Featuring: Daniel Abraham, Katherine Addison, David Annandale, John Connolly & Jennifer Ridyard, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Richard Ford, John French, Gary Gibson, Howard Jacobson, D.J. Molles, James Rollins, Neely Tucker, Brent Weeks, Jaye Wells, & anthologies
Daniel Abraham, The Widow’s (Orbit)
THE RISE OF THE DRAGON AND THE FALL OF KINGS
Lord Regent Geder Palliako’s war has led his nation and the priests of the spider goddess to victory after victory. No power has withstood him, except for the heart of the one woman he desires. As the violence builds and the cracks in his rule begin to show, he will risk everything to gain her love – or her destruction.
Clara Kalliam, the loyal traitor, is torn between the woman she once was and the woman she has become. With her sons on all sides of the conflict, her house cannot stand, but there is a power in choosing when and how to fall.
And in Porte Oliva, banker Cithrin bel Sarcour and Captain Marcus Wester learn the terrible truth that links this war to the fall of the dragons millennia before, and that to save the world, Cithrin must conquer it.
I really enjoyed the first novel in this series, The Dragon’s Path. The second one came out during a period of frequent moving for me, however, and as a result it slipped by the way-side. Sadly, this has meant I’m really starting to fall behind on the story! I will endeavour to catch up ASAP.
Katherine Addison, The Goblin Emperor (Tor)
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.
Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.
Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend… and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne – or his life.
Went into Bakka Phoenix in Toronto, had a nice chat with the two staff members. Both talked about this, said it was really good. So, naturally, I picked it up. What really convinced me, though, was the fact that I asked about another critically-acclaimed series, and they gave me an honest opinion, rather than a hard-sell. They very well could have said this other novel was brilliant, and guaranteed another sale. So, yeah. My new favourite place in Toronto. I will spend much of my monies there…
David Annandale, Yarrick: The Gallows Saint (Black Library)
Fresh from his victory against traitors on Mistral, Commissar Yarrick deploys to Abydos to watch a great triumph in honour of the forces who liberated the world from the grip of the alien tau. But when the planet’s governor is assassinated, Yarrick is drawn into a political game with deadly consequences for himself, his Steel Legion troops and Abydos itself. Can he unravel the mystery and reveal the true traitors on the world before it is too late?
A short story featuring Commissar Yarrick, who seems to be at the centre of a substantial new series (hurrah!) by Annandale. Bought this as soon as I saw it was available. Love the character and think Annandale is doing great things with him. Now I just need to get myself caught up (still haven’t got around to reading the first full-length novel).
John Connolly & Jennifer Ridyard, Conquest (Headline)
Earth is no longer ours. It is ruled by the Illyri, a beautiful, civilised yet ruthless alien species. But humankind has not given up the fight, and Paul Kerr is one of a new generation of young Resistance leaders waging war on the invaders.
Syl Hellais is the first of the Illyri to be born on Earth. Trapped inside the walls of her father’s stronghold, hated by the humans, she longs to escape.
But on her sixteenth birthday, Syl’s life is about to change forever. She will become an outcast, an enemy of her people, for daring to save the life of one human: Paul Kerr. Only together do they have a chance of saving each other, and the planet they both call home.
For there is a greater darkness behind the Illyri conquest of Earth, and the real invasion has not yet even begun…
I think I got this as a Hardcover, too, but it was passed over because… well, I’m not really sure. It does sound interesting, and I’ve heard some great things about Connolly’s writing (he has his own series as well). I’ll try to get to this at some point soon.
Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Abaddon: Chosen of Chaos (Black Library)
In the aftermath of battle, a group of Black Legion warlords – traitors to mankind, drawn from across the Legions of Chaos and sworn to the Warmaster – torture a prisoner, a captain of the Space Marines. Defiant to the last, the son of the Emperor is prepared to die, his duty fulfilled. But Abaddon, the Chosen of Chaos, has other plans for this brave warrior…
Aaron DB is one of my favourite science fiction authors. What he can do with anti-heroes is really quite amazing. Whether it’s his Night Lords trilogy, or his contributions to the Horus Heresy series, his writing has never disappointed so far. This short story is a prequel of sorts for his new series, focusing on Abaddon the Despoiler – the sort-of leader of the Traitor Marines in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. The first full novel comes out later this year. Can. Not. Wait.
