Upcoming: THRAWN — ALLIANCES by Timothy Zahn (Century)

ZahnT-SW-Thrawn2-AlliancesTimothy Zahn‘s Thrawn novels are considered many to be among the best (if not the best) of the original Expanded Universe (now “Legacy”) Star Wars novels. The author has brought this fan-favourite character into the new Star Wars canon in Thrawn, and now Thrawn: Alliances. Here’s the synopsis:

Grand Admiral Thrawn and Darth Vader team up against a threat to the Empire…

“I have sensed a disturbance in the Force.”

Ominous words under any circumstances, but all the more so when uttered by Emperor Palpatine. On Batuu, at the edges of the Unknown Regions, a threat to the Empire is taking root — its existence little more than a glimmer, its consequences as yet unknowable. But it is troubling enough to the Imperial leader to warrant investigation by his most powerful agents: ruthless enforcer Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn. Fierce rivals for the emperor’s favor, and outspoken adversaries on Imperial affairs — including the Death Star project — the formidable pair seem unlikely partners for such a crucial mission. But the Emperor knows it’s not the first time Vader and Thrawn have joined forces. And there’s more behind his royal command than either man suspects.

In what seems like a lifetime ago, General Anakin Skywalker of the Galactic Republic, and Commander Mitth’raw’nuruodo, officer of the Chiss Ascendancy, crossed paths for the first time. One on a desperate personal quest, the other with motives unknown . . . and undisclosed. But facing a gauntlet of dangers on a far-flung world, they forged an uneasy alliance — neither remotely aware of what their futures held in store.

Now, thrust together once more, they find themselves bound again for the planet where they once fought side by side. There they will be doubly challenged — by a test of their allegiance to the Empire… and an enemy that threatens even their combined might.

Thrawn: Alliances is due to be published next week in the UK by Century and in North America by Del Rey.

The publisher is currently running a pre-order promotion, too! If you pre-order the novel, and fill out this form, then they will send you a replica-pin of Thrawn’s rank insignia (below). Which is rather nifty.

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Follow the Author: Facebook, Goodreads

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Upcoming: SALVATION by Peter F. Hamilton (Tor/Del Rey)

HamiltonPF-S1-SalvationUKThis September, Tor (UK) and Del Rey (US) are due to publish the first novel in Peter F. Hamilton‘s new Salvation Sequence. One of the most acclaimed and successful British sci-fi authors writing today, it sounds like a pretty interesting series.

Here’s the synopsis for Salvation:

Know your enemy – or be defeated

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An alien shipwreck is discovered on a planet at the very limits of human expansion – so Security Director Feriton Kayne selects a team to investigate. The ship’s sinister cargo not only raises bewildering questions, but could also foreshadow humanity’s extinction. It will be up to the team to bring back answers, and the consequences of this voyage will change everything.

Back on Earth, we can now make deserts bloom and extend lifespans indefinitely, so humanity seems invulnerable. We therefore welcomed the Olyix to Earth when they contacted us. They needed fuel for their pilgrimage across the galaxy — and in exchange they helped us advance our technology. But were the Olyix a blessing or a curse?

THE FAR FUTURE

Many lightyears from Earth, Dellian and his clan of genetically engineered soldiers are raised with one goal. They must confront and destroy their ancient adversary. The enemy caused mankind to flee across the galaxy and they hunt us still. If they aren’t stopped, we will be wiped out — and we’re running out of time.

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Upcoming: THIN AIR and THIRTEEN by Richard Morgan (Gollancz/Del Rey)

MorganR-ThinAirUKRichard Morgan’s Altered Carbon was the first ‘proper’ sci-fi novel I read and loved. Its mix of science fiction, action and detective story was perfect for me, and I became a faithful (if uneven) follower of Morgan’s work. I bought and read the second Takeshi Kovacs novel, Broken Angels, as soon as it came out. Morgan’s grimdark fantasy series, A Land Fit for Heroes unfortunately didn’t work for me as well as his sci-fi, and I kind of wandered away from his work for a while. This past year, however, Netflix’s adaptation of Altered Carbon has re-ignited my interest in his work, so I was very happy to learn that Gollancz (UK) and Del Rey (North America) are due to release Thin Air in October. The author’s first sci-fi novel in eight years, here’s the brief synopsis:

An atmospheric tale of corruption and abduction set on Mars.

An ex-corporate enforcer, Hakan Veil, is forced to bodyguard Madison Madekwe, part of a colonial audit team investigating a disappeared lottery winner on Mars. But when Madekwe is abducted, and Hakan nearly killed, the investigation takes him farther and deeper than he had ever expected. And soon Hakan discovers the heavy price he may have to pay to learn the truth.

