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Monday, December 1, 2008

SPOTLIGHT: Books of December 2008

Welcome to the December 2008 edition of Fantasy Book Critic’s monthly SPOTLIGHT which covers fantasy, science fiction, horror, thrillers, YA, and more. Previous spotlights are listed at the end of this article. So another holiday season is here and you know what that means: presents! So if you’re looking for gift ideas, try The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a new Wild Cards book, Scott Sigler’s Contagious, new Harry Turtledove, Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, Robert Rankin’s Necrophenia, and anything from Subterranean Press :) (NOTE: Unless stated otherwise, all release dates are for the US. Providing valuable assistance with the Spotlight as usual is Liviu C. Suciu):

Fast Ships, Black Sails” edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer. Release Date: December 1, 2008. Swashbuckling from the past into the future and space itself, “Fast Ships, Black Sails” presents an incredibly entertaining volume of original stories guaranteed to make you walk and talk like a pirate. Includes stories by
Steve Aylett, Kage Baker, Elizabeth Bear, Eric Flint, Dave Freer, Sarah Monette, Michael Moorcock, Naomi Novik, Carrie Vaughn, Conrad Williams and a brand new Sir Hereward & Mr. Fitz novella by Garth Nix
Official Jeff VanderMeer Website
Order “Fast Ships, Black SailsHERE
Read Reviews via Adventures in Reading, Bibliophile Stalker, Monsters & Critics + The Fix
Download “Boojum” by Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette HERE

Eclipse Two: New Science Fiction & Fantasy” edited by Jonathan Strahan. Release Date: December 1, 2008. Set to become a major event on the science fiction and fantasy calendar, “Eclipse: New Science Fiction and Fantasy” is an exciting new annual anthology series edited by Jonathan Strahan that gathers together new SF&F stories by the best writers working today. That sense of the strange and wonderful continues in Eclipse Two, which features more extraordinary tales of the fantastic and astounding…
Official Jonathan Strahan Website
Order “Eclipse Two: New Science Fiction & FantasyHERE
Read Reviews via The Fix
NOTE: Includes stories by Alastair Reynolds, Stephen Baxter, Peter S. Beagle, Ted Chiang, Terry Dowling, Jeffrey Ford, Nancy Kress, Margo Lanagan, Ken Scholes, Karl Schroeder and many others.

The Empress of Mars” by Kage Baker. Release Date: December 1, 2008. First came
Edgar Rice Burroughs' view of the Red Planet, then the romance of Leigh Brackett, the poetic visions of Ray Bradbury, and the hard sf underpinnings of Kim Stanley Robinson’s trilogy. Now, added to that estimable list, we have Kage Baker, who makes Earth’s nearest neighbor all her own. Based on the Hugo-nominated novella of the same name, “The Empress of Mars” is a rollicking novel of action, offworld romance and high adventure…
Official Kage Baker Website
Order “The Empress of MarsHERE
NOTE: The Subterranean Press edition of “The Empress of Mars” is limited to 448 Signed Numbered Hardcover copies and will be the true first edition of the book. The Tor Hardcover version isn’t scheduled for publication until May 12, 2009.

The Night Battles” by M.F. Bloxam. Release Date: December 1, 2008. Her academic career in ruins, haunted by a history of loss and displacement, historian Joan Severance returns to Sicily to bury herself with research in the remote fortress town of Valparuta. But Valparuta, Joan discovers, is haunted too… A spellbinding, fiercely original novel of love, intrigue and psychological suspense, The Night Battles maps landscapes real and imagined where dream and belief, memory and longing, desire and obsession converge…
Official The Permanent Press Website
Order “The Night BattlesHERE
Read Reviews via Small Press Reviews

Vow of Silence” by Robert Laughlin. Release Date: December 1, 2008. Set in an alternate society where literacy has not been invented because certain people can be taught to develop perfect recall, “Vow of Silence” follows a man inducted into this special caste that records and passes on the permanent and ephemeral knowledge of the world. As his power matures however, he realizes this ability is more a curse than a gift because he never can forget his memories—including their pleasure and their pain…
Official Robert Laughlin Website
Official Trytium Publishing Website
Order “Vow of SilenceHERE
Read Reviews via Official Susurrus Press Blog

The Charlemagne Pursuit” by Steve Berry. Release Date: December 2, 2008. As a child, Cotton Malone was told his father died in a submarine disaster in the North Atlantic, but now he wants the full story. What he learns stuns him: His father’s sub was a secret nuclear vessel lost on a highly classified mission beneath the ice shelves of Antarctica. But Malone isn’t the only one after the truth. Now Cotton must join forces with twin sisters to confront the shocking truth of his father’s death and the distinct possibility of his own…

Official Steve Berry Website
Order “The Charlemagne PursuitHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE
Read Reviews via + The Alternative
NOTE:The Charlemagne Pursuit” is the fourth Cotton Malone novel after “The Templar Legacy”, “The Alexandria Link” and “The Venetian Betrayal”.

The United States of Atlantis” by Harry Turtledove. Release Date: December 2, 2008. England has driven the French from Atlantis, tightening King George’s control over the colonies, while the Redcoats have seized the continent’s eastern coastal towns. As leader of the revolutionaries, Victor Radcliff will make the English pay for each and every piece of land they dare to occupy, and will stop at nothing to preserve the liberty of his people as a new nation is born—a nation that will change the face of the world…
Official Harry Turtledove Website
Order “The United States of AtlantisHERE
NOTE:The United States of Atlantis” is the second Atlantis book after “Opening Atlantis”.

