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US Books Received- 01/2006  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

Age of Conan: Ghost of the Wall (Marauders) by Jeff Mariotte (Ace 31 January, 2006 / $6.99) - Book Description: Aided by a king's daughter and a circle of allies, a young warrior embarks on a quest against those who destroyed his people, and the tyrant who took the precious Teeth of the Ice Bear. And to do so, he must become his enemy's worst nightmare. He must become a ghost.

Geodesica: Descent by Sean Williams with Shane Dix (Ace 31 January, 2006 / $7.99) - Geodesica: Descent is the sequel to William's and Dix's Geodesica: Ascent, and apparently takes up where the previous novel left off. The events in the novel take place in a future a couple centuries hence where humanity has gone forth and colonized the stars, but overall control is still maintained from Earth, where an AI called the Archon rules the known galaxy through post-human servants known as the Exarchs. The problem at the heart of this novel is the discovery of the alien artifact known as Geodesica, not so much an object as a vast system of hyperspace tunnels linking together the universe. The Archon, for reasons of its own, has decided that humanity shouldn't have access to Geodesica, and causes a nanotechnological disaster in each system where a gateway is discovered, destroying all inhabitants, and locking the gateway behind a barrier of ravenous nanites. Humanity (represented by one set of the main characters) isn't particularly pleased with the Archon's behavior and decides that the time has come to take their destiny back into their own hands. Meanwhile, the other set of characters, trapped inside Geodesica when they fled the catastrophe that wiped out the system of Bedlam, alternate between trying to find a way out, exploring the strange and bizarre things left behind by any number of long dead races, and running for their lives from hunter-killer drones sent by the Archon to find them. (see review)

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs (Ace 31 January, 2006 / $7.99) - Patricia Briggs in Moon Called gives us Mercy Thompson. Mercy is a mechanic who owns her own shop. She's college educated with a history degree hence the mechanics shop. She's independent and likes it that way. She likes fixing things, old cars a specialty. She also has an Alpha were as a neighbor and a vampire customer with a VW bus that always needs repair. But Mercy can handle it. Because Mercy is more than she seems too. (see review)

Wartorn #2 : Obliteration (Wartorn) by Robert Asprin (Ace 31 January, 2006 / $7.99) - From back of book: an army of soldiers and magicians has poured out of the north on its quest to unite the city-states of the Isthmus under Felk rule. But with conquest comes rebellion, an there are those who won't be taken easily--by magic or by sword...

Under direct orders from the ruler of Felk, Lord Matokin, the fledging wizard Raven had been spying on General Weisel in the field. In doing so she took an arrow for him--and has been resurrected in another's body. Now in the comely shape of the courtesan Vadya, she returns to the battle field with more feminine wiles at her disposal...

General Weisel himself has been under the control of the legendary warlord Dardas the Conqueror, whose experience--coupled with the magic of Far Moving--has helped the army in its steady advance. But rulers of the yet unconquered lands are rallying together to turn Dardas's strategies against him. What no one can predict is General Weisel and the stunning blow he gives to Dardas, to Felk, and to the future of the Isthmus when he seizes control of his own body...

Ace Trade

The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross (Ace Trade 03 January, 2006 / $14.00) - The Atrocity Archives are a collection of stories where a secret agency of the British government fights unspeakable horror; when not engaging in a particularly nasty version of intra-office politics. (see review)

Baen

Black Collar by Timothy Zahn (Baen 03 January, 2006 / $25.00) - From book flap: Allen Caine was too young to remember when the Earth had not been a conquered planet, one of many such in the huge and sprawling Ryqril empire, but he knew of the legendary blackcollars, guerrilla warriors trained to the limit of human speed and skill, then turned into nearly superhuman combatants by use of the now-lost backlash drug.

Earth and its former colony worlds had been overwhelmed, but sparks of rebellion still smoldered, and the rebel underground on Earth had sent Caine on an undercover mission to the former Earth colony of Plinry, where there was a faint hope that a black collar unit still existed.

