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US Books Received- 04/2017  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

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor) by Mark Lawrence (Ace 04 April 2017 / $27.00) - Product Description: At the Convent of Sweet Mercy, young girls are raised to be killers. In some few children the old bloods show, gifting rare talents that can be honed to deadly or mystic effect. But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don't truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls.

A bloodstained child of nine falsely accused of murder, guilty of worse, Nona is stolen from the shadow of the noose. It takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist, but under Abbess Glass's care there is much more to learn than the arts of death. Among her class Nona finds a new family--and new enemies.

Despite the security and isolation of the convent, Nona's secret and violent past finds her out, drawing with it the tangled politics of a crumbling empire. Her arrival sparks old feuds to life, igniting vicious struggles within the church and even drawing the eye of the emperor himself.

Beneath a dying sun, Nona Grey must master her inner demons, then loose them on those who stand in her way.

(see review)

Baen

1636: Mission to the Mughals (Ring of Fire) by Eric Flint and Griffin Barber (Baen 04 April 2017 / $25.00) - Product Description: The latest entry in the multiple Ring of Fire series created by Eric Flint. After carving a free state for itself in war-torn 17th century Europe, citizens of the modern town of Grantville, West Virginia go on a quest for the makings of medicines that have yet to be invented in 17th century Europe.

The United States of Europe, the new nation formed by an alliance between the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus and the West Virginians hurled back in time by a cosmic accident--the Ring of Fire--is beset by enemies on all sides. The U.S.E. needs a reliable source of opiates for those wounded in action, as well as other goods not available in Europe. The Prime Minister of the U.S.E., Mike Stearns, sends a mission to the Mughal Empire of India with the aim of securing a trade deal with the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan.

The mission consists of a mixed group of up-timers and down-timers, including paramedics, a squad of soldiers with railroad-building experience, a spy and a pair of swindlers. On reaching India the mission finds a grieving emperor obsessed with building the Taj Mahal, harem-bound princesses, warrior princes, and an Afghan adventurer embroiled in the many plots of the Mughal court.

The emperor's sons are plotting against each other and war is brewing with the newly risen Sikh faith. But in the midst of these intrigues, the U.S.E. mission finds an ally: the brilliant and beautiful Jahanara Begum, the eldest daughter of Shah Jahan. She is the mistress of her father's harem and a power in her own right, who wishes to learn more of these women who are free in a way she can scarcely comprehend.

When the Emperor learns of what befalls his empire and children in the time that was, he makes every effort to change their fate. But emperors, princesses, and princes are no more immune to the inexorable waves of change created by the Ring of Fire than are the Americans themselves.

(see review)

Blood Enemies (Under Jurisdiction) by Susan R Matthews (Baen 04 April 2017 / $16.00) - Product Description: Andrej Koscuisko is a former Fleet Medical Officer for the enormous totalitarian star empire, the Jurisdiction. But when he served in the Fleet, Andrej's real job was not medicine, at least not primarily medicine, but to act as a torturer of prisoners, whether they had information to give or not. To help him in his duties, Andrej was attended by "bond involuntaries"--slaves--men he'd come to look upon as friends and family. Finally, enough was enough. Andrej absconded with six of his Fleet-provided security slaves and sent them into the no-man's land of Gonebeyond Space--beyond the reach of the Jurisdiction's tyrannical Bench.

Now The Angel of Death, a savage terrorist organization from Andrej's system of origin, means to make Gonebeyond its own. But its ancestral enemy--the secret service of the Dolgorukij church, the Malcontent--has planted a double agent on the inside of the Angel of Death. Finally, this interstellar menace might be destroyed forever.

But there is trouble. Andrej Koscuisko wasn't expected to escape from protective custody at Safehaven Medical Center and come looking for his freed bond involuntaries, and now the Malcontent faces Andrej's unplanned intervention at the worst possible time. Now the only way to save the mission and bring down an organization that has slain whole systems of men, women, and children is for Andrej to embrace the savagery in his own heart and once again take on the role of Judicial torturer--a role that he had fought long and hard to escape. He must deploy every dirty trick and brutal stratagem he knows against the Malcontent agent whose secret he has unwittingly betrayed.

(see review)

Imperative (Starfire) by Steve White and Charles E. Gannon (Baen 25 April 2017 / $7.99) - Product Description: Steve White joins with Charles E. Gannon to carve another notch in the Starfire adventure saga.

The war with the Arduans--profoundly alien invaders who originally arrived in STL ships--is over. Most of those attackers are now probationary (and very productive) citizens of the Rim Federation.

However, many among the Arduans' warrior caste have neither accepted defeat, nor the personhood of any of the other intelligence races. Their leader, the ruthless admiral of the second Arduan exodus--Amunsit--is in firm control of the Zarzuela system. Along with a fifth column among the peaceable Arduans, she hopes to find allies in subsequent refugee fleets that abandoned their race's now-dead home system long ago.

