Saturday, July 13, 2013

Books Received (Couple of Weeks’ Worth)

Over the past couple of weeks, another bumper crop of highly-anticipated and interesting-looking books has been trickling in through the mailbox. As per usual, and because it’s too hot to write a full review or article, here is a quick run-down of some books that will hopefully feature again on the blog (some of them are certainties, though). I have not included eBook ARCs that I’ve received.



Buckell-ArcticRisingUKTobias Buckell, Arctic Rising (Del Rey UK)

The Arctic Cap has all but melted, oil has run low and Anika Duncan, former mercenary turned United Nations Polar Guard pilot, patrols the region to protect against pollution and smuggling.

In a daring plan to terraform the planet, the Gaia Corporation develops a revolutionary new technology, but when they lose control, our best potential solution to global warming may become the deadliest weapon ever known.

As a lethal game of international politics and espionage begins, it will be up to Anika to decide the fate of the Earth.

Part techno-thriller, part eco-thriller, ARCTIC RISING is a fantastic dystopian science fiction adventure that will appeal to fans of everyone from Michael Crichton to James Bond.

I haven’t read much by Buckell, but I like the sound of this one, so I will hopefully get to it at some point relatively soon. What I’ve read so far by him suggests he’s very talented. I think I just keep missing his work, or it gets released at the same time as a blizzard of other titles that also happen to catch my attention.


Carr-LegendOfBrokenUKCaleb Carr, The Legend of Broken (Sphere)

Some years ago, a remarkable manuscript long rumoured to exist was discovered: The Legend of Broken. It tells of a prosperous fortress city, Broken, where order reigns at the point of a sword – even as scheming factions secretly vie for control of the surrounding kingdom. Meanwhile, outside the city's granite walls, an industrious tribe of exiles known as the Bane forages for sustenance in the wilds of Davon Wood.

At every turn, the lives of Broken’s defenders and its would-be destroyers intertwine until secretly, and under pressure from their people, four leaders unite. Together, they hope to exact a ruinous revenge on Broken, ushering in a day of reckoning when the mighty walls will be breached forever in a triumph of science over superstition.

I’ve been aware of Caleb Carr ever since I found a copy of Killing Time and then The Alienist in a Cambridge book shop. He’s never seemed to get much attention in the UK. Hopefully this book, and the re-issued editions of The Alienist and its sequel The Angel of Darkness, will go some way to remedying our oversight. This is near the top of my TBR mountain.


Child-NeverGoBackLee Child, Never Go Back (Bantam Press)

After an epic and interrupted journey all the way from the snows of South Dakota, former military cop Jack Reacher has finally made it to Virginia. His destination: a sturdy stone building a short bus ride from Washington D.C., the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. It was the closest thing to a home he ever had.

Why? He wants to meet the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner. He liked her voice on the phone. But the officer sitting behind his old desk isn’t a woman. Is Susan Turner dead? In Afghanistan? Or in a car wreck?

What Reacher doesn't expect to hear is that Turner has just been fired from her command. Nor that he himself is in big trouble, accused of a sixteen-year-old homicide. And he certainly doesn't expect to hear these words: ‘You’re back in the army, Major. And your ass is mine.’

Will he be sorry he went back? Or – will someone else?

This is the 18th novel in the Jack Reacher series (there have also been a few short stories), and I have still never read a single one. I haven’t seen the movie, either. I have absolutely no idea why I’ve never got around to it… I really must do something about this oversight…


Peter Clines, Ex-Heroes, Ex-Patriots & Ex-Communication (Del Rey UK)


Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes, using their superhuman abilities to make Los Angeles a better place.

Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Now, a year later, the heroes struggle to overcome their differences and recover from their own scars as they protect the thousands of survivors huddled in their film-studio-turned-fortress, the Mount.

But the hungry ex-humans are not the only threat the survivors face. Across the city, another group has grown and gained power.

Previously a well-received self-published series, Clines’ novels are a mash-up of the zombie apocalypse and super-hero genres. And sound really cool. So I’ll be diving in to Ex-Heroes very soon indeed.


Cornell-LondonFallingUKPBPaul Cornell, London Falling (Tor)

The dark is rising...

Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career. Then his prize suspect Rob Toshack is murdered in custody. Furious, Quill pursues the investigation, co-opting intelligence analyst Lisa Ross and undercover cops Costain and Sefton. But nothing about Toshack’s murder is normal. Toshack had struck a bargain with a vindictive entity, whose occult powers kept Toshack one step ahead of the law – until his luck ran out. Now, the team must find a 'suspect' who can bend space and time and alter memory itself. And they will kill again. As the group starts to see London’s sinister magic for themselves, they have two choices: panic or use their new abilities. Then they must hunt a terrifying supernatural force the only way they know how: using police methods, equipment and tactics. But they must all learn the rules of this new game – and quickly. More than their lives will depend on it.

This is the new paperback edition of Cornell’s novel, and I much prefer this cover. Not really sure why. More Thriller-esque, I think. I’m more familiar with Cornell’s comic work, but I’m intrigued by this – especially since I recently moved close to London (where I also now work). I have a feeling I’ll be reading this and Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant/Rives Of London series pretty soon…


Evans-ThingAboutWolvesLeigh Evans, The Thing About Wolves (Tor)


In the never-ending saga that is my love-hate relationship with Robson Trowbridge, I, half-Were Hedi Peacock, have had a change of heart. Ever since I shoved Trowbridge through the Gates of Merenwyn, I’ve been the leader of the pack—hard to believe, right? The thing is: I’m half-Fae. So even though my Were side is ready to heed the call of the wild, the other part of me is desperate to take flight. And much as it pains me to admit it, life without Trowbridge is really starting to were me down…


To make matters worse, the wolves of Creemore want my blood—and the North American Council of Weres wants me dead. So I’m just counting the days until Trowbridge returns from the other realm…and comes to my brave rescue…and becomes my alpha mate. Wishful thinking? Of course it is. But given all the mess I’ve been through already, what’s the harm in doing a little bit of daisy-plucking? Besides, Trowbridge owes me bigtime. A girl can dream.

This is the second novel in Evans’ Mystwalker urban fantasy series. The first, The Trouble with Fate, is inching up the TBR mountain. It sounds interesting, but I am not champing at the bit to get caught up. We’ll see, depending on time available.


Griffin-GlassGodKate Griffin, Glass God (Orbit)

Sharon Li: apprentice shaman and community support officer for the magically inclined. It wasn’t the career Sharon had in mind, but she’s getting used to running Magicals Anonymous and learning how to Be One With The City.

When the Midnight Mayor goes missing, leaving only a suspiciously innocent-looking umbrella behind him, Sharon finds herself promoted. Her first task: find the Midnight Mayor. The only clues she has are a city dryad’s cryptic message of doom and several pairs of abandoned shoes...

Suddenly, Sharon’s job feels a whole lot harder.

This is, I believe, the sequel to Stray Souls, which is tucked neatly in the middle of my TBR pile… I’ll get to it soon, hopefully. Anyone else had a chance to read either, yet?


Karpyshyn-Annihilation(SW)Drew Karpyshyn, Annihilation (Century)

The Sith Empire is in flux. The Emperor is missing, presumed dead, and an ambitious Sith lord’s attempt to seize the throne has ended fatally. Still, Darth Karrid, commander of the fearsome Imperial battle cruiser Ascendant Spear, continues her relentless efforts to achieve total Sith domination of the galaxy.

But Karrid’s ruthless determination is more than matched in the steely resolve of Theron Shan, whose unfinished business with the Empire could change the course of the war for good. Though the son of a Jedi master, Theron does not wield the Force—but like his renowned mother, the spirit of rebellion is in his blood. As a top covert agent for the Republic, he struck a crucial blow against the Empire by exposing and destroying a Sith superweapon arsenal—which makes him the ideal operative for a daring and dangerous mission to end Ascendant Spear’s reign of terror.

Joined by hot-headed smuggler Teff’ith, with whom he has an inexplicable bond, and wise Jedi warrior Gnost-Dural, Darth Karrid’s former master, Theron must match wits and weapons with a battle-tested crew of the most cold-blooded dark side disciples. But time is brutally short. And if they don’t seize their one chance to succeed, they will surely have countless opportunities to die.

