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UK Books Received- 09/2012  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

Anachron Press

The Red Knight by K.T. Davies (Anachron Press 20 September 2012 / £7.99) - A relatively new outfit, UK small press Anachron seem to be a well organised affair. Their catalogue presents work by new or 'nearly new' writers and their output is slick and professionally presented. They're a good example of how to do what they're doing - so many similar operators get it wrong!

The Red Knight is an epic fantasy debut by British author K.T. Davies - see her web site for more about her. The Red Knight is already available as an ebook and this print edition is due very soon.

"A thousand years have passed since the Clan Lords and the Fey commanded dragons and raised mighty citadels. The remnants of their ancient power lie dormant and a new conflict threatens the kingdom of Antia...

King Daris rules a peaceful and prosperous land, but his conniving brother Jerim covets the throne and civil war looms. But there are worse threats to Antia than mere human greed.

Two people will stand against mortal and demonic enemies: Alyda Stenna, Captain of the Hammer of Antia returns from campaign to a hero’s welcome after prosecuting war abroad with brutal efficiency. Garian Tain, the spymaster’s apprentice, hunts for an assassin through the streets of the capital while the knights bask in the adoration of the crowds.

This is just the beginning.

Both will fight overwhelming odds in a bid to save the kingdom. War and betrayal will test them to their limits. One will rise; one will fall; both will be changed forever."

Angry Robot

Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher (Angry Robot 06 September 2012 / £7.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: Adam Christopher's debut Empire State made a nice splash for Angry Robot when they published it last year. This month they release his follow-up novel Seven Wonders, also in the Super Hero milieu and also hotly tipped and highly anticipated.

"Tony Prosdocimi lives in the bustling Metropolis of San Ventura – a city gripped in fear, a city under siege by the hooded supervillain, The Cowl.

When Tony develops super-powers and acts to take down The Cowl, however, he finds that the local superhero team Seven Wonders aren’t as grateful as he assumed they’d be..."

The Corpse-Rat King by Lee Battersby (Angry Robot 06 September 2012 / £7.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: Australian author Lee Battersby has been on the scene for a decade now, scooping up a whole host of awards 'Down Under'. His work has gained a foothold elsewhere too, notably Writers of the Future and also with Prime Books, who published his 2006 collection Through Air Softly.

Now comes Battersby's debut novel, the wonderfully titled fantasy The Corpse Rat King published this month by Angry Robot.

"Marius and his apprentice, Gerd are professionals… Professional corpse robbers that is. When they stumble upon the fallen King of Scorby on a blood soaked battlefield they get rather more than they bargained for, and Marius finds himself mistaken for the monarch after being rudely transported to the mysterious Kingdom of the Dead. Soon the rogues find themselves banished to the surface with just one mission in mind - find a real king of the dead or remain cursed with un-death forever! File Under: Fantasy [ Royal Prospect | Loot | Keep Running | Living Dead ]"

Arrow

Star Wars Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories by John Jackson Miller (Arrow 02 August 2012 / ) - Star Wars stalwart John Jackson Miller, an old hand at tie-ins in virtually all conceivable forms, be they comics, games, novels or whatever offers up Lost Tribe of the Sith, a collection of nine short stories set within the world of the Daddy of all SF franchises. A paperback original from Arrow.

" This collection of nine Lost Tribe of the Sith stories is for fans of the New York Times bestselling Fate of the Jedi series, as it features the origin story of the tribe of Sith that play such a crucial role in those novels. The bestselling Fate of the Jedi novels introduce the Star Wars universe to a long-forgotten tribe of Sith. This collection of stories tells the origin of that tribe. Written by John Jackson Miller, this paperback will include all eight of the Lost Tribe of the Sith stories, as well as "Pandemonium," the never-before-seen final chapter that will only be available in this collection. "

Gollancz

Iron Winter (Northland 3) by Stephen Baxter (Gollancz 16 August 2012 / £14.99) - The brand new novel from Stephen Baxter, one of the most admired names in British SF and a prolific author whose work never takes the path of least resistant and thus remains endlessly inventive. Baxter has hit a rich vien of form of late - writing high profile non-fiction (The Science of Avatar, released earlier this year) and an even higher profile collaboration (The Long Earth with relative unknow, Sir Terry Pratchett!

