Featuring: Asaf Ashery, Robert Dallek, S.A. Hunt, Tim Lebbon, Nick Martell, Adrienne Miller, Sue Miller, Jeff Noon, Josh Reynolds, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Emily Tesh, Gav Thorpe, Lavie Tidhar, Paul Vidich, Drew Williams
Asaf Ashery, SIMANTOV (Angry Robot Books)
When detective Mazzy Simantov is called up to investigate the case of a missing girl, little does she know it is linked to a series of other mysterious disappearances of women. She is forced to partner with Yariv, her one-time lover and sometimes-colleague, but as the investigation continues, otherworldly clues begin to appear at the crime scenes, including a black feather unlike that of any bird…
As the clues mount, it becomes clear that an apocalypse is looming, as Heaven’s secret orders threaten to collide in a head-on war that imperils everyone on Earth. Can Mazzy and Yariv come together to save the world from being torn apart?
This sounds really interesting (I’m quite fond of the biblical/apocalyptic mysteries sub-genre). Simantov is due to be published by Angry Robot Books in North America and in the UK, on April 14th, 2020.
Follow the Author: Goodreads
Review copy received via NetGalley
Zen Cho, THE ORDER OF THE PURE MOON REFLECTED IN WATER (Tor.com)
A found family wuxia fantasy that combines the vibrancy of old school martial arts movies with characters drawn from the margins of history.
A bandit walks into a coffeehouse, and it all goes downhill from there. Guet Imm, a young votary of the Order of the Pure Moon, joins up with an eclectic group of thieves (whether they like it or not) in order to protect a sacred object, and finds herself in a far more complicated situation than she could have ever imagined.
I’ve been looking forward to reading this one. Haven’t had the chance to read the author’s Sorcerer to the Crown series, yet, but it has been praised pretty widely so I hope to do so soon. This novella sounds great, though, so I think I shall start with this. The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water is due to be published by Tor.com, in North America and in the UK, on June 23rd, 2020.
Also on CR: Interview with Zen Cho (2015)
Robert Dallek, HOW DID WE GET HERE? (Harper)
The struggle to preserve the Republic has never been easy or without perils. The rise of conflicting political parties, which the founders opposed, and President John Adams’ Alien and Sedition Acts repressing First Amendment rights made Franklin’s observation at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention — “a republic, if you can keep it” — seem prescient.
In the twentieth century, America endured numerous struggles: economic depression, World War II, McCarthyism, the Vietnam War, Watergate, the Iran-contra scandal, the war in Iraq — all of which gave rise to demagogues, as did the growth and reach of mass media. But this wasn’t the Founding Fathers’ vision for our leadership. The resistance to putting a demagogue in the White House survived the anti-Communist agitation of the 1950s and the Vietnam War in the 1960s. But the latter opened the way for Richard Nixon’s election in 1968 and Watergate, which again tested our democratic institutions and the rule of law. Nixon’s resignation in August 1974 moved Vice President Gerald Ford, his successor, to declare, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”
But was it? Donald Trump’s 2016 election has presented a new challenge. How did past politics and presidential administrations pave the way for this current assault on American democracy? Our nation’s history provides reassurance that we will restore our better angels to government. Yet it must be considered that earlier administrations and public outlook facilitated the rise of such an un-presidential character as Trump in the first place. In How Did We Get Here?, Robert Dallek considers a century of modern administrations, from Teddy Roosevelt to today, shining a light on the personalities behind the politics and the voters who elected each. His cautionary tale reminds us that the only constant in history is change, but whether for good or ill the choice is Americans’ to make.
I’m a fan of Dallek’s books — his biographies of LBJ and JFK, for example, are excellent. In this latest book, he takes a look at America’s political trajectory, “From Theodore Roosevelt to Donald Trump”. Looking forward to reading this, which I hope to do very soon. How Did We Get Here? is due to be published by Harper in North America and in the UK, on May 26th, 2020.
Follow the Author: Goodreads
Review copy received via Edelweiss
S.A. Hunt, I COME WITH KNIVES (Tor)
Robin – now armed with new knowledge about mysterious demon terrorizing her around town, the support of her friends, and the assistance of her old witch-hunter mentor – plots to confront the Lazenbury coven and destroy them once and for all.
Meanwhile, a dangerous serial killer only known as The Serpent is abducting and killing Blackfield residents. An elusive order of magicians known as the Dogs of Odysseus also show up with Robin in their sights.
Robin must handle these new threats on top of the menace from the Lazenbury coven, but a secret about Robin’s past may throw all of her plans into jeopardy.
