Fiction Affliction: May Releases in Fantasy

Twenty-eight new fantasies fight for control of imaginary realms this month, including series additions from, among others, L.E. Modesitt Jr. (Saga of Recluce), Elizabeth Moon (Paladin’s Legacy), Jill Archer (Noon Onyx), Kristen Britain (Green Rider), Heather Blake (Wishcraft Mystery), Barb Hendee (Mist-Torn Witches), Peter Lerangis (Seven Wonders), and David Dalglish (Bloodsounder’s Arc).

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.

WEEK ONE

A Creature of MoonlightRebecca Hahn (May 6, Houghton, Mifflin Harcourt)

As the only heir to the throne, Marni should have been surrounded by wealth and privilege, not living in exile, but now the time has come when she must choose between claiming her birthright as princess of a realm whose king wants her dead, and life with the father she has never known: a wild dragon who is sending his magical woods to capture her.

Dragon PrincessS. Andrew Swann (May 6, DAW)

Frank Blackthorne’s most recent heist did not end optimally. The sacrificial virgin survived, but the whole incident left Frank, a respectable career thief, on the run from a kingdom full of evil cultists eager to replace their sacrifice. When the Court Wizard of Lendowyn, Elhared the Unwise, comes to him intending to hire someone to save Lendowyn’s princess from an evil dragon in return for riches, glory, and help with the bloodthirsty cultists problem, Frank is rightfully suspicious. Frank’s rescue fails, in an explosion of spectacularly misapplied magic. All parties involved find themselves body-swapped. Princess Lucille finds herself inhabiting the body of the dragon. They will have to team up and face down thugs, an evil Queen, and the hordes of the Dark Lord Nâtalc.

Mirror Sight (Green Rider #5)Kristen Britain (May 6, DAW)

Karigan G’ladheon is a Green Rider, a seasoned member of the elite messenger corps of King Zachary of Sacoridia. King Zachary sends Karigan and a contingent of Sacoridians into the mysterious Blackveil Forest, which has been tainted with dark magic by a twisted immortal spirit named Mornhavon the Black. Karigan is jolted out of Blackveil Forest and wakes in darkness. She’s lying on stone. She realizes that the stone is not just beneath her, but above and around her as well. She’s landed in a sealed stone sarcophagus. Is this to be her end? Has the magical explosion transported her somewhere completely different? She must first win free of her prison, before it becomes her grave. Should she succeed, will she be walking straight into a trap created by Mornhavon himself?

Sworn in Steel (Tales of the Kin #2)Douglas Hulick (May 6, Roc)

It’s been three months since Drothe killed a legend, burned down a portion of the imperial capital, and unexpectedly elevated himself into the ranks of the criminal elite. As the newest Gray Prince in the underworld, he’s learning just how good he used to have it. Drothe is already being called out by other Gray Princes. When one dies, all signs point to Drothe as wielding the knife. As members of the Kin begin choosing sides for what looks to be another impending war, Drothe is approached by a man who not only has the solution to Drothe’s most pressing problem, but an offer of redemption. Drothe finds himself on the way to the Despotate of Djan, the empire’s long-standing enemy, with an offer to make and a price on his head. The grains of sand in the hour glass are running out, fast.

The BeesLaline Paull (May 6, Ecco Press)

Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive, where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. She is allowed to feed the newborns and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect pollen. She also finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous. When Flora breaks the most sacred law of all, daring to challenge the Queen’s fertility, enemies abound. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, her society, and lead her to unthinkable deeds.

The Crimson Campaign (The Powder Mage #2)Brian McClellan (May 6, Orbit)

Tamas’s invasion of Kez ends in disaster when a Kez counter-offensive leaves him cut off behind enemy lines with only a fraction of his army, no supplies, and no hope of reinforcements. He must lead his men on a reckless march through northern Kez to safety, and back over the mountains so that he can defend his country from an angry god, Kresimir. In Adro, Inspector Adamat wants only to rescue his wife. He must track down and confront the evil Lord Vetas. Tamas’ generals bicker among themselves, the brigades lose ground every day beneath the Kez onslaught, and Kresimir wants the head of the man who shot him in the eye. With Tamas and his powder cabal presumed dead, Taniel Two-shot finds himself as the last defense against Kresimir’s advancing army.

The Goodbye Witch (A Wishcraft Mystery #4)Heather Blake (May 6, Signet)

Darcy’s closest friend and fellow witch, Starla Sullivan, hoped she’d never see her ex-husband, Kyle, again. Two years ago he tried to kill her, and he has been a fugitive ever since. Now Starla claims to have seen him back in Enchanted Village, but it seems she’s the only one who can see him. To everyone else, her ex is invisible. Darcy only wishes his motives were as transparent as the rest of him. Since the police can’t arrest someone they can’t see, it’s up to Darcy to find the secret behind Kyle’s latest disappearing act, before he does something they can’t see coming.

