Tag archives for Tor UK

Brian Staveley – The Emperor’s Blades

brianstaveley-theemperorsbladesThe Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy. His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but after several ‘accidents’ and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation.

Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. And Kaden, heir to an empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways – which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?

One of the ARCs being given away at World Fantasy last year was Brian Staveley’s The Emperor’s Blades. I’d seen some talk about it and it looked interesting – epic fantasy is always of interest – so I snagged myself a copy, deciding to save reading it till closer to publication. In the meantime, I’d heard lots of bloggers I respected say good things about the book and I found myself looking forward to starting the book to see whether I’d enjoy it as much as they did. The answer is yes, yes I did.  Continue reading »

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Liz de Jager – Banished

lizdejager-banishedKit is proud to be a Blackhart, now she’s living with her unorthodox cousins and sharing their strange lives. Especially since home-schooling includes spells, fighting enemy fae and using ancient weapons. But it’s not until she rescues a rather handsome fae prince, fighting for his life on the edge of Blackhart Manor, that her training really kicks in.

For Kit, events move from bad to apocalyptic, as she finds fae battling fae in a war that threatens to spill into the human world. Then she pits herself against the Elder Gods themselves – it’s that or lose everyone she’s learnt to love.

Full disclosure: The author Liz de Jager is a very dear friend. This doesn’t mean I haven’t read this novel critically, because I have. In fact I think I might have read it even more critically than I would usually read a debut, as I kept weighing whether I liked things because I liked them or whether I liked them because of who the author was. But to avoid any accusations of bias, I did want to mention it upfront. That being said, let’s get on with the review.  Continue reading »

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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: YA January-March

2014Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2014. YA books have become a big part of my reading diet. Some of my favourite authors are writing for this age group and there are just so many great titles out there. Consequently, YA too has been spread over two posts. This is the first half. 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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Anticipated Books (Summer-Fall) 2013: Fantasy October-December

2013Welcome 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!   Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Winter/Spring) 2013: Fantasy April-June

2013The second day of my Anticipated Books posts and the second half of the fantasy books. 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!

 

April

Mark Alder – Son of the Morning (Gollancz)markalder
Meet Hal Romsey
Priest, sorcerer, assassin
A good man
Who fights for the Devil

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.

richardford-heraldofthestormRichard Ford – Herald of the Storm (Headline)
Under the reign of King Cael the Uniter, this vast cityport on the southern coast has for years been a symbol of strength, maintaining an uneasy peace throughout the Free States. But now a long shadow hangs over the city, in the form of the dread Elharim warlord, Amon Tugha. When his herald infiltrates the city, looking to exploit its dangerous criminal underworld, and a terrible dark magick that has long been buried, once again begins to rise, it could be the beginning of the end.

Stella Gemmell – The City (Transworld)stellagemmell
The City is ancient and vast, built up over the millennia, layer upon layer. Once a thriving metropolis, it has sprawled beyond its walls, inciting and waging constant wars with neighbouring tribes and kingdoms – creating a barren wasteland of what was once green and productive.

At the heart of the City lives the emperor. Few have ever seen him, but those who have recall a man in his prime, though he should be very old. Some speculate that he is no longer human, others wonder if indeed he truly ever was. And a small number have have come to the desperate conclusion that the only way to stop the City’s incessant war and the constant bloodshed is to end the emperor’s unnaturally long life.

From the maze-like sewers and catacombs below the City, where the poor struggle to stay alive in the dark, to the blood-soaked fields of battle where few heroes manage to survive the never-ending siege, these rebels pin their hopes on one man:Shuskara. Once the emperor’s foremost general, he was betrayed long ago and is believed to be dead. But, under different aliases, he has survived, forsaking his City and hiding from the man to whome he once vowed his allegiance. Now, the time has come for Shuskara to emerge from the shadows and lead a final bid to free the City from those who have brought it and its people to their knees for so long…

justingustainisJustin Gustainis – Morris & Chastain Investigations: Play With Fire & Midnight at the Oasis (Solaris)
In Play With Fire houses of worship are burning around the U.S. From churches, to synagogues, to mosques. Usually while the places are full of people. Initially dismissed as random acts of violence, Morris and Chastain uncover the deadly meaning behind the fires, and the terrifying cause they seek to serve. In Midnight at the Oasis Middle Eastern terrorists have conjured a deadly djin that will lay waste to America — unless Morris and Chastain can stop it first.