Dragon Strike” by E.E. Knight. Release Date: December 2, 2008. AuRon, Wistala, and Copper—three dragon siblings, among the last of a dying breed—find themselves at odds over the coming human war. AuRon thinks dragons should have no part in the affairs of humans. Wistala believes dragons and man can peacefully co-exist. And Copper has designs of his own on the world. And the civilized humans who have turned to Copper for assistance against their enemies have just given him the perfect opportunity to fulfill his plans…
Official E.E. Knight Website
Official Age of Fire Website
Order “Dragon StrikeHERE
NOTE:Dragon Strike” is the fourth Age of Fire novel after “Dragon Champion”, “Dragon Avenger” and “Dragon Outcast”.

Moving Targets and Other Tales of Valdemar” by Mercedes Lackey. Release Date: December 2, 2008. Today’s hottest fantasy authors visit Mercedes Lackey’s bestselling world of Valdemar, adding their own special touches to the ancient land where Heralds “Chosen” from all walks of life by magical horse-like Companions patrol their ancient kingdom, dispensing justice, facing adversaries, and protecting their monarch from whatever threatens. Includes sixteen original stories and a new novella by Mercedes Lackey
Official Mercedes Lackey Website
Order “Moving Targets and Other Tales of ValdemarHERE
NOTE: Contributing authors include Tanya Huff, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Fiona Patton, Judith Tarr, Rosemary Edghill, and many others.

The Vorkosigan Companion” by Lillian Stewart Carl. Release Date: December 2, 2008. Lois McMaster Bujold’s bestselling Vorkosigan science fiction series is a publishing phenomenon, winning record-breaking sales, critical praise, four Hugo Awards and a Nebula Award. And in “The Vorkosigan Companion”, the series’ thousands of devotees now have a book that gives readers a look behind the series including background details, little-known facts about the Vorkosigan Saga, and much more…
Official Lillian S Carl Website
Official Lois McMaster Bujold Website
Order “The Vorkosigan CompanionHERE
Read Excerpts HERE
NOTE:The Vorkosigan Companion” also includes an all-new interview with Bujold; essays by the author on crafting the Vorkosigan universe; articles on the biology, technology and sociology of the planet Barrayar; appreciations of the individual novels by experts; maps; a complete timeline of the series, and more.

The Knights of the Cornerstone” by James P. Blaylock. Release Date: December 2, 2008. Calvin Bryson has hidden himself away from the world, losing himself in his work and his collection of rare & quirky books. He never meant to let so much time go by without visiting his aunt and uncle in the tiny town of New Cyprus, California. When he gets there, he’ll discover the town’s strange secrets and a mysterious group dedicated to preserving and protecting holy relics—a modern day incarnation of the legendary Knights Templar
Official James P. Blaylock Wikipedia Website
Order “The Knights of the CornerstoneHERE
Read An Interview via BookSpotCentral
Read Reviews via Flames Rising

1635: The Dreeson Incident” by Eric Flint and Virginia DeMarce. Release Date: December 2, 2008. The Thirty Years War continues to ravage 17th century Europe, but a new force is gathering power & influence: the Confederated Principalities of Europe, an alliance between Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, and the West Virginians from the 20th century led by Mike Stearns who were hurled into the past by a mysterious cosmic accident. “1635: The Dreeson Incident” is the latest entry in the 1632 Universe
Official 1632 Website
Official Eric Flint Website
Official Virginia DeMarce Wikipedia Website
Order “1635: The Dreeson IncidentHERE
Read Excerpts HERE

Shadowrealm” by Paul S. Kemp. Release Date: December 2, 2008. The Archwizards of Shade—one of the Forgotten Realms most compelling villains—have come down from their flying city with their sights set on the merchant realm of Sembia. They come in the guise of allies, but have invasion and empire as their ultimate aim. The fate of Sembia may be sealed, but Erevis Cale still has a shocking destiny that will end in his destruction—if he's lucky… This trilogy promises major changes to the Forgotten Realms setting.
Official Paul S. Kemp Website
Order “Shadowrealm
Read Reviews via
Bibliophile Stalker, Graeme's Fantasy Book Review + Grasping for the Wind
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Review of “Shadowbred
NOTE:Shadowrealm” is the stunning conclusion to The Twilight War trilogy after “Shadowbred” and “Shadowstorm”.

The Flaxen Femme Fatale” by John Zakour. Release Date: December 2, 2008. The last freelance P.I. on earth, Zach Johnson has been hired to track down a young beauty who happens to be a deadly secret weapon for the World Council. Zach, however, isn’t surprised to discover that things aren’t what they seem, and to save the world, he’s going to have to find a way to team up with the woman he’s supposed to destroy...
Official John Zakour Website
Order “The Flaxen Femme FataleHERE
Read Reviews via Grasping for the Wind
NOTE:The Flaxen Femme Fatale” is the sixth book starring Zach Johnson after “The Blue-Haired Bombshell”.

War Games” by Christopher Anvil & Eric Flint. Release Date: December 2, 2008. War is a serious business—or is it? Christopher Anvil (Interstellar Patrol, The Federation of Humanity) turns his sardonic sense of humor loose on the subject and considers what might happen. “War Games” includes a number of short stories and the full-length novel, “The Steel, the Mist and the Blazing Sun”. The many faces of war, examined by a master of science fiction adventure with a wryly humorous twist…
Official Christopher Anvil Wikipedia Website
Official Eric Flint Website
Order “War GamesHERE
Read Excerpts HERE

Unclean Spirits” by M.L.N. Hanover. Release Date: December 2, 2008. When Jayné Heller’s uncle is murdered, she travels to Denver to settle his estate, only to learn that it's all hers—and vaster than she ever imagined. And along with an inexhaustible fortune and numerous properties, Eric left her a different legacy: his unfinished business with a cabal of wizards known as the Invisible College, led by the ruthless Randolph Coin. If Jayné hopes to survive, she'll have to learn the new rules fast—or break them completely…
Official M.L.N. Hanover Website
Order “Unclean SpiritsHERE
Read Excerpts HERE + HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s Review of “An Autumn War
NOTE:Unclean Spirits” is Book One of The Black Sun’s Daughter. M.L.N. Hanover is a pseudonym for Daniel Abraham, author of The Long Price Quartet and many other works.

