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US Books Received- 12/2006  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

Airs Beneath the Moon by Toby Bishop (Ace 26 December, 2006 / $6.99) - Airs Beneath the Moon debuts Toby Bishop's new winged horse saga featuring Larkyn Hamley as the fish-out-water heroine. Having a way with animals, she saves a mare that later foals and produces a winged horse.

The Duchy of Oc, the sole place these animals are born, treasures them and rears them in luxury. Each winged horse bonds for life with a young girl, usually of noble background, and both serve the Duchy. Lark, unlike her fellow students, comes from a peasant heritage rather than a noble family. Nervous creatures, the winged horses cannot abide men. (see review)

Hell to Pay: A Novel of The Nightside by Simon R. Green (Ace 26 December, 2006 / $6.99) - All Jeremiah Griffin wanted was to live forever. Well, in the Nightside, nothing comes without a price… and often, it's a lot more than you'd want to pay.

In Hell to Pay, the latest installment of his acclaimed Nightside series, the Lilith War has left the "dark heart of London" in disarray. Most of the major players are gone —- dead or humbled, broken and forgotten —- but that only means opportunity for the survivors. And among those lucky handful is the Griffin family. Shadowy and powerful, there's one man they turn to in their darkest hour: John Taylor, the Nightside's most formidable private eye. (see review)

The Becoming by Jeanne C. Stein (Ace 28 November, 2006 / $7.99) - It was supposed to be a simple capture. John Donaldson was in a sleazy bar but he shouldn't be any trouble: a skinny, glasses wearing, accountant. Anna Strong and her bail bondsman partner David didn't expect any resistance especially since David is an ex-football star. But, David's knocked unconscious, Anna is assaulted and nearly killed, and Donaldson gets away. In the hospital, Anna gets flashes of the assault but can't really remember it and all she wants is to go home. Within a day, Anna Strong knows there is something seriously wrong with her and Dr. Grant Avery is more than willing to step in and help her -- since when do doctors make house calls. (see review)

Ace Hardcover

Childe Morgan by Katherine Kurtz (Ace Hardcover 05 December, 2006 / $24.95) - It is hard to write a good exciting prequel since the reader essentially already knows the outline of what happened, the author is locked into the events described in the original books, and usually the author has already put the most interesting ideas/events in the original books. It is hard to write a good middle book in a trilogy since the main plot cannot be resolved and any stretching or filler to add enough pages for a trilogy almost always gets tucked into the middle book. And, it is especially hard to write a novel when your title character is only four year old. Faced with this triple challenge, Katherine Kurtz does a workmanlike job in Childe Morgan. (see review)

Cursor's Fury by Jim Butcher (Ace Hardcover 05 December, 2006 / $24.95) - Book Description: The power-hungry High Lord of Kalare has launched a rebellion against the aging First Lord, Gaius Sextus, who with the loyal forces of Alera must fight beside the unlikeliest of allies-the equally contentious High Lord of Aquitaine.

Meanwhile, young Tavi of Calderon joins a newly formed legion under an assumed name even as the ruthless Kalare unites with the Canim, bestial enemies of the realm whose vast numbers spell certain doom for Alera. When treachery from within destroys the army's command structure, Tavi finds himself leading an inexperienced, poorly equipped legion-the only force standing between the Canim horde and the war-torn realm. (Source: Ace Hardcover)

