Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Books Received…


Featuring: Kristen Britain, Brian Freeman, Christopher Galt, Nick Harkaway, Snorri Kristjansson, Ursula le Guin, Peter May, Karen Miller, Paul Sussman, Chris Willrich, & graphic novels

BritainK-MirrorSightUKKristen Britain, Mirror Sight (Gollancz)

Magic itself under threat – and the key to saving it lies far in the future…

Karigan G’ladheon is a Green Rider – a seasoned member of the royal messenger corps whose loyalty and her bravery have already been tested many times. And her final, explosive magical confrontation with Mornhavon the Black should have killed her.

But rather than finding death, and peace, Karigan wakes to a darkness deeper than night. The explosion has transported her somewhere – and into a sealed stone sarcophagus – and now she must escape, somehow, before the thinning air runs out and her mysterious tomb becomes her grave.

Where is she? Does a trap, laid by Mornhavon, lie beyond her prison? And if she can escape, will she find the world beyond the same – or has the magic taken her out of reach of her friends, home and King forever…?

That’s a nice cover. In fact, Gollancz have commissioned great covers for all of Britain’s novels. None of which, sadly, I have read… I’m not entirely sure if this is connected to her previous novels. It sounds interesting, but also not quite my preferred fantasy sub-genre. I may give it a try, but I’m afraid it’s not too high on my priority list. (If someone else would like to review it for CR, just get in touch.)


FreemanB-CB2-SeasonOfFearUKBrian Freeman, Season of Fear (Quercus)

Lake Wales, Central Florida. Ten years ago, a political fundraiser became a bloodbath when a hooded assassin carried out a savage public execution. Three men were massacred, casting a dark shadow over the Sunshine State.

A decade on, history is threatening to repeat itself. The widow of one victim, herself now running for governor, has received an anonymous threat – a newspaper clipping from that fateful day, along with the chilling words “I’m back.”

Florida detective Cab Bolton agrees to investigate the threat against this candidate, Diane Fairmont: an attractive politician who has a complicated history with Cab’s mother, Hollywood actress Tarla Bolton – and with Cab himself.

But by doing so, Cab is entering dangerous waters. Fairmont’s political party is itself swamped in secrecy – a fact that, unknown to Cab, has led one of its junior staff to start asking very sensitive questions about the death of a party employee.

Both Cab and this young researcher, Peach Piper, are digging up the kind of dirt that ten years can’t wash away. And as the powerful crosswinds of state politics swirl around Cab and Peach, and the threat of a tropical storm hangs over Florida, this whirlwind of pressure and chaos will ultimately unearth a poisonous conspiracy, and reawaken a killer who has lain dormant for a decade.

It’s been quite a while since I last read a novel by Brian Freeman (I read his debut and maybe a couple of others after that, but I forget). This sounded interesting, so I was rather glad to get it through NetGalley. Season of Fear is the sequel to The Bone House, and is published at the end of June 2014.


untitledChristopher Galt, Biblical (Quercus)

An apocalyptic thriller on an epic scale that will make you question your own reality.

All around the world, people start to see things that aren't there, that cannot be. Visions, ghosts, events from the past playing out in the present.

To start with, the visions are unremarkable: things misplaced in time and caught out of the corner of the eye; glimpses of long-dead family or friends. But, as time goes on, the visions become more sustained, more vivid, more widespread. More terrifying.

As the visions become truly apocalyptic, some turn to religion, others to science.

Only one man, driven by personal as well as professional reasons, is capable of finding the real truth. But the truth that psychiatrist John Macbeth uncovers is much, much bigger than either religion or science.

A truth so big it could cost him his sanity. And his life.

This just sounds pretty interesting. Hopefully soon. It is already out, too.


Harkaway-TigermanNick Harkaway, Tigerman ()

Lester Ferris, sergeant of the British Army, is a good man in need of a rest. He’s spent a lot of his life being shot at, and Afghanistan was the last stop on his road to exhaustion. He has no family, he’s nearly forty and burned out and about to be retired.

The island of Mancreu is the ideal place for Lester to serve out his time. It’s a former British colony in legal limbo, soon to be destroyed because of its very special version of toxic pollution – a down-at-heel, mildly larcenous backwater. Of course, that also makes Mancreu perfect for shady business, hence the Black Fleet of illicit ships lurking in the bay: listening stations, offshore hospitals, money laundering operations, drug factories and deniable torture centres. None of which should be a problem, because Lester’s brief is to sit tight and turn a blind eye.

But Lester Ferris has made a friend: a brilliant, Internet-addled street kid with a comic-book fixation who will need a home when the island dies – who might, Lester hopes, become an adopted son. Now, as Mancreu’s small society tumbles into violence, the boy needs Lester to be more than just an observer.

