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UK Books Received- 05/2007  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 - May 2007 by John Berlyne ( 01 May 2007 / ) - It's awards season here in the UK - at least in so much as last month saw the British Science Fiction Award presented at our annual Eastercon and this very evening as I write, the twentieth Arthur C. Clarke award will be presented in London.

This year's BSFA winner was Jon Courtenay Grimwood's novel End of the World Blues - a novel I hadn't got round to reading, though we have covered a number of his works here on Sfrevu. Because I haven't read it, I can't really comment as to whether it was a deserving winner - indeed looking at the shortlist, I found I had only read one of the five nominated titles (The Last Witchfinder by James Morrow, which would certainly have been a worthy winner). The Clarke award is even more unknown to me, with the shortlist containing (along with the Courtenay Grimwood, nominated here too)at least two novels from the last year that I hadn't even heard of, let alone read! This shortlist made me wonder if I'm keeping my finger as firmly on the pulse of what is happening over here as I like to think - but looking closer, the two books in question are published by imprints not normally associated with genre fiction. The impression then, is that the Clarke award particularly has pretensions to be seen as far more of a mainstream literary prize, than as something which celebrates the wonders and (may God please not strike me down for using the word) popularity of Science Fiction! By all means let the literary establishment throw their awards at SF books (Cloud Atlas being the prime example of late) but, even with our genre being such an inclusive one, there are so many fabulous and worthy novels that are quantifiably SF published each year, that we shouldn't have to trawl the fringes of the mainstream to make up our shortlists.

Arrow

The Religion by Tim Willocks (Arrow 03 May 2007 / £7.99) - A historical novel with a lot of crossover appeal to genre fans. Tim Willocks (the British author of Green River Rising) offers up "...an epic and exuberant tale of love and war. Of intrigue and obsession. Of faith and politics."

"A novel of high adventure, blood, guts and romantic love.... as master craftsman [Willocks] tells his story with extraordinary pace" -- Literary Review.

ATOM

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (ATOM 05 April 2007 / £12.99) - US author Stephenie Meyer's follow up to Twilight is published by Atom in hardcover. Vampire fiction for younger readers.

I stuck my finger under the edge of the paper and jerked it under the tape. Shoot,' I muttered when the paper sliced my finger. A single drop of blood oozed from the tiny cut. It all happened very quickly then. No!' Edward roared Dazed and disorientated, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm - and into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires. For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of an evil vampire but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realise their troubles may just be beginning.

The Time of the Reaper by Andrew Butcher (ATOM 29 March 2007 / £5.99) - They call it the Sickness. Nobody knows what causes it or where it comes from. Nobody knows why it only seems to affect the adult population. But everyone knows that if you catch it and you're over 18, you die. All around the world, teenagers like Travis, Richie, Mel, Jessica and Simon, find themselves thrown together and forced to cooperate. But a world without rules is not the utopia many survivors thought it would be. Everything, now, is deadly serious. Those who can't adjust to their new situation find themselves going the same way as the adults. Factions form quickly. Some want to take what they need through strength of arms, but others - the most organised - want to try to rebuild the world their parents left behind. Restoring society will be hard, but not impossible. After all, they reason, the worst is over. But they're wrong. It's only just begun...

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (ATOM 22 March 2007 / £6.99) - The first in Stephenie Meyer's YA vampire sequence, received with almost rapturous enthusiasm by readers. This is a mass market paperback release to coincide with the UK first edition of the sequel New Moon. A third novel entitled Eclipse is due from Atom in February 2008. Meyer has an excellent web site and the story of how got to be published is very heart-warming.

When seventeen-year-old Isabella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father she expects that her new life will be as dull as the town itself. In spite of her awkward manner and low expectations, she finds that her new classmates are drawn to this pale, dark-haired new girl in town. But not, it seems, the Cullen family. These five adopted brothers and sisters obviously prefer their own company and will make no exception for Bella. Bella is convinced that Edward Cullen in particular hates her, but she feels a strange attraction to him, although his hostility makes her feel almost physically ill. He seems determined to push her away - until, that is, he saves her life from an out of control car. Bella will soon discover that there is a very good reason for Edward's coldness. He, and his family, are vampires - and he knows how dangerous it is for others to get too close.

Bantam Press

Death's Head by David Gunn (Bantam Press 07 May 2007 / £12.99) - Military SF at its toughest, most kick-ass extreme. David Gunn's novel is the first in a trilogy of books that will grab you hard and draw you into the fight.

"The violence is EXTREME, the death toll MONUMENTAL, the sex DIRTY, the action NON-STOP... and the entertainment OUTRAGEOUS" - cover copy.

Reviewed this issue and recommended. (see review)

Reaper's Gale (Malazan Book of the Fallen) by Steven Erikson (Bantam Press 07 May 2007 / £12.99) - One of the major releases of this month, Reaper's Gale is the seventh volume in Steven Erikson's extraordinary sequence The Malazan Book of the Fallen, an epic fantasy saga that has unanimously been hailed as a masterpiece by readers, critics and peers alike.

