Sunday, September 20, 2015

Books in the Mail (W/E 2015-09-19)

Some interesting looking fantasies arrived this week.

Star Wars: Battlefront: Twilight Company by Alexander Freed (Star Wars Books / Del Rey, Hardcover 11/03/2015) – Inspired by the Game based on the Star Wars universe. Freed has extensive experience writing for Star Wars – 6 years on the The Old Republic game in addition to numerous comics. Nice to see him get a “promotion” to writing one of the big SW novels.

A companion novel inspired by the hotly anticipated videogame Star Wars: Battlefront, this action-packed adventure follows a squad of soldiers caught in the trenches of the ultimate galactic war between good and evil.

The bravest soldiers. The toughest warriors. The ultimate survivors.

Among the stars and across the vast expanses of space, the Galactic Civil War rages. On the battlefields of multiple worlds in the Mid Rim, legions of ruthless stormtroopers—bent on crushing resistance to the Empire wherever it arises—are waging close and brutal combat against an armada of freedom fighters. In the streets and alleys of ravaged cities, the front-line forces of the Rebel Alliance are taking the fight to the enemy, pushing deeper into Imperial territory and grappling with the savage flesh-and-blood realities of war on the ground.

Leading the charge are the soldiers—men and women, human and nonhuman—of the Sixty-First Mobile Infantry, better known as Twilight Company. Hard-bitten, war-weary, and ferociously loyal to one another, the members of this renegade outfit doggedly survive where others perish, and defiance is their most powerful weapon against the deadliest odds. When orders come down for the rebels to fall back in the face of superior opposition numbers and firepower, Twilight reluctantly complies. Then an unlikely ally radically changes the strategic equation—and gives the Alliance’s hardest-fighting warriors a crucial chance to turn retreat into resurgence.

Orders or not, alone and outgunned but unbowed, Twilight Company locks, loads, and prepares to make its boldest maneuver—trading down-and-dirty battle in the trenches for a game-changing strike at the ultimate target: the very heart of the Empire’s military machine.

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume 1: At the Edge of Empire by Daniel Kraus (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 10/27/2015) – An ambitious looking young adult novel, bit and meaty with a snazzy looking cover.

May 7, 1896. Dusk. A swaggering seventeen-year-old gangster named Zebulon Finch is gunned down on the shores of Lake Michigan. But after mere minutes in the void, he is mysteriously resurrected.

His second life will be nothing like his first.

Zebulon's new existence begins as a sideshow attraction in a traveling medicine show. From there, he will be poked and prodded by a scientist obsessed with mastering the secrets of death. He will fight in the trenches of World War I. He will run from his nightmares—and from poverty—in Depression-era New York City. And he will become the companion of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.
Love, hate, hope, and horror—Zebulon finds them. But will he ever find redemption?

Ambitious and heartbreaking, The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume 1: At the Edge of Empire is the epic saga of what it means to be human in a world so often lacking in humanity.

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin and illustrated by Gary Gianni (Spectra Hardcover 10/06/2015) – A collection of the three Dunk and Egg novellas/short novels.

Taking place nearly a century before the events of A Game of Thrones, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms compiles the first three official prequel novellas to George R. R. Martin’s ongoing masterwork, A Song of Ice and Fire. These never-before-collected adventures recount an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne, and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living consciousness.

Before Tyrion Lannister and Podrick Payne, there was Dunk and Egg. A young, naïve but ultimately courageous hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall towers above his rivals—in stature if not experience. Tagging along is his diminutive squire, a boy called Egg—whose true name (hidden from all he and Dunk encounter) is Aegon Targaryen. Though more improbable heroes may not be found in all of Westeros, great destinies lay ahead for these two . . . as do powerful foes, royal intrigue, and outrageous exploits.

Featuring more than 160 all-new illustrations by Gary Gianni, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is a must-have collection that proves chivalry isn’t dead—yet.

Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Meyer (Tor 09/01/2015) – My SFSignal pal Paul Weimer had mentioned this book and being able to read an early version of it. Ilana has written for various Web sites, this is her debut novel and this is the final/hardcopy of the ARC I received back in June.

A high fantasy following a young woman's defiance of her culture as she undertakes a dangerous quest to restore her world's lost magic in Ilana C. Myer's Last Song Before Night.

Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth: sister to a cruel brother, daughter of a hateful family. But that name she has forsworn, and now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings-a fugitive who must conceal her identity or risk imprisonment and even death.

On the eve of a great festival, Lin learns that an ancient scourge has returned to the land of Eivar, a pandemic both deadly and unnatural. Its resurgence brings with it the memory of an apocalypse that transformed half a continent. Long ago, magic was everywhere, rising from artistic expression-from song, from verse, from stories. But in Eivar, where poets once wove enchantments from their words and harps, the power was lost. Forbidden experiments in blood divination unleashed the plague that is remembered as the Red Death, killing thousands before it was stopped, and Eivar's connection to the Otherworld from which all enchantment flowed, broken.

The Red Death's return can mean only one thing: someone is spilling innocent blood in order to master dark magic. Now poets who thought only to gain fame for their songs face a challenge much greater: galvanized by Valanir Ocune, greatest Seer of the age, Lin and several others set out to reclaim their legacy and reopen the way to the Otherworld-a quest that will test their deepest desires, imperil their lives, and decide the future.

A Crucible of Souls (Sorcery Ascendant #1) by Mitchell Hogan (Harper Voyager / William Morrow Trade Paperback 09/22/15) – Hogan’s debut which originally published in Australia and won the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel.

An imaginative new talent makes his debut with the acclaimed first installment in the epic Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, a mesmerizing tale of high fantasy that combines magic, malevolence, and mystery.

When young Caldan’s parents are brutally slain, the boy is raised by monks who initiate him into the arcane mysteries of sorcery.

Growing up plagued by questions about his past, Caldan vows to discover who his parents were, and why they were violently killed. The search will take him beyond the walls of the monastery, into the unfamiliar and dangerous chaos of city life. With nothing to his name but a pair of mysterious heirlooms and a handful of coins, he must prove his talent to become apprenticed to a guild of sorcerers.

But the world outside the monastery is a darker place than he ever imagined, and his treasured sorcery has disturbing depths he does not fully understand. As a shadowed evil manipulates the unwary and forbidden powers are unleashed, Caldan is plunged into an age-old conflict that will bring the world to the edge of destruction.

Soon, he must choose a side, and face the true cost of uncovering his past.

Inherit the Stars by Tony Peak (Roc Mass Market Paperback 11/03/2015) - Space Opera debut from Roc. We are also giving away a copy at SFFWorld in October. Not to be confused with the first book in James Hogan’s Giants series.

Action-packed and filled with shootouts and spaceship chases, INHERIT THE STARS is an epic space adventure that is perfect for the science fiction fan looking for throwback space operas like Star Wars and Firefly. If you love the works of James S.A. Corey and Jason Hough, and movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, you’ll love this fun debut! 

Readers are introduces to Kivita Vondir, a girl who has always dreamt of salvaging. Now, it’s become an addiction, getting through pit stops filled with cheap alcohol, and even cheaper companionship.

But when she rescues an alien artifact, in the shape of a fabled gemstone, she finds far more than a lucrative take. Suddenly and inexplicably, she can hack computers and pilot starships by sheer force of will alone—a power that everyone in this galaxy (and the next) wants. 

As she tries to avoid a massive galactic manhunt, Kivita teams up with two unlikely allies: Sar, her former lover turned rebel, and his enigmatic new girlfriend. Only, as the gem’s mysteries are revealed and danger draws near, Kivita begins to wonder if her ex has truly changed, or if he’s just waiting for the right moment to betray her once again…

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