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UK Books Received- 12/2009  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

ATOM

Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz (ATOM 01 March 2010 / £6.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: Set to make a big splash when published by Atom next March is Blue Bloods, the first in a new YA series that ticks all the necessary boxes from seasoned US author Melissa de la Cruz. Touted as Gossip Girl meets Twilight, this one has already sold half a million copies in the US! I reckon we'll match that no problem!

"They're Young, Fabulous and Fanged...And they rule Manhattan from the trendy uptown clubs to the downtown boutiques. Fifteen-year-old Schuyler Van Alen has never quite fit in at her exclusive prep school ? she's more of a vintage than a Versace girl ? but all that's about to change...Because Schuyler has just found out she's a Blue Blood. The Blue Bloods are the city's glamorous ? and secret ? vampire elite. They're young, beautiful and powerful. But now they're being murdered. And Schuyler must find out who ? or what ? is behind it before she's next."

Tempted (House of Night) by P.C. Cast (ATOM 27 October 2009 / £9.99) - In the hysterical furore over Robert Pattinson's cheekbones and the other attractions currently on show in the latest movie of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight books, P.C. and Kristin Cast are confidently manoeuvring themselves into position to be the next 'next big thing'.

The House of Night books, published here by Orbit are now into a sixth volume with this latest hard cover release, Tempted, and have steadily been pushing this mother/daughter writing team up the bestseller charts and into the big time. With over 250,000 sales in the UK alone, this is a YA series that is gathering some serious momentum. Check out www.thehouseofnightseries.co.uk.

Bantam Press

Divine Misdemeanours by Laurell K. Hamilton (Bantam Press 04 December 2009 / £17.99) - The new Meredith Gentry novel from Laurel K. Hamilton. A hardcover from Bantam.

"Having turned down the throne of Faerie, and pregnant at last with twins by the men she loves, ex-princess Meredith Gentry should be living happily-ever-after. But the exiles of Faerie have other ideas - they want Meredith to be their princess, whether she likes it or not. And the new political party in England, the Fey Independence Party, want the lands of Faerie back, and they've asked Meredith to come home to be their faerie Prime Minister. They won't give up without a fight. With the government of the two countries blaming her for political unrest, happy ever after for half-human, half-faerie Meredith is going to have to wait, as she is caught in a struggle that threatens her life and the lives of those she holds dear. But she's a fighter, and she wields a wild magic..."

Corgi Childrens

Monster Republic: The Divinity Project by Ben Horton (Corgi Childrens 01 January 2010 / £5.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: A debut SF adventure by British author Ben Horton, due for release from Corgi in January 2010. The book itself sounds cool enough...

"An explosion in a nuclear power plant. Kids patched up with scavenged body parts and bionic implants. A growing army of superhuman soldiers programmed for destruction. 'No', whispered Cameron to the monster in the glass. And he watched it shaking its hideous head. 'That's not me. You're not me'."

... but I find myself quite taken with Horton's mission statement as outlined on the publisher's press release. The author has "... set out to write a book that would steal young people's imaginations [away] from the Xbox, MSN and I-Phones..." - if he pulls that noble objective off, then good on him, say I.

Gollancz

A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Myst) by Charlaine Harris (Gollancz 29 October 2009 / £12.99) - Sookie Stackhouse enjoys her job as a cocktail waitress in Merlotte's, a small-town bar in small-town Bon Temps, deep in Louisiana. She's funny and pretty and, thanks to her grandmother, she's very well-mannered - but since not many people truly appreciate her ability to read their minds, the guys haven't exactly been beating down her door . . . And then along came Bill, tall, dark and handsome - and Sookie couldn't 'hear' a word he was thinking. He was exactly the type of guy she'd been waiting all her life for. Of course, Bill had a disability of his own: fussy about his food, not into suntans, bit of a night person: yep, Bill was a vampire. But at least now Sookie nows there *are* guys she can date who won't worry about her catching them thinking about other women . . . And that's going to make Sookie's life really interesting! (see review)

Horns by Joe Hill (Gollancz 18 February 2010 / £14.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: Don't pick this up unless you've got at least a whole single sitting in which you can devour it. Joe Hill's sublime second novel Horns will draw you in and bite down and nothing else will matter until you're done with it - or until it is done with you! This is the very definition of 'unputdownable' - a compelling and irresistible tale of evil and revenge and one of the best books you're likely to read in the coming year. Due from Gollancz in February 2010.

"Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with one hell of a hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples. Once, Ig lived the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned American musician, and the younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, Ig had security and wealth and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more - he had the love of Merrin Williams, a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic. Then beautiful, vivacious Merrin was gone - raped and murdered, under inexplicable circumstances - with Ig the only suspect. He was never tried for the crime, but in the court of public opinion, Ig was and always would be guilty. Now Ig is possessed with a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look, and he means to use it to find the man who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It's time for a little revenge; it's time the devil had his due."

The Cardinal's Blades by Pierre Pevel (Gollancz 19 November 2009 / £9.99) - I was rather disappointed by The Cardinal's Blades when I dipped into the proof copy I received earlier in the year. It promised much in the way of swashbuckling, dragon-filled adventure, but I found its multi-viewpoint narrative robbed it of focus and the promised dragons took an awfully long long time to appear. That said, this translation from the original best-selling French text published by Bragelonne in 2007 - is worth a look and much kudos to Gollancz for deciding to bring it to an English speaking audience (they did the same with Andrzej Sapkowski and were applauded (and Gemmell awarded!) for doing so.

"THE CARDINAL'S BLADES is part historical novel, part old-fashioned swashbuckling high-action adventure, and part classic fantasy. Pierre Pevel has woven some of the best-loved fantasy tropes - musketeer-style adventuring, daring swordsmen, political intrigue, non-stop action and dragons - into a stunning new fantasy series. Paris, in 1633. Louis XIII reigns over France . . . and Cardinal Richelieu governs the country. One of the most dangerous and most powerful men in Europe, Richelieu keeps a constant, sharp eye on the enemies of the Crown to avoid their assassination attempts, thwart their spies and avert their warmongering. But he's up against people who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals, even going so far as to forge alliances with France's oldest and deadliest enemies. Spain, and the Court of Dragons. The nobility keep tiny dragonnets as pets; royal couriers ride tame wyverns, and lethal man-shaped scaled dracs roam the country. But the power rising from the Court of Dragons is anything but mundane; the Black Claw sect draws on dragons as they once were: ancient, terrible, utterly merciless . . . and poised to move against France. Faced with the growing threat from Spain, Richelieu summons Captain la Fargue, an exceptional swordsman, devoted officer and brilliant leader. If he's to turn aside the Black Claw's schemes, La Fargue and his legenday company of swashbucklers and rogues must be persuaded to once again risk their lives, fortunes and reputations for Richelieu, and for France. It's the biggest challenge yet for The Cardinal's Blades - and they'll need to be sharp . . ."

Wake by Robert J. Sawyer (Gollancz 19 November 2009 / £12.99) - The ever industrious Canadian author Robert J. Sawyer is seeing some long deserved top-tier success in the wake is the television serious Flashforward which is based on his 1999 novel of the same name. Following on from last month's reissue of Flashforward, Gollancz now publish Sawyer's latest SF thriller, Wake which is the first in the "WWW" trilogy and was previously serialized in Analog.

"Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a matematics genius-and blind. Still, she can surf the net with the best of them, following its complex paths clearly in her mind. But Caitlin's brain long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her navigate online. So when she receives an implant to restore her sight, instead of seeing reality, the landscape of the World Wide Web explodes into her consciousness, spreading out all around her in a riot of colors and shapes. While exploring this amazing realm, she discovers something-some other-lurking in the background. And it's getting more and more intelligent with each passing day. The first of a spellbinding future history trilogy that charts what will happen when the world's first first, and superior, artificial-intelligence is born in the web."

