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UK Books Received- 12/2010  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

Abaddon

Best of Tomes of the Dead by Levene (Abaddon 11 November 2010 / £9.99) - A definite candidate for "Cover of the Month", The Best of Tomes of the Dead is an omnibus edition, bringing together three novels in Abaddon's "... flesh-munchingly, gut-wrenchingly, eyeball-poppingly great... zombie franchise series.

This volume features The Words of Their Roaring by Matthew Smith, I, Zombie by Al Ewing and Anno Mortis and if you like your flesh raw and bloody, it's without doubt the best ten quid you'll spend this month.

Pax Britannia: The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus by Jonathan Green (Abaddon 11 November 2010 / £9.99) - And here's another Abaddon omnibus and this one is going straight on my Christmas list. The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus collects three of Jonathan Green's Pax Brittania novels - Unnatural History, Leviathan Rising and Human Nature. Madcap steampunk adventures for all the family!

"In the closing years of the 20th century the British Empire's rule is still going strong. Queen Victoria is about to celebrate her 160th birthday, kept alive by advanced steam technology. London is a fantastical sprawling metropolis where dirigibles roam the skies, robot bobbies enforce the law and dinosaurs are on display in London zoo. Welcome to Magna Britannia, a steam driven world full of fantastical creations and shady villains. Here dashing dandies and mustachioed villains battle for supremacy while below the city strange things stir in the flooded tunnels of the old London Underground."

Bantam Press

Stonewielder (Malazan Empire 3) by Ian Cameron Esslemont (Bantam Press 25 November 2010 / £20.00) - Product Description: Greymane believed he'd outrun his past. With his school for swordsmanship in Falar, he was looking forward to a quiet life, although his colleague Kyle wasn't as enamoured with life outside the mercenary company, the Crimson Guard. However, it seems it is not so easy for an ex-Fist of the Malazan Empire to disappear.

Gollancz

Against All Things Ending: The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (Gollancz S.F. S.) by Stephen Donaldson (Gollancz 28 October 2010 / £18.99) - Product Description: Stephen Donaldson returns to the internationally bestselling story of Thomas Covenant and The Land in this awesome, cataclysmic adventure.

Autumn by David Moody (Gollancz 28 October 2010 / £12.99) - Product Description: A zombie cult horror bestseller comes to the Gollancz list.

The Silent Land by Graham Joyce (Gollancz 18 November 2010 / £9.99) - Product Description: The haunting new literary fantasy from the (actual) author of MEMOIRS OF A MASTER FORGER.

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe: With Many Bloody Returns / Death's Excellent Vacation by (Gollancz 18 November 2010 / £14.99) - Product Description: The holiday season can bring out the beast in anyone - literally! Fifteen werewolf tales by an all-star line up.

Headline

Bullet (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter 19) by Laurell K. Hamilton (Headline 11 November 2010 / £7.99) - Product Description: Headline is thrilled to be publishing the sensational New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton, the queen of vampire fiction

Orbit

Law of the Broken Earth (Griffin Mage) by Rachel Neumeier (Orbit 02 December 2010 / £7.99) - Book three in Rachel Neumeier's series of The Griffin Mage is Law of the Broken Earth and is published by Orbit as a paperback original.

"Six years ago, the king of Casmantium's schemes shattered the balance between griffins and humans, and nearly led to disaster for both. Now the balance may be tipping once more - and this time neither courage nor sacrifice may be enough to repair what should never have been broken. Mienthe, the Lord of the Delta's young ward, knows only that her own peaceful life has been shaken. But when a spy brings a deadly secret from a neighboring country, she sees three kingdoms move towards war and two species toward destruction. Trapped between the secret many would kill to preserve and the desperate ferocity of the griffins, could Mienthe herself hold the key to preventing the atrocities to come?"

Stormlord Rising: Stormlord Trilogy, Book 2 by Glenda Larke (Orbit 04 November 2010 / £7.99) - Product Description: A tense and compelling drama of magic, betrayal and a great war in the desert ...

The Bone Palace (Necromancer Chronicles 2) by Amanda Downum (Orbit 02 December 2010 / £7.99) - Amanda Downum follows up her very promising début novel, The Drowning City with The Bone Palace, not exactly a sequel, but a accompanying volume set in the same world which was described previously as "... home to exiles and expatriates, pirates and smugglers. And violent revolutionaries who will stop at nothing to overthrow the corrupt Imperial government." Downham was shortlisted for the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Newcomer. The Bone Palace is an orbit paperback original.

"Death is no stranger in the city of Erisin, but some deaths attract more attention than others. When a prostitute dies carrying a royal signet, Isyllt Iskaldur, necromancer and agent of the Crown, is called to investigate. Her search leads to desecrated tombs below the palace, and the lightless vaults of the vampiric vrykoloi. But worse things than vampires are plotting in Erisin - a long-dead sorceress is making a bid not only for renewed life but for the throne as well, and Isyllt's former lover is caught in her schemes. As a sorcerous plague sweeps the city, Isyllt must decide who she's prepared to betray - the man she still loves, or the royal family she's sworn to defend. "

The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit 04 November 2010 / £7.99) - Product Description: The saga of mortals and immortals continues in this spectacular and highly original fantasy epic.

