Fiction Affliction: October Releases in Fantasy

Thirty new fantasies hit the shelves this month, including a few that were actually written for adult readers and a nonfiction title that promises to fill us in on everything Song of Ice and Fire.

Look for new series additions from, among others, Steven Brust (Vlad Taltos), Richard K. Morgan (A Land Fit for Heroes), Jasper Fforde (The Last Dragonslayer), Jeff Somers (Ustari Cycle), Garth Nix (Abhorsen), Kendare Blake (Goddess War), David Dalglish and Robert Duperre (The Breaking World), Debra Mullins (Truth Seers), and Kelly McCullough (Fallen Blade). Also look for new anthologies edited by Jonathan Strahan (Fearsome Magics) and George R.R. Martin and Gardner R. Dozois (Dangerous Women 2).

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

Closer to Home (Valdemar: The Herald Spy #1)Mercedes Lackey (October 7, DAW)

Mags was once an enslaved orphan living a harsh life in the mines, until the King’s Own Herald discovered his talent and trained him as a spy. Now a Herald in his own right, at the newly established Heralds’ Collegium, Mags has found a supportive family, including his Companion Dallen. Although normally a Herald in his first year of Whites would be sent off on circuit, Mags is needed close to home for his abilities as a spy and his powerful Mindspeech gift. There is a secret, treacherous plot within the royal court to destroy the Heralds. The situation becomes dire after the life of Mags’ mentor, King’s Own Nikolas, is imperiled. His daughter Amily is chosen as the new King’s Own. Can Mags and Amily save the court, the Heralds, and the Collegium itself?

Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)Heather Demetrios (October 7, Balzer + Bray)

Young Adult. Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master. Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master for an unbearably high price. Raif’s her only hope of escape. Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. For Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle, and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Fearsome Magics: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy—edited by Jonathan Strahan (October 7, Solaris)

A cabinet of magic. A cavalcade of wonder. A collection of stories filled with wild adventure and strange imaginings. Authors set to take part in Fearsome Magics include Christopher Rowe, Garth Nix, Isobelle Carmody, Tony Ballantyne, K.J. Parker, Ellen Klages, James Bradley, Karin Tidbeck, Justina Robson, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Frances Hardinge, Kaaron Warren, Genevieve Valentine and Robert Shearman.

Hawk (Vlad Taltos #14)Steven Brust (October 7, Tor)

Years ago, Vlad Taltos came to make his way as a human amidst the impossibly tall, fantastically long-lived natives of the Dragaeran Empire. He joined the Jhereg, the Dragaeran House (of which there are seventeen) that handles the Empire’s vices: gambling, rackets, organized crime. He became a professional assassin. He was good at it. But that was then, before Vlad and the Jhereg became mortal enemies. For years, Vlad has run from one end of the Empire to the other, avoiding the Jhereg assassins who pursue him. Now, finally, he’s back in the imperial capital where his family and friends are. He means to stay there this time. Whatever happens. And whatever it takes.

Pennyroyal AcademyM.A. Larson (October 7, Putnam Juvenile)

Young Adult. A girl from the forest arrives in a bustling kingdom with no name and no idea why she is there, only to find herself at the center of a world at war. She enlists at Pennyroyal Academy, where princesses and knights are trained to battle the two menaces of the day: witches and dragons. Given the name “Evie,” she must endure a harsh training regimen under the glare of her Fairy Drillsergeant, while also navigating an entirely new world of friends and enemies. As Evie learns what it truly means to be a princess, she realizes surprising things about herself and her family, about human compassion and inhuman cruelty. With the witch forces moving nearer, she discovers that the war between princesses and witches is much more personal than she could ever have imagined.

Scarlet Tides (Moontide Quartet #2)David Hair (October 7, Jo Fletcher)

Young Adult. A scarlet tide of Rondian legions is flooding into the East, led by the Inquisition’s windships flying the Sacred Heart, banner of the Church’s darkest sons. They are slaughtering and pillaging their way across Antiopia in the name of Emperor Constant. The emperor’s greatest treasure, the Scytale of Corineus, has slipped through his fingers and his Inquisitors must scour two continents for the artefact, the source of all magical power. Against them are the unlikeliest of heroes. Alaron, a failed mage, the gypsy Cymbellea and Ramita, once just a market-girl, have pledged to end the cycle of war and restore peace to Urte. East and West have clashed before, but this time the world is about to discover that love, loyalty and truth can be forged into weapons as strong as swords and magic. (U.S.)

