Upcoming: STRANGER OF TEMPEST by Tom Lloyd (Gollancz)

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How cool is that cover? True, it is slightly reminiscent of the Fellowship of the Ring scene in which Gandalf faces off against the Balrog while the fellowship is making its way through the Mines of Moria. BUT! The fellow has a rifle. And it looks rather cool, and it’s by Tom Lloyd, who’s a great author. It’s unclear if this is the first book in a new series, or a standalone. Nevertheless, it sounds interesting:

It’s not easy being an honest man in a lawless world…

Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour; a dying breed in the Riven Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent’s principalities, he walks the land in search of purpose. He wants for little so bodyguard work keeps his belly full and his mage-gun loaded. It might never bring a man fame or wealth, but he’s not forced to rely on others or kill without cause.

Little could compel Lynx to join a mercenary company, but he won’t turn his back on a kidnapped girl. At least the job seems simple enough; the mercenaries less stupid and vicious than most he’s met over the years.

So long as there are no surprises or hidden agendas along the way, it should work out fine.

Stranger of Tempest is due to be published in the UK by Gollancz, on June 16th, 2016.

Upcoming: THOSE BELOW by Daniel Polansky (Hodder)

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Earlier today, Tor.com shared the cover artwork for Daniel Polansky‘s upcoming new novel, Those Below. It was unveiled earlier by Hodder, although I inexplicably managed to miss that post… The sequel to Those Above, and final novel in the author’s epic fantasy Empty Throne series, it’s due to be published by Hodder in the UK, on March 10th, 2016. I really can’t wait to get my mitts on this one…

Here’s what it’s about:

For centuries beyond counting, humanity has served the Others, god-like Eternals who rule from their cloud-capped mountain-city, building a civilization of unimagined beauty and unchecked viciousness.

But all that is about to change. Bas Alyates, grizzled general of a thousand battles, has assembled a vast army with which to contend with the might of Those Above. Eudokia, Machiavellian matriarch and the power behind the Empty Throne, travels to the Roost, nominally to play peacemaker – but in fact to inspire the human population toward revolt. Deep in the dark byways of the mountain’s lower tiers, the urchin Pyre leads a band of fanatical revolutionaries in acts of terrorism against their inhuman oppressors. Against them, Calla, handmaiden of the Eternals’ king, fights desperately to stave off the rising tide of violence which threatens to destroy her beloved city.

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Another Cool CONSTANTINE Cover (DC New 52)

The New 52 Constantine series has been getting some really cool cover, lately. The piece that will grace the 17th issue – by Juan Ferreyra – is particularly cool, too, because it ties in with the centennial commemoration of World War I…

Constantine-17

The issue – published on this week – is written by Ray Fawkes, with art by Edgar Salazar and Jay Leisten, and colours by Richard and Tanya Horie. Here’s the synopsis:

John Constantine is no stranger to death, but he’s never seen it on this scale – a spell gone terribly wrong has sent him back through time to World War I! Unfortunately, he’s not the only mage in the trenches… and where death has this much power, black magic couldn’t be more dangerous!

You can check out a preview of the issue here.

A Pair of Upcoming Black Library Novels

It feels like quite some time since I read a Black Library novel. Nevertheless, they keep publishing (or announcing) more that I would like to read. There’s more Gotrek & Felix on the way and also plenty more Horus Heresy fiction coming. Below are new novels in two other series that maybe don’t get as much attention as they deserve…

AHRIMAN: SORCEROR by John French

FrenchJ-A4-AhrimanSorcerorI recently read and reviewed the second Ahriman short story, The Dead Oracle. This despite still not having read the first novel, Ahriman: Exile. Nevertheless, I think French has done a great job of bringing this character to life on the page – at least, this post-Horus Heresy iteration of this character.*

Ahriman, greatest sorcerer of the Thousand Sons and architect of the Rubric that laid his Legion low, continues to walk the path towards salvation, or damnation. Searching for a cure for his Legion, he is forced to consider – was the great ritual somehow flawed from the very beginning? The answer may lie within the mysterious artefact known as the Athenaeum of Kallimakus, a grimoire of forgotten lore which is reputed to contain the exact words of the lost Book of Magnus… or, perhaps, even a transcription of the primarch’s deepest and most secret thoughts.

Ahriman: Sorceror is due to be published in early 2015.

* He first appeared in Graham McNeill’s excellent, New York Times-bestselling A Thousand Sons.

***

DEATHBLADE: A TALE OF MALUS DARKBLADE by C.L. Werner

WernerCL-D-DeathbladeMalus Darkblade made his first appearance in the pages of Inferno!, Black Library’s once-bi-monthly magazine of short fiction and comic strips. It was a comic series written by Dan Abnett. Abnett later adapted the comic into prose, which was later taken on by Mike Lee. Now, C.L. Werner, one of BL’s best writers of horror-tinged Warhammer fantasy fiction, has stepped up to the plate. I’m quite looking forward to this novel, despite not reading many of the Darkblade novels. Maybe this is a good excuse to catch up with them…?

