Tag archives for Ace

Anticipated Reads (Winter-Spring) 2014

2014In the past two and a half weeks I’ve brought you my Anticipated Books for Winter/Spring 2014 and today I bring you the fifteen books I anticipate reading the most in the coming six months. As usual it’s a list of fifteen, as there are just too many good books to choose from and I always have a hard time getting the list down to the more usual ten books. Also as per usual, I’ve excluded many books I’m really looking forward to reading right out of the gate, for example all the new instalments in series I’ve been reading. If I loved the previous book in the series, it’s a good bet I’ll want to read the next one. Some examples of these are Tom Pollock’s final book in The Skyscraper Throne trilogy, Our Lady of the Streets, Douglas Hulick’s long-awaited second book Sworn in Steel and Stephanie Saulter’s Binary, the second book in her ®Evolution series. I also left off repeat offenders who also made the list last time, such as Mark Alder’s Son of the Morning. So below in alphabetical order by author is my list, with a little explanation of why I really can’t wait to read these books. Do you agree or would you have chosen differently from the lists I posted recently?   Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Winter-Spring) 2014: Science Fiction and Horror

2014Welcome to another post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2013. Today it’s time for my Science Fiction and Horror picks. 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!   Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Winter-Spring) 2014: Fantasy April-June

2014Welcome 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!   Continue reading »

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Mark Lawrence – King of Thorns

MarkLawrence-KingofThornsThe boy who would be king has gained the throne…

Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath vowed when he was nine to avenge his slaughtered mother and brother—and to punish his father for not doing so. When he was fifteen, he began to fulfill that vow.

Now he is eighteen—and he must hold on by strength of arms to what he took by torture and treachery.

King Jorg is a man haunted: by the ghost of a young boy, by a mysterious copper box, by his desire for the woman who rides with his enemy. Plagued by nightmares of the atrocities he has committed, and of the atrocities committed against him when he was a child, he is filled with rage. And even as his need for revenge continues to consume him, twenty thousand men march toward the gates of his castle.

His enemy is far stronger than he is. Jorg knows that he cannot win in a fair fight. But he has found, in a chamber hidden beneath the castle, ancient and long-lost artifacts. Some might call them magic. Jorg is not certain—all he knows is that the secrets they hold can be put to terrible use in the coming battle…

One of my favourite books of 2011 was Mark Lawrence’s debut novel Prince of Thorns. While hotly debated and often maligned for it supposed misogyny, I found Lawrence’s story of this black-hearted prince and the forces that made him who he was and which manipulate his actions still fascinating. Not only did Lawrence tell a fantastic story, he also told it in wonderful prose. Unsurprisingly, I was looking forward to reading King of Thorns, which however I didn’t get to read until this past week. Discussing this second book in the series will inevitably lead to spoilers for the first, so if you haven’t read Prince of Thorns yet and want to remain unspoiled, best click away now!   Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Summer-Fall) 2013: Science Fiction and Horror

2013Welcome to another post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2013. Today it’s time for my Science Fiction and Horror picks. 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!

Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Summer-Fall) 2013: Fantasy July-September

2013Welcome to the first 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. 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!  Continue reading »

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Myke Cole – Fortress Frontier

mykecole-fortressfrontier

US Cover

Alan Bookbinder might be a Colonel in the US military, but in his heart he fears he’s nothing more than a desk jockey, a clerk with a silver eagle on his jacket. But then one morning he is woken by a terrible nightmare and overcome by an ominous drowning sensation. Something is wrong. He has changed.

Forced into working for the Supernatural Operations Corps in a new and dangerous world, Bookbinder’s only hope of finding a way back to his family will mean teaming up with former SOC operator and public enemy number one: Oscar Britton. They will have to put everything on the line if they are to save thousands of soldiers trapped in a fortress frontier on the brink of destruction.

Myke Cole’s debut Control Point, published last year, was ‘Fast-paced, well-written and well-thought out’ as I put it and I was really looking forward to reading its sequel, Fortress Frontier, to see whether the magic would hold. And I’m pleased to say it did. Not only did we get to catch up with the first book’s protagonist, Oscar, we’re also introduced to another lead character, Colonel Alan Bookbinder. He allows us to get a different view of SOC and of the forward operating base in the Source we last saw through Oscar’s eyes.

