Oisin McGann's latest YA adventure and this one sound like a doozy! Check out the author's web site for further info.
King Arthur: Warrior of the West (King Arthur Trilogy 2) by M. K. Hume
(Headline Review 01 October 2009 / £12.99) - Arthurian legend writ large - not, I'm thinking for the fantasy market necessarily, but for those readers who like their books 'historical'. Retired Australian academic M. K. Hume delivers King Arthur: Warrior of the West, a hefty hard cover from Headline Review, and the second book in a trilogy.
"Twelve long, blood-soaked years, have passed since Artor fulfilled his destiny and was crowned the High King of the Britons. Against all odds, Artor has united Celtic Britain and with a last great campaign, has banished the Saxon scourge. The legend of Camlann has begun. But even as Artor's kingdom is at its zenith, even as he has succeeded in conquering all external threats to his rule, his kingdom is being undermined from within.
For Artor has chosen Wenhaver (Guenevere) as a second wife. Queen of the Britons, Wenhaver will always love what she cannot have and have what she cannot love, and her bitterness threatens to bring down all those around her. Not only is Artor betrayed by the one person he should be able to trust, he has also learned of appalling perversion at the heart of his kingdom. He must make a terrible choice. Does he commit a deed that leaves him open to comparison with the despotic Uther Pendragon, or does he let evil go unchecked? The burden of leadership, of power, now rests solely – and heavily – on Artor's shoulders for Myrddion Merlinus, master tactician, guiding light for so many years, has left Artor to his fate. Could all that Artor has fought for, the destiny of Britain, be lost?Will Britain be torn apart?"
Body Count: They Wanted Justice But They'll Settle for Revenge by Shaun Hutson
(Orbit 01 October 2009 / £7.99) - Prolific British author Shaun Hutson's recent novel, Body Count is published by Orbit in mass market paperback.
"Wounded. Exhausted. Losing blood. The figure in the mask stumbles through the streets. Closing in are others in masks but they don't stumble, they stalk. They carry machetes, clubs and knives. And they know how to use them. They've killed before and they're going to kill again. Who is kidnapping seemingly random victims and then slaughtering them in an elaborate game of cat and mouse? And why are these murders being streamed over the internet? Watching the horror unfold at New Scotland Yard is Detective Inspector Joe Chapman and his team. Chapman searches for clues, hints - anything that might tell him where and when this savage hunt is happening. He'd give anything to know. He'd give almost anything to stop them. Unfortunately for DI Chapman, 'almost' anything might not be enough... "
Frostbitten: A New Hunt Begins... and an Ancient Secret is Revealed by Kelley Armstrong
(Orbit 01 October 2009 / £14.99) - The UK edition of Kelley Armstrong's latest novel Frostbitten, published this month in hard cover by Orbit. The US release (from Bantam)which preceded was reviewed in our September 2009 issue by Gayle.
"The Alaskan wilderness is a harsh landscape in the best of conditions, but with a pack of rogue werewolves on the loose, it's downright deadly. Elena Michaels, the American Werewolf Pack's chief enforcer, knows all too well the havoc "mutts" can wreak. When the Pack learns of a series of gruesome maulings and murders outside of Anchorage, Elena and her partner Clay travel to Alaska in the dead of winter, expecting to hunt down a pack of dangerous werewolves. But, trapped in a savage, frozen realm, it is their own untamed nature - and their werewolf heritage - they have to confront ...A gripping thriller with a magical twist, Frostbitten is a brilliant new novel from an international bestseller and a writer at the very top of her game."
Hunting Ground (Alpha and Omega) by Patricia Briggs
(Orbit 01 October 2009 / £6.99) - The British edition of the second book in Patricia Briggs' compulsively readable Alpha & Omega werewolf series, Hunting Ground is an Orbit paperback original. Published in August in the US by Ace, it was reviewed here by our own Gayle Surette.
