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UK Books Received- 03/2009  Next Month / Last Month
In order to provide timely reviews, we prefer to receive Advance Reader Copies of books when possible. Send books to Gayle Surrette c/o SFRevu, 16440 Baden Westwood Road Brandywine, MD 20613


Absence, The by Bill Hussey (BLOODY BOOKS 02 April 2009 / £7.99) - Hussey's second novel following his lauded début Through A Glass Darkly. In this new work Hussey "continues his fascination with ancient myths and religions. Once again, his superb storytelling takes the reader on a terrifying journey into the mythic past, as a present-day family finds itself the subject of an unrelenting evil going back centuries. Something is moving in the attic. It looks and sounds like a little girl, but its eyes are old and its voice runs like water."

A trade paperback from Bloody Books. Find out more about Bill Hussey and Joseph D'Lacey (see below) by visiting Horror Reanimated.

Garbage Man, The by Joseph D'Lacey (BLOODY BOOKS 07 May 2009 / £7.99) - British author Joseph D'Lacey made quite an impact with his début novel MEAT, not only critically, but in terms of how a clever and well thought out marketing campaign can be put together without the help of big corporate backing. It got the book noticed and once noticed it became hard to ignore. He now brings out The Garbage Man, a horror novel that ... confronts the reader with an appalling situation: an oozing, filthy landfill site, perilously close to a local town in the Midlands. Out of the waste of human society comes a thing, and its enemy is human."

The Garbage Man is trade paperback published by Bloody Books.

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Coraline by Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 06 April 2009 / £6.99) - The tie-in edition hailing the imminent arrival of the movie of Gaiman's Coraline - the official site of which is here. A paperback from Bloomsbury.

"Shortly after moving into an old house with strange tenants above and below, Coraline discovers a big, carved, brown wooden door at the far corner of the drawing room. And it is locked. Curiosity runs riot in Coraline's mind and she unlocks the door to see what lies behind it. Disappointingly, it opens onto a brick wall. Days later, after exploring the rest of the house and garden, Coraline returns to the same mysterious door and opens it again. This time, however, there is a dark hallway in front of her. Stepping inside, the place beyond has an eerie familiarity about it. The carpet and wallpaper are the same as in her flat. The picture hanging on the wall is the same. Almost. Strangest of all, her mum and dad are there too. Only they have buttons for eyes and seem more possessive than normal. It's a twisted version of her world that is familiar, and yet sinister. And matters get even more surreal for Coraline when her "other" parents seem reluctant to let her leave."


Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie (Gollancz 18 June 2009 / £12.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: The eagerly awaited new novel from Joe Abercrombie - an author who, with his First Law Trilogy, gave the fantasy genre quite a kick up its arse. This new one is a stand alone and I for one, can't wait to sink my teeth into it!

"Springtime in Styria. And that means war. There have been nineteen years of blood. The ruthless Grand Duke Orso is locked in a vicious struggle with the squabbling League of Eight, and between them they have bled the land white. While armies march, heads roll and cities burn, behind the scenes bankers, priests and older, darker powers play a deadly game to choose who will be king. War may be hell but for Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, the most feared and famous mercenary in Duke Orso's employ, it's a damn good way of making money too. Her victories have made her popular - a shade too popular for her employer's taste. Betrayed, thrown down a mountain and left for dead, Murcatto's reward is a broken body and a burning hunger for vengeance. Whatever the cost, seven men must die. Her allies include Styria's least reliable drunkard, Styria's most treacherous poisoner, a mass-murderer obsessed with numbers and a Northman who just wants to do the right thing. Her enemies number the better half of the nation. And that's all before the most dangerous man in the world is dispatched to hunt her down and finish the job Duke Orso started... Springtime in Styria. And that means revenge."

Consorts of Heaven by Jaine Fenn (Gollancz 21 May 2009 / £12.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: Jaine Fenn's follow up to Principles of Angels is not a sequel but is set in the same world and features the same villains. Due from Gollancz in May.