Baen

Exodus (Starfire) by Steve White (Baen 26 December 2006 / $26.00) - Book Description: Once before, the sentient races in the known part of the galaxy--humans, Orions, Ophiuchi and Gorm--had united to defeat alien invaders. The bugs were as incomprehensibly alien as they were revoltingly evil, using all other living things, intelligent or not, as food, and they had been defeated at a terrible cost. Decades have since passed and the gallant warriors of the battle against the bugs have grown old, while new generations have grown complacent... dangerously so. Long ago, much of the population of an entire planet had built a huge fleet of ships, each ship larger than a city, and fled their world before its sun went nova. Those slower-than-light ships traversed many light years, and have now arrived at the world they intend to make their new home. They regard the fact that the planet is already colonized by humans as a mere inconvenience, the more so since their mode of communication is so different from anything humans use that they do not consider humans and their allies to be truly intelligent. And the arriving aliens know--or, at least, they believe--that when they die they will be reincarnated, so they do not hesitate to attack humans and their allies with suicidal fury. This time, the intelligent races of the old alliance will not have to worry about becoming an invader's meal¿but that will be small comfort if the invaders decide that genocide is justified for their own survival....

(Source: Baen)

Grantville Gazette III by Eric Flint (Baen 26 December, 2006 / $25.00) - Baen publishing brings the next edition of collected Grantville (1632) stories. Each print edition includes both fiction and nonfiction related to the 1632 universe. These stories and essays expand the basic knowledge regarding everyday life and relates some of the how did they do that or get to that point. Main storyline authors and fans both have stories and essays. The original publication of these stories is an online edition.

This is a special edition for Eric, in that it was one of the last purchases that publisher Jim Baen made prior to his death. The series itself is notable for the high sales volume for a collection of short stories. The details of these are noted in the Preface.

Ill Met by Moonlight (Scepter'd Isle) by Mercedes Lackey (Baen 28 November, 2006 / $7.99) - Book Description: England in the sixteenth century: a nation at a fatal fork in time, leading to two possible futures forseen by the Sidhe of Elfhame Avalon. Either an evil queen will join forces with the Inquisition and rule with a blood-spattered iron hand, threatening humans and elves alike--or a benevolent, red-haired queen named Elizabeth will rule wisely and well. But the evil Unseleighe Sidhe, who feed on human suffering and dark emotions, are determined that the little girl Elizabeth shall never grow up to take the throne. Opposing them are the good Sidhe of elfland, who have so far managed to protect the young girl. Denoriel had foiled one attempt to kidnap both Elizabeth and her half-brother and replace them with changelings, almost at the cost of his own life. But a few years have passed, and Denoriel has healed and returned to guard the young princess, now all of eight years old, secure in the knowledge that his enemy Vidal, leader of the evil Unseleighe, is dead, killed with an iron bolt fired from a primitive gun. Unfortunately, he is wrong: Vidal's armor was far stronger than any of the good elves realized. Though the wound was deep and Vidal was forced to bide his time in his own slow healing, his recovery is complete, his determination to hurl England into a new dark age is as strong as ever, and he has set in motion a plan to achieve this end of which Denoriel and his comrades are dangerously unaware....

Interstellar Patrol II: The Federation of Humanity (Federation of Man) by Christopher Anvil (Baen 05 December 2006 / $7.99) - Book Description: Vaughan Roberts and his two companions had been trapped on a crime-ridden, chaotic planet until they bamboozled the population with a colossal, audacious hoax--which brought them to the attention of the Interstellar Patrol, who were looking for a few good con men, capable of ingenious improvisation and adept at playing dirty tricks on the bad guys. The new recruits acquitted themselves admirably, so they naturally were given more tough nuts to crack, including:

Flummoxing an alien empire which has taken a number of human prisoners as reconnaissance for an invasion. This has a personal aspect, since the prisoners are from the planet which Roberts tricked into reforming. . . .Stopping a plan by not-so-good Samaritans who are pretending to cure a planetary plague--which they introduced to the planet--with a "miracle" drug which creates an addiction to the same drug, which the schemers will be glad to continue supplying for ever-increasing sums...Not only rescuing some Patrol personnel taken hostage by fanatics who plan to execute them one at a time until their leader is released, but convincing other fanatics throughout the galaxy that the consequences of threatening anyone in the Patrol are too terrible even to think about. . . .Making sure that the rightful heir to a planet's throne escapes from captivity and overthrows the usurper. This time there's a complication: Roberts may be falling for the ruler's beautiful sister....And much more....

