Here’s a quick run-down of all the notable, upcoming September-November 2010 releases in science fiction and fantasy:
Various, “Sabbat Worlds Anthology”
Across the Sabbat Worlds, a bitter conflict is fought, a conflict that can only end in victory or annihilation. The innumerable forces of the Arch enemy attack without mercy, and planet after planet burns with the flames of war.
Yet even amidst this nightmare, the Imperial Guard stand stoic against their foes. The Phantine Air Corps battle the enemies of mankind across burning skies, while the Gereon resistance tries to break the foothold of Chaos on their beleaguered world and the legendary Gaunt’s Ghosts fight in the most violent and bloody of warzones. This anthology opens the gateway to the Sabbat Worlds like never before, featuring new stories from some of the Black Library’s best-known authors including Dan Abnett, Graham McNeill, Aaron Dembski-Bowden and many more.
Quite looking forward to this, it’ll be interesting to see how other authors deal with the worlds and setting created by Dan Abnett. Also, considering the new Gaunt’s Ghosts short story included herein, this could be a great anthology.
Nathan Long, “Zombieslayer”
Pursued by the dark forces of the necromancer Heinrich Kemmler, Gotrek and Felix arrive at Castle Reikgard, where they must hold out against the zombie hordes.
The brutality of the siege is unremitting as wave after wave of horrific creatures, led by the undead champion Krell, attempt to take the walls. With supplies running low and morale sinking, the defenders begin to hear terrible whispers and endure awful nightmares. Suspicion and paranoia run rampant within the castle walls, and the defence seems impossible.
Somehow Gotrek and Felix must unite the forces of the Empire against Kemmler’s ever-growing legion until help arrives, or will the Slayer find his doom amidst the unrelenting undead?
I’m a big fan of the Gotrek & Felix series, ever since the first anthology to feature the characters (oh, so many moons ago…). Shamanslayer finished on such a high note, I was sad that I had to wait so long for the next instalment. The wait is almost over, however, so expect a review pretty soon.
Sandy Mitchell, “Ciaphus Cain: Defender of the Imperium”
The legendary Commissar Ciaphas Cain, lauded as one of the great heroes of the Imperium, finds himself thrust onto the battlefield again.
Cain wants nothing more than to keep out of trouble and get to the other side of his commission in one piece, but the war-torn 41st millennium has other ideas.
Confronted with the powers of Chaos and hordes of alien foes, our intrepid Commissar seeks to sidestep danger and talk his way out of trouble. Yet each time he survives his legend grows, and his life is in ever-greater jeopardy…
Defender of the Imperium contains the novels Death or Glory, Duty Calls and Cain’s Last Stand, plus the short story Traitor’s Gambit and a new introduction from author Sandy Mitchell.
Ciaphus Cain is a great character in the WH40k universe – an unwitting (anti-)hero who gets into far more trouble than he wants and commits far more heroic deeds than he intends. I’ve enjoyed all the Cain novels I’ve read, so it’ll be nice to sink my teeth into this omnibus, which contains a couple I haven’t read.
Gav Thorpe, “Aenarion”
The Sword of Khaine resides upon the Blighted Isle, veiled in mystery and guarded by forces both living and dead.
Despite the warnings, Aenarion rides out upon his dragon Indraugnir to seek the prize in order to save his homeland of Ulthuan. The journey is fraught with danger, and Aenarion must confront daemons, spirits and the elemental forces of nature itself if he is to succeed.
But in drawing the blade from the Black Anvil, he will unleash the ancient and malevolent force that will tear the elven race apart…
Another audiobook, this time to tie in with Thorpe’s Time of Legends series that focuses on the High Elf race and their fall from grace. I’m pretty much on the fence about audiobooks, to be honest, although I’m willing to give this one a go because I like the setting and I remember reading about the events in a (very) old army book, way back when. As it’s not too long, I’ll hopefully get this done one free evening in the near future.
Nick Kyme, “Firedrake”
When Chaplain Elysius of the Salamanders is taken captive by Dark Eldar, he faces a fight for survival at the hands of these cruel aliens.
The Firedrakes of 1st Company attempt a daring rescue mission, but much more is at stake than the Chaplain’s life. He holds the key to secrets buried beneath Mount Deathfire, secrets that could reveal the damnation – or salvation – of their home world. The Salamanders must penetrate the Port of Anguish and defeat the xenos threat there if they are to unveil the mysteries within the Tome of Fire.
Meanwhile, Dak’ir battles to survive the brutal Librarian training, and in his visions lies an even darker future…
The second in the series, I will have to catch up and read Salamander before I tackle this novel (I’ve read the short story about Kyme’s Salamanders in Fear the Alien, and I felt a little like someone who’d arrived late at the party…). I do like Kyme’s writing, though, and the characters seem complex and ‘unpretty’ enough to keep me interested in something novel-length.
Darius Hinks, “Warrior Priest”
Warrior Priests are the holy crusaders of the Empire, crushing daemons, witches and heretics alike with righteous fury.
These bold men wield death and damnation, with warhammers held high and the word of Sigmar on their lips. They provide the final bastion against the forces of darkness that would run rampant and forever turn the hearts of men.
