Twenty-two new fantasies bring the magic back to the world in July, including an army of new series starts as well as series additions from Django Wexler (Shadow Campaigns), Anthony Ryan (Raven’s Shadow), Gillian Philip (Rebel Angels), Adrian Tchaikovsky (Shadows of the Apt), Steven Erikson (Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach), Max Gladstone (Craft Sequence), John Gwynne (Faithful and the Fallen), Aaron Pogue (Godlanders War), and James Maxwell (Evermen Saga).
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.
Erenthrall, sprawling city of light and magic. At the heart of the city is the Nexus, the hub of a magical ley line system that powers Erenthrall. The Prime Wielders control the Nexus with secrecy and lies, but it is the Baron who controls the Wielders. The Baron also controls the rest of the Baronies. The rebel Kormanley seek to destroy the ley system and the Baron’s chokehold. Two people find themselves caught in the chaos that sweeps through Erenthrall and threatens the entire world: Kara Tremain, a young Wielder coming into her power, who discovers the forbidden truth behind the magic that powers the ley lines; and Alan Garrett, a recruit in the Baron’s guard, who learns that the city holds more mysteries and more danger than he could possibly have imagined, and who holds a secret within himself that could mean Erenthrall’s destruction, or its salvation.
The ailing King of the Vordan lies on his deathbed. When he dies, his daughter, Raesinia Orboan, will become the first Queen Regnant in centuries, and a target for the ambitious men who seek to control her. Most dangerous of these is Duke Orlanko, Minister of Information and master of the secret police. He knows an arcane secret that puts Raesinia completely at his mercy. Raesinia is determined to find a way to break herself, and her country, out of Orlanko’s iron grip. She finds unlikely allies in the returning war hero Janus bet Vhalnich and his loyal deputies, Captain Marcus d’Ivoire and Lieutenant Winter Ihernglass. Marcus and Winter help Janus and Raesinia set in motion events that could free Vordan from Orlanko’s influence. They intend to protect the kingdom with every power they can command, earthly or otherwise.
Vaelin Al Sorna, warrior of the Sixth Order, called Darkblade, called Hope Killer and witness to the greatest defeat of his nation: King Janus’s vision of a Greater Unified Realm drowned in the blood of brave men fighting for a cause Vaelin alone knows was forged from a lie. He comes home, determined to kill no more. Named Tower Lord of the Northern Reaches by King Janus’s grateful heir. Many died in King Janus’s wars, but many survived, and Vaelin is a target. The Faith has been sundered, and many have no doubt who their leader should be. The new King is weak, but his sister is strong. Something moves against the Realm and Vaelin will find to his great regret that when faced with annihilation, even the most reluctant hand must eventually draw a sword.
Young Adult. It’s tough being the foretold savior of your race. Rory MacGregor, kept a virtual prisoner in his own father’s dun and hunted by the Sithe queen, needs a break now and then, and what better fun than tearing the Veil no one else can tear and escaping to the Otherworld? In that dangerous Otherworld, Hannah Falconer is as trapped by circumstance as the strange wild Sithe boy whose horse nearly kills her. When Rory tricks her into crossing the Veil and entering his world, she’s sure it can’t be any worse than her usual home life. Meanwhile, Seth MacGregor is fighting to keep his clan safe from the malevolent queen Kate. When an attack comes after years of stalemate, he is shocked to discover who is leading it, and who else is conspiring against him. (U.S.)
Young Adult. On Earth, the Wisdom family has always striven to be more normal than normal. But Simon Wisdom, the youngest child, is far from normal: he can see the souls of the dead. And now the ghosts of children are begging him to help them, as they face something worse than death. The only problem is, he doesn’t know how. In a far-away land of magic and legends, Matyas has dragged himself up from the gutter and inveigled his way into the Wizards’ college. In time, he will become more powerful than all of them, but will his quest blind him to the needs of others? For Matyas can also hear the children crying. But neither can save the children alone, for the child eater is preying on two worlds.
