Sunday, December 29, 2013

Books in the Mail (W/E 2013-12-28) Christmas Edition!

This is a slightly different Sunday post. Since no new review books arrived due to the week between Christmas and New Year's Day being virtually dead in publishing, I figured I’d post the books Santa Claus brought me for Christmas this year. I’m also assigning blame to some people for encouraging me to get these books.

The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit) – His two most recent (as of 2013) novels The Troupe and American Elsewhere are two of my favorite books of the last few years, this here is his second novel which received the Edgar Award and received a nice review from SFFWorld pal Mark.

A trolley car pulls into the station with eleven dead bodies inside. Four minutes before, the inhabitants were seen boarding at the previous station. All are dead. And all of them are union.

The year is 1919. The McNaughton Corporation is the pinnacle of American industry. They built airships that cross the seas. Guns that won the Great War. And above all, the city of Evesden. But something is rotten at the heart of Evesden.

Caught between the union and the company, between the police and the victims, Hayes must find the truth behind the city before it kills him.

Iorich (Vlad Taltos #12) by Steven Brust (Tor) – I really enjoy Brust’s Taltos novels, as I’ve mentioned recently and I hope to catch up with them, or at least get closer to being caught up, in the coming year.

House Jhereg, Dragaera's organized crime syndicate, is still hunting Vlad Taltos. There's a big price on his head on Draegara City. Then he hears disturbing news. Aliera—longtime friend, sometime ally—has been arrested by the Empire on a charge of practicing elder sorcery, a capital crime.

It doesn't make sense. Everybody knows Aliera's been dabbling in elder sorcery for ages. Why is the Empire down on her now? Why aren't her powerful friends—Morrolan, Sethra, the Empress Zerika—coming to her rescue? And most to the point, why has she utterly refused to do anything about her own defense?

It would be idiotic of Vlad to jump into this situation. He's a former Jhereg who betrayed the House. He's an Easterner—small, weak, short-lived. He's being searched for by the most remorseless killers in the world. Naturally, that's exactly why he's going to get completely involved...

In Iorich, Steven Brust has crafted a complex and intriguing Vlad Taltos adventure.

The Midnight Mayor (Matthew Swift #2) by Kate Griffin (Orbit Hardcover 04/2009) – I really enjoyed the launch book for this series - A Madness of Angels - when it published in 2009. Like the Brust book I received, I’ve been wanting to catch up with this series for a few years.

It’s said that if the ravens ever leave the Tower of London, then the Tower will crumble and the kingdom will fall. As it happens, that’s not so far from the truth…


One by one, the magical wards that guard the city are failing: the London Wall defiled with cryptic graffiti, the ravens found dead at the Tower, the London Stone destroyed. This is not good news. This array of supernatural defences – a mix of international tourist attractions and forgotten urban legends – formed a formidable magical shield. Protection for the City of London against… well, that’s the question, isn’t it? What could be so dangerous as to threaten an entire city?


 Against his better judgement, resurrected sorcerer Matthew Swift is about to find out. And if he’s lucky, he might just live long enough to do something about it…

The Mirror Prince by Violette Malan (DAW) – I blame this one on twitter (Violette and follow each other) and more specifically Paul Weimer. He and I follow each other, have plenty of twitter conversations, and seem to have about 75% similar reading tastes/sensibilities. He’s always had good things to say about Violette’s work so here goes.

Max Ravenhill thinks he's human . . . but he's wrong. He's been given false memories over and over again by his Wardens, who don't want him to realize that he's been alive for over 1000 years.

Max and his Wardens are Riders -- what humans call Faerie, and back in their Lands Max was the Prince Guardian, Keeper of the Talismans. As the Prince Guardian, Max lost a civil war, and was banished to the Shadowlands, the human country. To prevent his escape, his memory was bound, along with his dra'aj, the magical energy that is manifested in all Faerie. His Wardens made sure that the powerless Exile was not accidentally killed by humans.

The Banishment is nearing its end when Warden Cassandra Kennaby, gets a most unexpected warning that Max is in immanent danger from his old enemy, the Rider who has become known as the Basilisk Prince. Cassandra has personal reasons for avoiding her charge, but when the warning is confirmed by the appearance of the Hunt, she has no choice but to remember her Oath and go to the rescue. As the Hunt closes in, the only way Cassandra can save Max is to risk returning him home before the end of the Banishment. Max finds himself in the bewildering Lands of the People, where nothing, not the Riders or the Naturals or the Solitaries -- not even the Landscape itself, does what he expects. Cassandra and Max they find that the dra'aj of the Lands itself has been waning during the Banishment, and the Basilisk Prince has been growing in power since the time of the Great War. Max's old supporters desperately need Max to prevent the Basilisk from declaring himself High Prince and destroying the natural Cycles of the Lands. But it isn't really Max they need -- it's his true self, the Guardian Prince. Max must decide to give up the only life he knows, in order to become someone else, in order to fight an ancient enemy he doesn't even remember. 