It’s worth mentioning that Bookbinder’s narrative arc starts some time before the end of the previous book and that roughly the first quarter of the book is spent catching us up to where we left last time. This confused me at first, but once I realised the time shift, things made sense again and I could just settle into the story. Cole uses an interesting structure in the book; not only does he go back in time at the start to give us Bookbinder’s full story and show us the effects of Oscar’s decisions in the previous book on the FOB, he also switches story arcs for a bit, from Bookbinder to Oscar and back again. In this way, we get both of their stories from their point of view and all the puzzle pieces fit together smoothly once we get to the spectacular finale of the book.

mykecole-fortressfrontier-uk

UK Cover

In itself the plot is quite simple: Bookbinder has to find a way to rescue the stranded personnel from the beleaguered base. It sounds easy, but of course it isn’t. Cole takes us on a long trek through the Source to find assistance and on this trek we learn more about the Source and make some interesting discoveries. I loved how we got to explore the way other nations dealt with the Great Reawakening and their treatment of their Latents, especially those of the Sahir, the Indian version of the SOC. The naga en their Bandhav, their human partners, are fascinating and Cole’s portrayal of the naga court amazing. I loved the details he incorporated, from the architecture to the mythology and the diplomacy, though I could have done without the visuals of snakes blanketing every surface, but that’s my personal prejudice against the slithery darlings rearing its head.

As in Control Point, the characters shine brightly in Fortress Frontier. Bookbinder is a compelling character and his emotional growth over the course of the book was very well done. When we first meet him, Bookbinder is a desk jockey. He’s a Colonel who has never seen any action and as a result he feels that he’s less of a soldier than all those around him who have, but he’s also convinced he isn’t capable of being authoritative and a leader of men, so he’s rather accepted his lot. But when he turns up Latent, but not Manifesting, he’s shipped off to the SOC base and he’s forced to learn to be more and start believing in his own capabilities as much as his inferiors do. Bookbinder is a perfect example of the ‘hero against all odds’, the one who is forced into it by his sense of duty and his humanity. Cole shows his struggle to be the leader he needs to be, to believe in himself and his grief at what he sees as his failures. In a sense, Bookbinder’s movement in the book is the opposite of Oscar’s in the previous book. Oscar was an insider-turned-outsider by his magic, while Bookbinder felt he was an outsider, by dint of his career path, who becomes an insider and comes home in a sense, through his experiences in the Source.

Oscar is as cool a character as ever and where I found him a little frustrating in his last outing due to his indecisiveness on which side to pick, that is completely gone in Fortress Frontier. Oscar has found his mission and works to complete it, while at the same time trying to get his group to safety. His desire to effect change in a peaceful manner and without ‘normal’ casualties typifies the person he is and regardless what happens to him, he keeps his honour and sense of duty, which makes him very sympathetic. His growth in this book is less dramatic than Bookbinder’s and as such I found his storyline just a little less compelling than Bookbinder’s, but it was strong nonetheless and gave us some key information for the denouement of the book.

Fortress Frontier ends on a high, but also on a drawn breath. For while the plot for this book is quite resolved, there are several loose ends that tease an explosive final in the last book in this trilogy. Cole’s respect for the military and the values it upholds bleed through, without glorifying war or violence. With his second book Cole has proven once again that he can combine amazing action scenes with great characterisation and genuine emotion. Fortress Frontier is stronger than its predecessor and raises expectations for the next book, Breach Zone. The Shadow Ops series is proving to be one of my favourite series at the moment and one I highly recommend.

This book was provided for review by both the US and the UK publisher.

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Anticipated Books (Winter/Spring) 2013: Science Fiction and Horror

2013Fear not! For on the third day of Anticipated Books posts there will be horror – well, one horror book anyway – and science fiction. Both SF and horror were genres I managed to explore further in the past reading year with success, so this year there are more books in this list than last year. 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!