Iron Winter is the third and final volume in Baxter's Northland sequence - published by Gollancz.

"It is 1315. And darkness is falling...

Many generations ago the Wall was first built to hold back the sea. Northland, a country of fertile plains and ancient forests rescued from the ocean, has become a thriving civilisation based on trade, technology and tradition, centred on the ancient home of the first builders, Etxelur. The whole of Europe, spanned by the Northlanders' steam caravan lines, has been changed in ways that could never have been predicted.

But nothing can last forever, not even the Wall. The weather is changing, growing colder, and in the wake of the long winters come famine, destruction and terror. And as whole nations are forced out of their lands and head for warmer climes, it seems that even Northland may not be able to endure.

But there is one man, an elderly scholar, who believes he can calculate why the world is cooling, and perhaps even salvage some scraps of the great civilisation of Etxelur. As he embarks on his grand quest across the world, as nations struggle for survival and the fires of war burn in the gloom, only one thing is certain.

The Ice is coming."

The Black Mausoleum (Memory of Flames 4) by Stephen Deas (Gollancz 16 August 2012 / £12.99) - Stephen Deas reutrns to the world of his much acclaimed dragon fantasy series that began with The Adamantine Palace. Following a trilogy of novels that wrapped up with The Order of the Scales, new novel The Black Mausoleum picked the story up two years on from where the last left off. Published in trade paperback by Gollancz. And who can argue with a Joe Abercombie cover quote that describes Deas's work as 'Fast, sharp and ruthless!

"Two years have passed since the events of the Order of the Scales. Across the realms, dragons are still hatching. Hatching, and hatching free.

Skorl is an Ember, a soldier trained from birth to fight dragons. He is a living weapon, one-shot only, saturated with enough dragon-poison to bring down a monster all on his own. Misanthrope, violent and a drunk, to fulfil his purpose and slay a dragon, means to be eaten. Now Skorl has a choice: he can hang for his crimes, or he can go with the last of the Adamantine Men, fighting against an enemy he was born to face.

Rat is an Outsider. He's on the run and he¿s stumbled onto something that's going to make him rich beyond all his dreams. It¿s just a shame that the end of the world has started without him.

Kataros is an alchemist, one of the order responsible for keeping the dragons in check. One of the order that has just failed, and disastrously so.

Two men, one woman. One chance to save the world from a storm of dragons . . . "

The Dusk Watchman: Book Five of The Twilight Reign by Tom Lloyd (Gollancz 30 August 2012 / £14.99) - I reviewed Tom Lloyd's début fantasy The Stormcaller back in March 2006 and have to admit that I wasn't overly impressed with it. However, reviewing is a subjective art - if art it can be said to be - and there were plenty of glowing appraisals of Lloyd's novel from any number of respectable and respected pundits.

Following the publication of that first book The Stormcaller, we've had Twilight Herald, The Grave Thief, The Ragged Man and now the concluding volume in this truly epic sequence, The Dusk Watchman is published by Gollancz in both hardcover and trade paperback.

"After his pyrrhic victory at Moorview, King Emin learns the truth about the child Ruhen - but he is powerless to act. Instead, he must mourn his dead friends while his enemy promises the beleaguered peoples of the Land a new age of peace. The past year has taken a grave toll: the remaining Menin troops seek revenge upon Emin, daemons freely walk the Land, and Ruhen's power is increasing daily.

And yet, a glimmer of hope remains. There is one final, desperate chance for victory: a weapon, so terrible only a dead man could wield it, and only a madman would try. But if they do not grasp this opportunity, King Emin and his allies will be obliterated as Ruhen's millennia-old plans are about to bear terrible fruit. If his power continues unchecked, Ruhen will achieve total dominion - and not just over mankind, but over the Gods themselves.

One way or another, the future of the Land will be decided now - written in the blood of men."

Total Recall (Film Tie-In) by Philip K. Dick (Gollancz 09 August 2012 / £8.99) - A big summer blockbuster that's a remake of a previous summer blockbuster. If like me, you have fond memories of Arnie doing bat-sh*t crazy acting during his visit to Recall™, then you might, like me, view the new remake of Total Recall, starring that most un-Arnie-like of actors, Colin Farrell, with some suspicion.

Luckily, be the film good or bad, the source material - Philip K. Dick's classic short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, remains untouchable. It is reissued now in this tie in edition collection published by Gollancz.

