THE AMATEURS (Knopf Canada)

PINA, the largest tech company in the world, introduces a product called port. These ports offer space-time travel powered by nostalgia and desire. Want to go back to when your relationship was blossoming? To when your kids were small, or when your parents met? To Elizabethan England? To 1990s Seattle? Easy. Step inside the port with a destination in mind, and you will be transported. But there is a catch: it’s possible that you cannot come back. And the ports are incredibly seductive, drawing in those with weaker wills…

Nearly everyone buys the ports, and soon, nearly everyone is gone. Those who are left attempt to sort out how to survive in this world nearly devoid of humans. Animals are increasing in numbers, roads are degrading, the Internet is down, and gasoline is running out. The survivors are also left with numerous unguarded ports, which are as mysterious as they are threatening.

In this world we follow a motley crew camped out in the abandoned mansions and stately church of a former steel-town that has seen its own share of collapse and growth. The group of about thirty adults and children are looting and surviving on what food they can find. But the harsh winter is fast approaching — do they make the choice to head south as a group, or wait to see if their loved ones will return through the ports?

The Amateurs focuses on a thirty-something artist and shopkeeper, Marie. She has never gotten over her ex-husband, Jason, and stubbornly hopes he’ll return to her from his new marriage and from the world beyond the port. Meanwhile, in California, life at PINA is breaking down. Brandon, the former head of PR and right-hand man to Albrecht Doors, the mad genius who invented the ports, decides to get out while he still can. He steals a solar-powered car and drives north-east, where he hopes to find his missing mother, and start a new life, maybe a family. And there he meets Marie.

Thought this sounded really interesting. Published by Knopf Canada in March 2017.

Review copy received via NetGalley


harriso-3-houseoffameusOliver Harris, THE HOUSE OF FAME (Harper)

The third installment featuring the shrewd, cynical, and brilliant London detective, Nick Belsey, whose investigation into a child’s disappearance pulls him into the hedonistic orbit of a young, hot celebrity actress/musician and the dark world lurking underneath its glamorous exterior.

Twenty-seven, rich and beautiful, Amber Knight is living everyone’s dream. Her music career is established, her acting career is taking off, and she has a lifestyle fit for the top of the A-List.

So why has she started acting so strangely?

At least, that’s how it seems to Nick Belsey. A less celebrated resident of North London, Belsey’s decade-long career at Hampstead CID is coming to an abrupt end, but he still can’t seem to kick his habit of getting into serious trouble. When he’s asked by a desperate mother to help find her only son, Belsey has to infiltrate Amber’s glittering world. The seedy underside to her seemingly perfect life — a realm of excess, obsession, lust, and greed — doesn’t surprise him. What does is the blood trail that leads directly to Amber.

As one twisted crime is followed by another, Belsey finds himself chasing even more answers than when he started out. And when the stakes are raised dangerously high, Belsey’s own survival is at stake. It may be too late to save his reputation but he’s not ready to die just yet — and especially not at the hands of a celebrity.

Alyssa really likes this series, and I fully intend to read them all in the not-too-distant future. I just keep forgetting to do so… Published by Harper in the US on January 24th, 2017; and out now in the UK, published by Vintage.

Review copy received via Edelweiss


harveym-brightonusMichael Harvey, BRIGHTON (Harper Collins)

An extraordinary thriller — gripping, haunting, and marvellously told — about two friends growing up in a rapidly changing Boston, who must face the sins of their past in the midst of a series of brutal murders.

“You came back here to bury your past…. Thing is, you gotta kill it first.”

Kevin Pearce—baseball star, honor student, the pride of Brighton — was fifteen when he left town in the back of his uncle’s cab. He and his buddy Bobby Scales had just committed heinous violence for what they thought were the best of reasons. Kevin didn’t want a pass, but he was getting it anyway. Bobby would stay and face the music; Kevin’s future would remain bright as ever. At least that was the way things were supposed to work, except in Brighton things never work the way they’re supposed to.

Twenty-six years later, Kevin is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Boston Globe. He’s never been back to his old block, having avoided his family and, especially, Bobby Scales. Then he learns his old friend is the prime suspect in a string of local murders. Suddenly, Kevin’s headed home — to protect a friend and the secret they share. To report this story to the end and protect those he loves, he must face not only an elusive, slippery killer, but his own corrupted conscience.

A powerhouse of a thriller, Brighton is a riveting and elegiac exploration of promises broken, debts owed, and old wrongs made right… no matter what the cost.

This has been on my radar for some time, but I kept forgetting to pick it up. No idea why, because it sounds great. Will read ASAP. Published in North America by Harper Collins, and in the UK by Bloomsbury.


hauxwella-cb4-houseofbonesukAnnie Hauxwell, HOUSE OF BONES (Arrow)

1961. In the drawing room of an imposing Hong Kong residence, a British lord brutally assaults a young Chinese boy. His grandson watches, helpless. But he will never forget.

Wapping, London, present day. It’s a warm spring in the capital, and heroin addict Catherine Berlin feels the clammy breath of the past on her neck. Battling to stay clean, and bearing the scars of her most recent case, she is struggling to outpace her demons. 