Science Fiction

January
Natsuo Kirino – The Goddess Chronicle (Canongate)natsuokirino-thegoddesschronicle
In a place like no other, on an island in the shape of a tear drop, two sisters are born into a family of the oracle. Kamikuu, with creamy skin and almond eyes, is admired far and wide; Namima, small but headstrong, learns to live in her sister’s shadow.

On her sixth birthday, Kamikuu is presented with a feast of seaserpent egg soup, sashimi and salted fish, and a string of pure pearls. Kamikuu has been chosen as the next Oracle, while Namima is shocked to discover she must serve the goddess of darkness. So begins an adventure that will take Namima from her first experience of love to the darkness of the underworld. But what happens when she returns to the island for revenge?

Natsuo Kirino, the queen of Japanese crime fiction, turns her hand to an exquisitely dark tale based on the Japanese myth of Izanami and Izanagi. A fantastical, fabulous tour-de-force, it is a tale as old as the earth about ferocious love and bitter revenge.

rameznaam-nexusRamez Naam – Nexus (Angry Robot Books)
Mankind gets an upgrade
In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link human together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it.

When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage – for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes.

 

James Smythe – The Explorer (HarperVoyager)jamessmythe-theexplorer
When journalist Cormac Easton is selected to document the first manned mission into deep space, he dreams of securing his place in history as one of humanity’s great explorers.

But in space, nothing goes according to plan.

The crew wake from hypersleep to discover their captain dead in his allegedly fail-proof safety pod. They mourn, and Cormac sends a beautifully written eulogy back to Earth. The word from ground control is unequivocal: no matter what happens, the mission must continue.

But as the body count begins to rise, Cormac finds himself alone and spiralling towards his own inevitable death … unless he can do something to stop it.

February
MadScientistsDaughter-144dpiCassandra Rose Clarke – The Mad Scientist’s Daughter (Angry Robot Books)
“Cat, this is Finn. He’s going to be your tutor.”

He looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task now is to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion… and more.

But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

Naomi Foyle – Seoul Survivors (Jo Fletcher Books)naomifoyle-seoulsurvivors
A meteor known as Lucifer’s Hammer is about to wreak destruction on the earth, and with the end of the world imminent, there is only one safe place to be.

In the mountains above Seoul, American-Korean bio-engineer Dr Kim Da Mi thinks she has found the perfect solution to save the human race. But her methods are strange and her business partner, Johnny Sandman, is not exactly the type of person anyone would want to mix with.

Drawn in by their smiles and pretty promises, Sydney – a Canadian model trying to escape an unhappy past – is an integral part of their scheme, until she realises that the quest for perfection comes at an impossible price.

karenlord-thebestofallpossibleworldsKaren Lord – The Best of All Possible Worlds (Jo Fletcher Books)
The Sadiri were once the galaxy’s ruling élite, but now their home planet is unlivable and most of the population killed. The few groups living on other worlds are desperately short of Sadiri women, and their extinction is all but certain.

Grace Delarua is assigned to work with Councillor Dllenahkh, a Sadiri, on his mission to visit distant communities, looking for possible mates. Delarua is garrulous and fully immersed in the single life; Dllenahkh is controlled and responsible for keeping his community together. They both have a lot to learn.

April
Ian Whates (ed.) – Solaris Rising 2 (Solaris)ian_whates-big
Having re-affirmed Solaris’s proud reputation for producing high quality science fiction antologies in the first volume, Solaris Rising 2 is the next collection in this exciting series. Featuring stories by Allan Steele, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Kim Lakin-Smith, Paul Cornell, Eugie Foster, Nick Harkaway, Nancy Kress, Kay Kenyon, James Lovegrove, Robert Reed, Mercurio D. Rivera, Norman Spinrad, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Liz Williams, Vandana Singh, Martin Sketchley, and more. These stories are guaranteed to surprise, thrill and delight, and maintain our mission to demonstrate why science fiction remains the most exiting, varied and inspiring of all fiction genres. In Solaris Rising we showed both the quality and variety that modern science fiction can produce. In Solaris Rising 2, we’ll be taking that much, much further.