StrayElissa Sussman (October 7, Greenwillow)

Young Adult. Princess Aislynn has long dreamed about attending her Introduction Ball, about dancing with the handsome suitors her adviser has chosen for her, about meeting her true love and starting her happily ever after. When the night of the ball finally arrives and Nerine Academy is awash with roses and royalty, Aislynn wants nothing more than to dance the night away, dutifully following the Path that has been laid out for her. She does not intend to stray. But try as she might, Aislynn has never quite managed to control the magic that burns within her, magic brought on by wicked, terrible desires that threaten the Path she has vowed to take. After all, it is wrong to want what you do not need. Isn’t it?

The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus #5)Rick Riordan (October 7, Disney-Hyperion)

Middle Grade. Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen and they’re stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood in order to wake. The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island. The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

The Dark Defiles (A Land Fit for Heroes #3)Richard K. Morgan (October 7, Del Rey)

Ringil Eskiath, a reluctant hero viewed as a corrupt degenerate by the very people who demand his help, has traveled far in search of the Illwrack Changeling, a deathless human sorcerer-warrior raised by the bloodthirsty Aldrain, former rulers of the world. Separated from his companions, Egar the Dragonbane and Archeth, Ringil risks his soul to master a deadly magic that alone can challenge the might of the Changeling. While Archeth and the Dragonbane embark on a trail of blood and tears that ends up exposing long-buried secrets, Ringil finds himself tested as never before, with his life and all existence hanging in the balance. (U.S.)

The Eye of Zoltar (The Last Dragonslayer #3)Jasper Fforde (October 7, HMH)

Young Adult. Although she’s an orphan in indentured servitude, sixteen-year-old Jennifer Strange is pretty good at her job of managing the unpredictable crew at Kazam Mystical Arts Management. She already solved the Dragon Problem, avoided mass destruction by Quarkbeast, and helped save magic in the Ununited Kingdoms. Jennifer may be defeated when the long-absent Mighty Shandar makes an astonishing appearance and commands her to find the Eye of Zoltar. How can a teenage non-magician outdo the greatest sorcerer the world has ever known? Jennifer must set off for the mysterious Cadir Idris in the deadly Cambrian Empire, a destination with a fatality index of fifty percent. Will Jennifer and her traveling companions ever return to the Kingdom of Snodd? (U.S.)

Unraveled (Crewel World #3)Gennifer Albin (October 7, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Young Adult. Things have changed behind the walls of the Coventry and new threats lurk in its twisted corridors. When Adelice returns to Arras, she quickly learns that something rotten has taken hold of the world and Cormac Patton needs her to help him reestablish order. However, peace comes at a terrible price. As the Guild manipulates the citizens of Arras, Adelice discovers that she’s not alone, and she must let go of her past to fight for mankind’s future. She will have to choose between an unimaginable alliance and a deadly war that could destroy everyone she loves.

We Are Not Good People (Ustari Cycle #2)Jeff Somers (October 7, Gallery)

The ethics in a world of blood are gray, and an underground strata of blood magicians has been engineering disasters for centuries in order to acquire enough fuel for their spells. Some practitioners use the Words and a swipe of the blade to cast simpler spells. Lem Vonnegan and his sidekick Mags fall into this level of mage, hustlers and con men all. The pair encounters a girl who’s been kidnapped and marked up with magic runes for a ritual spell. Turning to Lem’s estranged master for help, they are told that not only is the girl’s life all but forfeit, but that the world’s preeminent mage, Mika Renar, has plans for her. The other nominates him to become the huckleberry who’ll take down Renar. Even if he, Mags, and the simpletons who follow him prevail, they’re dealing with the kind of power that doesn’t understand defeat, or mercy.

Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen (Abhorsen #4)Garth Nix (October 14, HarperCollins)

Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. In Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating. With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her, and it is herself she must question most of all.

 

WEEK TWO

Mortal Gods (Goddess War #2)Kendare Blake (October 14, Tor Teen)

Young Adult. Ares, God of War, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she’ll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace. Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can’t have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite. The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can’t, fates far worse than death await.

Of Bone and Thunder: A NovelChris Evans (October 14, Gallery Books)

Channeling the turbulent period of the Vietnam War and its ruthless pitting of ideologies, cultures, generations, and races against each other, a daring new approach to the traditional world of sword and sorcery, thrusting it into a maelstrom of racial animus, drug use, rebellion, and a growing war that seems at once unwinnable and with no end in sight. Right and wrong, country and honor, freedom and sacrifice are all put to the ultimate test in the heart of a dark, bloody, otherworldly jungle. In this strange, new world deep among the shadows under a triple-canopy jungle and plagued by dangers real and imagined, soldiers strive to fulfill a mission they don’t understand and are ill-equipped to carry out. High above them, the heavy rush of wings slashing through the humid air herald a coming wave of death and destruction, and just possibly, salvation.

Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1)Sara Raasch (October 14, Balzer + Bray)

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved. The Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom. Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir, training to be a warrior, and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather. When scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics, and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not and never has been her own.

Stitching SnowR.C. Lewis (October 14, Disney-Hyperion)

Young Adult. Princess Snow is missing. Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back, but that’s assuming she wants to return at all. Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines. When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. Soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons BesidesBen Tripp (October 14, Tor Teen)

Young Adult. In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher “Kit” Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man’s riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales. Bound by magical law, Kit takes up his master’s quest to rescue a rebellious fairy princess from an arranged marriage to King George III of England. But his task is not an easy one, for Kit must contend with the feisty Princess Morgana, goblin attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows.

The FreeBrian Ruckley (October 14, Orbit)

Yulan is leader of The Free, the last remaining band of mercenaries in the Hommetic Kingdom. Feared and revered, they were once seen as a threat to the Hommetic Kingdom’s power, until they outlasted it in the course of a bloody rebellion. The Free plan to finally lay down their weapons, hoping for a chance of peace at last, until Yulan is offered one final contract that he is unable to refuse. The target is the very man responsible for the worst atrocity Yulan has ever witnessed. Now is his last chance to right that wrong. As Yulan and his companions embark on their journey, a potent mix of vengeance, love and loyalty is building to a storm. It is a storm so violent it is likely to destroy the last of the free companies. Only then will they discover the price of freedom.

The Time RoadsBeth Bernobich (October 14, Tor)

Éire is one of the most powerful empires in the world. The Anglian Dependencies are a dusty backwater filled with resentful colonial subjects, Many look to Éire for stability and peace. The Golden Octopus: Áine Lasairíona Devereaux, the young Queen of Éire, pursues the Crown’s goals of furthering scientific discovery. When they lead to the death and madness of those she loves, Áine must choose between her heart and her duty. A Flight of Numbers Fantastique Strange: Síomón Madóc is desperately trying to discover who is killing the brightest of Éire’s mathematicians. The key to saving lives lies in the future, and Síomón must figure out a way to get there. Ars Memoriae: Éireann spymaster Aidrean Ó Deághaidh goes to the kingdom of Montenegro to investigate rumors of unrest. But Ó Deághaidh is tormented by visions of a different timeline and suspects that someone in his own government is playing a double game. The Time Roads: Éire stands on the brink of the modern age. Old troubles still plague the kingdom. An encounter with a stranger near death holds the clue to both the past and the future of the nation.

 

WEEK THREE

Blood of Gods (The Breaking World #3)David Dalglish and Robert Duperre (October 21, 47North)

Brothers and gods, Karak and Ashhur created Dezrel to be a paradise of ageless humans. Mortal hubris aroused one god’s wrath, and forced the other to shield the young world’s rebellious denizens from his brother’s retribution. The city of Mordeina, under siege by the brutal Karak and his armies, fights valiantly against impossible odds. Bardiya, Ashhur’s loyal servant, and his people face a shackled death march across the desert as the demon Darakken plots its monstrous rebirth. As Ashhur struggles to protect his children and their provinces, he must counter Karak’s attacks with terrifying measures of his own. City walls and sacred trusts will be breached, and a civilization built by gods will prevail or perish at the powerful but flawed hands of its creators.

Centaur RisingJane Yolen (October 21, Henry Holt and Co.)

Young Adult. One night during the Perseid meteor shower, Arianne thinks she sees a shooting star land in the fields surrounding her family’s horse farm. About a year later, one of their horses gives birth to a baby centaur. The family has enough attention already as Arianne’s six-year-old brother was born with birth defects caused by an experimental drug, the last thing they need is more scrutiny. But their clients soon start growing suspicious. Just how long is it possible to keep a secret? And what will happen if the world finds out?

Heart of Stone (Truth Seers #2)Debra Mullins (October 21, Tor)

Darius Montana is a Seer. With his gift of empathy, he can see into the hearts of others, both human and Atlantean. When his family comes into possession of one of the legendary power stones of Atlantis, Darius is sent to find the Stone Singer. Faith Karaluros is the last Stone Singer. She is widowed after her husband tried to steal her power for the Mendukati, an extremist group that hunts Seers. Darius comes to find her, just in time to rescue her from being kidnapped. Faith goes with Darius, determined to do the job and be on her way with the money that can set her up where no one can find her again. She didn’t count on the Mendukati sending a hit man after her. Darius swears he can protect her, but when she discovers he is one of the rare Atlanteans whose powers work on their own kind, can she trust him to keep his word, or is she being used again?