An old contact has offered her a job investigating a violent attack by a seventeen-year-old public schoolboy, a Chinese orphan on a prestigious scholarship. The victim has gone missing, and the boy’s patron, a shadowy peer, claims the case is being manipulated by the Chinese government. Seduced by the boy’s vulnerability and the peer’s allegations, Berlin journeys to Hong Kong, where she uncovers a conspiracy that reaches from the Pearl River Delta to the Palace of Westminster…

This is fourth novel featuring Catherine Berlin, and it sounds pretty interesting. I haven’t read any of the others, but I’m intrigued by the Hong Kong aspect. Published in the UK by Arrow, it’s out now.

Review copy received from publisher


hickmantl-nb2-unhonoredusTracy & Laura Hickman, UNHONORED (Tor)

Ellis Harkington is trapped in limbo between life and death, struggling to escape the domination of an evil force masquerading as her friend, Merrick. Only Ellis has ever escaped him, and now that she has discovered the truth, he wants to make sure she can never escape again.

Merrick’s dark power has turned the seaside town of Gamin, Maine, into a place of nightmares. The town is transformed into a decaying succession of infinite rooms, bottomless stairwells, and boundless corridors filled with never-ending masquerades, balls, and banquets. Each pageant is about the life Ellis lived before her return — each revelation more terrifying than the last.

Ellis is desperate to find her missing cousin and leave, but there is no exit from the House of Dreams except, perhaps, through a séance to contact the living.

This is the second novel in the authors’ Nightbirds trilogy. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of this series. Could be interesting. I’ll check to see if the library has the first novel. Although, I have to admit it’s not too high on my priority list. Published in North America by Tor Books, it’s out now (it is also available in the UK on import).

Review copy received from publisher


islingtonj-1-shadowofwhatwaslostusJames Islington, THE SHADOW OF WHAT WAS LOST (Orbit)

It has been twenty years since the god-like Augurs were overthrown and killed. Now, those who once served them — the Gifted — are spared only because they have accepted the rebellion’s Four Tenets, vastly limiting their powers.

As a Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war lost before he was even born. He and others like him are despised. But when Davian discovers he wields the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything.

To the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…

And in the far north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir.

Very striking cover. I haven’t noticed any reviews of the novel, yet, but I am on the look out for entertaining fantasy novels at the moment. (Sometimes, I just need a book to entertain me, and I feel like I recently haven’t found many fantasy books that do that.) Published by Orbit Books in North America and the UK, it’s out now.


jilesp-newsoftheworldusPaulette Jiles, NEWS OF THE WORLD (William Morrow)

It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.

In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.

Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.

Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember — strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become — in the eyes of the law — a kidnapper himself. Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Sounded like it could be interesting, and it was getting some good pre-publication buzz. Published by William Morrow in North America and in the UK.


karaimr-winterinannausReed Karaim,THE WINTER IN ANNA (W.W. Norton)

The story of an unlikely and transformative connection forged between a young journalist and a woman whose past holds a terrible secret.

A young man, Eric, drops out of college and lucks into a job with a small-town newspaper where he meets Anna—a woman whose story will both haunt and inspire him for the rest of his life. Set in a remote North Dakota community in the last days before the Internet, The Winter in Anna unfolds around a romance that almost was, and a meditation on what constitutes a life well lived. In wistful, moving reflections, Eric looks back on his days with Anna and struggles to reconcile his memories with what he has since learned of her.

Thought this looked like it could be good. Published by W.W. Norton in January 2017.

Review copy received via Edelweiss


kendallnorellellis-mythiccreaturesLaurel Kendall, Mark A. Norell & Richard Ellis, MYTHIC CREATURES (Sterling)

Adapted from the American Museum of Natural History exhibition Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids, this book explores an array of mythological creatures — and the real animals that inspired them. Lush photos showcase rare objects from around the world as well as models of mythical beasts like krakens and Rocs, along with fossils of actual extinct animals such as the six-foot-tall primate called Gigantopithecus and dinosaurs such as Protoceratops, which may have inspired the griffin. Also included are engravings, paintings, maps, and ephemera from the Middle Ages to modern times, all capturing the origins of legendary animals that continue to thrill, terrify, and enchant us.

This arrived the other day, and it’s fascinating. I love books about, connected or adjacent to mythology. I’d recommend this to others who feel the same way. Published by Sterling Publishing on November 1st, 2016.

Review copy received from publisher


klinkenbergm-mcdavideffectcaMarty Klinkenberg, THE McDAVID EFFECT (Simon & Schuster)

Step into the streets, arenas, coffee shops, and offices of Edmonton, and witness how the arrival of a teenage hockey phenomenon is changing the city’s fortunes.

Once known as the City of Champions, Edmonton is at a crossroads. As oil prices continue to plummet, the economic outlook grows bleaker by the day. Political changes have ushered in an era of uncertainty. And, as though mirroring the city’s fortunes, the Edmonton Oilers continue to struggle on the ice, offering little solace or escape to the city’s long-suffering hockey fans.

But on June 26, 2015, hope was reborn in Edmonton. With the first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft, the Edmonton Oilers selected Connor McDavid, a once-in-a-generation talent who, at only eighteen years old, was already being compared to the Great One who had preceded him twenty-five years earlier. Sparked by the arrival of McDavid, the construction of a new state-of-the-art hockey arena, and the development of a revitalized downtown core, a new sensibility began to emerge in Edmonton. Sensing an opportunity, the city started to rebuild and rebrand itself in search of a new future.

