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US Books Received- 03/2006  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: Winds of the Wild Sea (Age of Conan) by Jeff Mariotte (Ace 28 March, 2006 / $6.99) - From back of book: In the bustling city of Tarantia, the young Pictish warrior Kral has been imprisoned after slaughtering a cadre of city Rangers and Aquilonian soldiers, while his friends Alanya and Doniel struggle to find safety in the labyrinthian city streets.

But Kral's search for the Teeth of the Ice Bear--and his assaults on those who stole it--have caught the attention of King Conan himself. There are rumors he is sending a might force to Kral's homeland to crush the presumed Pictish rebellion, even as the Picts themselves are on the verge of launching a campaign that will drench the land in blood.

Daughter of the Desert by Noel-Anne Brennan (Ace 28 March, 2006 / $7.99) - From back of book: Forentel is the first daughter of a noble family in the great desert city of Tirceera. When a strange meeting forces her to question her past. Forentel begins to unravel dark secrets--and newfound powers--that will compel her to set out across the desert toward a city thought to exist only in myth and legend...

Against his family's wishes, Prince Erba of Tireera embarks on a journey to the south where he hopes to find riches and adventure. He does not realize that there are dark forces afoot in the noble houses of the desert city, forces that will make it impossible for him to return...

A prince without a realm, a young woman without an identity: They will fight together against savage men and dark magic--because their lives and the fate of their homeland depend on it.

The Clone Republic by Steven L. Kent (Ace 28 March, 2006 / $7.99) - From back of book: Earth, 2508 A.D. Humans have spread across the six arms of the Milky Way Galaxy. The Unified Authority controls Earth's colonies with an iron fist and a powerful military--a military made up almost entirely of clones...

Private First-class Wayson Harris was raised in a U.A. orphanage among thousands of clones born and bred to be the ultimate soldiers. But Harris isn't like the other Marines: He has a mind of his own. He figures he's paying for that independent streak when his first assignment out of boot camp is the smallest Marine outpost in the whole U.A.

When a rogue general surfaces, the remote desert world Harris thought was a dead-end posting becomes anything but. Fighting off the general's raid gains Harris a promotion. But it also brings him to the attention of some unfriendly U.A. leaders. They have their own plans for the military--plans Harris disrupts by his very existence. For in an army of clones, the one unforgivable sin is to be different...

Ace Hardcover

The Thirteenth House by Sharon Shinn (Ace Hardcover 07 March, 2006 / $24.95) - The Thirteenth House is a sequel to Mystic and Rider in Sharon Shinn's The Twelve Houses series. While it can be read on its own, some of the minor characters here - and their powers - are better defined in the earlier book. In this series, the land of Gillengaria is dominated by twelve great houses, some of which may be scheming to take power when the aging king dies. This is the standard fantasy background of a medieval kingdom except for female equality and mystics, who are born with magic powers (sort of a fantasy version of the x-men's mutants). In the first book, a powerful mystic named Senneth (with fire powers) gathered a team of mystics, including Kirra, a shape changer, and king's riders, to gauge the level of support for the king's family. (see review)

Ace Trade

Count Zero by William Gibson (Ace Trade 07 March, 2006 / $14.00) - Book Description: A corporate mercenary wakes in a reconstructed body, a beautiful woman by his side. Then Hosaka Corporation reactivates him, for a mission more dangerous than the one he's recovering from: to get a defecting chief of R&D-and the biochip he's perfected-out intact. But this proves to be of supreme interest to certain other parties-some of whom aren't remotely human.

Aqueduct Press

Mindscape by Andrea Hairston (Aqueduct Press March, 2006 / $19.50) - From back of book: The Barrier will not be ignored. For 115 years this extraterrestrial, epi-dimensional entity has divided the earth into warring zones. Although a treaty to end the interzonal wars has been hammered out, power-hungry politicians, gangsters, and spiritual fundamentalists are determined to thwart it. Celestina, the treaty's architect, is assassinated, and her protegée, Elleni, a talented renegade and one of the few able to negotiate the Barrier, takes up her mantle. Now Elleni and a motley crew of allies risk their lives to make the treaty work. Can they repair their fractured world before the Barrier devours them completely?

Avon

Sword of Darkness by Kinley MacGregor (Avon 28 March, 2006 / $6.99) - Book Description: In the darkest forest...A scared, forsaken youth has become the most powerful -- and feared -- man in the world. Ruthless and unrestrained, Kerrigan has long ceased to be human.

In the heart of London... A spirited peasant mired in drudgery, Seren dreams of becoming her own woman, but never expects that by fleeing her fate, she will meet her destiny.

Their worlds are forever changed...Kerrigan's goal is simple: barter or kill Seren to claim Arthur's Round Table. Yet she is the one person who holds no fear of him. More than that, her nobility sparks something foreign inside him. In his nether realm, kindness is weakness and a king who harbors any sort of compassion loses his throne.

