Upcoming: SMOKE IN THE GLASS by Chris Humphreys (Gollancz)

HumphreysCC-SmokeInTheGlassUKIn a couple of months, Gollancz are due to publish Smoke in the Glass by Chris Humphreys, “a thrilling new dark fantasy series about immortality, war and survival.” It is the first novel in the Immortal’s Blood series, and the most recent fantasy novel from Humphreys, who has also written a number of historical novels as “C.C. Humphreys”. The cover was recently unveiled (it’s quite nice), and I think the book has an intriguing premise:

A world of immortals living among humans. Anyone may be immortal, but there is no way to know until you die. If you are one of the very lucky few, you will live an endless life of pleasure and power, considered to be a god. Only decapitation and the rapid separation of body and head for a few days can kill an immortal.

In the southlands, a common soldier dies and is reborn, and is inducted into the world of the immortals. But the Empire has become decadent, and what he discovers there will shock him.

In the dry lands of the west, one man has set himself up as the sun god. But there is a prophecy that he will be killed by his son – and so all of his male children are killed at birth. Until his most recent wife bears a child who is nether male nor female, and is determined to protect them from sacrifice.

In the cold north, the immortal Luck – clever, tricksy, clubfooted – harbours suspicions that many of the immortals have been killed. When he intervenes in an attack on one of his fellows, he realises something new. Someone is hunting the Gods.

For there is a fourth land. They know of the other three. And they are planning their attack.

Our three heroes – damaged soldier, protective mother, clever cripple – must find a way to unite their different lands, and defend against this new enemy.

I’m looking forward to reading this. Smoke in the Glass is due to be published by Gollancz in the UK, on May 16th, 2019.

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Upcoming: THE WATER DANCER by Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World/Hamish Hamilton)

CoatesTN-WaterDancerUSI’ve been reading Ta-Nehisi Coates‘s journalism for some time — mainly via The Atlantic — and have enjoyed his non-fiction books and also his brief run on Marvel’s Black Panther comic series. Earlier today, I spotted the cover for The Water Dancer, the author’s upcoming new novel. The premise sounds pretty interesting, so I’m looking forward to reading the novel later this year:

A boldly imagined work of magic and adventure from the National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me.

Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage — and lost his mother and all memory of her when he was a child — but he is also gifted with a mysterious power. Hiram almost drowns when he crashes a carriage into a river, but is saved from the depths by a force he doesn’t understand, a blue light that lifts him up and lands him a mile away. This strange brush with death forces a new urgency on Hiram’s private rebellion. Spurred on by his improvised plantation family, Thena, his chosen mother, a woman of few words and many secrets, and Sophia, a young woman fighting her own war even as she and Hiram fall in love, he becomes determined to escape the only home he’s ever known.

So begins an unexpected journey into the covert war on slavery that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the deep South to dangerously utopic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, all Hiram wants is to return to the Walker Plantation to free the family he left behind — but to do so, he must first master his magical gift and reconstruct the story of his greatest loss.

This is a bracingly original vision of the world of slavery, written with the narrative force of a great adventure. Driven by the author’s bold imagination and striking ability to bring readers deep into the interior lives of his brilliantly rendered characters, The Water Dancer is the story of America’s oldest struggle — the struggle to tell the truth — from one of our most exciting thinkers and beautiful writers.

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s The Water Dancer is due to be published by One World (North America) and Hamish Hamilton (UK) in late-September 2019.

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Upcoming: WE ARE THE DEAD by Mike Shackle (Gollancz)

ShackleM-LW1-WeAreTheDeadUKI spotted this cover last night on AmazonWe Are The Dead, the debut novel by Mike Shackle! The novel was announced a little while ago, and I’ve been eagerly looking forward to it ever since.

Due to be published on June 13th by Gollancz in the UK, here’s the synopsis for the first book in the Last War Trilogy:

The war is over. The enemy’s won. Now it’s time to fight back.

For generations, the people of Jia — a land where magic has long since faded from the world, clinging on in only a few rare individuals — have been protected from the northern Egril hordes by their warrior caste, but their enemy has not been idle. They have rediscovered magic and use it to launch an overwhelming surprise attack. An invasion has begun.

And in moments, the war is over. Resistance is quashed. Kings and city leaders are barricaded in their homes awaiting banishment and execution, the warriors are massacred, and a helpless people submit to the brutality of Egril rule.

Jia’s heroes have failed it. They are all gone. And yet… there is still hope. Soon the fate of the kingdom will fall into the hands of a schoolboy terrorist, a crippled Shulka warrior and his wheelchair bound son, a single mother desperate enough to do anything she can to protect her baby… and Tinnstra, disgraced daughter of the Shulka’s greatest leader, who now lies dead by Egril hands.

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Upcoming: SHADOWS OF THE SHORT DAY by Alexander Dan Vilhjámsson (Gollancz)

VilhjalmssonAD-ShadowsOfTheShortDaysUKI first learned about this novel this morning, when I spotted some Tweets from various Gollancz peeps announcing that ARCs had come in. I’m not sure how I managed to miss it entirely before today, but it sounds fantastic. Alexander Dan Vilhjámsson‘s Shadows of the Short Day is set in “a strangely familiar alternate Reykjavik where wild and industrialised magic meet”, and is pitched as “perfect for fans of… Lev Grossman’s The Magicians or China Miéville’s The City & The City“. Colour me most definitely intrigued.

