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UK Books Received- 02/2009  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

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

The Twilight Zone: The After Hours by Mark Kneece (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 02 February 2009 / £7.99) - The first in a wonderful set of Twilight Zone graphic novels published this month by Bloomsbury - re-imagining some of Rod Serling's brilliant and unnerving tales in a new medium and for a new generation.

This first is The After Hours... "When dissatisfied shopper Marsha White tries to return a purchase to the eighteenth floor of a department store, she is surprised to find out that no such floor exists. Feeling faint, she lies down in the store manager's office and wakes up, hours later, after the store has closed for the night.

Wandering the dark and empty store, Marsha hears voices calling her to the eighteenth floor as her unusual shopping trip continues in a very unexpected way."

The Twilight Zone: The Monsters are Due on Maple Street by Mark Kneece (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 02 February 2009 / £7.99) - The second Twilight Zone graphic novel release is The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street...

"A shadow passes overhead and a loud roar is heard, accompanied by a flash of light. Neighbours along Maple Street grow confused as they find that the telephones no longer work and there is no power. As the sun sets, they gather together in the street to discuss the matter. Only Tommy, a young boy, sees the situation for what it is – an alien invasion which disrupts his neighbourhood."

The Twilight Zone: The Odyssey of Flight 33 by Mark Kneece (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 02 February 2009 / £7.99) - Adapted directly from Rod Serling's original screenplay by Mark Kneece and illustrated by TRobert Grabe, The Odyssey of Flight 33 is the third graphic novel release in this series from Bloomsbury.

"A plane leaves London bound for New York as scheduled. Not far into the journey, Flight 33 crosses through some sort of time warp that sends it back in time by 100 million years. As they fly over giant creatures which they recognise as dinosaurs on Manhattan Island, the pilots realise they must find a way back into the future."

The Twilight Zone: Walking Distance by Mark Kneece (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 02 February 2009 / £7.99) - The fourth Twilight Zone graphic novel from Bloomsbury this month is Walking Distance - further releases are scheduled.

"Step off the beaten path as Martin Sloan takes the journey of a lifetime when his car breaks down within walking distance of his home town.

Martin is shocked to find that he has somehow walked into his own past. Can he find a way to warn the boy he once was to seize the day and save his future happiness?"

Gollancz

Daemons Are Forever: Secret Histories: Daemons Are Forever Bk. 2 (Gollancz S.F.) by Simon R. Green (Gollancz 15 January 2009 / £7.99) - The mass market edition of Simon Green's second Secret Histories novel, featuring his protagonist Eddie Drood. The series is a playful fusion of James Bond and Urban Fantasy and it is slickly rendered by Green, an author who has an acute eye for the commercial. Daemons are Forever is a Gollancz trade paperback. Check out my review of the first novel in this series, The Man with the Golden Torc.

"The Drood family is all that stands between Humanity and all the forces of darkness. They were supposed to protect the world, but ended up ruling it. Eddie Drood discovered the lies at the heart of his family, and brought them down. For his sins, they put him in charge: to run the family, and to redeem it. Eddie feels the need to prove to the world that the Drood family is as strong as it ever was. So he decides to wipe out one of Humanity's greatest enemies, the soul eaters known as the Loathly Ones. But once started on this venture, he discovers that the Loathly Ones are just the forerunners of something far worse; the Many-Angled Ones, the Hungry Gods, descending from a higher dimension to consume every living thing in this world. Eddie Drood has got his work cut out for him . . ."

Dark Blood (Gollancz S.F.) by John Meaney (Gollancz 15 January 2009 / £7.99) - John Meaney's follow-up to Gothic, SF, thriller Bone Song, enthusiastically reviewed in our February 08 issue by Gayle. This is the mass market edition of Dark Blood, published by Gollancz and we're re-running equally enthusiastic Marcus Gipps' review of the original trade paperback release in this issue.

