Sunday, August 02, 2009

Books in the Mail (W/W 08/01/2009)

It’s Sunday, so you all know what happens. I tell you what books arrived this week. Only one of which is from a pair writers I've never read. Here goes:

The Winds of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson (Tor (Hardcover 08/04/2009) – This is the Dune novel that supposedly picks up immediately after one of Frank Herbert’s original Dune novels, Dune Messiah:

Paul has walked off into the sand, blind, and is presumed dead. Jessica and Gurney are on Caladan; Alia is trying to hold the Imperial government together with Duncan; Mohiam dead at the hands of Stilgar; Irulan imprisoned. Paul’s former friend, Bronso of Ix, now seems to be leading opposition to the House of Atreides. Herbert and Anderson’s newest book in this landmark series will concentrate on these characters as well the growing battle between Jessica, and her daughter, Alia..

Stalking the Dragon (A John Justin Mallory Mystery) by Mike Resnick (Pyr Trade Paperback August 2009) – I read and enjoyed the first Mallory novel, Stalking the Unicorn but the second one (Stalking the Vampire) not quite as much. Here’s hoping I’ll enjoy the third one as much as the first:

It’s Valentine's Day and private detective John Justin Mallory is planning on closing up the office early and taking his partner, Col. Winnifred Carruthers, out to dinner, since he's sure no one else will do so. But before he can turn off the lights and lock the door, a panic-stricken Buffalo Bill Brody visits them. It seems that the Eastminster pet show is being held the next day, and his dragon, Fluffy, the heavy favorite, has been kidnapped.

Mallory's nocturnal hunt for the miniature dragon takes him to some of the stranger sections of this Manhattan—Greenwitch Village (which is right around the corner from Greenwich Village and is populated by witches and covens); a wax museum where figures of Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre come alive; Gracie Mansion (which is haunted by the ghosts of former mayors); and the Bureau of Missing Creatures, a movie set where they're filming a PBS documentary on zombies and various other denizens of the Manhattan night. As Mallory follows the leads and hunts for clues, he comes up against one dead end after another.

Along the way he meets a few old friends and enemies, and a host of strange new inhabitants of this otherworldly Manhattan. Aided by a strange goblin named Jeeves, Mallory has only one night to find a tiny dragon that's hidden somewhere in a city of seven million.

Chasing the Dragon (Quantum Gravity Book Four) by Justina Robson (Pyr Trade Paperback August 2009) – As I’ve said before I read the first one (Keeping it Real), while Hobbit/Mark read first and second (Selling Out) and he seems to enjoy them more than I do.

Ever since the Quantum Bomb of 2015 things have been different; the dimensions have fused and suddenly our world is accessible to elves, demons, ghosts, and elementals—and their worlds are open to us. Things have been different for Special Agent Lila Black too: she’s been tortured and magic-scarred by elves; rebuilt by humans into a half-robot, part-AI, nuclear-fueled walking arsenal; married to a demon; and is in love with a recently-deceased elf. It was confusing enough before she was catapulted fifty years into her own future.

Returning to the life of a secret agent, Lila finds herself left all of her former boss’s old offices and whatever mysteries they contain, as the elf has disappeared some fifty years previously. Appointed head of the new android division, she can see all too clearly what’s in store for her if the growth of the alien technologies in her cyborg body continue unchecked.

But there are more immediate concerns. Like resurrecting her lover, Zal. And her husband, the demon Teazle, is embroiled in a fatal plot in Demonia, and her magic sword is making itself happy as a pen whose writing has the power to affect other worlds. The world is off its rocker and most everyone is terrified of faeries.

And all the while, she hears the voices of the machine—material projections of an immaterial form, The Signal. The Signal talks constantly—if only she knew what it meant.

Sasha (A Trial of Blood and Steel #1) by Joel Shepherd (Subterranean Press Trade Paperback 10/27/2009) – I read and enjoyed Shepherd’s Cassandra Kresnov trilogy (Crossover, Breakaway, and Killswitch) so his take on fantasy could be intriguing:

Spurning her royal heritage to be raised by the great warrior, Kessligh, her exquisite swordplay astonishes all who witness it. But Sasha is still young, untested in battle and often led by her rash temper. In the complex world of Lenayin loyalties, her defiant wilfulness is attracting the wrong kind of attention.

Lenayin is a land almost divided by its two faiths: the Verenthane of the ruling classes and the pagan Goeren-yai, amongst whom Sasha now lives. The Goeren-yai worship swordplay and honour and begin to see Sasha as the great spirit—the Synnich—who will unite them. But Sasha is still searching for what she believes and must choose her side carefully.

When the Udalyn people—the symbol of Goeren-yai pride and courage—are attacked, Sasha will face her moment of testing. How will she act? Is she ready to lead? Can she be the saviour they need her to be?.

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