Monday, May 30, 2011

Best Book-Week EVER…?

Quite probably. This week I have received (and bought) perhaps the most number of Highly Anticipated books than any week previously. Am I gloating by writing about it here? Well, maybe a little bit, but I do also want to take advantage of the opportunity to tell everyone a little bit about these books that are coming out in the near future. So, let’s start first with a photo of The Big Pile O’ Exciting Books:


Here’s why we should be excited about them…

[Please Note: Some of these novels are sequels, so there may be some spoilers in synopses.]

“The Map of All Things” by Kevin J. Anderson (Orbit)

This I just posted a review for, so I’ll direct you over here for more on this novel. (Which is great, and it’s a great fantasy series, too. Next book – The Key to Creation – is published later this year.)

“The Departure” by Neal Asher (Tor)Asher-TheDeparture

Visible in the night sky the Argus Station, its twin smelting plants like glowing eyes, looks down on nightmare Earth. From Argus the Committee keep an oppressive control: citizens are watched by cams systems and political officers, it's a world inhabited by shepherds, reader guns, razor birds and the brutal Inspectorate with its white tiled cells and pain inducers.

Soon the Committee will have the power to edit human minds, but not yet, twelve billion human being need to die before Earth can be stabilized, but by turning large portions of Earth into concentration camps this is achievable, especially when the Argus satellite laser network comes fully online...

This is the world Alan Saul wakes to in his crate on the conveyor to the Calais incinerator. How he got there he does not know, but he does remember the pain and the face of his interrogator. Informed by Janus, through the hardware implanted in his skull, about the world as it is now Saul is determined to destroy it, just as soon as he has found out who he was, and killed his interrogator...

Sad to say, I’ve never read any of Asher’s novels (although I do have Gridlinked on my shelf). Perhaps it was the daunting notion of diving into an established series or something. Not to worry, though, as The Departure is the first in a new series. So, perfect time to get stuck in, no? I thought so. Hopefully very soon.

“Grid Lock” by Sean Black (Bantam)Black-GridLock

Adult movie actress, Raven Lane, is one of the most lusted after women in America, with millions of fans to prove it. But when a headless corpse turns up in the trunk of her car, she realises that fame carries a terrible price.

Fearing for her life, and with the LAPD seemingly unable to protect her, Raven turns to elite bodyguard, Ryan Lock for help. Lock stops bad things happening to good people, but can he stop the tidal wave of violence now threatening the city of Los Angeles as Raven’s predator targets – and kills - those closest to her?

As events spiral out of control, Lock is drawn into a dangerous world where money rules, where sex is a commodity to be bought and sold, and where no one can be trusted, least of all his beautiful new client. But what he cannot know is the terrifying price he's about to pay - just for getting involved...

I got this through Amazon’s Vine Programme, and am looking forward to reading it. I’ve read and reviewed the previous two books in Black’s series (Lock Down and Dead Lock), and found them to both be fast-paced, solid thrillers. Let’s hope the trend continues. [On a more personal note, however, it would be really nice if they decided if the titles of this series were meant to be one- or two-words, it can make searching for them a real pain.] I’ll read and review this in a couple weeks, I imagine, just to break up the string of fantasy and sci-fi titles that will feature on the site.

“Stands a Shadow” by Col Buchanan (Tor)Buchanan-2-StandsAShadow

Still grieving the death of her son, the Holy Matriarch of Mann has ordered her troops to embark on a mission to the Mercian Free Ports. Riding at the head of her army she plans to finally conquer the city of Bar-Khos, whose walls have kept them at bay for ten long years.

Ash has other plans for her. The old Rōshun warrior is determined that he will have vengeance for the crimes she has committed. But such a course of retribution is in direct opposition to everything he has lived for – this isn’t a Rōshun vendetta – it’s personal.

While Ash battles with his conscience, Ché, the Matriarch’s personal Diplomat and assassin, is questioning his own path. Watching as the Mannian army slaughters their way across the world, he wonders whether he believes any of the doctrine he has been taught to follow.

As the battle for Bar-Khos intensifies, more and more lives are affected: Bahn who leaves all he loves in the city to try to protect it from the ravening Mannian empire, Bull the murderer who senses a chance to make things right, and Curl, the young prostitute who is determined to seek her own retribution on the field of battle.

When the two armies clash – all looks set to be decided. But it’s not sheer force that will win this battle. But the tormented determination of one man seeking redemption...