(Source: Baen)

Oath of Swords by David Weber (Baen 26 December 2006 / $15.00) - Book Description: Whom the gods would recruit, they first tick off... Our Hero: The unlikely Paladin, Bahzell Bahnakson of the Horse Stealer Hradani. He's no knight in shining armor. He's a hradani, a race known for their uncontrollable rages, bloodthirsty tendencies, and inability to maintain civilized conduct. None of the other Five Races of man like the hradani. Besides his ethnic burden, Bahzell has problems of his own to deal with: a violated hostage bond, a vengeful prince, a price on his head. He doesn't want to mess with anybody else's problems, let alone a god's. Let alone the War God's! So how does he end up a thousand leagues from home, neck-deep in political intrigue, assassins, demons, psionicists, evil sorcery, white sorcery, dark gods, good gods, bad poets, greedy landlords, and most of Bortalik Bay? Well, it's all the War God's fault....

(Source: Baen)

The Prometheus Project by Steve White (Baen 28 November, 2006 / $7.99) - Book Description: Bob Devaney was a soldier in the Special Forces in the early 1960s until something he refused to discuss caused him to leave, setting up his own security and investigative agency, with one employee: himself. Then he found out too much about a secret government project and he had the choice of disappearing or being recruited for the Prometheus Project. The Project was the largest disinformation operation in history, targeted at the aliens who ruled the galaxy. A mysterious individual known as Mr. Inconnu had arrived in a damaged but highly advanced craft in the 1940s with the information that he had escaped from a group of humans whom aliens had been studying. And unless the Earth could convince the aliens that the Earth had a unified government, and technology comparable to that of the galactic rulers, the Earth would be exploited as a primitive protectorate. So far the hoax was working¿and the technology which Mr. Inconnu had brought with him helped--but someone in the Project was selling secrets to an interstellar mafia called the Tonkuztra about the real state of affairs on Earth. And Devaney knew that Chloe Bryant, the woman he had fallen in love with, was being set up to take a fall for the real traitor, who was about to embark on a treason whose consequences could jeopardize the very Universe....

Unto the Breach (Paladin of Shadows, Book 4) by John Ringo (Baen 28 November, 2006 / $26.00) - Book Description: Sequel to Ghost, Kildar and Choosers of the Slain.

Michael Harmon has been there and done that. Rescued co-eds, killed major terrorists, stopped nuclear assaults. Now he'd just like to kick back and relax with his harem of lovelies. Unfortunately, the world keeps turning. Mike and the Keldara are back tracking down terrorists, rogue Russian bio-scientists and the doomsday weapon to end all doomsday weapons. It's going to take some very tough, hard and nasty people to stop the end of the world. Fortunately, there's Mike Harmon. The Hero of Ghost, Kildar and Choosers of the Slain, along with his company of elite mountain fighters, is sent on a mission to stop an advanced smallpox plague from being turned over to terrorists. But that will only be the beginning as the Kildar and his Keldara rush to stop a host of WMD attacks, coordinated to take out the very heartland of terrorism's enemies. It's a battle for culture, and this time the terrorists aren't aiming at just one building....

We the Underpeople by Cordwainer Smith (Baen 28 November, 2006 / $15.00) - Book Description: In a far-flung future, planoforming ships knit together a galaxy ruled from Earth by the ruthless benevolence of the mysterious Lords of the Instrumentality, who presided over a utopia without death, danger--or freedom. The Underpeople, humanlike beings created from animals to do the work of utopia, had no rights, and could be disposed of at the whim of a human. But they had become more humanlike than their creators, and their leader, the cat woman C'Mell, had a plan for gaining their freedom--which made her much too dangerous a person to be permitted to live.