Unusual Suspects: Stories of Mystery & Fantasy” edited by Dana Stabenow. Release Date: December 2, 2008. This follow-up to “Powers of Detection” showcases twelve original new stories featuring otherworldly investigators trailing uncanny criminals across fantastical realms. From video game characters seeking civil rights to a cave dragon loan shark pondering an investment and an enemy of Sam Spade’s out for revenge, these stories will take readers around the world on a magical mystery tour…
Official Dana Stabenow Website
Order “Unusual SuspectsHERE
Read Reviews via Darque Reviews
NOTE: Includes stories by Carole Nelson Douglas, Laura Ann Gilman, Simon R. Green (Nightside), Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse), Laurie R. King, Sharon Shinn, Michael A. Stackpole and others.

Dead After Dark” by
Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward, Susan Squires, and Dianna Love. Release Date: Dec 2, 2008. With these four tales of paranormal romance, it’s never been hotter to be close to death… Dead After Dark includes “Shadow of the Moon” by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dark-Hunters, Lords of Avalon), “The Story of Son” by J.R. Ward (The Black Dagger Brotherhood), “Seize the Night” by Susan Squires (The Companion Series), and “Midnight Kiss Goodbye” by Dianna Love (Phantom in the Night)…
Official Sherrilyn Kenyon Website
Official J.R. Ward Website
Official Susan Squires Website
Official Dianna Love Website
Order “Dead After DarkHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE

Peacekeeper” by Laura E. Reeve. Release Date: December 2, 2008. Fifteen years ago, Ariane Kedros piloted a ship on a mission that obliterated an entire solar system. Branded a war criminal, she was given a new identity and a new life in order to protect her. But now, twelve of Ariane’s wartime colleagues are dead—assassinated by someone who has uncovered their true identities. And her superiors have placed her directly in the assassin’s line of fire on a peace-keeping mission that will decide the fate of humanity…
Official Laura E. Reeve Website
Order “PeacekeeperHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE
Read Reviews via Darque Reviews
NOTE:Peacekeeper” is the first book in a brand new action-packed military science fiction series.

Dark Nights, Dark Dreams” by Savannah Russe. Release Date: December 2, 2008. U.S. foreign agent Sam Chase always kept her psychic abilities a secret. Now her secret is out and the C.I.A. needs her help. Recruited into a highly classified all-female team of paranormal agents (including a witch and a voodoo priestess), Sam and her squad are entrusted with the government’s most unusual and dangerous assignments and find themselves fighting for their country and their lives in a battle against the darkest evil of all…
Official Savannah Russe Website
Order “Dark Nights, Dark DreamsHERE
Read Reviews via Darque Reviews
NOTE:Dark Nights, Dark Dreams” is the first book in the Sisterhood of the Sight, an all-new series featuring sexy paranormal romance, government secrets, and female special-ops with very special talents.

The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia” by Laura Miller. Release Date: December 3, 2008. Enchanted by
C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia as a child, prominent critic Laura Miller returns to the series as an adult to uncover the source of these small books' mysterious power by looking at their creator, Clive Staples Lewis. Finally reclaiming Narnia “for the rest of us,” Miller casts the Chronicles as a profoundly literary creation, and the portal to a life-long adventure in books, art, and the imagination…
Official Laura Miller Blog
Order “The Magician’s BookHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE
NOTE: Laura Miller is a journalist and critic. She is a cofounder of, where she is currently a staff writer, and is the editor of The Readers Guide to Contemporary Authors. A regular contributor to the New York Times Book Review, her work has also appeared in the New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, Time, and other publications.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard” by J.K. Rowling. Release Date: December 4, 2008. In December 2007, J.K. Rowling unveiled The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a very special book of five fairy tales illustrated by the bard herself. Now Rowling is giving millions of Harry Potter fans worldwide cause for celebration with a new edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Offering the trademark wit and imagination familiar to Rowling's legions of readers, each of these five tales reveals a lesson befitting children and parents alike…
Official J.K. Rowling Website
Order “The Tales of Beedle the BardHERE (US) + HERE (UK)

Succubus Dreams” by Richelle Mead. UK Release Date: December 4, 2008. Shape-shifting succubus, Georgina Kincaid, just can’t catch a break. First there’s her relationship with gorgeous bestselling writer Seth Mortensen, which is unsatisfying on a number of levels. Then there are the dreams, which are draining her energy and supplying eerie visions of her future. Now Georgina faces a double challenge—rein in her out-of-control love life, and go toe-to-toe with an enemy capable of wreaking serious havoc among mankind…
Official Richelle Mead Website
Order “Succubus DreamsHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE
Read Reviews via SciFiGuy + The Book Smugglers
NOTE:Succubus Dreams” was first published in the US on October 1, 2008 via Kensington, and is the third Georgina Kincaid novel after “Succubus Blues” and “Succubus On Top”.

