Monday, September 7, 2009

Books Received

Over and above the usual mix of urban fantasy, here are some of the interesting titles I received over the past week or so from H.B. Fenn, Hachette Books, Simon and Schuster Canada, and PYR SF. Terrific cover art on almost every title.

Diving into the Wreck by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
(Pyr, November 24, 2009, Trade Paperback)

I am most familiar with Kristine Rusch's work through her excellent Retrieval Artist SF series. Diving Into the Wreck sounds like a delightful SF mystery thriller. Expect a review before the release date in November.
What Boss finds could rewrite history, cost lives, and start an intergalactic war.

Boss loves to dive historical ships, derelict spacecraft found adrift in the blackness between the stars. Sometimes she salvages for money, but mostly she's an active historian. She wants to know about the past—to experience it firsthand. Once she's dived the ship, she'll either leave it for others to find or file a claim so that she can bring tourists to dive it as well. It's a good life for a tough loner, with more interest in artifacts than people.

Then one day, Boss finds the claim of a lifetime: an enormous spacecraft, incredibly old, and apparently Earth-made. It's impossible for something so old, built in the days before Faster Than Light travel, to have journeyed this far from Earth. It shouldn't be here. It can't be here. And yet, it is. Boss's curiosity is up, and she's determined to investigate. She hires a group of divers to explore the wreck with her, the best team she can assemble. But some secrets are best kept hidden, and the past won't give up its treasures without exacting a price in blood.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch is an award-winning mystery, romance, science fiction, and fantasy writer. She has written many novels under various names, including Kristine Grayson for romance, and Kris Nelscott for mystery. Her novels have made the bestseller lists–even in London–and have been published in fourteen countries and thirteen different languages. Her awards range from the Ellery Queen Readers Choice Award to the John W. Campbell Award. She is the only person in the history of the science fiction field to have won a Hugo award for editing and a Hugo award for fiction. Her short work has been reprinted in sixteen Year's Best collections. She is the former editor of prestigious The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Before that, she and Dean Wesley Smith, started and ran Pulphouse Publishing, a science fiction and mystery press in Eugene. She lives and works on the Oregon Coast. Visit her online at

"Tense and gripping.... The endlessly enjoyable terror of dark, alien, empty spaces brimming with unknowable danger and impenetrable mystery should keep fans of the genre hooked."
--Internet Review of Science Fiction

"Rusch takes the dangers inherent in deep sea diving and memorably puts them into the deep dark vacuum of space, making the exploration of the hulk a much more complicated issue than tends to be the case in the SF."
--Best SF Reviews

Audrey's Door by Sarah Langan
(Harper September 29, 2009, Paperback)

I am not familiar with the work of Sara Langan writing so the promotional blurb will have to suffice - Langan's writing has been compared to "the more ambitious work of Stephen King" (Publishers Weekly, starred review), and twice acclaimed by Terrence Rafferty in the New York Times Book Review. A breathtaking mix of suspense, romance, and supernatural mystery, AUDREY'S DOOR is a guaranteed rollercoaster ride no reader will forget. Fans of Rosemary's Baby, The Shining, and The Haunting of Hill House will devour this book. As reported in Variety, The Weinstein Company preemptively optioned motion picture rights in April, 2009.
Architect Audrey Lucas can't believe her luck when she signs a lease for the Breviary, a shockingly affordable but oddly proportioned apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side. It's a gorgeous example of 1880s Chaotic Naturalist architecture, and the last of its kind, since all the others were condemned soon after they were built. A former playground for the wealthy children of robber barrens, its walls tend to echo, even when no one speaks. But Audrey ignores the creaks in the night, because she's determined to make a fresh start, leaving her nomadic childhood and the fiance she can't commit to far behind. After a few nights in her new home, however, she can no longer deny that something is rotten about 510 West 110th Street, and it's not just the aging, eccentric neighbors and untended garbage chutes. Her dreams turn strange, and while she sleeps, she begins to build a door in her living room. As the tenants encroach and the door grows-, Audrey learns the building's terrifying history. It's a door best left closed. A door to her own past, that it would be madness to open.
Sarah Langan lives in a house in Brooklyn, New York, whose previous occupant hosted clandestine services in the basement. These services included white robes, hot coffee, sacrificial chickens, and, if the traumatized neighbors are to be believed, a lot of weirdoes splattered with animal blood while departing from midnight masses in nearby parked cars. Langan moved into the house on her own while her husband was away for three months on business, and immediately noticed the bad mojo, which is how she got the idea for AUDREY'S DOOR. Happily, her solution was far less complicated than Audrey's; she got a pet rabbit, who scared away all the enraged poultrygeist spirits. Langan received her MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University. She studied with Michael Cunningham, Richard Russo, and Maureen Howard, all of whom were instrumental to her work. The two-time Bram Stoker winning author of The Keeper and The Missing, she is currently a master's candidate in environmental toxicology at NYU, and at work on her fourth novel. You can visit Sarah at her website here.