"When a naked, amnesiac stranger is found outside a remote highland village, he is taken in by Kerin, a widow whose unconventional ways are tolerated because her son Damaru is 'skytouched' - he appears simple, but he is able to affect matter. All skytouched are tested by the Beloved Daughter, the living goddess who rules the world from the City of Light. If he's found worthy, Damaru will become a Consort of the skymothers, the Gods of this world. Kerin and the stranger, nicknamed Sais, accompany Damaru to the City, in the company of a priest who's helping Sais to get back his missing past - but as Sais recovers his memory, he realises that the world does not work the way he assumed - and everyone believes - it does. Worse still, the hierarchy which has kept society stable for thousands of years is rotten to the core. Then Kerin and Sais uncover the true nature of the world, and the unimaginable fate of the Consorts - a fate Kerin will do anything to stop her son sharing."

Hater by David Moody (Gollancz 19 February 2009 / £9.99) - This is an interesting one! Originally self-published in 2006 by author David Moody, Hater is described as a mix of 28 Days Later and I am Legend and is destined to be a major title in the Gollancz calendar for 2009. The novel has reached these dizzying heights largely due to the Hollywood flavour-of-the-month director Guillermo del Toro picking up the film rights but equally becuase it is a punchy and brilliantly written piece of apocalyptic fiction. Due to be published in Feb 09.

"... a remarkable and truly shocking novel, playing on the distrust, paranoia and suspicion of modern society. The horrific events play out both through the lives of its everything hero and in a series of powerful and disturbing vignettes which deliver the full extent of the horror raging across every corner of the country. Written with superb flair and emotional punch, Hater will haunt you long after the last page."

Jasmyn (Gollancz S.F.) by Alex Bell (Gollancz 18 June 2009 / £18.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: I rather liked Alex Bell's début novel The Ninth Circle when I read and reviewed it last year. Now Gollancz are releasing her (unrelated0 follow up novel - due out in June.

"One day, without warning, Jasmyn's husband died of an aneurysm. Since then, everything has been different. Wrapped up in her grief, Jasmyn is trapped in a world without colour, without flavour - without Liam. But even through the haze of misery she begins to notice strange events. Even with Liam gone, things are not as they should be, and eventually Jasmyn begins to explore the mysteries that have sprung up after her husband's death . . . and follow their trail back into the events of his life. But the mysteries are deeper than Jasmyn expects, and are leading her in unexpected directions - into fairytales filled with swans, castles and bones; into a tale of a murder committed by a lake and a vicious battle between brothers; into a story of a lost past, and a stolen love. She's entering a magical story. Jasmyn's story."

Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin (Gollancz 21 May 2009 / £14.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: The new novel from Ursula Le Guin, due from Gollancz in April.

"'Like Spartan Helen, I caused a war. She caused hers by letting men who wanted her take her. I caused mine because I wouldn't be given, wouldn't be taken, but chose my man and my fate. The man was famous, the fate obscure; not a bad balance.' Lavinia is the daughter of the King of Latium, a victorious warrior who loves peace; she is her father's closest companion. Now of an age to wed, Lavinia's mother favours her own kinsman, King Turnus of Rutulia, handsome, heroic, everything a young girl should want. Instead, Lavinia dreams of mighty Aeneas, a man she has heard of only from a ghost of a poet, who comes to her in the gods' holy place and tells her of her future, and Aeneas' past . . . If she refuses to wed Turnus, Lavinia knows she will start a war - but her fate was set the moment the poet appeared to her in a dream and told her of the adventurer who fled fallen Troy, holding his son's hand and carrying his father on his back."


Rides a Dread Legion (The Demonwar Saga): The Demonwar Saga Bk. 1 by Raymond E. Feist (HarperVoyager 05 March 2009 / £18.99) - The brand new Raymond E. Feist novel - the first in a new fantasy sequence - is released in hardcover by Harpercollins Voyager.

