New Treasures: The Mick Oberon Novels, by Ari Marmell

Friday, August 28th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Hot Lead Cold Iron-small Hallow Point-small

I’m a sucker for novels set in Chicago. Also for pulp-era, 1930′s fantasy, and a good adventure series. So give me a good adventure series set in 1930′s Chicago, and I get a little weak in the knees.

Ari Marmell has been knocking around the industry for some time. He did some high profile Dungeons & Dragons releases for Wizards of the Coast, and his credits include the 4th Edition Tomb of Horrors, Cityscape, and The Plane Below. But recently he’s achieved a much higher profile as a novelist, with successful titles like The Conqueror’s Shadow, and Covenant’s End.

But his newest series, featuring magic-wielding private detective Mick Oberon in 1932 Chicago, is definitely more my speed. The first volume, Hot Lead, Cold Iron, was published in paperback by Titan in May of last year, and the second, Hallow Point, just arrived earlier this month. Both have great covers by Julia Lloyd.

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New Treasures: Stairwell To Hell, and Other Fine Stories by Michael Canfield

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Stairwell to Hell and Nine Other Stories to Disturb You-small The Woods Wife and Other Tales of Mystery and Magic-small Bad People-small

Michael Canfield has been a very busy guy.

In the past few weeks he’s published a novel and two short story collections, and re-published two novellas that originally appeared exclusively in digital format. A pretty impressive accomplishment, no matter how you look at it.

Bad People (August 2)
Stairwell to Hell: and Nine Other Stories to Disturb You (August 9)
The Woods Wife & Other Tales of Mystery & Magic (August 10)
Scaffolds (August 17)
Super-Villains (August 18)

It’s like Michael Canfieldpaloza! But without all the headache over parking.

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Future Treasures: The Desert and the Blade by S.M. Stirling

Monday, August 24th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Desert and the Blade-smallI didn’t really appreciate the ambition and complexity of S.M. Stirling’s massive saga of The Change, until Edward Carmien did a 15-part examination of the series here at Black Gate (check out the first installment here). This year sees two new releases in this epic fantasy series: The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth, a big anthology set in Stirling’s universe, with stories by Victor Milán, Walter Jon Williams, Harry Turtledove, Jane Lindskold, Emily Mah Tippetts, and many others (see Ed’s review here), and The Desert and the Blade, the sixteenth novel in the series. Continuing the quest that began in The Golden Princess, two future rulers of a world without technology risk their lives seeking a fabled blade…

Reiko, Empress of Japan, has allied herself with Princess Órlaith, heir to the High Kingdom of Montival, to find the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, the Grass-Cutting Sword, a legendary treasure of an ancient dynasty that confers valor and victory to its bearer. Órlaith understands all too well the power it signifies. Her own inherited blade, the Sword of the Lady, was both a burden and a danger to her father, Rudi Mackenzie, as it failed to save the king from being assassinated.

But the fabled sword lies deep with the Valley of Death, and the search will be far from easy. And war is building, in Montival and far beyond.

As Órlaith and Reiko encounter danger and wonder, Órlaith’s mother, Queen Matildha, believes her daughter’s alliance and quest has endangered the entire realm. There are factions both within and without Montival whose loyalty died with the king, and whispers of treachery and war grow ever louder.

And the Malevolence that underlies the enemy will bend all its forces to destroy them.

The Desert and the Blade will be published by Roc on September 1, 2015. It is 612 pages, priced at $27.95 in hardcover and $13.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Larry Rostant.

New Treasures: Age of X by Richelle Mead

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Gameboard of the Gods Age of X-small The Immortal Crown-small

No matter how closely I keep tabs on this industry, nothing beats a visit to a well-stocked bookstore to really get up-to-date on the latest. In my last trip, I picked up the first volume in a new science fantasy series by Richelle Mead, author of the bestselling Vampire Academy books: Gameboard of the Gods. The sequel, The Immortal Crown, has just been released in paperback and the series — featuring supersoldiers, supernatural mysteries, mysterious murders, and ancient gods — looks like a lot of fun.