This is the second novel in the Malus Domestic series, and sequel to Burn the Dark, which I also have. The series sounds fantastic — like someone has updated the urban fantasy genre for the YouTube age — so I intend to read both of these very soon. I Come With Knives is due to be published by Tor Books on May 19th, 2020, in North America and in the UK.
Also on CR: Interview with S.A. Hunt (2020)
Tim Lebbon, EDEN (Titan)
Earth’s rising oceans contain enormous islands of refuse, the Amazon rainforest is all-but destroyed, and countless species edge towards extinction. Humanity’s last hope to save the planet lies with The Virgin Zones, thirteen vast areas of land off-limits to people and given back to nature.
Dylan leads a clandestine team of adventure racers, including his daughter Jenn, into Eden, the oldest of the Zones. Jenn carries a secret — Kat, Dylan’s wife who abandoned them both years ago, has entered Eden ahead of them. Jenn is determined to find her mother, but neither she nor the rest of their tight-knit team are prepared for what confronts them. Nature has returned to Eden in an elemental, primeval way. And here, nature is no longer humanity’s friend.
Also on CR: Interview with Tim Lebbon (2012)
Nick Martell, THE KINGDOM OF LIARS (Saga)
A story of secrets, rebellion, and murder are shattering the Hollows, where magic costs memory to use, and only the son of the kingdom’s despised traitor holds the truth.
Michael is branded a traitor as a child because of the murder of the king’s nine-year-old son, by his father David Kingman. Ten years later on Michael lives a hardscrabble life, with his sister Gwen, performing crimes with his friends against minor royals in a weak attempt at striking back at the world that rejects him and his family.
In a world where memory is the coin that pays for magic, Michael knows something is there in the hot white emptiness of his mind. So when the opportunity arrives to get folded back into court, via the most politically dangerous member of the kingdom’s royal council, Michael takes it, desperate to find a way back to his past. He discovers a royal family that is spiraling into a self-serving dictatorship as gun-wielding rebels clash against magically trained militia.
What the truth holds is a set of shocking revelations that will completely change the Hollows, if Michael and his friends and family can survive long enough to see it.
The first in a new series: the Legacy of the Mercenary King, this is one of my most-anticipated debut fantasy novels of the year — it’s been getting a lot of great pre-publication buzz. I think I’ll be reading it very soon (maybe next). The Kingdom of Liars is due to be published in North America by Saga Press, and in the UK by Gollancz, on May 5th and 7th, respectively.
Adrienne Miller, IN THE LAND OF MEN (Ecco)
A fiercely personal memoir about coming of age in the male-dominated literary world of the nineties, becoming the first female literary editor of Esquire, and Miller’s personal and working relationship with David Foster Wallace
A naive and idealistic twenty-two-year-old from the Midwest, Adrienne Miller got her lucky break when she was hired as an editorial assistant at GQ magazine in the mid-nineties. Even if its sensibilities were manifestly mid-century — the martinis, powerful male egos, and unquestioned authority of kings — GQ still seemed the red-hot center of the literary world. It was there that Miller began learning how to survive in a man’s world. Three years later, she forged her own path, becoming the first woman to take on the role of literary editor of Esquire, home to the male writers who had defined manhood itself — Hemingway, Mailer, and Carver. Up against this old world, she would soon discover that it wanted nothing to do with a “mere girl.”
But this was also a unique moment in history that saw the rise of a new literary movement, as exemplified by McSweeney’s and the work of David Foster Wallace. A decade older than Miller, the mercurial Wallace would become the defining voice of a generation and the fiction writer she would work with most. He was her closest friend, confidant — and antagonist. Their intellectual and artistic exchange grew into a highly charged professional and personal relationship between the most prominent male writer of the era and a young woman still finding her voice.
This memoir — a rich, dazzling story of power, ambition, and identity — ultimately asks the question “How does a young woman fit into this male culture and at what cost?” With great wit and deep intelligence, Miller presents an inspiring and moving portrayal of a young woman’s education in a land of men.
Sue Miller, MONOGAMY (Harper)
Graham and Annie have been married for nearly thirty years. A golden couple, their effortless devotion has long been the envy of their circle of friends and acquaintances. Graham is a bookseller, and a large, gregarious man with large appetites — a lover of life, curious, eager to please, and the convivial host of frequent, lively parties at his and Annie’s comfortable house in Cambridge.
Annie, more reserved and introspective, is a photographer. After a six-year lull, she is about to have her first gallery show and is worried that the best years of her career may be behind her. They have two children; Sarah, the adult child of Annie and Graham, lives in San Francisco, and Lucas, Graham’s son with his first wife Frieda, works in New York. Though Frieda is an integral part of this far-flung, loving family, Annie is confident in the knowledge that she is Graham’s last and greatest love.
