Welcome to another post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2013. As usual I had so many fantasy books catch my fancy I had to split them into two posts; this is the second half of the lists. 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!
It’s 1337. Genoese mercenaries under the French are harrying the channel ports and Edward III is powerless to stop them. He’s bankrupt, up to his ears in debt to Florentine bankers. He can’t hope to defend his lands in France, which are subject to a vicious scorched earth policy pursued by the French king.
Hal Romsey is a sixteen year old boy, frightened and intimidated by exalted company. But he is a Luciferist – a visionary and a disciple of the devil. He has one of the keys to Hell, and knows how to use it. Hell is willing to ally with England – and thus begins a story that will shake the thrones of medieval Europe and see angels and demons fighting for the future of England and France.
Son of the Morning will provide readers with politics, intrigue and massed ranks of soldiers battering against each other, while angels and demons stalk the battlefield and hell comes to earth.
Tony Ballantine – Dream London (Solaris)
Captain Jim Wedderburn has looks, style and courage by the bucketful. He’s adored by women, respected by men and feared by his enemies. He’s the man to find out who has twisted London into this strange new world, and he knows it.
But in Dream London the city changes a little every night and the people change a little every day. the towers are growing taller, the parks have hidden themselves away and the streets form themselves into strange new patterns. there are people sailing in from new lands down the river, new criminals emerging in the east end and a path spiralling down to another world.
Everyone is changing, no one is who they seem to be.
Nicholas Kaufmann – Dying Is My Business (St. Martin’s Griffin)
A hitman who can come back to life fully healed when killed but he is soon thrust into a supernatural adventure that will wreak mayhem over the five boroughs of New York
Given his line of work in the employ of a psychotic Brooklyn crime boss named Underwood, Trent finds himself on the wrong end of too many bullets. Yet each time he’s killed he wakes a few minutes later completely healed of his wounds but with no memory of his past identity. What’s worse, each time he cheats death someone else dies in his place. Underwood’s latest task seems simple at first: steal an old, antique box from some squatters in an abandoned warehouse near the West Side Highway. Trent soon finds himself stumbling into an age-old struggle between the forces of good and evil, opening his eyes to a secret world that shadows our own, a world where dangerous magic turns people into inhuman monstrosities, where impossible creatures hide in plain sight, and where the line between the living and the dead is never quite clear. And when the mysterious box is opened, he discovers he has only twenty-four hours to prevent an ancient, unstoppable force from destroying New York City.
Mercedes Lackey – Bastion (DAW)
Mags returns to the Collegium, but there are mixed feelings–his included–about him actually remaining there. No one doubts that he is and should be a Herald, but he is afraid that his mere presence is going to incite more danger right in the heart of Valdemar. The heads of the Collegia are afraid that coming back to his known haunt is going to give him less protection than if he went into hiding. Everyone decides that going elsewhere is the solution for now. So since he is going elsewhere–why not return to the place he was found in the first place and look for clues? And those who are closest to him, and might provide secondary targets, are going along. With Herald Jadrek, Herald Kylan (the Weaponsmaster’s chosen successor), and his friends Bear, Lena, and Amily, they head for the Bastion, the hidden spot in the hills that had once been the headquarters of a powerful band of raiders that had held him and his parents prisoner. But what they find is not what anyone expected.
Scott Lynch – The Republic of Thieves (Gollancz)
After their adventures on the high seas, Locke and Jean are brought back to earth with a thump. Jean is mourning the loss of his lover and Locke must live with the fallout of crossing the all-powerful magical assassins the Bonds Magi.
It is a fall-out that will pit both men against Locke’s own long lost love. Sabetha is Locke’s childhood sweetheart, the love of Locke’s life and now it is time for them to meet again. Employed on different sides of a vicious dispute between factions of the Bonds Sabetha has just one goal – to destroy Locke for ever.
James A. Moore – Seven Forges (Angry Robot Books)
The people of Fellein have lived with legends for many centuries. To their far north, the Blasted Lands, a legacy of an ancient time of cataclysm, are vast, desolate and impassable, but that doesn’t stop the occasional expedition into their fringes in search of any trace of the ancients who once lived there… and oft-rumoured riches.
Captain Merros Dulver is the first in many lifetimes to find a path beyond the great mountains known as the Seven Forges and encounter, at last, the half‐forgotten race who live there. And it would appear that they were expecting him.
As he returns home, bringing an entourage of the strangers with him, he starts to wonder whether his discovery has been such a good thing. For the gods of this lost race are the gods of war, and their memories of that far-off cataclysm have not faded.
William Iris struggles to keep the throne of Londinium whilst hated by his own court and beset by outsiders, while Cathy discovers the legacy of her former governess. But those who dare to speak out about Society are always silenced. Sometimes for good.
While trying to avoid further torments from the mercurial fae, Sam finds himself getting tangled in the affairs of the Elemental Court. But an unexpected offer from the powerful and enigmatic Lord Iron turns out to be far more than Sam bargained for.
