New Books (July #2)

BlackBooksSoManyBooks

[My home is a little bit like this, now…]

Featuring: Mitch Albom, David V. Barrett, D. Randall Blythe, Aliette de Bodard, Charles Bukowski, Umberto Eco, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Victor Gischler, Mark Hodder, Mitchell Hogan, Howard Andrew Jones, Stephen P. Kiernan, Ted Kosmatka, Stina Leicht, Shanna Mahin, George Mann, Ari Marmell, Rhonda Mason, Brian Panowich, Adam Rakunas, Andy Remic, Karin Slaughter, Paul Theroux, Simon Toyne, Tony Tulathimutte Continue reading

Upcoming from Titan Books…

Titan Books has really become a powerhouse SFF publisher in the last few years — they’re publishing some fantastic authors (on both sides of the Atlantic), and seem to just be growing and growing. Here are some titles (in alphabetical order) on the horizon that I think are interesting — I’ve indicated if/when they are US or UK only, otherwise they’re both. There are so many coming, too, that this is not an exhaustive list.

AkersT-1-PaganNightTim Akers, PAGAN NIGHT (January 2016)

Ruling with an iron hand, the Church has eliminated the ancient pagan ways. Yet demonic gheists terrorize the land, hunted by the Inquisition, while age-old hatreds rage between the north and the south. Three heroes — Malcolm and Ian Blakeley and Gwendolyn Adair — must end the bloodshed before chaos is unleashed.

Publisher Page

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CartmelA-VD1-VinylDetectiveUKAndrew Cartmel, THE VINYLE DETECTIVE (May 2016)

He is a record collector — a connoisseur of vinyl, hunting out rare and elusive LPs. His business card describes him as the “Vinyl Detective” and some people take this more literally than others.

Like the beautiful, mysterious woman who wants to pay him a large sum of money to find a priceless lost recording — on behalf of an extremely wealthy (and rather sinister) shadowy client. 

Given that he’s just about to run out of cat biscuits, this gets our hero’s full attention. So begins a painful and dangerous odyssey in search of the rarest jazz record of them all…

Publisher Page

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HoughJM-ZeroWorldUKJason M. Hough, ZERO WORLD (August 2015)

Technologically enhanced assassin Peter Caswell has been dispatched on a top-secret assignment unlike anything he’s ever faced. A spaceship that vanished years ago has been found, along with the bodies of its murdered crew — save one. Peter’s mission is to find the missing crew member, who fled through what appears to be a tear in the very fabric of space, emerging into an even more confounding reality: a world that appears to be Earth’s twin.

Published in North America by Del Rey.

Publisher Page

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Victor Gischler, GESTAPO MARS (September 2016)

GischlerV-1-GestapoMars

The first in a new series, there’s no synopsis available, yet. More to come. I love the cover, and I’ve enjoyed some Gischeler’s comics work in the past.

Publisher Page

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Human-KillBaxterUSCharlie Human, KILL BAXTER (November 2015, US)

AND HE THOUGHT THE HARD PART WAS OVER…

The world has been massively unappreciative of sixteen-year-old Baxter Zevcenko. His bloodline may be a combination of ancient Boer mystic and giant shape-shifting crow, and he may have won an inter-dimensional battle and saved the world, but does anyone care? No.

Instead he’s packed off to Hexpoort, a magical training school that’s part reformatory, part military school, and just like Hogwarts (except with sex, drugs, and better internet access). The problem is that Baxter sucks at magic. He’s also desperately attempting to control his new ability to dreamwalk, all the while being singled out by the school’s resident bully, who just so happens to be the Chosen One.

But when the school comes under attack, Baxter needs to forget all that and step into action. The only way is joining forces with his favourite recovering alcoholic of a supernatural bounty hunter, Ronin, to try and save the world from the apocalypse. Again.

Published in the UK by Century/Arrow. (Synopsis above from UK edition.)

Publisher Pages: APOCALYPSE NOW NOW and KILL BAXTER

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Michael Kurland, ALEXANDER BRASS MYSTERIES series (November 2015-February 2016)

KurlandM-AlexanderBrassMystery1&2UK

A witty and atmospheric 1930s New York mystery series, following the adventures of Morgan DeWitt and his mentor, columnist extraordinaire, Alexander Brass

Nefarious doings among movers and shakers in Depression-era New York City animate a lively chase for a story-and a murderer-for newspaper nightclub columnist Alexander Brass. It all begins when a furtive tipster promises an explosive story and gives Brass an envelope filled with photographs of several powerful people caught in compromising sexual positions. Intrigued, Brass sends a newspaper stringer to follow the mystery man. When the stringer is murdered, Brass and his team resolve to find the killer, running the gauntlet of blackmailing Nazis, accommodating nymphomaniacs and US senators on the way.

Publisher Pages: TOO SOON DEAD, THE GIRLS IN THE HIGH-HEELED SHOES

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LeslieB-DC1-CrackedUKBarbara Leslie, CRACKED (November 2015)

Danielle Cleary is a nice middle-class girl with a bad habit. After her stormy marriage to the love of her life ends, the former personal trainer and amateur fighter jumps down the rabbit hole into a world of crack cocaine — delivered to her door by a polite but slightly deranged dealer – and endless game shows, with her best friend Gene. But when Danny’s twin sister Ginger is murdered, Danny and her rock musician brother fly to California to find their nephews – and the people who killed their sister. Fighting withdrawal, nosy cops and crazy drug dealers, she kicks ass and takes names, embracing her inner vigilante in a quest to avenge her sister and save her family.

Cracked is a darkly comic roller-coaster ride to redemption.  From the streets of Toronto to the underbelly of Orange County; from private jets to the depths of the Maine wilderness, Danny struggles with bad guys and her own demons to find the killers.

