New Treasures: Broken Hero by Jonathan Wood

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Broken Hero-smallHorror and comedy are a tough mix — but it can be a great combo when done right. Jonathan Wood seems to have the touch… his debut novel No Hero, the first book in the Arthur Wallace series, was called “a funny, dark, rip-roaring adventure with a lot of heart” by Publisher’s Weekly, and listed as one of the 20 best paranormal fantasies of the past decade by Starburst called the third installment, Anti-Hero, “A gripping tale of dark comedic horror.”

The fourth volume, Broken Hero — featuring the continuing misadventures of MI37 agent Arthur Wallace, tasked with dealing with the supernatural, extraterrestrial, and the generally odd — was released late last month by Titan.

How’s a secret agent meant to catch a break? If it’s not a demi-god going through puberty, it’s a renegade Nazi clockwork army going senile. Or a death cult in Nepal. Or a battery-chewing wizard’s relationship problems. Arthur Wallace, agent of MI37 — Britain’s agency for dealing with the supernatural, the extraterrestrial, and the generally odd — has to pull everything together, and he has to do it before a magical bomb tears reality apart…

Jonathan Wood’s short fiction has also appeared in Weird Tales, Chizine, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and anthologies such as The Book of Cthulhu 2 and The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year One.

Broken Hero was published by Titan Books on January 26, 2016. It is 429 pages, priced at $14.95 in trade paperback, and $7.99 for the digital version. The cover was designed by Amazing15.

New Treasures: Front Lines by Michael Grant

Monday, February 8th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Front Lines Michael Grant-smallMichael Grant is the author of over 150 books, many co-written with his wife Katherine. He’s the New York Times bestselling author of Gone and Messenger of Fear. His latest novel, Front Lines, is a daring alternate history that imagines World War II with female soldiers fighting on the front lines. Publishers Weekly calls it “A gripping and heart-wrenching tale,” and bestselling author Elizabeth Wein says it’s “a magnificent alternate history that feels so real and right and true it seems impossible that it wasn’t.”

World War II, 1942. A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering: Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans. For the first time they leave behind their homes and families—to go to war.

These three daring young women will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, they will discover the roles that define them on the front lines. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.

Front Lines was published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 26, 2016. It is 576 pages, priced at $18.99 in hardcover and $11.99 for the digital version. It is the first installment of a new series.

John DeNardo’s February Speculative Fiction Books You Can’t Miss

Sunday, February 7th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

The Guns of Ivrea-smallJohn DeNardo gets it. It’s not a lack of choice that keeps us from choosing what to read… it’s that there are too many great books to choose from!

As the February lineup of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror books will prove, it’s not a lack of books that make it difficult to find something to read. If anything, there are too many books to read. Here’s a list of books to help you narrow down your selection. I’d say “choose wisely”… but all of these are sure bets. Titles this month include a serial killer, merfolk, human trafficking, illegal magic, a Lovecraftian demon, and more.

The Guns of Ivrea by Clifford Beal

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: The fates of a former thief, a pirate mercenary, and the daughter of the chief of the merfolk converge on a series of events that could mean war.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: This is the first installment of what promises to be a swashbuckling seafaring fantasy series.

Graft by Matt Hill

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: In near-future Manchester, a local mechanic named Sol who steals car parts stumbles onto a trans-dimensional human trafficking conspiracy.DreamingDeath

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The chase is on as Sol and a three-armed woman named Y run from their pursuers.

Read the complete article, with 16 selections of top-notch February fantasy and SF, here.

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New Treasures: The Passenger by F.R. Tallis

Friday, February 5th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

The Passenger F R Tallis-smallF. R. Tallis is the author of The Sleep Room (2013), The Forbidden (2014), and The Voices (2014). He’s been nominated for the Edgar award, the New London Writer’s Award, and the Crime Writers’ Association Historical Dagger Award. His latest supernatural thriller takes readers under the wartime seas of the stormy North Atlantic in 1942, to a German U-boat with an unnatural passenger… what’s better than the creepy mixture of Nazis and ghosts? I know what I’ll be curling up with this weekend.

1941. A German submarine, U-471, patrols the stormy inhospitable waters of the North Atlantic. It is commanded by Siegfried Lorenz, a maverick SS officer who does not believe in the war he is bound by duty and honor to fight in.

