The Coffee Table Book of Doom by Steven Appleby & Art Lester. Plume, $20.00, 200pp, hc, 9780452298668. Comedy.
Could 2012 be the year of our annihilation? The Mayan Calendar predicts the date as December 21, 2012, Pastor Harold Camping reaffirms October 21st as “Judgment Day,” and even author Dan Brown cited the year 2012 for the apocalypse in The Lost Symbol. Thankfully Steven Appleby and Art Lester has created a brilliantly funny, superbly illustrated and erudite guide to prepare us in all the ways we might cease to exist — space earthquakes, gender erosion, asteroid impact, pandemics, solar storms, and robotic revolts to name a few.
The Coffee Table Book of Doom tackles all doom related questions to prepare us for whatever may seal our fate such as:
* Could an alien invasion really happen?
* Is every creature on Earth becoming female, leading to the end of mankind?
* Will species become extinct with even moderate warming?
* Is the human gene pool getting weaker?
* Can earthquakes start in outer space?
* What should you pack in your GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bags?
Fully illustrated in two-color, The Coffee Table Book of Doom warns us that it’s not just the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse we have to worry about. This tongue-in-cheek informational book combines fascinating and often alarming facts with each chapter committed to the different ways of how mankind as we know it will come to a grisly end.
Whether we’re baked, fried, frozen or sucked dry… the end is near. We might as well laugh about it.
Bronze Summer by Stephen Baxter. (the Northland trilogy), Roc, $26.95, 454pp, hc, 9780451464798. Science fiction.
Stephen Baxter’s “imaginative [and] bold” novel Stone Spring drew readers into an alternate prehistoric scenario that continues with Bronze Summer. Thousands of years have passed, and a wall that was built to hold back the sea must now hold back the advancing armies of a reviving Troy….
What would have been the bed of the Northern Sea is now Northland, a society of prosperous, literate, and self-sufficient people. They live off the bounty of the land, an area created by the building of the Wall. Thousands of years ago it began as a simple dam. Now, inhabited from end to end, the Wall is a linear city stretching for hundreds of miles, and a wonder of the world.
For millennia, the Wall has also kept the growing empires of the Bronze Age at bay. But decades of drought have destabilized those eastern civilizations. Men and women filled with greed and ambition have now turned their eyes toward the fertile west. A new and turbulent age is dawning. For any wall, no matter how strong, can be breached — particularly from within….
Hitman: Damnation by Raymond Benson. Del Rey, $9.99, 304pp, pb, 9780345471345. Science fiction/tie-in.
The official, all-original, all0out thrilling prequel to the much-anticipated new game Hitman: Absolution.
Since the devastating conclusion of Hitman: Blood Money, Agent 47 has been MIA. Now fans awaiting the return of the blockbuster videogame and film phenomenon can pinpoint the location of the world’s most brutal and effective killer-for-hire before he reemerges in Hitman: Absolution. When the Agency lures him back with a mission that will require every last ounce of his stealth, strength, and undercover tactics, they grossly underestimate the silent assassin’s own agenda. Because this time, Agent 47 isn’t just going to bite the hand that feeds him. He’s going to tear it off and annihilate anyone who stands in his way.
Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom. Harper Voyager, $27.99, 360pp, hc, 9780062095657. Fantasy.
As autumn slips into winter, Brom, the acclaimed artist and author of The Child Thief, returns to chill us once again with a modern retelling of the Krampus myth, recasting The Lord of Yule into a dark enemy of the jolly old man in red himself, Santa Claus. Krampus has long been a revered creature of folklore and able — a legendary being who populates the darker holiday tales of many old European cultures.
Often cast as Santa’s sidekick, Krampus is the devil who punishes the naughty children who don’t make Santa’s nice list. But, through the looking glass of acclaimed author/artist Brom’s imagination, Krampus is a few shades… darker. A little more twisted. And Santa is no jolly old St. Nick. He’s a take-no-prisoner figure straight out of Norse mythology, based upon legends of Odin’s son, Baldr, who died tragically and was reborn. He was dedicated to spreading charity and goodwill among the downtrodden… and thus, the basis for the Santa mythos that supplanted the pagan Yule celebrations.
Well, Santa’s time is coming to an end.