The Empire stands victorious over its enemies at last. With her chief rival cast into the abyss, Empress Seda now faces the truth of what she has cost the world in order to win the war. The Seal has been shattered, and the Worm stirs towards the light for the first time in a thousand years. Already it is striking at the surface, voraciously consuming everything its questing tendrils touch. Faced with this threat, Seda knows that only the most extreme of solutions can lock the Worm back in the dark once again. But if she will go to such appalling lengths to save the world from the Worm, then who will save the world from her?
Young Adult. Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. When the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. He’s persistent, and darkly attractive, and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull. Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. He finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease. When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, they realize that their best chance at survival, and vengeance, might be to join forces. They learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.
Legend has it that Paxon Leah is descended from the royals and warriors who once ruled the Highlands and waged war with magical weapons. Paxon leads a quiet life, until circumstances overturn his world, and rewrite his destiny. When his young sister is abducted by a stranger, Paxon races to her rescue. He is stunned to discover powerful magic unleashed within him, and within his ancestors’ ancient blade. Paxon must master it quickly because his nearly fatal clash with the dark sorcerer Arcannen won’t be his last. He journeys to the keep of the fabled Druid order to learn the secrets of magic. Treachery is afoot deep in the Druids’ ranks. To halt an insidious plot that threatens not only the Druid order but all the Four Lands, Paxon Leah must summon the profound magic in his blood and the legendary mettle of his elders in the battle fate has chosen him to fight.
In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight, but she doesn’t, and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom, to a prince she has never met. On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive, and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets, even as she finds herself falling in love.
The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1)—Erika Johansen (July 8, Harper)
On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. The quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun.
Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, along with their suitably phlegmatic manservant, Emancipor Reese, make gentle landing upon a peaceful beach, beneath a quaint village at the foot of a majestic castle. There they make acquaintance with the soft-hearted and generous folk of Spendrugle, which lies at the mouth of the Blear River and falls under the benign rule of the Lord of Wurms in his lovely keep. Spendrugle’s memorable residents, include the man who should have stayed dead, the woman whose prayers should never have been answered, the tax collector everyone ignores, the ex-husband militiaman who never married, the beachcomber who lives in his own beard, the now singular lizard cat who used to be plural, and the girl who likes to pee in your lap. Hovering over all, the denizen of the castle keep, Lord—Ah, but there lies this tale. (U.S.)
On the island of Kavekana, Kai builds gods to order, then hands them to others to maintain. Her creations aren’t conscious and lack their own wills and voices, but they accept sacrifices, and protect their worshippers from other gods, perfect vehicles for Craftsmen and Craftswomen operating in the divinely controlled Old World. When Kai sees one of her creations dying and tries to save her, she’s grievously injured, then sidelined from the business entirely, her near-suicidal rescue attempt offered up as proof of her instability. But when Kai gets tired of hearing her boss, her coworkers, and her ex-boyfriend call her crazy, and starts digging into the reasons her creations die, she uncovers a conspiracy of silence and fear, which will crush her, if Kai can’t stop it first.
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand. Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge. Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could. But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began, in twists, and traps, and tragedy.
Falcio is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are traveling Magisters upholding King’s Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom, and impaled their king’s head on a spike. Now Tristia is on the verge of collapse and the barbarians are sniffing at the borders. The Dukes bring chaos to the land, while the Greatcoats are scattered far and wide, reviled as traitors, their legendary coats in tatters. All they have left is the promise they made to King Paelis, to carry out one final mission. But if they have any hope of fulfilling the king’s dream, the divided Greatcoats must reunite, or they will also have to stand aside as they watch their world burn. (U.S.)
