Well, this has been an epic week in terms of books received/bought - it often is when I visit Forbidden Planet up in London! Also, I am giving away another book - yep, it is being prised from my cold clammy hand - read to the bottom to check out how you can get hold of The Desert Spear by Peter V Brett! Without further ado....
Books Received For Review
Crossing Over by Anna Kendall
Whether it's a curse or a blessing the fact remains: whenever Roger is in enough pain he can cross over to the Land of the Dead and speak to the people there. It's an unexpected gift - and one that, throughout Roger's life, his violent uncle has taken advantage of. Roger has been hauled from fairground to fairground, and beaten into unconsciousness, in order to bring word of the dead to the recently bereaved. It's a hard, painful way of life, deceiving the living for a crust of bread. So when Roger has the chance of a new life, it seems a gift. He has a chance at safety and at living a life of his choosing, tucked away in the royal court. But life is unexpected, and when Roger falls in love with the bewitching, willful Lady Cecilia he has no idea what he is letting himself in for. With every step he takes towards her, he is drawn deeper into court intrigue, into politics, and even into war ...and when Roger's curious abilities come to the Queen's attention, everything changes forever. Trapped in courtly politics, bound by secrets, Roger is torn between his own safety and that of his friends. He can save them...but only if he can bring himself to perform a deed so unthinkable that the living and the dead shrink from it alike...
With thanks to Gollancz - this is being released 24th June 2010
Another very intriguing title from the Fierce Fiction team at Gollancz - they are releasing a succession of YA titles and all of them make me go 'oooh!'
Beyond Reach by Graham Hurley
A young couple are mown down in a hit and run incident. The girl is badly injured, the boy dies on the way to hospital. According to the sole witness the boy was in the middle of the road giving the approaching car the finger. Operation Melody is launched with DI Faraday at the helm. And reveals a mother driven to desperation by the attacks on her son ...and a link to a terrible crime from the early 80s that the victim does not want investigated. The investigation will rip apart a happy family but the high-ups are desperate for their 'Cold Cases' to be cleared up. Whatever the cost. And round it all circles ex-DC Paul Winter who has his own reasons for keeping the lid on an old crime.
With thanks to Orion, already published 7th January 2010
This was a nice surprise from Mr Spanton! I even received a handwritten note, saying I might like this because the book is set in the same area in which I live, which guarantees I'll be reading it - just to see what I recognise!
The Folding Knife by K J Parker
Basso the Magnificent. Basso the Great. Basso the Wise. Basso the Murderer. The First Citizen of the Vesani Republic is an extraordinary man. He is ruthless, cunning and, above all, lucky. He brings wealth, power and prestige to his people. But with power comes unwanted attention, and Basso must defend his nation and himself from threats foreign and domestic. In a lifetime of crucial decisions, he's only ever made one mistake. One mistake, though, can be enough.
With thanks to Orbit - this is being published 3rd June 2010
K J Parker is quietly producing books of great quality, but woefully I haven't tackled any of this author's novels since The Fencer trilogy. So I was very pleased to see this one arrive!
Feed by Mira Grant
The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives - the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will get out, even if it kills them.
With thanks to Orbit - this is being published 3rd June 2010
I know a lot of fellow bloggers have been marking this one as essential reading, but it has been mostly beneath my radar up until now. However, having read the blurb I am very excited to pick it up!
The Lord of the Changing Winds by Rachel Neumeier
The desert winds have come to the village of Menas Ford. Griffins, creatures of fire, have appeared in a burning haze, turning the sky a blazing golden-red and the land to dry, cracked earth. These majestic beasts, half-lion, half-eagle, spread the arid desert wherever they roam. Iaor, the King of Feierabiand, will not tolerate the destruction of his people's farmland. Sending forth his army, he means to rid the griffins from his domain - whether by negotiation or brute force. But not all those who encounter the griffins fear them. Kes, a timid village girl with hidden mage powers, is summoned to heal the King of the Griffins himself. She will discover her affinity with these creatures, and may be the only one to understand the importance of their presence. For they are fleeing a menace which poses a greater threat to her people than even the blazing fires of the desert.
