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Saturday, November 29, 2008

“Hercules: The Thracian Wars” Collection by Steve Moore & Admira Wijaya (Reviewed by Robert Thompson)

Read A Preview HERE

ABOUT HERCULES: Fourteen hundred years ago, a tormented soul walked the Earth that was neither man nor god. Hercules, powerful son of Zeus, the king of gods, received nothing but suffering his entire life. After twelve arduous labors and the loss of his family, this dark, world-weary soul turned his back on the gods, finding his only solace in bloody battle.

Over the years he warmed to the company of six similar souls—Iolaus, Autolycus, Amphiaraus, Tydeus, Meleager, and Atalanta—their only bond being their love of fighting and the presence of death. These men and woman never question where, why, or whom they go to fight . . . only how much they will be paid.

Knowing this, King Cotys of the Odrysae hired these Greeks as mercenaries to train his men into a great army that would unite the warring tribes of Thrace. But there is more to Cotys’ motives than building a nation, and only Hercules and his companions stand in the way of a terrible plot against Greece and Olympus itself…

CLASSIFICATION: Far removed from the Hercules depicted in the popular TV show starring Kevin Sorbo or the 1997 animated Disney film, “Hercules: The Thracian Wars” portrays a much darker and grittier version of Hercules. Think 300 in all of its glorious violence, gore and raging testosterone with Greek mythology and historical fiction thrown in for added measure…

FORMAT/INFO: The “Hercules: The Thracian Wars” Hardcover, written by Steve Moore and illustrated by Admira Wijaya, is 144 pages long and contains the entire 5-issue miniseries. The graphic novel also includes character renderings and covers provided by
Jim Steranko, George Pratt, Arthur Suydam, John Bolton, Clint Langley, Stjepan Sejic, Greg Broadmore of WETA Workshop, Imaginary Friends Studios and more. The “Hercules: The Thracian Wars” Hardcover will be released to comic book stores on November 26, 2008 and made available on Amazon.com on December 3, 2008. “Hercules: The Thracian Wars” is published by Radical Comics and is being produced and developed for film adaptation by Spyglass Entertainment, Peter Berg’s (Hancock, The Kingdom) Film 44 and Radical Pictures. More Hercules comic book series are in the works.

ANALYSIS:Hercules: The Thracian Wars” is the second of Radical Comics two debut titles—Caliber: First Canon of Justice (Reviewed HERE) being the other—which were launched at the same time in May 2008, and of the two books, “Hercules” is easily the more rewarding experience…

For starters, the writing in “Hercules” is a major strength of the comic book, unlike “Caliber” where it was a deterrent. The key difference being that Steve Moore is a longtime comic book veteran while Sam Sarkar is new to the medium. The contrast in experience is strikingly apparent with how much smoother the narrative flows in “Hercules”, the stronger plotting and characterization, and the amount of depth the book possesses compared to “Caliber”. I was also really impressed with Steve’s knowledge of Greek mythology, his passion for the material, and the balance that he’s able to strike between the book’s darker moments and its wittier, more humorous ones. Even as strong as the writing is though, it’s not flawless as Steve has a tendency to use text when images alone would suffice, and there’s some cheesy dialogue in the book, particularly in the last chapter.

Regarding the story, “Hercules” straddles the line between “myth, legend, and historical accuracy”, and takes place sometime after Hercules’ legendary Twelve Labors and the Trojan War. What’s interesting about the book is its more realistic approach. For instance, even though Greek gods like Zeus, Hera, Hermes and others are often mentioned in the book, they themselves never actually appear. Meanwhile, Hercules’ famous exploits—defeating the Nemean Lion, the Stymphalian Birds, the Hydra, the Cretan Bull, Cerberus, etc—are related by others rather than the Greek hero himself, although Hercules does display great feats of strength throughout the story. Also keeping with the book’s more realistic angle is Hercules’ sexuality—takes both male and female lovers—and his ruthlessness, including his titanic rages or his willingness to kill even women and children. One of my favorites parts about the story were Hercules’ companions, some of whom I wasn’t very familiar with like the brain-eating maniac Tydeus and the Aetolian huntsman Meleager.

As far as the interior artwork, “Hercules” is not as breathtaking as “Caliber”—the covers are a different matter entirely—but Admira Wijaya and
Imaginary Friends Studios more than hold their own and do a good job of supplementing Steve’s writing. It should be noted though, that because “Hercules” is such a dark and violent book, the artwork can be a bit graphic and is not for the faint of heart or the easily offended.

Lastly, and most importantly, “Hercules” is a lot of fun to read. Granted, not everyone will like the book, but if you’re a fan of 300, Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Cimmerian, or Greek mythology, and you’re not afraid of a little blood, guts and compassionless violence, then “Hercules” is for you…

CONCLUSION: I admit that after reading “Caliber” I had my doubts about “Hercules”, but the graphic novel delivered, big-time. Unapologetically violent and gritty, while compellingly written and illustrated, “Hercules: The Thracian Wars” is testosterone-fueled excitement at its ferocious best…

AUTHOR/ARTIST BIOS:

Steve Moore first started working with comics in 1967 and has written 2000AD, Doctor Who and Warrior. A Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, Steve is the author of “The Trigrams of Han”, a non-fiction book on the Chinese I Ching, and is also the co-author of a scholarly bibliography on the same subject. Returning to the comic book field in 2000, he wrote for 2000AD and America’s Best Comics, more recently adapting V For Vendetta into a novel. Steve is also credited with showing Alan Moore (no relation) how to write comic scripts.

Hailing from Jakarta, Indonesia,
Admira Wijaya is a talented line artist and colorist who has worked exclusively on many DC Licensing projects. He is also a Senior Artist with Imaginary Friends Studios whose clients include Electronic Arts, DC Comics, MTV and diverse properties like Warhammer, Street Fighter, F.E.A.R., Superman, Spiderman and many others.
Friday, November 28, 2008

“Caliber: First Canon of Justice” Collection by Sam Sarkar & Garrie Gastonny (Reviewed by Robert Thompson)

Read A Preview HERE

ABOUT CALIBER: The Arthurian legend of Excalibur is reborn in the Old Pacific Northwest. A land in which shamans replace wizards, gunfighters walk where knights once stood, and a mystical gun will change the world in place of the sword of legend.

It is here that the Indian shaman Whitefeather, discovers Caliber, a tattooed six gun imbued with supernatural power that can only be fired by one man. When aimed it brings down the heavens, firing lightning itself from its barrel. Driven by visions of the apocalypse and the one who can prevent it, the mystic searches for the lawgiver, Arthur Pendergon. For in a land where lawlessness runs rampant, it will be Arthur’s destiny to set balance to the scales of justice…

CLASSIFICATION:Caliber’s” retelling of the famous Arthurian legend may be more of a western than it is fantasy, but the graphic novel possesses enough elements from both worlds to satisfy fans of either genre…

FORMAT/INFO: The “Caliber: First Canon of Justice” Hardcover, written by Sam Sarkar and illustrated by Garrie Gastonny, is 144 pages long and contains the entire 5-issue miniseries. The graphic novel also includes character renderings and covers provided by
Luis Royo, Greg Ruth, Tomm Coker, Dave Wilkins, Stanley 'Artgerm' Lau, and more. The “Caliber: First Canon of Justice” Hardcover will be released to comic book stores on November 26, 2008 and made available on Amazon.com on December 3, 2008. “Caliber” is published by Radical Comics and is being produced and directed for film adaptation by John Woo (Mission Impossible 2, Face/Off, Broken Arrow).

ANALYSIS:
Marvel and DC may be the kings of comic book publishers, but I always get more excited about new companies like Image Comics in the 1990s, CrossGen in the early 2000s, and Virgin Comics (Now known as Liquid Comics) which was founded in 2006. So it’s no surprise that I was immediately drawn to Radical, a brand new comic book company that debuted this past May with the launch of “Caliber: First Canon of Justice” and “Hercules: The Thracian Wars”. Between these two, I was attracted more to “Caliber” because of the concept and the artwork…

From the previews I had seen online, I was blown away by “Caliber’s” stunning artwork, which is even more gorgeous in hand. Fully painted throughout, the stylish illustrations by Garrie Gastonny and Imaginary Friends Studios are at once rich and dramatic, immediately bringing a refined elegance to “Caliber” that you just don’t find very often in comic books today. Of particular note is the dazzling level of detail—especially the faces—the dynamic storytelling, and just breathtaking splash pages. That all said, I thought the coloring could have used a little more vibrancy and I was amused by how much Lance Lake looked like actor Colin Farrell ;)

As far as the concept, Arthurian retellings are hardly new, but the western setting does offer a few unique twists like Merlin being portrayed as a Native American shaman and Excalibur being a gun. For the most part however, “Caliber” is pretty straightforward and will be recognizable to anyone who is familiar with westerns or Arthurian tales…

Of the writing, “Caliber” is the first comic book that Sam Sarkar has written and it shows with uneven pacing, conventional plotting, almost zero character development, and an over-reliance on the artwork to do the storytelling all plaguing the book. Worst of all, the narrative is terribly confusing, especially whenever switching viewpoints, although the book does makes a lot more sense on the second read through.

CONCLUSION: As a comic book, spectacular artwork plus an intriguing story concept plus mediocre writing equals a disappointingly uneven reading experience. As a property however, “Caliber” is full of untapped potential and with the right handling, could be made into an entertaining film…

AUTHOR/ARTIST BIOS:

Sam Sarkar is a 23-year veteran of the entertainment industry. He began his career as an actor and was one of the leads on the long-running, syndicated television series “Neon Rider”. Following the series, Sam decided to pursue writing and worked for the hit television series “Beverly Hills 90210”. Stemming from his work on the show, he also co-wrote a television pilot for Spelling Entertainment under the direct guidance of TV legend Aaron Spelling. Deciding then to embark on feature films, Sam took some chances, following a varied path of writing screenplays and working as a sound technician. In 2004, after working on several films with actor Johnny Depp, Sam was asked to help run Depp's production company, Infinitum Nihil, headed by Christi Dembrowski. As such, he continues to serve the varied needs of Hollywood as an executive, producer and writer. “Caliber” is his first graphic novel.

Animator and comics artist
Garrie Gastonny is part of Imaginary Friends Studios whose clients include Electronic Arts, DC Comics, MTV and diverse properties like Warhammer, Street Fighter, F.E.A.R., Superman, Spiderman and many others.
Thursday, November 27, 2008

INDIE SPOTLIGHT: “The Crown Conspiracy” by Michael Sullivan (Reviewed by Liviu C. Suciu)

Official Michael Sullivan Website
Order “The Crown Conspiracy
HERE
Read An Excerpt HERE

INTRODUCTION: Michael Sullivan’s debut novel, “The Crown Conspiracy”—the first in a planned six-volume epic fantasy series called The Riyria Revelations—has attracted a growing following since its recent publication by indie publisher, Aspirations Media Inc. After reading an excerpt on Mr. Sullivan's website, I decided to give the book a try and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun and page turning “The Crown Conspiracy” turned out to be…

SETTING: On the alternate Earth-like planet of Elan, the Novronian Empire of legend has sundered centuries ago into many different states. This was supposedly due to the machinations of the dastardly wizard and traitor Esrahaddon. The imperial Nyphron Church and its various loyalist nobles and knight orders have been looking for the mythical “Heir” to the Empire for almost a thousand years now. In the meantime, the kingdoms that coalesced on the Empire's territory developed Nationalist movements of their own opposed to the Imperialist goals and the monks dedicated to the god Maribor that predated Empire and Church.

One such kingdom is Melegar, and when its ruling king is murdered, the young Crown Prince Alric and his older sister Arista—who would be Queen if her brother should die—are thrust into the limelight and a brutal struggle for power that may have much greater implications for the “big picture” than whoever governs a minor kingdom.

Archibald Ballentyne is a very ambitious second-tier noble from the neighboring kingdom of Ghent—not that he harbors any particular loyalty to “his” king—and is willing to do whatever shady deals he can to advance.

Royce and Hadrian are a freelance “object/documents” acquisition and recovery team. In other words, Royce is a skilled thief with a mysterious past while Hadrian is a very good fighter who excels with the sword and bow. Using an impoverished noble as a front man, they peddle their trade to the high & mighty and anyone that can pay, outside of the Protection/Underground Guilds extant in most towns.

Lastly, Myron is a noble born “nerdish” monk of Maribor whose abbey has the misfortune of incurring the wrath of powerful enemies…

FORMAT/INFO:The Crown Conspiracy” stands at 296 pages divided over ten named parts, each subdivided into several numbered chapters. Included at the beginning of the book is a map which is also available on the author's website, as well as a table of contents. The action takes place mostly in the novel’s present-tense and is narrated in the third-person via several POVs, most notably Royce and Hadrian, with Archibald, Myron, Alric and Arista having good chunks of face time too. The ending is very good, wrapping up the main threads of the novel, but as with any opening volume in a series, the big-picture events are just now starting to impact our heroes.

October 1, 2008 marks the Paperback Publication of “The Crown Conspiracy” via
Aspirations Media Inc. Cover art is provided by the author himself, Michael Sullivan.

PLOT HINTS AND ANALYSIS:The Crown Conspiracy” starts with a caper in Archibald Ballentyne's castle and stays on a roll from there to the end. We first meet Royce and Hadrian when they frustrate one of Archibald's machinations—which they originally helped get started by stealing some letters—but what's better than getting paid again even more handsomely to restore those very same letters to their rightful owner?

Of course this kind of double-cross dealing with the high & mighty comes with a risk as Royce and Hadrian find themselves framed and imprisoned to be tortured and executed for the death of the King of Melegar, which they believed was a lucrative “mercy” job for an endangered noble. Luckily, Princess Arista—for reasons of her own which may or may not be the selfless ones she claims—helps them escape with the new King Alric in tow as a hostage/protégée.

