Saturday, December 10, 2011

New Releases for January 2012

January 3, 2012
    Berg, Carol • The Daemon Prism              
Dante the necromancer is the most reviled man in Sabria, indicted by for crimes against the living and the dead. He salves bitterness with a magical puzzle - a desperate soldier's dream of an imprisoned sorceress and a faceted glass that can grant one's utmost desires. But the dream is a seductive trap.  Haunted, blind, driven to the verges of the world, Dante must risk everything he values to unravel a mystery of ancient magic, sacred legend, and the truth of the divine..

      Bova, Ben • Power Play                      
Dr. Jake Ross, a university astronomer, wants nothing more than to teach a few classes each semester and continue on his research. However, he is being aggressively recruited to be the science advisor to Frank Tomlinson, an ambitious politician with his eye on the U.S. Senate.
Tomlinson is in need of an edge that will allow him to defeat his opponent at the polls, and Dr. Ross can contribute just that: MHD.
MHD, or magnetohydrodynamics, is a new innovation that will allow electricity to be generated efficiently and cheaply. The senate is essentially guaranteed if Tomlinson can deliver unlimited energy to voters at less than half the price of nuclear power. But MHD is still in its infancy, and although the outlook is extremely promising there are great—and deadly—risks.
The incumbent senator will not give up his seat without a fight, and as Dr. Ross discovers, the world of politics carries its own dangers. Nothing has prepared Dr. Ross for the extreme tactics that desperate and powerful people are willing to use.

    Willis, Connie • All About Emily                          
Theater legend Claire Havilland fears she might be entering the Sunset Boulevard phase of her career. That is, until her manager arranges a media appearance with her biggest fan--a famous artificial intelligence pioneer's teenage niece. After precocious Emily's backstage visit, Claire decides she's in a different classic film altogether. While unnaturally charming Emily swears she harbors no desire for the spotlight, Claire wonders if she hasn't met her very own Eve Harrington from All About Eve. But the story becomes more complex as dreams of fame give way to concerns about choice, free will, and identity.

    Gibson, William • Distrust That Particular Flavor 
Gibson has been sought out by widely varying publications for his insights into contemporary culture. Wired magazine sent him to Singapore to report on one of the world's most buttoned-up states. The New York Times Magazine asked him to describe what was wrong with the Internet. Rolling Stone published his essay on the ways our lives are all "soundtracked" by the music and the culture around us. And in a speech at the 2010 Book Expo, he memorably described the interactive relationship between writer and reader.
These essays and articles have never been collected-until now. Some have never appeared in print at all. In addition, Distrust That Particular Flavor includes journalism from small publishers, online sources, and magazines no longer in existence. This volume will be essential reading for any lover of William Gibson's novels. Distrust That Particular Flavor offers readers a privileged view into the mind of a writer whose thinking has shaped not only a generation of writers but our entire culture.

    Green, Simon R. • The Bride Wore Black                     
In the secret heart of London, under the cover of endless darkness, the Nightside caters to anyone with any unusual itch that needs to be scratched. But enter at your own risk. The party animals who live here may be as inhuman as their appetites...
My name is John Taylor. The Nightside is my home. I didn't plan it that way. In fact, I once tried to get away. But I came back. And now it seems I'm settling down, with a full-time job (in addition to my work as a very private eye) as Walker-the new Voice of the Authorities in the Nightside-and a wedding in the offing.
I'm marrying the love of my life, Suzie Shooter, the Nightside's most fearsome bounty-hunter. But nothing comes easy here. Not life. Not death. And for certain, not happily-ever-after. Before I can say "I do," I have one more case to solve as a private eye-and my first assignment as Walker.
Both jobs would be a lot easier to accomplish if I weren't on the run, from friends and enemies alike. And if my bride-to-be weren't out to collect the bounty on my head...

    Herbert, Brian, & Kevin J. Anderson • Sisterhood of Dune     
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….

