Favourite cover this month is Walking the Tree by Kaaron Warren. Top picks for December include the Pamela Freeman Casting Trilogy which is a terrific omnibus package, The Iron Palace by Morgan Howell, the newest Sevenwaters tale from Juliet Marillier, The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia A. McKillip (a long-time must buy author for me), and Walking the Tree by Kaaron Warren.
The next post will include the December science fiction and SFR releases.
Finding the Way and Other Tales of Valdemar
Edited by Mercedes Lackey
In March 1987, a young author from Oklahoma published her first novel, Arrows of the Queen. This modest book about a magical land called Valdemar was the beginning of a fantasy masterwork series that would span decades and include more than two dozen titles. Now readers can take a journey to the world of Valdemar-including Tanya Huff, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Fiona Patton, and Judith Tarr-each adding their own special touches.
People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy
Edited by Swirsky, Rachel & Sean Wallace
From Sholom Aleichem to Avram Davidson, Isaac Bashevis Singer to Tony Kushner, the Jewish literary tradition has always been one rich in the supernatural and the fantastic. In these pages, gathered from the best short fiction of the last ten years, twenty authors prove that their heritage is alive and well - in the spaces between stars that an alphabet can bridge, folklore come to life and histories become stories, and all the places where old worlds and new collide and change.
NOVELS and SERIES
Horus Heresy Series
The Emperor is enraged. Primarch Magnus the Red of the Thousand Sons Legion has made a terrible mistake that endangers the very safety of Terra. With no other choice, the Emperor charges Leman Russ, Primarch of the Space Wolves, with the apprehension of his brother from the Thousand Sons home world of Prospero. This planet of sorcerers will not be easy to overcome, but Russ and his Space Wolves are not easily deterred. With wrath in his heart, Russ is determined to bring Magnus to justice and bring about the fall of Prospero.
Asprin, Robert and Jody Lynn Nye
Griffen McCandles #3
As head dragon and owner of a successful gambling operation in New Orleans, Griffen McCandles has a lot on his plate. Especially since the Krewe of Fafnir-a society of dragons-has asked him to be the king of their Mardi Gras parade. Being the king is a huge honor, and despite the extra responsibilities, Griffen can't resist the Krewe's offer to lead the biggest party of the year. But not everyone is happy with Griffen's new leadership status. A group of powerful dragons is out to bankrupt his business, from the inside out. And when a young dragon in Griffen's employ is murdered, it becomes clear that certain dragons will stop at nothing to dethrone the new king...
Publishers Weekly - In Beukes's riveting parallel world, those who cause someone's death are both blessed and cursed with companion animals who mark them as killers while giving them special powers. In a run-down slum in Johannesburg, journalist and former addict Zinzi December uses the power provided by her Sloth to find lost objects, supplementing her meager income by running 419 scams. When a rich client is murdered, Zinzi is drawn into an investigation that involves teen pop stars, sleazy record producers, and ethics-challenged newspapermen. ; IMDB listings, newspaper articles, and book excerpts quickly establish how much (or little) this alternate universe is different from ours. Zinzi herself narrates with a hard-boiled voice that glides easily between resigned despair and hope as her case and her personal life (including her relationship with her animaled lover, Benoît) intertwine. Beukes (Moxyland) delivers a thrill ride that gleefully merges narrative styles and tropes, almost single-handedly pulling the "urban fantasy" subgenre back towards its groundbreaking roots.
Goddess of Legend
After her car plummets off a bridge, Isabel, a world-weary photojournalist, struggles between life and death when she's saved by the Water Goddess - with one tiny caveat: Isabel must travel to another time to seduce the legendary Lancelot du Lac away from Queen Guinevere. The handsome knight is a dream for any woman in any century. But Isabel is the one who's seduced by King Arthur. For Isabel, a deal is a deal. Now, the King watches as fate takes from him the mysterious beauty he has come to worship, knowing all too well that any interference on his part could destroy the kingdom he loves.