With thanks to Orbit - this is being published 1st July 2010
Oooh! Griffins! We've had a resurgence in dragons recently, but these other mythical beasts have been ignored until now! This is the first in a trilogy and, as far as I'm concerned, it could go either way - either spectacularly good and generate a slew of people writing fantasy fiction about griffins, or really bad and guarantee the griffin is avoided as a subject in the future. No pressure, Ms Neumeier! (by the way, that is a really hard surname to type and get right!)
The Edge of the World by Kevin J Anderson
After generations of friction, the leaders of two lands meet in the holy city of Ishalem to bring an end to the bloodshed and to divide the world between them. Sadly, this new spirit of fellowship is short-lived. A single tragic accident destroys, in minutes, the peace that took years to build. The world is once more cast into the fires of war - and this time the flames may burn until nothing remains. From the highest lord to the lowest servant, no man or woman will be unchanged by the conflict. But while war rages across both continents, a great quest will defy storms and sea serpents to venture beyond the horizon, where no maps exist - to search for a land out of legend. It is a perilous undertaking, but there will always be the impetuous, the brave and the mad who are willing to leave their homes to explore the unknown. Even unto the edge of the world...
With thanks to Orbit - this has been published 6th May 2010
Kevin J Anderson gets mixed responses, depending on whether you chat to Dune readers or Star Wars readers or science fiction readers. He is a truly prolific author, yet up until now I have managed to avoid reading anything by him. The second book in his fantasy trilogy (see below) is being released shortly, and Orbit kindly sent the first book as well. I am willing to keep an open mind until I've tried the book!
The Map of all Things by Kevin J Anderson
After terrible atrocities by both sides, the religious war between Tierra and Uraba has spread and intensified - the series of skirmishes erupting into a full-blown crusade. Now that the Uraban leader Soldan-Shah Omra has captured the ruined city of Ishalem, his construction teams discover a priceless ancient map in an underground vault - a map that can guide brave explorers to the mysterious Key to Creation. Omra dispatches his adoptive son Saan to sail east across the uncharted Middlesea on a quest to find it. In Tierra, Captain Criston Vora has built a grand new vessel, and sets out to explore the great unknown and find the fabled land of Terravitae. But Criston cannot forget his previous voyage that ended in shipwreck and disaster ...and the loss of his beloved wife Adrea - who is now the wife of the soldan-shah in far-off Uraba, fighting to survive against palace intrigues and constant threats against her life.
With thanks to Orbit - to be published 3rd June 2010
See above! This is the second book in Kevin J Anderson's series - I definitely feel that my reading this book will depend very much on the first book!
Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Teenager Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything. Streetwise, tough and savvy, his quick sarcasm is renowned. But his whole world is suddenly turned upside down on the night his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters - immortal vampire-slayers who risk everything to save humanity - and he quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one that's filled with all kinds of evil. However, before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students start turning into flesh-eating members of the undead. Nick knows he's in real danger and he soon has a lot more to deal with than starting high school: he's under pressure to hide his new friends from his mother and his chainsaw from the principal while trying to impress the girl he has a crush on ? all without getting grounded, suspended...or killed.
With thanks to Atom - to be published 10th June 2010
Wow! The cover! The premise! I haven't read any of Kenyon's adult books, but I am sincerely ready to take the plunge into her work with this book! Nick sounds wonderful! (and now I'm done with the over-excited exclamation points...)
City of Ruin by Mark Charan Newton
Villiren: a city of sin that is being torn apart from the inside. Hybrid creatures shamble through shadows and barely human gangs fight turf wars for control of the streets. Amidst this chaos, Commander Brynd Lathraea, commander of the Night Guard, must plan the defence of Viliren against a race that has broken through from some other realm and already slaughtered hundreds of thousands of the Empire's people. When a Night Guard soldier goes missing, Brynd requests help from the recently arrived Inqusitor Jeryd. He discovers this is not the only disappearance the streets of Villiren. It seems that a serial killer of the most horrific kind is on the loose, taking hundreds of people from their own homes. A killer that cannot possibly be human. The entire population of Villiren must unite to face an impossible surge of violent and unnatural enemies or the city will fall. But how can anyone save a city that is already a ruin?
