Saturday, September 21, 2013

Recent Acquisitions…


It’s been another bumper month for intriguing titles. I sometimes wonder if there’s really any point in offering an introduction to these posts… It’s kind of obvious what they’re all about. There have been other books acquired, of course, and this doesn’t include the comics or graphic novels (would including those be of interest?), nor eBooks (of which there is an ever-growing number).

AdamsG-ClownServiceGuy Adams, The Clown Service (Del Rey)

Toby Greene has been reassigned.

The Department: Section 37 Station Office, Wood Green.

The Boss: August Shining, an ex-Cambridge, Cold War-era spy.

The Mission: Charged with protecting Great Britain and its interests from paranormal terrorism.

The Threat: An old enemy has returned, and with him Operation Black Earth, a Soviet plan to create the ultimate insurgents by re-animating the dead.

I like the cover. This sounds like it could be interesting. Could be rather like The Rook or spy-set Rivers of London, but I’m going to give it a try at some point.


BrownP-RedRisingPierce Brown, Red Rising (Hodder)

Darrow is a miner and a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he digs all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of the planet livable for future generations. Darrow has never seen the sky.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better future for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow and Reds like him are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow joins a resistance group in order to infiltrate the ruling class and destroy society from within. He will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

I have seen only hints and teases about this book before the ARC arrived. I’m intrigued, certainly. I’ll try to get to this one pretty soon, I think.


CareyMJ-GirlWithAllTheGiftsM.J. Carey, The Girl With All the Gifts (Orbit)

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius”. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favourite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

Ok, that synopsis is very tantalising. Doesn’t really give anything away, so I am going to try to get to this pretty soon.


EriksonS-DevilDeliveredSteven Erikson, The Devil Delivered & Other Tales (Bantam Press)

The Devil Delivered: In the breakaway Lakota Nation, in the heart of a land blistered beneath an ozone hole the size of the Great Plains of North America, a lone anthropologist wanders the deadlands, recording observations that threaten to bring the world’s powers to their knees.

Revolvo: In the fictitious country of Canada, the arts scene is ruled by technocrats who thrive in a secret, nepotistic society of granting agencies, bursaries, and peer review boards, all designed to permit self-proclaimed artists to survive without an audience.

Fishing with Grandma Matchie: A children’s story of a boy tasked with a writing assignment becomes a stunning fantastical journey with his tale-spinning grandmother.

I have never read anything by Steven Erikson. Last year (I think) I received a review copy of one of his Malazan books, but having read none of the rest of the series, I’m afraid I didn’t feel compelled to dive in. This book seems to be a completely unrelated collection of novellas/short-stories, so I think I’ll read this as a way to try out Erikson’s work. Looking forward to it, certainly.


GibsonG-Marauder2013Gary Gibson, Marauder (Tor)

Megan has a mission. But must she sacrifice herself to save a world? Pilot Megan Jacinth has three goals, and they all seem unattainable. She must find her friend Bash, who she’d left for dead to save her own life. Then she needs Bash’s unique skill-set to locate an ancient space-faring entity. Lastly she must use this Wanderer’s knowledge to save human-occupied worlds from an alien incursion. The odds seem impossible, but the threat is terrifyingly real. Megan finds Bash, but the person she’d known and loved is a husk of his former self. Bash is also held captive by her greatest enemy: Gregor Tarrant. Tarrant wants the Wanderer too, even more than he wants her life, with motives less pure than her own. And he’s close to finding Megan’s most closely-guarded secret. A race across space to reach the Wanderer seems Megan’s best option. But this entity is also known as the Marauder, and is far from benign. The price for its secrets may be just too high. Megan should know, as she still bears the scars from their last encounter…

Another great SF author who I’ve never read. Tor have been doing a wonderful job of re-issuing Gibson’s books with fantastic covers (Marauder is a new title, however). They all sound really interesting. And yet… I’ve never really been a big sci-fi reader, unless I’m already familiar with the setting (Black Library, Star Wars, etc.). I’m not really sure why I’ve never tried more.


