Jan 25 2011 6:27pm

Fiction Affliction: Diagnosing February Releases in Fantasy

New epic fantasy book releases in February 2011Fiction 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 February releases in fantasy, young adult paranormal, and science fiction. Today’s column examines new releases in FANTASY.

The Symptoms: Ravens are flying, and the weight of the world is resting on the shoulders of unlikely heroes, who must conquer their mortal enemies using ancient magic.

The Diagnosis: Nine new fantasy books take the battlefield in February, including two raven queens, five distraught kingdoms, four mysterious mages, and a stray druid.

The Cure: Search for clues in all the ancient spellbooks you can find, set out the poison raven pellets, and hope for the best.

Raven’s Quest, by Anya Bast (Feb. 1, Berkley Sensation)

This is a backlist re-release by paranormal romance author Bast, who originally published it under the name Joanna King. Once, Gallus Lucan was in line to inherit the Dragon Throne of Numia—until his future was crushed and his family slain by his malevolent uncle Magnus. Now Lucan has only one ambition: overthrow Magnus and take back what is rightfully his. Branna ta Cattia is the Raven, a high priestess who has come to Numia to defeat its tyrant. It’s a journey made on the strength of her prophetic dreams, visions of ancient rituals, sacred spells, and of a handsome stranger destined to help her—all in the name of stopping Magnus’s oppression. But Branna’s stranger is more than she expected. Romance warning!

The Sea Thy Mistress, by Elizabeth Bear (Feb. 1, Tor)

This direct sequel to Bear’s All the Windwracked Stars picks up the story fifty years after Muire went into the sea and became the new Bearer of Burdens. Cathoair, now an immortal warrior angel, has been called back to the city of Eiledon to raise his son—Muire’s son as well, cast up on shore as an infant. It is seemingly a quiet life. But deadly danger approaches—the evil goddess Heythe, who engineered the death of Valdyrgard, will force the new Bearer of Burdens to violate her oaths and bring about the final end of Valdyrgard. Unless Mingan, the gray wolf, can stop his old enemy. [Check out an excerpt of The Sea Thy Mistress right here on Tor.com.]

Blackveil, by Kristen Britain (Feb. 1, Daw)

The long-awaited sequel to Green Rider, First Rider’s Call, and The High King’s Tomb.  Once a simple student, Karigan G’ladheon finds herself in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand when she becomes a legendary Green Rider—one of the magical messengers of the king. Forced by magic to accept a dangerous fate she would never have chosen, headstrong Karigan has become completely devoted to the king and her fellow Riders.  But now, an insurrection led by dark magicians threatens to break the boundaries of ancient, evil Blackveil Forest—releasing powerful dark magics that have been shut away for a millennium.

The King of the Crags, by Stephen Deas (Feb. 1, Roc)

This is the sequel to Deas’ debut novel, The Adamantine Palace. Now, as the Realms teeter on the brink of war, the fate of humanity rests on the survival of one majestic white dragon. Prince Jehal has had his way—now his lover Zafir sits atop the Realms with hundreds of dragons and their riders at her beck and call. But Jehal’s plots are far from over, for he isn’t content to sit back and watch Zafir command the earth and sky. He wants that glory for himself—no matter who he must sacrifice to get it.

The Heroes, by Joe Abercrombie (Feb. 7, Orbit)

They say Black Dow’s killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Bremer dan Gorst, disgraced master swordsman, has sworn to reclaim his stolen honor on the battlefield. Obsessed with redemption and addicted to violence, he’s far past caring how much blood gets spilled in the attempt. Prince Calder isn’t interested in honour, and still less in getting himself killed. All he wants is power, and he’ll tell any lie, use any trick, and betray any friend to get it. Curnden Craw, the last honest man in the North, has gained nothing from a life of warfare but swollen knees and frayed nerves. He hardly even cares who wins any more, he just wants to do the right thing. Three men. One battle. No Heroes.