When Graham suddenly dies, Annie is lost without this man whose enormous presence seemed to dominate their lives together. What is the point of going on, she wonders, without him?
Soon after Graham’s death, as she is trying to pick up the pieces of her life, Annie makes a shocking discovery. Shortly before his death, Graham had been unfaithful, involved in an impulsive, brief affair he was trying to end. Confronted by his infidelity, she spirals into darkness wondering if she truly knew the man who loved her.
A tender, timeless novel that probes the heart of every committed relationship—how well do we know, can we ever know, the people we love — Monogamy is a mesmerizing portrait of a family and the secrets they keep from one another. As Sue Miller contemplates the imponderable, she reflects on the transformative power of memory, and the triumph of love over death itself. Beautiful, wise, and moving, Monogamy confirms her place as one of the most distinguished and extraordinary writers at work today.
Thought this sounded interesting. I’ve never read anything by Miller before, but this appealed. Monogamy is due to be published by Harper in North America (September 8th) and Bloomsbury in the UK (September 3rd).
Jeff Noon, CREEPING JENNY (Angry Robot)
In the winter of 1959, private eye John Nyquist arrives in the village of Hoxley-on-the-Hale with only a package of cryptic photographs, and the frail hope of finding an answer to a question he’s been asking since his childhood.
But the villagers offer little help, as each day brings a twisted new rule in the name of a different Saint that they, and Nyquist, must follow. And there are whispers of the return of the Tolly Man, an avatar of chaos in a terrible mask…
As Nyquist struggles to distinguish friend from foe, and the Tolly Man draws nearer, he must race to finally settle the one mystery he has never been able to solve: the disappearance of his father…
The latest novel in Noon’s John Nyquist series. I haven’t had the chance to read any of the other novels in the series, but they do sounds intriguing. I’ll try to get caught up soon. Due to be published by Angry Robot Books in North America and in the UK, on April 14th, 2020.
Josh Reynolds, KAL JERICO: SINNER’S BOUNTY (Black Library)
With a Guilder armoury looted, and the culprit racing downhive in a mining hauler bristling with stolen weaponry, Kal Jerico chases the bounty… but with a prize like this, every other Venator worth the name will be after it too.
Kal Jerico returns to Hive Primus, chasing his biggest bounty yet: the maniacal preacher Desolation Zoon, racing downhive in a mining hauler bristling with stolen Guilder weaponry… but with a prize like this at stake, every other Venator worth the name will be hunting down the Redemptionist. Can Kal claim Zoon’s head, or will he find a rival’s knife in his back?
A new full-length novel starring Necromunda’s first big star! I first came across Kal Jerico when he appeared in the Inferno! comic strips, way back when. I kept reading about his (mis)adventures in the Underhive through his three novels for the original Necromunda series. When it was announced that Reynolds was going to be bringing the character back to the pages, I was rather happy — Reynolds is, as I’m sure I’ve said before (many times) on CR, one of Black Library’s most consistently excellent authors, across all of their various properties. So, Jerico should be in good hands! I’ll be reading this very soon. Sinner’s Bounty is out now, published by Black Library in the UK and North America.
George A. Romero & Daniel Kraus, THE LIVING DEAD (Tor Books)
It begins with one body.
A pair of medical examiners find themselves battling a dead man who won’t stay dead.
It spreads quickly.
In a Midwestern trailer park, a Black teenage girl and a Muslim immigrant battle newly-risen friends and family. On a US aircraft carrier, living sailors hide from dead ones while a fanatic makes a new religion out of death. At a cable news station, a surviving anchor keeps broadcasting while his undead colleagues try to devour him. In DC, an autistic federal employee charts the outbreak, preserving data for a future that may never come.
Everywhere, people are targeted by both the living and the dead.
We think we know how this story ends.
We. Are. Wrong.
When he passed away, George A. Romero left the first draft of The Living Dead. A massive new novel, Daniel Kraus was given the task of completing the novel. I’m looking forward to reading it (it’s quite long…). The Living Dead is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and Bantam Press in the UK, on July 2nd, 2020.
Adrian Tchaikovsky, THE DOORS OF EDEN (Tor UK)
Four years ago, two girls went looking for monsters on Bodmin Moor. Only one came back. Lee thought she’d lost Mal, but now she’s miraculously returned. But what happened that day on the moors? And where has she been all this time? Mal’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by MI5 officers either, and Lee isn’t the only one with questions.
