Fiction Affliction: Diagnosing July Releases in Fantasy

Every month, Fiction Affliction provides a handy reference of the science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and young adult paranormal coming out in the ensuing month. Today’s column examines FANTASY.

The Symptoms: Crazy-eyed fans are lined up outside bookstores and frantically placing online orders. Has something to do with fire. And ice.

The Diagnosis: Twelve new fantasies arrive in June, including elven empires, islands of wizards, dens of thieves, corps of goblins, and a key to creation. But eyes are glued to the Seven Kingdoms.

The Cure: Go ahead. Indulge. A Dance with Dragons is finally, at long last, here. Then check out the other titles.

Outlander: 20th Anniversary Edition, by Diana Gabaldon (July 5, Delacorte)

Twenty years ago, Diana Gabaldon swept readers into her world brimming with history, romance, and adventure. In celebration of the series, a 20th-anniversary edition of the first novel is being released, including a new essay, a new map, a CD with Outlander the musical, and more. The year is 1945. Claire Randall is traveling with her husband when she touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly, she is hurled back in time to a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year 1743. Catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, she soon realizes that an alliance with James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, might be the only way to survive.

Citadels of the Lost, by Tracy Hickman (July 5, Daw)

The fates of Drakis, former slave warrior of the elven empire of Rhonas, and Soen, former Inquisitor of the Iblisi, are inexorably tied to the magic of Aether—lifeblood of the elven empire and the cause of humanity’s fall. As each searches for the truth beyond legends, he must face his own destiny: Drakis amid the ruins of humanity’s Lost Citadels; Soen in a desperate race to seize control of the farthest Aether Well of the empire. Second in the Annals of Drakis series.

The Snow Queen’s Shadow, by Jim C. Hines (July 5, Daw)

When a spell gone wrong shatters Snow White’s enchanted mirror, a demon escapes into the world. The demon’s magic distorts the vision of all it touches, showing them only ugliness and hate. It is a power that turns even friends and lovers into mortal foes, one that will threaten humans and fairies alike. The fourth Princess novel.

A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin (July 12, Bantam)

The long-awaited fifth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance once again—beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has three times three thousand enemies, and many have set out to find her. Yet, as they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind. To the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone—a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge yet. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice. And from all corners, bitter conflicts soon reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

The Kings of Morning, by Paul Kearney (July 14, Solaris)

For the first time in recorded history, the ferocious city-states of the Macht now acknowledge a single man as their overlord. Corvus, the strange and brilliant boy-general, is now High King, having united his people in a fearsome, bloody series of battles and sieges. He is not yet thirty. The preparations will take years, but when they are complete, Corvus will lead an invasion the like of which the world of Kuf has never seen. Under him, the Macht will undertake nothing less than the overthrow of the entire Asurian Empire. Third in the Macht series.

Out of the Waters, by David Drake (July 19, Tor)

The wealthy Governor Saxa, of the great city of Carce, has generously subsidized a theatrical/religious event. During this elaborate staging of Hercules founding a city on the shores of Lusitania, dark magic turns the panoply into a chilling event as a great creature rises from the sea. It devastates the city, much to the delight of the crowd. A few in the audience, although not Saxa, understand that this was not mere stagecraft, but something much more dangerous. Second in the series The Books of the Elements.

The Key to Creation, by Kevin J. Anderson (July 20, Orbit)

Brave explorers and mortal enemies across the world clash at a mysterious lost continent. After long voyages, encountering hurricanes and sea monsters, Criston Vora and Saan race to Terravitae, the legendary promised land, while, back home, two opposing continents and religions clash for the remnants of a sacred city. Meanwhile, the secretive Saedrans. manipulating both sides, come ever closer to their ultimate goal: to complete the Map of All Things and bring about the return of God. Third in the Terra Incognita series.

Den of Thieves, by David Chandler (July 26, Harper Voyager)

Born and raised in the squalid depths of the Free City of Ness, Malden became a thief by necessity. Now he must pay a fortune to join the criminal operation of Cutbill, lord of the underworld. The coronet of the Burgrave would fulfill Malden’s obligations, though it is guarded by hungry demons. And the desperate endeavor leads to a more terrible destiny as Malden, an outlaw knight, and an ensorcelled lady must face a terrifying evil. First in a new Ancient Blades trilogy.

The Devil’s Diadem, by Sara Douglass (July 26, Harper Voyager)

Sara Douglass delivers a standalone novel of alternate history, set in a 12th-century England similar to our own time, in which a virulent plague threatens to annihilate a kingdom—and one unwitting young noblewoman holds the key to salvation.

The Goblin Corps, by Ari Marmell (July 26, Pyr)

Morthul, the Charnel King, has failed. Centuries of plotting—all for naught. Now, as winter solidifies its icy grip on the passes of the Brimstone Mountains, disturbing news has reached him. King Dororam, enraged by the murder of his only child and accompanied by a group of delusional upstart “heroes,” is assembling all the Allied Kingdoms, fielding an army unlike any seen before. But the Charnel King has a few tricks up his tattered sleeves, and the only thing that can defeat him may be the inhuman soldiers on whom he’s pinned his last hopes. Welcome to the Goblin Corps. May the best man lose.

Dangerous Waters, by Juliet E. McKenna (July 26, Solaris)

The Archmage rules the island of wizards. From here he enforces the Edicts of the Council of Wizardry. Foremost is the ban on magecraft in warfare. But there is a rumor of rogue wizardry in Lescar’s recent civil war. There’s the rise of Artifice, its adepts not subject to the Archmage’s edicts. Now the Emperor of Tormalin is offering them his protection. There are corsairs raiding the Caladhrian Coast, enslaving villagers and devastating trade. And Lady Zurenne, whose husband has been murdered by corsairs, is being guarded by a man she doesn’t know. First in the Hardrumel Crisis series.

Heroes at Odds, by Moira J. Moore (July 26, Ace)

Shield Lee Mallorough and Source Shintaro Karish are steadfast in their commitment to protect Westsea no matter what disaster, natural or man-made, may befall it. But before our heroes can discern why so many people are suddenly interested in gaining control of Westsea, Lee’s family arrives with some startling news. Long before she was trained as a Shield, she was betrothed as part of an alliance with another merchant clan—and her “fiancée” is determined to see Lee fulfill her contract. Sixth in the Hero series.


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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