The Savage Knight: Malory's Knights of Albion (Malorys Knights of Albion 2) by Lewis Paul
(Abaddon Books 15 September 2011 / £7.99) - Abaddon's Arthurian franchise fiction series - Malory's Knights of Albion - sees Paul Lewis's The Savage Knight published, the second title after Steven Savile's The Black Chalice, which Liz De Jager reviewed for us earlier this year.
"Sir Dodinal the Savage is more at home in the wild forest than in the tilting yard or the banquet hall. Keenly attuned to the natural world, but burdened with a terrible rage, he turns his back on Camelot to find peace, or a just death. In a quiet village on the Welsh border, Dodinal believes he may have finally found a home, but the village is struck by childstealing raiders from the hills, and he must take up arms once again in his new friends’ aid. His quest will take him into the belly of darkness, as the terrible secret hidden in the hills comes to light..."
Star Wars: Riptide by Paul Kemp
(Arrow 06 October 2011 / £7.99) - Paul S. Kemp is a dab hand as franchise fiction - Riptide is his second Star Wars novel (the first being Star Wars: Crosscurrent which hit the New York Times best seller chart) and also nine novels in the Forgotten Realms fantasy series. Interestingly, Kemp has two original novels (i.e. written in worlds that owe their existence entirely to him and not George Lucus or anyone else!) in the pipeline from Angry Robot. Watch this space.
"In the process of vanquishing a shipload of Sith from the distant past, Jedi Knight Jaden Korr uncovered the frozen results of a horrific cloning experiment: insane Jedi-Sith clones. Only some of those clones thawed...and now they're loose in a galaxy that has enough to deal with under the tightening grip of the evil Darth Caedus. Jaden Korr will have to hunt them down, and if he can't save them, he will have to destroy them! "
Dead Island by Mark Morris
(Bantam 08 September 2011 / £6.99) - I'm not a great one for tie-ins, but sometimes reviewers lose sight of two important thing where tie-ins are concerned. Firstly they can provide a great platform for up-and-coming authors, a place for them to cut their teeth. Secondly, they can provide good bread and butter for established and highly respected names - often funding their other creative projects. And, of course, for big, big franchises, the creatives want their projects in the hands of consummate professionals - which is exactly what the folks behind Dead Island, the latest mega-game release got when they hired the British author Mark Morris to pen their tie novel.
Morris is the author of seventeen novels, including four Dr Who books and Nowhere Near An Angel, which I reviewed back in 2005. Dead Island: The Book is out now, as is the game upon which it is based.
"Welcome to Banoi, a tropical island where you can leave the stresses of the world behind...
Welcome to the Royal Palms Resort – which offers its guests from around the world the ultimate in luxury and relaxation...
Welcome to the holiday paradise where your dreams should come true...but where a nightmare is about to begin...
Because a mysterious epidemic has suddenly, and without warning, broken out across the island. The local islanders, hotel guests and workers alike are struck down - only to rise again, craving the flesh and the blood of the still living. For four of the holidaymakers and a handful of others scattered around Banoi who are seemingly unaffected by the plague, they must face the awful, terrifying reality of a zombie apocalypse. Now there is only one thing left to do: survive.
Welcome to Dead Island... a paradise to die for."
The Nosferatu Scroll by James Becker
(Bantam 24 November 2011 / £6.99) - Religious conspiracy thriller expert (and author of the breathless adventures The First Apostle, The Moses Stone and The Messiah Secret) James Becker, offers up a new novel courtesy of this Bantam. The Nosferatu Scroll is clearly more of the same (and thus will no doubt please his many existing reader) but with a dash of the undead thrown in for good measure. Now released in mass market paperback.
On the northern banks of the Vltava River, an extraordinary event is taking place. Inside a private chapel, a high-born Hungarian lady is being laid to rest. But not before her heart is removed from her body, and she is buried beneath a layer of heavy stones - lest she rise again to prey upon her victims...
