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UK Books Received- 05/2010  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

ATOM

Burned (House of Night) by P.C. Cast (ATOM 27 April 2010 / £11.99) - In the hysterical furore over Robert Pattinson's cheekbones and the other attractions recently on show in the movie versions of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight books, P.C. and Kristin Cast are confidently manoeuvring themselves into position to be the next 'next big thing'.

The House of Night books, published here by Atom are now into a seventh volume with this latest hard cover release, Burned, and have steadily been pushing this mother/daughter writing team up the bestseller charts and into the big time. With an amazing half a million copies sold in the UK alone, this is a YA series that is gathering some serious momentum. Check out www.thehouseofnightseries.co.uk.

"Y'all need to get yourselves together. Here's a newsflash from the only High Priestess you have left at this dang school: Zoey isn't dead. And believe me, I know dead. I've been there, done that and got the fricken tee-shirt. Zoey Redbird is the youngest High Priestess in House of Night history and is the only person ? vamp or fledgling ? that can stop the evil Neferet from raising all kinds of immortal trouble. And she might just have a chance if she wasn't so busy being dead. Well, dead is too strong a word. Stevie Rae knows she can bring her BFF back from her unscheduled va-cay in the Otherworld. But it's going to take a lot more than hoping to bring Zoey back. Stevie Rae will have to give up a few secrets of her own ... "

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Obernewtyn (Obernewtyn Chronicles) by Isobelle Carmody (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 07 June 2010 / £6.99) - It's ten years since it first appeared in Australia, but now Bloomsbury bring Isobelle Carmody's acclaimed Obernewtyn Chronicles to a British audience for the first time, in this paperback original edition. Book one is Obernewtyn and the second title, Ashling will follow in August. Four further titles will be published throughout the course of 2011.

"In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. But for Elspeth Gordie, born with enhanced mental abilities, it is also dangerous. Survival is only by secrecy and so she determines never to use her forbidden powers. But it is as if they have their own imperative and she is brought to the attention of the totalitarian Council that rules the Land. Banished to the remote mountain institution of Obernewtyn, she must throw off her cloak of concealment and pit herself against those that would resurrect the terrible forces of the apocalypse. Only then will she learn most truly who and what she is ...Elspeth is determined to uncover the plot and so, accompanied only by her cat, Maruman, embarks on a terrible adventure full of danger, the conclusion to which promises not just uncertainty about her safety but also that of many around her. "

Doubleday Children's Books

Wyrmeweald: Returner's Wealth (Wyrmeweald Trilogy) by Paul Stewart (Doubleday Children's Books 29 April 2010 / £12.99) - Stewart and Riddell are best known for their best-selling Edge Chronicles which have sold over two million copies worldwide and are available in over thirty languages! A new series by this dynamic duo is therefore big news to many young readers and they won't be disappointed with Wyrmweald: Returner's Wealth, a beautifully illustrated dragon-filled wild-west adventure published in hard cover by Random House Children's Books.

"Young pioneer, Micah, enters Wrymeweald full of hope to return home having made his fortune. But this is a land where wyrmes, fabulous dragon-like beasts, roam wild and reign supreme. In Wyrmeweald man is both hunter and hunted - and seventeen-year-old Micah may never return alive, let alone a hero...After a near-brush with death on the edge of a canyon, Micah soon finds a chance to prove his worth when he meets with Eli, a veteran tracker of Wrymeweald. They choose to defend a rare whitewyrme egg and its precious hatchling before it falls into the hands of a band of evil Kith. But the fledgling wyrme has its own guardian in the shape of the beautiful, brave and dangerous Thrace. Thrace, a Kin and a highly-skilled wyrme rider-assassin; and Micah, a would-be Kith, should never mix - but the magnetism between them is strong. Together they join forces on a mission to rescue the hatchling and seek vengeance for loved-ones lost at the hand of Kith bandits. Meanwhile the glorious whitewyrme colony of Wyrmeweald looks on as its land is encroached by gold-diggers and ravaged by bounty hunters. Is Exodus the only option? And if so, when - and where - will they flee too? "

Dovecote Press

The Call of Destiny (Return of Arthur) by Alan Fenton (Dovecote Press 30 March 2010 / £8.99) - Alan Fenton delivers a hefty two part re-imagining of the Arthurian legend set in the contemporary 21st century world - I like this idea not least because it highlights the evergreen nature of the Arthur mythos, a story open to continual reinterpretation. Book one is The Call To Destiny - a solid mass market paperback edition published by Dovecote Press (who oddly have no mention of this release on their web site! #PRFail!.

