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UK Books Received- 02/2007  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 c/o SFRevu, 16440 Baden Westwood Road Brandywine, MD 20613

UK Books Column - February 2007 by John Berlyne ( / ) - This month John reports from the UK on the books he's gotten recently including a historical thriller from Dan Simmons, the last of the Ascendant of Estoria sequence by James Barclay, a walk on the dark side from Gollancz with a supernatural thriller by Charlaine Harris, and high praise for The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes. He also notes that Tor has mended their ways by bringing out "a sequence of smart trade paperbacks and subsequent mass market editions" of UK author Liz Williams work...and much more.

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Bantam Press

The Terror by Dan Simmons (Bantam Press 01 February, 2007 / £20.00) - The brand new novel from Dan Simmons once again shows that he is an author comfortable in any fictional field. The Terror is a historical thriller that will send a shiver down even the most hardened reader's spine. An astonishing novel that I give my highest recommendation to.

"Sir John Franklin's obsession with finding the fabled North-West passage has kept the crews of the Erebus and Terror trapped in the Arctic ice for two years. But the real threat to their survival isn't the ever-shifting landscape of white or the flesh-numbing temperatures, the dwindling contaminated provisions or the vessels' being slowly crushed by the unyielding grip of the frozen ocean. No, the real threat is whatever it is that haunts the frigid darkness, prowling their ships, snatching one man at a time. Bodies are left mutilated or simply vanish. This nameless thing, at once nowhere and everywhere, has become the expedition's nemesis." Brrrrrr!

(see review)

Gollancz

A Shout For The Dead: The Ascendants of Estorea Book 2 (Gollancz S.F.) by James Barclay (Gollancz 04 January 2007 / £12.99) - The second and concluding volume in Barclay's Ascendants of Estoria sequence. I reviewed the first volume The Cry of the Newborn back in our October 05 issue - if this second volume lives up to the exceptional qualities of the first, then Barclay will once again prove himself to be a must-read author. Shout for the Dead is released in both trade paperback and hard cover by Gollancz.

Grave Sight (Gollancz S.F.) by Charlaine Harris (Gollancz 18 January 2007 / £9.99) - Gollancz throws their hat into the ring that is the supernatural thriller with a strong female protagonist. I've commented before what an overcrowded market this is, but it is without doubt, an area with huge commercial rewards. Gollancz has a lucrative market and so we welcome Gollancz Romance and their lead title, Charlaine Harris's Grave Sight. Harris, of course, is well established in this field, being a prolific author of a number of different series of novels and has been previously published in the UK by Orbit. Grave Sight introduces Harper Connelly "...a gutsy new heroine who makes her living finding the dead - telepathically!" (see review)

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (Gollancz 15 March, 2007 / £12.99) - Don't you just love it when something actually turns out to be as good as the hype?!! It's a rare occurrence, but it does happen occasionally. Heart-Shaped Box is the debut novel by Joe Hill, an author who already has a string of plaudits and awards for his much celebrated short fiction. Can he work the same magic in a longer form?(see review)

The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes (Gollancz 22 February, 2007 / £16.99) - Gollancz continues their quest to bring the best in new British talent to your bookshelves. In Jonathan Barnes, they have found a wonderful and deliciously grotesque novelist. His début work, The Somnambulist is a delight and is reviewed this issue.

"An extraordinary tale of poetry, secret societies, traveling circuses and walking dead set in a richly realized Victorian London." (see review)

Hodder Paperback

Cell by Stephen King (Hodder Paperback 25 January, 2007 / £6.99) - The mass market edition of Stephen King's impressive 2006 novel Cell. You'll never look at your mobile phone the same way again! At the top of the tree of successful writers sits Stephen King. His is an unparalleled career in the history of modern fiction, one spanning decades, genres, media and generations. So many of King's peers have either gone out of fashion, run out of ideas or just died, but King has kept on working and kept on being published. Not all of his work has been consistently excellent, but he'd be the first to admit that - his honesty as a writer is one of his most inspirational and enduring traits - but his consummate master craftsmanship as a writer is not open to question, and his latest novel Cell shows that the master has not lost his touch. (see review)

Macmillan

The Book of All Hours: 2 by Hal Duncan (Macmillan 02 February 2007 / £17.99) - The second part of The Book of All Hours is released in hard cover by Macmillan. It follows on from Vellum, Duncan's rich and highly literary debut novel (see my review here), and a book which caused quite a stir and much excitement in genre circles.

Be sure to visit thebookofallhours.co.uk - where the publishers have impressively made full use of all that web marketing can offer - "Solve The Book of All Hours puzzle and win an exclusive Jack Carter kit, plus free books for a year."

Simon & Schuster Ltd

The Liberty Gun (Structure Trilogy 3) by Martin Sketchley (Simon & Schuster Ltd 05 February, 2007 / £12.99) - Already published in the US by Pyr, British author Martin Sketchley has the third in his acclaimed Structure sequence published on his home turf.

The Liberty Gun is a trade paperback released by Simon & Schuster.

"Combines elements of military SF, future dystopia and individual rebellion... rousing stuff." -- SFX

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Solaris

Dante's Girl (Kayla Steele) by Natasha Rhodes (Solaris March, 2007 / £7.99) - Solaris dips a toe into the lucrative supernatural thriller market, launching their title to take on Laurel K. Hamilton, Kim Harrision, Kelly Armstrong and the plethora of other authors riding currently riding this bandwagon.