One Christmas Eve, in a small hollow in Boone County, West Virginia, a failed songwriter named Jesse witnesses a strange spectacle: seven thugs cloaked in black attacking a man in a red suit with a sleigh. When Jesse steps in to help, the mysterious figures all disappear, leaving behind a large sack — a magical bag that will plunge the down-on-his-luck singer into a twisted adventure. The bag is the property of Krampus, trickster, a devil who punishes the wicked — and who asserts that he is Jesse’s master, one who will teach him the truth about the cherry-cheeked, jolly old fellow who imprisoned Krampus for five centuries and usurped the pagan god’s own magic. Now, the former Yule Lord has broken free, and is determined to destroy his enemy and reclaim his holiday.
With wild magic running loose in the darkest corners of Appalachia, Jesse may be able to salvage his dreams and create a new future for his daughter… and all the children of the land.
Bloodfire Quest by Terry Brooks. (The Dark Legacy of Shannara), Del Rey, $28.00, 368pp, hc, 9780345523501. Fantasy. On-sale date: 19 March 2013.
For the first time in his career, Terry will be publishing a book every six months from the start to end of this series: here is the second in a brand-new trilogy, following The Wards of Faerie, in the New York Times bestselling Shannara universe!
Long ago, many dangerous creatures were locked behind a magical barrier, bringing peace and prosperity to the land. But now those barriers are eroding, and generations of embittered prisoners are about to escape. War seems inevitable… unless a few brave souls can stem the tide. While some venture into the forbidden lands, others must undertake a perilous quest — a quest whose success will mean the death of a young girl who has barely even begun to live, but whose failure will have unimaginable consequences. From riveting start to cliffhanger ending, this is an epic for the ages!
Rising Sun by Robert Conroy. Baen, $25.00, 352pp, hc, 9781451638516. Science fiction. On-sale date: 4 December 2012.
It is the summer of 1942 and what our historians have called the Incredible Victory in the Battle of Midway has become a horrendous disaster in the world. Two of America’s handful of carriers in the Pacific have blundered into a Japanese submarine picket line and have been sunk, while a third is destroyed the next day. The United States has only one carrier remaining in the Pacific against nine Japanese, while the ragtag remnants of U.S. battleships – an armada still reeling from the defeat at Pearl Harbor – are in even worse shape.
Now the Pacific belongs to the Japanese. And it doesn’t stop there as Japan thrust her sword in to the hilt. Alaska is invaded. Hawaii is under blockade. The Panama Canal is nearly plugged. Worst of all, the West Coast of America is ripe destruction as bombers of the Empire of the Sun bombard West Coast American cities at will.
Despite these disasters, the U.S. begins to fight back. Limited counterattacks are made and a grand plan is put forth to lure the Japanese into an ambush that could restore the balance in the Pacific and give the forces of freedom a fighting chance once more.
Angel’s Ink by Jocelynn Drake. (The Asylum Tales), Harper Voyager, $14.99, 338pp, tp, 9780062117854. Fantasy.
Think very hard… what do you wish for? What could you use a little more of in your life? Luck? Money? Charm? With the right combination of ink and… special ingredients… a gifted tattoo artist can get you all of that and more. For the right price, of course. Stinginess can mean a spoiled leprechaun hair in the mix, and all that good luck you wanted? You might as well have broken a mirror while walking under a ladder behind a black cat. In her trade paperback debut, Angel’s Ink, Jocelynn Drake introduces readers to the magical world of Low Town and The Asylum Tattoo Parlor, where everyone is something more than they seem.
Owner of The Asylum Tattoo Parlor, Gage is the best known artist in town, but he’s hiding dangerous secrets from his co-workers and the rest of Low Town. He is a warlock-in-hiding, a refugee from the magical ivory towers where those who show aptitude are held and viciously educated in the mystical arts. Once trained, they serve the unwilling world as gatekeepers, judges, and ultimately, executioners. No one has ever left the towers alive until Gage… and that’s pissed off a few of his old magical mentors.
Gage has managed to keep a low profile for years, but one too-powerful ingredient in an ink mix makes one of his clients immortal and draws powerful eyes to him. Now he’s being attacked from all quarters — warlocks,, vampires, and death itself are after him, and he’s only got three days to solve this sticky immortality problem if he has any hope of making it through this enchanted world alive.
With a compelling premise and a style that fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Simon Green will love, Angel’s Ink is set to put Jocelynn Drake on the urban fantasy map.
The Dragon Men by Steven Harper. (a novel of The Clockwork Empire), Roc, $7.99, 381pp, pb, 9780451464880. Fantasy.