The Silk Map (Gaunt and Bone #2)Chris Willrich (May 6, Pyr)

Persimmon Gaunt and her husband, the thief Imago Bone, saved their child from evil forces at the price of trapping him within a pocket dimension. They will seek a way to recover their son. Allied with Snow Pine, a scrappy bandit who’s also lost her child to the Scroll of Years, Gaunt and Bone awaken the Great Sage, currently trapped by vaster powers beneath a mountain. The Sage knows of a way to reach the Scroll. The three must seek the world’s greatest treasure and bring it back to him. They tangle with Western treasure hunters, a blind mystic warrior and his homicidal magic carpet, a nomad princess determined to rebuild her father’s empire, and a secret society obsessed with guarding the lost paradise where the Moths are found, even if paradise must be protected by murder.

The Thickety: A Path BeginsJ.A. White (May 6, Katherine Tegen)

Young Adult. When Kara Westfall was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic, except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names. Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr’s Realm. But mostly it’s called the Thickety. The black-leaved trees swayed toward Kara and then away, as though beckoning her. The villagers live in fear of the Thickety and the terrible creatures that live there. When an unusual bird lures Kara into the forest, she discovers a strange book with unspeakable powers. A book that might have belonged to her mother. That is just the beginning of the story.

The Wizard’s Promise (The Hanna Duology #1)Cassandra Rose Clarke (May 6, Strange Chemistry)

All Hanna Euli wants is to become a proper witch, but unfortunately, she’s stuck as an apprentice to a grumpy fisherman. When their boat gets caught up in a mysterious storm and blown wildly off course, Hanna finds herself further away from home than she’s ever been before. As she tries to get back, she learns there may be more to her apprentice master than she realized, especially when a mysterious, beautiful, and very non-human boy begins following her through the ocean, claiming that he needs Hanna’s help.

Witches in Red (The Mist-Torn Witches #2)Barb Hendee (May 6, Roc)

Far to the north, the men of an isolated silver mining community are turning into vicious “beasts” that slaughter anyone in sight. The mines belong to the noble family of Prince Anton, ruler of Castle Sèone and Céline and Amelie’s patron, and Anton’s tyrannical father has ordered his son to solve the mystery. He has no choice but to send the witches to use their abilities to discover the cause of the transformations. The sisters have no choice but to accept. With the overprotective Lieutenant Jaromir, Célene and Amelie enter the dark world of a mining camp tainted by fear, mistrust, and haunted by men turning into mad wolves without warning. The two must draw upon strength and cunning they never thought they possessed not only to solve the mystery, but to survive.

 

WEEK TWO

Odin’s Ravens (The Blackwell Pages #2)K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr (May 13, Little, Brown)

Middle Grade. Seven kids, Thor’s hammer, and a whole lot of Valkyries are the only things standing against the end of the world. When thirteen-year-old Matt Thorsen, a modern day descendant of the Norse god Thor, was chosen to represent Thor in an epic battle to prevent the apocalypse he thought he knew how things would play out. Gather the descendants standing in for gods like Loki and Odin, defeat a giant serpent, and save the world. The descendants’ journey grinds to a halt when their friend and descendant Baldwin is poisoned and killed and Matt, Fen, and Laurie must travel to the Underworld in the hopes of saving him. The must reunite, the challengers, find Thor’s hammer, and stop the apocalypse.

Searching for SkyJillian Cantor (May 13, Bloomsbury)

Young Adult. Sky and River have always lived on Island, the only world they’ve ever known. Until the day River spots a boat. Across Ocean, in a place called California, Sky is separated from River and forced to live with a grandmother she’s just met. Here the rules for survival are different. People rely on strange things like cars and cell phones. They keep secrets from one another. And without River, nothing makes sense. Sky yearns for her old life where she was strong and capable, not lost and confused. She must find River so they can return to Island, but the truth behind how they ended up there in the first place will come as the biggest shock of all.

The Tomb of Shadows (Seven Wonders #3)Peter Lerangis (May 13, HarperCollins)

Jack McKinley and his friends defeated the Colossus of Rhodes, unearthed the treasures of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and recovered two of the seven lost Loculi, only to find they’d been betrayed. With Babylon in ruins, Marco on the Massa side, and ancient secrets coming unraveled, the Select don’t know who to trust or where to turn. Their G7W powers are growing at a furious pace, their worlds have been turned upside down, and the Massa are hot on their heels. But Jack, Aly, and Cass have no choice but to fight on. The friends find the next stop on their quest, where they have to face down their own demons and engage in an epic battle with foes long gone. When promises are broken, blood is spilled, and the Select have to destroy the thing that might have saved them all.