"Anna Latham didn't know how complicated life could get - until she became a werewolf. And now she's not just part of any pack, but under the direct supervision of Bran, leader of the North American werewolves. And her mate is his son Charles, the pack enforcer. With all the advances that have been made in forensics, the werewolves will not be able to hide their existence from humans much longer - and Bran wants their coming out party to be on his terms. But his European counterparts don't see things the same way. Anna and Charles are chosen to represent Bran at a key meeting. But when a French werewolf, one of Bran's most vocal opponents, is found murdered, Charles's reputation shoots him to the top of the suspect list. And among the wolves, there is one penalty for breaking the law: death. The killer must be found, or Charles will take the fall.
Last Rites by Shaun Hutson
(Orbit 01 October 2009 / £18.99) - Hutson's brand new chiller is Last Rites, is "...a compelling blend of visceral horror and thriller set in a boarding school where all is not as it seems..." and it's published in hardcover by Orbit this month.
"Almost beaten to death by a gang of violent teenagers, schoolmaster Peter Mason wants nothing more than to escape the simmering violence of London, his broken marriage and the memories of his daughter's death. The perfect chance comes in the form of a position at a prestigious boarding school in the heart of the Buckinghamshire countryside. But the past is always lurking in the background. Not just his own past but that of the school and its former staff.
Mason becomes obsessed with discovering what became of his predecessor. The man's mysterious disappearance remains unexplained, leaving a chilling legacy behind. Mason finds that there are strange events occurring at the school - violent and sinister events that have happened before and will, if he cannot stop them, happen again . . ."
Legend by David Gemmell
(Orbit 01 October 2009 / £7.99) - Having gone to the trouble of publishing a 25th Anniversary edition of David Gemmell's evergreen and ever popular Legend, it's a shame that Orbit didn't make more of their normally excellent production values. In spite of the inclusion of a new foreword by the late author's spouse, this is little more than a standard paperback reissue with a bit of gilt lettering on an otherwise pedestrian looking cover. Many of Gemmell's legions of fans will have wished for something a little more celebratory.
"The Legend Druss, Captain of the Axe: the stories of his life were told everywhere. Instead of the wealth and fame he could have claimed, he had chosen a mountain lair, high in the lonely country bordering on the clouds. There the grizzled old warrior kept company with snow leopards and awaited his old enemy death. The Fortress Mighty Dros Delnoch, protected by six outer walls, the only route by which an army could pass through the mountains. It was the stronghold of the Drenai empire. And now it was the last battleground, for all else had fallen before the Nadir hordes. And hope rested on the skills of that one old man..."
Red Claw by Philip Palmer
(Orbit 01 October 2009 / £7.99) - British author Philip Palmer impressed greatly with his energetic and vibrant début Space Opera Debatable Space when it was released early last year - see here for my review. This second Palmer novel has taken a while to appear but looks to have been well worth the wait. Red Claw, with its fantastic retro cover look is a trade paperback release from Orbit.
"Professor Richard Helms is the head of a research expedition sent to explore New Amazon, a lush, savage planet as dangerous as it is beautiful and strange. When they are done cataloguing every detail of this vast, unfamiliar ecosystem, they will burn it to the ground and make it fit for human habitation. But when the team falls under attack, Helms and his followers are forced to flee into the depths of the alien jungle.
Now, old enemies and petty rivalries surface. The scientists and the soldiers soon end up fighting for their lives – against the robots designed to serve them, against the planet they came to explore, and most of all, against each other.
The countdown into madness is ticking ..."
The Naming of the Beasts: A Felix Castor Novel by Mike Carey
(Orbit 03 September 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 fifth title in the series, The Naming of the Beasts is an Orbit paperback original and is reviewed in this issue by Liz de Jager
"They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, but if you ask Castor he'll tell you there's quite a bit of arrogance and reckless stupidity lining the streets as well. And he should know. There's only so many times you can play both sides against the middle and get away with it. Now, the inevitable moment of crisis has arrived and it's left Castor with blood on his hands. Well, not his hands, you understand; it's always someone else who pays the bill: friends, acquaintances, bystanders. So Castor drowns his guilt in cheap whiskey, while an innocent woman lies dead and her daughter comatose, his few remaining friends fear for their lives and there's a demon loose on the streets. But not just any demon - this one rides shotgun on his best friend's soul and can't be expelled without killing him. Looks like Felix Castor's got some tough choices to make, because expel the demon he must or all Hell will break loose. Literally ..." (see review)
The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bullington
(Orbit 03 December 2009 / £7.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: A début novel by American newcomer Jesse Bullington. The Sad Tale of The Brothers Grossbart is a quite extraordinary piece following the dark adventures of a pair of psychotic brothers marauding through medieval Europe. It is a novel of great humour, deep theology and gratuitous murder and quite unlike anything I've read before. I absolutely loved it and hotly tip this hugely powerful and wickedly playful début as one of the books of the year for sure! Watch out for this one being released by Orbit on both sides of the Atlantic in the coming month. It is not to be missed!!!
