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US Books Received- 01/2018  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

Ace

The Infernal Battalion (Shadow Campaigns) by Django Wexler (Ace 09 January 2018 / $28.00) - Product Description: The Beast, the ancient demon imprisoned beneath the fortress-city of Elysium for a thousand years, has been loosed on the world. It absorbs mind after mind, spreading like a plague through the north. The fell army it has raised threatens the heart of Vordan, and it is under the command of the Beast's greatest prize: legendary general Janus bet Vhalnich.

As Queen Raesinia Orboan and soldiers Marcus D'Ivoire and Winter Ihernglass grapple with the aftermath of a hard-fought military campaign, they soon discover a betrayal they never could have foreseen. The news arrives like a thunderbolt: Janus has declared himself the rightful Emperor of Vordan. Chaos grips the city as officers and regiments are forced to declare for queen or emperor.

Raesinia must struggle to keep her country under control and risks becoming everything she fought against. Marcus must take the field against his old commander, a man who has seemed an unbeatable strategist. And as Winter recovers from her injuries and mourns her losses, she knows the demon she carries inside her might be the only thing standing between the Beast and the destruction of everything in its path.

The Lost Plot (Invisible Library) by Genevieve Cogman (Ace 09 January 2018 / $15.00) - Product Description: After being commissioned to find a rare book, Librarian Irene and her assistant, Kai, head to Prohibition-era New York and are thrust into the middle of a political fight with dragons, mobsters, and Fae.

In a 1920s-esque New York, Prohibition is in force; fedoras, flapper dresses, and tommy guns are in fashion: and intrigue is afoot. Intrepid Librarians Irene and Kai find themselves caught in the middle of a dragon political contest. It seems a young Librarian has become tangled in this conflict, and if they can't extricate him, there could be serious repercussions for the mysterious Library. And, as the balance of power across mighty factions hangs in the balance, this could even trigger war.

Irene and Kai are locked in a race against time (and dragons) to procure a rare book. They'll face gangsters, blackmail, and the Library's own Internal Affairs department. And if it doesn't end well, it could have dire consequences on Irene's job. And, incidentally, on her life.

Baen

Neogenesis (Liaden Universe®) by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Baen 02 January 2018 / $25.00) - Product Description: Sequel to The Gathering Edge.

The Complex Logic Laws were the result of a war waged hundreds of years in the past, when two human powers threw massive AI navies at each other and nearly annihilated themselves. Being human, they blamed their tools for this near miss; they destroyed what was left of the sentient ships, and made it illegal to be, manufacture, or shelter an independent logic.

Strangely, however, the Free Ships and other AIs did not turn themselves in or suicide, they merely became wary of humans, and stayed under their scans. A clandestine support network grew up, including hidden yards where smart ships were manufactured, and mentors--humans specially trained to ease a new intelligence into the universe--socialized them, and taughtÂthem what they needed to know to survive.

Among those with a stake in the freedom of Independent Logics is Theo Waitley, who is somewhat too famously the captain of an intelligent ship Bechimo. Theo's brother, Val Con yos'Phelium, presides over a household that has for a generation employed an AI butler. Recently, he approved the "birth" of the butler's child, who was sent, with human mentor Tolly Jones, to rescue or destroy an orphaned AI abandoned at a remote space station.

Then there's Uncle, the shadowy mastermind from the Old Universe, whose many projects often skirt the boundaries of law, both natural and man-made, and the puppet-masters at the Lyre Institute, whose history is just as murky and a good deal less honorable.

All have an interest in the newly-awakening Self-Aware Logic that is rumored to have the power to destroy universes. The question is: Who will get to it first?

Harper Voyager

Markswoman (Asiana, #1) by Rati Mehrotra (Harper Voyager 23 January 2018 / $15.99) - Product Description: Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, a highly trained sisterhood of elite warriors armed with telepathic blades. Guided by a strict code of conduct, Kyra and the other Orders are sworn to protect the people of Asiana. But to be a Markswoman, an acolyte must repudiate her former life completely. Kyra has pledged to do so, yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her dead family.

When Kyra's beloved mentor dies in mysterious circumstances, and Tamsyn, the powerful, dangerous Mistress of Mental Arts, assumes control of the Order, Kyra is forced on the run. Using one of the strange Transport Hubs that are remnants of Asiana's long-lost past, she finds herself in the unforgiving wilderness of desert that is home to the Order of Khur, the only Order composed of men. Among them is Rustan, a young, disillusioned Marksman whom she soon befriends.