Headline

Skin Trade (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter 17) by Laurell K. Hamilton (Headline 26 November 2009 / £6.99) - A new publisher and a new look for best-seller Laurell K. Hamilton, whose seventeenth Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novel is entitled Skin Trade and is now published in mass market by Headline here in the UK.

"Anita Blake's reputation has taken some hits. Not on the work front, where she has the highest kill count of all the legal vampire executioners in the country, but on the personal front. No one seems to trust a woman who sleeps with the monsters. Still, when a vampire serial killer sends her a head from Las Vegas, Anita has to warn Sin City's local authorities what they're dealing with. Only it's worse than she thought. Several officers and one executioner have been slain – paranormal style...

Anita heads to Las Vegas, where she's joined by three other federal marshals, including the ruthless Edward hiding behind his mild-mannered persona. It's a good thing Edward always has her back, because, when she gets close to the bodies, Anita senses "tiger" too strongly to ignore it. The were-tigers are very powerful in Las Vegas, which means the odds of her rubbing someone important the wrong way just got a lot higher..."

Headline Review

Hell's Belles! by Paul Magrs (Headline Review 12 November 2009 / £12.99) - The new mystery in the Brenda & Effie series featuring the Bride of Frankenstein in Whitby. With fans from Susan Hill to Jill Mansell, Paul Magr's witty style and fabulous writing continues to impress readers.

"Penny is running away from a life of domestic strife and into mysterious Whitby – where she hopes to find herself. But in her quest for self-discovery, Penny may have stumbled on something far more sinister: the gateway to hell. For Whitby is no ordinary seaside resort. The quaint façade of coffee shops and tea dances conceals a magnet for dark and dangerous forces, drawing in and spewing out all kinds of monsters. And all that keeps the evil at bay are Brenda and Effie – two very unusual old ladies.

When a film crew comes to town to remake the sixties schlock horror movie Get Thee Inside Me, Satan, Brenda and Effie suspect something strange is afoot. Female lead Karla Sorenson is reprising her role and she doesn't look like she's aged a day. Surely that's not possible? Then there are the disturbing rumours surrounding the original movie – a cult classic that is, quite literally, spell-binding. As events spool out of control, Penny's new boss Robert draws her deeper into the movie's peculiar mystery. But can it be stopped before all hell breaks loose?"

Hodder & Stoughton

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (Hodder & Stoughton 14 January 2010 / £16.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: He's had a well earned year off, but Jasper Fforde's absence left a hole in both my heart and on my book shelf during 2009. Things are looking up again with the release of his first in a new series, beginning with Shades of Grey. One of my favourite authors and thus highly recommended.

"No one could cheat the Colourman and the colour test. What you got was what you were, forever. Your life, career and social standing decided right there and then, and all worrisome life-uncertainties eradicated forever. You knew who you were, what you would do, where you would go, and what was expected of you. In return, you simply accepted your rung upon the Chromatic ladder, and assiduously followed the Rulebook. Your life was mapped. And all in the time it takes to bake a tray of scones...

Eddie Russett lives comfortably in a world where fortune, career and ultimate destiny are rigidly dictated by the colours you can see. Until he falls in love with a Grey named Jane, and starts to question every aspect of the Rulebook. Why are spoons illegal? And what actually happens to all those people who are sent to the Emerald City to Reboot? "

Under the Dome by Stephen King (Hodder & Stoughton 10 November 2009 / £19.99) - Amazon.co.uk Review: The achievement of Stephen King is unlike that of any writer. He has taken a genre which was somewhat moribund when he came to it -- the horror novel -- and transformed it into one of the most phenomenally successful areas for quality popular writing -- what's more, his unprecedented sales success has inspired hundreds of imitators, and while few can match his inspiration (or, for that matter, his jawdropping productivity), there is no question that he has rejuvenated the horror field. Not that King confined himself to the strict parameters one might associate with the genre; several of his books -- such as this latest one, The Dome, stray into science fiction territory). But King's achievement doesn't end there -- such is his influence over other genres (notably the crime and thriller field) that writers in those genres have been obliged to up the ante in terms of gruesome compulsiveness (Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lecter books, for instance, owe much to the King transformation of the popular literature field). And as for that loaded world – 'literature' -- isn't Stephen King reputed to be the author who has brought quality writing into a field not noted for such things? (Not, that is, since the halcyon days of Edgar Allen Poe in a previous century). Is that claim true of the new book?

