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UK Books Received- 03/2008  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

Bantam Press

Deluge (Twins of Petaybee) by Anne McCaffrey (Bantam Press 11 March 2008 / £17.99) - The final novel from McCaffrey and Scarborough about their twins of Petaybee. Deluge is released this month by Bantam as a smart hard cover edition.

"In Deluge the selkie twins, Ronan and Murel, leave Petaybee on a mission to help rescue their friend Marmie, who has been falsely arrested on the orders of a corrupt Colonel. However, the Colonel has more power in the Company than they realized and they end up being imprisoned themselves and taken to the Gwinnet Incarceration Colony. There, they have to try to evade the clutches of their old adversary Dr Mabu, an unscrupulous scientist who wants to study their unusual shape-changing ability, and doesn't care how much pain her experiments cause them. Meanwhile, the powerful and avaricious Company is making another attempt to take over the world of Petaybee for its resources, and the twins parents, Yana and Sean, along with the entire planet, must fight for the independence of their sentient world once and for all..."

Corgi Adult

Maelstrom (Twins of Petaybee) by Anne McCaffrey (Corgi Adult 10 March 2008 / £6.99) - The UK mass market release release of Maelstrom - book two of the twins of Petaybee. Book three is issued in hardcover this month by Bantam.

"Exciting and generously laced with humour... the characters and their interactions are so well realised as to utterly charm readers. Furthermore, to the Celtic and Inuit lore that informed the first trilogy, McCaffrey and Scarborough now add elements of the mythology and lore of Earth South Sea Islanders." -- Booklist.

Corgi Children's

The Hunting Season by Dean Vincent Carter (Corgi Children's 07 February 2008 / £5.99) - The blood sodden snarling wolf on the cover of this mass market release would suggest this book is perhaps not one for your kids - but Dean Vincent Carter's second novel published in paperback by Corgi is recommended for readers age 12 and upwards.

Hailed as "The next Stephen King" by the Evening Standard no less, Carter is a young British writer with a glittering career ahead of him it would seem. Learn more about him and his talent for scaring the kids by visiting his web site www.deanvincentcarter.com - and do be sure also to check out Dean's MySpace page - which tells the rather charming story of how he first got published.

Corgi Childrens

The Summoning by E.E. Richardson (Corgi Childrens 06 March 2008 / £5.99) - Scary fun for YA readers, The Summoning is the third novel by E.E. Richardson, a young writer with alarmingly scant internet presence - no site and little available background information. Nevertheless, her two previous books have done extremely well, and this one looks set to follow the same pattern.

"Justin hasn't ever really believed in the occult, even though his Grandpa, Blake is an expert in it and has a house full of curious objects and old tattered books on magic. But when Daniel Eilersen, the class know-it-all, starts acting all high-and-mighty, Justin thinks he can scare him by performing a magic ritual from the ancient book he's stolen from his granddad's study. His friend Trevor, who always goes along with what Justin says and his little sister, Joy, complete the group. It's all about the atmosphere of course and Justin plans to give Eilersen a proper scare, but nothing will actually happen ...Or will it ...?"

Gollancz

Axiomatic by Greg Egan (Gollancz 07 February 2008 / £7.99) - This month sees Gollancz reissue Greg Egan's entire back list in matching covers - a real tribute to one of Australia's most respected SF authors.

As the SFRevu database show these listings in alphabetical order, first up is Egan's 1995 short story collection, Axiomatic which features some of Egan's best short fiction, many of which are award winners and award nominees.

Bone Song (Gollancz S.F.) by John Meaney (Gollancz 14 February 2008 / £7.99) - The mass market edition of John Meaney's gothic SF thriller Bone Song, a book I found largely impenetrable when I dipped into it upon its original release, but at the same time a title that our own Gayle Surrette was very impressed by when she reviewed the recent US edition in last month's issue.

Diaspora by Greg Egan (Gollancz 07 February 2008 / £7.99) - The second (in alphabetical terms) of Gollancz's Greg Egan reissues is this new edition of his 1997 far future SF novel Diaspora.

"A dramatic insight into the future of Man in the 30th century and beyond where life is divided into three; fleshers - true homo-sapines; Gleisner robots - human minds within machines; and polises - supercomputers teeming with intellgent software containing copies of human personalities."

Distress by Greg Egan (Gollancz 07 February 2008 / £7.99) - This 1995 Greg Egan novel is the third in his Subjective Cosmology sequence and won the premier Australian SF award in 96, the Golden Aurealis - scoring a double that year for Egan, who also scooped the award in the short fiction category.

