Quite the bumper-crop of new ARCs and purchased books pre-Christmas/New Year!
Featuring: Richard Baker, David Baldacci, Josiah Bancroft, Mirah Bolender, Sam Bourne, James Brabazon, Andy Clark, Jared Cohen, Greg Cox, Seth Dickinson, C.A. Fletcher, Mira Grant, Guy Haley (x2), Anthony Horowitz, Greg Iles, Emiko Jean, Katharine Duckett, Ann Leckie, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Karina Longworth, Katie Lowe, Lisa A. Nichols, Mallory O’Meara, Mahvesh Murad, Khurrum Rahman, Matthew Reilly, Alastair Reynolds, Nisi Shawl, Jared Shurin, Madeline Stevens, Tade Thompson, Lavie Tidhar, Nell Zink
Richard Baker, RESTLESS LIGHTNING (Tor)
Lieutenant Sikander North has avoided an outright court martial and finds himself assigned to a remote outpost in the crumbling, alien Tzoru Empire — where the navy sends trouble-makers to be forgotten. When Sikander finds himself in the middle of an alien uprising, he, once again, must do the impossible: smuggle an alien ambassador off-world, break a siege, and fight the irrational prejudice of his superior officers. The odds are against his success, and his choices could mean disgrace — or redemption.
This is the second novel in the Breaker of Empires series, and sequel to Valiant Dust, which I have but have yet to read. It sounds pretty interesting, so I hope to get to them both soon. Restless Lightning is published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK.
David Baldacci, LONG ROAD TO MERCY (Grand Central)
Introducing a remarkable new character: Atlee Pine, an FBI agent with special skills assigned to the remote wilds of the southwestern United States who must confront a new threat… and an old nightmare.
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Catch a tiger by its toe.
It’s seared into Atlee Pine’s memory: the kidnapper’s chilling rhyme as he chose between six-year-old Atlee and her twin sister, Mercy. Mercy was taken. Atlee was spared.
She never saw Mercy again.
Three decades after that terrifying night, Atlee Pine works for the FBI. She’s the lone agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, Arizona resident agency, which is responsible for protecting the Grand Canyon.
So when one of the Grand Canyon’s mules is found stabbed to death at the bottom of the canyon-and its rider missing-Pine is called in to investigate. It soon seems clear the lost tourist had something more clandestine than sightseeing in mind. But just as Pine begins to put together clues pointing to a terrifying plot, she’s abruptly called off the case.
If she disobeys direct orders by continuing to search for the missing man, it will mean the end of her career. But unless Pine keeps working the case and discovers the truth, it could spell the very end of democracy in America as we know it…
A new series from one of my favourite authors. I’ve let myself fall behind on Baldacci’s recent novels (I have three Amos Decker novels still to read, for example), but I hope to get caught up very soon. Long Road to Mercy is published in North America by Grand Central, and in the UK by Macmillan.
Josiah Bancroft, THE HOD KING (Orbit)
Thomas Senlin and his crew of outcasts have been separated, and now they must face the dangers of the labyrinthine tower on their own in this third book in the word-of-mouth phenomenon fantasy series.
Fearing an uprising, the Sphinx sends Senlin to investigate a plot that has taken hold in the ringdom of Pelphia. Alone in the city, Senlin infiltrates a bloody arena where hods battle for the public’s entertainment. But his investigation is quickly derailed by a gruesome crime and an unexpected reunion.
Posing as a noble lady and her handmaid, Voleta and Iren attempt to reach Marya, who is isolated by her fame. While navigating the court, Voleta attracts the unwanted attention of a powerful prince whose pursuit of her threatens their plan.
Edith, now captain of the Sphinx’s fierce flagship, joins forces with a fellow wakeman to investigate the disappearance of a beloved friend. She must decide who to trust as her desperate search brings her nearer to the Black Trail where the hods climb in darkness and whisper of the Hod King.
As Senlin and his crew become further dragged in to the conspiracies of the Tower, everything falls to one question: Who is The Hod King?
The third novel in Bancroft’s incredibly well-received Books of Babel fantasy series. I think it’s well-passed time that I sat down and read the books… The Hod King is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK on January 22nd, 2019.
Mirah Bolender, CITY OF BROKEN MAGIC (Tor)
Five hundred years ago, magi created a weapon they couldn’t control. An infestation that ate magic — and anything else it came into contact with. Enemies and allies were equally filling.
