Sunday, October 14, 2012

Books in the Mail (W/E 2012-10-13)

An enormous haul this week which balances out the very small hauls the past couple of weeks. The November releases from Ace/Roc and DAW comprise the bulk of what arrived.

Bronze Summer (Book Two of The Northland Trilogy) by Stephen Baxter (Roc Hardcover 11/06/2012) – Second installment in Baxter’s distant past alternate history saga.

Stephen Baxter’s “imaginative [and] bold”* novel Stone Spring drew readers into an alternate prehistoric scenario that now continues with Bronze Summer. Thousands of years have passed. And a wall that was built to hold back the sea, must now hold back the advancing armies of a reviving Troy…

What would have been the bed of the North Sea is now Northland, a society of prosperous, literate and self-sufficient people. They live off the bounty of the land, an area created by the building of the Wall. It began as a simple dam, thousands of years ago. Now, inhabited from end to end, the Wall is a linear city stretching for hundreds of miles, and a wonder of the world.

For millennia, the Wall has also kept the growing empires of the Bronze Age at bay. But decades of drought have destabilized those eastern civilizations. Men—and women—filled with greed and ambition have now turned their eyes toward the fertile West. A new and turbulent age is dawning. For any wall, no matter how strong, can be breached—particularly from within…

*Daily Mail (UK)

Bowl of Heaven by Larry Niven (Tor Hardcover 10/16/20129) – Two of the major Hard SF writers of the past couple of decades come together for the first time in a good old first contact novel. .

In this first collaboration by science fiction masters Larry Niven (Ringworld) and Gregory Benford (Timescape), the limits of wonder are redrawn once again as a human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure half-englobing a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths…and it’s on a direct path heading for the same system as the human ship.

A landing party is sent to investigate the Bowl, but when the explorers are separated—one group captured by the gigantic structure’s alien inhabitants, the other pursued across its strange and dangerous landscape—the mystery of the Bowl’s origins and purpose propel the human voyagers toward discoveries that will transform their understanding of their place in the universe.

Hitman:Damnation by Raymond Benson (Del Rey, Paperback 10/30/2012) – The popular video game series gets a prequel novelization/video game tie-in by a writer familiar with penning such adaptations/novelizations/tie-ins. .


Since the devastating conclusion of Hitman: Blood Money, Agent 47 has been MIA. Now fans awaiting the return of the blockbuster videogame and film phenomenon can pinpoint the location of the world’s most brutal and effective killer-for-hire before he reemerges in Hitman: Absolution. When the Agency lures him back with a mission that will require every last ounce of his stealth, strength, and undercover tactics, they grossly underestimate the silent assassin’s own agenda. Because this time, Agent 47 isn’t just going to bite the hand that feeds him. He’s going tear it off and annihilate anyone who stands in his way.

Collision Course by David Crawford (New American Library, Trade Paperback 11/06/2012) – Sequel to Lights Out

Only the strong will survive. But what does it mean to be strong?

The “Smash” has been building for years—runaway national debt, escalating oil prices—but when order finally breaks down, it happens astonishingly fast. Economic collapse. Government in chaos. Gas shortages. Loss of power. No running water. Martial law. Rioting, looting, and lawlessness…

Security specialist DJ Frost saw the writing on the wall, and he has prepared. He’s planned his bug-out route to escape a city many are now trapped in. With his ATV, night-vision goggles, gear, guns, and enough gas to get him to his retreat home in the country, he ventures out alone under cover of darkness.

For Gabe Horne, the “Smash” is nothing compared to his own moral and spiritual collapse after losing his wife and son. But in this time of crisis, he may not have the luxury of drinking himself to death. There are others at his door, and they will need to help one another to survive.

