Featuring: Jeffrey Archer, Jason Arnopp, Dan Bevacqua, Dan Carlin, Agatha Christie, S.C. Emmett, W.L. Goodwater, James Grippando, Dave Hutchinson, Sheena Kamal, Mary Robinette Kowal, Derek Künsken, Olivia Laing, Rachel Maddow, Kristyn Merbeth, Kim Newman, Claire North, Mike Pearl, Jason Pinter, Hannu Rajaniemi (ed.), Josh Reynolds, Susan Rice, Paul Richter, Matt Ruff, Kate Elizabeth Russell, Michael Rutger, Andrew Skinner, Tade Thompson, Jacob Weisman (ed.), Drew Williams, Steven Wright
Jeffrey Archer, NOTHING VENTURED (St. Martin’s Press)
Introducing Detective William Warwick. But this is not a detective story, this is a story about the making of a detective…
William Warwick has always wanted to be a detective, and decides, much to his father’s dismay, that rather than become a lawyer like his father, Sir Julian Warwick QC, and his sister Grace, he will join London’s Metropolitan Police Force.
After graduating from university, William begins a career that will define his life: from his early months on the beat under the watchful eye of his first mentor, Constable Fred Yates, to his first high-stakes case as a fledgling detective in Scotland Yard’s arts and antiquities squad. Investigating the theft of a priceless Rembrandt painting from the Fitzmolean Museum, he meets Beth Rainsford, a research assistant at the gallery who he falls hopelessly in love with, even as Beth guards a secret of her own that she’s terrified will come to light.
While William follows the trail of the missing masterpiece, he comes up against suave art collector Miles Faulkner and his brilliant lawyer, Booth Watson QC, who are willing to bend the law to breaking point to stay one step ahead of William. Meanwhile, Miles Faulkner’s wife, Christina, befriends William, but whose side is she really on?
This new series introduces William Warwick, a family man and a detective who will battle throughout his career against a powerful criminal nemesis. Through twists, triumph and tragedy, this series will show that William Warwick is destined to become one of Jeffrey Archer’s most enduring legacies.
This is the first novel in a new series from Archer. When I was younger, we watched the superb TV adaptation of Kane & Abel, but for some reason I’ve never got around to reading any of Archer’s novels. (Perhaps because of his, uh, scrape with the law…) Nothing Ventured sounds pretty interesting, though, and I have a fondness for detective novels, so maybe this will be my first. The novel is due to be published by St. Martin’s Press in North America (September 3rd), and Macmillan in the UK (September 5th).
Jason Arnopp, GHOSTER (Orbit)
A razor-sharp thriller for a social-media obsessed world. Prepare to never look at your phone the same way again…
Kate Collins has been ghosted.
She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty apartment. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared.
Except for his mobile phone.
Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his calls, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself.
That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognize. Scratch marks on the walls that she can’t explain. And the growing feeling that she’s being watched.
Kate refuses to leave the apartment – she’s not going anywhere until she’s discovered what happened to Scott. But the deeper she dives into Scott’s digital history the more Kate realizes just how little she really knows about the man she loves.
The highly-anticipated new novel from the author of The Last Days of Jack Sparks. I’ve been a fan of Arnopp’s for some time. Not only did I enjoy his debut novel, but I also followed a lot of his music journalism (some excellent examples of which are collected in From the Front Lines of Rock). I’m really looking forward to reading Ghoster, which is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK (October).
Dan Bevacqua, MOLLY BIT (Simon & Schuster)
A haunting and provocative debut novel about the stratospheric rise of an enigmatic Hollywood star and her legacy…
Molly Bit doesn’t believe she’s destined for success — she knows it.
This certainly helps her get through the countless auditions featuring actors who look and dress just like she does; helps her swallow the indignity of less talented actors landing roles; even helps her endure the industry’s aggressive over-sexualizing of young women.
When Molly is offered a lead role in a major film, she knows, too, that to seize this opportunity she must sacrifice everything. Even her commitment to an old friend.
It’s her big break, and Molly becomes a star. But she soon learns the hardest part of fame is everything after.
Molly Bit begins as a portrait of the artist as a young woman and transforms into an ode to the strange, personal magic of moviemaking, and our obsession — public and private — with performance. In Molly Bit, Dan Bevacqua announces himself as a force of wit and insight with his profound reflections on celebrity, beauty, violence, and the power of art.
This has been described as a Hollywood novel akin to Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones & the Six (which I loved, so naturally my interest was piqued). This isn’t out for quite a while, but I have a feeling I’m going to be reading it very soon (I’ll hold off on the review, though). Molly Bit is due to be published by Simon & Schuster in North America and in the UK, in February 2020.
