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US Books Received- 12/2015  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 / Editor c/o SFRevu 16440 Baden Westwood Road Brandywine, MD 20613

47North

Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind by Anne Charnock (47North 01 December 2015 / $14.95) - Product Description: In fifteenth-century Italy, Paolo Uccello recognizes the artistic talent of his young daughter, Antonia, and teaches her how to create a masterpiece. The girl composes a painting of her mother and inadvertently sparks an enduring mystery.

In the present day, a copyist painter receives a commission from a wealthy Chinese businessman to duplicate a Paolo Uccello painting. Together, the painter and his teenage daughter visit China, and in doing so they begin their escape from a tragic family past.

In the twenty-second century, a painting is discovered that's rumored to be the work of Paolo Uccello's daughter. This reawakens an art historian's dream of elevating Antonia Uccello, an artist ignored by history because of her gender.

Stories untold. Secrets uncovered. But maybe some mysteries should remain shrouded.

(see review)

Aqueduct Press

Roadsouls by Betsy James (Aqueduct Press 07 December 2015 / $20.00) - Book Description: Timid Duuni has spent her life as abused and guarded property. Blind, arrogant Raim is determined to be again what he once was: hunter, lover, young lord of the earth. Desperate to escape their lives, the two lift up their hands to the passing Roadsoul caravan, and are--literally--flung together naked. Each of them soon learns that saying "yes" to the Roadsouls is more than just accepting an invitation to a new life--it's a commitment that can't be reversed. For Duuni and Raim, nothing is as it was. Lost to their old lives, hating each other, they are swept out of their cruel old certainties into an unknowable, ever-changing world of journey and carnival, artists, and wrestlers, and thieves. Behind them, inexorably, pads a lion. Inexorable, too, is Duuni and Raim's inevitable encounter with it, and encounter that will change everything.

(Source: Aqueduct Press)

Baen

Come the Revolution by Frank Chadwick (Baen 01 December 2015 / $15.00) - Product Description: Sequel to How Dark the World Becomes. Tough-as-nails former gangster Sasha Naradnyo is back in this noir thrill ride from legendary game creator Frank Chadwick.

Sasha Naradnyo had come a long way from the slums of Crack City on the planet Peezgtaan—from Human gangster to head of security for Tweezaa e-Traak, the Varoki heiress to the largest fortune in the history of the Stellar Commonwealth. Then the largest nation on the Varoki home world collapsed into riots and civil war, a murderously anti-human Varoki fanatic made his bid for power, and the head of the Secret Police decided to take a personal interest in Sasha.

Now Sasha must navigate the violence and anarchy of a growing revolution, come to grips with ghosts from his past who have suddenly turned up alive, make common cause with resistance fighters who want him dead, expose a conspiracy which will shake the Commonwealth to its foundations...and do it all without losing his soul.

(Source: Baen)

Rhythm of the Imperium by Jody Lynn Nye (Baen 01 December 2015 / $15.00) - Product Description: Book Three in the View from the Imperium series from humorous SF master Jody Lynn Nye. Lieutenant Lord Thomas Kinago and his trusty constant companion, the unflappable Parsons, are back. And this time they've got a planet to save.

The Zang, an elder race of the galaxy, may be a shrinking population, but they're also intelligent, curious, and powerful. What's more, they practice a most unusual art form: they bonsai star systems. Eager to witness this first hand, Lieutenant Lord Thomas Kinago, accompanied as always by his personal assistant Parsons, sets out on a several-week jaunt to see the Zang destroy a moon to enhance the beauty of a star system.

But the trip is sidelined when Kinago's uncle offers to take him to the seldom seen human homeworld, Earth. Unable to resist, Kinago goes along, only to find on his return that the planet he's just visited may be in danger of being eradicated. Earth lies within the protective sphere of the Zang, but enemies of the Imperium are lobbying to have Sol system turned over to them.

It is up to Kinago and Parsons to save Earth. Kinago has the key, but will he be able to persuade the Zang to spare the human homeworld before it's too late?

(Source: Baen)

Storm Front by Robert Conroy (Baen 01 December 2015 / $25.00) - Product Description: A snow storm of epic proportions shuts down the town of Sheridan, Michigan. The weather is dangerous enough on its own. But the bad weather has blown something even deadlier into town, and a duo of sadistic killers is on the loose.