Elsewhere in the galaxy, the planet Norstrilia had power of its own, for it was the only source of stroon, the drug which arrested aging and made humans immortal. Its inhabitants were wealthy beyond comprehension, and one of them, a boy named Rod McBan, with the help of his computer, had manipulated the galactic economy until he completely owned the planet Earth--which made him much too dangerous a person to be permitted to live. But when Rod came to Earth and joined forces with C'Mell and the Underpeople, the petrified utopia of the Instrumentality began to crack and fall apart as freedom was reborn in the galaxy....

Ballantine Books

Mistral's Kiss by Laurell K. Hamilton (Ballantine Books 12 December, 2006 / $23.95) - Book Description: Princess Meredith is being held virtually a prisoner in Faerie. She must either conceive a child or die. Mistral, captain of Queen Andais's guard, has awakened old magic as he joins with Meredith. If Meredith can learn to control this power she might live and Mistral may survive his flouting of the Queen's rules.

Carnifex Press

The King's Wind by Laura J. Underwood (Carnifex Press December 2006 / $12.95) - When the King's Wind blows, the residents of the Old City of Caer Elenthorn are plagued with the stench of the river. But now a new form of death scents the air with rot and decay, stalking the streets of Quayside and Broken Wall with fangs and claws.

Salvation for those who live north of the river lies in the hands of Brother Rhys, a healer by trade who lives in constant denial of his magical heritage. As death threatens the lives of those wretched souls around him as well as those he truly cares about, Rhys must put aside his bitterness and use his skills as one of the mageborn to defeat a dangerous fiend. But considering that magic is what brought this plague on Broken Wall, Brother Rhys could be risking his own life trying to stop a creature that is not flesh and blood. ( Available from the publisher.)

DAW

A Confederation of Valor by Tanya Huff (DAW 05 December, 2006 / $8.99) - Book Description: Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr's goal is to keep both her superior officers and her troops alive as they face deadly missions throughout the galaxy. She more than proves her mettle when a diplomatic assignment and a scientific expedition both turn dangerous.

Cosmic Cocktails by Denise Little (DAW 05 December, 2006 / $7.99) - Bars, pubs and watering holes, either at the end of the universe or down the street, have contributed richly to science fiction and fantasy. Arthur C. Clarke's Tales from the White Hart, any of Spider Robinson's Callahan novels, The opening sequence of Douglas Adam's (misnamed) trilogy...and a vast quantity more my ale soaked brain can't quite conjure at the moment all set the bar for tales about and within drinking establishments of high and low repute. Even the bar scenes of our favorite media SF loom large in our memories. It was where we saw Han shoot first, Scotty defend the Enterprise's honor, and a naked terminator walk into a bar...Disappointingly, Cosmic Cocktails doesn't quite clear that bar. p> (see review)

The Frost-Haired Vixen by John Zakour (DAW 05 December, 2006 / $7.99) - Every time another installment in John Zakour's over the top gumshoe adventures comes out I mean to read it...but never quite get to it due to the stack of really important, serious books on top of it. That may have been a mistake. It helps if you're a fan of noir gumshoe stories...though not too serious a fan, because you have to endure a humor density about as deadly as depleted uranium. But besides the frivolity and formulaic plotting, the adventures of Zach Johnson turn out to be engaging as well as funny in a blunt trauma sort of way. (see review)

Del Rey

Maelstrom: Book Two of The Twins of Petaybee by Anne Mccaffrey & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (Del Rey 26 December, 2006 / $23.95) - Book Description: Now that Petaybee is forming a new equatorial island, the planet has agreed to harbor a group of new refugees, workers indentured to the powerful InterGal Corporation. But the mission to collect the immigrants becomes a rescue operation when it is revealed that InterGal is doing nothing to help these survivors of a world devastated by a meteor shower. Murel and Ronan set out to persuade the frightened refugees to come out of hiding, leave their world, and bring along their sacred totem animals, the gifted sea turtles called the Honus. But the twins discover that they’ve taken on more than they expected: The Honus are not the only animals sacred to the refugees. There are also the Manos, intelligent sharks who have lost none of their predatory habits–and who cannot be left behind to die.