So... The Dome. This massive novel, 25 years in the writing (if Stephen King is to be believed), is quite his most ambitious project, and brings to mind earlier blockbuster novels which aficionados considered to be among the writer's best work. Something like the basic premise here may be found in a classic piece of British science fiction, John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos (filmed as Village of the Damned). In that book, a village is isolated by an invisible force field -- and in the King novel, the residents can no more get out than the outside world can enter. John Wyndham's narrative involved the insemination of the women in the town by unseen alien presences, but Stephen King in The Dome has chosen to work in a different area. When the small New England town of Chester's Mill is cut off from the outside world by a mysterious force, all the laws of physics seem to be up for grabs; cars leaving town come up against invisible barriers, and there is death and mutilation for whatever was caught in the boundaries of an invisible field. Inside the dome, the inhabitants of the town deal with the catastrophe in a surprising (and often alarming) variety of ways: ex-military hero Dale Barbara has already come up against the antisocial elements of the town, and has been trying to get out. But the self-styled boss of the town, the demagogue Big Jim Rennie, soon establishes a Machiavellian control (another echo of the books of John Wyndham, in which catastrophe always throw up vicious, fascist-style leaders who capitalise on the disaster).

As ever, King develops his massive dramatis personae with great assurance, and demonstrates once again that his imagination in terms of plotting is as strong as ever. Those, however, who have made a case for King as a quality writer rather than a great popular entertainer will not find much ammunition for their arguments here, but this great sprawling canvas affords many pleasures. --Barry Forshaw

Macmillan

Hyddenworld: Spring: Spring Bk. 1 by William Horwood (Macmillan 05 February 2010 / £16.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: A big title for next year from Macmillan - the first of four books in a brand new series by William Horwood, a name - in genre circles at least - very much from the 80s, and and author perhaps best known for his epic series about ...er... talking moles! Horwood's Duncton Wood novels were big sellers in their day and time will tell whether Horwood's readers and, indeed, the market have moved on since.

Horwoods return to the 'scene' is Hyddenworld - a series of four novels to be published annually, and each representing a season in an epic story arc. Due in hardcover from Macmillan in February 2010

" The adventure of a lifetime is just beginning...

It has lain lost and forgotten for fifteen hundred years in the ancient heartland of England – a scrap of glass and metal melded by fierce fire. It is the lost core of a flawless Sphere made by the greatest of the Anglo-Saxon CraeftLords in memory of the one he loved. Her name was Spring and contained in the very heart of this work is a spark from the Fires of Creation.

But while humans have lost their belief in such things, the Hydden – little people existing on the borders of our world – have not. Breaking the silence of centuries they send one of their own, a young boy, Jack, to live among humans in the hope that he may one day find what has been lost for so long. His journey leads him to Katherine, a girl he rescues from a tragic accident – it’s a meeting that will change everything. It is only through their voyage into the dangerous Hyddenworld that they will realize their destiny, find love and complete the great quest that will save both their worlds from destruction.

Their journey begins with Spring ."

Orbit

Beyond the Wall of Time (Broken Man) by Russell Kirkpatrick (Orbit 03 December 2009 / £8.99) - Russell Kirkpatrick is fast becoming a force to be reckon with in the antipodean fantasy community. His Fire of Heaven trilogy went down well with readers in both hemispheres and this latest release Beyond the Wall of Time is the concluding novel in his Broken Man trilogy. The first in this series, Path of Revenge beat off seven competing novels to win the Sir Julius Vogel Award, the premier genre prize awarded by New Zealand fans.

Published here in the UK this month as an Orbit trade paperback. Find out more at the authors web site (which is in need of a little updating!).

Full Circle (Castings Trilogy) by Pamela Freeman (Orbit 03 December 2009 / £7.99) - The concluding book in Pamela Freeman's Castings Trilogy. Full Circle is a trade paperback release from Orbit.