Dan Carlin, THE END IS ALWAYS NEAR (Harper)
The creator of the wildly popular award-winning podcast Hardcore History looks at some of the apocalyptic moments from the past as a way to frame the challenges of the future.
Do tough times create tougher people? Can humanity handle the power of its weapons without destroying itself? Will human technology or capabilities ever peak or regress? No one knows the answers to such questions, but no one asks them in a more interesting way than Dan Carlin.
In The End is Always Near, Dan Carlin looks at questions and historical events that force us to consider what sounds like fantasy; that we might suffer the same fate that all previous eras did. Will our world ever become a ruin for future archaeologists to dig up and explore? The questions themselves are both philosophical and like something out of The Twilight Zone.
Combining his trademark mix of storytelling, history and weirdness Dan Carlin connects the past and future in fascinating and colorful ways. At the same time the questions he asks us to consider involve the most important issue imaginable: human survival. From the collapse of the Bronze Age to the challenges of the nuclear era the issue has hung over humanity like a persistent Sword of Damocles.
Inspired by his podcast, The End is Always Near challenges the way we look at the past and ourselves. In this absorbing compendium, Carlin embarks on a whole new set of stories and major cliffhangers that will keep readers enthralled. Idiosyncratic and erudite, offbeat yet profound, The End is Always Near examines issues that are rarely presented, and makes the past immediately relevant to our very turbulent present.
Carlin is the host of Hardcore History, of which I’ve listened to a few episodes. Thought this sounded interesting, and I was pre-approved for an DRC. The End is Always Near is due to be published by Harper Collins (North America) and William Collins (UK) on October 29th, 2019.
Agatha Christie, THE LAST SÉANCE (William Morrow)
From the Queen of Suspense, an all-new collection of her spookiest and most sinister stories, including an Agatha Christie story never before published in the USA, The Wife of Kenite!
For lovers of the supernatural and the macabre comes this collection of ghostly and chilling stories from legendary mystery writer Agatha Christie. Fantastic psychic visions, specters looming in the shadows, encounters with deities, a man who switches bodies with a cat — be sure to keep the light on whilst reading these tales.
The Last Séance gathers twenty stories, some featuring Christie’s beloved detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, in one haunting compendium that explores all things occult and paranormal, and is an essential omnibus for Christie fans.
Review copy received via Edelweiss
S.C. Emmett, THE THRONE OF THE FIVE WINDS (Orbit)
Two queens, two concubines, six princes.
Innumerable secret agendas.
A single hidden blade.
The imperial palace — full of ambitious royals, sly gossip, and unforeseen perils — is perhaps the most dangerous place in the Empire of Zhaon. Komor Yala, lady-in-waiting to the princess of the vanquished kingdom of Khir, has only her wits and her hidden blade to protect herself and her charge, who was sacrificed in marriage to the enemy as a hostage for her conquered people’s good behavior, to secure a tenuous peace.But the Emperor is aging, and the Khir princess and her lady-in-waiting soon find themselves pawns in the six princes’ deadly schemes for the throne — and a single spark could ignite fresh rebellion in Khir.
Then, the Emperor falls ill — and a far bloodier game begins…
This sounds pretty interesting. Hadn’t heard much about it before it arrived in the mail, but very curious to give it a try. The Throne of the Five Winds is due to be published by Orbit Books in October 2019, in North America and in the UK.
W.L. Goodwater, REVOLUTION (Ace Books)
In the second novel in a thrilling Cold War fantasy series, American magician Karen O’Neil travels to Cuba to find a missing young girl intertwined with a new kind of magic that threatens to upend the balance of power of the whole world.
AFTER THE WALL FELL, NOTHING COULD BE THE SAME.
In Cold War Berlin, American magician Karen O’Neil defeated the ghosts of Germany’s past and sealed the breach that threatened the whole world, but in doing so she learned a terrible truth: Magic cannot be trusted.
Despite her wariness of the new and growing powers she gained in Germany, Karen agrees to help an old friend and is drawn to Cuba, a world of opulence run by a corrupt government and ruthless, magic-obsessed mobsters.
In Havana, while the fires of revolution kindle, Karen searches for a missing girl whose fate is intertwined with impossible and deadly magic. And she knows she’s being watched; both the Soviets and the CIA have designs on this island paradise, and their eyes are everywhere. But spies and rebels aren’t the only dangers hiding in Havana’s long shadows, and Karen will learn that the future can be just as dangerous as the past.
MANKIND WILL ALWAYS FIND NEW WAYS TO CREATE MONSTERS.
This is the sequel to Breach, the first novel in the Cold War Magic series. I’m really looking forward to reading these — such a cool premise. Revolution is due to be published by Ace Books, on November 12th, 2019, and will also be available in the UK.