Jared Shurin & Anne C. Perry (eds.) – Pandamonium Fiction: The Lowest Heaven (Jurassic London)
The Lowest Heaven explores the furthest reaches of the Solar System with help from the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Today’s greatest science fiction authors set out on missions of discovery, with new stories inspired by our closest celestial neighbours.

May
eric-brownEric Brown – Serene Invasion (Solaris)
THEY ARE HERE… AND WE ARE NOT READY It’s 2025 and the world is riven by war, terrorist attacks, poverty and increasingly desperate demands for water, oil, and natural resources. The West and China confront each other over an inseperable ideological divide, each desperate to sustain their future. And then the Serene arrive, enigmatic aliens from Delta Pavonis V, and nothing will ever be the same again. The Serene bring peace to an ailing world, an end to poverty and violence but not everyone supports the seemingly benign invasion. There are forces out there who wish to return to the bad old days, and will stop at nothing to oppose the Serene.

Wesley Chu – The Lives of Tao (Angry Robot Books)Wesley-Chu
When out-of-shape IT technician Roen woke up and started hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumed he was losing it.

He wasn’t.

He now has a passenger in his brain – an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Now split into two opposing factions – the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix – the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries. Both sides are searching for a way off-planet, and the Genjix will sacrifice the entire human race, if that’s what it takes.

Meanwhile, Roen is having to train to be the ultimate secret agent. Like that’s going to end up well…

al_ewing-bigAl Ewing – The Fictional Man (Solaris)
Niles Golan is writing a remake of a camp-classic spy movie. The studio has plans for a franchise, so rather than hiring an actor, the protagonist will be ‘translated’ into a cloned human body.

It’s common practice – Niles’ therapist is a Fictional. So is his best friend. So (maybe) is the woman in the bar he can’t stop staring at. Fictionals are a part of daily life now, especially in LA.

In fact, it’s getting hard to tell who’s a Fictional and who’s not…

June
Alan Averill – The Beautiful Land (Ace)alanaverill-thebeautifulland
Takahiro O’Leary has a very special job working for the Axon Corporation as an explorer of parallel timelines—as many and as varied as anyone could imagine. A great gig—until information he brings back gives Axon the means to maximize profits by changing the past, present, and future of this world. If Axon succeeds, Tak will lose Samira, the woman he has loved since high school—because her future will cease to exist. The only way to save her is for Tak to use the time travel device he “borrowed” to transport them both to an alternate timeline.

But what neither Tak nor Axon knows is that the actual inventor of the device is searching for a timeline called the Beautiful Land—and he intends to destroy every other possible present and future to find it.

The switch is thrown, and reality begins to warp—horribly. And Tak realizes that to save Sam, he must save the entire world…

stephaniesaultergemsignsStephanie Saulter – Gemsigns (Jo Fletcher Books)
For years the human race was under attack from a deadly Syndrome, but when a cure was found – in the form of genetically engineered human beings, Gems – the line between survival and ethics was radically altered.

Now the Gems are fighting for their freedom, from the oppression of the companies that created them, and against the Norms who see them as slaves. And a conference at which Dr Eli Walker has been commissioned to present his findings on the Gems is the key to that freedom.

But with the Gemtech companies fighting to keep the Gems enslaved, and the horrifying godgangs determined to rid the earth of these ‘unholy’ creations, the Gems are up against forces that may just be too powerful to oppose.

Guy Haley – The Crash (Solaris)
The Market rules all, plotting the rise and fall of fortunes without human intervention. Mankind, trapped by a rigid hierarchy of wealth, bends to its every whim. To function, the Market must expand without end. The Earth is finite, and cannot hold it, and so a bold venture to the stars is begun, offering a rare chance at freedom to a select few people.

But when the colony fleet is sabotaged, a small group finds itself marooned upon the tidally locked world of Nychthemeron, a world where one hemisphere is bathed in perpetual daylight, the other hidden by eternal night. Isolated and beset, the stricken colony members must fight for survival on the hostile planet, while secrets about both the nature of their shipwreck and Nychthemeron itself threaten to tear their fragile society apart.

Frank Schätzing – Limit (Quercus)
2025. Entrepreneur Julian Orley opens the first-ever hotel on the moon.

