Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2014. 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!
Edward the Third stands in the burnt ruin of an English church. He is beset on all sides. He needs a victory against the French to rescue his Kingship. Or he will die trying.
Philip of Valois can put 50,000 men in the field. He has sent his priests to summon the very Angels themselves to fight for France. Edward could call on God for aid but he is an usurper. What if God truly is on the side of the French?
But for a price, Edward could open the gates of Hell and take an unholy war to France …
Mark Alder has brought the epic fantasy of George R.R. Martin to the vivid historical adventure of Bernard Cornwell and has a created a fantasy that will sweep you to a new vision of the Hundred Years War.
When God decides to quit and join the human race to see what all the fuss is about, all Hell breaks loose.
Sensing his abdication, the other defunct gods of Earth’s vanquished pantheons want a piece of the action He abandoned.
Meanwhile, the newly-humanised deity must discover the whereabouts and intentions of the similarly reincarnated Lucifer, and block the ascension of a murderous new God.
How is he ever going to make it as a stand-up comedian with all of this going on…?
A dead warrior king frozen in winter ice. Six grieving sons, each with his own reason to kill. Two weary travellers caught up in a web of suspicion and deceit.
In a distant time long before our own, wandering bard Talus and his companion Bran journey to the island realm of Creyak, where the king has been murdered. From clues scattered among the island’s mysterious barrows and stone circles, they begin their search for his killer. But do the answers lie in this world or the next?
Nobody is above suspicion, from the king’s heir to the tribal shaman, from the servant woman steeped in herb-lore to the visiting warlord whose unexpected arrival throws the whole tribe into confusion. And when death strikes again, Talus and Bran realise nothing is what it seems.
Creyak is place of secrets and spirits, mystery and myth. It will take a clever man indeed to unravel the truth. The kind of man this ancient world has not seen before.
Freya Robertson - Sunstone (Angry Robot Books)
The Incendi elementals that dwell beneath the mountains have found a way to tap into the Arbor’s roots, which stretch not only across the land but also through time, and King Pyra is determined to crush the ancient tree.
Twenty-two years after the defeat of the Darkwater Lords, Chonrad’s widow Procella and their three children are drawn back to Heartwood to investigate the rumour of strange fires springing up across the land. Across three separate timelines, the heroes must battle to join together their ancient sunstones, to overcome the Incendi threat, and to protect the Arbor and make earth victorious once more.
Sam Sykes – The City Stained Red (Gollancz)
The Scion’s Gate is a trilogy that tells the story of the struggle between the adventurer, Lenk, and his companions and the demons trying to break free from hell in order to resume their own agendas.
Long before he was sent to hell, the Aeon known as Khoth-Kapira was the closest thing to a living god the world had ever known. Possessed of a vast intellect, he pioneered many of the wonders that persist in the world that lingered long after he was banished. Nearly every fragment of medical, economic and technological progress that the mortal races enjoyed could be traced back to him. But with his wonders came cruelty beyond measure: industrialized slavery, horrifying experimentations and a rage that would eventually force the world to bow to him.
Now, as Khoth-Kapira stirs the world begins to shudder with disasters yet to come.The epicenter is the city of Cier’Djaal. A religious war between two unstoppable military juggernauts begins to brew. The racial fury among many peoples of the world is about to explode. Demons begin to pour from the shadows at the head of a vicious cult worshipping dark powers.
And Lenk finds himself in the middle once more, his fate and the fate of Khoth-Kapira interlinked as the demon attempts to convince him of his earnestness.
“Your world is breaking around you,” He Who Makes says, “let me fix it. Let me help you. Let me out.”
Kristen Britain – Mirror Sight (Daw)
In the magical confrontation that ends Blackveil, Karigan G’ladheon, a Green Rider, is jolted out of Blackveil forest and wakes in a darkness backer than night. She’s in a sealed stone sarcophagus, some unknown tomb, and the air is becoming thin. Is this to be her end? And if she should win free of her prison, will she be walking straight into a trap?
Trudi Canavan – Thief’s Magic (Orbit)
In a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen’s world faces.
Elsewhere, in a land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer’s daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it – should she dare to risk the Angels’ wrath.
But not everything is as Tyen and Rielle have been raised to believe. Not the nature of magic, nor the laws of their lands.
Not even the people they trust.
Charlie Fletcher – The Oversight (Orbit)
Only five still guard the border between the worlds. And when they fall, so do we all. The Oversight is a gothic fantasy that will appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
“The end always comes faster than you think.”
Once there were hundreds of members of the Oversight, the brave souls who guard the borders between the mundane and the magic. Now there are only five. And their numbers are dwindling further still.
When a vagabond brings a screaming girl to the Oversight’s London headquarters, she might answer their hopes for a new recruit, or she could be the instrument of their downfall.
In his first novel for adults, Charlie Fletcher (The Stoneheart Trilogy) spins a tale of witch-hunters, supra-naturalists, mirror-walkers and magicians. Meet the Oversight, and remember: when they fall, so do we all.
Douglas Hulick – Sworn in Steel (Tor UK)
Drothe has killed a legend, burned down part of the imperial capital, and unexpectedly elevated himself into the underworld’s elite. And as the city’s newest ‘Gray Prince’, Drothe’s learning just how good he used to have it.