Richard Ford, Independence Day & The Lay of the Land (Bloomsbury)
ID: Frank Bascombe, in the aftermath of his divorce and the ruin of his career, has entered an “Existence Period,” selling real estate in Haddam, New Jersey, and mastering the high-wire act of normalcy. But over one Fourth of July weekend, Frank is called into sudden, bewildering engagement with life.
Both of these (and a whole bunch of other books by Ford) were only 51p on Kindle. Couldn’t figure out why, but I think Bloomsbury were running a quiet promotion. Anyway, I have The Sportswriter (the first novel featuring Frank Bascombe) and Canada by Ford, and thought this price point was too good to pass up on. Independence Day won the Pulitzer Prize. [NB: This author should not be confused with the other Richard Ford, who is the author of the fantasy novel Kultus, Herald of the Storm and The Shattered Crown.]
John French, Ahriman: The Dead Oracle (Black Library)
Ctesias, an ancient Space Marine and former prisoner of Amon of the Thousand Sons, tells the tale of one of the events that led him to his destiny. After Amon’s demise, Ctesias comes into the service of Ahriman, the exiled First Captain of the broken Legion, and is given power undreamed of – and drawn into a plot involving the otherworldly daemons of the warp, the machinations of Ahriman and the mysterious dead oracle.
A short story featuring Ahriman, the most important sorcerer of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion. Despite buying it early, I still haven’t read the first full-length novel featuring Ahriman (Exile). French told me this follows the novel, but that it is independently intelligible. I may save it for after the novel, so it may not be reviewed for a little while. No rush, though, as I bought it so there’s no review pressure.
Gary Gibson, Extinction Game (Tor)
When your life is based on lies, how do you hunt down the truth?
Jerry Beche should be dead. Instead, he’s rescued from a desolate Earth where he was the last man alive. He’s then trained for the toughest conditions imaginable and placed with a crack team of specialists. Every one of them is a survivor, as each withstood the violent ending of their own alternate Earth. And their new specialism? To retrieve weapons and data in missions to other apocalyptic worlds.
But what is ‘the Authority’, the shadowy organization that rescued Beche and his fellow survivors? How does it access other timelines? And why does it need these instruments of death?
As Jerry struggles to obey his new masters, he begins to distrust his new companions. A strange bunch, their motivations are less than clear, and accidents start plaguing their missions. Jerry suspects the Authority is feeding them lies, and team members are spying on him. As a dangerous situation spirals into catastrophe, is there anybody he can trust?
An author I have always wanted to read, but for some reason never have. Not a clue why. This sounds really interesting, so I’ll hopefully get to it ASAP.
Howard Jacobson, J. (Crown)
Set in the future, a world where the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited, J. is a love story of incomparable strangeness, both tender and terrifying.
Two people fall in love, not yet knowing where they have come from or where they are going. Kevern doesn’t know why his father always drew two fingers across his lips when he said a world starting with a J. It wasn’t then, and isn’t now, the time or place to be asking questions. Ailinn too has grown up in the dark about who she was or where she came from. On their first date Kevern kisses the bruises under her eyes. He doesn’t ask who hurt her. Brutality has grown commonplace. They aren’t sure if they have fallen in love of their own accord, or whether they’ve been pushed into each other’s arms. But who would have pushed them, and why?
Hanging over the lives of all the characters in this novel is a momentous catastrophe – a past event shrouded in suspicion, denial and apology, now referred to as What Happened, If It Happened.
For some reason, I always thought Howard Jacobson was American. Probably because his novels seem so widely available in the US bookstores I’ve visited. Anyway, this sounded interesting, and I think Alyssa will like it, too. So I requested it via NetGalley and was approved.