As China prepares to become the ultimate power in an era of extraordinary invention and horror, Alice Michael’s fate lies inside the walls of the forbidden kingdom….
Gavin Ennock has everything that a man could desire — except time. As the clockwork plague consumes his body and mind, it drives him increasingly mad and fractures his relationship with his fiancee, Alice, Lady Michaels. Their only hope is that the Dragon Men of China can cure him.
But a power-mad general has seized the Chinese throne in a determined offensive to conquer Asia, Britain — indeed, the entire world. He has closed the country’s borders to all foreigners. The former ruling dynasty, however, is scheming to return the rightful heir to power. Their designs will draw Gavin and Alice down a treacherous path strewn with intrigue and power struggles. One wrong step will seal Gavin’s fate… and determine the future of the world.
A Red Sun Also Rises by Mark Hodder. Pyr, $17.95, 375pp, tp, 9781616146948. Speculative fiction. On-sale date: December 2012.
A tale of good and evil, where neither is what it seems! Aiden Fleischer, a bookish priest, finds himself transported to an alien world. With him is Miss Clarissa Stark, a crippled hunchback of exceptional ability, wronged by an aristocrat and cast out from society.
On the planet Ptallaya, under two bright yellow suns, they encounter the Yatsill, a race of enthusiastic mimics who shape their society after impressions picked up from Clarissa’s mind. Creating a faux London, the alien creatures enroll Clarissa in their Council of Magicians and Aiden int he City Guard. But why does the peaceful city require guards? After a day that, in earthly terms, has lasted for months, the answer comes, for on this planet without night, a red sun also rises, and brings with it a destructive evil. The Blood Gods! Hideous creatures, they cause Aiden to confront his own internal darkness while trying to protect his friend and his new home.
With a sharp eye for period detail and a rich imagination, Mark Hodder establishes a weirdly twisted version of Victorian London on a convincingly realized alien world, and employs them to tackle a profound psychological and moral question. A Red Sun Also Rises breaks new ground by combining the sord & planet genre with Victorian steampunk while adding an edgy psychological twist.
The Silvered by Tanya Huff. DAW, $24.95, 304pp, hc, 9780756407438. Fantasy.
The Empire has declared war on the small, were-ruled kingdom of Aydori, capturing five women of the Mage-Pack, including the wife of the were Pack-leader. With the Pack off defending the border, it falls to Mirian Maylin and Tomas Hagen — she a low-level mage, he younger brother to the Pack-leader — to save them. Together the two set out on the kidnappers’ trail, racing into the heart of enemy territory. With every step the odds against them surviving and succeeding soar.
The Wild Ways by Tanya Huff. DAW, $7.99, 424pp, pb, 9780756407636. Fantasy.
The Gales can change the world with the charms they cast, and they like to keep all this power in the family. Some people might describe them as witches, and most of their neighbors have long since learned that it’s not a good idea to get the Gales riled up, especially not at certain times of the year.
The Gale Aunties rule the family, or they think they do. And cousins Allie and Charlie have often found themselves beset by too many Aunties trying to control them. Now that Allie has settled down and has her own Gale circle in Calgary, the Aunties are focusing even more attention on Charlie. She wishes they’d just leave her alone. After all, she has a steady job with an up and coming country and western band and a great home in Calgary.
But the truth is Charlie Gale is a Wild Power and there’s nothing wild about the life she’s living. So she ditches it to join a Celtic Rock band on the summer festival circuit. All Charlie wants to do is play music and have a good time. She has no plans to get involved in a local fight against offshore oil drilling… fought by an extended family of Selkies against an oil company willing to employ the most horrific means to get what they want. They’ve hired one of the Gale Aunties to steal the Selkies’ sealskins.
To return the skins to their rightful owners and stop a potential environmental disaster, Charlie will have to face off against Auntie Catherine, another Wild Power. To have any hope of winning, Charlie will have to learn what born to be Wild means in the Gale family — then teach it to Jack, a Dragon Prince trying to be a real boy — all while attempting corporate espionage with a seal-wife who won’t stop crying.
Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities by Mike Jung. Scholastic, $16.99, 314pp, hc, 9780545335485. YA adventure.
Debut author Mike Jung takes middle-grade readers on action-packed adventure with Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities. Kids will laugh and cheer for a whole new kind of hero as they race to the last page.