"On the utopian, man-made island, Stateless, Nobel Prize winner Violet Mosala is close to solving the greatest problem of her career - the quest for the ultimate Theory of Everything (TOE) is almost over. Burned out by recording the abuses of biotech for his TV news syndicate, Andrew Worth grabs the chance to follow Violet's story. In contrast the world of theoretical physics seems like an anaesthetised mathematical heaven, where everything is cool and abstract. He could not have been more wrong. One by on Mosala's rival quantum physicists are disappearing from the scientific summit at 'Stateless. But why? Is it something to do with Violet herself, or is there some other, more esoteric, force at work undermining the Theory of Everything Conference?"

House of Suns (Gollancz S.F.) by Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz 17 April 2008 / £18.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy : The forthcoming novel from one of the UK's premier science fiction authors Alastair Reynolds. House of Suns is due from Gollancz in April.

"Six million years ago, at the very dawn of the starfaring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones: the shatterlings. Sent out into the galaxy, these shatterlings have stood aloof as they document the rise and fall of countless human empires. They meet every two hundred thousand years, to exchange news and memories of their travels with their siblings. Campion and Purslane are not only late for their thirty-second reunion, but they have brought along an amnesiac golden robot for a guest. But the wayward shatterlings get more than the scolding they expect: they face the discovery that someone has a very serious grudge against the Gentian line, and there is a very real possibility of traitors in their midst. The surviving shatterlings have to dodge exotic weapons while they regroup to try to solve the mystery of who is persecuting them, and why - before their ancient line is wiped out of existence, for ever."

Last Argument Of Kings: The First Law: Book Three: Book Three of the First Law (Gollancz S.F.) by Joe Abercrombie (Gollancz 20 March 2008 / £12.99) - The final title in Joe Abercrombie's exceptional fantasy series The First Law. Published by Gollancz, Last Argument of Kings brings to a close this phenomenal trilogy. (see review)

Luminous by Greg Egan (Gollancz 07 February 2008 / £7.99) - The second of Egan's short story collections to be reissued this month by Gollancz. Luminous was first published back in 1998 and the title story won Egan the Golden Aurealis that I mentioned above.

"In a time when it's frequently claimed that SF holds no more surprises Egan casts a coldly innovative eye on old themes... Egan's visions of the future glow with gloomy intellectual fire. Luminous indeed.". -- David Langford

Permutation City by Greg Egan (Gollancz 07 February 2008 / £7.99) - On of Egan's best known SF works, Permutation City, this 1994 novel won the coveted John W. Campbell award and was nominated for the Philip K. Dick award as well.

"The story of a man with a vision - immortality : for those who can afford it is found in cyberspace. Permutation city is the tale of a man with a vision - how to create immortality - and how that vision becomes something way beyond his control. Encompassing the lives and struggles of an artificial life junkie desperate to save her dying mother, a billionaire banker scarred by a terrible crime, the lovers for whom, in their timeless virtual world, love is not enough - and much more - Permutation city is filled with the sense of wonder."

Principles of Angels by Jaine Fenn (Gollancz 19 June 2008 / £12.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: An early look at this Gollancz début, due to be released in June. Principles of Angels is the first novel from Jaine Fenn, a British writer who is causing some excitement. Her editor Jo Fletcher was quoted as saying "We've been exceptionally lucky at Gollancz recently, with a slew of new discoveries in the fantasy field, including Tom Lloyd, Joe Abercrombie, and Scott Lynch, and Joe Hill in the horror field, but it's been a little quiet on the sf front, so we're doubly thrilled to be able to add Jaine Fenn to the Gollancz stable of future superstars."

Fenn's web site, which has plenty of background information on her forthcoming novel can be found here.

Quarantine by Greg Egan (Gollancz 07 February 2008 / £7.99) - Egan's 1992 Quarantine was his first major novel - now reissued along with the rest of his back list by Gollancz.

"It's late in the 21st century and bioengineering is now so common that people are able to modify their minds in any way they wish. It is an era which has been shaped by information systems so vast that security, in any form, is easily breached. Now, you can be whatever you want to be, and do whatever you want to do. On Earth anyway. One night, thirty three years ago, the stars went out. 'The Bubble' - a perfect sphere centred on the sun - appeared in the sky, isolating the solar system from the rest of the universe. For thirty-three years, humanity has lived with the religious cults and terrorism which spawned in the wake of the darkness. We are now alone. Humanity has been cut off Quarantined."

