Upcoming: TOWER by Bae Myung-hoon (Honford Star)

BaeMH-TowerUKI only heard about Bae Myung-hoon‘s Tower when a review copy arrived in the mail. I’m very glad it did, though, because not only does it have a gorgeous cover, but it also sounds really interesting. (I think I’ll also be exploring more of Honford Star’s titles, too — their “mission is to publish the best literature from East Asia, be it classic or contemporary.”) Very much looking forward to giving it a try. Here’s the synopsis:

Tower is a series of interconnected stories set in Beanstalk, a 674-story skyscraper and sovereign nation. Each story deals with how citizens living in the hypermodern high-rise deal with various influences of power in their lives: a group of researchers have to tell their boss that a major powerbroker is a dog, a woman uses the power of the internet to rescue a downed fighter pilot abandoned by the government, and an out-of-towner finds himself in charge of training a gentle elephant to break up protests. Bae explores the forces that shape modern life with wit and a sly wink at the reader.

Bae Myung-hoon’s Tower is due to be published by Honford Star in the UK, on February 15th, 2021.

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Upcoming: BLINDSPACE by Jeremy Szal (Gollancz)

SzalJ-C2-BlindspaceLast year, Jeremy Szal‘s debut novel Stormblood made quite a splash when it was published. It is one of the novels that is rapidly climbing my never-ending TBR mountain, but now I have a target: get it read before Blindspace is published. Really looking forward to reading both of these novels. Here’s the synopsis:

Vakov Fukasawa used to be a Reaper: a bio-enhanced soldier fighting for the Harmony, against a brutal invading empire. He’s still fighting now, on a different battlefield: taking on stormtech. To make him a perfect soldier, Harmony injected him with the DNA of an extinct alien race, altering his body chemistry and leaving him permanently addicted to adrenaline and aggression. But although they meant to create soldiers, at the same time Harmony created a new drug market that has millions hopelessly addicted to their own body chemistry.

Now, Vakov may have walked away from Harmony, but they still know where to find him…

Jeremy Szal’s Blindspace is due to be published by Gollancz in the UK, on October 28th, 2021.

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Upcoming: ISLAND REICH by Jack Grimwood (Michael Joseph)

GrimwoodJ-IslandReichUKI’ve been a fan of Jack Grimwood‘s writing for some time. I enjoyed his  Assassini series (an atmospheric horror/vampire trilogy), and was intrigued when he decided to move into historical thrillers. His first Cold War thriller/mystery, Moskva was great, and introduced readers to Tom Fox (who also appears in Nightfall Berlin). This year, Penguin are due to publish a new stand-alone World War II mystery, Island Reich, which also sounds really interesting:

An unlikely spy.

July 1940. As Britain braces itself for invasion, ex-Tommy and safecracker Bill O’Hagan is glad to have escaped the battlefield. But when a job goes wrong, he finds himself forced to serve his country once more.

A former king.

Spurned by his government and fearing for his life, the Duke of Windsor flees to Portugal with the woman for whom he abdicated the throne, Wallis Simpson. As a web of Nazi trickery threatens to ensnare him, his fate and the fate of Britain rest on one man.

The fate of a nation in their hands.

Dropped on an occupied Channel Island without backup, Bill must crack an enemy safe and get its contents to safety. Failure will devastate any hope Britain has of winning the war.

But with the layers of deception and intrigue drawing ever more tightly around them, Bill and the Duke both learn they aren’t the only players in this game. And Berlin – which has the Duke in its own sights — is plotting its greatest move yet…

Jack Grimwood’s Island Reich is due to be published by Penguin in the UK, on May 27th, 2021. (Couldn’t find any information about a North American release, at the time of writing.)

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Quick Review: VALDOR by Chris Wraight (Black Library)

WraightC-Valdor-BirthOfTheImperiumOne of the most important characters from the Horus Heresy series, and also an illuminating glimpse at the early Imperium

Explore the history of one of the most well known heroes of the Imperium…

Constantin Valdor. It is a name that brings forth images of heroism, honour and peerless duty. For it is he who commands the will of the Legio Custodes that most esteemed and dedicated cadre of elite warriors. He is the Emperor’s sword, His shield, His banner and he knows no equal. Clad in shining auramite, his fist clenched around the haft of his Guardian Spear, he is the bulwark against all enemies of the throne, within or without.

