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US Books Received- 12/2016  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

Ace

The Immortal Throne (The City) by Stella Gemmell (Ace 06 December 2016 / $27.00) - Product Description: No one is safe, and no one is to be trusted as the bloody war that began in Stella Gemmell's The City continues.

The dreaded emperor is dead. The successor to the throne is his nemesis, Archange. Many hope her reign will usher in a new era of freedom and stability. Soon however, word arises of a massive army gathering in the shadows of the north. They are eager to lay waste to the City and annihilate anyone--man, woman, or child--within it.

Yet just as the swords clang in fields wet with the blood of warriors, family feuds, ancient rivalries, and political battles rage on within the cold stone walls of the City. A hero must rise up and restore the peace before anything left to fight for is consumed by the madness.

(Source: Ace)

Baen

1635: The Wars for the Rhine (Ring of Fire) by Anette Pedersen (Baen 06 December 2016 / $16.00) - Product Description: In the year 1635, the Rhineland is in turmoil. The impact of the Ring of Fire, the cosmic accident which transported the small modern West Virginia town of Grantville to Europe in the early seventeenth century, has only aggravated a situation that was already chaotic. Perhaps nowhere in central Europe did the Thirty Years War produce so much upheaval as it did in the borderlands between France and Germany.

Archbishop Ferdinand of Cologne shares the religious fanaticism of his older brother, Duke Maximilian of Bavaria. He is determined to restore the power of the Catholic Church over the middle Rhine, the so-called "Bishop’s Alley", and has unleashed a plot for that purpose. But that same middle Rhine is territory which Landgrave William V of Hesse-Kassel is determined to seize for himself, under the guise of expanding the influence of the United States of Europe.

Add to the witch's brew the deaths in battle of Duke Wolfgang of Jülich-Berg and his son, which leaves his young widow Katharina Charlotte as the heir to those much-prized territories. She is now on the run, in disguise—and pregnant. Add the unexpected arrival of Austria’s most capable general, Melchior von Hatzfeldt, along with the most ruthless spy and torturer in the Rhineland, Felix Gruyard.

The wars for the Rhine have erupted, and only the devil knows how they will end.

(see review)

If This Goes Wrong... by (Baen 27 December 2016 / $7.99) - Product Description: Science fiction tales, some humorous and some not-so-funny, about the downside of the future--and how to deal with a universe ruled by Murphy's Law! Includes stories by Robert A. Heinlein, Sarah A. Hoyt, Fritz Leiber, Gordon R. Dickson, Lester del Rey, Christopher Anvil, Fredric Brown, and more.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG...? Progress! It's wonderful--though it sometimes has unexpected and undesirable side effects. Read the long warning list of possible side effects on a medicine bottle's label sometime ... the part in really tiny print.

But surely the benefits of modern technology outweigh the drawbacks. Until they don't. Remember how increasingly deadly weapons, from the machine gun to the H-bomb, were supposed to make war too horrific to even be contemplated? Didn't happen. The cell phone has made it possible to phone from almost anywhere--too bad if you wanted to be out of reach. And civilization is so big and complicated, that a breakdown of any part can have disastrous consequences. Modern transportation makes it possible to get anywhere in a hurry, though traffic jams and overextended airports may slow the hurry part to a crawl. And it also can ensure that a new disease can go all over the planet in a few days. Then, there's the sheer complexity of society itself, from interminable waits at the DMV to trying to get tech help on the phone ("Your call is important to us...").

And that's just the present day. What new technologies, new ways of organizing (or disorganizing) society, new confused and confusing government bureaucracies, new ways for small disgruntled groups to wreak havoc, and worse, will the future bring? Will privacy keep eroding? Could computers and robots take over? Maybe they wouldn't want to. And if the pace of modern life is driving you batty, just wait to see what's on the horizon.

Exploring such scary, yet fascinating, possibilities are such masters of science fiction as Robert A. Heinlein, Sarah A. Hoyt, Fritz Leiber, Gordon R. Dickson, Lester del Rey, Christopher Anvil, Fredric Brown, and more, writers who have seen the future—and it may not work.

