Fiction Affliction: Diagnosing November Releases in Epic Fantasy

Fiction Affliction is a monthly column written by Royal Street author Suzanne Johnson that examines upcoming releases by genre or sub-genre. Check back every day this week for coverage of November releases in urban fantasy & paranormal romance, young adult paranormal, and science fiction. Today’s column examines new releases in EPIC FANTASY.

The Symptoms: Vampires, griffins and werewolves have been seen skulking through secret passages underneath castles as wounded warriors frantically try to discern friends from enemies (never mind frenemies).

The Diagnosis: Thirteen new fantasy books rise from the misty hills in November, including seven battle-weary warriors (both male and female), two necromancers, two sets of vampiric creatures, and two shapeshifters—all battling secret conspiracies and in a race to control the future of the empires.

The Cure: If your kingdom’s in ruins, go underground—preferably with a warrior of noble birth and the opposite gender—and scout out the perfect allies. Beware of orc-like cave dwellers with fangs.

The Horns of Ruin, by Tim Akers (Nov. 2, Pyr)
Eva Forge is the last paladin of a dead god: Morgan, god of battle and champion of the Fraterdom, who was assassinated by his jealous brother. Eva was the last child dedicated to the Cult of Morgan, forsaken by her parents and forgotten by her family. Now she watches as her new family, her Cult, crumbles around her. When a series of kidnappings and murders makes it clear someone is trying to hasten the death of the Cult of Morgan, Eva must seek out unexpected allies and unwelcome answers in the city of Ash.

Jeweled, by Anya Bast (Nov. 2, Berkley Heat)
A new fantasy series from bestselling author Bast finds mage Evangeline able to manipulate emotion as she reaches a place of honor in the Court of Edaeii. But she and her rival, Anatol, find themselves on the run and sheltered by revolutionary Gregorio. Which one will win Evangeline’s heart—or does she have to choose? Romance alert!

Wolfsbane, by Patricia Briggs (Nov. 2, Ace)
In book four of Briggs’ Sianim series, shapeshifter Aralorn returns to the home of her nobleman father after his death—only to learn she’s been set up and her father bespelled. Suddenly, the mercenary finds herself hunted by a creature that looks like her father, the Lyon of Lambshold, but who houses a deadly black magic.

Wicked Highlander, by Donna Grant (Nov. 2, St. Martin’s)
Grant’s third Dark Sword novel finds Quinn, the most reckless and fierce of the MacLeod brothers, a prisoner of the god inside him, tormented by his inability to save his family from slaughter. His salvation might come in the form of Druid-raised Marcail, filled with ancient magic but the bait controlled by Quinn’s enemies.

Towers of Midnight, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Nov. 2, Tor)
Thirteenth in the Wheel of Time series and the second of three novels based on materials the late Robert Jordan left behind after his death in 2007, Towers of Midnight pulls together many threads of the Pattern as the Last Battle begins and the sun begins to set on the Third Age. Perrin Aybara is now hunted by specters from his past: Whitecloaks, a slayer of wolves, and the responsibilities of leadership. All the while, an unseen foe is slowly pulling a noose tight around his neck. To prevail, he must seek answers in Tel’aran’rhiod and find a way—at long last—to master the wolf within him or lose himself to it forever.

The Habitation of the Blessed, by Catherynne M. Valente (Nov. 2, Night Shade)
Hugo and World Fantasy Award nominee Valente re-imagines the tales of Prester John, the imaginary utopia described by an anonymous, 12th century document that captured the imagination of the medieval world and drove hundreds of lost souls to seek out its secrets, inspiring explorers, missionaries, and kings for centuries. The Habitation of the Blessed recounts the fragmented narratives found within these volumes, revealing the life of a priest named John and his rise to power in this country of impossible richness.

The Broken Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin (Nov. 3, Orbit)
In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a strange homeless man on an impulse. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city, and Oree’s guest is at the heart of it. Second in the Inheritance Kingdoms series after The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

Surrender to the Will of the Night, by Glen Cook (Nov. 23, Tor)
In this third installment of the Instrumentalities of the Night series, Piper Hecht’s first and greatest secret is that he knows how to kill gods. What’s not a secret is that he knows how to win wars—and for that skill he’s a wanted by enemies who want to kill him and supposed friends who want to use him. As he’s pulled into the fight against the dark god Kharoukle The Windwalker and the crusade against the Praman, the world around him falters.

Above His Proper Station, by Lawrence Watt-Evans (Nov. 23, Tor)
In this sequel to 2009’s A Young Man Without Magic, simple scholar Anrel Murau continues his secret life as the revolutionary Alvos the Orator—the Empire’s most wanted man. Broke and on the run, Anrel is forced to seek refuge in the Pensioner’s Quarter, a den of thieves, murderers and con men. Barely scraping out an existence on the fringe of respectable society, Anrel never forgets his demands for justice, nor the love of the woman he left behind.

The Bone Palace, by Amanda Downum (Nov. 30, Orbit)
In this sequel to The Drowning City and the second in the Necromancer Chronicles, Isyllt Iskaldur must draw on her many talents (necromancer, spy, and investigator) to uncover the threat that is killing her people. When a prostitute dies carrying a royal signet, her investigation leads to desecrated tombs beneath the palace and the lightless vaults of the vampiric vrikoloi.

King’s Wrath, by Fiona McIntosh (Nov. 30, Eos)
In the conclusion to the Valisar Trilogy, barbarian king Loethar’s past comes back to haunt him as the Valisars who escaped slaughter plot an uprising and king-in-exile Leonel and his brother Piven have claims of their own. The efforts of all three to claim Penraven once and for all, however, maybe be in vain as the true heir to the Valisar Legacy comes home to claim her crown.

Law of the Broken Earth, by Rachel Neumeier (Nov. 30, Orbit)
Griffins and humans will meet in the final battle as this book ends the Griffin Mage Trilogy. In Feierabiand, in the wide green Delta, far from the burning heat of the griffin’s desert, Mienthe’s peaceful life has been shaken. Tan—clever, cynical, and an experienced spy—has brought a deadly secret out of the neighboring country of Linularinum. Now, as three countries and two species rush toward destruction, can Mienthe find a safe path through a world of deadly secrets?

Shadowheart, by Tad Williams (Nov. 30, DAW)
In this long-awaited concluding novel in Tad Williams’ epic Shadowmarch series, Southmarch Castle is about to be caught between two implacable enemies, the ancient, immortal Qar and the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis, as its young defenders, Princess Briony and Prince Barrick, are trapped far away from home and fighting for their lives. Now, something powerful and terrible is awakening underneath Southmarch Castle. Can Barrick and Briony, along with a tiny handful of allies, find a way to save their world and prevent the rise of a terrible new age of unending darkness?

Urban fantasy author Suzanne Johnson is a bonafide book geek. Her new urban fantasy series, scheduled to begin with the release of Royal Street in April 2012 by Tor Books, is set in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Find Suzanne on Twitter and Facebook.


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