From the fold of the British Genre Fiction Focus comes the British Genre Fiction Hitlist: your biweekly breakdown of the most notable new releases out of the United Kingdom’s thriving speculative fiction industry.
We had more new books than ever before in the last edition of the Hitlist, and late April, I’m afraid, simply can’t compete. At least, not in terms of quantity…
Quality is a whole other question, however, and the next two weeks certainly have their highlights, including the start of a stunning new historical fantasy saga by Mark Adler, a new Destiny Quest—yes!—the third part of Paradox by Rachel Bach, the latest from Lily Herne and the greatly anticipated conclusion of Laini’s Taylor Daughter of Smoke and Bone series.
The Army of the Lost (Deadlands #3)—Lily Herne (April 17, Much-in-Little)
Eleven years after South Africa was ravaged by the walking dead, most of Johannesburg’s survivors are forced to scratch out a living in the filth of Sandtown, an enclave in the old city mall, ruled over by a minority of rich, self-serving bureaucrats. Tommy, a bullied fourteen-year-old Sandtownite, dreams of joining the Army of the Left, a radical organisation intent on setting the city free of the dead that lurch around its walls. But fate has other plans for him…
Betrayed by one of their closest allies and sold to the highest bidder, Lele, Ash, Ember and Ginger—the remaining Mall Rats—find themselves sucked into the dark heart of Jozi’s twisted political system. While Ash is forced to face his traumatic past and Ginger struggles to retain his sanity, Lele goes head to head against Jozi’s most powerful manipulator—a man who has sinister plans for her. Meanwhile, left for dead on the outskirts of Jozi, Saint begins her own journey… a journey that she hopes will provide answers to all of the Mall Rats’ unanswered questions.
Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3)—Laini Taylor (April 17, Hodder & Stoughton)
By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.
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. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.
And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.
But 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 like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.
From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, 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?
The Eye of Winter’s Fury (Destiny Quest #3)—Michael J. Ward (April 17, Gollancz)
War is coming to Valeron. From the west, the blood-thirsty Wiccans burn and pillage their way towards the capital—where an ill and ineffectual king is beset on all sides by the scheming of ambitious men. His youngest son, Prince Arran, untested in combat and naïve to ways of the world, is sent on a fool’s errand: to convince a cowardly lord to honour his oath and defend the realm from its enemies. But the real threat is yet to be revealed…
You are Prince Arran, son of Leonidas and second heir to the throne of Valeron. They call you the ghost prince—the sickly boy who haunts the palace library, filling your head with dreams of high adventure. Now, as the shadows lengthen and danger threatens your beleaguered kingdom, you must finally prove yourself. It is time to take up your hallowed sword, Duran’s Heart, and forge your own destiny in a cruel and savage world—one that has no mercy for weakling princes. No happy endings.
Will you defy fate and become a great hero of legend? You decide in this epic fantasy adventure—one where you make the decisions. The cold north awaits you… are you ready for the challenge?
The Masked Empire (Dragon Age #4)—Patrick Weekes (April 17, Titan)
Journey into the darkest and deadliest part of Orlais, where the weight of titles matters less than the strength of blades.
Empress Celene of Orlais rose to the throne of the most powerful nation in Thedas through wisdom, wit, and ruthless manipulation. Now the empire she has guided into an age of enlightenment is threatened from within by imminent war between the templars and the mages, even as rebellion stirs among the downtrodden elves. To save Orlais, Celene must keep her hold on the throne by any means necessary.
Fighting with the legendary skill of the Orlesian chevaliers, Grand Duke Gaspard has won countless battles for the empire and the empress. But has he fought in vain? As the Circle fails and chaos looms, Gaspard begins to doubt that Celene’s diplomatic approach to the mage problem or the elven uprisings will keep the empire safe. Perhaps it is time for a new leader, one who lives by the tenets of the chevalier’s code, to make Orlais strong again.