"Saker has devoted himself to dark enchantments and desires nothing but vengeance. And vengeance he has in abundance. His ghost army is slaughtering those of the new blood, fuelled by an ancient wrong. But while Saker had thought revenge would be simple, he's now plagued by voices foreshadowing a calamity beyond his comprehension. Ash and Bramble raise the warrior spirit of Acton, mighty in life and powerful in death. Only he can stop Saker's rampage. But is Acton, Lord of War, murderer or saviour? And why would he help strangers protect a world he's never known? Bramble has been marked as Saker's nemesis, but will be challenged by deeper powers than Saker can command - as well as by her own feelings for Acton. As the living fight the dead, strange forces will shape an uncertain future from pain and suffering."

Metal Gear Solid: Sons of Liberty Bk. 2 by Raymond Benson (Orbit 26 November 2009 / £7.99) - Tie-in specialist and all round polymath, Raymond Benson offers up a second novel based on the hugely successful Metal Gear Solid video game - Sons of Liberty is a paperback original from Orbit. Benson has had an eclectic career (see his official web site here)and is perhaps best known as a writer of James Bond novels, a mantle he inherited from John Gardner. He has also written a number of original works.

"In a torrential downpour, former FOXHOUND agent Solid Snake stands on the George Washington Bridge–ready to launch himself onto the deck of the U.S.S. Discovery as it passes below. Inside Discovery is a new generation of Metal Gear. But in the next hour, Snake's world explodes. Two years later, a young, unproven agent code-named Raiden must penetrate the mystery of what went so insanely wrong that night.

In a labyrinthine superstructure in New York Harbor known as the Big Shell, enemies, allies, secret agents, and double-dealers converge: Russian commandos, a cyber Vamp, a long-legged, leather-clad, rifle-bearing beauty named Fortune, a deformed, finely manicured bomber called Fatman, and a mysterious Mister X. Somewhere in the maze, as well, is the president himself–his biometrics coded to a bomb that can take out Manhattan, his loyalties unknown. Now the rookie Raiden is fighting his way to one discovery after another, including the rebirth of Solid Snake himself and a nightmare organization with a history, a plan, and a terrifying superweapon hidden in plain sight. "

My Dead Body: v. 5: A Joe Pitt Novel (Joe Pitt Casebook 5) by Charlie Huston (Orbit 03 December 2009 / £7.99) - The final Joe Pitt novel from Charlie Huston - I enjoyed the first one of these, Already Dead, hugely when I reviewed it back in February 2007. The subsequent books, No Dominion - this one reviewed over at our sister publication Gumshoe, Half The Blood of Brooklyn (likewise) and Every Last Drop have all been reviewed by my SFrevu colleagues - click on the titles to find out what they thought. My Dead Body is published by Orbit as a paperback original this month.

"As the concluding volume of this highly acclaimed series opens, Joe has spent a year splashing around in the city's sewer system, protecting the perimeters of the ground on which his love, Evie, now lives. Above ground, Manhattan's Vampyre clans have at last abandoned any claims on civility and have finally sprung fully for each others' throats. But as Vampyre civil war rages, Joe is tracked down by an old acquaintance and pulled back to the surface. At last, the many questions that have driven him will be put to rest - and the many friends and foes who have defined his world will either be put in the ground or will claw their way to survival. The carefully maintained peace is forgotten. When the stakes are this high, there can be no neutrality - only winners and losers. But when the blood stops flowing, what side will Joe Pitt be on?"

Princep's Fury: The Codex Alera Book 5 by Jim Butcher (Orbit 03 December 2009 / £7.99) - One of the keys to Jim Butcher's continued success is down to how prolific he is. Wannabe authors take note that writing and offering a single book to a publisher offers them little opportunity for building your brand up. Orbit rolled out Butcher's Harry Dresden books with perhaps six titles in sixth months and thus sold them in big numbers. They've similarly done so with The Codex Alera, the fifth title of which, Princeps' Fury is now released in a mass market edition.