When the Manos are released into Petaybee's waters, a tragic misunderstanding endangers the whole resettlement operation. At the same time, the mysterious sea otters who once rescued the twins' father are suddenly revealed to be much more than they appear to be.

Now it is up to Ronan and Murel, with the intrepid assistance of their river otter friend Sky, to smooth the waters before a maelstrom of revenge destroys Petaybee's harmonious way of life. But even as the twins uncover startling new facts about Petaybee’s past that will change everything they thought they knew about the planet, the forces of InterGal are gathering, preparing to strike....

No Dominion: A Novel by Charlie Huston (Del Rey 26 December, 2006 / $13.95) - Book Description: Joe Pitt's life sucks. He hasn't had a case or a job in God knows how long and his stashes are running on empty. What stashes? The only ones that count to a guy like Joe: blood and money. The money he uses to buy blood; the blood he drinks. Hey, buddy, it's that or your neck–you want to choose? The only way to lay his hands on both is to take a gig with the local Vampyre Clan. See, something new is on the streets, a new high, a high so strong it can send a Vampyre spazzing through Joe's local watering hole. Till Joe sends him through a plate-glass window, that is.

So it's time for Joe to gut up and swallow that pride and follow the leads wherever they go. It won't be long before he's slapping stoolies, getting sapped, and being taken for a ride above 110th Street. Someone's pulling Joe's strings, and now he's riding the A train, looking to find who it is. He's gonna cut them when he finds them–the strings and the hands that hold them. (see review)

The Tower of Shadows by Drew Bowling (Del Rey 26 December, 2006 / $19.95) - Near the town of Ember, the Coven is trying to raise a demon. They embrace evil so these humans look like monsters and though their summoning is not a complete success, the members remain dedicated to destroying anything that ventures into their path and they start by attacking the nearby town. Former mercenary Wren and his wife are caught up in the carnage, but the Wizard Dale saves their lives. They help him fight The Coven and eventually escape with their lives. Dale takes a family's only survivor Corin to a safe place and also gives Wren a magic medallion so he can call him if he is needed. (see review)

EOS

Land of Mist and Snow by Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald (EOS 01 December, 2006 / $7.99) - The United States is engaged in a great civil war, testing whether this nation or any nation conceived and dedicated to liberty, can long endure. As the armies of the North and South clash on land, something is brewing on the seas. Two vessels powered by spirits will traverse the Atlantic as they move towards their climactic battle. (see review)

Eos

Priestess of the White (Age of the Five Trilogy, Book 1) by Trudi Canavan (Eos 27 December, 2005 / $7.99) - Book Description: In a land on the brink of peace -- watched jealously by a ruthless cult from across the sea and beset by hidden enemies -- five extraordinary humans must serve as sword and shield of the Gods.

Auraya is one. Her heroism saved a village from destruction; now Auraya has been named Priestess of the White. The limits of her unique talents must be tested in order to prove her worthy of the honor and grave responsibility awarded to her. But a perilous road lies ahead, fraught with pitfalls that will challenge the newest servant of the gods. An enduring friendship with a Dreamweaver -- a member of an ancient outcast sect of sorcerer-healers -- could destroy Auraya's future. And her destiny has set her in conflict with a powerful and mysterious, black-clad sorcerer with but a single purpose: the total annihilation of the White. And he is not alone . . .

HarperCollins

Warriors: The New Prophecy #6: Sunset (Warriors: The New Prophecy) by Erin Hunter (HarperCollins 26 December, 2006 / $16.99) - Book Description: Soon after the cats reached their new home by the lake, ThunderClan's medicine cat Leafpool received an ominous warning from StarClan: Before there is peace, blood will spill blood, and the lake will run red. As the Clan slowly recovers from a devastating badger attack, Leafpool can't help but wonder . . . do her prophetic dreams mean there are even worse dangers still in store for the warrior cats?