Embarking on a journey to find the mythical wizard Esrahaddon—who supposedly still lives after almost a thousand years imprisoned in a hidden prison built by dwarves and is the only one who can help AlricRoyce, Hadrian and the new king hooks up with Myron whose knowledge of arcane rituals and ancient text is important to their quest, while Arista remains behind as Queen Regent of Melegar. Or perhaps, she plans on killing them all in secret and becoming the rightful Queen of Melegar

While Royce and Hadrian start off as stereotypical fantasy characters—a thief and a fighter—that we see in so many genre novels, as we slowly get to know them, they start to develop a distinctive identity of their own. And that is also true of the other main characters Alric, Arista and Myron who all grow with the unfolding events, while the rogue Archimbald is great fun in all of his appearances. There are several other notable characters as well, but I don’t want to give out any more spoilers…

In conclusion, “The Crown Conspiracy” is great fun and a romp end to end. It's a very fast read and I finished it in one sitting. Its characters grow on you and the series has great potential to develop since Book One only explores a relatively small part of the wonderful imagined world of Michael Sullivan, and I am really looking forward to reading Book Two, “Avempartha”, out in April 2009.

Highly recommended and another positive surprise for 2008, I hope Mr. Sullivan enjoys the success he deserves and that we get to see all of the planned volumes in The Riyria Revelations
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

“The Quiet War” by Paul McAuley (Reviewed by Liviu C. Suciu)

Official Paul J. McAuley Website
Official Paul J. McAuley Blog
Order “The Quiet War
HERE (Hardcover) + HERE (Paperback)
Read Extracts
HERE + HERE

INTRODUCTION: For twenty years I have been reading sff by Paul McAuley, from his superb space opera debut “Four Hundred Billion Stars”, through The Confluence science fantasy trilogy and to more recent near-future sf thrillers like “Whole Wide World”. When I heard that Mr. McAuley was returning to widescreen space opera in the milieu of his Greater Brazil/”outer” war universe developed in various short stories and related to his early work, I was thrilled, immediately ordered “The Quiet War”, and pretty much read the book on arrival. And despite high expectations, the novel delivered, actually even surpassing them…

NOTE: You can read the first nine chapters from “The Quiet War” on Mr. McAuley's site which I strongly recommend if you are not familiar with his work.

SETTING: In the 2200's, a century after the big “Overturn”—an ecological and social catastrophe that left vast swaths of Earth as disaster areas—Earth is rebuilding under the control of three “Families” that rose with prominence with their “Green Saints”.

Religion in the world is mainly dominated by Gaia, although in Greater Brazil it is mixed with traditional Catholicism, secularism in the EU, and traditional Asian doctrines in the Asian Sphere.

After the destruction of the Mars colonies by the now defunct Democratic Republic of China a century ago, the “outer” humans moved to the Asteroid Belt—the moons of Jupiter and Saturn with smaller settlements at Uranus and even rumored ones farther out at Neptune and in the Kuiper Belt. The “outers” have a very vibrant civilization, living in thousands of small towns, habitats, and domes, divided into numerous polities that mostly practice direct polling democracy and subject themselves to various forms of genetic engineering. Only the conservatism of their elder generation—still tied emotionally to the Earth-based civilization—keeps the outer humans from evolving in potentially distinct strains of humanity. Unfortunately, many younger outers are eager to rid themselves of the influence of Earth and their elders, so they have congruous intent with their enemies—the war faction of Earth's Families that wants to subjugate their civilization…

The Quiet War” follows five characters from different walks of life and through their eyes we see the strangeness and diversity of the outer humans:

Dr. Sri Hong-Owen is the top geneticists on Earth—at least in her opinion—and a subordinate of the Greater Brazil powerful Peixoto Family, though as a personal favorite of the family's Green Saint, the elderly Oscar Finnegan Ramos, she is quite powerful on her own.

Macy Minnot had a tough life in the slums of Pittsburgh after running away from home. Getting a lucky break by coming to the attention of the Fontaine Family, Macy becomes a soil treatment specialist and crew leader. When she is chosen to represent her lords on an Earth-outer cooperative construction project on Callisto under the leadership of Earth's top engineer Emmanuel Vargo, she believes the job will make her career.

Loc Ifrahim is a Brazilian diplomat with secret instructions from his true masters.

Dave #8 is one of Sri's secret war projects—a batch of clones altered to look like outers and trained from birth in the arts of war, spying and sabotage—but Dave #8 nurses secret doubts about his humanity and the goals of his superiors.

And Cash is a special forces pilot surgically altered by Dr. Sri to pilot one of the new attack warships and is eager for war and teaching the “outer abominations” a lesson.

FORMAT/INFO:The Quiet War” stands at 439 pages divided into five named and numbered parts, each subdivided into small numbered chapters. The narrative is in the third-person, present tense, switching between five different POVs: Dr. Sri Hong-Owen, Macy Minnot, Dave #8, Cash and Loc Ifrahim. The ending is very good and brings together most of the threads in the novel, though it is clear that there is much left to be explored in further novels in the series, the next being “Gardens of the Sun”, expected out in late 2009 from
Gollancz.

October 16, 2008 marks the Hardcover and Trade Paperback publication of “The Quiet War” via
Gollancz. Cover art provided by

PLOT HINTS AND ANALYSIS:The Quiet War” is an ambitious novel which succeeds very well at integrating hard sf concepts and tropes—including hands-on habitat development, genetic engineering and vacuum fusion powered flight—with high stakes politics and superb world-building, such as describing Earth’s rebuilding in great physical and socio-political detail.

The two main characters in the novel—around which most of the action revolves—are the ambitious and brilliant Dr. Sri Hong-Owen and the practical, down-to-earth Macy Minnot, while the other three POVs add complexity and depth to the book’s intricate tapestry.

The vivid description of life on the moons of Saturn and the no-bounds ethos of the younger outer generation stands in marked contrast with the wastelands of Earth, its feudal stratification and the easily stirred mobs incited against “outer abominations”, so we have two very interesting axes of conflict—young and bold/reckless versus old and wise/stale as well as outer diversity and non-conformism against Earth's feudal stratification and required obedience & conformity.

A hard sf/space opera blockbuster on the scale of Peter F. Hamilton, “The Quiet War” represents a triumphal return for Mr. McAuley to the large scale sff of his early work and will rank as one of the best science fiction novels of the year…
Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Winners of the M.J. Rose Giveaway! Plus Misc. News (Heifer International Fundraiser, Firstworld, Subterfuge, etc.)

Congratulations to Doug Carlberg (Iowa) and Nikki Evans (Ohio) who were both randomly selected to win a SET of M.J. Rose’sThe Reincarnationist” and “The Memorist” thanks to the author and Mira Books!!! “The Memorist” was officially released on November 1, 2008 and you can read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of the book HERE.

In news, the new wovel (web novel) from
Underland Press—“Firstworld” by horror author Jemiah Jefferson—is now available HERE. The wovel is described as follows:

March 2036. The world has been divided, not by geography, but by standard of living and technological status. Some have nothing but their ideologies. Others, their addictions, their cunning, or their desperation. The luckiest, safest, and healthiest live in the first world—all of them employees of FirstWorld Corporation: a global communications network, a consortium of manufacturers and energy suppliers, a system of belief. They are your doctors, your teachers, your bankers, your technicians. They are everywhere and they are you.

Maura Lakin is your average thirty-something single mother living in the Pacific Northwest, with a job, an apartment, and a daughter doing well in school. She's also got a shadowy past with the cadre of trippers, hackers, and innovators known as the Underground. And, along with her daughter Lalia, she has a radical piece of technology implanted into their brains which allows them to communicate wirelessly and untraceably with only the power of thought. Maura and Lalia have successfully kept their secrets from the outside world . . . or so they thought, when one day Lalia goes missing and the link goes dead.

Now Maura must go in search of her missing child, relying on her old skills and contacts—and picking up new ones along the way—in hopes of getting Lalia back. But Lalia may or may not want to come back, especially not if she finds her long-hidden techno-genius father Scott and tastes the freedom of his revolutionary way of life...

Moving on, Ian Whates’
NewCon Press has released a new short story anthology called “Subterfuge”. Launched on October 11, 2008 during the Newcon 4 science fiction convention, “Subterfuge” contains tales of misdirection, of finesse, of willful sleight of hand, and stories in which not everything is always as it seems…

The anthology is available in both a Standard Paperback and Hardcover edition as well as a special
Signed Limited Edition which is signed by all contributors, limited to 150 copies, and contains three additional short stories by Storm Constantine, Ian Watson and Ian Whates. The regular edition includes contributions by Neal Asher, Tony Ballantyne, Pat Cadigan, Tanith Lee, Juliet McKenna, John Meaney, Neil Williamson and many others.

In other news,
Pan Macmillan and Lexcycle, the maker of the highest rated electronic book reader for the iPhone, just announced the availability of the first set of Pan Macmillan titles for Lexcycle’s popular Stanza electronic book reader for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.

Stanza users will have access to free excerpts from selected bestsellers and over the course of the next twelve months, more of the
Pan Macmillan ebook catalog will be made available on Stanza.

“By offering numerous classical literature works for free, we’ve proven that Stanza on the
iPhone provides a tremendous reading experience and that iPhone users love the convenience of always having their latest read in their pocket or purse,” commented Neelan Choksi, Chief Operating Officer of Lexcycle. “Our users who come from over 50 different countries have been clamoring to pay for contemporary content, and we are thrilled to offer them some great Pan Macmillan titles for their reading pleasure.”

“Since the
iPhone launched its App Store we have been watching developments closely to see which reading apps became most popular. Lexcycle’s Stanza emerged very quickly as a clear leader in its category and so we immediately made contact to ask about developing a strategic partnership to bring our ebooks to readers through this new channel,” commented Sara Lloyd, Digital Director of Pan Macmillan. “This is only the first small step for us into iPhone territory and we intend to extend our Pan Macmillan/Lexcycle programme in partnership with Lexcycle as they develop their platform to make buying in-copyright works for Stanza a more streamlined and secure process.”

Stanza for the
Apple iPhone / iPod Touch is available today from the App Store in iTunes for free download. The Pan Macmillan books are available at www.panmacmillan.com/iphone. Available books include titles by Clive James, Peter F. Hamilton, China Mieville, Neal Asher and many others! To learn more, please visit http://www.lexcycle.com/.

Last, but certainly not least, I was just informed of a wonderful fundraiser that author
Patrick Rothfuss is taking part in with Heifer International. It’s for an incredible cause, so I strongly urge everyone to visit Patrick’s blog HERE for the details on how you can help.
Monday, November 24, 2008

“The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Read Fábio Fernandes’ Review HERE

October is always a great month in publishing for books that center around ghosts, vampires and spooky characters. Neil Gaiman'sThe Graveyard Book” is a great addition to this tradition, but while the title may imply a scary horror novel, “The Graveyard Book” is anything but. Instead, the book is a tale of growing up, unusual friends, and a little mystery all rolled into one…

A boy one and a half years old finds his way to a cemetery after his family is brutally murdered one night. When his mother appears to the ghosts of that particular graveyard and pleads to them to help protect and raise her son, the Owens—a couple that has long been buried in that particular cemetery—take it upon themselves to raise the boy as their own. As long as the child stays within the graveyard he will be granted the “protection of the graveyard” and is safe from all those that may wish him harm. With the help of others within the graveyard, Nobody Owens learns not only the essentials of the living world, but also various aspects of the afterlife, such as fading and dream-walking, all of which may come in handy.

Many adventures follow Nobody in the graveyard as he grows up including encounters with witches, ghouls, and the horrifying Sleer. There is also trouble from beyond the graveyard and the world of the living such as an assassin and the job he has to finish…

The Graveyard Book” possesses many strong features that, combined together, make the book an absolute joy to read. First, Gaiman does an excellent job of building all of his characters starting with Nobody Owens who we grow up with throughout the book. Even though every single detail of Nobody’s life isn't relayed to the reader—there are gaps between adventures and chapters so that we see him at the age of five, eight, ten and so forth—readers will still get the feeling that they are growing up with Nobody so by the end of the book, there is this huge bond between the reader and Nobody Owens.

Another appealing aspect of Nobody is that he actually makes mistakes. He’s not perfect, but he’s not always causing trouble either, so there is this perfect mix between the two. So instead of coming across as annoying or pestering, readers can understand and sympathize with Nobody.

Nobody Owens isn't the only character who is portrayed wonderfully. There is also Silas—a mysterious man capable of walking between the worlds of the living and the dead and serves as Nobody's guardian—who is a perfect addition to the story. There is just an air of mystery to Silas that adds to the story itself, but the reader also gets to feel the emotions that Silas deals with. In addition to Silas, every character in the book—from the witch and the Owens to the school teachers, poets, doctors and every resident in the graveyard—possesses their own unique personality and has a little bit of their history shared with the reader. A small detail that I personally enjoyed was the way Gaiman provided a little fact (as seen upon the headstone) about every new graveyard resident that we came into contact with. Although this little touch could be easily overlooked, I felt that this was a great addition to the book.

Along with the impressive characterization, there was the action-packed plot which did seem a bit fast-paced with all of the adventures that Nobody was encountering, but it all ties in nicely. In fact, by the 7th and 8th chapters, readers will discover that everything Nobody went through has a purpose and fits together. Besides growing up in a graveyard and the many adventures, there is also the interaction between Nobody and the world of the living. So just when you start to wonder how this little boy is going to last his whole life without ever encountering real people, Gaiman introduces a subplot with school and friends. Not surprisingly, Nobody acts the way you would expect a child who has had very little human interaction to act, and the whole experience is very innocent and touching.

There was one weakness with the plot—the whole murder of the family. Throughout the book it is understood that if Nobody goes out into the real world he will encounter danger, but it's very unclear what that danger is and why. The telling of his family’s murder in the first chapter was very swift and a little puzzling. It really doesn't come up again until Chapter 5, and even then it's very vague as to why there is this danger. When the story was concluded, I was still a little unclear as to what really happened regarding Nobody’s family and why he was still in danger. The whole mystery and vagueness of the danger surrounding Nobody may have made the book more suspenseful, and without that danger there really wouldn't be much of a story or reasoning behind the boy living in a graveyard, but it just seemed that the explanation was really quick and hard to follow.