Julian Sabreur is investigating an attack on top physicist Kay Amal Khan. This leads Julian to clash with agents of an unknown power – and they may or may not be human. His only clue is grainy footage, showing a woman who supposedly died on Bodmin Moor.
Dr Khan’s research was theoretical, until she found cracks between our world and parallel Earths. Now these cracks are widening, revealing extraordinary creatures. And as the doors crash open, anything could come through.
A new stand-alone novel by one of my favourite authors: this was always going to be a must-read. Sounds interesting and different from Tchaikovsky’s previous work, and so I’m very much looking forward to reading it. The Doors of Eden is due to be published by Tor Books in the UK, on May 28th, 2020. (At the time of writing, I was unaware of a North American edition/deal.)
Review copy received via NetGalley
Adrian Tchaikovsky, FIREWALKERS (Solaris)
Firewalkers are brave. Firewalkers are resourceful. Firewalkers are expendable.
The Earth is burning. Nothing can survive at the Anchor; not without water and power. But the ultra-rich, waiting for their ride off the dying Earth? They can buy water. And as for power?
Well, someone has to repair the solar panels, down in the deserts below.
Kids like Mao, and Lupé, and Hotep; kids with brains and guts but no hope.
A new novella from Tchaikovsky, and one with a great premise. I started reading this very soon after I received it, and it’s yet another example of Tchaikovsky’s ability of hopping between genres and offering his own twist on them — in this case, a post-climate-collapse dystopia. (And, of course, there are even some bugs in it!) Firewalkers is due to be published by Solaris in May 2017, in North America and in the UK.
Also on CR: Interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky (2012); Guest Posts on “Nine Books, Six Years, One Stenwold Maker”, “The Art of Gunsmithing: Writing Guns of the Dawn”, “Looking for God in Melnibone Places: Fantasy and Religion”, and “Eye of the Spider”; Excerpt from Guns of the Dawn; Reviews of Empire of Black and Gold, Guns of the Dawn, Spiderlight, Ironclads, and Children of Ruin
Emily Tesh, DROWNED COUNTRY (Tor.com)
This second volume of the Greenhollow duology once again invites readers to lose themselves in the story of Henry and Tobias, and the magic of a myth they’ve always known.
Even the Wild Man of Greenhollow can’t ignore a summons from his mother, when that mother is the indomitable Adela Silver, practical folklorist. Henry Silver does not relish what he’ll find in the grimy seaside town of Rothport, where once the ancient wood extended before it was drowned beneath the sea — a missing girl, a monster on the loose, or, worst of all, Tobias Finch, who loves him.
Gav Thorpe, SIEGE OF TERRA: THE FIRST WALL (Black Library)
The outer defences have fallen, but the walls of the Imperial Palace stand. To break them, the Traitors need their most devastating weapons – and so the Lion’s Gate Spaceport must be theirs…
The war for the fate of mankind blazes on. Though the outer defences have fallen, the walls of the Palace itself remain inviolate as Rogal Dorn, the Praetorian of Terra himself, uses every known stratagem and ploy to keep Horus’s vast armies at bay. In Perturabo, the Traitor siegebreaker, Dorn faces an adversary worthy of his skill.
A terrible, grinding attrition ensues. The crucial battle for the Lion’s Gate spaceport is at the heart of this conflict. With it in their possession, the Traitors can land their most devastating weapons on Terran soil. Dorn knows it must not fall. But with enemies attacking from within as well as without and the stirrings of the neverborn drawn to the slaughter, can the Imperial defenders possibly prevail?
The third novel in the Siege of Terra! The first two books were great, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Horus Heresy story ends. (Ok, some of it we know already, but the specifics.) Thorpe’s other novels for the Heresy series have also been great, so I have high hopes for this one. The First Wall is out now, published by Black Library in the UK and North America.
Lavie Tidhar, BY FORCE ALONE (Tor Books)
Everyone thinks they know the story of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table.
The fact is they don’t know sh*t.
Arthur? An over-promoted gangster.
Merlin? An eldritch parasite.
Excalibur? A shady deal with a watery arms dealer.
Britain? A clogged sewer that Rome abandoned just as soon as it could.
A savage and cutting epic fantasy, equally poetic and profane, By Force Alone is at once a timely political satire, a magical adventure, and a subversive masterwork.
I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I read the synopsis. Tidhar is one of the best authors working today, always providing an interesting and unexpected twist on the genres he turns his pen to. I started reading this as soon as I got it: and it is very good. (Rather strange, of course, but very good.) By Force Alone is due to be published by Tor Books in North America (June 16th) and Head of Zeus in the UK (March 5th).