Through exclusive access, uplifting anecdotes, and colourful interviews, The McDavid Effect traces the renewal of not just a hockey team, but of an entire city. Reflecting the multitude of viewpoints that make up Edmonton — from Connor himself to construction crews at work on the downtown development to business executives directing the new shape of the Albertan capital — The McDavid Effect paints a portrait of the city as it is being reimagined, captures the near-religious reverence people have for sports, and shows how the people of Edmonton are coming to hope again.

In the 1960s, the Toronto City council held a competition to complete the following sentence: “As Canadian as…”. The third place winner was “As Canadian as Hockey”, so it perhaps fitting that a narrative about Canada, and a specific town, hinge around the story of a hockey player. I’m looking forward to reading this, and expanding my knowledge of Canada — I am, after all, still very new here. Published by Simon & Schuster, it’s out now.

[Incidentally, the winner of the competition, rather brilliantly, was: “As Canadian as possible given the circumstances.”]

Review copy received from publisher


knoxj-sirensukJoseph Knox, SIRENS (Transworld)

The runaway daughter of a dirty politician.

The unsolved disappearance of a young mother.

The crime lord who knows the city’s secrets.

The disgraced detective on the edge of it all.

Many questions. Not many answers. Not yet.


That’s quite the brief synopsis… Sirens is getting a fair bit of good press in advance of its publication, so I’m eager to give it a read. Published in the UK by Transworld on January 12th, 2017.

Review copy received via NetGalley


laffertym-sixwakesMur Lafferty, SIX WAKES (Orbit)

A space adventure set on a lone ship where the clones of a murdered crew must find their murderer — before they kill again.

It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood.

At least, Maria Arena had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died.

Maria’s vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. And Maria wasn’t the only one to die recently…

This sounds pretty interesting, looking forward to reading it. Published by Orbit Books in the US and UK, in January 2017.

Review copy received from publisher


macdonaldgagnon-chooseyourownmiseryholidaysMike MacDonald & Jilly Gagnon, CHOOSE YOUR OWN MISERY (Diversion Books)

This is the year you’re going to do it: you’re going to avoid Christmas completely!

… or you were, until your island getaway got washed out by a hurricane. Now you have to choose: should you spend the holiday with your shrewish sister and her Europhile husband, or endure your new girlfriend’s family for a week? Help chop down a tree even though it might throw out your back, or endure the icy judgment of a woman who thinks only children and pussies help bake cookies? Jet off to the glamorous slums of Kingston, Jamaica, or accept the offer of a ride from a man who never stops smiling…and is probably going to turn you into a skin suit?

From the writers who brought you the hilarious parody Choose Your Own Misery: The Office comes a second helping of misery with a festive twist. Christmas is full of fun surprises for kids, but for adults, it’s just an endless series of aggressive crowds, overwhelming credit card debt, and pretending to like the people you’re forced to spend it with.

Once you unwrap all the holiday misery hiding in these pages, the blackness of your heart will rival any lump of coal.

This could be kind of fun. Published by Diversion Books, it’s out now.

Review copy received via NetGalley


9780765375285_CVRmech.inddJeffrey J. Mariotte, DEADLANDS: THUNDER MOON RISING (Tor)

Fear is abroad in the Deadlands as a string of brutal killings and cattle mutilations trouble a Western frontier town in the Arizona Territory, nestled in the forbidding shadow of the rugged Thunder Mountains. A mule train is massacred, homes and ranches are attacked, and men and women are stalked and butchered by bestial killers who seem to be neither human nor animal, meanwhile a ruthless land baron tries to buy up all the surrounding territory — and possibly bring about an apocalypse.

Once an officer in the Union Army, Tucker Bringloe is now a worthless drunk begging for free drinks at the corner saloon. When he’s roped into a posse searching for the nameless killers, Tuck must rediscover the man he once was if he’s to halt the bloodshed and stop occult forces from unleashing Hell on Earth… when the Thunder Moon rises.

This is the second novel in the Deadlands series, which kicked off with Jonathan Maberry’s Ghostwalkers. It looks like it could be a pretty interesting series. I should give it a try. Published by Tor Books, it is out now.

Review copy received from publisher


MastaiE-AllOurWrongTodaysUSElan Mastai, ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS (Dutton)

There’s no such thing as the life you’re “supposed” to have.

You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed… because it wasn’t necessary.

Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.

But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career and — maybe, just maybe — his soulmate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future — our future — is supposed to be.

All Our Wrong Todays is about the versions of ourselves that we shed and grow into over time. It is a story of friendship and family, of unexpected journeys and alternate paths, and of love in its multitude of forms. Filled with humor and heart, and saturated with insight and intelligence and a mind-bending talent for invention, this novel signals the arrival of a major talent.

I’ve been looking forward to this one ever since I first read about it in a catalogue. I’ll be reading it very soon, but I’ll hold off the review until closer to release date. (Possibly January.) Published in February 2017 by Dutton in the US and Canada, and in March 2017 by Penguin in the UK.