Farlander was brilliant, in my opinion, so I have been eagerly (some might say impatiently) anticipating Stands a Shadow ever since I finished the first book. Now, I have it, so the wait is so small. It’s not published until mid-July, but I’m hoping to get to it soon. Also, keep your eyes pealed for an upcoming interview with the author (which I’ll be posting on here on Wednesday June 8th).

“Leviathan Wakes” by James S. Corey (Orbit)Corey-LeviathanWakes

Humanity has colonized the planets – interstellar travel is still beyond our reach, but the solar system has become a dense network of colonies. But there are tensions – the mineral-rich outer planets resent their dependence on Earth and Mars and the political and military clout they wield over the Belt and beyond.

Now, when Captain Jim Holden’s ice miner stumbles across a derelict, abandoned ship, he uncovers a secret that threatens to throw the entire system into war. Attacked by a stealth ship belonging to the Mars fleet, Holden must find a way to uncover the motives behind the attack, stop a war and find the truth behind a vast conspiracy that threatens the entire human race.

This is the first in a space opera series by Dan Abraham and Ty Franck. As a big fan of Abraham’s fantasy series, I am looking forward to what he does with this genre. I read a great interview with the two authors (sadly, I can’t for the life of me remember where it was – perhaps SciFi Signal?), and after reading their thoughts on Leviathan Wakes and what they were trying to do with it, I can’t wait to get stuck in. (As I’ll be alternating genres a little more often, it should be quite soon.)

“Heaven’s Shadow” by David S. Goyer & Michael Cassutt (Tor)GoyerCassutt-HeavensShadow

Heaven’s Shadow begins with the discovery of an object of unknown origin headed toward Earth. Speculation as to what it might be runs high, and leads to an international competition to be the first to land on it, to claim both the prestige and whatever other benefits there might be. Thus, two rival teams of astronauts begin a thrilling and dangerous race – but what they find when they reach their goal will turn out to be unlike anything they could have imagined . . .

What they have landed on is no asteroid but a spacecraft from a civilization that has travelled tens of thousands of years to reach earth. While the team try to work out what it is they are needed for, more sinister occurrences cause them to wonder if their involvement with this alien race will lead to anything but harm for humanity.

I don’t really know much about this novel, save the fact that David S Goyer wrote the Batman Begins and The Dark Knight screenplays. Which I loved. So maybe I’ll love this, too. Mid-July publication, so review hopefully coming soon.

“Deadline” by Mira Grant (Orbit)Grant-Deadline

Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organisation he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn’t seem as fun when you’ve lost as much as he has.

But when a researcher from the Centre for Disease Control fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun’s relieved to find a new purpose in life. Because this researcher comes bearing news: the monster who attacked them may be destroyed, but the conspiracy is far from dead.

Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.

I didn’t get around to reading Feed, the first novel in Grant’s series, but I’ve been hearing and reading some good things from a broad range of reviewers, so if I can find the time, I’ll give this a go.

“Hard Spell” by Justin Gustainis (Angry Robot)Gustainis-HardSpell

My name’s Markowski. I carry a badge. Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.

File Under: Urban Fantasy

[Dial V For Vampire | Forbidden Spells | Bite Club | Scranton By Night]

This just sounds like great fun. Certainly sounds like it falls in the same vein as Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Matt Forbeck’s Vegas Knights and Christopher Farnsworth’s Blood Oath. So, should fit right into my tastes, then.

“Nagash Immortal” by Mike Lee (Black Library)Lee-3-NagashImmortal

In the tunnels of Nagashizzar, a new threat to the realm of the undead is rising. Nagash must call upon all his reserves of power to defeat the skaven assault and continue his unholy reign. But when Nagash realises he can use his enemy for his own nefarious needs, an uneasy alliance is struck and a vast, nightmarish army is formed. The necromancer launches his final attack on the lands of Nehekhara, sweeping all before him. Only one man dare stand in his way – Alcadizzar, a peerless warrior and the leader of a defiant force. Their confrontation will not just decide the fate of Nehekhara, but of all the Old World.

The third part of the Nagash saga for Black Library’s Warhammer Heroes series of novels. I’m not sure why I never got around to reading this trilogy – when I was younger, I always found Nagash’s history (from the armies books) quite interesting, well-written, and always wanted to know more. Perhaps because I missed the first book, I never got around to it. I might have to catch up, though, as this looks pretty interesting.

“The Warlord’s Legacy” by Ari Marmell (Gollancz)Marmell-WarlordsLegacyUK

Corvis Rebaine is no hero. In his trademark suit of black armour and skull-like helm, armed with a demon-forged axe and with allies that include a bloodthirsty ogre, Rebaine has twice brought death and destruction to Imphallion in pursuit of a better, more equitable and just society. If he had to kill countless innocents in order to achieve that dream, so be it. At least that was the old Rebaine. Before he slew the mad warlord Audriss. Before he banished the demon Khanda. Before he lost his wife and children, who could neither forgive nor forget his violent crimes.