Busted Flush” by George R. R. Martin. Release Date: December 9, 2008. The
Wild Cards shared-universe series, created and edited since 1987 by George R. R. Martin along with Melinda Snodgrass, is the tale of the history of the world since then—and of the heroes among the one percent. Now a new generation of heroes has taken its place on the world stage, including a genocidal war in the Niger Delta, an invasion of zombies in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, and a freak nuclear explosion in a small Texas town…
Official Wild Cards Website
Official Wild Cards Books WebsiteOfficial George R. R. Martin Website
Order “Busted FlushHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE
Read Reviews via Blood of the Muse + Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist

Fathom” by Cherie Priest. Release Date: December 9, 2008. The ageless water witch Arahab has been scheming for eons, gathering the means to awaken the great Leviathan. She aims to bring him and the old gods back to their former glory, caring little that their ascendance will also mean an end to the human race. However, awakening the Leviathan is no small feat. In fact, Arahab can’t complete the ritual without human aid… “Fathom” is fast-paced, stunning, and quite unlike anything you’ve ever read…
Official Cherie Priest Website
Order “FathomHERE

The Suicide Collectors” by David Oppegaard. Release Date: December 9, 2008. It’s been five years since the Despair began. Most of the world’s population has died by its own hand, and the few survivors struggle to remain alive. A mysterious group called the Collectors has emerged, inevitably appearing to remove the bodies of the dead. But in the crumbling state of Florida, a man named Norman takes an unprecedented stand against the Collectors, propelling him on a dangerous journey across North America…
Official David Oppegaard Website
Official The Suicide Collectors Myspace
Order “The Suicide CollectorsHERE
Read An Interview via The Soulless Machine Review
Listen To An Excerpt HERE (MP3)

The Cracked Mirror” by Brian Keaney. Release Date: December 9, 2008. Dante is on the run. Bea is in prison and Ezekiel is wounded. Things do not look good for the Púca, the tiny band of individuals who refuse to accept the authority of Dr. Sigmundus. And they’re about to get a whole lot worse. For in the depths of the Odyll a new kind of evil is about to be born. Its name is Gallowglass and its mission is simple. Hunt down and destroy those who will not obey. Only Dante can stop it, but at a terrible price…
Official Brian Keaney Website
Order “The Cracked MirrorHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE
NOTE:The Cracked Mirror” is the second volume in The Promises of Dr. Sigmundus Trilogy after “The Hollow People”. In the UK, the book is known as “The Gallowglass” and was published on May 8, 2008 via Orchard.

Persistence of Memory” by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. Release Date: December 9, 2008. 16-year-old Erin Misrahe just wants to be normal. But in times of stress, she has always been overcome by her alter ego, Shevaun, whose violent behavior wreaks havoc on those around her. Then a protective friend comes back into Erin’s life, insisting that Shevaun is a vampire who actually exists apart from Erin. Unfortunately, Shevaun also has dangerous allies and they are determined to sever Shevaun’s connection to Erin once and for all…
Official Amelia Atwater-Rhodes Website
Order “Persistence of MemoryHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE

The Neutronium Alchemist” by Peter F. Hamilton. Release Date: December 10, 2008. The ancient menace has finally escaped from Lalonde, shattering the Confederation's peaceful existence. Those who succumbed to it have acquired godlike powers, but now follow a less divine gospel as they advance inexorably from world to world. In such desperate times the last thing the galaxy needs is another threat. Yet Dr. Alkad Mzu is determined to retrieve the Alchemist so she can complete a 30-year-old vendetta to slay a star…

Official Peter F. Hamilton Website
Order “The Neutronium AlchemistHERE
Read Reviews via Infinity Plus, SF Reviews + SF Site
Read An Excerpt HERE
NOTE:The Neutronium Alchemist” is the second book in The Night Dawn’s Trilogy after “The Reality Dysfunction”, and was first published in 1997. The US version was originally broken up into two separate volumes, Consolidation and Conflict.

Madness of Flowers” by Jay Lake. Release Date: December 15, 2008. In the tradition of China Miéville’sPerdido Street Station”, Jeff VanderMeer’sCity of Saints and Madmen”, and K.J. Bishop’sThe Etched City”, 2004 John W. Campbell Award-winning author Jay Lake (Rocket, Science, Mainspring, Escapement, Green) returns to the decadent urban fantasy first glimpsed in
Trial of Flowers (2006), Book One of The City Imperishable. The trial may be over, but the madness is just beginning…
Official Jay Lake Website
Order “Madness of FlowersHERE

Starship: Rebel” by Mike Resnick. Release Date: December 16, 2008. Almost 3000 years from now the Republic, dominated by the human race, is in the midst of an all-out war with the Teroni Federation. Almost a year has passed since the events of Starship: Mercenary. Captain Wilson Cole now commands a fleet of almost fifty ships and has become the single greatest military force on the Inner Frontier. Then an incident occurs that changes everything, and Cole declares war on the Republic, despite overwhelming odds…
Official Mike Resnick Website
Order “Starship: RebelHERE
NOTE:Rebel” is the fourth Starship novel after “Mutiny”, “Pirate” and “Mercenary”.

Blood Sins” by Kay Hooper. Release Date: December 16, 2008. Young, vulnerable, attractive, Tessa Gray made the perfect victim. She also possessed a unique psychic gift. Which was why Noah Bishop of the FBI’s Special Crimes Unit recruited her to play the role of grieving widow. For the killer they’re hunting is the most terrifying they’ve ever faced and shakes even the most seasoned agents: a soulless megalomaniacal cult leader who can use their own weapons, talents, and tactics against them…
Official Kay Hooper Website
Order “Blood SinsHERE
Watch the Trailer HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s Review of “Blood Dreams
Read Reviews via
Fresh Fiction
NOTE:Blood Sins” is the eleventh volume in the Special Crimes Unit series and the second in the Blood trilogy after “Blood Dreams”.