"In the plague-wracked and devil-haunted darkness of Medieval Europe, an elite few enjoy opulent lives while the majority eke out a miserable existence in abject poverty. Hungry creatures stalk the deep woods and desolate mountains, and both sea and sky teem with unspeakable horrors. For those ill-fated masses not born into wealth, life is but a vicious trial to be endured before the end of days. Hegel and Manfried Grossbart could give a toss. Being of low birth means little, after all, when the riches of the mighty wait just inside the next crypt. The grave-robbing twins know enough about crusading to realise that if one is to make a living from the dead, what better destination than the fabled tomb-cities of Egypt? But the Brothers Grossbart are about to discover that all legends have their truths, and worse fates than death await those who would take the red road of villainy ..."
The Wyrmling Horde (Runelords) by David Farland
(Orbit 01 October 2009 / £7.99) - The seventh volume in David Farland's epic series of The Runelords. The Wyrmling Horde is an Orbit trade paperback release.
"The monstrous wyrmlings are growing in strength. These creatures have learnt to endow themselves with powers stolen from others, and their capacity for evil is still growing. The people of Mystarria were thrust into the land of the wyrmlings following the merging of two shadow realms, just some among many parallel lands, so now these creatures have millions of victims from which to draw power. The only one who can mend the broken lands - the talented flameweaver Fallion - has fallen into the hands of the wyrmling horde. Now Fallion's allies must prepare to breach the impenetrable wrymling fortress to rescue him. And unless they can prevent the wyrmlings from gathering more power, these creatures may bring all the shadow worlds under their control. It's not just worlds that are at stake, but eternities."
Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhikers Guide 3) by Douglas Adams
(Pan 01 September 2009 / £7.99) - In a clear effort to make us all feel old, and perhaps to also tie in with the soon to be released brand new Hitchhiker's novel by Eoin Colfer, Pan Books are reissueing Douglas Adams' original "trilogy in five parts". These 'special' editions are available for one year only and feature an all new cover look and to further entice us, each book will feature a brand new intorduction written by someone with some tenuous link to series and/or author. In a display of computer compliance that might have amused Mr Adams, the SFrevu database insists in displaying the books in a sequence all of it's own invention, so first up is book three Life, The Universe and Everything complete with introduction by Simon Brett, the producer of the original BBC Radio series..
Mostly Harmless (Hitchhikers Guide 5) by Douglas Adams
(Pan 01 September 2009 / £7.99) - "This title celebrates the thirty years of comic genius of Douglas Adams. Arthur Dent hadn't had a day as bad as this since the Earth had been blown up. Depressed and alone, Arthur finally settles on the small planet Lamuella and becomes a sandwich maker. Looking forward to a quiet life, his plans are thrown awry by the unexpected arrival of his daughter. There's nothing worse than a frustrated teenager with a copy of the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" in their hands. When she runs away - Arthur goes after her determined to save her from the horrors of the universe. After all - he's encountered most of them before. This title is volume five in the trilogy of five."
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Hitchhikers Guide 4) by Douglas Adams
(Pan 01 September 2009 / £7.99) - "This title celebrates the thirty years of comic genius of Douglas Adams. There is a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. It's not an easy thing to do and Arthur Dent thinks he's the only human who's been able to master this nifty little trick - until he meets Fenchurch, the girl of his dreams. Fenchurch knows how the world could be made a good and happy place. Unfortunately she's forgotten. Convinced that the secret lies within God's Final Message to His Creation they go in search of it. And in a dramatic break with tradition - actually find it. This title is volume four in the trilogy of five."
