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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Song of the Week: “The Day That Never Was” by Metallica

Order “Death MagneticHERE (US) + HERE (UK)

Death Magnetic” by Metallica. Release Date: September 12, 2008. One of the most influential bands in music—ranked eighth on the list of the biggest-selling groups in history—Metallica unveils its ninth studio album, “Death Magnetic”. The band’s first album in five years, “Death Magnetic” is also its first with renowned producer Rick Rubin (Linkin Park, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slayer, System of a Down), first with bassist Robert Trujillo (Suicidal Tendencies, Black Label Society, Ozzy Osbourne), and first on Warner Bros. An aural assault, embracing the band’s past while moving into the future, “Death Magnetic”, says Kirk Hammett, is “the best album we’ve put out in, say, 15 years.”

Growing up, I could never get enough of Metallica. “Ride the Lightning”, “Master of Puppets”, “…And Justice For All” and The Black Album were mainstays in my cassette/CD players and some of my fondest adolescent memories played out to Metallica songs like “Unforgiven”, “One”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, etc. In my opinion, the band started deteriorating with “Load” and hitting rock bottom with the travesty that was “St. Anger”. But thanks to Metallica’s new single “The Day That Never Was”, I’m excited in the band again and can’t wait for their new record. For your listening pleasure, here is “The Day That Never Was”:

Previous Songs of the Week:

August 17, 2008
August 24, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008

"The Gone-Away World" by Nick Harkaway (Reviewed by Liviu C. Suciu)

Order “The Gone-Away WorldHERE (US) + HERE (UK)
Read An Excerpt HERE
Read Reviews via Book Geeks + The Guardian
Read The Guardian’s INTERVIEW with Nick Harkaway

INTRODUCTION: Nick Harkaway is the son of the famous author, John le Carré, and naturally “The Gone-Away World” acquired a bit of notoriety before it was even published. At first, I hesitated between ordering the UK edition or waiting for the US one to check out in a bookstore/library and see if I wanted to buy the book. But the online reviews strongly suggested this would be a novel you either loved or hated and when the excerpts agreed with me, I went ahead and ordered the UK hardcover edition. A wise decision as I ended up loving the book.

SETTING: The book spans several decades that start in a near-future with a slightly alternate history, and then The Gone-Away War occurs which changes Earth dramatically so the larger portion of the book takes place in a strange post-apocalyptic world where the only safe assumption is not to make any. After a slightly confusing start in the post-Away Earth that sets up the main plot of the novel and is very useful to revisit once you get to page 300 or so, the book goes back to the childhood of our nameless narrator and his friend, foster-brother and all around hero, Gonzo Lubitsch, and follows the two growing up in a small British country village, going to college, becoming part of the super-secret “Away” project, and going to war including the use of the “Gone-Away Bomb”.

FORMAT/INFO:The Gone-Away World” stands at 531 pages divided over fifteen chapters and an Epilogue. Each chapter is preceded by a short description of its content which is usually funny and both true & misleading. The narration is a very energetic present tense first-person POV via our nameless main character. “The Gone-Away World” is self-contained and very well-plotted, though you can only fully appreciate that if you reread the novel. The epilogue meanwhile, is fitting, sweet and wistful. June 5, 2008 marks the UK Hardcover publication of “The Gone-Away World” via William Heinemann Ltd. The North American version (See Inset) will be published by
Knopf on September 2, 2008. US cover designed by Jason Booher.

PLOT HINTS AND ANALYSIS:The Gone-Away World” is a book that needs at least one reread to fully enjoy and appreciate. The good news is that its flamboyant writing style and the larger-than-life, weird or just plain grotesque characters only grow on you, so reading the book is even more fun once you know what happens. Our nameless narrator is a very strange person from the beginning, though the extent of weirdness relating to him—while artfully hinted throughout the book—will still shock you when revealed. Even when you think you know everything, there are revelations waiting to be discovered, although the wistful and sweet epilogue is devoid of major surprises…

The Gone-Away World” immediately plunges the reader into the weird post apocalyptic setting that provides the title on the first page as we are treated to a first glimpse of our main heroes lounging in a bar between assignments. The normality of the bar setting is disrupted by some of the characters around, and then the action starts when lights go off and a raging fire engorging a distant section of the Jorgmund pipe is seen. That is Trouble with a capital T since the Jorgmund pipe is the one supposedly indestructible construct that preserves normality on the parts of the Earth enclosed by it. Go beyond it a little and it's still more or less normal since ex-soldiers like our heroes protect the approaches from unreal creatures made by the stuff of wishes, desires, fears and nightmares of the human mind. Go farther and anything can happen, though mostly unpleasantness. Or so we are led to believe. Welcome to the post-Gone Away Earth where human thoughts can take physical reality and most of the time the result is not pretty. At least animals are more “honest”. For instance, a bull may think of itself as a super strong with huge horns and the ability to fly, but it is still a bull. With humans though, it's more complicated and usually nastier as we get to see quite a few times in the book, so the Jorgmund pipe is crucial and the “Haulage & HazMat Emergency Civil Freebooting Company of Exmoor County (corporate HQ the Nameless Bar, CEO Sally J. Culpepper, presiding)” formed by our heroes who are mostly ex-soldiers and ex-special forces operatives banding together after the Away War, is the best at emergency response in the Livable Zone. If the above name, quoted directly from the book, brackets and all, seems a bit wordy, well that is the style of the novel, but I enjoyed it a lot and my enjoyment only grew with familiarity.

After several more pages involving corporate “pencilneck” Dick Washburn, affectionately named Dickwash by Gonzo Lubitsch; a very funny lesson in corporate hierarchy; a more sober and satirical lesson in corporate cost cutting; a first look at the tools of the trade; and the FOX canisters—the substance that allows the Jorgmund pipe to exist…the counter to the “unreality Stuff” if you want—among other things, we go back to the beginning and the Lubitsch household where our narrator and Gonzo were five-year-olds, the world was normal, or at least seemed so, and our saga begins.

A deeply missed older brother dead on some far away battlefield; a mysterious karate master; a weird school principal and her sweet daughter; and a somewhat unpleasant important guy and his imperious daughter are some of the highlights of the “growing up in the country” chapter of the novel and then we are off to college, sex, subversion and student demonstrations. After a very brief detour through the real world, the undercover super secret world of highly classified weapons research beckons for our narrator and for Gonzo. And so it starts. And it gets only better after page 300 when the action ramps up, up, up and the novel becomes impossible to put down. Tearing through the last 200+ pages to find out what happens, I was left breathless at the superb ending, but saddened that such a beautiful book was finished, and I had to go back and reread “The Gone-Away World” immediately. Of course after all that, Nick Harkaway’s debut still left me wanting more…

The Gone-Away World” will be one of my Top Five favorite books of the year in both genre and mainstream fiction, and is highly, highly recommended.
Thursday, August 28, 2008

SPOTLIGHT: "The Sacred Book of the Werewolf" by Victor Pelevin

Victor Pelevin @ Wikipedia
Order “The Sacred Book of the Werewolf

A complex, expansive, explosive novel—at times brilliant…" —Kirkus

Part science fiction and part Anais Nin erotica, with a hint of Bridget Jones’s Diary and a whole lot of allegory . . . the novel holds our interest with unpredictable twists and turns, leaving us stunned, puzzled, and asking for more.” —

Equal parts biting satire on neo-Russian consumerism, drug-fuelled muckabout, sci-fi adventure, love story, literary in-joke and mystico-shamanic treatise on the nature of enlightenment. Disruptive, transporting and very funny, it's one of his best.” —
The Daily Telegraph

Russian novelist
Victor Pelevin’s comic inventiveness and talent as a fabulist have won him comparisons to everyone from Jorge Luis Borges and Gogol to Dostoevsky and Philip K. Dick. He has been called “the enfant terrible of post-Soviet Russian literature,” “the freshest voice to emerge from the rubble of Soviet Russia,” “One of the most energetic and imaginative voices to reach our Western antennas,” and “a psychedelic Nabohov for the cyberage.” Pelevin’sThe Sacred Book of the Werewolf” (Viking; ISBN: 978-0-670-01988-5; $25.95; on sale September 8, 2008), his first novel in America in six years, continues his tradition of brilliance and humor. This ingenious work of the imagination is at once a supernatural love story and an outrageously funny and satirical portrait of modern Russia:

A Hu-Li is a 2,000 year old shapeshifting werefox from ancient China who follows the Supreme Tao—a secret teaching of immortal werefoxes, which leads to complete liberation from life and death. On the surface, however, she’s a lascivious fifteen-year-old Moscow prostitute, who seduces men in order to absorb their life force (“I don't need anything from human beings except love and money”, she puts it). Despite her work as a prostitute she has remained a virgin, as she simply hypnotizes her clients by means of her tail—an organ which puts men in a trance in which they dream they are having sex with her. Being a virgin has become a bit of a psychological problem for A Hu-Li despite all her spiritual sophistication. Enter Alexander, a high-ranking officer in the Russian Security Services who also happens to be a Wagner-addicted werewolf and the key figure in Russia’s big oil...