In the name of paternal love, Lester Ferris will do almost anything. And he’s a soldier with a knack for bad places: “almost anything” could be a very great deal – even becoming some sort of hero. But this is Mancreu, and everything here is upside down. Just exactly what sort of hero will the boy need?

I’ve had rather mixed experiences with reading Harkaway’s fiction. He is undoudtedly talented, and can certain spin a fantastic yarn and phrase. It hasn’t always worked for me, but this novel I have very high hopes for. The premise just sounds really interesting. This is very high on my TBR mountain. Tigerman is published next week in the UK.


KristjanssonS-2-BloodWillFollowSnorri Kristjansson, Blood Will Follow (Jo Fletcher Books)

Ulfar Thormodsson and Audun Arngrimsson survived the battle for Stenvik, although at huge cost, for they have suffered much worse than heartbreak. They have lost the very thing that made them human: their mortality.

While Ulfar heads home, looking for the place where he thinks he will be safe, Audun runs south. But both men are about to discover that they cannot run away from themselves. For King Olav has left the conquered town of Stenvik in the hands of his lieutenant so he can journey north, following Valgard in the search for the source of the Vikings’ power.

And all the while older beings watch and wait, biding their time, for there are secrets yet to be discovered…

Vikings! I do like me some vikings. In fact, I’m about to embark on a bit of a vikings kick, so expect the first book in this series, Swords of Good Men, to be featured soon.

Also on CR: Interview with Snorri Kristjansson, Excerpt from Blood Will Follow


LeGuinUK-Unreal&Real-Vol.1-WhereOnEarthUrsula Le Guin, The Unreal and the Real (Gollancz)

The first volume of collected short stories by multiple award-winner Ursula K. Le Guin, selected by the author herself.

For over half a century, multiple award-winner Ursula K. Le Guin’s stories have shaped the way her readers see the world. Her work gives voice to the voiceless, hope to the outsider and speaks truth to power. Le Guin’s writing is witty, wise, both sly and forthright; she is a master craftswoman.

This two-volume selection of almost forty stories was made by Ursula Le Guin herself. The two volumes span the spectrum of fiction from realism through magical realism, satire, science fiction, surrealism, and fantasy.

WHERE ON EARTH focuses on Ursula Le Guin’s interest in realism and magic realism and includes 18 of her satirical, political and experimental earthbound stories. Highlights include World Fantasy and Hugo Award-winner “Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight”, the rarely reprinted satirical short, “The Lost Children”, Jupiter Award-winner, “The Diary of the Rose” and the title story of her Pulitzer Prize finalist collection “Unlocking the Air”.

Sad to say, I haven’t read nearly enough of Le Guin’s work. This collection does look like a perfect introduction, though. Will probably read this over time, sprinkling parts of it between full-length novels.


MayP-EF2-TheCriticPeter May, The Critic (Quercus)


A bottled-up secret

Gil Petty, America’s most celebrated wine critic, is found strung up in a vineyard, dressed in the ceremonial robes of the Order of the Divine Bottle and pickled in wine.

A code to crack

For forensic expert Enzo Macleod, the key to this unsolved murder lies in decoding Petty’s mysterious reviews – which could make or break a vineyard’s reputation.

A danger unleashed

Enzo finds that beneath the tranquil façade of French viticulture lurks a back-stabbing community riddled with rivalry – and someone who is ready to stop him even if they have to kill again.

The second novel featuring Enzo, and one I can’t wait to get around to.


MillerK-1-TheFalconThroneKaren Miller, The Falcon Throne (Orbit)


A royal child, believed dead, sets his eyes on regaining his father’s stolen throne.

A bastard lord, uprising against his tyrant cousin, sheds more blood than he bargained for.

A duke’s widow, defending her daughter, defies the ambitious lord who’d control them both.

And two brothers, divided by ambition, will learn the true meaning of treachery.

All of this will come to pass, and the only certainty is that nothing will remain as it once was. As royal houses rise and fall, empires are reborn and friends become enemies, it becomes clear that much will be demanded of those who follow the path to power.

The start of a new series. Will hopefully get to this pretty soon. Sounds great.


SussmanP-FinalTestimonyRaphaelIgnatiusPhoenixPaul Sussman, The Final Testimony of Raphael Ignatius Phoenix (Doubleday)

“My name is Raphael Ignatius Phoenix and I am a hundred years old – or will be in ten days' time, in the early hours of January 1st, 2000, when I kill myself…”

Raphael Ignatius Phoenix has had enough. Born at the beginning of the 20th century, he is determined to take his own life as the old millennium ends and the new one begins. But before he ends it all, he wants to get his affairs in order and put the record straight, and that includes making sense of his own long life – a life that spanned the century. He decides to write it all down and, eschewing the more usual method of pen and paper, begins to record his story on the walls of the isolated castle that is his final home. Beginning with a fateful first adventure with Emily, the childhood friend who would become his constant companion, Raphael remembers the multitude of experiences, the myriad encounters and, of course, the ten murders he committed along the way…

And so begins one man’s wholly unorthodox account of the twentieth century – or certainly his own riotous, often outrageous, somewhat unreliable and undoubtedly singular interpretation of it.