"It is said that in times of trouble King Arthur will return.

In the new millennium the world is sliding into chaos, its stability threatened by evil men engaged in the ruthless pursuit of of global domination. The brilliant scientist Merlin, takes under his wing the newborn Arthur, illegitimate son of a leading politician. Guided by Merlin, the boy grows to manhood, becoming a renowned soldier and natural leader. But will he have the courage to fulfil his destiny?"

The Hour of Camelot (Return of Arthur) by Alan Fenton (Dovecote Press 30 March 2010 / £8.99) - The second of Alan Fenton's Arthur books, The Hour of Camelot, is released simultaneously with the above.

"Fulfilling the age-old prophecy, King Arthur has returned.

Confronted by global terrorism, world leaders are disunited and indecisive. On a remote island a new Camelot is born, from where Arthur and the 21st Century Round Table launch a series of devastating attacks on the dark forces that threaten the planet. Yet within Camelot itself, forbidden love, murder and conspiracy threaten Arthur's quest. As the Kingdom begins to crumble, will the dream of Camelot die?"

Gollancz

Elves: Once Walked With Gods by James Barclay (Gollancz 19 August 2010 / £18.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: Prolific and consistent, James Barclay has year on year, proved himself the worthy successor to David Gemmell. Barclay's own brand of adventure driven, pacey, gritty heroic fantasy has deservedly made him a reader's favourite and Elves: Once Walked With Gods, Barclay's tenth novel, looks set to further enhance his reputation, as he turns his considerable talents to a tale of one of fantasy's most enduring races. To be published by Gollancz in August.

"The elves have fled to Calius, seeking to escape the overwhelming power of the demonic Garonin. A desperate last stand in their own dimension saved the race, at the cost of 100,000 elves lost to the Garonin. The elf who led that fight, Takaar, is blamed for the losses and has gone into hiding. Now the weakened elf race is tearing itself apart in civil war, human mercenaries have arrived in Calius and are ripping the continent apart. Only one elf can unite the elves. And only one elf believes in him. A young warrior named Auum sets out to bring back the shamed hero and save the elven race. James Barclay's ELVES trilogy will tell the whole story of his immortal elven race, and will appeal to all fans of Tolkien and fantasy - this is a uniquely entertaining take on a fantasy staple perfect to bring new readers to Barclay. And old readers of James Barclay will welcome a return to one of their favourite creations and will also love seeing one of their favourite characters again - the Tai Gethan warriror Auum destined to be one of the Raven. "

The Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry (Gollancz 15 April 2010 / £12.99) - A chunky trade paperback edition of Jonathan Maberry's The Dragon Factory, another fast moving zombie shoot-em-up and following Patent Zero, the second to feature Maberry's hero, Joe Ledger and his crack Dept. of Special Sciences combat team. The US edition, released recently by St Martin's Griffin imprint was reviewed in our March 2010 issue.

"Having protected the world from a zombie plague in PATIENT ZERO, Joe Ledger and his crack Department of Special Sciences combat team are thrown into an even more frightening crisis. A genetic-engineering program has been used to create the ultimate fighting machine - soldiers bred for war, soldiers with greater strength, higher reaction speeds and an utter disregard for pain. Theirs and others. It's a nightmare from the pages of Doctor Moreau and soon Joe and his team are up against both the big business concerns who have billions invested in the project and, on the street, adversaries bred expressly to kill them. It's enough to make you wish you were facing zombies again . . . "

Wolfsangel by M. D. Lachlan (Gollancz 20 May 2010 / £12.99) - Another exciting Gollancz Debut title, this one Wolfangel by M.D. Lachlan, marking the start of a major, epic and hugely ambitious fantasy saga which offers a new twist of the legend of the werewolf. Lachlan is a pseudonym of novelist and journalist Mark Barrowcliffe. Published by Gollancz.

