Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Eye on New Releases for May 24, 2016


 (Debut novel)

Synopsis:
"In this debut space epic, a crew of thieves and con artists take on a job that could pay off a lot of debts in a corrupt galaxy where life is cheap and criminals are the best people in it.

The Keiko is a ship of smugglers, soldiers of fortune, and adventurers travelling Earth’s colony planets searching for the next job. And they never talk about their past—until now.

Captain Ichabod Drift is being blackmailed. He has to deliver a special cargo to Earth, and no one can know they’re there. It’s what they call a dark run…And it may be their last."


(Third and final book of The Passage Trilogy)

Synopsis:
"The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?

The Twelve have been destroyed and the hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew—and daring to dream of a hopeful future.

But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy—humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate."


 (Book two of the Crimson Empire)
(B&N, Nook, Amazon, Kindle)

Synopsis:
"After five hundred years, the Sunken Kingdom has returned, and brought with it a monstrous secret that threatens to destroy every country on the Star.
As an inhuman army gathers on its shores, poised to invade the Immaculate Isles, the members of the Cobalt Company face an ugly choice: abandon their dreams of glory and vengeance to combat a menace from another realm, or pursue their ambitions and hope the Star is still there when the smoke clears.

Five villains. One legendary general. A battle for survival."

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Eye on New Releases for May 17, 2016



Synopsis:
"They call it Company Town--a city-sized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes, now owned by one very wealthy, powerful, byzantine family: Lynch Ltd.

Hwa is of the few people in her community (which constitutes the whole rig) to forgo bio-engineered enhancements. As such, she's the last truly organic person left on the rig--making her doubly an outsider, as well as a neglected daughter and bodyguard extraordinaire. Still, her expertise in the arts of self-defense and her record as a fighter mean that her services are yet in high demand. When the youngest Lynch needs training and protection, the family turns to Hwa. But can even she protect against increasingly intense death threats seemingly coming from another timeline?

Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city's stability and heightens the unease of a rig turning over. All signs point to a nearly invisible serial killer, but all of the murders seem to lead right back to Hwa's front door. Company Town has never been the safest place to be--but now, the danger is personal."


(Book Four of The Witcher Saga)

Synopsis:
"The world has fallen into war. Ciri, the child of prophecy, has vanished. Hunted by friends and foes alike, she has taken on the guise of a petty bandit and lives free for the first time in her life.

But the net around her is closing. Geralt, the Witcher, has assembled a group of allies determined to rescue her. Both sides of the war have sent brutal mercenaries to hunt her down. Her crimes have made her famous.

There is only one place left to run. The tower of the swallow is waiting..."

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Eye on New Releases for May 10, 2016



Synopsis:
"From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request—and possibly to do more—and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman, posing as a doctor’s wife, but sent by Seressa as a spy.

The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he’s been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif—to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.

As these lives entwine, their fates—and those of many others—will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world..."



Synopsis:
"Anna Francis lives in a tall old house with her father and her doll Penelope. She is a refugee, a piece of flotsam washed up in England by the tides of the Great War and the chaos that trailed in its wake. Once upon a time, she had a mother and a brother, and they all lived together in the most beautiful city in the world, by the shores of Homer’s wine-dark sea.

But that is all gone now, and only to her doll does she ever speak of it, because her father cannot bear to hear. She sits in the shadows of the tall house and watches the rain on the windows, creating worlds for herself to fill out the loneliness. The house becomes her own little kingdom, an island full of dreams and halfforgotten memories. And then one winter day, she finds an interloper in the topmost, dustiest attic of the house. A boy named Luca with yellow eyes, who is as alone in the world as she is.

That day, she’ll lose everything in her life, and find the only real friend she may ever know."


(Debut novel)

Synopsis:
"Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer--a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labelling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world's population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competion is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life."