"A chilling and perceptive novel about the architectures of our lives: how they're built, and how we destroy them."
—Michael Marshall

"Sarah Langan is an audaciously terrifying storyteller, and AUDREY'S DOOR practically hums with frantic energy and hair-raising tension. Be prepared for nightmares."
—Tess Gerritsen, author of The Keepsake

"A chiller that evokes Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby. Eerie and suspenseful, with a compelling heroine and a terrifying setting, AUDREY's DOOR grabbed me from the start. Whenever I see Sarah Langan's name on a cover, I pay attention."
— David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of The Shimmer

A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans
(Pocket, May 26, 2009, Paperback)

This is the paperback reprint of the first book in Chris Evans Iron Elves series and it does indeed sound intriguing.
First in a stunning debut series, A Darkness Forged in Fire introduces an unforgiving world of musket and cannon...bow and arrow...magic, diplomacy, and oaths -- each wielding terrible power in an Empire teetering on the brink of war. In this world, Konowa Swift Dragon, former commander of the Empire's elite Iron Elves, is looked upon as anything but ordinary. He's murdered a Viceroy, been court-martialed, seen his beloved regiment disbanded, and finally been banished in disgrace to the one place he despises the most -- the forest. Now, all he wants is to be left alone with his misery...but for Konowa, nothing is ever that simple. The mysterious and alluring Visyna Tekoy, the highborn daughter of an elfkynan governor, seeks him out in the dangerous wild with a royal decree that he resume his commission as an officer in Her Majesty's Imperial Army, effective immediately. For in the east, a falling Red Star heralds the return of a magic long vanished from the earth. Rebellion grows within the Empire as a frantic race to reach the Star unfolds. It is a chance for Konowa to redeem himself -- even if the entire affair appears doomed to be a suicide mission... and that the soldiers recruited for the task are not at all what he expects. And worse, his key adversary in the perilous race for the Star is the dreaded Shadow Monarch -- a legendary elf-witch whose machinations for absolute domination spread deeper than Konowa could ever imagine....
Chris Evans was born in Canada and now lives in New York City. As a military historian he has conducted battlefield tours of Europe and was the historical consultant on a television documentary on the First World War. He’s earned degrees in English, Political Science, and a Masters in History. Chris is also an editor of history and current affairs/conflicts books including the highly successful Stackpole Military History Series. You can visit Chris Evans at his website here.

"A masterful debut -- if J.R.R. Tolkien and Bernard Cornwell had a literary love child, this would be it."
-- Karen Traviss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Legacy of the Force-Revelation and City of Pearl
"Fascinating...combining the best touches of fantasy and military storytelling."
-- John Ringo, New York Times bestselling author of the Legacy of the Aldenata and The Council Wars series

"A thrilling epic from beginning to end, filled with wit, intrigue, and twists and turns reminiscent of Glen Cook's The Black Company. A grand new entry in the field of fantasy masters!"
-- Richard A. Knaak, New York Times bestselling author in the Dragonlance, The Dragonrealm, World of Warcraft, and Diablo series

The Light of Burning Shadows by Chris Evans
(Pocket, July 28, 2009, Hardcover)

The second book in Chris Evans Iron Elves series.

"They might be doomed, damned, and buggered for all eternity, but that didn't mean they couldn't sparkle like a diamond in the sun and grin like a skull in the moonlight on their way to oblivion."