Darkblade must decide where his loyalties lie – will he follow Malekith to the death, or will he finally rise up and try to claim the throne of Naggaroth for himself? And either way, will he survive?

It has taken decades, but Malus Darkblade has finally plotted, schemed and murdered his way to power, as the ruler of the city of Hag Graef and general of the Witch King Malekith’s armies. But his position is imperilled when Malekith orders an all-out assault on Ulthuan – with Darkblade in the vanguard. As he wages war on the high elves, Darkblade must decide where his loyalties lie – will he follow Malekith to the death, or will he finally rise up and try to claim the throne of Naggaroth for himself? And either way, will he survive?

Deathblade is due to be published in February 2015.

Upcoming: THE MECHANICAL by Ian Tregillis (Orbit)

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I am so excited to read this novel. And how cool is that cover? I like that it really pops off the screen, and imagine it will do the same off the shelves. Ian Tregillis’s Milkweed TriptychBitter Seeds, The Coldest War, and Necessary Evil – is one of my favourite trilogies of all time. His writing is superb, his story-telling near-peerless. Now, we have THE MECHANICAL to look forward to.

Orbit are publishing in March 2015, which feels too far away! I wonder who I can bribe for a review copy…? *Ahem* Of course, I would never do that…

Anyway, here’s the synopsis:

My name is Jax. That is the name granted to me by my human masters.

I am a clakker: a mechanical man, powered by alchemy. Armies of my kind have conquered the world – and made the Brasswork Throne the sole superpower.

I am a faithful servant. I am the ultimate fighting machine. I am endowed with great strength and boundless stamina.

But I am beholden to the wishes of my human masters.

I am a slave. But I shall be free.

Also on CR: Guest Post by Ian Tregillis; Reviews of Bitter Seeds, The Coldest War and Necessary Evil

Artwork: CAPTAIN AMERICA & THE MIGHTY AVENGERS #1 (Marvel)

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Hot on the heels of the identity of the new Captain America, there’s more on the way! Today, Marvel unveiled the cover for Captain America & The Mighty Avengers #1, a second series to feature Sam Wilson-as-Captain America. The series will be written by Al Ewing. The cover above and internal art for the book are by Luke Ross. The series will spin out of the upcoming Marvel Event (yup, another one), Avengers & X-Men: AXIS.

Sam Wilson has inherited his new patriotic moniker, but is he up to the task of leading a team of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? The hero formerly known as Falcon has some new ideas for the rag-tag team of Mighty Avengers – but the events of AXIS may spell doom for the inexperienced leader. And not everyone on the team is happy with Sam’s new position as leader. Spider-Man is back, too – Amazing this time, NOT Superior. Luke Cage & Jessica Jones are still itching to give him some payback for trying to take their daughter to Child Services. And what is Luke Cage doing meeting with the head of the notorious Cortex corporation?

Here’s what Ewing had to say about the series, in an interview with Marvel.com:

“As for the mission statement – same as it’s ever been. Help those in need, however they need it. This is where all the work over the previous series pays off – the Gem theater is refurbished, the hotline is in place, the field team is on standby to take care of problems nobody else can handle. The Mighty Avengers are hitting the ground running.”

Upcoming: GEMINI CELL by Myke Cole (Ace Books)

Screw eloquence with this one: that’s one hell of a cover…

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A Dribble of Ink got the scoop on the cover, which is by Larry Rostant. I must say, this is better than the covers for the US editions of the first trilogy – CONTROL POINT, FORTRESS FRONTIER and BREACH ZONE. (The UK covers were a lot better.)

GEMINI CELL is the fourth novel in Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops series, although it’s the start of a new trilogy within that ‘world’, set in the early days of the Reawakening of magic in the world. It’s due out in the US in late January 2015, published by Ace Books. Headline will be publishing in the UK, but I wasn’t able to find any more details. Here’s the synopsis:

US Navy SEAL Jim Schweitzer is a consummate professional, a fierce warrior, and a hard man to kill. But when he sees something he was never meant to see on a covert mission gone bad, he finds himself – and his family – in the crosshairs. Nothing means more to Jim than protecting his loved ones, but when the enemy brings the battle to his front door, he is overwhelmed and taken down.

That should be the end of the story. But Jim is raised from the dead by a sorcerer and recruited by a top secret unit dabbling in the occult, known only as the Gemini Cell. With powers he doesn’t understand, Jim is called back to duty – as the ultimate warrior. As he wrestles with a literal inner demon, Jim realizes his new superiors are determined to use him for their own ends and keep him in the dark – especially about the fates of his wife and son…

Also on CR: Interview with Myke Cole, Guest Post