Finally, at a little over 300 pages that cover eight chapters and a small interlude, “The Graveyard Book’s” pacing flows along very nicely. Each chapter by itself could almost serve as a standalone short story as they cover an adventure or small section of Bod's life which range from when he was five years old and meets his first real life friend, to going to school and having to deal with the other children…

There is a lot of talk from readers hoping that there will be another book about Nobody Owens, and while I can see how this could happen and would welcome another one, I think “The Graveyard Book” works just great as a standalone novel and that it ends in the right way. After all, there should be some mystery and imagination left to the readers :)

In the end, this attempt by Neil Gaiman in the world of Young Adult fiction is definitely a success. From page twenty I was utterly captivated by “The Graveyard Book” and had trouble putting it down. Even though the suggested reading level is for Grades 5 and up, I really believe that any adult and child would love this book and I find myself recommending “The Graveyard Book” to everyone. Definitely a title that shouldn’t be missed…

NOTE: For those that love audio books, I took the opportunity to listen to “The Graveyard Book
read by Neil Gaiman himself. Gaiman is a masterful storyteller and you can just feel the passion that he has for the story that he wrote and the joy that it brings him of telling it to others. It just makes the book that much more captivating. So anyone that has the time to both read the book and listen to the audio version, or just listen to the book read by Gaiman, should...
Sunday, November 23, 2008

“The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman (Reviewed by Fábio Fernandes)

Order “The Graveyard BookHERE (US) + HERE (UK) + HERE (Limited)

Where do ideas come from? That is the second most asked question in Literature (the first one being, naturally, what is science fiction after all?). There is no single, definite, mathematic answer to that question. Tolstoy witnessed a woman jump in front of a train, and this suicide led him to write Anna Karenina; Ian Fleming wrote James Bond partly based in his experience for the British secret service during World War II, but chose the name of his agent 007 in a textbook on bird watching.

Sometimes simple, daily things can do the trick fairly well. Such is the case in Neil Gaiman’sThe Graveyard Book”. One day, Gaiman was watching his son Michael strolling around in his tricyle in a cemetery near their home—and suddenly he thought, what if Mowgli (The Jungle Book) hadn’t been raised in a jungle in India, but in a cemetery in England?

That was the premise behind “The Graveyard Book”. As simple as that.

But things are never that simple with Neil Gaiman. “It just took me twenty-something years to write it.” The wait, however, was worth it.

“There as a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife,” the story begins. The hand belongs to an assassin, hired to murder an entire family. And that’s what he does—except for the youngest son, a toddler who manages to escape from his cradle and crawl all the way to a cemetery nearby. There, he is welcomed (sort of) by the ghosts of the deceased (most of them more than two centuries old, and one or two far older than that). The spirit of his mother, still confused, begs to the ghosts there to take care of her son, and they feel obliged to do so.

Time passes, and the young boy (now appropriately named Nobody Owens—the last name due to the family who raises him, an old married couple of dead humble people from the 18th Century) becomes an expert on the cemetery, becoming familiar with every nook and cranny and every grave, even the lost ones including an old pre-historic tomb inside a hill. During almost all of his exploits and little adventures, he is being watched by Silas, his guardian, a being who is neither living nor dead, and the only one besides Nobody who can leave the space of the graveyard.

Nobody receives all the education ancient ghosts can give him—grammar and math (both old style, which doesn’t really help him), but also some very cool phantom-like tricks including Fading, Sliding and Dreamwalking. In the beginning of his education, he becomes friends with another living person, a girl his age called Scarlett Amber Perkins, and that encounter makes him very happy.

That is the event that will make him more adventurous, more willing to explore what’s beyond the cemetery. From then on he will make incursions to the city—but dangerous incursions at that, because he will attract the attention of Jack, the murderer of his family. Ultimately, Nobody will learn the truth behind who he is and what Jack wanted with him and his parents…

This is not Harry Potter at all. But then, I didn’t have to tell you that did I? Not if you already know Gaiman’s work from Sandman to Coraline, but also encompassing Stardust, Interworld, Fragile Things, and MirrorMask. “The Graveyard Book” is not about the dead; ultimately it is about the living, about life and what you choose to do with it. Nobody Owens learns about the basic things of life and death (after living many thrilling, bloodcurdling adventures, both in town and in other worlds), and undergoes a rite of passage that will make a man out of him. It’s not a hymn to life, but a bittersweet ballad. And it’s a good book…
Friday, November 21, 2008

Upcoming 2009 Releases — Part Two

Back in August, I posted an article HERE that showcased Upcoming 2009 Book Releases. That spotlight really only scratched the surface of what 2009 had to offer though, so now I’m back with Part Two, which is a little bigger, and hopefully, better. So enjoy, and please note that all release dates are subject to change and that the covers depicted are not necessarily the final version:

Contagious” by Scott Sigler. Release Date: December 30, 2008. Published by
Crown. From the acclaimed author of “Infected” comes an epic and exhilarating story of humanity’s secret battle against a horrific enemy…

Across America, a mysterious pathogen transforms ordinary people into raging killers, psychopaths driven by a terrifying, alien agenda. The human race fights back, yet after every battle the disease responds, adapts, using sophisticated strategies and brilliant ruses to fool its pursuers. The only possible explanation: the epidemic is driven not by evolution but by some malevolent intelligence.

Standing against this unimaginable threat is a small group, assembled under the strictest secrecy. Their best weapon is hulking former football star Perry Dawsey, left psychologically shattered by his own struggles with this terrible enemy, who possesses an unexplainable ability to locate the disease’s hosts. Violent and unpredictable, Perry is both the nation’s best hope and a terrifying liability. Hardened CIA veteran Dew Phillips must somehow forge a connection with him if they’re going to stand a chance against this maddeningly adaptable opponent. Alongside them is Margaret Montoya, a brilliant epidemiologist who fights for a cure even as she reels under the weight of endless horrors.

These three and their team have kept humanity in the game, but that’s not good enough anymore, not when the disease turns contagious, triggering a fast countdown to Armageddon. Meanwhile, other enemies join the battle, and a new threat—one that comes from a most unexpected source—may ultimately prove the most dangerous of all…

Catapulting the reader into a world where humanity’s life span is measured in hours and the president’s finger hovers over the nuclear button, rising star Scott Sigler takes us on a breathtaking, hyper-adrenalized ride filled with terror and jaw-dropping action. “Contagious” is a truly grand work of suspense, science, and horror from a new master.
Official Scott Sigler Website
Preorder “Contagious
HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Review of "Infected"

Twelve” by Jasper Kent. UK Release Date: January 1, 2009. Published by
Bantam Press UK. The voordalak—a creature of legend; tales of which have terrified Russian children for generations. But for Captain Aleksei Ivanonvich Danilov—a child of more enlightened times—it is a legend that has long been forgotten. Besides, in the autumn of 1812, he faces a more tangible enemy—the Grande Armée of Napoleon Bonaparte.

City after city has fallen to the advancing French, and now it seems that only a miracle will keep them from Moscow itself. In desperation, Aleksei and his comrades enlist the help of the Oprichniki—a group of twelve mercenaries from the furthest reaches of Christian Europe—who claim that they can turn the tide of the war. It seems an idle boast, but the Russians soon discover that the Oprichniki are indeed quite capable of fulfilling their promise.

Unnerved by the fact that so few can accomplish so much, Aleksei remembers those childhood stories of the voordalak. And as he comes to understand the true, horrific nature of these twelve strangers, he realizes that they’ve unleashed a nightmare in their midst…

Full of authentic historical detail and heart-stopping supernatural moments, “Twelve” is storytelling at its most original and exciting…
Official Jasper Kent Website
Preorder “Twelve
HERE
Read An Excerpt
HERE
Read Reviews via
SFF World

The Hoard of Mhorrer” by M.F.W. Curran. UK Release Date: January 2, 2009. Published by
Pan Macmillan New Writing. The Secret War continues. . .

Prepare to confront the incarnation of evil. It is 1820 and the world is on the brink.

A fearless cohort of soldier-monks, led by Lieutenant Williams Saxon, has been dispatched to Egypt on the most important mission in history. For thousands of years a great secret has been kept: a stockpile of appalling malevolence, which, if let loose, will plunge the world into eternal damnation. This is the Hoard of Mhorrer. The soldiers must find and destroy the Hoard before the demonic agents of the evil Count Ordrane of Draak locate it.

In a heart-stopping race against time, ranging from Papal Rome to the desolate heart of Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, the soldiers must battle murderous militiamen and pitiless daemons, and finally, terrifyingly, the bloodthirsty Guardians of the Horde.

If William and his men succeed, the clandestine war between Heaven and Hell will at last begin to favor the forces of light. But if they fail, and the agents of Hell claim the Hoard, then they will unleash an army of invincible daemons, and humankind—what is left of it—will come to know the true meaning of evil…
Official M.F.W. Curran Website
Preorder “The Hoard of Mhorrer
HERE

Beat the Reaper” by Josh Bazell. US Release Date: January 7, 2009. Published by
Little, Brown and Company. UK Release Date: February 5, 2009. Published by William Heinemann Ltd. In this wild and hilarious debut thriller, a doctor with a past, a secret, and a gun has 24 hours to save himself and beat the reaper…

Meet Peter Brown, a young Manhattan emergency room doctor with an unusual past that is just about to catch up with him. His morning begins with the quick disarming of a would-be mugger, followed by a steamy elevator encounter with a sexy young pharmaceutical rep, topped off by a visit with a new patient—and from there Peter’s day is going to get a whole lot worse and a whole lot weirder, because that patient knows Peter from his other life . . . when he had a different name and a very different job. The only reason he’s a doctor now is thanks to the Witness Protection Program—and even that can’t protect him from the long reach of the New Jersey mob. Now he’s got to do whatever it takes to keep his patient alive so he can buy some time . . . and beat the reaper.

Not only will “Beat the Reaper” be compared to Quentin Tarantino’s films, Grey’s Anatomy, and Chuck Palahniuk, it’s also the most original and entertaining debut thriller you’ll read this year and announces the arrival of a writer in the spirit of Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen, Jeff Lindsay, and the aforementioned Chuck Palahniuk.

Josh Bazell has a BA in writing from Brown University and a MD from Columbia University. He is currently a medical resident at the University of California, San Francisco, and is working on his second novel. “Beat the Reaper” is Josh’s first novel and has already sold in over twenty countries, with sales totaling more than one million dollars.
Preorder “Beat the Reaper
HERE (US) + HERE (UK)

The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death” by Charlie Huston. Release Date: January 13, 2009. Published by
Ballantine Books. Los Angeles Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author Charlie Huston has become a favorite of booksellers and reviewers alike having crafted a classic ‘wrong man’ conceit in the Henry Thompson trilogy, twisted the vampire tale in the Joe Pitt series, and having turned the coming-of-age story upside down in The Shotgun Rule. Now Huston is back and at his gritty, suspenseful and wickedly comic best with “The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death”…

A white-knuckle thriller set in Los Angeles, “The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death” is populated by the author’s trademark mile-a-minute dialogue and introduces us to another one-of-a-kind character, Webster Filmore Goodhue.

Web Goodhue is quite possibly the least likely person in Los Angeles County to be working with a crime scene clean-up crew. After all, not only is he a disaffected slacker with no ambition, thanks to a recently suffered traumatic event he also has a weak stomach. But when his only friend in the world lets him know that his freeloading days are over, he finds himself in a pinch and joins the large and stressed-out Po Sin and the odd and dangerous Gabe on their daily rounds, reporting to the homes of the recently deceased to scrub and spray and bag.

Then this already screwed up situation gets weirder when the daughter of a Malibu suicide they’ve only just mopped up asks Web for a favor: her brother’s in trouble and they could use somebody who knows how to clean up a mess. Every living cell in Web’s brain is telling him he should turn her down, but something keeps him on the phone. The way he made her laugh. The desperate tone to her voice. Something. But whatever it is, he offers a hand. And in no time at all he finds himself in way over his head, getting his face kicked in, facing down some gun-toting L.A. cowboys, hanging on for dear life. And that’s only the beginning…

The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death” is vintage Charlie Huston—funny, violent and surprising―set in a new city and featuring a new and thoroughly enjoyable hero, and is sure to satisfy old fans and draw in new ones…

Charlie Huston is the author of the Los Angeles Times bestseller The Shotgun Rule (Reviewed HERE), the Henry Thompson Trilogy (which includes the Edgar Award-nominated Six Bad Things), and the Joe Pitt Casebooks (Reviewed HERE). He is also the writer of the recently relaunched Moon Knight comic book. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Virginia Louise Smith.
Official Charlie Huston Website
Preorder “The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death
HERE

Eagle Rising” by David Devereux. UK Release Date: January 22, 2009. Published by
Gollancz. “My name is unimportant, but you can call me Jack. I'm a musician by choice, a magician by profession, and a bastard by disposition. I'd been doing the magic thing for about five years when they found me. They said I had a talent, that I was smart enough and fit enough and enough of a shit that I could serve my country in a way most people never even get to hear about. And I did want to serve my country, didn't I? I didn't really want to contemplate what might happen if I said no.”

Jack's back! And this time he must face a terrifying supernatural threat from Europe's recent past…

Eagle Rising” takes Jack to the rotten heart of big business and the dark secrets of a neo-nazi magical sect intent on giving the world back to a terror from the darkest days of the 1940s. Jack must infiltrate the closed corridors of big business and reach the core of a conspiracy amongst some of the most high-powered city executives in the country—a cabal of business men with occult interests and an insane hunger for the return of an old and dark order…

Described as a mix of Dennis Wheatley and Ian Fleming, David Devereux lives up to the billing with his new novel which is the exciting sequel to “Hunter’s Moon”…
Official David Devereux Website
Preorder “Eagle Rising
HERE

The Sharing Knife: Horizon” by Lois McMaster Bujold. Release Date: January 27, 2009. Published by
EOS Books.

When Dag Redwing Hickory rescued Fawn Bluefield from a vicious malice attack, neither expected to fall in love. Nor did they plan to marry, collect a motley band of followers, or travel down the river to the sea, saving each other from dangers both magical and human.

Now at the end of their river journey, Dag and Fawn must retrace their steps . . . if only they knew where they were headed. As Dag’s magical abilities have grown, so has his concern about who—or what—he is becoming. Apprenticed to a master groundsetter in a southern Lakewalker camp, Dag learns to harness his powers, even as he grows frustrated with the camp’s rigid mores that adversely affect Fawn.