"The Viking King Authun leads his men on a raid against an Anglo-Saxon village. Men and women are killed indiscriminately but Authun demands that no child be touched. He is acting on prophecy. A prophecy that tells him that the Saxons have stolen a child from the Gods. If Authun, in turn, takes the child and raises him as an heir, the child will lead his people to glory. But Authun discovers not one child, but twin baby boys. Ensuring that his faithful warriors, witness to what has happened, die during the raid Authun takes the children and their mother home, back to the witches who live on the troll wall. And he places his destiny in their hands. And so begins a stunning multi-volume fantasy epic that will take a werewolf from his beginnings as the heir to a brutal viking king, down through the ages. It is a journey that will see him hunt for his lost love through centuries and lives, and see the endless battle between the wolf, Odin and Loki - the eternal trickster - spill over into countless bloody conflicts from our history, and over into our lives"

Harper

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro (Harper 01 April 2010 / £6.99) - The UK mass market paperback release of The Strain, a collaboration between Hollywood's flavour-of-the-month director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) and author Chuck Hogan. We're re-running Joseph B. Hoyos's review of the US edition, which appeared in our June 2009 issue.

"High-concept thriller with a supernatural edge from world-famous director, whose films include Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy. A plane lands at JFK and mysteriously 'goes dark', stopping in the middle of the runway for no apparent reason, all lights off, all doors sealed. The pilots cannot be raised. When the hatch above the wing finally clicks open, it soon becomes clear that everyone on board is dead -- although there is no sign of any trauma or struggle. Ephraim Goodweather and his team from the Center for Disease Control must work quickly to establish the cause of this strange occurrence before panic spreads. The first thing they discover is that four of the victims are actually still alive. But that's the only good news. And when all two hundred corpses disappear from various morgues around the city on the same night, things very rapidly get worse. Soon Eph and a small band of helpers will find themselves battling to protect not only their own loved ones, but the whole city, against an ancient threat to humanity. " (see review)

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

West of the Mountains, East of the Sea: The Map of Tolkien's Beleriand and the Lands to the North by Brian Sibley (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 01 April 2010 / £9.99) - Another gorgeous little cloth-bound companion volume by Tolkien expert Brian Sibley with illustrations by John Howe, West of the Mountains, East of the Sea follows on from the earlier release of The Road Goes Ever On and On in June last year. Another lovely little item, lavishly produced and a great stocking-filler for the Tolkien enthusiast in your family.

"This enchanting little hardback is an essential companion for any reader journeying through The Silmarillion or The Children of Hurin. Featuring an entertaining text and detailed gazetteer by acclaimed Tolkien author Brian Sibley, this gift edition also contains a stunning fold-out poster-map of the First Age of Tolkien's Middle-earth. Writer and broadcaster Brian Sibley is a foremost expert on The Lord of the Rings (he adapted the novel for the award-winning BBC radio dramatisation in 1980), and here in this clothbound hardback he will take you to the First Age of Middle-earth, many thousands of years before the events chronicled in The Lord of the Rings. This was the setting for the great War of the Jewels, as recounted in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion and includes a gazetteer of the many places shown on the full-colour illustrated map which accompanies the book. The Map of Beleriand and the Lands to the North is faithfully reproduced in full colour by world-renowned Tolkien artist John Howe, the conceptual artist employed by Peter Jackson to work on his multi-award winning Lord of The Rings film trilogy, and who is soon to work on Guillermo del Toro's Hobbit film. The map is based on the original map by Christopher Tolkien. Embellished with heraldic emblems and dramatic scenes from The Silmarillion, it completes the trio of authorized Tolkien maps by John Howe which can be removed for reference or even for framing. Each element in this collector's package is special; together they provide an enchanting and desirable artefact that will be a prized possession of Tolkien readers of all ages. "

HarperVoyager

Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison (HarperVoyager 29 April 2010 / £6.99) - The latest novel Kim Harrison novel Black Magic Sanction is published in the UK as a mass market paperback from Voyager. Read Gayle Surrette's review of the US release which appeared in last month's issue.

