Fiction Affliction: Diagnosing April Releases in 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 April releases in science fiction, urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and science fiction. Today’s column examines new releases in FANTASY.

The Symptoms: In the quiet blush of April, we hear an infant cry, a clash of swords as nations collide, the whisper of a bow strung taut—and a ruffling of pages as new fantasy series begin.

The Diagnosis: Thirteen new fantasies spring up in April, including a brewing war between the Free Cities and the Severed Throne, rising trouble from the Bourne, and alchemy with a French twist.

The Cure: Join Frodo under the tree for a long read as favorite stories continue while new series kick off from Daniel Abraham, Raymond E. Feist, Douglas Hulick, and Peter Orullian.


Read summaries of April fantasy releases

Worlds of Fantasy: The Best of Fantasy Magazine (April 5, Prime)

This anthology contains some of the best stories from the first two years of Fantasy Magazine, with contributions from Jeffrey Ford, Lisa Mantchev, Holly Philips, Ekaterina Sedia, Catherynne M. Valente and more.

Among Thieves, by Douglas Hulick (April 5, Roc)

Drothe has been a member of the Kin for years, rubbing elbows with thieves and murderers in the employ of a crime lord while smuggling relics on the side. But when an ancient book falls into his hands, Drothe finds himself in possession of a relic capable of bringing down emperors—a relic everyone in the underworld would kill to obtain. This fantasy debut begins a new series of the Kin.

The Shining City, by Fiona Patton (April 5, Daw)
With the three children of prophecy—the seers Spar and Graize and the warrior Brax-now grown—and the young God Hisar ready to stake his claim to a place in the pantheon of Anavatan, a time of chaos and change is fast approaching. For only if sworn enemies Spar and Graize can come together as Hisar’s priests will the God stand any chance of surviving the coming battles with both the hungry spirits seeking to devour him, and the war with the mortal invasion fleet, which is even now sailing for Anavatan. Book three of the Warriors of Estavia series.

Warprize, by Elizabeth A. Vaughan (April 5, Berkley)

The daughter of a Warrior King, Lara was trained as a healer, helping both friend and foe. And when the enemy warlord agrees to cease hostilities in exchange for Lara, she agrees to become the Warprize. Vaughn’s first novel is back in print with a new introduction, a bonus short story and a letter from the author. The next book in the Chronicles in the Warland series, Warcry, will release in May.

The Dragon’s Path, by Daniel Abraham (April 7, Orbit)

Marcus’s hero days are behind him. He knows too well that even the smallest war still means somebody’s death. When his men are impressed into a doomed army, staying out of a battle he wants no part of requires some unorthodox steps. Cithrin is an orphan, ward of a banking house. Her job is to smuggle a nation’s wealth across a war zone, hiding the gold from both sides. She knows the secret life of commerce like a second language, but the strategies of trade will not defend her from swords. Geder, sole scion of a noble house, has more interest in philosophy than in swordplay. A poor excuse for a soldier, he is a pawn in these games. No one can predict what he will become. Falling pebbles can start a landslide. A spat between the Free Cities and the Severed Throne is spiraling out of control. A new player rises from the depths of history, fanning the flames that will sweep the entire region onto The Dragon’s Path. First in The Dagger and Coin series.

A Kingdom Besieged: Book One of the Chaoswar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist (April 12, Harper Voyager)

Midkemia’s fifth and final Riftwar—the devastating Chaoswar—explodes in the opening volume of Raymond E. Feist’s new epic fantasy trilogy of magic, conflict and world-shattering peril. A Kingdom Besieged brings back Pug, first introduced in Feist’s classic debut novel, Magician, and now Midkemia’s most powerful sorcerer. He faces a magical cataclysm that forces him to question everything he’s ever held as true and dear, including the loyalty of his beloved son Magnus.

The Unremembered, by Peter Orullian (April 12, Tor)

The gods, makers of worlds, seek to create balance: between matter and energy, and between mortals who strive toward the transcendent and the natural perils they must tame or overcome. But one of the gods fashions a world filled with hellish creatures far too powerful to allow balance; he is condemned to live for eternity with his most hateful creations in that world’s distant Bourne, restrained by a magical veil kept vital by the power of song. Millennia pass, awareness of the hidden danger fades to legend, and both song and veil weaken. And the most remote cities are laid waste by nightmarish troops escaped from the Bourne. Some dismiss the attacks as mere rumor. Instead of standing against the real threat, they persecute those with the knowledge, magic and power to fight these abominations, denying the inevitability of war and annihilation. And the evil from the Bourne swells. But the troubles of the world seem far from the Hollows where Tahn Junell struggles to remember his lost childhood and to understand words he feels compelled to utter each time he draws his bow. Trouble arrives when two strangers—an enigmatic man wearing the sigil of the feared Order of Sheason and a beautiful woman of the legendary Far—come, to take Tahn, his sister and his two best friends on a dangerous, secret journey. First book in the Vault of Heaven series.