Only an elite team of non-magical humans, known as sweepers, can defuse and dispose of infestations before they spread. Most die before they finish training.
Laura, a new team member, has stayed alive longer than most. Now, she’s the last — and only — sweeper standing between the city and a massive infestation.
Sam Bourne, TO KILL THE TRUTH (Quercus)
Someone is trying to destroy the evidence of history’s greatest crimes.
Academics and Holocaust survivors dead in mysterious circumstances. Museums and libraries burning. Digital records and irreplaceable proofs, lost for ever.
Former White House operative Maggie Costello has sworn off politics. But when the Governor of Virginia seeks her help to stop the lethal spiral of killings, she knows that this is bigger than any political game.
As Black Lives Matter protestors clash with slavery deniers, America is on a knife-edge and time is running out. This deadly conspiracy could ignite a new Civil War – but who stands to gain most from the chaos?
This is the fourth novel to feature Maggie Costello, following The Last Testament, The Chosen One, and To Kill the President. I’ve only read the second novel (at the time, I wasn’t aware it was part of a series), and I’m looking forward to getting caught up. To Kill the Truth is due to be published in February 2019 by Quercus in the UK.
James Brabazon, THE BREAK LINE (Penguin)
Officially Max McLean doesn’t exist.
The British government denies all knowledge of the work he does on their behalf to keep us safe. But Max and his masters are losing faith in each other. And they give him one last chance to prove he’s still their man.
Sent to a military research facility to meet a former comrade-in-arms, Max finds the bravest man he ever knew locked up for his own protection. His friend lost his mind during an operation in West Africa. The reason? Absolute mortal terror.
Max is determined to find out why.
Ahead lies a perilous, breath taking mission into the unknown that will call into question everything that Max once believed in.
Acting alone, without back-up, Max lands in Sierra Leone with his friend’s last words ringing in his ears: “They’re coming, Max. They’re coming…”
I picked up this thriller when it was on sale. Think it sounds really good. I also have an interview with the author that will go up on the site in the not-too-distant future. The Break Line is out now in the UK by Penguin, and is due to be published in North America by Berkley on January 15th, 2019.
Andy Clark, BLACKTALON: FIRST MARK (Black Library)
In the perilous jungles just north of the great city of Hammerhal Aqsha, Chaos reigns. There, a powerful Tzeentchian wizard grows in disciples and in might as his maledictions leach all that is good from the land. It is Neave Blacktalon, first of Sigmar’s Knights-Zephyros, who must vanquish this foe. Yet the huntress soon realizes that even the glow of the Twin-Tailed City cannot protect her from the darkness. Blighted by terrible visions, she fears that her very spirit has been tainted. Blacktalon must choose whether to abandon her duty in the quest for a cure, or face the fearsome judgement of the Sacrosanct chamber.
I still haven’t dived all-in to Age of Sigmar. Mainly, this is due to a lack of time (there really were an inordinate number of amazing books published this past year…). However, I read and rather enjoyed Clark’s first Blacktalon story (the short story When Cornered), and decided to pick up the full-length novel. Blacktalon: First Mark is published by Black Library and is out now.
Jared Cohen, ACCIDENTAL PRESIDENTS (Simon & Schuster)
The strength and prestige of the American presidency has waxed and waned since George Washington. Accidental Presidents looks at eight men who came to the office without being elected to it. It demonstrates how the character of the man in that powerful seat affects the nation and world.
Eight men have succeeded to the presidency when the incumbent died in office. In one way or another they vastly changed our history. Only Theodore Roosevelt would have been elected in his own right. Only TR, Truman, and LBJ were re-elected.
John Tyler succeeded William Henry Harrison who died 30 days into his term. He was kicked out of his party and became the first president threatened with impeachment. Millard Fillmore succeeded esteemed General Zachary Taylor. He immediately sacked the entire cabinet and delayed an inevitable Civil War by standing with Henry Clay’s compromise of 1850. Chester Arthur, the embodiment of the spoils system, was so reviled as James Garfield’s successor that he had to defend himself against plotting Garfield’s assassination; but he reformed the civil service. Andrew Johnson, who succeeded our greatest president, sided with remnants of the Confederacy in Reconstruction. Theodore Roosevelt broke up the trusts. Calvin Coolidge silently cooled down the Harding scandals and preserved the White House for the Republican Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression. Truman surprised everybody when he succeeded the great FDR and proved an able and accomplished president. Lyndon B. Johnson was named to deliver Texas electorally. He led the nation forward on Civil Rights but failed on Vietnam.
