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UK Books Received- 08/2010  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


Afterblight Chronicles: Childrens Crusade by Scott Andrews (Abaddon 19 May 2010 / £7.99) - It's only in recent months that I've been able to bring you news about releases from Abaddon Books - but I'm very pleased to be doing so now, as their high quality brand of home-grown franchise fiction is a real breath of fresh air and a guaranteed crowd pleaser.Children's Crusade written by Scott Andrews is the eighth book in The Afterblight Chronicles, the premise of which is thus... "The world has been devastated by an epidemic. Although there are pockets of an attempted continuation of civilisation, the truth is that the world has gone to hell in a handcart. The reason for this is a disease that has wiped out most of the world's population. It kills almost all those who are not of the blood group 'O neg'. Those people who survive are untouched. Everyone else dies. Infrastructures have collapsed. Mobs run rampant. The only kind of law that exists is that imposed by the people with the biggest guns. In this devastated and chaotic world who can bring hope and order?. Sounds like a pretty fertile setting for any number of adventures', I'd say!

Tomes of The Dead: Stronghold by Paul Finch (Abaddon 19 August 2010 / £7.99) - The second Abaddon offering this month is a new title in their Tomes of the Dead series, which the publisher's web site describes as "some of the very best eyeball popping, gut munching, zombie fiction around, groaning with horror and excitement" - given that they're otherwise very likely to eat your brainssss, I'd recommend you take their word for it!Paul Finch's Stronghold is a B format release.

"Ranulf, a young English knight sent to recapture Grogan Castle from the Welsh, comes into conflict with his leaders over their brutal methods. Unbeknownst to any of them, the native druids are planning a devastating counter-attack, using an ancient artefact to summon an army that even the castle's superstitious Medieval defenders could never have imagined.

Grogan Castle, seemingly impregnable to assault –- armed with the fiendish devices to slaughter would-be attackers in their multitudes -– is besieged by countless, tireless soldiers forged from bone and raddled flesh. As lives are held in the balance Ranulf must defy his masters and rescue the daughter of his enemy, but hope lasts only so long as the stronghold holds out against the legions of the angry dead..."

Angry Robot

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes (Angry Robot 02 September 2010 / £7.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: Lauren Beukes' novel Moxyland was one of Angry Robot's first ever releases and did a lot to establish their market position as publishers of exciting, innovative, punchy genre novels. They have built upon this since, as has the author, and her follow-up Zoo City (which has previously been published in South Africa) has already garnered some highly impressive advance notices. It's the only book around right now that has a William Gibson quote on the front - no easy thing to secure! He called Beukes' work "...very, *very* good... it feels effortless, utterly accomplished."

Look out for Zoo City, released in September - though it might be worth considering investing in one of the 100 limited edition copies being sold at Forbidden Planet and available now.

"ZINZI DECEMBER FINDS PEOPLE. Even if they don't want to be found - like missing pop starlet Songweza. Trouble is, when you go turning over stones and digging up secrets it isn't long before the real truth comes to light. A truth the local crime lord, dark magician and beast master, will kill to keep hidden. In Lauren Beukes' shattered city, magic is horribly real and the criminal classes sport symbiotically linked animals. A stunningly original urban fantasy. "


Guardian of the Gate (Prophecy of the Sisters) by Michelle Zink (ATOM 05 August 2010 / £12.99) - The follow-up to one of last years high profile releases, Michelle Zink's (read her blog here) loudly hailed Gothic début The Prophecy of the Sisters. Atom now release Guardian of the Gate is a smart hardcover from Atom. Check out the book trailer here.

