Thursday, July 18, 2013

Books Received

The Thousand Names: Book One of The Shadow Campaigns by Django Wexler

Enter an epic fantasy world that echoes with the thunder of muskets and the clang of steel—but where the real battle is against a subtle and sinister magic....

Captain Marcus d’Ivoire, commander of one of the Vordanai empire’s colonial garrisons, was resigned to serving out his days in a sleepy, remote outpost. But that was before a rebellion upended his life. And once the powder smoke settled, he was left in charge of a demoralized force clinging tenuously to a small fortress at the edge of the desert.

To flee from her past, Winter Ihernglass masqueraded as a man and enlisted as a ranker in the Vordanai Colonials, hoping only to avoid notice. But when chance sees her promoted to command, she must win the hearts of her men and lead them into battle against impossible odds.

The fates of both these soldiers and all the men they lead depend on the newly arrived Colonel Janus bet Vhalnich, who has been sent by the ailing king to restore order. His military genius seems to know no bounds, and under his command, Marcus and Winter can feel the tide turning. But their allegiance will be tested as they begin to suspect that the enigmatic Janus’s ambitions extend beyond the battlefield and into the realm of the supernatural—a realm with the power to ignite a meteoric rise, reshape the known world, and change the lives of everyone in its path.


Requiem (The Psalms of Isaak) by Ken Scholes

Ken Scholes’s debut novel, Lamentation, was an event in fantasy. Heralded as a “mesmerizing debut novel” by Publishers Weekly, and a “vividly imagined SF-fantasy hybrid set in a distant, postapocalyptic future” by Booklist, the series gained many fans. It was followed by Canticle andAntiphon. Now comes the fourth book in The Psalms of Isaak, Requiem.

Who is the Crimson Empress, and what does her conquest of the Named Lands really mean? Who holds the keys to the Moon Wizard’s Tower?

The plots within plots are expanding as the characters seek their way out of the maze of intrigue. The world is expanding as they discover lands beyond their previous carefully controlled knowledge. Hidden truths reveal even deeper truths, and nothing is as it seemed to be.


The Last Man Standing by Davide Longo

In this dystopian, post-apocalyptic literary novel, Italy is on the brink of collapse: borders are closed, banks are refusing to distribute money to their clients, the postal service is shuttered, and food supplies are running short. Armed gangs of drug-fueled youth rampage through the countryside as the nation descends into chaos.

Leonardo was once a famous writer and professor before a sex scandal ended his marriage and his career. With society collapsing around them, his ex-wife leaves their daughter and son in his care as she sets off in search of her new husband, who is missing. Ultimately, Leonardo is forced to evacuate and take his children to safety, but to do so he will have to summon a quality he has never exhibited before: courage.



Inhuman by Kat Falls

Never let them tame you.

In the wake of a devastating biological disaster, the United States east of the Mississippi has been abandoned. Now called the Feral Zone, a reference to the virus that turned millions of people into bloodthirsty savages, the entire area is off-limits. The punishment for violating the border is death.

Lane McEvoy can't imagine why anyone would risk it. She's grown up in the shadow of the great wall separating east from west, and she's curious about what's on the other side - but not that curious. Life in the west is safe and comfortable . . . just how she likes it.

But Lane gets the shock of her life when she learns that someone close to her has crossed into the Feral Zone. And she has little choice but to follow. Lane travels east, completely unprepared for what she finds in the ruins of civilization . . . and afraid to learn whether her humanity will prove her greatest strength or a fatal weakness.

Kat Falls brings you to the very edge of civilization and dares you to jump.


Phoenix: A Black City Novel by Elizabeth Richards

Weeks after his crucifixion and rebirth as Phoenix, Ash Fisher believes his troubles are far behind him. He and Natalie are engaged and life seems good. But his happiness is short-lived when he receives a threatening visit from Purian Rose, who gives Ash an ultimatum: vote in favor of Rose’s Law permanently relegating Darklings to the wrong side of the wall or Natalie will be killed.

The decision seems obvious to Ash; he must save Natalie. But when Ash learns about The Tenth, a new and deadly concentration camp where the Darklings would be sent, the choice doesn’t seem so simple. Unable to ignore his conscience, Ash votes against Rose’s Law, signing Natalie’s death warrant and putting a troubled nation back into the throes of bloody battle.