Elizabeth May – The Falconer (Gollancz)elizabethmay
Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

18 year old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined to a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery kills her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season. Between a seeming endless number of parties, Aileana slaughters faeries in secret. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, every night she sheds her aristocratic facade and goes hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But she never even considered that she might become attracted to one. To the magnetic Kiaran MacKay, the faery who trained her to kill his own kind. Nor is she at all prepared for the revelation he’s going to bring. Because Midwinter is approaching, and with it an eclipse that has the ability to unlock a Fae prison and begin the Wild Hunt.

A battle looms, and Aileana is going to have to decide how much she’s willing to lose – and just how far she’ll go to avenge her mother’s murder.

brianmcclellan-promiseofbloodBrian McClellan – Promise of Blood (Orbit)
‘The Age of Kings is dead. And I have killed it.‘

Field Marshal Tamas’s coup against his king sends corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brings bread to the starving. But it also provokes war in the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics and greedy scrambling for money and power by Tamas’s supposed allies: the Church, workers’ unions and mercenary forces.

Stretched to his limit, Tamas relies heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be Tamas’s estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty will be tested to its limit.

Now, amid the chaos, a whispered rumour is spreading. A rumour about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods returning to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing . . .

But perhaps they should.

Sarah Pinborough – Poison (Gollancz)Sarah Pinborough-1x3a
POISON is a beautifully illustrated retelling of the Snow White story which takes all the elements of the classic fairytale that we love (the handsome prince, the jealous queen, the beautiful girl and, of course, the poisoning) and puts a modern spin on the characters, their motives and their desires. It’s fun, contemporary, sexy, and perfect for fans of ONCE UPON A TIME, GRIMM, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN and more.

May
Mur_lafferty-300x198Mur Lafferty – The Shambling Guide to New York City (Orbit)
Following the disaster that was her last job, Zoe is searching for a fresh start as a travel writer in New York City. After stumbling across a seemingly perfect position, though, Zoe is blocked at every turn because of the one thing she can’t take off her résumé – human.

Not to be put off by anything – especially not her blood-drinking boss or death goddess co-worker – Zoe delves deep into the monster world. But her assignments turn deadly when the careful balance between humans and monsters starts to crumble – with Zoe right in the middle.

Justin Gustainis – Known Devil (Angry Robot Books)justingustainis
My name’s Markowski. I carry a badge. Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.
A new supernatural gang is intent on invading Scranton – as if I didn’t have enough to contend with!

Supernatural gang warfare? Not on my watch!

benjaminpercy-redmoonBenjamin Percy – Red Moon (Hodder & Stoughton)
They live amongst us. They are your neighbour, your mother, your lover. You think they are safe. They change.

Every teenage girl thinks she’s different. When government agents kick down Claire Forrester’s front door and murder her parents, Claire realises just how different she is.

Patrick Gamble was nothing special until the day he got on a plane and, hours later, stepped off it, the only passenger left alive. A hero.

President Chase Williams has sworn to eradicate the menace. Unknown to the electorate, however, he is becoming the very thing he has sworn to destroy.

Each of them is caught up in a war that has been controlled with laws and violence and drugs. But an uprising is about to leave them tied to one another for ever.

Jonathan Strahan (ed) – Fearsome Journeys: The New Solaris Book of FantasyJonathan Strahan (Solaris)
Nothing further announced yet, but I loved the The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction last year and I well respect Jonathan Strahan’s chops as an editor, so I’m very much looking forward to this.

 

chuckwendig-uncleanspiritsChuck Wendig – Gods & Monsters: Unclean Spirits (Abaddon)
Exiled to Earth, the gods now walk amongst us, bringing with them their children and their servants and their monsters. Their power is a mere fraction of what it once was, but even a mote of divine magic is awesome – in the truest sense of the word.

Cason Cole knows this firsthand. He’s been serving the gods for the better part of a decade, their leash fastened tight around his neck. But when his most recent divine master gets killed – a thing Cason didn’t even know could happen – he finds himself once more a free man. All he’s got left is a burning need for vengeance against the very gods who forced him to kneel, but he’ll soon discover that getting revenge against the gods is no easy feat. He’ll have to put his life, love, sanity and soul on the line. Will he pay the cost? How priceless is his wrath?

June
Ben Aaronovitch – Broken Homes (Gollancz)benaaronovitch-brokenhomes
A new case for Peter Grant takes him into the heart of a crowded south London housing estate where he finds a brooding horror.