"Sixteen-year-old Lia Milthorpe must journey to the uncharted isle of Altus to continue her search for the missing pages of the Book of Chaos - the pages that could tell her how to end the prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other. But the journey will test more than just her courage, it will also test her loyalty to her beloved boyfriend, James. Meanwhile, twin sister Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim Lia's role as the Gate. And that's not the only thing she wants from her sister: there's also Lia's true love. The outcome of their battle could have consequences of Biblical proportions and, in the end, only one sister will be left standing. "

Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group)

The Other Lands (War with the Mein) by David Anthony Durham (Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group) 22 July 2010 / £8.99) - Product Description: The apocalyptic struggle against the Mein has ended. A victorious Corinn Akaran reigns over the Acacian Empire of the Known World. Bolstered by her mastery of the sorcerous powers contained in the Book of Elenet, she rules with an iron hand. And rebuilding a war-weary empire is not easy.

Bantam Press

The Lion of Cairo by Scott Oden (Bantam Press 22 July 2010 / £18.99) - Perhaps not strictly within our SFrevu remit, but if you're anything like me, you're always up for a bit of Arabian Nights style adventure. If so, then Scott Oden's new novel The Lion of Cairo is going to be right up your street! Published by Bantam in hardcover.

"Cairo, 1167 AD. On the banks of the river Nile, from a palace of gold and lapis lazuli, the Fatimid Caliph al Hadid rules over a crumbling empire. His city is awash with intrigues and in the shadow of the Grey Mosque, generals and emirs jockey for position under the scheming eyes of the powerful grand vizier, Jalal. In the crowded Souk, these factions use murder and terror to silence their opposition...Egypt is bleeding and the scent draws her enemies in like sharks: the Sultan of Damascus, the pious Nur al-Din, whose master is the rival Caliph of Baghdad; Shirkuh, the swaggering Kurd who would lead the armies of Damascus to victory and then, of course, Amalric, Christian king of Jerusalem whose insatiable greed knows no bounds. Yet the Caliph of Cairo has an unexpected ally: an old man who lives in a place that even eagles fear. He is Shaykh al-Jabal, called the Old Man of the Mountain, and it is he who holds the ultimate power of life and death over the warring factions of the Moslem world, and it is he who sends his greatest weapon into Egypt, to serve the Caliph. He is but a single man but he is an Assassin: the one they call the Emir of the Knife... "


Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk (Gollancz 08 July 2010 / £12.99) - Product Description: Some fantasy novels are gritty and dark, and some are absolute murder...

The Black Lung Captain: Tales of the Ketty Jay: Bk. 2 (Tales of the Ketty Jay 2) by Chris Wooding (Gollancz 29 July 2010 / £12.99) - Product Description: RETRIBUTION FALLS was fun, fast-paced, action-packed, brilliant stuff - and THE BLACK LUNG CAPTAIN is even better.

The Dervish House (Gollancz) by Ian McDonald (Gollancz 29 July 2010 / £12.99) - Product Description: The new SF epic from Ian McDonald does for Turkey what BRASYL did for Brazil.

Harper Voyager

Downside Ghosts (3) - City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane (Harper Voyager 05 August 2010 / £7.99) - Voyager are celebrating fifteen years as an imprint, in which time we have seen the relentless and unstoppable rise of Urban Fantasy from a niche genre to a field that now has its own bays in bookstores. Though Voyager has consistently brought us the very best in the more traditional fantasy fields - Tolkein, Hobb, Feist, GRRM, Peter V. Brett, they have not yet found a big hitter to rival the Laurel K' Hamiltons and Charlaine Harris's of the publishing world - perhaps Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts series will be the Voyager UF break out books in this market? (Note that Charlaine H gives this one a fabulous cover quote!).

Book three in the sequence City Of Ghosts is now published in paperback. "Chess Putnam has a lot on her plate. Mangled human corpses have started to show up on the streets of Downside, and Chess's bosses at the Church of Real Truth have ordered her to team up with the ultra-powerful Black Squad agency to crack the grisly case. Chess is under a binding spell that threatens death if she talks about the investigation, but the city's most notorious crime boss—and Chess's drug dealer—gets wind of her new assignment and insists on being kept informed. If that isn't bad enough, a sinister street vendor appears to have information Chess needs. Only he's not telling what he knows, or what it all has to do with the vast underground City of Eternity. Now Chess will have to navigate killer wraiths, First Elders, and a lot of seriously nasty magic—all while coping with some not-so-small issues of her own. And the only man Chess can trust to help her through it all has every reason to want her dead. "

Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson (Harper Voyager 05 August 2010 / £8.99) - Kim Stanley Robinson's fascinating new novel tells of "... the story of the incredible life - and death - of Galileo, the First Scientist."