Holidaying in the world’s most beautiful city, Chris Bronson and Angela Lewis discover a desecrated tomb. Inside it is a female skeleton and an arcane diary dating back hundreds of years. Written in Latin, it references a scroll that will provide an ‘answer’ to an ancient secret.
Soon corpses of young women, all killed in the same ritualistic manner, start appearing throughout the city. And when Angela disappears, Bronson knows that he must find her before she too is slaughtered. But Bronson's hunt for Angela leads him back to the Island of the Dead, and into a conspiracy more deadly than he could ever have imagined..."
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Mister Creecher by Chris Priestley
(Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 03 October 2011 / £10.99) - A new spine-tingly novel for younger (but not too young!) readers from Bloomsbury favourite Chris Priestley, Mr Creecher is released in hardcover.
"Billy is a street urchin, pickpocket and petty thief. Mister Creecher is a monstrous giant of a man who terrifies all he meets. Their relationship begins as pure convenience. But a bond swiftly develops between these two misfits as their bloody journey takes them ever northwards on the trail of their target... Victor Frankenstein."
Daylight on Iron Mountain by David Wingrove
(Corvus 01 November 2011 / £18.99) - Corvus continue their huge programme that sees the reissue of David Wingrove's massive Chungo Kuo sequence - his wonderfully epic and sprawling space opera widely regarded as a worthy rival to Herbert's Dune or Asimov's Foundation.
This is undoubtedly one of the most splendidly ambitious publishing ventures around right no and is bolstered by a dedicated Chung Kuo web site which has been created to support the campaign. November sees the publication of Volume Two - Daylight on Iron Mountain. Eighteen further volumes will follow, eclipsing even Steve Erikson's ten volume Malazan books.
"CHANGE IS ON THE AIR: The generals of the Middle Kingdom await the decision of the emperor.The campaign to secure the border from China to Iraq has reached a strange impasse. Two blood enemies have united against their common cause. But with the lives of thousands at his whim, the exalted Tsao Ch'un, the Son of Heaven, cannot decide. Destroy the Middle East in one blinding flash? Or take another path? THE WAY IS UNCLEAR: In the court of Tsao Ch'un, men of power have become smiling lackeys, whose graces conceal their fear, or their ambition. With his family held hostage by the empire, General Jiang Lei finds himself appointed to a special task: the orchestration of the last great war against the West. The total dominion of America. WAR APPROACHES: But life in the world of levels continues. No hint of war, or want, or discontent can infiltrate the oppressive, ordered society that replaces the world Jake Reed once knew. Since the first airships rolled over the horizon, nothing has been the same. His new life means new thinking, new customs, a new way of behaving, and with his every move scrutinized, Jake can only serve the bureaucracy of new China. But he is not the only citizen who feels discontent with the anodyne new order... "
The Islanders by Christopher Priest
(Gollancz 22 September 2011 / ) - One of the high points of this month's column - Christopher Priest's first novel in nearly a decade is published by Gollancz. Priest - best known for The Prestige (a good film, but believe me, the novel is way, way better) and The Separation - is very much a national treasure (so far as genre fans are concerned!) and this new work, The Islanders, very much cause for celebration.
"A tale of murder, artistic rivalry and literary trickery; a chinese puzzle of a novel where nothing is quite what it seems; a narrator whose agenda is artful and subtle; a narrative that pulls you in and plays an elegant game with you. The Dream Archipelago is a vast network of islands. The names of the islands are different depending on who you talk to, their very locations seem to twist and shift. Some islands have been sculpted into vast musical instruments, others are home to lethal creatures, others the playground for high society. Hot winds blow across the archipelago and a war fought between two distant continents is played out across its waters. The Islanders serves both as an untrustworthy but enticing guide to the islands, an intriguing, multi-layered tale of a murder and the suspect legacy of its appealing but definitely untrustworthy narrator."