Nearing the end of the wars of Unity, Valdor’s courage and purpose is put to the test as never before. The petty warlords and tyrants of Old Earth have been all but vanquished, and the Emperor’s armies are triumphant. What now for the nascent Imperium and what fate its forgotten soldiers, its Thunder Warriors and armies of Unity? A new force is rising, one which shall eclipse all others and open the way to the stars. But change on Terra is seldom bloodless and for progress to be ensured darker deeds are necessary.

This is the first in Black Library’s Horus Heresy Character series — a series of novels that expands the overall Horus Heresy series in some way. Focusing on Constantin Valdor, the commander of the Legio Custodes, the Emperor’s personal guard. It’s a novel that not only gives us some more insight and background to the character, but also an interesting and illuminating (to a point) glimpse at the early years of the Imperium, before mankind had set out once again for the stars. A quick, interesting and engaging read. Continue reading

Upcoming: PRIEST OF GALLOWS by Peter McLean (Jo Fletcher Books)

McLeanP-WftRT3-PriestOfGallowsUKThe third novel in Peter McLean‘s acclaimed War for the Rose Throne series, Priest of Gallows, is due out later this year. It’s not the final book in the series (there’s at least one more on the way, Priest of Crowns), so fans of the series can be happy that there’s still plenty of action and intrigue still to come. I really need to get caught up on this series. Here’s the synopsis:

Gangster, soldier, priest. Queen’s Man. Governor.

Tomas Piety has everything he ever wanted. In public he’s a wealthy, highly respected businessman, happily married to a beautiful woman and Governor of his home city of Ellinburg. In private, he’s no longer a gang lord but one of the Queen’s Men, invisible and officially non-existent, working in secret to protect his country.

But when the queen’s sudden death sees him summoned him back to the capital, he discovers his boss, Dieter Vogel, Provost Marshal of the Queen’s Men, is busy tightening his stranglehold on the country.

Just as he once fought for his Pious Men, he must now bend all his wit and hard-won wisdom to protect his queen – but now he can’t always tell if he’s on the right side.

Tomas has started to ask himself, what is the price of power? And more importantly, is it one he is willing to pay?

Peter McLean’s Priest of Gallows is due to be published in the UK by Jo Fletcher Books, on April 29th, 2021. (The first two novels in the series are published in North America by Ace Books, but I couldn’t find a listing for an Ace edition of Priest of Gallows, at the time of writing.)

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Quick Review: THE TWO LOST MOUNTAINS by Matthew Reilly (Orion)

ReillyM-JW6-TwoLostMountainsUKHCThe penultimate novel in the action-packed Jack West, Jr., series.

AN INCREDIBLE VICTORY AT A TERRIBLE PRICE

Against all the odds, Jack West Jr found the Three Secret Cities – but at a heartbreaking cost.

TO THE MOUNTAINS AND THE FALL

Still reeling from his loss, Jack must now get to one of the five iron mountains – two of which have never been found – and perform a mysterious feat known only as ‘The Fall’.

A NEW PLAYER ARRIVES

Amid all this, Jack will discover that a new player has entered the race, a general so feared by the four legendary kingdoms they had him locked away in their deepest dungeon.

Only now this general has escaped and he has a horrifying plan of his own…

I’ve been reading Reilly’s Jack West Jr. series since the paperback release of Seven Ancient Wonders, which I think I picked up on a whim (from WH Smiths, if I recall correctly). It introduced a host of fun new characters, and offered an action-packed thrill-ride. A blockbuster movie on the page, filled with secret history, insane action scenes, some fun technology, and superb pacing. Each of the series novels since (the titles have been counting down) has offered much the same level of entertainment and action, building nicely on the mythology of its particular secret history. The Two Lost Mountains is another fast-paced novel, which sets up the final book very nicely. Continue reading

Quick Review: GOOD COMPANY by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (Ecco)

SweeneyCD-GoodCompanyUSA novel about friendship, marriage, and managing the challenges life presents

Flora Mancini has been happily married for more than twenty years. But everything she thought she knew about herself, her marriage, and her relationship with her best friend, Margot, is upended when she stumbles upon an envelope containing her husband’s wedding ring — the one he claimed he lost one summer when their daughter, Ruby, was five.