U-471 receives a triple-encoded message with instructions to collect two prisoners from a vessel located off the Icelandic coast and transport them to the base at Brest ― and a British submarine commander, Sutherland, and a Norwegian academic, Professor Bjornar Grimstad, are taken on board. Contact between the prisoners and Lorenz has been forbidden, and it transpires that this special mission has been ordered by an unknown source, high up in the SS. It is rumored that Grimstad is working on a secret weapon that could change the course of the war…

Then, Sutherland goes rogue, and a series of shocking, brutal events occur. In the aftermath, disturbing things start happening on the boat. It seems that a lethal, supernatural force is stalking the crew, wrestling with Lorenz for control. A thousand feet under the dark, icy waves, it doesn’t matter how loud you scream…

The Passenger was published by Pegasus on February 1, 2016. It is 371 pages, priced at $25.95 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital version.

New Treasures: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Truthwitch-smallSusan Dennard is the author of the popular Something Strange and Deadly series from Harper. Last month she launched the Witchland series from Tor with the opening novel Truthwitch. The early reviews have been very strong, with Books of Wonder saying it’s “Full of magic, unbreakable friendships, and purpose… a lush and wonderful adventure tale.” And I have to admit, I love Scott Grimando’s cover.

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others. In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble — as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires. Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her — but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Truthwitch was published by Tor Teen on January 5, 2016. It is 416 pages, priced at $18.99 in hardcover and $9.99 for the digital version. The cover is by Scott Grimando.

New Treasures: The Birthgrave Trilogy by Tanith Lee

Monday, February 1st, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

The Birthgrave-small Shadowfire-small Hunting the White Witch-small

Tanith Lee passed away on May 24 of last year, and her loss was a major blow to fantasy readers around the world — especially fans of heroic fantasy. In the fast-paced world of modern publishing, the death of an author frequently means the death of their backlist as well, since without new books being released to drum up interest, older titles can quickly be forgotten.

So I was extremely pleased to see DAW, Lee’s long-time US publisher, re-release her first fantasy novel The Birthgrave in a handsome new edition last June, followed by Shadowfire, the second title in the trilogy, last September. The final volume, Hunting the White Witch, arrives on bookshelves tomorrow, completing the trilogy.

The Birthgrave (452 pages, $7.99 print & digital, June 2, 2015)
Shadowfire (304 pages, $7.99 print & digital, September 1, 2015)
Hunting the White Witch (304 pages, $7.99 print & digital, February 2, 2016)

All three covers are by Bastien Lecouffe Deharme.

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New Treasures: The Society of Blood by Mark Morris

Saturday, January 30th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

The Wolves of London-small The Society of Blood-small The Wraiths of War-small

I first heard of Mark Morris in 1989 with the publication of his first novel Toady (called The Horror Club in its heavily abridged US edition). I tried to scare up a copy through mail-order bookseller Mark V. Ziesing (because that’s the way you ordered books in the late 80s), but it had already become a hot property, and Mark wasn’t able to get one for me. Sudden scarcity and rapid price appreciation was the way of things in genre collecting in the late 80s; it kept things interesting. I never did track down a copy of Toady, but ever since I’ve kept an eye on Mark Morris.

Morris has written over a dozen novels since, including Stitch (1991), The Immaculate (1993), Longbarrow (1997), It Sustains (2013) and Horror Hospital (2014), in addition to nine Doctor Who novels and audio plays (see his complete back catalog on his website). His latest is the Obsidian Heart trilogy from Titan Books, the tale of reformed ex-con Alex Locke, whose attempt to steal a strange artifact from an old man ends with him on the run from the Wolves of London, a team of unearthly assassins. Sarah Pinborough says, “Mark Morris not only crosses genre boundaries, but creates an entirely new territory in the landscape of dark fiction. Part crime novel, part fantasy, part science fiction – entirely engrossing.” The complete series is:

The Wolves of London (400 pages, $14.95, October 7, 2014)
The Society of Blood (297 pages, $14.95, October 13, 2015)
The Wraiths of War (400 pages, $14.95, October 11, 2016)

Each volume in the series has been released in October; the second, The Society of Blood, three months ago. The last is due later this year.

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Future Treasures: Pathfinder Tales: Pirate’s Prophecy by Chris A. Jackson

Friday, January 29th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Pirate's Honor-small Pirate's Promise-small Pirate's Prophecy-small

For the past three years Chris A. Jackson, author of The Warcaster Chronicles, has been writing an ambitious fantasy saga for the Pathfinder Tales line, featuring pirate captain Torius Vin and his snake-bodied naga navigator Celeste, who forsake pirating to chase slave galleys and set the prisoners free. According to his bio, Jackson is a marine biologist who, with his wife Anne, has lived on a 45-foot sailboat since 2009, cruising the Caribbean and writing full time. Sounds like an ideal lifestyle to write pirate sagas to me.