(Source: Baen)

Mission: Tomorrow by (Baen 27 December 2016 / $7.99) - Product Description: Original anthology of stories about near-future space exploration from top authors. Includes stories by Jack McDevitt, Michael F. Flynn, Sarah A. Hoyt, Ben Bova, Mike Resnick, and many more.

In Mission: Tomorrow, science fiction writers imagine a future in space exploration where NASA no longer dominates. Will private companies rule the stars or will new governments take up the call? Whether Brazilian, Russian, or Chinese, the characters in these stories deal with everything from strange encounters to troubled satellites and space ships, to competition for funding and "getting there first." Nineteen stories of what-if, spanning the gamut from Mercury to Pluto and beyond, assembled by critically praised editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt.

With stories by: Jack McDevitt. Alex Shvartsman, Lezli Robyn, Robert Silverberg, Michael F. Flynn, Brenda Cooper, Michael Capobianco, Sarah A. Hoyt, Mike Resnick, David D. Levine, James Gunn, and more.

Read our review of Mission: Tomorrow in our January 2016 issue.

(Source: Baen)

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners by Larry Correia and John Ringo (Baen 06 December 2016 / $26.00) - Product Description: With New Orleans out of control, Chad Oliver Gardenier, one of Monster Hunter International's premier hunters, has been dispatched from Seattle to reinforce the beleaguered members of MHI'S Hoodoo Squad in their fight against the darkness.

Chad had once taken a werewolf while wearing only jogging gear. With half a dozen or more loup garou appearing every full moon, mysterious shadow demons, houdoun necromancers, fifty-foot bipedal crocodiles showing up every couple of months and more vampires than a Goth concert, New Orleans in the '80s gives a whole new perspective to the term "Hell on Earth". In fact, more monsters are popping up than crawfish at a fais do do! Chad may be able to collect enormous bounties for the monsters he kills. But there's one catch: he has to stay alive to do it!

(Source: Baen)

Stormfront by Robert Conroy (Baen 27 December 2016 / $7.99) - 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.

Read our review of Storm Front in our January 2016 issue.

(Source: Baen)

Ballantine Books

Blood Vow: Black Dagger Legacy by J.R. Ward (Ballantine Books 06 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: The Black Dagger Brotherhood continues to train the best of the best to join them in the deadly battle against the Lessening Society. Among the new recruits, Axe proves to be a cunning and vicious fighter--and also a loner isolated because of personal tragedy. When an aristocratic female needs a bodyguard, Axe takes the job, though he's unprepared for the animal attraction that flares between him and the one he is sworn to protect.

For Elise, who lost her first cousin to a grisly murder, Axe's dangerous appeal is enticing—and possibly a distraction from her grief. But as they delve deeper into her cousin's death, and their physical connection grows into so much more, Axe fears that the secrets he keeps and his tortured conscience will tear them apart.

Rhage, the Brother with the biggest heart, knows all about self-punishing, and he wants to help Axe reach his full potential. But when an unexpected arrival threatens Rhage and Mary's new family, he finds himself back in the trenches again, fighting against a destiny that will destroy all he holds most dear.

As Axe's past becomes known, and fate seems to be turning against Rhage, both males must reach deep—and pray that love, rather than anger, will be their lantern in the darkness.

(Source: Ballantine Books)

Harper Voyager

Nine of Stars (Wildlands) by Laura Bickle (Harper Voyager 27 December 2016 / $7.99) - Product Description: From author Laura Bickle (Dark Alchemy) comes the first novel in the Wildlands series, Nine of Stars. Longmire meets Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson in this new series that shows how weird and wonderful the West can truly be.

As the daughter of an alchemist, Petra Dee has faced all manner of occult horrors--especially since her arrival in the small town of Temperance, Wyoming. But she can't explain the creature now stalking the backcountry of Yellowstone, butchering wolves and leaving only their skins behind in the snow. Rumors surface of the return of Skinflint Jack, a nineteenth-century wraith that kills in fulfillment of an ancient bargain.

The new sheriff in town, Owen Rutherford, isn't helping matters. He's a dangerously haunted man on the trail of both an unsolved case and a fresh kill--a bizarre murder leading him right to Petra's partner Gabriel. And while Gabe once had little to fear from the mortal world, he's all too human now. This time, when violence hits close to home, there are no magical solutions.

