Sunday, June 28, 2009

Books in the Mail (W/E 06/27/2009)

It’s Sunday, so here’s where I tell my faithful readers about the books I received for review during the previous week since I can’t possibly get to all of the books publishers send me.

All that said, this week was a good week, a bunch of books I plan on reading and others that look interesting, along with the two I've been wanting to see on US shelves for a while...

Bone Dance by Emma Bull (Tor/Orb Trade Paperback 07/02/2009) – Although I’ve never read anything by Emma Bull, many consider her one of the progenitors of Urban Fantasy. That is, not so much the books about modern day vampire hunters, but rather novels that take place in cities with an underlying magical current. This book was nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards in 1991 and is being reissued by Tor’s Orb imprint, which is often a sign of a very good book.

Sparrow’s my name. Trader. Deal-maker. Hustler, some call me. I work the Night Fair circuit, buying and selling pre-nuke videos from the world before. I know how to get a high price, especially on Big Bang collectibles. But the hottest ticket of all is information on the Horsemen—the mind-control weapons that tilted the balance in the war between the Americas. That’s the prize I’m after.

But it seems I’m having trouble controlling my own mind.

The Horsemen are coming.

By Blood We Live edited by John Joseph Adams (NightShade Books Hardcover 08/17/2009) – Adams is developing into a smart anthologist, publishing definitive anthologies like The Living Dead and Wastelands. Here, he turns his eye towards Vampires

From Dracula to Buffy the Vampire Slayer; from Castlevania to Tru Blood, the romance between popular culture and vampires hearkens back to humanity's darkest, deepest fears, flowing through our very blood, fears of death, and life, and insatiable hunger. And yet, there is an attraction, undeniable, to the vampire archetype, whether the pale European count, impeccably dressed and coldly masculine, yet strangely ambiguous, ready to sink his sharp teeth deep into his victims' necks, draining or converting them, or the vamp, the count's feminine counterpart, villain and victim in one, using her wiles and icy sexuality to corrupt man and woman alike... Edited by John Joseph Adams (Wastelands, The Living Dead), By Blood We Live gathers together the best vampire literature of the last three decades from many of today's most renowned authors of fantasy, speculative fiction, and horror, including Stephen King, Joe Hill, Garth Nix, Neil Gaiman, Kelley Armstrong, Ken Macleod, Harry Turtledove, Carrie Vaughn, and Tad Williams.

Darkest Hour (Age of Misrule 2) by Mark Chadbourn (Pyr Trade Paperback June 2009) – I started the first book, World's End the day before this, the second in the series arrived. It hooked me pretty quickly so I was thrilled to see the second one arrive, which I can jump into as soon as I finish the first one.

The eternal conflict between the Light and Dark once again blackens the skies and blights the land. On one side stand the Tuatha de Danaan, golden-skinned and beautiful, filled with all the might of angels. On the other are the Fomorii, monstrous devils hell-bent on destroying all human existence. And in the middle are the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, determined to use the strange power that binds them to the land in a last, desperate attempt to save the human race. Church, Ruth, Ryan, Laura and Shavi have joined forces with Tom, a hero from the mists of time, to wage a guerrilla war against the iron rule of the gods. But they didn't count on things going from bad to worse ...this is the stunning continuation of a powerful fantasy saga by one of Britain's most acclaimed young writers.

Always Forever (Age of Misrule 3) by Mark Chadbourn (Pyr Trade Paperback July 2009) – Sure enough, the great folks at PYR sent the third book along with the second book in the same package, so no wait between volumes for me and little wait for readers who have already read the first volume. This is another case of a publisher smartly releasing a completed trilogy in three successive months (see Brent Weeks, Naomi Novik and Charles Coleman Finlay for other examples). It worked for Pyr since this third volume is already going to a second printing before hitting bookshelves.

The modern world has been transformed into a land of myth, a magical place where fabulous beasts soar on the air currents, a terrifying place where shape-shifting monsters stalk the cities. Mankind’s days appear numbered. Our only hope—the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons —are scattered and broken after a terrible defeat.

Their last chance may lie in the great court of the old gods, reached by an otherworldly ship filled with fantastical and frightening creatures. But if our champions fail, the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain will dawn, and the dark god Balor will usher in the eternal night.

An Empire Unacquainted with Defeat (A Chronicle of the Dread Empire) by Glen Cook (NightShade Books Hardcover 05/27 2009) – I read the first two omnibus editions NightShade published A Cruel Wind and A Fortress in Shadow

Glen Cook has been heralded as the godfather of modern heroic fantasy; his influence on the genre is unquestionable. But long before Garrett, P.I., before The Instrumentalities of the Night, before The Black Company, there was The Dread Empire... The Dread Empire, a gritty world of larger-than-life plots, nation-shattering conflict, maddening magic, strange creatures, and raw, flawed heroes, all shown through the filter of Cook's inimitable war-correspondent prose. The Dread Empire, spanning from the highest peaks of the Dragon's Teeth to the endless desert lands of Hammad al Nakir, from besieged Kavelin to mighty Shinshan, the Empire Unacquainted with Defeat, with its fearless, masked soldiers, known as the Demon Guard...