Accidental Presidents adds immeasurably to our understanding of the power and limits of the American presidency in critical times.
I’ve been fascinated by the US presidency for a long time, now. I’ve read so much about the men who have held and shaped this office, and have always been intrigued by the forgotten and accidental presidents. This book, therefore, caught my attention. I’m really looking forward to reading it. Accidental Presidents is due to be published on April 9th, 2019, in North America by Simon & Schuster (and will be available in the UK).
Greg Cox, THE LIBRARIANS AND THE POT OF GOLD (Tor)
For millennia, the Librarians have secretly protected the world by keeping watch over dangerous magical relics. Cataloging and safeguarding everything from Excalibur to Pandora’s Box, they stand between humanity and those who would use the relics for evil.
Seth Dickinson, THE MONSTER BARU CORMORANT (Tor)
Her world was shattered by the Empire of Masks.
For the power to shatter the Masquerade,
She betrayed everyone she loved.
The traitor Baru Cormorant is now the cryptarch Agonist — a secret lord of the empire she’s vowed to destroy.
Hunted by a mutinous admiral, haunted by the wound which has split her mind in two, Baru leads her dearest foes on an expedition for the secret of immortality. It’s her chance to trigger a war that will consume the Masquerade.
But Baru’s heart is broken, and she fears she can no longer tell justice from revenge… or her own desires from the will of the man who remade her.
Katharine Duckett, MIRANDA IN MILAN (Tor.com)
A reimagining of the consequences of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, casting Miranda into a Milanese pit of vipers and building a queer love story that lifts off the page in whirlwinds of feeling.
After the tempest, after the reunion, after her father drowned his books, Miranda was meant to enter a brave new world. Naples awaited her, and Ferdinand, and a throne. Instead she finds herself in Milan, in her father’s castle, surrounded by hostile servants who treat her like a ghost. Whispers cling to her like spiderwebs, whispers that carry her dead mother’s name. And though he promised to give away his power, Milan is once again contorting around Prospero’s dark arts.
With only Dorothea, her sole companion and confidant to aid her, Miranda must cut through the mystery and find the truth about her father, her mother, and herself.
This has been getting a lot of pre-publication buzz. Really looking forward to giving it a try! (Although, I don’t know The Tempest very well, but hope I still ‘get’ this novella.) Miranda in Milan is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on March 26th, 2019.
C.A. Fletcher, A BOY AND HIS DOG AT THE END OF THE WORLD (Orbit)
When a beloved family dog is stolen, her owner sets out on a life-changing journey through the ruins of our world to bring her back…
My name’s Griz. My childhood wasn’t like yours. I’ve never had friends, and in my whole life I’ve not met enough people to play a game of football.
My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.
Then the thief came.
There may be no law left except what you make of it. But if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you.
Because if we aren’t loyal to the things we love, what’s the point?
This sounds like it could be good. There’s been a fair bit of pre-publication buzz, and Fletcher has a good track record in the past. A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK, in April 2019.
Guy Haley, TITAN DEATH (Black Library)
Horus’s armada gathers, and he has defeated all enemies sent against him, even the Emperor’s own executioner. One barrier remains before he can strike for Terra and lay waste to the Emperor’s dream.
The Beta-Garmon system occupies the most direct and only viable route to the Solar System and Terra. To break it, Horus assembles a war host of incredible proportions and Titans in untold numbers. To lose here is to lose the war and Horus has no intention of turning back. But the Imperium understands the importance of Beta-Garmon too. A massive army is arrayed, comprised of near numberless Army cohorts and a mustering of Titans to challenge even the martial might of the Warmaster.
Titans fight against Titans as the God-Machines of Loyalists and Traitors alike go to war. This conflict will be like no other before it, a world-ending battle that will determine the next phase of the war.
The 53rd novel in the Horus Heresy series! I think there might only one left (out in February), before the Siege of Terra series begins sometimes next year. Titan Death is published by Black Library and is out now.
Guy Haley, CORAX: LORD OF SHADOWS (Black Library)
During the Great Crusade, it falls to the primarch Corax of the Raven Guard to humble the immense void-cities of the Carinae. Determined to bring these worlds into compliance, he unleashes the might of his Legion and a massive war host of the Imperial Army. But the lords of Carinae are well defended and without remorse.
