Nineteen new fantasies welcome the onset of warm weather (at least where it’s not still snowing), including new series additions from Ian C. Esslemont (Malazan Empire/US), Erin Hoffman (Chaos Knights), Erin Hunter (Survivors), Raymond E. Feist (Chaoswar Saga), K.D. McEntire (Lightbringer), Daniel Abraham (The Dagger and the Coin), and L.E. Modesitt Jr. (Imager Portfolio). Barb Hendee and Jean Johnson weigh in with new series starts. Also new this month: the addition of some digital-only or digital-first releases, although the list is by no means inclusive.
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.
An amnesiac man is befriended by a rebellious group of teenagers living in a repressive city. Digital only.
Neweden is a world whose gods are death and fate, and it’s here that the Hoorka have arisen: a guild of assassins, whose single law is that the victim must always retain a tiny but finite chance of escape. If the victim can survive until dawn, they may go free. Gyll, the leader of the Hoorka, also has dreams of taking the guild offworld into the growing society of the Alliance, which is trying to reconstruct a shattered, worlds-spanning empire. Gyll must confront internal struggles within his own people, the dangerous politics of Neweden, and the twinned threat and promise of the Alliance. The Hag of Death dances around them, mockingly. Can the Hoorka survive to see the dawn of their own success, an Assassins’ Dawn?
Captain Corin is the greatest pirate the world has known. After a three-year search, he has finally found the lost city of Jezeeli. The dashing, quick-witted pirate promised his crew they would be rewarded with a treasure beyond their wildest dreams, but the ancient ruins hold no treasure, only stacks of strange books. Left to die in a fire set by his mutinous crew, Corin is mysteriously rescued and transported back in time to a city ruled by King Oberon. Stuck, only Oberon has the power to send Corin home. The tyrant Ephitel, a brutal god whose name strikes fear even in Corin’s time, has designs on Oberon’s throne. Can Corin defeat the mighty Ephitel and change the course of history?
Vidarian Rulorat, a powerful magic-user whose abilities spread across multiple elements, finds himself at war with the Alorean Import Company. By opening the gate between worlds, Vidarian released the Starhunter, goddess of chaos. Wild magic returned to the world of Andovar, bringing with it shape-changers and strange awakened elemental technologies. Vidarian discovers that the AIC is determined to eliminate two-thirds of this new life on Andovar in the hopes of hoarding more magic for themselves. Along with his human, gryphon, and shapechanger allies, he must stop the Company if he is to safeguard any future for the diverse life of Andovar. With the existence of whole species hanging in the balance, Vidarian is locked in a race for the future of the world.
The time has come for dogs to rule the wild. In the aftermath of the Big Growl that destroyed their city, Bella and the Leashed Dogs have finally settled in the forest where there is plenty of clean water and prey. But a fierce Pack of Wild Dogs has laid claim to the land, and their menacing Alpha will stop at nothing to ensure that it is his alone. Lucky has taught the Leashed Dogs much about survival since they lost their longpaws. Bella hatches an intricate plan to force the enemy Pack away, a plan that centers on Lucky’s sly cunning and intelligence. He still feels the pull of a Lone Dog life, Lucky agrees to help, knowing that he can’t leave his friends until they are safe. Lucky will be tested in more ways than one, and his actions will threaten the survival of both Packs.
Orphaned sisters Céline and Amelie Fawe scrape out a living selling herbal medicines in their apothecary shop. Céline earns additional money by posing as a seer and pretending to read people’s futures. They exist in a land of great noble houses, all vying for power. When the sisters refuse the orders of a warlord prince, they must flee and are forced to depend on the warlord prince’s brother, Anton, for a temporary haven. A series of bizarre deaths of girls is plaguing the village surrounding Prince Anton’s castle. He offers Céline and Amelie permanent protection if they can use their “skills” to find the killer. Their survival depends on catching a murderer who appears to walk through walls and vanish without a trace, and the danger around them seems to grow with each passing night.
The Tower and its Guardians have entertained generations of wealthy mirror-scrying mages while adventurers from around the world risk their lives for fortune and fame. On the one day the Tower stood unguarded, an intruder tried to seize the magic powering the vast structure. Locked out of the Tower’s innermost chambers, Kerric Vo Mos must brave the deadly traps keeping trespassers at bay in order to reclaim control. Kerric wields a pen far better than a sword. Only the help of an experienced player like Myal the Mendhite can get him to where he must go. Mutual respect and passion must be employed, along with armor and weapons, as they embark on a perilous quest past dangers that even the Tower’s most dedicated viewers have never seen before.
An uneasy quiet has settled upon Midkemia in the wake of a surprise invasion. Leaderless, the Kingdom is on the brink of anarchy and civil war, unless Hal conDoin, Duke of Crydee, and his brothers can rally their allies to crown a new king. War has left the land vulnerable to an agency of horrific destruction not of this world. The bravery of determined warriors is not enough to ensure the Kingdom’s preservation without the magic of the Master Sorcerer Pug. A powerful spell has trapped him, his son Magnus, and two unlikely allies in an unfamiliar realm. They must find their separate ways home, a journey of memory and discovery that will illuminate the truth of the destiny that awaits them. To save Midkemia Pug will have to pay the ultimate price.
The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories in the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. The editor selected by SFWA’s anthology committee (chaired by Mike Resnick) is two-time Nebula winner, Catherine Asaro. This year’s volume includes stories and excerpts by Connie Willis, Jo Walton, Kij Johnson, Geoff Ryman, John Clute, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Ferrett Steinmetz, Ken Liu, Nancy Fulda, Delia Sherman, Amal El-Mohtar, C. S. E. Cooney, David Goldman, Katherine Sparrow, E. Lily Yu, and Brad R. Torgersen.
