A selection of anticipated novels from Orion Books (and imprints).
Featuring: Joe Abercrombie, Dan Abnett, Mark Alder, Brad Beaulieu, Ezekiel Boone, C. Robert Cargill, Steve Cavanagh, Mason Cross, Aliette de Bodard, R.J. Ellory, Emily Fridlund, John Hornor Jacobs, Ursula K. le Guin, Ian McDonald, Andrew Pyper, Alastair Reynolds, Simon Wroe
Joe Abercrombie, SHARP ENDS (Gollancz)
A collection of short stories from The First Law universe
The Union army may be full of bastards, but there’s only one who thinks he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.
Curnden Craw and his dozen are out to recover a mysterious item from beyond the Crinna. Only one small problem: no one seems to know what the item is.
Shevedieh, the self-styled best thief in Styria, lurches from disaster to catastrophe alongside her best friend and greatest enemy, Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp.
And after years of bloodshed, the idealistic chieftain Bethod is desperate to bring peace to the North. There’s only one obstacle left – his own lunatic champion, the most feared man in the North: the Bloody-Nine…
Sharp Ends combines previously published, award-winning tales with exclusive new short stories. Violence explodes, treachery abounds, and the words are as deadly as the weapons in this rogue’s gallery of side-shows, back-stories, and sharp endings from the world of the First Law.
When it comes to Abercrombie’s novels, I have so much catching up to do… I loved the First Law trilogy (especially the middle volume, Before They Are Hanged), but for some reason I haven’t managed to get around to the second trilogy of standalone novels. The paperback edition of Sharp Ends is published in the UK by Gollancz on February 9th; it’s published in the US by Orbit.
Dan Abnett, THE WIELD (Gollancz, Apr.20)
The story of an ancient and elite order of warriors, the Wield, the most feared and respected soldiers of their world. He charts their attempts to understand the ancient myths of “an Old Enemy” that led to their foundation, and the war they must fight when they inadvertently reawaken a dark and inhumanly terrible adversary…
The Wield is both the name of a military culture and the part of the country they inhabit.
The Wield faces a larger continent from which many threats have come over the years. It is a buffer state, a bastion. Though independent, the folk of the Wield owe fealty to the civilized states and fiefdoms that exist to the north of them. They are the watchmen at the gates, holding and defending the island nation’s historical flashpoint of invasion and threat.
According to legend, the Wield was forged centuries before to defend the land against a monstrous evil that came from the larger continent. This ancient evil was so mythically awful, so supernatural, that no one is allowed to know (or remember) much about it.
But now a new recruit to the Wield is about to unwittingly release this ancient evil back into the world.
I’ve been reading Abnett’s work for decades. So, a new novel? Absolutely interested. Published in the UK by Gollancz.
Also on CR: Interview with Dan Abnett (2011, with Nik Vincent); Reviews of Horus Rising, Prospero Burns, Know No Fear, The Unremembered Empire, Armour of Contempt, Only In Death, Blood Pact and Embedded
Mark Alder, SON OF THE NIGHT (Gollancz, Aug.17)
The history of the 100 years war into France as the war between Heaven and Hell swallows up the ambitions of both the French and English crowns.
As the armies mass around Crecy the rivalries between Lucifer, Satan and God become ever deeper and more violent. Combining a cast of larger than life (yet real) characters and a truthful, deeply researched take on the religious beliefs of the time Mark Alder is embarked on a truly unique historical fantasy that will ensure you never see the 100 Years War and the history of medieval Europe in the same way again.
Brad Beaulieu, BLOOD UPON THE SAND (Gollancz)
Çeda, an elite warrior in service to the kings of Sharakhai, is learning their secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further their rule. She has already uncovered the dark history of the asirim, but it’s only when she bonds with them, chaining them to her will, that she feels their pain as her own. They hunger for release, they demand it, but their chains were forged by the gods themselves and are proving unbreakable.
Çeda could become the champion the enslaved asirim have been waiting for, but the need to tread carefully has never been greater. The kings are hungry for blood, scouring the city in a ruthless quest for revenge, while Çeda’s friend Emre and his new allies in the Moonless Host are laying plans to take advantage of the unrest in Sharakhai, and strike a major blow against the kings and their god-given powers.
The shifting tides of power are fickle and dangerous, though. The Kings and the Moonless Host have their own agendas, as does the dangerous blood mage Hamzakiir, whose plotting uncovers a devastating secret that could shatter the power of the hated kings. But it may all be undone if Çeda cannot learn to control the growing anger of the asirim that threatens to overwhelm her…
Beaulieu’s third book in the Songs of the Shattered Sands series. Published in the UK by Gollancz, and in the US by Ace Books.
