Sunday, May 31, 2009

Books in the Mail (W/E 05/30/2009)

An even thinner week of arrivals for the last week of May, but both look to be definite reads.

Wolfbreed by S. A. Swann (Bantam Spectra Trade Paperback 8/25/2009) – I just finished the Prophets the first book by S. Andrew Swann that I read and I liked it, so to see him make a left turn from Space Opera SF to Urban Fantasy/Werewolves is interesting.

When a monk uncovers a lair of werewolf young, he unleashes a power unseen in demons or men. The Teutonic Order—the most powerful military organization in Christendom—has clandestinely raised these ferocious beasts to serve as instruments of God. Known as wolfbreed, the lupine creatures are able to cloak themselves in human form. Trained to slip into villages unnoticed before commencing their slaughter, they are all but unstoppable. Only one, called Lilly, has cunningly fled her brutal master…

Young Uldolf doesn’t remember the massacre eight years earlier that claimed his village, his arm, and his kin, leaving him to be raised by his uncle’s kind family. But he knows the pain of loneliness, and when he sees what he believes is a beautiful young girl, injured and cowering in the woods, he runs to her aid and carries her home.

Uldolf and his family will do anything to protect the terrified girl…but the danger they face is greater than they can possibly imagine. For death is the only life young Lilly has ever known. Can their care pierce the darkness she harbors in her soul? Or will her secret cause her to lose everything she has to gain…

Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America by Robert Charles Wilson (TOR Hardcover 06/09/2009) – I’ve read a couple of books by RCW, including Spin which I thought was one of the best SF novels I’ve read in the past decade or so. This book is generating the same type of good buzz.

In the reign of President Deklan Comstock, a reborn United States is struggling back to prosperity. Over a century after the Efflorescence of Oil, after the Fall of the Cities, after the Plague of Infertility, after the False Tribulation, after the days of the Pious Presidents, the sixty stars and thirteen stripes wave from the plains of Athabaska to the national capital in New York City. In Colorado Springs, the Dominion sees to the nation’s spiritual needs. In Labrador, the Army wages war on the Dutch. America, unified, is rising once again.

Then out of Labrador come tales of a new Ajax—Captain Commongold, the Youthful Hero of the Saguenay. The ordinary people follow his adventures in the popular press. The Army adores him. The President is…troubled. Especially when the dashing Captain turns out to be his nephew Julian, son of the falsely accused and executed Bryce.

Treachery and intrigue dog Julian’s footsteps. Hairsbreadth escapes and daring rescues fill his days. Stern resolve and tender sentiment dice for Julian’s soul, while his admiration for the works of the Secular Ancients, and his adherence to the evolutionary doctrines of the heretical Darwin, set him at fatal odds with the hierarchy of the Dominion. Plague and fire swirl around the Presidential palace when at last he arrives with the acclamation of the mob.

As told by Julian’s best friend and faithful companion, a rustic yet observant lad from the west, this tale of the 22nd Century asks— and answers—the age-old question: “Do you want to tell the truth, or do you want to tell a story?”

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