New Treasures: Styx by Bavo Dhooge

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Styx Bavo Dhooge-back-small Styx Bavo Dhooge-small

This flourishing sub-genre of undead detective fiction? I like it. Recent examples include Tim Waggoner’s zombie detective saga The Nekropolis Archives, Stefan Petrucha’s Dead Mann series, Stephen Blackmoore’s Eric Carter books, Chris F. Holm’s Dead Harvest, Simon Kurt Unsworth’s The Devil’s Detective (a detective in hell), and Ian Tregillis’s Something More Than Night (a detective in heaven).

Bavo Dhooge’s Styx promises an intriguing spin on the zombie detective. Rafael Styx is a corrupt Belgian cop who is gunned down in pursuit of a diabolical serial murder. In death he meets the famous nude painter Paul Delvaux, who gives him his first real clue… and Styx finds his cop instincts won’t let him rest. Returning as a zombie (with an inconvenient taste for human flesh), Styx takes up the case again. Even death won’t stop him from capturing his murderer.

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New Treasures: Thief of Midnight and Fell the Angels by Catherine Butzen

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Thief of Midnight Fell the Angels-small

Stark House puts out extremely interesting books. Just thhis year they’ve published Tracy Knight’s The Astonished Eye and Barry N. Malzberg’s Underlay, among many others. Last month they released the sequel to Catherine Butzen debut novel Thief of Midnight, featuring the return of the monster-hunting Society for the Security of Reality, which keeps the world safe from the nefarious plots of creatures such as werewolves, ghouls, faeries, and boogymen.

I completely missed Thief of Midnight when it was first released in 2010, so I’m pleased I have another chance to jump onto this series. Fell the Angels picks up the story a month after the previous novel, when Abby Marquise finds herself dealing with dark magic-wielding faeries who have invaded Chicago.

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Breathtaking and Truly Epic: Barnes & Noble on Michael Livingston’s The Shards of Heaven

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Shards of Heaven-smallMichael Livingston’s stories for Black Gate were widely acclaimed by our readers. So I’m looking forward to seeing how the wider world reacts to his first novel, on sale this month from Tor. I got my first taste when I saw this rave review from Sam Reader at Barnes & Noble:

The Shards of Heaven is breathtaking in scope. With the first volume of a planned series intertwining Roman history and myth with Judeo-Christian mythology, Michael Livingston has created something truly epic… He uses real events and characters as the backbone for a truly inventive epic fantasy like novel, a massive undertaking that launches a tremendously ambitious series.

With Julius Caesar dead, a civil war threatens to destroy Rome. On one side is Octavian, Caesar’a ruthless successor, who will resort to any means to assert his power over the Empire. On the other are Caesar’s former ally Marc Antony and his lover Cleopatra… But then history twists, and Octavian’s half-brother Juba, a Numidian prince and thrall of Rome, uncovers something that will upend the conflict completely: the Trident of Poseidon, which gives the wielder the ability to control any fluid with an extension of will. The discovery comes with the knowledge that the trident is but one of the legendary Shards of Heaven, artifacts whose immense power hints at the existence of a strength greater than man’s…

The action here is big and bloody… Livingston uses violence in sudden, sparing bursts, each fight given a sense of purpose and consequence — until he doesn’t: the book’s centerpiece is the Battle of Actium, a massive naval conflict both grand in scope and enormously complex in its intricacies. Livingston keeps tight control over both.

The Shards of Heaven will be published by Tor Books on November 24, 2015. It is 414 pages. priced at $25.99 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital version. It is the opening volume in an epic new historical fantasy series set against the rise of the Roman Empire. See our previous coverage here.

New Treasures: Solar Express by L.E. Modesitt

Friday, November 20th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Solar Express Modesitt-smallWe don’t cover much hard science fiction at Black Gate. But we do cover our share of adventure SF… especially if it’s from writers we like, and if we hear good things about it.

Both of those things apply to L.E. Modesitt’s new novel Solar Express. I first heard about it from Arin Komins at Starfarer’s Despatch, who has excellent taste, and who tells us she’s “Really really loving the new Modesitt book, Solar Express. Very hard sf, near future. … And utterly wonderful commentary on politics.” So I got my hands on a copy, and I’m very much looking forward to relaxing with it this weekend.