For countless centuries, Kerrigan has lived alone in the shadows. Now Seren's courage has forced him into the light that will bring either salvation to both of them...or death.

Baen

Against the Tide by John Ringo (Baen 28 March, 2006 / $7.99) - Book Description: In the distant future, the world was a paradise-and then, in a moment, it was ended by the first war in centuries. People who had known godlike power, to whom hunger and pain were completely unknown, desperately scrabbled to survive. As the United Free States, the bastion of freedom and center of opposition to the tyrants of New Destiny, prepared for the long-feared invasion by the Changed legions of Ropasa, Edmund Talbot realized that bureaucratic ineptitude and overconfidence was setting the USF naval forces of ships and dragons up for a disastrous defeat at sea. His fears came true, and the destruction of the fleet seemingly left the UFS open for a full scale invasion. But Talbot had new concepts and strategies ready to put into effect, along with new technical innovations from his brilliant engineer. He survived an assassination attempt and quickly assembled a formidable land force combining cavalry, longbowmen, Roman style legions, and dragons for airborne assault. The fascist forces of New Destiny thought that their war was all but concluded, and world domination within their grasp. Edmund Talbot was ready to show them just how wrong they were. . . .

Boundary by Eric Flint (Baen 07 March, 2006 / $26.00) - Boundary by Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor is a fascinating novel combining many of my favorite elements: aliens, dinosaurs, and space travel. Helen Sutter is a paleontologist struggling like the rest of her colleagues to perform quality science under harsh environmental conditions and anemic funding. But this year things are a little different. First she's presented with a fossil the likes of which she's never seen before. Then the dig unearths fossils that are flat out impossible: A pack of velociraptors all killed while attacking a creature that is completely unrelated to any other lifeform on Earth. Meanwhile, A.J. Baker, hotshot remote sensing wiz, is working with NASA to probe the moons of Mars when he uncovers a secret buried in rock and preserved by the vacuum of space for the last 65 million years. Together, they will need to discover just how these two events can have so very much in common. (see review)

Grantville Gazette II by Eric Flint (Baen 07 March, 2006 / $25.00) - Book Description: The new United States in central Germany launches a one-plane Doolittle Raid on Paris, France. The target: their arch-enemy, Cardinal Richelieu. Meanwhile, an ambassador from the Mughal Empire of northern India is being held captive in Austria by the Habsburg dynasty. Mike Stearns decides to send a mercenary company to rescue him, led by two seventeenth-century mercenary officers: an Englishman and a Irishman, who seem to spend as much time fighting each other as they do the enemy. Mike Spehar's "Collateral Damage" and Chris Weber's "The Company Men" are just two of the stories contained in this second volume of the Grantville Gazette. In other stories:

*A prominent Italian musician decides to travel to Grantville to investigate the music of the future. * An American archer and a Finnish cavalryman become friends in the middle of a battlefield. * A Lutheran pastor begins a theological challenge to the establishment based on his interpretation of the Ring of Fire. * American and German detectives become partners to investigate a murder. * And, in a complete novel by new alternate history star Danita Ewing, An Invisible War, the new United States founds a medical school in Jena despite resistance from up-timers and down-timers alike.

The second volume of Grantville Gazette also contains factual articles which explain some of the technical background for the 1632 series, including articles on practical geology, telecommunications, and seventeenth-century swordsmanship.

Harald by David D. Friedman (Baen 28 March, 2006 / $24.00) - Book Description: Harald: A simple family man, a teller of tales, who happens to be the most powerful general of his people, home of the cataphracts, much feared warriors. Some, like the young king of the neighboring kingdom, James of Kaerlia, might underestimate him because he doesn't bother to bedeck himself in the court garb to which he was entitled. No one underestimates Harald twice. A hundred years earlier another young king, dreaming of brave deeds and rich plunder east of the mountains, brought a force from the Kingdom to take the Vales. An army three thousand strong tried to force the pass at Raven Stream. A thousand men of the Vales and their allies the Westkin held them. After three days the King's men gave up and went home. It wasn't water the ravens drank. Four times in the past twenty years the Empire has invaded Kaerlia's land, seeking to bring it under their rule. Four times were they sent home with their tails between their legs. Now the Empire is sending its best legions again to the north. Only by a return to the grand alliance of Kingdom, Vales and Ladies of the Order can they hope to withstand the disciplined and blooded invading army. But young James has picked a fight with the Order, picked a fight with Harald himself. Young men are not always wise, nor fond of peace. The new king wants war again. And again, the ravens will drink.

In Fury Born by David Weber (Baen 28 March, 2006 / $27.00) - In Fury Born rebuilds and greatly expands Weber's earlier novel, The Path of the Fury. Both novels follow the doings of Alicia deVries, Imperial Cadre commando and avenger, but the new work develops Alicia's history and family connections. The result? We readers come to understand her much better... and the story is vastly enriched by this reworking. (see review)

The Two Moons by James P. Hogan (Baen 28 March, 2006 / $7.99) - Book Description: Inherit the Stars: When they found the corpse on the Moon, wearing a spacesuit, lying in a grave of moon rocks, his identity was a complete mystery. The spacesuit was of a completely unfamiliar design. Then analysis showed that the corpse was 50,000 years old-meaning that he had somehow died on the Moon before the human race even existed. . . .