The underground alone knew of a secret that might be humanity's ace in the hole. And if a remnant of backcollar fighter still existed on Plinry, they were the only hope of playing that ace in a final bid for the freedom of humanity.

Blood of the Heroes by Steve White (Baen 03 January, 2006 / $24.00) - Book Description: Jason Thanou of the Temporal Regulatory Authority had about had it with nursemaiding parties of ivory-tower academics through Earth's blood-drenched history, keeping them alive as they sought evidence for their pet theories. Of course, when one of the ivory-tower academics looked like Doctor Deirdre Sadaka-Ramirez, one last expedition didn't look like such a bad idea after all.. . . Besides, there was something to be said for witnessing the Santorini explosion of 1628 B.C.-the most cataclysmic natural disaster of human history, and the source of much of the mythology of Jason's own Greek ancestors. But once Jason and his companions were in the Aegean Bronze Age, unable to return to their own twenty-fourth-century time until a predetermined instant, they would find that there was more to those old legends of gods and heroes than anyone had imagined. For the gods were very real-horribly so. And dealing with them took very real heroes.

Princess of Wands by John Ringo (Baen 03 January, 2006 / $25.00) - In Princess of Wands, Ringo departs from his familiar military SF genre to conjure an environment that could well be mistaken for Joss Whedon's Buffyverse. Here, demons and evil monstrosities lurk, scheme, and act to take power and devour (or rape, or both) mankind. And here, also, there exists a group of powerful human heroes who alone have the power--based on their devoutness--to fight evil. (see review)

Benbella Books

Mapping the World of Harry Potter (Smart Pop series) by Mercedes Lackey (Benbella Books 01 January, 2006 / $14.95) - In Mapping the World of Harry Potter edited by Mercedes Lackey and published by BenBella Books, we have another collection of essays and observations that give a reader more material to think about and enrich their enjoyment of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. There's material on sexism, religion, the Cinderella archtype, and the nature of mentors/mentees. (see review)

DAW

Dragon Quartet, Volume II (Dragon Quartet) by Marjorie B. Kellogg (DAW 03 January, 2006 / $7.99) - Book Description: The final two novels in the dragon quartet series-together for the first time

Here's an exciting fantasy tetralogy with all the right ingredients: four elemental dragons (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water), each with a human companion. This series takes us from medieval Europe to the distant future, as the world is caught in a war between the forces of greed and fanaticism, and the dragons and their guides and allies who seek to restore the proper natural balance to the planet.

DAW Hardcover

The Skewed Throne by Joshua Palmatier (DAW Hardcover 03 January, 2006 / $23.95) - Back of the book: At its height, Amenkor was a center of wealth and culture. But a millennium ago, the city was caught in the White Fire, a force that swept across the land spreading madness, drought, famine, and disease in its wake. With the passing of that first Fire, the city began a slow, inexorable downward spiral. Now the Dredge--the bustling market street that snaked between the slums and the prosperous center of the city--marked the dividing line between plenty and poverty, safety and peril.

Varis learned to survive as a very young child, when an act of violence left her a homeless orphan. And when the White Fire blasted through Amenkor for the second time, Varis--along with the entire city--was trapped in the overwhelming blaze of power that changed everything.

Thought the current Mistress continued to reign from the Skewed Throne, Amenkor's decline escalated. For Varis, though, the chance to escape her hopeless existence unexpectedly presented itself when a guardsman of the Skewed Throne named Erick--one of the elite assassins known as Seekers--enlisted her to work for him, first as a spy and tracker, and later as a trained assassin, meting out the Mistress' justice.

Because she had a gift for "Seeing" the true nature of people, Varis began to realize that something was wrong, that some of those marked for elimination were not guilty. But how could the Mistress be mistaken? Trust in the all-knowing, all-seeing justice and wisdom of their ruler was the foundation of Amenkor's society.