Can knowing the most superhero trivia in the whole school be considered a superpower? If so, Vincent Wu is invincible. If not (and let’s face it, it’s not), then Vincent and his pals Max and George don’t get any props for being leaders (and well, sole members) of the (unofficial) Captain Stupendous Fan Club. But what happens when the Captain is hurt in an incident involving both Professor Mayhem and his giant indestructible robot and (mortifyingly) Polly Wincott-lee, the girl Vincent has a crush on? The entire city is in danger, Vincent’s parents and his friends aren’t safe, and talking to Polly is really, really awkward. Only Vincent Wu has what it takes to save them, overcome Professor Mayhem, rally his friends, and figure out what to say to Polly. But will anyone take him seriously?
The Clone Sedition by Steven L. Kent. Ace, $7.99, 360pp, pb, 9780425258187. Science fiction.
Earth, A.D. 2519. Less than a year has passed since the clone military of the Enlisted Man’s Empire toppled the government of the Unified Authority. Now the clones rule Earth, but a new enemy has emerged — and set off a civil war…
Originally trained to fight for the U.A., clone Marine Wayson Harris led the Enlisted Man’s Empire’s invasion of Earth and wrested control away from the old regime. He’s now ready to do what it takes to ensure the new balance of power isn’t jeopardized.
When a trio of religious fanatics from Mars attempts to attack Harris, he suspects further unrest among the colony’s residents. Hoping to stave off an uprising, he leads a troop of Marines to Mars. But once there, they learn the situation is much graver than they first feared.
The Red Planet’s refugees have decided the clones are their number one enemy, and measures to eradicate them are under way. And when Harris is kidnapped and drugged, he discovers something disturbing about himself. He can be reprogrammed…
Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier. Roc, $26.95, 434pp, hc, 9780451464804. Fantasy.
Maeve, daughter of Lord Sean of Sevenwaters, was badly burned as a child and carries the legacy of that fire in her crippled hands. After ten years she’s returning home, having grown into a courageous, forthright woman with a special gift for gentling difficult animals. But while her body’s scars have healed, her spirit remains fragile, fearing the shadows of her past.
Sevenwaters is in turmoil. The fey prince Mac Dara has become desperate to see his only son, who is married to Maeve’s sister, return to the Otherworld. To force Lord Sean’s hand, Mac Dara has caused a party of innocent travelers on the Sevenwaters border to vanish — only to allow their murdered bodies to be found one by one.
When Maeve finds the body of a missing man in a remote part of the woods, she and her brother, Finbar, embark on a journey that could bring about the end of Mac Dara’s reign — or lead to a hideous death. If she is successful, Maeve may open the door to a future she has not dared to believe possible….
The Armageddon Rag by George R.R. Martin. Bantam, $16.00, 344pp, tp, 9780553383072. Science fiction.
Onetime underground journalist Sandy Blair has come a long way from his radical roots in the sixties — until something unexpectedly draws him back: the bizarre and brutal murder of a rock promoter who made millions with a band called the Nazgul. Now, as Sandy sets out to investigate the crime, he finds himself drawn back into his own past — a magical mystery tour of the pent-up passions of his generation. For a new messiah has resurrected the Nazgul and the mad new rhythm may be more than anyone bargained for — a requiem of demonism, mind control, and death, whose apocalyptic tune only Sandy may be able to change in time… before everyone follows the beat.
Dreamsongs: Volume I by George R.R. Martin. Bantam, $18.00, 686pp, tp, 9780553385687. Fiction collection.
Even before A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin had already established himself as a giant in the field of fantasy literature. The first of two stunning collections, Dreamsong: Volume I is a rare treat for readers, offering fascinating insights into his journey from young writer to award-winning master.
Gathered here in Dreamsongs: Volume I are the very best of George R.R. Martin’s early works, including his Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker award-winning stories, cool fan pieces, and the original novella The Ice Dragon, from which Martin’s New York Times bestselling children’s book of the same title originated. A dazzling array of subjects and styles that features extensive author commentary, Dreamsongs: Volume I is the perfect collection for both Martin devotees and a new generation of fans.
