Welcome again, everyone, to the British Genre Fiction Hitlist: your twice-monthly rundown of new releases from the United Kingdom’s thriving speculative fiction industry.
In this edition of the Hitlist, I have nineteen notable new genre novels for you all to look forward to, including standalone stories by Christopher Ransom, Susan Cooper and a reprinted classic by Richard Matheson.
Stay tuned for sequels to Blue Remembered Earth, Unspoken and Earth Girl, as well as additions to several other series, such as The Wild Hunt by Elspeth Cooper, James Lovegrove’s Pantheon saga, and Pittacus Lore’s Lorien Legacies.
Meanwhile, Margaret Atwood’s MadAddam trilogy concludes—as does The Demi-Monde by Rod Rees, with its fourth volume, Fall—as if to make space for brand spanking new serial narratives by Kelley Armstrong, David Towsey and Jonathan Stroud.
The biggest new genre novel launching in the UK in late August, however, has to be The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, which has already been likened to Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, amongst various other literary sensations. But can it stand the comparison? You tell me, readers.
Earth Star (Earth Girl #2)—Janet Edwards (August 15, Harper Voyager)
18-year-old Jarra has a lot to prove. After being awarded one of the military’s highest honours for her role in a daring rescue attempt, Jarra finds herself—and her Ape status—in the spotlight. Jarra is one of the unlucky few born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Derided as an ‘ape’—a ‘throwback’—by the rest of the universe, Jarra is on a mission to prove that Earth Girls are just as good as everyone else.
Except now the planet she loves is under threat by what could be humanity’s first ever alien contact. Jarra’s bravery—and specialist knowledge—will once again be at the centre of the maelstrom, but will the rest of the universe consider Earth worth fighting for?
The Raven’s Shadow (Wild Hunt #3)—Elspeth Cooper (August 15, Gollancz)
Three moons are rising.
They are rising over the snowy Archen Mountains, where Teia struggles through the high passes to carry her warning to the Empire: the Nimrothi war band is poised to invade and at their head stands Ytha. She means to release the Wild Hunt—and with it Maegern the Raven, the Keeper of the Dead.
In the desert of Gimrael, the moons are rising over the fires of revolution—flames that have already robbed Gair of a friend and left him alone in a hostile city, unsure even if the Song is still his to command. He has one last duty to discharge, and then nothing will stand between him and his ultimate goal: vengeance.
And in the Nordmen’s chilly halls, Savin plays out a game in which kings and chieftains and men are but pawns on a chessboard that spans the Veil itself.
Three moons are rising. When the trinity is complete, the endgame will begin.
The Bone Season (Scion #1)—Samantha Shannon (August 20, Bloomsbury)
The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.
It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford—a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.
The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.
Omens (Cainsville Trilogy #1)—Kelley Armstrong (August 20, Sphere)
Olivia Jones has lived a life of privilege and good fortune. But on the eve of her wedding she discovers two shocking facts. One: she was adopted. Two: her biological parents are notorious serial killers. And now the secret’s out, she’s in immediate danger.
Running for her life, Liv must face reality in the most brutal and terrifying way. But then she is confronted with a tantalising hope: is it possible that her parents weren’t guilty of the murders after all? And if so, who did commit them?
Arriving at the remote town of Cainsville, Liv believes she has found the perfect place to hide while she uncovers the truth. But Cainsville is no ordinary town—and Liv’s arrival was no accident.
Kelley Armstrong’s brilliant new novel is a gripping and atmospheric thriller about a town where secrets are soaked into every stone—and omens should never be ignored…
The Orphan—Christopher Ransom (August 22, Sphere)
Darren and Beth Lynwood always dreamed of having a son, but when young amnesiac runaway Adam enters their lives, he brings with him a creeping darkness that threatens to engulf their family and everyone around them.
When Adam’s memories claw their way to the surface, Darren finds himself haunted by thoughts of his own childhood—and of a boy very much like Adam who was done an unspeakable wrong.
As buried secrets are unearthed, the Lynwood’s happy home becomes the hunting ground for a relentless evil and an obsession that will not die.
There’s no point locking the door. There’s no use shutting out the night. Because the orphan is already inside…
Lenore Vol. 5: Purple Nurples—Roman Dirge (August 23, Titan)
When there’s no more room in Hell, or if they just get a little bit bored, the dead shall walk the earth!
