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US Books Received- 09/2017  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

Baen

Forged in Blood (Freehold) by (Baen 05 September 2017 / $25.00) - Product Description: From the distant past to the far future, those who carry the sword rack up commendations for bravery. They are men and women who, like the swords they carry, have been forged in blood. These are their stories.

In medieval Japan, a surly ronin is called upon to defend a village against a thieving tax collector who soon finds out it's not wise to anger an old, tired man. In the ugliest fighting in the Pacific Theater, an American sergeant and a Japanese lieutenant must face each other, and themselves. A former US Marine chooses sides with outnumbered Indonesian refugees against an invading army from Java. When her lover is stolen by death, a sergeant fighting on a far-flung world vows vengeance that will become legendary. And, when a planet fragments in violent chaos, seven Freeholders volunteer to help protect another nation's embassy against a horde.

Contributors: Zachary Hill, Larry Correia, Michael Massa, John F. Holmes, Rob Reed, Dale Flowers, Tom Kratman, Leo Champion, Peter Grant, Christopher L. Smith, Jason Cordova, Tony Daniel, Kacey Ezell, and Michael Z. Williamson.

Iron Angels by Eric Flint and Alistair Kimble (Baen 05 September 2017 / $25.00) - Product Description: A bizarre kidnapping case leads FBI Special Agent Jasper Wilde into the mysterious world of a strange religious cult and even stranger criminals. At the scene of the kidnapping itself, a frightening apparition is seen. Then, a hideously-mutilated corpse is found nearby. Something wicked has come to the normal-seeming Chicago suburbs.

It doesn't take long before the FBI agents realize that something truly extraordinary is unfolding in northwest Indiana—and that, whatever it is, the area's huge steel industry is somehow at the center.

Jasper is joined by Supervisory Special Agent Temple Black. Black has recently been put in charge of a new unit, the Scientific Anomalies Group, created to analyze and handle peculiar cases which might be on the periphery of national security.

Another cult is discovered, although this one seems to be opposed to the criminal activities taking place. Further investigation, however, just produces more in the way of mystery. The agents consult with scientists and theologians, but no one has any idea what might be producing the situation.

Until, finally, the cults erupt in open warfare. As the FBI agents race to intervene and finally put a stop to the horrors, they come to understand and accept that something very ancient and very evil has surfaced in the world—or, perhaps, something that is very, very alien.

The Amber Arrow (Wulf's Saga, #2) by Tony Daniel (Baen 05 September 2017 / $18.99) - Product Description: Sequel to The Dragon Hammer the saga continues.

Lord Wulf von Dunstig is in deep trouble. He is surrounded by invading enemies and kingdoms fallen into chaos. Along with dealing with the problems of a realm he never expected to rule, Wulf is in love with the elf maiden Saeunn Amberstone. Saeunn once saved his land. Now she has lost her star-soul and is dying.

Ursel Keiler wishes she could control her errant heart as easily as she can guide the flight of an arrow to a target. She tries to escapes into the woodlands she adores, only to be pulled back by a band of desperate and brave warriors who need her help. But aiding them will lead Ursel straight to Wulf von Dunstig, and to the heartache she is fleeing.

Yet evil cares nothing for human feelings. Now Wulf, Ursel, and their friends must find a way to unite the land of Shenandoah against a powerful Roman inquisitor. He not only controls an Imperial Legion, he is also toying with magic that threatens the foundations of existence itself. Yet there is hope even in the deepest and darkest places of the world, and all may depend upon Wulf and Ursel forging a powerful weapon drawn from the heart of a dragon.

The Bronze Skies (Skolian Empire) by Catherine Asaro (Baen 05 September 2017 / $16.00) - Product Description: Major Bhaajan achieved the impossible. Born to the Undercity, the slums below the City of Cries on the planet Raylicon, she broke free from crushing poverty and crime to become a military officer with Imperial Space Command. Now retired from military duty, she walks the mean streets of Undercity as a private investigator. And she is about to embark on her most challenging case yet.