At the same time, shadows of the past continue to haunt the forest as some old friends struggle to find their place, others appear to be lost forever, and an old enemy finds a new way to resurface in a quest for dark revenge. A sinister path is unfolding, and the time is coming for certain warriors to make the choices that will determine their destiny . . . and the destiny of all the Clans. (Source: HarperCollins)

McFarland & Company

Existential Joss Whedon: Evil And Human Freedom in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly And Serenity by J. Douglas Rabb (McFarland & Company 06 December, 2006 / $35.00) - Product Description: This study examines the major works of contemporary American television and film screenwriter Joss Whedon. The authors argue that these works are part of an existentialist tradition that stretches back from the French atheistic existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, through the Danish Christian existentialist Søren Kierkegaard, to the Russian novelist and existentialist Fyodor Dostoevsky. Whedon and Dostoevsky, for example, seem preoccupied with the problem of evil and human freedom. Both argue that in each and every one of us "a demon lies hidden." Whedon personifies these demons and has them wandering about and causing havoc. Dostoevsky treats the subject only slightly more seriously. Chapters cover such topics as Russian existentialism and vampire slayage; moral choices; ethics; Faith and bad faith; constructing reality through existential choice; some limitations of science and technology; love and self-sacrifice; love, witchcraft, and vengeance; soul mates and moral responsibility; love and moral choice; forms of freedom; and Whedon as moral philosopher. (Source: McFarland & Company)

Milton, Spenser and the Chronicles of Narnia: Literary Sources for the C.S. Lewis Novels by Elizabeth Baird Hardy (McFarland & Company 13 December 2006 / $35.00) - Product Description: In 1950, Clive Staples Lewis published the first in a series of children's stories that became The Chronicles of Narnia. The now vastly popular Chronicles are a widely known testament to the religious and moral principles that Lewis embraced in his later life. What many readers and viewers do not know about the Chronicles is that a close reading of the seven-book series reveals the strikingly effective influences of literary sources as diverse as George MacDonald's fantastic fiction and the courtly love poetry of the High Middle Ages. Arguably the two most influential sources for the series are Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen and John Milton's Paradise Lost. Lewis was so personally intrigued by these two particular pieces of literature that he became renowned for his scholarly studies of both Milton and Spenser. This book examines the important ways in which Lewis so clearly echoes The Faerie Queen and Paradise Lost, and how the elements of each work together to convey similar meanings. Most specifically, the chapters focus on the telling interweavings that can be seen in the depiction of evil, female characters, fantastic and symbolic landscapes and settings, and the spiritual concepts so personally important to C.S. Lewis. (Source: McFarland & Company)

Robert E. Howard: A Collector's Descriptive Bibliography of American And British Hardcover, Paperback... by Leon Nielsen (McFarland & Company 27 December 2006 / $39.95) - Product Description: In the same way that Tolkien is considered the father of epic fantasy, so to is Robert E. Howard considered the father of the fantasy genre of sword and sorcery. Howard is among a select group of now-revered writers who published primarily in pulp magazines. Pulps continued publishing Howard material posthumously, and his first hardcover book appeared in 1937, a year after his early death at the age of 30. Anthologies, books, comic adaptations and movies based on his work are still being brought out. Howard created one of the most popular of all fantasy characters, Conan. Other famous characters included King Kull of Atlantis, the Puritan adventurer Soloman Kane, the female warrior Red Sonya, and the Pict Bran Mak Morn. This guide is an invaluable resource about Howard, with information for every known published work. Initial chapters provide a biography, discuss Howard's literary legacy, and give basic tips about collecting Howard's writings. The main body of the work is a bibliography of Howard's published works from 1925 through 2004. Each entry includes a description and known details including publisher, date, print run, and estimated value. A thorough index locates the publication of every Howard story or poem. (Source: McFarland & Company)