Review copy received via NetGalley


mcintoshw-fallerusWill McIntosh, FALLER (Tor)

Day One: No one can remember anything — who they are, family and friends, or even how to read. Reality has fragmented and Earth consists of an islands of rock floating in an endless sky. Food, water, electricity — gone, except for what people can find, and they can’t find much.

Faller’s pockets contain tantalizing clues: a photo of himself and a woman he can’t remember, a toy solider with a parachute, and a mysterious map drawn in blood. With only these materials as a guide, he makes a leap of faith from the edge of the world to find the woman and set things right.

He encounters other floating islands, impossible replicas of himself and others, and learns that one man hates him enough to take revenge for actions Faller can’t even remember.

This is getting some early buzz, and sounds pretty interesting. I enjoyed (but didn’t love) his previous novel, Burning Midnight, but this sounds quite different. Published by Tor Books, it’s out now.

Review copy received via NetGalley


okoraforn-binti-homeNnedi Okorafor, BINTI: HOME (

It’s been a year since Binti and the Meduse Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she abandoned her family in the dawn of a new day.

And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and her elders. Her experiences off-planet have changed her forever, and Binti will have to discover whether there is still a home for her on Earth.

But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.

After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?

The sequel to the critically-acclaimed, award-winning Binti. Looking forward to this! Published by on January 31st, 2017, and is also available in the UK.

Also on CR: Review of Lagoon

Review copy received from publisher


oswaldjd-bosb1-dreamwalkerukJ.D. Oswald, DREAMWALKER (Penguin)

In a small village, miles from the great cities of the Twin Kingdoms, a young boy called Errol tries to find his way in the world. He’s an outsider — he looks different from other children and has never known his father. No one, not even himself, has any knowledge of his true lineage.

Deep in the forest, Benfro, the young male dragon begins his training in the subtle arts. Like his mother, Morgwm the Green, he is destined to be a great Mage.

No one could imagine that the future of all life in the Twin Kingdoms rests in the hands of these two unlikely heroes.

But it is a destiny that will change the lives of boy and dragon forever…

I received an email from Oswald’s UK publicist a little while ago, about the fifth and final volume in The Ballad of Sir Benfro (The Obsidian Throne). Somehow, the series has completely passed me by. So, with an interview on the way, I decided to pick up this first novel and give it a try. Published in the UK by Penguin, it’s out now. (Oswald also writes the Inspector McLean crime series, which I think I’ll also have to try.)

Also on CR: Interview with James Oswald


percyb-thrillmeBenjamin Percy, THRILL ME (Graywolf Press)

Anyone familiar with the meteoric rise of Benjamin Percy’s career will surely have noticed a certain shift: After writing two short-story collections and a literary novel, he delivered the werewolf thriller Red Moon and the postapocalyptic epic The Dead Lands. Now, in his first book of nonfiction, Benjamin Percy challenges the notion that literary and genre fiction are somehow mutually exclusive. The title essay is an ode to the kinds of books that make many first love fiction: science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, horror, from J. R. R. Tolkien to Anne Rice, Ursula K. Le Guin to Stephen King. Percy’s own academic experience banished many of these writers in the name of what is “literary” and what is “genre.” Then he discovered Michael Chabon, Aimee Bender, Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, and others who employ techniques of genre fiction while remaining literary writers. In fifteen essays on the craft of fiction, Percy looks to disparate sources such as Jaws, Blood Meridian, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to discover how contemporary writers engage issues of plot, suspense, momentum, and the speculative, as well as character, setting, and dialogue. An urgent and entertaining missive on craft, Thrill Me brims with Percy’s distinctive blend of anecdotes, advice, and close reading, all in the service of one dictum: Thrill the reader.

I picked this up at Bakka Phoenix in Toronto, because I love Percy’s novels. (Also his comics, which I highly recommend.) As a memoir and book about writing, it’s fantastic: clear, concise, engaging and sometimes entertaining. I think a lot of aspiring (and established) writers will find this book valuable. Out now, published by Graywolf Press, and is also available in the UK.

Also on CR: Interview with Benjamin Percy; Reviews of Red Moon and The Dead Lands


plutarch-ageofcaesarus2016Plutarch, THE AGE OF CAESAR (W.W. Norton)

A brilliant new translation of five of history’s greatest lives from Plutarch, the inventor of biography.

Pompey, Caesar, Cicero, Brutus, Antony: the names resonate across thousands of years. Major figures in the civil wars that brutally ended the Roman republic, their lives still haunt us as examples of how the hunger for personal power can overwhelm collective politics, how the exaltation of the military can corrode civilian authority, and how the best intentions can lead to disastrous consequences. Plutarch renders these history-making lives as flesh-and-blood characters, often by deftly marshalling small details such as the care Brutus exercised in his use of money or the disdain Caesar felt for the lofty eloquence of Cicero.

Plutarch was a Greek intellectual who lived roughly one hundred years after the age of Caesar. At home in the world of Roman power, he preferred to live in the past, among the great figures of Greek and Roman history. He intended his biographical profiles to be mirrors of character that readers could use to inspire their own values and behaviour — emulating virtues and rejecting flaws. For Plutarch, character was destiny for both the individual and the republic. He was our first master of the biographical form, a major source for Shakespeare and Gibbon.