Summoned by no less than the Ruby Pharaoh herself, Major Bhaajan is tasked with finding a killer. But this is no ordinary murderer. The Ruby Pharaoh witnessed a Jagernaut cut down Assembly Councilor Tap Benton--which shouldn't have been possible. The Jagernauts are the elite of the elite soldiers in the Imperial Space Command. What's more, the spinal node implanted in all Jagernauts should have prevented the murder. But the Ruby Pharaoh is sure of what she saw, and she has reason to believe that the Jagernaut will kill again.

Now, Major Bhaajan must hunt down a killer before it is too late. To do so, she must return to the one place on Raylicon she knows best: Undercity.

Berkley

The Hunt (Devil's Isle) by Chloe Neill (Berkley 26 September 2017 / $15.00) - Product Description: When bounty hunter Liam Quinn discovered that Claire Connolly was a Sensitive and infected with magic, he should have turned her in to be locked up in the prison district known as Devil's Isle. Instead, he helped her learn to control her power and introduced her to an underground group of Paranormals and humans who know the truth about the war and those who fought it.

Now the weight of Liam's own secrets has forced him into hiding. When a government agent is killed and Claire discovers that Liam is the prime suspect, she races to find him before the government can. But she'll discover proving his innocence is no simple matter. Their enemies are drawing closer, and time is running out....

Crown Books for Young Readers

Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad) by Scott Reintgen (Crown Books for Young Readers 12 September 2017 / $17.99) - Product Description: Every life has a price in this SF thriller that has the nonstop action of The Maze Runner and the high-stakes space setting of Illuminae . This is the first in a new three-book series called the Nyxia Triad that will take a group of broken teens to the far reaches of the universe and force them to decide what they're willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune.

Emmett Atwater isn't just leaving Detroit; he's leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family. Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden--a planet that Babel has kept hidden--where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel's ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won't forever compromise what it means to be human.

DAW

The Brightest Fell (October Daye #11) by Seanan McGuire (DAW 05 September 2017 / $26.00) - Product Description: Things are slow, and October "Toby" Daye couldn't be happier about that. The elf-shot cure has been approved, Arden Windermere is settling into her position as Queen in the Mists, and Toby doesn't have anything demanding her attention except for wedding planning and spending time with her family.

Maybe she should have realized that it was too good to last.

When Toby’s mother, Amandine, appears on her doorstep with a demand for help, refusing her seems like the right thing to do ... until Amandine starts taking hostages, and everything changes. Now Toby doesn't have a choice about whether or not she does as her mother asks. Not with Jazz and Tybalt's lives hanging in the balance. But who could possibly help her find a pureblood she's never met, one who's been missing for over a hundred years?

Enter Simon Torquill, elf-shot enemy turned awakened, uneasy ally. Together, the two of them must try to solve one of the greatest mysteries in the Mists: what happened to Amandine's oldest daughter, August, who disappeared in 1906.

This is one missing person case Toby can’t afford to get wrong.

Harper Voyager

An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King (Harper Voyager 12 September 2017 / $15.99) - Product Description: An Excess Male is the chilling dystopian tale of politics, inequality, marriage, love, and rebellion, set in a near-future China, that further explores the themes of the classic The Handmaid's Tale and When She Woke.

Under the One Child Policy, everyone plotted to have a son. Now 40 million of them can't find wives. China's One Child Policy and its cultural preference for male heirs have created a society overrun by 40 million unmarriageable men. By the year 2030, more than twenty-five percent of men in their late thirties will not have a family of their own. An Excess Male is one such leftover man's quest for love and family under a State that seeks to glorify its past mistakes and impose order through authoritarian measures, reinvigorated Communist ideals, and social engineering.

Wei-guo holds fast to the belief that as long as he continues to improve himself, his small business, and in turn, his country, his chance at love will come. He finally saves up the dowry required to enter matchmaking talks at the lowest rung as a third husband--the maximum allowed by law. Only a single family--one harboring an illegal spouse--shows interest, yet with May-ling and her two husbands, Wei-guo feels seen, heard, and connected to like never before. But everyone and everything--walls, streetlights, garbage cans--are listening, and men, excess or not, are dispensable to the State. Wei-guo must reach a new understanding of patriotism and test the limits of his love and his resolve in order to save himself and this family he has come to hold dear.

(see review)

Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill (Harper Voyager 05 September 2017 / $27.99 / $14.99) - Product Description: A scavenger robot wanders in the wasteland created by a war that has destroyed humanity in this evocative post-apocalyptic "robot western" from the critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, and noted film critic.

