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UK Books Received- 04/2009  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

Bantam Books

Acacia: War with the Mein Bk. 1 by David Anthony Durham (Bantam Books 26 March 2009 / £7.99) - The British mass market edition of David Anthony Durham's highly acclaimed fantasy novel Acacia, first published some months ago in both the US and the UK and much applauded by the critical fraternity. Oddly though, it was a book that I found distinctly underwhelming - and we're rerunning my review of the original release to explain why. (see review)

Toll The Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen) by Steven Erikson (Bantam Books 09 April 2009 / £8.99) - The mass market edition of Steven Erikson Toll the Hounds, the eighth novel in his gargantuan epic sequence of The Malazan Books of the Fallen, a series that continues to be a benchmark of modern fantasy. This latest novel is released by Bantam Press.

"In Darujhistan, the saying goes that Love and Death shall arrive together, dancing...It is summer and the heat is oppressive, yet the discomfiture of the small rotund man in the faded red waistcoat is not entirely due to the sun. Dire portents plague his nights and haunt the city's streets like fiends of shadow. Assassins skulk in alleyways but it seems the hunters have become the hunted. Hidden hands pluck the strings of tyranny like a fell chorus. Strangers have arrived, and while the bards sing their tragic tales, somewhere in the distance can be heard the baying of hounds. All is palpably not well. And in Black Coral too, ruled over by Anomander Rake Son of Darkness, something is afoot - memories of ancient crimes surface, clamouring for revenge, so it would seem that Love and Death are indeed about to make their entrance...This is epic fantasy at its most imaginative, storytelling at its most exciting."

Corgi Books

Deluge (Twins of Petaybee) by Anne McCaffrey (Corgi Books 12 March 2009 / £6.99) - 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...

Gollancz

Covenant: Hellgate: London 3: London v. 3 (Hellgate London 3) by Mel Odom (Gollancz 12 March 2009 / £7.99) - The third novel in this series, tying in with the Hellgate London computer game.

""London, 2038. Man became dependent on science, believed only what he could define or create. Ancient knowledge and rituals were lost. Prophecies ignored. So when the harbingers of evil began to manifest, few saw and fewer believed. So when the demons came there was little to stand in their way. Emerging from the swirling chaotic Hellgate, they overwhelmed humanity's defenses. The usual tactics of war were useless were useless against them - only the few who still respected the old ways, with their holy, ancient, and arcane rights could stand against the dark invaders, using weapons and spells forged in the traditions of their forefathers. But their scattered sucesses attracted vastly powerful enemies, forcing the survivors of London deep into the relative saftey of the Underground. Above them London lies in ruins. A massive, sinister gash in the fabric of reality swirls and churns, dominating the horizon as it blends into a permanently darkened sky. The Burn - transforming our world into theirs - began, while the remnants of our civilsation hid. But mankind is a race of survivors. Men and women hide in the shadows of their former world, struggling to survive, yearning to strike back at their conquerors. They are banding together, and they are learning. Learning how to travel undetected. Learning how to forge effective weapons. Learning how to harness the forgotten power of magic, and fuse it with science. Learning how to kill demons, and close the Hellgate . . ."

Cyberabad Days by Ian Mcdonald (Gollancz 02 April 2009 / £12.99) - A stunning collection of short fiction by award-winning author Ian McDonald - published in trade paperback by Gollancz.

"The world: 'Cyberabad' is the India of 2047, a new, muscular superpower of one and a half billion people in an age of artificial intelligences, climate-change induced drought, water-wars, strange new genders, genetically improved children that age at half the rate of baseline humanity and a population where males out-number females four to one. India herself has fractured into a dozen states from Kerala to the headwaters of the Ganges in the Himalayas....

Cyberabad Days is a collection of seven stories, one Hugo nominee and one Hugo winner among them, as well as a thirty-one-thousand-word original novella. As with everything Ian McDonald does, it is sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year. "

Firstborn: A Time Odyssey Book Three by Arthur C. Clarke (Gollancz 12 February 2009 / £6.99) - The mass market edition from Gollancz.