[Contents: Introduction by Gardner Dozois; "Only Kids are Afraid of the Dark"; "The Fortress"; "And Death His Legacy"; "The Hero"; "The Exit to San Breta"; "The Second Kind of Loneliness"; "With Morning Comes Mist"; "A Song for Lya"; "This Tower of Ashes"; "And Seven Times Never Kill Man"; "The Stone City"; "Bitterblooms"; "The Way of Cross and Dragon"; "The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr"; "The Ice Dragon"; "In the Lost Lands"; "Meathouse Man"; "Remembering Melody"; "Sandkings"; "Nightflyers"; "The Monkey Treatment"; and "The Pear-Shaped Man".]
Dreamsongs: Volume II by George R.R. Martin. Bantam, $18.00, 744pp, tp, 9780553385694. Fiction collection.
Even before the enormous success of A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin had secured his reputation as one of the most exciting storytellers of our time. The second of two thrilling collections, Dreamsongs: Volume II continues the story of his amazing journey from a young writer to a #1 New York Times bestselling force of nature.
Whether writing about werewolves, wizards, or outer space, George R.R. Martin is renowned for his versatility and expansive talent, as demonstrated in this dazzling collection. Dreamsongs: Volume II contains acclaimed stories such as the World Fantasy Award winner “The Skin Trade,” as well as his first novella in the Ice and Fire universe, The Hedge Knight — plus two early screenplays. Featuring extensive author commentary, Dreamsongs: Volume II is an invaluable chronicle of a writer at the height of his creativity — and an unforgettable reading experience for fans old and new.
[Contents: "A Taste of Tuf"; "A Beast for Norn"; "Guardians"; "The Siren Song of Hollywood"; "The Twilight Zone: 'The Road Less Traveled'"; "Doorways"; "Doing the Wild Card Shuffle"; "Shell Games"; "From the Journal of Xavier Desmond"; "The Heart in Conflict"; "Under Siege"; "The Skin Trade"; "Unsound Variations"; "The Glass Flower"; "The Hedge Knight"; "Portraits of His Children"; and George R.R. Martin: A Retrospective Fiction Checklist" by Leslie Kay Swigart.]
Dying of the Light by George R.R. Martin. Bantam, $16.00, 256pp, tp, 9780553383089. Science fiction.
A whisperjewel has summoned Dirk t’Larien to Worlorn, and a love he thinks he lost. But Worlorn isn’t the world Dirk imagined, and Gwen Delvano is no longer the woman he once knew. She is bound to another man, and to a dying planet that is trapped in twilight. Gwen needs Dirk’s protection, and he will do anything to keep her safe, even if it means challenging the barbaric man who has claimed her. But an impenetrable veil of secrecy surrounds them all, and it’s becoming impossible for Dirk to distinguish between his allies and his enemies. In this dangerous triangle, one is hurtling toward escape, another toward revenge, and the last toward a brutal, untimely demise.
Windhaven by George R.R. Martin & Lisa Tuttle. Bantam, $16.00, 340pp, tp, 9780345535498. Fantasy.
Among the scattered islands that make up the water world of Windhaven, no one holds more prestige than the silver-winged flyers, romantic figures who cross treacherous oceans, braving shifting winds and sudden storms, to bring news, gossip, songs, and stories to a waiting populace. Maris of Amberly, a fisherman’s daughter, wants nothing more than to soar on the currents high above Windhaven. So she challenges tradition, demanding that flyers be chosen by merit rather than inheritance. But even after winning that bitter battle, Maris finds that her trouble are only beginning. Now a revolution threatens to destroy the world she fought so hard to join — and force her to make the ultimate sacrifice.
The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt & Mike Resnick. Ace, $25.95, 388pp, hc, 9781937008710. Science fiction.
Two science fiction masters — Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick — team up to deliver a classic thriller in which one man uncovers the secret history of the United States space program…
Early in his career, Jerry Culpepper could never have been accused of being idealistic. Doing public relations — even for politicians — was strictly business… until he was hired as NASA’s public affairs director and discovered a client he could believe in. Proud of the agency’s history and sure of its destiny, he was thrilled to be a part of its future — a bright era of far-reaching space exploration.
But public disinterest and budget cuts changed that future. Now, a half century after the first moon landing, Jerry feels like the only one with stars — and unexplored planets and solar systems — in his eyes.
Still, Jerry does his job, trying to drum up interest in the legacy of the agency. Then a fifty-year-old secret about the Apollo XI mission is revealed, and he finds himself embroiled in the biggest controversy of the twenty-first century, one that will test his ability — and his willingness — to spin the truth about a conspiracy of reality-altering proportions…
Feminism in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman: Essays on the Comics, Poetry and Prose edited by Tara Prescott and Aaron Drucker. McFarland, $35.00, 295pp, tp, 9780786466368. Non-fiction.
