Nov 28 2011 5:00pm

Fiction Affliction: December Releases in Fantasy

New releases in fantasy in December 2011

There’s a whole lot of questing going on as more than half of December’s nine fantasy releases feature a journey to save a world in peril — even heaven is under attack. The prolific James Patterson finishes up a popular YA trilogy this month, while series from P.C. Hodgell, E.E. Knight, and Michael Stackpole continue, and we find another set of stories set in Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar world.

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.

[Read about December releases in fantasy]


Witch & Wizard: The Fire, by James Patterson (Dec. 5, Little, Brown)

Whit and Wisty Allgood have sacrificed everything to lead the resistance against the merciless totalitarian regime that governs their world. Its supreme leader, The One Who Is The One, has banned everything they hold dear: books, music, art, and imagination. But the growing strength of the siblings’ magic hasn’t been enough to stop the One’s evil rampage, and now he’s executed the only family they had left. The final book in the Witch & Wizard series. Young Adult.

Honor’s Paradox, by P.C. Hodgell (Dec. 6, Baen)

Jame is one of the last of the Kencyrath line, born to battle a world-destroying Lord of Darkness and resuscitate her ancestral heritage. Jame’s youth was spent hard and low in a desert wasteland. Now she has discovered her past and her heritage as Highborn — and, with it, the power to call souls out of their bodies and slay the occasional god or two (as well as to resurrect them). First, though, Jame must survive the politics and dangers of haunted Tentir College, a school for warriors where she’s a student. At Tentir, Jame saves a young protege from possession by a powerful, evil soul in search of a body, while combating jealous students who see her as a danger to their ambition for power and want her expelled — and blinded and dead. Sixth in the Kencyrath series.

Dragon Fate, by E.E. Knight (Dec. 6, Roc)

Scattered across a continent, three dragon siblings are among the last of a dying breed—the final hope for their species’ survival. After fighting a war that cost each of them kingdoms, friends and family, and their honor and glory, they have removed themselves from the troubles of the world. But the order they fought to establish is falling apart. Ancient sorceries have been awakened. Dragons battle dragons. And men are taking up arms against their winged overlords. Now, the three must unite once more to save dragonkind from extinction before the chaos and fire of war consumes them all — and the world with them. Book six of the Age of Fire series.

The Fallen Queen, by Jane Kindred (Dec. 6, Entangled)

Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia’s father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel’sk, and all she wants is to stay alive. Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves — fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda — who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, as Anazakia must return to fight for the throne — even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved. First in the House of Arkhangel’sk series.

Under the Vale and Other Tales of Valdemar, edited by Mercedes Lackey (Dec. 6, DAW)

Under the Valeis the latest collection of stories set in the world of Valdemar. The Heralds of Valdemar are an ancient order, drawn from all across the land, from all walks of life, and at all ages, these unusual individuals are Gifted with abilities beyond those of normal men and women. They are Mindspeakers, FarSeers, Empaths, ForeSeers, Firestarters, FarSpeakers, and more. Sought and Chosen by mysterious horselike Companions, they are bonded for life to these telepathic, enigmatic creatures. Readers can travel to the world of Valdemar with Tanya Huff, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Fiona Patton, Rosemary Edghill, Judith Tarr, and others in these original stories, including a new novella from Mercedes Lackey.

Of Limited Loyalty, by Michael A. Stackpole (Dec. 6, Night Shade)

1767. In the three years since defeating the Tharyngians at Anvil Lake, the Crown Colonies of Mystria have prospered. Colonists, whether hunting for new land or the Promised Land of prophecy, have pushed beyond the bounds of charters granted by the Queen of Norisle. Some of these new communities have even had the temerity to tell the Crown they are no longer subject to its authorities. To survey the full extent of the western expansion, the Crown has sent Colonel Ian Rathfield to join Nathaniel Woods, Owen Strake, and Kamiskwa on an expedition into the Mystrian interior. They discover a land full of isolated and unique communities, each shaped in accord with the ideals of the founders. Conflicts abound among them, and old enemies show up at the least useful moments. Worse yet, lurking out there is a menace which the Twilight People only know from folklore as the Antedeluvians; and westward penetration stumbles into their lands and awakens them. Second in the Crown Colonies series.

The Emperor’s Knife, by Mazarkis Williams (Dec. 6, Night Shade)

There is a cancer at the heart of the mighty Cerani Empire: a plague that attacks young and old, rich and poor alike. Geometric patterns spread across the skin until you die in agony or become a Carrier, doing the bidding of an evil intelligence, the Pattern Master. Anyone showing the tell-tale marks is put to death; that is Emperor Beyon’s law — but now the pattern is running over the Emperor’s own arms. His body servants have been executed, he ignores his wives, but he is doomed, for soon the pattern will reach his face. While Beyon’s agents scour the land for a cure, long-planned conspiracies boil over into open violence, and the invincible Pattern Master appears from the deep desert. Now only three people stand in his way: a lost prince, a world-weary killer, and a young girl from the steppes who saw a path in a pattern once, one that might save them all.

Dragon Mound, by Richard A. Knaak (Dec. 20, Sea Lion)

More than two centuries ago, the three kingdoms of Rundin, Wallmyre, and Tepis banded together at the urging of the wizard Paulo Centuros to combat the ambitions of the sorcerer-king, Novaris. Yet, although they were triumphant and the forces of the sorcerer-king were scattered, Novaris himself was not to be found. Uncertain as to whether their foe was dead, the wizard sent forth the knight Evan Wytherling on a quest to seek the truth about Novaris, no matter how long it took. Still alive despite the great passage of time and the dark forces he has confronted during his fruitless search, Evan returns to the scene of the climactic battle and discovers that the truth may have been under his nose all this time.