The Desert of Souls, by Howard Andrew Jones (Feb. 15, Thomas Dunne)

Sword and sorcery sweep into ancient Arabia in this debut novel. In 8th century Baghdad, a stranger pleads with the vizier to safeguard the bejeweled tablet he carries, but he is murdered before he can explain. Charged with solving the puzzle, the scholar Dabir soon realizes that the tablet may unlock secrets hidden within the lost city of Ubar, the Atlantis of the sands. When the tablet is stolen from his care, Dabir and Captain Asim are sent after it, and into a life and death chase through the ancient Middle East. Stopping the thieves—a cunning Greek spy and a fire wizard of the Magi—requires a desperate journey into the desert, but first Dabir and Asim must find the lost ruins of Ubar and contend with a mythic, sorcerous being that has traded wisdom for the souls of men since the dawn of time. 

The Twilight of Kerberos: Trials of Trass Kathra, by Mike Wild (Feb. 15, Abaddon)

One year after Kali Hooper defeated the Pale Lord, Bastian Redigor lives on in the body of Jakub Freel. The mysterious entity known as the Hel’ss, meanwhile, moves closer to Twilight, welcomed as a herald of their Ascension by the spellbound Final Faith. Only Kali and her friends know the deadly reality of what the Hel’ss will bring but they have been declared outlaws, hunted by the Order of the Swords of Dawn and the sinister spheres, the Eyes of The Lord. So begins Kali’s penultimate adventure, a quest far beyond the Stormwall to the mythical Trass Kathra, the Island of the Lost.

The Republic of Thieves, by Scott Lynch (Feb. 22, Gollancz)

Having pulled off the greatest heist of their career, con artist 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. Magi political elections are imminent, and the factions are in need of a pawn. If Locke agrees to play the role, sorcery will be used to purge the venom from his body, though the process will be so excruciating he may well wish for death. 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, the love of his life. U.K. release.

The Raven Queen, by Jules Watson (Feb. 22, Spectra)

An Irish legend comes to life in the story of Maeve, the raven queen, who is as fierce as she is captivating. She was born to be a pawn, used to secure her father’s royal hold on his land. She was forced to advance his will through marriage—her own desires always thwarted. But free-spirited Maeve will no longer endure the schemes of her latest husband, Conor, the ruler of Ulster. And when her father’s death puts her homeland at the mercy of its greedy lords and Conor’s forces, Maeve knows she must at last come into her own power to save it. With secret skill and daring, Maeve proves herself the equal of any warrior on the battlefield. With intelligence and stealth, she learns the strategies—and sacrifices—of ruling a kingdom through treacherous alliances. And to draw on the dangerous magic of her country’s oldest gods, Maeve seeks out the wandering druid Ruan, whose unexpected passion and strange connection to the worlds of spirit imperil everything Maeve thought true about herself.

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

Adam Whitehead
1. Werthead
Er, THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES is not coming out in February, not in the UK or anywhere else. Last info I had (in October) was that Scott still had a further set of revisions and drafts to hand in. The current very rough date is late 2011, I believe, assuming the final draft of the book is turned in soon.

That said, some online sellers still have the information up and Gollancz's catalogue last year included it for February, but it's not happening. When it does, the Internet will hear about it :-)
Melissa Shumake
2. cherie_2137
"thieves" definitely shows up on amazon for pre-order with a release date of 2/17...
Gabriele Campbell
3. G-Campbell
Amazon estimates release dates by throwing a dart at a wall calendar. :)

I'm missing Adrian Tchaikovsky's The Sea Watch on this list, coming out Feb 4th. He's kept to schedule so far so I think that information is correct.
Paige Morgan
4. Paige Morgan
More interesting is that Orion/Gollancz, the publishers, list the date as February 2011, though they don't specify the 11th.


Then again, none of their other publications specify the precise date of release either.

