Sunday, October 16, 2011

Books in the Mail (W/E 2011-10-15)

This week brought odds and ends throughout the week from all different publishers. Included are two big epics I've been looking forward to all year, can you all guess which those two books are. Let's have a look, shall we?

Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole (Ace, Mass Market Paperback 01/31/2012) – This seems to be an inventive blending of fantasy, urban fantasy and military science fiction. The blurb I’ve been seeing says Black Hawk Down meets X-Men. Myke has the military background to inform the military elements of the novel. I’m looking forward to this one, plus, isn’t that a terrific Komarck cover?

For a millennium, magic has been Latent in the world. Now, with the Great Reawakening, people are “coming up Latent,” manifesting dan­gerous mag­ical abil­i­ties they often cannot con­trol. In response, the military establishes the Supernatural Operations Corps (SOC), a deadly band of sorcerers dedicated to hunting down “Selfers” who use magic out­side government control. When army officer Oscar Britton comes up Latent with a rare and pro­hib­ited power, his life turns upside down. Transformed overnight from government agent to public enemy number one, his attempt to stay alive and evade his former friends drives him into a shadow world he never knew lurked just below the sur­face of the one he’s always lived in. He’s about to learn that magic has changed all the rules he’s ever known, and that his life isn’t the only thing he’s fighting for.

Legacy of Kings (Magister Trilogy Book 3) by C. S. Friedman (DAW Hardcover 09/02/2011) – Concluding volume of a fantasy trilogy that seems to be flying under the radar, a series I’ve enjoyed a lot through the first two books. Feast of Souls and Wings of Wrath.

"C.S. Friedman makes fantastic things-and frightening things-seem very real." -New York Times bestselling author Tad Williams.

The young peasant woman Kamala has proven strong and determined enough to claim the most powerful Magister sorcery for herself-but now the Magisters hunt her for killing one of their own. Her only hope of survival lies in the northern Protectorates, where spells are warped by a curse called the Wrath that even the Magisters fear. Originally intended to protect the lands of men from creatures known only as souleaters, the Wrath appears to be weakening-and the threat of this ancient enemy is once more falling across the land.

Sisterhod of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson (Tor (Hardcover 01/12/2012) – Another in the long line of Dune stories told by KJA and Frank Herbert’s son, Brian. I’ve only read the very first Dune by Frank Herbert

It is eighty-three years after the last of the thinking machines were destroyed in the Battle of Corrin, after Faykan Butler took the name of Corrino and established himself as the first Emperor of a new Imperium. Great changes are brewing that will shape and twist all of humankind.

The war hero Vorian Atreides has turned his back on politics and Salusa Secundus. The descendants of Abulurd Harkonnen Griffen and Valya have sworn vengeance against Vor, blaming him for the downfall of their fortunes. Raquella Berto-Anirul has formed the Bene Gesserit School on the jungle planet Rossak as the first Reverend Mother. The descendants of Aurelius Venport and Norma Cenva have built Venport Holdings, using mutated, spice-saturated Navigators who fly precursors of Heighliners. Gilbertus Albans, the ward of the hated Erasmus, is teaching humans to become Mentats…and hiding an unbelievable secret.

The Butlerian movement, rabidly opposed to all forms of “dangerous technology,” is led by Manford Torondo and his devoted Swordmaster, Anari Idaho. And it is this group, so many decades after the defeat of the thinking machines, which begins to sweep across the known universe in mobs, millions strong, destroying everything in its path.

Every one of these characters, and all of these groups, will become enmeshed in the contest between Reason and Faith. All of them will be forced to choose sides in the inevitable crusade that could destroy humankind forever….

The Clone Redemption (Clone Army #7) novel by Stephen L. Kent (Ace Paperback 10/25/2011) – 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. I want to go back and read the preceding novels (and then the later ones), but who knows when that’ll happen. In the end, solid and entertaining Military SF: Heck, 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! They sucked me (and a lot of readers) into Brust’s Taltos novels.

Earth, 2516 A.D.: The Unified Authority has spread human colonies across the Milky Way, keeping strict order with a powerful military made up almost entirely of clones. But now the clones have formed their own empire, and they aim to keep matter who they must defeat.

Nocturne (A Tome of Fire Trilogy #3) by Nick Kyme (Black Library 11/04/2011) – I read and enjoyed the first two books in the series (Salamander and Firedrake) and have hopes for a good payoff in this one.

War has come to Nocturne. After decades of planning and slaughter Nihilan has mustered a vast armada of Dragon Warriors, dark eldar and Chaos renegades. In the name of vengeance he launches his assault on the Salamanders. Unrest plagues the Chapter’s ranks in the face of this invasion. A prophecy from the Tome of Fire has foretold of a saviour or destroyer, the psyker Librarian Dak’ir. As the attack begins and the Salamanders marshal their armies for battle, Dak’ir’s destiny is finally realised. Meanwhile, amidst the enemy fleet, Tsu’gan of the Firedrakes is held captive. With hell and fire all around them, a reckoning between these bitter rivals is at hand – its resolution will see the prophecy fulfilled and decide the fate of Nocturne.