Gimenez-ConLawMark Gimenez, Con Law (Sphere)

John Bookman – ‘Book’ to his friends – is a tenured professor at the University of Texas School of Law. He’s thirty-five, handsome and unmarried. He teaches Constitutional Law, reduces senators to blithering fools on political talk shows, and is often mentioned as a future Supreme Court nominee.

But Book is also famous for something more unusual. He likes to take on lost causes and win. Consequently, when he arrives at the law school each Monday morning, hundreds of letters await him, letters from desperate Americans around the country seeking his help. Every now and then, one letter captures his attention and Book feels compelled to act.

In the first of a thrilling new series from the author of international bestsellers The Colour of Law and Accused, Book investigates a murder in the corrupt world of deepest, darkest Texas.

It should come as no surprise to long-time readers of CR that I am a fan of Gimenez’s novels. I’ve read almost all of them, and each one so far has been an addictive legal thriller. I will, therefore, be reading this as soon as possible.


KeneallyT-AmericanScoundrelThomas Keneally, American Scoundrel (Chatto & Windus)

Hero, adulterer, bon vivant, murderer and rogue, Dan Sickles led the kind of existence that was indeed stranger than fiction. Throughout his life he exhibited the kind of exuberant charm and lack of scruple that wins friends, seduces women, and gets people killed. In American Scoundrel Thomas Keneally, the acclaimed author of Schindler’s List, creates a biography that is as lively and engrossing as its subject.

Dan Sickles was a member of Congress, led a controversial charge at Gettysburg, and had an affair with the deposed Queen of Spain—among many other women. But the most startling of his many exploits was his murder of Philip Barton Key (son of Francis Scott Key), the lover of his long-suffering and neglected wife, Teresa. The affair, the crime, and the trial contained all the ingredients of melodrama needed to ensure that it was the scandal of the age. At the trial’s end, Sickles was acquitted and hardly chastened. His life, in which outrage and accomplishment had equal force, is a compelling American tale, told with the skill of a master narrative.

I mentioned this book a little while ago, on Tumblr. I stumbled across a mention of Dan Sickles in John Taliaferro’s superb biography of John Hay, All the Great Prizes. Intrigued by the very brief description of this… character, I had a quick look for a Sickles biography, and found this one. Thomas Keneally is best known for his book Schindler’s List, so I have very high hopes that this will be excellent.


Kristoff-2-KinslayerUKJay Kristoff, Kinslayer (Tor)


The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.


Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.


Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.

The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

This series really does have nice covers… I have read the first book, Stormdancer, yet. It was another of the (too many) books that suffered because of one of my frequent moves. The premise sounds interesting, and as someone with a bachelor’s degree in East Asian History (and a minor in Japanese Language), I’m certainly interested in seeing what Kristoff has done with the world-building, society, etc. I’m sad to report that I haven’t heard great things on this score, but at the same time I’ve heard many people say they enjoyed reading it. I’ll try to get to the two novels at some point, but I’d be lying if I said they were a high priority.


Marmell-W3-LostCovenantAri Marmell, Lost Covenant (Pyr)

It’s been six months since Widdershins and her own “personal god” Olgun fled the city of Davillon. During their travels, Widdershins unwittingly discovers that a noble house is preparing to move against the last surviving bastion of the Delacroix family.

Determined to help the distant relatives of her deceased adopted father, Alexandre Delacroix, she travels to a small town at the edge of the nation. There, she works at unraveling a plot involving this rival house and a local criminal organization, all while under intense suspicion from the very people she’s trying to rescue.

Along the way she’ll have to deal with a traitor inside the Delacroix family, a mad alchemist, and an infatuated young nobleman who won’t take no for an answer.

Another Widdershins Adventure? Count me in. That’s really all there is to my decision – I thoroughly enjoyed the first novel, Thief’s Covenant. While the second, False Covenant, wasn’t quite as good, it nevertheless was a great read. This has been put very high on my TBR mountain.


McNabA-RedNoticeAndy McNab, Red Notice (Bantam Books/ Transworld)

A train hijack in the Channel Tunnel is the starting point for the electrifying new thriller from Number One bestseller Andy McNab.