"... Police officer Donal Riordan, killed and brought back to life with the heart of his undead lover beating in his chest... getting used to a bizarre and frightening new existence. As one of the undead the living citizens of Tristopolis distrust and fear him. But death has its advantages. He can sense the presence, the thoughts, the feelings of his fellow zombies, he is tireless, he can see better, hear more acutely. But none of this will necessarily save him as he begins to investigate who is behind a plot to ensorcel the entire population of Tristopolis. The plot goes right to the top and anyway who gets in the way will be killed again." (see review)

Eagle Rising (Gollancz S.F.) by David Devereux (Gollancz 22 January 2009 / £12.99) - David Devereux's Eagle Rising, his sequel to début novel Hunter's Moon, published in trade paperback and hard cover by Gollancz.

"Jack's back! And this time he must face a terrifying supernatural threat from Europe's recent past. Someone has been mad enough to revive the most terrifying evil of the last 60 years. And only one man is bad enough to stop them. Eagle Rising takes Jack to the rotten heart of big business and the dark secrets of a neo-nazi magical sect intent on giving the world back to a terror from the darkest days of the 1940s. Jack must infiltrate the closed corridors of big business and reach the core of a conspiracy amongst some of the most high-powered city executives in the country. A cabal of business men with occult interests and an insane hunger for the return of an old and dark order. Described as a mix of Dennis Wheatley and Ian Fleming, Devereux lives up to the billing with his new novel."

Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Gollancz 22 January 2009 / £9.99) - A much-lauded début fantasy by American author Kristin Cashore, published in the US last year and now released here in the UK by Gollancz.

"Cashore has crafted a powerful and utterly gripping fantasy novel brimming with sparkling prose, fantastic and unique ideas, a tremendous pace and memorable characters, both heroic and villainous, that you'll delight in spending time with"

Don't be fooled by this rather cheesy YouTube trailer :-)

Red Gloves by Beth Vaughan (Gollancz 15 January 2009 / £7.99) - Gollancz publish the mass market edition of Elizabeth Vaughan's Red Gloves. Be sure to check out the author's web site, which includes a wonderful account of how she first got published.

"Red Gloves is a mercenary, raised to the blade and trained in the ways of war. She'll take no nonsense and pull no punches; she seizes what she wants and leaves when she's done. She and Bethral, her sword-sister, have come to Palins looking for work, but they find torched fields and razed farms, a land defiled. During a storm they stumble across a derelict mansion and beg shelter of the sole human occupant, the resident goatherd. He's not happy, and he's not impressed with the stroppy mercenary - but Red Gloves is even less impressed when he notices her birthmark and claims it marks her out as Chosen, born to help the people of Palins reclaim their land. Her inclination to help dwindles still further when she discovers there's no money, no reward, in fact, nothing in store for the Chosen but a difficult, bloody battle against the odds. So she takes what she wants of the goatherd, and she leaves. But circumstances force Red back to the mansion, and this time she's more inclined to help - after all, impossible odds and bloody battles are very much her style. She's poised, reluctantly, to do her thing, when it turns out she's not the only Chosen in the race for freedom, and the crown..."

Swiftly: A Novel (Gollancz S.F.) by Adam Roberts (Gollancz 15 January 2009 / £7.99) - The is a mass market edition of Adam Roberts' recent 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 Roberts' 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." We covered this one when first published last March, and we're rerunning my review in this issue. (see review)

Yellow Blue Tibia: A Novel by Adam Roberts (Gollancz 22 January 2009 / £12.99) - The endlessly inventive Adam Roberts throws up another highly original novel, very different from his previous works (as each of his subsequent novels always are), the most recent of which Swiftly I reviewed back in our March 2008 issue (and which is reissued in mass market paperback this month). Yellow Blue Tibia is published by Gollancz in both trade paperback and hard cover.

"The weird and the peculiar held a great interest for Joseph Stalin, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that UFO's were a particular fascination for him. Stalin was extremely interested in extraterrestrials and the possibility of alien contact and there were many scientific and military bodies set up by him too secretly investigate the phenomenon."