"Ten years after the cataclysmic events of Wrath of a Mad God took place, Midkemia now faces a new danger thought buried in myth and antiquity. A lost race of elves, the taredhel or 'people of the stars', have found a way across the universe to reach Midkemia. On their current home world, these elves are hard pressed by a ravaging demon horde, and what was once a huge empire has been reduced to a handful of survivors. The cornerstone of taredhel lore is the tale of their lost origins in the world they call simply 'Home', a place lost in the mists of time. Now they are convinced that Midkemia is that place, and they are coming to reclaim it. Ruthless and arrogant, the taredhel intend to let nothing stand in their way; but before long, Pug and the Conclave realise that it's not necessarily the elves, but the demon horde pursuing them where the true danger lies. And hanging over Pug always is the prophecy that he will be doomed to watch everyone he loves die before him!"

Royal Exile: Book One of the Valisar Trilogy (Valisar Trilogy 1) by Fiona McIntosh (HarperVoyager 05 January 2009 / £7.99) - Fiona McIntosh moves from Orbit to HarperCollins Voyager with her new fantasy series. Royal Exile is the first novel of The Valisar Trilogy. Previously issued only in royal hardback, Voyager now publish the mass market edition.

"Led by Loethar, an ambitious and ruthless tyrant, a terrifying army of mercenaries and renegades from the great southern steppes threaten to overwhelm the Kingdom of Penraven, having already overthrown its two neighbouring realms, leaving a trail of devastation and broken lives in their wake. Penraven is Loethar's most desired prize, not only because of its wealth, safe harbour, extensive coastline, and abundant natural resources. This time the tyrant wants more than a crown. Driven by dreams of empire, fuelled by his increasing obsession with magic, Loethar's plan to overthrow King Brennus of Penraven, 9th of the Valisars, was cemented the hour upon when he learned that Brennus possessed the power of coercion. All of the Valisar heirs have been blessed down the ages with the sinister ability to bend people entirely to their will and Loethar is convinced that if he consumes these empowered people he will then be imbued with their skills and magics! and be unstoppable."

The Rise of the Iron Moon by Stephen Hunt (HarperVoyager 05 February 2009 / 17.99) - Stephen Hunt's third novel to be set in the world of The Court of the Air (which I reviewed with mixed feelings a couple of years ago). The Rise of the Iron Moon is a smart hardcover release from Harper Voyager.

"Born into captivity as a product of the Royal Breeding House, friendless orphan Purity Drake suddenly finds herself on the run with a foreign vagrant from the North after accidentally killing one of her guards. Her strange rescuer claims he is on the run himself from terrible forces who mean to enslave the Kingdom of Jackals as they conquered his own nation. Purity doubts his story, until reports begin to filter through from Jackals' neighbours of the terrible Army of Shadows, marching across the continent and sweepign all before them. But there's more to Purity than meets the eye. As Jackals girds itself for war against an army of near-unkillable beasts serving an ancient evil with a terrible secret, it soon becomes clear that their only hope is a strange little royalist girl and the last, desperate plan of an escaped slave. "

Hodder & Stoughton

Wiffle Lever to Full!: Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy-eyed Nostalgia at the Strangest Sci-fi Conventions by Bob Fischer (Hodder & Stoughton 24 July 2008 / £12.99) - Bob Fischer takes a look (or is it a poke?) at fandom in this light-hearted and affectionate book. He "...discusses the rules of 'smeg' with Craig Charles, is brought to his knees in Cardiff city centre by Imperial Stormtroopers, joins Douglas Adams devotees heel-bent on destroying Blakes 7 fanatics with water-pistols, and unearths all kinds of hilarious childhood nostalgia". Clearly focussed on the more eccentric areas of fandom, one wonders whether he'd have found the World Fantasy Convention quite so hilarious!