At the height of the conflict, at the void-city of Zenith, a dread bio-weapon from an ancient time is unleashed. At once, the Imperial force is brought to its knees, as allies are turned against each other and the Raven Guard left to face almost insurmountable odds. As the campaign teeters on the brink of failure, Corax’s desire for vengeance is severely tested against the need for a swift and certain resolution to the war.
The tenth book in the Horus Heresy: Primarchs series. Corax is one of the Primarchs that was very underserved pre-Heresy fiction series, and I must say I’ve very much enjoyed how the character’s shaped up. Most of Corax’s story has been told/written by Gav Thorpe, but I was really looking forward to seeing Haley’s take on the character. As it turned out, I enjoyed it. The short novel (I read it in a day) is certainly interesting, and offers a lot of insight into Corax and his relationship with his brothers (especially Guilliman). I’ll get a full review up soon. Corax is published by Black Library: out now as a Limited Edition, and is due for wider release in February 2019.
Anthony Horowitz, THE SENTENCE IS DEATH (Harper)
Death, deception, and a detective with quite a lot to hide stalk the pages of Anthony Horowitz’s brilliant murder mystery, the second in the bestselling series starring Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne.
“You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late…”
These, heard over the phone, were the last recorded words of successful celebrity-divorce lawyer Richard Pryce, found bludgeoned to death in his bachelor pad with a bottle of wine — a 1982 Chateau Lafite worth £3,000, to be precise.
Odd, considering he didn’t drink. Why this bottle? And why those words? And why was a three-digit number painted on the wall by the killer? And, most importantly, which of the man’s many, many enemies did the deed?
Baffled, the police are forced to bring in Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, the author Anthony, who’s really getting rather good at this murder investigation business.
But as Hawthorne takes on the case with characteristic relish, it becomes clear that he, too, has secrets to hide. As our reluctant narrator becomes ever more embroiled in the case, he realizes that these secrets must be exposed — even at the risk of death…
This is the second novel in Horowitz’s Detective Daniel Hawthorne series, following The Word is Murder. I haven’t had the chance to read the first one, yet, but I do have it. Hopefully I’ll read them both together in the very near future. The Sentence is Death is published by Harper in North America and Century in the UK.
Greg Iles, CEMETERY ROAD (William Morrow)
When Marshall McEwan left his hometown at age eighteen, he vowed never to return. The trauma that drove him away ultimately spurred him to become one of the most successful journalists in Washington D.C. But just as the political chaos in the nation’s capital lifts him to new heights, Marshall is forced to return home in spite of his boyhood vow.
His father is dying, his mother is struggling to keep the family newspaper from failing, and the town is in the midst of an economic rebirth that might be built upon crimes that reach into the state capitol—and perhaps even to Washington. More disturbing still, Marshall’s high school sweetheart, Jet, has married into the family of Max Matheson, patriarch of one of the families that rule Bienville through a shadow organization called the Bienville Poker Club.
When archeologist Buck McKibben is murdered at a construction site, Bienville is thrown into chaos. The ensuing homicide investigation is soon derailed by a second crime that rocks the community to its core. Power broker Max Matheson’s wife has been shot dead in her own bed, and the only other person in it at the time was her husband, Max. Stranger still, Max demands that his daughter-on-law, Jet, defend him in court.
As a journalist, Marshall knows all too well how the corrosive power of money and politics can sabotage investigations. Without telling a soul, he joins forces with Jet, who has lived for fifteen years at the heart of Max Matheson’s family, and begins digging into both murders. With Jet walking the dangerous road of an inside informer, they soon uncover a web of criminal schemes that undergird the town’s recent success. But these crimes pale in comparison to the secret at the heart of the Matheson family. When those who have remained silent for years dare to speak to Marshall, pressure begins to build like water against a crumbling dam.
Marshall loses friends, family members, and finally even Jet, for no one in Bienville seems willing to endure the reckoning that the Poker Club has long deserved. And by the time Marshall grasps the long-buried truth, he would give almost anything not to have to face it.
I’m a fan of Greg Iles’s novels — true, I haven’t read many of them, but those I have read have all been pretty fantastic (not to mention substantial). Cemetery Road is a stand-alone, I think, but set in the same region as his other Natchez fiction. Cemetery Road is due to be published on March 5th, 2019, by William Morrow (North America) and Harper Collins (UK).
Emiko Jean, EMPRESS OF ALL SEASONS (Gollancz)
How far will one girl go to become empress…?