Publisher Page

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MarmellA-MO2-HallowPointUK-SmallAri Marmell, HALLOW POINT (August 2015)

Mick Oberon may look like just another 1930s private detective, but beneath the fedora and the overcoat, he’s got pointy ears and he’s packing a wand. The Spear of Lugh is in Chicago. And everyone, everyone wants it, for it is said that he who carries the spear into battle cannot be defeated. Those chasing it include an agent of the infamous Wild Hunt; a mobster who knows far more about these things than he should; and of course both the Seelie and Unseelie Courts—the very last people PI Mick Oberon would want getting hold of the spear…

Publisher Pages: HOT LEAD, COLD IRON and HALLOW POINT

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MorrisM-OH2-SocietyOfBloodUKMark Morris, SOCIETY OF BLOOD (October)

Transported through time to the dank streets of Victorian London, Alex Locke seeks to unravel the mysteries of the Obsidian Heart, the enigmatic object to which his fate is inextricably bound.

When a string of grisly murders takes place across the capital, Alex follows a trail that will lead him through the opium dens of Limehouse into the dark and twisted world of the Society of Blood, and ever closer to unlocking the secret of the Heart.

Publisher Pages: WOLVES OF LONDON and SOCIETY OF BLOOD

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NewmanK-SecretsOfDrearcliffGrangeSchoolKim Newman, THE SECRETS OF DEARCLIFF GRANGE SCHOOL (October 2015)

A week after Mother found her sleeping on the ceiling, Amy Thomsett is delivered to her new school, Drearcliff Grange in Somerset. Although it looks like a regular boarding school, Amy learns that Drearcliff girls are special, the daughters of criminal masterminds, outlaw scientists and master magicians. Several of the pupils also have special gifts like Amy’s, and when one of the girls in her dormitory is abducted by a mysterious group in black hoods, Amy forms a secret, superpowered society called the Moth Club to rescue their friend. They soon discover that the Hooded Conspiracy runs through the School, and it’s up to the Moth Club to get to the heart of it.

Publisher Page

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PinboroughS-DeathHouseUSSarah Pinborough, THE DEATH HOUSE (September 2015, US)

Toby’s life was perfectly normal… until it was unravelled by something as simple as a blood test.

Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House; an out-of-time existence far from the modern world, where he, and the others who live there, are studied by Matron and her team of nurses. They’re looking for any sign of sickness. Any sign of their wards changing. Any sign that it’s time to take them to the sanatorium.

No one returns from the sanatorium.

Living in his memories of the past, Toby spends his days fighting his fear. But then a new arrival in the house shatters the fragile peace, and everything changes.

Because everybody dies. It’s how you choose to live that counts.

Published in the UK by Gollancz.

Publisher Page

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SnodgrassM-E3-EdgeOfDawnUKMelinda Snodgrass, EDGE OF DAWN (August 2015, UK)

The final battle approaches for a band of modern paladins, fighting for the light of science and reason, and against an ancient supernatural army poised to destroy the world.

What do you do when the Earth is under assault from monstrous creatures by alternate dimensions and you’re the only person who can wield the weapon that can destroy them? That’s the situation facing Richard Oort, hero of the Edge novels. 

Lonely and overwhelmed after a series of terrifying, catastrophic global and personal events, Richard is still determined to save the world from the horrific Old Ones. He goes undercover in a Christian fundamentalist compound, playing house with an attractive FBI agent. At first, this only serves to increase his loneliness, missing his real family, but against all odds discovers another unique human who can use the paladin’s weapon, one who might be able to join him and lighten the burden of responsibility. There’s only one problem — Mosi is a nine-year-old Navajo girl.

Their enemies are trying to kill both Richard and Mosi — and have already killed Mosi’s family. To keep her safe Richard becomes her guardian, but an error in judgement leads to disaster and betrayal, and now the odd pair will need to summon all their strength to survive the coming battle. From the American southwest to a secret society in Turkey, the paladin and his ward try to stay in front of their enemies, but the world is at stake — and time is running short.

Published in North America by Tor Books.

Publisher Pages: EDGE OF REASON, EDGE OF RUIN, EDGE OF DAWN

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WongD-FuturisticViolence&FancySuitsUKDavid Wong, FUTURISTIC VIOLENCE AND FANCY SUITS (October 2015, UK)

In a prosperous yet gruesomely violent near-future, superhero vigilantes battle thugs whose heads are full of supervillain fantasies. The peace is kept by a team of smooth, well-dressed negotiators called The Men in Fancy Suits. Meanwhile a young girl is caught in the middle, and thinks the whole thing is ridiculous.

Zoey, a recent college graduate with a worthless degree, makes a reluctant trip into the city after hearing that her estranged con artist father had died in a mysterious yet spectacular way. There she finds that her scumbag dad had actually, in the final years of his life, put his amazing talent for hustling to good use: He was one of the founding members of the Fancy Suits, and died in the course of his duties.

Zoey is quickly entangled in the city’s surreal mob war when she is taken hostage by a particularly crazy villain who imagines himself to be a Dr. Doom-level mastermind. The villain is demanding information about Zoe’s father when she is rescued by The Fancy Suits. She reluctantly joins their cause and help finish what her old man started, tapping into her innate talent for bullshit that she inherited from her hated father. And along the way, she might just have to learn how to trust people again.

Published in North America by Thomas Dunne Books.

