Elves, dragons and sword jockeys report back to work as seventeen new fantasies bring other worlds into play for January. Series fans should look for new offerings from, among others, Barb Hendee and J.C. Hendee (Noble Dead), Simon R. Green (Hawk and Fisher), L.E. Modesitt Jr. (Imager Portfolio), Lynn Kurland (Nine Kingdoms), Erin Hunter (Seekers: Return to the Wild), and Alex Bledsoe (Eddie LaCrosse).
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.
In her quest to find the Orb of Spirit, Wynn Hygeorht is torn between two men who hate each other. A strange series of clues leads them to a remote keep built on the cliffs of the coast of Witeny. The duke there has been undergoing some disturbing changes, and so have the people and livestock in the outlying villages. Wynn has no idea what awaits her at this keep. Dhampir Magiere, Leesil, and Chap continue their desperate search for the Orb of Air, still burdened with the master assassin, Brot’an, and the elven outcast girl, Wayfarer. They escape on the first available ship only to find themselves under the power of a sadistic captain. There is a trap waiting for them at the journey’s end that is beyond anything they can imagine.
Vivi’s animal instincts are her legacy, and maybe her downfall. SHE has known the truth about her family, and herself, since she was thirteen. Being Haguari isn’t something she feels she’ll ever accept. How can she feel like anything but a freak knowing that it’s in her genes to turn into a jaguar? Now eighteen, Vivi’s ready to break away from the traditions of her heritage. But all of that changes with the shocking, devastating deaths of her parents and the mysteries left behind. Vivi discovers family she never even knew she had, and a life open with possibility. New friends, new loyalties, and even romance all lay ahead, but so do dangers unlike Vivi ever could have imagined.
Myia, a shaman-in-training, wants desperately to protect her peaceful village from the barbaric Highland invaders. The village elders send Myia on a quest to heal the Highland leader’s heart and stop a brewing war. She meets the gorgeous, stubborn Highland warlord. Kedric, a gladiator who escaped enslavement, only wants to liberate the villagers from their common foe. Kedric is determined to take down the brutal enemy. So when Myia tries to sabotage his mission, Kedric wants her gone. Yet no woman’s touch has ever left Kedric more annoyed, and aroused. Kedric knows he should shun her soothing embrace, but he can’t seem to stay away. As their passion grows, Kedric must decide between fighting his war or surrendering his rage, and his heart, for Myia’s love.
Maryam, Ruth, and Joseph have fled Onew?re, reluctantly taking Joseph’s troublesome cousin, Lazarus, as well. They arrive at their destination, Marawa Island, filled with hope for rescue and reprieve. But at first glance the island appears to be solely populated by birds. Perhaps the Apostle’s dire warnings about the fall-out of the Tribulation were true after all. As Maryam and Joseph experience all the topsy-turvy misunderstandings and sexual tension first love entails, the antagonism between Maryam and Lazarus reaches explosive proportions. But when disaster brings the crushing realization that time is now against them, all four must decide just who they can risk turning to for help. (U.S.)
Hawk and Fisher, famous for their years of keeping the peace in Haven, are really quite happy being legends. They gave up the hero business when they decided they’d grown too old for it. Now they run the Hero Academy, training young hopefuls to be heroes….Hawk and Fisher’s adult children, Jack and Gillian, have been kidnapped. They were taken by the Demon Prince, an old enemy from the Forest Kingdom who challenges the couple to one final battle for their lives. Hawk and Fisher believe there’s another motive behind the abductions, one connected to a case they worked in Haven years ago. They have no choice but to return to the Forest Kingdom, to be Prince Rupert and Princess Julia in one last story, of the kind of things that happen only once in a blue moon.
A new pulse-pounding saga of modern-day humans with superpowers. The metaheroes deal with supervillain Verdegris, who seeks to destroy them from within, before turning their attention back to the Thulian conspiracy. It’s go time once again for the meta-heroes including fire-bender John Murdock, hacker-witch Vikki Nagy, healer Belladona Blue, super-quick Mercurye, and most of all for their ghostly ally, Seraphym, the spirit of the world Verdegris knows he must trap and destroy her if he is to take down the metas.
The saga of the Imager Quaeryt, Commander in the forces of Lord Bhayar, reaches a new climax as the great struggle to unify the continent of Lydar enters its final phase. Only the land of Khel remains uncommitted to Bhayar’s rule. Their decision could mean a lasting peace, or more conflict across the realm. While Bhayar awaits emissaries to arrive with news of Khel’s decision, other matters occupy Bhayar, his sister Velora, and her husband Quaeryt, not the least of which is the fulfillment of Quaeryt’s dream to create the world’s first Imager academy. Before that dream may be realized, or Khel’s fateful choice made known, the spectre of high treason threatens to unravel all that Quaeryt has achieved, catapulting him toward a fateful confrontation with Bhayar’s powerful military leaders.
Aisling of Bruadair is frantic to find both the truth about her future and a mercenary to save her country. When an offer of aid comes from an unexpected direction, she is relieved her quest is almost complete. Rùnach of Ceangail has offered to help Aisling with her quest, then he fully intends to take up his life as a simple swordsman far from magic and evil mages. A chance finding of a book of indecipherable spells tells him that an ordinary life is never going to be his, especially when he realizes that the book he has in his hands belongs to a black mage who will stop at nothing to have it back. Rùnach and Aisling must solve what seem to be unrelated mysteries before others find those answers first and plunge the Nine Kingdoms into a darkness it will never recover from.