Musket and cannon, bow and arrow, and magic and diplomacy vie for supremacy once again in this second epic fantasy adventure from acclaimed author Chris Evans. As the human-dominated Calahrian Empire struggles to maintain its hold on power in the face of armed rebellion from within, the Iron Elves' perilous quest to defeat the power-hungry elf witch, the Shadow Monarch, takes on greater urgency.

The Iron Elves, shunned by their own people for bearing the mark of the Shadow Monarch, and desperately wanting to forever erase this shame, became legendary for their prowess on the battlefield as the Calahrian Imperial Army's elite shock troops. But when their commanding officer, Konowa Swift Dragon, murdered the Viceroy of Elfkyna, he was exiled, and these brave elves were banished to a remote desert outpost, doomed and leaderless, their honor in tatters.

Recalled to duty to reform his regiment from the dregs of the Imperial Army, Konowa thwarted the plans of the Shadow Monarch at the Battle of Luuguth Jor -- ensuring that the fabled Red Star, a source of great natural energy, did not fall into Her hands. Now Konowa must cross storm-tossed seas to seek out the lost elves and the prophesied return of another Star somewhere in a desert wasteland roiling with mysterious power, infernos of swirling magic, and legends brought back to life in new and terrible ways. And the fate of every living creature will come to depend on a small band of ragged and desperate soldiers, whose very loyalty to the Empire they have sworn to serve is no longer certain. When death is but a temporary condition, a terrifying question arises: who is the true ally -- and fearsome enemy -- in a growing conflict that threatens all?

Dawnthief by James Barclay
(Pyr, September 22, 2009, Trade Paperback)

Dawnthief is book one in the Chronicles of the Raven set in James Barclay's Raven Universe. The book first appeared in the UK in 1999 and was followed by Noonshade (2000) and Nightchild (2001). All three appeared in an SFBC omnibus edition in 2003 called Chronicles of the Raven 1. This is the first separate North American printing of the book.
The Raven: six men and an elf, sword for hire in the wars that have torn apart Balaia. For years their loyalty has been only to themselves and their code.

But, that time is over. The Wytch Lords have escaped and The Raven find themselves fighting for the Dark College of magic, searching for the location of Dawnthief. It is a spell created to end the world, and it must be cast if any of them are to survive.

Dawnthief is a fast paced epic about a band of all-too-human heroes.
James Barclay is in his forties and lives in Teddington in the UK with his wife and son. He is a full-time writer. Visit him online at

"Majors on sheer energy and a fast, often frenetic, pace. Barclay writes with an assured gusto, has a great eye for action, and imbues his story with a fine imagination and jolts of wit. If ever there was a case of a plot acting like a man-trap, this is it. Barclay brings a genuine aesthetic to the fantasy action novel. A scorching debut."
--Time Out

"Barclay writes an action-driven story that draws the reader along. The dialogue is witty and modern. You can't help but get caught up in this fast-paced and humor-leavened tale; it's a thoroughly fun read from beginning to end."
--RT Book Reviews, Rating: ****: Compelling; Page-Turner

The Quiet War by Paul McAuley
(Pyr, September 22, 2009, Trade Paperback)

Paul McAuley is a heavy hitter hard SF writer in the UK and sad to say I don't believe I have had the occasion to read. This may be a good jumping off point as it sounds like the kind of space opera I like to indulge in.
From the teeming cities of earth to the scrupulously realized landscapes of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, The Quiet War, an exotic, fast-paced space opera, turns on a single question: who decides what it means to be human?

Twenty-third century Earth, ravaged by climate change, looks backwards to the holy ideal of a preindustrial Eden. Political power has been grabbed by a few powerful families and their green saints. Millions of people are imprisoned in teeming cities; millions more labour on Pharaonic projects to rebuild ruined ecosystems. On the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, the Outers, descendants of refugees from Earth's repressive regimes, have constructed a wild variety of self-sufficient cities and settlements: scientific utopias crammed with exuberant creations of the genetic arts; the last outposts of every kind of democratic tradition.