The Very Best of Tad WilliamsTad Williams (May 13, Tachyon)

Previously collected in multi-author anthologies and limited hardcover editions, these superlative talks of dragons, super-soldiers, wizards, cyberpunks, heroes, and fools are now available together for the first time in a trade paperback edition. Included is an original tale written specifically for this volume.

 

WEEK THREE

Veil of the Deserters (Bloodsounder’s Arc #2)Jeff Salyards (May 19, Night Shade)

Captain Braylar Killcoin and his retinue continue to sow chaos amongst the political elite of Alespell. Braylar is still poisoned by the memories of those slain by his unholy flail Bloodsounder. The Syldoonian Emperor Cynead has solidified his power base and demands loyalty from all operatives. Braylar and company are recalled to the capital to swear fealty. Braylar must decide if he can trust his sister, Soffjian, with the secret that is killing him. She has powerful memory magics that might be able to save him from Bloodsounder’s effects. Deposed emperor Thumarr plots to remove the repressive Cynead, and Braylar and his sister lie at the heart of his plans. Old enemies in Alespell may prove to be surprising allies in a conflict no one could have foreseen. (Digital; print to follow in June)

A Dance of Shadows (Shadowdance #4)David Dalglish (May 20, Orbit)

Haern is the King’s Watcher, born an assassin only to become the city of Veldaren’s protector against the thief guilds. When Lord Victor Kane attacks the city, determined to stamp out all corruption, foreign gangs pour in amidst the chaos in an attempt to overthrow the current lords of the underworld. And when a mysterious killer known as the Widow begins mutilating thieves, paranoia engulfs the city. Haern knows someone is behind the turmoil, pulling strings. If he doesn’t find out who, and soon, his beloved city will burn.

Among the Unseen (The Thin Veil #3)Jodi McIsaac (May 20, 47North)

Life just keeps getting more complicated for Cedar McLeod. As the recently crowned queen of Tír na nÓg, she’s trying to understand her magical new kingdom. It doesn’t help that a dear friend has just betrayed her. Cedar’s seven-year-old daughter, Eden, lost and lonely in Tír na nÓg despite her special powers, has become painfully distant. Cedar vows to do whatever it takes to protect her family once and for all. Then a new disaster breaks out: a mysterious sickness is plaguing the Unseen, Ireland’s magical creatures, including those Cedar knows and loves. With enemies still on the loose and not knowing whom she can trust, Cedar must race against time to reverse an ancient curse, in a journey that will take her from Tír na nÓg to Earth, and beyond.

Cyador’s Heirs (The Saga of Recluce #17)L.E. Modesitt, Jr. (May 20, Tor)

Decades after the fall of Cyador, its survivors have re-established themselves in Cigoerne. Young Lerial, the second son of Duke Kiedron, lives in the shadow of his older brother Lephi, the heir to their father’s realm. Lerial’s future seems preordained: He will one day command his brother’s forces in defense of Cigoerne. When Lerial is sent abroad to be fostered by Major Altyrn, he begins a journey into a much larger world that brings out his true potential. He is one of those rare beings who can harness both Order and Chaos, the competing natural forces that shape the world and define the magic that exists within it. As war finally engulfs the fringes of Cigoerne, Lerial’s growing mastery of Order and Chaos is tested to its limits, and his own.

The Chronicle of Secret Riven (Keeper of Tales Trilogy #2)Ronlyn Domingue (May 20, Atria)

One thousand years after a conflict known as The Mapmaker’s War, a daughter is born to a historian and a translator. Secret Riven doesn’t speak until her seventh year. Secret finds acceptance from Prince Nikolas, her best friend, and Old Woman, who lives in the distant woods. When Secret is twelve, her mother receives a manuscript to translate from an anonymous owner. Zavet suffers from nightmares and withdraws into herself. Secret sickens with a fever and awakens able to speak an ancient language, one her mother knows as well. Zavet dies. Secret becomes a translator’s apprentice for Fewmany, an influential magnate, who has taken an interest in her, Old Woman confronts Secret with the truth of her destiny, a choice she must make that is tied to an ancient past.

The Pillars of Sand (Echoes of Empire #3)Mark T. Barnes (May 20, 47North)

Prophecy declared that corrupt politician Corajidin would rule the Shr?anese Federation, even become its new Emperor, and sinister magic, has helped him defy death in order to do it. But his victory is not assured, thanks to clashing rival factions that hinder any attempts to unify the nation. Only his most powerful adversaries will stand in his way: Indris, the peerless swordsman and sorcerer who has long fought to end the Federation’s bloody turmoil; and the warrior-poet Mari, Corajidin’s own daughter and the woman Indris loves. If Indris can bring to bear the devastating knowledge of the Pillars of Sand, and Mari can rise up as a rebel leader, Corajidin’s enemies will rally, and the decisive battle for the soul and future of the Shr?anese will begin.

