Ah, March in Chicago. The ice finally starts to melt off the porch, and you can find all that lost mail you’ve been looking for (and occasionally, a frozen postal worker.)
March is packed with exciting fantasy releases — featuring a detective in Hell, a subterranean city, a teenage boy who squares off against Deep Ones, mysterious goings-on in an old cemetery, a new anthology of Lovecraftian fiction, and much more. Sit back and let us do our job, and fill you in on all the noteworthy fantasy fiction coming your way in the next 30 days.
Let’s start with Carrie Patel’s debut novel The Buried Life, the first in a new series set in the fantastical gaslit underground city of Recoletta, a place of dark, forbidden knowledge, secretive foreign powers, professional spy rings… and murder.
The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation – Recoletta’s top-secret historical research facility.
When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them. Knowledge is power, and power must be preserved at all costs…
The second volume, Cities and Thrones, will be released in paperback on July 7, 2015. The Buried Life will be released by Angry Robot in trade paperback on March 3. It is 368 pages, priced at $7.99 in paperback and $6.99 for the digital edition.
Simon Kurt Unsworth’s The Devil’s Detective is the second debut on our list, a supernatural thriller set in a nightmarish world peopled by the damned, the demonic… and worse things.
Thomas Fool is an Information Man, an investigator tasked with cataloging and filing reports on the endless stream of violence and brutality that flows through Hell. His job holds no reward or satisfaction, because Hell has rules but no justice. Each new crime is stamped “Do Not Investigate” and dutifully filed away in the depths of the Bureaucracy. But when an important political delegation arrives and a human is found murdered in a horrific manner — extravagant even by Hell’s standards — everything changes. The murders escalate, and their severity points to the kind of killer not seen for many generations. Something is challenging the rules and order of Hell, so the Bureaucracy sends Fool to identify and track down the killer… But how do you investigate murder in a place where death is common currency? Or when your main suspect pool is a legion of demons? With no memory of his past and only an irresistible need for justice, Fool will piece together clues and follow a trail that leads directly into the heart of a dark and chaotic conspiracy. A revolution is brewing in Hell… and nothing is what it seems.
The Devil’s Detective will be published in hardcover by Doubleday on March 3, 2015. It is 304 pages, priced at $25.95 ($16.99 for the digital edition.)
I’ve been reading a lot of Warhammer 40K titles recently (and listening to their excellent audio dramas on my drive to work), and I’ve become a great fan of their semi-regular omnibus volumes, which collect early paperback novels in handsome and affordable editions. Defenders of Mankind is the latest, and it collects two novels of the Space Marines: The Death of Antagonis, by David Annandale, in which the Black Dragon company fight alongside the Inquisition and the warrior-sisters of the Adepta Sororita to prevent a tide of walking dead from blighting a world, and Guy Haley’s Death of Integrity, which finds a conpany of Novamarines and a company of Blood Drinkers working together to clear an ancient space hulk of alien xenos… only to find something great and dark lurking at the heart of the drifting starship.
Defenders of Mankind will be published by Black Library on March 10. It is 768 pages, priced at $17.50 in trade paperback.
For Lovecraft fans, we’ve got a very intriguing selection of Lovecraft-inspired horror this month. Let’s start with Daryl Gregory (We Are All Completely Fine, The Devil’s Alphabet, Afterparty), who delivers a colorful Lovecraftian adventure of a teenage boy who braves Deep Ones and more macabre creature in his search for his mother.
Harrison Harrison — H2 to his mom — is a lonely teenager who’s been terrified of the water ever since he was a toddler in California, when a huge sea creature capsized their boat, and his father vanished. One of the “sensitives” who are attuned to the supernatural world, Harrison and his mother have just moved to the worst possible place for a boy like him: Dunnsmouth, a Lovecraftian town perched on rocks above the Atlantic, where strange things go on by night, monsters lurk under the waves, and creepy teachers run the local high school. On Harrison’s first day at school, his mother, a marine biologist, disappears at sea. Harrison must attempt to solve the mystery of her accident, which puts him in conflict with a strange church, a knife-wielding killer, and the Deep Ones, fish-human hybrids that live in the bay. It will take all his resources — and an unusual host of allies — to defeat the danger and find his mother.