I’ve not read any of the Old Republic series of novels (this is the fourth in that series). Not really sure why. I have, usually, always stuck to the post-Episode IV novels, with a few exceptions. Anyone read any? Are they worth giving a try?


Napier-BloodRedSeaWilliam Napier, Blood Red Sea (Orion)

Two unlikely heroes are swept up in an epic and bloody sea battle that will change

history, in the second Clash of Empires adventure

1571. Chained to a slave galley in the heart of the Mediterranean, it seems that English adventurers Ingoldsby and Hodge might have finally run out of luck. But they've survived worse, and as the men around them drop dead at their oars, they're determined to escape. By a miracle of fate, they find their way back to dry land and freedom—but are unable to return home. With the Ottoman Empire set on strangling the crusading Christian power before it can take root, hostilities between East and West—Muslim and Christian—are vicious and deadly. And as the sun rises on one day in October, five hours of bloodshed will change the course of history. Once again, the two Englishmen find themselves living on borrowed time.

Another author, like Carr above, who I’ve been aware of for a long while, and yet have never read. I want to start reading some more historical novels, too, so maybe this will be the first. Who knows?


RyanA-RS1-BloodSongUKAnthony Ryan, Blood Song (Orbit)

Vaelin Al Sorna, Brother of the Sixth Order, has been trained from childhood to fight and kill in service to the Faith. He has earned many names and almost as many scars, acquiring an ugly dog and a bad-tempered horse in the process. Ensnared in an unjust war by a king possessed of either madness or genius, Vaelin seeks to answer the question that will decide the fate of the Realm: …who is the one who waits?

Raven's Shadow is the first volume in a new epic fantasy of war, intrigue and tested faith.

This is the finished book of Blood Song, of which I received an ARC a little while ago. I still really want to read it, but it’s huge… My shelf is currently groaning under the weight of new Big Book fantasies (inc. Mark Lawrence’s Emperor of Thorns and Django Wexler’s The Thousand Names – both of which I also really want to get around to). Watch this space. I’ll read this hopefully relatively soon.


StrossC-NeptunesBroodCharles Stross, Neptune’s Brood (Orbit)

She was looking for her sister. She found Atlantis.

Krina Alizond is a metahuman in a universe where the last natural humans became extinct five thousand years ago. When her sister goes missing she embarks on a daring voyage across the star systems to find her, travelling to her last known location – the mysterious water-world of Shin-Tethys.

In a universe with no faster-than-light travel that's a dangerous journey, made all the more perilous by the arrival of an assassin on Krina’s tail, by the ‘privateers’ chasing her sister’s life insurance policy and by growing signs that the disappearance is linked to one of the biggest financial scams in the known universe.

A new space opera from Charles Stross – always an event to look forward to. Not sure when I’ll be able to squeeze this into the schedule, but I do want to do so.


Treadwell-AnarchyJames Treadwell, Anarchy (Hodder)

Corporal “Goose” Maculloch of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police isn’t expecting much from her new posting: one of those back end of nowhere places where nothing ever happens. That’s until a girl who’s been accused of murder disappears from a locked cell on Goose’s watch. On top of that, something’s going funny with the internet connection …

As the world beyond begins to fail, Goose tracks the vanished girl through the wilderness of Vancouver Island.

Meanwhile in Cornwall a desolate child leaves the home that has kept her safe all her life and strikes out into the unknown.

And a mother, half-mad with grief for her lost son, sets off to find him.

There is a place where all their journeys meet.

But someone is watching the roads …

The sequel to Advent, which I haven’t had a chance to read yet, but would really like to… Sigh. If only I could make time at will…


Zahn-Scoundrels(SW)Timothy Zahn, Scoundrels (Century)

To make his biggest score, Han’s ready to take even bigger risks.

But even he can’t do this job solo.

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—it’s Solo’s scoundrels. But will their crime really pay, or will it cost them the ultimate price?

Zahn’s latest Star Wars novel, this has been very highly-anticipated. It was preceded by a eBook short story, Winner Lose All, and I am itching to get to this (and complete the Fate of the Jedi series, too…). Zahn’s the author of one of my favourite Star Wars trilogies, The Thrawn Trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command) – I may re-read them sometime soon.


Which of these grab your fancy? Anything else coming out soon/imminently that you can’t wait for?

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