But the world as Dag and Fawn know it is changing, and the traditional Lakewalker ways cannot hold every malice at bay forever. When the couple and a small band of friends and followers resume their journey north, they will be confronted by Dag’s biggest fear and worst nightmare: a malice that grew unnoticed, and may now be too strong to control…

Horizon” is the highly anticipated conclusion to the sweeping New York Times bestselling Sharing Knife series, hailed as “a saga of daring deeds and unlikely romance . . . with unique monsters and an original approach to magic” —
Library Journal
Official Lois McMaster Bujold Website
Preorder “The Sharing Knife: Horizon
HERE

Last Watch” by Sergei Lukyanenko. Release Date: January 27, 2009 (US Debut). Published by
Miramax Books/Hyperion.

Part fantasy, and part detective potboiler, the Night Watch series is the most successful science fiction series of all time in Russia, and a true international sensation. In “Night Watch”, Sergei Lukyanenko introduced the Others, an ancient race of humans with supernatural powers, who must swear allegiance to either the Dark or the Light. The agents of Light—the Night Watch—oversee nocturnal activity, while their Dark counterparts cover the daytime. That first novel—about a Night Watch agent named Anton who stumbles upon an Other with magnificent and terrifying potential—received significant attention and was made into a film regarded as the first Russian blockbuster.

Now, in the breathtaking final novel in the series, Anton is sent on a mission that takes him from Edinburgh to Uzbekistan to Moscow and back again, as a murder investigation spirals into a larger, more complex, and more terrifying threat than the world has ever faced…

Sergei Lukyanenko was born in Kazakhstan and educated as a psychiatrist. He began publishing science fiction in the 1980s and has published more than twenty-five books. The three previous volumes of the Night Watch series have sold more than two million copies worldwide.
Official Sergei Lukyanenko Website
Preorder “Last Watch
HERE
NOTE:Last Watch”, first published in 2006 in Russia, was released in the UK on November 6, 2008 and Canada on November 25, 2008.

Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand” by Carrie Vaughn. Release Date: January 27, 2009. Published by
Grand Central Publishing.

Already the alpha pair of Denver's werewolf pack, Kitty and Ben now plan to tie the knot human-style by eloping to Vegas. Kitty is looking forward to sipping fru-fru drinks by the pool and doing her popular radio show on live TV, but her hotel is stocked with werewolf-hating bounty hunters.

Elsewhere on the Strip, an old-school magician might be wielding the real thing; the vampire community is harboring a dark secret; and the irresistible star of a suspicious animal act is determined to seduce Kitty. Sin City has never been so wild, and this werewolf has never had to fight harder to save not only her wedding, but her very life…

Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand” is the fifth novel in Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville urban fantasy series after Kitty and the Midnight Hour (2005), Kitty Goes to Washington (2006), Kitty Takes a Holiday (2007), and Kitty and the Silver Bullet (2008). Book six, “Kitty Raises Hell”, comes out February 24, 2009.
Official Carrie Vaughn Website
Preorder “Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand
HERE

Dragon In Chains” by Daniel Fox. Release Date: January 27, 2009. Published by
Del Rey. From award-winning author Daniel Fox comes a ravishingly written epic of revolution and romance set in a world where magic is found in stone and in water, in dragons and in men—and in the chains that bind them…

Deposed by a vicious usurper, a young emperor flees with his court to the small island of Taishu. There, with a dwindling army, a manipulative mother, and a resentful population—and his only friend a local fishergirl he takes as a concubine—he prepares for his last stand.

In the mountains of Taishu, a young miner finds a huge piece of jade, the potent mineral whose ingestion can gift the emperor with superhuman attributes. Setting out to deliver the stone to the embattled emperor, Yu Shan finds himself changing into something more than human, something forbidden.

Meanwhile, a great dragon lies beneath the strait that separates Taishu from the mainland, bound by chains that must be constantly renewed by the magic of a community of monks. When the monks are slaughtered by a willful pirate captain, a maimed slave assumes the terrible burden of keeping the dragon subdued. If he should fail, if she should rise free, the result will be slaughter on an unimaginable scale.

Now the prisoner beneath the sea and the men and women above it will shatter old bonds of loyalty and love and forge a common destiny from the ruins of an empire…
Official Daniel Fox Website
Official Daniel Fox Blog
Preorder “Dragons In Chain
HERE

The Domino Men” by Jonathan Barnes. Release Date: January 27, 2009 (US Debut). Published by
William Morrow. All is not well in the house of Windsor…

More than a century ago, Queen Victoria made a Faustian bargain with a nefarious entity. Now the bill—all the souls of London—is due. When young filing clerk Henry Lamb is pulled into the Directorate’s secret war against the House of Windsor, nothing is as it seems. His grandfather was a spy, his office mate has a nefarious agenda, and something evil lurks in the cellar beneath 10 Downing Street—two grown men who dress like schoolboys, and seem strangely familiar. And then things get really odd…

In the sequel to the crazed Victoriana of “The Somnambulist”, the imaginative and brilliant Jonathan Barnes brings his invention, satire, and curiosities up-to-date in an addicting—and Lovecraftian—spy thriller full of eccentricity and intrigue…
Preorder “The Domino Men
HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Review of "The Somnambulist"
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Interview with Jonathan Barnes

Bone Crossed” by Patricia Briggs. US Release Date: February 3, 2009. Published by
Ace Books. UK Release Date: February 5, 2009. Published by Orbit Books.

Car mechanic and sometime shapeshifter Mercy Thompson has learned, the hard way, why her race was almost exterminated. When European vampires immigrated to North America, they found Mercy's people had a hidden talent—for vampire slaying.

Unfortunately for Mercy, the queen of the local vampire seethe has discovered her true identity. She's also furious when she learns Mercy has crossed her and killed one of her vampires. Mercy may be protected from direct reprisals by the werewolf pack—and her interesting relationship with its Alpha—but that just means Marsilia will come after Mercy some other way. So Mercy had better prepare to watch her back…

Bone Crossed” is the fourth Mercy Thompson novel after “Moon Called”, “Blood Bound” and “Iron Kissed”.
Official Patricia Briggs Website
Preorder “Bone Crossed
HERE (US) + HERE (UK)

The Vampire Maker” by Michael Schiefelbein. Release Date: February 3, 2009. Published by
St. Martin’s Press. Victor Decimus—2,000 year old vampire and vampire-maker—returns, in his most compelling conflict to date…

Victor Decimus has been a vampire for over 2,000 years. Once a Roman Legionnaire, for millennia Victor has remained a step or two ahead of rivals, would-be executioners, and the mysterious Dark Kingdom, which sets the rules for vampires’ existence. Having left New York and his lover Paul Lewis, the vampire he made then abandoned to escape the vengeance of the Dark Kingdom, Victor sets himself up again—with his thrall—in New Orleans.

But in New Orleans, his thrall becomes the point of a new, larger conflict. On the one hand, a local priest seeks to break Victor’s hold over the thrall; on the other, the Dark Kingdom fears that Victor is going to become a Vampire Maker—one who continually creates new vampires, while refusing to take his place on the next plane of existence and thus creating an imbalance in the powers of the universe. And between both walks Victor—determined to have his own way and exert control, remains defiant to the end…

Michael Schiefelbein is the author of six books, including the Lambda Literary Award-nominated novels “Vampire Vow” and “Vampire Thrall”.
Preorder “The Vampire Maker
HERE

The Walls of the Universe” by Paul Melko. Release Date: February 3, 2009. Published by
Tor Books. John Rayburn thought all of his problems were the mundane ones of an Ohio farm boy in his last year in high school. Then his doppelgänger appeared, tempted him with a device that let him travel across worlds, and stole his life from him. John soon finds himself caroming through universes, unable to return home—the device is broken. John settles in a new universe to unravel its secrets and fix it.

Meanwhile, his doppelgänger tries to exploit the commercial technology he’s stolen from other Earths: the Rubik’s Cube! John’s attempts to lie low in his new universe backfire when he inadvertently introduces pinball. It becomes a huge success. Both actions draw the notice of other, more dangerous travelers, who are exploiting worlds for ominous purposes. Fast-paced and exciting, “The Walls of the Universe” is SF adventure at its best from rising star, Paul Melko (Singularity’s Ring)…
Official Paul Melko Website
Preorder “The Walls of the Universe
HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Review of “Singularity’s Ring

The Séance” by John Harwood. Release Date: February 3, 2009 (US Debut). Published by
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. A haunting tale of apparitions, a cursed manor house, and two generations of women determined to discover the truth, by the author of the 2004 International Horror Guild Award-winning “The Ghost Writer”…

Sell the Hall unseen; burn it to the ground and plow the earth with salt, if you will; but never live there . . .

Constance Langton grows up in a household marked by death, her father distant, her mother in perpetual mourning for Constance’s sister, the child she lost. Desperate to coax her mother back to health, Constance takes her to a séance: perhaps she will find comfort from beyond the grave. But the meeting has tragic consequences. Constance is left alone, her only legacy a mysterious bequest that will blight her life.

So begins “The Séance”, John Harwood’s brilliant second novel, a gripping, dark mystery set in late-Victorian England. It is a world of apparitions, of disappearances and unnatural phenomena, of betrayal and blackmail and black-hearted villains—and murder. For Constance’s bequest comes in two parts: a house and a mystery. Years before, a family disappeared at Wraxford Hall, a decaying mansion in the English countryside with a sinister reputation. Now the Hall belongs to Constance. And she must descend into the darkness at the heart of the Wraxford Mystery to find the truth, even at the cost of her life…
Preorder “The Séance
HERE

Dexter By Design” by Jeff Lindsay. UK Release Date: February 5, 2009. Published by
Orion.

Being a blood spatter analyst who hates the sight of blood has always made Dexter's work for the Miami PD tough. But it means he's very neat when it comes to his out-of-hours hobby: murder. Of course, the fact Dexter only kills bad people helps too.

Now Dex is facing a disturbing situation. He's used to blood at work, and blood when he's out with the dark passenger—the voice that guides him on his deadly outings. But he's not sure what to make of the man who says blood is art. Using bodies as his canvas, someone is out there expressing themselves in the most lethal and painful of ways.

If Dexter is to escape the scalpel and avoid becoming the latest exhibit, he needs somewhere to run . . . and he might just have found the perfect place. With his wedding looming, completing his nice-guy disguise, Dexter's honeymoon might just save his skin…

From the most original voice in crime fiction, “Dexter By Design” is an enthralling, macabre and gruesomely entertaining thriller.
Official Jeff Lindsay Website
Preorder “Dexter By Design
HERE
NOTE:Dexter By Design” is the fourth Dexter novel after “Darkly Dreaming Dexter”, “Dearly Devoted Dexter” and “Dexter in the Dark”.

The Rise of the Iron Moon” by Stephen Hunt. UK Release Date: February 9, 2009. Published by
Voyager. From the author of “The Court of the Air” and “The Kingdom Beyond the Waves” comes a thrilling new adventure set in the same Victorian-style world…

Born into captivity as a product of the Royal Breeding House, friendless orphan Purity Drake suddenly finds herself on the run with a foreign vagrant from the North after accidentally killing one of her guards. Her strange rescuer claims he is on the run himself from terrible forces who mean to enslave the Kingdom of Jackals as they conquered his own nation.

Purity doubts his story, until reports begin to filter through from Jackals' neighbours of the terrible Army of Shadows, marching across the continent and sweeping all before them. But there's more to Purity than meets the eye.

As Jackals girds itself for war against an army of near-unkillable beasts serving an ancient evil with a terrible secret, it soon becomes clear that their only hope is a strange little royalist girl and the last, desperate plan of an escaped slave…
Official Stephen Hunt Website
Preorder “The Rise of the Iron Moon
HERE
Read An Excerpt
HERE

Tuck” by Stephen R. Lawhead. Release Date: February 10, 2009. Published by
Thomas Nelson. UK Release Date: April 2, 2009. Published by Atom Books. For centuries, the legend of Robin Hood and his band of thieves has captivated the imagination. Now, the old familiar tale takes on new life, fresh meaning, and an unexpected setting…

As King Raven, Bran ap Brychan is Lord of the Forest. But his true crown seems out of reach. Bran is still fighting to bring his people justice from the shadows of the green wood. But Abbot Hugo is used to playing the long game and has been watching—and learning.

Abbot Hugo plans to bring the invading Norman marchogi to the forest in force, heralding the start of a campaign to wipe out King Raven and his band once and for all. Their merciless attack, the first of many, marks a dark day for the realm. And the dream of seeing a true king take the throne of Elfael seems increasingly remote. Bran and his few stalwarts desperately need encouragement and reinforcement if they are to survive. Friar Tuck, a most unconventional priest, may just have a solution to their dilemma…

Tuck” is the thrilling conclusion to Stephen R. Lawhead’s King Raven Trilogy.
Official Stephen R. Lawhead Website
Preorder “Tuck
HERE (US) + HERE (UK)

Hater” by David Moody. US Release Date: February 17, 2009. Published by
Thomas Dunne Books. UK Release Date: February 19, 2009. Published by Gollancz.

A man stops in fear and terror in a city crowd and suddenly lunges at a complete stranger, stabbing her to death with the end of his umbrella. A teenage girl stares at her best friend in frightened loathing and without warning, kills her. Seemingly without provocation a man strangles his wife of more than thirty years, with his bathrobe sash. Called “Haters” by the media, these attackers strike without warning in an escalating crescendo of inexplicable violence. In seconds, rational, normal people become remorseless killers. Anyone—or everyone— can become a victim—or a Hater.

When mortal terror roams abroad—what happens to a society? When neighbor fears neighbor, when no one knows whether he may be killed or become a killer—who is safe? And who can be trusted?

In the tradition of H.G. Wells and Anthony Burgess, with the punch of recent hits like World War Z, I Am Legend, and the 28 Days Later film series, this is one man’s story of his place in a world gone mad—a world infected with fear, violence and hate. “Hater” reads like a roller coaster ride through hell, stopping long enough to call into question the issues of trust and fear that can build and destroy civilizations…

David Moody self-published “Hater” in 2006 and sold the film rights to director/producer
Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy 1 & 2, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Hobbit) and producer Mark Johnson (The Chronicles of Narnia) without an agent. With the official publication of “Hater”, David is poised to make a significant mark as a writer of “farther out” genre books of all description.