January 17, 2012
    Card, Orson Scott • Shadows in Flight              
At the end of Shadow of the Giant, Bean flees to the stars with three of his children--the three who share the engineered genes that gave him both hyper-intelligence and a short, cruel physical life. The time dilation granted by the speed of their travel gives Earth’s scientists generations to seek a cure, to no avail. In time, they are forgotten--a fading ansible signal speaking of events lost to Earth’s history. But the Delphikis are about to make a discovery that will let them save themselves, and perhaps all of humanity in days to come.
For there in space before them lies a derelict Formic colony ship. Aboard it, they will find both death and wonders--the life support that is failing on their own ship, room to grow, and labs in which to explore their own genetic anomaly and the mysterious disease that killed the ship’s colony.

    Cook, Glen • A Path to the Coldness of Heart       
At long last, the conclusion to Glen Cook''s Dread Empire saga has arrived! King Bragi Ragnarson is a prisoner, shamed, nameless, and held captive by Lord Shih-kaa and the Empress Mist at the heart of the Dread Empire. Far away in Kavelin, Bragia''s queen and what remains of his army seek to find and free their king, hampered by the loss or desertion of their best and brightest warriors. Kavelina''s spymaster, Michael Trebilcock, is missing in action, as is loyal soldier Aral Dantice. Meanwhile, Dane, Duke of Greyfells, seeks to seize the rule of Kavelin and place the kingdom in his pocket, beginning a new line of succession through Bragia''s queen, Dane''s cousin Inger. And in the highest peaks of the Dragona''s Teeth, in the ancient castle Fangdred, the sorcerer called Varthlokkur uses his arts to spy on the world at large, observing the puppet strings that control kings and empires alike, waiting... For the time of the wrath of kings is almost at hand, and vengeance lies along a path to coldness of heart.

    Flynn, Michael • In the Lion's Mouth 
It’s a big Spiral Arm, and the scarred man, Donavan buigh, has gone missing in it, upsetting the harper Mearana's plans for a reconciliation between her parents. Bridget ban, a Hound of the League, doubts that reconciliation is possible or desirable; but nonetheless has dispatched agents to investigate the disappearance.
The powerful Ravn Olafsdottr, a Shadow of the Names, slips into Clanthompson Hall to tell mother and daughter of the fate of Donovan buigh. In the Long Game between the Confederation of Central Worlds and the United League of the Periphery, Hound and Shadow are mortal enemies; yet a truce descends between them so that the Shadow may tell her tale. There is a struggle in the Lion’s Mouth, the bureau that oversees the Shadows—a clandestine civil war of sabotage and assassination between those who would overthrow Those of Name and the loyalists who support them. And Donovan, one-time Confederal agent, has been recalled to take a key part, willingly or no

    Erikson, Steven • This River Awakens                   
In the spring of 1971, Owen Brand and his family move to the riverside town of Middlecross in a renewed attempt to escape poverty. For twelve-year-old Owen, it's the opportunity for a new life and an end to his family's isolation and he quickly falls in with a gang of three local boys and forms a strong bond with Jennifer, the rebellious daughter of a violent, alcoholic father. As summer brings release from school, two figures preside over the boys' activities: Walter Gribbs, a benign old watchman at the yacht club, and Hogdson Fisk, a vindictive farmer tormented by his past. Then the boys stumble on a body washed up on the riverbank - a discovery whose reverberations will result, as the year comes full circle, in a cataclysm that envelops them all...Steven Erikson first novel, This River Awakens, is a lyrical, tender and disturbing portrayal of a rite of passage that is both harsh and revelatory.

    Goss, Theodora • The Thorn and the Blossom                 
One enchanting romance. Two lovers keeping secrets. And a uniquely crafted book that binds their stories forever.
When Evelyn Morgan walked into the village bookstore, she didn’t know she would meet the love of her life. When Brendan Thorne handed her a medieval romance, he didn’t know it would change the course of his future. It was almost as if they were the cursed lovers in the old book itself . . .
The Thorn and the Blossom is a remarkable literary artifact: You can open the book in either direction to decide whether you’ll first read Brendan’s, or Evelyn’s account of the mysterious love affair. Choose a side, read it like a regular novel—and when you get to the end, you’ll find yourself at a whole new beginning.