(Debut novel)

Synopsis:
"The core story is set in Venice in the sixteenth century, when the famed makers of Venetian glass were perfecting one of the old world's most wondrous inventions: the mirror. An object of glittering yet fearful fascinationwas it reflecting simple reality, or something more spiritually revealing?the Venetian mirrors were state of the art technology, and subject to industrial espionage by desirous sultans and royals world-wide. But for any of the development team to leave the island was a crime punishable by death. One man, howevera world-weary war hero with nothing to losehas a scheme he thinks will allow him to outwit the city's terrifying enforcers of the edict, the ominous Council of Ten . . .

Meanwhile, in two other VenicesVenice Beach, California, circa 1958, and the Venice casino in Las Vegas, circa todaytwo other schemers launch similarly dangerous plans to get away with a secret . . ."


(Story collection/mosaic novel)

Synopsis:
"A worldwide diaspora has left a quarter of a million people at the foot of a space station. Cultures collide in real life and virtual reality. The city is literally a weed, its growth left unchecked. Life is cheap, and data is cheaper.

When Boris Chong returns to Tel Aviv from Mars, much has changed. Boris’s ex-lover is raising a strangely familiar child who can tap into the datastream of a mind with the touch of a finger. His cousin is infatuated with a robotnik—a damaged cyborg soldier who might as well be begging for parts. His father is terminally-ill with a multigenerational mind-plague. And a hunted data-vampire has followed Boris to where she is forbidden to return.

Rising above them is Central Station, the interplanetary hub between all things: the constantly shifting Tel Aviv; a powerful virtual arena, and the space colonies where humanity has gone to escape the ravages of poverty and war. Everything is connected by the Others, powerful alien entities who, through the Conversation—a shifting, flowing stream of consciousness—are just the beginning of irrevocable change.

At Central Station, humans and machines continue to adapt, thrive...and even evolve."


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Eye on New Releases for May 3, 2016


(Story collection)
(Aqueduct Press, Amazon)

Synopsis:
"Hwarhath Stories: Transgressive Tales by Aliens collects a dozen Hwarhath tales with commentary by their translator. As the translator notes, "Humanity has encountered only one other species able to travel among the stars. This species, who call themselves the hwarhath, or 'people,' are also the only intelligent species so far encountered. Of course, we interest and puzzle and disturb each other... The stories in this collection were written after the hwarhath learned enough about humanity to realize how similar (and different) we are. Our existence has called into question many ideas about life and morality that most hwarhath would have called certain a century ago..."



Synopsis:
"In this thrilling and panoramic historical novel we see one of the most storied uprisings of classical times from multiple points of view: Spartacus, the visionary captive and gladiator whose toughness and charisma turn a prison break into a multi-cultural revolt that threatens an empire; his consort, the oracular Astera, whose connection to the spirit world and its omens guides the uprising’s progress; Nonus, a Roman soldier working both sides of the conflict in a half-adroit, half-desperate attempt to save his life; Laelia and Hustus, two shepherd children drawn into the ranks of the slave rebellion; Kaleb, the slave secretary to Crassus, the Roman senator and commander saddled with the unenviable task of quashing an insurrection of mere slaves; and other players in a vast spectacle of bloodshed, heroism, and treachery."


(Debut novel)
(B&N, Nook, Amazon, Kindle)

Synopsis:
"Maia and her family raise dragons for the political war machine. As she comes of age, she anticipates a dragon of her own to add to the stable of breeding parents.  Her peaceful life is shattered when the Summer Dragon--one of the rare and mythical High Dragons--makes an appearance in her quiet valley. Political factions vie for control of the implied message, threatening her aspirations, her aerie, her entire way of life.

The bond between dragons and their riders is deep and life-long, and Maia's desire for a dragon of her own to train, ride, fly, and love drives her to take a risk that puts her life at stake. She is swept into an adventure that pits her against the deathless Horrors, thralls of the enemy, and a faceless creature drawn from her fear. In her fight to preserve everything she knows and loves, she exposes a conspiracy, unearths an ancient civilization, and challenges her understanding of her world--and of herself."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Kickstarter Shout-out: Tak


Some friends of Patrick Rothfuss are doing a kickstarter project to create a real world version of his game, Tak, from the world of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear


If you think you might be interested, the link for the project is here.