Thief’s Magic (Millennium’s Rule #1)Trudi Canavan (May 20, Orbit)

Tyen, a student of archaeology, discovers a sentient book in an ancient tomb. Vella was once a young sorcerer-maker, until she was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. In a land ruled by the priests since a terrible war depleted all but a little magic, Rielle the dyer’s daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. A people called the Travelers live their entire lives on the move, trading goods from one world to another. They know that each world has its own store of magic so that if one entered a weak world they may be unable to leave it again. This is not the only knowledge the Travelers store within their stories and songs. They know a great change is due, and that change brings both loss and opportunity.

 

WEEK FOUR

Allies and Assassins (Enemies of the Prince #1)Justin Somper (May 27, Little, Brown)

Young Adult. Prince Anders, the ruler of Archenfield, has been murdered, leaving his younger brother, Jared, to ascend the throne. Sixteen-year-old Jared feels unprepared to rule the kingdom and its powerful and dangerous court, yet he knows he can rely on the twelve officers of the court to advise him. He also knows he can just as easily be at their mercy, especially when it appears that one of them may be responsible for his brother’s death. Unable to trust anyone, Jared takes it upon himself to hunt down his brother’s killer, but the killer may be hunting him, as well. (U.S.)

Crown of Renewal (Paladin’s Legacy #5)Elizabeth Moon (May 27, Del Rey)

The mysterious reappearance of magery throughout the land has been met with suspicion, fear, and violence. In the kingdom of Lyonya, Kieri, the half-elven, half-human king, struggles to balance the competing demands of his heritage while fighting a deadly threat to his rule: evil elves linked in some way to the rebirth of magic. Meanwhile, in the neighboring kingdom of Tsaia, a set of ancient artifacts recovered by the former mercenary Dorrin Verrakai may hold the answer to the riddle of magery’s return. Thus Dorrin embarks on a dangerous quest to return these relics of a bygone age to their all-but-mythical place of origin. What she encounters there will change her in unimaginable ways, and spell doom or salvation for the entire world.

The Castle Behind ThornsMerrie Haskell (May 27, Katherine Tegen)

Young Adult. When Sand wakes up in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. Sand did not expect to find everything inside. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. Sand does what he knows best, he fires up the castle’s forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place? Sand finds the lost heir, Perrotte, a girl who shares the castle’s astonishing secrets and dark history. Putting together the pieces, of stone and iron, and of a broken life, is harder than Sand ever imagined, but it’s the only way to gain their freedom, even with the help of the guardian saints.

The Twelve Kingdoms: The Mark of the Tala (The Twelve Kingdoms #1)Jeffe Kennedy (May 27, Kensington)

The tales tell of three sisters, daughters of the high king. The eldest, a valiant warrior-woman, heir to the kingdom. The youngest, the sweet beauty with her Prince Charming. Not much is said about the middle princess, Andromeda. Andi, the other one. She enjoys the company of her horse more than court, and she has a way of blending into the shadows. Until the day she meets a man riding, who keeps company with wolves and ravens, who rules a land of shapeshifters and demons. A country she’d thought was no more than legend, until he claims her as its queen. Her father, the wise king, becomes a warlord, suspicious and strategic. Whispers call her dead mother a traitor and a witch. Visions appear to her and her body begins to rebel. For Andi, the time to learn her true nature has come.

The Way to BabylonPaul Kearney (May 27, Solaris)

Michael Riven has fallen off a mountain. The bestselling fantasy author is broken in both body and mind, as the fall also claimed his wife and climbing partner Jenny. Readers are desperate to know what will happen next in the fantasy world Minginish, but neither writing, nor living, are of interest to the author as his heart bleeds. There are others seeking the scribe out. Men, and someone who is not all human, have begun a quest to find a way to rescue their blighted homeland. Michael will return to his home in Scotland; he will accompany a stranger into the hills and find himself led not over the local landscape but into Minginish itself, a real place more surprising and unpredictable even than the world of his novels. Michael must take up the companions of his stories, Bicker, Ratagan and Murtach, and find a way to mend the sundered world. He may even find that Jenny’s existence did not end that day on the mountain. (U.S.)

White Heart of Justice (Noon Onyx #3)Jill Archer (May 27, Ace)

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race, an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future. However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse, and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again.


Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. You can find Suzanne on Facebook and on her website.

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