"A brutal, harrowing novel of war, intrigue and dark magic, Reaper's Gale centres of the empire first visited in Midnight Tides the fifth novel. It also draws in some of the broader story arcs, as Erikson sets up the plot for his final two novels. This is epic fantasy at its most imaginative, storytelling at its most thrilling." -- Publisher's Blurb.

Gollancz

The Man With The Golden Torc: Secret Histories Book 1 (Gollancz S.F.) by Simon R. Green (Gollancz 17 May 2007 / £10.99) - Simon R. Green'e new fantasy adventure opens with The Man with the Golden Torc.

"You know what? It's all true. Everything that ever scared you, from conspiracy theories to monsters under the bed to ghosties & ghoulies & long-leggity beasties. The only reason they haven't taken over the world yet is because my family has always been there to stand in their way. We guard the door, keeping you safe from the big bad wolf, and you never even know our names. Of course, there's a price to be paid. By us, and by you. The username's Bond. Shaman Bond. Licensed to kick supernatural arse. And Bond - real name Eddie Drood - comes from one of the oldest families in England, a family that has been protecting Humanity from the forces of darkness for more centuries than anyone can even remember. And Eddie Drood loved his job - until the day it all blew up in his face ... SECRET HISTORIES is a mix of James Bond and Blade, a fast-paced roller-coaster ride through the dark side." (see review)

Headline Book Publishing

Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson (Headline Book Publishing 03 May 2007 / £12.99) - Best selling American thriller writer James Patterson is applies his Midas touch to this third YA title in his Maximum Ride series. Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports looks set to follow it's predecessors The Angel Experiment and School's Out Forever in both acclaim and popularity.

"Patterson has pulled off a book that's awash with street cred, yoof slang and honest, yearning emotion. His biggest success is in grounding his high-flying youngsters in today's world, making then all the more believable." -- SFX

Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever by James Patterson (Headline Book Publishing 05 April 2007 / £6.99) - The mass market edition of the second in Patterson's YA sequence Maximum Ride. Click this link for the author's official web site.

"It's 24 hours since Max Ride and her fellow bird-kids escaped the New York Institute, and they're still on the run. The six companions - 98% human, 2% bird - come away with vital information. If they can decode the garbled words and numbers, perhaps they can find out where their parents are."

Virus by Sarah Langan (Headline Book Publishing 05 April 2007 / £19.99) - From Sarah Langan, an author who has been tagged as "a young female Stephen King" comes a second novel, Virus. This UK hardcover form Headline precedes the US release (which will be entitled Missing which is not due out until September.

"In the affluent town of Corpus Christi, Lois Larkin's boyfriend Ronnie dumps her for her best friend. In her heartbreak, she takes her third grade class on an ill-advised field trip to Bedford. The children discover something buried in the woods, and a sickness soon spreads."

Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

The Unquiet by John Connolly (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd 03 May 2007 / £14.99) - A brand new "Charlie Parker" novel from best selling author John Connolly. The Unquiet is a hard cover release and includes a free limited edition CD soundtrack of music chosen by the author.

If you want to find out more about Connolly and his work, head straight over to johnconnollybooks.com - there you will find all sorts of fascinating features and you'll also be able to read the prologue of The Unquiet and a revealing interview with Connolly specifically about this book. The author will be undertaking an extensive signing tour for the release of The Unquiet - again, details can be found on his web site.

Macmillan

Before I Wake by Robert J. Wiersema (Macmillan 01 June 2007 / £10.00) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: Macmillan publish Before I Wake in June - a big hit for debut writer Robert J. Wiersema in his native Canada and now being sold all around the world. Before I Wake is by no obvious means a genre novel, though it is a thriller with some compulsive supernatural elements.

"Inventively told using cinematic jump cuts and fantastical interventions, Before I Wake provocatively dances along the lines between faith and science, life and death. Robert Wiersema's first novel shows a writer possessed with the kind of storytelling instincts that make you care about the answer to the one question that really counts: What happens next?" -- Andrew Pyper, author of The Wildfire Season.

Orbit

Dark Space (Sentients of Orion S.) by Marianne De Pierres (Orbit 03 May 2007 / £6.99) - Marianne de Pierres, Australian author of the very popular Parish Plessis novels moves away slightly from the territory covered in Nylon Angel and offers up the first in a brand new space opera sequence. Dark Space is a paperback original published by Orbit and is book one in The Sentients of Orion.

"While drifting in space, lost, due to navigational failure, a mineral scout discovers an Entity so powerful and alien, it can only be described with one word: God."

Hinterland (Godslayer) by James Clemens (Orbit 03 May 2007 / £7.99) - The second novel in the Godslayer series by James Clemens, a fantasy author much admired by his peers, including Terry Brooks. Hinterland receives its mass market paperback release by Orbit. This novel was reviewed enthusiastically by Drew Bittner in our November 2006 issue. Check out the interview with Clemens on the Orbit Books Web site.