What is the secret of A Hu-Li’s immortality? What is the difference between the transformation of perception and the perception of transformation, and what does either have to do with werewolves, werefoxes and modern marketing techniques? What dark secret lies behind Russia's new riches? Is Alexander the legendary “super-werewolf” who understands the nothing that can become anything at all? How does A Hu-Li ultimately achieve her freedom? These and other quandaries are revealed in “The Sacred Book of the Werewolf”, Pelevin’s sharpest and most engrossing work to date.

About Victor Pelevin:

Victor Pelevin, born in 1962 in Moscow, is recognized as one of the leading Russian novelists. In 1998, he was selected by the New Yorker as one of the best European writers under 35, and in 2000 he was the subject of a New York Times Magazine profile. His critically acclaimed novels, which have been published in 33 countries, include Omon Ra (1997), The Life of Insects (1998), Buddha’s Little Finger (2000, a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), and Homo Zapiens (2002). Pelevin shares his time between Moscow and the rest of the world.

NOTE:The Sacred Book of the Werewolf” has sold almost a quarter of a million copies in Russia and was released in the UK on February 21, 2008 via
Faber & Faber (see inset). It’s the kind of book that I would have reviewed for Fantasy Book Critic if I were still doing reviews, but hopefully this spotlight will get some other reviewers interested in the title :)

Winners of "The Gargoyle", Gryphon Press and "Clockwork Phoenix" Giveaways!!!

Congratulations to Eugene Mortensen (California), Kimberly Kroll (Florida) and Anne Szucs (California) who were all randomly selected to win a COPY of Andrew Davidson’s debut novel, “The Gargoyle” (US Version), courtesy of Doubleday Books!!! Each winner will also receive an 11X17 interpretation limited edition poster signed by the artist David Witt and individually numbered out of 90!

Congratulations also to Adayla Schroeder (South Dakota) who was randomly selected to win a SET of
Gryphonwood Press titles including “The Silver Serpent” by David Debord, “Seabird” by Sherry Thompson and “Street: Empathy” by Ryan A. Span!!!

Last, but not least, congratulations to Samuel Fleischman (Pennsylvania) and Ann Surety (United Kingdom) who were both randomly selected to win a SIGNED COPY of the “
Clockwork Phoenix” anthology courtesy of editor Mike Allen!!!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008

SPOTLIGHT" Anathem" by Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson’s newest book, “Anathem”, is set to drop on September 9, 2008. In promotion of “Anathem’s” upcoming release, Fantasy Book Critic is hosting a giveaway HERE, and readers can expect a review of the novel shortly. But in the meantime, I’ve compiled below a variety of Neal Stephenson/Anathem related information including a special launch event, tour dates, an excerpt, a glossary, videos and more, so enjoy!

About Anathem:

Anathem”, the latest invention by the New York Times bestselling author of Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle, is a magnificent creation: a work of great scope, intelligence, and imagination that ushers readers into a recognizable—yet strangely inverted—world…

Fraa Erasmas is a young avout living in the Concent of Saunt Edhar, a sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers, protected from the corrupting influences of the outside "saecular" world by ancient stone, honored traditions, and complex rituals. Over the centuries, cities and governments have risen and fallen beyond the concent's walls. Three times during history's darkest epochs violence born of superstition and ignorance has invaded and devastated the cloistered mathic community. Yet the avout have always managed to adapt in the wake of catastrophe, becoming out of necessity even more austere and less dependent on technology and material things. And Erasmas has no fear of the outside—the Extramuros—for the last of the terrible times was long, long ago.

Now, in celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fraas and suurs prepare to venture beyond the concent's gates—at the same time opening them wide to welcome the curious "extras" in. During his first Apert as a fraa, Erasmas eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn't seen since he was “collected.” But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the brink of cataclysmic change.

Powerful unforeseen forces jeopardize the peaceful stability of mathic life and the established ennui of the Extramuros—a threat that only an unsteady alliance of saecular and avout can oppose—as, one by one, Erasmas and his colleagues, teachers, and friends are summoned forth from the safety of the concent in hopes of warding off global disaster. Suddenly burdened with a staggering responsibility, Erasmas finds himself a major player in a drama that will determine the future of his world—as he sets out on an extraordinary odyssey that will carry him to the most dangerous, inhospitable corners of the planet . . . and beyond…

Links, Excerpt, Podcast, etc:

Official Neal Stephenson Website
Order “Anathem
HERE (Harpercollins)
Booklist, The Collection Chamber, Threat Quality Press + Torque Control
Watch Amazon Exclusive: An Introduction to “Anathem”
Watch Amazon Exclusive: Neal Stephenson Reading from “Anathem”
Read An Eleven-Page Excerpt from”Anathem” (PDF)
Read the “Anathem” Abridged Glossary
Listen to
Neal Stephenson being interviewed about the book and what “Anathem” means at the 2008 BookExpo. Podcast below:

“Anathem” Launch Event:

On Tuesday, September 9, 2008,
The Long Now Foundation—whose 10,000 Year Clock project inspired Neal Stephenson's new work—is presenting a singular event for the launch of “Anathem”. The evening will include Mr. Stephenson reading from his new book, a special live musical performance of math-based chanting created for “Anathem” by composer David Stutz, conversations with Stewart Brand and Danny Hillis (founders of The Long Now Foundation), a demonstration of shovel-fu, a book signing, reception and a chance to celebrate this new work in the Gothic splendor of The Regency. Where, When and Ticket Information below:

The Regency
1320 Van Ness @ Sutter
San Francisco, CA 94109
Tuesday, September 9, 2008 from 6:30pm to 11:00pm

Tickets are $10 for the event only, or $42.50 for the event and a SIGNED copy of Anathem ($10 ticket and $32.50 book, includes tax—only pre-ordered books are guaranteed to be signed).

Members of
The Long Now Foundation receive a complimentary ticket with RSVP, and can choose to pre-order a SIGNED copy of Anathem for $32.50 when they RSVP. Additional copies of the book will also be for sale at the event, but only pre-ordered books are guaranteed to be signed. Tickets and Member RSVP are available through Brown Paper Tickets. For those unable to attend the event, The Long Now Foundation will also be doing a live stream of the event through at 7:00pm PST on 9/9/08.

The concept behind “Anathem” germinated in 01999* when
Danny Hillis asked Neal Stephenson and several other contributors to sketch out their ideas of what Long Now's 10,000 Year Clock might look like. Stephenson tossed off a quick sketch and promptly forgot about it. Five years later, however, when he was between projects, the idea came back to him and he began to explore the possibility of building a novel around it—“Anathem” is the result.

“It is a great story, set in an alternative reality where people take long-term thinking seriously.” —
Danny Hillis

Long Now's 10,000-year clock inspired Neal Stephenson's new story, Anathem, and now Anathem is inspiring the Long Now. In ten centuries, no one will be sure which came first.” —Kevin Kelly

Additional information on
The Long Now Foundation, Neal Stephenson and Anathem can be found HERE, HERE and HERE.

The Long Now Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 01996* to creatively foster long-term thinking and responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years. *The Long Now Foundation uses five digit dates, the extra zero is to solve the deca-millennium bug which will come into effect in about 8,000 years.

Neal Stephenson Tour Dates:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
07:30 PM

2476 Telegraph AVE Berkeley, CA 94704

Thursday, September 11, 2008
07:00 PM

400 Post St San Francisco, CA 94102

Friday, September 12, 2008
07:30 PM

STE 200 1010 El Camino Menlo Park, CA 94025

Sunday, September 14, 2008
05:30 PM

17171 Bothell Way N.E. Lake Forest Park, WA 98155

Monday, September 15, 2008
07:00 PM

1415 NE 43rd Street at University Temple United Methodist Church Seattle, WA 98105

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
07:00 PM

Baghdad Theater 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd Portland, OR 97214

Thursday, September 18, 2008
07:00 PM

BARNES & NOBLE/Union Square
33 E 17th ST New York, NY 10003

Saturday, September 20, 2008
07:00 PM

First Parish Church 3 Church ST Cambridge, MA 02138

Monday, September 22, 2008
06:00 PM

5757 S. University AVE Chicago, IL 60637

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
07:30 PM

2513 Jackson Ave Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
07:00 PM

1982 Grand River Avenue Okemos, MI 48864

Thursday, September 25, 2008
07:00 PM

603 N Lamar Austin, TX 78704

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
07:30 PM

1628 16th St. Denver, CO 80202

Wednesday, October 01, 2008
07:30 PM

1107 Pearl ST Boulder, CO 80302
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

SPOTLIGHT: "The Last Days of Krypton" by Kevin J. Anderson

Official Kevin J. Anderson Website
Official HarperCollins Website
Order “The Last Days of Krypton
Browse Inside
Read Reviews via
Sci Fi Weekly
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s Interview with Kevin J. Anderson

Kevin has now given us the definitive history of a world most of us grew up knowing and caring for. He has put it all together in an extremely fast paced book that has something for every fan of Superman, no matter which era they love, which Krypton they grew up with, which Superman they idolize.” —Marv Wolfman, Creator of Blade and the New Teen Titans

You'll never be able to look at Superman again without experiencing the same sense of loss that Kal-El must feel in being forever the last son of Krypton. Krypton lives again!” —
Peter David (Supergirl, Fallen Angel, Tigerheart)

In “The Last Days of Krypton”, New York Times-bestselling novelist,
Kevin J. Anderson, tells the fascinating story of the tragic destruction of Superman's home planet, and the decision of his parents to be sure at least one Kryptonian—their son—would survive.