The White Forest: A Novel by Adam McOmber

Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable and frightening gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. She finds solace in her only companions, Madeline and Nathan, but as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by jealousies and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London’s elite.

A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent, and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late.


Antioch (The Circle) (Volume 1) by William E. Harlan

"Armageddon is arrived." Threatened by an unnatural plague that raises the dead, an ancient order of mystics must choose between keeping its secrets and saving humanity.

Kind of like Star Wars with zombies.

Editor's Review: Antioch is a great fantasy adventure novel with plenty of sword fighting and monsters (zombies), but the heart of the book is its characters, complex story and clean, imaginative prose.

From the pious yet conflicted paladin Michael to the loudmouthed but lovable sailor Ditch, the characters in Antioch are multifaceted and unique. There are no stereotypes within these pages, yet through the use of humor and seamless dialog, the characters are relatable and believable. This is a rarity in books even by many seasoned authors.

The story begins with slaughter and mystery, then turns to small-town life under the shadow of fear as the citizens of Antioch prepare for Armageddon. Still, questions about the origin and nature of the plague remain and the eventual discovery of the answers is as exciting as the final showdown with death. My only complaint is that the story is left unfinished, and like everyone else who reads Antioch, I have to wait for the rest of the series to discover the final fate of my favorite characters and the answers to all my questions.

The writing in Antioch is clear and precise. I can testify that the author agonized over every word, and it shows in the careful phrasing and brilliant imagery of the story. This, in my opinion, is the mark of a not just a great book, but a great writer.

Highly recommended for any fantasy fan.


The Transformation of Adam Higgins (the Corin Chronicles, Volume 2) by Marvin Amazon

"We never choose our destiny. It chooses us."

It's been five thousand years since the gods withdrew from the galaxy, leaving the men of each planet to rule themselves. For millennia, the worlds lived in relative harmony. But once again the order has been shaken.

On Corin, a prince's courageous quest has released a ruthless demi-god that can bring the disgraced planet back to its former glory-or destroy it.

On Earth, a young man is ripped across a universe he didn't know existed and inextricably tied to an ancient conflict that he can't begin to understand.

And all the while, the immortal Siroco pursues his own mysterious ends.

Who are the true heroes? Who is the Chosen One?

Battles rage and families crumble in this second installment of Marvin Amazon's mythic fantasy series, where once again the lines of right and wrong blur around the individual experience, and even the best of intentions cannot control a galaxy on the brink of destruction.


Before the Fall (A Rojan Dizon Novel) by Francis Knight

MAHALA IS A CITY OF CONTRASTS: LIGHT AND DARK. HOPE AND DESPAIR.

Rojan Dizon just wants to keep his head down. But his worst nightmare is around the corner.

With the destruction of their power source, his city is in crisis: riots are breaking out, mages are being murdered, and the city is divided. But Rojan's hunt for the killers will make him responsible for all-out anarchy. Either that, or an all-out war.

And there's nothing Rojan hates more than being responsible.

The fantastic follow-up to FADE TO BLACK!


Limit by Frank Schatzing

This ambitious, multilayered thriller balances astonishing scientific, historical, and technical detail. Against this backdrop, award-winning author Frank Schätzing convincingly extrapolates a possible near future when humankind’s ingenuity may become the greatest risk to its continued existence.

In 2025, entrepreneur Julian Orley opens the first-ever hotel on the moon. But Orley Enterprises deals in more than space tourism—it also operates the world’s only space elevator, which in addition to allowing the very wealthy to play tennis on the lunar surface connects Earth with the moon and enables the transportation of helium-3, the fuel of the future, back to the planet. Julian has invited twenty-one of the world’s richest and most powerful individuals to sample his brand-new lunar accommodation, hoping to secure the finances for a second elevator…

On Earth, meanwhile, cybercop Owen Jericho is sent to Shanghai to find a young female hacker known as Yoyo, who’s been on the run since acquiring access to information that someone seems quite determined to keep quiet. As Jericho closes in on the girl and the conspiracy swirling around her, he finds mounting evidence that connects her to Julian Orley as well as to the entrepreneur’s many competitors and enemies. Soon, the detective realizes that the lunar junket to Orley’s hotel is in real and immediate danger.