After a harrowing journey, the four bears finally arrive at Toklo’s former home. Toklo is thrilled to be in the mountains, surrounded by warm memories of his cubhood, but his homecoming has come at a price. Yakone is dangerously ill, and may not survive. Meanwhile, Lusa is unsure of what her future holds. Is she ready to find her own way if it means leaving her friends, the only family she has left?
The Broken Dragon: Children of the Dragon Nimbus #2—Irene Radford (January 7, DAW)
Lily has great ability with plants and their healing properties, but no magical talent. Her beloved twin sister Valeria has unmatched magical abilities, but is frail and often ill. Since birth the two sisters have completed each other, but the older they become, the more apparent it is that magic is taking its toll on Val. The sisters embark on a journey to solve Val’s magical problem, and along the way to meet their mentors, the girls encounter several other magic users also struggling with severe weaknesses. Their caravan is overtaken by a dangerous magical storm, conjured by a rogue magician bent on revenge. In the storm the sisters are separated, and unless they can unite this eclectic group of magic users and find each other again, this rogue mage could prove the end of Coronnan.
After he fails to save a stranger from being mauled to death by a bear, a young mercenary is saddled with the baby girl the man died to protect. He leaves her with a shepherd family and goes on with his life. Sixteen years later, that young mercenary has grown up to become cynical sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. He can’t resist trying to discover what has become of the mysterious infant. He finds that the child, now a lovely young teenager named Isadora, is at the center of complicated web of intrigue. Once again she needs his help. They say a spider in your cup will poison you, but only if you see it. Eddie, helped by his smart, resourceful girlfriend Liz, must look through the dregs of the past to find the truth about the present, and risk what might happen if he, too, sees the spider.
When the emperor of Annur is murdered, his children must fight to uncover the conspiracy. Kaden, the heir apparent, was for eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power which Kaden must master. When an imperial delegation arrives to usher him back to the capital for his coronation, he has learned just enough to realize that they are not what they seem. His sister Adare struggles against the religious conspiracy that seems to be responsible for the emperor’s murder. Their brother Valyn knew his training to join the Kettral, deadly warriors who fly massive birds into battle, would be arduous. He’s convinced his father’s murderers are trying to kill him, and his brother. He must escape north to warn Kaden.
Young Adult. While searching for his kidnapped sister, Outsider Hylas takes a dangerous detour when he’s captured as a slave and sent to the copper mines of Thalakrea. Hylas faces brutal overseers and lethal cave-ins while evading his enemies, the Crows. With the aid of an orphaned lion cub and his friend Pirra, Hylas must escape the mines and shatter the power of the Crows for good. But the prophecy is still at work and Hylas cannot escape its grasp, especially when the anger of the oldest god is awakened. (U.S.)
Even for a charismatic pirate, three years is a long time to chase after an unimaginable treasure hidden in the ruins of an ancient city. But when the fabled riches turn out to be virtually worthless, the outraged crew mutinies and leaves their former captain for dead. He is rescued by a mysterious king and transported back to a time of dwarves, druids, and fairies. Enchanting as it is, though, his only wish is to return home and find justice, but only the king has the power to return him for a price. Aided by a new and motley group of mystical creatures and misfits, he sets out on his quest, ultimately getting caught up in a war he wants nothing to do with and in the process changing the course of history itself.
Foully betrayed and left to die alone in the tomb of a dead god, Corin Hugh has emerged victorious from an unexpected quest, hungry for revenge and sporting strange new powers. His arch-enemy and betrayer, Ethan Blake, has left his “civilian” days behind and resumed his position as the tyrant Vestossis, a powerful, and seemingly untouchable, member of the mighty ruling family. Corin is soon joined in his quest by a beautiful and mysterious druid named Aemelia, who possesses otherworldly powers of her own, and, strangely, seems to know Corin better than he knows himself. The two unlikely heroes must combine their powers and, ultimately, learn to trust one another as they race against time itself in an epic battle for freedom and good.
Jo Walton is both an inveterate reader of SF and fantasy, and a chronic re-reader of books. In 2008 Tor.com asked Walton to blog regularly about her re-reading, about all kinds of older fantasy and SF, ranging from acknowledged classics, to guilty pleasures, to forgotten oddities and gems. Among Walton’s many subjects here are the Zones of Thought novels of Vernor Vinge; the question of what genre readers mean by “mainstream”; the underappreciated SF adventures of C. J. Cherryh; the field’s many approaches to time travel; the masterful science fiction of Samuel R. Delany; Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children; the early Hainish novels of Ursula K. Le Guin; and a Robert A. Heinlein novel you have most certainly never read.
Master swordsman Rigel not only defeated the horrific monsters of the Starlands, but also thwarted Prince Vildiar’s dark designs to conquer the elven realms. Rigel refuses to return to Earth, consumed as he is by love for the newly crowned Queen Talitha. Vildiar has hatched multiple conspiracies to usurp the throne, and a vision has revealed that if Rigel and Talitha ever consummate their love, it will only hasten Rigel’s inevitable demise. Rigel never hesitates to defend the land and people he has taken on as his own. As traitors plot Talitha’s downfall, Rigel rescues one of Vildiar’s own half-breed offspring from Earth and offers her a new life in the Starlands. But will she embrace this gift without guile, or is she preparing to plunge a dagger into Rigel’s back?