War in Heaven by Gavin G. Smith
(Gollancz 15 September 2011 / £14.99) - A new dystopian SF thriller from British author Gavin G Smith - War In Heaven is the follow up to previous novel Veteran and is released in trade paperback by Gollancz.
"The high-powered sequel to VETERAN sees an unlikely hero make an even more unlikely return to take the reader back into a vividly rendered bleak future. But a bleak future where there are still wonders: man travelling out into the universe, Bladerunneresque cities hanging from the ceilings of vast caverns, aliens that we can barely comprehend. Gavin Smith writes fast-moving, incredibly violent SF thrillers but behind the violence and the thrills lies a carefully thought out story and characters who have far more to them than first meets the eye. Never one to avoid controversy Gavin Smith nevertheless invites you to think beyond the initial shock of what you have just read. But in the meantime? Another fire-fight, another chase another flight of imagination. "
Songs of the Dying Earth by
(Harper Voyager 29 September 2011 / £8.99) - The great Jack Vance is having a well deserved renaissance at the moment, spearheaded by some gorgeous releases from Subterranean Press. One recent highlight was a Vance inspired volume and such was the calibre of an extraordinary line up that Harpercollins Voyager picked upo the trade and mass market rights. The volume is now released in this affordable edition and is highly recommended.
Edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois Songs of a Dying Earth features all new stories by a quite staggering array of genre stars - Robert Silverberg, Matthew Hughes (whose Vancian novella Template I reviewed last year), Jeff Vandermeer, Dan Simmons, Neil Gaiman, Tad Williams, Lucius Shepard, Elizabeth Moon... and the list of luminaries goes on and on!
"Return to the unique and evocative world of The Dying Earth in this tribute anthology featuring the most distinguished fantasists of our day. Here are twenty-two brand-new adventures set in the world of Jack Vance's greatest novel.
A dim place, ancient beyond knowledge. The sun is feeble and red. A million cities have fallen to dust. Here live a few thousand souls, dying, as the Earth dies beneath them. Just a few short decades remain to the long history of our world. At the last, science and magic are one, and there is evil on Earth, distilled by time... Earth is dying.
Half a century ago, Jack Vance created the world of the Dying Earth, and fantasy has never been the same. Now, for the first time, Jack has agreed to open this intriguing and darkly beautiful world to other fantasists, to play in as their very own.
The list of twenty-two contributors eager to honour Jack Vance by writing for this anthology includes Neil Gaiman, Tad Williams, Elizabeth Hand, Tanith Lee, Dan Simmons, Robert Silverberg, and George R.R. Martin himself."
Spellbound (Spell 2) by Blake Charlton
(Harper Voyager 29 September 2011 / £12.99) - Blake Charlton's debut Spellwright attracted much praise and profile when it was published here last year by HarperCollins Voyager. The second book in the sequence, Spellbound, is now released, though (one can'r help but notice) in a much re-branded trade paperback edition rather than the fancy hard cover release of its predecessor. Let's hope the market takes to this new look, as this does seem like a promising series.
"Francesca DeVega is a successful healer in the city of Avel, wielding magical text to close wounds and disspell curses, but her life is thrown into chaos when a dead patient suddenly sits up and tells her to run. Now Francesca is in the middle of a game she doesn’t understand, one that ties her to the notorious rogue wizard, Nicodemus Weal, and brings her face to face with demons, demigods, and a man she thought she’d never see again.
It has been ten years since Nicodemus Weal escaped the Starhaven Academy, where he was considered disabled and useless, where he battled the demon who stole his birthright and killed his friends. Unable to use the magical languages of his own people, Nico has honed his skills in the dark language of the kobolds, readying himself for his next encounter with the demon. But there are complications: his mentor suffers from an incurable curse, his half-sister’s agents are hunting him, and he’s still not sure what part Francesca DeVega will play. He certainly doesn’t know what to make of Francesca herself...
Introducing new twists to the unique magical system of Spellwright and uncovering more sinister dangers, Spellbound is sure to please Blake Charlton’s fans and earn him new ones."
