Thirteen books wander between genres this month, with teen heroes and heroines continuing to take salvation of the human race on their dystopian shoulders. Look for new series titles from, among others, Eric Fling and Charles E. Gannon (1636 series), Diana Gabaldon (Outlander), and Eoin Colfer (W.A.R.P.), as well as a new outing from Stephen King and the annual Rich Horton-edited The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy.
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.
Eddie Cantrell is sent by Admiral Simpson to the Caribbean to secure access to the most valuable commodity on that continent: the oil which up-time machines and industry need. The admiral has also provided Eddie’s small task force with the new steam-powered frigates. An obstacle stands in his way: the Spanish presence in the New World. So a diversion is needed: grab the oil fields on Trinidad, and so distract the attention of Spain’s New World governors. Commander Cantrell’s steam sloop will make a run to the Louisiana coast. Her crew will wind their way up the bayous to the real New World prize: the Jennings Oil Field. Cantrell’s plans could be wrecked in a multitude of ways. Eddie will discover that the Spanish aren’t the only enemies who will be coming against him in a fateful Caribbean show-down.
In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. A lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes. Months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.
Bailouts and ambitious plans for recovery have failed to rescue the United States’ crumbling economy. The president takes a desperate gamble and strikes a bargain with China to write off America’s debt. It seems a brilliant move, until the Supreme Court is destroyed by a cruise missile in a shocking attack and Manhattan is invaded. China has come to claim what’s theirs. With American captives executed daily in national broadcasts by the attackers, the government in disarray, and US military forces shattered into local militias, all seems lost. Deep in the heart of Texas the American spirit lives on. John David Drury, a young, untried, but highly qualified “four-star general” of a scrappy militia, along with Molly Spitz, a highly-ranked graduate of the Air Force Academy, prepares to lead a strike against New York City.
When Crospinal’s ailing father finally dies, he is left alone in the pen, surrounded by encroaching darkness. The machines that tended to him as a child have long ago vanished, and the apparitions that kept Crospinal company are now silenced. Struggling with congenital issues, outfitted in a threadbare uniform, he has little choice but to leave what was once his home, soon discovering that nothing in the outside world is how he had been told it would be. In his quest for meaning and understanding, and the contact of another, Crospinal learns truths about himself, about his father, and about the last bastion of humanity trapped with him at the end of time.
This sixth volume of the year’s best science fiction and fantasy features more than thirty stories by some of the genre’s greatest authors, including Yoon Ha Lee, James Patrick Kelly, Ken Liu, Robert Reed, Lavie Tidhar, Carrie Vaughn, and many others.
Young Adult. Sephiri is an autistic boy who lives in a world of his own making. Lately he has been having dreams of a mysterious place, and he starts creating fantastical sketches of this inner world. Brenda, Sephiri’s mother, struggles with raising her child alone. Her only wish is to connect with him. Sephiri’s father, Horus, is sentenced to life in prison, making life even lonelier for Brenda and Sephiri. Yet prison is still not enough to separate father and son. In the seventh year of his imprisonment and the height of his isolation, Horus develops supernatural mental abilities that allow him to reach his son. Memory and yearning carry him outside his body, and through the realities of their ordeals and dreamscape, Horus and Sephiri find each other, and find hope in ways never imagined.
In June of 1778, the British army withdraw from Philadelphia, George Washington prepares to move from Valley Forge in pursuit, and Jamie Fraser comes back from the dead to discover that his best friend has married Jamie’s wife. The ninth Earl of Ellesmere discovers that he is the illegitimate son of the newly-resurrected Jamie Fraser and Jamie’s nephew, Ian Murray, discovers that his new-found cousin has an eye for Ian’s betrothed. Claire Fraser deals with an asthmatic duke, Benedict Arnold, and the fear that one of her husbands may have murdered the other. In the 20th century, Jamie and Claire’s daughter Brianna is thinking that things are easier in the 18th century: her son has been kidnapped, her husband has disappeared, and she’s facing a vicious criminal with only a stapler in hand. Her daughter has a cricket bat and her mother’s pragmatism.
Young Adult. Lucy Darrington has no choice but to run away from boarding school. Her father, an expert on the supernatural, has been away for too long while doing research in Saarthe, a remote territory in the Pacific Northwest populated by towering redwoods, timber barons, and the Lupine people. Upon arriving, she learns her father is missing: Rumor has it he’s gone in search of dreamwood, a rare tree with magical properties that just might hold the cure for the blight that’s ravaging the forests of Saarthe. Lucy and her vexingly stubborn friend Pete follow William Darrington’s trail to the deadly woods on Devil’s Thumb. They encounter Lupine princesses, giant sea serpents, and all manner of terrifying creatures. Lucy hasn’t reckoned that the dreamwood might be the greatest threat of all.
Spell or High Water—Scott Meyer (June 17, 47North)
The adventures of an American hacker in Medieval England continue as Martin Banks takes his next step on the journey toward mastering his reality-altering powers and fulfilling his destiny. A month has passed since Martin helped to defeat the evil programmer Jimmy. Gwen has journeyed to Atlantis, a tolerant and benevolent kingdom governed by the Sorceresses, and a place known to be a safe haven to all female time-travelers. Martin and Philip are invited to a summit in Atlantis for all of the leaders of the time-traveler colonies, and now Martin thinks this will be a chance to try again with Gwen. Of course, this is Martin Banks we?re talking about, so murder, mystery, and high intrigue all get in the way of a guy who just wants one more shot to get the girl.
Young Adult. Morgan Carter has weathered the weeks after the collapse of the nation’s power grid, reuniting with his family and ensuring their safety, but his struggle isn’t over yet. Carter must focus on survival in an increasingly unstable society, but the challenges he faces are beyond his wildest imagination. Meanwhile, the enclosed quarters of the nearby government-run refugee camp make for an environment where injury, assault and murder are the norm. As Jess creates trouble within the camp, Sarge and his crew plot to take down the entire establishment.
Young FBI agent Chevie Savano arrives back in modern-day London after a time-trip to the Victorian age, to find the present very different from the one she left. Europe is being run by a Facsist movement known as the Boxites, who control their territory through intimidation and terror. Chevie’s memories come back to her in fragments, and just as she is learning about the WARP program from Professor Charles Smart, inventor of the time machine, he is killed by secret service police. Now they are after Chevie, too, but she escapes, into the past. She finds Riley, who is being pursued by futuristic soldiers, and saves him. It is up to Chevie and Riley to find the enigmatic Colonel Clayton Box and stop him before he can launch missiles at the capitals of Europe.
In a land riven with plague, inside the infamous Walled City, two families vie for control: the Medicis with their genius inventor Leonardo; the Lorraines with Galileo, the most brilliant alchemist of his generation. And when two star-crossed lovers, one from either house, threaten the status quo, a third, shadowy power, one that forever seems a step ahead of all of the familial warring, plots and schemes, and bides its time, ready for the moment to attack. Assassination; ancient, impossible machines; torture and infamy, just another typical day in paradise.
The secret log of a murdered lighthouse keeper falls into the hands of the immensely wealthy Gilbert Frobisher, who discovers encoded within it a stunning and dangerous mystery. Against all odds Langdon St. Ives and his companions set sail in the dark of night for the West Indies aboard Gilbert Frobisher’s steam yacht, pursued by murderous pirates and bound for an uncharted volcanic island on the verge of eruption. There they undertake the perilous search for a hidden treasure protected by an unspeakable pagan god, and in the process unleash a power that will ultimately threaten the devastation of London.