Eighteen new fantasies struggle to escape the dregs of the neverending winter this month, including series additions from, among others, Gail Z. Martin (Ascendant Kingdoms), Lynn Flewelling (Nightrunner), Patrick Weekes (Dragon Age), Elizabeth Bear (Eternal Sky), Joseph Delaney (The Last Apprentice/Wardstone Chronicles), and Mercedes Lackey/Rosemary Edghill (Shadow Grail).
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.
Blaine McFadden endured six long years in the brutal Velant prison colony, exiled for murder. War devastated his homeland of Donderath and destroyed the magic on which the Ascendant Kingdoms relied. Now Blaine and a small group of fellow exiles have returned to a lawless wasteland, where unrestrained magic storms wreak havoc and monsters roam free. Yet, amidst the chaos, rumors persist of a new magic that could restore the kingdoms. But the key lies with a dangerous, ancient ritual and a group of vanished survivors. Now McFadden’s only hope is a small, desperate, quickly rallied army. Together they must make one last stand knowing that if they fail, the civilization of the Ascendant Kingdoms dies with them.
The governor of the sacred island of Korous and his mistress have been killed inside a locked and guarded room. The sole witnesses to the crime, guards who broke down the doors, hearing the screams from within, have gone mad with terror, babbling about ghosts, and things worse than ghosts. Dispatched to Korous by the queen, master spies Alec and Seregil find all the excitement and danger they could want, and more. For an ancient evil has been awakened there, a great power that will not rest until it has escaped its otherworldly prison and taken revenge on all that lives. And only those like Alec, who have died and returned to life, can step between the worlds and confront the killer, even if it means a second and all too permanent death.
For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. A prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined. She begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods. There is a rebellion brewing. Her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader. As Cécile becomes involved in the political games of Trollus, she becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. When his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir. He has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment. He can trust nobody. He must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend, and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne, or his life.
Young Adult. Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor. Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold, heir to the Prussian throne. Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard. Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician, come up with a plan. The court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone imagines. There is only rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one.
Empress Celene of Orlais rose to the throne of the most powerful nation in Thedas through wisdom, wit, and ruthless manipulation. The empire she has guided into an age of enlightenment is threatened from within by imminent war between the templars and the mages. Grand Duke Gaspard has won countless battles for the empire and the empress. Gaspard begins to doubt that Celene’s diplomatic approach Orlais’ problems will keep the empire safe. Briala has been Celene’s handmaid since the two of them were children, using her position to help improve the lives of elves in Orlais. She is Celene’s confidante, spymaster, and lover. When politics force the empress to choose between the rights of the elves and the Orlesian throne, Briala must decide where her true loyalties lie.
When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. There are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz, something is happening. Massive stains are spreading from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world. From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?
Re Temur, legitimate heir to his grandfather’s Khaganate, has finally raised his banner and declared himself at war with his usurping uncle. With his companions, the Wizard Samarkar, the Cho-tse Hrahima, and the silent monk Brother Hsiung, he must make his way to Dragon Lake to gather in his army of followers. But Temur’s enemies are not idle; the leader of the Nameless Assassins, who has shattered the peace of the Steppe, has struck at Temur’s uncle already. To the south, in the Rasan empire, plague rages. To the east, the great city of Asmaracanda has burned, and the Uthman Caliph is deposed. All the world seems to be on fire, and who knows if even the beloved son of the Eternal Sky can save it?
Long ago, in a kingdom, well, not that far from here really, young Cullin traveled the countryside as squire to brave Sir Dalbry, along with Dalbry’s trusted sidekick Reeger, selling dragon-protection services to every kingdom with a coffer. There were no dragons, of course, but with a collection of severed alligator heads and a willingness to play dirty, the trio of con men was crushing the competition. Then along came Princess Affonyl. Tomboyish and with a head for alchemy, Affonyl faked a dragon of her own, escaped her arranged marriage, and threw in with Cullin and company. But with her father sending a crew of do-gooder knights to find her, the dragon business just got cutthroat.
Young Adult. Tom Ward has battled boggarts, ghasts, witches, dark gods, and the most terrifying creatures to roam the earth. He’s allied with the witch assassin Grimalkin, with a powerful boggart, and with Alice, the young witch who is also his true love. And he has kept one step ahead of the Fiend, the most evil being in the world. Now, he will vanquish the Fiend once and for all. It will require a terrible sacrifice: not everyone Tom cares about will survive the final battle. (U.S.)