Lenore, the cute little dead girl, is back: being beastly to Mr. Gosh, accidentally squishing small cute animals, making friends with all manners of monsters!
Purple Nurples collects issues 4 to 7 of the sold out comic series, painstakingly written and illustrated by creator Roman Dirge.
Age of Godpunk (Pantheon #6)—James Lovegrove (August 27, Solaris)
In Africa, Dion Yeboah is drawn into a life or death battle of wits by a sinister spider; in 1968m student Guy Lucas performs a black mass and finds you cannot trick the Devil; and energy billionaire Barnaby Pollard discovers that Mother Nature is not to be tampered with.
James Lovegrove’s New York Times bestselling Pantheon series returns with a trilogy of eclectic tales that pit humanity against the gods. From Satan to Anansi, and even Gaia herself, this omnibus of stories is packed with whimsical deities and foolish humans. Welcome to the Age of Godpunk.
The Death of Integrity (Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Battles)—Guy Haley (August 29, Black Library)
After pursuing an insidious genestealer cult across the sector for years, Chapter Master Caedis of the Blood Drinkers stands ready to destroy the original source of the infection—the vast and mysterious space hulk designated Death of Integrity. However, immediately coming into conflict with both their brothers in the Novamarines Chapter and the priesthood of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Blood Drinkers must reign in their more aggressive instincts and accept the possibility that the hulk itself may be of value to the Imperium.
The Demi-Monde: Fall (Demi-Monde #4)—Rod Rees (August 29, Jo Fletcher)
For thousands of years the Grigori have lain hidden, dreaming of the day when they will emerge from the darkness. Now that day draws close.
Norma, Trixie and Ella fight doggedly to frustrate these plans, but they need help. Percy Shelley must lead Norma to the Portal in NoirVille so she can return to the Real World. Trixie’s father must convince her that, if she is to destroy the Great Pyramid standing in Terror Incognita, she must be prepared to die. And Vanka Maykov—though not the man she knew and loved—must guide Ella to the secret enclave of the Grigori, where she will face the most chilling of enemies.
In this explosive finale to the Demi-Monde series, our heroes will come to understand that resisting evil will require courage, resolve… and sacrifice.
The Fall of Five (Lorien Legacies #4)—Pittacus Lore (August 29, Michael Joseph)
I thought things would change when I found the others. We would stop running. We would fight the Mogadorians. And we would win.
But I was wrong. Even though we have come together, we barely escaped from them with our lives. And now we’re in hiding, figuring out our next move.
The six of us are powerful—but not strong enough to take on their entire army. We haven’t discovered the full extent of our Legacies. We haven’t learned to work together. Time is running out, and there’s only one thing we know for certain: we need to find Number Five before they do.
Ghost Hawk—Susan Cooper (August 29, Bodley Head)
In the winter of his eleventh year, Little Hawk goes deep into the forest, where he must endure a three-month test of solitude and survival which will turn him into a man.
But outside the woods, the world is changing. English settlers are landing on the shores of the New World, and tensions between native tribes and the invaders are rising.
Little Hawk’s fate becomes irreversibly entwined with that of John, a young English boy who dares to question intolerance. He is witness to a secret murder—will he now be witness to bloodshed between nations?
Your Brother’s Blood (Walkin’ #1)—David Towsey (August 29, Jo Fletcher)
It has been nine hundred years since man last used machines. Technology, science and medicine have been forgotten, leaving in their wake a twisted legacy: the Walkin’. The disease is passed down from generation to generation; it causes men, women and children to live on after death.
In these turbulent times a community seeks isolation. Their plain existence is based on an incomplete copy of the Bible and the teachings of John Sebastian Barkley, town founder. Following his example, they burn the bodies of their dead to stop them from living again. Except that doesn’t always happen…
Thomas McDermott has died. A man of Barkley, he should have been burnt on a funeral pyre, but instead, he wakes from his death. Torn between the desire to see his wife and daughter, and the shame of what he has become, he travels to Barkley—but his return endangers everything and everyone he once loved.