Publisher Page

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WoodJ-BrokenHeroJonathan Wood, BROKEN HERO (January 2016)

Arthur Wallace and the MI37 team confront their complex personal relationships as well as robots originally created to aid the Nazi’s invasion of Russia, leading to a trip for the team to the Himalayas, which takes them to a Nepalese death cult, then back to London for the final assault – amidst assorted relationship break-ups, hangovers and pregnancy scares…

Publisher Pages: NO HERO, YESTERDAY’S HERO, ANTI-HERO, BROKEN HERO

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Upcoming Books from Titan that Caught My Eye…

I was on Titan Books’ website yesterday, and I saw that some more upcoming titles have been added. Here are a handful of the titles that caught my eye…

BrockwayR-TheUnnoticablesUKsmRobert Brockway, THE UNNOTICEABLES (July 7th)

There are angels, and they are not beneficent or loving. But they do watch over us. They watch our lives unfold, analyzing us for repeating patterns and redundancies. When they find them, the angels simplify those patterns, they remove the redundancies, and the problem that is you gets solved.

Carey doesn’t much like that idea. As a punk living in New York City, 1977, Carey is sick and tired of watching the strange kids with the unnoticeable faces abduct his friends. He doesn’t care about the rumors of tarmonsters in the sewers, or unkillable psychopaths invading the punk scene — all he wants is drink cheap beer and dispense ass-kickings.

Kaitlyn isn’t sure what she’s doing with her life. She came to Hollywood in 2013 to be a stunt woman, but last night a former teen heartthrob tried to eat her, her best friend has just gone missing, and there’s an angel outside her apartment.

Whatever she plans on doing with her life, it should probably happen in the few remaining minutes she has left of it.

There are angels. There are demons. They are the same thing. It’s up to Carey and Kaitlyn to stop them. The survival of the human race is in their hands.

We are, all of us, well and truly screwed.

Given the cover, I imagine it’ll be difficult to miss this one… Brockway is an editor for Cracked.com, and The Unnoticeables is an interesting-looking novel. I’ve already read some of it, and it was… different. I certainly enjoyed one of two protagonists’ voices more than other. Looks like it will appeal to fans of dark-and-gritty urban fantasy, like Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim. The novel is published in North America by Tor Books.

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GoldbergT-GangsterlandUKTod Goldberg, GANGSTERLAND (Out Now)

Sal Cupertine is a legendary hit man for the Chicago Mafia, known for his ability to get in and out of a crime without a trace. Until now, that is. His first-ever mistake forces Sal to botch an assassination, killing three undercover FBI agents in the process. This puts too much heat on Sal, and he knows this botched job will be his death sentence to the Mafia. So he agrees to their radical idea to save his own skin.

A few surgeries and some intensive training later, and Sal Cupertine is gone, disappeared into the identity of Rabbi David Cohen. Leading his growing congregation in Las Vegas, overseeing the population and the temple and the new cemetery, Rabbi Cohen feels his wicked past slipping away from him, surprising even himself as he spouts quotes from the Torah or the Old Testament. Yet, as it turns out, the Mafia isn’t quite done with him yet. Soon the new cemetery is being used as both a money and body-laundering scheme for the Chicago family. And that rogue FBI agent on his trail, seeking vengeance for the murder of his three fellow agents, isn’t going to let Sal fade so easily into the desert.

I first learned about Gangsterland from Goldberg’s North American publisher, Counterpoint. It looks interesting.

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KurlandM-ABM1-TooSoonDeadUKMichael Kurland, TOO SOON DEAD (November 27th)

A witty and atmospheric 1930s New York mystery series, following the adventures of Morgan DeWitt and his mentor, columnist extraordinaire, Alexander Brass.

Nefarious doings among movers and shakers in Depression-era New York City animate a lively chase for a story-and a murderer-for newspaper nightclub columnist Alexander Brass. It all begins when a furtive tipster promises an explosive story and gives Brass an envelope filled with photographs of several powerful people caught in compromising sexual positions. Intrigued, Brass sends a newspaper stringer to follow the mystery man. When the stringer is murdered, Brass and his team resolve to find the killer, running the gauntlet of blackmailing Nazis, accommodating nymphomaniacs and US senators on the way.

The cover caught my eye. I like the vintage art style. Too Soon Dead sounds interesting. A long wait, though…

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MarmellA-MO2-HallowPointAri Marmell, HALLOW POINT (May 22nd)

The Spear of Lugh, one of the four Kingly Hallows of Ireland is in Chicago. And everyone, everyone wants it, for it is said that he who carries the spear into battle cannot be defeated. Among those who seek it are an agent of the infamous Wild Hunt; a mobster who knows far more about these things than he should; and of course both the Seelie and Unseelie Courts – the last people PI Mick Oberon would want getting hold of the spear…

I enjoyed the first Mick Oberon novel, Hot Lead, Cold Iron, so I’m rather looking forward to Hallow Point. If you haven’t tried Marmell’s fantasy novels, I’d definitely recommend those, too — start with The Conqueror’s Shadow (Gollancz UK/Spectra US) and Thief’s Covenant (Pyr).

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MasonR-EmpressGameRhonda Mason, EMPRESS GAME (July 10th)

One seat on the intergalactic Sakien Empire’s supreme ruling body, the Council of Seven, remains unfilled, that of the Empress Apparent. The seat isn’t won by votes or marriage. It’s won in a tournament of ritualized combat in the ancient tradition. Now that tournament, the Empress Game, has been called and the women of the empire will stop at nothing to secure political domination for their homeworlds. Kayla Reunimon, a supreme fighter, is called to battle it out in the arena.

The battle for political power isn’t contained by the tournament’s ring, however. The empire’s elite gather to forge, strengthen or betray alliances in a dance that will determine the fate of the empire for a generation. With the empire wracked by a rising nanovirus plague and stretched thin by an ill-advised planet-wide occupation of Ordoch in enemy territory, everything rests on the woman who rises to the top.