Now, years later, Rebaine lives in a distant city, under a false name. He's a member of one of the Guilds he despises and trying to achieve change nonviolently, from within the power structure. But just because Corvis has changed doesn't mean everyone else has. When Imphallion is invaded the bickering Guilds once again prove unable to respond... but someone wearing Rebaine's trademark black armour, and bearing what appears to be his axe, does. Someone who is, if anything, even less careful of human life than Rebaine was. Worse, Rebaine's old nemesis Baron Jassion is hunting him once more, aided by a mysterious sorcerer named Kaleb, and a young woman who hates Corvis Rebaine more than anyone else: his own daughter, Mellorin. Suddenly Rebaine seems to have no choice. To clear his name, to protect his country, and to reconcile with his family, must he become the Terror of the East again?

I really enjoyed The Conqueror’s Shadow at the end of last year, so I have been eagerly awaiting this second book in the series. I bought this for my Kindle, so expect it to be read quite soon. Great fun fantasy, from an author who has a great style and sense of humour. [Interview with Ari Marmell]

“The Book of Transformations” by Mark Charan Newton (Tor)Newton-BookOfTransformations

A new and corrupt Emperor seeks to rebuild the ancient structures of Villjamur to give the people of the city hope in the face of great upheaval and an oppressing ice age. But when a stranger called Shalev arrives, empowering a militant underground movement, crime and terror becomes rampant. The Inquisition is always one step behind, and military resources are spread thinly across the Empire. So Emperor Urtica calls upon cultists to help construct a group to eliminate those involved with the uprising, and calm the populace.

But there’s more to The Villjamur Knights than just phenomenal skills and abilities – each have a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything they represent. Investigator Fulcrom of the Villjamur Inquisition is given the unenviable task of managing the Knights, but his own skills are tested when a mysterious priest, who has travelled from beyond the fringes of the Empire, seeks his help. The priest’s existence threatens the church, and his quest promises to unweave the fabric of the world. And in a distant corner of the Empire, the enigmatic cultist Dartun Súr steps back into this world, having witnessed horrors beyond his imagination. Broken, altered, he and the remnants of his cultist order are heading back to Villjamur. And all eyes turn to the Sanctuary City, for Villjamur’s ancient legends are about to be shattered...

I loved City of Ruin, the second book in Newton’s Legends of the Red Sun series (which started with Nights of Villjamur), and have been quite impatient for this third book. Newton’s a great author, and his characters are wonderful to read about, so expect this read and reviewed very soon indeed. [Author Interview]

“Imperial Glory” by Richard Williams (Black Library)Williams-ImperialGlory

Tired and broken by war, the men of the Brimlock Eleventh Imperial Guard are a force on the verge of collapse. Having been stretched across the galaxy by their loyalty to the Emperor, they are presented with one final battle that will allow them reward they all seek: to colonise the distant world of Voor and live out the rest of their days in peace. All that stands in their way is a force of savages – a plague of feral orks that has spread across the planet. But can the Brimlock’s battered bodies and minds hold up to this greenskin invasion?

This just sounds like it’s going to be great WH40k fiction, so I’m eager to get stuck in. However, it’s not published until August (same goes for Nagash Immortal), so I will probably hold off until mid-July to read and review it.

*     *    *

So there we have it. An absolutely amazing week for books, and a huge thank you to Tor, Orbit, Angry Robot, and Black Library for sending them through!

Happy reading, everyone.

[I should perhaps point out that I have my PhD Thesis defence on July 8th, so it’s probable that things might be a bit quiet on the site around that time. I will, however, continue reading, but I may save reviews until after this date.]


  1. If you don't get on with "the Departure", please throw it my way. I'm a massive Neal Asher fan, have been for a decade or more.

    I'll not insult you by ofering money, but would of course cover postage.

  2. I reckon I raise you with these novels which I brought/was given in the first week of May:

    Heldenhammer by Graham McNeill Nagash the Sorcerer by Mike Lee Malkeith by Gav Thorpe
    The Painted Man / The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett
    Promethean Sun by Nick Kyme
    Fireborn by Nick Kyme
    Age of Zeus by James Lovegrove
    Gotrek and Felix Omnibus 1 by William King
    Brothers of the Snake by Dan Abnett

    Also, I've read an advanced copy of 'Imperial Glory' the other day and found it to be highly enjoyable.