The Gentle Giants of Ganymede: On another moon, Jupiter's Ganymede, another mystery was found: a wrecked spacesuit, which had been there for millennia, and which obviously was designed for beings larger than the humans of Earth. The mystery seemed insoluble until another ship, manned by the strange humanoid giants arrived, and were very surprised to find humans inhabiting the Solar System. . . .

Barron's Educational Series

50 Robots to Draw and Paint: Create Fantastic Robot Characters for Comic Books, Computer Games, and Graphic Novels by Keith Thompson (Barron's Educational Series 01 March, 2006 / $21.99) - From the Back Cover: Learn how to draw awe-inspiring robots for comic books, graphic novels, and computer games. From terrifying Victorian clockwork creations to the dark future’s most lethal war machines, this book helps you bring cold life to your robot art.

    * Learn the core skills for rendering robots: where to find inspiration; how to draw and color your work using a range of media; techniques for adding detail like electrical circuits, machinery, and weapons.
    * The main section of the book is a directory of 50 robot designs to copy, each featuring step-by-step constructional drawings and instructions for shading and coloring.
    * Features a wide range of robot styles, from simple tin men to sophisticated tank destroyers, and includes ten super-simple designs to get you started.
Keith Thompson is a renowned illustrator and conceptual designer who specializes in fantasy and science fiction art. His surreal and innovative work has been featured in numerous books and magazines around the world, and is also available to buyers as fine-art prints. He lives in Ottawa, Canada.

Berkley Trade

Prince of Darkness by Sharon Kay Penman (Berkley Trade 07 March, 2006 / $14.00) - Book Description: Justin de Quincy hastens to Paris at the request of his former lover only to discover that she was acting on behalf of his nemesis, Prince John. The prince has been implicated in a plot to kill his brother, King Richard, and wants Justin to prove the incriminating document false.

Realizing that John's suspected treachery may also risk the welfare of the woman he serves, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Justin reluctantly agrees to help. But his investigation unravels a sinister conspiracy that might change the course of English history.

DAW

Novel Ideas-Fantasy by Brian M. Thomsen (DAW 07 March, 2006 / $7.50) - Readers often wonder "How did they ever come up with that idea?" Well, some novels have at their core a short story that wouldn't go away and nagged it's author until it became a novel. In Novel Ideas: Fantasy, Brian M. Thomsen has published eight short stories that later became longer works: "St. Dragon and the George" by Gorden R. Dickson; "Unicorn Tapestry" by Suzy McKee Charnas; "Hatrack River" by Orson Scott Card; "The Gargoyle's Shadow" by Katherine Kurtz; "Jerlayne" by Lynn Abbey, "Gilgamesh in the Outback" by Robert Silverberg; "Shipwizard" by James Ward; and "Lost Boys" by Orson Scott Card.

So, if you've every wondered where the ideas for a novel comes from this is an interesting look at the sources of some of fantasy's best-loved and popular novels.

DAW Hardcover

Pretender by C. J. Cherryh (DAW Hardcover 07 March, 2006 / $25.95) - In this 8th book of Cherryh's remarkably long-lived series that began with Foreigner more than a decade ago, human translator to the atevi Bren Cameron is swept up in events sparked by a coup that removed the atevi aiji Tabini from power. Will Tabini be restored to his rightful position as head of the Western Association, the alien government that works most closely with the human enclave sequestered on a nearby island continent? All the usual suspects return to the stage for this "second book of the third Foreigner series." (see review)

DAW Trade

The Novels of Tiger and Del, Volume II (Sword (DAW Fantasy)) by Jennifer Roberson (DAW Trade 07 March, 2006 / $16.00) - Book Description: This second Sword omnibus edition includes the third and fourth novels in the best-selling series: Sword-Maker and Sword-Breaker

Del Rey

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart (Del Rey 28 March, 2006 / $13.95) - Book Description: A disease of unparalleled destructive force has sprung up almost simultaneously in every corner of the globe, all but destroying the human race. One survivor, strangely immune to the effects of the epidemic, ventures forward to experience a world without man. What he ultimately discovers will prove far more astonishing than anything he'd either dreaded or hoped for. An instant classic upon its original publication in 1949 and winner of the first International Fantasy Award, Earth Abides ranks with On the Beach and Riddley Walker as one of our most provocative and finely wrought post-apocalyptic works of literature. Its impact is still fresh, its lessons timeless.