The series began in 2013 with Pirate’s Promise, and the third volume, Pirate’s Prophecy, will be released next week from Tor.

Pirate’s Honor (400 pages, $9.99, $6.99 in digital format, May 14, 2013)
Pirate’s Promise (400 pages, $14.99, $6.99 in digital format, January 6, 2015) — cover by Michael Ivan
Pirates Prophecy (357 pages, 14.99, $9.99 in digital format, February 2, 2016) — cover by Remko Troost

The first two were published by Paizo; Pirates Prophecy is the first in the series to be published by Tor Books.

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Book Pairings: Sorcerer to the Crown and My Beautiful Enemy

Friday, January 29th, 2016 | Posted by C.S.E. Cooney

BGsorcerer-to-the-crownYou know, way back when, I had such MASTERFUL IDEAS for this ongoing Book Pairings blog. I had A List. It was great.

Unfortunately, I texted it to John O’Neill Once Upon a Hallowed Age, and then promptly forgot all about it. Sneaking back up to the idea now, I realize that I read all those books Oh So Very Long Ago, and I’d have to read them all over again in order to do the pairings properly.

Not that it would be a bad thing…

BGQueenVictoriaI’d gotten off to a pretty good start with my first book pairing, which compared Ancillary Justice and Cordelia’s Honor, and my second, when I stood an anthology called Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells side by side with Sharon Shinn’s Royal Airs.

They were BRILLIANT! And long. And then I sort of… pooped out.

I dunno. I got busy. New job. Crowdfunded for/put together a couple of EPs. Short story collection came out. Where did 2015 GO anyway?

But recently, I read this BEAUTIFUL book– and it reminded me of this OTHER great book, and I just had to write about them.

You know they’re good when you HAVE to write about ’em, right?

Okay! Okay! Since all y’all at Black Gate love your Sword and Sorcery, OH HEAVENS TO MURGATROID, have I got a pairing for you!

One of each. One Sword. One Sorcery. Full of WOMEN! And WIT! And SUBVERSIVE WORLD VIEWS! And, oh, yes — LE ROMANCE, MES PETITES!!!

Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho. And My Beautiful Enemy, by Sherry Thomas.

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New Treasures: Kurt Vonnegut: Novels 1987-1997

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Kurt Vonnegut Novels 1987 - 1997-smallThe Library of America,  a publisher with a fine reputation as a nonprofit cultural institution, has done three previous omnibus volumes of Kurt Vonnegut’s fiction, collecting a dozen novels and many stories published between 1950 and 1985. The fourth and final volume, published earlier this month, gathers his last three completed novels into one archival quality hardcover.

Here are the final three novels of the visionary master who defined a generation. Bluebeard (1987) is the colorful history of a phenomenally gifted realist painter who, in the 1950s, betrayed his artistic vision for commercial success. Now, at seventy-one, he writes his memoirs and plots his revenge on the worldly forces that conspired to corrupt his talent. In Hocus Pocus (1990), a freewheeling prison memoir by a Vietnam vet and disgraced academic, Vonnegut brings his indelible voice to a range of still-burning issues — free speech, racism, environmental calamity, deindustrialization, and globalization. Timequake (1997), the author’s last completed novel, is part science fiction yarn (starring perennial protagonist Kilgore Trout), part diary of the mid-1990s (starring the author himself). The result is a perfect fusion of Vonnegut’s two signature genres, the satirical fantasy and the personal essay, and a literary magician’s fond farewell to his readers and his craft. Rounded out with a selection of short nonfiction pieces intimately related to these three works, this volume presents the final word from the artist who the San Francisco Chronicle, reviewing Timequake, called an “old warrior who will not accept the dehumanizing of politics, the blunting of conscience, and the glibness of the late-twentieth-century Western world.”

Kurt Vonnegut: Novels 1987-1997 was published by Library of America on January 19, 2016. It is 754 pages, priced at $35 in hardcover. There is no digital edition. Our previous coverage of Library of America includes:

The Library of America Publishes Elmore Leonard
A Princess of Mars and Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s, edited by Gary K. Wolfe
American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny, edited by Peter Straub

See all of our recent New Treasures here.

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