It's up to Petra and her coyote sidekick Sig to get ahead of both Owen and the unnatural being hunting them all--before the trail turns deathly cold.

(Source: Harper Voyager)

Harper Voyager Impulse

CHOP Line: The Sim War #4 by Henry V. O'Neil (Harper Voyager Impulse 27 December 2016 / $6.99) - Product Description: Things are looking grim for the human Alliance against the Sims. A revolution on Celestia is draining the war zone of badly needed troops, and Alliance Chairwoman Reena Mortas is being blamed for the debacle. Her husband and predecessor, Chairman Olech Mortas, remains missing in the faster-than-light mode of travel known as the Step.

Jander and Ayliss Mortas are putting their lives on the line against the Sims, he with the hardcore Orphan Brigade, and she with the elite, all-female Banshees. But when the mysterious alien shapeshifter from Jander's past reappears, he is sent on a secret mission that could possibly allow humanity to finally communicate with the Sims—and end the war.

Meanwhile, Reena's attempts to find her missing husband are yielding surprising revelations from inside the Step that could answer two of humanity's greatest questions. Who gave us the Step? What is making the Sims? In the penultimate book of the Sim War series, the truth of these hidden space entities begins to emerge.

(Source: Harper Voyager Impulse)

Orbit

Babylon's Ashes (The Expanse, #6) by James S.A. Corey (Orbit 06 December 2016 / $27.00) - Product Description: The sixth novel in James S.A. Corey's Expanse series--now a major television series from Syfy. A revolution brewing for generations has begun in fire. It will end in blood.

The Free Navy--a violent group of Belters in black-market military ships--has crippled the Earth and begun a campaign of piracy and violence among the outer planets. The colony ships heading for the thousand new worlds on the far side of the alien ring gates are easy prey, and no single navy remains strong enough to protect them.

James Holden and his crew know the strengths and weaknesses of this new force better than anyone. Outnumbered and outgunned, the embattled remnants of the old political powers call on the Rocinante for a desperate mission to reach Medina Station at the heart of the gate network.

But the new alliances are as flawed as the old, and the struggle for power has only just begun. As the chaos grows, an alien mystery deepens. Pirate fleets, mutiny, and betrayal may be the least of the Rocinante's problems. And in the uncanny spaces past the ring gates, the choices of a few damaged and desperate people may determine the fate of more than just humanity.

(see review)

Take Back the Sky (War Dogs) by Greg Bear (Orbit 20 December 2016 / $26.00) - Product Description: The conclusion to an epic interstellar trilogy of war from master of science fiction, Greg Bear.

Marooned beneath the icy, waxy crust of Saturn's moon, Titan, Skyrine Michael Venn and his comrades face double danger from Earth and from the Antagonists, both intent on wiping out their growing awareness of what the helpful alien Gurus are really doing in our solar system.

Haunted by their dead and by the ancient archives of our Bug ancestors, the former combatants must now team up with their enemies, forget their indoctrination and their training, and journey far beyond Pluto to the fabled Planet X, the Antagonists' home world, a Sun-Planet in the comet-generating Kuiper belt. It's here that Master Sergeant Venn will finally understand his destiny and the destiny of every intelligent being in the solar system-including the enigmatic Gurus.

(Source: Orbit)

Pocket Books

The Face of the Unknown (Star Trek: Original Series) by Christopher L. Bennett (Pocket Books 27 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: Continuing the 50th anniversary celebration of Star Trek--a brand-new novel of The Original Series featuring James T. Kirk, Spock, and the crew of the USS Enterprise!

Investigating a series of violent raids by a mysterious predatory species, Captain James T. Kirk discovers that these events share a startling connection with the First Federation, a friendly but secretive civilization contacted early in the USS Enterprise's five-year mission. Traveling to the First Federation in search of answers, the Enterprise suddenly comes under attack from these strange marauders. Seeking refuge, the starship finds its way to the true home of the First Federation, an astonishing collection of worlds hidden from the galaxy beyond. The inhabitants of this isolated realm are wary of outsiders, and some accuse Kirk and his crew for bringing the wrath of their ancient enemy down upon them. When an attempt to stave off disaster goes tragically wrong, Kirk is held fully accountable, and Commander Spock learns there are even deeper forces that threaten this civilization. If Kirk and Spock cannot convince the First Federation's leaders to overcome their fears, the resulting catastrophe could doom them all!