Spirit Animals Book 1: Wild Born by Brandon Mull

Four children separated by vast distances all undergo the same ritual, watched by cloaked strangers. Four flashes of light erupt, and from them emerge the unmistakable shapes of incredible beasts - a wolf, a leopard, a panda, a falcon. Suddenly the paths of these children - and the world - have been changed forever.

Enter the world of Erdas, where every child who comes of age must discover if they have a spirit animal, a rare bond between human and beast that bestows great powers to both. A dark force has risen from distant and long-forgotten lands, and has begun an onslaught that will ravage the world. Now the fate of Erdas has fallen on the shoulders of four young strangers . . . and on you.

The City of Death by Sarwat Chadda

Ash escaped THE SAVAGE FORTRESS . . . but can he survive THE CITY OF DEATH?

Meet Ash Mistry: eighth grader, pretty good video gamer, guy with a massive crush on the beautiful Gemma . . .

Oh, and the Eternal Warrior of the death goddess Kali.

Just when Ash has settled back into his everyday London life, his friend Parvati arrives with a mission: The evil Lord Alexander Savage is plotting to steal the Koh-I-Noor diamond from England's crown jewels. Ash and Parvati manage to intercept it, but at a terrible price-Gemma's death.

Outcast and heartbroken, Ash returns with Parvati to India, where he meets up with old friends and develops new powers. But he's haunted by Gemma, by thoughts of revenge against Savage, and by horrifying, blood-soaked dreams. As he hunts Savage all the way to an astonishing, long-hidden kingdom, Ash must face the prospect that he may no longer be entirely human . . . and his warrior side may lie beyond his control.



Carniepunk

Come one, come all! The Carniepunk Midway promises you every thrill and chill a traveling carnival can provide. But fear not! Urban fantasy’s biggest stars are here to guide you through this strange and dangerous world. . . .


RACHEL CAINE’s vampires aren’t child’s play, as a naïve teen discovers when her heart leads her far, far astray in “The Cold Girl.” With “Parlor Tricks,” JENNIFER ESTEP pits Gin Blanco, the Elemental Assassin, against the Wheel of Death and some dangerously creepy clowns. SEANAN McGUIRE narrates a poignant, ethereal tale of a mysterious carnival that returns to a dangerous town after twenty years in “Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open, Lonely Sea.” KEVIN HEARNE’s Iron Druid and his wisecracking Irish wolfhound discover in “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street” that the impossibly wholesome sounding Kansas Wheat Festival is actually not a healthy place to hang out. With an eerie, unpredictable twist, ROB THURMAN reveals the fate of a psychopath stalking two young carnies in “Painted Love.”


Blood of the Lamb by Sam Cabot

The Historian meets The Da Vinci Code in this exhilarating supernatural thriller set in Rome, where rival groups are searching for a document that holds a secret that could shatter the Catholic Church.

This document, dear friend, will shatter the Church…..

Reading these words in a letter in a dusty archive, Thomas Kelly is skeptical. The papers to which they refer have vanished, but Father Kelly, a Jesuit priest, doubts that anything could ever have had that power—until the Vatican suddenly calls him to Rome to begin a desperate search for that very document.

Meanwhile, standing before a council of her people, Livia Pietro receives instructions: she must find a Jesuit priest who has recently arrived in Rome and join his search for a document that contains a secret so shocking it has the power to destroy not only the Catholic Church, but Livia’s people as well.

As cryptic messages from the past throw Thomas and Livia into a treacherous world of art, religion, and conspiracy, they are pursued by those who would cross any line to obtain the document for themselves. Thomas and Livia must race to stop the chaos and destruction that the revelation of these secrets would create. Livia, though, has a secret of her own: She and her people are vampires.

In a sprawling tapestry that combines the religious intrigue of Dan Brown with the otherworldly terror of Stephenie Meyer, Blood of the Lamb is an unforgettable journey into an unthinkable past.



Vicious by V.E. Schwab

A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.


The World of the End by Ofir Touche Gafla

As an epilogist, Ben Mendelssohn appreciates an unexpected ending. But when that denouement is the untimely demise of his beloved wife, Ben is incapable of coping. Marian was more than his life partner; she was the fiber that held together all that he is. And Ben is willing to do anything, even enter the unknown beyond, if it means a chance to be with her again.