"The latest stirring instalment of the urban fantasy-thriller series starring Rachel Morgan. A pacey and addictive novel of sexy bounty-hunting witches, cunning demons and vicious vampires. Having barely escaped being skewered by the criminal vampire overlord of Cinncinati, Rachel now has even bigger problems to contend with. The demon, Algaliarept, although banished back into the everafter has infected others of his kind with his interest in a witch who can channel demon magic. Rachel soon finds herself with not one but three hellions on her tail; and one of them is even crazier and more dangerous than all the fairy assassins, weres and vampires on the planet."

For the Win by Cory Doctorow (HarperVoyager 12 May 2010 / £14.99) - Cory Doctorow's new novel is For The Win, published in hardcover by HarperCollins Voyager. If you've not come across Cory, either as a SF writer or as an incisive, cutting edge commentator on our technological age, get the hell out from under that rock you've been living under and head over to his web site!

"A provocative and exhilarating tale of teen rebellion against global corporations from the New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother -- a call to arms for a new generation. Not far in the future! In the twenty-first century, it's not just capital that's globalized: labour is too. Workers in special economic zones are trapped in lives of poverty with no trade unions to represent their rights. But a group of teenagers from across the world are set to fight this injustice using the most surprising of tools - their online video games. In Industrial South China Matthew and his friends labour day and night as gold-farmers, amassing virtual wealth that's sold on to rich Western players, while in the slums of Mumbai 'General Robotwallah' Mala marshalls her team of online thugs on behalf of the local gang-boss, who in turn works for the game-owners. They're all being exploited, as their friend Wei-Dong, all the way over in LA, knows, but can do little about. Until they begin to realize that their similarities outweigh their differences, and agree to work together to claim their rights to fair working conditions. Under the noses of the ruling elites in China and the rest of Asia, they fight their bosses, the owners of the games and rich speculators, outsmarting them all with their unbeatable gaming skills. But soon the battle will spill over from the virtual world to the real one, leaving Mala, Matthew and even Wei-Dong fighting not just for their rights, but for their lives! "

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay (HarperVoyager 29 April 2010 / £18.99) - In the heavily contested arena of genre fiction, stories all too often have to rely on a clever hook to elevate them from the pack, and that hook usually resides in science, the supernatural or magic – or combinations thereof. With such fireworks going off, it's all too easy for readers and writers alike to become disconnected with the emotional centre of given work - not so Guy Gavriel Kay, one of the true technical masters of the craft of writing. His new novel - Under Heaven is a fable told with such heart that it genuinely brought a tear to my eye... and I can't remember the last time that happened! A stunning piece of work, every page a genuine treat. Easily my book of the month.

"An epic historical adventure set in a pseudo 8th century China, from the author of the 2008 World Fantasy winner, Ysabel. Under Heaven is a novel of heroes, assassins, concubines and emperors set against a majestic and unforgiving landscape. An epic historical adventure set in a pseudo 8th century China, from the author of the 2008 World Fantasy winner, Ysabel. Under Heaven is a novel of heroes, assassins, concubines and emperors set against a majestic and unforgiving landscape. For two years Shen Tai has mourned his father, living like a hermit beyond the borders of the Kitan Empire, by a mountain lake where terrible battles have long been fought between the Kitai and the neighbouring Tagurans, including one for which his father - a great general - was honoured. But Tai's father never forgot the brutal slaughter involved. The bones of 100,000 soldiers still lie unburied by the lake and their wailing ghosts at night strike terror in the living, leaving the lake and meadow abandoned in its ring of mountains. To honour and redress his father's sorrow, Tai has journeyed west to the lake and has laboured, alone, to bury the dead of both empires. His supplies are replenished by his own people from the nearest fort, and also - since peace has been bought with the bartering of an imperial princess - by the Tagurans, for his solitary honouring of their dead. The Tagurans soldiers one day bring an unexpected letter. It is from the bartered Kitan Princess Cheng-wan, and it contains a poisoned chalice: she has gifted Tai with two hundred and fifty Sardian horses, to reward him for his courage. The Sardians are legendary steeds from the far west, famed, highly-prized, long-coveted by the Kitans. "

Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay (HarperVoyager 29 April 2010 / £7.99) - Winner of the 2008 World Fantasy Award for best novel Guy Gavriel Kay's wonderful Ysabel is published by Voyager, as part of a back list reissue program in support of his superlative new novel Under Heaven. Kay is one of the smartest and most meticulous of fantasy writers and I'm delighted that Voyager are making his work available thus.