James Grippando, THE BIG LIE (Harper)
As the Electoral College battle for the White House lands in a Florida courtroom, Miami attorney Jack Swyteck has never felt farther from the truth, fighting for a “faithless elector,” caught between a corrupt president and his manipulative opponent — with each revelation more explosive than the next.
The country is reeling. For the sixth time in American history, the winner of the popular vote will not occupy the Oval Office. President Malcolm MacLeod, the Machiavellian incumbent, was spared from impeachment only because his political foes were certain they would oust him at the ballot box. Now, he appears to have secured a second term, thanks to a narrow victory in the Electoral College.
His opponent, Florida Senator Evan Stahl, saw his campaign rocked by allegations of an extramarital affair — with another man. Despite the salacious headline-making scandal and the surrounding media frenzy, most Americans chose Stahl to lead the politically polarized nation. But Stahl is refusing to concede. Backed by millions of supporters, he looks to individual members of the Electoral College to cross party lines.
Gun lobbyist Charlotte Holmes is one of Floridas twenty-nine electors who is bound by law and by oath to cast her vote for MacLeod, who won Florida by the thinnest of margins. When Charlotte announces that she intends to vote her conscience and throw the Electoral College to Stahl, the president and his Florida machine haul her into court on felony charges—which, for some, isn’t nearly punishment enough.
Miami attorney Jack Swyteck is going to use every legal maneuver he can to keep his new client free — and alive. MacLeod’s hand-picked prosecutor is determined to prove Charlotte is unfit to cast a vote. Dredging through her past, he’s looking for skeletons to humiliate and discredit her, while others with far deadlier intentions have begun acting on their threats.
As the pressure mounts, Charlotte and Jack must decide how far they’ll go to stand their ground in the stand-your-ground state.
This is the 16th novel by Grippando to feature his Miami-based lawyer Jack Swyteck. I haven’t had the chance to read any of the others, which is giving me pause from diving right into this one — hopefully it can stand on its own, but I do have a couple of other novels in the series that I might try to get to, first. Luckily, I have quite some time to catch up (even a little bit) before this novel is released. The Big Lie is due to be published by Harper in North America and in the UK, on February 25th, 2020.
Dave Hutchinson, THE RETURN OF INCREDIBLE THE EXPLODING MAN (Solaris)
When journalist Alex Dolan is hired by multibillionaire Stanislaw Clayton to write a book about the Sioux Crossing Supercollider, the world’s first privately funded high-energy physics facility, this is a dream job.
Clayton wants to use the collider to research the nature of gravity – with an eye on using the results in space exploration – and his thirteen-billion-dollar pet project has run into a series of high-profile snags and delays. There’s talk of the American government pulling its support of the collider, and Clayton needs someone to put a good spin on it.
Then something goes wrong at the site. Very wrong.
After the accident, Dolan finds himself changed, and the only one who can stop the disaster from destroying us all.
Hutchinson is the acclaimed author of the Fractured Europe series, and also the superb Acadie novella (among others). Always on the look out for more of his work, I’m really looking forward to reading this novel. The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man is due to be published by Solaris in North America and in the UK, in September 2019.
Sheena Kamal, NO GOING BACK (William Morrow)
Find your enemy. Before he finds you.
Nora Watts has a talent for seeing what lies beneath strangers’ surfaces, and for knowing what they’re working hard to keep hidden. Somehow, it’s the people closest to her she has trouble truly connecting with. In the case of Bonnie, the teenage daughter Nora gave up for adoption, she has to keep trying. For Bonnie has a target on her back — and it’s all because of Nora.
Two years ago, Bonnie was kidnapped by the wealthy Zhang family. Though Nora rescued her, she made a powerful enemy in Dao, a mysterious triad enforcer and former head of the Zhangs’ private security. Now Dao is out for revenge, and she needs to track him down in order to keep herself — and Bonnie — safe.
On Dao’s trail, Nora forms an unlikely partnership with Bernard Lam, an eccentric playboy billionaire with his own mysterious grudge to bear, and reunites with Jon Brazuca, ex-cop turned private investigator and Nora’s occasional ally. From Canada to southeast Asia they pursue Dao, uncovering a shadowy criminal cabal. But soon, the trail will lead full circle to Vancouver, the only home Nora’s ever known, and right to the heart of her brutal past.
This is the third novel starring Kamal’s Nora Watts — after Eyes Like Mine and It All Falls Down. I haven’t had the chance to read the first two, but I hope to do so before getting to this new novel. No Going Back is due to be published by William Morrow in North America (April 14th), and Zaffre in the UK (April 2nd).
Mary Robinette Kowal, THE FATED SKY (Solaris)
The Martian meets Hidden Figures by way of Apollo 13.
The first mission to Mars is go for launch, against a backdrop of gender politics, civil rights and featuring the most engrossing heroine of recent years, the Lady Astronaut.