 

 

 

alexbledsoeAlex Bledsoe – Wisp of a Thing (Tor Books)
Touched by a very public tragedy, musician Rob Quillen comes to Cloud County, Tennessee, in search of a song that might ease his aching heart. All he knows of the mysterious and reclusive Tufa is what he has read on the internet: they are an enigmatic clan of swarthy,, black-haired mountain people whose historical roots are lost in myth and controversy. Some people say that when the first white settlers came to the Appalachians centuries ago, they found the Tufa already there. Other hint that Tufa blood brings special gifts.

Rob finds both music and mystery in the mountains. Close-lipped locals guard their secrets, even as Rob gets caught up in a subtle power struggle he can’t begin to comprehend. A vacationing wife goes missing, raising suspicions of foul play, and a strange feral girl runs wild in the woods, howling in the night like a lost spirit.

Change is coming to Cloud County, and only the night wind knows what part Rob will play when the last leaf falls from the Widow’s Tree…and a timeless curse must be broken at last.

Stephen Deas – The Dragon Queen (Gollancz)stephendeas-thedragonqueen
The war that destroyed mankind had a beginning shadowed by dragons.

This is the second standalone novel set in the world of Stephen Deas’ Memory of Flames trilogy. A pseudo-medieval world where life and politics are dominated by massive fire breathing dragons.

 

 

US Cover

US Cover

Neil Gaiman – The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Headline)
THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac – as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly’s wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark, from storytelling genius Neil Gaiman.

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

Kevin Hearne – Hunted (Del Rey/Orbit)KevinHearne
For a two-thousand-year-old Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan is a pretty fast runner. Good thing, because he’s being chased by not one but two goddesses of the hunt – Artemis and Diana – for messing with one of their own. Dodging their slings and arrows, Atticus, his apprentice Granuaile and his wolfhound Oberon are making a mad dash across modern-day Europe to seek help from a friend of the Tuatha Dé Danann. His usual magical option of shifting planes is blocked, so instead of playing hide and seek, the game plan is . . . run like hell.

Crashing the pantheon marathon is the Norse god Loki. Killing Atticus is the only loose end he needs to tie up before unleashing Ragnarok – AKA the Apocalypse. Atticus and Granuaile have to outfox the Olympians and contain the god of mischief if they want to go on living – and still have a world to live in.

snorri_kristjanssonSnorri Kristjansson – The Swords of Good Men (Jo Fletcher Books)
To Ulfar Thormodsson, the Viking town of Stenvik is the penultimate stop on a long journey. Tasked with looking after his cousin after disgracing his father, he has travelled the world and now only wants to go home.

But Stenvik is different; it contains the beautiful and tragic Lilja, who immediately captures Ulfar’s heart. Because of her, he persuades his cousin to stay. But Stenvik is also home to some very deadly men, who could break Ulfar in an instant.

King Olav is marching on Stenvik from the East, determined to bring the White Christ to the masses at the point of his sword, and a host of bloodthirsty raiders led by a mysterious woman are sailing from the north. But Ulfar is about to learn that his enemies are not all outside the walls.

Mercedes Lackey – Steadfast (DAW)mercedeslackey
Lionel Hawkins is a magician whose act is only partially sleight of hand. The rest is real magic. He’s an Elemental Magician with the power to persuade the Elementals of Air to help him create amazing illusions. It doesn’t take long before his assistant, acrobat Katie Langford, notices that he’s no ordinary magician—and for Lionel to discover that she’s no ordinary acrobat, but rather an untrained and unawakened Fire Magician. She’s also on the run from her murderous and vengeful brute of a husband. But can she harness her magic in time to stop her husband from achieving his deadly goal?

willmcintosh-loveminuseightyWill McIntosh – Love Minus Eighty (Orbit)
Welcome to dating a hundred years into the future: Technology has extended the lives of the rich and attractive by decades. The wealthy can arrange to be reanimated multiple times. While in cryogenic dating farms, dead women await lonely suitors to resurrect them and take them home . . .

Love Minus Eighty follows interconnected lives touched by these dating farms.

There’s Rob, who accidentally kills a jogger, then sells everything to visit her, seeking her forgiveness but instead falling in love.

Veronika, a socially awkward dating coach, finds herself responsible for the happiness of a man whose life she saved against his will.

And Mira, a gay woman accidentally placed in the heterosexual dating centre near its inception, desperately seeks a way to reunite with her frozen partner as the centuries pass.