Orbit

A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin (Orbit 02 April 2009 / £7.99) - Uncorrected Proof: A new novel from Kate Griffin, the pen name for popular children's author Catherine Webb - the Carnegie Medal nominated author of the Horatio Lyle YA novels. A Madness of Angels is a London novel - "... reminiscent of Neil Gaiman and Susanna Clarke... a compelling, original blend of fantasy, noir and urban magic..." - due to be published as a paperback original from orbit in April.

"Enter a London where magicians ride the Last Train, implore favours of The Beggar King and interpret the insane wisdom of The Bag Lady. Enter a London where beings of power soar with the pigeons and scrabble with the rats, and seek insight in the half-whispered madness of the blue electric angels.

Enter the London of Matthew Swift, where rival sorcerers, hidden in plain sight, do battle for the very soul of the city …"

One More Bite (Jaz Parks) by Jennifer Rardin (Orbit 29 January 2009 / £6.99) - Like it or not, Supernatural Romance is a boom area in genre publishing and this fifth novel in Jennifer Rardin's Jaz Parks sequence serves to further consolidate this authors reputation as an emerging talent. One More Bite is an Orbit paperback original.

"I've already smoked the guy who was the pain in the CIA's you-know-what for the past few years. But now, in the power vacuum left by the death of Edward 'The Raptor' Samos, a struggle for supremacy has begun between his former allies. The CIA feels the balance must be maintained. So when a Valencian Were agent discovers a plot to assassinate the Coven of Inverness' leader, me and my vampire hottie (and boss), are drafted in. Our mission ? to take out the woman hired to do the deed, a killer who might be as wily and Gifted as ourselves. So it's off to the Scottish Highlands for some twisted fun among murderers, demons and half-crazed relatives. Sometimes being a top-secret CIA assassin isn't all it's cracked up to be."

Shadow Gate (Crossroads) by Kate Elliott (Orbit 15 January 2009 / £7.99) - If not exactly the current queen of doorstop fantasy (there are a number of contenders for the crown) Kate Elliot is certainly part of the nobility. Her latest series Crossroads now enters its second volume with the appearance of this thwacking great volume - Shadow Gate, published this month in trade paperback by Orbit.

"Marit was pretty sure she had been murdered. She vividly recalled the assassin's dagger, and her dying vision had shown her the next world - but her spirit had not made the journey. She woke alone, sprawled on a Guardian's altar, with more questions than answers. The Guardians once ruled the Hundred, but disappeared in ages past, leaving reeves to manage the peace in their stead. But Marit finds this peace has been shattered as a desperate army ravages the land, and its leaders walk in shadow, wearing the cloaks of lost Guardians. As she searches for meanings in a changed world, Marit finds her old love Joss and the Outlander Anji struggling to maintain order amidst chaos. But her own enemies are drawing close. Marit tries to untangle the web of betrayals that connect her murder with the razing of the countryside, but she can't run forever. She will be found and there will be choices: complicity or death."

The Destiny of the Dead (Song of the Tears) by Ian Irvine (Orbit 15 January 2009 / £12.99) - Orbit's official web site announced some months ago that their author Ian Irvine, one of Australia's top fantasy writers, currently has more than one million books in print worldwide!

Orbit now release The Destiny of the Dead, the third huge volume in Irvine's The Song of The Tears as a large format trade paperback.

The Judging Eye (Aspect-emperor) by R.Scott Bakker (Orbit 15 January 2009 / £12.99) - The first in a new series by the acclaimed Canadian fantasy author R. Scott Bakker. The Judging Eye is a trade paperback release from Orbit and is the opening title in The Aspect Emperor series.

"A score of years after he first walked into the histories of Men, Anasurimbor Kellhus rules all the Three Seas, the first true Aspect-Emperor in a thousand years. The masses worship him as a living god, though a few dare claim he's a walking demon. With Proyas and Saubon as his Exalt-Generals, he leads a holy war deep into the wastes of the Ancient North, intent on destroying Golgotterath and preventing the Second Apocalypse. His wife and consort, Esmenet, meanwhile, remains in Momemn, where she struggles to rule not only his vast empire, but their murderous children as well. And Achamian, who lives as a Wizard in embittered exile, undertakes a mad quest to uncover the origins of the Dunyain. But Achamian, of all people, should know that one must be very careful what one seeks ..."