Mary Robinette Kowal continues the grand sweep of alternate history begun in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars.
Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic―but potentially very dangerous―mission? Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the Civil Rights movement taking hold all over Earth, will the astronaut pool ever be allowed to catch up, and will these brave men and women of all races be treated equitably when they get there? This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been.
This is the sequel to The Calculating Stars. Really looking forward to reading this series, which I hope to get around to soon. The Fated Sky is published by Solaris (UK) and Tor Books (North America).
Derek Künsken, THE QUANTUM GRAVITY (Solaris)
THE ULTIMATE CHASE
Days ago, Belisarius pulled off the most audacious con job in history. He’s rich, he’s back with the love of his life, and best of all, he has the Time Gates, arguably the most valuable things in existence. Nothing could spoil this…
… except the utter destruction of his people and the world they lived on. To save them, he has to make a new deal with the boss he just double-crossed, to travel back in time and work his quantum magic once again, tracking down the source of the wormholes.
If he can avoid detection, dodge paradox and stay ahead of the eerie, relentless Scarecrow, he might just get back to his own time alive.
The Quantum Garden is the sequel to the acclaimed The Quantum Magician. I’m really looking forward to reading this series (really not sure why I haven’t done so, yet…). The Quantum Garden is due to be published by Solaris in North America and in the UK, on October 15th, 2019.
Olivia Laing, CRUDO (Picador)
Kathy is a writer. Kathy is getting married. It’s the summer of 2017 and the whole world is falling apart.
From a Tuscan hotel for the super-rich to a Brexit-paralysed UK, Kathy spends the first summer of her forties trying to adjust to making a lifelong commitment just as Trump is tweeting the world into nuclear war. But it’s not only Kathy who’s changing. Political, social and natural landscapes are all in peril. Fascism is on the rise, truth is dead, the planet is hotting up. Is it really worth learning to love when the end of the world is nigh? And how do you make art, let alone a life, when one rogue tweet could end it all.
I spotted this in a bookstore, and thought it looked interesting. I started reading it the same day I got it: while it was good, and there were plenty of excellent turns of phrase and observations, I was left a little disappointed. Mainly, because I couldn’t figure out what “radically rewires the novel” meant (this is how the novel is described in the longer blurb). Crudo is out now, published by Picador in the UK, and W.W. Norton in North America.
Rachel Maddow, BLOWOUT (Crown)
Big Oil and Gas Versus Democracy — Winner Take All
In 2010, the words “earthquake swarm” entered the lexicon in Oklahoma. That same year, a trove of Michael Jackson memorabilia — including his iconic crystal-encrusted white glove — was sold at auction for over $1 million to a guy who was, officially, just the lowly forestry minister of the tiny nation of Equatorial Guinea. And in 2014, Ukrainian revolutionaries raided the palace of their ousted president and found a zoo of peacocks, gilded toilets, and a floating restaurant modeled after a Spanish galleon. Unlikely as it might seem, there is a thread connecting these events, and Rachel Maddow follows it to its crooked source: the unimaginably lucrative and equally corrupting oil and gas industry.
With her trademark black humor, Maddow takes us on a switchback journey around the globe, revealing the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas along the way, and drawing a surprising conclusion about how and why the Russian government hacked the 2016 U.S. election. She deftly shows how Russia’s rich reserves of crude have, paradoxically, stunted its growth, forcing Putin to maintain his power by spreading Russia’s rot into its rivals, its neighbors, the West’s most important alliances, and the United States. Chevron, BP, and a host of other industry players get their star turn, most notably ExxonMobil and the deceptively well-behaved Rex Tillerson. The oil and gas industry has weakened democracies in developed and developing countries, fouled oceans and rivers, and propped up authoritarian thieves and killers. But being outraged at it is, according to Maddow, “like being indignant when a lion takes down and eats a gazelle. You can’t really blame the lion. It’s in her nature.”
Blowout is a call to contain the lion: to stop subsidizing the wealthiest businesses on earth, to fight for transparency, and to check the influence of the world’s most destructive industry and its enablers. The stakes have never been higher. As Maddow writes, “Democracy either wins this one or disappears.”
I used to watch Maddow’s MSNBC show quite religiously, but have since drifted away a bit from consuming US political news media. Nevertheless, I’ve been looking forward to reading this for some time. (I enjoyed Maddow’s first book, Drift.) Blowout is due to be published by Crown in North America and in the UK, on October 1st, 2019.
Kristyn Merbeth, FORTUNA (Orbit)
A new space opera trilogy that will hook you from the first crash landing.
Scorpia Kaiser has always stood in Corvus’s shadow until the day her older brother abandons their family to participate in a profitless war. However, becoming the heir to her mother’s smuggling operation is not an easy transition for the always rebellious, usually reckless, and occasionally drunk pilot of the Fortuna, an aging cargo ship and the only home Scorpia has ever known.