Deep beneath the English Channel, a small army of Russian terrorists has seized control of the Eurostar to Paris, taken 400 hostages at gunpoint – and declared war on a government that has more than its own fair share of secrets to keep. One man stands in their way. An off-duty SAS soldier is hiding somewhere inside the train. Alone and injured, he's the only chance the passengers and crew have of getting out alive. Meet Andy McNab’s explosive new creation, Sergeant Tom Buckingham, as he unleashes a whirlwind of intrigue and retribution in his attempt to stop the terrorists and save everyone on board -- including Delphine, the beautiful woman he loves.

Hurtling us at breakneck speed between the Regiment’s crack assault teams, Whitehall’s corridors of power and the heart of the Eurotunnel action, Red Notice is McNab at his devastatingly authentic, pulse pounding best.

Despite my overall interest and fondness for thrillers, I’ve never read anything by McNab. True, I tend to prefer US-based political thrillers (for example, Mike Lawson, Vince Flynn, et al), but Red Notice sounds pretty interesting – and, perhaps more importantly, it seems to be a stand-alone novel. I’m certainly intrigued.


SomperJ-1-Allies&AssassinsJulian Somper, Allies & Assassins (Atom)

They killed his brother. Now they’re coming for him. . .

As the second prince of Archenfield, Jared never expected to rule. But behind the walls of the castle is a dark and dangerous court where murder and intrigue are never far below the surface.

Now his older brother is dead. The kingdom is his. And the target is on his back. Can he find the assassin before the assassin finds him?

More assassins? Well, yes. But I don’t mind that at all, as I really like assassins and thieves as protagonists. I loved Brent Weeks’s Night Angel Trilogy, Jon Sprunk’s Shadow trilogy (well, the first two novels – I still need to read the third), and many others. Somper is the author of the Vampirates series of YA novels. I’ve never read those, either, but that is a pretty cool premise: vampires and pirates? I wonder why I haven’t read them, actually… Anyway, Allies & Assassins is the start of a new series. I’ll probably read this rather soon.


WilliamsT-HappyHourInHellTad Williams, Happy Hour in Hell (Hodder)

Bobby Dollar has a problem or four of epic proportions. Problem one: his best friend Sam has given him an angel's feather that also happens to be evidence of an unholy pact between Bobby’s employers and those who dwell in the infernal depths. Problem two: Eligor, Grand Duke of Hell, wants to get his claws on the feather at all costs, but particularly at all cost to Bobby. Problem three: Bobby has fallen in love with Casimira, Countess of Cold Hands, who just happens to be Eligor’s girlfriend. Problem four: Eligor, aware of Problem three, has whisked Casimira off to the Bottomless Pit itself, telling Bobby he will never see her again unless he hands over the feather.

But Bobby, long-time veteran of the endless war between above and below, is not the type of guy who finds Hell intimidating. All he has to do is toss on a demon's body, sneak through the infernal gates, solve the mystery of the angel’s feather, and rescue the girl. Saving the day should just be a matter of an eon or two of anguish, mutilation and horror.

If only it were that easy.

Good lord, that is a great cover… In fact, so is the cover for the first book in the series, The Dirty Streets of Heaven. While I did pick up a copy of the first novel at BEA 2012, I never got around to reading it (yup, because of another move). I’m not entirely sure where it is, now… I’ll have to hunt down a copy of the UK edition, to complement this one. Sounds like it would appeal to fans of Richard Kadrey and other series in that ilk. Count me in. I’ll be inching this up my TBR pile as soon as I can locate the first book.


  1. Awesome books. I remember reading the first three of Justin Somper's Vampirates books when I was younger - they were a lot of fun. I can offer my recommendation behind them if it helps, but it's been a while since I've read them.

  2. I've a few of these on my TBR tower too - I'm looking forward to Kinslayer, and Red Rising is an intriguing one too.

    1. Red Rising has caught my attention, certainly. Cautiously optimistic.

  3. Wow, not even one book I want to read. That rarely happens.

    1. Huh. That is unexpected. Although, I can maybe see why. [Not to be cryptic or whatever.]