The Gathering Storm (Wheel of Time) by Robert Jordan (Orbit 07 October 2010 / £8.99) - The sad, early death of author Robert Jordan hasn't prevented his Wheel of Time series from continuing - in these days of corporate franchises such inconveniences are overcome with ease it seems. Step forward Brandon Sanderson, the highly talented author of the Mistborn novels, chosen by Jordan's widow (and editor) Harriet to complete the outline for book twelve, The Gathering Storm, that Jordan was working on when he died. Now published in mass market paperback by Orbit, this weighty volume equals its eleven predecessors in weight and scope and, according to reviews in quality also. Two further volumes by Sanderson are in the pipeline, one of which Towers of Midnight is also published this month in hardcover.

These UK Orbit editions offer a tasteful alternative to the ghastly, if traditional, Darrell Sweet artwork being used on the cover of Tor's US edition.

The Spirit Eater (Legend of Eli Monpress) by Rachel Aaron (Orbit 02 December 2010 / £7.99) - The third book in Rachel Aaron's Legend of Eli Monpress sequence. The Spirit Eater is published by Orbit in paperback original. Book one in this series, The Spirit Thief was reviewed in last month's issue by Liz De Jager and in our October issue by Mel Jacob.

"With the pressure on after his success in Gaol, Eli Monpress, professional thief and degenerate, decides it's time to lie low for a bit. Taking up residence in a tiny seaside village, Eli and his companions seize the chance for some fun and relaxation. Nico, however, is finding it a bit hard. Plagued by a demon's voice in her head and feeling powerless, she only sees herself as a burden. Everyone's holiday comes to an untimely close, though, when Pele arrives to beg Eli's help for finding her missing father. But there are larger plans afoot than even Eli can see, and the real danger, and the solution, may lie with one of his own and her forgotten past. If only Nico could remember whose side she's on."

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Orbit 02 December 2010 / £7.99) - Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Gril is one of the major highlights of the last year. Originally published in the US by Night Shade, it has gone on to scoop five major genre awards and I believe has sold upwards of forty thousand copies - which is pretty good for any book, but really something for a work of literary science fiction. Now British and Commonwealth readers can get their hands on this modern masterpiece, courtesy of Orbit.

"Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's calorie representative in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, he combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs long thought to be extinct. There he meets the windup girl - the beautiful and enigmatic Emiko - now abandoned to the slums. She is one of the New People, bred to suit the whims of the rich. Engineered as slaves, soldiers and toys, they are the new underclass in a chilling near future where oil has run out, calorie companies dominate nations and bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe. And as Lake becomes increasingly obsessed with Emiko, conspiracies breed in the heat and political tensions threaten to spiral out of control. Businessmen and ministry officials, wealthy foreigners and landless refugees all have their own agendas. But no one anticipates the devastating influence of the Windup Girl. "

Towers of Midnight: Book Thirteen of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (Orbit 02 November 2010 / £20.00) - Product Description: The penultimate volume in the international bestselling Wheel of Time series.

Transformation Space (Sentients of Orion) by Marianne De Pierres (Orbit 02 December 2010 / £7.99) - The fourth novel in a grand space opera series from Australian author Marianne de Pierres, who scored notable success with her Parish Plessis novels. The Sentients of Orion sequence opened with Dark Space, Chaos Space and Mirror Space, and now Transformation Space is published in paperback original this month by Orbit.

"Mira Fedor and her friends stand in the eye of the hurricane. Everything is in flux and nothing is as it appears to be. Mira's pregnancy seems to be proceeding at an inhuman pace and the sedate acceptance of this state of affairs by her biozoon, Insigna, is as much an irritation as it is comfort. It seems clear that the extropists' procedures have had an unforeseen effect - but will her child be more than human? Or less? Meanwhile, the galaxy-wide conspiracy that has plagued the Orion League for so long is blown wide open. The conspirators stand unmasked, but is there time to prevent their carefully laid plans coming to fruition? And even if there is, how many of the Orion Worlds will pay the price for their leaders' blindness? The pieces are all in play; all that remains is for each side to commit to its end game. But there's one question nobody has thought to ask: will god play by the rules ...?"

Pan

Kraken by China Mieville (Pan 05 November 2010 / £7.99) - The loudly lauded China Miéville delivers another loudly lauded novel in the form of Kraken - a dark, fishy fantasy of strange, squid-related goings-on in London. This is the mass market edition from Tor UK.

The author recently scooped both the Hugo and the World Fantasy Award for his previous novel The City and the city and I strongly suspect that this one too will feature on next year's short-lists.

"Deep in the research wing of the Natural History Museum is a prize specimen, something that comes along much less often than once in a lifetime: a perfect, and perfectly preserved, giant squid. But what does it mean when the creature suddenly and impossibly disappears?