“A head-spinning thrill ride, a cautionary tale about the most salient emotion of the 21st century...Hater will haunt you long after you read the last page...” —
Guillermo del Toro, director of Hellboy 1 & 2, Pan’s Labyrinth, and the upcoming Hobbit movies

David Moody’s Hater is a brutal, eerie, and hugely entertaining novel that grips you with its grim and nihilistic attitude from page one. The attention to detail used to paint an average man’s often frustrating life is as disturbing as the bloody violencethat follows, giving us one of the year’s most readable nerve-shredders.” —
Tom Piccirilli, author of The Midnight Road

“With Hater David Moody spins paranoia into a deliciously dark new direction. Eerie, violent and infused with a dark magic. Moody is one scary guy.” —
Jonathan Maberry, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Ghost Road Blues and Patient Zero

Hater touches something universal and truly scary—the little voice in all of our heads that tells us the difference between 'us' and 'them'. Subtly drawn, engrossing characters take us inside a landscape of paranoia and fear.” —
David Wellington, author of Monster Island, 99 Coffins, and Vampire Zero
Official David Moody Website
Preorder “Hater
HERE

The Manual of Detection” by Jedediah Berry. Release Date: February 19, 2009. Published by
Penguin Press. UK Release Date: March 5, 2009. Published by William Heinemann Ltd. In this tightly plotted yet mind-expanding debut novel, an unlikely detective, armed only with an umbrella and a singular handbook, must untangle a string of crimes committed in and through people’s dreams…

In an unnamed city always slick with rain, Charles Unwin toils as a clerk at a huge, imperious detective agency. All he knows about solving mysteries comes from the reports he’s filed for the illustrious detective, Travis Sivart. When Sivart goes missing and his supervisor turns up murdered, Unwin is suddenly promoted to detective, a rank for which he lacks both the skills and the stomach. His only guidance comes from his new assistant—who would be perfect if she weren’t so sleepy—and from the pithy yet profound Manual of Detection (think The Art of War as told to Damon Runyon).

Unwin mounts his search for Sivart, but is soon framed for murder, pursued by goons and gunmen, and confounded by the infamous femme fatale Cleo Greenwood. Meanwhile, strange and troubling questions proliferate: why does the mummy at the Municipal Museum have modern-day dental work? Where have all the city’s alarm clocks gone? Why is Unwin’s copy of the manual missing Chapter 18?

When he discovers that Sivart’s greatest cases—including the Three Deaths of Colonel Baker and the Man Who Stole November 12th—were solved incorrectly, Unwin must enter the dreams of a murdered man and face a criminal mastermind bent on total control of a slumbering city…

The Manual of Detection” will draw comparison to every work of imaginative fiction that ever blew a reader’s mind—from Carlos Ruiz Zafón to Jorge Luis Borges, from The Big Sleep to The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. But, ultimately, it defies comparison and is a brilliantly conceived, meticulously realized novel that will change what you think about how you think.
Official Jedediah Berry Website
Preorder “The Manual of Detection
HERE

The Caryatids” by Bruce Sterling. Release Date: February 24, 2009. Published by
Del Rey. In the vein of William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition and Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, The Caryatids looks at the near future and forecasts not just problems, but incredible solutions using technology currently under development.

The caryatids are three identical clone sisters: Vera, a pollution expert who’s dealing with worldwide cleanup efforts; Mila, media star extraordinaire and member of the most powerful family-firm in southern California; and Sonja, a medical specialist stationed deep within China’s Gobi Desert. All three have the brains and the talents desperately needed to save a world suffering from global warming, runaway pollution, and uncontrolled political maneuvering. Too bad their explosive family history has left them hating each other…

“A tour de force. . . . Of all the horde of SF novels about clones written since that trope was pulled mewling from its artificial womb, Caryatids is the first one that nails it.”—
Benjamin Rosenbaum, author of The Ant King: and Other Stories

Bruce Sterling is the Hugo Award-winning author of ten novels, three of which were selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. A renowned futurist, he has delivered keynote speeches to, or served on the boards of, such diverse organizations as NASA, the Institute for New Cultures Technology in Vienna, and the MIT Media Lab. He has written for many magazines, including Newsweek, Fortune, and Wired, to which he was a longtime contributing editor.
Official Bruce Sterling Wikipedia Website
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HERE

Palimpsest” by Catherynne M. Valente. Release Date: February 24, 2009. Published by
Bantam Spectra. There is a city you have never heard of. It is a city of dreams and flesh, of night-terrors and exaltation. It is a city that exists as a virus, passed from person to person, on skin and on bone, streets and alleys and factories and orchestral halls crawling and thriving, infinitesimally small, on the bodies of those who have been touched by Palimpsest. And once you have entered this place, once you have tasted it, you will do anything to get back…

Catherynne M. Valente's mythmaking two volume masterpiece, known collectively as the Orphan's Tales, was published to wide acclaim, receiving starred reviews from Kirkus, Library Journal, and Booklist. The first novel in the series was also shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award, appeared on the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age List, and won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. Now, in “Palimpsest”, she weaves a lyrically erotic spell of a place where the grotesque and the beautiful reside and the passport to our most secret fantasies begins with a stranger's kiss…

Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the End of the World is the city of Palimpsest. To get there is a miracle, a mystery, a gift, and a curse-a voyage permitted only those who've always believed there's another world than the one that meets the eye. Those fit to make the passage recognize each other on sight and are marked forever by a map of that wondrous city tattooed on their flesh after a single orgasmic night. To this kingdom of ghost trains, lion-priests, living kanji, and cream-filled canals come four travelers: Oleg, a locksmith from a vanished Manhattan; the beekeeper November; Ludovico, a binder of rare books; and a young Japanese woman named Sei. They've each lost something important—a wife, a lover, a sister, a direction in life—and what they will find in Palimpsest is more than they could ever imagine exists…
Official Catherynne M. Valente Website
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HERE

White Witch, Black Curse” by Kim Harrison. Release Date: February 24, 2009. Published by
EOS Books. Some wounds take time to heal . . . and some scars never fade.

Rachel Morgan, kick-ass witch and bounty hunter, has taken her fair share of hits, and broken lines she swore she would never cross. But when her lover was murdered, it left a deeper wound than Rachel ever imagined, and now she won’t rest until his death is solved . . . and avenged. Whatever the cost.

Yet the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and when an apex predator moves to the top of the Inderlander food chain, Rachel’s past comes back to haunt her. Literally…

New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison returns to the sinister and seductive Hollows for the newest blockbuster adventure featuring Rachel Morgan, witch and bounty-hunter.
Official Kim Harrison Website
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HERE

Kitty Raises Hell” by Carrie Vaughn. Release Date: February 24, 2009. Published by
Grand Central Publishing. Sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas…

Kitty and Ben flee The City That Never Sleeps, thinking they were finished with the dangers there, but the sadistic cult of lycanthropes and their vampire priestess have laid a curse on Kitty in revenge for her disrupting their rituals. Starting at the next full moon, danger and destruction in the form of fire strikes Kitty and the pack of werewolves she's sworn to protect.

Kitty enlists the help of a group of TV paranormal investigators—one of whom has real psychic abilities—to help her get to the bottom of the curse that's been laid on her. Rick, the Master vampire of Denver, believes a deeper plot lies behind the curse, and he and Kitty argue about whether or not to accept the help of a professional demon hunter—and vampire—named Roman, who arrives a little too conveniently in the nick of time.

Unable to rely on Rick, and unwilling to accept Roman's offer of help for a price, Kitty and her band of allies, including Vegas magician Odysseus Grant and Kitty's own radio audience, mount a trap for the supernatural being behind the curse . . . a supernatural being that none of them ever thought to face…
Official Carrie Vaughn Website
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HERE

Jailbait Zombie” by Mario Acevedo. Release Date: February 24, 2009. Published by
EOS Books. “The Araneum, the worldwide network of vampires, has one standing order: Destroy all zombies. The reason? We must ruthlessly protect the Great Secret—the existence of the supernatural world—from humans. Their disbelief of the supernatural was what kept us vampires safe. Against their growing technical prowess and corporate savagery, what chance did we the undead have? Our best hope for survival was to remain cloaked by superstition and fable. Protecting the Great Secret is what I do for the Araneum. My day job is private detective. My real job is the pro bono work I do as a vampire enforcer.” —Felix Gomez

The suburbs of Denver were bad enough. Now the Colorado mountains are being overrun with the undead—the kind of supernatural folk that spell trouble for Felix Gomez and his kind. To kill an army of zombies run by gangsters, the vampire detective must team up with a precocious teen with clairvoyant powers. But she demands something big in return: she wants to be undead too…
Official Mario Acevedo Website
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HERE

Road Trip of the Living Dead” by Mark Henry. Release Date: February 24, 2009. Published by
Kensington Books. Funny, sexy, ghoulish, and fabulous—Mark Henry’s second Amanda Feral novel after “Happy Hour of the Damned” brings Seattle’s favorite fashionable zombie back for more outrageously ghoulish adventures…

Thanks to her friend Gil’s latest money-grabbing scheme gone wrong, Amanda Feral is now zombie non grata at all of Seattle’s hottest events—pure hell for a fashionable undead socialite like herself.

The answer: a road trip with Amanda’s best zombie friend Wendy and the clueless Gil, which will allow his enemies time to cool down and give Amanda a chance to visit her dying mother, a woman who’s never been in touch with her maternal instincts. Along the way they’ll confront unfriendly ghosts, a kraken, and a super-hot werewolf, plus assorted murderous fiends. And it’ll take more than biting wit and a flair for accessorizing for Amanda to get herself and her friends out of this one (semi) alive…
Official Mark Henry Website
Preorder “Road Trip of the Living Dead
HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Review of “Happy Hour of the Damned

Raven” by Giles Kristian. UK Release Date: February 26, 2009. Published by
Bantam Press UK.

For two years Osric has lived a simple life, apprentice to the mute old carpenter who took him in when others would have him cast out. But when Norsemen from across the sea burn his village they also destroy his new life, and Osric finds himself a prisoner of these warriors. Their chief, Sigurd the Lucky, believes the Norns have woven this strange boy's fate together with his own, and Osric begins to sense glorious purpose among this Fellowship of warriors.

Immersed in the Norsemen's world and driven by their lust for adventure, Osric proves a natural warrior and forges a blood bond with Sigurd, who renames him Raven. But the Norsemen's world is a savage one, where loyalty is often repaid in blood and where a young man must become a killer to survive. When the Fellowship faces annihilation from ealdorman Ealdred of Wessex, Raven chooses a bloody and dangerous path, accepting the mission of raiding deep into hostile lands to steal a holy book from Coenwolf, King of Mercia.

There he will find much more than the Holy Gospels of St Jerome. He will find Cynethryth, an English girl with a soul to match his own. And he will find betrayal at the hands of cruel men, some of whom he regarded as friends...
Official Giles Kristian Website
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HERE

Patient Zero” by Jonathan Maberry. US Release Date: March 3, 2009. Published by
St. Martin’s Griffin. UK Release Date: April 16, 2009. Published by Gollancz.

From multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author Jonathan Maberry comes a major new thriller which mixes together the best of the New York Times bestselling books “World War Z” by
Max Brooks and James Rollins’ Sigma Force novels to kick-off a new series featuring Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences

When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there’s either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills . . . and there’s nothing wrong with Joe Ledger’s skills. And that’s both a good, and a bad thing. It’s good because he’s a Baltimore detective that has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new taskforce created to deal with the problems that Homeland Security can’t handle. This rapid response group is called the Department of Military Sciences or the DMS for short. It’s bad because his first mission is to help stop a group of terrorists from releasing a dreadful bio-weapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies. The fate of the world hangs in the balance…

Patient Zero is high-octane excitement from beginning to end, and the start of a fabulous new series. Joe Ledger and the DMS have my vote as the team to beat when combating terrorist threats on a grand scale.” —
David Morrell, New York Times-bestselling author of First Blood and Creepers

Jonathan Maberry’s Patient Zero strips today’s headlines and offers a frightening tale of how far extremists will go to succeed. Brilliant, shocking, horrifying, it puts the terror back in terrorist.” —
James Rollins, New York Times-bestselling author of The Judas Strain

Jonathan Maberry is the author of “Ghost Road Blues”, first of a trilogy of thrillers with a supernatural bite. He is a professional writer and writing teacher and since 1979 has sold more than 1100 articles, seventeen nonfiction books, six novels, as well as short stories, poetry, song lyrics, video scripts, and two plays. In 2004, Jonathan was inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame largely because of his extensive writings in that field.
Official Jonathan Maberry Website
Preorder “Patient Zero
HERE (US) + HERE (UK)
Read An Excerpt
HERE
Read Reviews via
Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review + The Wertzone

Thicker Than Water” by Mike Carey. UK Release Date: March 5, 2009. Published by
Orbit UK. Old ghosts of different kinds come back to haunt Fix, in the fourth gripping Felix Castor novel…

Names and faces he thought he'd left behind in Liverpool resurface in London, bringing Castor far more trouble than he'd anticipated. Childhood memories, family traumas, sins old and new, and a council estate that was meant to be a modern utopia until it turned into something like hell . . . these are just some of the sticks life uses to beat Felix Castor with as things go from bad to worse for London’s favourite freelance exorcist.

See, Castor’s stepped over the line, this time, and he knows he’ll have to pay; the only question is: how much? Not the best of times, then, for an unwelcome confrontation with his holier-than-thou brother, Matthew. And just when he thinks things can't possibly get any worse, along comes Father Gwillam and the Anathemata. Oh joy…
Official Mike Carey Website
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HERE

Seeds of Earth” by Michael Cobley. Release Date: March 5, 2009. Published by
Orbit UK.

First contact was not supposed to be like this. The first intelligent species to encounter Mankind attacked without warning and swarmed locust-like through the solar system. Merciless. Relentless. Unstoppable. With little hope of halting the savage invasion, Earth’s last, desperate roll of the dice was to send out three colony ships, seeds of Earth, to different parts of the galaxy. Earth may perish but the human race would live on . . . somewhere.

150 years later, the human colony on the planet Darien has established a new world for Humanity and forged a peaceful relationship with the planet’s indigenous race, the scholarly, enigmatic Uvovo. But there are secrets buried beneath the surface of Darien’s forest moon. Secrets that go back to an apocalyptic battle fought between ancient forerunner races at the dawn of galactic civilization.

Life is about to change for the last children of Earth, as surprises spring from below and above. How will the Darien colonists react when all they have worked for is overturned at a stroke? And what choices will the Uvovo make when their true nature is revealed and the skies grow dark with enemies?