Orcs Bad Blood I: Weapons of Magical Destruction” by Stan Nicholls. UK Release Date: December 18, 2008. The original Orcs trilogy ended with Stryke and his band of Orcs finding the ancestral Orc home hidden in another dimension. This new series will tell the story of their hectic adventures in the other dimensions as they attempt to find peace for their race and escape the ever greedy, savage expansion of mankind. Perfect for the fantasy reader who wants a fresh perspective on the war between good & evil…
Official Stan Nicholls Website
Order “Orcs: Bad Blood IHERE

Elsewhere” by William Peter Blatty. Release Date: December 22, 2008. This incredible haunted house novel from William Peter Blatty—the legendary author of The Exorcist, The Ninth Configuration, Legion, and many other books—is disturbing, unsettling, chilling, and laced with a nasty streak of dark humor. Featuring a stunning cover by
Bruce Haley (Time, Life) and beautiful interior illustrations by Alex McVey (Stephen King, Joe Lansdale), “Elsewhere” is a must-have for all fans of dark fiction and sure to become a time-honored classic in the genre…
Official William Peter Blatty Wikipedia Website
Order “ElsewhereHERE
NOTE:Elsewhere” will be published in three different edtions: 1) A Trade Edition bound in full-cloth with full-color dust jacket artwork. 2) A Slipcased Limited Edition of 350 signed and numbered copies. 3) And a Traycased Lettered Edition of 52 signed and lettered copies bound in leather with satin ribbon page marker.

The Breath of God” by Harry Turtledove. Release Date: December 23, 2008. Once the great Glacier enclosed the Raumsdalian Empire. Now it’s broken open, and Count Hamnet Thyssen faces a new world. With the wisecracking Ulric Skakki, the neighboring clan leader Trasamund, and his lover, the shaman Liv, Hamnet Thyssen leads an exploration of the new territory in hopes of finding the legendary Golden Shrine. But dangers abound including the violent, merciless and implacable group known as the Rulers

Official Harry Turtledove Website
Order “The Breath of GodHERE
Read Reviews via SF Site

Need” by Carrie Jones. Release Date: December 23, 2008. Zara’s father has left, her stepfather just died, and her mother’s pretty much checked out. Now Zara is living with her grandmother in sleepy, cold Maine. Even worse, the guy that Zara sees everywhere isn’t a figment of her imagination. He’s a pixie—and not the cute, lovable kind with wings. He’s the kind who has dreadful, uncontrollable needs. And he wants Zara… With suspense, romance, and paranormal themes, “Need” is an exciting new breakout novel…
Official Carrie Jones Website
Order “NeedHERE
Read Reviews via Charlotte’s Library + Karin's Book Nook

Wondrous Strange” by Lesley Livingston. Release Date: December 23, 2008. For 17-year-old Kelley Winslow, faeries are just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery. Sonny guards the Samhain Gate, which connects the mortal realm with the Faerie's Otherworld. Usually the Gate stands open only once a year, but this year something different is happening. Now Kelley must navigate deadly Faerie treachery—and her feelings for Sonny—in this dazzling page-turner filled with luminous romance…
Official Lesley Livingston Website
Order “Wondrous StrangeHERE
Read Reviews via The Compulsive Reader

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn” by Alison Goodman. Release Date: December 26, 2008. Inspired by the rich myths and traditions of Ancient China, “Eon: Dragoneye Reborn” is the story of Eona, a 16-year-old girl who has been living a dangerous lie for the chance to become a Dragoneye. Shimmering with energy dragons and fraught with tension, “Eon” is a thrilling, timeless novel of deadly politics, sexual intrigue and dazzling swordplay set in a brilliantly envisioned world where both appearances & loyalties are so very deceptive…
Official Eon Website
Official Eon Myspace
Official Alison Goodman Website
Order “Eon: Dragoneye RebornHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE
Read Reviews via Oops...Wrong Cookie + The Compulsive Reader
NOTE:Eon: Dragoneye Reborn” was published in the UK on September 11, 2008 under the title, “The Two Pearls of Wisdom”. A UK YA version, called “Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye”, will be published January 1, 2009 David Fickling Books.

Muse of Fire” by Dan Simmons. Release Date: December 28, 2008. In a remote future where humanity has all but ground to a halt, resides the Earth's Men, a wandering troupe of players dedicated to presenting the works of Shakespeare to every accessible corner of the settled universe. What follows is an intellectual adventure story of astonishing richness & depth in which disparate species face each other across an insurmountable divide, their only point of contact the indelible language of William Shakespeare
Official Dan Simmons Website
Order “Muse of FireHERE
NOTE:Muse of Fire” will be published by Subterranean Press in two editions: 1) A Fully Cloth-Bound Trade limited to 1500 copies. 2) And a Signed & Numbered Leather-bound limited to 250 copies.

Necrophenia” by Robert Rankin. UK Release Date: December 29, 2008. During the latter part of World War II, England's top-secret Ministry of Serendipity enlisted the services of arch-magician Aleister Crowley to create a Homunculus. Why is told in this story of rock star and private eye Tyler, who almost saved Mankind. Readers can also expect appearances from Mick Jagger, Elvis Presley, Lazlo Woodbine, and a monster in human form who plans to turn the Earth into a Necrosphere—a planet totally devoid of life…
Official Robert Rankin Wikipedia Website
Order “NecropheniaHERE

The Grave Thief” by Tom Lloyd. UK Release Date: December 29, 2008. Returning home to a nation divided by fanaticism, Lord Isak is haunted by the consequences of his actions in Scree and by visions of his own impending death. As the full extent of Azaer's schemes become clearer, Isak realizes prophecy & zealotry must play their part in his plans if there is to be any chance of surviving the coming years. With battle lines vague and allegiances uncertain, the time for heartless decisions and ruthless action has come…
Official Tom Lloyd Website
Order “The Grave ThiefHERE
NOTE:The Grave Thief” is the third book in The Twilight Reign after “The Stormcaller” and “The Twilight Herald”. “The Stormcaller” made its US debut on October 21, 2008, while “The Twilight Herald” will be released on March 24, 2009.