In a village of the frozen north, a child is born possessed by a strange and alien spirit, only to be cast out by her tribe and taken in by the mysterious winter witches of Irrisen, a land locked in permanent magical winter. Farther south, a young mapmaker with a penchant for forgery discovers that his sham treasure maps have begun striking gold. This is the story of Ellasif, a barbarian shield maiden who will stop at nothing to recover her missing sister, and Decclan, the ne'er-do-well young spellcaster-turned-forger who wants only to prove himself to the woman he loves. Together they'll face monsters, magic, and the fury of Ellasif's own cold-hearted warriors in their quest to rescue the lost child. Yet when they finally reach the ice-walled city of Whitethrone, where trolls hold court and wolves roam the streets as men, will it be too late to save the girl from the forces of darkness?
The Castings Trilogy
A thousand years ago, the Eleven Domains were invaded and the original inhabitants were driven onto the road as Travelers, belonging nowhere, welcomed by no one. Now the Domains are governed with an iron fist by the Warlords, but there are wilder elements in the landscape that cannot be controlled and that may prove the Warlords' undoing. Some are spirits of place - of water and air and fire and earth. Some are greater than these. And some are human. Bramble: A village girl whom no one living can tame, forced to flee her home for a crime she did not commit. Ash: A safeguarder's apprentice who must kill for an employer he cannot escape. Saker: An enchanter who will not rest until the land is returned to his people. As their three stories unfold, along with the stories of those whose lives they touch, it becomes clear that they are bound together in ways that not even a stonecaster could have foreseen - by their past, their future, and their blood. This omnibus edition includes all three novels - Blood Ties, Deep Water, and Full Circle - together for the first time.
The Iron Palace
The Shadowed Path #3
Seventeen years have passed since Yim, an ex-slave blessed by the benevolent goddess Karm, sacrificed her body—and perhaps her very soul—to Lord Bahl, avatar of the evil Devourer. In that selfless act, Yim stripped Lord Bahl of his power but became pregnant with his son. Now that son, Froan, is a young man. And though Yim has raised him in the remote Grey Fens and kept him ignorant of his past, the taint of the Devourer is in his blood. Even now an eldritch call goes out—and the slumbering shadow stirs in Froan’s blood, calling to him in a voice that cannot be denied. Armed with a dark magic he barely understands, Froan sets out to claim his destiny. When Yim seeks to stop him, her sole hope is that Honus—the love she abandoned—will take up the sword again for Karm’s sake and hers. Only then can she hope to face the impregnable bastion of unspeakable evil: the Iron Palace.
Beneath the Thirteen Moons
Kathryne Kennedy's award-winning first book, now available for the first time to the trade market, features a magical, watery world in which mammoth trees grow up from the ocean floor, supporting all life within their canopy. In spite of the beauty and abundance, the world is harshly divided into two classes: pampered royalty and struggling have-nots. In search of a Healer for her swampland village, smuggler Mahri Zin inadvertently kidnaps the heir to the throne, Korl Com'nder. As the two become lovers, they discover that not only are their fates intertwined, but the very survival of their peoples depends on them...
What the Night Knows
In the late summer of a long ago year, a killer arrived in a small city. His name was Alton Turner Blackwood, and in the space of a few months he brutally murdered four families. His savage spree ended only when he himself was killed by the last survivor of the last family, a fourteen-year-old boy. Half a continent away and two decades later, someone is murdering families again, recreating in detail Blackwood’s crimes. Homicide detective John Calvino is certain that his own family — his wife and three children — will be targets in the fourth crime, just as his parents and sisters were victims on that distant night when he was fourteen and killed their slayer. As a detective, John is a man of reason who deals in cold facts. But an extraordinary experience convinces him that sometimes death is not a one-way journey, that sometimes the dead return. Here is ghost story like no other you have read. In the Calvinos, Dean Koontz brings to life a family that might be your own, in a war for their survival against an adversary more malevolent than any he has yet created, with their own home the battleground. Of all his acclaimed novels, none exceeds What the Night Knows in power, in chilling suspense, and in sheer mesmerizing storytelling.
Seer of Sevenwaters
The young seer Sibeal is visiting an island of elite warriors, prior to making her final pledge as a druid. It's there she finds Felix, a survivor of a Viking shipwreck, who's lost his memory. The scholarly Felix and Sibeal form a natural bond. He could even be her soul mate, but Sibeal's vocation is her true calling, and her heart must answer. As Felix fully regains his memory, Sibeal has a runic divination showing her that Felix must go on a perilous mission-and that she will join him. The rough waters and the sea creatures they will face are no match for Sibeal's own inner turmoil. She must choose between the two things that tug at her soul-her spirituality and a chance at love...
