And so the Anticipated Books posts for the first half of 2013 start going up. As usual I had so many fantasy books catch my fancy I had to split them into two posts. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!
Amish – The Immortals of Meluha (Jo Fletcher Books)
1900 BC: the once-proud Suryavanshi rulers of the Meluha Empire are in dire peril. There are devastating terrorist attacks from the east, the land of the Chandravanshis – and to make matters worse, the Chandravanshis appear to have allied with the Nagas, an ostracised race of deformed humans with astonishing martial skills.
The only hope for the Suryavanshis is an ancient prophecy: when evil reaches epic proportions and all seems lost, a hero will emerge …
Clifford Beal – Gideon’s Angel (Solaris)
1653: The long and bloody English Civil War is at an end. King Charles is dead and Oliver Cromwell rules the land as king in all but name. Richard Treadwell, an exiled royalist officer and soldier-for-hire to the King of France and his all-powerful advisor, the wily Cardinal Mazarin, burns with revenge for those who deprived him of his family and fortune.
He decides upon a self-appointed mission to return to England in secret and assassinate the new Lord Protector. Once back on English soil however, he learns that his is not the only plot in motion. A secret army run by a deluded Puritan is bent on the same quest, guided by the Devil’s hand. When demonic entities are summoned, Treadwell finds himself in a desperate turnaround: he must save Cromwell to save England from a literal descent into Hell.
But first he has to contend with a wife he left in Devon who believes she’s a widow, and a furious Paris mistress who has trailed him to England, jeopardising everything. Treadwell needs allies fast. Can he convince the man sent to forcibly drag him back to Cardinal Mazarin? A young king’s musketeer named d’Artagnan. Black dogs and demons; religion and magic; Freemasons and Ranters. It’s a dangerous new Republic for an old cavalier coming home again.
WHAT SHE DOESN’T KNOW MIGHT KILL HER: Hedi looks normal. Yet that’s taken effort. Her fellow Starbucks baristas don’t see her pointed ears, fae amulet or her dark past, and normal is hard for a half-fae, half-werewolf on the run. Hedi’s life changed ten years ago, when her parents were murdered by unknown assassins. She’s been in hiding with her loopy aunt Lou since, as whatever they wanted she’s determined they won’t get it.
Things change when wolves capture Lou, forcing Hedi to steal to free her – for if she can offer up a fae amulet like her own they may trade. But it belongs to a rogue werewolf named Robson Trowbridge, who betrayed Hedi on the night of her greatest need. Over forty-eight hours, Hedi will face the weres of Creemore, discover the extent of her fae powers and possibly break her own heart in the process.
Anne Lyle – The Merchant of Dreams (Angry Robot Books)
Exiled from the court of Queen Elizabeth for accusing a powerful nobleman of treason, swordsman-turned-spy Mal Catlyn has been living in France with his young valet Coby Hendricks for the past year.
But Mal harbours a darker secret: he and his twin brother share a soul that once belonged to a skrayling, one of the mystical creatures from the New World.
When Mal’s dream about a skrayling shipwreck in the Mediterranean proves reality, it sets him on a path to the beautiful, treacherous city of Venice – and a conflict of loyalties that will place him and his friends in greater danger than ever.
Gail Z. Martin – Ice Forged (Orbit)
Condemned as a murderer for killing the man who dishonoured his sister, Blaine ‘Mick’ McFadden has spent the last six years in Velant, a penal colony in the frigid northern wastelands of Edgeland. Harsh military discipline and the oppressive magic of the governor’s mages keep a fragile peace as colonists struggle against a hostile environment. But the supply ships from Dondareth have stopped coming, boding ill for the kingdom that banished the colonists.
Now, McFadden and the people of Velant must decide their fate. They can remain in their icy prison, removed from the devastation of the outside world, but facing a subsistence-level existence, or they can return to the ruins of the kingdom that they once called home. Either way, destruction lies ahead . . .
James Maxey – Witchbreaker (Solaris)
Long ago, Lord Stark Tower – the famed Witchbreaker – nearly wiped out the witches. Today, only a handful of women still practice the weaving craft in secret. The witch Sorrow, Infidel’s fellow adventurer, has vowed to right this wrong, wiping out the Church of the Book and launching a new golden age of witchcraft. In pursuit of her goal, she has bonded her soul with Rott, the primal dragon of decay, giving her near-limitless powers of destruction.