The Last Days Of Krypton” explores the wonders of the distant world where the young Kal-El was born. The glories of its famous cities and the accomplishments of its futuristic and sometimes strange society, are brought to life by Anderson with skilled, accomplished clarity. He examines the politics and betrayals that blind both heroes and villains to the coming disaster, incorporating traditional elements of Superman lore—Brainiac, the shrunken city, Phantom Zone as well as the most dangerous man on Krypton, General Zod—and the courtship of Superman's parent's Jor-El and Lara.

Filled with adventure, intrigue, and passion, Anderson's masterful and thrilling saga adds depth and color to the story of Superman; and for fans of the Man of Steel—new and old, of all ages—it is sure to be the must-have book of the year…

About Kevin J. Anderson:

Kevin J. Anderson has published more than ninety novels, including forty-hree national and international bestsellers. He has been nominated for the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the SFX Reader's Choice Award. His critically-acclaimed original novels include Captain Nemo, Hopscotch, Hidden Empire, and the Saga of the Seven Suns science fiction epic. He has also collaborated on numerous series novels, including Star Wars, the X-Files, and Dune with Paul Herbert. In his spare time, Anderson writes comic books.

About DC Comics:

DC Comics, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is the largest English-language publisher of comics in he world and home to such iconic characters as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Sandman. These DC superheroes and others have starred in comic books, movies, television series (both animated and ive-action) and cyberspace, thrilling audiences of all ages for generations.

NOTE:The Last Days of Krypton” was released in Hardcover last October, but it was a book that I forgot to include in my monthly spotlights. So, with the August 26, 2008 Mass Market Paperback release of the novel, I thought I’d try and make up my oversight with this little spotlight. Personally, I’m not a very big Superman fan, but this does sound intriguing…

Winners of the Terry Brooks and Ian Cameron Esslemont Giveaways!!!

Congratulations to Darren Lockwood (United Kingdom), Danielle Woodman (United Kingdom), and Krystle Osowski (North Dakota) who were all randomly selected to win a SET of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Malazan novels including “Night of Knives” (Paperback) and “Return of the Crimson Guard” (Order HERE), courtesy of Transworld Books!!!

Congratulations also to Kim Huffman (Indiana), Pierre-Yves Asselin (Canada), and Marilyn Hill who were all randomly selected to win a SET (Hardcover) of
Terry Brooks’ Genesis of Shannara trilogy, including copies of “Armageddon's Children”, “The Elves of Cintra” and “The Gypsy Morph” (Order HERE), all courtesy of Del Rey!!!
Monday, August 25, 2008

"The Ten Thousand" by Paul Kearney (Reviewed by Liviu C. Suciu)

Official Paul Kearney Website
Order “The Ten Thousand
Read An Excerpt
Read Reviews HERE

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Paul Kearney studied at Lincoln College, Oxford where he read Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, and Middle English, and was a keen member of the Mountaineering Society and the Officer Training Corps. He has published several titles including The Monarchies of God series (To be reissued by Solaris Books) and The Sea-Beggars series, of which “This Forsaken Earth” was nominated for the British Fantasy Award.

INTRODUCTION: In my opinion, Paul Kearney is possibly the best fantasy writer today when it comes to making an action scene come alive. From the exploits of Corfe in The Monarchies of God series to the heavy infantry line of battle of the Macht in “The Ten Thousand”, reading battle scenes written by Mr. Kearney is so intense and cinematic that you’re literally living the moments…

SETTING: On the world of Kuf there is a large landmass populated by numerous people who are currently under the sway of the Assurian Empire. To the north and east, separated by various seas and the remote fastness of the Harukush Mountains, lies the home of the legendary Macht people—warriors of great renown and ferocity who are divided into various city states under the aegis of Machran. Under the walls of Machran, the largest gathering of Macht soldiers ever is brought together for an unknown purpose. Only Pasion, the second-in-command and keeper of the purse; and Phiron, the missing leader rumored to be keeping company across the sea with Arkamenes, the ambitious younger brother of the Great King of the Empire of Assur, know the final destination.

FORMAT/INFO: Page count is 450 pages of text divided over three Parts, twenty-eight chapters both titled & numbered, and a short epilogue. Also includes a map at the beginning and a glossary at the end. Narration is in the third-person present tense via multiple POVs which is usual in many epic fantasy novels. The main POVs are Rictus, a young Macht soldier whose city of Isca was recently sacked, so he becomes a mercenary and shows great promise by his fearlessness; Jason, the most cultured of the Macht Generals and advisor/translator to both Arkamenes and Phiron; the Great King Ashurnan and his younger brother Arkamenes; Vorus, the Macht supreme commander of Ashurnan's army; and Tyron, a very smart and beautiful—though of lesser caste—concubine and confidant of Arkamenes. “The Ten Thousand” is a standalone, one-off novel.

August 26, 2008/September 1, 2008 marks the North American/UK Mass Market publication of “The Ten Thousand” via
Solaris Books. Cover art provided by Chris McGrath.

PLOT HINTS AND ANALYSIS: I am a big fan of historical epics whether conventional historical fiction, alternate history, or novels set in a pure science fiction/fantasy milieu, so when I heard that Paul Kearney—who is one of my all-time favorite fantasy writers for his powerful energetic style—was doing a fantasy retelling of Xenophon's Anabasis, I was absolutely thrilled :)

Having read both the original Anabasis and the historical fiction novel “The Ten Thousand” (2001) by
Michael Curtis Ford, I was eager to see Mr. Kearney's take on the famous events and had high expectations for his novel. And I have to say that not only were my expectations met, but they were surpassed…

The story starts with the aftermath of a bloody siege in the politically fragmented, though culturally unified, Macht world—an analogue of the Classical Greek world. From there, the storyline is relatively faithful to the original Anabasis with respect to the key events, but the particular characters and the epic sweep of the novel are pure Kearney, making this a book you do not want to put down. Sure, we know who wins and what happens after, but you still want root for the protagonists, and the power of the Macht heavy infantry battle line fighting against overwhelming numerical odds as well as the treachery of the Great King is just undeniable.

The Macht world, as seen through the eyes of a young dispossessed soldier who suddenly finds himself without a home and is forced to become a mercenary, is brutal, cruel, and unforgiving, but also relatively free, at least as long as the battle line or the city walls hold. No sentimentalism here, but there was none in actual history and the novel is so much better because of that. The mercenaries vote for their commanders and their contracts and when joined in a larger army they have an assembly of generals again voting for major decisions, though in the heat of battle they follow the supreme commander unquestioningly. Compare this to the subtler, stratified, caste-based and crueler ways of the Assurian Empire—which may be richer but feels more decadent and stultifying—and the differences are striking…

While the fantasy elements do not play an essential role in “The Ten Thousand”, they lend a special color to the novel and the story is richer because of it. Energetic, powerful and not for the faint of the heart, “The Ten Thousand” is a novel that brings together a great piece of history and Mr. Kearney's extraordinary storytelling skills for a book of superb results. Highly, highly recommended, “The Ten Thousand” is one of my favorite epics of 2008…

NOTE: The ending to “The Ten Thousand” is fitting, and even though Mr. Kearney stated he will not write any more novels in the Macht/Kufr universe, I hope he will reconsider and do the conquest of the Kufr empire by the Macht in a recreation of Alexander's saga or maybe some inter-city Macht war in the tradition of Thucydides or Xenophon's own history of the Peloponnesian War since those are also memorable events that shaped our civilization and deserve a magisterial retelling for a new generation…
Sunday, August 24, 2008

Song(s) of the Week: The Verve, Keane, Bloc Party, etc...

