Nineteen new fantasies march forth to save Middle Earth (or wherever) this month, including new titles from David Drake, Kim Stanley Robinson, S.M. Stirling, Joseph Delaney, Stephen R. Lawhead, Neil Gaiman, Tamora Pierce, Rowena Cory Daniells, Elizabeth Bear, and Rachel Swirsky.
Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.
Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
Governor Saxa, of the great city of Carce, a fantasy analog of ancient Rome, is rusticating at his villa. When Saxa’s son Varus accompanies Corylus on a visit to the household of his father, Crispus, a retired military commander, Saxa graciously joins the party with his young wife Hedia, daughter Alphena, making it a major social triumph for Crispus. On the way to the event, something goes amiss. Varus, who has been the conduit for supernatural visions before, experiences another: giant crystalline worms devouring the entire world. The major characters are each involved in supernatural events caused by a struggle between two powerful magicians, one of whom wants to destroy the world and the other who wishes to stop him.
There is Thorn, a shaman himself. He lives to pass down his wisdom and his stories, to teach those who would follow in his footsteps. There is Heather, the healer who, in many ways, holds the clan together. There is Elga, an outsider and the bringer of change. And then there is Loon, the next shaman, who is determined to find his own path. But in a world so treacherous, that journey is never simple, and where it may lead is never certain.
Rudi Mackenzie has won the battle that expelled the enemy from the new High Kingdom of Montival. Now he must free the people who live in the state once known as Idaho from occupation by the legions of the Church Universal and Triumphant and pursue them to their lair over the mountains. There he will finally confront the forces behind the Church, the Powers of the Void. The Powers of the Void are malevolent and infinitely patient, and the struggle is one that involves the entire world. They threaten Rudi not only in the present, but also in the future represented by his children, Órlaith and John. As his heir Princess Órlaith grows up in the shadow of her famous father, she also realizes that the enemy will do anything to see that she does not live to fulfill her parents’ dream.
This is a world dying. A world where wild magic leaks from the corpses of rotting gods, desperate tyrants battle over fading resources, impassive shapeshifters marshal beasts of enormous size and startling intelligence, and ravenous demons infest the northern mountains. A world where the only difference between a hero and a killer lies in the ability to justify dark deeds. But even in this world, pockets of resistance remain. When two aging warriors save the life of a young rebel, it proves the foundation for an unlikely fellowship. A fellowship united against tyranny, yet composed of self-righteous outlaws, crippled turncoats and amoral mercenaries. This is the Age of Ruin and there are no heroes.
Middle Grade. Alice is the most powerful witch the county has ever seen. She may one day be the most evil. But Alice is also the best friend, and true love, of Tom Ward. Together they work to defeat the Fiend, the world’s greatest evil, once and for all. They have nearly everything they need, all except a blade hidden in the Dark, the Fiend’s domain. So Alice ventures there to find it. She faces the most terrifying creatures in existence. And she once again battles old enemies who bear grudges: Bony Lizzie, Bloodeye, and more. And there’s something Tom didn’t tell her. To vanquish the Fiend, Tom must sacrifice the person he loves most. Alice is hunting for the very blade that will eventually kill her. U.S.
Kit, Mina, Gianni, Cass, Haven, and Giles have gathered in Mina’s 16th-century coffee house and are united in their determination to find a path back to the Spirit Well. Yet, with their shadow lamps destroyed and key pieces of the map still missing, the journey will be far more difficult than they imagine. And when one of their own disappears with the Sir Henry’s cryptic Green Book, they no longer know who to trust. The Zetetic Society has uncovered a terrifying secret which, if proven, will rock the very foundations of Creation. The quest for answers is no longer limited to recovering an unknown treasure. The fate of the universe depends on unraveling the riddle of the Skin Map.
In the fog-enshrouded peaks of the island nation of Nehan, Ran, a newly-minted shadow warrior is set loose on a musha shugyo, a wandering quest, whereby he must travel alone and hone his skills. Journeying aboard a merchant vessel, Ran hears tales of a mysterious lord believed to have the dead for his servants. Soon these tales prove all too real as Ran comes to the aid of Jysal, a beautiful sorceress, whose undeveloped power gives her the ability to heal a land or destroy it. But the Lord Kan-Gul also covets Jysal’s power. And when Kan-Gul sends a army of the undead to take Jysal by force, Ran is faced with the ultimate warrior’s choice: save himself, or face down a horde of enemies that cannot be killed for the simple reason that they are already dead.
Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone are a romantic couple and partners in crime. Persimmon is a poet from a well-to-do family, who found herself looking for adventure, while Imago is a thief in his ninth decade who is double-cursed, and his body has not aged in nearly seventy years. Together, their services and wanderlust have taken them into places better left unseen, and against odds best not spoken about. Now, they find themselves looking to get away, to the edge of the world, with Persimmon pregnant with their child, and the most feared duo of assassins hot on their trail. However, all is never what it seems, and a sordid adventure, complete with magic scrolls, gangs of thieves, and dragons both eastern and western-is at hand.
