Fiction Affliction: Genre-Benders for June

They might be rewriting history, sending airships over the Wild West, scaring us with bumps in the night, sending urban fantasy into the rural hills, or wafting between genres, but there are twenty-two genre-benders to shake things up this month. Look for new titles from Neil Gaiman, Alex Bledsoe, Richelle Mead, and Philippa Gregory, and a couple of new star-studded anthologies.

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.



Burdens of the Dead (Heirs of Alexandria #4), by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint and Dave Freer, (June 4, Baen)

In an alternate 15th century where magic still is part of life, the Holy Roman Empire rules Europe. Constantinople is under siege by the Venetians and their allies. Hekate, Goddess of Crossroads, presides over the conflict and carnage. Italian captain Benito Valdosta must deal with the powerful magical manifestation of the Weeping Woman, a disguised Hekate, in order to save his daughter and to destroy the fleets of the Chernobog assembling in the Black Sea. With land battle, naval action, cunning assassinations, and the ongoing conflict between Lord of the Dead Aidonus and Benito for the love of a woman, civilization is at the crossroads and choices must be made that will bring victory and freedom for centuries to come, or a new Dark Age.

Clockwork Fairy Tales: A Collection of Steampunk Fables, edited by Stephen L. Antczak and James C. Bassett, (June 4, Roc)

Combining the fairy tales that we all read as children with the out-of-time technological wizardry that is steampunk, this collection blends the old and the new with stories from K.W. Jeter, Jay Lake, Kat Richardson, Paul Di Filippo, Steven Harper, Nancy A. Collins, G.K. Hayes, Gregory Nicoll and Pip Ballantine.

Eight Million Gods, by Wen Spencer, (June 4, Baen)

Nikki Delany is a horror novelist. Her choice of career is dictated by an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that forces her to write stories of death and destruction. She can’t control it, doesn’t understand it, but can use it to make money anywhere in the world. Currently “anywhere” is in Japan, hiding from her mother who sees Nikki’s OCD as proof she’s mentally unstable. Nikki’s fragile peace starts to fall apart when the police arrest her for the murder of an American expatriate. She’s attacked by a raccoon in a business suit. She’s accompanied by a boy that no one else can see, who claims to be a god. What Nikki does know is that the bodies are piling up, her mother has arrived in Japan to lock her up for the rest of her life, and her novels always end with everyone dead.

Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1), by Richelle Mead, (June 4, Dutton Adult)

In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills. Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders. They soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. Unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.

His Clockwork Canary (The Glorious Victorious Darcys #2), by Beth Ciotta, (June 4, Signet)

For engineer Simon Darcy, winning Queen Victoria’s competition to recover lost inventions of historical significance is a matter of pride, and redemption. Simon sets his sights high, targeting no less than the infamous time-travel device that forever changed the world. The Mod technology was banned and supposedly destroyed, but Simon is sure he can re-create it. His plan draws the attention of Willie G., the Clockwork Canary, London’s sensationalist reporter. Simon discovers that Willie is a male guise for Wilhemina Goodenough, the love of his youth, who left him jilted and bitter. As the attraction between the two reignites, Simon realizes that this vixen from his past has secrets that could be the key to his future, as long as he can put their history behind him.

Phoenix (Black City #2), by Elizabeth Richards, (June 4, Putnam Juvenile)

Young Adult. Ash and Natalie are just starting to build a life together when things in the United Sentry States go from bad to worse. Ash and Natalie find themselves at the center of turmoil when dictator Purian Rose threatens Natalie’s life unless Ash votes in favor of Rose’s Law, a law that will send Darklings and other dissenters to a deadly concentration camp known as the Tenth. Enter Elijah Theroux, the handsome Bastet boy Natalie once saved from her mother’s labs. Elijah may have the answer to taking down Purian Rose for good, a powerful weapon called the Ora. Ash, Natalie and Elijah just have to escape Black City undetected to find it. The quest could tear Ash and Natalie apart, even pushing them into the arms of others.

Reanimators, by Peter Rawlik, (June 4, Night Shade)

Herbert West’s crimes against nature are well-known to those familiar with the darkest secrets of science and resurrection. Obsessed with finding a cure for mankind’s oldest malady, death itself, he has experimented upon the living and dead, leaving behind a trail of monsters, mayhem, and madness. Dr. Stuart Hartwell, a colleague and contemporary of West, sets out to destroy him by uncovering the secrets of his terrible experiments. The two scientists race each other to master the mysteries of life, and unlife. From the grisly battlefields of the Great War to the haunted coasts of Dunwich and Innsmouth, from the halls of fabled Miskatonic University to the sinking of the Titanic, their unholy quests leave their mark upon the world, and create monsters of them both.