With no time to build support, Drothe is already being called out by other Gray Princes. And when one dies, all signs point to Drothe. Members of the thieves’ guilds begin choosing sides, mostly against him, for what promises to be another gang war. Then Drothe is approached by someone who can solve all his problems and also offer him redemption. But the cost may be just too high. Out of options, Drothe’s finds himself travelling to the empire’s bitterest enemy. He has a price on his head, but one last plan in mind.
Seanan McGuire – Sparrow Hill Road (Daw)
Sparrow Hill Road is the first volume in the story of Rose Marshall, who was the first victim of the man called Bobby Cross, although she was far from the last — and unlike most of them, she did not go easy into that good night. Sixty years down the line, she’s still kicking ass, taking names, and more than a little bit pissed off about the way that she died.
You want a good little ghost who’ll stay where she’s put and only haunt the people who deserve it? Go to a sleepover. You want the real story of the American ghostroads? Come and have a word with Rose.
Sarah Pinborough – Murder (Jo Fletcher Books)
Dr Thomas Bond, Police Surgeon, is still recovering from the events of the previous year when Jack the Ripper haunted the streets of London – and a more malign enemy hid in his shadow. Bond and the others who worked on the gruesome case are still stalked by its legacies, both psychological and tangible.
But now the bodies of children are being pulled from the Thames… and Bond is about to become inextricably linked with an uncanny, undying enemy.
Sarah Cawkwell – Uprising (Abaddon Books)
Epic fantasy meets alternate history in a sweeping saga that crosses the medieval world. Matthias Eynon must escape the clutches the Witchhunters and locate the masters of the four magic arts to overthrow the tyrannical Demon King, descendant of the twisted Richard III.
Mathias Eynon’s dreams were small. A dabbler in magic, and son of a magician, he expected to live in obscurity in his home in the Welsh hills, quietly conducting his experiments and hoping not to draw too much attention to himself.
But fate has other plans for him. It is the Year of Our Lord Fifteen-Ninety, and a revolution is quietly brewing, here and further abroad. Richard V has overstayed his rule, some say; others whisper that the whole line of Demon Kings must be burned out. Mathias – son of a man executed for the practice of magic, forbidden by the paranoid king – is set to become a symbol, and a leader.
And to do that, he needs champions. A wise woman sends him to the corners of the known world – to the frozen lands of the Danes, to the pirate-haunted ports of Spain, to the mountains of the German Empire, to the burning sands of the Holy Land – to bring back masters of the four magic arts. With the best and brightest of Richard’s Witch Hunters on his heels, he sets out to gather his allies.
Paul Kearney – The Way to Babylon (Solaris Books)
Broken, bereaved and happy to let his fans go without the next book in his bestselling series, fantasy author Michael Riven expects to go home to his isolated cabin and avoid people. But instead strangers seek him out and lead him on a journey away from this world and into Minginish, the imaginary place where his own novels were set, but which is more real than he can conceive – and in danger from legendary beats and unimagined terrors.
Michael Riven has fallen off a mountain. The bestselling fantasy author is broken in both body and mind, as the fall also claimed his wife and climbing partner Jenny. Readers are desperate to know what will happen next in the fantasy world Minginish, but neither writing, nor living, are of interest to the author as he lies in traction and his heart bleeds.
But there are others seeking the scribe out. Men – and someone who is not all human – have begun a quest to find a way to rescue their blighted homeland, and their road will take them between worlds. Michael Riven will return to his home in Scotland; he will accompany a stranger out into the hills and find himself led not over the local landscape but into a place altogether more familiar and terrifying: Minginish itself, a real place more surprising and unpredictable even than the world of his novels.
Beasts of myth and legend stalk a land where the seasons have gone awry. Michael must take up the companions of his stories – Bicker, Ratagan and Murtach – and find a way to mend the sundered world. If he can, he may even find that Jenny’s existence did not end that day on the mountain.
The Way to Babylon was Paul Kearney’s debut novel, and this is its first publication in North America.
Mercedes Lackey – Blood Red (Daw)
Little Red Riding Hood’s real name is Gretchen Schwarzwald, and she is from the Schwarzwald (the Black Forest) in Germany. Ten years ago, she was orphaned by an evil Earth Master who wanted her parents’ land and killed them all with the werewolves he created. She was rescued by a Fire Master, a member of the Woodsman’s Lodge, and taught how to use her own Fire Powers. Now another werewolf pack is ravaging Exmoor, and she has come to help London’s White Lodge eradicate it and find and destroy the Elemental Master behind it.
Mark Lawrence – Prince of Fools (HarperVoyager/Ace)
The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister—unseen by most and unspoken of by all.
The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler, seducer of women—is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor—nothing that will affect him—but he is wrong.
After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war—and the Red Queen controls the board.
The twisted, deviant Elf Rats have gathered in the toxic realm beyond the White Lion Mountains… swiftly they invade the troubled land of Vagandrak, killing for profit and pleasure.
The now-disgraced Iron Wolves are the realm’s only hope, but there’s a problem: they’ve been sentenced to death by the insane King Yoon for the dark sorcery in their blood.
In the mountains of Zalazar lie the White Towers, pillars of legend said to contain the Heart of the Elves. The Iron Wolves must journey north to steal the Heart, and purify the evil in the land, but the land belongs to the Elves – and they won’t give it up without a fight!
When you dream, that have discovered, you visit the Maelstrom. Dream long enough and hard enough, and your dreams can break through into the living world. So, alas, can your nightmares.
And who’s there to catch the dreams and nightmares as they fall into reality? Meet the Nightwatch, the police who catch escaped nightmares.
Pray you never need them…