But when a deal turns deadly and Corvus returns from the war, Scorpia’s plans to take over the family business are interrupted, and the Kaiser siblings are forced to make a choice: take responsibility for their family’s involvement in a devastating massacre or lay low and hope it blows over.
Too bad Scorpia was never any good at staying out of a fight.
This is the first novel in the Nova Vita Protocol series. Sounds like a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to reading it. Merbeth is also the author of the Wastelanders series, also published by Orbit. Fortuna is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK, in November 2019.
Also on CR: Guest Post on “Why Not Zombies…?”
Kim Newman, GENEVIEVE COLLECTION (Black Library)
Across the centuries, the vampire Genevieve has had many adventures. Born to a noble family in Bretonnia, she joined the aristocracy of the night when she was given the blood kiss. Eschewing the wars and intrigue of her vampire brethren, she joined the world of men, living in many places across the years. During the reign of Karl Franz, she came to prominence when she helped defeat the Great Enchanter, Drachenfels – and her part in the events that followed, as well as many more of her adventures, and those of the men and women in her life, are explored in this collection of four eBooks that delve into the darker side of the world-that-was.
Drachenfels was the first Warhammer novel (at the time released under the pseudonym “Jack Yeovil”). It is fitting, therefore, that with the launch of the Warhammer Horror imprint the Genevieve novels have been re-issued. I read them many years ago, and had been dithering about buying the new editions. When I saw that this bundle was available (saving 4 off buying them individually), I couldn’t resist. The Genevieve collection is out now, published by Black Library.
Claire North, THE PURSUIT OF WILLIAM ABBEY (Orbit)
A hauntingly powerful novel about how the choices we make can stay with us forever…
South Africa in the 1880s. A young and naive English doctor by the name of William Abbey witnesses the lynching of a local boy by the white colonists. As the child dies, his mother curses William.
William begins to understand what the curse means when the shadow of the dead boy starts following him across the world. It never stops, never rests. It can cross oceans and mountains. And if it catches him, the person he loves most in the world will die.
A new novel from Claire North is always something to look forward to — I’ll be reading this as soon as I can. The Pursuit of William Abbey is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK, in mid-November 2019.
Mike Pearl, THE DAY IT FINALLY HAPPENS (Scribner)
From a Vice magazine columnist whose beat is “the future,” here is entertaining speculation featuring both authoritative research and a bit of mischief: a look at how humanity is likely to weather such happenings as the day nuclear war occurs, the day the global internet goes down, the day we run out of effective antibiotics, and the day immortality is achieved.
If you live on planet Earth you’re probably scared of the future. How could you not be? Some of the world’s most stable democracies are looking pretty shaky. Technology is invading personal relationships and taking over jobs. Relations among the three superpowers — the US, China, and Russia — are growing more complicated and dangerous. A person watching the news has to wonder: is it safe to go out there or not?
Taking inspiration from his virally popular Vice column “How Scared Should I Be?,” Mike Pearl in The Day It Finally Happens games out many of the “could it really happen?” scenarios we’ve all speculated about, assigning a probability rating, and taking us through how it would unfold. He explores what would likely occur in dozens of possible scenarios — among them the final failure of antibiotics, the loss of the world’s marine life, a complete ban on guns in the US, and even the arrival of aliens — and reports back from the future, providing a clear picture of how the world would look, feel, and even smell in each of these instances.
For fans of such bestsellers as What If? and The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook, The Day It Finally Happens is about taking future events that we don’t really understand and getting to know them in close detail. Pearl makes science accessible and is a unique form of existential therapy, offering practical answers to some of our most worrisome questions. Thankfully, the odds of humanity’s pulling through look pretty good.
Jason Pinter, HIDE AWAY (Thomas & Mercer)
A page-turning thriller about a vigilante who’s desperate to protect her secrets—and bring a killer to justice.
On the surface, Rachel Marin is an ordinary single mother; on the inside, she’s a fierce, brilliant vigilante. After an unspeakable crime shatters her life, she changes her identity and moves to a small town in Illinois, hoping to spare her children from further trauma… or worse. But crime follows her everywhere.
When the former mayor winds up dead, Rachel can’t help but get involved. Where local detectives see suicide, she sees murder. They resent her for butting in — especially since she’s always one step ahead. But her investigative genius may be her undoing: the deeper she digs, the harder it is to keep her own secrets buried.
Her persistence makes her the target of both the cops and a killer. Meanwhile, the terrifying truth about her past threatens to come to light, and Rachel learns the hard way that she can’t trust anyone. Surrounded by danger, she must keep her steely resolve, protect her family, and stay one step ahead, or else she may become the next victim.