MorganR-ThirteenUKGollancz is also due to re-release Morgan’s fourth novel, Thirteen, with a new cover and title (it was original called Black Man) in September, in the UK. Here’s the synopsis:

One hundred years from now, and against all the odds, Earth has found a new stability; the political order has reached some sort of balance, and the new colony on Mars is growing. But the fraught years of the 21st century have left an uneasy legacy…

Genetically engineered alpha males, designed to fight the century’s wars have no wars to fight and are surplus to requirements. And a man bred and designed to fight is a dangerous man to have around in peacetime. Many of them have left for Mars but now one has come back and killed everyone else on the shuttle he returned in.

Only one man, a genengineered ex-soldier himself, can hunt him down and so begins a frenetic man-hunt and a battle survival. And a search for the truth about what was really done with the world’s last soldiers.

BLACK MAN is an unstoppable SF thriller but it is also a novel about predjudice, about the ramifications of playing with our genetic blue-print. It is about our capacity for violence but more worrying, our capacity for deceit and corruption.

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New ALTERED CARBON trailer!

Netflix has released a new trailer for its upcoming adaptation of Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon! My anticipation levels for this series are very high (I’ve mentioned before on CR that the novel carries much of the blame for getting me into sci-fi), and this trailer further ramped up my impatience. Here it is:

Here’s the official synopsis for the series:

In the distant future, human consciousness can be digitized and downloaded into different bodies. Brought back to life after 250 years by Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy) the richest man on Earth, ex-Envoy soldier Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman / Will Yun Lee) must solve Bancroft’s attempted murder for the chance to live again in a world he doesn’t recognize.

Altered Carbon releases on February 2nd, 2018. In the meantime, the novel is published by Gollancz in the UK, and Del Rey in North America (a new, series tie-in edition will be released in February).

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Upcoming: KILL THE FARM BOY by Delilah S. Dawson & Kevin Hearne (Del Rey)

Dawson&Hearne-KillTheFarmBoySo, this novel may have my favourite fantasy title ever. I can’t actually think of one that amused me as much before — although, Magic Kingdom For Sale, Sold and many Pratchett titles have been favourites for a long while. I hadn’t heard about Kill the Farm Boy until a few moments ago, when B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Tweeted about it. Written by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne, here’s the synopsis:

Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born… and so begins every fairy tale ever told.

This is not that fairy tale.

There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened.

And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell.

There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord who wishes for the boy’s untimely death… and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar “happily ever after” that ever once-upon-a-timed.

Kill the Farm Boy is due to be published by Del Rey in North America, in July 2018. (At the time of writing this, I couldn’t find any information about a UK release.)

Also on CR: Interview with Lila Bowen (2016); Interview with Kevin Hearne (2011); Reviews of Kevin Hearne’s Hounded and Hexed

Follow the Author, Dawson: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Follow the Author, Hearne: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review: SLEEPING GIANTS by Sylvain Neuvel (Del Rey/ Michael Joseph)

NeuvelS-SleepingGiantsUSAn interesting start to a new series

Deadwood, USA. A girl sneaks out just before dark to ride her new bike. Suddenly, the ground disappears beneath her. Waking up at the bottom of a deep pit, she sees an emergency rescue team above her. The people looking down see something far stranger…

“We always look forward. We never look back.”

That girl grows up to be Dr. Rose Franklyn, a brilliant scientist and the leading world expert on what she discovered. An enormous, ornate hand made of an exceptionally rare metal, which predates all human civilisation on the continent. 

“But this thing … it’s different. It challenges us. It rewrites history.”

An object whose origins and purpose are perhaps the greatest mystery humanity has ever faced. Solving the secret of where it came from — and how many more parts may be out there — could change life as we know it.

“It dares us to question what we know about ourselves.”

But what if we were meant to find it? And what happens when this vast, global puzzle is complete…?

“About everything.”

I had very high hopes for Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants. It sounded really interesting and, as an epistolary novel, I was certainly intrigued to see how the author built the story. For the main, it is very well-written and interesting. That being said, the story flagged a bit towards the end, despite being the start of a new series. Continue reading

Upcoming: STAR WARS: BLOODLINE by Claudia Gray (Del Rey)

GrayC-SW-BloodlineAs I’ve mentioned before on CR, I have read a lot of Star Wars fiction in the past. Recently, though, I haven’t really liked any that I’ve tried. Claudia Gray‘s Bloodline, however, sounds like it could be good. Set before The Force Awakens, here’s what it’s about:

WITNESS THE BIRTH OF THE RESISTANCE

When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.

Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy — from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy. 

As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position — even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing…

Bloodline is due to be published by Del Rey in the US, on May 3rd, 2016. Gray also wrote Lost Stars, part of the YA Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens series.