Then, one fateful day, Varis claimed a life that took her beyond the law. Suddenly there was nowhere safe for her in the Dredge. There was only one place left to flee to--into the heart of Amenkor itself...

Wolf Star: Tour of the Merrimack #2 by R.M. Meluch (DAW Hardcover 03 January, 2006 / $23.95) - Wolf Star is a sequel to The Myriad by R.M. Meluch. In the last book the author introduced us to a fine ship and its crew, and then negated everything with a time machine that caused the universe to reset itself; leaving the universe ever so slightly different. The U.S. Navy Battleship Merrimack still exists captained by John Alexander Farragut, but now things are slightly different. In the universe that was, the United States and Rome were allied against the all devouring Hive, in this reality United States is engaged in a bitter war with its once colony of Rome. (see review)

Del Rey

Already Dead: A Novel by Charlie Huston (Del Rey 27 December, 2005 / $12.95) - What can happen to you when you're already dead? I mean once you die and wake up to find that it's not the end of your existence, what's to worry about? Well, in Charlie Huston's Already Dead, Joe Pitt finds there are quite a few things worse than being dead and that there are still some things to be afraid of; very afraid. A delicious combination of hard-boiled detective novel and vampire political wrangling, Already Dead moves along at a fast, furious pace that demands to be read in one go. (see review)

Outbound Flight (Star Wars) by Timothy Zahn (Del Rey 31 January, 2006 / $26.95) - From publicity material: Star Wars: Outbound Flight began as the ultimate voyage of discovery--only to become the stuff of lost Republic legend...and a dark chapter in Jedi history. The Clone Wars have yet to erupt when Jedi Master Jorus C'baoth petitions the Senate for support of a singularly ambitious undertaking. Six Jedi Masters, twelve Jedi Knights, and fifty thousand men, women, and children will embark--aboard a gargantuan vessel, equipped for years of travel--on a mission to contact intelligent life and colonize undiscovered worlds beyond the known galaxy. The government bureaucracy threatens to scuttle the expedition before it can even start--until Master Jedi C'boath foils a murderous conspiracy plot, winning him the political capital he needs to set the dream of Outbound Flight in motion.

Or so it would seem. For unknown to the famed Jedi Master, the successful launch of the mission is secretly being orchestrated by an unlikely ally: the evil Sith Lord, Darth Sidious, who has his own reasons for wanting Outbound flight to move forward...and, ultimately, to fail.

Yet Darth Sidious is not the mission's most dangerous challenge. Once underway, the starship crosses paths at the edge of Unknown Space with the forces of the alien Chiss Ascendancy and the brilliant mastermind best known as "Thrawn." Even Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, who is aboard Outbound Flight with his young Padawan student Anakin Skywalker, cannot help avert disaster. Thus what begins as a peaceful Jedi mission is violently thrust into an all-out war for survival against staggering odds--and the most diabolical of adversaries.

Starfist: Flashfire (Starfist) by David Sherman (Del Rey 31 January, 2006 / $19.95) - From publicity material: Packed with hard-core action written by battle-savvy combat veterans, the explosive Starfist series has become hugely popular across American. Now the saga of the courageous Marines continues in Starfist: Flashfire as the 34th Fleet Initial Strike Team (FIST) ventures to the edge of Human Space to fight a number of enemies...some on their own side.

Eos

No Present Like Time by Steph Swainston (Eos 31 January, 2006 / $13.95) - Book Description: The incredible follow-up to Steph Swainston's acclaimed first novel, The Year of Our War, No Present Like Time is a superb work of literary fantasy.

God is still on vacation, the Emperor still leads the war against the insects, and his cadre of immortals is still quarreling among themselves. But a new land has been discovered, one that holds the secrets of centuries, and one of their own, now exiled, foments rebellion against the Circle. In the brutal battle that follows, Jant Comet will discover that even immortals can fall. . . .