You can’t militarize space. This one rule has led to decades of peaceful development of space programs worldwide. However, increasing resource scarcity and a changing climate on Earth’s surface is causing some interested parties to militarize, namely India, the North American Union, and the Sinese Federation.

The discovery of a strange artifact by Dr. Alayna Wong precipitates a crisis. What appears to be a hitherto undiscovered comet is soon revealed to be an alien structure on a cometary trajectory toward the sun. Now there is a race between countries to see who can study and control the artifact dubbed the “Solar Express” before it perhaps destroys itself.

Leading the way for the North American Union is Alayna’s friend, Captain Christopher Tavoian, one of the first shuttle pilots to be trained for combat in space. But, as the alien craft gets closer to its destination, it begins to alter the surface of the sun in strange new ways, ways that could lead Alayna to revolutionary discoveries-provided Chris can prevent war from breaking out as he navigates among the escalating tensions between nations.

Solar Express was published by Tor Books on November 3, 2015. It is 448 pages, priced at $27.99 in hardcover, and $14.99 for the digital edition.

Future Treasures: Daughter of Blood, Book 3 of The Wall of Night, by Helen Lowe

Friday, November 20th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Heir of Night-small The Gathering of the Lost-small Daughter of Blood-small

Helen Lowe’s The Wall of Night has been getting some good press. The opening volume won the Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Debut, and the second was nominated for the 2013 David Gemmell Legend Award. At my old stomping grounds SF Site, Katherine Petersen kicked off her review of the second volume as follows:

Helen Lowe’s Wall of Night series has the potential to become a classic, right up there with the likes of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. The Gathering of the Lost is the second of this four-book series and takes us deeper into the world of Haarth where the first book, The Heir of Night, mostly introduced us to Malian, heir to the House of Night and her friend and ally Kalan, both of the Derai. The nine houses of the Derai garrison a large, rugged mountain range that gives the series its title. But after the Keep of Winds where Malian grew up was breached five years ago by long-time Derai enemies, the Darkswarm, it’s the whole land of Haarth, not just the Derai in jeopardy…

Lowe has a lyrical prose style that often seems more like poetry. Sometimes it seems writers try too hard to evoke their characters or surroundings, but for Lowe it seems effortless.

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New Treasures: Dead Ringers by Christopher Golden

Thursday, November 19th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Dead Ringers-back-small Dead Ringers-small

Christopher Golden is one of the most popular horror writers on the market; Stephen King called his 2014 novel Snowblind “deeply scary.” His latest is a new twist of the legend of doppelgangers, and follows five people confronted with doubles. It’s available in hardcover from St. Martin’s Press.

When Tess Devlin runs into her ex-husband Nick on a Boston sidewalk, she’s furious at him for pretending he doesn’t know her. She calls his cell to have it out with him, only to discover that he’s in New Hampshire with his current girlfriend. But if Nick’s in New Hampshire… who did she encounter on the street?

Frank Lindbergh’s dreams have fallen apart. He wanted to get out of the grim neighborhood where he’d grown up and out of the shadow of his alcoholic father. Now both his parents are dead and he’s back in his childhood home, drinking too much himself. As he sets in motion his plans for the future, he’s assaulted by an intruder in his living room… an intruder who could be his twin.

In an elegant hotel, Tess will find mystery and terror in her own reflection. Outside a famed mansion on Beacon Hill, people are infected with a diabolical malice… while on the streets, an eyeless man, dressed in rags, searches for a woman who wears Tess’s face.

Dead Ringers was published by St. Martin’s Press on November 3, 2015. It is 310 pages, priced at $25.99 in hardcover, and $12.99 for the digital edition. The cover was designed by Ervin Serrano. See all our latest New Treasures here.

New Treasures: Domnall and the Borrowed Child by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

Monday, November 16th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Domnall and the Borrowed Child-back-small Domnall and the Borrowed Child-small

Click on the images for bigger versions.

Sylvia Spruck Wrigley’s short story “Alive, Alive Oh”, from the June 2013 issue of Lightspeed, was nominated for the Nebula Award. Her new novella Domnall and the Borrowed Child is the ninth title in‘s novella series.

Domnall is a cranky old faerie, the only experienced scout left after the war with the sluagh. He remembers a time when his kind, the Scottish seelie fae, would dance fairy rings amongst the bluebells. Now the ruling council is too cowardly — and too afraid of humans — to do anything of the sort. But when a fae child falls ill, Domnall is the only one with the cunning and resources to get her the medicine she needs: Mother’s milk. But to get it, the old scout will face cunning humans, hungry wolves, and uncooperative sheep — and his fellow fae.

