White Horse by Alex Adams. Emily Bestler/Atria, $15.00, 306pp, tp, 9781451643008. Fiction.
The world has ended, but her journey has just begun.
Thirty-year-old Zoe leads an ordinary life until the end of the world arrives. She is cleaning cages and floors at Pope Pharmaceuticals when the president of the United States announces that human beings are no longer a viable species. When Zoe realizes that everyone she loves is disappearing, she starts running. Scared and alone in a shockingly changed world, she embarks on a remarkable journey of survival and redemption. Along the way, Zoe comes to see that humans are defined not by their genetic code, but rather by their actions and choices. White Horse offers hope for a broken world, where love can lead to the most unexpected places.
Day by Day Armageddon: Shattered Hourglass by J.L. Bourne. Gallery, $15.00, 328pp, tp, 9781451628814. Fiction.
The much anticipated third book in the Day by Day Armageddon series from J.L. Bourne, Day by Day Armageddon: Shattered Hourglass is finally here, bringing all-new tales of the zombie apocalypse.
In Day by Day Armageddon: Shattered Hourglass, the dead have overtaken the living as the new dominate species. In a desperate bid to take back the continental United States, a Navy commander leads a global mission to the heart of the pandemic.
Task Force Hourglass is humanity’s final hope, and his team’s agonizing decisions could mean living one day more — or surrendering to the eternal hell that exists between life and death.
Pathfinder Tales: Called to Darkness by Richard Lee Byers. Paizo, $9.99, 416pp, pb, 9781601254658. Fantasy.
Kagur is a warrior of the Blacklions, fierce and fearless hunters in the savage Realm of the Mammoth Lords. When her clan is slaughtered by a frost giant she considered her adopted brother, honor demands that she, the last surviving Blacklion, track down her old ally and take the tribe’s revenge. This is no normal betrayal, however, for the murderous giant has followed the whispers of a dark god down into the depths of the earth, into a primeval cavern forgotten by time. There, he will unleash forces capable of wiping all humans from the region — unless Kagur can stop him first.
From acclaimed author Richard Lee Byers comes a tale of bloody revenge and subterranean wonder, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
Blood Winter by Diana Pharaoh Francis. (a Horngate Witches novel), Pocket, $7.99, 388pp, pb, 9781451613865. Urban Fantasy.
Blood Winter by Diana Pharaoh Francis is the fourth in a dark urban fantasy series set in Apocalyptic America, focusing on a headstrong woman enslaved to a witch as her finest warrior.
Max always does her job, no matter how brutal and bloody. that’s how it’s been ever since she was enslaved by a witch, turned into a supernatural warrior, and assigned to protect the coven of Horngate.
But her job just got harder…
Waves of wild magic have returned much of the world to a time when fairy tales were real and danger now lurks behind every tree and bush. As winter descends and food, heat, and water are harder to come by, many have turned to Benjamin Sterling for protection. Leader of the Earth’s Last Stand cult, Sterling claims to be the Hand of God, but this power and charisma secretly come from a dark and terrible source. With devout followers eager to do his sadistic bidding, he has his eyes on Horngate and its magical inhabitants. To save those she loves, Max will knowingly walk into a trap. but when the cult strips Max’s soul bare for all to see, will even Alexander — her lover and her strength — remain? And if she were to lose him, what does it matter if she gains the whole world…
Courage, loyalty and friendship are powerful forces, and Max doesn’t like to lose — Blood Winter will certainly join the ranks of late-into-the-night reads this winter!
The Rise of Ransom City by Felix Gilman. Tor, $25.99, 368pp, hc, 9780765329400. Steampunk.
Felix Gilman has been nominated for the John W. Campbell award and the Locus Award for best new writer. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Thunderer, Gears of the City, and The Half-Made World, which was listed by Amazon as one of the ten best SFF novels of 2010. Following the success of The Half-Made World, Gilman returns with a stand-alone sequel Rise of Ransom City.
In The Half-Made World, Felix Gilman took readers deep into a world on the cusp of forging an identity. The Line, a cult of Industry, is engaged in a war for dominance with the outlaw Agents of the Gun — a war that threatens to destroy the world before it can be built. Now Harry Ransom, half con man, half mad inventor, is setting the edge of the world aglow.
