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UK Books Received- 01/2010  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 Liberators by Philip Womack (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 01 February 2010 / £6.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: It remains to be seen whether Bloomsbury discovery Philip Womack will be the successor to the crown worn by J.K. Rowling (also a Bloomsbury discovery, hence the comparisons) - some newspaper reports said as much when the publisher acquired his début novel The Other Book some time ago. Perhaps this second book from the children's author will clarify matters. The Liberators is due from Bloomsbury next month.

"On his first trip to London to stay with his glamorous aunt and uncle for Christmas, Ivo Moncrieff steps off the train and stumbles into a nightmare. As he is waiting on the tube platform, a stranger thrusts a mysterious object into his hand, desperately muttering some unfamiliar words to him. On-board the tube moments later, the carriage next to Ivo's is overcome with panic and when they enter the next station the passengers disembark to find that the stranger's body has been brutally dismembered. Ivo guesses that perpetrators must want the object, and if they find out he has it, he will be their next target. But the attack on the tube is part of a larger scheme to bring chaos to the heart of London. As the capital seems in danger of sliding into anarchy, Ivo faces a race against time to break the ancient power of the Liberators, a power that has lain dormant for centuries but now threatens to destroy society itself. Philip Womack has written a gripping and thought-provoking tale that entertains at the same time as it explores what it means to be human and to be free."

The Returners by Gemma Malley (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 01 February 2010 / £6.99) - A paperback edition of Gemma Malley's The Returners, published by Bloomsbury. A stand alone YA novel which "explores the repercussions of the past and how it can affect our future." The tag line is "A past life doesn't mean a good one" - which I guess makes sense once you read the book!

"The year is 2140. Peter and Anna are now living on the Outside as Legals. As an agent in the Underground, Peter is tasked with infiltrating Pincent Pharma Corporation and find out what's happening in the secret Longevity programme. Peter must feign a reconciliation and win the trust of his grandfather, Richard Pincent, one of the most powerful men on the planet, whose company, Pincent Pharma, is chasing the holy grail of modern science - a drug which will reverse ageing and make people look young again. But his grandfather has his own plans for Peter - plans which involve Peter and Anna signing the Declaration and endorsing Longevity+. Richard Pincent will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if it means ripping Peter and Anna's new life apart. At the heart of the organisation he most despises, Peter stumbles across something more sinister than he could ever have imagined, as powerful forces are gathering to crush the young couple's dreams."


Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz 15 March 2010 / £18.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: Following the much publicised announcement of Alastair Reynolds's ten book, million pound deal with Orion, Terminal World is the first hundred grand instalment - due for publication in March 2010.

I've been a fan of Reynolds's work for nearly a decade (check out my 2001 interview with him and also my reviews of Chasm City, Diamond Dogs, Pushing Ice and Century Rain and am licking my lips at what's still to come from this exceptional SF author...

"Spearpoint, the last human city, is an atmosphere-piercing spire of vast size. Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different - and rigidly enforced - level of technology. Horsetown is pre-industrial; in Neon Heights they have television and electric trains ...Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue. But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, Quillon's world is wrenched apart one more time, for the angel is a winged posthuman from Spearpoint's Celestial Levels - and with the dying body comes bad news. If Quillon is to save his life, he must leave his home and journey into the cold and hostile lands beyond Spearpoint's base, starting an exile that will take him further than he could ever imagine. But there is far more at stake than just Quillon's own survival, for the limiting technologies of the zones are determined not by governments or police, but by the very nature of reality - and reality itself is showing worrying signs of instability ..."

Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes (Gollancz 18 April 2010 / £18.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: A fat and hefty proof that is a statement of intent if ever I saw one! Sam Syke's first novelTome of the Undergates follows the Gollancz tradition of discovering some seriously talented new genre authors. Not all have lived up to the hype - but some have certainly hit the mark - I'm talking of folks like Joe Abercombie, Scott Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss. Syke's book is due out in April 2010 and we'll know then if he can keep such illustrious company.

"Lenk can barely keep control of his mismatched adventurer band at the best of times (Gariath the dragon man sees humans as little more than prey, Kataria the shict despises most humans and the humans in the band are little better). When they're not insulting each other's religions they're arguing about pay and conditions. So when the ship they are travelling on is attacked by pirates things don't go very well. They go a whole lot worse when an invincible demon joins the fray. The demon steals the Tome of the Undergates - a manuscript that contains all you need to open the undergates. And whichever god you believe in you don't want the undergates open. On the other side are countless more invincible demons, the manifestation of all the evil of the gods, and they want out. Full of razor-sharp wit, characters who leap off the page (and into trouble) and plunging the reader into a vivid world of adventure this is a fantasy that kicks off a series that could dominate the second decade of the century."


At the Gates of Darkness (Demonwar Saga 2) by Raymond E. Feist (HarperVoyager 07 January 2010 / £18.99) - Raymond E. Feist's concluding novel in his Demon War series is At The Gates of Darkness, which is published in hard cover this month by HarperCollins Voyager.