Forth” by The Verve. Release Date: August 25, 2008 (UK) / August 26, 2008 (US). Widely regarded as one of the most important and influential bands in British music, “Forth” is the fourth album by The Verve, and their first full set of original material since their career-defining, 1997 commercial breakthrough, ”Urban Hymns”. “Forth” is a solid album, not quite up to the standards set by previous records, but it’s worth the wait. My favorite song on the album—“Love Is Noise” which I’ve included below in its full album version—is also the catchiest and most upbeat track on the album. The rest of the record is much different, more melancholic with strong doses of psychedelia, but there are some other standout tracks like “I See Houses” and “Appalachian Springs”:
Official The Verve Website
Official The Verve Myspace
Order “Forth

Keane’s third studio album, “Perfect Symmetry”, is coming out October 13, 2008. In promotion of the upcoming record, the band offered the first single, “Spiralling”, as a free download on their website on August 4, 2008. It was only a week-long promotion, but the single is now officially available for download on iTunes. I really like “Spiralling”. It’s definitely ‘radio-friendly’ and a bit different from past Keane tracks—has hints of Maroon 5 or Scissor Sisters in it—but I enjoyed the song a lot more than anything found on the new Coldplay record :) Anyway, listen to “Spiralling (Radio Edit)” for yourself:
Official Keane Website
Official Keane Myspace
Order “Perfect Symmetry

The first I heard of The Script was their debut single, ”We Cry”. It was a good song and caught my attention, but it was their next single, “The Man Who Can’t Be Loved”, which made me buy their self-titled debut, released August 11, 2008. I was a little disappointed with the record—it’s a bit rough around the edges and somewhat generic—but I believe the band can get much better and I have high hopes for their sophomore offering. In the meantime, check out “The Man Who Can’t Be Loved”:
Official The Script Website
Official The Script Myspace
Order “The Script

Following in the footsteps of Radiohead, NIN, and The Raconteurs, Bloc Party surprised listeners with the sudden announcement of their third album, “Intimacy”, which was made available as an mp3 download on August 21st while the physical release doesn’t come out until October 27/October 28 in the UK/US. Personally, I think it’s a cool idea and hope more bands will follow suit :) As far as the actual record, I’m a bit torn with it. It’s certainly more polished and, at times, more experimental than previous releases, but I’m not sure I like it any better. “Intimacy” will definitely require several repeat plays before I make a final judgment, but in the meantime I’ve included below the one song (Biko) that immediately caught my ear:
Official Bloc Party Website
Official Bloc Party Myspace
Preorder “Intimacy

Don’t Forget to Remember” actually came out last September. In fact, it’s the fourth album released by Puressence, a band I had never heard of until this year. The production is a little weak, but I liked the record and the vocals are just amazing. “Don’t Know Any Better” is my favorite song on the album and reminds me of a cross between Aqualung and Keane/Snow Patrol:
Official Puressence Website
Official Puressence Myspace
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Friday, August 22, 2008

Upcoming 2009 Releases, Part One

It’s not even September yet, but already publishers are rolling out their Winter 2009 catalogs. So, since I’m always looking ahead, I decided to put together a little spotlight featuring some of the titles that I’m most anticipating next year. For now, I’m just focusing on books that are being released in early 2009 and that have release dates, covers and summaries available. But since this list is really only the tip of the iceberg, I will be writing up more of these spotlights in the future as further artwork and information becomes available :) Just please note that the majority of titles listed below are US releases and that all release dates are tentative and subject to change. Thanks and enjoy!

Gears of the City” by Felix Gilman. Release Date: December 30, 2008. In this stunning follow-up to his acclaimed steampunk fantasy debut, “Thunderer” (Reviewed HERE), Felix Gilman's brave hero returns from a thrilling and dangerous quest only to confront another. Set against a magical landscape where time is meaningless, reality precarious, one man must seek a city's truth, and rediscover his own...

In the last days of the once great city of Ararat, Arjun is just another ghost lost in the shadows of The Mountain. To some, The Mountain is a myth; to others, a weapon. Above all, it is a dark presence above the city below. Rescued by two sisters from the mindless Know-Nothings who erode what's left of the city, Arjun volunteers to return their long-lost third sister from a ghost like himself: Brace-Bel, another man out of time.

It will require a perilous trek through ruins to a decadent mansion—one surrounded by traps and devices that could not possibly exist yet. And what awaits Arjun inside is something he could not possibly have imagined. As he struggles to recover the lost girl and piece the fragments of his life back together, Arjun knows he must finally return to the beast to hear the rest of its prophecy…

A spellbinding novel of imagination and intrigue, “Gears of the City” will propel you into an adventure like no other, in a world like no other.
Official Felix Gilman Website
Preorder “Gears of the CityHERE

Bad Things” by Michael Marshall. UK Release Date: January 5, 2009. The new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of “The Straw Men” and “The Intruders” is a heart-stopping tale of secrets, lies and our culpability in our own misfortunes…

On a beautiful summer's afternoon, four-year-old Scott Henderson walked out onto a jetty over a lake in Black Ridge, Washington. He never came back. John Henderson's world ended that day, but three years later he's still alive. Living a life, of sorts. Getting by. Until one night he receives an email from a stranger who claims to know what happened to his little boy. Against his better judgment, Henderson returns to Black Ridge, unleashing a terrifying sequence of events that threatens to destroy what remains of everything he once held dear.

Bad things don't just happen to other people—they're waiting around the corner for you too. And when they start to make their way in through the cracks in your life, you won't know until it's far too late...
Official Michael Marshall Website
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Bones of the Dragon” by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman. Release Date: January 6, 2009. First there was Dragonlance, the RPG-based novels that begat a fantasy empire. Then there was Darksword, their first foray into the genre of Tolkien, Donaldson, and Brooks. Soon there came the Death Gate Cycle, seven books strong, every one of them a bestseller. Now the creative minds behind these bestselling worlds launch their new fantasy quest epic…

Skylan Ivorson is a sea-raider of the Vindras and eventually becomes the Chief of Chiefs of all Vindras clans, an honor he truly feels he deserves as one who has been blessed by Skoval, the god of war. But sometimes a blessing is a curse in disguise. Skoval and the other ancient gods are under siege from a new generation of gods who are challenging them for the powers of creation…and the only way to stop these brash interlopers lies within the mysterious and hidden Five Bones of the Vektan Dragons.

It will be up to the Vindras, the dragongoddess’s champion, to undertake the quest to claim all Five. The fate of the Old Gods and the Vindras’s people rests on their recovery—for this is not only a quest to save the world. It is also a quest for redemption. Filled with heroes and heroines young and old and exotic adventure in a magic-forged world, this is a series that fully illustrates the mastery of world-building and storytelling that has made
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman into the bestselling fantasy co-authors of all time.
Official Margaret Weis Website
Official Tracy Hickman Website
Preorder “Bones of the DragonHERE

Poe” edited by Ellen Datlow. Release Date: January 6, 2009. Compiled by multiple award-winning editor
Ellen Datlow, this collection commemorates the second centenary of Edgar Allan Poe's birth and features eighteen brand new Poe-inspired tales by some of the finest talents in the field, including Kim Newman, Pat Cadigan, Sharyn McCrumb, Lucius Shepard, Laird Barron, Suzy McKee Charnas, Gregory Frost and many others…

Ellen Datlow was the fiction editor of Omni magazine and Omni Online, and edited the ten associated anthologies. She has also edited the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series and numerous original science fiction, fantasy, and horror anthologies solo, or with Terri Windling. She was editor of the webzine Event Horizon: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, and was the editor of Sci Fiction. Datlow won the Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor twice, has received two Bram Stoker Awards, eight World Fantasy Awards, three Locus Awards for Best Editor, and has twice led the Science Fiction Chronicle reader's poll.
Official Ellen Datlow Website
Preorder “PoeHERE

Mean Streets”. Release Date: January 6, 2009. The best paranormal private investigators have been brought together in a single volume—featuring four all-new original stories of magic, mystery, mayhem and murder—and cases don’t come any harder than this:

New York Times bestselling author
Jim Butcher delivers a hard-boiled tale in which Harry Dresden’s latest case may be his last…

Nightside dweller John Taylor is hired by a woman to find something she lost—her memory—in a thrilling noir tale from New York Times bestselling author
Simon R. Green

National bestselling author
Kat Richardson’s Greywalker finds herself in too deep when a “simple job” goes bad and Harper Blaine is enmeshed in a tangle of dark secrets and revenge from beyond the grave…

For centuries, the being that we know as Noah lived among us. Now he is dead, and fallen-angel turned-detective Remy Chandler has been hired to find out who killed him in a whodunit by national bestselling author
Thomas E. Sniegoski
Official Jim Butcher Website
Simon R. Green @ Wikipedia
Official Kat Richardson Website
Official Thomas E. Sniegoski Website
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The Judging Eye” by R. Scott Bakker. Release Date: January 9, 2009. The Darkness That Comes Before, The Warrior Prophet, and The Thousandfold Thought—collectively the Prince of Nothing Saga—were R. Scott Bakker’s magnificent debut into the upper echelon of epic fantasy. In those three books, Bakker created a world that was at once a triumph of the fantastic and an historical epic as real as any that came before.