Stormbringers (The Order of Darkness #2), by Philippa Gregory, (June 4, Simon Pulse)

Young Adult. Italy, 1453. Luca and Isolde grow more and more attracted to each other as they continue their journey to unravel the mysteries throughout Christendom. But their travels are delayed by the uprising of an intense religious crusade that threatens the balance of the civilized world. Death lingers in the air as war ravages on, but this religious conflict is nothing compared to the arrival of an intense and deadly storm. Caught in the midst of unimaginable chaos, Luca and Isolde must rely on one another in order to survive. The second in Philippa Gregory’s four-book series delves further into a forbidden romance and an epic quest. And the tension builds as secrets about The Order of Darkness are finally revealed.

The Beautiful Land, by Alan Averill, (June 4, Ace)

Takahiro O’Leary has a very special job working for the Axon Corporation as an explorer of parallel timelines. Information he brought back gave Axon the means to maximize profits by changing the past, present, and future of this world. If Axon succeeds, Tak will lose Samira Moheb, the woman he has loved since high school. A veteran of the Iraq War suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Samira can barely function in her everyday life. The only way to save her is for Tak to use the time travel device he “borrowed” to transport them both to an alternate timeline. The inventor of the device is searching for a timeline called the Beautiful Land, and he intends to destroy every other possible present and future to find it. Tak realizes that to save Sam, he must save the entire world.



Her Grace’s Stable (A Jane Austen Space Opera #2), by Joely Sue Burkhart, (June 11, Samhain)

Lady Violet Blackmyre, the “Black Duchess” of the Queen’s Light Dragoons, never thought she’d die a slow, miserable death. Only days after being named Field Marshal of the Britannian Army, she’s been diagnosed with consumption. Giving Cole, her devoted stable hand and “pony,” his freedom is as easy as removing his collar. Convincing him to seek another mistress will be impossible should he learn of her condition. When he stumbles across a magnificent “stallion” being abused at an illegal human auction, he is sure this is the challenge that will re-engage his mistress’s interest. Arthur is desperate to return to the Iberian front. Lady Blackmyre’s dreadful secret is becoming more obvious by the day, and the scourge tearing at her lungs may not be natural at all. Ebook.

Plague in the Mirror, by Deborah Noyes, (June 11, Candlewick)

Young Adult. It was meant to be a diversion, a summer in Florence with her best friend, Liam, and his travel-writer mom, doing historical research. A chance to forget that back in Vermont, May’s parents were breaking up. When May wakes one night sensing someone in her room, only to find her ghostly twin staring back at her, normalcy becomes a distant memory. When later she follows the menacing Cristofana through a portal to fourteenth-century Florence, May never expects to find safety in the eyes of Marco, a painter. The wily Cristofana wants nothing less of May than to inhabit each other’s lives, but with the Black Death ravaging Old Florence, can May’s longing for Marco’s touch be anything but madness?

The Burning: A Tale of the Dark Apostle, by E.C. Ambrose, (June 11, DAW)

As a child, Elisha witnessed the burning of a witch outside of London, and saw her transformed into an angel at the moment of her death, though all around him denied this vision. He swore that the next time he might have the chance to bind an angel’s wounds, he would be ready. And so he became a barber-surgeon, at the lowest ranks of the medical profession, following the only healer’s path available to a peasant’s son. But when the magic inside him finally awakens, he finds that keeping to that path will be even harder than he could ever imagine. The Burning is a 4,500-word prequel story to Elisha Barber. Ebook.

The Registry, by Shannon Stoker, (June 11, William Morrow)

The Registry saved the country from collapse. Stability has come at a price. In this patriotic new America, girls are raised to be brides, sold at auction to the highest bidder. Boys are raised to be soldiers, trained by the state to fight to their death. Nearly eighteen, beautiful Mia Morrissey excitedly awaits the beginning of her auction year. A warning from her married older sister raises dangerous thoughts. Now, instead of going up on the block, Mia is going to escape to Mexico, and the promise of freedom. All Mia wants is to control her own destiny, a brave and daring choice that will transform her into an enemy of the state, pursued by powerful government agents, ruthless bounty hunters, and a cunning man determined to own her, a man who will stop at nothing to get her back.



Intuition (Transcendence #2), by C.J. Omololu, (June 18, Walker)

Young Adult. As Cole begins to accept her new life as Akhet, someone who can remember flashes of her past lives, every new vision from her past lives helps explain who she is in this life. As her passion for Griffon grows, she learns to identify other Akhet around her, including Drew, the young self-made millionaire who reveals his startling connection to Cole—he was her husband in Elizabethan England and gave her the ankh necklace that has been returned to her after centuries in hiding. Drew’s attentions are overwhelming as he insists that their connection in the past signals their future destiny together, but before she can decide who she truly loves, Cole must learn to harness her unique Akhet abilities if she is to ever understand her role in this strange new world.