Trinity Rising: Book Two of the Wild Hunt: The Wild Hunt 2 (Wild Hunt Trilogy 2) by Elspeth Cooper (Gollancz 26 July 2012 / ) - The new novel from British fantasy newcomer Elspeth Cooper, follow-up to the very well received Songs of the Earth and the second in a quartet of books that make up The Wild Hunt sequence. Trinity Rising is a Gollancz trade paperback release.

"The future holds nothing but blood and death...

...and Teia fears there is nothing she can do about it. Her clan is riding to war, but her secret, untrained gift of foretelling has shown her they are riding to their doom. If she cannot turn them from their course, her only hope of saving them will be to betray them to their sworn enemies.

Gair is mourning his past...

...but there is no time to dwell on his grief or hunger for revenge. Pursuing an artefact from the Founding Wars, he travels deep into the hostile southern deserts. As religious tensions erupt into bloody violence around him, he must make an impossible choice: save innocent lives or sacrifice them in the hope that thousands more can be saved later.

And all the while, his grip on his powers is failing."

Hodder

The President's Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth (Hodder 30 August 2012 / £7.99) - Christopher Farnsworth's debut - Blood Oath introduced us to a fabulous protagonist in Nathaniel Cade, a.k.a The President's Vampire, which just happens to be the title of this follow-up. Now Cade is back, and the stakes (ha!) are higher than ever. A perfect beach read, published in B Format by Hodder.

"The Ultimate Secret. The Ultimate Agent. Nathaniel Cade returns.For 140 years, Nathaniel Cade has been the President's Vampire, sworn by a blood oath to protect the President and America from their supernatural enemies. Cade's existence is the most closely guarded of White House secrets: a superhuman covert agent who is the last line of defense against nightmare scenarios that ordinary citizens can only dream of.When a new outbreak of an ancient evil - one that Cade has seen before - comes to light, he and his human handler, Zach Barrows, must track down its source. To 'protect and serve' often means settling old scores and confronting new betrayals... as only a century-old predator can."

Hodder & Stoughton

The Dirty Streets of Heaven (Bobby Dollar 1) by Tad Williams (Hodder & Stoughton 13 September 2012 / £18.99) - Marquee name Tad Williams moves from Orbit to the new genre list at Hodder with The Dirty Streets of Heaven, the first in a new Urban Fantasy thriller. The central schtik here isn't anything genre readers have not seen before. The rear cover copy proclaims "Bobby Dollar is a private investigator with a difference. For one, he's dead. For another, he's an angel." In truth, that makes him pretty similar to most UF detectives - they're either dead, or zombies, or werewolves, or angels or leprecauns or whatever. However, it's clear that Hodder have every intention of marketing this well beyond the usual genre audience and if they manage to take it into the mainstream, so much the better.

The Dirty Streets of Heaven is published in hard cover.

"Bobby Dollar would like to know what he was like when he was alive, but too much of his time is spent working as an extremely minor functionary in the Heavenly Host as an afterlife investigator and advocate for the recently departed. And now he’s stepped into the middle of something that has both sides very nervous — an unprecedented number of missing souls.

A new chapter in the war between Heaven and Hell is about to open, and Bobby is right in the middle of it. Someone has summoned a truly unpleasant Babylonian demon that’s doing its best to track him down and rip him to pieces. His opposite number on the case is arguably the world’s sexiest she-devil, and Bobby has feelings for her that Heaven definitely does not allow. And somehow he has to find out who he was before he becomes an unwitting pawn in a game of power that could end in the destruction of the entire human race."

Orbit

Wards of Faerie: The Dark Legacy of Shannara by Terry Brooks (Orbit 23 August 2012 / ) - The inexhaustible Terry Brooks offers up the first novel in a new Shannara sequence, entitled The Drak Legacy of Shannara. Wards of Faerie is a smart hard cover published by Orbit.

"With the discovery of ancient powers, a legend begins...

There was an age when the world was young. It was a time before the coming of humans, a time when magic was the dominant power - and it was named the age of Faerie.

Ever since this time, a bitter war has been raging between the forces of good and evil. And it was during this age that the Elfstones protecting the Elven race disappeared. They have been missing for thousands of years.