Engaging the Enemy by Elizabeth Moon (Del Rey 28 March, 2006 / $25.95) - Engaging the Enemy is book three of the Vatta series, though it's hardly the final chapter. Each of these stand pretty well by themselves, should you not be able to get your hands on all the others first, but if you like tales of pirates, space battles, the occasional bit of trading and a fair share of intrigue, you might as well just start at the beginning with Trading in Danger or one book into the series with Marque and Reprisal where things really heat up. Here the story continues as Ky gets ready to take the fight to the enemy...if she can figure out who they are.

(see review)

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (Del Rey 28 March, 2006 / $7.50) - His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik is the first in a trilogy which has already been release in the UK (see John Berlyne's review of the British version, and his interview with Naomi Novik in the our January 2006 issue.) The two sequels, Throne of Jade and Black Powder War will be released in the US in May and June respectively. (see review)

The Sword of Straw (The Sangreal Trilogy) by Amanda Hemingway (Del Rey 28 March, 2006 / $12.95) - From publicity material: Parallel universes and grave danger are nothing new to Nathan Ward. In his last mission he risked life and limb to recover the Grail for safekeeping. But Nathan's adventures are just beginning. Lately, his dreams have been transporting him to a desolate city, one whose people have fled--save for a sickly king and his daughter, Princess Nell. High in their decaying castle, they live in the shadow of a terrifying curse--one inflicted by a sword that holds within its gleaming metal an ancient demon conjured by the universe's most powerful wizard. It is a sword that brings death to anyone who dares to draw it from its sheath. And now Nathan, newly materialized through his dreams and still dressed in his pajamas, has arrived to do just that.

Eos

Bridge of Souls: The Quickening Book Three by Fiona McIntosh (Eos 01 March, 2006 / $14.95) - In Bridge of Souls, Fiona McIntosh brings to an end her Quickening series. Wyl Thirsk has been curse or blessed with Myrren's gift, depending on your point of view, and it allows him, when killed, to take over the body of his killer. Wyl, at the start of book three, is in the body of his sister Ylena and heading for Briavel to hopefully be of assistance to Queen Valentyna. Wyl's friend Aremys Farrow is in the Razors with King Cailech trying to find Wyl's friends Gueryn and Lothryn, avoid contact with the King's wizard Rashlyn, and trying to get back to Wyl to help overthrow King Celimus. Fynch is in the Thicket learning to manage the powers ceded to him by Elysius, Myrren's father. Queen Valentyna is preparing to marry King Celimus of Morgravia to avoid his invasion of her lands. And Elspeth and Crys are planning to search for Lothryn and go to Morgravia to undermine Celimus control of the Legion. There's a lot of threads to follow and more than enough action and adventure to keep a reader interested as we move to the conclusion of this tale. (see review)

The Awakened City by Victoria Strauss (Eos 14 March, 2006 / $25.95) - Book Description: Following her acclaimed novel The Burning Land, Victoria Strauss delivers a powerful tale of faith and oppression, forbidden magic, love, and redemption. . . .The Awakened City

After centuries of oppression, the Empire of Arsace has finally reclaimed the capital city of Ninyaser and the First Temple of the Gods. But the powerful Brethren will tolerate no challenge to their rule, and an expedition to destroy the secret colony of Refuge, home to ancient mysteries and forbidden sorcery, has proved the catalyst for war.

Ravar, the most powerful of the hidden Shapers, vows revenge against the Brethren. Raising an army of worshippers and kidnapping the seer Axane to help him in his quest, he travels to the holy city of Baushpar itself as the Empire prepares for battle. Meanwhile, leaving his peaceful life behind to save Axane, the Shaper Gyalo has a startling epiphany.

Against a backdrop of war, insurrection, and sacrifice, two powerful Shapers must discover who is the true Next Messenger, for their quest will lead either to salvation or destruction.

iUniverse, Inc.

The Return of Innocence : A Fantasy Adventure by Duane Simolke (iUniverse, Inc. 20 March, 2006 / $12.95) - Book Description: The Return of Innocence blends humor and romance with exciting fantasy action. Visit Theln, a planet of magic, dragons, nobility, and heroes. Sasha Varov was born into a noble home in the Thelni kingdom of Jaan, but Sasha’s father dared to oppose the king’s sorcerer, Wuhrlock. Sasha and her family became exiles on a desolate island.

At sixteen, Sasha left her island home to buy seeds in Jaan. She stumbled into a series of misadventures that ended with the death of Wuhrlock and made Sasha a legend, known as “Innocence.” Never mind that the legend barely resembled the truth, or that Sasha caught Wuhrlock in an unguarded moment. When Sasha returned for more seeds, the people of Jaan expected her to defeat a much more ruthless and powerful sorcerer.

Duane Simolke wrote the short story "The Return of Innocence" in 1983. With contributions by Toni Davis, he later developed it into a novel, now available for the first time.