"Ysabel gains impetus and force from the blood-soaked soil of Provence itself. With its Celtic and Roman histories and mythologies, the region is fertile ground for the style of mythic storytelling that readers associate with Kay, and the land almost becomes a character in its own right. In Kay's hands, the tourist-friendly veneer is lifted away, revealing hills that run red with blood and memory, ruins that form the backdrop for ritual bonfires on Beltaine, and caves that sing of a love story that must play itself out, generation after generation." -- Toronto Globe & Mail

Headline

Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw (Headline 13 May 2010 / £6.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: Headline offer up this very strong YA début as one of their lead titles and a mouth-watering prospect it is too, is this stunning book trailer is anything to go by!

"Ten years ago Kate Winters' parents were taken by the High Council's wardens to help with the country's war effort. Now the wardens are back... and prisoners, including Kate's uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane – the High Council's most feared man – recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council's experiments into the veil, and he's convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace. The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft – a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft.

Be sure to pay a visit to Jenna Burtenshaw's blog!

Orbit

Blonde Bombshell by Tom Holt (Orbit 06 May 2010 / £12.99) - A new cover look for Tom Holt heralds the arrival of his new novel Blonde Bombshell now published by Orbit in the UK this month and following next month over in the US.

"The year is 2017. Lucy Pavlov is the CEO of PavSoft Industries, home of a revolutionary operating system that every computer in the world runs on. Her personal wealth is immeasurable, her intelligence is unfathomable, and she's been voted 'Most Beautiful Woman' for three years running. To put it simply - she has it all. One thing, however, is not quite right in Lucy's life. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is in fact a bomb. And not just any old bomb. Lucy is a very big, and very smart bomb, and her mission is to blow up the planet known as Earth. "

First Lord's Fury: Codex Alera, Book 6 by Jim Butcher (Orbit 06 May 2010 / £7.99) - One of the keys to Jim Butcher's continued success is down to how prolific he is. Wannabe authors take note that writing and offering a single book to a publisher offers them little opportunity for building your brand up. Orbit rolled out Butcher's Harry Dresden books with perhaps six titles in sixth months and thus sold them in big numbers. They've similarly done so with The Codex Alera, the sixth title of which, First Lord's Fury is now released in a mass market edition.

"The aging First Lord of Alera has fallen in battle. Yet his people must continue to resist an invading inhuman army. Desperate Alerans even pledge fealty to the Vord Queen to survive, turning the incredible power of Aleran furies back on their own people. And despite all efforts, the Alerans are being ground into dust and pushed to the farthest reaches of their own realm. However, Tavi has returned with vital insights from the Canim Blood Lands. He knows how to counter the Vord and, more importantly, believes human ingenuity can equal fury-born powers. Now events are rushing towards a last stand, where Tavi and the last Aleran legions must formulate a dangerous new strategy, together. For a civilization is on the brink of extinction. "

Frostbitten: A New Hunt Begins... and an Ancient Secret is Revealed by Kelley Armstrong (Orbit 06 May 2010 / £7.99) - A new - and very impressive - jacket style for Kelly Armstrong, one of Orbit's top names and one who has helped shape the urban fantasy landscape. Her novel Frostbitten is reissued this month in mass market paperback. And do check out this lovely piece by Armstrong that appeared recently on the Orbit blog, concerning her first trip to the UK.