Red Wolf Conspiracy, The: The Chathrand Voyage Book One: The Chathrand Voyage by Robert V.S. Redick (Gollancz 01 February 2008 / £12.99) - The trade paperback edition of Redick's engaging fantasy The Red Wolf Conspiracy, which I reviewed in last month's issue. Also released in hard cover. It has been recently reported that Del Rey have bought the US rights to this trilogy.

Highly recommended.

Schild's Ladder by Greg Egan (Gollancz 07 February 2008 / £7.99) - The Wikipedia entry for Egan's 2002 novel Schild's Ladder describes it as "...perhaps the hardest science fiction ever published by Egan, filled with non-trivial mathematics and theoretical physics." - but folks have not, it seems, been intimidated by such a technical appraisal, as is apparent from this reissue from Gollancz, which I reckon is the fourth or fifth separate edition they have put out since they first published in the UK five years ago.

Swiftly (Gollancz S.F.) by Adam Roberts (Gollancz 20 March 2008 / £12.99) - Released in both hard cover and trade paperback by Gollancz, the new Adam Roberts novel, Swiftly. Roberts, whom I always think must be the hardest-working writer in the world, is a real shining gem of British genre fiction and one with many, many facets. No two books of his are alike, and his particular skill is extrapolating an entire novel from the kernel of a singular idea.

Swiftly, not to be confused with Robert's short story collection of the same name published by Nightshade Books, is essentially a sequel to Gulliver's Travels, "a tale of illicit love, betrayal, war and plague set in a world where Gulliver's account of his fantastical voyage was all too true. It is a novel of immense ambition; at once an awe-inspiring account of a universe of infinite variety and a celebration of intimacy." (see review)

Teranesia by Greg Egan (Gollancz 07 February 2008 / £7.99) - The final title in Gollancz's massive Greg Egan back list reissue is his 1999 novel Teranesia.

"As a young boy, Prabir Suresh lives with his parents and sister on an otherwise uninhabited island in a remote part of the Indonesian peninsula. Prabir names it Teranesia, populating it with imaginary creatures even stranger than the evolutionarily puzzling butterflies that his parents are studying. Civil war strikes, orphaning Prabir and his sister. Eighteen years later, rumours of bizarre new species of plants and animals being discovered in the peninsula that was their childhood home draw Prabir's sister back to the island - Prabir cannot bear for her to have gone out alone and he follows, persuading a pharmaceutical researcher to take him along as a guide."

The Domino Men (Gollancz S.F.) by Jonathan Barnes (Gollancz 21 February 2008 / £10.99) - The much anticipated second novel from Jonathan Barnes, author of The Somnambulist a Victorian caper which I reviewed a year ago and which was greeted with equal enthusiasm from all corners of the reviewing fraternity. Barnes' follow up is a sequel to his previous novel and looks to have just as much grotesque charm.

"A young man discovers a manuscript and so begins a bizarre tale that brings together his grandfather, every conspiracy theory you've ever heard about the royal family and the true story about where the power of Number 10 really lies."

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski (Gollancz 14 February 2008 / £7.99) - Sapkowski's Witcher stories, recently the subject of their own computer game were published in English translation (from the original Polish) last year and Gollancz now issue the mass market edition.

Check out my review in our April 07 issue.

Weaver (Gollancz S.F.) by Stephen Baxter (Gollancz 14th February 2008 / £12.99) - Baxter's Time's Tapestry sequence concludes with this fourth volume entitled Weaver.

"The clues have been laid, the codes almost cracked and in Weaver, bestselling SF author Stephen Baxter finally reveals the true nature of Time's Tapestry as the Germans invade 1900s Britain"

See here for our review of Emperor, the first book in this series.

HarperVoyager

Jumper by Steven Gould (HarperVoyager 14 February 2008 / £6.99) - Voyager offer this movie tie-in edition of Steven Gould's novel Jumper, the film version of which - starring Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell and Samuel L. Jackson and directed by Doug Liman, who previously brought us Mr and Mrs Smith and The Bourne Identity - hits British cinemas this month. Previously unpublished in the UK, this is small format trade paperback release. Check out the movie's official website here.

Jumper: Griffin's Story by Steven Gould (HarperVoyager 04 February 2008 / £6.99) - According to the Voyager press release "When talk of the film [of his novel Jumper] began, Gould wrote Jumper: Griffin's Story to add to his original concept and compliment the film. This was first published in 2007, 15 years after Jumper. Neither book has been published in the UK until now..."