Lou Morgan – Blood and Feathers: Rebellion (Solaris)Lou 4
“This is a war. The war. There is no stopping; no getting out. You’re in this – just like the rest of us – to the end.”

Driven out of hell and with nothing to lose, the Fallen wage open warfare against the angels on the streets of our cities. And they’re winning.

As the balance tips towards the darkness, Alice – barely recovered from her own ordeal in hell and struggling to start over – once again finds herself in the eye of the storm.

But with the chaos spreading and the Archangel Michael determined to destroy Lucifer whatever the cost, is the price simply too high; and what sacrifices will Alice and the angels have to make in order to pay it?

The Fallen will rise. Trust will be betrayed. And all hell will break loose.

sethpatrick-reviverSeth Patrick – Reviver (Tor UK)
Revivers. Able to wake the recently dead, and let them bear witness to their own demise. Twelve years after the first reviver came to light, they have become accepted by an uneasy public. The testimony of the dead is permitted in courtrooms across the world. Forensic revival is a routine part of police investigation.

In the United States, that responsibility falls to the Forensic Revival Service. Despite his troubled past, Jonah Miller is one of their best. But while reviving the victim of a brutal murder, he encounters a terrifying presence. Something is watching. Waiting. His superiors tell him it was only in his mind, a product of stress. Jonah is not so certain.

Then Daniel Harker, the first journalist to bring revival to public attention, is murdered, and Jonah finds himself getting dragged into the hunt for answers. Working with Harker’s daughter Annabel, he becomes determined to find those responsible and bring them to justice. Soon they uncover long hidden truths that call into doubt everything Jonah stands for, and reveal a threat that if not stopped in time, will put all of humanity in danger . . .

S.M. Wheeler – Sea Change (Tor Books)smwheeler-seachange
The unhappy child of two powerful parents who despise each other, young Lilly turns to the ocean to find solace, which she finds in the form of the eloquent and intelligent sea monster Octavius, a kraken. In Octavius’s many arms, Lilly learns of friendship, loyalty, and family. When Octavius, forbidden by Lilly to harm humans, is captured by seafaring traders and sold to a circus, Lilly becomes his only hope for salvation. Desperate to find him, she strikes a bargain with a witch that carries a shocking price.

Her journey to win Octavius’s freedom is difficult. The circus master wants a Coat of Illusions; the Coat tailor wants her undead husband back from a witch; the witch wants her skin back from two bandits; the bandits just want some company, but they might kill her first. Lilly’s quest tests her resolve, tries her patience, and leaves her transformed in every way.

chuckwendigChuck Wendig – The Blue Blazes (Angry Robot Books)
Meet Mookie Pearl.

Criminal underworld? He runs it.

Supernatural underworld? He hunts in it.

Nothing stops Mookie when he’s on the job.

But when his daughter takes up arms and opposes him, something’s gotta give…

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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.

paulwitcover-theemperorofallthings

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.

 

rosiegarland-thepalaceofcuriousities

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.

fionamcintosh-thescrivenerstale

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?

geoffreywilson-theplaceofdeadkings

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 Reads (Summer/Fall) 2012

After the past two week’s posts on my Anticipated Books for Summer/Fall 2012, today I bring you my top 15 Most Anticipated Reads for Summer/Fall 2012. To keep it to 15, I decided to keep all the sequels to books I’ve reviewed on the blog this year, such as Chris F. Holm’s The Wrong Goodbye, David Tallerman’s Crown Thief and Chuck Wendig’s Mockingbird off this list, because you can take it as written that if I (very) favourably reviewed a book, I’d be interested in the next one. In addition, there were a few books that were already on my Anticipated Reads list for the first half of the year, whose publishing dates were pushed back, but I didn’t include them here, because obviously I’m still anticipating those! 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 previous weeks’ lists?

Jody Lynn Anderson – Tiger Lily (Fantasy, HarperTeen)
I love a good retelling of a classic story and Peter Pan is a childhood favourite, albeit in the Disney animated version. The choice to tell the tale from Tiger Lily is an interesting one and I’m curious to see how Anderson takes on the story of the Boy Who Never Grew Up.

Madeline Ashby – vN (Angry Robot)
My attention was first grabbed by that stunning cover and it was cemented by this short story that was posted as part of Angry Robots Twelve Days of Christmas last year. The premise of the self-replicating robots, the failing of the first law of Asimov and an internalised aggressive granny, is fascinating. I already have an ARC for this one waiting for me, so expect a review for this one within the month.