Spirit: The Princess of Bois Dormant” by Gwyneth Jones. UK Release Date: December 29, 2008. The sole survivor of a massacre, Bibi is befriended by Lady Nef, winning her eternal devotion. Years later, the two are imprisoned. Lady Nef dies, bequeathing Bibi a secret set of coordinates. Soon after, the mysterious & wealthy Princess of Bois Dormant makes her debut in Diaspora's capital city. Thus disguised, Bibi sets out to discover why she and her mistress were condemned to a living hell—and to punish the guilty…
Official Gwyneth Jones Website
Order “Spirit: The Princess of Bois DormantHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE

The Trouble With Kings” by Sherwood Smith. Release Date: December 29, 2008. Flian is an ordinary princess who keeps falling into the most romantic plots . . . but all this plotting is done by someone else. What is a civilized princess to do? Especially when she can't tell which guy is the hero and which the villain? So Princess Flian decides its time to throw off civilization and take action. The problem with action is that duels of wit turn into duels of steel, and love can’t be grabbed and galloped away…
Official Sherwood Smith Website
Order “The Trouble With KingsHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE
Read Reviews via Bookwyrm Chrysalis
NOTE: “The Trouble With Kings” is a romantic fantasy set in the same world as Crown Duel and was first published as an e-book on February 12, 2008.

Queen of Hearts” by Daniel Homan. Release Date: December 29, 2008. The wizards of the Slants trained Renue in the high arts so he could infiltrate the Manor and win back the deed so that Asriael's dark magic could finally be unraveled and the people freed. But inside the Manor, Renue meets a mysterious young woman called the Queen of Hearts who might hold the secrets to his parents' fate. Now, Renue must protect the Queen while they search for an ancient magic to end the nightmare of Asriael's black revenge…
Official Daniel Homan Blog
Official Prime Books Website
Order “Queen of HeartsHERE

Gears of the City” by Felix Gilman. Release Date: December 30, 2008. In this stunning follow-up to his acclaimed debut, Thunderer, Felix Gilman’s brave hero Arjun returns from one thrilling & dangerous quest only to confront another. In a magical landscape where time is meaningless, reality precarious, and countless selves work toward countless possible futures, Arjun must seek a city’s truth—and rediscover his own. A spellbinding novel of imagination and intrigue, Gears of the City is an adventure like no other…
Official Felix Gilman Website
Order “Gears of the CityHERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s Review of “Thunderer
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Interview with Felix Gilman

Contagious” by Scott Sigler. Release Date: December 30, 2008. Catapulting the reader into a world where humanity’s life span is measured in hours and the president’s finger hovers over the nuclear button, acclaimed author Scott Sigler takes us on a breathtaking, hyper-adrenalized ride filled with terror and jaw-dropping action. An epic and exhilarating sequel to Infected, Contagious is the story of humanity’s secret battle against a horrific enemy and a truly grand work of suspense, science, and horror from a new master…
Official Scott Sigler Website
Order “ContagiousHERE
Read Reviews via Booklist
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s Review of “Infected

Calling Mr. Lonely Hearts” by Laura Benedict. Release Date: December 30, 2008. Alice, Roxanne, and Del have been best friends since childhood. Now, Alice’s marriage is over, Roxanne is losing touch with everyone who cares for her, and a dark cloud is gathering in Del’s eyes. The instrument of their destruction is a single enigmatic man—Varick. But where has he come from? And what does he want? His secret lies buried in their shared past and an act that now risks their lives . . . and their souls…
Official Laura Benedict Website
Order “Calling Mr. Lonely HeartsHERE

Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor” by Matthew Stover. Release Date: December 30, 2008. Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader are dead. The Empire has been toppled by the Rebel Alliance, and the New Republic is ascendant. But the struggle against the dark side and the Sith order is not over. Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, and their faithful comrades have had little time to savor victory before being called on to defend the newly liberated galaxy against the newly risen warlord Shadowspawn
Official Matthew Stover Blog
Order “Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of MindorHERE

Getting to Know You” by David Marusek. Release Date: December 30, 2008. Not since
William Gibson and Bruce Sterling galvanized science fiction in the 1980s has the emergence of a new writer been heralded with such acclaim as that attending David Marusek, whose brilliant first novel, Counting Heads, appeared to rave reviews in 2005. Now, in this collection of ten stories, Marusek’s fierce imagination and dazzling extrapolative gifts are on full display. Includes the Sturgeon Award-winning “The Wedding Album”…
Official David Marusek Website
Order “Getting to Know YouHERE
Read Reviews via BookSpotCentral + Strange Horizons
NOTE:Getting To Know You” was first published in limited edition by Subterranean Press.

Royal Exile” by Fiona McIntosh. Release Date: December 30, 2008. The Valisar royals of Penraven face certain death, for the savage tyrant Loethar covets what they alone possess: the fabled Valisar Enchantment. But the last hope of the besieged kingdom is being sent in secret from his doomed home, in the company of a single warrior. The future of Penraven now rests on the shoulders of the young Crown Prince Leonel who, though untried & untested in war, must survive in order to claim the Valisar throne…
Official Fiona McIntosh Website
Order “Royal ExileHERE
NOTE:Royal Exile” is the first book in The Valisar Trilogy.

Starfist: Wings of Hell” by David Sherman & Dan Cragg. Release Date: December 30, 2008. It’s the twenty-fifth century, and humans have settled across the galaxy. But after centuries of peaceful exploration, intelligent aliens bent on destroying humanity are launching an attack of unprecedented scope. Armed with Force Recon’s hard-won knowledge of the alien base, the 34th FIST must infiltrate and destroy the menace. As dangerous as their mission is though, another poisonous threat is brewing back home…
Official David Sherman Website
Order “Starfist: Wings of HellHERE
NOTE:Wings of Hell” is the thirteenth novel in the successful, high-octane military Starfist science fiction series.