Jove

Bump in The Night by J. D. Robb (Jove 28 March, 2006 / $7.99) - Four novella length tales of the supernatural entering into our world come together in Bump in the Night. The tales from authors J.D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Mary Kay McComas, are different from each other but all have a touch of otherworldliness about them whether dark, humorous, or in between. (see review)

McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers

Planet of the Apes As American Myth: Race And Politics in the Films And Television Series by Eric Greene (McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers 17 March 2006 / $29.95) - Product Description: How do political conflicts shape popular culture? This book explores that question by analyzing how the Planet of the Apes films functioned both as entertaining adventures and as apocalyptic political commentary. Informative and thought provoking, the book demonstrates how this enormously popular series of secular myths used images of racial and ecological crisis to respond to events like the Cold War, the race riots of the 1960s, the Civil Rights movement, the Black Power movement, and the Vietnam War. The work utilizes interviews with key filmmakers and close readings of the five Apes television shows to trace the development of the series’ theme of racial conflict in the context of the shifting ideologies of race during the sixties and seventies. The book also observes that today, amid growing concerns over race relations, the resurgent popularity of Apes and Twentieth Century—Fox’s upcoming film may again make Planet of the Apes a pop culture phenomenon that asks who we are and where we are going. (Source: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers)

Orb Books

Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein (Orb Books 21 March, 2006 / $14.95) - Book Description: E.C. "Scar" Gordon was on the French Riviera recovering from a tour of combat in Southeast Asia , but he hadn't given up his habit of scanning the Personals in the newspaper. One ad in particular leapt out at him:

"ARE YOU A COWARD? This is not for you. We badly need a brave man. He must be 23 to 25 years old, in perfect health, at least six feet tall, weigh about 190 pounds, fluent English, with some French, proficient in all weapons, some knowledge of engineering and mathematics essential, willing to travel, no family or emotional ties, indomitably courageous and handsome of face and figure. Permanent employment, very high pay, glorious adventure, great danger. You must apply in person, rue Dante, Nice, 2me étage, apt. D."

How could you not answer an ad like that, especially when it seemed to describe you perfectly? Well, except maybe for the handsome part, but that was in the eye of the beholder anyway. So he went to that apartment and was greeted by the most beautiful woman he'd ever met. She seemed to have many names, but agreed he could call her Star. A pretty appropriate name, as it turned out, for the empress of twenty universes.

Robert A. Heinlein's one true fantasy novel, Glory Road is as much fun today as when he wrote it after Stranger in a Strange Land. Heinlein proves himself as adept with sword and sorcery as with rockets and slide rules and the result is exciting, satirical, fast-paced, funny and tremendously readable -- a favorite of all who have read it. Glory Road is a masterpiece of escapist entertainment with a typically Heinleinian sting in its tail. Tor is proud to return this all-time classic to hardcover to be discovered by a new generation of readers.

Pyr

Resolution: Book III of the Nulapeiron Sequence by John Meaney (Pyr March, 2006 / $25.00) - Book Description: The war against The Blight is over, and the subterranean realms of Nulapeiron have a chance for peace. But Tom Corcorigan, revolutionary and war hero, newly married and longing for the quiet life, knows that a greater force threatens his world: the planet-consuming Anomaly, which has absorbed billions of humans and alien beings into itself. Tom's association with the disembodied Eemur's Head, the flensed and bloody remains of a powerful Seer, changes him into something more than a poverty-stricken Lord. The spacetime-warping science of Seers and Oracles penetrates the heart of reality, bringing new enemies and allies into Tom's life. And his "story crystal", a gift from a mysterious mu-space Pilot, reveals more of the Pilots' history and true nature, and the existence of their home in a universe no ordinary human being can experience: the strange, shifting, living fractal city that is Labyrinth.

Soon the Anomaly, an evil far more powerful than its offspring Blight, rips into the world, decimating the human realms. Among the free humans who survive in the floating terraformer spheres of Nulapeiron's skies, only the forces commanded by Tom Corcorigan have a chance against this omnipotent invader. For only a Warlord who is no longer human, who is willing to sacrifice everything, can deliver humanity from darkness. Resolution concludes the trilogy of Nulapeiron tales featuring Tom Corcorigan, bringing the story to a triumphant climax and revealing the devastating secret of the Oracles' creation.

River of Gods by Ian McDonald (Pyr March, 2006 / $25.00) - On August 15, 2047, India celebrates its centennial birthday yet it is no longer united as a nation as Gandhi achieved a hundred years earlier when he successfully led the peaceful resistance revolt against the British occupation. Instead, the subcontinent has broken into twelve semi-autonomous regions that compete economically, religiously, politically and militarily to control at a minimum the local state, but also with hopes of expansion into rival states. In this hodgepodge of bloodthirsty aggressive mini-nations, the residents of the city of Varanasi in the independent state of Bharat feel dichotomous towards the schism as they can worship their pantheon of Gods not the Mother Country. (see review)