Seeds of Earth” is the first volume in Michael Cobley’s Humanity’s Fire sequence—a multi-layered, 21st century take on the classic tropes of space opera by a bold new voice in British science fiction.
Official Michael Cobley Website
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HERE

Vlad: The Last Confession” by C.C. Humphreys. UK Release Date: March 5, 2009. Published by
Orion. Dracula. A name of horror, depravity and the darkest sensuality…

Yet the real Dracula was just as alluring, just as terrifying, his story not of a monster but of a man and a contradiction. For the one they called 'The Devil's Son' was both tyrant and lawgiver, crusader and mass slaughterer, torturer and hero, lover and murderer.

His tale is told by those who knew him best. The only woman he ever loved and whom he has to sacrifice. His closest comrade and traitor. And his priest, betraying the secrets of the confessional to reveal the mind of the man history would forever remember as Tepes—'The Impaler'.

But Vlad's actions defy such labels. His extraordinary life burns with passion, taking him from his years as hostage to the Turk, through torture, battle, triumph and betrayal, ultimately to a last crusade—there perhaps, beneath the twin banners of the Dragon and the Cross, to find redemption for his innumerable sins.

Vlad: The Last Confession” spins legend and facts together into a monumental novel of blood, love and terror. This is the true story of Dracula as it has never been told before…
Official C.C. Humphreys Website
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HERE

Hell’s Horizon” by D.B. Shan. UK Release Date: March 9, 2009. Published by
Voyager. “Hell’s Horizon” is the second volume—after “Procession of the Dead”—in a noirish, gritty urban fantasy series for adults from the bestselling author otherwise known as Darren Shan

The Cardinal is the City and the City is The Cardinal. They are joined at the soul. When Al Jeery is seconded by The Cardinal from guard duties at Party Central to investigate the murder of a woman at a hotel, he little suspects that the dead woman will turn out to be his girlfriend. Soon he is involved in a terrifying mystery that draws in the dead, the city's Incan forefathers, the imposing figure of The Cardinal himself, and the near-mythical assassin, Paucar Wami.

Wami is a law unto himself, a shadowy, mysterious figure who can apparently kill anyone he chooses without fear of punishment or retribution. And Al is about to find out that he has a lot more in common with Wami than he could ever have imagined...
Official D.B. Shan Website
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HERE

The Warded Man” by Peter V. Brett. Release Date: March 10, 2009 (US Debut). Published by
Del Rey. “There’s a wide world out there, for those willing to brave the dark . . .

As darkness falls each night, the corelings rise, demons who well up from the ground like hellish steam. They possess supernatural strength and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity—ready to slaughter anyone unlucky enough to be outside a warded building after sunset.

When tragedy strikes his tiny village and his family, young Arlen decides to brave the night roads as the kingdom’s Messengers do: facing the demons across thin air, with only the barrier of dirt-drawn wards to protect him.

Soon, armed with a mysterious set of fighting wards, Arlen discovers an ancient artifact and becomes a legendary demon-fighter—the Warded Man. With the help of Leesha, a brave, expert healer, and Rojer, whose music can hold demons at bay, Arlen attempts something not dreamt of since ancient times: a stand against the night…

“There is much to admire in Peter Brett’s writing, and his concept is brilliant. Action and suspense all the way.” —Terry Brooks, New York Times bestselling author of The Gypsy Morph

“Tremendously readable . . . a great adventure novel.”—Charlaine Harris, New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series
Official The Warded Man Forum
Preorder “The Warded Man
HERE
NOTE:The Warded Man” was released in the UK on September 1, 2008 under the title, “The Painted Man” (
Harper Voyager), and is the first book in the Demon Trilogy. Reviews of the book can be found via Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review, NextRead, SFRevu, and The Wertzone. A review from Fantasy Book Critic will be posted in the near future.

The Mystery of Grace” by Charles de Lint. Release Date: March 17, 2009. Published by
Tor Books. Three years after his last major adult novel, Charles de Lint returns with a new tale of magic, loss, and redemption. Centered on a remarkable female protagonist and entirely self-contained, this is modern contemporary fantasy as invented and pioneered by de Lint himself…

Altagracia—her friends call her Grace—has a tattoo of Nuestra Señora de Altagracia on her shoulder; she’s got a Ford Motor Company tattoo running down her leg, and she has grease worked so deep into her hands that it’'ll never wash out.

Grace works at Sanchez Motor Works, customizing hot rods. A few blocks around her small apartment building is all her world—from the grocery store where she buys beans, tamales, and cigarettes, to the library, the little record shop, and the Solona Music Hall. Which is where she meets John Burns, just two weeks too late.

Grace and John fall for one another, and that would be wonderful, except that they’re both haunted by unfinished business. Before their relationship can be resolved, they’re both going to have to learn things they don't know about the world of the living, and the world beyond. About why it's necessary to let some things go…

Charles de Lint’s evocative novels—including Moonheart, The Onion Girl, and Widdershins—have earned him a devoted following and critical acclaim as a master of contemporary magical fiction in the manner of storytellers like John Crowley, Jonathan Carroll, Alice Hoffman, Ray Bradbury, and Isabel Allende.
Official Charles de Lint Website
Preorder “The Mystery of Grace
HERE
NOTE: The image above is the
John Jude Palencar painting that was done for the book cover to “The Mystery of Grace”. Unfortunately, the painting was deemed too grim for the story, so another piece by the artist has been commissioned. I’m a big fan of Palencar’s artwork, so even though this piece won’t be used for the cover, I still wanted to showcase it :)

Aftershock and Others: 19 Oddities” by F. Paul Wilson. Release Date: March 17, 2009. Published by
Forge. A striking collection of exciting stories by the bestselling author of the Repairman Jack novels…

Aftershock & Others is the third collection of short fiction by New York Times bestselling author F. Paul Wilson, hailed by the Rocky Mountain News as “among the finest storytellers of our times.” The title novelette won the Bram Stoker Award and its companions touch on the past, present, and future—from the inflationary insanity of Weimar Germany (“Aryans and Absinthe”) to disco club–era Manhattan (“When He Was Fab”), to the rationing of medical services in a grim near future (“Offshore”). Wilson’s stylistic diversity and versatility are on display in stories that pay tribute to Ray Bradbury (“The November Game”), use a sentient killer virus as a point-of-view character (“Lysing toward Bethlehem”), and pay unabashed homage to pure pulp fiction in two yellow peril stories (“Sex Slaves of the Dragon Tong” and “Part of the Game”). And finally, Wilson treats us to his popular antihero Repairman Jack at his most inventive: trapped in a drugstore with four killers (“Interlude at Duane’s”).

Praise for F. Paul Wilson:

F. Paul Wilson is a great storyteller and a thoughtful one. He speculates about real science to generate real suspense while raising troubling, real issues we may all be dealing with much sooner than we expect.” —
David Morrell, New York Times-bestselling author of First Blood and Creepers

F. Paul Wilson is a writer’s writer, and I grab anything he’s written with enthusiasm.” —
Joe R. Landsdale, author of Freezer Burn

“Like the best of Dean Koontz’s work,Wilson’s work combines an action-adventure yarn with a touch of the fantastic.” —
The Denver Post
Official F. Paul Wilson Website
Preorder “Aftershock and Others: 19 Oddities
HERE

One Second After” by William R. Forstchen. Release Date: March 17, 2009. Published by
Forge. An end-of-the-world novel to rank with The Stand and Lucifer’s Hammer

The world is coming to an end.
Is it the Mayan 2012 apocalypse?
The Rapture? Islamic terrorists?
Or high-tech weapons from hell?

Overnight, the world’s trains, planes, cars, trucks, phones, computers, power plants, electronics, and electrical equipment come to a screeching stop. Looting, food riots, and insurrection engulf the globe as the End Time descends. Can it be stopped? A small mountain village in the American South is humanity’s last best hope…

“Civilization slides into the abyss of a new dark age in this horrifying apocalyptic novel. Forstchen has put Bin Laden’s wet dream on paper and, in the process, taken civilization straight to the rack.” —
Stephen Coonts, New York Times-bestselling author of The Assassin

“Good storytelling consists very simply of creating characters so believable that the reader forms a deep bond. Forstchen did such a damned fine job with One Second After that shortly after the first page, I had been reeled in hook, line, and sinker.” —
David Hagberg, USA Today-bestselling author of Dance with the Dragon

William R. Forstchen, PhD, is a professor of history at Montreat College in Montreat, North Carolina. He received his doctorate from Purdue University and specialized in the American Civil War. He is the coauthor of a New York Times bestselling series of Civil War novels, including Grant Comes East and Day of Retreat.
Official William R. Forstchen Website
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HERE

The Adamantine Palace” by Stephen Deas. UK Release Date: March 19, 2009. Published by
Gollancz. The Adamantine Palace lies at the centre of an empire that grew out of ashes. Once dragons ruled the world and man was little more than prey. Then a way of subduing the dragons alchemically was discovered and now the dragons are bred to be little more than mounts for knights and highly valued tokens in the diplomatic power-players that underpin the rule of the competing aristocratic houses. The Empire has grown fat.

And now one man wants it for himself. A man prepared to poison the king just as he has poisoned his own father. A man prepared to murder his lover and bed her daughter. A man fit to be king? But unknown to him there are flames on the way. A single dragon has gone missing. And even one dragon on the loose—unsubdued, returned to its full intelligence, its fury full—could spell disaster for the Empire. Because of the actions of one unscrupulous mercenary however, the rivals for the throne could soon be facing hundreds of dragons…

Stephen Deas has written a fast moving and action-fuelled fantasy laced with irony, razor-sharp characters, dialogue to die for and dragons to die by…
Official Stephen Deas Website
Preorder ”The Adamantine Palace
HERE
Read Excerpts
HERE
Read Reviews via
Sandstorm Reviews, SFF World + The Wertzone

The Twilight Herald” by Tom Lloyd. Release Date: March 24, 2009 (US Debut). Published by
Pyr Books.

Lord Bahl is dead and the young white-eye, Isak, stands in his place. Less than a year after being plucked from obscurity and poverty, the charismatic new Lord of the Farlan finds himself unprepared to deal with the attempt on his life that now spells war, and the possibility of rebellion waiting for him at home.

Now the eyes of the land turn to the minor city of Scree, which could soon be obliterated as the new Lord of the Farlan flexes his powers. Scree is suffering under an unnatural summer drought and surrounded by volatile mercenary armies that may be its only salvation.

This is a strange sanctuary for a fugitive abbot to flee to—but he is only the first of many to be drawn there. Kings and princes, lords and monsters, all walk the sun-scorched streets.

As elite soldiers clash after dark and actors perform cruel and subversive plays that work their way into the hearts of the audience, the city begins to tear itself apart—yet even chaos can be scripted.

There is a malevolent will at work in Scree, one that has a lesson for the entire land: nations can be manipulated, prophecies perverted and Gods denied.

Nothing lies beyond the reach of a shadow, and no matter how great a man’s power, there are some things he cannot be protected from…
Official Tom Lloyd Website
Preorder “The Twilight Herald
HERE
NOTE: For a full look at
Pyr Book’s Upcoming Spring/Summer 2009 schedule, check out the Pyr Blog post HERE or Download the Catalog HERE.

Midwinter” by Matthew Sturges. Release Date: March 24, 2009. Published by
Pyr Books. Winter comes to the land only once in a hundred years. But the snow covers ancient secrets—secrets that could topple a kingdom…

Mauritaine was a war hero, a captain in the Seelie Army. Then he was accused of treason and sentenced to life without parole at Crere Sulace, a dark and ancient prison in the mountains, far from the City Emerald. But now the Seelie Queen—Regina Titania herself—has offered him one last chance to redeem himself, an opportunity to regain his freedom and his honor.

Unfortunately, it’s a suicide mission, which is why only Mauritaine and the few prisoners he trusts enough to accompany him, would even dare attempt it: Raieve, beautiful and harsh, an emissary from a foreign land caught in the wrong place at the wrong time; Perrin Alt, Lord Silverdun, a nobleman imprisoned as a result of political intrigues so Byzantine that not even he understands them; and Brian Satterly, a human physicist, apprehended searching for the human victims of the faery changeling trade.

Meanwhile, dark forces are at work at home and abroad. In the Seelie kingdom, the reluctant soldier Purane-Es burns with hatred for Mauritaine, and plots to steal the one thing that remains to him: his wife. Across the border, the black artist Hy Pezho courts the whim of Mab, offering a deadly weapon that could allow the Unseelie in their flying cities to crush Titania and her army once and for all.

With time running out, Mauritaine and his companions must cross the deadly Contested Lands filled with dire magical fallout from wars past. They will confront mounted patrols, brigands, and a traitor in their midst. And before they reach their destination, as the Unseelie Armies led by Queen Mab approach the border, Mauritaine must decide between his own freedom and the fate of the very land that has forsaken him…
Official Matthew Sturges Blog
Preorder “Midwinter
HERE

One” by Conrad Williams. Release Date: April 2, 2009. Published by
Virgin Books. This is the United Kingdom, but it's no country you know. No place you ever want to see, even in the howling, shuttered madness of your worst dreams. You survived. One man…

You walk because you have to. You have no choice. At the end of this molten road, running along the spine of a burned, battered country, your little boy is either alive or dead. You have to know. You have to find an end to it all. One hope…

The sky crawls with thick, venomous cloud. and burning red rain. The land is a scorched sprawl of rubble and corpses. Rats have risen from the depths to gorge on the carrion. A strange, glittering dust coats everything. The dust hides a terrible secret. New horrors are taking root. You walk on. One chance…
Official Conrad Williams Website
Preorder “One
HERE
NOTE: The author is offering the First Chapter (PDF) of “One” to anybody who is interested, absolutely free! All you have to do is email Conrad Williams
HERE.

Red-Headed Stepchild” by Jaye Wells. Release Date: April 2, 2009. Published by
Orbit UK.

In a world where being of mixed-blood is a major liability, Sabina doesn’t really fit in. And being an assassin—the only profession fit for an outcast—doesn't help matters. But she's never brought her work home. Until now.