Another cover that caught my eye. It has a bit of a comic-book feel to it. Synopsis makes it sound interesting, too – the cover made me think Empress Game would be fantasy, but it’s clearly SF. Also – look at those cold, dead eyes! Scary business. Perhaps something for fans of Kameron Hurley’s God’s War?

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NewmanK-SecretsOfDrearcliffGrangeSchoolKim Newman, SECRETS OF DREARCLIFF GRANGE SCHOOL (October 9th)

A week after Mother found her sleeping on the ceiling, Amy Thomsett is delivered to her new school, Drearcliff Grange in Somerset. Although it looks like a regular boarding school, Amy learns that Drearcliff girls are special, the daughters of criminal masterminds, outlaw scientists and master magicians. Several of the pupils also have special gifts like Amy’s, and when one of the girls in her dormitory is abducted by a mysterious group in black hoods, Amy forms a secret, superpowered society called the Moth Club to rescue their friend. They soon discover that the Hooded Conspiracy runs through the School, and it’s up to the Moth Club to get to the heart of it.

I haven’t read anything by Newman in years. I really don’t know why – all of his novels sound fantastic. And the covers have been really spectacular, recently. The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School sounds delightfully twisted and intriguing. Rather looking forward to giving this a try.

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RosenLAC-DepthUKLev AC Rosen, DEPTH (June 5th)

Depth combines hardboiled mystery and dystopian science fiction in a future where the rising ocean levels have left New York twenty-one stories under water and cut off from the rest of the United States. But the city survives, and Simone Pierce is one of its best private investigators. Her latest case, running surveillance on a potentially unfaithful husband, was supposed to be easy. Then her target is murdered, and the search for his killer points Simone towards a secret from the past that can’t possibly be real—but that won’t stop the city’s most powerful men and women from trying to acquire it for themselves, with Simone caught in the middle.

I already spotted this mentioned by Rosen’s North American publisher, Regan Arts. I think Depth sounds really interesting. Looking forward to reading it. I know it’s probably cliche, but I really like stories set in New York, and especially quirky and/or dystopian ones. (Hence my love for Brian Wood’s DMZ Vertigo Comics series — read it you must!)

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SnodgrassM-E3-EdgeOfDawnUKMelinda Snodgrass, EDGE OF DAWN (August 21st)

The final battle approaches for a band of modern paladins, fighting for the light of science and reason, and against an ancient supernatural army poised to destroy the world.

What do you do when the Earth is under assault from monstrous creatures by alternate dimensions and you’re the only person who can wield the weapon that can destroy them? That’s the situation facing Richard Oort, hero of the Edge novels. 

Lonely and overwhelmed after a series of terrifying, catastrophic global and personal events, Richard is still determined to save the world from the horrific Old Ones. He goes undercover in a Christian fundamentalist compound, playing house with an attractive FBI agent. At first, this only serves to increase his loneliness, missing his real family, but against all odds discovers another unique human who can use the paladin’s weapon, one who might be able to join him and lighten the burden of responsibility. There’s only one problem — Mosi is a nine-year-old Navajo girl.

Their enemies are trying to kill both Richard and Mosi — and have already killed Mosi’s family. To keep her safe Richard becomes her guardian, but an error in judgement leads to disaster and betrayal, and now the odd pair will need to summon all their strength to survive the coming battle. From the American southwest to a secret society in Turkey, the paladin and his ward try to stay in front of their enemies, but the world is at stake — and time is running short.

Melinda Snodgrass is part of George R.R. Martin’s writing group — she has worked on the Wild Cards series, for example. That’s how I first heard of her work, and since then I’ve learned about the Edge Series, which sounds rather interesting. The first two novels – The Edge of Reason and The Edge of Ruin – have been available in the US for some time, but they only recently came to the UK. The Edge of Dawn is the anticipated final volume. Tor Books, who publish in the US, have re-jacketed the series.

Upcoming: COVENANT’S END by Ari Marmell (Pyr)

MarmellA-C4-CovenantsEndI’m a big fan of Ari Marmell’s writing. Covenant’s End is the fourth volume in the author’s YA fantasy series, Widdershins Adventures. I’ve only read the first two, but I really enjoyed them both (I haven’t managed to get around to Lost Covenant, yet). Here is the synopsis…

The thief Widdershins and her own “personal god,” Olgun, return to their home city of Davillon after almost a year away. While Shins expects only to face the difficulty of making up with her friends, what she actually finds is far, far worse. Her nemesis, Lisette, has returned, and she is not alone. Lisette has made a dark pact with supernatural powers that have granted her abilities far greater than anything Widdershins and Olgun can match.

Together, Widdershins and Olgun will face enemies on both sides of the law, for Lisette’s schemes have given her power in both Davillon’s government and its underworld. For even a slim chance, Shins must call on both old friends-some of whom haven’t yet forgiven her-and new allies.

Even with their help, Widdershins may be required to make the hardest sacrifice of her life, if she is to rid Davillon-and herself-of Lisette once and for all.

Covenant’s End is due to be published by Pyr Books in February 2015. So, that’s rather a long way away (damnit!), but it’s nice to be able to share the artwork.

Marmell’s latest novel is Hot Lead, Cold Iron – the first in his Mick Oberon urban fantasy series set in 1930s Chicago – published by Titan Books in the US (out now) and UK (out next week).