Flora and Julian struggled for years, scraping together just enough acting work to raise Ruby in Manhattan and keep Julian’s small theater company — Good Company — afloat. A move to Los Angeles brought their first real career successes, a chance to breathe easier, and a reunion with Margot, now a bona fide television star. But has their new life been built on lies? What happened that summer all those years ago? And what happens now?

Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest was one of the best novels I read in 2016, so I’ve been looking forward to reading the author’s follow-up ever since. I was lucky enough to get a DRC of Good Company, and I’m very pleased to report that it lived up to my high expectations. A novel about family, friendship, secrets, and life in general. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

Quick Review: THE ALBUM OF DR. MOREAU by Daryl Gregory (Tor.com)

GregoryD-AlbumOfDrMoreauA fantastic science fictional twist on detective fiction and pop culture

It’s 2001, and the WyldBoyZ are the world’s hottest boy band, and definitely the world’s only genetically engineered human-animal hybrid vocal group. When their producer, Dr. M, is found murdered in his hotel room, the “boyz” become the prime suspects. Was it Bobby the ocelot (“the cute one”), Matt the megabat (“the funny one”), Tim the Pangolin (“the shy one”), Devin the bonobo (“the romantic one”), or Tusk the elephant (“the smart one”)?

Las Vegas Detective Luce Delgado has only twenty-four hours to solve a case that goes all the way back to the secret science barge where the WyldBoyZ’ journey first began — a place they used to call home.

It feels like a long time since I last read something by Gregory. I’ve enjoyed his work ever since I read Afterparty. He has a great writing and storytelling style. This new novella is a fantastic read: an intriguing, inventive science-fiction twist on detective fiction and pop culture. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE ALL-CONSUMING WORLD by Cassandra Khaw (Erewhon)

KhawC-AllConsumingWorldUSTor.com has described the protagonist in Cassandra Khaw‘s newest novel as having “heavy Furiosa vibes” (if you don’t know the reference, please go and watch Mad Max: Fury Road before you do anything else). I’ve enjoyed the other work by Khaw that I’ve read, and am looking forward to reading The All-Consuming World, a science fiction novel about a group of cyborg ex-cons who want to rescue a missing teammate:

A diverse team of broken, diminished former criminals get back together to solve the mystery of their last, disastrous mission and to rescue a missing and much-changed comrade… but they’re not the only ones in pursuit of the secret at the heart of the planet Dimmuborgir.

The highly-evolved AI of the universe have their own agenda and will do whatever it takes to keep humans from ever controlling the universe again. This band of dangerous women, half-clone and half-machine, must battle their own traumas and a universe of sapient ageships who want them dead, in order to settle their affairs once and for all. 

“Dimmuborgir”… I wonder if it’s named after the band?

Cassandra Khaw’s The All-Consuming World is due to be published by Erewhon in North America and in the UK, on June 22nd, 2021.

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Upcoming: KING BULLET by Richard Kadrey (Voyager)

KadreyR-SS12-KingBulletLater this year, Voyager are due to publish King Bullet, the twelfth and final book in Richard Kadrey‘s superb Sandman Slim series. I started reading this when I was a lowly intern at Voyager in the UK (a job I still look back on very fondly). I’ve fallen a little behind on the series, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the novels I’ve read so far. I can’t wait to get caught up and see how the series ends. Here’s the synopsis:

It’s been three months since Stark stopped a death cult and a potential ghost apocalypse, and he’s at loose ends. His personal life is a mess. His professional life isn’t much better. And the world… well, the world is going to shit. L.A. is gripped by a viral epidemic that has everyone wearing masks and keeping their distance from each other. But what’s even more frightening is the Shoggot gang and their leader, King Bullet, who revels in the city’s collapse.

Who is King Bullet? No one knows. He seemingly came from nowhere with nothing but a taste for mayhem and an army of crazed killers who follow his every command. What king wants seems simple on it face: Chaos. Destruction. A city in flames. But there’s more to the king and his plans for L.A. and what Stark discovers will change Heaven, Earth, and Stark himself forever.

Richard Kadrey’s King Bullet is due to be published by Harper Voyager in North America and in the UK, on August 17th, 2021.

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