Eye on New Releases for April 26, 2016


 (Story collection)
(B&N, Nook, Amazon, Kindle)                                (Amazon-UK, Book Depository)

Table of Contents:
"A Beautiful Bastard: The Union army may be full of bastards, but there’s only one big enough to think he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.

Made a Monster: After years of bloodshed, the idealistic chieftain Bethod is desperate to bring peace to the North. There’s only one obstacle left – his own lunatic champion.

Small Kindnesses: The hopes of Shevedieh, the best thief in Westport, to turn her back on crime, come crashing down when she finds a huge drunkard sleeping in her doorway. Doing the right thing always comes at a price…

The Fool Jobs: Curnden Craw has been sent with his dozen to recover a thing from beyond the Crinna. One small problem. No one seems to know what the thing is.

Skipping Town: Shevedieh and Javre, ill-matched adventurers, find themselves forced to flee yet another self-made disaster.

Hell: ‘I have seen hell, and it is a great city under siege.’ The fall of Dagoska through the eyes of a young acolyte.

Two’s Company: Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp, runs into Cracknut Whirrun on a bridge over a remote canyon. Can Shevedieh persuade either of these proud heroes to step aside?

Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Three not entirely innocent bystanders are sucked into the  chaos of Monzcarro Murcatto’s vengeance.

Some Desperado: There is no honour among thieves when the outlaw Smoke finds herself being hunted down by her own comrades.

Yesterday, Near a Village Called Barden: Royal Observer Bremer dan Gorst reports to the king on another ugly little skirmish as summer dies in the North.

Three’s a Crowd: It’s a foolish man who steals from the best thief in Styria, and when Horald the Finger steals her lover, it’s time for Shevedieh to stop running and start fighting. For those who work in the shadows, though, few things are ever quite as they seem…

Freedom: Being an absolutely true account of the liberation of the town of Averstock from the grip of the incorrigible rebel menace by the famous Nicomo Cosca.

Tough Times all Over: All Carcolf wants is to take her package from here to there, but in the city of fogs and whispers, there are always a dozen other rogues with their own ideas."



Synopsis:
"In the opening pages of the action-packed Book One of Lian Hearn's epic Tale of Shikanoko series--all of which will be published in 2016--a future lord is dispossessed of his birthright by a scheming uncle, a mountain sorcerer imbues a mask with the spirit of a great stag for a lost young man, a stubborn father forces his son to give up his wife to his older brother, and a powerful priest meddles in the succession to the Lotus Throne, the child who is the rightful heir to the emperor barely escaping the capital in the arms of his sister. And that is just the beginning.

As destiny weaves its rich tapestry, a compelling drama plays out against a background of wild forests, elegant castles, hidden temples, and savage battlefields. This is the medieval Japan of Lian Hearn's imagination, where animal spirits clash with warriors and children navigate a landscape as serene as it is deadly."


 (Debut novel)

Synopsis:
"A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?"


(English translation debut)

 Synopsis:
"Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay 'til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past."


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Eye on New Releases for April 19, 2016


 (Tor.com novella)
(B&N, Nook, Amazon, Kindle)

Synopsis:
"Global war devastated the environment, a zombie-like plague wiped out much of humanity, and civilization as we once understood it came to a standstill. But that was a thousand years ago, and the world is now a very different place.

Conflict between city states is constant, superstition is rife, and machine relics, mutant creatures and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land. Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities. Homes of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church claims. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out.

Until now…



Synopsis:
"22000 B.C. A beautiful, ambitious angel stands on a mountaintop, surveying the world and its little inhabitants below. He smiles because soon, the last of humanity who survived the great flood will meet its end, too. And he should know. He’s going to play a big part in it. Our angel usually doesn’t get to do field work, and if he does well, he’s certain he’ll get a big promotion.
And now it’s time . . .