Now a clue to their location may have surfaced in the ancient diary of a princess, and it will be the beginning of an adventure that no-one could have anticipated."

PS Publishing

Where Furnaces Burn by Joel Lane (PS Publishing 01 September 2012 / £19.99) - Book Description: Episodes from the casebook of a police officer in the West Midlands: A young woman needs help in finding the buried pieces of her lover... so he can return to waking life. Pale-faced thieves gather by a disused railway to watch a puppet theatre of love and violence. Why do local youths keep starting fires in the ash woods around a disused mine in the Black Country? A series of inexplicable deaths lead the police to uncover a secret cult of machine worship. When a migrant worker disappears, the key suspect is a boy driven mad by memories that are not his own. Among the derelict factories and warehouses at the heart of the city, an archaic god seeks out his willing victims. Blurring the occult detective story with urban noir fiction, Where Furnaces Burn offers a glimpse of the myths and terrors buried within the industrial landscape. (see review)

Pyr

Apollo's Outcasts by Allen M. Steele (Pyr 06 November 2012 / £10.84) - I often have conversations with publishers about what the next trend in genre fiction is going to be. Over the years some of these predictions have come to pass - Zombies, Agnels vs Demons, Dystopian... but one of the more recent of those conversations had an editor (I forget which) saying that the next hot thing would be YA Space Opera.

And so with the usual incisive prescience and nose for good stuff that we have come to expect from editor Lou Anders, this November Pyr will offer us Allen Steele's Apollo's Outcasts, a book bang on the trend... "Jamey Barlowe has been crippled since childhood, the result of being born on the Moon. He lives his life in a wheelchair, only truly free when he is in the water. But then Jamey's father sends him, along with five other kids, back to the Moon to escape a political coup d'etat that has occurred overnight in the United States. Moreover, one of the other five refugees is more than she appears.

Their desstination is the mining colony, Apollos. Jamey will have to learn a whole new way to live, one that entails walking for the first time in his life. It won't be easy and it won't be safe. But Jamey is determined to make it as a member of Lunar Search and Rescue, also known as the Rangers. This job is always risky but could be even more dangerous if the new US president makes good on her threat to launch a military invasion. Soon Jamey is front and center on a political and military struggle stretching form the Earth to the Moon."

Titan Books

Spartacus Morituri (Spartacus 1) by Mark Morris (Titan Books 24 August 2012 / £7.99) - 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 Spartacus, the Starz original television series got when they hired 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. Spartacus: Mortituri is out now from Titan - a paperback original.

"Batiatus and Solonius vie with each other for the favor of one Marcus Licinius Crassus, an Equites who aims at the Praetorship. Thrilled by the bloody violence of the fights, Crassus decides to set up his own gladiatorial school. In the arena, the Batiati are ground down by injury and death, while Crassus' numbers never seem to shrink. Can the ludus survive against such odds?"

Tor

London Falling by Paul Cornell (Tor 06 December 2012 / £12.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: British writer Paul Cornell is perhaps currently best known for his work in the comics and graphic novel field and his involvement with cool TV shows like Dr Who and

Primeval. He's written some notable short stories and is also very active indeed on the convention scene and a keen and canny self-promoter - be sure to visit his very active web site here.

Previously novel outings haven't hit the mark somehow, but Cornell has a knack for what is current - and London plus crime plus supernatural is a very current recipe indeed! Ask any Ben Aaronovitch reader!

It's appropriate then that Aaronovitch gives a very nice cover quote indeed for Cornell's new novel London Falling - a 'magic cops' tale coming from Tor UK this December and the first in what looks to be a fresh and exciting new series.

"The dark is rising . . . Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career. Then his prize suspect Rob Toshack is murdered in custody. Furious, Quill pursues the investigation, co-opting intelligence analyst Lisa Ross and undercover cops Costain and Sefton. But nothing about Toshack’s murder is normal. Toshack had struck a bargain with a vindictive entity, whose occult powers kept Toshack one step ahead of the law – until his luck ran out. Now, the team must find a 'suspect' who can bend space and time and alter memory itself. And they will kill again. As the group starts to see London’s sinister magic for themselves, they have two choices: panic or use their new abilities. Then they must hunt a terrifying supernatural force the only way they know how: using police methods, equipment and tactics. But they must all learn the rules of this new game - and quickly. More than their lives will depend on it."

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