In a deadly tournament to become empress, any may enter but only one will survive, and one competitor doesn’t just plan to win, she’s going to steal the Emperor’s fortune…
In each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, and you can marry the prince. All are eligible to compete — all except yokai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.
Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yokai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yokai outcast.
Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku.
Ann Leckie, THE RAVEN TOWER (Orbit)
Gods meddle in the fates of men, men play with the fates of gods, and a pretender must be cast down from the throne…
For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven. He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven’s Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained via the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven’s watch, the city flourishes.
But the power of the Raven is weakening. A usurper has claimed the throne. The kingdom borders are tested by invaders who long for the prosperity that Vastai boasts. And they have made their own alliances with other gods.
It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo — aide to Mawat, the true Lease — arrives. And in seeking to help Mawat reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven’s Tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself… and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever.
The new, stand-alone fantasy novel from the multi-award winning author of the Imperial Radch trilogy. I’m really looking forward to reading this. The Raven Tower is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK.
John Ajvide Lindqvist, I AM BEHIND YOU (St. Martin’s Press)
Four families wake up one morning in their trailer on an ordinary campsite. However, during the night something strange has happened. Everything outside the camping grounds has disappeared, and the world has been transformed into an endless expanse of grass. The sky is blue, but there is no sign of the sun; there are no trees, no flowers, no birds. And every radio plays nothing but the songs of sixties pop icon Peter Himmelstrand.
As the holiday-makers try to come to terms with what has happened, they are forced to confront their deepest fears and secret desires. Past events that each of them has tried to bury rise to the surface and take on terrifying physical forms. Can any of them find a way back to reality?
It’s often surprising to me that I haven’t read any of Lindqvist’s novels. Not sure why that’s the case. Hopefully now I’ll be able to rectify that oversight. This one sounds rather intriguing. I Am Behind You is out now, published by St. Martin’s Press in North America and Riverrun in the UK.
Karina Longworth, SEDUCTION (Custom House)
In this riveting popular history, the creator of You Must Remember This probes the inner workings of Hollywood’s glamorous golden age through the stories of some of the dozens of actresses pursued by Howard Hughes, to reveal how the millionaire mogul’s obsessions with sex, power and publicity trapped, abused, or benefitted women who dreamt of screen stardom.
In recent months, the media has reported on scores of entertainment figures who used their power and money in Hollywood to sexually harass and coerce some of the most talented women in cinema and television. But as Karina Longworth reminds us, long before the Harvey Weinsteins there was Howard Hughes — the Texas millionaire, pilot, and filmmaker whose reputation as a cinematic provocateur was matched only by that as a prolific womanizer.
His supposed conquests between his first divorce in the late 1920s and his marriage to actress Jean Peters in 1957 included many of Hollywood’s most famous actresses, among them Billie Dove, Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Lana Turner. From promoting bombshells like Jean Harlow and Jane Russell to his contentious battles with the censors, Hughes — perhaps more than any other filmmaker of his era — commoditized male desire as he objectified and sexualized women. Yet there were also numerous women pulled into Hughes’s grasp who never made it to the screen, sometimes virtually imprisoned by an increasingly paranoid and disturbed Hughes, who retained multitudes of private investigators, security personnel, and informers to make certain these actresses would not escape his clutches.
Vivid, perceptive, timely, and ridiculously entertaining, The Seducer is a landmark work that examines women, sex, and male power in Hollywood during its golden age — a legacy that endures nearly a century later.
Longworth has been doing the rounds on many of the various podcasts I listen to, and her new book sounds fascinating (as does her own podcast, to which I now subscribe). Seduction is out now, published by Custom House in North America and in the UK.
Katie Lowe, THE FURIES (Harper)
You’d kill to be one of them.
1998. A sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing. No known cause of death.
Four girls know what happened.
And until now they’ve kept their silence.
Violet is returning home, back to the sleepy coastal town which holds so many memories.
In 1998, after a tragic accident claimed the lives of her father and sister, she joins Elm Hollow Academy, a private girls’ school with an unpleasant history of 17th century witch trials.
There she is drawn to Robin, Grace, Alex and their charismatic teacher, Annabel; she is invited to join them in their advanced study group.
There they learn about art, literature and the grisly history of the school. Though Annabel claims her classes aren’t related to ancient rites and rituals, she warns them off the topic, describing it as little more than mythology. However, the more the girls learn, the more they start to believe that magic is real, and that together they can harness it.
But when the body of a former member of the society is found on campus nine months after the she disappeared, fingers are pointed at those closest to her. Leading Violet to wonder whether she can trust her friends, teachers, or even herself.