Looking for Mr Piggy-Wig by Andy Secombe (Macmillan 06 February 2009 / £7.99) - A new novel from Andy Secombe - actor, son of the celebrated goon Sir Harry Secombe and a writer whose reputation for his own brand of off-the-wall comedy increases with each new release. Looking for Mr Piggy-Wig is now published in trade paperback by Macmillan, and will appeal to fans of other British absurdist genre writers - Douglas Adams, Jasper Fforde, Robert Rankin and Tom Holt.

"Its twenty years after the 'New' Battle of Britain, and rationing is still in force. Because of rampant global warming, a massive tax has been imposed on carbon-based fuels. Now, with aviation fuel costing more than vintage champagne, commercial jets can no longer afford to ply the world's airways, and their place has been taken by giant, eco-friendly dirigibles. Our hero, Jack Lindsay, is a private investigator of the old school - hard-nosed, hard-boiled and hard-drinking. If he has a weakness, apart from a fondness for garibaldi biscuits, it is for a woman with a sob story - and one has just walked into his office, and into his life. Marian is purportedly looking for her husband, Michaelmas, though Jack suspects she's not telling him the whole story. By digging a little deeper, he finds himself becoming embroiled in a worldwide criminal conspiracy involving gun-smuggling, political assassination, and a chain of burger outlets. Soon Jack's got a lot more to worry about than just the local shortage of garibaldis."

The City and the City by China Mieville (Macmillan 15 May 2009 / £17.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: The long awaited novel marking the return of China Miéville. The City & The City furthers the author's fascination with all things urban and will doubtless be one of this year's most welcomed releases.

"When the body of a murdered woman is found in the extraordinary, decaying city of Bes el, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks like a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he probes, the evidence begins to point to conspiracies far stranger, and more deadly, than anything he could have imagined. Soon his work puts him and those he cares for in danger. Borlu must travel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own, across a border like no other. With shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984 , "The City & The City" is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights."


Freqout by Xeno Glitz (Matador 16 February 2009 / £8.99) - The unlikely-named author of this unlikely-named self-published novel, Freqout, is one Xeno Glizt and if I'm honest, the unattractive cover does not exactly inspire one to delve beneath - nor does the author bio which advises us that Mr Glitz was "... the blighted spawn of Toil and Want." Nevertheless, the opportunities provided by the self-publishing market offer this novel up for those who might be tempted - but I confess I'm not one of them.

"Freqout is rock music's newest phenomenon; powered by cerebral implants and fuelled with mind-warping designer drugs. The Golgotha Vultures are its worst perpetrators; constantly vying for supremacy over their rivals with ever more daring, voyeuristic showpieces. Emmanuelle Xavier is going to destroy them both and their unscrupulous corporate sponsor Babylon Inc; in vengeance for her brother's death, caused by over-exposure to the Freqout scene. Hal Crolin is going to destroy them all. Adversely affected by subliminal suggestions on The Golgotha Vultures' latest vibe, he's sacrificing victims to the lurid imagery and lyrics haunting his shattered mind."


Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson 4) by Patricia Briggs (Orbit 05 February 2009 / £7.99) - Car mechanic and sometime shapeshifter Mercy Thompson has learned, the hard way, why her race was almost exterminated. When European vampires immigrated to North America, they found Mercy's people had a hidden talent - for vampire slaying. Unfortunately for Mercy, the queen of the local vampire seethe has discovered her true identity. She's also furious when she learns Mercy has crossed her and killed one of her vampires. Mercy may be protected from direct reprisals by the werewolf pack (and her interesting relationship with its Alpha), but that just means Marsilia will come after Mercy some other way. So Mercy had better prepare to watch her back.

Every Last Drop: A Joe Pitt Novel (Joe Pitt Casebook 4) by Charlie Huston (Orbit 05 March 2009 / £7.99) - The fourth title in this gritty and compelling vampire series by Charlie Huston - check out my review of Already Dead, the first in the sequence. Every Last Drop is an Orbit paperback original. Reviewed this issue by Gayle Surrette.