D.J. Molles, The Remaining: Fractured (Orbit)
A SOLDIER’S MISSION IN A WORLD GONE TO HELL: SURVIVE, RESCUE, REBUILD
This is the destiny of those who stand for others.
Their honour will be bought in blood and pain.
The Camp Ryder Hub is broken. Captain Lee Harden is nowhere to be found, and his allies are scattered across the state, each of them learning that their missions will not be as easy as they thought. Inside the walls of Camp Ryder, a silent war is brewing between those few that still support Lee’s vision of rebuilding and the majority who support Jerry’s desire for isolation. But this war will not remain silent for long. And in this savage world, everyone will have to make a choice.
This series is being published much faster than I can read it. Well, faster than I can start it, as I still haven’t cracked open book one. This is book four. Anyone read it, yet? Is it good? I do tend to like some apocalyptic zombie dystopia from time to time.
James Rollins, The 6th Extinction (William Morrow)
A military research station buried in the remote Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California broadcasts a frantic distress call that ends with a chilling order:
“This is sierra, victor, whiskey. There’s been a breach. Failsafe initiated. No matter the outcome: Kill us… kill us all.”
The site is part of TECOMM, the U.S. Army Test Command. When help arrives to investigate, they discover that everyone in the lab is dead – not just the scientists, but every living thing for fifty square miles is annihilated: every animal, plant, and insect, even bacteria. The land is completely sterile – and the blight is spreading.
Only one team on earth has the scientific knowledge and military precision to handle this mission: Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma. The dead scientists were working on a secret project, researching radically different forms of life on Earth, life that could change our understanding of biology and humanity itself. But something set off an explosion in the lab, and now Sigma must contend with the apocalyptic aftermath.
To prevent the inevitable, they must decipher a futuristic threat that rises out of the distant past – a time when Antarctica was green and life on Earth was balanced on a knife’s edge. Following a fascinating trail of clues buried in an ancient map rescued from the lost Library of Alexandria, Sigma will make a shocking discovery involving a prehistoric continent and a new form of life and death buried under miles of ice. Gray Pierce and his dedicated team must race through eons of time and across distant continents to decipher millennia-old secrets out of the frozen past and untangle mysteries buried deep in the darkest jungles of today, as they face their greatest challenge yet: stopping the Sixth Extinction – the end of humankind.
But is it already too late?
The tenth novel in the Sigma Force series, I’m really looking forward to getting to this one. However… I haven’t yet read the two previous novels in the series, despite having them – Bloodline and The Eye of God. Maybe I’ll have a bit of a Sigma-Binge this month or next? Really enjoyed all of the books I’ve read, so I have high hopes that I’ll enjoy this one, too.
The Sixth Extinction is published in the UK by Orion.
Neely Tucker, The Ways of the Dead (Cornerstone)
TRUE DETECTIVE meets HOUSE OF CARDS in the electrifying first novel of a new crime series from a veteran Washington, D.C., reporter
The body of the teenage daughter of a powerful Federal judge is discovered in a dumpster in a bad neighbourhood of Washington, DC. It is murder, and the local police immediately arrest the three nearest black kids, bad boys from a notorious gang.
Sully Carter, a veteran war correspondent with emotional scars far worse than the ones on his body, suspects that there’s more to the case than the police would have the public know.
With the nation clamouring for a conviction, and the bereaved judge due for a court nomination, Sully pursues his own line of enquiry, in spite of some very dangerous people telling him to shut it down.
Spotted this on Amazon, as a Recommended Read based on something else I was looking at. Looked interesting, so I bought it. Hopefully it’ll be read soon, as I’m really in the mood for thrillers at the moment, and especially DC/politics-based ones. My usual go-to authors for that sub-genre are in between novels, so this should fill the gap rather nicely.
Brent Weeks, The Broken Eye (Orbit)
As the old gods awaken and satrapies splinter, the Chromeria races to find the only man who might still end a civil war before it engulfs the known world. But Gavin Guile has been captured by an old enemy and enslaved on a pirate galley. Worse still, Gavin has lost more than his powers as Prism – he can’t use magic at all.