The truth is, when you banish the gods from the world, they eventually come back — with a vengeance.

In the near future, Justin March lives in exile from the Republic of United North America. After failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims, Justin is surprised when he is sent back with a peculiar assignment — to solve a string of ritualistic murders steeped in seemingly unexplainable phenomena. Justin’s return comes with an even bigger shock: His new partner and bodyguard, Mae Koskinen, is a prætorian, one of the Republic’s technologically enhanced supersoldiers. Mae’s inexplicable beauty and aristocratic upbringing attract Justin’s curiosity and desire, but her true nature holds more danger than anyone realizes. As their investigation unfolds, Justin and Mae find themselves in the crosshairs of mysterious enemies. Powers greater than they can imagine have started to assemble in the shadows, preparing to reclaim a world that has renounced religion and where humans are merely gamepieces on their board.

Gameboard of the Gods: Age of X was published in hardcover by Dutton on June 4, 2013, and in mass market paperback by Signet on June 3, 2014. The sequel, The Immortal Crown, was published in hardcover on May 29, 2014, and in paperback on June 2, 2015.

New Treasures: Pathfinder Tales: Liar’s Island by Tim Pratt

Friday, August 21st, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Pathfinder Tales Liar's Island-smallTim Pratt, who also writes the Marla Mason fantasy series under the name T A Pratt, is one of the most popular authors in the Pathfinder Tales stable. His previous Pathfinder books include Reign of Stars and City of the Fallen Sky, and his last tale of Rodrick the thief, Liar’s Blade, was called “Fafhrd-and-Grey-Mouser-style sword and sorcery adventure” by SF Signal. His latest, Liar’s Island, on sale next week from Tor, sees Rodrick and his magical sword Hrym called to the court of the exotic southern island, Jalmeray, where they become pawns in a dangerous game of political intrigue… and the only way to escape is to find a legendary artifact.

A Thief and His Sword

Rodrick is a con man as charming as he is cunning. Hrym is a talking sword of magical ice, with the soul and spells of an ancient dragon. Together, the two travel the world, parting the gullible from their gold and freezing their enemies in their tracks. But when the two get summoned to the mysterious island of Jalmeray by a king with genies and elementals at his command, they’ll need all their wits and charm if they’re going to escape with the greatest prize of all — their lives.

From Hugo Award winner Tim Pratt comes a tale of magic, assassination, monsters, and cheerful larceny, in Pathfinder Tales: Liar’s Island, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Our most recent Pathfinder coverage includes Howard Andrew Jones’ upcoming Beyond the Pool of Stars, Dave Gross’ Lord of Runes, and The Emerald Spire Superdungeon.

Pathfinder Tales: Liar’s Island will be published by Tor Books on August 25, 2015. It is 295 pages, priced at $14.99 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital version. The cover is by Michael Ivan.

Goth Chick News: New (Horror) Treasures – Star Wars Screenwriter Gives Us an Abomination

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Abomination by Gary Whitta-smallBy anyone’s standards, writer Gary Whitta is having one heck of a good time.

Whitta was best known (at least until now) for his original screenplay for The Book of Eli, the post-apocalyptic thriller starring Denzel Washington and as the co-writer for the Will Smith sci-fi movie After Earth.

Clearly no one held him personally responsible for the outcome of that last bit, which is why he went on to spend a year knocking out a draft screenplay for the upcoming Star Wars standalone film Rogue One, which will be released in December, 2016; a project with which he amicably parted ways in January to move onto the movie adaptation of the Mark Millar comic Starlight for 20th Century Fox.

Somewhere along the line, Whitta had the time and creative energy to finish his first novel, Abomination – released on July 30th. And though his screen work has been straight up fantasy/science fiction, Whitta did significant historical research for his freshman literary outing, with pretty spectacular results.