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New Treasures: The Wheel of Time Companion by Robert Jordan, et al

Sunday, November 15th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Wheel of Time Companion-smallRobert Jordan’s 15-volume The Wheel of Time series is one of the most popular fantasy series written in the last 50 years, with over 44 millions copies sold (second only to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, with 60 million). It hasn’t enjoyed the same level of scholarship as Martin’s epic… but all that changed with the arrival of a single book, the massive 815-page Wheel of Time Companion, published by Tor Books on November 3.

Since its debut in 1990, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan has captivated millions of readers around the globe with its scope, originality, and compelling characters. Over the course of fifteen books and millions of words, the world that Jordan created grew in depth and complexity. However, only a fraction of what Jordan imagined ended up on the page, the rest going into his personal files. Now The Wheel of Time Companion sheds light on some of the most intriguing aspects of the world, including biographies and motivations of many characters that never made it into the books, but helped bring Jordan’s world to life.

Included in the volume in an A-to-Z format are:

– An entry for each named character
– An inclusive dictionary of the Old Tongue
– New maps of the Last Battle
– New portraits of many characters
– Histories and customs of the nations of the world
– The strength level of many channelers
– Descriptions of the flora and fauna unique to the world
– And much more!

The Wheel of Time Companion will be required reading for The Wheel of Time‘s millions of fans.

The Wheel of Time Companion: The People, Places and History of the Bestselling Series was written by Robert Jordan, Harriet McDougal, Alan Romanczuk, and Maria Simons, and published by Tor Books on November 3, 2015. It is 815 pages, priced at $39.99 in hardcover and $19.99 for the digital edition.

New Treasures: The Madness of Cthulhu, Volume Two, edited by S.T. Joshi

Thursday, November 12th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

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In his Black Gate review of the first volume of The Madness of Cthulhu, G. Winston Hyatt wrote:

Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness serves as the inspiration for many of the authors in The Madness of Cthulhu… it’s masterful in concept and at times in execution. A fusion of Antarctic adventure, science fiction, and early-modern horror, it not only offers chilling passages with an escalating sense of dread and isolation, but also constructs a world horrifying in its implications about mankind…

The Madness of Cthulhu anthologizes a variety of interpretations of Lovecraft’s Mythos, taking readers beyond the dusty-tomes-and-unspeakable-things tropes and demonstrating the imaginative possibilities still present in HPL’s legacy.

Part of that review is quoted on the back of The Madness of Cthulhu, Volume Two, which is kind of cool. The second volume, which contains 14 brand new stories inspired by Lovecraft’s classic At the Mountains of Madness — including stories by Laird Barron, Alan Deam Foster, William F. Nolan, Brian Stableford, and Steve Rasnic Tem — was published by Titan Books on October 20, 2015. It is 297 pages, priced at $15.95, and $5.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by John Jude Palencar. Click on the image above for a bigger version.

New Treasures: The Lazarus Gate by Mark A. Latham

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Lazarus Gate-smallMark Latham has had an interesting career. He’s the former editor of White Dwarf, Games Workshop’s flagship magazine, and the head of their ultra-successful Warhammer 40K line. He’s also a game designer is his own right, with several tabletop games to his credit.

His debut novel, The Lazarus Gate, is the opening volume in a new Victorian supernatural series. Captain John Hardwick, a tough but troubled army veteran, is recruited by a mysterious club to combat a growing threat to the British Empire. It’s an intriguing new gaslight fantasy, reminiscent of James Blaylock and Arthur Conan Doyle.

London, 1890. Captain John Hardwick, an embittered army veteran and opium addict, is released from captivity in Burma and returns home, only to be recruited by a mysterious gentlemen’s club to combat a supernatural threat to the British Empire.

This is the tale of a secret war between parallel universes, between reality and the supernatural; a war waged relentlessly by an elite group of agents; unsung heroes, whose efforts can never be acknowledged, but by whose sacrifice we are all kept safe.

The Lazarus Gate was published by Titan Books on September 29, 2015. It is 399 pages, priced at $14.95 in trade paperback, and $5.99 for the digital edition. The cover was designed by Julia Lloyd.

See all of our recent New Treasures here.

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