Each man, in his own way, will face the ultimate challenge of preparedness in this new world order—as both hurtle toward a devastating showdown.…

The Dragon Men (A Novel of The Clockwork Empire #3) by Steven Harper (Roc Mass Market Paperback 10/30/2012)– Harper is a fairly prolific novelist, this is the third in his steampunk (or rather clockwork) series, which looks interesting. I hadn’t even realized a second book was published nor have I seen the first.

As China prepares to become the ultimate power in an era of extraordinary invention and horror, Alice Michaels’ fate lies inside the walls of the forbidden kingdom….

Gavin Ennock has everything a man could desire—except time. As the clockwork plague consumes his body and mind, it drives him increasingly mad and fractures his relationship with his fiancée, Alice, Lady Michaels. Their only hope is that the Dragon Men of China can cure him.

But a power-mad general has seized the Chinese throne in a determined offensive to conquer Asia, Britain—indeed, the entire world. He has closed the country’s borders to all foreigners. The former ruling dynasty, however, is scheming to return the rightful heir to power. Their designs will draw Gavin and Alice down a treacherous path strewn with intrigue and power struggles. One wrong step will seal Gavin’s fate…and determine the future of the world.

Blood Crime (A Hollows original graphic novel) by Kim Harrison, illustrated by Gemma Magno (Del Rey Trade Paperback 09/26/2012) – Harrison is one of the most popular authors of Urban Fantasy and this is an original story set in the milieu she’s made popular.

You can’t tell the story of how it all began for supernatural cops Ivy Tamwood and Rachel Morgan without telling how it all nearly ended. The fiery living vampire and erstwhile earth witch never asked to be paired up in the first place. And having to work Inderland Security’s crummiest beat—busting two-bit paranormal street punks—sure didn’t sweeten the deal. But when it counts, Ivy and Rachel always have each other’s backs. They’d better—because someone just hung targets on both of them.

It doesn’t take a hotshot homicide detective to know that nearly getting flattened by a falling gargoyle or impaled by a lead pipe aren’t on-the-job accidents. But it doesn’t seem possible that the class of crooks Ivy and Rachel routinely collar could kill anything but brain cells. So who put Cincinnati’s tough and tender twosome on their “to do in” list? Is Ivy’s vampire master, the powerful and seductive Piscary, jealous of her growing bloodlust (and just plain lust) for Rachel? Or have forces unknown—living or undead—made the partners prey in a deadly witch (and vampire) hunt?

Before this case is cracked, Ivy and Rachel will face down vicious dogs, speeding locomotives, rogue bloodsuckers, and their own dark desires; spells will be cast and blood will be spilled; and Kim Harrison’s hair-raising, heart-racing, dark urban world of magic and monsters will leap howling from the pages of her second electrifying, full-color graphic novel..

The Wild Ways by Tanya Huff (DAW Mass Market Paperback 11/06/2013) – Huff is incredibly prolific, bouncing between fantasy, urban fantasy and military science fiction: This book (the mass market paperback version of the book I received last year) is the sequel to The Enchantment Emporium.

"The Gales are an amazing family, the aunts will strike fear into your heart, and the characters Allie meets are both charming and terrifying." -#1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris

Alysha Gale's cousin Charlotte is a Wild Power, who allies herself with a family of Selkies in a fight against offshore oil drilling. The oil company has hired another of the Gale family's Wild Powers, the fearsome Auntie Catherine, to steal the Selkies' sealskins. To defeat her, Charlotte will have to learn what born to be Wild really means in the Gale family...

The Clone Redemption (Clone Army #8) novel by Stephen L. Kent (Ace Paperback 10/30/2012) – Kent keeps churning out this series, publishing at least one per year. I only read one installment, the fifth (The Clone Elite, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. If Ace were to reissue a couple of omnibus volumes of three novels each, I’d buy the first two omnibus volumes right now. Hear that ACE? Omnibus editions!