Also on CR: Interview with Ari Marmell, Guest Post (Triumph Over Tragedy), Reviews of The Thief’s Covenant, False Covenant, The Conqueror’s Shadow

Marmell-Widdershins1to3

Books Received (May-June) – Or, “An Embarrassment of Riches…”

BooksReceived-20130524

I’ve been lax about keeping up-to-date with these posts (I like to give every book I receive at least a mention on the blog), so this is a bit of a bumper-edition of Books Received. It has been a wonderfully busy few weeks, too…

First Batch…

BallantineP-KindredAndWingsPhilippa Ballantine, Kindred and Wings (Pyr)

On the back of the dragon Wahirangi, Finn the Fox flees the world he has known. As he sets out to find the brother he never knew of, he still holds in his heart the memory of the Hunter. He has denied his love for her, but he cannot deny it forever.

In the halls of the Last Believers, Talyn begins to uncover her own mysteries, but her lust for the death of the Caisah is still strong and clouds her vision. She must choose her path, as the Seer of her people or as the assassin of the overlord.

Meanwhile, Byre, Talyn’s brother, must venture into the fiery world of the Kindred, to rebuild the pact that his ancestors made. He will risk everything he is as he forms a new pact that will change his people forever.

Dragons and myths will be reborn, as the Hunter and her Fox face each other once more.

This is the sequel to Hunter and Fox, which I have sadly left in New York… I will be reunited with it soon, though, and hopefully get caught up.

Also on CR: Interview with Philippa Ballantine

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Enge-WrathBearingTreeJames Enge, Wrath-Bearing Tree (Pyr)

Into the Unguarded Lands…

The masked powers of Fate and Chaos are killing gods in the land of Kaen, facing the Wardlands across the Narrow Sea.

Vocates Aloe Oaij and Morlock Ambrosius go into the Unguarded Lands, on a mission to find the reasons for the godslaying, and to avert any threat to the lands the Graith of Guardians has sworn to protect.

After crash-landing on the hostile coast of Kaen, they will face vengeful frightened gods, a calmly murderous dragon, a demon called Andhrakhar, and a bitter old necromancer named Merlin Ambrosius.

Amid these dangers they will find that they can trust no one but themselves—and each other.

Ah, James Enge… An author I’ve always want to read, but always start a novel when I’m not really in the mood… I’ll get there eventually, I promise. This is the sequel to A Guile of Dragons, and part of the Tournament of Shadows series.

Also on CR: Interview with James Enge (2011)

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HoffmanE-ShieldOfSeaAndSpaceErin Hoffman, Shield of Sea and Spice (Pyr)

Vidarian Rulorat, called the Tesseract, a powerful magic-user whose abilities spread across multiple elements, finds himself at war with the Alorean Import Company, a powerful cabal of merchants wealthy enough to buy nations. By opening the gate between worlds, Vidarian released the Starhunter, goddess of chaos. With her coming, wild magic returned to the world of Andovar, bringing with it shape-changers and strange awakened elemental technologies, including many-sailed ships powered by air magic, and mechanical automata lit from within by earth and fire. Now, Vidarian discovers that the Alorean Import Company is determined to eliminate two-thirds of this new life on Andovar in the hopes of hoarding more magic for themselves in a new, worldwide plutocracy. Along with his human, gryphon, and shapechanger allies, he must stop the Company if he is to safeguard any future for the diverse life of Andovar, including his and Ariadel’s newborn daughter. With the existence of whole species hanging in the balance, Vidarian is locked in a race for the future of the world.

Really striking cover art – couldn’t help but stare at it for a little while, when I opened the package. Sadly, I haven’t read the previous novel in the Chaos Knight series. I’ve heard some interesting things, though, so I will try to get to it at some point soon.

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KaneB-Hannibal2-FieldsOfBloodBen Kane, Hannibal: Fields of Blood (Preface)

The fields of Cannae provide the setting for one of the bloodiest battles in history. But who will triumph? Hannibal and his warrior army, or the mighty legions of Rome.

Hannibal’s campaign to defeat Rome continues as he marches south to confront his enemy.

With him is a young soldier, Hanno. Like his general, Hanno burns to vanquish Rome. Never has the possibility seemed so likely.

But a stealthy game of cat and mouse is being played as Rome’s generals seek to avoid confrontation.

Eventually the two armies meet under a fierce summer sun. The place is Cannae – the fields of blood.

The battle will go down in history as one of the bloodiest ever fought, a battle in which Hanno knows he must fight as never before – just to stay alive.

Also on CR: Interview with Ben Kane

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McDonald-BeMyEnemyUKIan McDonald, Be My Enemy (Jo Fletcher)

Everett Singh has escaped with the Infundibulum from the clutches of Charlotte Villiers and the Order, but at a terrible price. His father is missing, banished to one of the billions of parallel universes of the Panoply of All World, and Everett and the crew of the airship Everness have taken a wild, random Heisenberg Jump to a random parallel plane. Everett is smart and resourceful, and, from a frozen earth far beyond the Plenitude, he plans to rescue his family. But the villainous Charlotte Villiers is one step ahead of him.

The action traverses the frozen wastes of iceball earth; to Earth 4 (like ours, except that the alien Thryn Sentiency occupied the moon in 1964); to the dead London of the forbidden plane of Earth 1, where the emnants of humanity battle a terrifying nanotechnology run wild—and Everett faces terrible choices of morality and power. But Everett has the love and support of Sen, Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, and the rest of the crew of Everness—as he learns that the deadliest enemy isn’t the Order or the world-devouring nanotech Nahn—it’s yourself.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about this series (for work), and I’m really interested in trying it out. Be My Enemy is the sequel to Planesrunner. I have both of the novels, and hope to get to them ASAP. (They are published by Pyr Books in the US.)

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Nevill-HouseOfSmallShadowsAdam Nevill, House of Small Shadows (Macmillan)

Catherine’s last job ended badly. Corporate bullying at a top antiques publication saw her fired and forced to leave London, but she was determined to get her life back. A new job and now things look much brighter. Especially when a challenging new project presents itself – to catalogue the late M. H. Mason’s wildly eccentric cache of antique dolls and puppets.