Unfortunately, this power has cost Sorrow her humanity, leading her to a desperate quest to fi nd the greatest witch of all time, Avaris – rumoured to still be alive after hundreds of years – in hopes of mastering her dark magic before it destroys her. But she’s not alone in hunting Avaris, as fate throws her into an uneasy partnership with a man who wants to be the new Witchbreaker. Can either of them survive their mutual quests when their journey leads them into battle with Tempest, the primal dragon of storms?
K.J. Taylor – The Shadow’s Heir (Ace)
Laela Redguard was born with the black hair of the Northern kingdom and the blue eyes of the Southern people, forever marking her as a hated half-breed child of both. While Laela’s Northern features allow her to blend into the crowds of King Arenadd’s seat at Malvern, she cannot avoid falling victim to a pair of common thugs. But when a stranger saves her life and gives her a place to stay, Laela is shocked to learn he is Arenadd himself—a man said to be a murderer who sold his soul to the Night God—the King without a heart…
Robert Jackson Bennett – American Elsewhere (Orbit)
Ex-cop Mona Bright has been living a hard couple of years on the road, but when her estranged father dies, she finds she’s had a home all along: a little house her deceased mother once owned in Wink, New Mexico.
And though every map denies Wink exists, Mona finds they’re wrong: not only is Wink real, it is the perfect American small town, somehow retaining all the Atomic Age optimism the rest of world has given up on.
But the closer Mona gets to understanding her mother’s past, the more she begins to understand that the people in Wink are very, very different—and what’s more, Mona begins to recognize her own bond to this strange place, which feels more like home every day.
C. Robert Cargill – Dreams and Shadows (Gollancz)
In the debut novel DREAMS AND SHADOWS, screenwriter and noted film critic C. Robert Cargill takes us beyond the veil, through the lives of Ewan and Colby, young men whose spirits have been enmeshed with the otherworld from a young age.
This brilliantly crafted narrative – part Neil Gaiman, part Guillermo Del Torro, part William Burroughs – follows the boys from their star-crossed adolescences to their haunted adulthoods. Cargill’s tour-de-force takes us inside the Limestone Kingdom, a parallel universe where whisky swilling genies and foul mouthed wizards argue over the state of the metaphysical realm. Having left the spirit world and returned to the human world, Ewan and Colby discover that the creatures from this previous life have not forgotten them, and that fate can never be sidestepped.
Myke Cole – Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier (Ace/Headline)
Colonel Alan Bookbinder is an army bureaucrat whose worst war wound is a paper-cut. But when he develops criminalized magical powers, he is torn from everything he knows and thrown onto the front-lines—where he will face not only a horrific enemy, but the most wanted man in the known universe…
Lee Collins – She Returns From War (Angry Robot Books)
Four years after the horrific events in Leadville, a young woman from England, Victoria Dawes, sets into motion a series of events that will lead Cora and herself out into the New Mexico desert in pursuit of Anaba, a Navajo witch bent on taking revenge for the atrocities committed against her people.
Francis Knight – Fade to Black (Orbit)
Mahala: a city built in the dark depths of a valley. A city built up in layers, not across – where streets are built upon streets, buildings balance precariously upon buildings. A city that the Ministry rules from its lofty perch at the sunlit summit and where the forsaken lurk in the shadowy depths of the Pit.
Rojan is a bounty hunter trying to make his way in the city. Everyone knows he’s a womaniser, a shirker of all responsibility, but they don’t know he’s also a pain-mage: able to draw magic from his own and other people’s pain. He’s not keen on using it (not least because it’s outlawed), but when his niece is abducted and taken to the dark depths of the Pit, he may just be forced to unleash his power . . .
Ian Tregillis – The Coldest War (Orbit)
For decades, Britain’s warlocks have been all that stands between the British Empire and the Soviet Union – a vast domain stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the English Channel. Now each wizard’s death is another blow to Britain’s national security.
Meanwhile, a brother and sister – the subjects of a twisted Nazi experiment to imbue ordinary people with superhuman abilities –escape from a top-secret facility deep behind the Iron Curtain. They head for England, because that’s where former spy Raybould Marsh lives. And Gretel, the mad seer, has plans for him.
As Marsh is once again drawn into the world of Milkweed, he discovers that Britain’s darkest acts didn’t end with the war. And while he strives to protect queen and country, he is forced to confront his own willingness to accept victory at any cost.