Rayo

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats: A Novel by Mario Acevedo (Rayo 14 March, 2006 / $13.95) - This is yet another entry into the every growing vampire market. Like many of the books that precede it, Acevedo redefines the vampire mythos so that it more resembles a new age mafia than anything else. His protagonist, bitten during the gulf war, resists his vampire ways, refusing to drink from humans and living a life in the sun under heavy sunscreen and make up. What makes this book a bit different is the cross fertilization of the vampire culture with the UFO conspiracy crowd. (see review)

Robert Sawyer Books

A Small and Remarkable Life by Nick DiChario (Robert Sawyer Books 30 March 2006 / $16.95) - Book Description: The much-anticipated first novel by Hugo and World Fantasy Award nominee Nick DiChario puts a spin on the story of being stranded on an alien planet, cut off from your own people, unsuited to your new environment, and physically different from everyone else. This is what the young alien Tink Puddah must face when his parents are killed on their first day on Earth in the year 1845, and Tink finds himself stranded in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. (Source: Robert Sawyer Books)

Roc

Nightlife by Rob Thurman (Roc 07 March, 2006 / $6.99) - Caliban Leandros has a problem: he's half-monster on his father's side. His alcoholic Gypsy mother is long dead, he's been running for his life for years, and his only ally is his half-brother Niko, whose discipline and knowledge are frightening. He is terrified by his monstrous heritage and knows only that the Grendels--who are actually known as the Auphe (basis for the mythical elves but nothing like them)--are closing in.

Now, in New York City, their long run is coming to an end... and Cal will finally learn why he was born. (see review)

Shadowrun #3: Fallen Angels : A Shadowrun Novel (Shadowrun) by Stephen Kenson (Roc 07 March, 2006 / $6.99) - Book Description: Kellan Colt has come far in her magical training. But she still doesn't know the truth about her shadowrunner mother or the secrets of the amulet she possessed. Troubled by disturbing dreams, Kellan is drawn into the paranoiac elven homeland of Tir Tairngire where she must unravel the most difficult riddle of all: who can she really trust in the shadows?

Roc Trade

Knighthood of the Dragon: Dragonmaster, Book Two by Chris Bunch (Roc Trade 07 March, 2006 / $15.00) - Hal Kalais continues to serve his king as Dragonmaster in this stirring story that draws many parallels to the development of air power in modern times. In Knighthood of the Dragon, he extends the parallel by developing the techniques of strategic bombing and attacks on civilian populations. It does, to be sure, require a certain amount of magical aid to turn dragons and riders into a fleet of bombers. (see review)

Nebula Awards Showcase 2006 (Nebula Awards Showcase) by Gardner Dozois (Roc Trade 07 March, 2006 / $15.95) - Book Description: Each year, the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America(r) bestow the Nebula Awards to authors whose exemplary fiction represents the most thought-provoking and entertaining work the genre has to offer. Nebula Awards Showcase collects the year's most preeminent science fiction and fantasy in one essential volume. This year's winners include Lois McMaster Bujold, Eileen Gunn, Ellen Klages, and Walter Jon Williams, as well as Grand Master Anne McCaffrey.

Spectra

The Patron Saint of Plagues by Barth Anderson (Spectra 28 March, 2006 / $13.00) - Book Description: In this biological thriller of the near future, postinsurrection Mexico has undermined the superpower of the United States. But while the rivals battle over borders, a pestilence beyond politics threatens to explode into a worldwide epidemic...

Since the rise of the Holy Renaissance, Ascension–once known as Mexico City–has become the most populous city in the world, its citizens linked to a central government net through wetware implanted in their brains. But while their dictator grows fat with success, the masses are captivated by Sister Domenica, an insurgent nun whose weekly pirate broadcasts prophesy a wave of death. All too soon, Domenica's nightmarish prediction proves true, and Ascension's hospitals are overrun with victims of a deadly fever. As the rampant plague kills too quickly to be contained, Mexico smuggles its last hope over the violently contested border....

Henry David Stark is a crack virus hunter for the American Center for Disease Control and a veteran of global humanitarian efforts. But this disease is unlike any he's seen before–and there seems to be no way to cure or control it. Racing against time, Stark battles corruption to uncover a horrifying truth: this is no ordinary outbreak but a deliberately unleashed man-made virus...and the killer is someone Stark knows.

Star Trek

Warpath (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) by David Mack (Star Trek 28 March, 2006 / $7.99) - Book description: Appointed by Odo himself to learn peaceful coexistence aboard Deep Space 9 ™, Taran'atar, an Honored Elder among the Jem'Hadar, had for months been a staunch, if conflicted, ally to the crew of the station, ever struggling to understand the mission on which he was sent . . . until something went horrifically wrong.

Consumed by self-doubt and an ever-growing rage, Taran'atar has lashed out against those he was sworn to aid. While Captain Kira Nerys and Lieutenant Ro Laren both lie near death aboard DS9, their assailant has taken a hostage and fled into Cardassian space, pursued by Commander Elias Vaughn on the U.S.S. Defiant. But as the hunt unfolds, Taran'atar's true objective becomes increasingly less certain, as the rogue Jem'Hadar leads the Defiant to a discovery even more shocking than his crime.