Firebird (Alex Benedict #6) by Jack McDevitt (Ace, Hardcover 11/01/2011) – McDevitt is a solid and very dependable writer who has won/been nominated for multiple genre awards. I skipped the most recent in this mystery/space-opera series, but did enjoy the fourth book The Devil’s Eye

A new Alex Benedict novel from "a master of describing otherworldly grandeur." (Denver Post)

Forty-one years ago the renowned physicist Chris Robin vanished. Before his disappearance, his fringe science theories about the existence of endless alternate universes had earned him both admirers and enemies.

Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath discover that Robin had several interstellar yachts flown far outside the planetary system where they too vanished. And following Robin's trail into the unknown puts Benedict and Kolpath in danger...

The Outcast Dead (A Horus Heresy #17) by Graham McNeill (Black Library 11/04/2011) – The hottest series in Warhammer 40K that isn’t Gaunt’s Ghosts reaches volume #17 with the series #2 author.

The galaxy is burning. The Emperor’s loyal primarchs prepare to do battle with Warmaster Horus and his turncoat Legions on the black sand of Isstvan. Such dark times herald new and yet more terrible things still to come, and when Astropath Kai Zulane unwittingly learns a secret that threatens to tip the balance of the war, he is forced to flee for his life. Alongside a mysterious band of renegades, he plunges into the deadly underworld of Terra itself, hunted like a criminal by those he once trusted. In the face of betrayal, Kai must decide where his own loyalties lie and whether some truths should be buried forever.

Mastiff (Beka Cooper: : A Tortall Legend Book 3) by Tamora Pierce (Random House Children's Books Hardcover 10/25/2011) – Concluding volume of Pierce’s trilogy set in the past of her popular The Song of the Lioness.

The Legend of Beka Cooper gives Tamora Pierce's fans exactly what they want—a smart and savvy heroine making a name for herself on the mean streets of Tortall's Lower City—while offering plenty of appeal for new readers as well.

Kris Longknife: Daring (Kris Longknife #9) by Mike Shepherd (Ace Mass Market Paperback 10/25/2011) – This is the ninth novel in an ongoing military science fiction series that superficially resembles David Weber’s Honor Harrington Novels. Not having read any, I can’t say for sure, so here’s the very brief synopsis, but what I said about Kent’s books going into omnibus form? Same here. :

Lieutenant Commander Kris Longknife leads a reconnaissance mission of the vast uncharted regions of space. No one, least of all Kris, expects to find a hostile alien starship. Now, she must determine the extent of the alien threat-and whether to start an interstellar war...

How Firm a Foundation (Safehold #5) by David Weber (Tor Hardcover 09/13/2011) – Weber’s Safehold series is turning into one of my favorite ongoing epics. Part SF in the outer shell, but with an inner core of epic/political fantasy. I reviewed the second By Schism Rent Asunder for SFFWorld.

The Charisian Empire, born in war, has always known it must fight for its very survival. What most of its subjects don’t know even now, however, is how much more it’s fighting for. Emperor Cayleb, Empress Sharleyan, Merlin Athrawes, and their innermost circle of most trusted advisers do know. And because they do, they know the penalty if they lose will be far worse than their own deaths and the destruction of all they know and love.

For five years, Charis has survived all the Church of God Awaiting and the corrupt men who control it have thrown at the island empire. The price has been high and paid in blood. Despite its chain of hard-fought naval victories, Charis is still on the defensive. It can hold its own at sea, but if it is to survive, it must defeat the Church upon its own ground. Yet how does it invade the mainland and take the war to a foe whose population outnumbers its own fifteen to one? How does it prevent that massive opponent from rebuilding its fleets and attacking yet again?

Charis has no answer to those questions, but needs to find one…quickly. The Inquisition’s brutal torture and hideous executions are claiming more and more innocent lives. Its agents are fomenting rebellion against the only mainland realms sympathetic to Charis. Religious terrorists have been dispatched to wreak havoc against the Empire’s subjects. Assassins stalk the Emperor and Empress, their allies and advisers, and an innocent young boy, not yet eleven years old, whose father has already been murdered. And Merlin Athrawes, the cybernetic avatar of a young woman a thousand years dead, has finally learned what sleeps beneath the far-off Temple in the Church of God Awaiting’s city of Zion.

The men and women fighting for human freedom and tolerance have built a foundation for their struggle in the Empire of Charis with their own blood, but will that foundation be firm enough to survive?

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