One bullet to the brain later, Ben is in the Other World, where he discovers a vast and curiously secular existence utterly unlike anything he could have imagined: a realm of sprawling cities where the deceased of every age live an eternal second life, and where forests of family trees are tended by mysterious humans who never lived in the previous world. But Ben cannot find Marian.

Desperate for a reunion, he enlists an unconventional afterlife investigator to track her down, little knowing that his search is entangled in events that continue to unfold in the world of the living. It is a search that confronts Ben with one heart-rending shock after another; with the best and worst of human nature; with the resilience and fragility of love; and with truths that will haunt him through eternity.


Fiendish Schemes by K.W. Jeter

In 1986 K. W. Jeter coined the term "steampunk," applying it to his first Victorian-era science fiction alternate-history adventure. At last he has returned with Fiendish Schemes, a tale of George Dower, son of the inventor of Infernal Devices, who has been in new self-imposed exile…accumulating debts.

The world Dower left when he went into hiding was significantly simpler than the new, steam-powered Victorian London, a mad whirl of civilization filled with gadgets and gears in the least expected places. After accepting congratulations for his late father's grandest invention—a walking, steam-powered lighthouse—Dower is enticed by the prospect of financial gain into a web of intrigue with ominously mysterious players who have nefarious plans of which he can only guess.

If he can locate and make his father’s Vox Universalis work as it was intended, his future, he is promised, is assured. But his efforts are confounded by the strange Vicar Stonebrake, who promises him aid, but is more interested in converting sentient whales to Christianity—and making money—than in helping George. Drugged, arrested, and interrogated by men, women, and the steam-powered Prime Minister, Dower is trapped in a maelstrom of secrets, corruption, and schemes that threaten to drown him in the chaos of this mad new world.


Monsters of the Earth (Books of the Elements) by David Drake

Governor Saxa, of the great city of Carce, a fantasy analog of ancient Rome, is rusticating at his villa. When Saxa’s son Varus accompanies Corylus on a visit to the household of his father, Crispus, a retired military commander, Saxa graciously joins the party with his young wife Hedia, daughter Alphena, and a large entourage of his servants, making it a major social triumph for Crispus. But on the way to the event, something goes amiss. Varus, who has been the conduit for supernatural visions before, experiences another: giant crystalline worms devouring the entire world.

Soon the major characters are each involved in supernatural events caused by a struggle between two powerful magicians, both mentored by the deceased poet and mage Vergil, one of whom wants to destroy the world and the other who wishes to stop him. But which is which? There is a complex web of human and supernatural deceit to be unraveled.

This new novel in David Drake’s ongoing chronicles of Carce, The Books of the Elements, is a gripping and intricate work of fantasy.


Possession: A Greywalker Novel by Kat Richardson

Harper Blaine was your average small-time PI until she died—for two minutes. Now Harper is a Greywalker, treading the thin line between the living world and the paranormal realm. And she’s discovering that her new abilities are landing her all sorts of “strange” cases.

When a comatose woman suddenly wakes up and starts painting scenes she’s never witnessed, with a skill she’s never had, medical science has no explanation. As more bizarre phenomena manifest, including mysterious writing appearing on the patient’s skin and strange voices issuing from her mouth, even her doctors start to wonder whether the woman may be possessed.

Frustrated, frightened, and at the end of her rope, the patient’s sister reluctantly turns to Harper Blaine to discover who—or what—is occupying her sister’s body. As Harper digs into this case of apparent possession, she discovers other patients struck with the same mystifying afflictions and a disturbing connection to one of the most gruesome episodes in Washington’s history.


The Cusanus Game by Wolfgang Jeschke

Biologist Domenica Ligrina fears her planet is dying. She might be right.

An atomic disaster in Germany has contaminated Northern Europe with radioactivity. Economic and political calamities are destroying the whole planet. Human DNA is mutating, plant species are going extinct, and scientists are feverishly working on possible solutions. It becomes increasingly apparent that the key to future salvation lies in the past. In 2052 a secret research facility in the Vatican is recruiting scientists for a mission to restore the flora of the irradiated territories. The institute claims to have time travel. When Domenica’s sometime-lover tells her that he knows her future but that she must decide her own fate, she enlists despite his ambiguous warning.

The Middle Ages hold Domenica spellbound. She immerses herself in the mysteries, puzzles, and peculiarities of a culture foreign to her, though she risks changing the past with effects far more disastrous than radiation poisoning. Perhaps there is more than one Domenica, and more than one catastrophe.