The fragile detente between the Outer cities and the dynasties of Earth is threatened by the ambitions of the rising generation of Outers, who want to break free of their cosy, inward-looking pocket paradises, colonise the rest of the Solar System, and drive human evolution in a hundred new directions. On Earth, many demand pre-emptive action against the Outers before it's too late; others want to exploit the talents of their scientists and gene wizards. Amid campaigns for peace and reconciliation, political machinations, crude displays of military might, and espionage by cunningly wrought agents, the two branches of humanity edge towards war .. .
Paul McAuley's first novel won the Philip K. Dick Award and he has gone on to win almost all of the major awards in the field. For many years a research biologist, he now writes full-time. He lives in London. Visit Paul McAuley online at

"Shortlisted for this year's Arthur C. Clarke Award, this sweeping interplanetary adventure is also a thoughtful examination of human nature... McAuley... moves deftly among five well-drawn characters in the thick of the action: a cloned spy, a hotshot pilot, a ruthless scientist, a bluntly independent biological engineer and an unscrupulous diplomat. They all, in different ways, must choose between the familiar and the new, struggling to reconcile conflicting desires. This compelling tale opens vast panoramas while confronting believable people with significant choices."
--Publishers Weekly* Starred review!

"An epic of hard science, politics, economics and human evolution ... A plausible future that's every bit as sprawling, bloody and compelling as any work of history."
--Stephen Baxter, author of Flood

"With restrained brilliance, McAuley takes that hardy SF perennial, the interplanetary war, and shows us how one might actually develop."
—Death Ray

"A complex, multi layered novel, almost an SF version of Bleak House or Bonfire of the Vanities... packed with great characters, breathtaking set pieces and intriguing SF ideas."

"Combines the damn-the-torpedoes, full speed ahead narrative impetus of a Peter F. Hamilton, with the detailed, even meticulous attention to world-building and character development that distinguished Kim Stanley Robinson's classic Mars sequence. McAuley has always been a stylish writer, but lie outdoes himself here. The Quiet War marks Paul McAuley's triumphant return to full-bore space opera."

The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King - A Nonfiction Thriller
(Little, Brown and Company, September 28, 2009, Hardcover)

I couldn't resist this title when it was offered to me. I have always been fond of ancient history and anything archaeological and the concept of a non-fiction thriller, especially one penned by James Patterson sounded irresistible. A review coming soon.
A secret buried for centuries
Thrust onto Egypt's most powerful throne at the age of nine, King Tut's reign was fiercely debated from the outset. Behind the palace's veil of prosperity, bitter rivalries and jealousy flourished among the Boy King's most trusted advisors, and after only nine years, King Tut suddenly perished, his name purged from Egyptian history. To this day, his death remains shrouded in controversy.

The keys to an unsolved mystery
Enchanted by the ruler's tragic story and hoping to unlock the answers to the 3,000 year-old mystery, Howard Carter made it his life's mission to uncover the pharaoh's hidden tomb. He began his search in 1907, but encountered countless setbacks and dead-ends before he finally, uncovered the long-lost crypt.

The clues point to murder
Now, in The Murder of King Tut, James Patterson and Martin Dugard dig through stacks of evidence--X-rays, Carter's files, forensic clues, and stories told through the ages--to arrive at their own account of King Tut's life and death. The result is an exhilarating true crime tale of intrigue, passion, and betrayal that casts fresh light on the oldest mystery of all.
James Patterson published his first thriller in 1976 and since then has become one of the best-known and bestselling writers of all time, with more than 140 million copies of his books sold worldwide. He is the author of the two most popular detective series of the past decade, featuring Alex Cross and the Women's Murder Club, and he has written numerous other #1 bestsellers. He lives in Florida.

Martin Dugard is the New York Times bestselling author of such nonfiction titles as Chasing Lance, The Last Voyage of Columbus, Farther Than Any Man, Knockdown, and Into Africa. He has written for Esquire, Outside, Sports Illustrated, and GQ. Dugard lives in Orange County, CA, with his wife and three sons.

