Friday, May 13, 2011

Fortnightly Acquisitions

It’s been a while since I did a post like this, but given the exciting stuff that’s arrived these past two weeks, I thought I’d share a bit. After being away from home for a week (which should explain the relative inactivity), there were a couple of nice surprises waiting for me, too! So, here’s the pile:


And some brief details on the titles, all of which have been on my radar for a while (some longer than others)…

Atlas Infernal by Rob Sanders (Black Library)Sanders-AtlasInfernal

Inquisitor Bronislaw Czevak is a hunted man. Escaping from the Black Library of the Eldar, Czevak steals the Atlas Infernal – a living map of the Webway. With this fabled artefact and his supreme intellect, Czevak foils the predations of the Harlequins sent to apprehend him and thwarts his enemies within the Inquisition who want to kill him. Czevak’s deadliest foe, however, is Ahriman – arch-sorcerer of the Thousand Sons. He desires the knowledge within the Black Library, knowledge that can exalt him to godhood, and is willing to destroy the inquisitor to obtain it.

A desperate chase that will bend the fabric of reality ensues, where Czevak’s only hope of survival is to outwit the chosen of Tzeentch, Lord of Chaos and Architect of Fate. Failure is unconscionable, the very cost to the Imperium unimaginable.

Ever since I read and reviewed Redemption Corps, I’ve been eager to read more of Sanders’s work. Atlas Infernal looks like it has a lot of promise, and I like the premise – delving into classic WH40k mythology (the Black Library), adding an Inquisitor (often the most interesting characters), and Ahriman as a primary antagonist? Sounds great.

[Published in July 2011]

Sigvald by Darius Hinks (Black Library)Hink-Sigvald

Prince Sigvald the Magnificent has struck a pact with his Slaaneshi masters that bestows incredible power and beauty, but drives him to ever greater acts of hedonism. Despite his pre-eminence, the champion of Chaos is tricked into an impossible war with the promise of a powerful artefact to slake his dark desires. After centuries of debauchery, Sigvald rouses his army and leads them to battle against the legions of the Blood God Khorne.

Obsessed with the Brass Skull, the object of his misguided yearnings, Sigvald is unaware his enemies are closing in around him. In a hellish quest that drives him across the twisted landscape of the Chaos Wastes and culminates in an epic confrontation, he realises that the lures of Slaanesh can never be sated…

This next instalment in the Warhammer Heroes series focuses on one of the ‘evil’ heroes. I thoroughly enjoyed Wulfrik (which also focused on a Chaos champion), more than I’ve enjoyed the Empire champion selection (by Chris Wraight – although they are also very good).

I’m also eager to read more by Mr Hinks – Warrior Priest was one of the novels I’m most annoyed at not reading in a timely manner from last year, so I shall do my best to read this as soon as possible.

[Published in July 2011]

Unclean Spirits by M.L.N. Hanover (Simon & Schuster)Hanover-UncleanSpirits

Jayné Heller thinks of herself as a realist, until she discovers reality isn’t quite what she thought it was. When her uncle Eric is murdered, Jayné travels to Denver to settle his estate, only to learn that it’s all hers — and vaster than she ever imagined. And along with properties across the world and an inexhaustible fortune, Eric left her a legacy of a different kind: his unfinished business with a cabal of wizards known as the Invisible College.

Led by the ruthless Randolph Coin, the Invisible College harnesses demon spirits for their own ends of power and domination. Jayné finds it difficult to believe magic and demons can even exist, let alone be responsible for the death of her uncle. But Coin sees Eric’s heir as a threat to be eliminated by any means — magical or mundane — so Jayné had better start believing in something to save her own life.

Aided in her mission by a group of unlikely companions — Aubrey, Eric’s devastatingly attractive assistant; Ex, a former Jesuit with a lethal agenda; Midian, a two-hundred-year-old man who claims to be under a curse from Randolph Coin himself; and Chogyi Jake, a self-styled Buddhist with mystical abilities — Jayné finds that her new reality is not only unexpected, but often unexplainable. And if she hopes to survive, she’ll have to learn the new rules fast — or break them completely…

I’m taking a bit of a gamble with this one: “M.L.N. Hanover” is one of Dan Abraham’s pseudonyms. Long-time readers of the site will know I am a big fan of Abraham’s writing under his real name, and I was encouraged to give this series a try, despite my reservations about the sub-genre. So, I ordered this from Amazon, and will give it a read at some point in the near future. Perhaps nearer the release of Abraham’s other pseudonymously-published novel, Leviathan Wakes (as “James S.A. Corey”, which is both Abraham and Ty Franck) as I’m really looking forward to that as well.

Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth (Hodder)Farnsworth-1-BloodOathUK

Sharp and ambitious, Zach Barrows is on his way up. But when he gets a call from the White House, it’s not quite the promotion he expected. Zach is to be the new political liaison officer to America’s best kept secret:

Nathaniel Cade. The President’s vampire.

And Cade is the world’s only hope against a horrifying terrorist threat…

This came as rather a surprise in the post. I remembered seeing something about the series recently (couldn’t tell you where), but it piqued my interest: American politics and the presidency, and also vampires? Two of my key interests. The synopsis above sounds a little like the beginning of the movie Hellboy, but the synopsis for the American edition is more descriptive (I’ll leave it to interested parties to seek it out, but I’ll probably incorporate some of it into the review).

With the second book coming soon to the US (The President’s Vampire), this is a perfect time to give this series a try. I hope there’s a good deal of flashback, too – the premise is really intriguing, and it would be great to see how it’s been incorporated into the history of the United States.

