Fiction Affliction: December Releases in Fantasy

Ten new fantasies hit the shelves this month in time to fill holiday stockings (digital or textile), including series additions from, among others, Katherine Kurtz, K.V. Johansen, and K.J. Taylor. Also look for an all-star charity anthology to benefit colon cancer research, and Shannon Page’s completion of the late Jay Lake’s unfinished novel, Our Lady of the Islands.

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

No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar (Tales of Valdemar #8)—edited by Mercedes Lackey (December 2, DAW)

In March 1987, Mercedes Lackey published her first novel, Arrows of the Queen. This book about a magical land called Valdemar would be the beginning of a fantasy series that would span decades. The voices of other authors add their own special touches to the ancient land where Heralds “Chosen” from all walks of life by magical horse-like Companions patrol their ancient kingdom, dispensing justice, facing adversaries, and protecting their monarch and country from whatever threatens. Trained by the Herald’s Collegium, these special protectors each have extraordinary Gifts: Mindspeaking, FarSeeing, FarSpeaking, Empathy, Firestarting and ForeSeeing, and are bonded for life with their Companions. Travel with these adventurerers in sixteen original stories.

Rise of the Spider Goddess: An Annotated NovelJim C. Hines (December 2, Amazon Digital Services)

Before Jig the goblin, before fairy tale princesses and magic librarians and spunky fire-spiders, there was Nakor the Purple, an elf who wanted nothing more than to stand around watching lovingly overdescribed sunrises with his pet owl Flame, who might actually be a falcon. This is Nakor’s story, written in 1995 and never before shared with the world. With an angsty vampire, a pair of pixies, and a feisty young thief, Nakor must find a way to stop an Ancient Evil before she destroys the world. (Digital)

Stonehill DownsSarah Remy (December 2, Harper Voyager)

Malachi is the last of his kind, a magus who can communicate with the dead, and who relies on the help of spirits to keep his kingdom safe. When he’s sent to investigate brutal murders in the isolated village of Stonehill Downs, he uncovers dangerous sorceries and unleashes a killer who strikes close to home. Avani is an outsider living on the Downs. She has innate magics of her own, and when she discovers the mutilated bodies of the first victims, she enters into a reluctant alliance with Malachi. Mal is distracted by the suspicious death of his mentor and haunted by secrets from his past. Avani discovers troubling truths about the magus through her visions. She could free Malachi, but first they must work together to save the kingdom from the lethal horror that has arisen. (Digital)

The King’s Deryni (The Childe Morgan #3)—Katherine Kurtz (December 2, Ace)

Alaric Morgan always knew his purpose in life, to stand alongside the king of Gwynedd. The old king knew that whichever of his sons succeeded to the throne would benefit from having a Deryni at his side. Alaric and the young Prince Brion Haldane were bound together by magic. Brion has ascended to the throne and seven-year-old Alaric has come to court. Brion will strive to solidify his power and position, seek out a bride to secure his legacy, and ultimately, when faced with an unbeatable foe, call upon Alaric to fulfill his oath. Alaric slowly learns the extent of his powers and how to use them, and will face the prejudice that many have against Deryni. He will be there to unleash the full power of his Deryni magic at Brion’s command. For Alaric is, and always will be, the King’s Deryni.

 

WEEK TWO

Fantasy for Good: A Charitable Anthologyedited by Jordan Ellinger and Richard Salter (December 9, Nightscape )

Thirty stories for a good cause. All proceeds from the sale of this anthology go directly to The Colon Cancer Alliance. Features new fiction from Piers Anthony, Michael Moorcock, Carrie Vaughn, Kelley Armstrong, Alan Dean Foster, Katharine Kerr, David Farland, Jane Lindskold, Nnedi Okorafor, Todd McCaffrey and many more, alongside classic tales from George R.R. Martin, Jay Lake, Kevin J Anderson & Rebecca Moesta, and Neil Gaiman. Fantasy For Good also includes a classic tale by master novelist, Roger Zelazny, author of the Nine Princes in Amber, who passed away in 1995 after a battle with colorectal cancer.

Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3)—Morgan Rhodes (December 9, Razorbill)

Young Adult. Prince Magnus must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica. All Gaius needs now are the Kindred, the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner. The Kraeshians join the hunt. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the kingdom across the Silver Sea, charm and manipulate their way to the Kindred, proving to be more ruthless than the King of Blood. The Rebels forge ahead. Princess Cleo and Jonas lead them, slaying with sweetness, skill, and a secret that can control Lucia’s magic. The Watchers follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally in the flesh with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia’s powers to unveil the Kindred. The only certainty is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica, but the four element gods of the Kindred have other plans.

Our Lady of the IslandsShannon Page and Jay Lake (December 9, Per Aspera Press)

Completed by Page after Jay Lake’s death on June 1, 2014. Sian Katte is a successful middle-aged businesswoman in the tropical island nation of Alizar. Her life seems comfortable and well-arranged…until a violent encounter one evening leaves her with an unwanted magical power….Arian des Chances is the wife of Alizar’s ruler, with vast wealth and political influence. Yet for all her resources, she can only watch helplessly as her son draws nearer to death. When crisis thrusts these two women together, they learn some surprising truths: about themselves, their loved ones, and Alizar itself. Because beneath a seemingly calm facade, Alizar’s people—and a dead god—are stirring…

The Inheritance Trilogy OmnibusN.K. Jemisin (December 9, Orbit)

The Inheritance Trilogy omnibus includes the novels: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of Gods, and a brand new novella set in the same world: The Awakened Kingdom.

The Lady (Marakand #2)—K.V. Johansen (December 9, Pyr)

Possessed by a ghost who feeds on death, the undying assassin Ahjvar the Leopard has been captured by the Lady of Marakand, enslaved by necromancy to be captain of her Red Masks. His shield-bearer Ghu follows Ahjvar into the war-torn lands of the Duina Catairna to release him. Deyandara, the heir of the Catairnan queen, rides into a land seeking the allies she abandoned months before. Former enemies ally and old friends seek one another’s deaths as loyalists of the entombed gods Gurhan and Ilbialla raise a revolt, spearheaded by the Grasslander wizard Ivah, the shapeshifting Blackdog, and the bear-demon Mikki. The Lady’s defences are not easily breached. The one enemy who might withstand her, the Northron wanderer Moth, bearer of the sword Lakkariss, has vanished.

 

WEEK THREE

No new releases.

 

WEEK FOUR

The Shadow’s Heart (The Risen Sun #3)—K.J. Taylor (December 30, Ace)

Half-breed Queen Laela Taranisäii is in more danger than ever before. Her subjects hate her, her closest allies, including her griffin, have fallen, and the Night God’s immortal assassin, The Shadow That Walks, is bent upon reaping vengeance. Her methods of maintaining power increase in desperation, and violence. Laela’s half-brother, Kullervo, is supposed to be her strongest ally. As he comes to terms with both who he is and what his sister’s reign means to the land, he begins to doubt his loyalties. He must decide what he’s truly prepared to fight for, a choice that could have dire consequences. A new threat is lurking in the darkness, the Night God’s final, deadly pawn. It is this shadow that will decide the outcome of the war, and its power that will seal the fates of all involved.


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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