This is the first novel in a new series from Pinter. I’ve read most of the author’s Henry Parker series (which I rather enjoyed), so I’m looking forward to giving this a try. Hide Away is due to be published by Thomas & Mercer in January 2020, in North America and in the UK.
Hannu Rajaniemi & Jacob Weisman (eds.), THE NEW VOICES OF SCIENCE FICTION (Tachyon)
What would you do if your collective of tame bots suddenly decide to mutiny? Is an 11 second attention-span long enough to bond with a cryogenically-revived tourist? Would you sell your native language to send your daughter to college?
The avant garde of science fiction have appeared, arriving via time machines and portals that may (or may not) work properly. In this space-age sequel to the award-winning anthology, The New Voices of Fantasy, The New Voices of Science Fiction has launched the rising stars of the last five years of science fiction, including Rebecca Roanhorse, Amal El-Mohtar, Alice Sola Kim, Sam J. Miller, E. Lily Yu, Rich Larson, Vina Jie-Min Prasad, Sarah Pinsker, Darcie Little Badger, S. Qiouyi Lu, Kelly Robson, Suzanne Palmer, Nino Cipri, and more. Their wide-ranging tales were hand-selected by cutting-edge author Hannu Rajaniemi (The Quantum Thief) and genre expert Jacob Weisman (Invaders).
So go ahead, join the starship revolution. The new kids hotwired the AI.
This looks like a great collection of short fiction. Really looking forward to reading it. The New Voices of Science Fiction is due to be published by Tachyon Publications in November 2019, in North America and in the UK.
Josh Reynolds, APOCALYPSE (Black Library)
Following the cataclysmic Great Rift, forces from the Imperial Fists, White Scars and Raven Guard mobilise to defend the cardinal world of Almace from an invasion by the twisted traitors of the Word Bearers…
Lieutenant Heyd Calder is a Primaris Marine whose mastery of warfare is matched only by his diplomatic prowess. Under the orders of Roboute Guilliman, he is deployed to Almace, a minor seat of the Ecclesiarchy, to protect the world at whatever cost. Yet even as diabolical forces leer from the system’s edge, Calder discovers that the capital’s Cardinal-Governor, a sharp, inscrutable figure of spiritual and material authority, is hiding something. When it becomes clear that conquest is not the enemy’s sole aim, Calder resolves to uncover the secret of Almace. As the system is set ablaze, clashes of faith, strategy and politics ensue in the capital, and it becomes clear that the forces of the Ecclesiarchy and the Adeptus Astartes must fight together if they are to have any hope of victory.
The latest novel in the Space Marine Conquests series — I’ve bought them all but have inexplicably managed to not read any of them, yet… Kindle Blindness, I think. This one sounds really interesting, and Reynolds is one of Black Library’s most consistently-excellent authors that I’m sure I’ll get to this soon. Apocalypse is out now, published by Black Library.
Susan Rice, TOUGH LOVE (Simon & Schuster)
Recalling pivotal moments from her dynamic career on the front lines of American diplomacy and foreign policy, Susan E. Rice — National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations — delivers an inspiring account of a life in service to family and country.
Although you may think you know Susan Rice — whose name became synonymous with Benghazi following her Sunday news show appearances after the deadly 2012 terrorist attacks in Libya — in Tough Love, the author reveals the truth of her surprising story with unflinching honesty. Often mischaracterized by political opponents, Rice emerges as neither a villain nor victim, but a strong, compassionate leader.
Mother, wife, scholar, diplomat, and fierce champion of American interests and values, Rice connects the personal and the professional. Taught early, with tough love, how to compete and excel as an African American woman in settings where people of color are few, Susan shares wisdom learned along the way.
Laying bare the family struggles that shaped her early life in Washington, D.C., she also examines the ancestral legacies that influenced her. Rice’s elders — immigrants on one side and descendants of slaves on the other — had high expectations that each generation would rise. And rise they did, but not without paying it forward—in uniform and in the pulpit, as educators, community leaders, and public servants.
Susan too rose rapidly. She served throughout the Clinton administration, becoming one of the nation’s youngest assistant secretaries of state and, later, one of President Obama’s most trusted advisors.
Rice provides an insider’s account of some of the most complex issues confronting the United States over three decades, ranging from “Black Hawk Down” in Somalia to the genocide in Rwanda and the East Africa embassy bombings in the late 1990s, to Libya, Syria, a secret channel to Iran, the Ebola epidemic, and the opening to Cuba during the Obama years. With unmatched insight and characteristic bluntness, she reveals previously untold stories behind recent national security challenges, including confrontations with Russia and China, the war against ISIS, the struggle to contain the fallout from Edward Snowden’s leaks, the U.S. response to Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the surreal transition to the Trump administration.
