A good beginning is a wonderful thing, but by the same measure, all things end, eventually—as this edition of the British Fiction Hitlist demonstrates.
Gareth L. Powell gives us Macaque Attack, the conclusion of the BSFA Award winning trilogy he started in Ack-Ack Macaque, and in Tamaruq, E. J. Swift brings her underrated Osiris Project to a close. That’s to say nothing of Saint Odd—the seventh and final book in Dean Koontz’s bestselling Odd Thomas saga—nor indeed to speak of The Key: the end of Engelsfors series Sara B. Elfgren and Mats Strandberg have found such success with.
This edition of the Hitlist also features new books by Glenda Larke, Guy Adams, Amanda Hocking, Genevieve Cogman, Brian Staveley, Toby Venables, Julie Kagawa, Chuck Wendig, Samantha Shannon, Den Patrick, Neal Asher, Simon R. Green, Donald Hounam, Sarah Benwell, Bruce McCabe and Stephen Jones.
The Dagger’s Path (Forsaken Lands #2)—Glenda Larke (January 15, Orbit)
Ardhi, Sorrel and the excommunicated cleric, Saker Rampion, stow away on a ship to the Spice Islands. They must return stolen items of great power to Ardhi’s home, but there are ruthless men after this power, men who will kill to possess it.
At home in Ardrone, an army of demonic origin runs amok while Saker’s superiors in the church struggle to quell it. And the young queen Mathilda struggles with the possibility that her newborn child, the heir to the throne, may be linked to the corruption that has erupted throughout the land.
For a Few Souls More (Heaven’s Gate #3)—Guy Adams (January 15, Solaris)
The uprising in Heaven is at an end and Paradise has fallen, becoming the forty-third state of America. Now angels and demons must learn to get along with humans. But of course, the rest of the world is in uproar. How can America claim the afterlife as its own?
The dead have also returned to the world they left behind and there just isn’t enough space to go round. With the establishment of ghetto towns and an escalation in necrophobic feeling, is America heading towards its second civil war?
The country needs taking in hand. It needs new blood in the White House. Someone who can bring the diverse populace together for a bold new age. Vote Lightbringer! Vote Lucifer!
Frostfire (The Kanin Chronicles #1)—Amanda Hocking (January 15, Tor UK)
Bryn Aven is determined to gain status amongst the Kanin, the most powerful of the hidden tribes. But as a half-blood, winning respect is a huge challenge. Bryn’s almost-human community distrusts people, and those from other tribes are almost as suspect.
She has just one goal to get ahead: to join the elite guard protecting the Kanin royal family. And Bryn’s vowed that nothing will stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss, Ridley Dresden.
But her plans are put on hold when fallen hero Konstantin starts acting dangerously. Bryn loved him once, but now he’s kidnapping Kanin children—stealing them from hidden placements within human families. She’s sent to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?
The Invisible Library—Genevieve Cogman (January 15, Tor UK)
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.
Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.
Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option—the nature of reality itself is at stake.
Macaque Attack (Ack-Ack Macaque #3)—Gareth L. Powell (January 15, Solaris)
He’s saved the world twice. Now the dangerous but charismatic Ack-Ack Macaque finds himself leading a dimension-hopping band of angry monkeys, facing an invading horde of implacable killer androids, and confronting the one challenge for which he was never prepared: impending fatherhood!
Meanwhile, former journalist Victoria Valois finds herself facing old enemies as she fights to save the electronic ghost of her dead husband, and Merovech, King of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and France, receives a troubling message from the dead sands of Mars…
The Providence of Fire (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #2)—Brian Staveley (January 15, Tor UK)
The Annurian Empire’s ruling family must be vigilant, as the conspiracy against them deepens. Having discovered her father’s assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies. But few trust her, until she seems marked by the people’s goddess in an ordeal of flame.
As Adare struggles to unite Annur, unrest breeds rival armies—then barbarian hordes threaten to invade. And unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn has fallen in with forces mustering at the empire’s borders. The terrible choices they face could make war between them inevitable.
Fighting his own battles is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with two strange companions. While imperial forces prepare to defend a far-distant front, Kaden’s actions could save the empire, or destroy it.