It's been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI--One World Intelligence--the shared consciousness of millions of robots, uploaded into one huge mainframe brain. But not all robots are willing to cede their individuality--their personality--for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.

One of these resisters is Brittle, a scavenger robot trying to keep a deteriorating mind and body functional in a world that has lost all meaning. Although unable to experience emotions like a human, Brittle is haunted by the terrible crimes the robot population perpetrated on humanity. As Brittle roams the Sea of Rust, a large swath of territory that was once the Midwest, the loner robot slowly comes to terms with horrifyingly raw and vivid memories—and nearly unbearable guilt.

Sea of Rust is both a harsh story of survival and an optimistic adventure. A vividly imagined portrayal of ultimate destruction and desperate tenacity, it boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, yet where a humanlike AI strives to find purpose among the ruins.

Simon Pulse

Light Years by Emily Ziff Griffin (Simon Pulse 05 September 2017 / $17.99) - Product Description: Luisa is ready for her life to start. Five minutes ago. And she could be on her way, as her extraordinary coding skills have landed her a finalist spot for a fellowship sponsored by Thomas Bell, the world's most brilliant and mercurial tech entrepreneur. Being chosen means funding, mentorship, and most importantly, freedom from her overbearing mother. Maybe Lu will even figure out how to control the rare condition that plagues her: whenever her emotions run high, her physical senses kick into overload, with waves of color, sound, taste, and touch flooding her body.

But Luisa's life is thrust into chaos as a deadly virus sweeps across the globe, killing thousands and sending her father into quarantine. When Lu receives a cryptic message from someone who might hold the key to stopping the epidemic, she knows she must do something to save her family--and the world.

Subterranean

River's Edge by James P. Blaylock (Subterranean 30 September 2017 / $40.00) - Product Description: The body of a girl washes up on a mud bank along the edge of the River Medway amid a litter of poisoned fish and sea birds, casting an accusing shadow upon the deadly secrets of the Majestic Paper Mill and its wealthy owners. Simple answers to the mystery begin to suggest insidious secrets, and very quickly Langdon St. Ives and his wife Alice are drawn into a web of conspiracies involving murder, a suspicious suicide, and ritual sacrifice at a lonely and ancient cluster of standing stones. Abruptly St. Ives's life is complicated beyond the edge of human reason, and he finds himself battling to save Alice's life and the ruination of his friends, each step forward leading him further into the entanglement, a dark labyrinth from which there is no apparent exit.

(see review)

The Emperor and the Maula by Robert Silverberg (Subterranean 30 September 2017 / $25.00) - Product Description: Robert Silverberg's The Emperor and the Maula was written in 1992 for an aborted publishing project and has been printed only once, in a radically abbreviated version. This deluxe new edition restores more than 15,000 words of missing text, allowing us to see, for the first time, the author's original intent. The result is both a genuine publishing event and an unexpected gift for Silverberg's legion of readers.

The Emperor and the Maula is Silverberg's Scheherazade tale, the story of a woman telling a story in order to extend--and ultimately preserve--her life. The Scheherazade of this striking story is Laylah Walis, denizen of a far-future Earth which has been invaded and conquered by a star-faring race known as the Ansaarans. Laylah is a "maula", a barbarian forbidden, under pain of death, to set foot on the sacred home worlds of the imperial conquerors. Knowing the risks, Laylah travels to Haraar, home of the galactic emperor himself. Once there, she delays her execution by telling the emperor a story—and telling it well.

That story, the tale within a tale that dominates this book, is, in fact, Laylah's own story. It is also the story of the beleaguered planet Earth, of people struggling, often futilely, to oppose their alien masters and restore their lost independence. Colorful, seamlessly written, and always powerfully imagined, The Emperor and the Maula shows us Grandmaster Silverberg at his representative best. This is science fiction as it should be written, but all too seldom is. No one does it better than Robert Silverberg. No one ever has.