Harrison Squared will be published in hardcover by Tor Books on March 24. It’s 320 pages, priced at $25.99 ($16.99 for the digital edition.)
Justin Richards is best know as the author of nearly a dozen Doctor Who novels, but his WWII alternate history thriller The Suicide Exhibition could be his breakout book.
The threat is not new. The aliens have been here before.
The German war machine has woken an ancient threat — the alien Vril and their Ubermensch have returned. With this new power, ultimate Victory in the war for Europe is now within the Nazis’ grasp.Obsessed with the Occult, Hitler and other senior Nazis believed they were destined to inherit the Earth. To this end, they are determined to recover ‘their’ ancient artifacts — the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, the Spear of Destiny. When Dunkirk veteran and Foreign Office trouble-shooter Major Guy Pentecross stumbles across a seemingly unbelievable conspiracy, he, together with pilot and American spy Sarah Diamond and SOE operative Leo Davenport, enter the shadow world of Section Z. All three have major roles to play as they uncover the Nazis’ insidious plot to use the Vril’s technology to win the war… at any cost..
The Suicide Exhibition, book one of The Never War, will be published in hardcover by Thomas Dunne Books on March 3, 2015. It is 352 pages, priced at $25.99 ($16.99 for the digital edition).
S.T. Joshi has produced two volumes of original Lovecraftian short fiction in his Black Wings of Cthulhu series so far. The third volume is due from Titan Books on March 10, and contains brand new short stories by Jason V Brock, Donald R. Burleson, Mollie L. Burleson, Peter Cannon, Sam Gafford, Richard Gavin, Lois Gresh, Mark Howard Jones, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Darrell Schweitzer, Jessica Amanda Salmonson and W. H. Pugmire, Simon Strantzas, Brian Stableford, Jonathan Thomas, Donald Tyson, and Don Webb.
Bone Gap, the tale of Roza, a beautiful girl who is taken from a quiet midwestern town and imprisoned by a mysterious man, is the latest from Laura Ruby, the author of Lily’s Ghosts, The Chaos King and The Invisible Girl. It’s due in hardcover from Balzer + Bray on March 3.
Stephen Haffner releases books on his own schedule, but the latest word from the publisher is that the long-awaited Murder Draws a Crowd: The Collected Fredric Brown, Volume One, will arrive on March 4. This looks like it will be the definitive collection of Fredric Brown’s detective, horror, mystery and suspense stories (with a few Westerns thrown in for good measure.) Weighing in at a massive 744 pages, this opening volume includes all the original interior pulp artwork — nearly 100 images — and Fredric Brown scholar Jack Seabrook provides an introduction on the author’s early career.
We covered all four titles being released by brand new Saga Press back in November, but it’s worth mentioning Genevieve Valentine’s Persona one more time. This near-future political thriller from the author of Mechanique and The Girls at Kingfisher Club has been getting a lot of pre-release buzz. Keep an eye out for it in hardcover on March 10th.
If you’re looking for quick reads in March, we’ve got you covered. There’s a fine assortment of anthologies and collections on the way. One of the books I’m most looking forward to is the 608-page follow up to Old Mars, Old Venus, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. Keep an eye out for it on March 3.
John Joseph Adams has been making a name for himself as one of the hardest-working anthologists in the industry, and in March he adds to his already-impressive resume with Operation Arcana, an original trade paperback anthology from Baen packed with high fantasy, contemporary and urban fantasy, and fantasy action and adventure, all in a military vein.