Wildly inventive, engaging, and witty, Steph Swainston's trilogy is building to be a landmark of modern imagination.

The Righteous Blade : Book Two of The Dreamtime (Nicholls, Stan. Dreamtime, Bk. 2.) by Stan Nicholls (Eos 01 January, 2006 / $13.95) - The second novel in Nichols' epic fantasy series that began with The Covenant Rising. (see review)

Leisure Books

Berserk by Tim Lebbon (Leisure Books January, 2006 / $6.99) - Back of book: "They kept monsters." That's what Tom overheard in the bar that night. And he heard more things that could finally lead him to the truth about his son's death ten years before. the army had said it was a training accident. But why had the coffin they sent home been sealed?

So on a dark night, in a deserted field, Tom begins to unearth the mass grave where he hopes--and fears--that he will find his son's remains. He find instead madness; corpses in chains and the dead bodies that still move and grasp and clutch. And one little girl, dead and rotting, who promises to help Tom find what he's looking for, if only he will free her...

Luthers Publishing

Ashley's Shadow by Charlie Carlson (Luthers Publishing 2006 / ) - Based on true events, this fictional story is a Romantic Murder Mystery Ghost Story sprinkled with Humor. An outstanding book for sure! I was hooked from page one! (see review)

Omnibucket

Brainchild: A Collection of Artifacts by (Omnibucket 13 January, 2006 / $15.00) - Brainchild...a collection of artifacts is not an anthology as it is usually conceived but a curious collection of bits and pieces that have the feel of an unsorted file folder dedicated to a range of related topics. The authors and artists of this collection: Rebecca Brock, Mia Epstein, Charles Hogle, Paul Kelley III, Ted Kohlmann, Scott Lambridis, Ken Meyer Jr., Justin Mills, John Moos, Heisler Mulano, Angie Needels, David Senecal, Gavin Sodo, Daniel Williams, and Dave Wellington do leave the reader with the feeling that there is more left unsaid then said. This is horror, or horror as it would be if such a world-wide horror ran amok throughout the land and left only a few survivors struggling alone, afraid to join with others. (see review)

Phobos Impact

The Genesis Protocol by Dayton Ward (Phobos Impact 25 January, 2006 / $14.95) - Within the desert of Utah, scientists have joined together to wield the primordial power of creation. The EDN project has created 225 square miles of lush alien jungles and bizarre creatures that have never before been seen on the planet; plants and creatures designed from the ground up to fulfill a wide variety of industrial, medical, and scientific research goals. But as with all stringently controlled, fail-safe, and absolutely safe ventures; before anyone realizes anything has changed, the running, the screaming, and the dying begins.

Now an elite team of Marines has to go into this totally alien, not to mention poisonous, environment to try and save the few surviving members of the science team before the monsters get them. Monsters designed to thrive in this environment by the very people who should have known better. But once the mission goes horrible pear-shaped, who's going to save the rescuers? (see review)

Putnam Adult

Memory in Death by J.D. Robb (Putnam Adult 24 January, 2006 / $24.95) - New York in 2060 isn't that much different from our New York City: traffic congestion, pollution, crowds, plays, theater, shopping, business, and of course crime. This is the 21st In Death book. Most series get a bit stale before they reach this point. J.D. Robb has managed to keep her series fresh by allowing the characters to grow and change as a result of the events of each book. Lt. Eve Dallas of Memory in Death is not the Eve Dallas of Naked in Death. However, she is, at the core, the Eve Dallas we originally came to know. What has changed is her opening up to people and emotions. There is a softer side but she's still 100% cop with a tough "I can handle anything facade."