Her latest mission is uncomfortably complex, and threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races. As Sabina scrambles to figure out which side she's on, she uncovers a tangled political web, some nasty facts about her family and some unexpected new talents. Any of these things could be worryingly life-changing, but together, they could be fatal…
Official Jaye Wells Blog
Preorder “Red-Headed Stepchild
HERE

The Absence” by Bill Hussey. UK Release Date: April 2, 2009. Published by
Bloody Books. From the author of “Through a Glass, Darkly” comes a new tale of horror inspired by ancient myths and religions…

It was a tragic accident. That is what his family tells young Joe Nightingale who is tormented by visions of his mother’s death.

Now, seven months after the fatal car crash, the Nightingales receive some unexpected news. They have inherited a house from a distant relative—the reclusive Muriel Sutton. Desperate to renew old bonds, the family decides to spend the summer at Daecher’s Mill. Here they hope to escape the shadows of the past.

But dark mysteries await them. Who are the guests that have been brought here over the years? Why did the late Muriel Sutton murder her strange little sister, Alice? And what is the connection between Joe Nightingale and this lonely Fenland millhouse?

There is also a presence in Daecher’s Mill. It looks and sounds like a little girl, but its eyes are old and its voice runs like water. It is a weaver of shadows. A creature of Absence
Official Bill Hussey Website
Official Bloody Books Blog
Preorder “The Absence
HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Review of “Through a Glass, Darkly

Corambis” by Sarah Monette. Release Date: April 7, 2009. Published by
Ace Books. From award-winning author Sarah Monette, comes the spellbinding conclusion to The Doctrine of Labyrinths

Exiled from Mélusine for the crime of heresy, the once powerful Cabaline wizard, Felix Harrowgate, and his half-brother Mildmay—former cat-burglar and assassin—journey to Corambis to face judgment from a ruling body of wizards. Corambis, however, is a land plagued by civil strife.

Kay Brightmore, the Margrave of Rothmarlin, is part of an insurrection to restore the monarchy in the southern half of the country. In desperation, Kay and his rebels seek out the engine of Summerdown, an ancient magical device rumored to have terrible powers. Once the engine is awakened, only a powerful wizard can stop its awesome potential for destruction. Felix and Mildmay arrive just in time for their greatest challenge—and ultimate destiny…
Official Sarah Monette Website
Preorder “Corambis
HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Review of “The Mirador
NOTE:Corambis” is the fourth Doctrine of Labyrinths novel after “Mélusine”, “The Virtu” and “The Mirador”.

Kings and Assassins” by Lane Robins. Release Date: April 21, 2009. Published by
Del Rey. A mesmerizing new voice in dark fantasy, Lane Robins has written a glittering, diabolical tapestry of power, desire, treachery, and a remorseless rage that will rule a kingdom . . . or destroy it…

Controlled by an aristocracy whose depraved whims bow to neither law nor gods, the kingdom of Antyre is now under siege from the only man who can save it. He is Janus Ixion, the new Earl of Last, whose matchless fighting abilities and leadership strike terror in Antyre's powerful noble houses.

For Janus is the illegitimate son who has returned from brutal slums to reclaim his birthright. And he will go to any lengths to become king and reverse his country's decline. But with a conquering foreign prince sowing chaos throughout the kingdom, Janus must battle the terrifying power of Antyre's forgotten god, one who has gifted Janus' vengeful wife with mysterious, dangerous skills. And as Antyre nears irrevocable collapse, Janus' manipulations and all-consuming ambition will force him and his country to choose between the rule of resurgent gods . . . or a victor's throne of ashes…
Official Lane Robins Website
Preorder “Kings and Assassins
HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Review of “Maledicte
NOTE:Kings and Assassins” is set a few years after the events of “Maledicte”.

Blood of Ambrose” by James Enge. Release Date: April 21, 2009. Published by
Pyr Books. Behind the king's life stands the menacing Protector, and beyond him lies the Protector's Shadow...

Centuries after the death of Uthar the Great, the throne of the Ontilian Empire lies vacant. The late emperor's brother-in-law and murderer, Lord Urdhven, appoints himself Protector to his nephew, young King Lathmar VII, and sets out to kill anyone who stands between himself and mastery of the empire, including the king himself and his ancient but still formidable ancestress, Ambrosia Viviana.

When Ambrosia is accused of witchcraft and put to trial by combat, she is forced to play her trump card and call on her brother, Morlock Ambrosius—stateless person, master of all magical makers, deadly swordsman, and hopeless drunk.

As ministers of the king, they carry on the battle, magical and mundane, against the Protector and his shadowy patron. But all their struggles will be wasted unless the young king finds the strength to rule in his own right and his own name…
Official James Enge Website
Preorder “Blood of Ambrose
HERE

God of Clocks” by Alan Campbell. US Release Date: April 28, 2009. Published by
Bantam Spectra. UK Release Date: September 2009. Published by Pan Macmillan.

Alan Campbell first introduced readers to the awe-inspiring city of Deepgate and its denizens in “Scar Night”, the opening installment of the Deepgate Codex. He continued the plight of traitor assassin Rachel Hael and the fallen angel Dill in “Iron Angel”. Now, in “God of Clocks”, old enemies and new allies join in a battle the outcome of which could spell the end for all who call Deepgate home…

A portal has been opened in the ruined city of Deepgate, releasing entities that threaten to turn the world into a killing field. In the middle, caught between warring gods and fallen angels, humanity finds itself pushed to the brink of extinction. Its only hope is the most unlikely of heroes including the assassin Rachel Hael, the mutated angel Dill, Mina and the tortured god Hasp.

With time running out, Rachel must prepare herself for the final confrontation. It is one she has both sought and feared. And, one so dangerous, it may claim her heart, her life and her soul…
Official Alan Campbell Website
Official Alan Campbell Blog
Preorder “God of Clocks
HERE (US)
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Review of “Iron Angel

The Grand Conjunction” by Sean Williams. US Release Date: April 28, 2008. Published by
Ace Books. UK Release Date: May 7, 2009. Published by Orbit UK.

Imre Bergamasc is lost. His search for answers has led him up an alley so blind even his sense of self has become uncertain. Before he can save the galaxy from ruin, he must find the strength to carry on and reclaim his ultimate purpose.

But more than two million years in our future, the fight has changed. Former allies are now enemies, and enemies have taken on entirely new forms. Chased from the very edge of humanity's vast empire into the heart of an ancient conspiracy, he must finally come face to face with Himself, for without the truth of his past, humanity's future will never be secured…
Official Sean Williams Website
Preorder ”The Grand Conjunction
HERE (US) + HERE (UK)
NOTE:The Grand Conjunction” is the third Astropolis book after “Saturn Returns” and “Earth Ascendant”.

Twisted Metal” by Tony Ballantyne. UK Release Date: May 1, 2009. Published by
Pan Macmillan. In a completely alien but brilliantly realized landscape, “Twisted Metal” is a powerful story of superb action, barbaric cruelty and intense emotional impact…

On a world of intelligent robots who seem to have forgotten their own distant past, it is a time of war as the soldiers of Artemis City set out to conquer everything within range on the continent of Shull, killing or converting every robot they capture to their philosophy, while viewing their own wire-based minds as nothing but metal to be used or recycled for the cause.

Elsewhere, the more individualistic robots of Turing City believe they are something more than metal, but when the Artemisian robot Kavan sets out on a determined crusade to prove himself, even Turing City can't stand against him. Increasingly tied up with Kavan's destiny is Karel, a Turing robot with elements of Artemis' philosophy already woven into his mind . . . as well as Karel's wife Susan, and their recently created child.

Following the inevitable violence and destruction, Artemisian ambition focuses elsewhere and a journey begins towards the frozen kingdoms of the north—and towards the truth about the legendary “Book of Robots”, a text which may finally explain the real history of this strange world…
Official Tony Ballantyne Website
Preorder “Twisted Metal
HERE

Fall of Thanes” by Brian Ruckley. US Release Date: May 3, 2009. Published by
Orbit. UK Release Date: May 7, 2009. Published by Orbit UK.

The Clans of the True Blood are in disarray, their alliance crumbling and their armies humbled by the merciless forces of the Black Road. And as the Clans cling to what little hope remains, their position is further destabilized by Aeglyss the na’kyrim, who casts a shadow across all as he spirals ever deeper into madness. At the court of the High Thane, Anyara faces a savage struggle for survival against the na'kyrim's possessed agent: Mordyn Jerain, the Shadowhand.

In the Glas Valley, Kanin, the embittered Horin-Gyre Thane, plots a desperate rising against the halfbreed. But ultimately it will be Orisian, Thane of a Blood that no longer exists, who must stand face to face with a darkly transcendent Aeglyss and make the sacrifice—of himself and others—required to end the threat he represents.

As events mount to a climax, the world will change and no side can anticipate the twisted pattern of what lies ahead…
Official Brian Ruckley Website
Preorder “Fall of Thanes
HERE (US) + HERE (UK)
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Review of “Winterbirth
NOTE:Fall of Thanes” is the third volume in The Godless World epic fantasy series after “Winterbirth” and “Bloodheir”.

Garbage Man” by Joseph D’Lacey. UK Release Date: May 7, 2009. Published by
Bloody Books.

Joseph D’Lacey has an uncanny ability to focus on issues which give us all cause for concern. We know something is wrong with our world, and if we go on ignoring the signs—like meat farming that grossly exceeds need or landfill sites filling up with unstoppable speed—something very serious will happen before we know it. Now, from the author of “Meat”, comes a very powerful second novel, this time tackling the issue of the environment and landfill sites:

One man, a loner, makes regular visits to a landfill site—an oozing, filthy dump situated perilously close to a local town. A link is formed between the man and the landfill, creating a monstrous outcome: the landfill takes on life. Out of the waste of human society comes a thing, and its enemy is human…

With the same visceral language he employed to such devastating effect in “Meat”, Joseph D’Lacey produces a terrifying situation in “Garbage Man”. Who can win . . . man or the waste that man has created?
Official Joseph D’Lacey Website
Official Bloody Books Blog
Preorder “Garbage Man
HERE

The Island” by Tim Lebbon. Release Date: May 19, 2009. Published by
Bantam Spectra.

Kel Boon was once an agent of Noreela's most secret organization, tracking, observing, and eliminating the Strangers as part of an elite Core team. Until one horrifying encounter left his superior officer—and lover—dead amidst an orgy of slaughter from which Kel has been running from ever since. But the worst was still to come…

Forsaking magic, living as a simple woodcarver, Kel came to Pavmouth Breaks because the remote fishing village seemed a place where trouble would never find him. But when a mysterious island rises from the sea after a cataclysmic storm, his Core training tells him to expect the worst.

How can he warn the villagers—especially the beautiful young witch Namior—that the visitors arriving from the island may not be the peace-loving pilgrims they claim to be? Instead, they might be the advance wave of an invasion the Core had feared all along—an invasion Kel may be Noreela's last best chance to stop…
Official Tim Lebbon Website
Official Noreela Website
Preorder “The Island
HERE
NOTE:The Island” is the fourth and newest book set in Tim Lebbon’s
Noreela universe after the “Dusk/Dawn” duology (Reviewed HERE) and “Fallen” (Reviewed HERE). Tim is also the co-author of the Hidden Cities series (Mind the Gap, The Map of Moments) with Christopher Golden.

The Burning Skies” by David J. Williams. Release Date: May 19, 2009. Published by
Bantam Spectra.

In his electrifying debut, “The Mirrored Heavens”—praised by such distinguished science fiction writers as
Peter Watts, Stephen Baxter and Jack CampbellDavid J. Williams created a futuristic world grounded in the military rivalries, terror tactics, and political wrangling of our own time.

In “The Burning Skies”, life as U.S. counterintelligence agent Claire Haskell once knew it is in tatters—her mission betrayed, her lover dead, and her memories of the past suspect. Even worse, the defeat of the brilliant and mysterious insurgent group known only as Autumn Rain was not as complete as many believed. It is quickly becoming clear that their ultimate goal is not simply to destroy the tenuous global alliances of the 22nd Century, but to rule all of humanity.

Now it's up to Claire, with her ability to jack her brain into the nets of the enemy, to pick up the pieces. Navigating a complex world filled with both steadfast loyalists and ruthless traitors, Claire must be ready for Rain's next move—so she can make hers. But her true enemy may be one step ahead of her…
Official David J. Williams Website
Preorder “The Burning Skies
HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Review of “The Mirrored Heavens

Consorts of Heavens” by Jaine Fenn. UK Release Date: May 21, 2009. Published by Gollancz. From the author of “Principles of Angels”, comes a new novel set in that same universe…

When a naked, amnesiac stranger is found outside a remote highland village, he is taken in by Kerin, a widow whose unconventional ways are tolerated because her son Damaru is ‘skytouched’—he appears simple, but is able to affect matter.

All skytouched are tested by the Beloved Daughter, the living goddess who rules the world from the City of Light. If he's found worthy, Damaru will become a Consort of the skymothers, the Gods of this world.

So Kerin and the stranger, nicknamed Sais, accompany Damaru to the City. Accompanying them is a priest who’s helping Sais get back his missing past. But as Sais recovers his memory, he discovers the true nature of the world—and the unimaginable fate of the Consorts. It is a fate Kerin will do anything to prevent her son from sharing…
Official Jaine Fenn Website
Preorder “Consorts of Heavens
HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Review of “Principles of Angels

World’s End” by Mark Chadbourn. Release Date: May 26, 2009 (US Debut). Published by
Pyr Books.

A dragon firebombs a freeway. Shapeshifters stalk the commercial district. The deadly Wild Hunt wreaks havoc on the highway. The Age of Misrule has dawned…

When Jack Churchill and Ruth Gallagher encounter a terrifying, misshapen giant beneath a London bridge, they are plunged into a mystery which portends the end of the world as we know it. All over the country, the ancient gods of Celtic myth are returning to the land from which they were banished millennia ago. Following in their footsteps are creatures of folklore: fabulous beasts, wonders, and dark terrors. As technology starts to fail, Jack and Ruth are forced to embark on a desperate quest for four magical items—the last chance for humanity in the face of powers barely comprehended.

A pedal-to-the-floor, hi-octane fantasy thriller that pitches magic and wonder into a pop culture mash-up of the modern world. Described as “One part Lord of the Rings, one part Illuminatus!, one part Arthurian romance, one part Harry Potter—100 % original!”…
Official Mark Chadbourn Website
Official Mark Chadbourn Blog
Preorder “World’s End
HERE
NOTE: The Age of Misrule trilogy was originally published in the UK from 1999-2001, then was published as an omnibus in 2006 by
Gollancz. The US editions of “Darkest Hour” (Age of Misrule Book II) and “Always Forever” (Age of Misrule Book III) will be published by Pyr on June 23, 2009 and July 28, 2009 respectively.