The End Specialist by Drew Magary
(Harper Voyager 29 September 2011 / £7.99) - Harpercollins have given Drew Magary's debut novel The End Specialist a rather odd and misleading cover. It could be a dark comic fantasy, perhaps the kind of grotesque parable that Jessie Bullington writes so brilliantly or even a YA zombie book - but it turns out that The End Specialist is a "... high concept thriller with a sci-fi twist"! Who knew?! (Published in the US by Penguin under the title The Postmortal)
"2019. Humanity has witnessed its greatest scientific breakthrough yet: the cure for ageing. Three injections and you’re immortal – not bulletproof or disease-proof but you’ll never have to fear death by old age.
For John Farrell, documenting the cataclysmic shifts to life after the cure becomes an obsession. Cure parties, cycle marriages, immortal livestock: the world is revelling in the miracles of eternal youth. But immortality has a sinister side, and when a pro-death terrorist explosion kills his newly-cured best friend, John soon realizes that even in a world without natural death, there is always something to fear.
Now, John must make a new choice: run and hide forever, or stay and fight those who try to make immortal life a living hell."
A Tolkien Tapestry: Pictures to accompany The Lord of the Rings by Cor Blok
(HarperCollins 01 September 2011 / £20.00) - Now this is a curious and beautiful thing. Released by Harpercollins, A Tolkien Tapestry is a beautifully produced, full colour hard cover cataloguing the work of Dutch artist Cor Block, who over many decades produced paintings and illustrations depicting Tolkien's masterpiece The Lord of The Rings in a truly unique style.
These artworks drew the attention of the author himself and this release reproduces some of the correspondence between the two men. The drawings are odd to say the least - certainly give that the Peter Jackson films are now so indelibly stamped upon our minds - but they have a great charm of their own and this is certainly a body of work that will be of great interest to both LOTR and art enthusiasts alike. Recommended.
"This brand new full-colour art book reveals in sumptuous detail more than 100 paintings based on The Lord of the Rings by acclaimed Dutch artist, Cor Blok, many of which appear here for the first time.
Fifty years ago, shortly after The Lord of the Rings was first published, Cor Blok read the work and was completely captivated by its invention and epic storytelling. The breadth of imagination and powerful imagery inspired the young Dutch artist, and this spark of enthusiasm, coupled with his desire to create art that resembled a historical artefact in its own right, led to the creation of more than 100 paintings.
Following an exhibition at the Hague in 1961, JRR Tolkien’s publisher, Rayner Unwin, sent him five pictures. Tolkien was so taken with them that he met and corresponded with the artist and even bought some paintings for himself.
The series bears comparison with the Bayeux Tapestry, in which each tells an epic and complex story in deceptively simple style, but beneath this simplicity lies a compelling and powerful language of form that becomes more effective as the sequence of paintings unfolds.
The full-colour paintings in this new book are presented in story order so that the reader can enjoy them as the artist intended. They are accompanied by extracts from The Lord of the Rings and the artist also provides an extensive introduction illuminating the creation of the series and notes to accompany some of the major compositions. Many of the paintings appear for the very first time.
Readers will find Cor Blok's work refreshing, provocative, charming and wholly memorable – the bold and expressive style that he created stands as a unique achievement in the history of fantasy illustration. Rarely has an artist captured the essence of a writer's work in such singular fashion; the author found much to admire in Cor Blok’s work, and what higher accolade is there?"
Agatha Christie's Murder in the Making: Stories and Secrets from Her Archive - includes an unseen Miss Marple story by John Curran
(HarperCollins 01 September 2011 / £24.00) - Not strictly within our remit, but near enough to merit inclusion, not least because HarperCollins were kind enough to send a copy along.
Many a genre fan - whether they be readers and writers - has dipped into Agatha Christie's work in their formative reading. As one of the chief players in the art of mystery writing, Christie's place in literary history is assured.