The Goliath Stone by Larry Niven and Matthew Joseph Harrington

Doctor Toby Glyer has effected miracle cures with the use of nanotechnology. But Glyer’s controversial nanites are more than just the latest technological advance, they are a new form of life—and they have more uses than just medical. Glyer’s nanites also have the potential to make everyone on Earth rich from the wealth of asteroids.

Twenty-five years ago, the Briareus mission took nanomachinery out to divert an Earth-crossing asteroid and bring it back to be mined, only to drop out of contact as soon as it reached its target. The project was shut down and the technology was forcibly suppressed.

Now, a much, much larger asteroid is on a collision course with Earth—and the Briareus nanites may be responsible. While the government scrambles to find a solution, Glyer knows that their only hope of avoiding Armageddon lies in the nanites themselves. On the run, Glyer must track down his old partner, William Connors, and find a way to make contact with their wayward children.

As every parent learns, when you produce a new thinking being, the plans it makes are not necessarily your plans. But with a two-hundred-gigaton asteroid that rivals the rock that felled the dinosaurs hurtling toward Earth, Glyer and Connors don’t have time to argue. Will Glyer’s nanites be Earth's salvation or destruction?


Scare Scape by Sam Fisher

Three wishes go awry in a middle-grade debut as comical as it is spooky.

Toxic Vapor Worms. Shark Hounds. King-Crab Spiders. Two-Headed Mutant Rodents.

These are just a few of the beasts featured in the pages of Scare Scape, the creepiest comic book around. They are vicious. They are terrifying. They are, luckily, totally made up.

Morton Clay is a huge fan of Scare Scape, so he isn't easily frightened. He's not afraid of the dark, or grossed-out by bugs and slugs. But when Morton and his siblings, James and Melissa, find an old stone statue buried in their yard, they discover that there is good reason to be afraid. 


Spooky, funny, and fresh, Sam Fisher's middle-grade debut explores the bonds and rivalries that are unique to siblings . . . even as it revels in monstrous mayhem!

The Lost Kingdom by Matthew J. Kirby

In this extraordinary adventure story, Billy Bartram, his father, and a secret society of philosophers and scientists venture into the American wilderness in search of the lost people of the Welsh Prince Madoc, seeking aid in the coming war against the French. Traveling in a flying airship, the members of the expedition find their lives frequently endangered in the untamed American West by terrifying creatures, a party of French soldiers hot on their trail, and the constant threat of traitors and spies. Billy will face hazards greater than he can ever imagine as, together with his father, he gets caught up in the fight for the biggest prize of all: America.


THE LOST KINGDOM is an epic journey filled with marvelous exploits, courage and intrigue, and a bold reimagining of a mythical America. Matthew J. Kirby brings his signature storytelling prowess and superb craft to this astonishing story of fathers and sons, the beginnings of a nation, and wonder-filled adventure.


Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

“The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm.”

Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.

Vaelin’s father was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the unified realm. Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright and dropped at the doorstep of the Sixth Order like a foundling knows no bounds. He cherishes the memory of his mother, and what he will come to learn of her at the Order will confound him. His father, too, has motives that Vaelin will come to understand. But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the realm, but the world.

10 comments:

Blodeuedd said...

I really want the first book and the last one :) Heard awesome things about both

SQT said...

Lots of good ones in this group!

Mihai A. said...

That is a very nice haul of books. :) I added "Carniepunk" and "Vicious" to my reading list besides some of the others that were already there. These two sound quite interesting for me.

Charles Gramlich said...

A good lookin' crew of books.

Maurice Mitchell said...

I would read Limit by Frank Schatzing, but the "Lamb" cover would probably make me buy it.

SQT said...

@Mihai- I really want to read "Vicious" but I have a few others to get to first.

@Maurice - "Limit" is a doorstop of a book but it does look interesting. "Blood of the Lamb" has a very cool cover- even better in person.

Pabkins said...

Oh I really want to read Carnie Punk! I nabbed a few of those as well. Isn't LIMIT as big as two BRICKS!??

William Silvia said...

I don't know if it's the cover, the series name, or the fact that I have a soft spot for military fiction, but the Thousand Names is calling out to me.

SQT said...

Bill- I'll send it to you.

SQT said...

@Pabkins- it's huge!