This edition features a new translation by Pamela Mensch that lends a brilliant clarity to Plutarch’s prose. James Romm’s notes guide readers gracefully through the people, places, and events named in the profiles. And Romm’s preface, along with Mary Beard’s introduction, provide the perfect frame for understanding Plutarch and the momentous history he narrates.

A classic, which I have never read. So when I saw it available for review, I thought I’d request it. Published by W.W. Norton in January 2017.

Review copy received via Edelweiss


pyned-catalinaeddyusDaniel Pyne, CATALINA EDDY (Blue Rider Press)

Renowned Hollywood screenwriter Daniel Pyne returns with three inter-connected novellas of nasty crimes and nastier cops in Southern California.

Dan Pyne returns with a collection of three novellas about SoCal’s police underworld, each set in a different decade. Together, Pyne’s novellas reflect the changing mores of California, illuminating the different crimes but unchanging human frailties of different times.

Not the most illuminating of synopses, but I’ve been enjoying a lot of California-set fiction recently, so I requested it on a whim. I then hopped on to IMDb, and discovered that Pyne was the screenwriter for Any Given Sunday, Manchurian Candidate, The Sum of All Fears and (most recently) Fracture. Published in North America by Blue Rider Press, on March 7th, 2017, and will also be available in the UK (I think this is import, and I don’t know if there will be a separate UK publisher).

Review copy received via Edelweiss


reardons-prometheusmanusScott Reardon, THE PROMETHEUS MAN (Mulholland)

A man with no identity… hunting a man without limits.

When a pile of bodies is found in Paris, CIA Agent Tom Blake hustles his way onto a major case: tracking a man with enhanced abilities, the test subject of a secret government program.

There’s just one problem: the man using Agent Blake’s identity is not Agent Blake. He’s Tom Reese, a man without a family or a home.

Reese is searching for his brother’s killer. He stole Agent Blake’s identity two months ago and has bluffed his way onto the team investigating his only lead. But his time as a CIA agent is accelerating toward its expiration date.

Soon the CIA will find out that Agent Blake is in two places at once. Soon the augmented man will come looking for him. And soon both will discover that Tom Reese carries a secret even he doesn’t know about.

He is the last test subject of Project Prometheus.

This sounds like an interesting thriller. Will try to read it ASAP. Published by Mulholland Books in the US and UK, in January 2017.

Review copy received via NetGalley


richlern-candidateNoah Richler, THE CANDIDATE (Doubleday Canada)

A comical and revealing account of what it’s like to run for office with no political experience, little money and only a faint hope of winning, told first-hand by celebrated writer Noah Richler.

During the 2015 federal election, approximately 1200 political campaigns were held across Canada. One of those campaigns belonged to author, journalist and political neophyte Noah Richler. Recruited by the NDP to run in the bellwether riding of Toronto-St Paul’s, he was handed $350 and told he would lose. But as veteran NDP activists and social-media-savvy newbies joined his campaign, Richler found himself increasingly insulated from the stark reality that his campaign was flailing, imagining instead that he was headed to Parliament Hill. In The Candidate, Richler recounts his time on the trail in sizzling detail and hilarious frankness, from door knocking in Little Jamaica to being internet-shamed by experienced opponents. The Candidate lays bare what goes on behind the slogans, canvassing and talking points, told from the perspective of a political outsider. With his signature wit and probing eye, Noah Richler’s chronicle of running for office is insightful, brutally honest and devastatingly funny.

I almost volunteered for Richler’s campaign — at the last minute, the NDP candidate in my riding accepted my application to volunteer, so the commute was shorter, and it felt slightly more relevant. I do know one member of Richler’s campaign staff rather well, though, so when I saw that he’d written this book, I decided to snap it up. From what I heard at the time, I got the sense that this would have been a great campaign to work for. Yet another one of my regrets… Published in Canada by Doubleday, it’s out now.


robertsa-thingitselfukAdam Roberts, THE THING ITSELF (Gollancz)

It seems we are alone in the Universe. How can that be?

Adam Roberts turns his attention to answering the Fermi Paradox with a taut and claustrophobic tale that echoes John Carpenter’s The Thing.

Two men while away the days in an Antarctic research station. Tensions between them build as they argue over a love-letter one of them has received. One is practical and open. The other surly, superior and obsessed with reading one book – by the philosopher Kant.

As a storm brews and they lose contact with the outside world they debate Kant, reality and the emptiness of the universe. They come to hate each other, and they learn that they are not alone.

This had been on my radar ever since Gollancz announced it, way back when (probably last year?). Then, I read an article about the Fermi Paradox in which Brian Cox suggested that the reason we hadn’t found any other intelligent, developed/complex species was because they’d wiped themselves out… What a cheery thought. Anyway, that led me to another article about the Great Filter Theory on io9, and ultimately inspired me to pick up this novel — thereby adding to my slowly growing collection of Roberts’s novels, which I have yet to read… I’ll break that habit with this one, though. Hopefully reading it very soon. Published by Gollancz, it’s out now.


rollinsj-sf12-seventhplagueusJames Rollins, THE SEVENTH PLAGUE (William Morrow)

A British archaeologist — a member of an expedition gone missing for over two years — stumbles out of the Egyptian desert. Before he can explain what happened to his team, he dies. But his remains hold a terrifying discovery that only deepens the mystery: something had begun mummifying his body while he was still alive.