This novel is getting a lot of interested buzz online. I’m intrigued to see if it lives up to the hype. The Furies is due to be published by Harper Collins in the UK and St. Martin’s Press in North America, in May 2019.
Mahvesh Murad & Jared Shurin (eds.), THE OUTCAST HOURS (Solaris)
Bold new anthology from the acclaimed editors of The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories
We live our lives in the daylight. Our stories take place under the sun: bright, clear, unafraid.
This is not a book of those stories.
These are the stories of people who live at night; under neon and starlight, and never the light of day.
These are the stories of poets and police; writers and waiters; gamers and goddesses; tourists and traders; the hidden and the forbidden; the lonely and the lovers.
These are their lives. These are their stories. And this is their time: The Outcast Hours.
Including stories by Marina Warner, China Miéville, Frances Hardinge, Will Hill, Sally Partridge, Jesse Bullington, Jeffrey Alan Love, Kuzhali Manickavel, Amira Salah-Ahmed, Cecilia Ekbäck, Celeste Baker, Karen Onojaife, Daniel Polansky, Genevieve Valentine, Indrapramit Das, Leah Moore, Sam Beckbessinger, Sami Shah, Lauren Beukes, Dale Halvorsen, Yukimi Ogawa, Lavie Tidhar, Silvia Moreno Garcia, Genevieve Valentine, Maha Khan Phillips, William Boyle, S.L. Grey, M. Suddain, and Omar Robert Hamilton
The new anthology from the editors of The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories! I’ve been eagerly awaiting this ever since it was announced. The Outcast Hours is due to be published by Solaris in North America and in the UK, in February 2019.
Lisa A. Nichols, VESSEL (Atria)
An astronaut returns to Earth after losing her entire crew to an inexplicable disaster, but is her version of what happened in space the truth? Or is there more to the story…
After Catherine Wells’s ship experiences a deadly incident in deep space and loses contact with NASA, the entire world believes her dead. Miraculously — and mysteriously — she survived, but with little memory of what happened. Her reentry after a decade away is a turbulent one: her husband has moved on with another woman and the young daughter she left behind has grown into a teenager she barely recognizes. Catherine, too, is different. The long years alone changed her, and as she readjusts to being home, sometimes she feels disconnected and even, at times, deep rage toward her family and colleagues. There are periods of time she can’t account for, too, and she begins waking up in increasingly strange and worrisome locations, like restricted areas of NASA. Suddenly she’s questioning everything that happened up in space: how her crewmates died, how she survived, and now, what’s happening to her back on Earth.
Hadn’t heard about this novel before I spotted it on NetGalley. It’s pitched as being “perfect for fans of Dark Matter and The Martian“, so my attention was easily grabbed. Vessel is due to be published in May 2019 by Atria in North America. (Not sure about a UK publisher, yet.)
Mallory O’Meara, THE LADY FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (Hanover Square Press)
The Lady from the Black Lagoon uncovers the life and work of Milicent Patrick — one of Disney’s first female animators and the only woman in history to create one of Hollywood’s classic movie monsters
As a teenager, Mallory O’Meara was thrilled to discover that one of her favorite movies, Creature from the Black Lagoon, featured a monster designed by a woman, Milicent Patrick. But for someone who should have been hailed as a pioneer in the genre, there was little information available. For, as O’Meara soon discovered, Patrick’s contribution had been claimed by a jealous male colleague, her career had been cut short and she soon after had disappeared from film history. No one even knew if she was still alive.
As a young woman working in the horror film industry, O’Meara set out to right the wrong, and in the process discovered the full, fascinating story of an ambitious, artistic woman ahead of her time. Patrick’s contribution to special effects proved to be just the latest chapter in a remarkable, unconventional life, from her youth growing up in the shadow of Hearst Castle, to her career as one of Disney’s first female animators. And at last, O’Meara discovered what really had happened to Patrick after The Creature’s success, and where she went.
A true-life detective story and a celebration of a forgotten feminist trailblazer, Mallory O’Meara’s The Lady from the Black Lagoon establishes Patrick in her rightful place in film history while calling out a Hollywood culture where little has changed since.
Always interested in finding more behind-the-scenes books about Hollywood, and this looks great. I’ll hopefully read it very soon, but I’ll hold off on the review until closer to release date. The Lady From the Black Lagoon is published by Hanover Square Press in March 2019 (and will be available in the UK).