Eric Van Lustbader, THE NEMESIS MANIFESTO (Forge)
Russian meddling, American fragmentation, and global politics collide in this action-packed, international thriller.
An epic and harrowing adventure of the predatory forces that are threatening the very fabric of democracy and kicks off a compelling new series with a singular new hero for our time.
Evan Ryder is a lone wolf, a field agent for a black-ops arm of the DOD, who has survived unspeakable tragedy and dedicated her life to protecting her country. When her fellow agents begin to be systematically eliminated, Evan must unravel the thread that ties them all together… and before her name comes up on the kill list.
The list belongs to a mysterious cabal known only as Nemesis, a hostile entity hell-bent on tearing the United States apart. As Evan tracks them from Washington D.C. to the Caucasus Mountains, from Austria to a fortress in Germany where her own demons reside, she unearths a network of conspirators far more complex than anyone could have imagined. Can Evan uproot them before Nemesis forces bring democracy to its knees?
This is the first in a new series, starring Evan Ryder. It feels like it’s been an age since I last read anything by Van Lustbader. This sounds very up-to-the-minute, though, so I’m sure I’ll be reading it very soon. The Nemesis Manifesto is due to be published by Forge Books in North America and by Head of Zeus in the UK, on May 19th, 2020.
Carrie Vaughn, THE GHOSTS OF SHERWOOD (Tor.com)
Everything about Father is stories.
Robin of Locksley and his one true love, Marian, are married. It has been close on two decades since they beat the Sheriff of Nottingham with the help of a diverse band of talented friends. King John is now on the throne, and Robin has sworn fealty in order to further protect not just his family, but those of the lords and barons who look up to him – and, by extension, the villagers they protect.
There is a truce. An uneasy one, to be sure, but a truce, nonetheless.
But when the Locksley children are stolen away by persons unknown, Robin and Marian are going to need the help of everyone they’ve ever known, perhaps even the ghosts that are said to reside deep within Sherwood.
And the Locksley children, despite appearances to the contrary, are not without tricks of their own…
This popped up on NetGalley as I was getting close to finishing Lavie Tidhar’s By Force Alone (above), and apparently I’m in the mood for stories that mess about with myths/legends. This sounds really interesting. The Ghosts of Sherwood is due to be published by Tor.com, in North America and in the UK, on June 9th, 2020. (Goodreads already has the sequel listed, The Heirs of Locksley, due out in August 2020.)
Paul Vidich, THE COLDEST WAR (Pegasus)
In 1953, at the end of the Korean War, Dr. Charles Wilson, an Army bio-weapons scientist, died when he “jumped or fell” from the ninth floor of a Washington hotel. As his wife and children grieve, the details of his death remain buried for twenty-two years.
With the release of the Rockefeller Commission report on illegal CIA activities in 1975, LSD is linked to Wilson’s death, and suddenly the Wilson case becomes news again. Wilson’s family and the press are demanding answers, suspecting the CIA of foul play, and men in the CIA, FBI, and White House conspire to make sure the truth doesn’t get out.
Enter agent Jack Gabriel, an old friend of the Wilson family who is instructed by the CIA director to find out what really happened to Wilson. It’s Gabriel’s last mission before he retires from the agency, and his most perilous as he finds a continuing cover-up that reaches to the highest levels of government. Key witnesses connected to the case die from suspicious causes, and Gabriel realizes that the closer he gets to the truth, the more he puts himself and his family at risk.
I’ve been collecting Vidich’s books as they’ve been published but for some reason I haven’t had a chance to read any of them, yet… They all sound great, though, so it’s only because of the “out-of-sight” Kindle problem. I hope to rectify this oversight very soon. The Coldest Warrior is out now, published by Pegasus Books in North America, and No Exit Press in the UK.
Drew Williams, THE FIRMAMENT OF FLAMES (Tor Books)
For nearly a century, the Justified have been searching for gifted children to help prevent the return of the pulse. Until recently, they thought they were the only ones.
Jane Kamali and her telekinetic protégé Esa, now seventeen, barely managed to claim victory against a Cyn — a being of pure energy — hell bent on hunting down the gifted. Now they face an army.
The Cyn and their followers will stop at nothing to find Esa and the others. No one knows what they want, but Jane, Esa, and their allies in the Justified are determined to find out.
Even if they have to go to the ends of the known universe to do it.
The third novel in Willaims’s Universe After series. Now I have all three of them, I think I’ll finally get around to reading them. (Might make for a nice binge-read in the spring/summer?) The Firmament of Flames is out now, published by Tor Books in North America and Simon & Schuster in the UK (on March 5th).