No one thought much about the storm. Not the National Weather Service and not the big-name meteorologists. Experienced local weatherman Wally Wellman thought there might be trouble, but even he couldn't predict the natural disaster that was about to lay siege to the quiet suburb of Sheridan, Michigan.

Now, with resources stretched to their breaking point, Sheridan police officer Mike Stuart must try to keep the town safe. But there something is lurking in Sheridan. Something as cold as the snow and ice, and just as deadly. A pair of escaped convicts, on the run south, have been stranded in town. But they don't plan on laying low. And as the death toll rises, Officer Stuart must face down enemies far more dangerous —and unpredictable—than any storm.

(see review)

Strands of Sorrow (Black Tide Rising) by John Ringo (Baen 29 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: Book 4 and conclusion of The Black Tide Rising series. Sequel to Islands of Rage and Hope, To Sail a Darkling Sea, and Under a Graveyard Sky. A hardened group of survivors fights back against a zombie plague that has brought down civilization.

With the world consumed by a devastating plague that drives humans violently insane, what was once a band of desperate survivors bobbing on a dark Atlantic ocean has now become Wolf Squadron, the only hope for the salvation of the human race. Banding together with what remains of the U.S. Navy, Wolf Squadron, and its leader Steve Smith, not only plans to survive--he plans to retake the mainland from the infected, starting with North America.

Smith's teenage daughters have become zombie hunters of unparalleled skill, both at land and on the sea, and they may hold the key to the rebirth of civilization on a devastated planet.

(Source: Baen)

Tales of the Time Scouts by Robert Aspirin and Linda Evans (Baen 01 December 2015 / $14.00) - Product Description: Includes Time Scout and Wagers of Sin.

When an experiment on an orbiting space station went wrong--bad wrong--ripples in time washed over the Earth bringing global disaster. The survivors, beginning to rebuild, learned that they were now able to travel into the past, utilizing the remnant time strings. But first, the time strings had to be mapped.

That was the job of the brave pioneers known as time scouts. Their occupation was only slightly less dangerous than front line combat, and when it was discovered that a time traveler who wasn't extremely careful could zap himself out of existence, elaborate rules to prevent that evolved, and it was the job of the time scouts to enforce them.

Time Scout: Kenneth "Kit" Carson was one of the best, if not the best, time scouts in the business. But he has collected more than a few scars, both physical and mental, while poking around back in time, and trying not to draw the dangerous attention of the natives, not always successfully. Nowadays, he runs a small hotel at Time Terminal 86, and just wants to be a hotelier renting rooms to tourists on their way to see the Roman Circus Maximus or Victorian London firshand...until a cartain red-headed girl flounces out of his life through an illicit gate that may collapse and leave her lost eternally in the corridors of time.

Wagers of Sin: Time Travel stations have become big business, with wealthy tourists taking vacations back in time. For Skeeter Jackson, one of Time Terminal 86's least honest residents, scamming those tourists is a way of life. A man's got to follow his calling, even a con man, and Skeeter might be a dyed-in-the-wool thieving scoundrel, but he freely admits it and relishes the crisp, cool feel of cash in hand--until one of his scams went terribly wrong, and he was in more trouble than even his quick wits and crooked tricks could get him out of again.

(Source: Baen)

The Sword of Michael (Depossessionist) by Marcus Wynne (Baen 29 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: Marius Winter doesn't walk the road of the shaman-warrior alone. He has powerful allies in the Other Realms and in ordinary reality. His spirit guides are a Lakota war-chief and medicine man, First In Front; Tigre, a powerful feminine spirit who appears as a white tiger; and Burt, a spirit raven who channels an old Jewish bookie from the Bronx.

Now Marius is targeted by a powerful sorcerer. In the battle for the souls of his friends and lover, he must storm the gates of the underworld and fight through the Seven Demi-Demons of Hell to the deepest dungeons to confront Belial himself.
(Source: Baen)

Del Rey

The Elfstones of Shannara (Shannara Chronicles) by Terry Brooks (Del Rey 01 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: (MTV Tie-In) Thousands of years after the destruction of the age of man and science, new races and magic now rule the world, but an imminent danger threatens. A horde of evil Demons is beginning to escape and bring death upon the land. Only Wil Ohmsford, the last of the Shannara bloodline, has the power to guard the Elven Princess Amberle on a perilous quest to the save the world, while the leader of the Demon force aims to stop their mission at any cost.