Rarest of all, she’ll get to examine his elaborate displays of posed, costumed and preserved animals, depicting bloody scenes from World War II.

When Mason’s elderly niece invites her to stay at Red House itself, where she maintains the collection, Catherine can’t believe her luck. Until his niece exposes her to the dark message behind her uncle’s “art”. Catherine tries to concentrate on the job, but M. H. Mason’s damaged visions raise dark shadows from her own past. Shadows she’d hoped therapy had finally erased. Soon the barriers between reality, sanity and memory start to merge. And some truths seem too terrible to be real…

I’ve never read anything by Nevill, before. After a discussion about horror at work, in which he was mentioned, this rather fortuitously appeared in the mail! It must be fate. Colour me intrigued. Even if the cover gives me the willies…

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Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Presidential Leadership and the Creation of the American Era (Princeton)

A non-fiction book, obviously. I don’t know why I included that in the picture… I have received other non-fiction books, and they belong on Politics Reader. I’ve actually already finished this slim volume. It was good, but somewhat wanting. Review on the other site in the next few days, hopefully.

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Pryor-CryptThiefMark Pryor, The Crypt Thief (Seventh Street)

It’s summer in Paris and two tourists have been killed in Père La Chaise cemetery in front of Jim Morrison’s grave. One of the dead tourists is American and the other a woman linked to a known terrorist; so the US ambassador sends his best man and the embassy’s head of security – Hugo Marston – to help the French police with their investigation. At first, Hugo is stumped. How does this killer operate unseen? And why is he stealing the bones of once-famous can-can girls?

Hugo cracks the secrets of the graveyard, but soon realizes that old bones aren’t all this serial killer wants: his ultimate plan requires the flesh and organs of the living. And when the crypt thief spots the former FBI agent on his tail, he decides that Hugo’s body will do just fine.

This is the sequel to The Bookseller, which I thought was a pretty interesting debut. It wasn’t perfect (what is), but I enjoyed the writing, the character and the location. Pryor does a great job of bringing Paris to life on the page.

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RyanA-RS1-BloodSongUKAnthony Ryan, Blood Song (Orbit)

We have fought battles that left more than a hundred corpses on the ground and not a word of it has ever been set down. The Order fights, but often it fights in shadow, without glory or reward. We have no banners.

Vaelin Al Sorna’s life changes forever the day his father abandons him at the gates of the Sixth Order, a secretive military arm of the Faith. Together with his fellow initiates, Vaelin undertakes a brutal training regime – where the price of failure is often death. Under the tutelage of the Order’s masters, he learns how to forge a blade, survive the wilds and kill a man quickly and quietly.

Now his new skills will be put to the test. War is coming. Vaelin is the Sixth Order’s deadliest weapon and the Realm’s only hope. He must draw upon the very essence of his strength and cunning if he is to survive the coming conflict. Yet as the world teeters on the edge of chaos, Vaelin will learn that the truth can cut deeper than any sword.

The latest self-published author to be given the traditional-publisher roll-out, I’ve been hearing good things about this series for a while. A number of reviewers have reviewed the novel before Orbit picked it up for wider distribution. I’m certainly intrigued. I’ve also heard there’s a cockney urchin in it. This troubles me… Nevertheless, I’ll be reading it pretty soon, I hope.

And hey: broody-fella on the cover? Not wearing a hood!

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SaulterS-GemsignsStephanie Saulter, Gemsigns (Jo Fletcher)

For years the human race was under attack from a deadly Syndrome, but when a cure was found – in the form of genetically engineered human beings, Gems – the line between survival and ethics was radically altered.

Now the Gems are fighting for their freedom, from the oppression of the companies that created them, and against the Norms who see them as slaves. And a conference at which Dr. Eli Walker has been commissioned to present his findings on the Gems is the key to that freedom.

But with the Gemtech companies fighting to keep the Gems enslaved, and the horrifying godgangs determined to rid the earth of these ‘unholy’ creations, the Gems are up against forces that may just be too powerful to oppose.

I’ve already reviewed this novel (see, I told you I’ve been slow about getting this posts written…). Great novel. Highly recommended.

Also on CR: Excerpt from Gemsigns

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NebulaAwardsShowcase2013Various, Nebula Awards Showcase 2013 (Pyr)

The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories in the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. The editor selected by SFWA’s anthology committee (chaired by Mike Resnick) is two-time Nebula winner, Catherine Asaro.

This year’s volume includes stories and excerpts by Connie Willis, Jo Walton, Kij Johnson, Geoff Ryman, John Clute, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Ferrett Steinmetz, Ken Liu, Nancy Fulda, Delia Sherman, Amal El-Mohtar, C. S. E. Cooney, David Goldman, Katherine Sparrow, E. Lily Yu, and Brad R. Torgersen.

A smorgasbord of fiction from a number of interesting authors. I’ll dip in, now and then.

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WilliamsM-2-KnifeSwornMazarkis Williams, Knifesworn (Jo Fletcher)

After years locked in a tower, Prince Sarmin has come into his own. He has been crowned emperor; he has wed Mesema of the horse tribes; the Pattern-Master is dead. Everything should be happy-ever-after.

But war has begun, Sarmin has no royal assassin, and both his wife and mother have given birth to sons, throwing the succession into question.

The last thing anyone needs is for Kavic, the Yrkman peace envoy, to be murdered in his bed. There are numerous possible killers, and with no convincing explanation for Kavic’s death, there is no hope for peace. It’s up to Grada, Sarmin’s trusted investigator, to solve the mystery – no matter how close to the throne the answer may lie.