With his assistant Carver, and his horses (Mariette and Golda), and his wagon and his fabulous Ransom Lightbringing Apparatus, Harry Ransom travels the remote Western Rim of the world, going from town to town in search of audiences, admirers, and investors — dodging the Great War and the dangers of the Rim — and counting the days until he’s built up his bankroll enough to take his invention to the great cities back east where he can really make his fortune. But his genius is not going unnoticed, and when he crosses paths with the two most wanted outlaws in the world, the Agent John Creedmoor and the doctor Liv Alverhuysen, his stage becomes even larger and presents an opportunity more lucrative than any of his scams or inventions combined.
Full of thought-provoking world building, charismatic characters, and with a deep look at the power systems that control us, The Rise of Ransom City is a novel that breaks all genre barriers. Wildly entertaining and filled with intrigue and adventure, The Rise of Ransom City will captivate and delight readers.
Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton. Del Rey, $30.00, 954pp, hc, 9780345526663. Science fiction thriller.
From the New York Times bestselling author Peter Hamilton, comes the gripping new science fiction thriller, Great North Road. Ken Follet calls Peter Hamilton “the owner of the most powerful imagination in science ficiton,” and his latest epic is sure to thrill old fans and new readers alike.
Great North Road combines the nail-biting suspense of a serial-killer investigation with clear-eyed scientific and social extrapolation to create a future that seems not merely plausible, but inevitable.
A century from now, thanks to a technology allowing instantaneous travel across light-years, humanity has solved its energy shortages, cleaned up the environment, and created far-flung colony worlds. The keys to this empire belong to the powerful North family — composed of successive generations of clones. Yet these clones are not identical. For one thing, genetic errors have crept in with each generation. For another, the original three clone “brothers” have gone their separate ways, and the branches of the family are now friendly rivals more than allies.
Or maybe not so friendly. At least that’s what the murder of a North clone in the English city of Newcastle suggests to Detective Sidney Hurst. Sid is a solid investigator who’d like nothing better than to hand off this hot potato of a case. The way he figures it, whether he solves the crime or not, he’ll make enough enemies to ruin his career.
Yet Sid’s case is about to take an unexpected turn: because the circumstances of the murder bear an uncanny resemblance to a killing that took place years ago on the planet St. Libra, where a North clone and his entire household were slaughtered in cold blood. The convicted slayer, Angela Tramelo, has always claimed her innocence. And now it seems she may have been right. Because only the St. Libra killer could have committed the Newcastle crime.
Problem is, Angela also claims that the murderer was an alien monster.
Now Sid must navigate through a Byzantine minefield of competing interests within the police department and the world’s political and economic elite… all the while hunting down a brutal killer poised to strike again. And on St. Libra, Angela, newly released from prison, joins a mission to hunt down the elusive alien, only to learn that the line between hunter and hunted is a thin one.
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. William Morrow, $28.99, 704pp, hc, 9780062200570. Fiction. On-sale date: May 2013.
Victoria McQueen is a very special girl. On her blue Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she can travel anywhere she likes and retrieve anything lost by simply crossing a rickety, bat-filled covered bridge that magically appears whenever she needs it. But every journey takes its toll.
Charlie Manx is a very evil man. Ageless, creepy, and just a little bit charming, in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith — with the vanity license plate NOS4A2 — he takes kidnapped children for rides from which they never return. Slipping out of the everyday world, Manx’s destination for these children is a place he calls “Christmasland,” an astonishing playground of amusements (think Candy Land on acid) where every morning is Christmas morning and you never grow up and you never die. But you are transformed into something absolutely terrifying. Once again, every journey takes its toll.
One day Victoria goes on one of her journeys looking for trouble… and finds it. Charlie Manx. But young Vic (as she is called) is the only child ever to escape his grasp.
But that was a lifetime ago. And now the only kid to ever escape Charlie’s unmitigated evil is all grown up and desperate to forget the time she spent with him. But the end of one nightmare is just the beginning of another because Charlie Manx (although believed to have died in a maximum security prison) hasn’t stopped thinking about the exceptional Victoria McQueen, and he hasn’t stopped abducting children and taking them to “Christmasland” in a 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son Wayne.