Procession of the Dead (The City Trilogy) by D. B. Shan (HarperVoyager 03 March 2008 / £10.00) - Darren Shan is a children's author of world renown, best known for his book Cirque Du Freak (filming on the movie is due to begin any day) and his Vampiric and Demonata series.

Under the cunningly disguised pen name of D.B. Shan, Voyager are releasing Procession of the Dead, an early, previously unpublished work that Shan has revamped and polished. Described as a "...slick, Sin-City sci-fi novel," it will be interesting to see if Shan can capture an older, perhaps more demanding audience.

Renegade's Magic (The Soldier Son Trilogy) by Robin Hobb (HarperVoyager 04 February 2008 / £12.99) - Satisfyingly solid fantasy from the ever reliable Robin Hobb, one of the authors whose work forms the bedrock of contemporary fantasy. Renegade's Magic is the third and final title in Hobb's current series, The Soldier Son. This is the trade paperback release, following the original hard cov er that Voyager issue a year ago.

"Nevare Burvelle, the second son of a noble Gernian family, once looked forward to a promising future as a cadet soldier, and then an officer in the King's Cavalry.

But his entanglement with the magic of the Speck people has robbed him not only of his childhood dream, but also of any hope he might have clung to for any kind of life among his kind.

In Renegade's Magic, Nevare is forced to seek out his enemies; he must learn how to harness his manipulative magic, and then join them in their fights against his own people."

Wrath of a Mad God (Darkwar) by Raymond E. Feist (HarperVoyager 10 March 2008 / £18.99) - Wrath of a Mad God is the third title in Raymond E. Feist's most recent series The Darkwar and is published by Voyager as a smart hard cover release.

"Can Magnus and the other members of the Conclave find a way to use what they discovered to help save their own people from the wrath of a mad God?"

Orbit

No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong (Orbit 06 March 2008 / £7.99) - Kelly Armstrong's No Humans Involved is released in mass market paperback. Armstrong is an integral part of Orbit's pedigree stable of writers specialising in the sub-genre of the supernatural thriller with a strong female protagonist. There is, I feel a glut of this kind of fiction around, but part of the problem is that much of it is pretty good! And certainly it continues to sell, sell, sell. Armstrong's selling power is acknowledged by her publisher Orbit in that her novels are now first issued in hard cover - her very latest is released this month - see below.

Also, check out Gayle's review of the US edition of No Humans Involved - from our May 07 issue.

Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong (Orbit 25 March 2008 / £12.99) - The brand new novel from Kelly Armstrong, released in hard cover by Orbit.

"Hope Adams, tabloid journalist and half-demon, inherited her Bollywood-princess looks from her mother. From her demon father, she inherited a hunger for chaos, and a talent for finding it. Like full demons, she gets an almost sexual rush from danger - in fact, she thrives on it. But she is determined to use her gifts for good. When the head of the powerful Cortez Cabal asks her to infiltrate a gang of bored, rich, troublemaking supernaturals in Miami, Hope can't resist the excitement. But trouble for Hope is intoxicating, and soon she's in way too deep. With a killer stalking the supernatural hot spots of Miami, Hope finds herself dangerously entangled, and has no choice but to turn to her crooked werewolf ex-boyfriend for help. What started as a simple investigation has spiralled into chaos. And Hope finds chaos irresistible ..."

Shadowplay (Shadowmarch Trilogy) by Tad Williams (Orbit 06 March 2008 / £8.99) - The chunky Orbit mass market paperback edition of Shadowplay, the sequel to the acclaimed bestseller Shadowmarch by Tad Williams, author of the equally acclaimed Otherland series and the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn sequence. He also wrote stand-alone novel The War of the Flowers, which I reviewed back in our May 2003 issue.

Shadowmarch has its own dedicated web site, and you can find out more about the author at www.tadwilliams.com .

The Execution Channel by Ken MacLeod (Orbit 06 March 2008 / £6.99) - Ken MacLeod is one of our most active and vocal writers of politically charged science fiction and his latest novel The Execution Channel is published this month in mass market paperback by Orbit. Highly acclaimed, this novel has received a number of award nominations, including the BSFA, to be awarded later this month here in the UK. The US edition was reviewed in last month's issue by Sam Lubell.

Pan Books

Dark Moon (Nightcreature 3) by Lori Handeland (Pan Books 01 February 2008 / £6.99) - The third Nightcreature novel in this paranormal romance series by Lori Handeland, Dark Moon is a paperback original from Macmillan imprint Pan.