"Clemens tells a cracking story" -- Starburst.

The Right Hand of God (Fire of Heaven Trilogy) by Russell Kirkpatrick (Orbit 03 May 2007 / £7.99) - A big hit in the southern hemisphere, the Fire of Heaven trilogy has been brought to the UK by Orbit. They now publish the final volume, in the sequence ,The Right Hand of God.

In an exciting development for Kirkpatrick, Orbit's new US imprint will be bringing the trilogy to an American audience as part of their initial release list. More on this in due course - in the meantime, check out Russell Kirkpatrick's website.

The Thousandfold Thought (Prince of Nothing) by R.Scott Bakker (Orbit 03 May 2007 / £7.99) - The final volume in R. Scott Baker's acclaimed "thinking man's" fantasy trilogy The Prince of Nothing. This last instalment, The Thousandfold Thought is issued in mass market paperback by Orbit.

"Something special... the entire series is going to set a new standard for fantasy writers everywhere." -- The Alien Online.

Solaris

The Touch: A Brand-New Necroscope Novel (Necroscope) by Brian Lumley (Solaris 02 April, 2007 / £9.99) - Solaris publish the UK first edition of this brand new Necroscope novel, The Touch. Tor previously published a US edition in June of last year. A large format trade paperback.

"Scott St. John is mourning the death of his wife when he is struck by a fragment of the soul of Harry Keogh, the original Necroscope. Soon after, Scott finds that he possesses powers he does not understand. As a result of this rare gift, he is drafted into E-Branch, where the best of their psychic fighting forces will be required to take on a entirely new evil. An insane triad of malevolent aliens called the Shing't, who have left a trail of destruction in their own solar system, have found a new target: Earth.

The Touch is the long-awaited start of a brand new Necroscope series, which is sure to delight his massive fan base."

Thief with No Shadow by Emily Gee (Solaris 24 April 2007 / £3.99) - Solaris continue to impress their presence on the genre with another premium fantasy debut. Thief with No Shadow is a dark, romantic fantasy written by New Zealand author Emily Gee.

"Melke is one of the most unusual thieves ever to have walked the land of Bresse, aided by the magic which courses through her veins, allowing her to become unseen. When, however, it transpires that a necklace she has stolen holds the key to both saving her brother's life and to breaking a terrible curse, she has to do the unthinkable: steal it back from one of the most dangerous places known to man – the den of the fire-breathing salamanders.

Things are about to get very tough for Melke indeed, especially when she comes to realise that the people she thought were out to get her may actually be her only allies..." (see review)

Telos Publishing Ltd

Inside The Hub by Stephen James Walker (Telos Publishing Ltd 31 March 2007 / £12.99) - Created by Russell T Davies and starring John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness, Torchwood is dark and gritty, rain soaked and blood drenched, sexy and thrilling. Its first season covered subjects as diverse as a sex-addicted alien mist, a powerful Cyberwoman, a telepathy-inducing pendant, an invisible man and alien Weevils.

In this, the first factual book to be published on the series, noted TV historian Stephen James Walker charts the story of Torchwood, complete with character profiles, cast and production team information, behind-the-scenes details and a comprehensive guide to each of the 13 episodes, looking at the key elements and the many links to Doctor Who that permeate the show.

Inside the Hub is every fan's one-stop guide to the secret world of Torchwood.

Tor

Divergence by Tony Ballantyne (Tor 04 May 2007 / £10.99) - Divergence is the third novel from British SF writer Tony Ballantyne and follows the sequence begun in his previous novels Recursion and Capacity (click the links to read our reviews). Looking again at our previous coverage of Ballantyne's work, I admit to being a little nonplussed on tackling this author's debut, but Ern certainly enjoyed the follow up - which goes to show how entirely subjective this reviewing lark is! Divergence is a large format trade paperback from Tor UK and is fronted by another captivating and eye-catching image by one of my favourite artists, Dominic Harman.

Tor UK

Scar Night: Deepgate Codex: Bk. 1 by Alan Campbell (Tor UK 04 May 2007 / £7.99) - Alan Campbell's brilliant debut Scar Night is issued in mass market paperback by Tor UK. This work is right at the cutting edge of British fantasy and marks the arrival of Campbell as writer whose career we should all follow with interest. I originally reviewed Scar Night upon its hard cover release back in July 06, but you find the review run again in this issue.

Highly recommended. (see review)

Voyager

28 Days Later: The Aftermath by Steve Niles (Voyager 02 April 2007 / £9.99) - A rare graphic novel release from HarperCollins Voyager and a welcome one at that. Based on the harrowing film penned by Alex Garland and directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later: The Aftermath has a story every bit as apocalyptic as the original by Steve Niles and artwork by four separate artists. I hope very much that Voyager publish more work like this.

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