I enjoyed The Emperor’s Knife, the first in this series. I’ll be interested to see how it continues, and hopefully before the third novel comes out, later this year.

Also on CR: Interview with Mazarkis Williams

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BooksReceived-20130605

And, the Second Batch…

Baker-TerminusAdam Baker, Terminus (Hodder)

The world has been overrun by a lethal infection, ravaged by a pathogen that leaves its victims locked half-way between life and death. New York, bombed to prevent the spread of the disease, has been reduced to radioactive rubble. A rescue squad enters the subway tunnels beneath Manhattan, searching for the one man who can create an antidote.

The squad battle floodwaters, lethal radiation and infected, irradiated survivors as they race against the disease that threatens to extinguish the human race.

Adam Baker has not featured enough on this blog. His novels all sound pretty cool, and right smack-dab in the middle of my wheelhouse. (Eh?) So, when I learned of the premise of his third novel (zombies in New York!), I knew it would have to get read very quickly. So expect a review of Terminus very soon. (It’ll be my next read, after I finish Robert Jackson Bennett’s American Elsewhere, but I’ve stored up a few reviews now, so it’ll be a couple of weeks before the review actually appears…)

Also on CR: Interview with Adam Baker (Video), Guest Post on Trauma

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BarryM-LexiconMax Barry, Lexicon (Mullholland)

Two years ago, something terrible was unleashed in an Australian mining town called Broken Hill. Thousands died.

Few people know what really happened.

Emily Ruff is one of them. She belongs to an elite organisation of ‘poets’: masters of manipulation who use language to warp others to their will. She was one of their most promising recruits until she made a catastrophic mistake: she fell in love.

Wil Parke knows the truth too, only he doesn’t remember it. And he doesn’t know why he’s immune to the poets’ powers. But he knows he needs to run.

As their stories converge, the past is revealed, and the race is on for a deadly weapon: a word.

Because the poets know that words can kill…

Max Barry is a superb author. Jennifer Government was superb, so I’m really looking forward to reading Lexicon. It’s going to be placed very near the top of Mt. TBR.

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BrennanML-GenerationVM.L. Brennan, Generation V (Ace)

Reality Bites

Fortitude Scott’s life is a mess. A degree in film theory has left him with zero marketable skills, his job revolves around pouring coffee, his roommate hasn’t paid rent in four months, and he’s also a vampire. Well, sort of. He’s still mostly human.

But when a new vampire comes into his family’s territory and young girls start going missing, Fort can’t ignore his heritage anymore. His mother and his older, stronger siblings think he’s crazy for wanting to get involved. So it’s up to Fort to take action, with the assistance of Suzume Hollis, a dangerous and sexy shape-shifter. Fort is determined to find a way to outsmart the deadly vamp, even if he isn’t quite sure how.

But without having matured into full vampirehood and with Suzume ready to split if things get too risky, Fort’s rescue mission might just kill him…

I first heard of this via Bastard Books (whose taste in Urban Fantasy I respect and value very highly), so when this turned up, I was most intrigued. I’m working on an interview with the author, too. Watch this space!

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Human-ApocalypseNowNow-UKCharlie Human, Apocalypse Now Now (Century)

Baxter Zevcenko is your average sixteen-year-old-boy — if by average you mean kingpin of a schoolyard porn syndicate and possible serial killer who suffers from surreal  nightmares. Which may very well be what counts as average these days. Baxter is the first to admit that he’s not a nice guy. After all, if the guy below you falls, dragging you down into an icy abyss you have to cut him loose — even in high school. That is until his girlfriend, Esmé, is kidnapped and Baxter is forced to confront a disturbing fact about himself — that he has a heart, and the damn thing is forcing him to abandon high-school politics and set out on a quest to find her. The clues point to supernatural forces at work and Baxter is must admit that he can’t do it alone. Enter Jackie Ronin, supernatural bounty hunter, Border War veteran, and all-round lunatic, who takes him on a chaotic tour of Cape Town’s sweaty, occult underbelly.

What do glowing men, transsexual African valkyries, and zombie-creating arachnids have to do with Esmé’s disappearance? That’s what Baxter really, really needs to find out.

I’ve actually already read this novel. It’s kinda awesome. Review sometime in July…

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LordK-BestOfAllPossibleWorldsKaren Lord, The Best of all Possible Worlds (Jo Fletcher)

The Sadiri were once the galaxy’s ruling élite, but now their home planet has been rendered unlivable and most of the population destroyed. The few groups living on other worlds are desperately short of Sadiri women, and their extinction is all but certain.

Civil servant Grace Delarua is assigned to work with Councillor Dllenahkh, a Sadiri, on his mission to visit distant communities, looking for possible mates. Delarua is impulsive, garrulous and fully immersed in the single life; Dllenahkh is controlled, taciturn and responsible for keeping his community together. They both have a lot to learn.

I’m really intrigued by this novel, so I was very happy to get a copy in the mail. I’ll also be sharing an excerpt of it in the near future. (Can’t remember the exact date I settled on, but be sure to keep checking back.)

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Marmell-ICC1-InThunderForgedAri Marmell, In Thunder Forged (Pyr)

An action-packed steam-tech fantasy that combines elements of epic wartime adventure with thrilling cloak-and-dagger espionage.

The Iron Kingdoms are at war – a war fought with machine guns and magic, knights of valor, and earth shaking titans of steam and steel. And now that war may hinge entirely on nothing more than a sheaf of papers.

An alchemical formula, stolen by an ally they thought they could trust, could cost the brave soldiers of Cygnar everything. Their only hope: a cunning spy, a knight out of her element, and a frighteningly small unit of the best that Cygnar has to offer.

