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US Books Received- 12/2017  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 / Editor c/o SFRevu 16440 Baden Westwood Road Brandywine, MD 20613

47North

Odysseus Awakening (Odyssey One Book 6) by Evan Currie (47North 12 December 2017 / ) - Product Description: Defy the inevitable. Such is the stance of Confederation captain Eric Weston and the crew of the starship Odysseus, patrolling the outer limits of Priminae space, anticipating the Empire's next attacks. Connected with the Terran FTL tech--the transition drive--humanity might stand a chance against the overwhelming forces. Until the entire planetary system goes dark.

Outnumbered and outgunned, the Odysseus arrives to find the Empire securing critical intelligence from Priminae ships--data that could prove disastrous in the wrong hands.

As the Odysseus enters the fray, the ship's systems exhibit increasingly chaotic glitches, while haunting apparitions stalk the crew. As they struggle to control their own ship--and their sanity--against the tide of battle, how can they hope to grasp victory when the Odysseus itself appears to be coming to life?

(see review)

Baen

1636: Mission to the Mughals (Ring of Fire) by Eric Flint and Griffin Barber (Baen 19 December 2017 / $7.99) - Product Description: The latest entry in the multiple Ring of Fire series created by Eric Flint. After carving a free state for itself in war-torn 17th century Europe, citizens of the modern town of Grantville, West Virginia go on a quest for the makings of medicines that have yet to be invented in 17th century Europe.

The United States of Europe, the new nation formed by an alliance between the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus and the West Virginians hurled back in time by a cosmic accident--the Ring of Fire--is beset by enemies on all sides. The U.S.E. needs a reliable source of opiates for those wounded in action, as well as other goods not available in Europe. The Prime Minister of the U.S.E., Mike Stearns, sends a mission to the Mughal Empire of India with the aim of securing a trade deal with the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan.

The mission consists of a mixed group of up-timers and down-timers, including paramedics, a squad of soldiers with railroad-building experience, a spy and a pair of swindlers. On reaching India the mission finds a grieving emperor obsessed with building the Taj Mahal, harem-bound princesses, warrior princes, and an Afghan adventurer embroiled in the many plots of the Mughal court.

The emperor's sons are plotting against each other and war is brewing with the newly risen Sikh faith. But in the midst of these intrigues, the U.S.E. mission finds an ally: the brilliant and beautiful Jahanara Begum, the eldest daughter of Shah Jahan. She is the mistress of her father's harem and a power in her own right, who wishes to learn more of these women who are free in a way she can scarcely comprehend.

When the Emperor learns of what befalls his empire and children in the time that was, he makes every effort to change their fate. But emperors, princesses, and princes are no more immune to the inexorable waves of change created by the Ring of Fire than are the Americans themselves.

(see review)

1636: The Vatican Sanction (Ring of Fire) by Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon (Baen 05 December 2017 / $25.00) - Product Description: SEVEN DAYS IN MAY, 1636. It's spring in Burgundy. The flowers are out and so are the cardinals--of Pope Urban's renegade papacy, now on the run from the Vatican's would-be usurper Borja. Most of the Church's senior leaders have converged upon the city of Besancon, where the Pope plans to offer an ecumenical olive branch to the other Christian denominations with which Rome has been at war.

Fortunately, Urban has up-time help. He can rely upon Cardinal-Protector Larry Mazzare's theological savvy, Sharon Nichols' medical skills, and her husband Ruy Sanchez's keen-eyed experience as a body-guard-in-chief. And even though Urban has a new Papal Guard in the form of Owen Rowe O'Neill's Wild Geese, Mike Stearns has loaned the Pope a small contingent of the Hibernian Battalion--just in case.

Which is prudent, since Urban and his peace initiative are not merely at risk from Borja's assassins. There is another, more deadly, team of professional killers in town, directed by the man who almost killed the Pope before: lethal Spanish mastermind Pedro Dolor.

Dolor hasn't come to confess murder—he's come to commit it.

Fleet Insurgent (Under Jurisdiction) by Susan R. Matthews (Baen 05 December 2017 / $16.00) - Product Description: Together for the first time, here are the novellas, novelettes, and short stories that complete Matthews' epic science fiction series. Plus, supplemental materials that flesh out Matthews' characters and detailed worldbuilding.

Collected for the first time, here is the complete Under Jurisdiction body of work falling outside of Matthews' celebrated novels: long out-of-print short stories fleshing out details of the personal histories of favorite characters, including Joslire Curran and Security Chief Stildyne; substantial novellas--two published here for the first time ever--covering critical events in the life of the series, such as the devil's bargain between Andrej Koscuisko and Captain Lowden on the Ragnarok; and many more novelettes, stories, and vignettes from The Life and Hard Times of "Uncle" Andrej Koscuisko, who is Not a Nice Man. 