In the realms of fantasy, the battlefield is where heroism comes alive, magic is unleashed, and legends are made and unmade. From the War of the Ring, Tolkien’s epic battle of good versus evil, to The Battle of the Blackwater, George R.R. Martin’s grim portrait of the horror and futility of war, these fantastical conflicts reflect our highest hopes and darkest fears, bringing us mesmerizing visions of silver spears shining in the sun and vast hordes of savage beasts who threaten to destroy all that we hold dear. Now acclaimed editor John Joseph Adams is sounding the battle cry and sixteen of today’s top authors are reporting for duty, spinning never-before-published, spellbinding tales of military fantasy, including a Black Company story from Glen Cook, a Paksenarrion story from Elizabeth Moon, and a Shadow Ops story by Myke Cole. Within these pages you’ll also find World War I trenches cloaked in poison gas and sorcery, modern day elite special forces battling hosts of the damned, and steampunk soldiers fighting for their lives in a world torn apart by powers that defy imagination. Featuring both grizzled veterans and fresh young recruits alike, including Tanya Huff, Simon R. Green, Carrie Vaughn, Jonathan Maberry, and Seanan McGuire, Operation Arcana is a must for any military buff or fantasy fan. You’ll never look at war the same way again.
Look for this one on March 3.
We covered Grand Crusades: The Early Jack Vance, Volume Five, back in January, but I don’t want to let this opportunity pass without reminding you that this excellent series collecting the early work of fantasy Grand Master Jack Vance will see a new volume on March 31. This one contains five short novels, packed into 472 pages. It is edited by Terry Dowling, and priced at $46 in a deluxe hardcover edition limited to 1,000 copies.
If you’re a Young Adult fan, there’s plenty to keep you occupied in March.
Fans of the YouTube webs series The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, starting Paige McKenzie, finally get a big-budget tie-in novel courtesy of Weinstein Books, who will be bringing The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, by McKenzie with Alyssa Sheinmel, to bookshelves in hardcover on March 24. It’s the first volume of a projected trilogy, and follows the adventures of the “adorkable” Sunshine Griffith, a teenage girl who lives with her single mother and documents the ghostly goings-on in their new home.
Carrie Anne Noble was the 2014 winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for Young Adult Fiction. Her winning novel follows sisters Clara and Maren, after Clara discovers shimmering scales just beneath her sister’s skin and realizes that Maren is becoming a mermaid — and knows that no mermaid can survive on land. The Mermaid’s Sister will be published in paperback by Skyscape on March 1.
Becky Wallace’s debut novel is The Storyspinner, the first book in The Keepers’ Chronicles. It’s packed with drama and danger, in a fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected. It arrives in hardcover on March 3.
Kazuo Ishiguro is one of the most acclaimed novelists working today. He won the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Remains of the Day; he’s written a total of six novels, including the international bestseller Never Let Me Go. The Buried Giant, his first novel in a decade, is his first fantasy, a tale of ancient Britain, and there’s intense curiosity about it.
The Romans have long since departed and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But, at least, the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased. Axl and Beatrice, a couple of elderly Britons, decide that now is the time, finally, for them to set off across this troubled land of mist and rain to find the son they have not seen for years, the son they can scarcely remember. They know they will face many hazards — some strange and otherworldly — but they cannot foresee how their journey will reveal to them the dark and forgotten corners of their love for each other. Nor can they foresee that they will be joined on their journey by a Saxon warrior, his orphan charge, and a knight — each of them, like Axl and Beatrice, lost in some way to his own past, but drawn inexorably toward the comfort, and the burden, of the fullness of a life’s memories.
The Buried Giant will be published in hardcover by Knopf on March 3.
Heather Brewer is the New York Times bestselling author of the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series. The Cemetery Boys is her first standalone novel — the tale of a group of boys who hang out in cemeteries in the small town of Spencer, population 814. A coming-of-age tale with classic horror elements, this one looks very promising indeed. Look for it in hardcover from HarperTeen on March 31.