Thunder's Mouth Press

K-Machines by Damien Broderick (Thunder's Mouth Press 12 March, 2006 / $14.95) - August Seebeck is a Player in the Contest of Worlds. But nobody will tell him the rules. All the worlds (plural) a stage, as he jumps from universe to universe. And yet, he begins to doubt, are the Players really the Played?

K-Machines is the sequel to Godplayers which I thought showed a lot of potential but still had rough edges, most notably how no one ever explained to the hero what was going on. I assumed that would be rectified in the second book. It was not. Such confusion can be tolerated in the first book, the traditional set up volume in a typical trilogy. But the second book is supposed to provide the explanations, reveal the background, and answer the reader's questions. And K-Machines fails in that regard. (see review)

Visionary in Residence by Bruce Sterling (Thunder's Mouth Press 12 March, 2006 / $15.95) - Book Description: "I'm a science fiction writer. This is a golden opportunity to get up to most any mischief imaginable. With this fourth collection of my stories, I'm going to prove this to you."

With these words, Bruce Sterling--author of New York Times Notable Books of the Year and one of the great names in contemporary fiction--introduces his latest collection of thirteen tales. If you're familiar with his cyberpunk creations you won't be disappointed, but these stories range far beyond the limits of future technology. Visionary in Residence takes the reader to places never imagined and certainly where no one has ever been.

Tor Books

A Shadow in Summer : Book One of the Long Price Quartet (The Long Price Quartet) by Daniel Abraham (Tor Books 07 March, 2006 / $24.95) - Book Description: The powerful city-state of Saraykeht is a bastion of peace and culture, a major center of commerce and trade. Its economy depends on the power of the captive spirit, Seedless, an andat bound to the poet-sorcerer Heshai for life. Enter the Galts, a juggernaut of an empire committed to laying waste to all lands with their ferocious army. Saraykeht, though, has always been too strong for the Galts to attack, but now they see an opportunity. If they can dispose of Heshai, Seedless’s bonded poet-sorcerer, Seedless will perish and the entire city will fall. With secret forces inside the city, the Galts prepare to enact their terrible plan. In the middle is Otah, a simple laborer with a complex past. Recruited to act as a bodyguard for his girlfriend's boss at a secret meeting, he inadvertently learns of the Galtish plot. Otah finds himself as the sole hope of Saraykeht, either he stops the Galts, or the whole city and everyone in it perishes forever.

Tarra Khash: Hrossak!: Tales of the Primal Land by Brian Lumley (Tor Books 21 March, 2006 / $24.95) - Book Description: Classic Lovecraftian horror from one of the masters of the form, British Fantasy Award-winner Brian Lumley.

Tarra Khash is a Hrossak, a barbarian from the steppes beyond the River Luhr. A fearless adventurer, Tarra roves Theem-hdra in search of his next fortune, his next drink, and warm, willing females to share his bed. The Hrossak is a most fortunate man, for he has faced more than one god during his travels, and so far escaped unscathed . . . .

Seeking to avenge the murder of a beautiful young woman of the half-mystical Suhm-yi, Tarra joins forces with her husband, now the last of his kind. Each worships a moon-god, and together, their faith and Tarra’s weapons wreak a terrible vengeance on those who stole the treasure of the Suhm-yi and destroyed that noble race.

Eager for wealth, Tarra is trapped by a wily old man who has lured him into plumbing the depths of a treasure-filled cavern guarded by golden statues of the Great God Cthulhu. Cthulhu's treasure is not easily plundered, and Tarra nearly loses his life to the monstrous forces of the Elder God.

Many men have met the lamia Orbiquita, but none have lived to tell of her extraordinary powers of love-making—until Tarra Khash, who treats her as a woman wants to be treated and so earns her forgiveness and his life. Alas, others who assume her to be weakened by love for Tarra Khash are not so lucky!

The Armies of Memory by John Barnes (Tor Books 21 March, 2006 / $25.95) - Book Description: Giraut Leones, special agent for the human Thousand Cultures' shadowy Office of Special Plans, is turning fifty--and someone is trying to kill him. Giraut's had a long career; the number of entities that might want him dead is effectively limitless. But recently Giraut was approached by the Lost Legion, an Occitan underground linked to an alliance of illegally human-settled worlds beyond the frontier. Also, it turns out that the Lost Legion colony has a "psypyx" —a consciousness-recording—of Shan, onetime boss of the Office of Special Plans. If they have that, they have literally thousands of devastating secrets.

Now, returning to his native Nou Occitan, Giraut will encounter violence and treachery from human and artificial consciousnesses alike. As bigotry and mob violence erupt throughout the rapidly destabilizing interstellar situation, Giraut will be called on the make the ultimate sacrifice, for the sake of civilization itself...