The Red Hand (Hunter of Sherwood #2)—Toby Venables (January 15, Abaddon)
Guy of Gisburne, knight and agent to Prince John, is all that stands between England and anarchy, fighting a shadow battle to protect the kingdom from those who would destroy it.
Returning to England after foiling a plot to destroy Jerusalem, Guy of Gisburne is arrested and hauled to the Tower of London; John, England’s regent in the absence of its monstrous King, needs his knight once more. A killer has broken into the Prince’s most secure castle in the north and left a message, drawn on the skin of one of his victims: “The circle is closing.”
Is the threat genuine? Who or what is the Red Hand? Someone is killing John’s men, and the obvious culprit—the most dangerous man in the Kingdom, Hood himself—has an alibi even Guy can’t deny.
Saint Odd (Odd Thomas #7)—Dean Koontz (January 15, HarperCollins)
The future is haunting Odd Thomas.
The carnival has returned to Pico Mundo, the same one that came to town when Odd was just sixteen. Odd is drawn to an arcade tent where he discovers Gypsy Mummy, the fortune-telling machine that told him that he and Stormy Llewellyn were destined to be together forever.
But Stormy is dead and Pico Mundo is under threat once more. History seems to be repeating itself as Odd grapples with a satanic cult intent on bringing destruction to his town. An unseasonal storm is brewing, and as the sky darkens and the sun turns blood-red, it seems that all of nature is complicit in their plans.
Meanwhile Odd is having dreams of a drowned Pico Mundo, where the submerged streetlamps eerily light the streets. But there’s no way Pico Mundo could wind up underwater… could it?
Talon (Talon Saga #1)—Julie Kagawa (January 15, MIRA Ink)
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.
Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught.
As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George. Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey—and nothing is certain about Ember Hill.
Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him—and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons…
Atlanta Burns—Chuck Wendig (January 27, Skyscape)
You don’t mess with Atlanta Burns.
Everyone knows that. And that’s kinda how she likes it—until the day Atlanta is drawn into a battle against two groups of bullies and saves a pair of new, unexpected friends. But actions have consequences, and when another teen turns up dead—by an apparent suicide—Atlanta knows foul play is involved. And worse: she knows it’s her fault. You go poking rattlesnakes, maybe you get bit.
Afraid of stirring up the snakes further by investigating, Atlanta turns her focus to the killing of a neighbourhood dog. All paths lead to a rural dogfighting ring, and once more Atlanta finds herself face-to-face with bullies of the worst sort. Atlanta cannot abide letting bad men do awful things to those who don’t deserve it. So she sets out to unleash her own brand of teenage justice.
Will Atlanta triumph? Or is fighting back just asking for a face full of bad news?
The Mime Order (Scion #2)—Samantha Shannon (January 27, Bloomsbury)
Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London…
As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.
Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.
The Boy Who Wept Blood (Erebus Sequence #2)—Den Patrick (January 29, Gollancz)
Ten years have passed since the disappearence of Lucien and his protege, the young swordsman Dino, is struggling to live up to Lucien’s legacy. Sworn to protect the silent queen Anea as she struggles to bring a new democracy to Demesne, Dino finds himself drawn into a deadly game of political intrigue as the aristocratic families of Landfall conspire to protect their privilege. Always ready to prove himself as a swordsman Dino is anguished to discover that in order to fulfil his vow he must become both spy and assassion.
And all the while the dark secret at the heart of Demesne is growing towards fulfilment…
Dark Intelligence (Transformation #1)—Neal Asher (January 29, Tor UK)
Thorvald Spear wakes in hospital, where he finds he’s been brought back from the dead. What’s more, he died in a human vs. alien war which ended a whole century ago. But when he relives his traumatic final moments, he finds the spark to keep on living. That spark is vengeance. Trapped and desperate on a world surrounded by alien Prador forces, Spear had seen a rescue ship arriving. But instead of providing backup, Penny Royal, the AI within the destroyer turned rogue. It annihilated friendly forces in a frenzy of destruction, and, years later, it’s still free. Spear vows to track it across worlds and do whatever it takes to bring it down.