Now published in mass market paperback by Harper Voyager (a timely release to tie in perhaps with KSR's appearance as one of the GOH's at this year's Worldcon in Melbourne), Galileo's Dream looks like a dead cert for those of us who, like me, loved Stephenson's Baroque Cycle. Robinson appears to be amongst that dwindling group of writers who for some reason still resist an official (or even unofficial in his case) internet presence - hopefully someone will put this right soon enough, but for now, here's a link to the Harpercollins page for this release.

"The dazzling new novel from the acclaimed author of the groundbreaking MARS trilogy follows Galileo on an amazing journey from the dawn of the modern world to a future on the verge of a completely new scientific breakthrough.

Late Renaissance Italy abounds in alchemy and Aristotle, yet it trembles on the brink of the modern world. Galileo's new telescope encapsulates all the contradictions of this emerging reality. Then one night a stranger presents a different type of telescope for Galileo to peer through, enabling him to see the world of humans three thousand years hence.

Galileo will soon find himself straddling two worlds, the medieval and the modern. By day his life unfurls in early seventeenth century Italy; by night he is transported through dimensions of time and space no other man of his time could possibly comprehend. Inexorably, Galileo faces trial for religious crimes in his own time, while in the new world he discovers, where science assures men that they can perform wonders, but does not tell them what wonders to perform, he is revered.

This sumptuous, gloriously thought-provoking and suspenseful novel recalls Robinson's magnificent Mars books as well as bringing to us Galileo as we have always wanted to know him."

Halfhead by Stuart B. MacBride (Harper Voyager 05 August 2010 / £7.99) - You might think that Iain Banks had cornered the market in Scottish author who add a middle initial and thus swap hats from one genre to another, but it's nopt so. Bestselling crime writer Stuart MacBride, (author of the Aberdeen based DS Logan McRae books) has added a "B" and penned Halfhead a rather brutal series killer thriller set in a near future Glasgow. First seen last year, Halfhead< is now released in mass market paperback by HarperCollins.

"A new punishment has been devised for the perpetrators of serious crimes -- one that not only reduces the prison population but also benefits society at large. The process is known as halfheading: the offender's lower jaw is removed and they are lobotomized. They are then put to work as cleaners in municipal areas like hospitals, where they serve as a warning to all that crime doesn't pay. But for one halfhead, it seems the lobotomy hasn't quite succeeded. Six years after her surgery, Dr Fiona Westfield 'wakes up' surrounded by the butchered remains of a man she has just brutally killed. As her mind slowly begins to return, she sets out on a quest for vengeance. William Hunter, Assistant Section Director of the 'Network' -- a military wing of the police -- attends the crime scene left behind by the newly awakened halfhead. Sherman House is a run-down concrete housing development full of undesirables and Hunter and his team quickly find themselves in a firefight with the locals. With the help of old comrades and a new friend in the form of prickly but attractive Detective Sergeant Josephine Cameron, Will gets on the trail of the killer. But before long the investigation leads back to a terrible tragedy in his own past, as well as to a terrifying conspiracy to sow violence and misery among Glasgow's most vulnerable citizens. "

The City Trilogy (3) - City of the Snakes: The City Trilogy, Volume 3 by Darren Shan (Harper Voyager 05 August 2010 / £7.99) - The final, never-before-published volume in the noirish, gritty urban fantasy for adults from the bestselling Children's author, now released in mass market paperback.