    McAuley, Paul • In the Mouth of the Whale
Fomalhaut was first colonised by the posthuman Quick, who established an archipelago of thistledown cities and edenic worldlets within the star's vast dust belt. Their peaceful, decadent civilisation was swiftly conquered by a band of ruthless, aggressive, unreconstructed humans who call themselves the True, then, a century before, the True beat back an advance party of Ghosts, a posthuman cult which colonised the nearby system of Beta Hydri after being driven from the Solar System a thousand years ago. Now the Ghosts have returned to Fomalhaut, to begin their end game: the conquest of its single gas giant planet, a captured interstellar wanderer far older than the rest of Fomalhaut's system. At its core is a sphere of hot metallic hydrogen with strange and powerful properties based on exotic quantum physics. The Quick believe it is inhabited by an ancient alien Mind; the True believe it can be developed into a weapon, and the Ghosts believe it can be transformed into a computational system so powerful it can reach into their past, collapse timelines, and fulfil the ancient prophecies of their founder.

    Shirley, John • Everything Is Broken                      
Twenty-year-old Russ arrives in the northern California town of Freedom to visit his dad. Freedom has peculiarities other than its odd name: the local mayor''s ideas of "decentralization" have left it without normal connections to state or federal government and minimal public services. Russ meets an interesting young woman, Pendra, but before he can get to know much about Freedom or its people, a savage tsunami strikes the West Coast. The wave of human brutality that soon hits the isolated town proves more dangerous to the survivors than the natural disaster. Russ, his father, Pendra, and the other townsfolk must tap all their courage and ingenuity - and find strength they never knew they had - if they have any hope of living to find real freedom!

    Wells, Martha • The Serpent Sea                           
Moon, once a solitary wanderer, has become consort to Jade, sister queen of the Indigo Cloud court. Together, they travel with their people on a pair of flying ships in hopes of finding a new home for their colony. Moon finally feels like he's found a tribe where he belongs. But when the travelers reach the ancestral home of Indigo Cloud, shrouded within the trunk of a mountain-sized tree, they discover a blight infecting its core. Nearby they find the remains of the invaders who may be responsible, as well as evidence of a devastating theft. This discovery sends Moon and the hunters of Indigo Cloud on a quest for the heartstone of the tree - a quest that will lead them far away, across the Serpent Sea. In this followup to The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells returns with a world-spanning odyssey, a mystery that only provokes more questions - and the adventure of a lifetime.

January 24, 2012
    Duncan, Dave • Against the Light                   
The Hierarchy, high priests of the religious order the Light, has installed King Ethan as the monarchical figurehead, ruling both the magical kingdom of Albi and its predominant religion. Scattered throughout the land, worshippers in the old ways of the Earth Mother are persecuted as heretics. And when young missionary student Rollo Woodbridge returns home to Albi, he is immediately arrested for heresy and treason, setting off a chain of events that plunges the land into utter chaos.
The Hierarchy has more treacherous motives, however, and when Rollo is rescued from jail, his family’s home is destroyed—but Rollo and his siblings are left alive. While Rollo tries diplomacy to end the religious and political conflict, his brother and sister swear vengeance. With the hours to deliverance counting down and their lives hanging in the balance, they must decide whether to stay and fight or leave Albi forever in the suspenseful, action-packed Against the Light

January 31, 2012
    Jones, Diana Wynne • Earwig and the Witch
Everyone knows that orphanages are horrible places. But Earwig has a surprising amount of power over everyone else at St Morwald’s Home for Children, and loves it there. So the last thing she wants is to be sent to live with the very strange Bella Yaga…Earwig was left at St Morwald's as a baby. Unlike the other children, she loves it there, mostly because she has the run of the place and seems to be able to persuade people to do as she wants. Then one day Earwig is chosen to live with a very strange couple: Bella Yaga, her new 'mother', is actually a horrible witch. Earwig will need all her ingenuity (and some help from a talking cat) to survive…With terrific line drawings that perfectly complement Diana's witty, magical story, this is sure to appeal to a new generation of fans.