John Curren's second biographical study of Christie, entitled Agatha Christie's Murder in the Making: Stories and Secrets From Her Archive offers up some fascinating insights into the author's life and career, including rarely seen works and previously unpublished writings. A must for Christie fans.
"Agatha Christie’s life and career told through the decades, from the never-before-published original ending to her first book to the unused ideas for her last, complete with two unpublished Agatha Christie stories - including a lost Miss Marple.
In this follow-up volume to the acclaimed Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks, Christie archivist and expert John Curran leads the reader through the six decades of Agatha Christie's writing career, unearthing some remarkable clues to her success and a number of never-before-published excerpts and stories from her archives."
Hodder & Stoughton
11.22.63 by Stephen King
(Hodder & Stoughton 08 November 2011 / £19.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: November brings us a huge new Stephen King novel and it does sound like a doozy! More info here on the author's web site and here on the publisher's. A Hodder hard cover. Can't wait!
"WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11/22/63, the date that Kennedy was shot - unless...
King takes his protagonist Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, 2011, on a fascinating journey back to 1958 - from a world of mobile phones and iPods to a new world of Elvis and JFK, of Plymouth Fury cars and Lindy Hopping, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake's life - a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.
With extraordinary imaginative power, King weaves the social, political and popular culture of his baby-boom American generation into a devastating exercise in escalating suspense. "
Darkness Falls by Mia James
(Indigo 29 September 2011 / £9.99) - Orion's brand new YA imprint Indigo launches this month with a strong selection of titles. First up is Mia James's Darkness Falls - actually the second book in the Ravenwood mysteries, the first of which appeared from sister imprint Gollancz last year. Moving James over to Indigo is a shrewd move as their list is far more precisely focussed to help these books find their natural readership.
Darkness Falls is published in hard cover and takes young readers into the darkest corners of London's Highgate Cemetery - definitely not a place to be wandering through at night!
"Highgate. When April's family moved to the sleepy North London village of Highgate, everyone told her it was the start of an amazing new life. They didn't know the half of it. Weeks later, her father was the latest in a series of brutal killings, someone has tried to kill her, and now her boyfriend, Gabriel, is dying too . . . Murder April couldn't save her father, but there's just a chance she can save Gabriel. There's an ancient recipe, hidden in a forbidden book, which holds the cure. All April has to do is find it. Somehow. Vampires But she has to keep a low profile. In a school full of vampires, where one of their own has been killed, they're beginning to suspect they have a Fury in their midst. April's blood might be deadly to vampires, but even that won't save her if they figure out who she is. Time is short, the stakes are high, and surviving school has never been so tough"
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
(Indigo 06 October 2011 / £9.99) - Orion Children's stalwart, award winning author Marcus Sedgwick (author of Revolver, The Dark Flight Down and The Book of Dead Days among many others) moves to Indigo with Midwinterblood, published this month in hard cover.
"Have you ever had the feeling that you've lived another life? Been somewhere that has felt totally familiar, even though you've never been there before, or felt that you know someone well, even though you are meeting them for the first time? It happens. In 2073 on the remote and secretive island of Blessed, where rumour has it that no one ages and no children are born, a visiting journalist, Eric Seven, and a young local woman known as Merle are ritually slain. Their deaths echo a moment ten centuries before, when, in the dark of the moon, a king was slain, tragically torn from his queen. Their souls search to be reunited, and as mother and son, artist and child, forbidden lovers, victims of a vampire they come close to finding what they've lost. In a novel comprising seven parts, each influenced by a moon - the flower moon, the harvest moon, the hunter's moon, the blood moon - this is the story of Eric and Merle whose souls have been searching for each other since their untimely parting. Beautifully imagined, intricately and cleverly structured, this is a heart-wrenching and breathtaking love story with the hallmark Sedgwick gothic touches of atmosphere, blood-spilling and sacrifice. "
The Warrior Heir (Heir Chronicles) by Cinda Williams Chima
(Indigo 01 September 2011 / £6.99) - HarperCollins Voyager have published Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms, a grown up fantasy series here in the UK fairly recently. However it is for The Heir Chronicles - a series aimed at a younger readership that Williams is perhaps best known, at least so far. This first volume, The Warrior Heir, was originally published in the US by Hyperion back in 2006 and along with two subsequent titles, the series has become a best seller. It is now published in the UK by Indigo in paperback original.