Earth, A.D. 2519. Less than a year has passed since the clone military of the Enlisted Man’s Empire toppled the government of the Unified Authority. Now the clones rule Earth, but a new enemy has emerged—and set off civil war…

Formerly trained to fight for the U.A., clone Marine Wayson Harris had led the Enlisted Man’s Empire invasion of Earth and wrested control away from the old regime. He’s now ready to do what it takes to ensure the new balance of power isn’t jeopardized.

When a trio of religious fanatics from Mars attempts to attack Harris, he fears there is more unrest among the colony’s residents. Hoping to stave off an uprising, he leads a troop of Marines to Mars. But once there, they learn the situation is much graver than they first feared.

The red planet’s refugees have decided the clones are their number one enemy, and measures to eradicate them are underway. And when Harris is kidnapped and drugged, he discovers something disturbing about himself.

He can be reprogrammed…

Flame of Sevenwaters (A Sevenwaters novel) by Juliet Marilier (Roc Hardcover 11/06/2012)– I read her debut novel, and the first of the Sevenwaters saga waaaay back in October 2004 when it was the SFFWorld Fantasy Book Club of the Month and liked it very much. Unfortunately, this series was one of quite a few I really liked at the start, but never finished out.

that is a “gripping tale of enduring love” (Publishers Weekly). Now, Marillier returns to Sevenwaters with the story of a young woman destined to unlock the secrets of the Otherworld…

Maeve, daughter of Lord Sean of Sevenwaters, was badly burned as a child and carries the legacy of that fire in her crippled hands. After ten years, she’s returning home, having grown into a courageous, forthright woman with a special gift for gentling difficult animals. But while her body’s scars have healed, her spirit remains fragile, fearing the shadows of her past.

Sevenwaters is in turmoil. The fey prince Mac Dara has become desperate to see his only son, married to Maeve’s sister, return to the Otherworld. To force Lord Sean’s hand, Mac Dara has caused a party of innocent travelers on the Sevenwaters border to vanish—only to allow their murdered bodies to be found, one by one.

When Maeve finds the body of one of the missing men in a remote part of the woods, she and her brother Finbar embark on a journey that may bring about the end of Mac Dara’s reign, or lead to a hideous death. If she is successful, Maeve may open the door to a future she has not dared to believe possible…

The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick (Ace, Hardcover 12/06/2012) – Secret history near future SF by two of the most awarded SF writers

Two science fiction masters—Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick—team up to deliver a classic thriller in which one man uncovers the secret history of the US space program…

Early in his career, Jerry Culpepper could never have been accused of being idealistic. Doing public relations—even for politicians—was strictly business...until he was hired as NASA’s public affairs director and discovered a client he could believe in. Proud of the agency’s history and sure of its destiny, he was thrilled to be a part of its future—a bright era of far-reaching space exploration.

But public disinterest and budget cuts changed that future. Now, a half century after the first moon landing, Jerry feels like the only one with stars—and unexplored planets and solar systems—in his eyes.

Still, Jerry does his job, trying to drum up interest in the legacy of the agency. Then a fifty-year-old secret about the Apollo XI mission is revealed, and he finds himself embroiled in the biggest controversy of the twenty-first century, one that will test his ability—and his willingness—to spin the truth about a conspiracy of reality-altering proportions...

Polterheist (Esther Diamond #5) by Laura Resnick (DAW, Mass Market Paperback 11/06/2012) –This series seems to have gained some solid momentum for Resnick, this being the fifth volume.


In the fifth novel of this witty fantasy series, Esther Diamond returns, working as an elf in Fenster & Co., a Manhattan department store during the Christmas season. Meanwhile, the store’s trucks are getting hijacked. The cops suspect the Gambello crime family, but Esther’s friend Dr. Z adok believes there’s more going on at Fenster’s than frustrated shoppers — like someone trying to stage the rebirth of an ancient demon.