"Recent events have shocked and devastated the Conclave of Shadows; the discovery of the Demon horde that is following the elven invaders of Midkemia; the rise of the mad magician Belasco, and the personal cost paid by Pug and his family. But grieving for lost loved-ones must wait. The followers of the Demon prince have almost succeeded in bringing him through the dimensions. The Conclave must regroup and find a way to meet the approaching evil, whilst trying to stop civil war from destroying Triagia before the demon horde even arrives."


Seasons of War: Long Price, Book 2 by Daniel Abraham (Orbit 21 January 2010 / £7.99) - In Seasons of War, Orbit package together the second pair of novels - An Autumn War and The Price of Spring - Daniel Abrahamin 's acclaimed series, The Long Price Quartet.

"The poets and their magical andat have protected the cities of the Khaiem against their rivals in Galt for generations. Otah, Khai of the Winter City of Machi, has tried for years to prepare his people for a future in which the andat can no longer be safely harnessed. But his warnings have been ignored, and now it's too late. A ruthless, charismatic Galtic general believes he has found a way to strip the andat of their power. If he is wrong, Galt will be destroyed. If he is right, the Khaiem will fall. Only one thing is certain: conflict is inevitable, and Otah and his old friend and enemy the disgraced poet, Maati, must fight a desperate battle to protect their cities from slaughter. These two men, bound together by shadow and betrayal, will bring the world to the edge of a cataclysm unlike anything either side had imagined. For if the cost of war is high, the price of peace may be unimaginable ..."

Seeds of Earth (Humanity's Fire) by Michael Cobley (Orbit 21 January 2010 / £7.99) - Scottish author Michael Cobley, perhaps best known for his Shadowkings fantasy trilogy, returns to his science fiction roots. Seeds of Earth, now published in mass market paperback by Orbit is the first novel in a major new space opera series called Humanity's Fire. Book two, entitled Orphaned Worlds is due in the spring.

"First contact was not supposed to be like this. The first intelligent species to encounter Mankind attacked without warning and swarmed locust-like through the solar system. Merciless. Relentless. Unstoppable. With little hope of halting the savage invasion, Earth's last, desperate roll of the dice was to send out three colony ships, seeds of Earth, to different parts of the galaxy. Earth may perish but the human race would live on ...somewhere. 150 years later, the human colony on the planet Darien has established a new world for Humanity and forged a peaceful relationship with the planet's indigenous race, the scholarly, enigmatic Uvovo. But there are secrets buried beneath the surface of Darien's forest moon. Secrets that go back to an apocalyptic battle fought between ancient forerunner races at the dawn of galactic civilisation..."

The Judging Eye (Aspect-emperor) by R.Scott Bakker (Orbit 21 January 2010 / £8.99) - The first in a new series by the acclaimed Canadian fantasy author R. Scott Bakker. The Judging Eye is released by Orbit in mass market paperback (an earlier trade paperback having been published a year previously) 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 ..."

The Poison Throne by Celine Kiernan (Orbit 01 April 2010 / £7.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: Originally published by the O'Brien Press in Ireland, Celine Kiernan's début fantasy series has been snapped up by Orbit, offering the author the kind of worldwide distribution and market penetration that will be the envy of other first time authors. Essentially a medieval tale of courtly intrigue, its female teenage protagonist, Wynter Moorehawke (for whom the trilogy is named) is the role model for the target demographic - interesting publishers in other territories are selling this as YA novel. Cleverly Orbit are not limited their audience in how they are choosing to publish The Poisoned Throne and it ought, therefore, to do well in the crossover market. Due to be published in April 2010.

"Young Wynter Moorehawke returns to court with her dying father. But her old home is cloaked in fear.. Once benevolent King Jonathon is now a violent despot, terrorising his people while his son Alberon plots a coup from exile. Then darkness spreads as the King appoints Alberon's half-brother Razi as heir. Wynter must watch her friend obey his father's untenable commands, as those they love are held to ransom. And at the heart of matters lies a war machine so lethal that none dare speak of it. The kingdom would belong to its master, yet the consequences of using it are too dire to consider. But temptation has ever been the enemy of reason."


The City & The City by China Mieville (Pan 01 January 2010 / £7.99) - The mass market edition of China Miéville's much hailed , The City & The City, a novel that furthers the author's fascination with all things urban and one that feature on many of the Best of 2009 lists - both for genre and general fiction. Published by Pan - follow this link to see a clip in which the author discusses this novel..

"When the body of a murdered woman is found in the extraordinary, decaying city of Bes el, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks like a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he probes, the evidence begins to point to conspiracies far stranger, and more deadly, than anything he could have imagined. Soon his work puts him and those he cares for in danger. Borlu must travel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own, across a border like no other. With shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984 , "The City & The City" is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights."

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