War has erupted in the Banished Lands as the race for power intensifies. Corban flees his homeland searching for peace, but he soon discovers that there is no haven in the west as the agents of Rhin and roaming bands of giants hound his every step. Veradis leaves the battleground and rushes to his King’s side. But he has witnessed both combat and betrayal and his duty weighs heavily upon him. Maquin seeks only revenge, but pirate slavers and the brutal world of pit-fighting stand in his way. Nathair becomes embroiled in the wars of the west as Queen Rhin marches against King Owain. The need to find the cauldron of the giants drives him on. Sides are chosen and oaths will be fulfilled or broken in a land where hell has broken loose. (U.S. Release)
These six stories dive deep into childhood fairy tales, swap spit with Lovecraftian monstrosities, rail against the world from atop a burning soapbox, offer a means to influence people and make friends via a plate of cookies, and warn of the danger that lies in inviting dreamers to sit at your table. These are stories of liars, heartbreakers, and fabulists; the way they see the world is undoubtedly the way it truly is. At least one sentence of the previous paragraph is true. Welcome to the Court of Lies. The Queen suggests you place your trust in her.(Digital)
This volume gathers thirteen distinctive stories, essays, and novellas. The collection opens with “A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong,” a story of music and murder set against a complex mentor/pupil relationship, and closes with the novella “Blue & Gold,” which features what may be the most beguiling opening lines in recent memory. In “A Rich, Full Week,” an itinerant “wizard” undergoes a transformative encounter with a member of the “restless dead.” “Purple & Black,” is an epistolary tale about a man who inherits the most hazardous position imaginable: Emperor. “Amor Vincit Omnia” recounts a confrontation with a mass murderer who may have mastered an impossible form of magic. Rounding out the volume are three essays: “On Sieges,” “Cutting Edge Technology,” and “Rich Men’s Skins.”
Richard Rosacher is a young medical doctor yearning for a better life when he is attacked and injected with a sample of Griaule’s blood. Rosacher uses more of the blood to create the drug mab, which brings him power and wealth while serving Griaule’s greater plans. Following him through several decades and almost as many changes in fate, the novel questions the role of ambition, placing Rosacher in juxtaposition to his various partners and rivals, from his early lover Ludie to the benevolent King Carlos. The bittersweet story never allows Rosacher the option of happiness, but happiness is not something he seeks. Instead, the question before Rosacher is whether his ambition and success can bring him contentment.
The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation, Ricoletta’s top-secret historical research facility. When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them. Knowledge is power, and power must be preserved at all costs.
Corin Hugh, left to die in the tomb of a dead god, now carries with him the burning memory of King Oberon’s betrayal at the hands of the tyrant god Ephitel. He also carries a secret weapon, Godslayer, the one sword in all Hurope that can bring Ephitel to his knees. He will need more than just a magic sword to draw Ephitel down from his throne. As Corin searches for allies in what may become his last, desperate stand against the gods, his quest takes him into the heart of two ancient orders: a reclusive race of druids and the long-lost elves of old Gesoelig. Corin must swallow his pride and look to his fellow humans for help as he plots his revenge against Ephitel. All his plans may crumble to ashes if Justicar Jessamine, Ephitel’s ruthless but beautiful champion, has her way.
With the fate of their homeland still in jeopardy, siblings Ella and Miro must face the Primate’s evil as he discovers a new technique: a way to extract essence from human blood. The Primate has been temporarily defeated, but his home was once inhabited by the Evermen, and their ancient secrets still remain there. As the mysterious Evrin sets out to destroy everything he can, the Primate stumbles upon an ancient book that tells of a hidden relic with unfathomable power, and he will stop at nothing to find it. Realizing the solution to defeating the Primate and saving the Empire is tied to the hidden relic, Ella, Miro, Killian, and the desert prince Ilathor must race to reach the relic before the Primate, or suffer disastrous consequences. (U.S.)
Two years have passed since the war. The Primate is dead, the machines at Stonewater have been destroyed, yet without essence the Empire’s economy has collapsed. In the midst of the growing unrest, Miro struggles to balance his life with Amber against his resolve to keep threats to the Empire at bay. His sister Ella helps to build the machinery the Empire desperately needs, but she longs to find Killian and believes his powers will be needed in the conflict to come. News of a wedding brings a much-needed ray of hope to the weary people. But as citizens and leaders gather from afar for the festivities, an evil threat shatters the fragile peace: one of the Evermen has returned. And he will not rest until he has completely destroyed the humans he despises. (U.S.)