The Lees of Laughter's End (A Tale of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach/Malazan) by Steven Erikson (NightShade Books Hardcover 06/03/2009) – I’ve been slowly reading and catching up with Erikson’s massively enjoyable Malazan saga and this little tale is the third in a series of novellas focusing on minor characters to the overall saga.

West of Theft, on a vast stretch of ocean known as the Wastes, the free-ship Suncurl pilots its way along the Lees of Laughter's end, away from the city of Lamentable Moll. Aboard the ship, three passengers have become the subject of the crew's gossip: the luckless manservant Emancipor Reese, and his masters, the homicidal necromancers known as Bauchelain and Korbal Broach. But a bizarre force pursues them along the cursed sea-lane known as Laughter's End, even as an arcane thing awakens aboard the Suncurl. What secrets do the captain and her First Mate conceal from the rest of the crew? What lurks in the darkness of the ship's hold? And what of the eunuch's strange behavior... or his frightening offspring?

Princes of the Golden Cage by Nathalie Mallet (NightShade Books Mass Market Paperback 08/03/2007) – Art read and reviewed this book when it was first publishedback in 2007 and had some interesting things to say about it. She has the first chapter available for preview on her Web site.

Prince Amir lives in a lavish and beautiful cage. He lives in a palace with hundreds of his brothers, all barred by law from ever leaving the palace until he, or one of his brothers, becomes the next Sultan. Living under constant threat of death at the hands of his scheming brothers, Amir has chosen a life of solitude and study. His scholarly and alchemical pursuits bring him under suspicion when his brothers begin to die from seemingly supernatural means. Amir finds himself thrown together with his brother Erik, the son of a barbarian princess. Together they must discover the dark secret that is stalking the halls of their golden cage

The King’s Daughter by Nathalie Mallet (NightShade Books Mass Market Paperback 05/27/2009) – … and here’s the sequel to the above . Again, .Mallett has the first chapter available for preview on her Web site.

Far to the north of the hot desert land of Telfar lies the frozen kingdom of Sorvinka. Prince Amir has traveled there, leaving his sultanate in the hands of his half-brother Erik as he seeks to ask the king, the father of the beautiful Princess Eva, for her hand in marriage. But Sorvinka has grown dangerous during Princess Eva's absence, as she and Amir discover to their terror, when their force of guards and eunuchs is cut down by ruthless brigands. And upon their arrival, their welcome to Eva's family stronghold is as bitterly cold as the land itself. Accustomed to the golden cage of his upbringing, Prince Amir must navigate his way through the strange and cold-blooded customs of the Sorvinkans, and somehow find the truth behind the kidnapping of the king's youngest daughter, the Princess Aurora, by the Sorvinkan's traditional enemies, the neighboring Farrellians. But what can a stranger in a foreign land do?

Heldenhammer (Book One of the Sigmar Trilogy /Time of Legends) by Graham McNeill (The Black Library Mass Market Paperback 04/39/2009) – Although I haven’t read any Warhammer books, I’ve been seeing good things about them for quite a while, and McNeill in particular seems like one of the more respected writers in their stable. This book looks like a very good jumping in point for the universe ofWarhammer, which is one of the world’s most popular shared worlds.

It is a time of legends. The lands of the old World are wild and untamed, where the primitive tribes of men struggle for survival. In this time of peril, by virtue of his valorous deeds, a young man claims leadership of the Unberogen tribe. His name is Sigmar Heldenhammer, and his actions will change history forever. This is the story of how Sigmar rose to power, culminating in the Battle of Black Fire Pass, where men and dwarfs fought against the vast hordes of orcs in their quest to safeguard the future of the Empire.

Heldenhammer is the first in a ground–breaking new series bringing the history of the Warhammer world to life.

Wicked City: Black Guard by Hideyuki Kikuchi (Tor/Seven SeasP Paperback 09/29/2009) – This book looks pretty interesting – the author is the creator of the hugely, globally popular Vampire Hunter: D manga & anime series. Kikuchi is considered something like Japan's Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft.

The classic anime Wicked City is based on a series of novels by master horror writer Hideyuki Kikuchi. Seven Seas is pleased to present these novels to the North American audience for the first time, featuring brand new cover art and interior illustrations by fan favorite illustrator Ayami Kojima, the concept artist for the Castlevania series of video games.

For centuries, a secret peace treaty has existed between Earth and The Black World, a parallel dimension populated by shape-changers who possess awesome supernatural powers. Now that pact is up for renewal and a militant faction from the Black World will do everything in its power to stop the treaty from being signed. The fate of the world rests on the shoulders of a pair of special agents, one a human, the other a shape-changer from the dark dimension. "

Wicked City "is an epic tale of supernatural horror and martial arts in ten volumes, in the vein of Vampire Hunter D.

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