But ORLEY ENTERPRISES deals in far more than space tourism: it operates the world’s only space elevator, connecting the earth with the moon and enabling the transportation of helium-3, the fuel of the future.

Now Julian has invited twenty-one of the world’s richest and most powerful individuals to sample his lunar accommodation, in the hope of securing the finances for manufacturing a second lift.

Meanwhile, on earth, cyber detective Owen Jericho is sent to Shanghai to find a young female hacker, Yoyo, on the run since uncovering information that someone seems very determined to protect.

As Jericho closes in on the girl, and the conspiracy surrounding her, he finds increasingly concerning links to Julian Orley – and his enemies and competitors – that suggest the lunar expedition is in real and immediate danger.

Horror

alisonlittlewood-pathofneedlesAlison Littlewood – Path of Needles (Jo Fletcher Books, January)
A murderer is on the loose, but the gruesome way in which the bodies are being posed has the police at a loss. Until, on a hunch, an expert in fairytales is called in. And it is Alice who finds the connection between the body of Chrissie Farris and an obscure Italian version of Snow White.

Then, when a second body is found, Alice is dragged further into the investigation – until she herself becomes a suspect. Now Alice must fight, not just to prove her innocence, but to protect herself: because it’s looking like she might well be next.

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Anticipated Books (Winter/Spring) 2013: Fantasy Jan-March

2013And 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!

January
amishAmish – 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)cliffordbeal-gideonsangel
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.

leighevans-thetroublewithfateLeigh Evans – The Trouble with Fate (Tor UK)
SHE’S HALF FAE AND ALL TROUBLE

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)annelyle-themerchantofdreams
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.

gailzmartin-iceforgedGail 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)jamesmaxey-witchbreaker
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?

kjtaylor-theshadowsheirK.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…

February

robertjacksonbennett-americanelsewhere

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.

crobertcargill-dreamsandshadowsC. 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.

mykecole-fortressfrontier

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…

 

 

leecollins-shereturnsfromwarLee 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)francisknight-fadetoblack
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 . . .

iantregillis-thecoldestwarIan 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.

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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.

March
leebattersby-themarchingdeadLee 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.

 

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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.

matthewhughes-helltopayMatthew 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.

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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.

emmanewman-betweentwothornsEmma Newman – Between Two Thorns (Angry Robot Books)
Something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath’s secret mirror city.

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?

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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.

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Anticipated Books (Summer/Fall) 2012: Science Fiction

The third of my Anticipated Books (Summer/Fall) 2012 is all about the Science Fiction. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. The other posts will follow tomorrow and next Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with the Anticipated Reads post up on the Sunday.

July

Adam Roberts – Jack Glass (Gollancz)
Jack Glass is the murderer. We know this from the start. Yet as this extraordinary novel tells the story of three murders committed by Glass the reader will be surprised to find out that it was Glass who was the killer and how he did it. And by the end of the book our sympathies for the killer are fully engaged.
Riffing on the tropes of crime fiction (the country house murder, the locked room mystery) and imbued with the feel of golden age SF, JACK GLASS is another bravura performance from Roberts. Whatever games he plays with the genre, whatever questions he asks of the reader, Roberts never loses sight of the need to entertain. JACK GLASS has some wonderfully gruesome moments, is built around three gripping HowDunnits and comes with liberal doses of sly humour.
Roberts invites us to have fun and tricks us into thinking about both crime and SF via a beautifully structured novel set in a society whose depiction challanges notions of crime, punishment, power and freedom. It is an extraordinary novel.

Katy Stauber – Spin the Sky (Night Shade Books)
HOME IS WHERE THE HERD IS . . . .

Fifteen years after winning the Spacer War, Cesar Vaquero has returned to Ithaca, a rugged orbital colony that boasts the only herd of cattle in space, and a wife and a son who don’t even recognize him when he shows up at their doorstep. Posing as a homeless drifter, he soon discovers that making his way home past space pirates, one-eyed giants, and mad scientists was the easy part . . . .

Penelope swore off men after her husband disappeared. She’s been busy enough running the ranch, raising her son, and fending off pushy suitors eager to get their hands on her and her herd. But something about this war-weary drifter stirs forgotten feelings in her, even as sabotage, rustlers, and a space stampede threaten to tear Ithaca apart!