Warbreaker” by Brandon Sanderson. Release Date: June 9, 2009. Published by Tor Books. After bursting onto the fantasy scene with his acclaimed debut novel, “Elantris”, and following up with his blockbuster Mistborn trilogy, Brandon Sanderson proves again that he is today’s leading master of what Tolkien called “secondary creation,” the invention of whole worlds, complete with magics and myths all their own…

Warbreaker” is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses; the God King one of them has to marry; the lesser god who doesn’t like his job; and the immortal who’s still trying to undo the mistakes he made hundreds of years ago.

Their world is one in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren’s capital city and where a power known as BioChromatic magic is based on an essence known as breath that can only be collected one unit at a time from individual people.

By using breath and drawing upon the color in everyday objects, all manner of miracles and mischief can be accomplished. It will take considerable quantities of each to resolve all the challenges facing Vivenna and Siri, princesses of Idris; Susebron the God King; Lightsong, reluctant god of bravery; and mysterious Vasher, the Warbreaker…
Official Brandon Sanderson Website
Preorder “WarbreakerHERE
NOTE:Warbreaker” was offered as a Free Download on Brandon’s website while he was writing it, allowing readers the unique opportunity to witness & provide feedback on the book as it evolved from its roughest stages to now a final version and publication.

Green” by Jay Lake. Release Date: June 9, 2009. Published by Tor Books. From the acclaimed author of “Mainspring” and “Escapement” comes “Green”, a spellbinding new fantasy of decadence, love, and magic…

As a child, Green is sold into concubinage and taken to the great merchant city of Copper Downs where she is raised in seclusion by agents of the Factor, a supplier of women to the aristocracy of the region. There she is named EmeraldGreen is her own mockery of the name—and trained to be the next consort of the undying Duke of Copper Downs.

Among her other courses of study, Green is also being secretly trained by the felinoid Dancing Mistress. During this training, Green learns of a conspiracy to overthrow the Duke by breaking his spells of immortality—a magic originally stolen from the Dancing Mistress' people. Green also meets Secundo, a priest of Blackblood, one of Copper Downs’ Old Gods. Secundo believes that with the Duke’s undying magic broken, the Old Gods will awaken once again. Reluctantly, Green agrees to help in the plot against the Duke, and amidst the riot and ruin that follows, she flees Copper Downs in search of her home and family.

But after everything she has been through, home can never be what it once was, and when Dancing Mistress finds her, Green knows she must return to Copper Downs to finish what was started. That includes completing the Dancing Mistress' mission, stopping an invading army, placating the Old Gods, and putting an end to the child trade once and for all…
Official Jay Lake Website
Preorder “GreenHERE

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer” by Jonathan L. Howard. UK Release Date: June 11, 2009. Published by
Headline. US Release Date: July 7, 2009. Published by Doubleday.

Johannes Cabal has never pretended to be a hero of any kind. There is, after all, little heroic about robbing graves, stealing occult volumes, and being on nodding terms with demons. His purpose, however, is noble. His researches are all directed to raising the dead. Not as monstrosities but as people, just as they were when they lived: physically, mentally, and spiritually.

For such a prize, some sacrifices are necessary. One such sacrifice was his own soul, but he now sees that was a mistake—it’s not just that he needs it for his research to have validity, but now he realizes he needs it to be himself. Unfortunately, his soul now rests within the festering bureaucracy of Hell. Satan may be cruel and capricious but, most dangerously, he is bored. It is Cabal’s unhappy lot to provide him with amusement.

In short, a wager: in return for his own soul, Cabal must gather one hundred others. Placed in control of a diabolical carnival—created to tempt to contentiousness, to blasphemy, argumentation and murder, but one may also win coconuts—and armed only with his intelligence, a very large handgun, and a total absence of whimsy, Cabal has one year. One year to beat the Devil at his own game. And isn’t that perhaps just a little heroic?
Preorder “Johannes Cabal the Necromancer
HERE (US) + HERE (UK)

Nights of Villjamur” by Mark Charan Newton. UK Release Date: June 12, 2009. Published by
Pan Macmillan. Book One of Legends of the Red Sun, a colorful new epic fantasy series…

The ancient city of Villjamur is threatened by a long-expected ice age, and thousands of refugees from the coming freeze are camped outside its gates, causing alarm and the threat of disease for the existing population. When the Emperor commits suicide, his elder daughter, Rika, is brought home to inherit the Jamur Empire, but the sinister Chancellor plans to claim the throne for himself.

Meanwhile, an officer in the Inquisition must solve the high-profile murder of a city politician and uncovers a conspiracy to solve the refugee crisis. At the same time, a cultist magician is causing a trail of havoc in his obsessive search for immortality and a gateway to another world.

Gradually the separate strands of romance, jealousy, political intrigue and dark violence converge in a superb new action series of enthralling fantasy…
Official Mark Charan Newton Website
Preorder “Nights of Villjamur
HERE

Fragment” by Warren Fahy. Release Date: June 16, 2009. Published by
Delacorte Press. An unexplored island in the South Pacific. A research ship wired for a reality TV show. A discovery that could shape the fate of mankind…

The time is August, 2010. The place is the Trident, a floating TV studio for the reality show “Sealife”, anchored just off Henders Island. Aboard is a cast of fresh young scientists. With a director dying for drama, the tiny island might just be what the show needs. Until the first scientist sets foot on Henders and discovers an ecosystem unlike any ever seen before—an ecosystem that could topple ours like a house of cards. And so the ultimate test of survival begins…

As brilliantly imagined as Jurassic Park and The Ruins, and lavishly illustrated, “Fragment” is an utterly original, all-too-believable journey into alien life at the heart of our own planet and a pulse-pounding work of imagination that heralds a new voice in suspense fiction.
Official Warren Fahy Website
Preorder “Fragment
HERE

Best Served Cold” by Joe Abercrombie. UK Release Date: June 18, 2009. Published by
Gollancz. US Release Date: July 29, 2009. Published by Orbit.

Mercenaries are a wonderful thing. They fight as you tell them, whom you tell them, and when you tell them, for nothing more precious or complicated than money. And Monzcarro Mercatto and her brother Benna are the two most successful, most popular, and most wealthy mercenaries in Styria.

But wealthy, popular mercenaries are not such a good thing. In fact, they're downright dangerous, which is why Grand Duke Orso of Styria arranges to have them dealt with. Permanently. Unfortunately, it is a decision that he may come to regret. For Monza wants revenge and she’s going to do everything she can to get it. But to do that she needs help: Shivers, the Northman, Cosca, the mercenary, Friendly, the former inmate of a vicious prison—all hard men to do hard, bloody deeds. And where revenge is concerned, the harder and the bloodier the better…

A stunning standalone novel from the author of The First Law trilogy, "Best Served Cold" is a dark, twisted, intriguing tale of blood, politics and revenge, told with Joe Abercrombie’s trademark black humor and superb characterization. This is an essential read for all fantasy lovers.
Official Joe Abercrombie Website
Preorder “Best Served Cold
HERE (US) + HERE (UK)
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s Reviews of “
The Blade Itself” + “Before They Are Hanged
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Interview with Joe Abercrombie

Jasymn” by Alex Bell. UK Release Date: June 18, 2009. Published by
Gollancz. One day, without warning, Jasmyn's husband died of an aneurism. Since then, everything has been different…

Wrapped up in her grief, Jasmyn is trapped in a world without colour, without flavour—without Liam. But even through the haze of misery she begins to notice strange events. Even with Liam gone, things are not as they should be, and eventually Jasmyn begins to explore the mysteries that have sprung up after her husband's death . . . and follows their trail back into the events of his life.

But the mysteries are deeper than Jasmyn expects, and are leading her in unexpected directions: Into fairytales filled with swans, castles and bones. Into a tale of a murder committed by a lake and a vicious battle between brothers. And into a story of a lost past, and a stolen love. She's entering a magical story . . . Jasmyn's story
Preorder “Jasymn
HERE

The Doomsday Key” by James Rollins. US Release Date: June 23, 2009. Published by
William Morrow. UK Release Date: July 9, 2009. Published by Orion.

At Princeton University, a famed geneticist dies inside a biohazard lab. In Rome, a Vatican archaeologist is found dead in the heart of St. Peters Basilica. In Africa, a US Senator's son is slain within a Red Cross camp in Ghana. These three murders on three continents bear a horrifying tie: all the victims are marked by a Druidic pagan cross burned into their flesh.

The bizarre murders thrust Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma Force into a global hunt for a powerful group of industrialists who have a stranglehold on the world's food supply. Aided by two women from his past, Gray flees a trio of high-tech assassins as he pieces together the clues.

But saving the world comes at a high price: Pierce must sacrifice one of the women. Yet even that price might not be enough, for as he soon discovers, the only true path to salvation lies with the Doomsday Key
Official James Rollins Website
Preorder “The Doomsday Key
HERE (US) + HERE
NOTE:The Doomsday Key” is the sixth Sigma Force novel after “The Last Oracle” (Reviewed
HERE).

Shadow Magic” by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett. Release Date: July 28, 2009. Published by
Bantam Spectra.

In a unique and imaginative blend of epic fantasy, steampunk, humor, and heroism, the acclaimed young team of Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett follows up their epic fantasy debut “Havemercy” with “Shadow Magic”, a novel that is both a standalone and a sequel, set in the chaotic aftermath of a hundred years of war. Here, amidst a treacherous dance of diplomacy and betrayal lie the darkest secrets of all—and a peace more deadly than war itself.

The metallic dragons of Volstov have defeated their Ke-Han neighbors, but what happens after the last shots are fired? Charged with the tricky task of establishing diplomatic relations as well as a viable succession plan are four new characters: two from the conquering kingdom, and two from the defeated land. From their clash of cultures, a lasting peace must be forged. And amidst politics and plotting, the strengths and loyalties of these four men will be tested in the crucible of peace—which may prove deadlier than the crucible of war…
Official Jones & Bennett Website
Official Jaida Jones Blog
Official Danielle Bennett Blog
Preorder “Shadow Magic
HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Review of “Havemercy

The Magicians” by Lev Grossman. Release Date: August 6, 2009. Published by
Viking. Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.

He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.

At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, “The Magicians” boldly moves into uncharted literary territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren’t black and white, love and sex aren’t simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price…
Official Lev Grossman Website
Preorder “The Magicians
HERE

Blood of the Mantis” by Adrian Tchaikovsky. UK Release Date: August 7, 2009. Published by
Pan Macmillan. The third novel in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s enthralling Shadows of the Apt epic fantasy sequence…

Driven by the ghosts of the Darakyon, Achaeos has tracked the stolen Shadow Box to the marsh-town of Jerez, but he has only days before the magical box is lost to him forever.

Meanwhile, the forces of the Empire are mustering over winter for their great offensive, gathering their soldiers and perfecting their new weapons. Stenwold and his followers have only a short time to gather what allies they can before the Wasp armies march again, conquering everything in their path. If they cannot throw back the Wasps this spring then the imperial black-and-gold flag will fly over every city in the Lowlands before the year's end.

In Jerez begins a fierce struggle over the Shadow Box, as lake creatures, secret police and renegade magicians compete to take possession. If it falls into the hands of the Wasp Emperor, however, then no amount of fighting will suffice to save the world from his relentless ambition…
Official Shadows of the Apt Website
Preorder “Blood of the Mantis
HERE

Stalking the Dragon” by Mike Resnick. Release Date: August 25, 2009. Published by
Pyr Books.

It’s Valentine’s Day and private detective John Justin Mallory is planning on closing up the office early and taking his partner, Col. Winnifred Carruthers, out to dinner, since he’s sure no one else will do so. But before he can turn off the lights and lock the door, they are visited by a panic-stricken Buffalo Bill Brody. It seems that the Eastminster pet show is being held the next day, and his dragon, Fluffy, the heavy favorite, has been kidnapped.

Mallory’s nocturnal hunt for the miniature dragon takes him to some of the stranger sections of this Manhattan—Greenwitch Village (which is right around the corner from Greenwich Village and is populated by witches and covens); a wax museum where figures of Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre come alive; Gracie Mansion (which is haunted by the ghosts of former mayors); and the Bureau of Missing Creatures, a movie set where they’re filming a PBS documentary on zombies and various other denizens of the Manhattan night. As Mallory follows the leads and hunts for clues, he comes up against one dead end after another.

Along the way he meets a few old friends and enemies, and a host of strange new inhabitants of this otherworldly Manhattan. Aided by a strange gremlin named Jeeves, Mallory has only one night to find a tiny dragon that’s hidden somewhere in a city of seven million…
Official Mike Resnick Website
Preorder “Stalking the Dragon
HERE
NOTE:Stalking the Dragon” is the third John Justin Mallory novel after “Stalking the Unicorn” and “Stalking the Vampire” (Reviewed
HERE). Mike has also written several short stories starring Mallory.

Nova War” by Gary Gibson. UK Release Date: September 2009. Published by
Pan Macmillan.

In “Stealing Light”, Dakota Merrick discovered the Shoal's deadly secret. Now she works towards stopping not only the spread of this knowledge, but also the onset of a Nova War as the balance of power within the galaxy undergoes a major realignment.

Found adrift near a Bandati colony world far away from Consortium space, Dakota and her ally, Lucas Corso, find themselves prisoners of the Bandati. It soon becomes clear to them that humanity's limited knowledge of the rest of the galaxy—filtered through the Shoal—is direly inaccurate. For over fifteen thousand years, the Shoal have been fighting a frontier war with a rival species, the Emissaries.

Realizing that the Shoal may be the galaxy's one chance at sustained peace, Dakota is forced to work with Trader in Faecal Matter of Animals to prevent the spread of deadly knowledge carried onboard the Magi ships. But despite her best efforts, it seems that the breakout of a full-fledged Nova War may be inevitable…
Official Gary Gibson Blog
Preorder “Nova War” HERE (Not Available Yet)
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Review of “Stealing Light

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “The Seal of the Worm”
Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “The Shadow Throne”
Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “The Broken Eye”
Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

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