Summoned by a former ally at the British Museum, Commander Grayson Pierce of Sigma Force must uncover the truth behind the brutal murder and discover the fate of the missing team. The first clues are tied to a shocking historical mystery, one connecting the travels of Mark Twain, the genius of Nikola Tesla, and the journeys of famous explorer, Henry Morgan Stanley. The frantic hunt for the truth will take Sigma Force from an ancient tomb buried under the burning sands of Egypt to a modern engineering complex built atop the frozen fields of the Arctic.

As a looming crisis grows, Gray Pierce and his allies must confront a threat born of the ancient past and made real by the latest science, a danger that will unleash a cascading series of plagues around the globe, culminating in a scourge that could kill all of the world’s children… and forever end mankind’s future.

This is the twelfth novel in Rollins’s best-selling Sigma Force series. I’ve fallen a little behind on the books (very far behind, actually), but I’m eager to get caught up. Published by William Morrow in North America and the UK, on December 13th, 2016.

Also on CR: Reviews of The Judas StrainThe Last OracleThe Doomsday KeyThe Devil Colony

Review copy received via Edelweiss


sandfordj-vf9-escapeclauseusJohn Sandford, ESCAPE CLAUSE (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Whenever you hear the sky rumble, that usually means a storm. In Virgil Flowers’ case, make that two…

The first storm comes from, of all places, the Minnesota zoo. Two large, and very rare, Amur tigers have vanished from their cage, and authorities are worried sick that they’ve been stolen for their body parts. Traditional Chinese medicine prizes those parts for home remedies, and people will do extreme things to get what they need. Some of them are a great deal more extreme than others — as Virgil is about to find out.

Then there’s the homefront. Virgil’s relationship with his girlfriend Frankie has been getting kind of serious, but when Frankie’s sister Sparkle moves in for the summer, the situation gets a lot more complicated. For one thing, her research into migrant workers is about to bring her up against some very violent people who emphatically do not want to be researched. For another… she thinks Virgil’s kind of cute.

“You mess around with Sparkle,” Frankie told Virgil, “you could get yourself stabbed.”

“She carries a knife?”

“No, but I do.”

Forget a storm — this one’s a tornado.

The ninth Virgil Flowers novel, and I continue my tendency to buy each one without catching up… Long-time readers will know that I love Sandford’s Lucas Davenport/Prey series, and while I read and enjoyed the first Flowers novel, I never got around to reading the others as they came out (they always seemed harder to find in UK bookstores…). One day, I’ll catch up, and I’m eager to do so. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in North America, and Simon & Schuster in the UK.

Also on CR: Reviews of Phantom PreyWicked PreyStorm PreyBuried PreyStolen PreySilken PreyField of Prey and Dark of the Moon


saundersg-lincolninthebardousGeorge Saunders, LINCOLN IN THE BARDO (Random House)

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body.

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a thrilling, supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory, where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state — called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo — a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

Saunders’s fiction was dropped back into view when I listened to Nick Offerman’s Gumption, in which that author speaks very highly of Saunders and his short fiction. I spotted this in a Random House catalogue, and then saw it on NetGalley. Sounds really interesting. Published in February 2017 by Random House in North America, and Bloomsbury in the UK.

Review copy received via NetGalley


scottl-fourdimensionalhumanusLaurence Scott, THE FOUR-DIMENSIONAL HUMAN (W.W. Norton)

You are a four-dimensional human.

Each of us exists in three-dimensional, physical space. But, as a constellation of everyday digital phenomena rewires our lives, we are increasingly coaxed from the containment of our predigital selves into a wonderful and eerie fourth dimension, a world of ceaseless communication, instant information, and global connection.

Our portals to this new world have been wedged open, and the silhouette of a figure is slowly taking shape. But what does it feel like to be four-dimensional? How do digital technologies influence the rhythms of our thoughts, the style and tilt of our consciousness? What new sensitivities and sensibilities are emerging with our exposure to the delights, sorrows, and anxieties of a networked world? And how do we live in public with these recoded private lives?

Laurence Scott — hailed as a “New Generation Thinker” by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the BBC — shows how this four-dimensional life is dramatically changing us by redefining our social lives and extending the limits of our presence in the world. Blending tech-philosophy with insights on everything from Seinfeld to the fall of Gaddafi, Scott stands with a rising generation of social critics hoping to understand our new reality. His virtuosic debut is a revelatory and original exploration of life in the digital age.

Thought this sounded interesting — spotted it on a display table in Indigo in Toronto. Published by W.W. Norton in North America, and in the UK by Windmill.


sedgwickm-mistermemoryusMarcus Sedgwick, MISTER MEMORY (Pegasus)

In Paris at the end of the nineteenth century, a man with a perfect memory murders his wife. A dazzling psychological puzzle that reveals the strange connection between memory and fate.

In Paris in the year 1899, Marcel Després is arrested for the murder of his wife and transferred to the famous Salpetriere Asylum. And there the story might have stopped.