(Source: Del Rey)

eSpec Books

The Side of Good/The Side of Evil (The Super Series) by (eSpec Books 01 December 2015 / ) - Book Description: "Everyone loves the hero... but sometimes we can't help but root for the villain..."

The Side of Good Contents: Introduction by Danielle Ackley-McPhail; Ghost Wolf by Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin; Don't You Know Who I Am? by Bryan J.L. Glass; Fiery Justice by John L. French; Third Time's a Charm by Walt Ciechanowski; The Hand Job by Kathleen David; Making a Difference by Robert Greenberger; Eight Million Strong by James Chambers; Author bios; and The Ranks of the Heroic.

The Side of Evil Contents: Introduction by Greg Schauer; Doth Protest Too Much by James M. Ward; Henchmonster by Drew Bittner; Marvelous Man: Birth of Anarchy by Janine K. Spendlove; The Shtick by Aaron Rosenberg; The Far Job by Peter David; Send in the Clones by Keith R.A. DeCandido; The Last Great Monologue of Evil Intent by James Chambers; Author Bios; and The Ranks of the Villianous.

(see review)

Pyr

Nebula Awards Showcase 2015 by (Pyr 08 December 2015 / $18.00) - Product Description: The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories of the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

The editor of this year's volume, selected by SFWA's anthology Committee (chaired by Mike Resnick), is American science fiction and fantasy writer Greg Bear, author of over thirty novels, including the Nebula Award-winning Hull Zero Three, Moving Mars, and Killing Titan.

This anthology includes the winners of the Andre Norton, Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master, Rhysling, and Dwarf Stars Awards, as well as the Nebula Award winners, and features Ann Leckie, Nalo Hopkinson, Rachel Swirsky, Aliette de Bodard, and Vylar Kaftan, with additional articles and poems by authors such as Robin Wayne Bailey, Samuel R. Delany, Terry A. Garey, Deborah P Kolodji, and Andrew Robert Sutton.

(Source: Pyr)

The Prison in Antares (Dead Enders) by Mike Resnick (Pyr 01 December 2015 / $18.00) - Product Description: The Traanskei Coalition's greatest weapon is the Q bomb, and after years of failure, the Democracy has come up with a defense against it. The problem is that they killed most of the team that created it. The sole survivor, Edgar Nmumba, was kidnapped by the Coalition. Only Nmumba can duplicate the work fast enough to prevent the loss of another dozen populated planets.

Nathan Pretorius and his team of Dead Enders will require all their skills and cunning to rescue him, sane and in one piece, from the Coalition's best-hidden and best-guarded prison, somewhere in the Antares sector. But in a game of cross and double-cross, can they find him before it's too late?

(see review)

Roc

Ash and Silver (Sanctuary) by Carol Berg (Roc 01 December 2015 / $16.00) - Product Description: In Dust and Light, Carol Berg returned to the world of the award-winning Flesh and Spirit. Now she continues the saga of a man whose past is veiled in shadows.

Ever since the Order of the Equites Cineré stole his memory, his name, and his heart, thinking about the past makes Greenshank's head ache. After two years of rigorous training, he is almost ready to embrace the mission of the Order--to use selfless magic to heal the troubles of Navronne. But on his first assignment alone, the past comes racing back, threatening to drown him in conspiracy, grief, and murder.

He is Lucian de Remeni--a sorcerer whose magical bents for portraiture and history threaten the safety of the earth and the future of the war-riven kingdom of Navronne. He just can't remember how or why.

Fighting to unravel the mysteries of his power, Lucian must trace threads of corruption that reach from the Pureblood Registry into the Order itself, the truth hidden two centuries in the past and beyond the boundaries of the world.

(Source: Roc)

Nevermore (Cal and Niko Leandros) by Rob Thurman (Roc 01 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: People die. Everyone knows that. I knew it intimately as everyone in my life died thanks to my one seemingly harmless mistake. I'd brought down Heaven, lifted up Hell, and set the world on fire, all due to one slip of the memory. I forgot the pizzas...

Caliban is a dead man. The Vigil, a group devoted to concealing the paranormal from humanity, has decided Cal has stepped out of the shadows once too often, and death is the only sentence. They plan to send a supernatural assassin into the past to take down the younger, less lethal Cal.

But things change when The Vigil makes one last attempt on Caliban's life in the present—and end up destroying everyone and everything he cares about.