Lt. Eve Dallas takes everything in stride. Here it is approaching Christmas and there's a dead Santa on the sidewalk. Santa took out a pedestrian on his short flight from the 36th floor. Dallas and her partner Peabody not only handle it, they solve it. Peabody needs to go to court to testify against the psychic who hid information from them, leading to her being nearly killed. Well, she can support Peabody. A thief steals a purse on the steps of the courthouse and she stops him. But, faced with Trudy Lombard, the foster mother who abused her, Dallas loses it and is barely able to keep herself together enough to kick Trudy out of her office. Peabody isn't the only person worried about Eve. (see review)

Pyr

Macrolife: A Mobile Utopia by George Zebrowski (Pyr 02 January, 2006 / $15.00) - Book Description: Subtitled, A Mobile Utopia, this pioneering novel about the meaning of space habitats for human history, presents spacefaring as no work did in its time, and since. A utopian novel like no other, presenting a dynamic utopian civilization that transcends the failures of our history.

Epic in scope, Macrolife opens in the year 2021. The Bulero family owns one of Earth's richest corporations. As the Buleros gather for a reunion at the family mansion, an industrial accident plunges the corporation into a crisis, which eventually brings the world around them to the brink of disaster. Vilified, the Buleros flee to a space colony where young Richard Bulero gradually realizes that the only hope for humanity lies in macrolife--mobile, self-reproducing space habitats.

A millennium later, these mobile communities have left our sunspace and multiplied. Conflicts with natural planets arise. John Bulero, a cloned descendant of the twenty-first century Bulero clan, falls in love with a woman from a natural world and experiences the harshness of her way of life. He rediscovers his roots when his mobile returns to the solar system, and a tense confrontation of three civilizations takes place.

One hundred billion years later, macrolife, now as numerous as the stars, faces the impending death of nature. Regaining his individuality by falling away from a highly evolved macrolife, a strangely changed John Bulero struggles to see beyond a collapse of the universe into a giant black hole.

Inspired by the possibilities of space settlements, projections of biology and cosmology, and basic human longings, Macrolife is a visionary speculation on the long-term future of human and natural history. Filled with haunting images and memorable characters, this is a vivid and brilliant work.

Roc

A Host of Dragons by Alan F. Troop (Roc 03 January, 2006 / $7.99) - From back of book: Two years have passed since Peter DelaSangre's return to his secluded island home. and although his wife remains cold and jealous about the seductive seadragon who took him away, life is peaceful there. That is, until a strange sailboat carrying twelve mysterious foreigners docks nearby. Soon Peter's daughter has been kidnapped, his ancestral archives have been ransacked, and a massive sinister corporation called Oudere Raad has set out to destroy the family fortune.

It is only a matter of time before Peter discovers the frightening truth tying these events together. and the visitors, led by his most formidable opponent yet, have come on a mission...

Futureshocks by Lou Anders (Editor) (Roc January 3, 2006 / $14.95) - Looking forward has always been a science fiction "thing". Whether predicting new technology to warning of dire trends, this literature has often glimpsed the future. Keeping with this fine tradition, there is a new anthology called Futureshocks that focuses on prognostication with sixteen stories from some of the leading writers of today. Often driven by our current fears and worries, these run the gambit from fascinating to discomforting to horrifying glimpses of possible worlds. (see review)

Rebel Ice: A Stardoc Novel (Stardoc) by S.L. Viehl (Roc 03 January, 2006 / $7.99) - Rebel Ice is the new StarDoc novel by S.J. Viehl. It is built around the war on the icy world of Akkabarr where women are treated like fourth-rate pieces of meat and mostly in slavery. The men and warriors can take multiple wives or simply torture or kill them if its pleases them. The slaves are rebelling against their masters, who live off world in comfortable floating cities. (see review)

Shadowrun #2: Poison Agendas : A Shadowrun Novel (Shadowrun) by Stephen Kenson (Roc 03 January, 2006 / $6.99) - Book Description: Shadowrunner Kellan Colt thinks she's ready to strike out on her own when she discovers the location of a secret cache of military weaponry-right in the heart of the supernatural creature-infested Awakened wilderness.