This collection of new essays looks carefully at the broad spectrum of Neil Gaiman’s work and how he interacts with feminism. Sixteen diverse essays from Gaiman scholars examine highlights from Gaiman’s graphic novels, short stories, novels, poems and screenplays, and confront the difficult issues he raises, including femininity, the male gaze, issues of age discrimination, rape, and feminine agency. Altogether the essays probe the difficult and complex representation of women and issues of femininity in the worlds of Neil Gaiman.
Tara Prescott is a lecturer in Writing Programs at University of California, Los Angeles. She lives in Santa Monica. Aaron Drucker is an instructor in Los Angeles.
[Contributors: Rachel R. Martin, Lanette Cadle, Justin Mellette, Tara Prescott, Aaron Drucker, Sarah Cantrell, Renata Dalmaso, Coralline Dupuy, Emily Capettini, Danielle Russell, Elizabeth Law, Jennifer McStotts, Monica Miller, Agata Zarzycka, Jessica Walker, and Kristine Larsen.]
Polterheist by Laura Resnick. DAW, $7.99, 375pp, pb, 9780756407339. Fantasy.
Some things should just stay in hell….
In the seasonal madness leading up to Christmas, struggling actress Esther Diamond is working as a singing-and-dancing elf at Fenster & Co. a major Manhattan department store. As if dealing with hordes of crazed holiday shoppers while dressed in a skimpy costume isn’t bad enough, Esther’s former almost-boyfriend, Detective Connor Lopez, is on the scene investigating a series of mob-related truck hijackings of Fenster’s costly merchandise. Semi-retired hit man Lucky Battistuzzi is also nosing around, since the mob deeply resents being implicated in thefts they didn’t commit — well… not this time, anyhow.
But when inanimate objects start to grow fangs and fly through the air, Esther realizes this is more than just the usual holiday insanity — it’s time to call in her friend Max, 350-year-old sorcerer and bookstore owner.
Between dodging lurking wiseguys and suspicious — if gorgeous — cops, Esther and Max discover that Fenster’s has become the staging ground for the rebirth of a voracious demon that’s plotting to take advantage of the winter solstice to escape its mystical prison.
As an ancient Evil prepares to unleash hell on a night when darkness prevails and dimensional barriers crumble, can Esther rescue her fellow elves, save her city from demonic disaster, and collect her paycheck in time to make rent?
Kris Longknife: Furious by Mike Shepherd. Ace, $7.99, 361pp, pb, 9781937007393. Science fiction.
Having used unorthodox methods to save a world — and every sentient being on it — Lieutenant Commander Kris Longknife is wanted across the galaxy for crimes against humanity. For her own safety, she’s been assigned to a backwater planet where her Fast Patrol Squadron 127 enforces immigration control and smuggler interdiction.
But Kris is a Longknife, and nothing can stop her from getting back to the center of things — not when all hell is breaking loose. Now she’s on the run, hunted by both military and civilian authorities. And since the civilian authorities happen to be her immediate family, Kris soon finds herself homeless, broke, and on trial for her life on an alien world…
Sharon Shinn blurs the line between fantasy and romance, science fiction and reality in her award-winning novels. Still Life with Shapeshifter is her most recent work, and a loose sequel to The Shape of Desire.
For her entire life, Melanie Landon has hidden the fact that her half-sister Ann is a shapeshifter — determined to protect Ann from a world that simply wouldn’t understand. After months of no contact, Melanie fears the worst when a man shows up on her doorstep saying he’s there about her sister. A freelance writer, Brody Westerbrook intends to include Ann in a book about the existence of shapeshifters. While Melanie is immediately drawn to the stranger, she knows revealing Anne’s secret isn’t an option.
Still Life with Shapeshifter is another wonderful contemporary fantasy from Sharon Shinn that deals with her signature issues of love, loyalty and trust, and fans of all genres will not want to miss it.
Revenant Eve by Sherwood Smith. DAW, $25.95, 452pp, hc, 9780756407445. Science fiction.