But as the victors' diplomats attempt to soothe tensions with these warlike neighbors, two heroes of the last war—veteran Admiral Ian Trevayne and young trouble-shooter Ossian Wethermere--suspect they have stumbled upon a deeper Arduan plot: one which could shatter the Pan-Sentient Union, and perhaps interstellar civilization itself.

Shadow's Blade (Case Files of Justis Fearsson) by David B. Coe (Baen 25 April 2017 / $7.99) - Product Description: Book #3 in The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, a fantasy series from David B. Coe. A hardboiled, magic-using private detective fights dark sorcerers in Phoenix, Arizona.

Justis Fearsson is a weremyste and a private detective. He wields potent magic, but every month, on the full moon, he loses his mind. His battles with insanity have already cost him his job as a cop; he can't afford to let them interfere with his latest case.

Phoenix has become ground zero in a magical war, and an army of werecreatures, blood sorcerers, and necromancers has made Jay its number one target. When he is hired to track down a woman who has gone missing with her two young children, he has a hunch that the dark ones are to blame. But then he's also brought in by the police to help with a murder investigation, and all the evidence implicates this same woman. Soon he is caught up in a deadly race to find not only the young family, but also an ancient weapon that could prove decisive in the looming conflict. Can he keep himself alive long enough to reach the woman and her kids before his enemies do? And can he claim the weapon before the people he loves, and the world he knows, are lost in a storm of flame, blood, and darkest sorcery?

The Case Files of Justis Fearsson: Spell Blind and His Father's Eyes.

The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Vol. 1 by Gordon R Dickson (Baen 04 April 2017 / $16.00) - Product Description: The best of the best from a legendary master of science fiction, the first of two volumes. The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Volume I gathers together fourteen stories, predominantly from the first half of legendary science fiction and fantasy writer Gordon R. Dickson's career, ranging from the early 1950s through the 1960s, including tales dragons, dolphins, aliens, werewolves, mutants and humans trying to make sense of an infinitely bewildering universe. A maiden aunt is suddenly given superpowers. An alien who looks like a large, sentient rabbit makes an ominous announcement which makes no sense from behind an impenetrable force shield. Humans besieged by an alien enemy refuse, against all reason, to give up fighting. And much more, in stories running the gamut from exciting adventure to stark tragedy to hysterical comedy. Plus the never before published "Love Story", written for Harlan Ellison's legendary, but never published anthology, The Last Dangerous Visions. And stay tuned for The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Volume II with another generous display of Dickson's virtuosity, covering his brilliant career from 1970s to the century's end.

Unforgettable by Eric James Stone (Baen 25 April 2017 / $7.99) - Product Description: Out of sight, out of mind. Due to a fluke of quantum mechanics, no one can remember Nat Morgan for more than one minute--not even his boss at the CIA.

Out of sight, out of mind. In the near future, a fluke of quantum mechanics renders Nat Morgan utterly forgettable. No one can remember he exists for more than a minute after he's gone. It's a useful ability for his career as a CIA agent, even if he has to keep reminding his boss that he exists.

Nat's attempt to steal a quantum chip prototype is thwarted when a former FSB agent, Yelena Semyonova, attempts to steal the same technology for the Russion mob.

Along with a brilliant Iranian physicist who wants to defect, Nat and Yelena must work together to stop a ruthless billionaire from finishing a quantum supercomputer that will literally control the fate of the world.

(see review)

Ballantine Books

The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood) by J.R. Ward (Ballantine Books 04 April 2017 / $28.00) - Product Description: Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier's fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.

Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor's life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear--even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.

As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love ... or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.

Crown Books for Young Readers

Missing by Kelley Armstrong (Crown Books for Young Readers 18 April 2017 / $20.99) - Product Description: The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve's End is that soon she'll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There's nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They're better off taking a chance elsewhere.

What Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.

But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they're all missing?

(see review)

Del Rey

Cold Welcome (Vatta's Peace) by Elizabeth Moon (Del Rey 11 April 2017 / $28.00) - Product Description: Nebula Award–winning author Elizabeth Moon makes a return to science fiction with a series featuring Kylara Vatta, the hero of her Vatta's War sequence.

Summoned to the home planet of her family's business empire, space-fleet commander Kylara Vatta is told to expect a hero's welcome. But instead she is thrown into danger unlike any other she has faced and finds herself isolated, unable to communicate with the outside world, commanding a motley group of unfamiliar troops, and struggling day by day to survive in a deadly environment with sabotaged gear. Only her undeniable talent for command can give her ragtag band a fighting chance.