I had never heard of this novel, before it arrived this morning. Sussman also wrote a handful of international thrillers (e.g., The Lost Army of Cambyses and The Last Secret of the Temple). This is his final novel, though, as he sadly passed away in 2012. It sounds pretty interesting, too. Hopefully get to this soon. (I should probably be banned from writing that statement…) This novel is published on May 22nd in the UK.


WillrichC-G&B2-SilkMapChris Willrich, The Silk Map (Pyr)

At the end of The Scroll of Years, the poet Persimmon Gaunt and her husband, the thief Imago Bone, had saved their child from evil forces at the price of trapping him within a pocket dimension. Now they will attempt what seems impossible; they will seek a way to recover their son. Allied with Snow Pine, a scrappy bandit who's also lost her child to the Scroll of Years, Gaunt and Bone awaken the Great Sage, a monkeylike demigod of the East, currently trapped by vaster powers beneath a mountain. The Sage knows of a way to reach the Scroll – but there is a price. The three must seek the world's greatest treasure and bring it back to him. They must find the worms of the alien Iron Moths, whose cocoons produce the wondrous material ironsilk.

And so the rogues join a grand contest waged along three thousand miles of dangerous and alluring trade routes between East and West. For many parties have simultaneously uncovered fragments of the Silk Map, a document pointing the way toward a nest of the Iron Moths. Our heroes tangle with Western treasure hunters, a blind mystic warrior and his homicidal magic carpet, a nomad princess determined to rebuild her father's empire, and a secret society obsessed with guarding the lost paradise where the Moths are found – even if paradise must be protected by murder.

This is the second novel in the Gaunt & Bone fantasy series. Not sure how I managed to miss the first, as both of these novels sound really interesting – their Middle Eastern/Asian-influenced setting also sounds like it would make a very welcome change. I’ll have to hunt down a copy of The Scroll of Years before diving into this one, but I do hope to do so ASAP.


Graphic Novels

CoffinHill-Vol.01Coffin Hill, Vol.1 – “Forest of the Night” (Vertigo)

Following a night of sex, drugs and witchcraft in the woods, Eve Coffin wakes up naked, covered in blood and unable to remember how she got there. One friend is missing, one is in a mental ward-and one knows that Eve is responsible.

Years later, Eve returns to Coffin Hill, only to discover the darkness that she unleashed ten years ago in the woods was never contained. It continues to seep through the town, cursing the soul of this sleepy Massachusetts hollow, spilling secrets and enacting its revenge.

Set against the haunted backdrop of New England, COFFIN HILL explores what people will do for power and retribution. Noted novelist Caitlin Kittredge, author of the Black London series, brings a smart, mesmerizing style to comics. Artist Inaki Miranda (FABLES) brings his dynamic storytelling to COFFIN HILL, following an acclaimed run on FAIREST.

Collects: Coffin Hill #1-7

Heard a lot of great things about this series, not to mention really liking Inaki Miranda’s artwork from Fairest. Have very high expectations for this. Let’s hope they’re met!


Superman-Vol.04-PsiWarSuperman, Vol.4 – “Psi War” (DC New 52)

Writer: Scott Lobdell | Art: Kenneth Rocafort & Aaron Kuder

The Queen of H.I.V.E. (Holistically Intergrated Viral Equality) has placed the telepathic Dr. Hector Hammond’s thoughts deep into the recesses of Superman’s mind in an effort to control the Man of Steel. The merging of Hammond and the Superman’s minds brings about vivid hallucinations that cause Superman to experience different realities and view longtime allies as potential threats.

With the Man of Steel unable to tell what is real and what is a hallucination, it is up to Orion of the New Gods and Wonder Woman to release the H.I.V.E.’s grip on Superman and save the universe from succumbing to power of the H.I.V.E.

Collects: Superman #18-24, Annual #2

I do like a good Superman tale. The New 52 run on the series has been a bit hit-and-miss (sadly, more miss than hit). I enjoyed the first story arc, which doesn’t appear to have been as popular among the wider readership. Lobdell’s done a decent job on the series, though, so I’m interested to see how this rather-weird-sounding tale shapes up.


1 comment:

  1. .....I am really jealous of you for the 2 DC graphic novels, I have been always getting my requests declined from them in Netgalley.....
    .....btw, as for you "Mirror Sight" guest review bit, if you want any guest reviews for any books or GN on CR just email me and if I am interested I will try to help you, your blog is one of the only few I follow and I would love it very much to be a part of it (though I might need the book that you want to be reviewed for CR at times if I don't have it).....