Airs of Night & Sea” by Toby Bishop. Release Date: December 30, 2008. Driven by insane jealousy, Duke William is determined to found his own flying school, where the valuable flying horses of Oc will learn to bond with well-born young men—instead of arrogant women. Now, Larkyn Hamley and her beloved Black Seraph must gather all of their allies from the air to the ground. For if they do not soar now, none will ever see the skies again. “Airs of Night & Sea” is the third book in The Horsemistress Saga
Official Toby Bishop Website
Order “Airs of Night & SeaHERE

The Angel Maker” by Stefan Brijs. Release Date: December 30, 2008. A literary page-turner about one man’s macabre ambition to create life—and secure immortality—“The Angel Maker” is a chilling story that explores the ethical limits of science and religion in the haunting tradition of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein. Brought to life by internationally bestselling author Stefan Brijs, “The Angel Maker” is an eerie tale that promises to get under readers’ skin…

Official Stefan Brijs Website
Order “The Angel MakerHERE (US) + HERE (UK)
Read Reviews via
BookGeeks + Strange Horizons
NOTE:The Angel Maker” was released in the UK on July 10, 2008 via Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Marcher” by Chris Beckett. Release Date: December 30, 2008. Charles Bowen is an immigration officer for shifters—migrants from parallel timelines, bringing with them a mysterious drug called slip which breaks down the boundary between what is and what might have been. When a shifter-led gang commits murder and then uses slip to escape justice, Charles decides to cross to another universe to confront the problem at its source and prevent his own society from degenerating into tyranny. But is that Charles' real motive?
Official Chris Beckett Wikipedia
Order “MarcherHERE (US) + HERE (UK)

The Messenger” by Jan Burke. Release Date: December 30, 2008. Amanda Clarke finds herself drawn to her new neighbor Tyler Hawthorne. Tyler finds himself drawn to Amanda as well, but he has a secret: Two centuries ago, in exchange for his life, he became a Messenger, one who hears the final thoughts of the dying and conveys those messages to their loved ones. Tyler hopes that he can soon return to a normal, mortal life, but unaware, he is being pursued by an old enemy who will stop at nothing to destroy him…
Official Jan Burke Website
Order “The MessengerHERE

The Book of Unholy Mischief” by Elle Newmark. Release Date: December 30, 2008. In 1498, Venice teems with rumors of an ancient book that holds the secret to unimaginable power… Rich with the luxurious colors and textures of Venice, The Book of Unholy Mischief delights the senses and breathes fresh life into an age defined by intellectual revival and artistic vibrancy. A luminous and seductive novel, it is, at its heart, a high-spirited tribute to the fruits of knowledge and the extraordinary power of those who hold its key…
Official Elle Newmark Website
Order “The Book of Unholy MischiefHERE
Read Reviews HERE

Murder Game” by Christine Feehan. Release Date: December 30, 2008. In a secret experiment, Dr. Peter Whitney succeeds in enhancing the abilities of already highly-trained military men, turning them into awesome weapons. These men, Ghostwalkers, are capable of entering an enemy's camp, taking out their target and leaving unseen & unheard. In Murder Game, a violent new game is blamed on the GhostWalkers. To clear their name, they infiltrate the dangerous sport. And to survive it, they must ignore the rules…
Official Christine Feehan Website
Order “Murder GameHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE
NOTE:Murder Game” is the seventh volume in the Ghostwalkers series after “Predatory Game”.

At Grave’s End” by Jeaniene Frost. Release Date: December 30, 2008. It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield's life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she's successfully protected mortals from the rogue undead. But though Cat's worn disguise after disguise to keep her true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover has finally been blown, placing Cat in terrible danger. And if that wasn't enough, a woman from Bones' past is determined to bury him once and for all…
Official Jeaniene Frost Website
Order “At Grave’s EndHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE
NOTE:At Grave’s End” is the third Night Huntress novel after “Halfway to the Grave” and “One Foot in the Grave”.

In the Blood” by Adrian Phoenix. Release Date: December 30, 2008. Dante Baptiste, son of the fallen angel Lucien, is still searching for the truth about his past. FBI Special Agent Heather Wallace is still drawn to the beautiful, dangerous nightkind. But what Heather and Dante don't know is that new enemies lurk in the shadows, closer than they think, and one of them holds the key to Dante's past—a key that could finally unlock the secret of his birth and the truth of his existence . . . or destroy him completely…
Official Adrian Phoenix Website
Order “In the BloodHERE
NOTE: "In the Blood” is the sequel to Adrian Phoenix’s debut novel, “A Rush of Wings”.

Evil Ways” by Justin Gustainis. Release Date: December 30, 2008. Children are being murdered for their organs—again. If this evil weren't enough to contend with, it also appears that someone—or something—is determined to kill Quincey Morris’ friend and partner, white witch Libby Chastain. Quincey is dragged into both of these cases, little realizing that each is a part of the same horrific plot against humankind, and it will be up to the investigator to save the world. Here's hoping he doesn't blow it…
Official Justin Gustainis Website
Order “Evil WaysHERE (US) + HERE (UK)
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s
Review of “Black Magic Woman
NOTE:Evil Ways” is the second book in the Morris & Chastain Supernatural Investigations series after “Black Magic Woman”.