The novel is due to be published in July 2019 by Gollancz, in the UK. Here’s the synopsis:

On frost-covered streets beneath the northern lights, an outcast guerrilla artist and a rebellious, drug-addicted sorcerer will start a revolution.

Sæmundur the Mad, addict and sorcerer, has been expelled from the magical university, Svartiskóli, and can no longer study galdur, an esoteric source of magic. Obsessed with proving his peers wrong, he will stop at nothing to gain absolute power and knowledge, especially of that which is long forbidden.

Garún is an outcast: half-human, half-huldufólk, her very existence is a violation of dimensional boundaries, the ultimate taboo. A militant revolutionary and graffiti artist, recklessly dismissive of the status quo, she will do anything to achieve a just society, including spark a revolution. Even if she has to do it alone.

This is a tale of revolution set in a twisted version of Reykjavik fuelled by industrialised magic and populated by humans, interdimensional exiles, otherworldly creatures, psychoactive graffiti and demonic familiars.

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Upcoming: DRACHENFELS and GENEVIEVE UNDEAD by Kim Newman (Black Library)

newmank-g1-drachenfelsLater this year, Black Library is due to re-issue (for the second time) two classic novels set in the Warhammer world (pre-Age of Sigmar): Drachenfels and Genevieve Undead by Kim Newman. Originally published under the pseudonym Jack Yeovil, I read and thoroughly enjoyed both of these novels back in the 1990s. The new covers are fantastic, and I just wanted to share them on CR. If you’re a fan of the setting, as well as a bit of horror, then these should appeal.

DRACHENFELS (April 18th)

Detlef Sierck, the self-proclaimed greatest playwright in the world, has declared that his next production will be a recreation of the end of the Great Enchanter, Constant Drachenfels – to be staged at the very site of his death, the fortress of Drachenfels itself. But the castle’s dark walls still hide a terrible and deadly secret which may make the first night of Detlef’s masterpiece the last of his life.

newmank-g2-genevieveundeadGENEVIEVE UNDEAD (May 16th)

After her return from Drachenfels, Genevieve Dieudonne, the vampire femme fatale, embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery in which she must face monsters and magicians, intrigue and evil. Her journey takes her from the depths of an old theater to an accursed mansion under a deadly gothic spell, and finally to the hunt of a savage unicorn mare through haunted forests.

The final two books in the Genevieve series — Beasts in Velvet and Silver Nails — are also due to be re-issued later this year, in July. If you missed them before, then I would highly recommend you pop them on your to-buy list.

I was very lucky to meet Mr. Newman at WFC in Brighton, and he was kind enough to sign a battered copy of Drachenfels. I’m really looking forward to re-reading this excellent horror-fantasy series.

Kim Newman is also the author of (among others) the Anno Dracula and Drearcliff Grange series, both published by Titan Books.

Also on CR: Excerpt from One Thousand Monsters

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Upcoming: GIDEON THE NINTH by Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com)

muirt-nh1-gideontheninthusTamsyn Muir‘s Gideon the Ninth is getting a lot of pre-publication attention. The lucky few who have received ARCs have gushed about how awesome and fun it is. The fantastic cover was unveiled recently, and really I just wanted an excuse to share it on CR. If that striking artwork isn’t enough to whet your appetite, here’s the synopsis for the novel that is “the most fun you’ll ever have with a skeleton”:

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as necromantic skeletons. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

I’m really looking forward to giving this a try. Gideon the Ninth is due to be published by Tor.com on September 10th, 2019, in North America and in the UK.

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Upcoming: RULE OF CAPTURE by Christopher Brown (Voyager)

BrownC-RuleToCaptureIn 2017, Voyager published Christopher Brown‘s thought-provoking debut novel, Tropic of Kansas. I rather enjoyed that novel, and have been keeping my eyes open for news of the author’s next book. In August 2019, Voyager are due to publish Rule to Capture. It is described as “Better Call Saul meets Nineteen Eighty-Four“, which is certainly intriguing. It is also the first in a new series of legal thrillers set in the same dystopian world as Tropic of Kansas. Here’s the synopsis:

Defeated in a devastating war with China, America is on the brink of a bloody civil war. Seizing power after a controversial election, the ruling regime has begun cracking down on dissidents fighting the nation’s slide toward dictatorship. For Donny Kimoe, chaos is good for business. He’s a lawyer who makes his living defending enemies of the state.

His newest client, young filmmaker Xelina Rocafuerte, witnessed the murder of an opposition leader and is now accused of terrorism. To save her from the only sentence worse than death, Donny has to extract justice from a system that has abandoned the rule of law. That means breaking the rules — and risking the same fate as his clients.

When Donny bungles Xelina’s initial hearing, he has only days to save the young woman from being transferred to a detention camp from which no one returns. His only chance of winning is to find the truth — a search that begins with the opposition leader’s death and leads to a dark conspiracy reaching the highest echelons of power.

Now, Donny isn’t just fighting for his client’s life — he’s battling for his own. But as the trial in the top secret court begins, Xelina’s friends set into motion a revolutionary response that could destroy the case. And when another case unexpectedly collides with Xelina’s, Donny uncovers even more devastating secrets, knowledge that will force him to choose between saving one client… or the future of the entire country.

Rule to Capture is due to be published by Voyager in North America and in the UK, in August 2019.

Also on CR: Review of Tropic of Kansas

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