Now, Cal has to save himself, warn those closest to him, and kill every Vigil bastard who stole his world. But if he fails, he and everyone in his life will be history.

(Source: Roc)

Subterranean

A Fantasy Medley 3 by Kevin Hearne, Laura Bickle, Aliette de Bodard, and Jacqueline Carey (Subterranean 31 December 2015 / $20.00) - Product Description: In each of the first two volumes of the acclaimed A Fantasy Medley series--both of which earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly--editor Yanni Kuznia brought together stories from a quartet of fantasy's most exciting authors. Now Kuznia returns with A Fantasy Medley 3, offering riveting new tales of the fantastic from four more of the field's brightest stars:

In "Goddess at the Crossroads", Kevin Hearne shares a thrillingly memorable episode from the past of his popular Iron Druid Chronicles hero Atticus O'Sullivan, revealing how one night's dark encounter with the cult of Hecate served as inspiration for Shakespeare's witches in the Scottish play.

With "Ashes", Laura Bickle revisits Detroit arson investigator and powerful spirit medium Anya Kalinczyk as she, her five-foot-long salamander familiar Sparky, and Hades' Charon pursue a destructive fire elemental named the Nain Rouge through the city's festival in his dubious honor.

"The Death of Aiguillon" finds Aliette de Bodard exploring an episode sixty years prior to the start of her latest novel, The House of Shattered Wings, in which the survivors of an ongoing magical conflict in Paris eke out a grim existence, and one woman's wish for a better life is granted at a terrible price.

And in "One Hundred Ablutions", Jacqueline Carey, author of the much-beloved Kushiel's Legacy series, tells the tale of Dala--a young woman chosen by her people's overlords to be an exalted slave among slaves--and of the twining in her life of ritual, rebellion, and redemption.
(Source: Subterranean)

Can & Can'tankerous by Harlan Ellison (Subterranean 31 December 2015 / $45.00) - Product Description: Harlan Ellison has been compared to an annoying gnat, a no-see 'em buzzing in your peripheral vision till you try to swat him, and he's gone.

The great English writer Michael Moorcock--and if his name does not leave you dumbstruck with awe, you should move on--called Ellison a "fox in the SF hen-coop" whose presence will "produce a brighter, faster hen, with improved survival characteristics, laying a tastier, more nourishing egg" and went on to say Ellison was "a brave and lively little beast, who makes a great show of himself to the hounds, but remains too wary ever to lead them to his lair."

The brilliant novelist Joanna Russ, in admiring frustration, opined that Ellison's stories "have an assault on you," but complained that "they're not like a piece of sculpture that you can stop and walk around and look at from all sides." Ellison's reply: "Absolutely not; I want them to grab you by the throat and tear off parts of your body."

Ellison's a double agent who lures you into the bush, and when you blink, he's gone; you don't know whether to turn left or right, or just dig a hole. He crafts enigmas set to entrap you. When Ellison sees where a story is going, he figures--since he's writing for the smartest readers alive--you do, too. So he stops and turns left. Or right. Or widdershins. Or digs a cave with 200 tunnels.

Can & Can'tankerous gathers ten previously uncollected tales from the fifth and sixth decades of Harlan Ellison's professional writing career: a written-in-the-window endeavor that invites re-reading from the start before you've even finished it; a second entry in his (now) ongoing abcedarian sequence; a "lost" pulp tale re-cast as a retro-fable; a melancholy meditation for departed friend and fellow legend, Ray Bradbury; a 2001 revision of a 1956 original; an absurdist ascent toward enlightenment (or its gluten-free substitute); a 200-word exercise in not following the directions as written (with a special introduction by Neil Gaiman that weighs in at four times the word count of its subject); a fantastical lament for a bottom-line world; the 2011 Nebula Award-winning short story; and Ellison's most recent offering, a fusion of fact and fiction that calls to mind Russ's frustration and Moorcock's metaphor while offering a solution to the story's enigma in plain view.

Strokes be damned! Ellison's still here! HE's still writing! And with more new books published in the last ten years than any preceding decade of his career, his third act is proving to be the kind other living legends envy.

(Source: Subterranean)

Tor Books

A Daughter of No Nation by A.M. Dellamonica (Tor Books 01 December 2015 / $26.99) - Product Description: As soon as Sophie Hansa returned to our world, she is anxious to once again go back to Stormwrack. Unable to discuss the wondrous sights she has seen, and unable to tell anyone what happened to her in her time away, Sophie is in a holding pattern, focused entirely on her eventual chance to return.