Abomination takes us back in time as King Alfred the Great desperately tries to bulwark his kingdom from invading Viking forces. Desperate for a solution, he turns to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has uncovered an ancient secret in the form of a dark magic that could help turn the tide in England’s favor. Nothing comes without a price, though, and soon the Archbishop is driven mad with power, corrupted by the very forces intended to save the kingdom. With an insane priest on the loose, Alfred must turn to his bravest warrior, the knight Sir Wulfric, in order to put an end to the Archbishop’s insanity before it’s too late.

The period in which the book is set, 888 A.D., actually saw a significant drop in written recordings of events. It is that gap in history that lends itself to much speculation, which Whitta takes full advantage of in his story; claiming that those who witnessed its inconceivable horrors purposely concealed the truth from future generations.

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New Treasures: Professor Challenger: New Worlds, Lost Places, edited by J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Professor Challenger New Worlds, Lost Places-smallProfessor Challenger is one of the great explorer-heroes of the genre. Created by Arthur Conan Doyle in his 1912 novel The Lost World, Challenger also appeared in The Poison Belt and The Land of Mist, and a pair of short stories. Now editors J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec have assembled a brand new collection of exciting tales featuring the irrepressible Professor Challenger, with contributions from Mark Morris, Stephen Volk, Guy Adams and James Goss, Black Gate blogger Josh Reynolds, and many others.

Brilliant, belligerent and bearded in equal measure, incapable of suffering fools, or journalists, gladly, the greatest scientific mind of his generation — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor George Edward Challenger — returns in ten all-new tales of scientific adventure and wonder. He is the discoverer of The Lost World, the prophet of The Poison Belt, the destroyer of The Disintegration Machine, and the man who made the World Scream! Who can deliver mankind from the shackles of ignorance? Who else but that great self-proclaimed champion of science? We give you, ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, the one, the only, Professor George Edward Challenger!

This original anthology, from the authors and editors who brought you the Gaslight Sherlock Holmes series, sees Challenger and his stalwart company including the reporter Malone, big game hunter Lord John Roxton and the skeptical colleague Professor Summerlee, travel across space and witness the ravages of time, narrowly eluding a dinosaur’s bite only to battle against the invasive red bloom of alien foliage, then plunge deep into the mysteries hidden within the Earth and reach out to the moon and into the heart of the unknown. Strap yourself in for chills, thrills and challenges to the unknown in exciting new worlds and lost places with literature’s foremost scientific adventurer.

Professor Challenger: New Worlds, Lost Places was edited by J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec and published by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing on August 15, 2015. It is 250 pages, priced at $15.95 in trade paperback, and $5.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Dave Elsey.

New Treasures: Flesh Like Smoke, edited by Brian M. Sammons

Monday, August 17th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Flesh Like Smoke-smallNew publisher April Moon Books has had a busy year. They’ve produced a number of highly acclaimed anthologies, including The Dark Rites of Cthulhu, Amok!, and the monster anthology Stomping Grounds, as well as Rich Hawkins’ short novel Black Star Black Sun.

Flesh Like Smoke, a collection of shape-shifting tales by Tim Waggoner, Darrell Schweitzer, Cody Goodfellow, William Meikle, and others, is their second partnership with editor Brian M. Sammons, and it looks like another fine volume for horror fans of all stripes.

Shapeshifters, Skinwalkers, Moon Beasts, Lycanthropes….

Whatever you choose to call them, they are the last thing you want to encounter in a darkened alley, or in a jungle, or in your bathroom.

In Brian M. Sammon’s follow-up anthology to the critically acclaimed ‘The Dark Rites of Cthulhu’, sixteen contemporary masters of the macabre weave their fevered visions into tales that turn the werewolf trope on its head. True, there are a handful of traditional lupine monsters within the pages, but these creatures rub hairy shoulders with bizarre chimeras, cyberpunk beasts and scaly demons.

Flesh Like Smoke will transport you from our distant past to our distant future with more familiar locales dotted along the way, locales drenched in blood and echoing with screams.