[Published May 26th 2011 – UK]

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (Voyager)Lawrence-PrinceOfThorns

“Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother's tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that’s true enough, but there’s something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse.”

Once a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg’s bleak past has set him beyond fear of any man, living or dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father’s castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.

Another hotly-tipped fantasy debut from Voyager (who are also publishing David Chandler’s new series this year), there’s been a lot of pre-publication buzz over this novel, and I am very eager to get stuck into it. It’s darker and harsher than many fantasies, by the author’s own admission – we’re not really supposed to like Jorg, and this isn’t one for the squeamish or perhaps more traditional (dare I say, ‘softer’) fantasies.

In case you missed it in March, I interviewed Mark Lawrence for the site about his book and writing.

[Published August 4th 2011 – UK]

Embassytown by China Mieville (Tor)Mieville-Embassytown

Embassytown: a city of contradictions on the outskirts of the universe.

Avice is an immerser, a traveller on the immer, the sea of space and time below the everyday, now returned to her birth planet. Here on Arieka, humans are not the only intelligent life, and Avice has a rare bond with the natives, the enigmatic Hosts - who cannot lie.

Only a tiny cadre of unique human Ambassadors can speak Language, and connect the two communities. But an unimaginable new arrival has come to Embassytown. And when this Ambassador speaks, everything changes.

Catastrophe looms. Avice knows the only hope is for her to speak directly to the alien Hosts.

And that is impossible.

I’ve had mixed feelings about Mieville’s work in the past (loved The Scar so very much, but couldn’t get into Kraken), but this novel just sounds so intriguing I have to give it a try. I saw a video interview with the author over on Macmillan’s website not so long ago, and he  made the novel sound awesome. [I also bought this as Kindling, while I was away.]

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Genre For Japan Auction Items

I’m sure many of you will remember the Genre For Japan auction that was held in the wake of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. I bid for and won a Gollancz lot that included signed and personalised copies of Songs of the Earth and Fenrir. Huge thank you to the organisers for holding the auction for such a good cause, and an equally huge congratulations for making the auction such a success!

Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper (Gollancz)Cooper-SongsOfTheEarth

Gair is under a death sentence. He can hear music – music with power – and in the Holy City that means only one thing: he’s a witch, and he’s going to be burnt at the stake. Even if he could escape, the Church Knights and their witchfinder would be hot on his heels while his burgeoning power threatens to tear him apart from within.

There is no hope... None, but a secretive order, themselves persecuted almost to destruction. If Gair can escape, if he can master his own growing, dangerous abilities, if he can find the Guardians of the Veil, then maybe he will be safe. Or maybe he’ll discover that his fight has only just begun.

I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I first saw it mention (I think) on GavReads. The premise sounds great, so I hope to get to this very soon indeed.

[Published June 16th 2011 – UK]

Fenrir by M.D. Lachlan (Gollancz)Lachlan-Fenrir

The Vikings are laying siege to Paris. As the houses on the banks of the Seine burn a debate rages in the Cathedral on the walled island of the city proper. The situation is hopeless. The Vikings want the Count’s sister, in return they will spare the rest of the city.

Can the Count really have ambitions to be Emperor of the Franks if he doesn’t do everything he can to save his people? Can he call himself a man if he doesn’t do everything he can to save his sister? His conscience demands one thing, the demands of state another. The Count and the church are relying on the living saint, the blind and crippled Jehan of St Germain, to enlist the aid of God and resolve the situation for them. But the Vikings have their own gods. And outside their camp a terrifying brother and sister, priests of Odin, have their own agenda. An agenda of darkness and madness. And in the shadows a wolfman lurks.

I’ve mentioned this novel already on the site a couple of times, so I won’t go into too much detail here. Needless to say, Wolfsangel was one of my favourite reads of last year, so I am very eager to get stuck back into Lachlan’s writing and take on the werewolf mythology.

In December 2010, MD Lachlan was also the first author I interviewed for the site.

[Published July 2011 – UK]

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So, there we have it. Some awesome books added to the TBR pile. It looks like 2011 is going to be the Summer of Reading…


  1. I made the MLN Hanover gamble myself, just the other day - though I made it on a somewhat smaller scale, I'll admit. Daniel has a story in Songs of Love and Death, the anthology from late last year, called "Hurt Me," which I read as a bit of a litmus test. Which it passed. With flying colours, I would add. Hell if I knew paranormal romance could be good - but there you go...

    I'll be looking forward to hearing how you find the novels proper, Stefan. Get to it, now! :)

  2. I see UNCLEAN SPIRITS arrived - my copy should do so soon also. It really will be interesting to compare notes. Also, absolutely, 100% jealous of your copy of PRINCE OF THORNS. How did you manage to get one? Otherwise, that's a very fine selection of books...

  3. "Prince of Thorns" is currently a freebie at Waterstone's in the UK, if you pre-order "Dance With Dragons". Superb offer, actually, although it did confuse both me and the shop assistant, because they'd just been filed on the shelve in the store!
    Looking forward to getting properly stuck into it (have had a quick skim).

  4. Wow, that's a very nice offer, I wish I could get in on it. There is a Waterstone's branch in Brussels (where I live)... I wonder...

  5. It's quite easy for Brits to forget how spoiled we are.

    It's a great offer - definitely worth it if you like fantasy (certainly if you like GRRM). Couldn't resist. Now I just have to make sure I get the rest of Song of Ice and Fire read...