Babylon Steel, by Gaie Sebold (Dec. 27, Solaris)

Babylon Steel, ex-sword-for-hire, ex-other things, runs the best brothel in Scalentine; city of many portals, two moons, and a wide variety of races, were-creatures, and religions, not to mention the occasional insane warlock. She’s not having a good week. The Vessels of Purity are protesting against brothels, women in the trade are being attacked, it’s tax time, and there’s not enough money to pay the bill. So when the mysterious Darask Fain offers her a job finding a missing girl, Babylon decides to take it. But the missing girl is not what she seems, and neither is Darask Fain.

Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. 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.

Michelle Mulford
1. DervishJ
Arkhangel’sk. ::gigglesnort::

Ahem. The Emperor's Knife sounds really good, though. Thanks for doing these posts every month; I always find something to love that I'd never heard of before.
Suzanne Johnson
2. SuzanneJohnson
@DervishJ...The Emperor's Knife does sound good. LOL. I had an eyeroll over the 'sk business too, but have actually read that book and it took me by surprise--very well done. Sort of a fantasy-urban fantasy hybrid, though. I debated where to put it.
3. OtterB
I also always find something interesting in these posts. The one that has some appeal to me this month is Babylon Steel.

Is there a link problem? When I click on the "" in the original post, it opens a tab with the November releases in science fiction. When I click to see the comments, I see both the comments and the rest of the actual post.
Suzanne Johnson
4. SuzanneJohnson
@OtterB...You're right--looks like maybe they copied and pasted last month's link. Have to see if we can get that fixed....Babylon Steel does sound interesting, and it doesn't appear to be part of an ongoing series that I've missed the first three or four of (which often seems to be the case).
5. EmmaPease
I'm looking forward to the Hodgell though I'm not sure the blurb writer has read the previous books.
Suzanne Johnson
6. SuzanneJohnson
@EmmaPease....LOL. It's the "official" blurb, so that would be either the author or editor of the book.
Kristoff Bergenholm
7. Magentawolf
I could see myself reading Babylon Steel, but I'd have to meditate on the others.
8. PhilJ
@DervishJ...I also don't get the whole 'sk thing. I mean, can't we just call them Archangels if that's what they are??? Totally ridiculous. That being said, I'd read the damn thing (because I'm a sucker for alternate stories about Heaven and Hell) if they just offered it in eBook. It's to the point now that I refuse to read a book if the publisher doesn't also offer a digital version.
Christopher Johnstone
9. CPJ
@ PhilJ

That more than anything else just convinced me I need to get an e-reader. Once readers, even a few, start to refuse to read things any other way, then a general change is clearly upon us.

It's off-topic, but I sometimes wonder vaguely if e-readers may do for reading in general what MP3s did for 'books-on-tape', i.e. make reading more convenient and (somewhat unexpectedly) more popular.

More on topic: Emperor's Knife sounds like it might be fun. Also, -'sk is all but unpronouncable. I love a good apostrophe now and then with the best of them, but yes, that goes a bit far.

Michael Ikeda
10. mikeda
In "The Fallen Queen" is there supposed to be any connection between the House of Arkhangel'sk and the Russian city of the same name?
Suzanne Johnson
11. SuzanneJohnson
Hm. Without giving too much away, yes there's a definite connection between the heavenly realm of Archangel'sk and the Russian city of Archangelsk (no apostrophe)--and with the Romanov family.
12. PhilJ
@SuzanneJohnson...Well, if there is a connection to a city of the same name (I wasn't aware of it), then that makes it less egregious.

@CPJ...I'm glad to hear you say that. I am usually treated as some destroyer of literature who isn't a serious reader because of my stance on digital only reading. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. I have read non-stop (fiction, nonfiction, and many other genres) since about the age of 8 when I discovered Choose Your Own Adventure books, haha. There used to be a time when walking into a library or bookstore made me feel giddy. I miss those times for sure. But I care about reading so much that I care about its future and there is no doubt the future of reading is in eBooks.
Suzanne Johnson
13. SuzanneJohnson
@PhilJ....I'm with you on the eReader too. I swore i'd never use mine when a friend gave me a reader for Christmas last year. Now, unless it's a favorite author I already collect and know I'll want the print book, I go to the digital version first. Not because of price but because of portability and I can read faster on them for some reason.
14. PhilJ
@SuzanneJohnson...Exactly! I've always been a pretty voracious reader, but using the Kindle app on my iPhone has increased my reading by at least 25-50%. While I was always one of those people with a beaten up paperback in my back pocket ready to pull out and read any chance I got, it can't begin to compete with using my phone to read. Read 2 paragraphs while standing in line for coffee? Done. Read a couple lines on the elevator? Done. Waiting to pick my kids up from school? Just read half a chapter. Haha, it's great! :-)

Not to mention having all 30 something books I read this year in one "library" in my pocket, plus keeping all annotations, highlights, and being able to see what other readers highlighted and found interesting? Beat that, paper!

Best part, though? Reading in the dark. The last paperback book I read was Richard Kadrey's first Sandman Slim novel. I was totally annoyed at having to find well lit areas to read in, haha. Ridiculous.

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