In a life-and-death battle of wills — her magic pitted against his — Vic McQueen is going to get her son back and destroy Manx once and for all. Or she’ll die trying.
The Merlin Prophecy, Book 1: Battle of Kings by M.K. Hume. Atria, $16.00, 512pp, tp, 9781476715124. Fiction.
Acclaimed Australian author M.K. Hume admits that Arthurian legends have fascinated her for most of her life. From early childhood, she says, when she was first introduced to the stories of Alfred Lord Tennyson and later fell in love with his poetic skills, her imagination was “hooked” by the Arthurian personae. She went on to garner an M.A. and Ph.D. in Arthurian literature and amassed a mountain of research material, with the vague thought she might turn it into something useful in the academic world. However, after years of teaching, the gift of storytelling became such an essential part of her she turned to writing fiction instead.
Many western writers such as Malory, Tennyson, T.H. White, and Tolkien have written their own versions of these iconic legends, which have been fundamental in the development of English literature. And now with her American debut, The Merlin Prophecy – Book 1: Battle of Kings, M.K. Hume joins their illustrious ranks.
This new trilogy, which begins with The Merlin Prophecy – Book 1: Battle of Kings, came about when a fan of her Arthur novels wondered how Merlin — or Myrddion Merlinus — would have been like when he was a young boy growing up in the Dark Ages, before King Arthur arrived on the British landscape. The idea of writing about Merlin appealed to Hume, and she suddenly saw a whole new sweep of the history of the Arthuriad.
The Merlin Prophecy – Book 1: Battle of Kings…
In the battle-ridden town of Segontium, twelve-year-old Branwyn is a child of the earth and wind. She’s the granddaughter of Melvyn ap Melvig, the ruler of the Deceangli tribe, and she revels in roaming the wild shores of his empire. But she is also innocent, and when a terrible storm washes a beautiful stranger ashore she is intrigued. He assaults and nearly kills her, leaving her to bear his son. She comes from a proud clan, however, and in order to protect the family’s distinguished reputation, Melvyn deems that Branwyn was attacked by a demon, and Myrddion Merlinus, as the child is named, is its spawn.
Branwyn despises the child who has brought her so much pain, and so her mother Olwyn, smitten by this small being, decides to raise him as her own. For Myrddion is a unique and wonderful child whose impact on people is immediate. It’s obvious from his birth that there is something different about him, and his bloodline marks him for greatness. Although she’s loved and cherished by his family, save his mother, Myrddion is happiest when he’s helping others. And so at the age of nine he’s apprenticed to a skilled alchemist who hones his remarkable gift of healing and prophecy.
Vortigan, who has entrenched himself as the King of the Celts in the south, rules from the crumbling castle of Dinas Emrys. He’s a powerful and dangerous man, yet he fears the growing strength of his son. Two of his most trusted prophets advise Vortigan that he will perish at the hands of his offspring if he doesn’t rebuild his castle’s collapsing towers with the blood of a demon’s seed. Only then will he stand tall and firm against those who would usurp his rule.
When Myrddion’s reputation as a demon’s spawn is discovered, his life is in jeopardy. Vortigan demands that he be seized and brought to Dinas Emrys — his blood to be spilled to save Vortigan’s kingdom. But the gifted boy experiences his own prophecies, and he realizes that his life is much more than that of a healer — that it is his fate to serve a more noble cause. With King Vortigan representing all that is evil, Myrddion must use every ounce of his strength and might to bring Vortigan down and prevent the world from destruction.
So begins Myrddion Merlinus’s harrowing adventure toward his legendary destiny.
With The Merlin Prophecy – Book 1: Battle of Kings, M.K. Hume gives her own distinctive voice to the glorious saga of a young man determined to use his gifts in the face of evil during the time when Celts vied with the Saxon for control over a country. It’s a masterful novel full of magic, mystery, and wonderfully illustrated heroes and villains, and proves itself to be as enthralling as it is provocative.
The Dusk Watchman by Tom Lloyd. (Book Five of The Twilight Reign), Pyr, $17.95, 597pp, tp, 9781616146306. Fantasy.
After his pyrrhic victory at Moorview, King Emin learns the truth about the child Ruhen. Powerles to act, he must mourn his friends and watch his enemy promise a new age of peace to the beleaguered peoples of the Land. While the remaining Menin troops seek revenge, daemons freely walk the Land, and Ruhen’s power grows, a glimmer of hope remains.
