New Books (February-March)

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Featuring: Aimee Agresti, E.M. Brown, Jack Carr, Sebastien de Castell, Ruthanna Emmys, Raymond E. Feist, Christopher Fowler, Jason Fry, Louisa Hall, Michael Harvey, Ken Jennings, Richard Kadrey, Barbara Kingsolver, Nancy Kress, Mark Lawrence, Roger Levy, Laura Lippman, K.M. McKinley, Sean Parnell, Charlton Pettus, Josh Reynolds, David Ricciardi, Karl Schroeder, Ricki Schultz, Julie Schumacher, J. Todd Scott, Michael Farris Smith, Wallace Stroby, Stuart Turton, Raymond A. Villareal, Martha Wells, JY Yang

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New Books (February-March)

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Featuring: Dan Abnett, Kevin J. Anderson, Melissa Caruso, John Connolly, Andrea Dunlop, Paul French, Ben Fritz, Paul Goldberg, Kristin Hannah, Jane Harper, Frank Herbert, Anthony Horowitz, Sarah A. Hoyt, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Lucas Mann, Stephen Markley, Ian McDonald, S.J. Morden, Claire North, Melissa F. Olson, Jo Piazza, Michael Redhill, Joe Mungo Reed, K.R. Richardson, Gav Thorpe, Corey J. White

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New Books (December 2017-January 2018)

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Featuring: Saladin Ahmed, Jonathan Ames, RJ Barker, Elizabeth Bear, Tom Bissell, Ezekiel Boone, Jordanna Max Brodsky, Leo Carew, Rae Carson, Ron Chernow, Mira Grant, Ulysses S. Grant, Grigsby, Vaseem Khan, Margaret Killjoy, Matthew Kneale, Jessica Knoll, Phillip Margolin, Angus McIntyre, Brad Meltzer, John Jackson Miller, Michael Moreci, Laline Paull, Tristan Palmgren, Gareth L. Powell, Alastair Reynolds, Josh Reynolds, Kelly Robson, Sebastian Rotella, Rob Sanders, Tess Sharpe, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Peter Watts, Timothy Zahn

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New Books (November-December)

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Featuring: Dan Abnett, Kent Anderson, K.C. Archer, Richard Baker, David Baldacci, Josiah Bancroft, Sue Burke, Alice Feeney, Leah Franqui, Stéphane Garnier, Robert Goolrick, Guy Haley, Jane Harris, Liska Jacobs, Maureen Johnson, Nick Kyme, Mario Vargas Llosa, David Mack, Sylvia Moreno-Garcia, James Patterson, Robert V.S. Redick, Christopher Reich, Josh Reynolds, Curtis Sittenfeld, Andy Weir, C.L. Werner

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New Books (May 2017)

Featuring: Jeff Abbott, Curtis Armstrong, R.J. Barker, J. Patrick Black, Eric Brown, Sebastien de Castell, Anne Corlett, Greg Cox, Nate Crowley, Joel Dicker, Chris Dows, Jennifer Egan, Anthony Franze, Garbage & Jason Cohen, Max Gladstone, Daniel Godfrey, Dave Hutchinson, Eddie Izzard, Benedict Jacka, Cassandra Khaw, Richard Lange, Yoon Ha Lee, Graham McNeill, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Malka Older, Benjamin Percy, Josh Reynolds, Salman Rushdie, John Sandford, Tade Thompson, Wendy N. Wagner

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Reviews: A MEMORY OF THARSIS and ARGENT (Black Library)

Josh Reynolds, FABIUS BILE: A MEMORY OF THARSIS

Seeking fresh resources for his experiments, Fabius Bile ventures to the forge world of Quir to trade with its ruler. Lady Spohr demands unusual tribute, however, and not only the deal but also Bile’s very existence could be forfeit if he fails to please her.

Reynolds has been doing a fantastic job bringing Fabius Bile to life on the page. Among the most established of WH40k Chaos champions, there were times when he seemed a little bit of a cartoon. Reynolds’s version, however, is anything but — and A Memory of Tharsis is a great introduction to the character.

Reynolds manages to do two things with this short story, and he does them very well. First, he clearly and effectively locates Bile in the overall renegade/traitor ‘society’: he is an outcast amongst outcasts, reviled and respected, his talents feared and highly sought-after. Second, Reynolds reminds us that Bile is still an Astartes. Despite his physical ailments and weaknesses, he is still a martial force to be reckoned with (even if it is with the aid of a bespoke cocktail of battle stimulants). Best of all, the author does this without resorting to clunky info-dumping, and allows the events and story to show the reader why Bile’s reputation is justified.

This is a great short story, and a fantastic addition to Bile’s growing story. I really hope there is more to come. A Memory of Tharsis is out now, as is the excellent first Fabius Bile novel, Primogenitor.

Also on CR: Reviews of Fabius Bile: PrimogenitorEnd Times: The Return of Nagash and End Times: The Lord of the End Times

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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Chris Wraight, VAULTS OF TERRA: ARGENT

Interrogator Luce Spinoza’s hunt for a traitor brings her to Forfoda and into the company of the Imperial Fists. Unearthing a den of corruption, Spinoza learns what it means to fight alongside the Emperor’s Angels, and vows to prove herself worthy of this honour or die in the attempt.

Argent is the first story in Wraight’s Vaults of Terra, a new series focused on the work of the Inquisition. It introduces readers to Interrogator Spinoza, a character who promises to be an interesting guide to the shadowy operations of the Imperium’s ruthless enforcers. The tale is framed very nicely, as a post-battle report. Spinoza is recounting to her boss the events of a recent raid conducted alongside the Imperial Fists, and explaining how it is she came to be incapacitated with two shattered arms. As Reynolds managed in A Memory of Tharsis, so too does Wraight, who packs in a lot of information and colour into a pretty short story. We get a good feel for the characters, their place in the WH40k universe, as well as how they see their roles. The action is very well written, and supports the story perfectly.

After finishing this, I can definitely say that I am looking forward to the first novel in the series even more than I already had been. Argent is out now. The first full-length novel in the Vaults of Terra series, The Carrion Throne is out next month.

Also on CR: Interview with Chris Wraight (2011); Reviews of Battle of the FangScars and The Path of Heaven

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review: FABIUS BILE — PRIMOGENITOR by Josh Reynolds (Black Library)

reynoldsj-fabiusbile1-primogenitorThe Clone Lord steps into the spotlight…

He is known by many names — Clonelord, Manflayer, Primogenitor. He is the epitome of deceit and perversion, and feared by man and monster alike. Once the Chief Apothecary of the Emperor’s Children, the madman known as Fabius Bile possesses a knowledge of genetic manipulation second to none. Now a renegade among renegades, he is loathed by those he once called brother, and even the most degraded of Chaos Space Marines fear his name. Exiled for his dark experiments, Bile has retreated deep into the Eye of Terror, leaving a trail of twisted abominations in his wake. But when a former student brings word of the ultimate prize for the taking, Bile is unable to resist being drawn once more into the cauldron of war. For in seizing this prize, Fabius Bile might yet discover the one secret his has been unable to unlock… the secret which will prevent his inevitable doom.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel. I’ve been a fan of Reynolds’s for quite some time, but have predominantly read his shorter fiction. In this, the third series from Black Library to tackle a renegade marine hero, Reynolds turns his attention to the Fabius Bile, former lieutenant commander and chief apothecary of the Emperor’s Children. As it turned out, Primogenitor is an excellent science fiction novel. Continue reading