"After a year hiding out in the Bronx, Joe Pitt is given an assignment he can't refuse. One Clan needs Joe to inform on another, but he's playing them both while keeping his eye on the main prize: his girl Evie is on the Island somewhere and he'll do anything to get her back. And in this case, 'anything' means coming face to face with the horrendous secret that lies beneath the Vampyre world. It's a quest that will drive him to the heart of the two most perplexing mysteries of the Vampyre community: how were the Clans originally formed, and where do the powerful ones get all that blood? The search for the answer takes Joe to a dark corner of Queens, puts him face to face with a mythic and savage Clan, and leaves him in possession of a vision he'll never scrape off his retinas - as well as a bargaining chip that redefines his place in the Vampyre universe." (see review)

Hand of Isis by Jo Graham (Orbit 05 March 2009 / £8.99) - Jo Graham's acclaimed début novel Black Ships received great acclaimed when it was published last year, with Temeraire author Naomi Novik describing it as "Haunting and bittersweet, lush and vivid". Orbit now release Graham's follow up novel Hand of Isis, an extract of which is available here.

"Against the rising power of Rome, Egypt is the last and strongest bastion of the Eastern Hellenistic kingdoms. Charmian is Cleopatra's half sister, daughter of Pharaoh and a woman of the harem. She shares a great honour and a terrible burden with Cleopatra and their sister Iras - they are fated to defend Egypt from those who would destroy her. So when Roman Julius Caesar comes to Egypt in pursuit of his enemies, Charmian and her sisters are drawn into a deadly struggle. One that will shape the world to come. From mysterious temples hidden in the desert to the perilous palaces of Rome, from the tomb of Alexander the Great to the very Gates of Amenti, Charmian must face foes seen and unseen in a battle for her family, her love and her gods. "

Matter by Iain M. Banks (Orbit 05 February 2009 / £7.99) - The mass market edition of Bank's most recent "M" novel, Matter - and we're re-running my review of the original hardcover at no extra cost!

"In a world renowned even within a galaxy full of wonders, a crime within a war. For one brother it means a desperate flight, and a search for the one -- maybe two -- people who could clear his name. For his brother it means a life lived under constant threat of treachery and murder. And for their sister, it means returning to a place she'd thought abandoned forever. Only the sister is not what she once was; Djan Seriy Anaplian has become an agent of the Culture's Special Circumstances section, charged with high-level interference in civilisations throughout the greater galaxy. Concealing her new identity -- and her particular set of abilities -- might be a dangerous strategy. In the world to which Anaplian returns, nothing is quite as it seems; and determining the appropriate level of interference in someone else's war is never a simple matter." (see review)

Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong (Orbit 05 February 2009 / £7.99) - I don't remember the first time I changed into a wolf. One night I passed out, and awoke to find my body covered in yellow fur. My brain was beyond reacting. It took this in its stride, as it had everything else in my new life. I got to my feet and went in search of food. As a curious and independent six-year-old, Clayton didn't resist the bite ? he asked for it. But as a lone child werewolf his life is under constant threat. So when enigmatic Pack member Jeremy Danvers saves him, Clayton is determined to protect his adoptive father, no matter what the cost. So begins this gripping collection of four tales chronicling the bloody feuds of the American Pack, and the coming of age of Clay Danvers, a very powerful - and very singular - werewolf.

Seeds of Earth (Humanity's Fire) by Michael Cobley (Orbit 05 March 2009 / £10.00) - Scottish author Michael Cobley, perhaps best known for his Shadowkings fantasy trilogy returns to his science fiction roots. Published in large format trade paperback Seeds of Earth is the first novel in a major new space opera series called Humanity's Fire.

"First contact was not supposed to be like this. The first intelligent species to encounter Mankind attacked without warning and swarmed locust-like through the solar system. Merciless. Relentless. Unstoppable. With little hope of halting the savage invasion, Earth's last, desperate roll of the dice was to send out three colony ships, seeds of Earth, to different parts of the galaxy. Earth may perish but the human race would live on ...somewhere. 150 years later, the human colony on the planet Darien has established a new world for Humanity and forged a peaceful relationship with the planet's indigenous race, the scholarly, enigmatic Uvovo. But there are secrets buried beneath the surface of Darien's forest moon. Secrets that go back to an apocalyptic battle fought between ancient forerunner races at the dawn of galactic civilisation..."

