New Treasures: Angels & Exiles by Yves Meynard

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Angels and Exiles-smallI first met Yves Meynard at the World Fantasy Convention in Montreal in 2001. He was already a rising star, and since then he’s had a stellar career — his novel The Book of Knights was a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award, and when Tor published his fantasy novel Chrysanthe in 2012, Locus called him “[David] Hartwell’s major discovery this year.” This is his first collection.

In these twelve sombre tales, ranging from baroque science fiction to bleak fantasy, Yves Meynard brings to life wonders and horrors. From space travellers who must rid themselves of the sins their souls accumulate in transit, to a young man whose love transcends time; from refugees in a frozen hold at the end of space, to a city drowning under the weight of its architectural prayer; from an alien Jerusalem that has corrupted the Earth, to a land still bleeding from the scars of a supernatural war; here are windows opened onto astonishing vistas, stories written with a scientist’s laser focus alloyed with a poet’s sensibilities.

At Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, Yves offered this marvelous comment about how own search for wonder in fiction:

The natural world is an endless source of amazement; human culture all across the planet ceaselessly produces works of stunning beauty. You shouldn’t need anything else to satisfy your need for wonderment… And yet it still twitches inside me, that urge for the miraculous. I read stories of the fantastic and write them myself, to assuage it. And I tell myself it’s better to have it only inside of stories. Because if such a miraculous world were real, loaded with revelations and terrible marvels, a world in whose oceans swam hybrids and monsters, a world where everything was charged with transcendent meaning, and all our human conceits were true — that world would devour us.

Angels & Exiles was published by ChiZine Publications on February 26, 2015. It is 291 pages, priced at $16.99 in trade paperback and $7.99 for the digital version. The cover art is by Vince Haig, with a design by Samantha Beiko.


Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: An Apt Description of the Heroine in Beaulieu’s Twelve Kings in Sharakhai

Monday, August 31st, 2015 | Posted by Kelly Swails

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai-smallTwelve Kings in Sharakhai: The Song of Shattered Sands: Book One
By Bradley P. Beaulieu
DAW Books (592 pages, $24.95 in hardcover, $9.99 digital, September 1, 2015)
Cover by Adam Paquette

Eleven years ago, Çedamihn Ahyanesh’ala’s mother was killed by the immortal Twelve Kings that rule the desert city of Sharakhai. Çeda — as she’s known to a few close friends — doesn’t know why her mother was killed. She only has three clues: the Kings carved strange symbols into her mother’s skin before they killed her; a book of poems that belonged to her mother; and the fact that she can never reveal she was her mother’s daughter.

Along with her friend Emre — one of only a handful of people who know her true identity — Çeda earns money on the streets of Sharakhai by delivering messages and cutting the occasional purse. By the time she is a young adult, she earns money with a new identity: the White Wolf, one of the most feared and respected hand warriors in the fighting pits.

Only Emre knows the secret deep within her heart: she means to avenge her mother’s death by killing the immortal Kings that rule the city. But in order to do so, she has to face her fears, make allies out of enemies, and risk losing everything she cherishes.

The world building here is robust yet deft. There are several elements in play, such as the mythology that governs the Kings, the magic of the forbidden forest on the outskirts of the city, and the creatures called the asirim that roam Sharakhai every six weeks to prey upon the city’s inhabitants.

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New Treasures: Updraft by Fran Wilde

Sunday, August 30th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Updraft Fran Wilde-smallAs I mentioned in my post on The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Tor has really been on a tear recently with some top-notch debuts. They’ve always been willing to take a chance on new authors, but recently some of their most exciting releases have come from new authors. That continues with Updraft, the first novel from Fran Wilde, whose short fiction has been getting notice in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Nature, and Asimov’s SF.

Welcome to a World of Wind and Bone, Songs and Silence, Betrayal and Courage

Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother’s side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city’s secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.

As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice, and may well change the city forever — if it isn’t destroyed outright.

Read an excerpt at Tor.com.

Updraft will be published by Tor Books on September 1, 2015. It is 364 pages, priced at $25.99 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Stephan Martinere.


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.


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