Roc Hardcover

Traitor to the Blood: A Novel of the Noble Dead by Barb Hendee, J.C. Hendee (Roc Hardcover 03 January, 2006 / $23.95) - Traitor to the Blood is the 4th in the Nobel Dead series and the series has slowed down from its previous leisurely pace. Leesil must face his past as well as try to find out if his parents are still alive, while Magiere copes with finding and killing the vampire. (see review)

Spectra

A Secret Atlas : Book One of the Age of Discovery by Michael A. Stackpole (Spectra 31 January, 2006 / $6.99) - From publicity material: With A Secret Atlas, the first book in his The Age of Discovery trilogy, Stackpole launches a unique new fantasy series in which he explores the concept of "Cartomancy," where mapmakers can literally change the world with a few pen strokes. In Stackpole's richly imagined world, talent can spark magic, and the family of the Royal Cartographer has a unique gift. the artisans of this family not only draw maps, but also explore uncharted territories, expanding the existing knowledge about the world. Sometimes simply drawing a new land can be enough to bring it into existence. But when tragedy strikes the family, the tormented dreams of one young woman flow back to the Royal Cartographer himself, sending him slowly mad--and putting him in danger of bringing these nightmares to list.

Dusk by Tim Lebbon (Spectra 31 January, 2006 / $12.00) - Book Description: It is the Year of the Black 2208, and magic has been dead for three centuries. Since the Cataclysmic War, which drove away the Mages, civilization has regressed to a more savage time. But magic is about to be reborn ...

Kosar the thief senses that Rafe Baburn is no ordinary boy. After witnessing a madman plunder Rafe's village and murder his parents, Kosar knows the boy needs his help. And now, for a reason he cannot fathom, others are seeking the boy's destruction.

Uncertain where to begin, Kosar turns to A'Meer, an ex-lover and Shantasi warrior whose people, unbeknownst to him, have been chosen to safeguard magic's return. A'Meer knows instantly that it is Rafe who bears the miracle of magic. Now Kosar and a band of unexpected allies embark on a battle to protect one special boy. For dark forces are closing in - including the Mages, who have been plotting their own triumphant return. (Source: Spectra)

Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur (Spectra 31 January, 2006 / $15.00) - Book Description: In this exciting debut, author Keri Arthur explodes onto the supernatural scene with a sexy, sensuous tale of intrigue and suspense set in a world where legends walk and the shady paths of the underworld are far more sinister than anyone envisioned.

A rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf, Riley Jenson and her twin brother, Rhoan, work for Melbourne's Directorate of Other Races, an organization created to police the supernatural races-and protect humans from their depredations. While Rhoan is an exalted guardian, a.k.a. assassin, Riley is merely an office worker-until her brother goes missing on one of his missions. The timing couldn't be worse. More werewolf than vampire, Riley is vulnerable to the moon heat, the weeklong period before the full moon, when her need to mate becomes all-consuming.

Luckily Riley has two willing partners to satisfy her every need. But she will have to control her urges if she's going to find her brother. Easier said than done as the city pulses with frenzied desire, and Riley is confronted with a very powerful-and delectably naked-vamp who raises her temperature like never before.

In matters carnal, Riley has met her match. But in matters criminal, she must follow her instincts not only to find her brother but to stop an unholy harvest. For someone is doing some shifty cloning in an attempt to produce the ultimate warrior-by tapping into the genome of nonhumans like Rhoan. Now Riley knows just how dangerous the world is for her kind-and just how much it needs her.