Khurrum Rahman, HOMEGROWN HERO (HQ)
WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?
JAY QASIM is back home in West London and in pursuit of normality. He’s swapped dope-dealing for admin, and spends his free time at the local Muslim Community Centre or cruising around Hounslow in his beloved BMW. No-one would guess that he was the MI5 spy who foiled the most devastating terrorist attack in recent history.
But Jay’s part in sabotaging Ghurfat-Al-Mudarris’ hit on London didn’t pass unnoticed.
IMRAN SIDDIQUI was trained to kill in Afghanistan by tthe terrorist cell who saved his life after his home was destroyed by war. The time has finally come for him to repay them – throwing him headlong into the path of Jay Qasim.
Now, they must each decide whose side they’re really on.
This is the follow-up to Rahman’s CWA Dagger shortlisted debut, East of Hounslow. I picked up the first when it was on sale, and also based on the blurb from Ben Aaronovitch (he’s blurbed this one, too). I wasn’t aware that the sequel was out until it appeared in the local library. Homegrown Hero is out now, published by HQ.
Matthew Reilly, THE THREE SECRET CITIES (Gallery)
A shadow world behind the real world
When Jack West, Jr. won the Great Games, he threw the four legendary kingdoms into turmoil.
A world with its own history, rules and prisons
Now these dark forces are coming after Jack… in ruthless fashion.
That is reaching into our world… explosively
With the end of all things rapidly approaching, Jack must find the Three Secret Cities, three incredible lost cities of legend.
It’s an impossible task by any reckoning, but Jack must do it while he is being hunted… by the greatest hunters in history.
The fifth novel in Reilly’s best-selling, highly entertaining Jack West, Jr. series. I’d been really looking forward to this ever since finishing The Four Legendary Kingdoms, and ended up blitzing through this in a day (review soon). The Three Secret Cities is published by Gallery in North America and Orion in the UK.
Alastair Reynolds, SHADOW CAPTAIN (Orbit)
A story of obsession and betrayal as two sisters hunt for the greatest treasure in the universe.
Adrana and Fura Ness have finally been reunited, but both have changed beyond recognition. Once desperate for adventure, now Adrana is haunted by her enslavement on the feared pirate Bosa Sennen’s ship. And rumors of Bosa Sennen’s hidden cache of treasure have ensnared her sister, Fura, into single-minded obsession.
Neither is safe; because the galaxy wants Bosa Sennen dead and they don’t care if she’s already been killed. They’ll happily take whoever is flying her ship.
Shadow Captain is a desperate story of cursed ships, vengeful corporations, and alien artifacts, of daring escapes and wealth beyond imagining… and of betrayal.
The sequel to the critically-acclaimed, award-winning Revenger. I need to get caught up on book one, and am very eager to do so ASAP. Shadow Captain is due to be published in January by Orbit Books (US) and Gollancz (UK).
Nisi Shawl (ed.), NEW SUNS (Solaris)
Anthology of contemporary stories by emerging and seasoned writers of many races
“There’s nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns,” proclaimed Octavia E. Butler.
New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color showcases emerging and seasoned writers of many races telling stories filled with shocking delights, powerful visions of the familiar made strange. Between this book’s covers burn tales of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and their indefinable overlappings. These are authors aware of our many possible pasts and futures, authors freed of stereotypes and clichéd expectations, ready to dazzle you with their daring genius
Unexploited brilliance shines forth from every page.
Includes stories by Kathleen Alcala, Minsoo Kang, Anil Menon, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Alex Jennings, Alberto Yanez, Steven Barnes, Jaymee Goh, Karin Lowachee, E. Lily Yu, Andrea Hairston, Tobias Buckell, Hiromi Goto, Rebecca Roanhorse, Indrapramit Das, Chinelo Onwualu and Darcie Little Badger.
That cover! I first learned of this anthology via the Rebellion Publishing Twitter feed, when they shared that gorgeous cover. It immediately went on the Must-Read list, and I’m eager to get to it ASAP. New Suns is due to be published by Solaris Books in North America and in the UK, in March 2019.
Madeline Stevens, DEVOTION (Ecco)
Ella is flat broke: wasting away on bodega coffee, barely making rent, seducing the occasional strange man who might buy her dinner. Unexpectedly, an Upper East Side couple named Lonnie and James rescue her from her empty bank account, offering her a job as a nanny and ushering her into their moneyed world. Ella’s days are now spent tending to the baby in their elegant brownstone or on extravagant excursions with the family. Both women are just 26 — but unlike Ella, Lonnie has a doting husband and son, unmistakable artistic talent, and old family money.