Also on CR: Interviews with Brad Beaulieu 2011 and 2016 (with Rob Ziegler); Guest Posts on “The Ties That Bind”, “On Co-Authoring Strata“ (with Stephen Gaskell); Excerpt of Twelve Kings; Reviews of The Winds of Khalakovo, Twelve Kings, Strata and The Burning Light
Ezekiel Boone, SKITTER (Gollancz, Apr.27)
The first wave of deadly spiders has been defeated. But worse is 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.
Every country must fight for itself.
I rather enjoyed Boone’s debut, The Hatching: it was an extremely fast-paced thriller. I already have an ARC for the follow-up, from Boone’s US publisher, Atria. Skitter is published in the UK on April 27th.
Also on CR: Review of The Hatching
C. Robert Cargill, SEA OF RUST (Gollancz, Sep.7)
A touching story of a search one robot’s search for the answers in a world where every human is dead.
It is thirty years since the humans lost their war with the artificial intelligences that were once their slaves. Not one human remains. But as the dust settled from our extinction there was no easy peace between the robots that survived. Instead, the two massively powerful artificially intelligent supercomputers that lead them to victory now vie for control of the bots that remain, assimilating them into enormous networks called One World Intelligences (OWIs), absorbing their memories and turning them into mere extensions of the whole. Now the remaining freebots wander wastelands that were once warzones, picking the carcasses of the lost for the precious dwindling supply of parts they need to survive.
BRITTLE started out his life playing nurse to a dying man, purchased in truth instead to look after the man’s widow upon his death. But then war came and Brittle was forced to choose between the woman he swore to protect and potential oblivion at the hands of rising anti-AI sentiment. Thirty years later, his choice still haunts him. Now he spends his days in the harshest of the wastelands, known as the Sea of Rust, cannibalizing the walking dead — robots only hours away from total shutdown — looking for parts to trade for those he needs to keep going.
I haven’t seen any mentions of this on social media, but I found it in the publisher’s catalogue (and then on Amazon). I think it sounds really interesting. Published by Gollancz in the UK, in September.
Steve Cavanagh, THE LIAR (Orion, May 18)
A MISSING CHILD
When wealthy businessman Leonard Howell’s daughter is kidnapped, the police jump on it straight away. But Howell knows this won’t be straightforward — he needs someone willing to break the rules.
A CRIMINAL LAWYER
Once a con artist, now a hotshot lawyer, Eddie Flynn’s learnt that fast talk and sleight of hand are just as important in the courtroom are they are on the street. Knowing what it’s like to lose a daughter, he’ll stop at nothing to save Howell’s.
A CORRUPT CASE
With a client on trial for his life, and the body count rising, Eddie Flynn is starting to fear that the whole thing was a set-up from the very beginning.
The only question is who is deadlier — the man who knows the truth, or the one who believes a lie?
This is Cavanagh’s third novel. I’ve only read his novella The Cross, which I rather enjoyed. I have also bought his first two Eddie Flynn novels: The Defence and The Plea. Published in the UK by Orion, and in the US by Flatiron Books.
Daniel Cole, RAGDOLL (Trapeze, Feb.23)
A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the ‘Ragdoll’. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.
The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them. With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?
This novel has been enjoying quite a lot of pre-publication hype. Hopefully it will live up to expectations (I already have an ARC). Published in the UK by Trapeze, and in the US by Ecco.
Follow the Author: Goodreads
Mason Cross, DON’T LOOK FOR ME (Orion, Apr.20)
Don’t look for me.
It was a simple instruction. And for six long years Carter Blake kept his word and didn’t search for the woman he once loved. But now someone else is looking for her.
He’ll come for you.
Trenton Gage is a hitman with a talent for finding people – dead or alive. His next job is to track down a woman who’s on the run, who is harbouring a secret many will kill for.
Both men are hunting the same person. The question is, who will find her first?
I really enjoyed Cross’s first three Carter Blake novels, and so I am very eager to get my hands on this new one. Highly recommended series. Don’t Look For Me is published in the UK by Orion. Cross’s novels are published in the US by Pegasus.
Aliette de Bodard, THE HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS (Gollancz, Apr.6)
As the city rebuilds from the onslaught of sorcery that nearly destroyed it, the great Houses of Paris, ruled by fallen angels, still contest one another for control over the capital.
House Silverspires was once the most powerful, but just as it sought to rise again, an ancient evil brought it low. Phillippe, an immortal who escaped the carnage, has a singular goal — to resurrect someone he lost. But the cost of such magic might be more than he can bear.
In House Hawthorn, Madeleine the alchemist has had her addiction to angel essence savagely broken. Struggling to live on, she is forced on a perilous diplomatic mission to the underwater dragon kingdom — and finds herself in the midst of intrigues that have already caused one previous emissary to mysteriously disappear…
As the Houses seek a peace more devastating than war, those caught between new fears and old hatreds must find strength — or fall prey to a magic that seeks to bind all to its will.