    Martin, Gail Z. • The Dread
War has come to the Winter Kingdoms. The Dread will rise. Kings will fall.
Summoner-King Tris Drayke takes what remains of his army north to fight a war he is ill-prepared to fight, as reports from spies confirm Tris's worst fear. A new threat rises across the sea: a dark summoner who intends to make the most of the Winter Kingdoms's weakness.
And in Isencroft, Kiara's father is assassinated and she will now have no choice except to return and claim the crown. But she must leave behind her husband Tris and their infant son and face the dark power that threatens her rule.
THE DREAD is the epic conclusion to the Fallen Kings Cycle.

    Maxey, James • Greatshadow
Greatshadow is the primal dragon of fire, an elemental evil whose malign intelligence spies upon mankind through every candle flame, waiting to devour any careless victim he can claim.
The Church of the Book has assembled a team of twelve battle-hardened adventurers to slay the dragon once and for all. But tensions run high between the leaders of the team who view the mission as a holy duty and the super-powered mercenaries who add power to their ranks, who view the mission primarily as a chance to claim Greatshadow's vast treasure trove. If the warriors fail to slay the beast, will they doom mankind to death by fire?

    Tidhar, Lavie • The Great Game
When Mycroft Holmes is murdered in London, it is up to retired shadow executive Smith to track down his killer - and stumble on the greatest conspiracy of his life. Strange forces are stirring into life around the globe, and in the shadow game of spies nothing is certain. Fresh from liberating a strange alien object in Abyssinia - which might just be the mythical Ark of the Covenant - young Lucy Westerna, Holmes' protégé, must follow her own path to the truth while, on the other side of the world, a young Harry Houdini must face his greatest feat of escape - death itself.
As their paths converge the body count mounts up, the entire world is under threat, and in a foreboding castle in the mountains of Transylvania a mysterious old man weaves a spider's web of secrets and lies.
Airship battles, Frankenstein monsters, alien tripods and death-defying acts: The Great Game is a cranked-up steampunk thriller in which nothing is certain - not even death.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pat Rothfuss, NaNoWrMo secrets revealed!

Pat has posted on his blog a recap of his NaNoWrMo. Aside from being as fun to read as his blog usually is, he discusses how his months writing went, and slipped in some details to make the fanboys(and fangirls) squee in delight.

Detail 1:  He spent much of the month working on an unnamed novella set in the world of the Kingkiller books.  Is that enough to squee about?  No?  Well, how about:

Detail 2:  He also managed to write a complete short story, contents and setting unknown, in one day.

I am sure, it being Pat, that we will be tormented by the novella for awhile, until he is ready to reveal more details. But a completed short story?  That could be a little present in time for Christmas as a fan appreciation gift(Are you reading this Pat?  Are you?)

More details:

Kate Elliot Guest Blog, Contest, and new Short Story!

Kate Elliot has posted a guest blog up on The Book Smugglers, in which she discusses the bumber crop of new books this year, plus is gving away 5 books, 3 domestic US and 2 Internationally.  If that isn't enough, there is also a link to a rare short story by Kate set in the world of Cold Fire and Cold Magic about the always amazing Rory, and the way trouble just finds him.
If you haven't read Cold Fire and Cold Magic, I highly recommend them!

More info here:

Brandon Sanderson Stormlight Naming Contest!

Brandon Sanderson is including a character naming in a future book for Gollanz/Orion's charity auction!  It may be in the new Stormlight book(now likely a 2013 delivery according to Sanderson's blog), or in an unnamed novella.

More details at Brandon's blog:

And other charity goodies:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jacqueline Carey contest winner!

I am pleased to announce that Jessica W. of Virginia was the winner of the Jacueline Carey contest!  Her copy should go out in tomorrow's mail, and she should be getting it soon.
I was really engaged by some of the reader responses to how they discovered Jacqueline's books, and waned to share a few of them. I have corrected a few typo's but otherwise, they are how they submitted.

"I first came upon Kushiel's Dart in the fantasy section in the
   library around 2002. It was one of those few books I have read in
   life that I was deeply saddened for it to be over for I would never
   have that first read again. I was a Jacqueline Carey fan thereafter."

"Several years ago, when my friend was leaving for the military, he gave me a chance to go through his library before taking his things to Goodwill. The first three books were in it, and once I'd read them, I started looking for more of her work. Now I have the first seven books, Santa Olivia, and Banewreaker."