The Wizard Lord: Volume One of the Annals of the Chosen by Lawrence Watt-Evans (Tor Books 07 March, 2006 / $26.95) - The Wizard Lord by Lawrence Watt-Evans has an interesting twist on the sword and sorcery genre. Magic exists and is very powerful. But it resides in only a small handful of people. And since power corrupts, a system is needed to keep the mages from either conquering the world, or destroying it during their inevitable squabbles. A single mage, the Wizard Lord, is selected and given so much power that he can easily destroy any other wizard (or group of wizards) that get delusions, and at the same time use his powers to make life comfortable for all the people. But since absolute power is even more nifty than just regular power, another check is needed to keep the Wizard Lord in line. These are "The Chosen"; eight men and women imbued with the same elemental magics that empower the Wizard Lord. If the Wizard Lord goes bad, it is their job to take him down. And if any of the Chosen go bad? Well, then it's up to the wizards to deal with them. It's a vicious circle, but one that seems to have worked well for centuries. So when Breaker is offered the position as The Swordsman, by definition the greatest swordsman in the world, he figures that it would be a good deal. There hasn't been a renegade Wizard Lord in over century, so it's not like he'll actually be called on to kill anyone. If he'd read any fantasy, he'd have known better than to give fate such an opportunity. (see review)

Touch of Evil by C. T. Adams (Tor Books 07 March, 2006 / $6.99) - From back of book: Kate Reilly has a hard time trusting people. Six years ago, the love of her life turned her over to the vampire parasites who call themselves the Thrall. Katie survives the powerful bite of the master parasite only to discover that the Thrall's venom, coupled with her own natural psychic ability, has transformed her. Now she is next in line to be the Thrall Queen--and each day might be her last as a human.

Tom, a handsome firefighter, arouses all of Katie's dormant senses, but her heart shies away. After Dylan's betrayal, how can she trust any man--even a seemingly perfect and terribly sexy werewolf? Tom's sincerity--and sex appeal--begins to wear down Katie's defenses. But his increasingly insistent charm hides a potentially deadly secret, and Katie is caught between protecting herself from the Thrall at any cost, and giving a man the power to hurt her. And if she makes the wrong choice...she dies.

Tor Science Fiction

Shadow of the Giant (Ender, Book 8) (Ender's Shadow) by Orson Scott Card (Tor Science Fiction 07 March, 2006 / $7.99) - Book Description: Bean's past was a battle just to survive. He first appeared on the streets of Rotterdam, a tiny child with a mind leagues beyond anyone else. He knew he could not survive through strength; he used his tactical genius to gain acceptance into a children's gang, and then to help make that gang a template for success for all the others. He civilized them, and lived to grow older. Then he was discovered by the recruiters for the Battle School.

For Earth was at war -- a terrible war with an inscrutable alien enemy. A war that humanity was near to losing. But the long distances of interstellar space has given hope to the defenders of Earth -- they had time to train military geniuses up from childhood, forging them into an irresistible force in the high-orbital facility called the Battle School. That story is told in two books, the beloved classic Ender's Game, and its parallel, Ender's Shadow.

Bean was the smallest student at the Battle School, but he became Ender Wiggins' right hand. Since then he has grown to be a power on Earth. He served the Hegemon as strategist and general in the terrible wars that followed Ender's defeat of the alien empire attacking Earth. Now he and his wife Petra yearn for a safe place to build a family -- something he has never known -- but there is nowhere on Earth that does not harbor his enemies -- old enemies from the days in Ender's Jeesh, new enemies from the wars on Earth. To find security, Bean and Petra must once again follow in Ender's footsteps. They must leave Earth behind, in the control of the Hegemon, and look to the stars.

Warner Books

Ultraviolet by Yvonne Navarro (Warner Books 01 March, 2006 / $6.99) - From back of book: Human versus vampires. In a dark futuristic metropolis, humans are fighting a civil war against a subculture group of humans known as "hemophages." Genetically modified by a vampire-like disease, these outcasts pit their great speed and strength against the humans' relentless weapons in the gritty urban streets. Violet is an infected person, a beautiful, intelligent woman who possesses razor-sharp survival instincts. Caught up in the middle of this escalating conflict, Violet must protect an extraordinary nine-year-old boy named Six. While the vampires and humans seek to use the boy's unique genetic makeup to eliminate each other, Violet has no idea of his terrifying secret--one that can destroy both races...

William Morrow

A Dirty Job: A Novel by Christopher Moore (William Morrow 21 March, 2006 / $24.95) - A Dirty Job is a completely average Christopher Moore book. By which I mean that it's inventive, irreverent, and wipe the tears from your eyes funny. The man that has taken a poke at vampires, demons, and Christianity now turns his gaze on Death itself. And as terrifying as it may seem, the business of death turns out to be pretty much like all the others. Perhaps that's why Charlie Asher has no trouble running his business after he becomes one of Death's little helpers. After all, souls are just another item to be sold off the rack. (see review)

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