Sunday, March 17, 2013

Books in the Mail (W/E 2013-03-16)

A smattering of books this week, all except one of them is from the fine folks at Tor. One of this is a must read for me, which I'm sure will be easy enough to determine.

Range of Ghosts (The Eternal Sky #2) by Elizabeth Bear (Tor, Hardcover 03/17/2013) – I read the opening novel in this sequence last year and was blown away

The Shattered Pillars is the second book of Bear’s The Eternal Sky trilogy and the sequel to Range of Ghosts. Set in a world drawn from our own great Asian Steppes, this saga of magic, politics and war sets Re-Temur, the exiled heir to the great Khagan and his friend Sarmarkar, a Wizard of Tsarepheth, against dark forces determined to conquer all the great Empires along the Celedon Road.

Elizabeth Bear is an astonishing writer, whose prose draws you into strange and wonderful worlds, and makes you care deeply about the people and the stories she tells. The world of The Eternal Sky is broadly and deeply created—her award-nominated novella, "Bone and Jewel Creatures" is also set there.

The Gate Thief by Orson Scott Card (Tor Hardcover 03/19/2013) – Second installment in Card’s Urban Fantasy which began with The Lost Gate

In this sequel to The Lost Gate, bestselling author Orson Scott Card continues his fantastic tale of the Mages of Westil who live in exile on Earth.

Here on Earth, Danny North is still in high school, yet he holds in his heart and mind all the stolen outselves of thirteen centuries of gatemages. The Families still want to kill him if they can't control him…and they can't control him. He is far too powerful.

And on Westil, Wad is now nearly powerless—he lost everything to Danny in their struggle. Even if he can survive the revenge of his enemies, he still must somehow make peace with the Gatemage Daniel North.

For when Danny took that power from Loki, he also took the responsibility for the Great Gates. And when he comes face-to-face with the mages who call themselves Bel and Ishtoreth, he will come to understand just why Loki closed the gates all those centuries ago.

The Shape Stealer by Lee Carroll (Tor Trade Paperback 03/05/2013) – Third book in to the Carroll’s sequence (who is a pseudonym for the husband and wife author team of Carol Goodman and Lee Slonimisky) which began with, Black Swan Rising, which Mark enjoyed when it published in the UK last year.

Jewelry designer Garet James is the Watchtower—the last in a long line of powerful women sworn to protect the world from evil. Although she had once defeated evil in New York City, her pursuit of her true love, the 400-year-old vampire Will Hughes, has now unleashed an age-old evil onto the modern world, and the entire planet is at risk.

Marduk, the ageless descendant of a demonic Babylonian deity, is now loose in Paris. He has joined forces with the villainous John Dee in a plan to destroy the world’s economy and plunge the entire world into chaos.

To fight this threat, Garet enlists the help of a modern-day band of knights who are dedicated to preserving the sanctity of the timeline. As she and her allies face this threat, new challenges arise in the form of a rival faction of knights who will stop at nothing to bring about the destruction of everything Garet holds dear.

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay (Roc, Trade Paperback 04/02/2013) – Kay is a magnificent writer, I’ve enjoyed all of what I’ve read by him. This is set in the same world as Under Heaven though it seems as if it could stand on its own. This is the finished copy of the ARC I received back in January.

In his critically acclaimed novel Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay told a vivid and powerful story inspired by China’s Tang Dynasty. Now, the international bestselling and multiple award-winning author revisits that invented setting four centuries later with an epic of prideful emperors, battling courtiers, bandits and soldiers, nomadic invasions, and a woman battling in her own way, to find a new place for women in the world – a world inspired this time by the glittering, decadent Song Dynasty.

Ren Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate of Kitai. That moment on a lonely road changed his life—in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years later—and his life changes again, dramatically, as he circles towards the court and emperor, while war approaches Kitai from the north.
Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor—and alienates women at the court. But when her father’s life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has.

In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading to events no one could have foretold, under the river of stars.

Queen Victoria's Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy by Ellen Datlow and Terry Windling (Tor, Trade Paperback 03/17/2013) – Datlow and Windling are the pre-eminent short-fiction editorial duo, for years they edited the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthology as well as many, many themed anthologies.

“Gaslamp Fantasy,” or historical fantasy set in a magical version of the nineteenth century, has long been popular with readers and writers alike. A number of wonderful fantasy novels, including Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and The Prestige by Christopher Priest, owe their inspiration to works by nineteenth-century writers ranging from Jane Austen, the Brontës, and George Meredith to Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and William Morris. And, of course, the entire steampunk genre and subculture owes more than a little to literature inspired by this period.

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells is an anthology for everyone who loves these works of neo-Victorian fiction, and wishes to explore the wide variety of ways that modern fantasists are using nineteenth-century settings, characters, and themes. These approaches stretch from steampunk fiction to the Austen-and-Trollope inspired works that some critics call Fantasy of Manners, all of which fit under the larger umbrella of Gaslamp Fantasy. The result is eighteen stories by experts from the fantasy, horror, mainstream, and young adult fields, including both bestselling writers and exciting new talents such as Elizabeth Bear, James Blaylock, Jeffrey Ford, Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, Gregory Maguire, Delia Sherman, and Catherynne M. Valente, who present a bewitching vision of a nineteenth century invested (or cursed!) with magic.

• “The Fairy Enterprise” by Jeffrey Ford
• “From the Catalogue of the Pavilion of the Uncanny and Marvelous, Scheduled for Premiere at the Great Exhibition (Before the Fire)” by Genevieve Valentine
• “The Memory Book” by Maureen McHugh
• “Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells” by Delia Sherman
• “La Reine D’Enfer” by Kathe Koja
• “Briar Rose” by Elizabeth Wein
• “The Governess” by Elizabeth Bear
• “Smithfield” by James P. Blaylock
• “The Unwanted Women of Surrey” by Kaaron Warren
• “Charged” by Leanna Renee Hieber
• “Mr. Splitfoot” by Dale Bailey
• “Phosperous” by Veronica Schanoes
• “We Without Us Were Shadows” by Catherynne M. Valente
• “The Vital Importance of the Superficial” by Ellen Kushner and Caroline Stevermer
• “The Jewel in the Toad Queen’s Crown” by Jane Yolen
• “A Few Twigs He Left Behind” by Gregory Maguire
• “Their Monstrous Minds” by Tanith Lee
• “Estella Saves the Village” by Theodora Goss

1 comment:

Bob said...

I got River of Stars in the mail a couple of weeks ago. Another stellar tale from Kay, but quite different from Under Heaven. It's interesting to see how those events played out . . .

Only new arrival in the mail for me this week was A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda. Having only read her sci-fi, I'm curious to see how her fantasy fares.