Plume

The Thrall's Tale by Judith Lindbergh (Plume 26 December 2006 / $15.00) - Book Description: The mesmerizing chronicle of three tenth-century Viking women whose lives are inextricably bound by fate. The Thrall's Tale is a masterpiece of historical fiction that follows Katla, a slave, her daughter Bibrau, and their mistress Thorbjorg, a prophetess of the Norse god Odin, as they navigate the stormy waters of love, revenge, faith, and deception in the Viking Age settlements of tenth-century Greenland. Lindbergh's lyrical prose captures the tenuousness of lives led on the edge of the known world, the pain of loyalties shattered by Christian conversion, and the deepest desires hidden in the human heart. (Source: Plume)

Roc Trade

Dragon Avenger: The Age of Fire, Book Two by E.E. Knight (Roc Trade 05 December, 2006 / $14.00) - Dragon Avenger, book two of The Age of Fire series, is not so much a sequel as a parallel story to its predecessor Dragon Champion. The beginning of both books (although much shorter in this one) tells how a small clutch of four dragons is born in a lonely cave in the mountains. And how hunters storm the cave and destroy the family. In Dragon Champion, Auron believed himself to be the only survivor, and now in Dragon Avenger, the same events lead Wistala to believe that she is alone in the world. But from there the stories diverge widely and, in fact cover widely different time scales and points of view. While Auron sought knowledge and power to save dragonkind, Wistala seeks revenge for the wrongs done to herself and those she loves (both dragon and other races).. (see review)

The Last Battle: Dragonmaster, Book Three by Chris Bunch (Roc Trade 05 December, 2006 / $14.00) - Book Description The Great War has ended-but there's no peace for battle-hardened Hal Kailas. In his bleak, ravaged homeland, even his marriage to Lady Khiri no longer brings solace. And Hal's worst fears are coming to pass as the dragonmasters-and the magnificent beasts they once flew-are cast off like relics of a misbegotten age. Old enemies have savagely returned. With his loyal comrades, Hal must turn back this terrible scourge that threatens man and beast alike in one last, ultimate battle- whose outcome is far from certain.

Spectra

Capacity by Tony Ballantyne (Spectra 26 December, 2006 / $6.99) - Book Description: Welcome to the year 2252—and congratulations! You're now a personality construct. We know that can be a daunting stage of personal development, especially if you don't remember making this life-changing decision. But we're here to help….

Helen is waking to a dark new reality—one that she's certain she didn't choose. In this borrowed existence, she finds an unexpected guide in Judy, a geisha-faced virgin who's on a mission of her own. Together, the two of them begin a dangerous run through dozens of imagined worlds in an attempt to trap a psychopath haunting the shadowed areas of virtual space—a killer who brutally murdered an earlier version of Helen and who plans to kill again. Meanwhile, Justinian is investigating a peculiar rash of AI suicides on far-off planets—and finds that not only is there more to these "deaths" than he thought, but that they may be linked to his wife Anya's mysterious coma.

In a future where AIs have taken over human life and the Environment Agency runs everything for our own good, the fact that we can live on after physical death as sentient digital beings should have been a good thing. Instead, as Helen and Justinian are about to discover, it just means there are more ways to die. (see review)

The Silver Bough by Lisa Tuttle (Spectra 26 December, 2006 / $12.00) - The Silver Bough by Lisa Tuttle was reviewed by Carolyn Frank in our April 2006 issue.

Tor Books

Adventures in Unhistory: Conjectures on the Factual Foundations of Several Ancient Legends by Avram Davidson (Tor Books 28 November, 2006 / $25.95) - Book Description: Where did Sinbad Sail? * Who Fired the Phoenix? * The Boy Who Cried Werewolf * The Great Rough Beast * Postscript on Prester John * The Secret of Hyperborea * What Gave All Those Mammoths Cold Feet?

And many more--fictional? authoritative? fantastic? deadpan?--investigations into the real, the true…and the things that should be true.