Intimate, sometimes humorous, but always candid, Tough Love culminates with an appeal to the American public to bridge our dangerous domestic divides in order to preserve our democracy and sustain our global leadership.
I’ve been enjoying the various memoirs written by former Obama administration officials — Dan Pfeiffer’s and Ben Rhodes’s were particularly excellent. Given that Rice was involved in President Obama’s foreign policy, I’m really interested in reading this soon. Tough Love is due to be published by Simon & Schuster in October 2019.
Paul Richter, THE AMBASSADORS (Simon & Schuster)
Veteran diplomatic correspondent Paul Richter goes behind the battles and the headlines to show how American ambassadors are the unconventional warriors in the Muslim world — running local government, directing drone strikes, nation-building, and risking their lives on the front lines.
The State Department’s heroes are the front-line diplomats who have been unheralded, but crucial in the line of national defense for two decades of wars in the Middle East. In The Ambassadors, Paul Richter shares the astonishing, true-life stories of four expeditionary diplomats who “do the hardest things in the hardest places.”
We’ll see Ryan Crocker’s effort to organize a new Afghan government after the fall of the Taliban, even threatening the life of a Pashtun warlord, a US ally, to ensure that a column of tanks could join US forces in the biggest battle of the Afghan war. Robert Ford, the sole American official for the province of Najaf in central Iraq, tries to restart the economy and deal with growing militia violence — and was is taken hostage by a Shia militia. In Syria, he is chased by government thugs for defying the country’s ruler. J. Christopher Stevens is smuggled into Libya as U.S. Envoy to the rebels during its bloody civil war, then returns as ambassador only to be killed during a terror attach in Benghazi. War-zone veteran Anne Patterson is sent to Pakistan, considered the world’s most dangerous country, to broker deals that prevent a government collapse and to help guide the secret war on jihadists.
Richter’s account of the role of America’s diplomats in the wars in the Middle East and the Muslim world supplies a crucial and — until now — missing part of how these wars are being fought. An important addition to appreciating the roles of these diplomats, and an in-depth look into the complexity and length of these wars and nation-building, The Ambassadors is a critical piece of modern day history.
Thought this book sounded interesting. I’ve really allowed my foreign policy/politics reading to slip this year — a general disillusionment in the subject, born of the never-ending shit-show that is the Trump Administration (and holy shit, his foreign “policy”…). The Ambassadors is due to be published by Simon & Schuster in November 2019.
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Review copy received via Edelweiss
Matt Ruff, 88 NAMES (Harper)
A thrilling and immersive virtual reality epic — part cyberthriller, part twisted romantic comedy — that transports you to a world where identity is fluid and nothing can be taken at face value.
John Chu is a “sherpa” — a paid guide to online role-playing games like the popular Call to Wizardry. For a fee, he and his crew will provide you with a top-flight character equipped with the best weapons and armor, and take you dragon-slaying in the Realms of Asgarth, hunting rogue starships in the Alpha Sector, or battling hordes of undead in the zombie apocalypse.
Chu’s new client, the pseudonymous Mr. Jones, claims to be a “wealthy, famous person” with powerful enemies, and he’s offering a ridiculous amount of money for a comprehensive tour of the world of virtual-reality gaming. For Chu, this is a dream assignment, but as the tour gets underway, he begins to suspect that Mr. Jones is really North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, whose interest in VR gaming has more to do with power than entertainment. As if that weren’t enough to deal with, Chu also has to worry about “Ms. Pang,” who may or may not be an agent of the People’s Republic of China, and his angry ex-girlfriend, Darla Jean Covington, who isn’t the type to let an international intrigue get in the way of her own plans for revenge.
What begins as a whirlwind online adventure soon spills over into the real world. Now Chu must use every trick and resource at his disposal to stay one step ahead — because in real life, there is no reset button.
New novel by an incredibly imaginative author. Really looking forward to reading this — hopefully rather soon, but given that it’s not out for seven months, I’ll at the very least hold off on posting a review for quite some time. 88 Names is due to be published by Harper in North America, on March 17th, 2020.
Kate Elizabeth Russell, MY DARK VANESSA (William Morrow)
Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.
2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.
2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager — and who professed to worship only her — may be far different from what she has always believed?
Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.
Michael Rutger, THE POSSESSION (Grand Central)
Still recovering from the shocking revelations they uncovered deep in uncharted territory in the Grand Canyon, American myth and legend investigator Nolan Moore and his team take on a new mission, investigating a rumored case of witchcraft and possession.
Nolan hopes their new case, in a quaint village in the middle of the woods, will prove much more like those he and his team investigated prior to their trip to Kincaid’s cavern.
But as the residents accounts of strange phenomena add up, Nolan and company begin to suspect something all too real and dangerous may be at play. A force that may not be willing to let them escape the village unscathed.