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhikers Guide 1) by Douglas Adams
(Pan 01 September 2009 / £7.99) - "This title celebrates the thirty years of comic genius of Douglas Adams. On 12 October 1979, the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor (and Earth) was made available to humanity - "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". It's an ordinary Thursday lunchtime for Arthur Dent until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly afterwards to make way for a new hyperspace bypass and his best friend has just announced that he's an alien. At this moment, they're hurtling through space with nothing but their towels and an innocuous-looking book inscribed with the big, friendly words: Don't Panic. The weekend has only just begun. This title is volume one in the trilogy of five."
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhikers Guide 2) by Douglas Adams
(Pan 01 September 2009 / £7.99) - "Thirty years of celebrating the comic genius of Douglas Adams...If you've done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with breakfast at Milliways, the Restaurant at the end of the Universe? Which is exactly what the crew of the Heart of Gold plan to do. There's just the small matter of escaping the Vogons, avoiding being taken to the most totally evil world in the Galaxy and teaching a space ship how to make a proper cup of tea. And did anyone actually make a reservation? This is Volume Two in the "Trilogy of Five".
The Temporal Void (Void Trilogy 2) by Peter F Hamilton
(Pan 02 October 2009 / £8.99) - The second (huge) novel in Peter F. Hamilton's (huge) Void Trilogy. The Temporal Void is published in mass market paperback by Pan. Catch my review of the first novel in this sequence, The Dreaming Void, back in our August 07 issue.
"The Intersolar Commonwealth is in turmoil as the Living Dream's deadline for launching its Pilgrimage into the Void draws closer. Not only is the Ocisen Empire fleet fast approaching on a mission of genocide, but also an internecine war has broken out between the post-human factions over the destiny of humanity. Countering the various and increasingly desperate agents and factions is Paula Myo, a ruthlessly single-minded investigator, beset by foes from her distant past and colleagues of dubious allegiance - but she is fast losing a race against time. At the heart of all this is Edeard the Waterwalker, who once lived a long time ago deep inside the Void. He is the messiah of Living Dream, and visions of his life are shared by, and inspire billions of humans. It is his glorious, captivating story that is the driving force behind Living Dream's Pilgrimage, a force that is too strong to be thwarted. As Edeard nears his final victory the true nature of the Void is finally revealed."
Creatures of the Pool by Ramsey Campbell
(PS Publishing 30 November 2009 / £20.00) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: An extraordinary piece of Liverpool fiction-cum-psycho-geography from from Ramsey Campbell, a horror author who should need no introduction (although if you need it, here's his wikipedia page). This is a PS Publishing book released in two signed states.
"Gavin Meadows gives guided tours of Liverpool. Some of his stories are based on history and some on local legends. As a summer of rainstorms and redevelopment overtakes the city, his research starts to disinter the true nature of the place. What originally brought settlers to the Pool? What used to take place in the cellars of Liverpool's Whitechapel? Why did Joseph Williamson, the Mole of Edge Hill, construct a maze of underground tunnels only to brick them up? What drove Virginia Woolf's uncle mad in Liverpool as he summed up a prosecution for murder? As Gavin and his partner Lucinda delve deeper they're confronted by the truth behind the legends and encounter what has always lived under the city. At the end, what will come up from the dark?"
Just Behind You by Ramsey Campbell
(PS Publishing 30 November 2009 / £20.00) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: As if one Ramsey Campbell release were not a enough of a treat in a single month, PS Publishing spoils us with this collection of chillers, also now available.
Campbell has been scaring our socks of for fifty years now and Just Behind you, published by PS Publishing in two supremely gorgeous states contains stories that "...range from the supernatural to paranoid psychological terror, from nightmare comedy to eerie pathos. The mobile phone becomes a source of unease, and so does a night in a modern hotel. We're introduced to a Liverpool pub with a welcome as unnerving as it's irresistible, and a bookshop no booklover would want to leave. An urban nature reserve harbours the weirdly unnatural, and a seaside lake attracts an unusual species of visitor. An author is overcome by more than words, and a lecturer by more than silence. A boy finds that his bed is no hiding place from the deceased, and a school visit revives more and worse than memories. Peter Straub once wrote "The world Ramsey Campbell takes for granted is the world of our darkest nightmares." Here are several years' worth of them, and you may find that they look like your world too."