Spin the Sky is an rollicking, high-spirited riff on a certain classic odyssey–featuring characters as big and full of surprises as Space itself!

Charles Stross – The Apocalypse Codex (Orbit)
Bob Howard used to fix computers for the Laundry – the branch of the British Secret Service that deals with otherworldly threats – but those days are over. He’s not only been promoted to active service but actually survived missions against cultists, enemy spies and tentacled horrors from other dimensions. Willingly or not, he’s on his way up in this dangerous organisation. When a televangelist with connections to 10 Downing Street seems able to work miracles, the Laundry takes an interest. But an agency that answers to the Prime Minister can’t spy on him themselves, and Bob’s shadowy superiors come up with a compromise – they hire ‘freelancers’, with Bob in charge. British citizens who discover the occult are either forcibly recruited by the Laundry or disposed of, and Bob’s never heard of freelancers before. Officially they don’t exist. Anyone who’s big and bad enough to remain independent is going to be hard to handle, and Bob’s not too sure that the one-week ‘people management’ course he was sent on in Milton Keynes is going to be enough …

August

Madeline Ashby – vN (Angry Robot)
Amy Peterson is a von Neumann machine, a self-replicating humanoid robot.

For the past five years, she has been grown slowly as part of a mixed organic/synthetic family. She knows very little about her android mother’s past, so when her grandmother arrives and attacks her mother, little Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive.

Now she carries her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive, and she’s learning impossible things about her clade’s history – like the fact that the failsafe that stops all robots from harming humans has failed… Which means that everyone wants a piece of her, some to use her as a weapon, others to destroy her.

September

Peter F. Hamilton – Great North Road (Tor UK)
St Libra is paradise for Earth’s mega-rich. Until the killing begins.

In Newcastle-upon-Tyne, AD 2142, Detective Sidney Hurst attends a brutal murder scene. The victim is one of the wealthy North family clones – but none have been reported missing. And the crime’s most disturbing aspect is how the victim was killed. Twenty years ago, a North clone billionaire and his household were horrifically murdered in exactly the same manner, on the tropical planet of St Libra. But if the murderer is still at large, was Angela Tramelo wrongly convicted? Tough and confident, she never waivered under interrogation – claiming she alone survived an alien attack. But there is no animal life on St Libra.

Investigating this alien threat becomes the Human Defence Agency’s top priority. The bio-fuel flowing from St Libra is the lifeblood of Earth’s economy and must be secured. So a vast expedition is mounted via the Newcastle gateway, and teams of engineers, support personnel and xenobiologists are dispatched to the planet. Along with their technical advisor, grudgingly released from prison, Angela Tramelo. But the expedition is cut off, deep within St Libra’s rainforests. Then the murders begin. Someone or something is picking off the team one by one. Angela insists it’s the alien, but her new colleagues aren’t so sure. Maybe she did see an alien, or maybe she has other reasons for being on St Libra …

Mike Shepherd – Kris Longknife: Furious (Ace)
Having used unorthodox methods to save a world—and every sentient being on it—Lieutenant Commander Kris Longknife is wanted for crimes against humanity across the galaxy. For her own safety, she’s been assigned to a backwater planet where her (First) Fast Patrol Squadron 127 enforces immigration control and smuggler interdiction.

But Kris is a Longknife and nothing can stop her from getting back to the center of things( — not when all hell is breaking loose). Now, she’s on the run, hunted by both military and civilian authorities—and since the civilian authorities happen to be her immediate family, Kris soon finds herself homeless, broke, and on trial for her life on an alien world…(provisionary back cover quote from author’s blog)

November

Jared Shurin & Anne C. Perry Eds. – A Town Called Pandemonium (Pandemonium Fiction)
Pandemonium sits four days’ ride from the Texas border. Many call it Hell, but some call it home: the ambitious, the desperate, the foolish and the mad.

A Town Called Pandemonium gets science fiction writers to put down their ray guns and pick up their six-shooters for a collection of shared world fiction set in the Wild West.

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