"Before he knew about the Roses, 16-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity. Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high-schoolers. At least, until one day Jack forgets his 'medicine'. Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before. And it feels great - right up to the moment when he loses control of his own strength and almost kills another player during the soccer team tryouts. An incident which proves to be just the beginning. Jack is about to learn the startling truth about himself: he is Weirlind; part of an underground society of magical people who live among us. At the head of this magical society sit the feuding houses of the Red and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game - a magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death. The winning house rules the Weir. As if his bizarre magical heritage isn't enough, Jack discovers that he's not just another member of Weirlind: he's one of the last of the warriors, and his power has manifested at a time when both houses are scouting for a player. Jack's performance on the soccer field has alerted the entire magical community to the fact that he's in Trinity. And until one of the houses is declared Jack's official sponsor, they'll stop at nothing to get Jack to fight for them..."
Manhattan in Reverse by Peter F. Hamilton
(Macmillan 07 October 2011 / £17.99) - We're used to books by Peter F Hamilton being big enough to use in hand-to-hand combat, this new release, a collection of shorter fiction pieces is no less significant for it's shorter extent.
Though he's hardly prolific in this area (this is only his second collection ever, and his first in thirteen years) Hamilton has nonetheless written some excellent short fiction. As well as containing Watching Trees Grow and Footvote , both originally released by PS Publishing (one as a stand-alone novella and the other as the lead story in the inaugural edition of Postscripts) this Macmillan hardcover contains a brand new story from which it takes its name, Manhattan in Reverse.
"A collection of short stories from the master of space opera. Peter F Hamilton takes us on a journey from a murder mystery in an alternative Oxford in the 1800s to a brand new story featuring Paula Mayo, Deputy Director of the Intersolar Commonwealth’s Serious Crimes Directorate. Dealing with intricate themes and topical subject this top ten bestselling author is at the top of his game. "
Macmillan Children's Books
GLOW by Amy Kathleen Ryan
(Macmillan Children's Books 07 October 2011 / £7.99) - I'm still rather enjoying the ongoing trend of YA dystopia-cum-space adventure type thing, even though, let's face it, I'm hardly the target market! Against all the odds I very much enjoyed Across the Universe, Beth Revis' debut from Razorbill - and this Macmillan Children's release Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan looks very much geared towards the same audience. It comes with fantastic blurbs and reviews following its pre-release publicity in the US and is the first in a trilogy.
"16 years ago, Waverly and Kieran were the first children born in space. Now a perfect couple, they are the pride and joy of the whole spaceship.
They represent the future.
The ship is their entire world.
They have never seen a stranger before.
Old Earth is crumbling, and the crew is hoping to reach (and colonise) New Earth within fifty years. Along with their allies on the second spaceship - who set off a year before them and whom they have never met.
One day, Kieran proposes to Waverly. That same morning, the 'allies' attack - and Kieran and Waverly are separated in the cruellest way possible. Will they ever see each other again? "
Black Light by Patrick Melton
(Mulholland Books 13 October 2011 / £12.99) - Another really interesting release from Hodder imprint, Mullholland Books, who are offering up some great material for genre fans right now and making a notable push for market share. Black light is a supernatural thriller penned by the creators of the SAW franchise - Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan teamed with author Stephen Romano. But do too many cooks spoil the broth?
"If you have a supernatural problem that won't go away, you need Buck Carlsbad: private eye, exorcist, and last resort. Buck's got a way with spirits that no one else can match, and a lot of questions that only spirits can answer.
