Sunday, May 03, 2009

Books in the Mail (W/E 05/03/2009)

It’s Sunday, so here’s the weekly haul of books publishers send me for review.

World's End (Age of Misrule 1) by Mark Chadbourn (Pyr Trade Paperback May 2009) – I’ve been hoping a US publisher would pick up this intriguing series of books from Chadbourn since I saw some buzz/reviews when it was published in the UK.

A dragon firebombs a freeway. Shape-shifters stalk the commercial district. The deadly Wild Hunt wreaks havoc on the highway.

The Age of Misrule has dawned.

When Jack Churchill and Ruth Gallagher encounter a terrifying, misshapen giant beneath a London bridge, they are plunged into a mystery that portends the end of the world as we know it. All over the country, the ancient gods of Celtic myth are returning to the land from which they were banished millennia ago. Following in their footsteps are creatures of folklore: fabulous beasts, wonders and dark terrors. As technology starts to fail, Jack and Ruth are forced to embark on a desperate quest for four magical items—the last chance for humanity in the face of powers barely comprehended.

Night of Knives by Ian Cameron Esslemont (Tor Trade Paperback 05/12 2009) – I’m a big fan of The Malazan Book of the Fallen, having read up to The Bonehunters. At the time this book was published in the UK, Esslemont was something of the mystery co-conspirator of the Malazan world. Owen reviewed it when it was published in the UK in 2007, this is the TOR version US readers will finally get to a chance to read.:

The small island of Malaz and its city gave the great empire its name, but now it is little more than a sleepy, backwater port. Tonight, however, things are different. Tonight the city is on edge, a hive of hurried, sometimes violent activity; its citizens bustle about, barring doors, shuttering windows, avoiding any stranger’s stare. Because tonight there is to be a convergence, the once-in-a-generation appearance of a Shadow Moon – an occasion that threatens the good people of Malaz with demon hounds and other, darker things …

It was also prophesied that this night would witness the return of Emperor Kellanved, and there are those prepared to do anything to prevent this happening. As factions within the greater Empire draw up battle lines over the imperial throne, the Shadow Moon summons a far more ancient and potent presence for an all-out assault upon the island. Witnessing these cataclysmic events are Kiska, a young girl who yearns to flee the constraints of the city, and Temper, a grizzled, battle-weary veteran who seeks simply to escape his past. Each is to play a part in a conflict that will not only determine the fate of Malaz City, but also of the world beyond …

Drawing on events touched on in the prologue of Steven Erikson’s landmark fantasy Gardens of the Moon, Night of Knives is a momentous chapter in the unfolding story of the extraordinarily imagined world of Malaz.

Death's Head: Day of the Damned (The third of Death’s Head novel) by David Gunn (Del Rey Hardcover 07/28/2009) – I haven’t read any of the previous two novels, but Owen/Kater at SFFWorld really enjoyed the first.

The third installment in the Death’s Head military science fiction series, charting the adventures of Sven Tveskoeg and his band of the baddest military enforcers in the universe.

David Gunn returns with his compulsively readable military science fiction series, continuing a story that has the scope of a Philip K. Dick novel-turned movie adaptation—think Bladerunner, Total Recall, Minority Report, or A Scanner Darkly. Death’s Head: Day of the Damned is action-packed, with high-tech weaponry, violence, great set pieces, a compellingly conflicted hero, and a Star Wars-like evil empire.

Orcs: Bad Blood by Stan Nicholls (Orbit Books Trade Paperback April 2009) – Orbit had a strong push for the omnibus of Orcs when it published last year and it seemed to pay off for them:

Stryke and his band of warriors return in the first part of a brand-new Orcs adventure! When the orcs discovered a world filled with their own kind, they thought they would live there till the end of their days. But the appearance of an unlikely ally will change everything.

This ally - a human - tells of the atrocities being visited upon orcs back in the other world. He implores Stryke and his companions to come back so that they may save their kind from extinction and wreak vengeance upon the humans who've wronged them. But can this human be trusted? Is he a rare friend to the orc -- or is he there to lure them back for their own personal annihilation?

Fall of Thanes The Godless World #3 by Brian Ruckley (Orbit Books Trade Paperback May 2009) – I read and reviewed the first book Winterbirth and Erfael/Joey reviewed the second book Bloodheir. Erfael enjoyed the books more than I did, and Ruckley’s series is relatively popular in the SFFWorld forums so there’s a decent amount of anticipation for this book.

The True Bloods are in disarray, their alliance crumbling and their armies humbled by the forces of the Black Road. Aeglyss, falling ever deeper into madness, casts a shadow across all. At the court of the High Thane, Anyara faces a savage struggle for survival against the na'kyrim's possessed agent: Mordyn Jerain, the Shadowhand.

In the GlasValley, Kanin, the embittered Horin-Gyre Thane, plots a desperate rising against the halfbreed. But ultimately it will be Orisian, Thane of a Blood that no longer exists, who must stand face to face with a darkly transcendent Aeglyss and make the sacrifice - of himself and others - required to end the threat he represents.

FALL OF THANES is the spectacular conclusion to the Godless World trilogy, a sweeping epic of war, politics and empire.

The Blood of Elves (A Witcher novel) by Andrzej Sapkowski (Orbit Books Paperback May 2009) – Last year I read and really enjoyed The Last Wish, a collection of linked short stories that introduced Sapkowski’s Witcher, Geralt de Rivia. I’m looking forward to reading this book.

Watch for the signs! What signs these shall be, I say unto you: first the earth will flow with the blood of Aen Seidhe, the Blood of Elves...

For over a century, humans, dwarves, gnomes, and elves have lived together in relative peace. But times have changed, the uneasy peace is over, and now the races are fighting once again. The only good elf, it seems, is a dead elf. Geralt de Rivia, the cunning assassin known as The Witcher, has been waiting for the birth of a prophesied child. This child has the power to change the world - for good, or for evil. As the threat of war hangs over the land and the child is hunted for her extraordinary powers, it will become Geralt's responsibility to protect them all - and the Witcher never accepts defeat.

Following The Last Wish, BLOOD OF ELVES is the new novel starring Geralt de Rivia, the inspiration for the critically-acclaimed videogame The Witcher.

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