"Kayla Steele is a woman with a problem. First of all, she's trying to hold down her job at the perfume counter of a large department store, whilst staying on top of her pile of mounting bills. As if that wasn't enough, she's also on a mission to learn the Dark Arts so that she can avenge the death of her boyfriend and bring down the cabal of supernatural entities that is stalking the streets of LA...

Dante's Girl is a dark, sexy, adventure-filled novel that explores the supernatural underbelly of life in contemporary LA – and the issues faced by a girl who really just wants to spend some quality time with her dead boyfriend." (see review)

The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction by George Mann (Solaris 30 January 2007 / 4.07) - The opening salvo from new British genre imprint Solaris, and the calibre of authors on display in The Solaris Book of New Science Fictions shows that this is publisher with pulling power enough to attract the very best writers.

"The eclectic stories and novelettes in this collection range from futuristic murder mysteries, to widescreen space opera, to tales of contact with alien beings. All stories are original to the collection and have never appeared in print before. This is truly a book for all lovers of science fiction and is a fabulous introduction to the world of Solaris Books."

(see review)

Telos Publishing Ltd

Second Flight: Back to the Vortex II - The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to by J Shaun Lyon (Telos Publishing Ltd November 2006 / £30.00) - A fine limited edition hardcover from Telos that will have all Dr Who fans foaming at the mouth!

With the extraordinary success of the new Dr Who ... "Second Flight reveals the background to the series, from the announcements, to the press releases, casting calls, the highs and lows, and the return of the dreaded Cybermen as well as several other friends and foes. The book also features detailed analysis of the new adventures, facts and figures, and exclusive review commentary from an international panel of writers and critics."

This completist's dream book is also published in trade paperback at £12.99. An essential resource for fans of the series.

Talkback: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Doctor Who Interview Book Vol. 2: The Seventies by (Telos Publishing Ltd 31 August 2006 / £12.99) - Another fantastic factual Dr Who guide from Telos . This second volume of Talkback deals with the 1970s and features an "... incredible collection of interviews with the people behind the middle years of the BBC's classic science fiction adventure series Dr Who."

Zombiemania: 80 Films to Die for by Arnold T. Blumberg (Telos Publishing Ltd 31 August 2006 / £12.99) - Definitely one of the coolest books received in a while here at SFRevu's UK headquarters!

From Telos comes Zombiemania: 80 Movies to Die For - a superb schlock-filled encyclopaedia, beautifully produced and chock full of more Zombie movie facts than the human brain can safely assimilate.

"From White Zombie to Land of the Dead... 80 Zombie movies that shaped a horror subgenre and left us all with a mortal fear of flesh-eating ghouls clawing their way out of the cold, dark earth."

Tor

Bloodmind by Liz Williams (Tor 16 February 2007 / £10.99) - Liz Williams is one of our classier exports to the United States - so much so that her novels actually appeared over there before they did over here! Tor UK have (rightfully) redressed this embarrassing imbalance and have produced Williams' recent output in a sequence of smart trade paperbacks and subsequent mass market editions. Incidentally Liz keeps a very active, insightful and frequently entertaining Livejournal, which is well worth a visit.

Williams's brand new novel is Bloodmind, a sequel to her acclaimed novel Darkland which is released this month in a mass market edition (see below).

"...Williams has the enviable ability to imbue her lean and mean prose...with a thematic depth and resonance...a fascinating experience. A haunting, chilling and state-of-the-art slice of science fiction." -- SFX.

Darkland by Liz Williams (Tor 16 February 2007 / £6.99) - First in a series, and out last year in hardcover, Darkland is a fine example of Williams' particular and highly original brand of Gothic SF, and is one of the novels nominated for this years BFSA award.

"...A haunting, chilling and state-of-the-art slice of science fiction - this is very dark stuff indeed" - SFX Magazine

This is the mass market paperback edition published by Tor UK.

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Voyager

Forest Mage (The Soldier Son Trilogy) by Robin Hobb (Voyager 05 February, 2007 / £12.99) - Massively successful bestselling fantasy author Robin Hobb offers up the second novel in her Soldier Son trilogy. Forest Mage is top drawer fantasy from one the best in the business. Voyager releases this large format trade paperback edition following their earlier hard cover release last year.

Sorcerer's Moon (The Boreal Moon Tale) by Julian May (Voyager 05 February, 2007 / £12.99) - The concluding volume of Julian May's Boreal Moon Tale, released in trade paperback following last year's hard cover release from HarperCollins Voyager.

"For sixteen years King Conrig Ironcrown has ruled High Blenholme, battling both to preserve the sovereignty he ruthlessly established over the four provinces of the island kingdom and to repel the invading Salka monsters that threaten them all. His hope for the future is his heir, Prince Orrion, whose betrothal to a princess of the province of Didion should assure the future peace of High Blenholme. But Orrion has no interest in the girl, and is determined to marry instead his childhood sweetheart, Lady Nyla."

Check out our reviews of the first two novels in this series, Conqueror's Moon and Ironcrown Moon.

The Gold Falcon (Deverry Cycle Pt 3 Dragonmage4) by Katharine Kerr (Voyager 05 February, 2007 / £7.99) - The cholera epidemic that ravaged the city of TrevHael has left many orphans in its wake, including Neb, the scribe's son, and his brother. Sent to the desolate farm of their last living relative, they soon learn that a worse plague lurks beyond the western border of Deverry. The savage Horsekin tribes, spurred on by their new goddess, Alshandra, are raiding the villages and taking slaves as the first step in their plans to destroy the nomadic Westfolk and the Deverrian farmers both. Drawn into a war for the survival of the kingdom, Neb and his soulmate Branna will face enemies they have fought before in past lives they no longer remember.

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