Pyr

Midwinter by Matthew Sturges (Pyr 24 March 2009 / £10.92) - Well known already to comic fans and readers of short fiction, author Matthew Sturges now has his novel Midwinter published by Pyr in the US. The author's blog reports a sequel has been sold.

"Winter comes to the land only once in a hundred years. But the snow covers ancient secrets: secrets that could topple a kingdom. Mauritaine was a war hero. Then he was accused of treason and sentenced to life without parole at Crere Sulace, a dark and ancient prison in the mountains, far from the City Emerald. But now the Seelie Queen – Regina Titania herself – has offered him one last chance to redeem himself, an opportunity to regain his freedom and his honor."

Simon & Schuster Ltd

Tutankhamun: The Last Secret by Christian Jacq (Simon & Schuster Ltd 02 February 2009 / £12.99) - Christian Jacq, the French prolific author whose tales of ancient Egypt have delighted hundreds of thousands of readers across the globe offers up his latest tale, Tutankhamun: The Last Secret - perhaps more easily labelled 'historical' rather than 'genre' fiction, this nevertheless is an intriguing thriller.

"After receiving an anonymous message, New York lawyer Mark Wilder arrives in Cairo to learn the shocking news that he is the illegitimate son of Howard Carter, the famous archeologist who discovered Tutankhamun's tomb. Before he died in mysterious circumstances, Carter informed Abbot Pacomas, the last descendant of the great priests of Amon, that only his lost son could continue his life's quest: to find the papyrus hidden in Tutankhamun's tomb and reveal its contents to the world. No archive mentions this lost papyrus, archeologists deny its very existence, mystical forces unleash themselve to protect it. It has become a legend - just like the curse that claims all those who disturb the pharaoh's eternal slumber. The quest to uncover Tutankhamun's final secret is fraught with danger. And as he attempts to complete his father's mission, Mark finds himself facing new enemies Howard Carter could never have foreseen, including the CIA and the Egyptian police."

Solaris

Arch Wizard (Falconfar Saga 2) by Ed Greenwood (Solaris 02 March 2009 / £17.99) - The second Falconfar novel from the Ed Greenwood, the creator of the Forgotten Realms franchise, the hugely popular Dungeons & Dragons™ gaming world. Arch Wizard is a very smart hard cover release from Solaris.

"Rod Everlar continues his quest to defeat the corruption he has discovered within. He sets off in pursuit of the dark wizard Malraun, only to find that he has raised an army of monsters and mercenaries in order to conquer the world."

Dark Lord (Falconfar Saga 1) by Ed Greenwood (Solaris 02 March 2009 / £7.99) - Secondary world fantasy in which writer Rod Everlar finds himself a character in his own fantasy story. Dark Lord is the first in Ed Greenwood's Falconfar Saga - a must for fans of D&D. A Solaris mass market edition.

"Ed's skill lies in his ability to make the ordinary magical, and integrating magic and legends so thoroughly in his work... tales with depth and pacing that makes his books single-sitting treasures." -- Michael A Stackpole, New York Times best-selling author

Irons in the Fire by Juliet E. McKenna (Solaris 05 January 2009 / £10.99) - Our own sometime guest reviewer Juliet E. McKenna starts a new fantasy series and with (for her) a new publisher. Solaris publish Irons in the Fire the first title in the Chronicles of the Lescaro Revolution in large format trade paperback - due in stores in April.

"Irons in the Fire tells of political upheaval born of civil war in the country of Lescar. Carved out of the collapse of the Old Tormalin Empire, the land has long been laid waste by its rival dukes, while bordering nations look on with indifference or exploit its misery. A mismatched band of exiles and rebels are agreed that the time has come for change. Full of rich characters and high adventure, this new trilogy marks the next stage in the career of this popular writer."