"With this epic tale of altered histories and different earths, a universe where Alexander's empire prompted a different past, a world where strange alien 'eyes' gaze upon a fractured reality, a time when man is looking to colonise the red planet Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter scale new heights of ambition and sheer story telling brio. This is classic SF adventure from two of the biggest names in the genre. A heady combination of high concept SF, big engineering projects and human drama."

House of Suns (Gollancz S.F.) by Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz 12 March 2009 / £7.99) - The Gollancz mass market edition of Alastair Reynolds' The House of Suns, recently announced as one of the finalists for this year's Arthur C. Clarke Award.

"ix 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: First Law Bk. 3 (Gollancz S.F.) by Joe Abercrombie (Gollancz 12 March 2009 / £7.99) - The final title in Joe Abercrombie's exceptional fantasy series The First Law. Published in mass market paperback by Gollancz, Last Argument of Kings brings to a close this phenomenal trilogy. (see review)

Principles of Angels by Jaine Fenn (Gollancz 12 February 2009 / £7.99) - The mass market edition of this Gollancz début, notable not least in that newcomer Jaine Fenn joins only a handle of British female science fiction writers currently at work in the field. (A prize for anyone who can name five!).

Principles of Angels was reviewed on its initial release by Marcus Gipps - we're rerunning his review this issue.. (see review)

Retribution Falls: Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding (Gollancz 18 June 2009 / £12.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: The new novel from the immensely talented Chris Wooding, due from Gollancz in June. Here's a link to a fascinating blog relating to this book.

"Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of layabouts. An inveterate womaniser and rogue, he and his gang make a living on the wrong side of the law, avoiding the heavily armed flying frigates of the Coalition Navy. With their trio of ragged fighter craft, they run contraband, rob airships and generally make a nuisance of themselves. So a hot tip on a cargo freighter loaded with valuables seems like a great prospect for an easy heist and a fast buck. Until the heist goes wrong, and the freighter explodes. Suddenly Frey isn't just a nuisance anymore - he's public enemy number one, with the Coalition Navy on his tail and contractors hired to take him down. But Frey knows something they don't. That freighter was rigged to blow, and Frey has been framed to take the fall. If he wants to prove it, he's going to have to catch the real culprit. He must face liars and lovers, dogfights and gunfights, Dukes and daemons. It's going to take all his criminal talents to prove he's not the criminal they think he is ... "

The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas (Gollancz 19 March 2009 / £9.99) - Early reviews of this dragon-filled fantasy début by British writer Stephen Deas bode extremely well. This is traditional fantasy re-worked and rebooted for today - "... a gripping tale of Machiavellian politics, of court intrigue, of lust and betrayal. And dragons. Awe-inspiring, horrifyingly powerful, fire-breathing nightmares that have forgotten what freedom tastes like. Until now...". Published by Gollancz in trade paperback.

The Domino Men (Gollancz S.F.) by Jonathan Barnes (Gollancz 12 February 2009 / £7.99) - The much-anticipated second novel from Jonathan Barnes now released by Gollancz in mass market paperback. Barnes is the 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." (see review)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (Gollancz 16 July 2009 / £9.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: A debut novel from Carrie Ryan that has YA/adult crossover appeal, to be published in July by Gollancz. "In Mary's world, there are simple truths.The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve.The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death? "

The Margarets (Gollancz S.F.) by Sheri S. Tepper (Gollancz 12 March 2009 / £7.99) - The Gollancz mass market edition of Tepper's The Margarets, recently announced as one of the finalists for this year's Arthur C. Clarke Award.

"Earth is in crisis, virtually destroyed by overpopulation, and mankind is teethering on the edge. ISTO - the Interstellar Trade Organization - had demanded man's extinction, for a living planet is more important than any race upon it, and was about to start 'reducing' mankind when Earthgov agreed its demands, to sell 90 per cent of Earth's inhabitants into bondage to alien races. When Margaret is six, she imagines herself as a spy, a healer, a queen, a warrior, even a boy, to amuse herself; when she is nine, and 12, and 20, at crisis points in her life, she feels like parts of her have split off - like the Margaret who decided to follow her lover to Tercis and the Margaret who said no. So now, as well as Margaret, she is Wilvia, learning to be a queen on B'yurngrad, and Ongamar, a spy on Cantardene, and Gretamara, a healer on Chottem, and even Naumi, a boy on Thairy, and she is many other Margarets besides. And all these Margarets hold the key to mankind's survival, if only they can survive and come together again as one Margaret, with all their different powers intact . . ."

