Let’s hear it for the free-wheeling world of the genre benders this month, with 20 genre-defying books, including three mixed-genre anthologies: the sixth in the ongoing The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year series edited by Jonathan Strahan; a collection of witch stories edited by Paula Guran; and a nod to the fae among us edited by Jonathan Maberry and Patricia Bray. A slew of new alternative history and historic fantasy books will take March armchair-traveling readers to Victorian England, the Roman Empire, Persia, and Venice. (Warning: there seem to be a lot of vampires in our past.)
Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.
Tormented by nightmares of a woman’s death, Sheriff Taylor Mooreland is shocked to find the woman from his visions chained to an altar in the woods. He barely knows her, but something compels Taylor to protect the mysterious Lenore Whyte no matter what. Even if it means dealing with magic.
Witches: Wicked, Wild & Wonderful, edited by Paula Guran (March 6, Prime)
Surrounded by the aura of magic, witches have captured our imagination for millennia and fascinate us now more than ever. Anthology features a combination of previously published works by 20 authors, including Elizabeth Bear, Neil Gaiman, Nancy Holder, Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee, Jane Yolen, and Kelly Link, plus new stories from T.A. Pratt and Linda Robertson.
What if the fae were still here, living among us? Perhaps living in secret, doing their best to pass for human? Or perhaps their existence is acknowledged, but they’re still struggling to fit in. How have they survived? Are they outcasts clinging to the edges of society, or do their powers ensure success in the mortal realm? Here are fourteen fabulous tales—ranging from humor to dark fantasy—that explore how the creatures of fae are fitting into the modern world. Includes stories from Seanan McGuire, Susan Jett, Kari Sperring, Juliet E. McKenna, Avery Shade, Kristine Smith, Barbara Ashford, April Steenburgh, Anton Strout, S.C. Butler, Jean Marie Ward, Shannon Page and Jay Lake, Elizabeth Bear, and Jim C. Hines.
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Six, edited by Jonathan Strahan (March 6, Night Shade)
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of theYear is the only major “best of” anthology to collect both fantasy and science fiction under one cover. This edition features work by Stephen Baxter, Cory Doctorow, Jeffery Ford, Karen Joy Fowler, Neil Gaiman, Nalo Hopkinson, Kij Johnson, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Kelly Link, K.J. Parker, Bruce Sterling, Michael Swanwick, and Catherynne M. Valente.
When King Arthur faces a challenge for his crown from the reinvigorated Roman Empire, he must call his supporters from every corner of the British Isles. One of these, Sir Lucan—the Black Wolf of the North—has more reason than most to join the coming campaign. Lucan’s wife, Trelawna, hoping to lead a new, better life in Italy, absconded with a young Roman officer. Lucan, already a fierce warrior but now with tainted blood due to his battle with the Penharrow Worm, thus turns the mission into a bitter personal vendetta.
It’s been three months since a killer disease wiped out 99 percent of the population. Three months since the dead reanimated. The living are few and far between now, and those who are still alive stick together to give themselves the best chance of continuing to survive. One small group has established a community on an inhospitable island. A second, much larger band of refugees have made their base in a fortified castle on the coast. When the survivors from the island unknowingly encroach on the other group’s territory, tensions are immediately raised. Under siege from an army of corpses, the survivors on the mainland launch a desperate attempt to take over the island and claim it for their own.
Winter, 1862. A malevolent spirit roams the gloomy streets of Victorian London, the vampiric ghost of John Polidori, the onetime physician of the mad, bad and dangerous Romantic poet Lord Byron. Polidori is also the supernatural muse to his nice and nephew, poet Christina Rossetti and her artist brother Dante Gabriel. But Polidori’s taste for debauchery has grown excessive. He is determined to possess the life and soul of an innocent young girl—and he has resurrected Dante’s dead wife, transforming her into a vampire. The Rossettis know the time has come—Polidori must be stopped. Joining forces with the girl’s parents, they are plunged into a supernatural London underworld whose existence they never suspected.
Of all the women the Count Saint-Germain has loved, the most popular is the beautiful, ever-youthful Madelaine de Montalia. In Commedia della Morte, Saint-Germain learns that Madelaine—now a vampire—has been arrested by France’s Revolutionary Tribunal and is soon to lose her head. Desperate to rescue her, the Count sneaks into France with a troupe of actors led by the glamorous Photine, who soon becomes Saint-Germain’s mistress. Photine’s teenage son, driven by jealousy and revolutionary fervor, betrays the him. Now, Saint-Germain’s life, as well as Madelaine’s, hangs in the balance.
Alexander, Prince of Macedon, is the terror of the world. Persia, Egypt, Athens—one after another, mighty nations are falling before the fearsome conqueror. Some say Alexander is the son of Zeus, king of the gods, and the living incarnation of Hercules himself. Worse yet, some say Alexander believes it. The ambitious prince is aided in his conquest by unstoppable war-machines based on the forbidden knowledge of his former tutor, the legendary scientist-mage known as Aristotle. Greek fire, mechanical golems, and gigantic siege-engines lay waste to Alexander’s enemies as his armies march relentlessly west—toward the very edge of the world.
Fifteen-year-old Billy Ballard is the kid everyone picks on, from the school bullies to the teachers. But things change drastically when Death tells Billy he must stand in as Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now armed with a bow that allows him to strike with disease from a distance, Billy lashes out at his tormentors and accidentally causes an outbreak of meningitis. Horrified, Billy begs Death to take back the bow. For that to happen, says Death, Billy must track down the real White Rider—who is lost in his memories. In his search, Billy travels through White Rider’s life: from ancient Phrygia to Sherwood Forest, from the docks of Alexandria to the Children’s Crusade in France—all the way to what may be the end of the world. Young Adult.