Flesh Like Smoke was published by April Moon Books on July 1, 2015. It is 252 pages, priced at $18.99 in trade paperback and $3.49 for the digital edition. The cover and interior illustrations are by Neil Baker. Learn more at the website.

See all of our recent New Treasures here.

New Treasures: The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán

Saturday, August 15th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Dinosaur Lords-smallI love dinosaurs. And epic fantasy. Epic fantasy with dinosaurs? That’s just a no brainer. Emily Mah interviewed author Victor Milán on his new novel The Dinosaur Lords — which George R. R. Martin calls “A cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones” — just last week; check it out here.

Intrigue, beauty, brutality, and dinosaurs – welcome to Paradise.

A world made by the Eight Creators on which to play out their games of passion and power, Paradise is a sprawling, diverse, often cruel place. Men and women live on Paradise but dinosaurs predominate: wildlife, monsters, beasts of burden – and of war. Colossal plant-eaters like Brachiosaurus; terrifying meat-eaters like Allosaurus and the most feared of all, Tyrannosaurus rex rule the land. Armored knights ride dinosaurs to battle legions of war-trained Triceratops and their upstart peasant crews. Seeking to centralize real power in his figurehead Fangèd Throne, Emperor Felipe of Nuevaropa sets off a chain of wars that may blaze up to consume the continent called the Tyrant’s Head. But is Imperial ambition the only spark, or are more sinister forces at work?

And so we have as our players in the tale: Fallen hero Karyl Bogomirsky, who wants to escape from constant headaches and nightmares and gets lured into the quixotic task of raising an army from a province of pacifists. Part-time Dinosaur Master and minstrel, and full-time rogue Rob Korrigan, who wants to get paid and laid — but he follows the man he’s written and sung about into what looks like certain disaster. Princess Melodia, who is eager to escape the shadow of her indulgent but neglectful father the Emperor but is faced by consequences she never anticipated. And Imperial Champion Jaume, Count of the Flowers, the Empire’s most celebrated swordsman and poet, who wants to serve Beauty and the right. But what can he do when faced with two equally wrong and ugly choices?

The Dinosaur Lords was published by Tor Books on July 28, 2015. It is 448 pages, priced at $26.99 in hardcover, and $12.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Richard Anderson.

New Treasures: Written in the Blood by Stephen Lloyd Jones

Thursday, August 13th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Written in the Blood-smallI reported on Stephen Lloyd Jones’ debut horror novel The String Diaries, the tale of a family is hunted by a centuries-old monster, last month. I haven’t even finished reading it yet, and I’m already hearing great things about the sequel, Written in the Blood, released in hardcover by Mulholland Books in late May.

The Guardian called the first novel “Chilling… A neo-gothic treat; original, richly imagined, and powerfully told.” And Booklist assures me the sequel is “just as good as the one that came before — and, in this case, that means essential reading for devotees of high-end sf.” Sounds like I’m going to have to set aside some quality time for this one, too.

See the girl. Leah Wilde is twenty-four, a runaway on a black motorbike, hunting for answers while changing her identity with each new Central European town.

See the man, having come of age in extraordinary suffering and tragedy in nineteenth-century Budapest; witness to horror, to love, to death, and the wrath of a true monster. Izsák still lives in the present day, impossibly middle-aged. He’s driven not only to hunt this immortal evil but to find his daughter, stolen from an Arctic cabin and grown into the thing Izsák has sworn to kill.

See the monster, a beautiful, seemingly young woman who stalks the American West, seeking the young and the strong to feed upon, desperate to return to Europe where her coven calls.

Written in the Blood is the epic thriller of the year, a blazing and dexterous saga spanning generations, and threading the lives of five individuals driven by love, by sacrifice, by hunger and by fear. They seek to save a race — or to extinguish it forever.

Written in the Blood was published by Mulholland Books on May 26, 2015. It is 485 pages, priced at $26 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital version. The cover was designed by Alex Merto.

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