(Source: Pocket Books)

Pyr

Judgment at Verdant Court (WORLD OF PRIME) by M.C. Planck (Pyr 06 December 2016 / $17.00) - Product Description: The continuing adventures of Christopher Sinclair, mechanical engineer turned priest of war. Our hero faces evil on two fronts: a friend turned murderer by the power of magic, and an entire nation of murderous wolf-men. One he has to save from the vengeful clutches of the Druids, and the other from the mercenary greed of the king. But the true enemy is despair: the shame of a man who has done terrible things, and the madness of a man who is doing terrible violence. Can Christopher pick a path through broken and bloody bodies that still leaves room for goodness?

(Source: Pyr)

Subterranean

Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi by John Scalzi (Subterranean 31 December 2016 / $40.00) - Product Description: The ex-planet Pluto has a few choice words about being thrown out of the solar system. A listing of alternate histories tells you all the various ways Hitler has died. A lawyer sues an interplanetary union for dangerous working conditions. And four artificial intelligences explain, in increasingly worrying detail, how they plan not to destroy humanity.

Welcome to Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi. These four stories, along with fourteen other pieces, have one thing in common: They're short, sharp, and to the point—science fiction in miniature, with none of the stories longer than 2,300 words. But in that short space exist entire universes, absurd situations, and the sort of futuristic humor that propelled Scalzi to a Hugo with his novel Redshirts. Not to mention yogurt taking over the world (as it would).

Spanning the years from 1991 to 2016, this collection is a quarter century of Scalzi at his briefest and best, and features four never-before-printed stories, exclusive to this collection: "Morning Announcements at the Lucas Interspecies School for Troubled Youth", "Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back", "Important Holidays on Gronghu", and "The AI Are Absolutely Positively Without a Doubt Not Here to End Humanity, Honest".

(see review)

Tor Books

Last Year by Robert Charles Wilson (Tor Books 06 December 2016 / $27.99) - Book Description: Two events made September 1st a memorable day for Jesse Callum. First, he lost a pair of Oakley sunglasses. Second, he saved the life of President Ulysses S. Grant.

It's the near future, and the technology exists to open doorways into the past--but not our past, not exactly. Each "past" is effectively an alternate world, identical to ours but only up to the date on which we access it. And a given "past" can only be reached once. After a passageway is open, it's the only road to that particular past; once closed, it can't be reopened.

A passageway has been opened to a version of late 19th-century Ohio. It's been in operation for most of a decade, but it's no secret, on either side of time. A small city has grown up around it to entertain visitors from our time, and many locals earn a good living catering to them. But like all such operations, it has a shelf life; as the "natives" become more sophisticated, their version of the "past" grows less attractive as a destination.

Jesse Callum is a native. And he knows the passageway will be closing soon. He's fallen in love with a woman from our time, and he means to follow her back--no matter whose secrets he has to expose in order to do it.

(see review)

The Nature of a Pirate by A.M. Dellamonica (Tor Books 06 December 2016 / $28.99) - Product Description: The Nature of a Pirate is the third book in acclaimed author, A.M. Dellmonica's high seas, Stormwrack series. The Lambda Award nominated series begins with Child of a Hidden Sea.

Marine videographer and biologist Sophie Hansa has spent the past few months putting her knowledge of science to use on the strange world of Stormwrack, solving seemingly impossible cases where no solution had been found before.

When a series of ships within the Fleet of Nations, the main governing body that rules a loose alliance of island nation states, are sunk by magical sabotage, Sophie is called on to find out why. While surveying the damage of the most recent wreck, she discovers a strange-looking creature--a fright, a wooden oddity born from a banished spell--causing chaos within the ship. The question is who would put this creature aboard and why?

The quest for answers finds Sophie magically bound to an abolitionist from Sylvanner, her father's homeland. Now Sophie and the crew of the Nightjar must discover what makes this man so unique while outrunning magical assassins and villainous pirates, and stopping the people responsible for the attacks on the Fleet before they strike again.

(see review)

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