With the sudden arrival of Garland Parrish, Sophie is once again gone. This time, she has been called back to Stormwrack in order to spend time with her father, a Duelist-Adjudicator, who is an unrivaled combatant and fearsome negotiator. But is he driven by his commitment to seeing justice prevail, or is he a sociopath? Soon, she discovers something repellent about him that makes her reject him, and everything he is offering.

Adrift again, she discovers that her time spent with her father is not without advantages, however, for Sophie has discovered there is nothing to stop her from setting up a forensic institute in Stormwrack, investigating cases that have been bogged down in the courts, sometimes for years. Her fresh look into a long-standing case between two of the islands turns up new information that could get her, and her friends, pulled into something bold and daring, which changes the entire way she approaches this strange new world.

(see review)

Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor Books 29 December 2015 / $12.99) - Product Description: The Sixth Sense meets Planet of the Apes in a moving science fiction novel set so far in the future, humanity is gone and forgotten in Lawrence M. Schoen's Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard.

An historian who speaks with the dead is ensnared by the past. A child who feels no pain and who should not exist sees the future. Between them are truths that will shake worlds.

In a distant future, no remnants of human beings remain, but their successors thrive throughout the galaxy. These are the offspring of humanity's genius-animals uplifted into walking, talking, sentient beings. The Fant are one such species: anthropomorphic elephants ostracized by other races, and long ago exiled to the rainy ghetto world of Barsk. There, they develop medicines upon which all species now depend. The most coveted of these drugs is koph, which allows a small number of users to interact with the recently deceased and learn their secrets.

To break the Fant's control of koph, an offworld shadow group attempts to force the Fant to surrender their knowledge. Jorl, a Fant Speaker with the dead, is compelled to question his deceased best friend, who years ago mysteriously committed suicide. In so doing, Jorl unearths a secret the powers that be would prefer to keep buried forever. Meanwhile, his dead friend's son, a physically challenged young Fant named Pizlo, is driven by disturbing visions to take his first unsteady steps toward an uncertain future.

(see review)

Twilight Times Books

Trial By Fire (Schooled in Magic Book 7) by Christopher G. Nuttall (Twilight Times Books 15 December 2015 / ) - Product Description: After a brief visit to the Blighted Lands, in hopes of recovering something useful from Shadye's Dark Fortress, Emily returns to Whitehall for her fourth year, bracing herself for the exams that will determine her future. But as she resumes her education, she discovers that the shadows of the past are hanging over the school. A teacher wants to break her, some of her friends are acting oddly and, worst of all, a boy intends to court her.

But as she struggles to come to terms with her own past, she discovers a plot to kill her and a deadly threat that may destroy the entire school...and a fight she cannot win, but dares not lose.

(Source: Twilight Times Books)

Under Strange Suns by Ken Lizzi (Twilight Times Books 15 December 2015 / ) - Book Description: The inventor of the Faster-Than-Light Drive is missing, lost undertaking the first interstellar voyage. A terrorist attack leaves the Earth in a state of constant war. Amidst the global decline mankind begins emigrating to the stars.

Special Forces soldier Aidan Carson is tired of fighting and his term of enlistment is ending. Brooklynn Vance, the niece of the FTL-drive's inventor, thinks she knows where her uncle might be. Her offer to join the search gives Carson a chance at a fresh start; the starship Yuscehnkov offers a new home.

Space travel is uncertain. Mechanical systems fail. People are unreliable. But war is a constant. Carson learns there is nothing new Under Strange Suns. And so he finds he must once again take up the sword, this time in defense of an alien race. Can he secure a lasting peace this time?

(Source: Twilight Times Books)

Wildside Press

A Palazzo in the Stars by Paul Di Filippo (Wildside Press 01 December 2015 / $14.99) - Product Description: A Palazzo in the Stars collects 17 great science fiction stories by a modern master! From the author's Introduction: This collection represents the output of about two-and-a-half years, and, while I might have filled such a book in one year's writing time circa 1990, there's nonetheless another collection's worth of newer stuff awaiting curation, beyond this volume. I guess by now I should realize that, for me at least, the process is inevitable, rather like another process I am all too familiar with: acquiring extra pounds. Pleasurable, stealthy and yet eventually noticeable to all. I hope you enjoy these stories of recent vintage.

(Source: Wildside Press)

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