"The Cardinal is dead -- long live The Cardinal' For ten years Capac Raimi has ruled the City as The Cardinal. Created by the first Cardinal to rule after him and continue his legacy, Capac cannot be killed. But that doesn't stop his enemies trying. And he has a lot of enemies. In the past Capac's always been content to wait his adversaries out, safe in the knowledge that he can't lose playing a long game. But things are changing. Rival gangs are gaining power in the City. And figures from Capac's past are reappearing -- people only he remembers, the first Cardinal's other creations, who disappeared with him ten years ago. It can only mean one thing. The mysterious Incan priests, the ancient powers behind the City, have never been happy about ceding control to Capac. Now they have a plan to take the City back. And this time Capac really could have a fight to the death on his hands!"

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima (Harper Voyager 05 August 2010 / £7.99) - Cinda Williams Chima, the author of New York Times best-selling The Heir YA series (published in the US by Hyperion) arrives in the UK with the first book of a brand new series - The Demon King which begins The Seven Realms Trilogy. Now published in mass market paperback by Harpercollins Voyager.

"The first book in an epic fantasy series from debut author Cinda Williams Chima. Adventure, magic, war and ambition conspire to throw together an unlikely group of companions in a struggle to save their world. When 16-year-old Han Alister and his Clan friend Dancer encounter three underage wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea, he has no idea that this event will precipitate a cascade of disasters that will threaten everything he cares about. Han takes an amulet from one of the wizards, Micah Bayar, to prevent him from using it against them. Only later does he learn that it has an evil history-it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. And the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back. Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana'Marianna, the heir to the Gray Wolf throne of the Fells, has just spent three years of relative freedom with her father's family at Demonai Camp-riding, hunting, and working the famous Clan markets. Now court life in Fellsmarch pinches like a pair of too-small shoes. Wars are raging to the south, and threaten to spread into the high country. After a long period of quiet, the power of the Wizard Council is once again growing. The people of the Fells are starving and close to rebellion. Now more than ever, there's a need for a strong queen. But Raisa's mother Queen Marianna is weak and distracted by the handsome Gavan Bayar, High Wizard of the Fells. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea-the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. With the help of her friend, the cadet Amon Byrne, she navigates the treacherous Gray Wolf Court, hoping she can unravel the conspiracy coalescing around her before it's too late. "


The Fall by Guillermo del Toro (HarperCollins 16 September 2010 / £14.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: The second collaboration between Hollywood's flavour-of-the-month director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) and author Chuck Hogan and a follow-up to their acclaimed hit of last year The Strain. The Fall is due in hardcover in September published by HarperCollins - this British release will precede the US edition by a month.

"Humans have been displaced at the top of the food chain, and now understand – to their outright horror – what it is to be not the consumer, but the consumed.

Ephraim Goodweather, director of the New York office of the Centers for Disease control, is one of the few humans who understands what is really happening. Vampires have arrived in New York City, and their condition is contagious. If they cannot be contained, the entire world is at risk of infection. As Eph becomes consumed with the battle against the total corruption of humanity, his ex-wife, Kelly, now a vampire herself, is ever-more determined to claim their son, Zack.

As the Biblical origins of the Ancient ones are gradually revealed, Eph learns that there is a greater, more terrible plan in store for the human race – worse even than annihilation"


Johannes Cabal the Detective by Jonathan L. Howard (Headline 08 July 2010 / £19.99) - Product Description: The second novel in this fantastic new series, a must for fans of Terry Pratchett and Tim Burton

Hodder & Stoughton

So Cold The River by Michael Koryta (Hodder & Stoughton 02 September 2010 / £17.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: A UK debut for Michael Koryta, an an award-winning author well known to US readers. It's taken a while for Koryta's work to reach these shores, but he announces his arrival with one heck of a blockbuster in the form of So Cold The River, a supernatural thriller that has Dennis Lehane comparing the author to some fellow called Stephen King. This kind of marketing hooks gets bandied around all too often, but you know, in this case, it might just be true!

So Cold The River is due in hardcover from Hodder & Stoughton in early September.