Jakob Wolff is one such warrior, and sets out to track down his brother, whose soul has been tainted by the Ruinous Powers. Family must be put to one side as he battles to prevent the Empire from sinking into Chaos, with only his strength of arms and the purity of his beliefs to call upon.
I don’t really know why, specifically, but I’ve been looking forward to this for some time. Maybe it’s the true-life historical influences of the Warrior Priests that is the root of my interest (I studied medieval history at A-Level), not to mention the generally more interesting aspect of this faction of the Empire’s military establishment. Not sure when I’ll get around to this, but I hope it’ll be soon (the book’s not released until November, so I’ll endeavour to get it read and reviewed before it’s available in stores).
Aaron Dembski-Bowden, “The First Heretic”
Amidst the galaxy-wide war of the Great Crusade, the Emperor castigates the Word Bearers for their worship. Distraught at this judgement, Lorgar and his Legion seek another path while devastating world after world, venting their fury and fervour on the battlefield. Their search for a new purpose leads them to the edge of the material universe, where they meet ancient forces far more powerful than they could have imagined. Having set out to illuminate the Imperium, the corruption of Chaos takes hold and their path to damnation begins. Unbeknownst to the Word Bearers, their quest for truth contains the very roots of heresy…
There aren’t many words to explain how excited I am about this book. The Horus Heresy grows and improves with each new book, so on the strength of the preceding two volumes (A Thousand Sons and Nemesis), The First Heretic will be awesome. I’m not sure if I should wait until closer to the release date to review it, but I imagine I won’t be able to.
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Orbit Books, the grandee publisher of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, has an equally impressive roster for September (three of which – including the most exciting – were mentioned here). Here are two more titles to watch out for:
Kate Elliott, “Cold Magic”
As they approach adulthood, Cat Barahal and her cousin Bee think they understand the society they live in and their place within it. At a select academy they study new airship technologies and the dawning Industrial Revolution, but magical forces still rule. Drawn into a labyrinth of politics involving blood and old feuds, Cat is betrayed by her family and forced to marry a powerful Cold Mage. As she is carried away to live a new life, fresh dangers threaten her every move and secrets form a language she cannot read. At least, not yet.
I’ve wanted to read one of Elliott’s novels for some times, now, but have always been too late to catch the beginning of a series. With Cold Magic, not only will I be able to get there from the beginning, but the premise sounds particularly great. Expect a review relatively soon.
Celine Kiernan, “The Crowded Shadows”
Book 2 in the Moorehawke Trilogy
Every tyrant who ever threatened the Kingdom is gathering to Alberon’s table, and the forest is alive with spies, wolves and bandits. Within these crowded shadows, Protector Lady Wynter Moorehawke travels alone and unprotected, determined that she shall find the rebel prince and heal the rift that has come between the King and his legitimate heir. But who is an ally and who is a foe? In this, the second of The Moorehawke Trilogy, old friends and even older enemies ensure that Wynter is never certain of who she can trust.
Alyssa’s review of The Poison Throne, the first in this series, was very popular when it was first posted, and she’s been eagerly awaiting The Crowded Shadows. She’s got a couple books and reviews in the works, so not sure exactly when the review will come for this, but it will be done. Watch this space! (Or Twitter…)
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My experiences with Solaris releases have thus far not been great. I’ve tried a number of them, and just couldn’t get into the stories. They seem to have, as a general rule (shared by Angry Robot Books) great premises let down by uneven execution. Here are the latest two to arrive:
Paul Kearney, “Century of the Soldier”
Second volume in re-issued The Monarchies of God series
By the mid sixth-century of Ramusian reckoning the great struggle is approaching its climax. For the victor there will be supremacy; for the vanquished, cultural annihilation.
Fighting that war, Corfe of Torunna will find that court intrigue can be as murderous as any martial foe. The monks Albrec and Avila will explode a bombshell of secret knowledge which will change the continent irrevocably. And Richard Hawkwood will return with the discovery of a New World.
The sixth century is the crucible of history. The century of the soldier.
I haven’t had a chance to try out the first volume of the series, but I’ve heard some pretty good things about it. I’ll try to fit it into the schedule as soon as possible.
Rowena Cory Daniels, “The Usurper”
The final book in the Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin trilogy
Now a slave, Piro finds herself in the Merofynian Palace where, if her real identity is discovered, she will be executed.
Meanwhile, Fyn is desperate to help his brother, Bryen, who is now the uncrowned King. Bryen never sought power but now he finds himself at the centre of a dangerous resistance movement as the people of Rolencia flee vicious invaders.
How can Byren defeat the invaders, when half his warriors are women and children, and the other half are untrained boys and old men?
Hm. I’ve started The King’s Bastard, but I must sadly admit to having a great difficulty in getting into it. The first 50~ pages were interesting, and showed some promise, but then it seemed to get too bogged down and peculiar (there was something… off about the character development). I’ll try the series again when I have a moment to spare – although I think Shevaun might like to give them a try.
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That’s all for now.
So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a lot of exciting reading to do…