With thanks to Tor UK/Pan MacMillan - to be published 4th June 2010
I now have a gloriously signed version of this book, thanks to my trek to Forbidden Planet for the book signing last Thursday. I haven't read the first book, but am planning a back-to-back read of both in the not-too-distant future.
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald
In the CHAGA novels McDonald brought an Africa in the grip of a bizarre ailien invasion to life, in RIVER OF GODS he painted a rich portrait of India in 2047, in BRASYL he looked at different Brazils, past present and future. Ian McDonald has found renown at the cutting edge of a movement to take SF away from its British and American white roots and out into the rich cultures of the world. THE DERVISH HOUSE continues that journey and centres on Istanbul in 2025. Turkey is part of Europe but sited on the edge, it is an Islamic country that looks to the West. THE DERVISH HOUSE is the story of the families that live in and around its titular house, it is at once a rich mosaic of Islamic life in the new century and telling novel of future possibilities.
With thanks to Gollancz - will be published 29th July 2010
Oh wow! This is bound to be one of the science fiction moments of the year. I can see this one being on a lot of the SF award shortlists next year! (you heard it here first...) I actually made a girly noise of excitement when I opened the package and saw this one!
The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy - from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to steal their thoughts, to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of the Moving Cities of Mars. Except that Jean made one mistake. Now he is condemned to play endless variations of a game-theoretic riddle in the vast virtual jail of the Axelrod Archons - the Dilemma Prison - against countless copies of himself. Jean's routine of death, defection and cooperation is upset by the arrival of Mieli and her spidership, Perhonen. She offers him a chance to win back his freedom and the powers of his old self - in exchange for finishing the one heist he never quite managed ...The Quantum Thief is a dazzling hard SF novel set in the solar system of the far future - a heist novel peopled by bizarre post-humans but powered by very human motives of betrayal, revenge and jealousy.
With (enormous) thanks to Gollancz! Will be published 16th September 2010
Did I squee excitedly at The Dervish House? It was nothing to when I saw this! The buzz on this novel is building wildly, thanks to stories about how it was pitched and how much it was brought for. I genuinely think we have a contender for debut of the year - but let's see what early reviews say!
The Thief-Taker's Apprentice by Stephen Deas
Berren has lived in the city all his life. He has made his way as a thief, paying a little of what he earns to the Fagin like master of their band. But there is a twist to this tale of a thief. One day Berren goes to watch an execution of three thieves. He watches as the thief-taker takes his reward and decides to try and steal the prize. He fails. The young thief is taken. But the thief-taker spots something in Berren. And the boy reminds him of someone as well. Berren becomes his apprentice. And is introduced to a world of shadows, deceit and corruption behind the streets he thought he knew.
With thanks to Gollancz - to be published 26th August 2010
Stephen Deas is making a name for himself with high octane fantasy books in the adult arena, and this is his first foray into YA (another of those highly intriguing YA titles!) It sounds like enormous fun - and certainly Mr Deas' blog has revealed a few humourous extras of the story!
Books Purchased This Week
For reasons of brevity, these entries will be tiny compared to those above. In fact, I am simply going to list the titles! (Yes, it's sunny and I've been doing this far too long, and I now want to go out and experience said sun *grin*)
I brought (at Forbidden Planet - seriously, I need my hands tied behind my back when I go to that place....):
Nights of Villjamur - Mark Charan Newton
Kraken - China Miéville
The Age of Ra - James Lovegrove
Lamentation - Ken Scholes
Once Dead, Twice Shy - Kim Harrison
Warriors - Edited by George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois
Okay, as a reward to all you faithful readers who have made it this far, I have a fun little giveaway!
Today I am giving away a copy of The Desert Spear by Peter V Brett (published by Harper Voyager!) The giveaway is open worldwide - just send an email to magemanda AT gmail DOT com with the subject header SPEAR GIVEAWAY, providing your name and postal address. I will pick a winner next Sunday! Good luck everyone :-)