"Ninety-five-year-old millionaire Campbell Bradford is dying. His family have hired ex-filmmaker Eric Shaw to make a documentary about him, but Campbell’s childhood is shrouded in mystery. The only clues to his past are the name of his hometown and an antique glass water bottle that he’s kept his entire life.

Arriving in West Baden with the bottle and a camera, Shaw begins to have vivid and disturbing visions. And the more he finds out about the town and the man, the more he suspects that something besides the West Baden Springs Hotel has just been restored . . . "


Nemesis List by R J Frith (Macmillan 05 November 2010 / £16.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: The winner of Sci Fi Now's War of the Worlds competition, which ran last year, will - as part of the prize - now sees their work released by Tor Uk, one of our leading genre imprints. R.J. Frith (who, alas, has no web site or blog to link to) beat off all the other entries with The Nemesis List, pitched as a "Rip-roaring, commercial, character-driven space opera for fans of Battlestar Galactica and Gary Gibson's Shoal series.". Sounds good, no?

It's weird though that this competition, designed apparently to discover and bring forth brand new talent, has been won by a name which yields no discernible results when googled and which looks like an androgynous pseudonym. I don't believe, in this day and age, that any writer comes from nowhere. The publisher offers no biography in the press release and, well, what ought to have been a high-profile win with a new discovery paraded and applauded, seems in reality, be a rather less celebratory (and thus somehow less satisfactory) affair. Nonetheless, look out for The Nemesis List in November.

"Humanity has expanded into the stars but at the price of its freedom. An autocratic and overbearing Government now rigidly controls every technical and scientific advancement. Deviation is punishable by death. Out on the edges of space, criminals thwart the law, making money out of illegal tech, their ships jumping from galaxy to galaxy to avoid detection. Ex-soldier Frank Pak doesn't care about politics or breaking the law, he just wants to keep his ship running. When he's offered a contract to escort a runaway back home to his loving family – he doesn't ask questions.

But his cargo is more dangerous than he realizes. Jeven Jones is no ordinary passenger. A result of illegal human experimentation, he's a fast-tracked evolutionary leap into future. Thanks to his ability for perfect recall and a series of mental skills that he has no control over, Jones is a wanted man. The Government wants him dead. A fledgling revolution want to use him to unlock all the technology the Government has ever denied them. If Jones lives he'll start a war. If he dies the entire future of humanity dies with him..."

The Evolutionary Void by Peter F. Hamilton (Macmillan 03 September 2010 / £18.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy : The third enormous novel in Peter F. Hamilton's enormous time three Void Trilogy. The Evolutionary Void is due in hard cover from Macmillan in next month. Catch my review of the first novel in this sequence, The Dreaming Void, back in our August 07 issue.

"Millions of Leaving Dream pilgrims are on board their immense ultra-drive ships, heading towards - and into - the Void at the heart of the galaxy. There they expect to live perfect lives in a perfectible world, but the cost of this perfection could not be greater. Among those who will do anything and everything to prevent the pilgrims entering the Void is the genius recluse Ozzie, who's not quite the man he used to be - if he's a man at all; Gore Burnelli, the oldest and most influential human being alive; the Delivery Nab, a one-time faction agent with devastating firepower at his disposal; and the legendary Paula Myo, the Commonwealth's ruthless, unstoppable field operative. They must succeed if the galaxy is to survive and, needless to say, time is running out..."


A Wild Light (Hunter Kiss, Book 3) by Marjorie M. Liu (Orbit 05 August 2010 / £6.99) - The third in Marjorie M. Liu's Hunter Kiss series to be published by Orbit in mass market paperback. A Wild Light is released this month.

"Maxine finds herself covered in blood and crouched beside Jack's dead body, with no memory of what happened. Grief-stricken, Maxine isn't sure what to believe - or who to blame. Then an Avatar bounty hunter comes through the veil into our world, investigating a death of his own. Completely ruthless and subservient to those who bred him, his mission is to find Jack - dead or alive. Racing to stop the hunter, Maxine must also deal with the blood on her hands. But the answers she uncovers will be devastating, and the earth's salvation won't wait."