The Stranger: The Labyrinths of Echo: Book One by Max Frei (Gollancz 21 May 2009 / £12.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: Max Frei, and the Labyrinth of Echo series, is a multi-million copy selling Russian literary sensation appearing in English for the first time in 2009. Intriguing, original, remarkable and wry . . . The Stranger is a piece of absolute enchantment.

"Splash a bit of enchantment into my glass" . . . there is no better phrase to describe the state that a reader may find themselves in when exposed to this strong, absolutely legal, literary narcotic which goes by the name of Max Frei. -- Stolichniye Novosti

HarperVoyager

Hell's Horizon (The City Trilogy) by D. B. Shan (HarperVoyager 05 March 2009 / £10.00) - Darren Shan is a children's author of world renown, best known for his book Cirque Du Freak (the movie being, I think, in the can already, if not due for imminent release) and his Vampiric and Demonata series.

Under the cunningly disguised pen name of D.B. Shan, Voyager now release the second title in Shan's The City trilogy - a trade paperback, entitled Hell's Horizon. "The Cardinal is the City and the City is The Cardinal. They are joined at the soul. When Al Jeery is seconded by The Cardinal from guard duties at Party Central to investigate the murder of a woman at a hotel he little suspects that the dead woman will turn out to be his girlfriend. Soon he is involved in a terrifying mystery that draws in the dead, the city's Incan forefathers, the imposing figure of The Cardinal himself, and the near-mythical assassin, Paucar Wami. Wami is a law unto himself, a shadowy, mysterious figure who can apparently kill anyone he chooses without fear of punishment or retribution. And Al is about to find out that he has a lot more in common with Wami than he could ever have imagined..."

Wrath of a Mad God: Darkwar Book 3 by Raymond E. Feist (HarperVoyager 05 March 2009 / £7.99) - Wrath of a Mad God is the third title in Raymond E. Feist's most recent series The Darkwar, now published by Voyager in mass market paperback.

"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

A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin (Orbit 02 April 2009 / £7.99) - 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..." - an Orbit trade paperback.

"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 …"

Bloodheir (Godless World) by Brian Ruckley (Orbit 02 April 2009 / £7.99) - The mass market release from Orbit of Bloodheir, the second novel from new British fantasy author Brian Ruckley, whose début last year Winterbirth was given a big push by Orbit and consequently received a lot of critical attention.

"Heroic fantasy splashed with 300-style gore... Ruckley's realistic characters and sparking use of magic breathe new life into well-trod epic territory" -- Entertainment Weekly.

Red-headed Stepchild (Sabina Kane) by Jaye Wells (Orbit 02 April 2009 / £6.99) - The first in Jaye Wells's urban fantasy series featuring heroine Sabina Kane - an Orbit paperback original.

"In a world where being of mixed-blood is a major liability, Sabina Kane has the only profession fit for an outcast: assassin. But, her latest mission threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races and Sabina must scramble to figure out which side she's on. She's never brought her work home with her---until now.

This time, it's personal.

The Night Sessions: A Novel by Ken MacLeod (Orbit 02 April 2009 / £7.99) - Over the last dozen or so years, Ken Macleod has become one of our most prominent and politically acute writers of science fiction, so much so that a new novel from him is a major big deal. This month sees the mass market edition from Orbit of The Night Sessions...

"A bishop is dead. As Detective Inspector Adam Ferguson picks through the rubble of the tiny church, he discovers that it was deliberately bombed. That it's a terrorist act is soon beyond doubt. It's been a long time since anyone saw anything like this. Terrorism is history ...After the Middle East wars and the rising sea levels - after Armageddon and the Flood - came the Great Rejection. The first Enlightenment separated church from state. The Second Enlightenment has separated religion from politics. In this enlightened age there's no persecution, but the millions who still believe and worship are a marginal and mistrusted minority. Now someone is killing them. At first, suspicion falls on atheists more militant than the secular authorities. But when the target list expands to include the godless, it becomes evident that something very old has risen from the ashes. Old and very, very dangerous ..."