Max and the gargoyle are getting closer to uncovering who is behind the murder of the Bath Chapter and the corruption in London and Max finds the gargoyle’s controversial ideas harder to ignore. Can he stay true to his sworn duty without being destroyed by his own master, whose insanity threatens to unravel them all?
Mark Charan Newton – Drakenfeld (Tor UK)
I am Lucan Drakenfeld, second son of Calludian, Officer of the Sun Chamber and peace keeper. Although sometimes it seems I am the only person who wishes to keep it . . .
The monarchies of the Royal Vispasian Union have been bound together for two hundred years with treaties and laws maintained and enforced by the powerful Sun Chamber. As a result, a long harmony has existed, nations have flourished, and civil wars are a thing of the past. But corruption, deprivation and murder will always find a way to thrive . . .
Upon receiving news of his father’s death and recalled to his home city of Tryum, Drakenfeld is soon embroiled in a mystifying case. King Licintius’ sister, Lacanta, has been found brutally murdered during a night of festivities – her beaten and bloody body discovered in a locked temple. Despite hundreds of revellers, no one saw anything. With rumours of dark spirits and political assassination, Drakenfeld soon has his work cut out for him trying to separate superstition from certainty.
With his assistant, Leana, he embarks on the biggest and most complex investigation of his career, revisiting the ancient streets of his past, tracking down leads, interviewing suspects and making new enemies in his search for the truth.
His determination to find the killer soon makes him a target, as the underworld of Tryum focuses on this new threat to their power . . .
Sarah Pinborough – Beauty (Gollancz)
BEAUTY is a beautifully illustrated retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story which takes all the elements of the classic fairytale that we love (the handsome prince, the ancient curse, the sleeping girl and, of course, the haunting castle) and puts a modern spin on the characters, their motives and their desires.
Antoine Rouaud – The Path of Anger (Gollancz)
There will be blood. There will be death. This is the path of anger . . .
Dun-Cadal has been drinking his life away for years. Betrayed by his friends – who turned their back on their ideals in favour of a new republic – and grief stricken at the loss of his apprentice, who saved his life on the battlefield and whom he trained as a knight in exchange, he’s done with politics, with adventure, and with people.
But people aren’t finished with him – not yet. Viola is a young historian looking for the last Emperor’s sword, and her search not only brings her to Dun-Cadal, it’s also going to embroil them both in a series of assassinations. Because Dun-Cadal’s turncoat friends are being murdered, one by one . . . by someone who kills in the unmistakable style of an Imperial assassin . . .
Far to the north, rebels have set a bastard prince up as a figurehead.
Yet again, Easie Damasco finds himself roped into a desperate scheme to preserve the Castoval, And kidnapping the Prince seemed like such a good idea at the time…
Lavie Tidhar – The Violent Century (Hodder & Stoughton)
They’d never meant to be heroes.
For seventy years they’d guarded the British Empire. Oblivion and Fogg, inseparable at first, bound together by a shared fate. Until a night in Berlin, in the aftermath of the Second World War, and a secret that tore them apart.
But there must always be an account… and the past has a habit of catching up to the present.
Recalled to the Retirement Bureau from which no one can retire, Fogg and Oblivion must face up to a past of terrible war and unacknowledged heroism, a life of dusty corridors and secret rooms; of furtive meetings and blood-stained fields, to answer one last, impossible question:
What makes a hero?
E.C. Blake – Masks (DAW)
Mara Holdfast is fast approaching her fifteenth birthday and her Masking ceremony. Once she receives her Mask, Mara will be recognized as an adult and never go unMasked in public again. Gifted with magical abilities, she will take her place as an apprentice to her father, the Autarch’s Master Maskmaker.
But something goes horribly wrong on the day of the Masking, and instead of celebrating, Mara is torn away from her parents, imprisoned, and consigned to a wagon bound for the mines. Cut off from everything and everyone she knows, not even her Gift can show Mara the future that awaits her—a future that may see her slaving in the mines, recruited to a rebel cause, or trained to use her powers at the Autarch’s command…
J. Kathleen Cheney – The Golden City (Roc)
For two years, Oriana Paredes has been a spy among the social elite of the Golden City, reporting back to her people, the sereia, sea folk banned from the city’s shores….
When her employer and only confidante decides to elope, Oriana agrees to accompany her to Paris. But before they can depart, the two women are abducted and left to drown. Trapped beneath the waves, Oriana’s heritage allows her to survive while she is forced to watch her only friend die.
Vowing vengeance, Oriana crosses paths with Duilio Ferreira—a police consultant who has been investigating the disappearance of a string of servants from the city’s wealthiest homes. Duilio also has a secret: He is a seer and his gifts have led him to Oriana.
Bound by their secrets, not trusting each other completely yet having no choice but to work together, Oriana and Duilio must expose a twisted plot of magic so dark that it could cause the very fabric of history to come undone…
After an unremarkable career Narin finally has the chance of promotion to the hallowed ranks of the Lawbringers – guardians of the Emperor’s laws and bastions for justice in a world of brutal expediency. Joining that honoured body would be the culmination of a lifelong dream, but it couldn’t possibly have come at a wrong time. A chance encounter drags Narin into a plot of gods and monsters, spies and assassins, accompanied by a grief-stricken young woman, an old man haunted by the ghosts of his past and an assassin with no past.