Death Most Definite by Trent Jamieson (Orbit 05 August 2010 / £7.99) - Trent Jamieson has been a fixture on the Australian scene for a while - he's a writer and editor with over 70 published short stories to his name and he teaches the craft too - most recently at Clarion South. I'm delighted to see Orbit has picked up his new series and are publishing it simultaneously in the UK, US and Australia. The first in the Death Works is Death Most Definite and will appeal in a big way to fans of Jim Butcher and Mike Carey. Recommended.

"Steve knew something was wrong as soon as he saw the dead girl in the Wintergarden food court. Nothing new - he saw dead people all the time - but this one was about to save his life ...Steve is a necromancer in the family firm, tasked with easing spirits from this dimension to the next after death. And he's kind of OK with that, until someone high up the corporate hierarchy makes a bid to be Australia's new Regional Death. This means killing all of the current Death's staff. After his parents, relatives and pretty much every other necromancer he ever knew has been killed, Steve is left to make a reluctant stand. But to do this he must stay alive. Threatened at every turn, Steve and the perilously attractive (and dead) Lissa go on the run to save what's left of their world. "

Equations of Life by Simon Morden (Orbit 07 April 2011 / £7.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: I've been very lucky to get an early look at a novel that Orbit will be publishing next April. British author Simon Morden has been around a little while, honing his talents in the short fiction markets. I listed his dimension hopping Telos Novella, Another War, back in 2005, but it was with his YA book, The Lost Art (reviewed by Iain Emsley back in our May 2007 issue) that he has perhaps made his most significant impression on the market... so far, that is!Altered Carbon colliding head on with Gibson's Neuromancer, whilst side-swiping Stephenson's Snowcrash. I absolutely loved it!

"Meet Samuil Petrovitch: a Russian emigre with a smart mouth, a dodgy heart and a dodgier past. He's brilliant, friendless, cocky and ? even in a world where the No. 1 rule is 'don't get involved' ? stands out as a selfish, miserable b*****d. Petrovitch debuts in EQUATIONS OF LIFE: a fast-paced, wise-cracking, action-packed romp through the overcrowded, decaying urban jungle of a not-so-distant future, featuring ? amongst many other ingredients ? exiled yakuza, Russian gangsters, gang warfare, virtual reality and a two-metre-tall warrior-nun packing an unfeasibly large automatic pistol. YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE LONDON METROZONE. THE TIME IS SEVEN THIRTY-FIVE IN THE MORNING, TWO DECADES AFTER ARMAGEDDON. MIND THE GAP. "

Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler (Orbit 05 August 2010 / £7.99) - Nicole Peeler's visibility online is impressive, for I had been aware if the impending release of her début novel Tempest Rising - the first of the authors Jane True stories, even before its initial Orbit US release back in November 2009. As well as the author's tireless blogging and tweeting and Facebooking, this presence has been helped by a wonderfully distinctive branding to the books - perhaps not to everyone's taste, but distinctive nonetheless. Tempest Rising is now released in the UK by Orbit

"Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn't quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human. Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures alternatively terrifying, beautiful, and deadly- all of which perfectly describe her new "friend," Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire. It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries; and whatever you do, never-ever-rub the genie's lamp. If you loveSookie Stackhouse, then you'll want to dive into Nicole Peeler's enchanting debut novel. "

The Terminal State (Avery Cates 4) by Jeff Somers (Orbit 05 August 2010 / £7.99) - A fourthAvery Cates novel from Jeff Somers by way of Orbit UK. I was impressed by the first title in this sequence, The Electric Church (reviewed back in our Oct 07 issue). The Terminal State is a paperback original.