Cassandra Rose Clark – The Assassin’s Curse (Fantasy, Strange Chemistry)
One of the first outings for Angry Robot’s YA sister imprint Strange Chemistry, I was sure to read this one, but since reading the blurb and seeing the cover I’m really looking forward to this one. I’m loving the fact that there are more and more fantasy titles that have strong Middle Eastern influences and I’m interesting to see how they are incorporated into The Assassin’s Curse.

 

 

 

Rowena Cory Daniels – Besieged/Exile/Sanctuary (Solaris)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recently read and loved Rowena Cory Daniells’ The King’s Bastard, so much so that I immediately ordered the other two books in the series. So I’m really looking forward to seeing whether Daniells’ second series is as good or better than her first. I have a review copy of Besieged on my To Read Pile, so expect a review for that one in a week or so!

Max Gladstone – Three Parts Dead (Tor)
Three Parts Dead sounds like an interesting new urban fantasy series with a cool heroine. I love courtroom TV shows and this book sounds like the urban fantasy, supernatural version of that. Also a dead god that needs to be resurrected? Count me in!

John Gwynne – Malice (Tor UK)
Traditional epic fantasy with Celtic/Roman roots? Coming of age story? Grand Destiny? Mystery, Machiavellian politics and adventure? This is the kind of book that could go either terribly wrong or terribly right. It’s got all the elements I love, but those are exactly the elements that could make it go wrong, as they are terribly overdone and it takes a special author to make something special of them. Then again, Julie Crisp is an editor whose judgement I respect, so I’m hoping this is one of those books that’ll be terribly right.

Anthony Hays – The Divine Sacrifice (Corvus)
Historical Arthurian crime fiction set at Glastonbury Abbey. That’s all that needs to be said really!

Jay Kristoff – Stormdancer (Tor UK)
Look at that cover, now look at this one. I’d say that Jay Kristoff has won the cover lottery twice. Apart from his stunning cover art, the blurb for Stormdancer is intriguing too. Again a non-western, medieval setting, with what looks to be a strong female protagonist and some interesting ‘monsters’ in the form of Griffins. I’ve had my eye on this one ever since I first heard of it last year and I really hope I can get my hands on this one sooner than later!

Mark Lawrence – King of Thorns (Harper Voyager)
One of last year’s most controversial debuts and one of my favourite books of last year was Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns. So it was a given that King of Thorns would be high on my wishlist. Hopefully I’ll be able to read this one soon as well, as I really want to see where Lawrence takes Jorg and how the latter develops now he’s no longer just the head of a small warrior band.

Barbara Lazar – The Pillow Book of the Flower Samurai (Headline)
Another book with a gorgeous cover, this one I’ve head my eye on since late last year when I first read its synopsis. Set in feudal Japan, this sounded amazing and then they gave it such a gorgeous cover to boot. I’m hoping this will be another of those fantastic historicals I’ve read this year.

Lou Morgan  - Blood and Feathers (Solaris)
I’m going to sound shallow, but this another stunning cover. Plus ‘Alice in Wonderland goes to hell’ was bound to get my attention. With its sequel already announced by Solaris, this tale of war between Heaven and Hell, with an alcoholic angel in disgrace guiding our heroine has to be a winner. At least I truly hope it is. A review copy should be winging its way over to me, so hopefully I’ll be able to tell whether it is indeed a winner soon.

Tim Powers – Hide Me Among the Graves (Corvus)
Christina Rossetti was one of my favourite poets I had to study while at university and the Pre-Raphaelites have always fascinated me, so this historical novel with what seems to be a sort of supernatural twist has a subject that was bound to interest me. In addition, Tim Powers is a name I’ve often heard dropped as being one you should read, so I think this would be a good one to start with.

Andrew Swanston – The King’s Spy (Transworld)
English Civil War code breakers! Murder at the court! I’m in! Luckily, The King’s Spy is part of Transworld’s Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, which I’m taking part in, so look for a review of this one soon!

Doyce Testerman – Hidden Things (Harper Voyager)
The blurb for this one just grabbed me and comparisons to Neil Gaiman only helped to raise my interest. It sounds like an intriguing mystery and that cover is just lovely.

Brent Weeks – The Blinding Knife (Orbit)
I loved Brent Weeks’ Night Angel trilogy and the first book in his Lightbringer series, The Black Prism. After waiting two years we can finally find out what happens to Gavin and Kip after the events of the first book and I can’t find to discover what Weeks has in store for us in The Blinding Knife.

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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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