Alliances are forged and promises broken as Celene and Gaspard battle for the throne of Orlais. But in the end, the elves who hide in the forests or starve in the alienages may decide the fate of the masked empire.
Son of the Morning—Mark Adler (April 17, Gollancz)
Edward the Third stands in the burnt ruin of an English church. He is beset on all sides. He needs a victory against the French to rescue his Kingship. Or he will die trying.
Philip of Valois can put 50,000 men in the field. He has sent his priests to summon the very Angels themselves to fight for France. Edward could call on God for aid, but he is an usurper. What if God truly is on the side of the French?
But for a price, Edward could open the gates of Hell and take an unholy war to France…
Storm (Elemental #1)—Brigid Kemmerer (April 17, Much-in-Little)
Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake…
Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys; all the ones she doesn’t want. When she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school car park, everything is about to change. Chris is different from the guys at school… really different. He can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. The brothers are powerful and dangerous. And now that Becca knows the truth, so is she.
When the mysterious new kid, Hunter, turns up, Becca thinks she can trust him. But when he goes head-to-head with Chris, Becca’s left wondering who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.
La Femme—ed. Ian Whates (April 18, Newcon Press)
For anyone who still considers woman to be the weaker sex, think again…
Editor Ian Whates presents tales of dark science fiction, fantasy and horror featuring the female of the species from an array of authors including Frances Hardinge, Storm Constantine, Ruth Booth, Andrew Hook, Stewart Hotston, Holly Ice, Adele Kirby, Maura McHugh, Jonathan Oliver, Stephen Palmer, John Llewellyn Probert and Benjanun Sriduangkaew.
Tithe of the Saviour (Chronicles of a Cosmic Warlord #3)—A. J. Dalton (April 22, Gollancz)
In claiming a place in the world, mortals have won many enemies for themselves. The ancient gods are jealous and conspire against them. The King of the Dead looks to lead his armies into the land of the living. In their own realm, the mighty Declension watches and waits, as events begin to unfold precisely as they had always planned.
Jillan and his companions are beset on all sides, yet are plagued by self-doubt and internal division. When the final battle for survival begins, both they and their gods face extinction. They are easy prey for the warriors of the Declension, who are intent upon stripping Jillan of his magic and raising up their empire once more.
His friends and beloved Hella taken from him, Jillan is captured and tortured. He is ultimately broken and condemned to work in a mine, to see out his days labouring in misery for the enemy he has fought against his entire life.
He is a man without hope.
Heaven’s Queen (Paradox #3)—Rachel Bach (April 22, Orbit)
From the moment she took a job on Captain Caldswell’s doomed ship, Devi Morris’s life has been one disaster after another: government conspiracies, two alien races out for her blood and an incurable virus that’s eating her alive. Now, with the captain missing and everyone—even her own government—determined to hunt her down, things are going from bad to impossible.
The sensible plan would be to hide and wait for things to blow over, but Devi’s never been one to shy from a fight, and she’s getting mighty sick of running. It’s time to put this crisis on her terms and do what she knows is right. But with all human life hanging on her actions, the price of taking a stand might be more than she can pay.
Shift—Jeff Povey (April 24, Simon & Schuster)
Get ready for one apocalyptic detention in the first in a fast-paced, page-turner of a series, filled with action, adventure and humour perfect for fans of Michael Grant, Charlie Higson and Antony Horowitz.
Meet Rev, Billie, the Ape, Johnson, GG, Carrie, the Moth and Lucas: a motley crew of bickering teens who find themselves totally alone in the world after a strange power surge hits their classroom during detention. With no answers as to why or how the rest of the world has disappeared, the mismatched group is soon facing a bigger nightmare than they could ever imagine…
Standing between them and the only way home are lethal duplicate versions of themselves, super powered teenagers who will kill anyone who gets in their way. Our unlikely heroes must somehow work together to save themselves… or they’ll never see home again.
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. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.