Yet even as Ky leads her team from one crisis to another, her family and friends refuse to give up hope, endeavoring to mount a rescue from halfway around the planet--a task that is complicated as Ky and her supporters find secrets others will kill to protect: a conspiracy infecting both government and military that threatens not only her own group's survival but her entire home planet.

(see review)

Harper Voyager

The Dastardly Miss Lizzie (Electric Empire) by Viola Carr (Harper Voyager 18 April 2017 / $15.99 / $9.99) - Product Description: Dr. Eliza Jekyll must turn to her dark side, Miss Lizzie Hyde, to stop a madman who's targeting London's most important scientists and sorcerers, terrorizing the city with dark magic, in this third Electric Empire novel—a dazzlingly original steampunk fantasy set in the gritty world of alternate Victorian London, with echoes of H.G. Wells's classic, The Time Machine.

Being two people in one body isn't easy. Metropolitan Police crime scene physician Eliza Jekyll is trying to maintain a semblance of control, even as her rebellious second self, Lizzie, grows increasingly wild—threatening the respectable Eliza's reputation and her marriage to Remy Lafayette, the Royal Society investigator and occasional lycanthrope. With England on the brink of war, Remy's away in sorcery-riddled Paris on a secretive mission that grows ever more sinister. Has he been an enemy agent all along? Or is coping with her secret divided self finally driving Eliza mad?

Eliza needs her mind clear and sharp if she's to catch an evil genius who is killing eminent scientists. The chase uncovers a murky world of forbidden books, secret laboratories, and a cabal of fanatical inventors whose work could change the world--or destroy it--and who may hold answers to Eliza's mysterious past.

As sorcery-wielding terrorists attack London, Eliza discovers her own enemies are closing in, driving her to desperate measures--enlisting the aid of the wily, resourceful, mercurial Lizzie--to thwart the killer. But Lizzie's got her own life now, and true to her nature, will resort to the devious and diabolical to keep it. Even if it means throwing Eliza to the wolves, and letting the world burn.

(see review)

McFarland

The Children's Ghost Story in America by Sean Ferrier-Watson (McFarland 11 April 2017 / $35.00) - Product Description: Ghost stories have played a prominent role in childhood. Circulated around playgrounds and whispered in slumber parties, their history in American literature is little known and seldom discussed by scholars. This book explores the fascinating origins and development of these tales, focusing on the social and historical factors that shaped them and gave birth to the genre.

Ghost stories have existed for centuries but have been published specifically for children for only about 200 years. Early on, supernatural ghost stories were rare--authors and publishers, fearing they might adversely affect young minds, presented stories in which the ghost was always revealed as a fraud. These tales dominated children's publishing in the 19th century but the 20th century saw a change in perspective and the supernatural ghost story flourished.

St. Martin's Griffin

Dogs of War (Joe Ledger) by Jonathan Maberry (St. Martin's Griffin 25 April 2017 / $15.99) - Product Description: Dogs of War: Robots are no longer science fiction. Autonomous, programmed to react like animals: fast, relentless, deadly. From microscopic nanobots to massive self-guided aircraft. This technology is here, it's assessable, and it's dangerous. What's even scarier is that almost anyone can get their hands on it.

A freelance terrorist uses the latest generation of robot dogs to deliver WMDs into cities across America. Sophisticated military weapons systems turn on their human masters. A technological apocalypse is coming and we may be too late to stop it.

Joe Ledger and a newly rebuilt Department of Military Sciences square off against this new and terrible threat. Dogs of War pits Joe against a merciless new enemy and an army of techno-terrorists in a race to prevent a global destruction.

Let loose the Dogs of War.

Subterranean

Final Girls by Mira Grant (Subterranean 30 April 2017 / $40.00) - Product Description: What if you could fix the worst parts of yourself by confronting your worst fears?

Dr. Jennifer Webb has invented proprietary virtual reality technology that purports to heal psychological wounds by running clients through scenarios straight out of horror movies and nightmares. In a carefully controlled environment, with a medical cocktail running through their veins, sisters might develop a bond they've been missing their whole lives--while running from the bogeyman through a simulated forest. But...can real change come so easily?

Esther Hoffman doubts it. Esther has spent her entire journalism career debunking pseudoscience, after phony regression therapy ruined her father's life. She's determined to unearth the truth about Dr. Webb's budding company. Dr. Webb's willing to let her, of course, for reasons of her own. What better advertisement could she get than that of a convinced skeptic? But Esther's not the only one curious about how this technology works. Enter real-world threats just as frightening as those created in the lab. Dr. Webb and Esther are at odds, but they may also be each other's only hope of survival.

(see review)

Tor Books

Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steele (Tor Books 11 April 2017 / $25.99) - Product Description: Allen Steele, author of Arkwright, gives us a thrilling piece of SF pulp with Avengers of the Moon. Curt Newton has spent most of his life hidden from the rest of humankind, being raised by a robot, an android, and the disembodied brain of a renowned scientist. This unlikely trio of guardians has kept his existence a closely guarded secret after the murder of Curt's parents.