Buck has spent years looking deep into the Blacklight on the other side of death, trying to piece together the mystery that destroyed his family and left him for dead. It's dangerous, but it's his only hope of finding out what happened to them - and what made him the way he is.
But then Buck takes a call from a billionnaire, and finds himself working the most harrowing case of his career. One that will either reveal the shocking secrets of his life, or end it forever..."
The Monster's Corner: Stories Through Inhuman Eyes by
(Piatkus Books 27 September 2011 / £10.00) - I was hugely impressed by the Christopher Golden edited anthology Zombie, released by Piatkus last year and so I'm chuffed to bring news of a second such anthology, this one entitled The Monster's Corner.
Featuring another absolutely brilliant Per Haagensen cover, this one offers up stories of monsters... as told by monsters. However, far from being penned by monsters, these stories are from such high calibre authors as Michael Marshall Smith, Kelly Armstrong, Jonathan Maberry, Kevin J. Anderson and a whole host of other talented folks.
"In most stories we get the perspective of the hero, the ordinary, the everyman, but we are all the hero of our own tale, and so it must be true for legions of monsters, from Lucifer to Mordred, from child-thieving fairies to Frankenstein's monster and the Wicked Witch of the West. From our point of view, they may very well be horrible, terrifying monstrosities, but of course they won't see themselves in the same light, and their point of view is what concerns us in these tales. Demons and goblins, dark gods and aliens, creatures of myth and legend, lurkers in darkness and beasts in human clothing ...these are the subjects of THE MONSTER'S CORNER."
Blackdog by K.V. Johansen
(Prometheus Books 15 November 2011 / £14.99) - Gods and Devils abound in Blackdog, an ambitious epic fantasy from highly experienced Canadian author K.V. Johansen. Now published by Pyr in this trade paperback edition.
"Long ago, in the days of the first kings in the north, there were seven devils...
In a land where gods walk on the hills and goddesses rise from river, lake, and spring, the caravan-guard Holla-Sayan, escaping a bloodily-conquered lakeside town, stops to help an abandoned child and a dying dog. The girl, though, is the incarnation of Attalissa, goddess of Lissavakail, and the dog a shape-changing guardian spirit whose origins have been forgotten. Possessed and nearly driven mad by the Blackdog, he flees to the desert road, taking the powerless avatar with him.
And long ago, after the days of the first kings in the north, the seven devils, who had deceived and possessed seven of the greatest wizards of the world, were defeated and bound with the help of the Old Great Gods...
Necromancy, treachery, massacres and rebellions, gods dead or lost or mad, follow hard on the devils' heels. But it is Attalissa herself who may be the Blackdog's -- and Holla-Sayan's -- doom. And perhaps some of the devils are free in the world, and perhaps some are working to free themselves still."
The Doctor and the Kid: A Weird West Tale by Mike Resnick
(Prometheus Books January 2012 / £13.99) - Uncorrected proof Copy: Tireless and endlessly inventive, Mike Resnick has a career stretching back through more than fifty published novels and two hundred short stories. This man is a machine! And he's also one of the most 'decorated' names in the business, with five Hugo wins under his belt and great deal more nominations over the years. And what is the secret of this success? Well, other than the obvious elements of talent and hard graft, it is Resnick's knack for consistently coming up with strong commercial ideas that keeps him on bookstore shelves when other authors have fallen by the wayside. His latest novel, to be published by Pyr early next year is a follow up to The Buntline Special.
The Doctor and The Kid a novel deliciously described as "A Weird West Tale" has an irresistibly commercial hook that is bang on what the market is hot for right now.