Armageddon Bound (Demon Squad #1) by Tim Marquitz (Self-published) – I blame this one on twitter (Tim and follow each other), the Bastard of SFFWorld and the SFFWorld forums. Folks who have read Marquitz’s books have great things to say about them and this is his first. Tim also contributed a story to the Triumph over Tragedy anthology I helped to edit

Half-devil and miles from anything resembling heroic, perpetual underdog Frank "Triggaltheron" Trigg is the last man standing against Armageddon. As the favorite nephew of the Devil, Frank has led a troubled life, but he'd always had his uncle's influence to fall back on. Now, with God and Lucifer coming to terms and leaving existence to fend for itself, his once exalted status of Anti-Christ-to-be does little to endear him to the hordes of angels and demons running amok in the Godless world. With help from the members of DRAC, an organization of wizards, psychics, telepaths, and low-end supernatural beings, Frank must thwart the pro-Armageddon forces and rescue an angel in whose life rests the fate of humanity. Better luck next time, humanity.

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (Dellacorte) – Brandon Sanderson writing superheroes (which one can argue he did in a fantasy setting with Mistborn). I don’t think anything else needs to be said. I shared the press release about a year and a half ago for this one.

There are no heroes.

Every single person who manifested powers—we call them Epics—turned out to be evil.

Here, in the city once known as Chicago, an extraordinarily powerful Epic declared himself Emperor. Steelheart has the strength of ten men and can control the elements. It is said no bullet can harm him, no sword can split his skin, no explosion can burn him. He is invincible.

It has been ten years. We live our lives as best we can. Nobody fights back . . . nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans who spend their lives studying powerful Epics, finding their weaknesses, then assassinating them.

My name is David Charleston. I’m not one of the Reckoners, but I intend to join them. I have something they need. Something precious, something incredible. Not an object, but an experience. I know his secret.

I’ve seen Steelheart bleed. 

D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc. (Images of America ) by Robert A. Musson MD with a forward by Dick Yuengling (Arcadia Publishing) – I like beer and Yuengling is my go-to brand of beer. This is a neat book with a lot of historical images of the brewery, various labels and promotional material used over the years. I've already read through this and liked it.

Known as Americas Oldest Brewery, D. G. Yuengling & Son, Inc., of Pottsville has been in continuous operation since 1829. Since its start, Yuengling has been prudently managed by the Yuengling family. Overcoming the 14 dry years of Prohibition, Yuengling persevered due in part to the ingenuity and creativity of its owners and loyalty of its consumers. Unlike many of the regional brewers who were forced to close their doors over time, Yuengling found a niche for itself beginning in the late 1980s. With the introduction of Yuengling Lager and Black & Tan, the brand became a sensation in and around Philadelphia. Popularity of the beverages led to Yuengling being distributed in 14 states, making it the largest American-owned brewery. Through more than 220 historic images, D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc., tells the story of this legendary American company.

Empire of the Blood by Gav Thorpe (Angry Robot) – I blame this one on twitter at least partially and pornokitsch specifically. I think I recall seeing a post or a tweet from Jared about these books, plus I’ve been very pleased with most of what I’ve read from the folks at Angry Robot and I’m always happy to read a new completed Epic Fantasy series, especially an omnibus. Damn is this is one thick brick of book, you could kill a rabbit with it.

The Empire of the Blood Trilogy Includes:

The Crown of the Blood
The Crown of the Conqueror
The Crown of the Usurper

He had brought his master's Empire to the furthest reaches of the world. All had fallen before him. Now he longs for home.
But home isn't what it was. Could it be that everything he's fought for all those years has been a lie?
A sweeping fantasy of immense battles, demonic magic and dark politics.

Ullsaard has won the crown
But when he is confronted with a truth too shocking to contemplate, he has to make the impossible choice between power and honour.
And now the real battle has begun in this stunning sequel to The Crown of the Blood, packed with gargantuan battles, demonic magic and treacherous politics.

The stunning conclusion to the epic Crown of the Blood series.

Children No More (Jon and Lobo #4) by Mark L. Van Name (Baen Books) – I’ve enjoyed each of the books in this series I’ve read, going back to the Jump Gate Twist ominibus I read a few years ago, but I can initially blame wanting to read these highly enjoyable SF adventures on liviu from Fantasy Book Critic. Van Name is donating all proceeds from this novel to a charity very important to him.


Jon Moore knew that better than most, having learned to fight to survive before he’d hit puberty. So when a former comrade, Alissa Lim, asks for his help in rescuing a group of children pressed into service by rebels on a planet no one cares to save, he agrees. Only later does he realize he’s signed up to do far more than he’d ever imagined.

Jon’s commitment hurtles him and Lobo, the hyper-intelligent assault vehicle who is his only real friend, into confrontations with the horrors the children have experienced and with a dark chapter from his own past. The complications mount as Jon and Lobo rush straight into the darkness at the heart of humanity to save a group of child soldiers—and then face an even tougher challenge:

When we’ve trained our children to kill, what do we do with them when the fighting is over?

Titan (The Gaea Trilogy #1) by John Varley (Ace) – I’m not really sure where to assign blame on this one as Varley’s work, especially this trilogy which is his most famous work, has come up on podcasts, internet listings of books, and twitter for years but I did enjoy his novel The Golden Globe when I read it on the plane going to Hawai’i for my honeymoon.

Titan is first in Varley’s epic Gaean Trilogy. It was finalist for both Hugo and Nebula awards.

Gaea is a world within a world – impossible, bizarre, an endless landscape inhabited by creatures out of legend. Gaea is a goddess, sometimes whimsical, sometimes malign and always terrifying. But she is also three million years old and her powers are increasingly capricious and uncertain.

1 comment:

Paul Weimer said...

I do hope you like THE MIRROR PRINCE, Rob :)