"Avery Cates is in better shape than ever with the top-class augments the army's fitted him with. Pity he's no more than a puppet then, because they've also got a remote that can fry his brain at any second. And now a corrupt colonel is selling his controls to the highest bidder. Avery has visions of escape and bloody revenge - until he realises just who's bought him. Because the highest bidder is Canny Orel himself, Avery's oldest enemy. And as the System slides into chaos, Canny wants Cates to do one last job. Avery just needs one chance to get back at the old gunner - but this time, it's Canny who's holding all the cards."

Traitors' Gate (Crossroads) by Kate Elliott (Orbit 05 August 2010 / £8.99) - One of the queens of quality 'doorstop fantasy' Kate Elliot brings us the third volume in her latest series collectively entitled Crossroads. Traitors' Gate is published in mass market paperback this month by Orbit.

"Reeve Joss is struggling to defend a country ravaged by the assaults of twin armies. His men now patrol a land of burning villages and homeless refugees as Joss tries to separate traitor from friend. The Reeve's thoughts are also plagued by the intriguing Zubaidit, pleasure-giver, spy and temple-trained assassin. But Zubaidit is focused on a dangerous mission, her target being warped Guardian Lord Radas. His death would leave the invading militia in chaos, but the old tales tell truly of the Guardians' immortality - and of the powers they now wield to twist the hearts of men. Joss's nights are also troubled, disturbed by dreams of Marit. His lost love has returned from death to become a feared Guardian herself, but Marit rejected the corrupt temptations they offered. She now seeks others of her kind, praying some are yet uncontaminated by the blight on the land - and have the will to fight it."

Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong (Orbit 27 July 2010 / £15.99) - Kelley Armstrong has been a consistently high quality author for Orbit here in the UK, her strong performance indicated by the classy hard cover releases of her books, with mass market editions following. Her latest, Waking the Witch is now published - and for those interested in such things, it's worth checking this Orbit cover against the that of US release from Dutton. Ummm.... No contest, I'd say!

"Columbus is a small, fading town, untouched by the twenty-first century. But when three young women are found dead - victims of what appear to be ritual murders - things start to get very dark, and very dangerous ...Private investigator Savannah Levine can handle 'dark and dangerous'. As the daughter of a black witch, she has a lot of power running through her veins, and she's not afraid to use it. But her arrival in Columbus has not gone unnoticed. Savannah may think she's tracking down a murderer, but could she be the killer's next target? Of course she could always ask her old friend (and half-demon) Adam Vasic for back up. But Savannah has her own - very personal - reasons for keeping Adam well away from Columbus. And in any case, she can rely on her own powers. Can't she ...? "

Wings of Wrath: The Magister Trilogy, Book Two by Celia Friedman (Orbit 05 August 2010 / £7.99) - Orbit are now reissuing Celia Friedman's newest fantasy series in mass market paperback and with a smart and stylish new cover look. Wings of Wrath is the second novel in the sequence - the first being Feat of Souls, previously reviewed in our January '07 issue.

"In a world where the price of magic is life itself, a group of seemingly immortal sorcerers appears to have cheated the system. But only one man knows the true origin of their power, or understands the true cost. Now Kamala - born to poverty and abuse, the first woman to claim a Magister's power - will seek her rightful place among these mages, and lay siege to their secrets. The monk Salvator will claim his father's throne, and test his faith against a legendary darkness. The beautiful Siderea Aminestas, consort to Magisters, will be offered the thing she desires most - at the cost of her human soul. And an ancient Evil thought long-destroyed begins to stir anew, corrupting kings, shattering alliances and ultimately threatening to unweave the very fabric of human civilisation. A mystical bloodline was cultivated to withstand this darkness, and its power must be wakened. But this will demand sacrifice of its warriors - and corruption is rife."