Kris Longknife: Furious (Kris Longknife #9) by Mike Shepherd (Ace Mass Market Paperback 10/30/2012) – Shepherd churns these books out on a very regular, annual schedule. In addition, he’s also released a couple of e-only novellas in the universe. :

Having used unorthodox methods to save a world—and every sentient being on it—Lieutenant Commander Kris Longknife is wanted across the galaxy for crimes against humanity. For her own safety, she’s been assigned to a backwater planet where her Fast Patrol Squadron 127 enforces immigration control and smuggler interdiction.

But Kris is a Longknife, and nothing can stop her from getting back to the center of things—not when all hell is breaking loose. Now she’s on the run, hunted by both military and civilian authorities—and since the civilian authorities happen to be her immediate family, Kris soon finds herself homeless, broke, and on trial for her life on an alien world…

Halo: The Thursday Warby Karen Traviss (Tor, Hardcover 10/02/2012) – Second installment in the trilogy Traviss is penning in the Halo universe has been focusing her writing on some of the most popular genre franchises over the past handful of years - Star Wars, Gears of War and now Halo. I’ve only read, but greatly enjoyed, her first three Wess’Har novels, but I think this could be an interesting book.

Welcome to humanity’s new war: silent, high stakes, and unseen. This is a life-or-death mission for ONI’s black-ops team, Kilo-Five, which is tasked with preventing the ruthless Elites, once the military leaders of the Covenant, from regrouping and threatening humankind again. What began as a routine dirty-tricks operation―keeping the Elites busy with their own insurrection―turns into a desperate bid to extract one member of Kilo-Five from the seething heart of an alien civil war. But troubles never come singly for Kilo-Five. Colonial terrorism is once again surfacing on one of the worlds that survived the war against the Covenant, and the man behind it is much more than just a name to Spartan-010. Meanwhile, the treasure trove of Forerunner technology recovered from the shield world of Onyx is being put to work while a kidnapped Elite plots vengeance on the humans he fears will bring his people to the brink of destruction.

Shadowheart (Volume Four of Shadowmarch) by Tad Williams (DAW Trade Paperback 11/06/2012) – This was as very good conclusion to the four book trilogy, as I said in my review: This entire saga started out with great promise, albeit a bit slowly as is often the case with Tad Williams’s epics. What that does is provide for a solid foundation for which Tad can throw his story and play with the gods he creates, give the true Epic sense to his character’s journeys they richly deserve, and allow a true sense of world changing events to be felt within his narrative. Each character gets an emotional spotlight, through either the scenes in which they appear, or through the reflections of other characters.

The long-awaited concluding novel in Tad Williams's thrilling epic Shadowmarch series.

Southmarch Castle is about to be caught between two implacable enemies, the ancient, immortal Qar and the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis. Meanwhile, its two young defenders, Princess Briony and Prince Barrick, are both trapped far away from home and fighting for their lives.

And now, something is awakening underneath Southmarch Castle, something powerful and terrible that the world has not seen for thousands of years. Can Barrick and Briony, along with a tiny handful of allies, ordinary and extraordinary, find a way to save their world and prevent the rise of a terrible new age-an age of unending darkness?

The Shattered Dark (A Shadow Reader novel Book 2) by Sandy Williams (Ace Mass Market Paperback 10/30/2012)– Second in Williams’s Urban Fantasy series, I don’t recall seeing the first

McKenzie Lewis has a gift. It allows her access to a world few have seen, and even fewer can comprehend. It’s her secret. And it exists in the shadows…

McKenzie was a normal college student, save for one little twist: she’s a shadow reader, someone who can both see the fae and track their movements between our world and the Realm. It’s a gift for which she has been called insane, one for which she has risked family and friends—and one that has now plunged her into a brutal civil war among the fae.

With the reign of the king and his vicious general at an end, McKenzie hoped to live a more normal life while exploring her new relationship with Aren, the rebel fae who has captured her heart. But when her best friend, Paige, disappears McKenzie knows her wish is, for now, just a dream. McKenzie is the only one who can rescue her friend, but if she’s not careful, her decisions could cost the lives of everyone she’s tried so hard to save.

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