The Society of S by Susan Hubbard
(Simon & Schuster, April 8, 2008, Trade Paperback)

The SoOciety of S is the first book in the Ethical Vampire series of young adult novels. Since reading a some very positive reviews I was dying to give the series a read. Review coming soon.
Murder comes to Saratoga Springs, sending Ariella Montero on the road to track down her mother, whom she' s never met. Guided by luck, intuition, and a smattering of logic, she embarks on a startling exploration of her family’s history. Her journey leads her south, to Asheville, Savannah, and on to Florida—settings captured in rich, meticulous detail. Hubbard depicts Ari's coming of age with "uncommon poignance" (Publishers Weekly), wit, and style, and THE SOCIETY OF S raises provocative, fresh questions about what it means to be human and how it feels to be an eternal outsider confronting an impermanent world.
Susan Hubbard, born in upstate New York, is the author of two collections of short fiction, both winners of national prizes, and four novels. THE SOCIETY OF S was published in May 2007 by Simon & Schuster, and THE YEAR OF DISAPPEARANCES, a sequel, was released in May 2008. The U.S. paperback edition of THE YEAR OF DISAPPEARANCES was published in 2009. The third volume in the Ethical Vampire series, THE SEASON OF RISKS, will be published in 2010.

The Year of Disappearances by Susan Hubbard
(Simon & Schuster, June 16, 2009, Trade Paperback-Reprint)

THE YEAR OF DISAPPEARANCES continues the most surprising vampire story you'll ever read. Ariella Montero is no stranger to the dark side of life. Half-human, half-vampire, she spent her first thirteen years in exile from both societies. When her best friend was murdered, Ari ran away to begin a new life in Florida. But, one by one, the people and things she cares most about keep disappearing. And Ari may be next. She can hypnotize, read minds, and make herself invisible, but can she escape her stalkers? 
Ari's special talents are severely tested as she moves on—from a vampire community in the Sunshine State to college in Georgia to the primeval maze of the Okefenokee Swamp. In contending with the politics of vampire and human cultures, Ari comes face to face with the zombies that are infiltrating America, as well as the demons and shadows that haunt us all.


  1. Nice books! I also have the Society Of S but haven't gotten around to reading it, Susan Hubbard is such a sweet author! Happy Reading :)

  2. I've read both books by Susan Hubbard and I hope you enjoy them as they were fun reads. The Secret Society of S reminded me a bit of the Historian. I don't know how I feel about the new cover for The Year of Disappearances though, I preferred the Hardcover version.

    ~ Popin

  3. I have not heard of ANY of these. The Secret Society of S and The Year of Disturbances sound right up my alley. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Congrats on the books! The cover for The Year of Disturbances is really similar to the posters used for True Blood & Jennifer's Body, isn't it? :)

  5. Doug, I am exceedingly jealous of The Quiet War you've got there - the Pyr cover is amazing and I've been waiting for this release before picking it up. Plus as a UK resident it will be the first time I've had the pleasure of getting something from the excellent Pyr!

  6. Hi Doug!

    Great haul, some are on my list as well, happy reading!

    Dottie :)

  7. I'm currently reading A Darkness Forged in Fire, so I can't wait to hear what you have to say about it.

  8. I read Society of S but I haven't read the follow ups..... It was kinda a weird read. Dunno if I'll read the follows eventually or not.

  9. Great stack of books! I also have the Society of S...but just haven't started it yet. It's been on my TBR pile for some time now. I'm looking forward to your review.

  10. Eleni I am looking forward to both Hubbards and plan reviews ASAP.

    PopinFresh I have not heard of the Historian, but my YA knowledge is sadly lacking (I assume it is a YA). Haven't seen the HC cover. I'll check it out.

    You're welcome Elnice!

    Mo the whole ruby red lips thing is getting quite common. Still striking though.

    Hey Mark I love the artwork on all the Pyr books. They really care for the details.

    Thanks Dottie.

    Jackie I have no idea how soon I will get to that. I suspect I will be reading your review first.

    Jessica I understand a third book is planned.

    Thanks FOTS I'd read a few reviews of the Society of S title in particular and it really intrigued me.

  11. I have been thinking of buying The Year of Disappearances and The Secret Society of S for a while. I also am wondering why rabbits would scare away poltergeists or ghosts. Seems kind of random.

    PopinFresh- I hope the Secret Society of S isn't too much like The Historian, I have that book and became sleepy everytime I tried to read it. Maybe I'm not "literary" enough?

    Doug- The Historian is not YA. It came out a couple years ago and was featured on a few morning TV shows. Wildly popular, except to me.

  12. Mardel thanks for the scoop on the Historian. I am leery of trying books recommended by "TV Show" personalities as I have not had a good track record where they are concerned.


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