Shadow Chaser, by Aleksey Pehov (April 12, Tor)

Saddened because they have left one of their number in a grave in the wilderness, Harold and his band of outcasts continue their journey toward the dreaded underground palace of Hrad Spein. But before they can reach their goal, they must overcome all manner of obstacles, fight many battles and evade the frightful enemies on their trail. Once they have breached Hrad Spein, Harold must venture alone into the secret heart of the most dangerous place in his world. There he will fight legions of untold mysterious powers before he can complete the quest for the magic horn that will save his beloved land from The Nameless One. First published in Russia, this is the second in Pehov’s Chronicles of Siala series following Shadow Prowler (February 2011).

The River of Shadows, by Robert V.S. Redick (April 19, Del Rey)

In this sequel to The Red Wolf Conspiracy and The Ruling Sea, the crew of the vast, ancient ship Chathrand have reached the shores of the legendary southern empire of Bali Adro. Many have died in the crossing, and the alliance of rebels, led by the tarboy Pazel Pathkendle and the warrior Thasha Isiq, has faced death, betrayal and dark magic. But nothing has prepared them for the radically altered face of humanity in the South. They have little time to recover from the shock, however. For with landfall, the battle between the rebels and centuries-old sorcerer Arunis enters its final phase. At stake is control of the Nilstone, a cursed relic that promises unlimited power to whoever unlocks the secrets of its use—but death to those who fail.

Ember and Ash, by Pamela Freeman (April 26, Orbit)

The old ones will have their revenge. Two peoples have been fighting over the same land for a thousand years. Invaders crushed the original inhabitants, and ancient powers have reluctantly given way to newer magics. But Ember was to change all this with a wedding to bind these warring people together—until her future goes up in flames. Ember’s husband-to-be is murdered by a vengeful elemental god, who sees peace as a breach of faith. Set on retribution, she enlists the help of Ash, son of a seer. Together, they will pit themselves against elementals of fire and ice in a last attempt to end the conflicts that have scarred their past. They must look to the present, as old furies are waking to violence and are eager to reclaim their people.

The Hidden Goddess, by M.K. Hobson (April 26, Spectra)

In mix of steampunk, magic, history, and romance, M. K. Hobson moves her feisty young witch, Emily Edwards, from the Old West to turn-of-the-century New York City, whose polished surfaces conceal as much danger as anything west of the Rockies. Like it or not, Emily has fallen in love with Dreadnought Stanton, a New York warlock as irresistible as he is insufferable. Newly engaged, she now must brave Dreadnought’s family and the magical elite of the nation’s wealthiest city. Not everyone is pleased with the impending nuptials, especially Emily’s future mother-in-law, a sociopathic socialite. But there are greater challenges: confining couture, sinister Russian scientists, and a deathless Aztec goddess who dreams of plunging the world into apocalypse. Sequel to The Native Star.

Heaven’s Needle, by Liane Merciel (April 26, Pocket Star)

The second book in an epic fantasy series, in which the fate of a world rests in the hands of a woman who must rescue the knight she loves. Follows The River Kings’ Road (2010), the story of an infant heir left alive after a brutal attack, and the people who try to save him when the peace between the kingdoms of Oakharn and Langmyr collapses.

The Alchemist in the Shadows, by Pierre Pevel, translated by Tom Clegg (April 26, Pyr)

Welcome to 1633 Paris, where dragons menace the realm and Cardinal Richelieu, the most powerful and feared man in France, is on his guard. He knows France is under threat, and that a secret society known as the Black Claw is conspiring against him from the heart of the greatest courts in Europe. They will strike from the shadows, and when they do the blow will be both terrible and deadly. To counter the threat, Richelieu has put his most trusted men into play: the Cardinal’s Blades, led by Captain la Fargue. Six men and a woman, all of exceptional abilities and all ready to risk their lives on his command. They have saved France before, and the Cardinal is relying on them to do it again. So when la Fargue hears from a beautiful, infamous, deadly Italian spy claiming to have valuable information, he has to listen …and when La Donna demands Cardinal Richelieu’s protection before she will talk, la Fargue is even prepared to consider it. Because La Donna can name their enemy. It’s a man as elusive as he is manipulative, as subtle as Richelieu himself, an exceptionally dangerous adversary: the Alchemist in the shadows. U.S. release. Pevel is one of the foremost writers of French 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.


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