For curator Billy Harrow it's the start of a headlong pitch into a London of warring cults, surreal magic, apostates and assassins. It might just be that the creature he's been preserving is more than a biological rarity: there are those who are sure it's a god.

A god that someone is hoping will end the world. "

Pyr

The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1) by Clay & Susan Griffith (Pyr 15 November 2010 / £13.99) - I've become very aware of the existence of this book over the last month - which is a sign of great viral marketing by publisher Pyr. The Greyfriar, the first book in Clay & Susan Griffith's Vampire Empire series has been plastered all over my news feeds and mentioned on many of the blogs I visit. If the book is half as good as the buzz, there'll be plenty of happy readers.

"In the year 1870, a horrible plague of vampires swept over the northern regions of the world. Millions of humans were killed outright. Millions more died of disease and famine in the chaos that followed. Within two years, once-great cities were shrouded by the grey empire of the vampire clans. Human refugees fled south to the tropics where the vampires could not tolerate the constant heat. They brought technology and a feverish drive to re-establish their shattered society of steam and iron amid the mosques of Alexandria, the torrid quietude of Panama, or the green temples of Malaya. It is now 2020 and a bloody reckoning is coming. Princess Adele is heir to the Empire of Equatoria, a remnant of the old tropical British Empire. She is quick with her wit as well as with a sword or gun. Eager for adventure before she settles into a life of duty, her world is turned upside down when she becomes the target of a merciless vampire clan. Her only protector is the Greyfriar, a mysterious figure who fights vampires from deep within their territory. Vampire Empire: The Greyfriar is the first book in a trilogy of high advenure and alternate history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, it brings epic political themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism. "

The Wolf Age by James Enge (Pyr 15 October 2010 / £13.99) - Pyr has a knack of producing great quality, highly commercial fantasy. One of their best discoveries in recent years is James Enge, whose first novel Blood of Ambrose was nominated for this year's World Fantasy Awards. Follow up This Crooked Way was also very well received by reviewers. This new title The Wolf Age tells of the further adventures of the enchanter, Morlock Ambrosius and is a trade paperback release.

"'Spear-age, sword-age: shields are shattered. Wind-age, wolf-age: before the world founders no man will show mercy to another.' Wuruyaaria: city of werewolves, whose raiders range over the dying northlands, capturing human beings for slaves or meat. Wuruyaaria: where a lone immortal maker wages a secret war against the Strange Gods of the Coranians. Wuruyaaria: a democracy where some are more equal than others, and a faction of outcast werewolves is determined to change the balance of power in a long, bloody election year. Their plans are laid; the challenges known; the risks accepted. But all schemes will shatter in the clash between two threats few had foreseen and none had fully understood: a monster from the north on a mission to poison the world, and a stranger from the south named Morlock Ambrosius. "

Solaris

Guardians of the Phoenix by Eric Brown (Solaris 16 December 2010 / £7.99) - An writer I have always felt much under-rated, British SF author Eric Brown has found a very supportive publisher in Solaris, who proudly continue their association with this B format release his latest novel, Guardian of the Phoenix.

"Global warming has taken its terrible toll. The seas have dried up and deserts cover much of the Earth's surface. Humankind has been annihilated by drought and the nuclear and biological conflicts following the Great Breakdown. Desperate bands of humans still survive. Some live far underground, away from the searing temperatures and ongoing conflicts on the surface; others scrape a living in the remains of shattered cities above ground. In Paris, Pierre lives like an animal among the sand-drifted ruins of the once great city. Near death, he faces a choice: join the strangers heading south in search of water, or remain in the city and perish. Guardians of the Phoenix tells the story of the last survivors on planet Earth, their desperate fight for survival and their last hope to save the world."

Tor

Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier (Tor 05 November 2010 / £7.99) - The latest novel from Juliet Marillier, one of Australia's very best fantasy authors. Heart's Blood is published by Tor UK in mass market paperback.

"A haunted forest. A cursed castle. A girl running from her past and a man who's more than he seems to be. A tale of love, betrayal and redemption...

Whistling Tor is a place of secrets, a mysterious wooded hill housing the crumbling fortress of a chieftain whose name is spoken throughout the district in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies over Anluan's family and his people; the woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom.And yet the derelict fortress is a safe haven for Caitrin, the troubled young scribe who is fleeing her own demons. Despite Anluan's tempers and the mysterious secrets housed in the dark corridors, this long-feared place provides the refuge she so desperately needs.

As time passes, Caitrin learns there is more to the broken young man and his unusual household than she realised. It may be only through her love and determination that the curse can be lifted and Anluan and his people set free..."

The Nemesis List by R J Frith (Tor 05 November 2010 / £16.99) - Product Description: Ex-soldier Frank Pak doesn't care about politics or breaking the law, he just wants to keep his ship running. When he's offered a contract to escort a runaway back home to his loving family - he doesn't ask questions. But his cargo is more dangerous than he realizes.

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