"After years of struggle, Elena Michaels - journalist, investigator, werewolf - has finally come to terms with her strange fate, and learned how to control her wild side. At least, that's what she believes when she sets off to Alaska with her partner Clay. A series of gruesome maulings and murders outside Anchorage seem to implicate a rogue band of werewolves. But the truth is more complicated. Trapped in a frozen, unforgiving terrain, they are forced to confront a deadly secret, and their own, untamed nature...Gripping, intense and deeply satisfying, Frostbitten is a brilliant novel of suspense with a supernatural twist. "

The Ambassador's Mission: The Traitor Spy Trilogy, Book 1 by Trudi Canavan (Orbit 06 May 2010 / £16.99) - Trudi Canavan's brand new novel is the first in a sequel series to her mega-selling Black Magician trilogy. Commercial fantasy at it's very best. The Ambassador's Mission is released as a very smart looking royal hard cover by Orbit.

"Sonea, former street urchin, now a Black Magician of Kyralia, is horrified when her son, Lorkin, volunteers to assist Dannyl in his new role as Guild Ambassador to Sachaka, a land still ruled by cruel black magicians. When word comes that Lorkin has gone missing Sonea is desperate to find him, but if she leaves the city she will be exiled forever, and besides, her old friend Cery needs her help. Most of his family has been murdered - the latest in a long line of assassinations to plague the leading Thieves. There has always been rivalry, but lately it seems the Thieves have been waging a deadly underworld war, and now it appears they have been doing so with magical assistance ... "

The Iron Hunt (Hunter Kiss) by Marjorie M. Liu (Orbit 06 May 2010 / £6.99) - Orbit bring NYT best-selling author Marjorie M. Liu's Hunter Kiss series to the UK. If urban fantasy is your bag - and let's face it, it's the bag of an enormous section of the genre book-buying public - then The Iron Hunt will certainly excite. As with other series, Orbit are rolling this one out in quick succession, a fantastic way to give the author immediate shelf presence and market visibility - so watch out for book two Darkness Calls and book three A Wild Light over the next few months.

"During the day, Maxine's tattoos are her armour and she is invincible. At night they peel from her skin to take on forms of their own, leaving her human and vulnerable, and revealing themselves to be demons sleeping beneath her skin. But these demons are the best friends and bodyguards a woman could have. And Maxine needs bodyguards. She is the last in a line of women with power in their blood, trained to keep the world safe from malignant beings who would do us harm. But ten thousand years after its creation, the prison dimension that kept the worst of these from us is failing, and all the Wardens save Maxine are dead. She must bear the burden of her bloodline and join the last wild hunt against the enemy. "

Orion

Altar of Eden by James Rollins (Orion 29 April 2010 / £12.99) - "Louisiana veterinarian Lorna Polk stumbles upon a shipwrecked fishing trawler carrying a caged group of exotic animals, clearly part of a black market smuggling ring. Yet, something is wrong with these beasts, disturbing deformities that make no sense. They also all share one uncanny trait - heightened intelligence.

To uncover the truth about the origin of this strange cargo and the terrorist threat it poses, Lorna must team up with Jack Menard, a man who has a dark and bloody past. Together, they must hunt for a beast that escaped the shipwreck while uncovering a mystery that traces back to mankind's earliest roots...

The fate of a new global terror lies in an ancient biblical mystery from the Book of Genesis... The breathtaking new thriller from the NYT bestselling author of Map of Bones and The Doomsday Key." (see review)

Pan

Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill (Pan 07 May 2010 / £7.99) - Certainly one of my most eager awaited titles of the year, Adam Neville's Apartment 16 is a book that was hotly contested when it is submitted to publishers by his agent. Pan Macmillan won the auction and will publish this spine-tingling ghost story this coming May. It's hard to believe that it's six years since I reviewed Neville's super-creepy M.R. Jamesean spook story Banquet For The Damned - it's a book that has certainly stayed with me in the intervening time - does this new novel live up to quality of its predecessor? Well, I've reviewed it this issue, so nip back to the front page and follow the relevant link to find out.

" Some doors are better left closed... In Barrington House, an upmarket block in London, there is an empty apartment. No one goes in, no one comes out. And it's been that way for fifty years. Until the night watchman hears a disturbance after midnight and investigates. What he experiences is enough to change his life forever.