Kethani by Eric Brown (Solaris 02 April 2009 / £7.99) - An early review copy at the forthcoming Solaris mass market edition of Eric Brown's Kethani, not due for release until April 2009. Note the cover shown here differs from the actual release.

"... a superbly crafted novel that examines the consequences of first contact with an alien race, and the choices faced by those whose lives are touched by these visitors from the stars. This is moving and powerful science fiction."

Necroscope: Harry and the Pirates by Brian Lumley (Solaris 02 March 2009 / £11.99) - It's only a few months ago that I finally got round to reading Brian Lumley's Necroscrope, his 1986 novel that began a long series of interrelated Vampire stories that still continues today and has spawned offshoots galore. Lumley has built a huge audience for the adventures of Harry Keogh and this release from Solaris will delight them all.

"Harry Keogh makes his long-awaited return as the Necroscope in these two novella length stories. Set during the fan-favourite Lost Years era of Keogh's career, these tales see the Necropscope do battle with horrors both real and imagined, eternal and ethereal. In For The Dead Travel Slowly, Harry Keogh's encounter with an old school friend leads to a fight for his very soul against an ancient evil lurking in the woods. Harry and the Pirates finds the Necroscope hearing the confession of a long-dead pirate but is all as it seems or is Harry being taken for a fool?"

The Accord by Keith Brooke (Solaris 02 March 2009 / £7.99) - The new Keith Brooke novel, The Accord, published by Solaris as a paperback orginal.

"The Accord, a virtual utopia where the soul lives on after death and your perceptions are bound only by your imagination. This is the setting for a tale of love, murder and revenge that crosses the boundaries between the real world and this virtual reality. When Noah and Priscilla escape into the Accord to flee Priscilla's murderous husband, he plots to destroy the whole Accord and them with it. In revenge they arrange to have him assassinated but their success comes at the price of giving him the keys to the virtual kingdom. How can they hope to escape their stalker when he can become anything or anyone he desires and where does the pursuit of revenge stop for immortals in an eternal world?"

The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction: v. III by (Solaris 02 March 2009 / £7.99) - Solaris offer up a third SF anthology in their series of The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, put together by editor George Mann.

These collections are becoming emblematic of Solaris's industrious and forward looking output, and this latest example carries some heavy-weight stories by equally heavyweight names (Stephen Baxter, Alastair Reynolds, Ken MacLeod, Paul Di Fillippo, et al) and also pushes newer writers further into the limelight (Ian Whates, Tim Akers, Jennifer Pelland.) I fervently hope these collection become a regular fixture for years to come. An impressive Solaris mass marker paperback.

Tor

Dragonfly Falling by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor 06 February 2009 / £7.99) - The second title in Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt fantasy series. Dragonfly Falling is published in paperback original by Tor UK.

"Two young companions, Totho and Salma, arrive at Tark to spy on the menacing Wasp army, but are there mistakenly apprehended as enemy agents. By the time they are freed, the city is already under siege. Over in the imperial capital the young emperor, Alvdan, is becoming captivated by a remarkable slave, the vampiric Uctebri, who claims he knows of magic that can grant eternal life. In Collegium, meanwhile, Stenwold is still trying to persuade the city magnates to take seriously the Wasp Empire's imminent threat to their survival. "

Virgin Books

My Work is Not Yet Done by Thomas Ligotti (Virgin Books 05 February 2009 / £7.99) - The latest release from the Virgin Books horror line, helmed by writer and editor Adam Neville and an imprint with a big future. My Work is Not Yet Done is by US writer and cult figure Thomas Ligotti...

"When junior manager Frank Dominio is suddenly demoted and then sacked it seems there was more than a grain of truth to his persecution fantasies. But as he prepares to even the score with those responsible for his demise, he unwittingly finds an ally in a dark and malevolent force that grants him supernatural powers. Frank takes his revenge in the most ghastly ways imaginable - but there will be a terrible price to pay once his work is done.

Destined to be a cult classic, this tale of corporate horror and demonic retribution will strike a chord with anyone who has ever been disgruntled at work."

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