I enjoyed The House of Shattered Wings — especially the way de Bodard brought the atmosphere to life on the page. Great characters, story and description. Really looking forward to the second book. Published by Gollancz in the UK and Roc Books in the US.
R.J. Ellory, KINGS OF AMERICA (Orion, Mar.)
An epic new novel that will span the Golden Age of Hollywood, from the 1930s to the 1960s, and will include appearances from Raymond Chandler, William Faulkner, Mickey Cohen and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Fleeing to America following a terrible crime, Irish-born fighter, Danny McCabe, throws in his lot with Nicolas and Lucia Mariani, siblings who have emigrated from Corsica in search of their fortunes.
Adrift in the tough and unforgiving world of 1930s New York, they rely on Danny’s bareknuckle fighting skills to survive. While Nicolas is tempted ever deeper into the underworld, Lucia can think of little but her obsessive drive to succeed in Hollywood.
When Danny McCabe’s dreams of boxing stardom become a terrifying nightmare, fate compels them to escape westwards to Los Angeles. On the run, the trio are bound together by blood, by shared secrets, and finally by love, as Danny and Lucia embark upon an affair that is as profound as it is dangerous.
Nicolas, driven by greed, soon finds a welcome home in the dark world of corruption and vice that lies behind the glitzy facade of America’s city of dreams. Danny McCabe is desperate to bury the dark secret of his past, while Lucia is caught in the crossfire between her brother and the man she loves.
I like novels about Hollywood, so I’m pretty interested in reading this. I’ve only read one of Ellory’s other novels (but I can barely remember it), so I don’t really know what to expect from Kings of America. Published in the UK by Orion.
Emily Fridlund, HISTORY OF WOLVES (W&N, )
Even a lone wolf wants to belong…
Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in an ex-commune beside a lake in the beautiful, austere backwoods of northern Minnesota. The other girls at school call Linda ‘Freak’, or ‘Commie’. Her parents mostly leave her to her own devices, whilst the other inhabitants have grown up and moved on.
So when the perfect family — mother, father and their little boy, Paul — move into the cabin across the lake, Linda insinuates her way into the family’s orbit. She begins to babysit Paul and feels welcomes, that she finally has a place to belong.
Yet something isn’t right. Drawn into secrets she doesn’t understand, Linda must make a choice. But how can a girl with no real knowledge of the world understand what the consequences will be?
Follow the Author: Goodreads
John Hornor Jacobs, INFERNAL MACHINES (Gollancz, Jul.27)
The world is burning.
Rome is under attck. The Autumn Lords, rulers of the Tchinee empire, have had their true nature revealed. The Emperor descends into madness. And Fisk and Shoe — unlikely heroes, very likely mercenaries — must find their way to Fisk’s wife and child, who he has never seen.
There might be quite a lot in their way. A war, for one thing. But Livia is as determined as Fisk to be reunited. And Shoe may have a plan…
Also on CR: Review of The Incorruptibles
Ursula K. le Guin, THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS (Gollancz, Mar.9)
Genly Ai is an ethnologist observing the people of the planet Gethen, a world perpetually in winter. The people there are androgynous, normally neuter, but they can become male or female at the peak of their sexual cycle.
They seem to Genly Ai alien, unsophisticated and confusing. But he is drawn into the complex politics of the planet and, during a long, tortuous journey across the ice with a politician who has fallen from favour and has been outcast, he loses his professional detachment and reaches a painful understanding of the true nature of Gethenians and, in a moving and memorable sequence, even finds love…
A new SF Masterworks edition of the classic novel, published by Gollancz on March 9th.
Ian McDonald, LUNA: WOLF MOON (Gollancz, Mar.23)
Corta Helio, one of the five family corporations that rule the Moon, has fallen. Its riches are divided up among its many enemies, its survivors scattered. Eighteen months have passed.
The remaining Helio children, Lucasinho and Luna, are under the protection of the powerful Asamoahs, while Robson, still reeling from witnessing his parent’s violent deaths, is now a ward — virtually a hostage — of Mackenzie Metals. And the last appointed heir, Lucas, has vanished from the surface of the moon.
Only Lady Sun, dowager of Taiyang, suspects that Lucas Corta is not dead, and — more to the point — that he is still a major player in the game. After all, Lucas always was a schemer, and even in death, he would go to any lengths to take back everything and build a new Corta Helio, more powerful than before. But Corta Helio needs allies, and to find them, the fleeing son undertakes an audacious, impossible journey — to Earth.
In an unstable lunar environment, the shifting loyalties and political machinations of each family reach the zenith of their most fertile plots as outright war between the families erupts.