Widely praised by reviewers and a growing body of fans, Bakker has already established the reputation as one of the smartest writers in the fantasy genre—a writer in the line stretching from Homer to Peake and Tolkien. Now he returns to the world of The Prince of Nothing with the long-awaited “The Judging Eye”, the first book in the all-new Aspect-Emperor series.

Set twenty years after the end of The Thousandfold Thought, Bakker reintroduces us to a world that is at once familiar but also very different than the one readers thought they knew. Delving even further into his richly imagined universe of myth, violence, and sorcery, and fully remolding the fantasy genre to broaden the scope of intricacy and meaning, R. Scott Bakker has once again written a fantasy novel that defies all expectations and rewards the reader with an experience unlike any to be had in the canon of today’s literature…
Official R. Scott Bakker Website
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Daemon” by Daniel Suarez. Release Date: January 8, 2009. Technology controls almost everything in our modern-day world, from remote entry on our cars to access to our homes, from the flight controls of our airplanes to the movements of the entire world economy. Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can’t always be said for the people who design them.

Matthew Sobol was a legendary computer game designer—the architect behind half-a-dozen popular online games. His premature death depressed both gamers and his company’s stock price. But Sobol’s fans aren’t the only ones to note his passing. When his obituary is posted online, a previously dormant daemon activates, initiating a chain of events intended to unravel the fabric of our hyperefficient, interconnected world. With Sobol’s secrets buried along with him, and as new layers of his daemon are unleashed at every turn, it’s up to an unlikely alliance to decipher his intricate plans and wrest the world from the grasp of a nameless, faceless enemy—or learn to live in a society in which we are no longer in control…

Computer technology expert Daniel Suarez blends haunting high-tech realism with gripping suspense in an authentic, complex thriller in the tradition of Michael Crichton, Neal Stephenson, and William Gibson.
Preorder “Daemon

The Steel Remains” by Richard K. Morgan. Release Date: January 20, 2009 (US Debut). Ringil Eskiath, the hero of the bloody slaughter at Gallows Gap, is a legend to all who don't know him and a twisted degenerate to those that do. A veteran of the wars against the Scaled Folk, he makes a living from telling credulous travelers of his exploits. Until one day he is pulled away from his life and into the depths of the Empire's slave trade, where he will discover a secret infinitely more frightening than the trade in lives...

Egar Dragonbane, a Majak steppe-nomad and one-time fighter for the Empire, is now the Skaranak clanmaster. Pining for the past, Egar finds himself entangled in a small-town battle between common sense and religious fervor. But perhaps there is some truth behind the tribe’s gods, the Sky Dwellers

Archeth, an abandoned 207-year-old Kiriath half-breed advisor to Jhiral Khimran II of the Yhelteth Empire, is sent to investigate a demonic incursion against the Empire's borders. What she uncovers is evidence of a terrifying new enemy that makes the Scaled Folk seem like children…

Anti-social, anti-heroic, and decidedly irritated, all three of these veterans of the War against the Scaled Folk are about to be called upon to fight again for a world that owes them everything and has given them nothing…
Official Richard K. Morgan Website
Preorder “The Steel RemainsHERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s Review of “The Steel Remains
NOTE:The Steel Remains” was originally published August 7, 2008 via

Mind Over Ship” by David Marusek. Release Date: January 20, 2009. The year is 2135, and the international program to seed the galaxy with human colonies has stalled as greedy, immoral powerbrokers park their starships in Earth’s orbit and begin to convert them into space condos. Ellen Starke’s head, rescued from the fiery crash that killed her mother, struggles to regrow a new body in time to restore her dead mother’s financial empire. And Pre-Singularity AIs conspire to join the human race just as human clones, such as Mary Skarland and her sisters, want nothing more than to leave it.

Welcome to “Mind Over Ship”, the sequel to
David Marusek’s stunning debut novel, “Counting Heads”, which Publishers Weekly called “ferociously smart, simultaneously horrific and funny.”

David Marusek is one of the best-kept secrets of science fiction, a wild talent with a Gibson-grade imagination and marvelous prose, and a keen sense of human drama that makes it all go.” —
Cory Doctorow
Official David Marusek Website
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The Map of Moments” by Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon. Release Date: January 27, 2009. Two award-winning masters of dark fantasy team up to explore the hidden heart of one of the world's greatest cities in a poignant tale of loss and redemption set in post-Katrina New Orleans…

With the first Novel of the Hidden Cities, “Mind the Gap”,
Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon took us into the heart of a haunted London, an Oliver Twist-like underground kingdom of rogues and thieves. But now they outdo themselves with a personal and wrenching story of one of America's most recent tragedies, told through the eyes of a man struggling to redeem his lost love.

Max Corbett, once a professor at Tulane, broke the cardinal rule—he fell in love with his nineteen-year-old student, Gabrielle. When she ended the affair, he ran all the way back to Boston to escape the pain. And then Katrina hit. Now, Max finds himself back in New Orleans, attending the funeral of the girl he loved so fiercely and knew so little. But Max may yet have a chance to undo the past. With the aid of a tourist map and an old gris-gris man, Max is offered a brief portal to the past and the chance to redeem not only himself and Gabrielle, but maybe the heart of a wounded city as well…

Poignant and stunningly beautiful, “The Map of Moments” is a breakout novel by the talented duo of
Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon.
Official Hidden Cities Website
Official Christopher Golden Website
Official Tim Lebbon Website
Preorder “The Map of MomentsHERE

Flight Into Darkness” by Sarah Ash. Release Date: January 27, 2009.
Publishers Weekly praises Tracing the Shadows, the first novel in the two-part Alchymist's Legacy, as “a compelling saga.” Booklist's starred review says it “introduces myriad characters and plot lines that Ash skillfully weaves into an enticing tapestry of a world reminiscent of eighteenth-century Europe, full of political machinations and rich with music…This challenging, complex fantasy will appeal to readers of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series and Lois McMaster Bujold's Chalion books.”

Now, here is the latest novel in a fantasy masterpiece of truly epic proportions. In a clash of kingdoms and rebels, of magicians and inquisitors, a bold quest has begun into a realm where dragons dwell and a terrifying power awaits whoever is courageous and cunning enough to seize it…

It was on the Inquisition's pyre that Celestine's father perished like so many other great mages. Now renowned for her gift as a singer, secretly guided by her own aethyric spirit, she is traveling in the company of the devout warrior-priest Jagu to retrieve a relic of great magical power. This is a mission that will lead them to unexpected danger. For in a glittering court rife with pretenders and assassins, a king harbors the outlaw mage whose betrayal left Celestine an orphan . . . and who would now claim her life.

As Celestine struggles to conceal her power from the Inquisition and master it for the magical war to come, a survivor of a past battle begins his own dreadful journey, from near-death to a place even worse than death. As the last crystal mage, Rieuk Mordiern, grievously scarred in body and spirit, may alone be able to keep the Rift from closing and magic from fading forever from the world. But to do so, he must first pass through the Serpent Gate . . . and into the very center of the dark storm of destruction about to break over the world…
Official Sarah Ash Website
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Escape From Hell” by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle. Release Date: February 3, 2009. The long-awaited follow-up to
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s classic science fiction reimagining of Dante’s Inferno

Allan Carpenter escaped from hell once but remained haunted by what he saw and endured. He has now returned, on a mission to liberate those souls unfairly tortured and confined. Partnering with legendary poet and suicide, Sylvia Plath, Carpenter is a modern-day Christ who intends to harrow hell and free the damned. But now that he’s returned to this Dantesque inferno, can he ever again leave?

What a romp! Inferno was a fire-breathing journey into the depths of hell, and now here comes Escape from Hell, the journey out. Sort of. You need to be there. Total reading fun. Roll over, Dante!” —
Whitley Strieber, New York Times Bestselling author of “2012: The War For Souls

Escape from Hell is an iconoclastic, action-packed fantasy thriller from two of the greatest masters of our age:
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. A white-hot plot, as fascinating as it is original, will outrage many and burn even more. A great read. Save this one for the dead of Winter…It’s that hot.” —Douglas Preston, New York Times Bestselling author of “Blasphemy
Official Larry Niven Website
Official Jerry Pournelle Website
Preorder “Escape From HellHERE
NOTE: Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle’sInferno” is being reissued on September 2, 2008.

Dragonfly Falling” by Adrian Tchaikovsky. UK Release Date: February 6, 2009. Two young companions, Totho and Salma, arrive at Tark to spy on the menacing Wasp army, but are mistakenly apprehended as enemy agents. By the time they are freed, the city is already under siege.

Over in the imperial capital, the young emperor Alvdan, is becoming captivated by a remarkable slave, the vampiric Uctebri who claims to know of magic that can grant eternal life. In Collegium, meanwhile, Stenwold is still trying to persuade the city magnates of the dangerous threat that the Wasp Empire represents.

Full of colorful drama and nonstop action involving mass warfare and personal combat, “Dragonfly Falling” brilliantly continues the Shadows of the Apt epic fantasy series that began in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s remarkable debut novel, “Empire in Black and Gold”…
Official Shadows of the Apt Website
Official Adrian Tchaikovsky Blog
Preorder “Dragonfly FallingHERE

Drood” by Dan Simmons. Release Date: February 9, 2009. On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens—at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world—hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever.

Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying?

Just as he did in “The Terror”,
Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens' life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens' friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), “Drood” explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to Dickens' final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, “Drood” is Dan Simmons at his powerful best…
Official Dan Simmons Website
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Lamentation” by Ken Scholes. Release Date: February 17, 2009. An ancient weapon has completely destroyed the city of Windwir. From many miles away, Rudolfo, Lord of the Nine Forest Houses, sees the horrifying column of smoke rising. He knows that war is coming to the Named Lands.

Nearer to the Devastation, a young apprentice is the only survivor of the city—he sat waiting for his father outside the walls, and was transformed as he watched everyone he knew die in an instant. Soon all the Kingdoms of the Named Lands will be at each others’ throats, as alliances are challenged and hidden plots are uncovered…

This remarkable first novel from an award-winning short fiction writer will take readers away to a new world—an Earth so far in the distant future that our time is not even a memory; a world where magick is commonplace and great areas of the planet are impassable wastes. But human nature hasn’t changed through the ages: War and faith and love still move princes and nations.

This is the golden age of fantasy, with a dozen masters doing their best work. Then along comes
Ken Scholes, with his amazing clarity, power, and invention, and shows us all how it’s done. No more ponderous plotting—Scholes barely gives us time to breath. Yet he gives us vivid characters, a world think with detail, and wonders we’ve never seen before. I wish my first novel had been this good. I wish all five volumes of this series were already published so I could read them now.” —Orson Scott Card

Ken Scholes' Lamentation is an iconic SF story cloaked in fantasy, drawing raw material from classics such as A Canticle for Liebowitz and Earth Abides, but forging something new, with colorful characters, compelling scenes, and unfolding miracles.” —Kevin J. Anderson, Bestselling co-author of “Sandworms of Dune
Official Ken Scholes Website
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The Magician’s Apprentice” by Trudi Canavan. Release Date: February 23, 2009. Set hundreds of years before the events of The Magicians' Guild, “The Magician’s Apprentice” is the new novel set in the world of
Trudi Canavan's Black Magician Trilogy

In the remote village of Mandryn, Tessia serves as assistant to her father, the village Healer. Her mother would rather she found a husband, but her life is about to take a very unexpected turn. When the advances of a visiting Sachakan mage get violent, Tessia unconsciously taps unknown reserves of magic to defend herself. Lord Dakon, the local magician, takes Tessia under his wing as an apprentice.

The long hours of study and self-discipline also offer more opportunities than she had ever hoped for and an exciting new world opens up to her. There are fine clothes and servants—and to Tessia's delight—regular trips to the great city of Imardin. But along with the excitement and privilege, Tessia is about to discover that her magical gifts bring with them a great deal of responsibility. For great danger looms on the horizon for Tessia and her world…
Official Trudi Canavan Website
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The Republic of Thieves” by Scott Lynch. Release Date: February 24, 2009. Scott Lynch continues to astound and entertain with his thrillingly inventive, wickedly funny, and suspense-filled adventures featuring con artist extraordinaire Locke Lamora. Now, in his most captivating novel yet, readers reunite with Locke and meet for the first time, Sabetha

Having pulled off the greatest heist of their career, Locke and his trusted partner in thievery, Jean, have escaped with a tidy fortune. But, poisoned by an enemy from his past, Locke is slowly dying. And no physiker or alchemist can help him. Yet just as the end is near, a mysterious Bondsmagi offers Locke an opportunity that will either save him—or finish him off once and for all. Locke is opposed, but two factors cause his will to crumble: Jean's imploring and the Bondsmagi's mention of a woman from Locke's past—Sabetha. The love of his life. Now they will reunite in yet another clash of wills, and faced with his one and only match in both love and trickery, Locke must choose whether to fight Sabetha, or to woo her. It is a decision on which his life may depend…
Official Scott Lynch Website
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The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction: Volume III” edited by George Mann. Release Date: February 24, 2009. Following the successful format established by The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volumes One and Two, this new anthology brings together an eclectic selection of all-original stories by some of the genre's best-loved and most popular writers including Daniel Abraham, Stephen Baxter, Ken MacLeod, John Meaney, Alastair Reynolds, Ian Watson and many others…
Official Solaris Books Website
Official George Mann Blog
Preorder HERE

Cyberabad Days” by Ian McDonald. Release Date: February 24, 2009. Ian McDonald’sRiver of Gods”—called a “masterpiece” by
Asimov’s Science Fiction and praised by the Washington Post as “a major achievement from a writer who is becoming one of the best SF novelists of our time”—painted a vivid picture of a near future India, 100 years after independence. It revolutionized SF for a new generation by taking a perspective that was not European or American. Nominated for the Hugo Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and winning the BSFA Award, the rich world of the novel has inspired McDonald to revisit its milieu in a series of short stories, all set in the world of “River of Gods”…

Cyberabad Days” is a triumphant return to the India of 2047, a new, muscular superpower of one and a half billion people in an age of artificial intelligences, climate-change induced drought, water wars, strange new genders, genetically improved children that age at half the rate of baseline humanity, and a population where males outnumber females four to one. India herself has fractured into a dozen states from Kerala to the headwaters of the Ganges in the Himalayas.

Cyberabad Days” is a collection of eight stories, one Hugo nominee and one Hugo winner among them, as well as a twenty-five thousand word original novella. As with everything
Ian McDonald does, it is sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year…
Official Ian McDonald Blog
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City Without End” by Kay Kenyon. Release Date: February 24, 2009. In The Entire and the Rose series, Kay Kenyon has created her most vivid and compelling society yet—the universe Entire. Reviewers have called this “a grand world,” “an enormous stage,” and “a bravura concept.”

On this stage unfolds a mighty struggle for dominance between two universes. Titus Quinn has forged an unstable peace with the Tarig lords. The ruinous capability of the nanotech surge weapon he possesses ensures détente. But it is a sham. In what the godwoman Zhiya calls a fit of moral goodness, he's thrown the weapon into the space-folding waters of the Nigh. This clears the way for an enemy he could have never foreseen: the people of the Rose. A small cadre led by Helice Maki is determined to take the Entire for itself and leave the earth in ruins. The transform of earth will begin deep in a western desert and will sweep over the lives of ordinary people, entangling Quinn’s sister-in-law, Caitlin, in a deepening and ultimate conspiracy.

In the Entire, Quinn stalks Helice to the fabled Rim City, encircling the heart of the Entire. Here he at last finds his daughter, now called Sen Ni, in the Chalin style. Outside of earth-based time, she has grown to adulthood. He hardly knows her, and finds her the mistress of a remarkable dream-time insurgency against the Tarig lords and more, a woman risen high in the Entire's meritocracy. Quinn needs his daughter's help against the woman who would destroy the earth. But Sen Ni has her own plans and allies, among them a boy-navitar unlike any other pilot of the River Nigh, a navitar willing and supremely able to break his vows and bend the world.

Quinn casts his fate with the beautiful and resourceful Ji Anzi who went on a journey to other realms and holds the key to Quinn's heart and his overarching mission. But as he approaches the innermost sanctuary of the Tarig, he is alone. Waiting for him are powerful adversaries, including a lady who both hates and loves him, the high prefect of the dragon court, and Quinn's most implacable enemy, a warrior whose chaotic mind will soon be roused from an eternal slumber…
Official Kay Kenyon Website
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NOTE:City Without End” is the third book in Kay Kenyon’s The Entire and the Rose after “Bright of the Sky” and “A World Too Near”.

Black Blood” by John Meaney. Release Date: February 24, 2009 (US Debut). Lieutenant Donal Riordan is no longer the man he was...but to conspirators who threaten the civic order of Tristopolis and the rights of non-human sentients, he is an enemy who needs to be silenced. Even the most powerful of cities can change its character when the circumstances are filled with enough paranoia and fear. And when the conspiracy's international dimensions become clear, Donal must travel to Illurium, not just to Silvex City, the city that stands on vast glass planes, but further, to places unlike Tristopolis, yet just as strange…
Official John Meaney Website
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NOTE:Black Blood” is the sequel to John Meaney’sBone Song” and is known as “Dark Blood” in the UK (Released March 2008).

Blood and Ice” by Robert Masello. Release Date: February 24, 2009. Set shortly after the Crimean War and on an expedition to modern-day Antarctica, this epic novel combines two worlds in the midst of a frozen landscape. For when a modern-day photo-journalist discovers two bodies frozen under the Antarctic ice, he opens up a whole new realm of scientific discovery.