The Never is on the brink of destruction by the Lady Walker. Wendy, shorn of her Light by the Reapers, must be the one to save it from the beasts between the worlds. Now no more powerful than an average spirit, Wendy reluctantly strikes a balance between Elise, the new Reaper matriarch, and Jane, a Reaper gone rogue. Torn between her duty to her friends, the Riders, and her duty as the Lightbringer, Wendy must rush to learn the secrets left behind. She must make the ultimate sacrifice to bring the worlds into balance once more, even if it costs her very soul.
Young Adult. Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings, merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles. As the son of a lowly chalkmaker, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Students start disappearing. Assigned to help the professor investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery, one that will change Rithmatics, and their world, forever.
The great war cannot be stopped. The tyrant Geder Palliako had led his nation to war, but every victory has called forth another conflict. Now the greater war spreads out before him, and he is bent on bringing peace. No matter how many people he has to kill to do it. Cithrin bel Sarcour, rogue banker of the Medean Bank, has returned to the fold. Her apprenticeship has placed her in the path of war, but the greater dangers are the ones in her past and in her soul. Widowed and disgraced at the heart of the Empire, Clara Kalliam has become a loyal traitor, defending her nation against itself. And in the shadows of the world, Captain Marcus Wester tracks an ancient secret that will change the war in ways not even he can forsee.
Egil and Nix have retired, as they always said they would. No, really, they have. No more sword and hammer-play for them. But when two recent acquaintances come calling for help, our hapless heroes find themselves up against the might of the entire Thieves Guild. And when kidnapping the leader of the most powerful guild in the land seems like the best course of action, you know you’re in over your head. (ebook only)
Blood and Bone: A Novel of the Malazan Empire (Malazan Empire #5), by Ian C. Esslemont, (May 21, Tor)
The emerald banner of the Visitor descends like a portent of annihilation. On the continent of Jacuruku, the Thaumaturgs have mounted another expedition to tame the neighboring wild jungle, called Himatan. It is said to be half of the spirit realm and half of the earth. It is said to be ruled by an entity whom some name the Queen of Witches, and some a goddess: Ardata. Saeng grew up knowing the rule of the magus Thaumaturgs. When her rulers mount an invasion of the neighboring jungle, voices send her and her brother on a desperate mission. To the south, the desert tribes are united by the arrival of a foreign warleader. Word comes to K’azz, and mercenary company the Crimson Guard, of a contract in Jacuruku. And their employer, none other than Ardata herself. (U.S. Release)
The Garden of Stones, by Mark Barnes, (May 21, 47North)
An uneasy peace has existed since the fall of the Awakened Empire centuries ago. The hybrid Av?n share the land with the people they once conquered. With the Empress-in-Shadows an estranged ghost, it is the ancient dynasties of the Great Houses and the Hundred Families that rule. Visions have foretold that Corajidin, dying ruler of House Erebus, will not only survive, but rise to rule his people. He seeks to make his destiny certain by plundering the ruins of his civilization’s past for the science needed to ensure his survival. Mercenary warrior-mage Indris, scion of the rival House Nasarat, stands most powerfully in the usurper’s bloody path. It is Indris who reluctantly accepts the task of finding the only one able to steer the teetering nation toward peace.
Super Bass: A Tor.Com Original, by Kai Ashante Wilson, (May 22, Tor)
Gian returns to Sea-john from the Kingdom’s wars certain that he has skills beyond killing, death and destruction. He needs to prove to himself that love is just as strong, if not stronger, than his hate. The Summer King gives him this opportunity. (ebook only)
The hard-won battles fought in Imager’s Battalion have earned Quaeryt a promotion to commander, as well as an assignment to convince the Pharsi High Council in the nation of Khel to submit to Lord Bhayar’s rule, which is key to Bhayar’s ambition to unite all of Solidar. Joined by his pregnant wife Vaelora, who is also Bhayar’s sister, Quaeryt leads an army and a handful of imagers deeper into the hostile lands once held by the tyrannical Rex Kharst, facing stiff-necked High Holders, attacks by land and sea, including airborne fire launched by hostile imagers from the land of Antiago, and a mysterious order of powerful women who seem to recognize the great destiny that awaits Quareyt and Vaelora, as well as the cost of achieving it.
Cat has been forced into an arranged marriage with William, a situation that comes with far more strings than even she could have anticipated, especially when she learns of his family’s intentions for them both. Meanwhile, Max and the gargoyle investigate The Agency, a mysterious organization that appears to play by its own rules, and none of them favorable to Society. Over in Mundanus, Sam has discovered something very peculiar about his wife’s employer, something that could herald a change for everyone in both sides of the Split Worlds.
Fearsome Journeys: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy, edited by Jonathan Strahan, (May 28, Solaris)
A brand new series bringing you Fantasy stories from some of the biggest and most exciting names in the genre. The authors appearing in the launch volume include Trudi Canavan, Elizabeth Bear, Daniel Abraham, Kate Elliott, Saladin Ahmed, Glen Cook, Scott Lynch, Ellen Klages, Ellen Kushner & Ysabeau Wilce, Jeffrey Ford, Robert Redick and KJ Parker.
Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. Her Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series is published by Tor Books. You can find Suzanne on Facebook and on her speculative fiction blog, Preternatura.