On the cusp of an industrial age that threatens the warrior caste’s rule, the Empire of a Hundred Houses awaits civil war between noble factions. Centuries of conquest has made the empire a brittle and bloated monster; constrained by tradition and crying out for change. To save his own life and those of untold thousands Narin must understand the key to it all – Moon’s Artifice, the poison that could destroy an empire.
Anne Lyle – The Prince of Lies (Angry Robot Books)
Elizabethan spy Mal Catlyn has everything he ever wanted – his twin brother Sandy restored to health, his family estate reclaimed and a son to inherit it – but his work is far from over. The renegade skraylings, the guisers, are still plotting – their leader, Jathekkil, has reincarnated as the young Prince Henry Tudor. But while he is still young, Mal has a slim chance of eliminating his enemies whilst they are at their weakest.
With Sandy’s help, Mal learns to harness his own magic in the fight against the guisers, but it may be too late to save England. Schemes set in motion decades ago are at last coming to fruition, and the barrier between the dreamlands and the waking world is wearing thin…
Long has the kingdom of Carinthia relied upon the spells of its Hexmasters to maintain its position of control. The great Prince Gerhard has ruled benignly over a kingdom that’s never had to change for a thousand years. But now there are signs that their magic is failing, and the kingdom lies vulnerable to attack from all sides.
Some Carinthians would do anything to see the magic return: any act, no matter how terrible, is justified, so long as the Hexmasters can still cast spells to protect their homeland.
The kingdom is poised between chaos and order – and the smallest push is the distance between disaster and triumph.
Freya Robertson – Heartwood (Angry Robot Books)
Chonrad, Lord of Barle, comes to the fortified temple of Heartwood for the Congressus peace talks, which Heartwood’s holy knights have called in an attempt to stave off war in Anguis. But the Arbor, Heartwood’s holy tree, is failing, and because the land and its people are one, it is imperative the nations try to make peace.
After the Veriditas, or annual Greening Ceremony, the Congressus takes place. The talks do not go well and tempers are rising when an army of warriors emerges from the river. After a fierce battle, the Heartwood knights discover that the water warriors have stolen the Arbor’s heart. For the first time in history, its leaves begin to fall…
The knights divide into seven groups and begin an epic quest to retrieve the Arbor, and save the land.
When Cobalt stole the Rolencian throne, Byren, Fyn and Piro were lucky to escape with their lives; now they’ve rallied, and will set out to avenge their parents’ murder.
Byren is driven to defeat Cobalt and reclaim the crown, but at what cost? Fyn has sworn to serve Byren’s interests but his loyalty is tested when he realises he loves Byren’s betrothed. And Piro never wanted to win a throne, but now she holds the fate of a people in her hands.
Jonathan Oliver (ed.) – The End of the Road (Solaris)
An incredible anthology of orginal short stories by an exciting list of writers including the bestselling author philip Reeve and the World Fantasy award-winning Lavie Tidhar.
Each step will lead you closer to your destination, but who, or what, can you expect to meet at journey’s end? Here are stories of misfits, spectral hitch-hikers, nightmare travel tales and the rogues, freaks and monsters to be found on the road. the critically acclaimed editor of Magic, End of The Line and House of Fear has brought together the contemporary masters and mistresses of the weird from around the globe in an anthology of travel tales like no other. Strap on your seatbelt, shoulder your backpack, or wait for that next ride… into darkness.
A woman sits at her father’s bedside watching the clock tick away the last hours of his life.
Her brothers and sisters – all broken, their bonds fragile – have been there for the past week, but now she is alone.
And that’s always when it comes.
The clock ticks, the darkness beckons.
If it comes at all.
Ian Tregillis – Something More Than Night (Tor Books)
Something More Than Night is a Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler inspired murder mystery set in Thomas Aquinas’s vision of Heaven. It’s a noir detective story starring fallen angels, the heavenly choir, nightclub stigmatics, a priest with a dirty secret, a femme fatale, and the Voice of God.
Somebody has murdered the angel Gabriel. Worse, the Jericho Trumpet has gone missing, putting Heaven on the brink of a truly cosmic crisis. But the twisty plot that unfolds from the murder investigation leads to something much bigger: a con job one billion years in the making.
Because this is no mere murder. A small band of angels has decided to break out of heaven, but they need a human patsy to make their plan work.
Much of the story is told from the point of view of Bayliss, a cynical fallen angel who has modeled himself on Philip Marlowe. The yarn he spins follows the progression of a Marlowe novel—the mysterious dame who needs his help, getting grilled by the bulls, finding a stiff, getting slipped a mickey.
Angels and gunsels, dames with eyes like fire, and a grand maguffin, Something More Than Night is a murder mystery for the cosmos.