Old Man Scratch by Rio Youers
(PS Publishing 01 October 2009 / £12.00) - Another terrific Peter Crowther discovery! Old Man Scratch is a high-impact, tightly plotted novella from relative newcomer Rio Youers, who with this tale marks himself out as one to watch.
Too often marketing exaggerates an author's talent, but Youers is the real deal and Old Man Scratch - essentially a tale about difficult neighbours and how they sometimes have to be dealt with, is one seriously impressive statement. PS Publishing will be publishing more stuff by Youers in the coming months including short fiction in the forthcoming new look Postscripts and there's also a collection and a novel currently being scheduled. With publisher commitment like that, Youers has a launchpad other newcomers would kill for!
Quercus Publishing Plc
Tommy Storm and the Galactic Knights by A.J. Healy
(Quercus Publishing Plc 03 September 2009 / £6.99) - "Earthling Tommy and his four Milky Way friends are Galactic Knights - on a mission to save the Universe from pending destruction. Time is running out and the knights have many challenges in their way: they face the dreaded Beast of Hellsbells, must resist the allure of fame on an intergalactic gameshow and escape the deathly intents of the sherbet-addicted Nack Jickelson and the suicidal Chocolate Terrorists. All the while evil mastermind A-Sad-Bin-Liner is planning to unleash his plot of mass destruction and Tommy will be forced to choose between his friends and his ambition, between the universe and his own life."
A paperback original published by Quercus, Tommy Storm and the Galactic Knights is supported by this dedicated web site. (There's a particularly interesting section in which author A.J. Healy describes how this originally self-published project got picked up by a major publishing house.)
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 20 by Stephen Jones
(Robinson 15 October 2009 / £7.99) - The latest Steve Jones Best New Horror anthology is the twentieth in this hugely significant series and the stellar content from names both new and familiar only serves to reaffirm the importance of this volume to the entire canon of horror fiction.
"The year's best, and darkest, tales of terror, showcasing the most outstanding new short stories and novellas by contemporary masters of the macabre, including the likes of Ramsey Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Brian Keene, Tanith Lee, Elizabeth Massie, Kim Newman, Michael Marshall Smith, and Gene Wolfe.
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror also includes a comprehensive annual overview of horror around the world in all its incarnations; an impressively researched necrology; and a list of indispensable contact addresses for the dedicated horror fan and aspiring writer alike. It is required reading for every fan of macabre fiction." (see review)
Simon & Schuster Children's
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
(Simon & Schuster Children's 01 October 2009 / £12.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: The hugely inventive Scott Westerfeld has a brand new YA steampunk adventure published by Simon & Schuster Children's. Watch out for Leviathan, which is published this month on both sides of the pond.
"The year is 1914 and Europe, armed with futuristic machines and biotechnology, is on the precipice of war. Prince Aleksandar is fleeing for his life, having discovered that his parents have been assassinated and that he is now a target for the Clanker Powers, a group determined to take over the globe with their mechanical machinery. They will stop at nothing to get what they want, so Alek knows his only choice is to keep on running. When he meets Deryn Sharpe, an orphan girl who has disguised herself as a boy so she can to join the British Air Service, they form an uneasy, but necessary, alliance. But the pair will soon discover that their emerging friendship will dramatically change their lives and the entire course of the Great World War..."
Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
(Tor 02 October 2009 / £17.99) - A brand new novel from Juliet Marillier, one of Australia's very best fantasy authors. Heart's Blood is published by Tor UK in hard cover.
"A haunted forest. A cursed castle. A girl running from her past and a man who's more than he seems to be. A tale of love, betrayal and redemption...
Whistling Tor is a place of secrets, a mysterious wooded hill housing the crumbling fortress of a chieftain whose name is spoken throughout the district in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies over Anluan's family and his people; the woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom.And yet the derelict fortress is a safe haven for Caitrin, the troubled young scribe who is fleeing her own demons. Despite Anluan's tempers and the mysterious secrets housed in the dark corridors, this long-feared place provides the refuge she so desperately needs.
As time passes, Caitrin learns there is more to the broken young man and his unusual household than she realised. It may be only through her love and determination that the curse can be lifted and Anluan and his people set free..."
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