A young American woman, Apryl, arrives at Barrington House. She's been left an apartment by her mysterious Great Aunt Lillian who died in strange circumstances. Rumours claim Lillian was mad. But her diary suggests she was implicated in a horrific and inexplicable event decades ago.

Determined to learn something of this eccentric woman, Apryl begins to unravel the hidden story of Barrington House. She discovers that a transforming, evil force still inhabits the building. And the doorway to Apartment 16 is a gateway to something altogether more terrifying... " (see review)

Quercus Publishing Plc

Black Hills by Dan Simmons (Quercus Publishing Plc 01 April 2010 / £16.99) - I would gladly read anything written by Dan Simmons - not just his fiction, but his shopping lists too! He is an immense and towering talent, a protean author genuinely capable of brilliance whatever he turns his hand to, whether it be hard SF, crime noir, speculative history or what to buy at the Walmart!

His brand new novel Black hills, just like the previous one Drood, and the one that came before that The Terror is a departure from his previous work. Simmons, it seems, in incapable of not reinventing himself with everything he writes and even without picking this up and reading a word of Black Hills, I can confidently recommend it and indeed, any novel by Dan Simmons to you. A hard cover published by Quercus.

"Paha Sapa, 'Black Hills' is a Red Indian shaman who as a young boy at the Battle of Little Bighorn takes the ghost of the dying General Custer into his own body. Sixty years later as an old man working as a dynamiter on Mount Rushmore, he plots to blow it up. Meanwhile, Custer finds himself trapped in a strange, dark place and begins to write sensuous, heartbreaking missives to his beloved wife. Thus begins an intricate narrative that sweeps across decades of American history, building up a portrait of one country's relentless expansion and what was lost and destroyed in its path. Black Hills is historical fiction with Dan Simmons' trademark twist. He weaves in real places, events and people with his own uniquely weird take on reality to create a portrait of a world that is hilarious and tragic, spiritual and disturbing. "

Solaris

The Age of Zeus by James Lovegrove (Solaris 15 April 2010 / £7.99) - James Lovegrove is a long time fave writer of mine, the kind of author who is so choc-full of ideas that he's perhaps hard for publishers to profile. Each of his books offers up a different kind of delight - see these links for my reviews of Untied Kingdom, Provender Gleed and The Fledging Of Az Gabrielson) Lovegrove is a truly protean writer and in his latest offering he shows off his talents most fulsomely. The Age of Zues is published by Solaris and is a follow-up to his novel The Age of Ra which was enthusiastically reviewed by our own Liz De Jager back in our August 09 issue.

"The Olympians appeared a decade ago, living incarnations of the Ancient Greek gods on a mission to bring permanent order and stability to the world. Resistance has proved futile, and now humankind isunder the jackboot of divine oppression. Then former London police officer Sam Akehurst receives an invitation too tempting to turn down, the chance to join a small band of geurilla rebels armed with high-tech weapons and battlesuits. Calling themselves the Titans, they square off against the Olympians and their ferocious mythological monsters in a war of attrition which not all of them will survive!"

Tor

The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell (Tor 03 September 2010 / £16.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: A much heralded lead title, forthcoming from Tor UK later in the year. The Reapers are the Angels is a literary zombie novel - and I bet you never thought there could be such a thing! Alden Bell's novel is highly anticipated and even months prior to publication is already receiving rave reviews. Due in hardcover in September.

" God is a slick god. Temple knows. She knows because of all the crackerjack miracles still to be seen on this ruined globe...

Older than her years and completely alone, Temple is just trying to live one day at a time in a post-apocalyptic world, where the undead roam endlessly, and the remnant of mankind who have survived, at times, seem to retain little humanity themselves. This is the world she was born into. Temple has known nothing else. Her journey takes her to far-flung places, to people struggling to maintain some semblance of civilization – and to those who have created a new world order for themselves.

When she comes across the helpless Maury, she attempts to set one thing right, if she can just get him back to his family in Texas then maybe it will bring redemption for some of the terrible things she's done in her past. Because Temple has had to fight to survive, has done things that she's not proud of and, along the road, she's made enemies.

Now one vengeful man is determined that, in a world gone mad, killing her is the one thing that makes sense..."

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