Kim Murray is happily planning her wedding when she finds herself pulled two centuries back in time. It’s 1795, the rise of Napoleon, and Kim is now a guardian spirit for a twelve-year-old kid who will either become Kim’s ancestor . . . or the timeline will alter and Kim will vanish, along with the small, magical European country of Dobrenica. What? Yes, the child called Aurelie de Mascarenhas must get to Dobrenica, or more than just one family will vanish.
Kim hates time travel conundrums, and knows nothing about kids. How is she going to guide a kid born on Saint-Domingue, with whom she has nothing in common?
From Jamaica to England to the Paris of the early 1800s, Kim and Aurelie travel, sharing adventures and learning more about Vrajhus, the Blessing, and the Nasdrafus than is known in Dobrenica’s modern times. Along the way to wedding bells or annihilation, Kim makes a shocking discovery . . .
Osama: A Novel by Lavie Tidhar. Solaris, $9.99, 302pp, tp, 9781781080757. Science fiction.
In an alternate world without global terrorism, a private detective is hired by a mysterious woman to track down the obscure creator of the fictional vigilante, Osama Bin Laden…
Joe’s identity slowly fragments as his quest takes him across the world, from the backwaters of Asia to the European capitals of Paris and London. He discovers the shadowy world of the Refugees, ghostly entities haunting the world in which he lives. Where do they come from? What do they want? Joe knows how the story should end, but is he ready for the truths he will uncover… or the choice he will have to make?
The Hobbit, illustrated edition by J.R.R. Tolkien, illustrated by David Wenzel, adapted by Charles Dixon. Del Rey, $20.00, 138pp, tp, 9780345445605. Fantasy graphic novel.
First published in the United States more than seventy-five years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is one of the best-loved books of all time. Now a blockbuster film by Peter Jackson, Academy Award-winning director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit was also adapted into a fully painted graphic novel, a classic in its own right, presented here in a new expanded edition.
When Thorin Oakenshield and his band of dwarves embark upon a dangerous quest to reclaim stolen treasure from the evil dragon Smaug, Gandalf the wizard suggests an unlikely accomplice: Bilbo Baggins, a quiet and contented hobbit. Along the way, the company faces trolls, goblins, giant spiders, and worse. But in the end it is Bilbo alone who must face the most dreaded dragon in all Middle-earth — and a destiny that waits in the dark caverns beneath the Misty Mountains, where a twisted creature known as Gollum jealously guards a precious magic ring.
The Shattered Dark by Sandy Williams. (a Shadow Reader novel), Ace, $7.99, 292pp, pb, 9781937007812. Fantasy.
McKenzie Lewis has a gift. It allows her access to a world few have seen and even fewer can comprehend. It’s her secret. And it exists in the shadows…
McKenzie was a normal college student, save for one little twist: she’s a shadow reader, someone who can both see the fae and track their movements between our world and the Realm. It’s a gift for which she has been called insane, one for which she has risked family and friends — and one that has now plunged her into a brutal civil war among the fae.
With the reign of the king and his vicious general at an end, McKenzie hoped to live a more normal life while exploring her new relationship with Aren, the rebel fae who has captured her heart. But when her best friend, Paige, disappears, McKenzie knows her wish is, for now, just a dream. McKenzie is the only one who can rescue her friend, but if she’s not careful, her decisions could cost the lives of everyone she’s tried so hard to save.
Shadowheart by Tad Williams. (the final volume of Shadowmarch), DAW, $8.99, 840pp, pb, 9780756407650. Fantasy.
Thousands of years ago the gods fought and fell in teh deeps beneath what is now Southmarch Castle, then were banished into eternal sleep. Now at least one of them is stirring again, dreaming of vengeance against humankind.
Southmarch haunts the dreams of men as well as gods. Royal twins Barrick and Briony Eddon, the heirs of Southmarch’s ruling family, are hurrying back home. Barrick now carries the heritage of the immortal Qar inside him, and Briony now has a small army at her back and a fiery determination to recover her father’s throne and avenge herself on the usurpers.
The cruel and powerful southern ruler known as the Autarch of Xis wants the power of the gods for his own, a power he can only gain if he conquers Southmarch.
And nobody knows what the Qar want, only that the mysterious fairy-folk are prepared to die for it — or to kill every living thing in Southmarch Castle and in all the lands that surround it.
All will come to an apocalyptic conclusion on Midsummer Night, when the spirits of the haunted past and the desperate struggles of the present come together in one great final battle. Many will die. Many more will be transformed beyond recognition, and the world will be forever changed.