Small Favour (Dresden Files 10) by Jim Butcher (Orbit 05 February 2009 / £6.99) - The most recent of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden adventure now available in the UK in this mass market paperback edition by Orbit.

"Harry Dresden's life finally seems to be calming down. The White Council's war with the vampiric Red Court has entered a period of detente, no one's tried to kill him in nearly a year, and the worst problem he's had lately is working out how to remove the stains his apprentice bungled into his carpeting. The future looks fairly bright. Unfortunately, the past isn't nearly as promising. An old bargain placed Harry in debt to Mab, monarch of the Winter Court of the Sidhe and the Queen of Air and Darkness. Harry still owes the Winter Queen of Faerie two favours, and it's time to pay one of them off. It's a small favour that he really can't refuse, but it will trap Harry between a nightmarish foe and an equally deadly ally, stretching his skills and loyalties to their very limits. It figures. Everything was going too well to last."

The Magician's Apprentice by Trudi Canavan (Orbit 05 February 2009 / £14.99) - Trudi Canavan's prequel to her best-selling Black Magician trilogy is published by Orbit as a very smart royal hardcover.

"In the remote village of Mandryn, Tessia serves as assistant to her father, the village Healer - much to the frustration of her mother, who would rather she found a husband. But her life is about to take a very unexpected turn. When treating a patient at the residence of the local magician, Lord Dakon, Tessia is forced to fight off the advances of a visiting Sachakan mage - and instinctively uses magic. She now finds herself facing an entirely different future as Lord Dakon's apprentice. But along with the excitement and privilege, Tessia is about to discover that her magical gifts bring with them a great deal of responsibility. Events are brewing that will lead nations into war, rival magicians into conflict, and spark an act of sorcery so brutal that its effects will be felt for centuries ..."

Thicker Than Water: A Felix Castor Novel (Felix Castor Novel 4) by Mike Carey (Orbit 05 March 2009 / £7.99) - I'm a big, big, BIG fan of Mike Carey's work, having covered the first three Felix Castor novels for SFrevu - follow the links for The Devil You Know, Vicious Circle and Dead Men's Boots. This fourth title, Thicker Than Water is an Orbit paperback original.

"Old ghosts of different kinds come back to haunt Fix, in the fourth gripping Felix Castor novel. Names and faces he thought he'd left behind in Liverpool resurface in London, bringing Castor far more trouble than he'd anticipated. Childhood memories, family traumas, sins old and new, and a council estate that was meant to be a modern utopia until it turned into something like hell ...these are just some of the sticks life uses to beat Felix Castor with as things go from bad to worse for London's favourite freelance exorcist. See, Castor's stepped over the line this time, and he knows he'll have to pay; the only question is: how much? Not the best of times, then, for an unwelcome confrontation with his holier-than-thou brother, Matthew. And just when he thinks things can't possibly get any worse, along comes Father Gwillam and the Anathemata. Oh joy ..."

This is Not a Game: You Don't Get a Second Life by Walter Jon Williams (Orbit 05 March 2009 / 11.99) - We don't see enough of Walter Jon Williams' work here in the UK. Hat's off to Orbit therefore for publishing his latest, This is Not a Game in trade paperback ahead of the US release!

"THIS IS NOT A GAME is a novel built around the coolest phenomenon in the world. That phenomenon is known as the Alternate Reality Game, or ARG. It's big, and it's getting bigger. It's immersive and massively interactive, and it's spreading through the Internet at the speed of light. To the player, the Alternate Reality Game has no boundaries. You can be standing in a parking lot, or a shopping center. A pay phone near you will ring, and on the other end will be someone demanding information. You'd better have the information handy. ARGs combine video, text adventure, radio plays, audio, animation, improvisational theatre, graphics, and story into an immersive experience. Now, one of science fiction's most acclaimed writers, Walter Jon Williams, brings this extraordinary phenomenon to life in a pulse-pounding thriller. This is not a game. This is a novel that will blow your mind."