In the century since the master of horror, H. P. Lovecraft, published his first story, the monstrosities that crawled out of his brain have become legend: the massive, tentacled Cthulhu, the demon Sultan Azathoth, the Deep Ones, and the unspeakably-evil Hastur, whose very name brings death. This anthology celebrates Lovecraft’s most famous beasts in all their grotesque glory, with each story a gripping new take on a classic mythos creature and affectionately accompanied by an illuminating illustration. Something unnatural slouches from the sea into an all-night diner to meet the foolish young woman waiting for him, while the Hounds of Tindalos struggle to survive trapped in human bodies, haunting pool halls for men they can lure into the dark. Strange, haunting, and undeniably monstrous, this is Lovecraft as you have never seen him before.
Caeli-Amur: a city ruled by three Houses, fighting internecine wars; a city which harbours technology and hidden mysteries. Things are changing in Caeli-Amur. Ancient minotaurs arrive for the traditional Festival of the Sun. The slightly built New-Men bring their technology from their homeland. Wastelanders stream into the city hideously changed by the chemical streams to the north. Strikes break out in the factory district. A small group of seditionists debate ways to overthrow the Houses. How can they rouse the citizens of the city? Should they begin a campaign of terror? Is there a way to uncover the thaumaturgical knowledge that the Houses guard so jealously? As the Houses scramble to maintain their rule, it becomes clear that things will change forever in Caeli-Amur. (U.S.)
Maeve, princess of Connacht, was born with her fists clenched. And it’s her spirit and courage that make Maeve her father’s favorite daughter. But once he becomes the High King, powerful men begin to circle, it’s easy to love the girl who brings her husband a kingdom. Yet Maeve is more than a prize to be won, and she’s determined to win the right to decide her own fate. In the court’s deadly game of intrigue, she uses her wits to keep her father’s friends and enemies close, but not too close. When she strikes up an unlikely friendship with the son of a visiting druid, Maeve faces a brutal decision between her loyalty to her family and to her own heart.
Glain, Proctor of the Stewards and second to Alwen, Guardian of the Key to the Spiritual Realm and pro tempore Sovereign, must discover who threatens the safety of Fane Gramarye, the last bastion of magic standing against an evil mage, Machreth, who is bent on thwarting the prophecy of the Ancients and usurping the throne. Conspiracies, intrigues, and treachery present significant obstacles to finding and bringing together the four Guardians of the Keys to the Realms. Glain’s visionary powers are formidable; but can she trust those she calls her friends? Or her own heart, so set on sharing a life with Alwen’s son, Rhys, who must fulfill his own destiny? Glain guards a secret of her own that she must come to terms with before the prophecy of peace can be fulfilled.
Young Adult. Spirit White and her friends Burke, Loch, and Addie have escaped from Oakhurst Academy. Adear friend sacrificed her own life to save theirs. In the wake of Muirin’s death, they are also forced to deal with the terrifying truth behind the facade of Oakhurst Academy. Queen Guinevere, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table really had existed. With the magic of Merlin, they were able to imprison their greatest foe, Mordred, before he could plunge the world back into the Dark Ages. Mordred is now free, in charge of Oakhurst Academy, and determined to finish what he started so long ago. Spirit’s small band undertakes a quest to recover the Four Hallows, objects of immeasurable power. Memories resurface of a past life in which Spirit wields a legendary sword. She comes to realize that these memories are the true key to Mordred’s defeat.
The city of Klaar has never fallen. No enemy has ever made it across the Long Bridge or penetrated the city’s mighty walls. They are cruelly betrayed from within and the city is brought to its knees. With the help of her bodyguard, Kork, the battle-trained young Rina narrowly escapes the slaughter and makes her way to the lair of an ancient sorcerer, the Ink Mage, who gifts her with a strange, beautiful set of magical tattoos. Now a duchess in exile, Rina sets out on a quest to reclaim what is rightfully hers, aided by a motley assortment of followers who will help her in her cause, some for noble reasons and others for their own dark purposes. Rina must learn to harness her new and startling magical powers if she is to assert her rightful place as ruler of Klaar.
In this third Ravkan folk tale from Leigh Bardugo, a beautiful girl finds that what her father wants for her and what she wants for herself are two different things. It is a companion story to the third book of the Grisha Trilogy, Ruin and Rising, and the stories “The Witch of Duva” and “The Too-Clever Fox.” (Digital)
Cayden is part Elf, part Fae, part human Wizard, and all rebel. His mother would have him follow his father to the Royal Court, to make a high-society living off the scraps of kings. Cade lives and breathes for the theater. He’s a tregetour, a wizard who is both playwright and magicwielder. It is Cade’s power that creates the magic, but a tregetour is useless without a glisker, an elf who can spin the magic onto the stage. Cade’s glisker, Mieka, is something special too. So is their fettler, Rafe, who controls the magic and keeps them and the audience safe. Their masker, Jeska, who speaks all the lines, is every young girl’s dream. They are reaching for the highest reaches of society and power, but not the way Cade’s mother thinks they should. They’ll change their world, or die trying.