" Dr Elise Hanover quite literally lives for her job since quitting would mean meeting a silver bullet with her name on it. She works alone, struggling to unlock the mysteries of an affliction that should only exist in nightmares. But Elise knows from personal experience just how real it is. Because the first time its deadly power pulsed through her veins was the last time she saw the love of her life. Until now . . ."

Un Lun Dun by China Mieville (Pan Books 01 February 2008 / £6.99) - China Mieville's quite extraordinary young adult novel Un Lun Dun is published in mass market paperback by Macmillan imprint Pan. I loved this strange, dark fantasy with all exotic Alice In Wonderland elements and it's playful grotesqueries. It's a fine piece of work and very highly recommended.

The original US release was reviewed by Gayle back in our Feb 07 issue.

Pyr

The Martian General's Daughter by Theodore R. Judson (Pyr April 2008 / £7.72) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: A slim proof from Pyr of Theodore Judson's far future SF novel The Martian General's Daughter due to be published in April.

"The Martian General's Daughter expertly conveys the SF theme once noted by Robert Charles Wilson: 'No human institution, good or bad, secular or religious, cultural or technological, is fore-ordained or guaranteed to last'."

Solaris

The Blood King (Chronicles of the Necromancer) by Gail Z. Martin (Solaris 04 February 2008 / £7.99) - Gail Z. Martins second novel in her Chronicles of the Necromancer, sequence. The Blood King is published as a paperback original by Solaris, both here and in the US and follows The Summoner which was Solaris' launch title and, according to publicity blurbs, was their best selling title of last year.

"...Tris Drayke races against time to gain the skills he needs to challenge his half-brother Jared for the throne of Margolan and defeat the dark mage Arontala before the Obsidian King can be loosed from the abyss."

Tor

A Fire in the North: Annals of Lindormyn 2 by David Bilsborough (Tor 07 March 2008 / £16.99) - Much hyped but falling well short, David Bilsborough's The Wanderer's Tale was one of last year's major genre disappointments, I'm afraid. Now Tor UK release book two in the sequence. A Fire in the North is a hard cover release.

"This second volume picks up the ongoing story in a tunnel leading out of enchanted mountain realm of Eotunlandt. Fighting their way through subterranean dangers, Nibulus and his diminished retinue of 'questers' finally reach the open again, only to discover that their rivals the Thieves have mysteriously disappeared"

Bloodmind by Liz Williams (Tor 15 February 2008 / £6.99) - The mass market edition of Bloodmind, the eight full length novel from Liz Williams, by far one of the best female SF writers currently at work in the UK. I'm a big fan of Williams' work and always found it ironic that she found publishing success in the US some time before she managed to get a foothold here in the UK. Her popularity in America has been further enhanced and confirmed by the various excellent Detective Inspector Chen> novels published in recent years by Nightshade Books - these are well worth your time. Hopefully they'll be picked up here before too long, but in the meantime, Bloodmind and preceding novel Darkland are now available from Tor.

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi (Tor 01 February 2008 / £6.99) - John Scalzi's name is everywhere at the moment - there doesn't seem to be any genre related site that doesn't have some news item relating him and his writing. This is largely due to the author's excellent use of the Internet for self-promotion but in larger part it's due to the fact that Scalzi's a damn good writer too! His 2005 novel Old Man's War received much well deserved praise and attention and now the sequel The Ghost Brigades is published here in Britain - a paperback original from Tor UK.

Yen Press

Spiral: Disarming Fate v. 2 (Spiral) by Kyo Shirodaira (Yen Press 09 January 2008 / £5.99) - "The mystery of the Blade Children continues... Ayumu Narumi aggressively pursues his goal to unravel the mystery of the 'Blade Children'. With every step he takes, though, the path to the truth becomes more treacherous as a conspiracy is revealed. Could it be that Ayumu's fate was intertwined with that of the Blade Children even before his journey began?"

Sundome: v. 1 (Sundome) by Kazuto Okada (Yen Press 17 January 2008 / £6.99) - Saucy Manga for a more mature audience...

"The "Roman Club," a school group interested in the occult to which he's practically enslaved, has become boring for one Hideo Aiba. In fact, he finds his entire existence pretty tiresome until, one day, when a girl named Kurumi Sahana shows up and wants to join up. When the two are left alone in the club classroom, Kurumi makes a special "request" of Hideo, which makes him (understandably) freak out. Though he doesn't know what to think, one thing's for sure, Hideo's life just became anything but boring."

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