The angel reaches into his pocket for the instrument of humanity’s doom. Must be in the other pocket. Then he frantically begins to pat himself down. Dejected, he realizes he has lost the object. Looking over the Earth at all that could have been, the majestic angel utters a single word.

“Crap.”

2015. A thief named Coop—a specialist in purloining magic objects—steals and delivers a small box to the mysterious client who engaged his services. Coop doesn’t know that his latest job could be the end of him—and the rest of the world. Suddenly he finds himself in the company of The Department of Peculiar Science, a fearsome enforcement agency that polices the odd and strange. The box isn’t just a supernatural heirloom with quaint powers, they tell him.

It’s a doomsday device. They think . . .And suddenly, everyone is out to get it."


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Eye on New Releases for April 12, 2016


(Story Collection)
(Small Beer, B&N, Amazon, Kindle)

Synopsis:
"Here is the whisper in the night, the creak upstairs, that half-remembered ghost story that won’t let you sleep, the sound that raises gooseflesh, the wish you’d checked the lock on the door before it got really, really dark. Here are tales of suspense and the supernatural that will chill, amuse, and exhilarate."
 
Table of Contents
Introduction by Kelly Link
“The Power of Storytelling: Joan Aiken’s Strange Stories” by Lizza Aiken
Cold Flame
The Dark Streets of Kimball’s Green
Furry Night
Hope
Humblepuppy
The Lame King
The Last Specimen
A Leg Full of Rubies
Listening
Lob’s Girl
The Man Who Had Seen the Rope Trick
The Mysterious Barricades
Old Fillikin
The People in the Castle
A Portable Elephant
A Room Full of Leaves
She Was Afraid of Upstairs
Some Music for the Wicked Countess
Sonata for Harp and Bicycle
Watkyn, Comma
 
 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Eye on New Releases for April 5, 2016


 (Book Four of The Memoirs of Lady Trent)

Synopsis:
"Even those who take no interest in the field of dragon naturalism have heard of Lady Trent's expedition to the inhospitable deserts of Akhia. Her discoveries there are the stuff of romantic legend, catapulting her from scholarly obscurity to worldwide fame. The details of her personal life during that time are hardly less private, having provided fodder for gossips in several countries.

As is so often the case in the career of this illustrious woman, the public story is far from complete. In this, the fourth volume of her memoirs, Lady Trent relates how she acquired her position with the Royal Scirling Army; how foreign saboteurs imperiled both her work and her well-being; and how her determined pursuit of knowledge took her into the deepest reaches of the Labyrinth of Drakes, where the chance action of a dragon set the stage for her greatest achievement yet."



Synopsis:
"Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulson could be spending the rest of her life.

It's a place where even the walls whisper.

And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess."


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Review: mini-reviews of The Man Who Spoke Snakish and The Ballad of Black Tom


This is the English translation of a book that was a big hit in its native Estonia, about a world where snakes have taught humans Snakish, the language of animals.  The story is set in the medieval period where people are leaving the forest to live in villages and the main character is the last man who can speak Snakish.  The author heavily satires village life and Christian beliefs, but to be fair he does much the same to the Pagan characters as well.  Despite that, it's surprising dark at times.  It's well written and engaging, but where it fails for me is that I think the author had the opportunity to make some meaningful statements on social and cultural change, but concentrates instead on satire and drama.

Rating: 7.5/10.


This is another of the novellas that Tor.com started putting out last year.  It's a retelling and deconstruction of H.P. Lovecraft's "The Horror at Red Hook".  I haven't read the original story, but from looking it up online some of the same characters appear, but the important new one is one Charles Thomas Tester, a young black man who deals with sorcerers, elder gods, and racism in 1920's New York.  Halfway through the narrative switches to the cop, Malone, and while it makes sense for plot reasons, I didn't find his character quite as engaging.  Otherwise, the story was very good.

Rating: 8/10.