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

The Symptoms Fabled warriors such as Richard the Lionhearted have been seen lurking in the shadows of mythical kingdoms. Maybe all those legends were wrong.

The Diagnosis Nine new fantasies arrive in June, including the return of the Dragonriders of Pern, Michael Moorcock accompanying a well-loved illustrator, and a star-studded anthology that reads just like a fairy tale—oh, wait. It is a fairy tale.

The Cure. If you’re a woman and have any sense of intuition, better hide this month. Accusations of witchcraft and sorcery are flying, and nobody’s waiting for a trial. Might want to avoid the dragons, too. They’re fiery.

Sword of Fire and Sea, by Erin Hoffman (June 2, Pyr)

Three generations ago Captain Vidarian Rulorat’s great-grandfather gave up an imperial commission to commit social catastrophe by marrying a fire priestess. For love, he unwittingly doomed his family to generations of a rare genetic disease that follows families who cross elemental boundaries. Now Vidarian, the last surviving member of the Rulorat family, struggles to uphold his family legacy, chained to a task as a result of the bride price his great-grandfather paid: the Breakwater Agreement. First in the Chaos Knight series.

The King’s Witch, by Cecelia Holland (June 7, Berkley)

During the Third Crusade, deaths from fever and starvation are common, but King Richard the Lion-Hearted has a secret ally against these impassable enemies—a mysterious healer by the name of Edythe. She was sent to him by his mother Eleanor, and Richard first assumes that Edythe is a spy. But when her medical knowledge saves his life, she becomes an indispensable member of his camp, even as his loyal soldiers call her a witch.

Unnatural Issue, by Mercedes Lackey (June 7, Daw)

Richard Whitestone is an Elemental Earth Master. Blaming himself for the death of his beloved wife in childbirth, he has sworn never to set eyes on his daughter, Suzanne. But when he finally sees her, a dark plan takes shape in his twisted mind: to use his daughter’s body to bring back the spirit of his long-dead wife. Seventh in the Elemental Masters series.

Shadowborn, by Alison Sinclair (June 7, Roc)

Magic dies with the mage, or so the Darkborn believe. That’s why Lady Telmaine Hearne has been condemned to death for sorcery. She’s escaped but is now bound with her mageborn allies for the Borders and war. Meanwhile, her husband, Balthasar, has learned of his family connection to the Shadowborn and is fighting for survival and sanity as magic turns him against everything he holds dear. Third in the Darkborn trilogy.

Happily Ever After, anthology edited by John Klima (June 21, Night Shade)

Happily Ever After is a star-studded book of fairy tales, featuring an introduction by Bill Willingham (Fables) and stories by Gregory Maguire, Susanna Clarke, Karen Joy Fowler, Charles de Lint, Holly Black, Garth Nix, Kelly Link, Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman, Patricia Briggs and others.

Shadow’s Lure, by Jon Sprunk (June 21, Pyr)

Caim left the assassin’s life behind when he helped an Empress claim her throne. But now his past is calling. Searching for the truth behind the murder and disappearance of his parents, he discovers a land in thrall to the Shadow. Haunted by temptations from the Other Side, he becomes mired in a war he does not want to fight. But there are some things a son of the Shadow cannot ignore, and some fights from which he cannot run. Second in the Shadow Saga series.

Spectyr, by Philippa Ballantine (June 28, Ace)

Though one of the most powerful Deacons, Sorcha Faris has a tarnished reputation to overcome, which is why she jumps at the chance to investigate a string of murders in the exotic city of Orithal. But it is there that her lover, the shapeshifting rival to the throne, is targeted by a cruel and vengeful goddess, unwittingly unleashed by the Emperor’s sister. Second in the Book of the Order series.

Dragon’s Time, by Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey (June 28, Del Rey)

Even though Lorana cured the plague that was killing the dragons of Pern, there are no longer enough dragons available to fight the fall of deadly Thread. And as the situation grows more dire, a pregnant Lorana decides that she must take drastic steps. Back at Telgar Weyr, Weyrwoman Fiona, herself pregnant, and the harper Kindan must somehow keep morale from fading in the face of the steadily mounting losses of dragons and riders. But time weighs heavily against them, until Lorana finds a way to use time itself in their favor. Newest in the Dragonriders of Pern series.

The Sunday Books, by Michael Moorcock, Illustrations by Mervyn Peake (June 30, Overlook)

Every Sunday on the Isle of Sark, Mervyn Peake would tell his children stories about pirates, shipwrecks, and the Wild West. He illustrated his spontaneous stories with vivid drawings of the characters in his tales, but never set down words to go with them. Now, decades after Peake’s death, fantasy writer Michael Moorcock has written verses to go with Peake’s drawings. Overlook is publishing The Sunday Books to mark the centenary of Peake’s birth, which will be commemorated on July 9, 2011.


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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