I am very, very, very, cautiously optimistic.
Suzanne Johnson
5. SuzanneJohnson
I researched it as well, guys, and will have to say it's....clear as mud. I finally included it (after taking it out and putting it back in several times) based on its availability for preorder on Amazon. I heard October or November for the U.S. release, but even that's not definite. Only thing I know to do is preorder it on Amazon and see what happens....
Adam Whitehead
6. Werthead
Sorry, but I spoke to Scott's editor in late October and they had not received the final manuscript (Scott is an American author but his primary publisher is his British one, Gollancz, who re-let the rights to Bantam for the American publication). Even if they did the very next day (and they didn't) it wouldn't have been possible to release the book that fast. Scott sells okay but he isn't exactly Pat Rothfuss where sales demand a 3-month turnaround of his books.

Amazon are still showing the wrong date and Gollancz's catalogue from last year was extremely optimistic. But Gollancz's UK publicist has confirmed the book isn't out next month:


the hardback is showing as November on Amazon. There's an erroneous paperback still showing though as Feb...

There's also no way this is coming out in February since bloggers and reviewers would have received ARCs by now.
Gerd K
7. Kah-thurak
Steven Erikson's The Crippled God just might have been included here ;-)

"There's also no way this is coming out in February since bloggers and reviewers would have received ARCs by now."

Now that would be something wouldnt it? A publisher ignoring the all importand Blogger&Reviewer scene and not sending them their vaunted "ARCs". Sadly, this scenario is pretty unlikely.
Adam Whitehead
8. Werthead
Good call. The final volume in the MALAZAN series should be front-and-center on this list. I'd also point out that David Wingrove's long-awaited revamp of his CHUNG KUO series is also getting underway with the UK publication of SON OF HEAVEN, the new first book in the series at the start of February (as a limited edition; the first mass-edition comes out in March though).

As for ARCs, there are quite a few authors big enough not to warrant them (I wouldn't expect to see any for A DANCE WITH DRAGONS or A MEMORY OF LIGHT, for example, and there haven't been any for THE CRIPPLED GOD save a couple of high-traffic bloggers). Scott Lynch isn't anywhere near that league yet.
Paige Morgan
9. redhead
I was a little involved in the twitter kerfuffle (twifuffle?) last night regarding hatred towards authors and pubs when they keep changing release dates.

I'm not mad at Lynch or the publishers. I just wish the publishers (and especially Amazon!!!) would update their release info and quit teasing me with a February release date, or just change the release date to "TBD" so I know a release date hasn't been set yet.

dear pubs & amazon: It's OK to tell us you don't know everything.
Suzanne Johnson
10. SuzanneJohnson
Thanks for the additions--between changing release dates and multiple pubs lists, these monthly lists are a bear. Always going to inadvertently leave things out that should be "front and center"--that's what comments are for, right? *nods head*
Gabriele Campbell
11. G-Campbell
Tchaikovky's The Sea Watch is definitely going to come out on schedule. Amazon.de just sent me a mail that the little darling is on the way to me - a week early, like most of the times there isn't an embargo on the release date.
Kyle Kinnear
12. Xelun
Isn't Crippled God set for March 1? Or did I miss something and Amazon's release date is wrong for that too.
Chris Hawks
13. SaltManZ
@12: The Crippled God will be available in Canada and the UK in February.
Adam Whitehead
14. Werthead
I also received an email from Scott's editor last night confirming that Gollancz are not now expecting to publish THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES until November 2011 at the earliest. Apparently their website is suffering from bugs that are preventing changes being made to a few of their pages. If you wanted to contact Gollancz's publicity or editorial departments, I'm sure they would be happy to confirm.
Iris Creemers
15. SamarDev
@12: and in the Netherlands as well, I guess somewhere in the last week of february. The bookstore where I pre-ordered had a date in that week, but said they often get the books earlier so then I get mine as well. Yeay!

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