Middle Grade. “I bought the milk,” said my father. “I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: T h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.” “Hullo,”I said to myself. “That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened.” Find out just how odd things get in this story of time travel and breakfast cereal. While picking up milk for his children’s cereal, a father is abducted by aliens and finds himself on a wild adventure through time and space.
Middle Grade. The fourth volume in Jon Scieszka’s Guys Read anthology series for tween boys, features ten new tales of science fiction and fantasy from authors including Rick Riordan, who has written an all-new Percy Jackson tale, Tom Angleberger of Origami Yoda fame, Newbery medalist Rebecca Stead, Shannon Hale, D. J. MacHale, Eric Nylund, Kenneth Oppel, Neal Shusterman, Shaun Tan, and the late Ray Bradbury.
In A Shattered Empire, the Shōgun Yoritomo is assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko. The threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously. In A Dark Legacy, Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. Yukiko is blinded by rage over her father’s death. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. In A Gathering Storm, Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire.
For more than a year Royce Melborn has tried to forget Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved him and his partner Hadrian Blackwater from certain death. Unable to get her out of his mind, the two thieves return to Medford but receive a very different reception, Gwen refuses to see them. The victim of abuse by a powerful noble, she suspects that Royce will ignore any danger in his desire for revenge. By turning the thieves away, Gwen hopes to once more protect them. What she doesn’t realize is what the two are capable of, but she’s about to find out.
Young Adult. On their way to the first Circle temple in Gyongxi, mages Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy pay a visit to the emperor’s summer palace. Although treated like royalty when they first arrive, the mages soon discover that the emperor plans to invade Gyongxi, posing a fatal threat to the home temple of the Living Circle religion. Accompanied by one of the emperor’s prize captives, the three mages rush to Gyongxi to warn its citizens of the impending attack. With the imperials hot on their trail, Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy must quickly help the country prepare for battle. But even with the help of new allies, will their combined forces be enough to fight the imperial army and win the war?
The story of Byron, Fyn and Piro picks up immediately where the cliff-hanging ending of The Usurper let off. When Cobalt stole the Rolencian throne, Byren, Fyn and Piro were lucky to escape with their lives, now they’ve rallied and set out to avenge their parents’ murder. Byren is driven to defeat Cobalt and reclaim the crown, but at what cost? Fyn has sworn to serve Byren’s interests but his loyalty is tested when he realises he loves Byren’s betrothed. And Piro never wanted to win a throne, now she holds the fate of a people in her hands.
Altapasaeda, capital of the Castoval, is about to be besieged by its own king. Where else would somewhat reformed thief Easie Damasco be but trapped within the city’s walls? The Castovalian defenders are left with one desperate option. Far in the northern lands of Shoan, rebels have set up the young prince Malekrin as a figurehead. The prince must be persuaded to join forces. All hope lies with Damasco and his sticky-fingered approach to problem solving, along with his long suffering partner, the gentle giant Saltlick. This time it’s a human being that needs stealing, with his own desires and opinions, and events only grow more complicated as Damasco realizes that he and the rebellious young prince have more in common that either would admit.
Captain Merros Dulver is the first in many lifetimes to find a path beyond the great mountains known as the Seven Forges and encounter the half-forgotten race who live there. It would appear that they were expecting him. As he returns home he starts to wonder whether his discovery has been such a good thing. For the gods of this lost race are the gods of war, and their memories of that far-off cataclysm have not faded. The people of Fellein have live with legends for many centuries. To their far north, the Blasted Lands, a legacy of an ancient time of cataclysm, are vast, desolate and impassable, but that doesn’t stop the occasional expedition into their fringes in search of any trace of the ancients who had once lived there, and oft-rumored riches.
Middle Grade. In a magical land called Ellegandia, a young boy named Promi scrapes by, stealing pies, cakes and sweets to survive. But little does he know that his country is a pawn in an ages-old war between good and evil, battled both in the spirit realm and in the human world. Harboring secrets of his own, Promi teams up with a courageous girl named Atlanta and the two vow to save their land, and each other, no matter the cost. But their vow has greater repercussions than they ever could imagine, in fact, it may just bring about the creation of Atlantis, an island cut off from the rest of the world, where magic reigns supreme.
Bijou the Artificer is a Wizard of Messaline, the City of Jackals. She and her partner, and rival, Kaulas the Necromancer, along with the martial Prince Salih, comprise the Bey’s elite band of trouble-solving adventurers. But Messaline is built on the ruins of a still more ancient City of Jackals. So when two foreign Wizards and a bard from the mysterious western isles cross the desert in pursuit of a sorcerer intent on plundering the deadly artifacts of lost Erem, Bijou and her companions must join their hunt. The quest will take them through strange passages, beneath the killing light of alien suns, with the price of failure the destruction of every land.
How the World Became Quiet: Myths of the Past, Present and Future—Rachel Swirsky (September 30, Subterranean)
After a powerful sorceress is murdered, she’s summoned over the centuries to witness devastating changes to the land where she was born. A woman who lives by scavenging corpses in the Japanese suicide forest is haunted by her dead lover. A man searches for the memory that will overwrite his childhood abuse. Helios is left at the altar. The world is made quiet by a series of apocalypses.