Kill Before Dying (Tau Ceti Agenda) by Travis S. Taylor (Baen 19 December 2017 / $7.99) - Product Description: Book #5 in the Tau Ceti Agenda series, sequel to Trail of Evil. Humanity takes to interstellar space to face conflict and an extermination threat from an evil artificial intelligence, and an alien menace from beyond.

A century and a half after the Martian Separatist Wars, Alexander Moore returns to the stars with the Sienna Madira, a United States Navy supercarrier spacecraft outfitted with advanced FTL and endlessly strange, extremely effective, quantum-based weapons and remote sensing technology. And, of course, he's brought Marines and lots of them. These are troops superbly trained for space battle, and equipped with advanced powered armor and artificial intelligence backup.

Moore's task: hunt down remnant weaponry platforms left by the brilliant, mad artificial intelligence known as Copernicus, the being ultimately responsible for the Solar System-wide civil war. Now Copernicus has formed an alliance with something else out there with a similar goal: wipe humanity from the galaxy forever.

Princess Holy Aura by Ryk E. Spoor (Baen 05 December 2017 / $16.00) - Product Description: What Would You Give to be a Hero? Stephen Russ is a normal guy who finds himself caught up in a strange world of talking rats and elder gods--and the fate of the world rests on his shoulders!

What Would You Give to be a Hero? Stephen Russ never expected to have to answer that question; he went to work, he stayed in his apartment, sometimes had friends over, and the worst thing he'd had to face was looking for a new job after losing his old one.

But that was before a child's desperate scream led him into an alley filled with faceless winged things that almost killed him, before the strange white rat spoke to him, calling itself Silvertail Heartseeker and telling him that this was but the beginning, that the Stars were almost Right and the forces of Azathoth Nine-Armed would soon be unleashed against the world ... before Silvertail said that his courage and willingness to risk himself made him the perfect choice to be one of the defenders of the world against this evil.

A defender named Princess Holy Aura, the first of the five Apocalypse Maidens.

Now Steve understands the choice: not whether he is willing to die, but whether he is willing to live ... by giving up "Stephen Russ" to become the one chance that the world has against the monstrous forces that wait on the other side of forever.

DAW

Pathways And Other Tales of Valdemar by (DAW 05 December 2017 / $7.99) - Product Description: The eleventh anthology of short stories set in Mercedes Lackey's beloved Valdemar universe features stories by debut and established authors and a brand-new story from Lackey herself.

The Heralds of Valdemar are the kingdom's ancient order of protectors. They are drawn from all across the land, from all walks of life, and at all ages—and all are Gifted with abilities beyond those of normal men and women. They are Mindspeakers, FarSeers, Empaths, ForeSeers, Firestarters, FarSpeakers, and more. These inborn talents—combined with training as emissaries, spies, judges, diplomats, scouts, counselors, warriors, and more—make them indispensable to their monarch and realm. Sought and Chosen by mysterious horse-like Companions, they are bonded for life to these telepathic, enigmatic creatures. The Heralds of Valdemar and their Companions ride circuit throughout the kingdom, protecting the peace and, when necessary, defending their land and monarch.

Now, twenty-three authors ride with Mercedes Lackey to her magical land of Valdemar, adding their own unique voices to the Heralds, Bards, Healers, and other heroes of this beloved fantasy realm.

Join Janny Wurts, Elisabeth Waters, Michele Lang, Fiona Patton, and others in twenty-four original stories, including a brand-new novella by Mercedes Lackey, all set in Valdemar, where:

A young woman without any of the Heralds' Gifts must see a Companion safely delivered to Haven.

A Herald must revisit the mysteries of his childhood to save his own young family and combat a threat at the very heart of Valdemar.

A Hawkbrother flees for his life, trailed by a mysterious bird that prophesizes a dire future.

A mage must choose whether to steal a priceless artifact and be branded a thief and traitor, or let his country fall to magic that could prove far more deadly.

Dutton

Enchantress of Numbers (Ada Lovelace) by Jennifer Chiaverini (Dutton 05 December 2017 / ) - Product Description: Jennifer Chiaverini illuminates the fascinating life of Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace--Lord Byron's daughter, the world's first computer programmer, and a woman whose exceptional contributions to science and technology have been too long unsung.

The only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the most brilliant, revered, and scandalous of the Romantic poets, Ada was destined for fame long before her birth. Estranged from Ada's father, who was infamously "mad, bad, and dangerous to know", Ada's mathematician mother is determined to save her only child from her perilous Byron heritage. Banishing fairy tales and make-believe from the nursery, Ada's mother provides her daughter with a rigorous education grounded in mathematics and science. Any troubling spark of imagination--or worse yet, passion or poetry--is promptly extinguished. Or so her mother believes.