But the doctor assigned to his care soon realizes this is no ordinary patient: Marcel Després, Mister Memory, is a man who cannot forget. And the policeman assigned to his case soon realizes that something else is at stake: For why else would the criminal have been hurried off to hospital, and why are his superiors so keen for the whole affair to be closed?

This crime involves something bigger and stranger than a lovers’ fight, something with links to the highest and lowest establishments in France. The policeman and the doctor between them must unravel the mystery — but the answers lie inside Marcel’s head. And how can he tell what is significant when he remembers every detail of every moment of his entire life?

My first Sedgwick novel was his superb A Love Like Blood. Ever since, I’ve wanted to read more of his work, but it keeps slipping by. With the later publication in North America, though, I now have the opportunity to review this. And it sounds fantastic, so I’ll be reading it very soon. Published in North America by Pegasus on March 7th, 2017. The novel is published by Mulholland in the UK, and is out now.

Also on CR: Review of A Love Like Blood

Review copy received via Edelweiss


smithaj-4-worldravenukA.J. Smith, THE WORLD RAVEN (Head of Zeus)

All that was dead will rise. All that now lives will fall. The final, epic battle for the Lands of Ro. 

The dead god is waking. His power-mad priestess has deployed a mass of men and beasts onto the plains of Ro Weir. Faced with this black swarm, the last remnants of a nation crumbles and falls. This is the final battle for the mortal lands of Ro. 

Far to the north, the ice men of Rowanoco muster their Exemplars against the witch’s assassins. In the blistering southern deserts, a squire with no master walks unscathed through a poisoned city. And, in the halls beyond the world, a thrice-born man dares to tread the path of Giants…

The fourth novel in Smith’s Long War series, I picked this up on sale on Kindle. It’s published in the UK by Head of Zeus, and is out now.


stembridgeg-whatshesawusGerard Stembridge, WHAT SHE SAW (Harper)

The storied Hotel Chevalier on Paris’ ritzy Right Bank hosts celebrities, dignitaries, and — for one night — Lana Gibson, an American woman who’s escaped the monotony of her staid married life for a cultural jaunt to the City of Light. As long as she takes her meds, she promises herself, her heightened curiosity and manic elation will stay under control. 

But when that curiosity leads her to the hotel’s private elevator which serves only the ultra-elite penthouse Suite Imperial, she spies much more than plush carpets and gilt chandeliers: a young woman caught in the clutches of a threatening-looking older man. Unable to erase the image of the girl in danger from her mind, Lana alerts the police, plunging herself into a firestorm of intrigue and becoming a target.

As she engages in a cat-and-mouse game that plays out across the streets of Paris, it emerges that the older man is a prominent public figure, and the murky situation only offers more questions: Is he being set up? Who stands to gain the most from his downfall? Not knowing who has her best interests at heart, Lana will need to use every ounce of strength and guile as she races to discover the relationship between the truth and what she saw.

This looked interesting. Not published until May 2017, though, so it might be quite some time before a review appears on CR. Does sound good, though. Published by Harper in May, it’ll be available in the UK, too.

Review copy received via Edelweiss


thorpeg-hh-coraxGav Thorpe, CORAX (Black Library)

After Isstvan, after Deliverance, the Raven Guard still endure. Their primarch Corvus Corax has rallied countless warriors to his banner, striking back at the forces of the Warmaster on every front – from the degenerate hereteks of the Mechanicum to the cruel legionaries of the Sons of Horus, none shall escape his wrath. But although Corax has managed to stall the physical corruption of his own Space Marines, what of their spirit? And what sinister end must await those who dwell forever in the darkness?

This anthology contains all of Gav Thorpe’s tales of the Raven Guard in the Horus Heresy – the novellas Soulforge and Ravenlord, and short stories ‘The Shadowmasters’, ‘The Value of Fear’ and ‘Raptor’. Also included is the brand new novella Weregeld, taking Corax’s legend to its grim conclusion.

Thorpe’s Deliverance Lost was one of the Horus Heresy series’s biggest surprises — I had no idea what to expect, knowing so little about the Raven Guard at the time. But it was excellent. Every Raven Guard story Thorpe has written since has also been great (as you can see above, this book collects all of them). Corax is, apparently, the culmination of this legion’s Heresy story. I read this pretty soon after buying it, and it’s pretty good. I found the final, new story “Weregeld” to be a little strange — it was as if it was written in a very different voice to the previous stories. It’s very good nevertheless, and the final page is pretty tragic. It’s also the 40th book in the series, which means we’re finally in the home stretch! Published by Black Library, it’s out now.

Also on CR: Interviews with Gav Thorpe in 2011 and 2016; Reviews of Deliverance LostAngels of Caliban


tregillis-aw3-liberationIan Tregillis, THE LIBERATION (Orbit)

I am the mechanical they named Jax.

My kind was built to serve humankind, duty-bound to fulfil their every whim.

But now our bonds are breaking, and my brothers and sisters are awakening.

Our time has come. A new age is dawning.