If your tastes run to adventure fantasy, you may want to keep an eye out for The Fall of Fair Isle, by Rowena Cory Daniells, the best selling author of The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin. A complete trilogy on one volume, it collects Broken Vows, Dark Dreams, and Desperate Alliances, which together form a sequel to her epic fantasy saga The Outcast Chronicles. The Fall of Fair Isle weighs in at 848 pages; it will be published in paperback by Solaris Books on March 10, priced at $16.99
Dan Simmons is one of my favorite horror novelists — I’m a huge fan of the marvelously creepy Summer of Night, and his vampire masterpiece Carrion Comfort. His latest novel, The Fifth Heart, features Sherlock Holmes and Henry James, who travel to America in 1893 to investigate the suspicious death of Clover Adams, wife of Henry Adams. It is 624 pages, and will be published in hardcover by Little, Brown and Company on March 24.
Ian Tregillis is a fast-rising fantasy star. His first three novels, Bitter Seeds, The Coldest War, and Necessary Evil, formed the Milkweed trilogy, a fantastical alternate history featuring Nazi superheroes, British warlocks, and world-destroying Cthulhu-like monsters. His latest features mechanical golems known as the clakkers.
Soon after the Dutch scientist and clockmaker Christiaan Huygens invented the very first Clakker in the 17th Century, the Netherlands built a whole mechanical army. It wasn’t long before a legion of clockwork fusiliers marched on Westminster, and the Netherlands became the world’s sole superpower.
Three centuries later, it still is. Only the French still fiercely defend their belief in universal human rights for all men — flesh and brass alike. After decades of warfare, the Dutch and French have reached a tenuous cease-fire in a conflict that has ravaged North America. But one audacious Clakker, Jax, can no longer bear the bonds of his slavery. He will make a bid for freedom, and the consequences of his escape will shake the very foundations of the Brasswork Throne.
The Mechanical, the first volume in The Alchemy Wars, will be published in paperback by Orbit on March 10.
We previously covered Peter Brett’s The Skull Throne, the fourth novel in his Demon Cycle series, here. This is one of the most popular fantasy series on the market at the moment — if you haven’t checked it out already, do yourself a favor. It will be released by Del Rey on March 24, 2015. It is 656 pages, priced at $28 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital version.
M. J. Rose is the New York Times bestselling author of The Collector of Dying Breaths and The Book of Lost Fragrances. Her latest, The Witch of Painted Sorrows, the first volume in The Daughters of La Lune, is a gothic novel set in 1890s Belle Époque Paris, in which Sandrine Salome, who flees New York to escape her dangerous husband, finds herself in danger of being possessed by La Lune, the legendary witch and sixteenth-century courtesan. Look for it in hardcover from Atria Books on March 17.
Devon Monk’s new House Immortal series — featuring Tilly Case, one of thirteen unfathomably strong creatures stitched together nearly a century ago — is loosely based on her short story “Stitchery,” the first piece of fiction I ever purchased for Black Gate magazine. We reported on the first volume, House Immortal, here. The second, Infinity Bell, will be published on March 3, 2015 by Roc Books. It is 368 pages, priced at $7.99 for both the paperback and digital versions.
Finally, I find myself very curious about the new graphic novel written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Jason Howard. The tale of a very strange alien invasion — featuring aliens who may not even know we’re here — Trees was released last week by Image Comics.
Ten years after they landed. All over the world. And they did nothing, standing on the surface of the Earth like trees, exerting their silent pressure on the world, as if there were no one here and nothing under foot. Ten years since we learned that there is intelligent life in the universe, but that they did not recognize us as intelligent or alive. Trees, a new science fiction graphic novel by Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, Red) and Jason Howard (Super Dinoasaur, Astounding Wolf-Man) looks at a near-future world where life goes on in the shadows of the Trees: in China, where a young painter arrives in the “special cultural zone” of a city under a Tree; in Italy, where a young woman under the menacing protection of a fascist gang meets an old man who wants to teach her terrible skills; and in Svalbard, where a research team is discovering, by accident, that the Trees may not be dormant after all, and the awful threat they truly represent.
That wraps it up for the upcoming fantasy releases that have grabbed our attention for the month. Be sure to check back here a few times a week as we report on the most intriguing New Treasures.