Improbably, these two young lovers—one a nurse in Florence Nightingale's hospital and the other an officer in the infamous Light Brigade—carry a deadly curse in their blood, one that enables them to rise from their frozen tomb and live again…

Robert Masello’s hardcover debut, “Blood and Ice”, is a tour de force, a dazzling tale of suspense, the supernatural, and romance that spans centuries…

Robert Masello is an award-winning journalist, television writer, and the author of many previous books, most recently the supernatural thrillers Vigil—which appeared on the USA Today bestseller list—and Bestiary. He has published in the Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, People and Parade, and his nonfiction book, Robert's Rules of Writing, is a staple in many college classrooms. His produced television credits include such popular shows as Charmed, Sliders and Early Edition. A longstanding member of the Writers Guild of America, Robert also currently serves as the Visiting Lecturer in Literature at Claremont McKenna College.
Official Robert Masello Website
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The Accord” by Keith Brooke. Release Date: February 24, 2009. The Accord—a virtual utopia where the soul lives on after death and your perceptions are bound only by your imagination. This is the setting for a tale of love, murder and revenge that crosses the boundaries between the real world and virtual reality…

When Noah and Priscilla escape into the Accord to flee Priscilla’s murderous husband, he plots to destroy the whole Accord and them with it. In revenge, they arrange to have him assassinated but their success comes at the price of giving him the keys to the virtual kingdom. How can they hope to escape their stalker when he can become anything or anyone he desires, and where does the pursuit of revenge stop for immortals in an eternal world?

Consultant Editor George Mann said of the deal: “I had the pleasure of publishing Keith’s short story, The Accord, in the first
Solaris Book of New Science Fiction. When Keith approached us with his idea to expand it into a novel, we were all incredibly enthused. This is a major breakthrough novel from an author I’ve admired for many years.”

The short story that the novel was based on was chosen for Gardner Dozois’ next Year’s Best Science Fiction.
Official Keith Brooke Website
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In the Courts of the Sun” by Brian D’Amato. Release Date: March 5, 2009. December 21, 2012. The day time stops…

Jed DeLanda, a descendant of the Maya living in the year 2012, is a math prodigy who spends his time playing Go against his computer and raking in profits from online trading. His secret weapon? A Mayan divination game—once used for predicting corn-harvest cycles, now proving very useful in predicting corn futures—that his mother taught him. But Jed’s life is thrown into chaos when his former mentor, the game theorist Taro, and a mysterious woman named Marena Park, invite him to give his opinion on a newly discovered Mayan codex.

Marena and Taro are looking for a volunteer to travel back to 664 AD to learn more about a “sacrifice game” described in the codex. Jed leaps at the chance, and soon scientists are replicating his brain waves and sending them through a wormhole, straight into the mind of a Mayan king.

Only something goes wrong. Instead of becoming a king, Jed arrives inside a ballplayer named Chacal who is seconds away from throwing himself down the temple steps as a human sacrifice. If Jed can live through the next few minutes, he might just save the world…

Bringing to mind Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon and Gary Jennings’ Aztec, yet entirely unique, In the Courts of the Sun takes you from the distant past to the near future in a brilliant kaleidoscope of ideas.
Official Brian D’Amato Website
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The Best of Gene Wolfe: A Definitive Retrospective of His Finest Short Fiction” by Gene Wolfe. Release Date: March 17, 2009. From a literary perspective, this will certainly be the best collection of the year in science fiction and fantasy.
Gene Wolfe, of whom the Washington Post said, “Of all SF writers currently active none is held in higher esteem,” has selected the short fiction he considers his finest into one volume.

There are many award winners and many that have been selected for various Year’s Best anthologies among the thirty-one stories, which include: “Petting Zoo,” “The Tree Is My Hat,” “The Island of Dr. Death and Other Stories,” “The Hero as Werewolf,” “Seven American Nights,” “The Fifth Head of Cerberus,” “The Detective of Dreams,” and “A Cabin on the Coast.”

Gene Wolfe has produced possibly the finest and most significant body of short fiction in the SF and fantasy field in the last fifty years, and is certainly among the greatest living writers to emerge from the genres. This is the first retrospective collection of his entire career. It is for the ages…

If any writer from within genre fiction ever merited the designation Great Author, it is surely Wolfe…[who] reads like Dickens, Proust, Kipling, Chesterton, Borges, and Nabokov rolled into one.” —
The Washington Post Book World
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Imager” by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. Release Date: March 17, 2009. “Imager” is the first book in the Imager Portfolio, a whole new fantasy in a whole new magical world from the bestselling creator of the Saga of Recluce

Although Rhennthyl is the son of a leading wool merchant in L’Excelsis, the capital of Solidar, the most powerful nation on Terahnar, he has spent years becoming a journeyman artist and is skilled and diligent enough to be considered for the status of master artisan—in another two years. Then, in a single moment, his entire life is transformed when his master patron is killed in a flash fire, and Rhenn discovers he is an imager—one of the few in the entire world of Terahnar who can visualize things and make them real.

He must leave his family and join the Collegium of Imagisle. Imagers live separately from the rest of society because of their abilities—they can do accidental magic even while asleep—and because they are both feared and vulnerable. In this new life, Rhenn discovers that all too many of the “truths” he knew were nothing of the sort. Every day brings a new threat to his life. He makes a powerful enemy while righting a wrong, and begins to learn to do magic in secret…
Official L.E. Modesitt, Jr. Website
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The Unincorporated Man” by
Dani Kollin & Eytan Kollin. Release Date: March 17, 2009. A novel of social transformation in the tradition of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, “The Unincorporated Man” is a provocative social/political/economic novel that takes place in the future, after civilization has fallen into complete economic collapse. This reborn civilization is one in which every individual is incorporated at birth, and spends many years trying to attain control over his or her own life by getting a majority of his or her own shares. Life extension has made life very long indeed.

Now the incredible has happened: a billionaire businessman from our time, frozen in secret in the early twenty-first century, is discovered and resurrected, given health and a vigorous younger body. Justin Cord is the only unincorporated man in the world, a true stranger in this strange land. Justin survived because he is tough and smart. He cannot accept only part ownership of himself, even if that places him in conflict with a civilization that extends outside the solar system to the Oort Cloud… People will be arguing about this novel and this world for decades.

This is a bright, stimulating work that deserves a wide readership.” —
Gregory Benford, author of Beyond Human: Living With Robots & Cyborgs

Reminiscent of Heinlein—a good, old-fashioned, enormously appealing SF yarn. Bravo!” —
Robert J. Sawyer, Nebula Award-winning author of “Rollback
Official Dani Kollin & Eytan Kollin Website
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The Temporal Void” by Peter F. Hamilton. Release Date: March 24, 2009 (US Debut). The Intersolar Commonwealth is in turmoil as the Living Dream’s deadline for launching its Pilgrimage into the Void draws closer. Not only is the Ocisen Empire fleet fast approaching on a mission of genocide, but also an internecine war has broken out between the post-human factions over the destiny of humanity.

Countering the various and increasingly desperate agents and factions is Paula Myo, a ruthlessly single-minded investigator, beset by foes from her distant past and colleagues of dubious allegiance...but she is fast losing a race against time.

At the heart of all this is Edeard the Waterwalker, who once lived a long time ago deep inside the Void. He is the messiah of Living Dream, and visions of his life are shared by, and inspire billions of humans. It is his glorious, captivating story that is the driving force behind Living Dream’s Pilgrimage, a force that is too strong to be thwarted. As Edeard nears his final victory the true nature of the Void is finally revealed…
Official Peter F. Hamilton Website
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NOTE:The Temporal Void” is the second volume in Peter F. Hamilton’s Void Trilogy, after “The Dreaming Void”, and will be released in the UK on October 3, 2008 via PanMacmillan.

The Dark Volume” by Gordon Dahlquist. Release Date: March 24, 2009 (US Debut). With old loyalties tested by new and unlikely alliances, Miss Temple, Doctor Svenson, and Cardinal Chang must call on every reserve of courage to face a new and desperate struggle—after all, the integrity of their very minds is at risk.

From palace intrigue and a city in turmoil to wolf-haunted mountains, underground tunnels and a suspicious hidden factory, they must overcome war and heartache to battle old enemies and a host of new villains, all hoping to seize for themselves the power of the blue glass books. Now one glass book in particular drives them all, its deadly contents the key to controlling the secrets of the blue glass, or destroying it forever…
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NOTE:The Dark Volume” is the sequel to Dahlquist’s The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters” and was released in the UK May 1, 2008 via Viking UK.

This Is Not A Game” by Walter Jon Williams. Release Date: March 24, 2009. “This Is Not A Game” is a novel built around the coolest phenomenon in the world. That phenomenon is known as the Alternate Reality Game, or ARG. It’s big, and it’s getting bigger. It’s immersive and massively interactive, and it’s spreading through the Internet at the speed of light. To the player, the Alternate Reality Game has no boundaries. You can be standing in a parking lot, or a shopping center. A pay phone near you will ring, and on the other end will be someone demanding information. You’d better have the information handy.