Without the protection of his father, Kip Guile will face a master of shadows as his grandfather moves to choose a new Prism and put himself in power. With Teia and Karris, Kip will have to use all his wits to survive a secret war between noble houses, religious factions, rebels, and an ascendant order of hidden assassins called The Broken Eye.
I’m SO BEHIND! Still need to read the second novel in this series. Shameful, really, given how much I enjoy Weeks’s writing – the Night Angel Trilogy were the first books I got to review from Orbit, and they helped me develop a fondness and loyalty, not to mention trust in Orbit’s publishing taste. Ever since, I have rarely been disappointed in one of their novels. Weeks is one of my favourite fantasy authors, and I really can’t figure out why I’ve let this series slide…
Jaye Wells, Cursed Moon (Orbit)
MAGIC IS A DRUG. IT’LL COST MORE THAN YOU CAN PAY.
When a rare Blue Moon upsets the magical balance in the city, Detective Kate Prospero and her Magical Enforcement colleagues pitch in to help Babylon PD keep the peace. Between potions going haywire and everyone’s emotions running high, every cop in the city is on edge. But the moon’s impact is especially strong for Kate who’s wrestling with guilt over falling off the magic wagon.
After a rogue wizard steals dangerous potions from the local covens, Kate worries their suspect is building a dirty magic bomb. Her team must find the anarchist rogue before the covens catch him, and make sure they defuse the bomb before the Blue Moon deadline. Failure is never an option, but success will require Kate to come clean about her secrets.
This novel, and the one before it in the series, just sound like a lot of fun, good-quality Urban Fantasy. Expect them to be read soon.
Various, Fearsome Magics (Solaris)
A cabinet of magic! A cavalcade of wonder! A collection of stories both strange and wondrous, of tales filled with wild adventure and strange imaginings. Fearsome Magics, the second New Solaris Book of Fantasy, is all these things and more. It is, we think, the best book you will read all year.
Award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan has invited some of the best and most exciting writers working in fantasy today to let their imaginations run wild and to deliver stories that will thrill and awe, delight and amuse. And above all, stories that are filled with fearsome magic! Authors commited to take part include Christopher Priest, Garth Nix, Catherine M. Valente, Ellen Klages, Isobelle Carmody, Nalo Hopkinson, Frances Hardinge, Scott Lynch, Robert Shearman, Justina Robson, Christopher Rowe, Karin Tidbeck and KJ Parker.
Interesting mix of authors, including a fair number I’ve never read befor but would like to try.
Various, Solaris Rising 3 (Solaris)
Following the exceptionally well received Solaris Rising 1, 1.5 (e-only) and 2, series editor Ian Whates brings even more best-selling and cutting-edge SF authors together for the latest extrordinary volume of new original ground-breaking stories.
These stories are guaranteed to surprise,thrill and delight, and continue our mission to demonstrate why science-fiction remains the most exciting, varied and inspiring of all fiction genres. In Solaris Rising 1 and 2 we showed both the quality and variety that modern science fiction can produce. In Solaris Rising 3, we’ll be taking SF into the outer reaches of the universe. Aliette de Bodard, Tony Ballantyne and Sean Williams are just three of the exciting names to appear.
See commnet above, as it is relevant here, too.
Various, Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets (Solaris)
The world’s most famous detective, as you’ve never seen him before! This is a collection of original short stories finding Holmes and Watson in times and places you would never have expected!
A dozen established and up-and-coming authors invite you to view Doyle’s greatest creation through a decidedly cracked lens.
Read about Holmes and Watson through time and space, as they tackle a witch-trial in seventeenth century Scotland, bandy words with Andy Warhol in 1970s New York, travel the Wild Frontier in the Old West, solve future crimes in a world of robots and even cross paths with a young Elvis Presley…
Set to include stories by Kasey Lansdale, Guy Adams, Jamie Wyman, J E Cohen, Gini Koch, Glen Mehn, Kelly Hale, Kaaron Warren, Emma Newman and more.
Uh… ditto. Again.