Shimmer” by Dallas Reed. Release Date: December 30, 2008. On a freezing night in Winter, Colorado, there's a party going on that will change the town forever. For at this party there is a box that contains a shimmering dust that has the power to transform all it touches. Nobody knows what is coming—yet. But as the party gets under way, and as Tess, the queen of the school, decides to see what's in that box, the residents of Winter will find themselves face-to-face with forces darker than any December storm…
Order “Shimmer

Primal Needs” by Susan Sizemore. Release Date: December 30, 2008. Sidonie Wolf never wanted the traditional life of a female vampire, but she must accept her duty, even if she's already given her heart to a werewolf she can never have. Erasing Joe Bleythin's memories of their blistering affair was necessary to keep him safe, but he sees her betrayal as unforgivable. Now, Joe is partnered with Sid on a dangerous mission, and he'll discover just how deep desire can be—and just how far he'll go to keep her…
Official Susan Sizemore Website
Order “Primal NeedsHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE
Read Reviews via Pagan Book Reviews
NOTE:Primal Needs” is the seventh Primes book after “Primal Desires”.

Black Cathedral” by L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims. Release Date: December 30, 2008. At an old manor house on a remote Scottish island, six managers of a large corporation all suffer horrifying deaths, their bodies never to be found. The government assigns the case to Department 18, a special unit created to investigate the supernatural and the paranormal. However this is no mere haunted house. The evil on this island goes back centuries and the forces of darkness are preparing to attack…
Official L.H. Maynard & M.P.N. Sims Website
Official The Black Cathedral Website
Order “Black CathedralHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE
Read Reviews via Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review + The Horror Review

Jake’s Wake” by John Skipp & Cody Goodfellow. Release Date: December 30, 2008. Pastor Jake promised his followers everlasting life…he just didn’t say what kind. So when the small-town televangelist and con man climbs out of his coffin at his own wake, it becomes Judgment Day for everyone gathered to mourn his death. Jake is back, in the rotting flesh, filled with anger & vengeance, accompanied by frightening demons. What follows is a long night of endless terror; a blood-drenched rampage not even death could stop…
Official John Skipp Wikipedia Website
Official Cody Goodfellow Myspace
Order “Jake’s WakeHERE
Read Reviews via Fangoria + Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review

The Six Directions of Space” by Alastair Reynolds. Release Date: December 31, 2008. What if Genghis Khan brought the entire planet under the control of the Mongols? Where would he have gone next? A thousand years after Khan's death, Yellow Dog is the codename of a female spy working for a vast Mongol-dominated galactic empire. When she learns of anomalous events happening on the edge of civilized space, Yellow Dog puts herself forward for the most hazardous assignment of her career…

Official Alastair Reynolds Website
Order “The Six Directions of SpaceHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE

Woods and Waters Wild” by Charles de Lint. Release Date: December 31, 2008. Woods and Waters Wild is the third volume of Charles de Lint's Collected Early Stories after A Handful of Coppers and Quicksilver & Shadow. Includes stories of Angharad, Dennet & Willie, Thomas the Rhymer, and other obscurities that will be the envy of de Lint readers everywhere. Comes in two editions: 1) A Signed Fully Clothbound Hardcover. 2) A Signed Leatherbound Hardcover, housed in a custom traycase and limited to 52 copies…
Official Charles de Lint Website
Order “Woods and Waters WildHERE

Those Who Went Remain There Still” by Cherie Priest. Release Date: December 31, 2008. Heaster Wharton is dead, and his passing might mean an end to hostilities between the Manders and the Coys. But his final request is a strange one: Representatives from both families must visit a cave at the edge of Heaster’s property in the hills of Kentucky. There, he promised, they would find his last will and testament. They would also find a crippled monster that has been dreaming of meat and revenge for one hundred years…
Official Cherie Priest Website
Order “Those Who Went Remain There StillHERE
NOTE:Those Who Went Remain There Still” will be published by Subterranean Press in two editions: 1) A Fully Cloth-Bound Hardcover. 2) And a Signed & Numbered Edition with a Chapbook of additional exclusive material that is limited to 200 copies.

Kilimanjaro: A Fable of Utopia” by Mike Resnick. Release Date: December 31, 2008. Ten years after the publication of Kirinyaga, the most-awarded science fiction book in history, comes this companion novella by 5-time Hugo winner Mike Resnick: The Kikuyu tribe of East Africa attempted to create a Utopia on the terraformed planetoid Kirinyaga. Things went wrong. Now, a century later, the Maasai tribe—after studying Kirinyaga's history & mistakes—is ready to create a Maasai Utopia. This is the story of that experiment…
Official Mike Resnick Website
Order “Kilimanjaro: A Fable of UtopiaHERE
NOTE:Kilimanjaro” is limited to 1000 Signed & Numbered Copies.

Previous Spotlights:

June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008


-.- said...

Thanks again for this!

~ Popin

Anonymous said...

thank you! another great month of previews and need-to-reads!

however, steve perry should stop writing. its a one-trick pony that was someone else's trick to start with.

Mihai A. said...

Very nice spotlight again. Thanks, Robert :)

Robert said...

You're welcome everyone :) In turn, thanks for reading!!!

Tia Nevitt said...

I wonder why these don't end up in feed readers? For a long time, I thought you stopped doing them. My suspicion is that they are too long, and the feed readers skip them.

Great spotlight, as usual. Now I need to catch up on November's as well.

Robert said...

Thanks Tia! Regarding feed readers, I honestly don't know. In fact, I don't use feed readers myself and know practically nothing about them. But I'll look into it...

Unknown said...

I love the Month Spotlight. It's a great feature.

The whole urban fantasy/paranormal romance book with a girl on the cover with her back facing us with lower back tattoos is ridiculously overdone. I vow to never buy a book with a cover like that.

Liz said...

Great, great titles! What a fabulous list of books to look forward to. I have a series to tell everyone to read. Here's The trilogy's website -- it's called "Friends and Enemies" and I just finished the last book, which is "Fairest Star." These are great books! I can't wait for this guy to write more.


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Click Here To Order “The Starless Crown” by James Rollins!!!
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