As the Byzantine and German emperors plot war, Venice’s future rests in the hands of three unwilling people: The newly knighted Sir Tycho, an ex-slave and trained assassin who defeated the Mamluk navy but cannot win the woman he loves; the grieving Lady Giulietta, who only wants to retire from the poisonous world of the Venetian court to mourn her husband in peace; and, finally, a naked, muddy girl who crawls from a paupers’ grave on an island in the Venetian lagoon and begins by killing the men who buried her. All love affairs are complicated at times but on this one hangs the fate of Europe’s richest city and two empires.
Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate Winters is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans. As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. Young Adult.
Jack Churchill, archaeologist and dreamer, walks out of the mist and into Celtic Britain more than two thousand years before he was born, with no knowledge of how he got there. All Jack wants is to get home to his own time where the woman he loves waits for him. Finding his way to the timeless mystical Otherworld, the home of the gods, he plans to while away the days, the years, the millennia, until his own era rolls around again—but nothing is ever that simple. A great Evil waits in modern times and will do all in its power to stop Jack’s return. In a universe where time and space are meaningless, its tendrils stretch back through the years … Through Roman times, the Elizabethan age, Victoria’s reign, the Second World War to the Swinging Sixties, the Evil sets its traps to destroy Jack. First in the Kingdom of the Serpent series. U.S. release.
When Tish Everett forces open the ruby locket she finds at an estate sale, she has no idea that a rakish Bludman has cast a spell just for her. She wakes up in a surreal world, where Criminy Stain, the proprietor of a magical traveling circus, awaits. At Criminy’s touch, Tish glimpses a tantalizing future, but she also foresees her ultimate doom. Before she can decide whether to risk her fate with the charming daredevil, the locket disappears, and with it, her only chance to return home. Tish and Criminy battle roaring sea monsters and thundering bludmares, vengeful ghosts and crooked Coppers in a treacherous race to recover the necklace from the evil Blud-hating Magistrate. First in a new series.
1800s. San Antonio, Texas: In room 207 at the Longhorn Saloon, a woman renowned for her beauty was brutally murdered. Her killer was never found. One year ago: In that same historic room, another woman vanished without a trace. Her blood was everywhere but her body was never recovered. Now: In the last month, San Antonio has become a dumping ground for battered bodies. All young women, all long missing, almost all forgotten. Until now. Texas Ranger Logan Raintree cannot sit by and let his city’s most vulnerable citizens be slain. So when he is approached to lead a brand-new group of elite paranormal investigators working the case, he has no choice but to accept the challenge. And with it, his powerful ability to commune with the dead.
Vee Bell is certain of one truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered. Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body. Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer. First in a new series. Young Adult.
The isolated island of Jago is the only home Hannah Conquest has known. Encircled by the magma ocean of the Fire Sea, it was the last bastion of freedom when the world struggled under the tyranny of the Chimecan Empire. But now this once-shining jewel of civilization faces an uncertain future as its inhabitants emigrate to greener climes. For Hannah and her friends, the streets of the island’s last occupied underground city form a vast, near-deserted playground. But Hannah’s carefree existence comes to an abrupt halt when her guardian, Archbishop Alice Gray, is murdered in her own cathedral. Someone desperately wants to suppress a secret kept by the archbishop, and if the attempts on Hannah’s own life are any indication, the killer believes that Alice passed the knowledge of it onto her ward before her saintly head was separated from her neck. U.S. release.
Fifteen years of sunless gray. Fifteen years of mist. The line between right and wrong has long been blurred, especially for Thomas Vale. First came the sickness, followed by the orders: herd the healthy into the city, shoot the infected. The gates closed and the bridges came down followed by the mist. Fifteen miserable years of the darkest nights and angry, awful gray days. Thomas Vale can hardly fathom why he keeps waking up in the morning. For a few more days spent stumbling along? Another night drinking alone? Another hour keeping the shadows at bay? But when Rebecca Ayers walks into his life, the answers come fast. Too fast.
When Tudor explorers returned from the New World, they brought back a name out of half-forgotten Viking legend: skraylings. Red-sailed ships followed in the explorers’ wake, bringing Native American goods—and a skrayling ambassador—to London. But what do these seemingly magical beings really want in Elizabeth I’s capital? Mal Catlyn, a down-at-heel swordsman, is seconded to the ambassador’s bodyguard, but assassination attempts are the least of his problems. What he learns about the skraylings and their unholy powers could cost England her new ally—and Mal his soul. First in a new series.
In 1925, earthquakes and a rising sea level left Lower Manhattan submerged under more than thirty feet of water. Fifty years have passed, and now the Drowning City is full of scavengers and water rats, poor people trying to eke out an existence, and those too proud or stubborn to be defeated by circumstance. Among them are fourteen-year-old Molly McHugh and her friend and employer, Felix Orlov. Once upon a time Orlov the Conjuror was a celebrated stage magician, but now he is an old man, contacting the spirits of the departed for grieving loved ones. When a seance goes wrong, Felix is abducted by strange men wearing gas masks and rubber suits, and Molly finds herself on the run. Young Adult.
Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. Her new urban fantasy series, scheduled to begin with the release of Royal Street on April 10 by Tor Books, is set in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Find Suzanne on Twitter.