Tachyon Publications

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip (Tachyon Publications 19 September 2017 / $14.95) - Product Description: Young Sybel, the heiress of powerful wizards, needs the company of no-one outside her gates. In her exquisite stone mansion, she is attended by exotic, magical beasts: Riddle-master Cyrin the boar; the treasure-starved dragon Gyld; Gules the Lyon, tawny master of the Southern Deserts; Ter, the fiercely vengeful falcon; Moriah, feline Lady of the Night. Sybel only lacks the exquisite and mysterious Liralen, which continues to elude her most powerful enchantments.

But when a soldier bearing an infant arrives, Sybel discovers that the world of man and magic is full of both love and deceit--and the possibility of more power than she can possibly imagine.

Thomas Dunne Books

Magicians Impossible by Brad Abraham (Thomas Dunne Books 12 September 2017 / $27.99) - Product Description: Twenty-something bartender Jason Bishop's world is shattered when his estranged father commits suicide, but the greater shock comes when he learns his father was a secret agent in the employ of the Invisible Hand; an ancient society of spies wielding magic in a centuries-spanning war. Now the Golden Dawn--the shadowy cabal of witches and warlocks responsible for Daniel Bishop's murder, and the death of Jason's mother years before--have Jason in their sights. His survival will depend on mastering his own dormant magic abilities; provided he makes it through the training.

From New York, to Paris, to worlds between worlds, Jason's journey through the realm of magic will be fraught with peril. But with enemies and allies on both sides of this war, whom can he trust? The Invisible Hand, who've been more of a family than his own family ever was? The Golden Dawn, who may know the secrets behind his mysterious lineage? For Jason Bishop, only one thing is for certain; the magic he has slowly been mastering is telling him not to trust anybody.

Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead: Search and Destroy by Jay Bonansinga (Thomas Dunne Books 05 September 2017 / $15.99) - Product Description: What could possibly go wrong? For one brief moment, it seems Lilly and her plague-weary band of survivors might just engineer a better tomorrow. Banding together with other small town settlements, they begin a massive project to refurbish the railroad between Woodbury and Atlanta. The safer travel will begin a new post-apocalyptic era of trade, progress, and democracy.

Little do they know, however, that trouble is brewing back home.

Out of nowhere, a brutal new faction has attacked Woodbury while Lilly and the others have been off repairing the railroad. Now the barricades are burning. Adults have been murdered, children kidnapped. But why? Why subject innocent survivors to such a random, unprovoked assault?

Lilly Caul and her ragtag posse of rescuers will soon discover the chilling answers to these questions and more as they launch a desperate mission to save the kidnapped children. But along the way, the dark odyssey will take them into a nightmarish series of traps and hellish encounters with incomprehensible swarms of undead.

And as always, in the world of the Walking Dead, the walkers will prove to be the least of Lilly's problems. It's what the human adversaries have in store for her that will provide Lilly's greatest challenge yet.

Tor Books

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz (Tor Books 19 September 2017 / $25.99) - Product Description: Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can't otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane.

Hot on her trail, an unlikely pair: Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack's drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understand.

And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?

At the Publisher's request, the digital edition of this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Horizon (Bone Universe) by Fran Wilde (Tor Books 26 September 2017 / $27.99) - Product Description: A City of living bone towers crumbles to the ground and danger abounds. Kirit Densira has lost everything she loved the most—her mother, her home, and the skies above. Nat Brokenwings--once Kirit's brother long before the rebellion tore them apart--is still trying to save his family in the face of catastrophe. They will need to band together once more to ensure not just their own survival, but that of their entire community.

At the Publisher's request, the digital edition of this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Iraq + 100 by (Tor Books 12 September 2017 / $17.99) - Product Description: A groundbreaking anthology of science fiction from Iraq that will challenge your perception of what it means to be "The Other".

In a calm and serene world, one has the luxury of imagining what the future might look like. Now try to imagine that future when your way of life has been devastated by forces beyond your control.

Iraq + 100 poses a question to Iraqi writers (those who still live in that nation, and those who have joined the worldwide diaspora): What might your home country look like in the year 2103, a century after a disastrous foreign invasion?

Using science fiction, allegory, and magical realism to challenge the perception of what it means to be "The Other", this groundbreaking anthology edited by Hassan Blasim contains stories that are heartbreakingly surreal, and yet utterly recognizable to the human experience. Though born out of exhaustion, fear, and despair, these stories are also fueled by themes of love, family, and endurance, and woven through with a delicate thread of hope for the future.

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