Arrayed against them is not only a single, devious enemy, but the combined intelligence apparatus-and possibly the full military might-of the most brutal martial power Cygnar has ever known.

This is the first novel in a new tie-in series, based on the Warmachine: Iron Kingdoms roleplaying game. I know nothing about the game (except for a quick visit to their website – it looks kinda interesting), but I’m a fan of Marmell’s novels (the Widdershins YA series, and also The Conqueror’s Shadow, the sequel for which I really need to get around to…). I’m going to have to squeeze this in near the top of the TBR mountain.

Also on CR: Interview with Ari Marmell (2010), Guest Post

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McIntoshW-LoveMinusEightyWill McIntosh, Love Minus Eighty (Orbit)

A NOVEL OF LOVE AND DEATH, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER

The words were gentle strokes, drawing her awake. “Hello. Hello there.” She felt the light on her eyelids, and knew that if she opened her eyes they would sting, and she would have to shade them with her palm and let the light bleed through a crack. “Feel like talking?” A man’s soft voice. And then her mind cleared enough to wonder: who was this man at her bedside? She tried to sigh, but no breath came. Her eyes flew open in alarm.

The Minus Eighty… Where millionaires browse the catalogue of icy women, judging on beauty ratings and revival costs. Where a freezer’s gentle hum plays the background symphony for the world’s most expensive first dates. Where death is only the beginning.

This has been lauded around the SFF reviewing community already (and beyond – it’s causing quite the stir), so I’m hoping to get to it ASAP. It has a superb premise, too, which can’t fail but grab your attention.

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PatrickS-ReviverSeth Patrick, Reviver (Macmillan)

Death won’t silence them. Revivers. Able to wake the recently dead, and let them bear witness to their own demise.

Twelve years after the first reviver came to light, they have become accepted by an uneasy public. The testimony of the dead is permitted in courtrooms across the world. Forensic revival is a routine part of police investigation.

In the United States, that responsibility falls to the Forensic Revival Service. Despite his troubled past, Jonah Miller is one of their best. But while reviving the victim of a brutal murder, he encounters a terrifying presence. Something is watching. Waiting. His superiors tell him it was only in his mind, a product of stress. Jonah is not so certain.

Then Daniel Harker, the first journalist to bring revival to public attention, is murdered, and Jonah finds himself getting dragged into the hunt for answers. Working with Harker’s daughter Annabel, he’s determined to find those responsible and bring them to justice. Soon they uncover long-hidden truths that call into doubt everything Jonah stands for, and reveal a threat that if not stopped in time, will put all of humanity in danger…

This has been getting a fair bit of buzz on the Twitters, so I’m hoping to get to it relatively soon. It sounds pretty cool.

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Which of these grab your fancy? Any other upcoming books you’re really looking forward to?

Review: FALSE COVENANT by Ari Marmell (Pyr)

MarmellA-W2-FalseCovenantWiddershins rides again, thieving and attempting to survive a nasty supernatural threat

It’s over half a year since the brutal murder of Archbishop William de Laurent during his pilgrimage to the Galicien city of Davillon. During that time, the Church of the Hallowed Pact has assigned a new bishop to the city — but it has also made its displeasure at the death of its clergyman quite clear. Davillon’s economy has suffered beneath the weight of the Church’s displeasure. Much of the populace — angry at the clergy — has turned away from the Church hierarchy, choosing private worship or small, independent shrines. And the bishop, concerned for his new position and angry at the people of Davillon, plans to do something about it. 

But a supernatural threat is stalking the night-time streets, come to infiltrate the seedier streets of Davillon, to intertwine its tendrils through the lower echelons of society. Faced with both political upheaval and a supernatural threat to its citizenry, the local representatives of the Church are paralyzed and the Guardsmen are in over their heads. 

Into this mix, you have to add Widdershins, the hero of Thief’s Covenant, gifted member of the Finders Guild, and sole worshipper of the god Olgun. This second Widdershins adventure maintains the fun and excellent pacing of the first, and shows that Marmell has the ability to write for younger readers and adults with equal skill. This novel, while not perfect, was a lot of fun and showcases Marmell’s gift for writing the sinister side of fantasy as well as the fun side. Continue reading

Review: THIEF’S COVENANT by Ari Marmell (Pyr)

MarmellA-W1-ThiefsCovenantA great new heroine in a great new world

Once she was Adrienne Satti. An orphan of Davillon, she had somehow escaped destitution and climbed to the ranks of the city’s aristocracy in a rags-to-riches story straight from an ancient fairy tale. Until one horrid night, when a conspiracy of forces — human and other — stole it all away in a flurry of blood and murder.

Today she is Widdershins, a thief making her way through Davillon’s underbelly with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and the mystical aid of Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdershins herself. It’s not a great life, certainly nothing compared to the one she once had, but it’s hers.

But now, in the midst of Davillon’s political turmoil, an array of hands are once again rising up against her, prepared to tear down all that she’s built. The City Guard wants her in prison. Members of her own Guild want her dead. And something horrid, something dark, something ancient is reaching out for her, a past that refuses to let her go. Widdershins and Olgun are going to find answers, and justice, for what happened to her — but only if those who almost destroyed her in those years gone by don’t finish the job first. 

This is the start of what promises to be a great new YA fantasy series. I’d only read one other novel by Ari Marmell before reading Thief’s CovenantThe Conqueror’s Shadow, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was intrigued by the idea of Marmell writing YA fiction, so came into this with high expectations. Luckily, my expectations were exceeded: this novel is a fun, action-packed and sneaky adventure. Thief’s Covenant features engaging characters and a great story, and kept me reading well into the night on more than one occasion. Continue reading