The Monarchies of God: Hawkwood and the Kings Pt. 1 (Monarchies of God 1) by Paul Kearney (Solaris 05 August 2010 / £7.99) - It's about six years since read I and reviewed Paul Kearney's novel The Mark of Ran and sadly, it was not to my taste. However , Kearney is not an author to be dismissed by one flat book or the views of one pundit. His backlist is an impressive one and his admirers are many. It is great therefore, both for the author and us readers, that Solaris are reissuing Kearney's much admired (particularly by no lesser personage than Steven Erikson) series, Monarchies of God, first published in five volumes between 1995 and 2002. This reissue is a two set omnibus, the first of which Hawkwood and the Kings, is now available in chunky mass market paperback. Volume two is due to follow next month

"The world is in turmoil. In the east the savage Merduks, followers of the Prophet Ahrimuz, have captured the holy city of Aekir. The western kingdoms are too distracted by internecine bickering to intervene and the Church seems more obsessed with rooting out heresy. It is an age where men go to the stake for the taint of magic in their blood, where gunpowder and cannon co-exit with werewolves and sorcerers. It is the turning point when two great religions will fight to the death and the common folk will struggle to merely survive."

The Uncrowned King (King Rolen's Kin) by Rowena Cory Daniells (Solaris 05 August 2010 / £7.99) - Solaris last month published The King's Batsard achunky fantasy, the first in a new trilogy by Australian author Rowena Cory Daniells. The King's Bastard opened The Chronicles of King Rolen's Kin and this month, there follows the rather slimmer follow-up, The Uncrowned King - a Solaris paperback original.

"Rolencia's ancestral enemy, Merofynia, has invaded and marches on King Rolen's castle. Powerless to help, thirteen yeard old Piro watches as her father, King Rolen, listens to poisoned whispers concerning his son Bryen. How could the King doubt his second son? Determined to prove his loyalty, Bryen races across the path of the advancing army to ask the Abbot to send the warrior monks in defense of the castle."


Blood and Iron (Penrose 2) by Tony Ballantyne (Tor 18 June 2010 / £16.99) - The second novel in Tony Ballantyne's Penrose series from an author whose reputation continues to grow as a creator of exciting hard SF. (I reviewed his début novel Recursion here back in July 04). Blood and Iron, is Ballantyne's fifth novel and is now published by Tor UK in hardcover.

" Appointed Commander of the Emperor's Army of Sangrel, Wa-Ka-Mo-Do of Ko tries to establish relations between the existing robot population and the humans who have recently arrived on Yukawa. On the continent of Shull, Kavan forms the Uncertain Army and is marching to Artemis City. Upon discovery that the city's generals have made an alliance with the humans, he retreats to Stark where he plans the eventual overthrow of Artemis and the humans.

Meanwhile, Karel is heading South, hoping to be reunited with Susan, his wife. As he walks, he hears more of the stories of the robots, and begins to understand something about his place on the world of Penrose. But with limited resources and tensions growing between robot and human it's only a matter of time before problems arise. And it's becoming more and more apparent that the humans are a lot more powerful than the robots first expected..."

Empire of Light by Gary Gibson (Tor 02 July 2010 / £17.99) - I quite enjoyed Gary Gibson's Stealing Light (see here for my review) when it was released back in 2007. Book two, Nova War followed last year , and we now have the concluding volume of this sequence (known as the Shoal Trilogy), Empire of Light released by Tor UK in hard cover. A strong series and one that definitely stands out from the competition.

" The Nova War has begun to spread as the Emissaries wage a fierce and reckless campaign, encroaching on the area of space occupied by humanity and forcing the Shoal into a desperate retreat. While Dakota goes in search of the entity responsible for creating the Maker caches, Corso, left in charge of a fleet of human-piloted Magi ships, finds his authority crumbling in the face of assassination attempts and politically-motivated sabotage.

If any hope exists at all, it lies in an abandoned asteroid a thousand light-years beyond the Consortium's borders, and with Ty Whitecloud, the only man alive with the skill to decipher the messages left behind by an ancient race of star travellers. Unfortunately Whitecloud is locked in a prison cell aboard a dying coreship adrift in space, awaiting execution for war crimes against Corso's own people. But if humanity has any hope of survival, Corso is going to have to find some way to keep him alive - and that's only if Dakota doesn't kill him first... "

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