ARGs combine video, text adventure, radio plays, audio, animation, improvisational theater, graphics, and story into an immersive experience. Now, one of science fiction’s most acclaimed writers,
Walter Jon Williams, brings this extraordinary phenomenon to life in a pulse-pounding thriller. This is not a game. This is a novel that will blow your mind…
Official Walter Jon Williams Website
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Blood Groove” by Alex Bledsoe. Release Date: March 31, 2009. When centuries-old vampire, Baron Rudolfo Zginski, was staked in Wales in 1915, the last thing he expected was to reawaken in Memphis, Tennessee, sixty years later. Reborn into a new world of simmering racial tensions, the cunning nosferatu realizes he must adapt quickly if he is to survive.

Zginski possesses all the powers of the undead, including the ability to sexually enslave anyone he chooses. Finding willing new victims is easy, which gives him the strength to track down a nest of teenage vampires in hopes of learning how his kind cope with this bizarre new era. But these young vampires’ limited knowledge of their true nature comes strictly from movies and paperback novels.

Zginski offers to teach the young vampires the truth about their powers and forms an uneasy alliance with the teenagers. They must learn quickly, for there’s a new drug on the street—a drug created to specifically target and destroy vampires. And as Zginski and his allies track the drug to its source, they may unwittingly be stepping into a fifty-year-old trap that could destroy them all…

I love vampire stories, both reading them and writing, and when one comes along that’s as new and fresh as Blood Groove, well, it’s just plain delicious. One very sweet read.” —
Whitley Strieber

Hot and sticky and tangy as a slab of Memphis ribs. A trippy vamp-noir seventies feed-fest, complete with the requisite sex, drugs, and vintage rock.” —
E.E. Knight, Bestselling author of Vampire Earth
Official Alex Bledsoe Website
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Irons in the Fire” by Juliet E. McKenna. Release Date: March 31, 2009. Chronicles of the Lescari Revolution is an incredible fantasy trilogy that tells of political upheaval born of civil war in the country of Lescar. Carved out of the collapse of the Old Tormalin Empire, the land has long been laid waste by its rival dukes, while bordering nations look on with indifference or exploit its misery. Now a mismatched band of exiles and rebels are agreed that the time has come for change. Can a small group, however determined, put an end to generations of intractable misery? Perhaps… After all, a few stones falling in the right place can set a landslide in motion. But who can predict what the consequences will be, when all the dust has settled?

Full of rich characters and high adventure, this new trilogy marks the next stage in the career of this popular writer.
Solaris Publisher Marc Gascoigne said of the deal: “Having long been a fan of Juliet’s wildly imaginative fantasy novels, it’s a genuine delight to sign her new trilogy for Solaris. With our ability to release her work simultaneously into the US and UK markets, we can both satisfy Juliet’s large British fanbase and take her out to a much wider audience.” Irons in the Fire is the first book in the trilogy.
Official Juliet E. McKenna Website
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The Stranger” by Max Frei. Release Date: April 2, 2009. You never know when you’ll luck out. Max lucked out in more ways than one. But as his “reality” gets crazier, can this slacker hold it together?

Max Frei’s novels have been a literary sensation in Russia since their debut in 1996, and have swept the fantasy world over. Presented here in English for the first time, “The Stranger” will strike a chord with readers of all stripes. Part fantasy, part horror, part philosophy, part dark comedy, the writing is united by a sharp wit and a web of clues that will open up the imagination of every reader.

Max Frei was a twenty-something loser—a big sleeper (that is, during the day; at night he can’t sleep a wink), a hardened smoker, and an uncomplicated glutton and loafer. But then he got lucky. He contacts a parallel world in his dreams, where magic is a daily practice. Once a social outcast, he’s now known in his new world as the “unequalled Sir Max.” He’s a member of the Department of Absolute Order, formed by a species of enchanted secret agents; his job is to solve cases more extravagant and unreal than one could imagine—a journey that will take Max down the winding paths of this strange and unhinged universe.

Already a bestseller in Russia and throughout Europe, “The Stranger”—Book One of the Labyrinths of Eho—is a story for fans of Steve Erickson, Susanna Clarke, and Toby Young. This is a fantasy epic for a new century…
Official Max Frei Website
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Keeper of Light & Dust” by Natasha Mostert. Release Date: April 2, 2009. Mia Lockheart has a secret. Her mother was a Keeper, as was her grandmother—women who were warriors, healers, and protectors. As Mia practices her craft among the boxers and martial artists of South London, and begins a romance with her childhood friend, the fighter Nick Duffy, she has no idea that a man who calls himself “Dragonfly” is watching from the shadows.

Adrian Ashton is a brilliant scientist, an expert in the breaking field of biophoton emissions from cells within the human body. He is also a skilled martial artist—and a modern-day vampire. With the aid of the enigmatic Book of Life and Death, written in the thirteenth century by the legendary
Chinese physician Zhang Sanfeng, he preys on other martial artists and drains them of their chi—the vital energy that flows through the body.

Mia finds herself drawn to his dark genius, but when he targets Nick as his next victim, she is forced to choose between the two men. It becomes a fight to the death in which love is both the greatest weakness and the biggest prize…

From the author that brought readers “Season of the Witch” comes “Keeper of Light & Dust”, a highly original supernatural thriller blending magic, science, martial arts, and the greatest desire of all—to live forever…
Official Natasha Mostert Website
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The Wise Man’s Fear” by Patrick Rothfuss. Release Date: April 7, 2009. “There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”

An escalating rivalry with a powerful member of the nobility forces Kvothe to leave the University and seek his fortune abroad. Adrift, penniless, and alone, he travels to Vintas, where he quickly becomes entangled in the politics of courtly society. While attempting to curry favor with a powerful noble, Kvothe discovers an assassination attempt, comes into conflict with a rival arcanist, and leads a group of mercenaries into the wild, in an attempt to solve the mystery of who—or what—is waylaying travelers on the King's road.

All the while, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, forced to reclaim the honor of the Edema Ruh, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived. Under her tutelage, Kvothe learns much about true magic and the ways of women.

In “The Wise Man's Fear”, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time…
Official Patrick Rothfuss Website
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Turn Coat” by Jim Butcher. Release Date: April 7, 2009. “Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer starring Philip Marlowe.” —Entertainment Weekly

The Warden Morgan has been accused of treason against the Wizards of the White Council—and there’s only one, final punishment for that crime. He’s on the run, wants his name cleared, and needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. Someone like Harry Dresden.

Now, Harry must uncover a traitor within the Council, keep a less-than-agreeable Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under scrutiny himself. And a single mistake may cost someone his head—someone like Harry. “Turn Coat” is the eleventh and newest novel in the New York Times-bestselling Dresden File series…
Official Jim Butcher Website
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Dancing on the Head of a Pin” by Thomas E. Sniegoski. Release Date: April 7, 2009. Still mourning the loss of his wife, fallen angel Remy Chandler has immersed himself in investigating dangerous supernatural cases. His latest: the theft of a cache of ancient weaponry stolen from a collector who deals in antiquities of a dark and dubious nature. The weapons, Remy knows, were forged eons ago and imbued with unimaginable power. And if they fall into the wrong hands, they could be used to destroy not only Heaven, but also Earth…

Dancing on the Head of a Pin” is the second book in the Remy Chandler series following “A Kiss Before the Apocalypse”, which is set in the same universe as the author’s successful YA book series, The Fallen, which was made into an ABC Family mini-series. A new Remy Chandler novella is featured in the urban fantasy anthology Mean Streets (January 2009), along with original stories from bestselling authors Jim Butcher, Kat Richardson, and Simon R. Green
Official Thomas E. Sniegoski Website
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Traitors’ Gate” by Kate Elliott. Release Date: May 12, 2009. In “Spirit Gate” and “Shadow Gate”,
Kate Elliott took readers to the fascinating world of the Hundred, a land teeming with an array of cultures, gods, and conflicts blighted by the shadow of chaos and destruction. Now, with the same intensity and dramatic sweep that has brought this epic to life, Elliott returns to the exquisitely crafted cities and landscapes of the Hundred, in a thunderous conclusion to the saga…

In the darkness of war and destruction, forces gather to reclaim the peace. Those immortal Guardians who are loyal to justice seek a key to end the devastating reign of one of their own. A hired outlander army fights to halt the advance of the horde that has despoiled vast lands and slaughtered countless people in its murderous wake. The eagle reeves who have long been the only law enforcers of the Hundred struggle to reorganize after a devastating massacre has decimated their numbers. But even as these forces give hope to those who would live in peace, a terrible danger looms: a traitor with Imperial ambitions…

In the unfolding drama of political upheaval and violent change, nothing is certain, as alliances dissolve and power shifts with the unpredictability of a desert sandstorm. A satisfying tale with the vast breadth and tumultuous excitement only such a masterful storyteller as
Kate Elliott can summon, “Traitors’ Gate” will leave her many readers begging for more…
Official Kate Elliott Website
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