Ella is mesmerized by Lonnie’s girlish affection and disregard for the normal boundaries of friendship and marriage. Convinced there must be a secret behind Lonnie’s seemingly effortless life, Ella begins sifting through her belongings, meticulously cataloguing lipstick tubes and baby teeth and scraps of writing. All the while, Ella’s resentment grows, but so does an inexplicable and dizzying attraction. Soon Ella will be immersed so deeply in her cravings — for Lonnie’s lifestyle, her attention, her lovers — that she may never come up for air.
Riveting, propulsive, and startling, Devotion is a masterful debut novel where mismatched power collides with blinding desire, incinerating our perceptions of femininity, lust, and privilege.
Thought this sounded interesting. Kind of amazing how early the eARCs were available. I’ll read this pretty soon, I think, but then hold off on posting the review until closer to the release date. Devotion is due to be published in August 2019 by Ecco (US) and Faber (UK).
Tade Thompson, THE ROSEWATER INSURRECTION (Orbit)
The Rosewater Insurrection continues the award-winning, cutting edge Wormwood trilogy, set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction’s most engaging new voices.
All is quiet in the city of Rosewater as it expands on the back of the gargantuan alien Wormwood. Those who know the truth of the invasion keep the secret.
The government agent Aminat, the lover of the retired sensitive Kaaro, is at the forefront of the cold, silent conflict. She must capture a woman who is the key to the survival of the human race. But Aminat is stymied by the machinations of the Mayor of Rosewater and the emergence of an old enemy of Wormwood…
The sequel to the critically-acclaimed Rosewater, the first novel in Thompson’s Wormwood Trilogy. The Rosewater Insurrection is due to be published in mid-March 2019 by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK.
Lavie Tidhar, THE VANISHING KIND (JABberwocky eBooks)
Gunther Sloam comes to Nazi-occupied London in search of an old flame. But when she turns up dead, Gunther is accused of the crime… Moving through the dark streets of London, pursued by the enigmatic Everly of the British Gestapo, Gunther is in way over his head. London after the Nazi occupation is a place haunted by shadows, and everyone he meets is lying to him. As Gunther gets drawn into a deadly web of conspiracy, illicit drug dealing, prostitution and blackmail, the only question is: can he stay alive long enough to find answers?
A new alternate history noir masterpiece from the multiple award winning author of A Man Lies Dreaming and Unholy Land!
A new alternate history novel from Lavie Tidhar is always something to cheer. This one was released rather suddenly in early December, and I was lucky enough to snag a review copy from Lavie’s agent. The Vanishing Kind is out now in North America and in the UK, published through the JABberwocky Literary Agency’s eBook Program. Also, that’s another stunning cover by Sarah Anne Langton, who also did the covers for Lavie’s Central Station and Unholy Land.
Nell Zink, DOXOLOGY (Ecco)
Pam, Daniel, and Joe might be the worst punk band on the Lower East Side. Struggling to scrape together enough cash and musical talent to make it, they are waylaid by surprising arrivals — a daughter for Pam and Daniel, a solo hit single for Joe. As the ‘90s wane, the three friends share in one another’s successes, working together to elevate Joe’s superstardom and raise baby Flora.
On September 11, 2001, the city’s unfathomable devastation coincides with a shattering personal loss for the trio. In the aftermath, Flora comes of age, navigating a charged political landscape and discovering a love of the natural world. Joining the ranks of those fighting for ecological conservation, Flora works to bridge the wide gap between powerful strategists and ordinary Americans, becoming entangled ever more intimately with her fellow activists along the way. And when the country faces an astonishing new threat, Flora’s family will have no choice but to look to the past — both to examine wounds that have never healed, and to rediscover strengths they have long forgotten.
At once an elegiac takedown of today’s political climate and a touching invocation of humanity’s goodness, Doxology offers daring revelations about America’s past and possible future that could only come from Nell Zink, one of the sharpest novelists of our time.
I’ve not read anything by Zink before, but I’ve heard and read very good things about the author’s work. I was surprised to receive this one already, as it’s not out until August 2019(!), but I’m very much looking forward to trying it. Doxology is due to be published by Ecco in North America (August 27th) and Fourth Estate in the UK (September 5th).
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Review copy received via Edelweiss