"This is the rip-roaring steampunk sequel to popular "The Buntline Special", filled with adventure, excitement, and more than a little gun-slinging action! The time is 1882. With the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral behind him, the consumptive Doc Holliday makes his way to Deadwood, Colorado, where he plans to spend the rest of his short life. But one night he gets a little too drunk and loses everything at the gaming table. He realizes that he needs to replenish his bankroll, and quick, so that he can live out his days in comfort. He considers his options and hits upon the one most likely to produce income in a hurry: he'll use his shooting skills to turn bounty hunter. The biggest reward is for the death of the young desperado known as Billy the Kid. It's clear from the odds the Kid has faced and beaten, that he is protected by some powerful magic. Doc enlists the aid of both magic (Geronimo) and science (Thomas Edison), and goes out after his quarry. But as he soon finds out, nothing is as easy as it looks. "
Kultus by Richard Ford
(Rebellion 01 November 2011 / £7.99) - An arresting cover by Frazer Irving fronts this new novel from Solaris by British author Richard Ford - Kultus is described as a "... steam-powered burlesque of brutal demonic action!". Ford has had one book published previously - The Dragons Of Lencia, a tie-in novel in the Lone Wolf Gamebooks franchise released by Mongoose Publishing.
"Thaddeus Blaklok – mercenary, demonist, bastard and thug-for-hire – is pressed into retrieving a mysterious key for his clandestine benefactors. Little does he know that other parties seek to secure this artefact for their own nefarious ends and soon he is pursued by brutal cultists, bloodthirsty gangsters, deadly mercenaries and hell spawned monsters, all bent on stopping him by any means necessary.
In a lightning paced quest that takes him across the length and breadth of the steam-fuelled city of Manufactory, Blaklok must use his wits and his own demonic powers to keep the key from those who would use it for ill, and open the gates to Hell itself."
Solaris Rising: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction by Ian Whates (Ed.)
(Solaris 01 November 2011 / £7.99) - Solaris have, in a short time, established a fine tradition of publishing top quality anthologies - indeed they are one of the few UK publishers to schedule them with any regularity.
This latest, Solaris Rising: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction has been put together by Ian Whates, a fine storyteller in his own right (though not one who updates hios web site very often!), and the roll call shows just how well connected Whates is - featuring all new stories by Alastair Reynolds, Peter F Hamilton, Stephen Baxter, Ian McDonald, Paul di Filippo, Ken MacLeod, Adam Roberts, Pat Cadigan, Lavie Tidhar and others, this is a must for fans of SF in its shorter (and some would say, more perfect) form. A paperback original release.
"Solaris Rising is the first in an exciting new series of anthologies that are set to reaffirm Solaris's proud reputation for producing high quality science fiction. The book will feature all original short stories from Peter F. Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, Stephen Baxter, Paul di Filippo, Adam Roberts, Lavie Tidhar, Ian Watson, Ken MacLeod, Mike Resnick, Tricia Sullivan, Eric Brown, Steve Rasnic Tem along with other top name authors; stories guaranteed to surprise, thrill and delight, demonstrating why science fiction remains the most innovative, satisfying, and downright exciting genre of all."
The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Dreadnaught by Jack Campbell
(Titan Books 09 September 2011 / £7.99) - They took a while to arrive on these shores, but having become best sellers over in the US, Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet books have been very visible in stores and selling well for UK publisher Titan.
This first class military SF series has concluded with the recent release of Victorious, but fear not, for Captain John 'Black Jack' Geary is back in the first of a new series of books, the first of which is Lost Fleet - Beyond the Frontier: Dreadnaught. Now released in the UK as a paperback original from Titan.
"Captain John "Black Jack" Geary woke from a century of survival hibernation to take command of the Alliance fleet in the final throes of its long and bitter conflict against the Syndicate Worlds. Now Fleet Admiral Geary's victory has earned him the adoration of the people and enmity of politicians convinced that a living hero can be a very dangerous thing.
Geary is charged with command of the newly christened First Fleet. Its first mission: to probe deep into the territory of the mysterious alien race. Geary knows that members of the military high command and the government fear his staging a coup, so he can't help but wonder if the fleet is being deliberately sent to the far side of space on a suicide mission."
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