This is the sequel to The Anomaly, which was very well received when it was first released. For some reason, I’ve been really slow about getting around to reading it, but I hope to do so very soon (maybe I’ll read these back-to-back). The Possession is out now, published by Grand Central Publishing in North America, and Zaffre in the UK.
Andrew Skinner, STEEL FRAME (Abaddon)
Rook is a jockey, a soldier trained and modified to fly ‘shells,’ huge robots that fight for the outer regions of settled space. When her shell is destroyed and her squad killed, Rook is imprisoned, left stranded, scarred and broken. Hollow and helpless without her steel frame, she’s ready to call it quits.
When her cohort of prisoners are sold into indenture to NorCol, a vast frontier corporation, Rook’s given another shell – a near-decrepit Juno, as broken as she is and decades older – and sent to a rusting bucket of a ship on the end of known space to patrol something called “the Eye,” a strange, unnerving permanent storm in space.
But they’re not alone.
Thought it sounded very cool. Looking forward to reading it. Steel Frame is due to be published by Abaddon Books in the UK and North America, on August 22nd, 2019.
Tade Thompson, ROSEWATER: (Orbit)
Life in the newly independent city-state of Rosewater isn’t everything its citizens were expecting.
The Mayor finds that debts incurred during the insurrection are coming back to haunt him. Nigeria isn’t willing to let Rosewater go without a fight. And the city’s alien inhabitants are threatening mass murder for their own sinister ends…
Operating across spacetime, the xenosphere, and international borders, it is up to a small group of hackers and criminals to prevent the extra-terrestrial advance. The fugitive known as Bicycle Girl, Kaaro, and his former handler Femi may be humanity’s last line of defense.
The third volume in the Rosewater trilogy. Now that I have them all — and especially because I’m a big fan of Thompson’s work — I really should get my self sorted and read them! Shameful delay. The Rosewater Redemption is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK, on October 15th, 2019.
Drew Williams, A CHAIN ACROSS THE DAWN (Simon & Schuster)
Bigger spaceships. Bigger explosions. Bigger planets. Bigger problems.
It’s been three years since Esa joined the ranks of the Justified after her rescue from the fanatical murderers the Pax. Together, Esa and her mentor Kamali travel from planet to planet, searching for children with supernatural abilities. It’s hard work, but Esa has never felt more assured of her place in the universe. On a visit to a planet so remote that its inhabitants never learned that the Sect Wars ended over a hundred years ago, they learn that the Justified are not the only people searching for gifted children.
There is a creature with unexpected powers who will stop at nothing to get its hands on the children that Esa and Kamali are trying to rescue. With their latest recruit in tow — a young Wulf child named Sho — Esa and Kamali will travel halfway across the galaxy in pursuit of answers.
But the answers only lead to more questions, and the danger will only increase as their terrifying nemesis turns his eyes on them.
This is the sequel to The Stars Now Unclaimed, a novel I’m really looking forward to reading. A Chain Across the Dawn is out now, published by Simon & Schuster in the UK, and Tor Books in North America.
Steven Wright, THE COYOTES OF CARTHAGE (Ecco)
A blistering and thrilling debut — a biting exploration of American politics, set in a small South Carolina town, about a political operative running a dark money campaign for his corporate clients
Dre Ross has one more shot. Despite being a successful political consultant, his aggressive tactics have put him on thin ice with his boss, Mrs. Fitz, who plucked him from juvenile incarceration and mentored his career. She exiles him to the backwoods of South Carolina with $250,000 of dark money to introduce a ballot initiative on behalf of a mining company. The goal: to manipulate the locals into voting to sell their pristine public land to the highest bidder.
Dre arrives in God-fearing, flag-waving Carthage County, with only Mrs. Fitz’s well-meaning yet naïve grandson Brendan as his team. Dre, an African-American outsider, can’t be the one to collect the signatures needed to get on the ballot. So he hires a blue-collar couple, Tyler Lee and his pious wife, Chalene, to act as the initiative’s public face.
Under Dre’s cynical direction, a land grab is disguised as a righteous fight for faith and liberty. As lines are crossed and lives ruined, Dre’s increasingly cutthroat campaign threatens the very soul of Carthage County and perhaps the last remnants of his own humanity.
A piercing portrait of our fragile democracy and one man’s unraveling, The Coyotes of Carthage paints a disturbingly real portrait of the American experiment in action.
Hadn’t heard about this before it popped up available for review. Sounds really interesting, and I’m looking forward to reading it (hopefully very soon). The Coyotes of Carthage is due to be published by Ecco on April 14th, 2020. (Not sure about UK release, yet as it’s still quite far out — as a result, it also didn’t have a page on Harper Collins’s page at the time of writing.)