Journey into Space by Toby Litt (Penguin 05 March 2009 / £7.99) - Mainstream novelist Toby Litt crosses over into Science Fiction with his new novel Journey into Space. A Penguin paperback.

"A vast generation ship hurtles away from a violent, troubled Earth to settle on a distant planet orbiting an alien star. Those who set out on this journey are long-since dead. Those who will arrive at their destination have yet to be born. For those who must live and die in the cold emptiness between the stars, there is only the claustrophobic permanence of non-being. Life lived in unending stasis. Then the unthinkable happens: two souls - Auguste and Celeste - rebel. And from the fruit of their rebellion comes a new and powerful force which will take charge of the ship's destiny. Journey into Space is science fiction at its most classic and beguiling: timeless, vast in scope and daring in execution."

Penguin Classics

The Death of Grass (Penguin Modern Classics) by John Christopher (Penguin Classics 02 April 2009 / £8.99) - A new edition released as a Penguin Modern Classic, John Christopher's 1956 apocalyptic work is often seen as a response to Wyndam's Day of the Triffids.

"At first the virus wiping out grass and crops is of little concern to John Custance. It has decimated Asia, causing mass starvation and riots, but Europe is safe and a counter-virus is expected any day. Except, it turns out, the governments have been lying to their people. When the deadly disease hits Britain they are left alone, and society starts to descend into barbarism. As John and his family try to make it across country to the safety of his brother's farm in a hidden valley, their humanity is tested to its very limits."


Blood of Ambrose by James Enge (Pyr 21 April 2009 / £11.05) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: An interesting looking fantasy, described by Paul Cornell as being " Conan as written by Raymond Chandler; rich, witty, aware of its genre's traditions but not bound by them, with a new surprise of plot or turn of phrase every moment." James Enge's Blood of Ambrose is a trade paperback from Pyr, due April 2009.

"...a compelling plot ...Enge's precise and elegant language and some darkly harrowing scenes are sure to tug on readers' heartstrings. ...this coming-of-age narrative makes for an engaging journey." -- Publishers Weekly

Quercus Publishing Plc

Drood by Dan Simmons (Quercus Publishing Plc 05 March 2009 / £14.99) - My favourite book of the year so far and one that is going to take some beating. I thought it all but impossible for Simmons to top what he achieved in The Terror, which remains one of the best books I have ever read, but Drood is equally remarkable and the author a singular talent that leaves the rest of the field flailing in his wake. An extraordinary novel - very, very, VERY highly recommended!

The UK edition of Drood is a huge and hefty trade paperback published by Quercus and one can only hope's its deserved success is not hampered by the absolutely awful cover they've put on it!


The Laurentine Spy by Emily Gee (Solaris 05 May 2009 / £7.99) - An early copy of The Laurentine Spy - the new novel by New Zealander Emily Gee, whose debut Thief with No Shadow was very warmly received by readers and critics alike.

"The Corhonase citadel is a place of virtue and debauchery. But nothing is as it seems, whether in the ballrooms and salons of the nobles' Court or the catacombs beneath the citadel. Saliel has many secrets; her spying is one, but her most guarded mystery is her magic. She walks a narrow path between discovery as a spy and being burned as a witch. With a sadistic Spycatcher closing in, Saliel and her fellow spies are tested to the limits of their endurance—they must trust each other, or die. Magic may be their only hope of survival..."


Nights of Villjamur (Legends of the Red Sun 1) by Mark Charan Newton (Tor 05 June 2009 / £16.99) - Uncorrected proof Copy: Mark Charon Newton's Nights of Villjamur is one of the picks of this year's fantasy releases from Tor UK. This first book in the Legends of the Red Sun will be published in hardcover in June.