Paul Witcover – The Emperor of All Things (Transworld)
Tempus Rerum Imperator: Time, Emperor of All Things
1758. England is embroiled in a globe-spanning conflict that stretches from her North American colonies to Europe and beyond. Across the Channel, the French prepare for an invasion – an invasion rumored to be led by none other than Bonnie Prince Charlie. It seems the map of Europe is about to be redrawn. Yet behind these dramatic scenes, another war is raging – a war that will determine not just the fate of nations but of humanity itself…
Daniel Quare is a journeyman in an ancient guild, The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. He is also a Regulator, part of an elite network within the guild devoted to searching out and claiming for England’s exclusive use any horological innovation that could give them an upperhand, whether in business or in war.
Just such a mission has brought Quare to the London townhouse of eccentric collector, Lord Wichcote. He seeks a pocket watch rumoured to possess seemingly impossible properties that are more to do with magic than with any science familiar to Quare or to his superiors. And the strange timepiece has attracted the attention of others as well: the mysterious masked thief known only as Grimalkin, and a deadly French spy who stop at nothing to bring the prize back to his masters. Soon Quare finds himself on a dangerous trail of intrigue and murder that leads far from the world he knows into an otherwere of dragons and demigods, in which nothing is as it seems … time least of all.
Lee Battersby – The Marching Dead Angry Robot Books)
Find the dead a King, save himself, win the love of his life, live happily ever after. No wonder Marius dos Helles is bored. But now something has stopped the dead from, well, dying.
It’s up to Marius, Gerd, and Gerd’s not-dead-enough Granny to journey across the continent and put the dead back in the afterlife where they belong.
Rosie Garland – The Palace of Curiosities (HarperCollins)
Before Eve is born, her mother goes to the circus. She buys a penny twist of coloured sugar and settles down to watch the heart-stopping main attraction: a lion, billed as a monster from the savage heart of Africa, forged in the heat of a merciless sun. Mama swears she hears the lion sigh, just before it leaps…and when Eve is born, the story goes, she didn’t cry – she meowed and licked her paws.
When Abel is pulled from the stinking Thames, the mudlarks are sure he is long dead. As they search his pockets to divvy up the treasure, his eyes crack open and he coughs up a stream of black water. But how has he survived a week in that thick stew of human waste?
Cast out by Victorian society, Eve and Abel find succour from an unlikely source. They soar to fame as The Lion Faced Girl and The Flayed Man, star performers in Professor Josiah Arroner’s Palace of Curiosities. And there begins a journey that will entwine their fates forever.
Matthew Hughes – Hell to Pay (Angry Robot Books)
Meet Chesney Arnstruther. Once a mild-mannered insurance actuary, now a full-time crime-fighting superhero, it’s all he can do to kick bad-guy ass while at the same time holding down a steady relationship with the gorgeous Melda. Something is going on.
Meet Xaphan, wise-cracking demon and the source of (almost) all of Chesney’s powers. He’s been asked by his infernal master to give Chesney whatever he needs… but surely stopping bad guys is not in Hell’s plan? Something is definitely going on.
Meet Arthur Wrigley, a modest yet charming older gentleman whose nasty little hobby is fleecing innocent widows. Meet Simon Magus, ancient mystic and magician from Biblical times now very much enamoured of Vegas, baby. And pray you never meet the Chikkichikk, a proud and ancient race of, well, warrior dinosaurs, from the universe that God made then rejected before He started monkeying around with this one. Whatever the hell is going on, this is definitely the third book in the wondrous To Hell & Back series.
Fiona McIntosh – The Scrivener’s Tale (HarperVoyager)
In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant… until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.
As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe′s life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.
When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.
Soon, Gabe′s world will be turned upside down, and he will learn shocking truths about who he is . . . and who he can – or cannot – trust.
The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is assigned with the task of finding him with no one to help but a dislocated soul and a mad sorcerer.
There is a witness but his memories have been bound by magical chains only the enemy can break. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the ally Max needs.
But can she be trusted? And why does she want to give up eternal youth and the life of privilege she’s been born into?
Geoffrey Wilson – The Place of Dead Kings (Hodder & Stoughton)
Can England be liberated if the Holy Grail is found? An epic quest to Scotland set in a magical alternate Britain.
It is 1855. The English revolt has failed, and brutal General Vadula governs England now. Only a few small bands of English rebels still hold out against the Rajthanan empire.
Jack Casey survives in remote Shropshire, training young rebels to use the conqueror’s magic. But he is gravely ill, with only two months to live…
Then refugees bring with them news of a rogue Indian sorceror in Scotland. Mahajan has discovered a mysterious power in the uncharted country to the north – a power that could be the legendary Holy Grail.