Kyra is certain that Tamsyn committed murder in a twisted bid for power, but she has no proof. And if she fails to find it, fails in her quest to keep her beloved Order from following Tamsyn down a dark path, it could spell the beginning of the end for Kyra--and for Asiana.

But what she doesn't realize is that the line between justice and vengeance is razor thin ... thin as the blade of a knife.

Sinless (Eye of the Beholder) by Sarah Tarkoff (Harper Voyager 09 January 2018 / $15.99) - Product Description: In Grace Luther's world, morality is physically enforced. Those who are "good" are blessed with beauty, while those who are not suffer horrifying consequences--disfigurement, or even death. When the cleric's daughter stumbles onto information that proves her world is more complicated than it seems, she finds herself at the center of an epic battle where good and evil are not so easily distinguished. Despite all her efforts to live a normal teenage life, Grace is faced with a series of decisions that will risk the lives of everyone she loves.

With each page, Sarah Tarkoff masterfully tightens the screws in this electrifying debut novel that plunges us into a nightmarish and all too plausible future. Full of high-drama and pulsating tension, Eye of the Beholder: Revelation explores essential questions teenagers wrestle with every day: What is beauty? What is faith? Where does friendship end and love begin? Do we take our world at face value and accept all that we have been taught—or do we question the mores of the society into which we are born?

Pink Narcissus Press

The Ramshead Algorithm: And Other Stories by KJ Kabza (Pink Narcissus Press 16 January 2018 / $15.00) - Product Description: In The Ramshead Algorithm and Other Stories, sand cats speak, ghost bikes roll, corpses disappear, and hedge mazes are more bewildering than you've ever imagined. These eleven fantasy and science fiction stories from KJ Kabza have been dubbed "Sublime" (Tangent), "Rich" (SFRevu), and "Ethereal" (Quick Sip Reviews) and will take you deep into other astonishing realities.

Subterranean Press

The Father of Lies by K.J. Parker (Subterranean Press 31 January 2018 / $40.00 / $6.99) - Book Description: Bringing together K.J. Parker's recent novellas with several new, never before seen, novelettes, The Father of Lies delves into the arcane as never before. Set amid the world of Parker's novels and stories this volume reveals a side rarely glimpsed in his other works. Contained herein are the tales of creatures that plucked the strings of existence, exposing the seedy underbelly of ultimate power as only Parker can.

It begins with love, as it often does. In All The Things We Do For Love, Parker demonstrates the age-old proverb "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it." It continues with a fall from grace, in Downfall of the Gods, where a daughter of heaven unwittingly pits herself against her divine family. Demonic pacts are everywhere with an iconic character who will finish what he started so many years ago. It ends with a beginning in No Peace for the Wicked, as a New Pope is chosen to push back the darkness.

Filled with Parker's hallmark wit and biting humor, The Father of Lies is an essential collection, not just for the dedicated fantasist, but for anyone committed to a great story well told. Like all of K.J. Parker's brilliant fiction, these stories whisper the truth.

Just ask yourself, can you trust the Father of Lies?

(see review)

Tachyon Publications

Starlings by Jo Walton (Tachyon Publications 30 January 2018 / $15.95) - Product Description: An intimate first flight of short fiction from award-winning novelist Jo Walton (Among Others, The King's Peace).

A strange Eritrean coin travels from lovers to thieves, gathering stories before meeting its match. Google becomes sentient and proceeds toward an existential crisis. An idealistic dancer on a generation ship makes an impassioned plea for creativity and survival. Three Irish siblings embark on an unlikely quest, stealing enchanted items via bad poetry, trickery, and an assist from the Queen of Cats.

With these captivating initial glimpses into her storytelling psyche, Jo Walton shines through subtle myths and wholly reinvented realities. Through eclectic stories, subtle vignettes, inspired poetry, and more, Walton soars with humans, machines, and magic--rising from the everyday into the universe itself.

World Weaver Press

The Continuum by Wendy Nikel (World Weaver Press 23 January 2018 / $9.99 / $2.99) - Book Description: Elise Morley is an expert on the past who's about to get a crash course in the future.

For years, Elise has been donning corsets, sneaking into castles, and lying through her teeth to enforce the Place in Time Travel Agency's ten essential rules of time travel. Someone has to ensure that travel to the past isn't abused, and most days she welcomes the challenge of tracking down and retrieving clients who have run into trouble on their historical vacations.

But when a dangerous secret organization kidnaps her and coerces her into jumping to the future on a high-stakes assignment, she's got more to worry about than just the time-space continuum. For the first time ever, she's the one out-of-date, out of place, and quickly running out of time.

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