Sunday, July 22, 2012

Books in the Mail (W/E 2012-07-23)

It’s about time I did the whole preface to the Books in the Mail post, so here goes….

As a reviewer for SFFWorld and maybe because of this blog, I receive a lot of books for review from various publishers. Since I can't possibly read everything that arrives, I figure the least I can do (like some of my fellow bloggers) is mention the books I receive for review on the blog to at least acknowledge the books even if I don't read them.

Some publishers are on a very predictable schedule of releases, making this blog post fairly easy to compose. For example, the fine folks at DAW publish exactly 3 mass market paperbacks a month and often, one of those books is a themed anthology of short stories, and most often, they send their books about a month prior to the actual publication date.

Sometimes I get one or two books, other weeks I'll get nearly a dozen books. Some weeks, I’ll receive a finished (i.e. the version people see on bookshelves) copy of a book for which I received an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) weeks or months prior to the actual publication of the book. Sometimes I'll want to read everything that arrives, other weeks, the books immediately go into the "I'll never read this book" pile, while still others go into the nebulous "maybe-I'll-read-it-category." More often than not, it is a mix of books that appeal to me at different levels (i.e. from "this book holds ZERO appeal for me" to "I cannot WAIT to read this book yesterday"). Have a guess in the comments about which book fits my reading labels “I’ll Never Read…” “Zero Appeal” or “cannot wait” "maybe I'll get to it later" and so forth...

Here's the rundown of what arrived either in the mailbox, in front of my garage (where most packages from USPS and UPS are placed) or on my doorstep...

Cuttlefish by Dave Freer (Pyr Hardback 07/23/2012) – Freer has written quite a few fantasies and science fiction novels for the folks at Baen, this is his first young adult novel.

The smallest thing can change the path of history.

The year is 1976, and the British Empire still spans the globe. Coal drives the world, and the smog of it hangs thick over the canals of London.

Clara Calland is on the run. Hunted, along with her scientist mother, by Menshevik spies and Imperial soldiers, they flee Ireland for London. They must escape airships, treachery and capture. Under flooded London’s canals they join the rebels who live in the dank tunnels there.

Tim Barnabas is one of the underpeople, born to the secret town of drowned London, place of anti-imperialist republicans and Irish rebels, part of the Liberty - the people who would see a return to older values and free elections. Seeing no further than his next meal, Tim has hired on as a submariner on the Cuttlefish, a coal fired submarine that runs smuggled cargoes beneath the steamship patrols, to the fortress America and beyond.

When the Imperial soldiery comes ravening, Clara and her mother are forced to flee aboard the Cuttlefish. Hunted like beasts, the submarine and her crew must undertake a desperate voyage across the world, from the Faeroes to the Caribbean and finally across the Pacific to find safety. But only Clara and Tim Barnabas can steer them past treachery and disaster, to freedom in Westralia. Carried with them—a lost scientific secret that threatens the very heart of Imperial power.

Falling Kingdoms (The Eternal Sky #1) by Morgan Rhodes (Razorbill, Hardcover 12/11/2012) – First in a new series, Morgan Rhodes is a pen name for the extensively published Michelle Rowen.

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

Coup d'Etat (The War That Came Early #4) by Harry Turtledove (Del Rey Hardcover 07/31/2021) – The fourth in Turtledove’s latest re-imagining of events surrounding World War II. This has to be maybe the twentieth copy of a Turtledove novel I’ve received

In 1941, a treaty between England and Germany unravels—and so does a different World War II.

In Harry Turtledove’s mesmerizing alternate history of World War II, the choices of men and fate have changed history. Now it is the winter of 1941. As the Germans, with England and France on their side, slam deep into Russia, Stalin’s terrible machine fights for its life. But the agreements of world leaders do not touch the hearts of soldiers. The war between Germany and Russia is rocked by men with the courage to aim their guns in a new direction.

England is the first to be shaken. Following the suspicious death of Winston Churchill, with his staunch anti-Nazi views, a small cabal begins to imagine the unthinkable in a nation long famous for respecting the rule of law. With civil liberties hanging by a thread, a conspiracy forms against the powers that be. What will this daring plan mean for the European war as a whole?

Meanwhile, in America, a woman who has met Hitler face-to-face urges her countrymen to wake up to his evil. For the time being, the United States is fighting only Japan—and the war is not going as well as Washington would like. Can Roosevelt keep his grip on the country’s imagination?

Coup d’Etat captures how war makes for the strangest of bedfellows. A freethinking Frenchman fights side by side with racist Nazis. A Czech finds himself on the dusty front lines of the Spanish Civil War, gunning for Germany’s Nationalist allies. A German bomber pilot courts a half-Polish, half-Jewish beauty in Bialystock. And the Jews in Germany, though trapped under Hitler’s fist, are as yet protected by his fear of looking bad before the world—and by an outspoken Catholic bishop.

With his spectacular command of character, coincidence, and military and political strategies, Harry Turtledove continues a passionate, unmatched saga of a World War II composed of different enemies, different allies—and hurtling toward a horrific moment. For a diabolical new weapon is about to be unleashed, not by the United States, but by Japan, in a tactic that will shock the world.

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