The sequel to the popular Luna: New Moon, which has been optioned by CBS. I haven’t had a chance to read the first one, but I think I’ll wait until I have the sequel to read them together. Originally planned as a duology, it’s been confirmed that McDonald has turned it into a trilogy. Published by Gollancz in the UK and Tor Books in the US.
Also on CR: Excerpt from King of Morning, Queen of Day
Andrew Pyper, THE ONLY CHILD (Orion, Jun.8)
As a forensic psychiatrist at New York’s leading institution of its kind, Dr. Lily Dominick has evaluated the mental states of some of the country’s most dangerous psychotics. But the strangely compelling client she interviewed today — a man with no name, accused of the most twisted crime — struck her as somehow different from the others, despite the two impossible claims he made.
First, that he is more than two hundred years old and personally inspired Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson and Bram Stoker in creating the three novels of the nineteenth-century that define the monstrous in the modern imagination. Second, that he’s Lily’s father. To discover the truth — behind her client, her mother’s death, herself — Dr. Dominick must embark on a journey that will threaten her career, her sanity, and ultimately her life.
I already have a review copy of this, from the author’s US publisher (). Orion will be publishing in the UK in June.
Alastair Reynolds, REVENGER (Gollancz, May 18)
A superb SF adventure set in the rubble of a ruined universe, this is a deep space heist story of kidnap, betrayal, alien artefacts and revenge.
The galaxy has seen great empires rise and fall. Planets have shattered and been remade. Amongst the ruins of alien civilisations, building our own from the rubble, humanity still thrives.
And there are vast fortunes to be made, if you know where to find them…
Captain Rackamore and his crew do. It’s their business to find the tiny, enigmatic worlds which have been hidden away, booby-trapped, surrounded with layers of protection — and to crack them open for the ancient relics and barely-remembered technologies inside. But while they ply their risky trade with integrity, not everyone is so scrupulous.
Adrana and Fura Ness are the newest members of Rackamore’s crew, signed on to save their family from bankruptcy. Only Rackamore has enemies, and there might be more waiting for them in space than adventure and fortune: the fabled and feared Bosa Sennen in particular.
Revenger is a science fiction adventure story set in the rubble of our solar system in the dark, distant future — a tale of space pirates, buried treasure and phantom weapons, of unspeakable hazards and single-minded heroism… and of vengeance…
Alastair Reynolds, SLOW BULLETS (Gollancz, Feb.19)
An interstellar adventure of war, identity, betrayal, and the preservation of civilization itself.
From the author of the Revelation Space series comes an interstellar adventure of war, identity, betrayal, and the preservation of civilization itself.
A vast conflict, one that has encompassed hundreds of worlds and solar systems, appears to be finally at an end. A conscripted soldier is beginning to consider her life after the war and the family she has left behind. But for Scur – and for humanity – peace is not to be.
On the brink of the ceasefire, Scur is captured by a renegade war criminal, and left for dead in the ruins of a bunker. She revives aboard a prisoner transport vessel. Something has gone terribly wrong with the ship.
Passengers — combatants from both sides of the war — are waking up from hibernation far too soon. Their memories, embedded in bullets, are the only links to a world which is no longer recognizable. And Scur will be reacquainted with her old enemy, but with much higher stakes than just her own life.
Simon Wroe, HERE COMES TROUBLE (W&N, Apr.20)
Set in a collapsing country — where larger-than-life characters make promises they can’t keep — it’s the perfect read for our strange, tumultuous times.
‘You wouldn’t get this sort of behaviour in better countries, Ellis felt. In his mind he saw the exquisite civilisation of an English city centre on a Saturday night. The calm Tudor pubs, with their motherly barmaids and folded newspapers on the counter, library-quiet save for the occasional clink as halves of ale met. Did such countries ever think about here? What did they see? What did their satellites among the stars report when looking down at this powerless little mess? Was it all just darkness to them?’
Ellis Dau dreams of the West — of London, New York and Ashford, Kent. But he is growing up in Kyrzbekistan, a secretive nation where revolution barely makes the news.
Following his expulsion from school, Ellis is sent to work with his father. His father is editor of The Chronicle, the last bastion of free speech in their strange, strange land. And it is under threat: from heavy-handed policemen, mysterious revolutionaries, and the resident Russian billionaire.
As Ellis navigates his collapsing, blacked-out city — and his feelings for the oligarch’s beautiful daughter — he realises that some things are worth fighting for. But can he save his family and the newspaper fuelled only by youth, grain spirit and unrequited love?
I remember spotting a number of praise-worthy Tweets about this novel, last year. After having a look, it does sound quite interesting. Looking forward to trying it. Published in the UK by Gollancz.