Maddaddam (Maddaddam Trilogy #3)—Margaret Atwood (August 29, Bloomsbury)
A man-made plague has swept the earth, but a small group survives, along with the green-eyed Crakers—a gentle species bio-engineered to replace humans. Toby, onetime member of the Gods Gardeners and expert in mushrooms and bees, is still in love with street-smart Zeb, who has an
interesting past. The Crakers’ reluctant prophet, Snowman-the-Jimmy, is hallucinating; Amanda is in shock from a Painballer attack; and Ivory Bill yearns for the provocative Swift Fox, who is flirting with Zeb. Meanwhile, giant Pigoons and malevolent Painballers threaten to attack.
Told with wit, dizzying imagination, and dark humour, Booker Prize-winning Margaret Atwood’s unpredictable, chilling and hilarious MaddAddam takes us further into a challenging dystopian world and holds up a skewed mirror to our own possible future.
On the Steel Breeze (Poseidon’s Children #2)—Alastair Reynolds (August 29, Gollancz)
We have found a distant planet. It carries sign of an alien civilisation.
And on a fleet of holoships, vast asteroids hollowed out and turned into miniature worlds, millions of us are heading there. With engines designed to exploit a physics we barely understand we are on a one way journey, travelling at one sixth the speed of light, to a new home. And an encounter with the unknown.
And we take with us hopes and lies, secrets and betrayals. And another, quite alien intelligence.
The Akinya family have not finished with space. Their destiny still lies with the stars, however they get there, whichever of them make it.
And the Mechanism has not finished with the Akinyas…
Priests of Mars (Warhammer 40,000: Adeptus Mechanicus)—Graham McNeill (August 29, Black Library)
Legend tells of a foolhardy expedition, led by the radical Magos Telok, which ventured out into the unknown space beyond the Halo Worlds in search of the ’Breath of the Gods’—an arcane device with the power to unmake and reshape the very stars themselves.
Thousands of years later, the ambitious Lexell Kotov musters his Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator fleet and sets out to follow in mad old Telok’s footsteps. With the might of the Imperial Guard and the Space Marines to augment his own forces, he searches for the hidden clues which will lead him to greatest power that the galaxy has ever known. But who knows what ancient perils may yet lie outside the Imperium and the dominion of mankind?
The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1)—Jonathan Stroud (August 29, Doubleday Children’s)
When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in…
For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.
Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.
Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again…
A Stir of Echoes—Richard Matheson (August 29, Tor UK)
Madness is only a step away…
Tom Wallace is happy with his suburban lot, until an evening of casual entertainment turns reality into nightmare. Tom sees himself as a pragmatist, and when his brother-in-law challenges him to undergo hypnotism, he obliges to prove a point.
No one is more surprised that Tom when it works. But this cheap parlour trick unlocked something that now threatens his sanity, way of life and marriage. Suddenly he can sense his neighbours’ darkest desires, and some are dark indeed. When shadows from the past and glimpses of the future are revealed to him, Tom tries to deny what’s happening. But as his existence becomes increasingly unbearable, the biggest revelation of all awaits: a message from beyond the grave.
Tears of Isha (Warhammer: Orion Trilogy #2)—Darius Hinks (August 29, Black Library)
Winter approaches, and Orion leads the wild hunt one last time before he returns to his slumber… but a dark power is rising in the groves of Athel Loren, corrupting beasts and elves alike. As Orion’s servants hunt for a new host for the forest king’s spirit, the daemon Alkhor’s plan comes to fruition, threatening not only the wood elves but the forest realm itself.
Untold (Lynburn Legacy #2)—Sarah Rees Brennan (August 29, Simon & Schuster)
The sorcerous roots of Sorry-in-the-Vale have been exposed. Now no one in the town is safe, and everyone has to choose sides. Will the townspeople (magical and not) become “owned” by the sorcerers who believe it is their right to rule? Or will it continue in a more modern vein, with the presence of the sorcerers playing a quieter—and much less violent—role?
If Kami Glass has anything to say about it, evil will not win. Despite having given up her own piece of magic, she is determined to do everything she can to make a difference. And whether they want to or not, her circle of friends (and potential boyfriends) will not be able to help but follow her and go along with her unusual schemes and battle tactics.
Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. On occasion he’s been seen to tweet, twoo.