Turn Coat (Dresden Files 11) by Jim Butcher (Orbit 16 April 2009 / £12.99) - The eleventh title in Jim Butcher's evergreen and hugely popular Harry Dresden series. Turn Coat is released in hardcover by Orbit.

"Harry Dresden, professional wizard, has done his best to keep his nose clean where the White Council of Wizards is concerned. Even so, his past misdeeds have cast a constant shadow of suspicion over him in the eyes of the Wardens, those wizards responsible for enforcing the Laws of Magic. Now Dresden finds himself faced with a nightmarish dilemma: Morgan, formerly his chief persecutor among the Wardens, has been wrongly accused of treason against the White Council - and has come to Harry for help. Dresden faces a daunting task: clear Morgan's name while simultaneously hiding him from the Wardens and the supernatural bounty hunters sent to find him, discover the identity of the true turncoat and, of course, avoid accusations of treachery of his own. A single mistake may mean that heads - quite literally - will roll. And one of them could be his own ..."

Prometheus Books

City Without End: Book Three of the Entire and the Rose (Enitre and the Rose): 'Entire and the Rose' Bk. 3 by Kay Kenyon (Prometheus Books 24 February 2009 / £16.99) - The third title in Kay Kenyon's The Entire and The Rose series. City Without End will be published by Pyr next month.

"Titus Quinn has forged an unstable peace with the Tarig lords. The ruinous capability of the nanotech surge weapon he possesses ensures detente. But it is a sham. In what the godwoman Zhiya calls a fit of moral goodness, he's thrown the weapon into the space-folding waters of the Nigh. This clears the way for an enemy he could have never foreseen: the people of the Rose. A small cadre led by Helice Maki is determined to take the Entire for itself and leave the earth in ruins. The transform of earth will begin deep in a western desert and will sweep over the lives of ordinary people, entangling Quinn s sister-in-law Caitlin in a deepening and ultimate conspiracy.In the "Entire", Quinn stalks Helice to the fabled Rim City, encircling the heart of the Entire. Here he at last finds his daughter, now called Sen Ni, in the Chalin style. Outside of earth-based time, she has grown to adulthood. He hardly knows her, and finds her the mistress of a remarkable dream-time insurgency against the Tarig lords and more, a woman risen high in the Entire's meritocracy. Quinn needs his daughter's help against the woman who would destroy the earth. But Sen Ni has her own plans and allies, among them a boy-navitar unlike any other pilot of the River Nigh a navitar willing and supremely able to break his vows and bend the world.Quinn casts his fate with the beautiful and resourceful Ji Anzi who sent on a journey to other realms holds the key to Quinn's heart and his overarching mission. But as he approaches the innermost sanctuary of the Tarig, he is alone. Waiting for him are powerful adversaries, including a lady who both hates and loves him, the high prefect of the dragon court, and Quinn's most implacable enemy, a warrior whose chaotic mind will soon be roused from an eternal slumber.""

Midwinter by Matthew Sturges (Prometheus Books 01 March 2009 / £13.50) - 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."

Solaris

Dark Haven (Chronicles of the Necromancer) by Gail Z. Marin (Solaris 27 January 2009 / £5.75) - Gail Z. Martin's third novel in her Chronicles of the Necromancer, sequence. Dark Haven is published as a paperback original by Solaris (who, it has recently been announced, have been put up for sale by their owners, Black Library) both here and in the US and follows The Summoner and The Blood King, the former of which was Solaris' launch title.

Xenopath (Bengal Station) by Eric Brown (Solaris 01 June 2009 / £7.99) - Eric Brown's new Bengal Station novel - Xenopath is a paperback original from Solaris.

"Two years after the events of Necropath, telepath Jeff Vaughan is now working for a detective agency. He is called to investigate a series of murders linked to the colony world of Mallory, and the slaughter of innocent aliens there by a colonial organization. But Jeff's new-found optimism is shaken when he begins to uncover a genocide… "

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