When Ada is introduced into London society as a highly eligible young heiress, she, at last, discovers the intellectual and social circles she has craved all her life. Little does she realize that her delightful new friendship with inventor Charles Babbage--brilliant, charming, and occasionally curmudgeonly--will shape her destiny. Intrigued by the prototype of his first calculating machine, the Difference Engine, and enthralled by the plans for his even more advanced Analytical Engine, Ada resolves to help Babbage realize his extraordinary vision, unique in her understanding of how his invention could transform the world. All the while, she passionately studies mathematics--ignoring skeptics who consider it an unusual, even unhealthy pursuit for a woman--falls in love, discovers the shocking secrets behind her parents' estrangement, and comes to terms with the unquenchable fire of her imagination.

(see review)

Orbit

Persepolis Rising (The Expanse) by James S.A. Corey (Orbit 05 December 2017 / $28.00) - Product Description: The seventh novel in James S.A. Corey's Expanse series--now a major television series.

AN OLD ENEMY RETURNS. In the thousand-sun network of humanity's expansion, new colony worlds are struggling to find their way. Every new planet lives on a knife edge between collapse and wonder, and the crew of the aging gunship Rocinante have their hands more than full keeping the fragile peace.

In the vast space between Earth and Jupiter, the inner planets and belt have formed a tentative and uncertain alliance still haunted by a history of wars and prejudices. On the lost colony world of Laconia, a hidden enemy has a new vision for all of humanity and the power to enforce it.

New technologies clash with old as the history of human conflict returns to its ancient patterns of war and subjugation. But human nature is not the only enemy, and the forces being unleashed have their own price. A price that will change the shape of humanity -- and of the Rocinante -- unexpectedly and forever.

(see review)

Subterranean

The Weight of Words by (Subterranean 31 December 2017 / $40.00) - Product Description: The consummate artistry of Dave McKean has permeated popular culture for more than thirty years. His images, at once bizarre, beautiful, and instantly recognizable, have graced an impressive array of books, CDs, graphic novels, and films. In The Weight of Words, ten of our finest contemporary storytellers, among them the artist himself, have created a series of varied, compelling narratives, each inspired by one of McKean's extraordinary paintings. The result is a unique collaborative effort in which words and pictures enhance and illuminate each other on page after page.

The volume opens with Alastair Reynolds's "Belladonna Nights", set in the world of his novel, House of Suns, the ultimately poignant portrait of a thousand nights-long reunion held in the far reaches of space. Elsewhere in this generous book, we find a series of lovingly crafted tales featuring, among other elements, doppelgangers, lost souls and lucid dreamers. Highlights include Joe R. Lansdale's "Robo Rapid", a near future cautionary tale about Man vs. Machine; M. John Harrison's "Yummie", in which a middle-aged man experiences the hallucinatory aftermath of a heart attack; Joe Hill's "All I Care About Is You", the account of a pure, if temporary, friendship; Catherynne M. Valente's extraordinary "No One Dies in Nowhere", a tale of death and detection in the afterlife; Maria Dahvana Headley's "The Orange Tree", the story of an 11th century golem that is also a profound study of loneliness; and "Monkey and the Lady", an ironic creation myth by the artist's longtime friend and creative associate, Neil Gaiman. Together with "Train of Death", an abbreviated account of the literal death of literature, this is one of two new stories by the always remarkable Gaiman.

The Weight of Words is the rare anthology that really does offer something for everyone. Its complementary merger of words and images adds up to something special, something more than the sum of its impressive parts. It is both a major accomplishment in itself and a long overdue tribute to an important—and necessary—artist.

The Weight of Words contains more than two dozen illustrations by Dave McKean, and is printed in two colors throughout.

(Source: Subterranean)

Tor Books

Count to Infinity (Eschaton Sequence, #6) by John C. Wright (Tor Books 26 December 2017 / $29.99) - Product Description: An epic space opera finale worthy of the scope and wonder of The Eschaton Sequence: Menelaus Montrose is locked in a final battle of wits, bullets, and posthuman intelligence with Ximen del Azarchel for the fate of humanity in the far future.

The alien monstrosities of Ain at long last are revealed, their hidden past laid bare, along with the reason for their brutal treatment of Man and all the species seeded throughout the galaxy. And they have still one more secret that could upend everything Montrose has fought for and lived so long to achieve.

Hymn (Psalms of Isaak) by Ken Scholes (Tor Books 05 December 2017 / $29.99) - Product Description: Ken Scholes completes his five-book epic that began with his acclaimed first novel Lamentation. The battle for control of The Named Lands has captivated readers as they have learned, alongside the characters, the true nature of world called Lasthome.