The Conan Chronicles (Conan) by Robert Jordan (Tor Books 26 December, 2006 / $15.95) - Book Description: Before Robert Jordan conquered the bestseller lists with his Wheel of Time saga, he revived Robert E. Howards legendary fantasy hero Conan. These widely acclaimed adventures introduced the world-famous barbarian to a whole new generation of enthusiastic readers. Here are three powerful sagas, featuring all the storytelling magic and epic splendor that have made Robert Jordan one of the most beloved fantasy authors in history. Conan the Invincible: Less than nineteen years old and new to the snares and enticements of civilization, the young Conan must join forces with Karela, a dangerously seductive female bandit, to storm the palace of Amanar, a supremely evil necromancer, and confront the dreaded Eater of Souls. Conan the Defender: As revolution brews in the shadowy streets of Belverus, Conan braves the traps and treacheries of the Royal Palace of the Dragon. Pursued by the luscious and shameless Sularia, the mighty warrior challenges a magic-spawned menace that cannot die: the invincible Simulacrum of Albanus. Conan the Unconquered: Conan defies the sorcerous power of the Cult of Doom for the sake of a beautiful young woman known only as Yasbet. From the glory of fabled Aghrapur to the demon-haunted wastes of the Blasted Lands, Conan proves himself the greatest hero of a bygone era of high adventure. (Source: Tor Books)

Universal Pictures

Children of Men by Alfonso Cuarón (Universal Pictures December 29, 2006 / ) - Plot Outline In 2027, in a chaotic world in which humans can no longer procreate, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea, where her child's birth may help scientists save the future of humankind.

Actors: Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Charlie Hunnam (see review)

Vertical

Birthday by Koji Suzuki (Vertical 12 December, 2006 / $21.95) - From back of book: Birthday is a self-contained triad of back-stories that reveal what really happened to three of the female characters in the Ring trilogy. In "Lemon Heart" (a.k.a. Ring 0), the vengeful Ring-ghost Sadako is in love with a fellow thespian. In "Coffin in the Sky," the bereaved lover of Ring-professor Ryuki Takayama dies a lonely death on a building roof as she gives birth to the new incarnation of the accursed psychic Sadako. And "Happy Birthday" follows the life of Reiko, the love interest of Kaoru,who entered the Loop matrix in search of answers to teh Ring virus. (Source: Vertical)

Wizards of the Coast

Frostfell: The Wizards by Mark Sehestedt (Wizards of the Coast 05 December, 2006 / $6.99) - Book Description: Daughter of House Hiloar. War Wizard of Cormyr. Renegade.

Only fools find themselves at Winterkeep after the first snowfall. The cold alone can kill, if you live long enough, and dangers far worse haunt the ruined keep in winter. But slavers stole her son. She would sacrifice everything to get him back. But in the uncaring, frozen north, will it be enough? (Cover Art: Duane O. Myers)

The Killing Song: The Dragon Below, Book 3 (The Dragon Below) by Don Bassingthwaite (Wizards of the Coast 12 December, 2006 / $6.99) - Book Description: Sealed away for ages, a forgotten horror reaches out for new power. Three heroes know the danger. In the City of Towers, a tormented mystic and a soldier-wizard try to thwart a monstrous scheme. In the Shadow Marches, a disgraced warrior summons an ancient sect to battle. As a dragon rises, can their struggle succeed? Or will they fall to madness and the music of the Killing Song?

Zadok Allen

The Arkham Alphabet Book for children by Darrell Schweitzer (Zadok Allen 2006 / $4.00) - Book description: The Arkham Alphabet Book being a compilation of Life's Lessons in Rhyme for Squamous Spawn with an introduction by Zebulon Whateley III, Chairman of the Board of Education for the Arkham-Dunwich School District. Illustrated by Allen Koszowski. The above description from the title page should give you a good idea of the tongue in cheek humor of this serious instruction manual for the young.

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