The Myth Hunters: Book 1 of The Veil by Christopher Golden (Spectra 31 January, 2006 / $12.00) - Oliver Bascombe has problems. He's on the verge of marriage to a young woman he's not sure he loves, but feels he must marry for diverse reasons--none of them particularly romantic. He's given up his ambitions of becoming an actor and joined his father's law firm, only to begin the next step toward settling down and becoming respectable. Although his sister Collette understands his misgivings, Oliver cannot speak with his stern, forbidding father...and that's when everything in Oliver's life gets much, much worse. (see review)

Tor Books

Orphans of Chaos by John C. Wright (Tor Books 01 November, 2005 / $24.95) - Adolescence is a time of self-discovery, of finding out who you are and deciding who you want to become. For five children at a mysterious English boarding school, adolescence is all that and much more, as strange and terrible truths begin to emerge. (see review)

Return to Quag Keep by Andre Norton (Tor Books 10 January, 2006 / $24.95) - Book Description: Many people might not know that Andre Norton wrote the first novel based in the Dungeons and Dragons Universe. That book was Quag Keep. Now Andre with role-playing icon Jean Rabe has returned to tell a new tale of those magically transported gamers in the fantasy realm that has become all too real for them. In The Return to Quag Keep these brave adventurers try to unlock the secrets of this magical world and maybe even return home to ours. Filled with classic dungeon crawls, mysterious wizards, and attacking dragons The Return to Quag Keep is a must for all role-playing fans as well as seminal Andre Norton fans.

The Crippled Angel : Crucible Book 3 (Crucible) by Sara Douglass (Tor Books 10 January, 2006 / $25.95) - Book Description: The world that the former monk Thomas Neville knows is crumbling about him. The Holy Mother Church of Rome is losing its power and men are coming to question the nature of religion and the role of those who rule them by sword and cross.

Thomas knows that it is not merely the dawning of a new time for men to try to think and judge for themselves but it is a direct result of the rift in the fabric of the world, where demons have escaped their prison and are trying to breach the very gates of heaven. The great archangel Michael gave Thomas the task to find the demons who now dwell in human form and expose their evil natures.

To accomplish this he had to turn his back on one set of vows and return to his once lofty noble connections. In doing so, his life is caught up with his childhood friend Harold Bollinbroke, the fair young "Prince Hal"--who might be more (or less) than he seems. And he meets the fair young Margaret, an enigmatic beauty who he takes to wife--not out of love, but as a means to discover if she is one of those who would destroy mankind.

Old friends, a new love, and temptations that will try his conscience. And his very soul. For Thomas is beginning to think that all that he knows may not be true. Faced with mortal love and friendships that he desperately wants and fears, he knows that time is growing short. And the choice that he makes will reshape the world.

The Draco Tavern by Larry Niven (Tor Books 10 January, 2006 / $24.95) - The Draco Tavern is a splendid collection of Larry Niven's short stories about the fabled tavern in the permanent spaceport at Mount Forel in Siberia. The tavern attracts aliens and people of all races and of course has it's regulars who seem to make money form the secrets learned from the other patrons. There's twenty-six stories to enjoy and think about--after all what better place to discuss life, love, philosophy, religion, and mayhem than the local spaceport bar.

Wolfblade (The Hythrun Chronicles: Wolfblade Trilogy, Book 1) by Jennifer Fallon (Tor Books 10 January, 2006 / $25.95) - From publicity material: Marla Wolfblade, princess of Hythria, is determined to restore her family to its former power and glory. But Hythria is a fiercely patriarchal society, and Marla knows power may only be gained through a man.

Narrowly avoiding an arranged marriage to the King of Fardohynya, she instead marries Laran, Warlord of Krakandar Province, and gives birth to a son. Damin is named heir to the throne of the Hythria by his uncle, the dissolute High Prince.

Settling into life as the wife of a warlord, Marla believes the future of her family is secured. but there are forces in the land that do not want the house of Wolfblade restored. Can Marla protect her son and her family, and stop the conspirators?

Wizards of the Coast

The Road to Death (The Lost Mark, Book 2) by Matt Forbeck (Wizards of the Coast 10 January, 2006 / $6.99) - From back of book: The Mark of Death. After hundreds of years, it has returned to Eberron, and the forces of good and evil want to control it. But one man only wants to get his daughter back alive. To save her, he must walk a perilous path...The Road to Death.

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