Now the struggle between the Andro-Francine Order of the Named Lands and the Y'Zirite Empire has reached a terrible turning point. Believing that his son is dead, Rudolfo has pretended to join with the triumphant Y'zirite forces--but his plan is to destroy them all with a poison that is targeted only to the enemy.

In Y'Zir, Rudolfo's wife Jin Li Tam is fighting a war with her own father which will bring that Empire to ruin.

And on the Moon, Neb, revealed as one of the Younger Gods, takes the power of the Last Home Temple for his own.

Mad Hatters and March Hares by (Tor Books 12 December 2017 / $15.99) - Product Description: From master anthologist Ellen Datlow comes an all-original of weird tales inspired by the strangeness of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.

Between the hallucinogenic, weird, imaginative wordplay and the brilliant mathematical puzzles and social satire, Alice has been read, enjoyed, and savored by every generation since its publication. Datlow asked eighteen of the most brilliant and acclaimed writers working today to dream up stories inspired by all the strange events and surreal characters found in Wonderland.

Featuring stories and poems from Seanan McGuire, Jane Yolen, Catherynne M. Valente, Delia Sherman, Genevieve Valentine, Priya Sharma, Stephen Graham Jones, Richard Bowes, Jeffrey Ford, Angela Slatter, Andy Duncan, C.S.E. Cooney, Matthew Kressel, Kris Dikeman, Jane Yolen, Kaaron Warren, Isabeau Wilce, and Katherine Vaz.

Mississippi Roll by George R.R. Martin with Melinda Snodgrass (Tor Books 05 December 2017 / $27.99) - Book Description: Now on its final voyage, the historical steamboat Natchez is known for her super-powered guest entertainers. But after the suspicious death of a crewmember, retired NY police detective Leo Storgman decides to make this incident his personal case. His findings only lead to a growing number of questions. Is there some truth behind the ghostly sightings of the steamboat's first captain Wilbur Leathers? What secret does the current captain seem to be hiding? And could the Natchez be ferrying mysterious--and possibly dangerous--cargo onboard?

(see review)

Nemo Rising by C. Courtney Joyner (Tor Books 26 December 2017 / $27.99) - Product Description: An exciting sequel to the Captain Nemo adventures enjoyed by millions in Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Sea monsters are sinking ships up and down the Atlantic Coast. Enraged that his navy is helpless against this onslaught and facing a possible World War as a result, President Ulysses S. Grant is forced to ask for assistance from the notorious Captain Nemo, in Federal prison for war crimes and scheduled for execution.

Grant returns Nemo's submarine, the infamous Victorian Steampunk marvel Nautilus, and promises a full Presidential pardon if Nemo hunts down and destroys the source of the attacks. Accompanied by the beautiful niece of Grant's chief advisor, Nemo sets off under the sea in search of answers. Unfortunately, the enemy may be closer than they realize.

Survival (Star Quest Trilogy) by Ben Bova (Tor Books 26 December 2017 / $25.99) - Product Description: Ben Bova continues his hard SF Star Quest series which began with Death Wave and Apes and Angels. In Surivival, a human team sent to scout a few hundred lightyears in front of the death wave encounters a civilization far in advance of our own, a civilization of machine intelligences.

These sentient, intelligent machines have existed for eons, and have survived earlier "death waves", gamma ray bursts from the core of the galaxy. They are totally self-sufficient, completely certain that the death wave cannot harm them, and utterly uninterested in helping to save other civilizations, organic or machine.

But now that the humans have discovered them, they refuse to allow them to leave their planet, reasoning that other humans will inevitably follow if they learn of their existence.

The Will to Battle (Terra Ignota #3) by Ada Palmer (Tor Books 19 December 2017 / $26.99) - Product Description: The long years of near-utopia have come to an abrupt end.

Peace and order are now figments of the past. Corruption, deception, and insurgency hum within the once steadfast leadership of the Hives, nations without fixed location.

The heartbreaking truth is that for decades, even centuries, the leaders of the great Hives
bought the world's stability with a trickle of secret murders, mathematically planned. So
that no faction could ever dominate. So that the balance held.

The Hives' façade of solidity is the only hope they have for maintaining a semblance of
order, for preventing the public from succumbing to the savagery and bloodlust of wars
past. But as the great secret becomes more and more widely known, that façade is
slipping away.

Just days earlier, the world was a pinnacle of human civilization. Now everyone―Hives
and hiveless, Utopians and sensayers, emperors and the downtrodden, warriors and
saints―scrambles to prepare for the seemingly inevitable war.

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