One final, desperate chance for victory remains, and failure has become unimaginable. The fanatical rulers of Vanach hide a secret at the heart of their nation; a weapon so terrible only a dead man could wield it and only a madman would try, but without it Narkang will be obliterated. The past year has taken a grave toll, and Ruhen’s millennia-old plans are about to bear terrible fruit. There can be only one outcome if he continues unchecked: total dominion over the Gods themselves.
Limits of Power by Elizabeth Moon. Del Rey, $26.00, 512pp, hc, 9780345533067. Fantasy. On-sale date: 11 June 2013.
Elizabeth Moon is back with the fourth adventure in her bestselling fantasy epic. Moon brilliantly weaves a colorful tapestry of action, betrayal, love, and magic set in a richly imagined world that stands alongside those of such fantasy masters as George R. R. Martin and Robin Hobb.
The unthinkable has occurred in the kingdom of Lyonya. The queen of the Elves—known as the Lady—is dead, murdered by former elves twisted by dark powers. Now the Lady’s half-elven grandson must heal the mistrust between elf and human before their enemies strike again. Yet as he struggles to make ready for an attack, an even greater threat looms across the Eight Kingdoms.
Throughout the north, magic is reappearing after centuries of absence, emerging without warning in family after family—rich and poor alike. In some areas, the religious strictures against magery remain in place, and fanatical followers are stamping out magery by killing whoever displays the merest sign of it—even children. And as unrest spreads, one very determined traitor works to undo any effort at peace—no matter how many lives it costs. With the future hanging in the balance, it is only the dedication of a few resolute heroes who can turn the tides . . . if they can survive.
The Doctor and the Rough Rider: a Weird West Tale by Mike Resnick. Pyr, $17.95, 303pp, tp, 9781616146900. Steampunk.
It’s August 19, 1884. The consumptive Doc Holliday is preparing to await his end in a sanitarium in Leadville, Colorado, when the medicine man Geronimo enlists him on a mission. The time the great chief has predicted has come, the one white man he’s willing to treat with has crossed the Mississippi and is heading to Tombstone — a young man named Theodore Roosevelt. The various tribes know that Geronimo is willing to end the spell that has kept the United States from expanding west of the Mississippi. In response, they have created a huge, monstrous, medicine man named War Bonnet, whose function is to kill Roosevelt and Geronimo and keep the United States east of the river forever. And War Bonnet has enlisted the master shootist John Wesley Hardin.
So the battle lines are drawn: Roosevelt and Geronimo against the most powerful of the medicine men, a supernatural creature that seemingly nothing can harm; and Holliday against the man with more credited kills than any gunfighter in history. It does not promise to be a tranquil summer.
Star Wars: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn. Del Rey/LucasBooks, $27.00, 464pp, hc, 9780345511508. Science fiction tie-in.
Han Solo should be basking in his moment of glory. After all, the cocky smuggler and captain of the Millennium Falcon just played a key role in the daring raid that destroyed the Death Star and landed the first serious blow to the Empire in its war against the Rebel Alliance. But after losing the reward his heroics earned him, Han’s got nothing to celebrate. Especially since he’s deep in debt to the ruthless crime lord Jabba the Hutt. There’s a bounty on Han’s head — and if he can’t cough up the credits, he’ll surely pay with his hide. The only thing that can save him is a king’s ransom. Or maybe a gangster’s fortune? That’s what a mysterious stranger is offering in exchange for Han’s less-than-legal help with a riskier-than-usual caper. The payoff will be more than enough for Han to settle up with Jabba — and ensure he never has to haggle with the Hutts again.
All he has to do is infiltrate the ultra-fortified stronghold of a Black Sun crime syndicate underboss and crack the galaxy’s most notoriously impregnable safe. It sounds like a job for miracle workers… or madmen. So Han assembles a gallery of rogues who are a little of both — including his indispensable sidekick Chewbacca and the cunning Lando Calrissian. If anyone can dodge, deceive, and defeat heavily armed thugs, killer droids, and Imperial agents alike — and pull off the heist of the century — its Solo’s scoundrels. But will their crime really pay, or will it cost them the ultimate price?