"Political intrigue and dark violence converge in a superb new action series of enthralling fantasy. An ice age strikes a chain of islands, and thousands come to seek sanctuary at the gates of Villjamur: a city of ancient spires and bridges, a place where banshees wail the deceased, cultists use forgotten technology for their own gain and where, further out, the dead have been seen walking across the tundra.When the Emperor commits suicide, his elder daughter, Rika, is brought home to lead the Jamur Empire, but the sinister Chancellor plans to get rid of her and claim the throne for himself. Meanwhile a senior investigator in the city inquisition must solve the high-profile and savage murder of a city politician, whilst battling evils within his own life, and a handsome and serial womanizer manipulates his way into the imperial residence with a hidden agenda. When reports are received that tens of thousands of citizens are dying in a bizarre genocide on the northern islands of the Empire, members of the elite Night Guard are sent to investigate. It seems that, in this land under a red sun, the long winter is bringing more than just snow."

Shadow of the Scorpion (Novel of the Polity) by Neal Asher (Tor 03 April 2009 / £17.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: Neal Asher, an author whose work and career has grown exponentially during the time I have written for Sfrevu now chalks up his eleventh full length novel for Tor UK / Macmillan - an extraordinary achievement and a testament to his energy and talent.

Shadow of the Scorpion, a hardcover due from Tor UK in April examines the early years of Agent Ian Cormac "...Raised to adulthood during the end of the war between the human Polity and the vicious arthropoid race, the Prador, Ian Cormac is haunted by childhood memories of a sinister scorpion-shaped war drone and the burden of losses he doesn't remember. In the years following the war, he signs up with Earth Central Security, and is sent out to help either restore or simply maintain order on worlds devastated by Prador bombardment. There he discovers that though the old enemy remains as murderous as ever, it is not anywhere near as perfidious or dangerous as some of his fellow humans, some of them closer to him than he would like. Amidst the ruins left by wartime genocides, he discovers in himself a cold capacity for violence, learns some horrible truths about his own past and, set upon a course of vengeance, tries merely to stay alive."

Twisted Metal by Tony Ballantyne (Tor 01 May 2009 / £16.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: The forthcoming novel from Tony Ballantyne whose reputation continues to grow as a writer of exciting hard SF. (I reviewed his début novel Recursion here back in July 04). Twisted Metal, Ballantyne's fourth novel, is published by Tor UK in hardcover in early May.

"On a world of intelligent robots who seem to have forgotten their own distant past, it is a time of war as the soldiers of Artemis City set out to conquer everything within range on the continent of Shull, killing or converting every robot they capture to their philosophy, while viewing their own wire-based minds as nothing but metal to be used or recycled for the cause. Elsewhere, the more individualistic robots of Turing City believe they are something more than metal, but when the Artemisian robot Kavan sets out on a determined crusade to prove himself, even Turing City can't stand against him.Increasingly tied up with Kavan's destiny is Karel, a Turing robot with elements of Artemis' philosophy already woven into his mind well as Karel's wife Susan, and their recently created child. Following the inevitable violence and destruction, Artemisian ambition focuses elsewhere and a journey begins towards the frozen kingdoms of the north ...and towards the truth about the legendary "Book of Robots", a text which may finally explain the real history of this strange world ...In a completely alien but brilliantly realized landscape, here is a powerful story of superb action, barbaric cruelty and intense emotional impact."


Wildlife by Joe Stretch (Vintage 05 March 2009 / £8.99) - Are you ready to come together? Are you tired of typing out your interests and hyping up the details of your everyday life? Imagine then a social network that touches and loves, sweats and farts. Imagine romance in real time. Imagine humans licking rather than double clicking each other. Imagine the Wild World. Are you ready to come together? Lonely, horny and young, Janek, Anka, Roger and Joe find themselves being dragged out of their isolated existences and towards the promise of a perfect future - in the Wild World. Sex lives and real lives and written lives merge and tangle like wires until reality begins to crumble and the sky falls in.

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