Saturday, August 13, 2011

Upcoming Novels (or, “Look at the Pretties…”)


Yes, ok, it’s another artwork post, but seriously, these covers are great. This also gives me the opportunity to mention some upcoming titles that have caught my attention from various publishers and authors.

So, without further ado, feast your eyes on these…

Joe Abercrombie’s The Heroes & Best Served Cold (Orbit US)

Joe Abercrombie’s latest two novels have been re-jacketed in the US, and I must say I really like the new covers:


I think I still prefer Gollancz’s approach to Abercrombie’s covers (below), which are some of the nicest books and artwork I’ve ever owned.


And yet, I’ve still not read one… I started The Blade Itself, but wasn’t in the mood for it at the time, and haven’t picked it up since. I really must remedy this at some point, and soon.

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Christopher-EmpireStateUSAdam Christopher’s Empire State (Angry Robot Books)

It was the last great science hero fight, but the energy blast ripped a hole in reality, and birthed the Empire State – a young, twisted parallel prohibition-era New York.

When the rift starts to close, both worlds are threatened, and both must fight for the right to exist.

This sounds pretty good, and I like the idea of a twisted version of prohibition-era New York, with superheroes. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for this. [January 2012]

Tidhar-TheGreatGameLavie Tidhar’s The Great Game (Angry Robot Books)

When Mycroft Holmes is murdered in London, it is up to retired shadow executive Smith to track down his killer – and stumble on the greatest conspiracy of his life. Strange forces are stirring into life around the globe, and in the shadow game of spies nothing is certain. Fresh from liberating a strange alien object in Abyssinia – which might just be the mythical Ark of the Covenant – young Lucy Westerna, Holmes’ protégé, must follow her own path to the truth while, on the other side of the world, a young Harry Houdini must face his greatest feat of escape – death itself.

As their paths converge the body count mounts up, the entire world is under threat, and in a foreboding castle in the mountains of Transylvania a mysterious old man weaves a spider’s web of secrets and lies.

Airship battles, Frankenstein monsters, alien tripods and death-defying acts: The Great Game is a cranked-up steampunk thriller in which nothing is certain – not even death.

The third novel in Tidhar’s Bookman Chronicles of steampunk adventure and mystery, and one of many series I have been meaning to try but just haven’t found the time! A description on Tidhar’s website bills this as “Smiley’s People meets War of the Worlds”, and the cover has certainly captured the feel of the latter. Very striking. [February 2012]

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There’s also been a recent slew of Solaris artwork revealed, for some pretty interesting novels to be published next year. Here are my picks of the most interesting:

Sebold-BabylonSteelGaie Sebold, Babylon Steel (Solaris)

Babylon Steel, ex-sword-for-hire, ex… other things, runs the best brothel in Scalentine; city of many portals, two moons, and a wide variety of races, were-creatures, and religions, not to mention the occasional insane warlock. 

She’s not having a good week.  The Vessels of Purity are protesting against brothels, women in the trade are being attacked, it’s tax time, and there’s not enough money to pay the bill.

So when the mysterious Darask Fain offers her a job finding a missing girl, Babylon decides to take it.  But the missing girl is not what she seems, and neither is Darask Fain. In the meantime twomoon is approaching, and more than just a few night’s takings are at risk when Babylon’s hidden past reaches out to grab her by the throat.

This sounds pretty interesting, and certainly quite different to the usual plot premise one normally sees. I’ll be interested in giving this a try. [January 2012]

Maxey-1-GreatshadowJames Maxey’s Greatshadow (Solaris)

Greatshadow is the primal dragon of fire, an elemental evil whose malign intelligence spies upon mankind through every candle flame, waiting to devour any careless victim he can claim. The Church of the Book has assembled a team of twelve battle-hardened adventurers to slay the dragon once and for all. But tensions run high between the leaders of the team who view mission as a holy duty and the super-powered mercenaries who add power to their ranks, who view the mission primarily as a chance to claim Greatshadow’s vast treasure trove. If the warrior fails to slay the beast, will they doom mankind to death by fire.

Well, it’s about dragons – how could I not be interested? It’s about adventurers on a quest to hunt and kill a dragon, which is a classic theme that I’ve not read in a very long time, so count me in. Also, the woman on the cover looks slightly piratical, so the cover jumped out at me, too. [February 2012]

Lovegrove-AgeOfAztecJames Lovegrove’s Age of Aztec (Solaris)

The date is 4 Jaguar 1 Monkey 1 House – November 25th 2012 by the old reckoning – and the Aztec Empire rules the world.

The Aztec’s reign is one of cruel and ruthless oppression, encompassing regular human sacrifice. In the jungle-infested city of London, one man defies them: the masked vigilante known as the Conquistador.

Then the Conquistador is recruited to spearhead an uprising, and discovers a terrible truth. The clock is ticking. Apocalypse looms, unless the Conquistador can help assassinate the mysterious, immortal Aztec emperor, the Great Speaker. But his mission is complicated by Mal Vaugn, a police detective who is on his trail, determined to bring him to justice.

A series that I have neglected for too long, I’ll be giving them a try in the next few months, if I clear my schedule enough. I’m especially interested now that I know they’re not a continuous series, but rather stand alone novels that share a theme (Age of Odin is the one I’m most interested in thus-far, but it’ll be cool to see a couple of Asian-themed novels). [April 2012]

Juliet McKenna’s Dangerous Waters & Darkening Skies (Solaris)


Ok, so Dangerous Waters is already out, but I wanted an opportunity to feature the two novels on here (also, side-by-side, you can see that they sort of line up to make a larger image). I’ve read the novella that preceded Dangerous Waters – the first bit of McKenna’s writing that I’ve tried – and really liked it, so I’ll hopefully be giving the rest of the Hadrumel Crisis a read as and when they are published. [August 2011 & March 2012]

Here’s the synopsis for Dangerous Waters:

The Archmage rules the island of wizards and has banned the use of magecraft in warfare, but there are corsairs raiding the Caladhrian Coast, enslaving villagers and devastating trade. Barons and merchants beg for magical aid, but all help has been refused so far.

Lady Zurenne’s husband has been murdered by the corsairs, and a man she doesn’t even know stands watch over her and her daughters. Corrain, former captain and now slave to the corsairs, knows that Zurenne’s guardian is a rogue wizard.

If Corrain can only escape, he’ll see justice done. Unless the Archmage’s magewoman, Jilseth, catches the renegade first...

Juliet was also kind enough to answer some questions for an interview recently, and I’ll be posting them up on the website on August 24th, so check back for some very interesting answers.

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So there we have it – some more interesting sci-fi and fantasy titles for you to keep an eye out for. It is far from an exhaustive selection, too – as information on 2012’s releases slowly come out, it looks like we could have yet another great year for genre fiction. I’ll share more information and artwork as and when it’s released.

Happy reading!


  1. The US editions of Joe Abercrombie's books look more like movie posters than book covers.

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