McKillip, Patricia A.
The Bards of Bone Plain
Publishers Weekly - World Fantasy Award winner McKillip (The Bell at Sealey Head) offers a rich, resonant story of poetry, riddles, mystery, and magic. Phelan Cle never wanted to be a bard--that's his decidedly unmusical father's ambition for him--but now that he's about to graduate from Bardic School at Caerau, he's determined to make it easy on himself. He chooses what should be a straight-forward thesis topic: Bone Plain, where legend says all poetry originated, where Nairn the Wanderer, the Fool, the Cursed, the Unforgiven, one of the greatest bards in history, failed the mysterious Three Trials and disappeared forever. History surrounds the school and the nearby standing stones, where archaeologist Princess Beatrice digs up an unusual artifact that may hold the key to the mysteries of Bone Plain. McKillip seduces readers with lyrical prose; intriguing, complex characters; and resonant riddles-within-riddles.
Parker, K. J.
Blue and Gold
“Well, let me see,” I said, as the innkeeper poured me a beer. “In the morning I discovered the secret of changing base metal into gold. In the afternoon, I murdered my wife.”
For a man as remarkable as the philosopher Saloninus, just another day. Of course, we only have his word for it, and Saloninus has been known to be creative with the truth. Little white lies are inevitable expedients when you’re one jump ahead of the secret police and on the brink of one of the greatest discoveries in the history of alchemy. But why would a scientist with the world’s most generous, forgiving patron be so desperate to run away? And what, if anything, has blue got to do with gold?
The Buntline Special: A Weird West Tale
The year is 1881. The United States of America ends at the Mississippi River. Beyond lies the Indian nations, where the magic of powerful Medicine Men has halted the advance of the Americans east of the river. An American government desperate to expand its territory sends Thomas Alva Edison out West to the town of Tombstone, Arizona, on a mission to discover a scientific means of counteracting magic. Hired to protect this great genius, Wyatt Earp and his brothers. But there are plenty who would like to see the Earps and Edison dead. Riding to their aid are old friends Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson. Against them stand the Apache wizard Geronimo and the Clanton gang. Battle lines are drawn, and the Clanton gang, which has its own reasons for wanting Edison dead, sends for Johnny Ringo, the one man who might be Doc Holliday's equal in a gunfight. But what shows up instead is The Thing That Was Once Johnny Ringo, returned from the dead and come to Tombstone looking for a fight. Welcome to a West like you've never seen before, where "Bat Masterson" hails from the ranks of the undead, where electric lights shine down on the streets of Tombstone, while horseless stagecoaches carry passengers to and fro, and where death is no obstacle to The Thing That Was Once Johnny Ringo. Think you know the story of the O.K. Corral? Think again, as five-time Hugo winner Mike Resnick takes on his first steampunk western tale, and the West will never be the same.
Atlantis and Other Places
Publishers Weekly - Alternate historian extraordinaire Turtledove (Hitler's War) explores a dozen different "what if?" scenarios in this reprint collection. These stories, some dead serious and some absurdly improbable, demonstrate his ability to slip, chameleonlike, from one mode to the next. An aging John Audubon searches for rare birds in "Audubon in Atlantis," and Hitler's life takes a very different turn in the epistolary "Uncle Alf." "The Catcher in the Rhine" adeptly blends an American classic and a Wagnerian opera. Perhaps the most outrageous is "Bedfellows," featuring George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden. Turtledove also takes a few potshots at the modern media in "News from the Front." Helpful forewords explain the inspiration for, or divergence point of, each story. Whether he's going for humor or pathos, action or social commentary, Turtledove's research is always solid, his speculation thoughtful, and his execution professional.
Walking the Tree
Botanica is an island, but almost all of the island is taken up by the Tree. Little knowing how they came to be here, small communities live around the coast line. The Tree provides them shelter, kindling, medicine – and a place of legends, for there are ghosts within the trees who snatch children and the dying. Lillah has come of age and is now ready to leave her community and walk the tree for five years, learning all Botanica has to teach her. Before setting off, Lillah is asked by the dying mother of a young boy to take him with her. In a country where a plague killed half the population, Morace will otherwise be killed in case he has the same disease. But can Lillah keep the boy’s secret, or will she have to resort to breaking the oldest taboo on Botanica? Another astonishingly imaginative novel from the acclaimed author of Slights.
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