"Jacqueline Carey's books were first recommended to me by a guy I met online.  We had both enjoyed several other books and authors that we had talked about at length.  He insisted that I pick up this book about angel people, gods, and politics.  I was pretty wary at first, but since he seemed to have such excellent taste in other books I took him at his word and picked it up Kushiel's Dart.  I was so completely hooked I went and picked up Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar, and Kushiel's Scion all at once.  And then I became one of the many that anxiously awaited Kushiel's Justice and the rest.  A couple years later, I married that guy and we've been living the happily ever after life"

"I first encountered Jacqueline Carey's books while working for Borders. A coworker absolutely loved Kushiel's Dart and told me I had to read it. I was skeptical because, while I now know the book is amazing, the book description on the back does not do it justice. After a couple years (yes it took me that long) I ran out of books to read and finally decided to pick up Dart. I fell in love with the series. Since then, I have read everything by Carey that I could get my hands on. She is a phenomenal writer."

These were just some of the responses, there were many more.
 Personally, I first encountered her books after Dart had come out.  I kept seeing the cover, but while it caught my eye, the blurb didn't really make me think it was going to interest me.  Then, when that year's edition of 'The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror' by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow came out, and Terri gave it a lovely write up, I decided to give it a try(Terri Windling has always had excellent taste in fantasy, I have rarely found myself in disagreement with her opinions).I loved the careful comingling of the familiar with the exotic, the fully realized characters, and the millieu they inhabit.  I thought it was brilliant, and have loved everything she has ever published(I am still saddened that 'Elegy for Darkness' was changed into 'The Sundering').

Thanks everyone for playing, and a special shout-out to my friend Cory who selected the winning entry number. Keep your eyes peeled here for the next giveaway coming very soon!

Book Review: Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Alloy of Law is a stand-alone novel set in the same universe as Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy  300 years after the events of that trilogy, when the events it covers have passed into religion and history.  The book is a quick easy read for new readers, and a great place to discover Sanderson's work.
The book follows Waxillium Ladrian(Wax) as he returns to the city of his birth to take up his position as head of his family.  He quickly discovers that the complex workings of the capital are more dangerous and twisted than the rural outback where he has spent his life.

The plot is pretty basic, and the story is told in a straightforward and easy to read manner.  It is easily the most straightforward plot of all of Sanderson's adult novels, which is to be expected from a book that started as a novella.
I liked the book, and zipped through it very quickly.  If I didn't find myself too surprised by any of the plot twists, I wasn't disapointed by the way he wrapped it up.  If he decides to write the sequel that the book is almost begging for, I will be very glad to read it.

Wax is a rather likable, if not particualrly unique character.  He's a good guy, in all senses of the word, and Sanderson never really gives him the sense of being as tormented as he should be by his ghosts.
Wayne(and yes, I caught the pun) is at first confusing, and eventually the best part of the book.  I have no desire to ever see him as a main character, but I love him as he develops in the book.  He is the character who reveals the most of himself, in many ways.
The young lady who slowly emerges as another important character(her identity could be considered a spoiler), is also interesting, and I would like to have seen Sanderson really develop her, though with the relatively short time he gave her on screen, that wasn't really possible.  What we did see is delightful.

Describing the world-building of this book is in some ways a tougher call, as it is on one level world developement.  Sanderson has allowed his world to grow in the 300 years since the events of 'Hero of Ages' and the world-building contains hidden gems for readers of the older books. My personal favorite bit of world-building is his sly insertion of an actual use of tinfoil hats.

On the whole, 'Alloy of Law' is a minor work by a significant talent in the field, and is a great light read for the holiday season when you might get called away frequently while trying to read it.  It requires very little investment on the readers part, as far as immersion into the world goes(a far cry from his monstrously huge, and convoluted, 'Way of Kings').

Cherie Priest's 'Boneshaker' to be made into a movie!

Cherie Priest's breakout novel 'Boneshaker' will be made into a feature film!  The brilliant novel is a fantastic romp through a steampunk alternate America full of wonder and fascinating characters.
The press release and further information is available here:

We're very excited to see what Hollywood does with her book!