"After bitter fighting, Tavi of Calderon has eventually forged an alliance with Alera's oldest foes, the savage Canim, and he must escort them on their long sea-voyage home. This will strain their fragile accord - but the worst is yet to come. The inhuman Vord have spent the last three years laying waste to the Canim homeland, making it a desolate place indeed. Then the Alerans become stranded there, cut off from their ships. The Canim alliance will be tested as they enter the killing fields together, depending on each other's strengths if they both are to survive. For a thousand years, Alera and her furies have withstood every enemy, and survived every foe. The thousand years are over."

The Destiny of the Dead: The Song of the Tears, Book 3 (Songs of the Tears) by Ian Irvine (Orbit 03 December 2009 / £8.99) - Orbit's official web site announced some months ago that their author Ian Irvine, one of Australia's top fantasy writers, currently has more than one million books in print worldwide!

Orbit now release The Destiny of the Dead, the third huge volume in Irvine's The Song of The Tears in mass market paperback.

"Nish and his remaining allies are trapped on the Range of Ruin, surrounded by the relentless army of his father, the God-Emperor. And Nish's choices seem limited: a humiliating surrender, or a suicidal fight to the death. Yet Nish must fight, and win, as he's needed to counter an unprecedented threat facing the whole of Santhenar. The danger is Stilkeen, a shape-shifting being, who has erupted from the void consumed by a need for retribution. Its chthonic power was stolen in ages past - and Stilkeen wants it back. But the chthonic fire Stilkeen sensed has now escaped to run wild through Santhenar's Antarctic territories. Even if Nish defeats his father, there may be no way to stop the fire, or Stilkeen, before everything is consumed."

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Orbit 27 October 2009 / £20.00) - The sad, early death of author Robert Jordan hasn't prevented his Wheel of Time series from continuing - in these days of corporate franchises such inconveniences are overcome with ease it seems. Step forward Brandon Sanderson, the highly talented author of the Mistborn novels, chosen by Jordan's widow (and editor) Harriet to complete the outline for book twelve, The Gathering Storm, that Jordan was working on when he died. Now complete, this weighty volume equals its eleven predecessors in weight and scope and, according to reviews in quality also. Two further volumes by Sanderson are in the pipeline.

The Gathering Storm is a big hardcover published in the UK by Orbit - who offer a tasteful alternative to the ghastly, if traditional, Darrell Sweet artwork being used on the cover of Tor's US edition.

The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bullington (Orbit 05 November 2009 / £7.99) - Orbit publish this astonishing 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! Reviewed in this issue by Liz de Jager.

"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 ..." (see review)

Tor

Halo: The Cole Protocol by Tobias S. Buckell (Tor 06 November 2009 / £6.99) - Tor UK release this latest novelization based on the XBOX game Halo - this time Tobias Buckell is at the helm and offers us The Cole Protocol, the audio version of which was reviewed in last month's issue.

"In the first, desperate days of the Human-Covenant War, the UNSC has enacted the Cole Protocol to safeguard Earth and its inner colonies from discovery by a merciless alien foe. Many are called upon to rid the universe of lingering navigation data that would reveal the location of Earth. Among them is Navy Lieutenant Jacob Keyes. Thrust back into action after being sidelined, Keyes is saddled with a top secret mission by ONI. One that will take him deep behind enemy lines, to a corner of the universe where nothing is as it seems..."

The Gabble - and Other Stories by Neal Asher (Tor 06 November 2009 / £7.99) - A terrific collection of thirteen Polity stories by Neal Asher, gathered together into this single mass market volume and released this month by Tor UK.

" ...[a] collection of marvellously inventive and action-packed short stories, [Asher] takes us further into the manifold diversities of [his] amazing universe. No one does monsters better than Neal Asher, so be prepared to revisit the lives and lifestyles of such favourites as the gabbleduck and the hooder, to savour alien poisons, the walking dead, the Sea of Death, and the putrefactor symbiont. Through these thirteen stories, welcome to a universe of unbridled imagination, each one of them a delight in itself. "

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