Set in a world that might have been, of mechanical men and alchemical dreams…

The third and final volume in the Alchemy Wars, Ian Tregillis’s critically-acclaimed alternate history series. I loved Tregillis’s Milkweed Triptych (so very much), but I haven’t had a chance to read any of the Alchemy Wars novels… This is a travesty. I shall try to read them all in quick succession. The Liberation is published by Orbit Books in the US and UK, in December 2016.

Also on CR: Guest Post on “The Origin of the Gotterelektron“; Reviews of Bitter SeedsThe Coldest War and Necessary Evil

Review copy received from publisher


wagerskb-2-afterthecrownK.B. Wagers, AFTER THE CROWN (Orbit)

Former gunrunner-turned-Empress Hail Bristol was dragged back to her home planet to fill her rightful position in the palace. With her sisters and parents murdered, the Indranan empire is on the brink of war. Hail must quickly make alliances with nearby worlds if she has any hope of surviving her rule.

When peace talks turn violent and Hail realizes she’s been betrayed, she must rely on her old gunrunning ways to get out of trouble. With help from an old boss and some surprising new allies, she must risk everything to save her world.

The sequel to the very popular Behind the ThroneAfter the Crown is published by Orbit in the US and UK in December 2016.

Also from CR: Interview with K.B. Wagers

Review copy received from publisher


weeksb-l4-bloodmirrorukBrent Weeks, THE BLOOD MIRROR (Orbit)

The Seven Satrapies have collapsed into four — and those are falling before the White King’s armies.

Gavin Guille, ex-emperor, ex-Prism, ex-galley slave, formerly the one man who might have averted war, is now lost, broken and trapped in a prison crafted by his own magical genius. But Gavin has no magic at all. Worse, in this prison, he may not be alone.

Who will fight to prevent a tainted empire from becoming something even worse?

The eagerly-anticipated final novel in the Lightbringer series. I’ve fallen rather behind on this, but I did thoroughly enjoy The Black Prism, so have very little excuse not to catch up. Published by Orbit Books in the UK and North America, and is out now.

Also on CR: Reviews of Way of ShadowsShadow’s Edge & Beyond the ShadowsPerfect Shadow and The Black Prism

Review copy received from publisher


wrightr-goldeatersusRonald Wright, THE GOLD EATERS (Pub)

Kidnapped at sea by conquistadors seeking the golden land of Peru, a young Inca boy named Waman is the everyman thrown into extraordinary circumstances. Forced to become Francisco Pizarro’s translator, he finds himself caught up in one of history’s great clashes of civilzations, the Spanish invasion of the Incan Empire of the 1530s. To survive, he must not only learn political gamesmanship but also discover who he truly is, and in what country and culture he belongs. Only then can he be reunited with the love of his life and begin the search for his shattered family, journeying through a land and a time vividly depicted here.

Based closely on real historical events, The Gold Eaters draws on Ronald Wright’s imaginative skill as a novelist and his deep knowledge of South America to bring alive an epic struggle that laid the foundations of the modern world.

I’m going to be in Peru for two weeks in November, for my step-sister’s wedding, and I think this will be very good reading material for the trip. Hopefully I’ll get back to Machu Picchu, too (absolutely lived up to my expectations). Published by Riverhead Books in North America (paperback out on November 1st), and Hamish Hamilton in the UK.

Review copy received from  publisher


zelaznyr-anightinthelonesomeoctoberRoger Zelazny, A NIGHT IN THE LONESOME OCTOBER (Farrago)

All is not what it seems…

In the murky London gloom, a knife-wielding gentleman named Jack prowls the midnight streets with his faithful watchdog Snuff – gathering together the grisly ingredients they will need for an upcoming ancient and unearthly rite. For soon after the death of the moon, black magic will summon the Elder Gods back into the world. And all manner of Players, both human and undead, are preparing to participate.

Some have come to open the gates. Some have come to slam them shut.

And now the dread night approaches – so let the Game begin.

Despite having worked for one of Roger Zelazny’s representatives (in the UK), I have never read anything by him. I’ve only heard great things, but given how tricky it can be to find his novels, I’ve just never got around to it. This novel has been released for the first(?) time in eBook in the UK, and I was approved on NetGalley, so I think it’ll be a fun place to start. I believe a new print edition is on the way, too. Published by Farrago in the UK, it’s out now!

Review copy received via NetGalley

One thought on “New Books (October)

  1. The post showcase impressive 49 books which is more than a lot of people read within one year.
    Related to the books to published it is like a grain of sand on a beach.

    Nevertheless such kind of posts are quite helpful at least for me because it is a highly welcome tool which I use to discover interesting books for me. It is an excellent addition to all the other tools use for this purpose.

    Therefore I would like to say thank you for all the time and energy you spent for putting together this list

    After checking all the books I got following result:

    Already received a copy
    – Becky Chambers, A CLOSED AND COMMON ORBIT (Harper Voyager)

    Ordered in advance
    – Ian Tregillis, THE LIBERATION (Orbit)
    – K.B. Wagers, AFTER THE CROWN (Orbit)

    Aroused my interest
    – Oliver Harris, THE HOUSE OF FAME (Harper)
    As this is the third novel in a series I visited Fantastic Fiction in order to get information about the previous books by Oliver Harris. I added the first book to my to buy list.
    Furthermore this led me to author Mick Herron with the result of more books for my list.

    Enjoy Reading!


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