Lexicon, by Max Barry, (June 18, Penguin Press)

At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students are taught to persuade. The very best will graduate as “poets”: adept wielders of language who belong to an organization that is as influential as it is secretive. Emily Ruff is living on the streets of San Francisco when she attracts the attention of the organization’s recruiters. She is flown across the country for the school’s strange and rigorous entrance exams. Emily becomes the school’s most talented prodigy. Wil Jamieson is brutally ambushed by two strange men in an airport bathroom. Wil is the key to a secret war between rival factions of poets. As the two narratives converge, the work of the poets is revealed and the world crashes toward a Tower of Babel event which would leave all language meaningless.

Sea Change, by S.M. Wheeler, (June 18, Tor)

The unhappy child of two powerful parents who despise each other, young Lilly turns to the ocean to find solace, which she finds in the form of the eloquent and intelligent sea monster Octavius, a kraken. In Octavius’s many arms, Lilly learns of friendship, loyalty, and family. When Octavius, forbidden by Lilly to harm humans, is captured by seafaring traders and sold to a circus, Lilly becomes his only hope for salvation. Her journey to win Octavius’s freedom is difficult. The circus master wants a Coat of Illusions; the Coat tailor wants her undead husband back from a witch; the witch wants her skin back from two bandits; the bandits just want some company, but they might kill her first. Lilly’s quest tests her resolve, tries her patience, and leaves her transformed in every way.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman, (June 18, William Morrow)

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed, within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duck pond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

The Shuddering, by Ania Ahlborn, (June 18, 47North)

Ryan Adler and his twin sister, Jane, spent their happiest childhood days at their parent’s mountain Colorado cabin, until divorce tore their family apart. With the house about to be sold, the Adler twins gather with their closest friends for one last snowboarding-filled holiday. While Ryan gazes longingly at Lauren, wondering if his playboy days are over, Jane hopes of reconciling with her old boyfriend evaporate when he brings along his new fiance. Something lurks in the forest, watching the cabin, growing ever bolder as the snow falls, and hunger rises. The true test of their love and loyalty begins as the hideous creatures outside close in, one bloody attack at a time. Ryan, Jane, and their friends must fight for their lives. Or else surrender to unspeakable deaths in the darkened woods.

Wisp of a Thing (Tufa #2), by Alex Bledsoe, (June 18, Tor)

Rob Quillen comes to Cloud County, Tennessee, in search of a song that might ease his aching heart. All he knows of the mysterious and reclusive Tufa is what he has read on the internet: they are an enigmatic clan of swarthy, black-haired mountain people whose historical roots are lost in myth and controversy. Close-lipped locals guard their secrets, even as Rob gets caught up in a subtle power struggle he can’t begin to comprehend. A vacationing wife goes missing, raising suspicions of foul play, and a strange feral girl runs wild in the woods, howling in the night like a lost spirit. Change is coming to Cloud County, and only the night wind knows what part Rob will play when the last leaf falls from the Widow’s Tree, and a timeless curse must be broken at last.



In the After, by Demitria Lunetta, (June 25, Harper Teen)

Young Adult. Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape, and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive, and avoid Them at all costs. After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby, and much more.

The Miss Education of Dr. Exeter (Paranormal Investigator #3), by Jillian Stone, (June 25, Kensington Brava)

The Moonstone is having a destabilizing effect on the time/space membrane leaving Phaeton trapped in a parallel mirror world where everything is opposite or upside down, yet oddly the same. He is held captive by Domina Valour and tested sorely. Gaspar Sinclair can’t go after Phaeton. His physical body is unraveling before everyone’s eyes. America Jones is large with child, but only she has the preternatural ability to locate Phaeton and bring him back. And Doctor Exeter’s beautiful charge, Mia, has her claws in him. Quite literally. To accomplish Phaeton’s rescue, the doctor must let loose forces he hasn’t the foggiest clue how to control. Can America and Phaeton find a way to return together, or will this final test rip them apart forever?

The Last Full Measure, by Jack Campbell, (June 28, Subterranean)

In a transformed mid-nineteenth century America dominated by plantation owners and kept in line by Southern military forces, an academic from Maine, Professor Joshua Chamberlain, stands accused of crimes against the nation. In court alongside him is Abraham Lincoln, whose fiery rhetoric brands him a “threat to the security of the United States of America.” Convicted, Chamberlain is sentenced to forty years hard labor, while Lincoln’s fate is detention at Fortress Monroe. Professor Chamberlain encounters military minds who understand the ideals upon which the country was founded and who want to foment revolution. They need a leader: Lincoln. they have to flawlessly execute a daring plan to rescue him from the darkest federal prison.

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 Twitter and on her daily speculative fiction blog, Preternatura.


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