The Sorcerer Heir (The Heir Chronicles #5)Cinda Williams Chima (October 21, Disney-Hyperion)

Young Adult. The delicate peace between Wizards and the underguilds (Warriors, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers) still holds by the thinnest of threads, but powerful forces inside and outside the guilds threaten to sever it completely. Emma and Jonah are at the center of it all. Brought together by their shared history, mutual attraction, and a belief in the magic of music, they now stand to be torn apart by new wounds and old betrayals. As they struggle to rebuild their trust in each other, Emma and Jonah must also find a way to clear their names as the prime suspects in a series of vicious murders. It seems more and more likely that the answers they need lie buried in the tragedies of the past. The question is whether they can survive long enough to unearth them.

 

WEEK FOUR

Dangerous Women 2George R.R. Martin and Gardner R. Dozois (October 28, Tor)

Includes stories by Lev Grossman, Sharon Kay Penman, S. M. Stirling, Sam Sykes, Caroline Spector, and Nancy Kress, and features a new 28,000-word Outlander novella by Diana Gabaldon.

Drawn Blades (Fallen Blade #5)Kelly McCullough (October 28, Ace)

Once one of the world’s greatest assassins, Aral Kingslayer has finally reclaimed his swords and his soul. But the forces that destroyed his patron Namara twelve years ago are still there, waiting, and his past as a Blade is never more than a shadow’s breadth away. In the days before the fall of his goddess, only one other rivaled Aral’s skills, Siri the Mythkiller, a woman who ruthlessly earned the title First Blade. As a friend, Aral owes her his loyalty. As a former lover, he owes her part of his heart. As a Blade, he owes her anything she asks, including his life. When Siri seeks Aral’s aid, he knows he must go. But as they journey towards the ancient Sylvani Empire, only time will reveal whether Aral can save the former First Blade, or if he will simply fall with her.

Riding the Unicorn (Different Kingdoms)Paul Kearney (October 28, Solaris)

John Willoughby is being pulled between worlds. Or he is going mad, ‘riding the unicorn’ as his prison officer colleagues would say. Willoughby believes his mind is simply breaking apart. He finds no solace at home, with a wife who has grown to dislike him and a daughter who can barely hide her disgust. He’s realized he isn’t worth anyone’s time, barely even his own, and falls into drinking and violence guaranteed to bring about his downfall. Except in this other world, in this winter land of first-settlers he is a man with a purpose, a man upon whom others must rely. Persuaded to kill a King so as to save a people, Willoughby finds that in another world, with a second chance he may be the kind of man he had always wanted to be after all. (U.S.)

The Slow Regard of Silent Things (Tales from Temerant)Patrick Rothfuss (October 28, DAW)

A Kingkiller Chronicle novella. Deep below the University, there is a dark place. Few people know of it: a broken web of ancient passageways and abandoned rooms. A young woman lives there, tucked among the sprawling tunnels of the Underthing, snug in the heart of this forgotten place. Her name is Auri, and she is full of mysteries. A brief, bittersweet glimpse of Auri’s life, a small adventure all her own. At once joyous and haunting, this story offers a chance to see the world through Auri’s eyes. And it gives the reader a chance to learn things that only Auri knows. The story of a broken girl trying to live in a broken world.

The Tree of Water (The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme #4)Elizabeth Haydon (October 28, Starscape)

Young Adult. As Royal Reporter of the land of Serendair, it is the duty of young Charles Magnus “Ven” Polypheme to travel the world and seek out magic hiding in plain sight. Ven needs to escape the clutches of the nefarious Thief Queen, ruler of the Gated City, whose minions are hunting for him. His friend, the merrow Amariel, has the perfect solution to his dilemma: Ven and Char will join her to explore the world beneath the sea. Ven finds himself surrounded by wonders greater than he could have ever imagined. But the beauty of the ocean is more than matched by the dangers lurking within its depths, and Ven and his friends soon realize that in order to save thousands of innocent lives, they may have to sacrifice their own. For, everything in the ocean needs to eat.

The World of Ice & Fire: The Official History of Westeros and the World of A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire)George R.R. Martin, Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson (October 28, Bantam)

Collected here is all the accumulated knowledge, scholarly speculation, and inherited folk tales of maesters and septons, maegi and singers. It is a chronicle which stretches from the Dawn Age to the Age of Heroes; from the Coming of the First Men to the arrival of Aegon the Conqueror; from Aegon’s establishment of the Iron Throne to Robert’s Rebellion and the fall of the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen, which has set into motion the “present-day” struggles of the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, and Targaryens. The definitive companion piece to George R. R. Martin’s dazzling universe, The World of Ice and Fire is proof that the pen is mightier than a storm of swords.


Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series and, as Susannah Sandlin, paranormal romance and thrillers. You can find Suzanne on Facebook and on her website.

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