Curt's innate curiosity and nose for trouble inadvertently lead him into a plot to destabilize the Solar Coalition and assassinate the president. There's only one way to uncover the evil mastermind--Curt must become Captain Future.

(see review)

Skullsworn by Brian Staveley (Tor Books 25 April 2017 / ) - Product Description: Pyrre Lakatur doesn't like the word skullsworn. It fails to capture the faith and grace, the peace and beauty of her devotion to the God of Death. She is not, to her mind, an assassin, not a murderer--she is a priestess. At least, she will be a priestess if she manages to pass her final trial.

The problem isn't the killing. Pyrre has been killing and training to kill, studying with some of the most deadly men and women in the world, since she was eight. The problem, strangely, is love. To pass her trial, Pyrre has ten days to kill the ten people enumerated in an ancient song, including "the one you love / who will not come again".

Pyrre is not sure she's ever been in love. If she were a member of a different religious order, a less devoted, disciplined order, she might cheat. The priests of Ananshael, however, don't look kindly on cheaters. If Pyrre fails to find someone to love, or fails to kill that someone, they will give her to the god. Pyrre's not afraid to die, but she hates to quit, hates to fail, and so, with a month before her trial begins, she returns to the city of her birth, the place where she long ago offered an abusive father to the god and abandoned a battered brother--in the hope of finding love...and ending it on the edge of her sword. (Also available as eBook.)

(see review)

The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase by Greg Cox (Tor Books 25 April 2017 / $15.99) - Product Description: For millennia, the Librarians have secretly protected the world by keeping watch over dangerous magical relics. Cataloging and safeguarding everything from Excalibur to Pandora's Box, they stand between humanity and those who would use the relics for evil.

Stories have power. In 1719, Elizabeth Goose published a collection of rhyming spells as a children's book, creating a spellbook of terrifying power. The Librarian of that age managed to dispose of all copies of the book except one, which remained in the possession of Elizabeth Goose and her family, temporarily averting any potential disaster.

Now, strange things are happening around the world. A tree-trimmer in Florida is blown off his elevated perch by a freak gust of wind, a woman in rural Pennsylvania is attacked by mutant rodents without any eyes, and a college professor in England finds herself trapped inside a prize pumpkin at a local farmer's market. Baird and her team of Librarians suspect that the magic of Mother Goose is again loose in the world, and with Flynn AWOL--again it is up to Cassandra, Ezekiel, and Stone to track down the missing spellbook before the true power of the rhymes can be unleashed.

(see review)

Walkaway by Cory Doctorow (Tor Books 25 April 2017 / ) - Product Description: Cory Doctorow's first adult novel in eight years: an epic tale of revolution, love, post-scarcity, and the end of death.

Hubert Vernon Rudolph Clayton Irving Wilson Alva Anton Jeff Harley Timothy Curtis Cleveland Cecil Ollie Edmund Eli Wiley Marvin Ellis Espinoza--known to his friends as Hubert, Etc--was too old to be at that Communist party.

But after watching the breakdown of modern society, he really has no where left to be—except amongst the dregs of disaffected youth who party all night and heap scorn on the sheep they see on the morning commute. After falling in with Natalie, an ultra-rich heiress trying to escape the clutches of her repressive father, the two decide to give up fully on formal society—and walk away.

After all, now that anyone can design and print the basic necessities of life--food, clothing, shelter--from a computer, there seems to be little reason to toil within the system.

It's still a dangerous world out there, the empty lands wrecked by climate change, dead cities hollowed out by industrial flight, shadows hiding predators animal and human alike. Still, when the initial pioneer walkaways flourish, more people join them. Then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death. Now it's war – a war that will turn the world upside down.

(see review)

Within the Sanctuary of Wings (Memoir by Lady Trent) by Marie Brennan (Tor Books 25 April 2017 / ) - Product Description: Within the Sanctuary of Wings is the conclusion to Marie Brennan's thrilling Lady Trent Memoirs.

After nearly five decades (and, indeed, the same number of volumes), one might think they were well-acquainted with the Lady Isabella Trent--dragon naturalist, scandalous explorer, and perhaps as infamous for her company and feats of daring as she is famous for her discoveries and additions to the scientific field.

And yet--after her initial adventure in the mountains of Vystrana, and her exploits in the depths of war-torn Eriga, to the high seas aboard The Basilisk, and then to the inhospitable deserts of Akhia--the Lady Trent has captivated hearts along with fierce minds. This concluding volume will finally reveal the truths behind her most notorious adventure--scaling the tallest peak in the world, buried behind the territory of Scirland's enemies--and what she discovered there, within the Sanctuary of Wings.

At the Publisher's request, this title in eBook format is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

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