Isobel Satomi ran a successful crime syndicate. But after competitors attacked, she needed more power. Yet she got more than she bargained for when she negotiated with Penny Royal. She paid it to turn her part-AI herself, but the upgrades hid a horrifying secret. The Dark AI had triggered a transformation in Isobel that would turn her into a monster, rapidly evolving into something far from human.
Spear hires Isobel to take him to the Penny Royal AI’s last known whereabouts. But he cheats her in the process and he becomes a target for her vengeance. And as she is evolves further into a monstrous predator, rage soon wins over reason. Will Spear finish his hunt, before he becomes the hunted?
The Dark Side of the Road (An Ishmael Jones Mystery #1)—Simon R. Green (January 29, Severn House)
Introducing Ishmael Jones—a detective with a difference—in this compelling murder mystery.
Ishmael Jones can’t afford to be noticed. He’s employed to search out secrets and shine a light in dark places. Sometimes he kills people.
Invited by his employer, the enigmatic Colonel, to join him and his family for Christmas, Ishmael arrives at the grand but isolated manor in the midst of a blizzard to find that the Colonel has disappeared…
Gifted—Donald Hounam (January 29, Corgi Childrens)
The Bishop of Oxford is very, very dead. At least the police think it’s the Bishop—it’s impossible to be sure, since someone has made off with his head.
Fifteen-year-old Frank Sampson is the forensic sorcerer on the case. But he is easily distracted. By Kazia, the supposed victim’s beautiful, and possibly dangerous, niece. By Marvo, his police colleague, who seems dead set on making his life difficult. By the terror that he’s losing his Gift—the ability to work magic. And by all those stupid rules which get in the way of proving that everybody is wrong about the case… except Frank.
The Key (Engelsfors #3)—Sara B. Elfgren & Mats Strandberg (January 29, Hammer)
It’s been over a month since the tragedy in Engelsfors High School. But before the Chosen Ones have a chance recover, their world is turned upside down again.
Time is running out for them to fulfil the prophecy and save the world. Whether they succeed or not, one thing is certain: everything is about to change…
In this final instalment of the story that started with The Circle and continued with Fire, questions will be answered, secrets revealed and loyalties tested to the limit.
The Last Leaves Falling—Sarah Benwell (January 29, Definitions)
“And these are they. My final moments. They say a warrior must always be mindful of death, but I never imagined that it would find me like this…”
Japanese teenager Sora is diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the ancient wisdom of the samurai for guidance and comfort. But he also finds hope in the present; through the internet he finds friends that see him, not just his illness.
The Last Leaves Falling is a story of friendship and acceptance, and testing strength in an uncertain future.
Skinjob—Bruce McCabe (January 29, Corgi)
A bomb goes off in down town San Francisco. Twelve people are dead. But this is no ordinary target. This target exists on the fault line where sex and money meet.
Daniel Madsen is one of a new breed of federal agents armed with a badge, a gun and the Bureau’s latest piece of technology. He’s a fast operator and his instructions are simple: find the bomber before he strikes again.
In order to understand what is at stake, Madsen must plunge into a sleazy, unsettling world where reality and fantasy are indistinguishable, exploitation is business as usual, and the dead hand of corruption reaches all the way to the top. There’s too much money involved for this investigation to stay private…
Tamaruq (Osiris Project #3)—E. J. Swift (January 29, Del Rey UK)
Fleeing from her family and the elitist oppression of the Osiris government, Adelaide Rechnov has become the thing she once feared: a revolutionary.
But with the discovery of a radio signal comes the stark realization that there is life outside their small island existence. Adelaide’s worries are about to become much bigger.
Meanwhile, as rumour spreads on the mainland, many head to the lost city of Osiris with their own devious objectives. But in a world where war is king and only the most powerful survive, there can only be one victor…
Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth—ed. Stephen Jones (January 30, Titan)
Few tales have affected writers the way The Shadow Over Innsmouth inspires the authors of today. With its pervasive sense of otherness, that malignant essence that horrifies us to the core, it continues to hold us in its grasp some eight decades after it first appeared.
Once again, acclaimed editor Stephen Jones gathers together the finest acolytes of Lovecraftian fiction. Seventeen magnificent works transfix us with their accounts of cosmic horror, including two contributions by the master himself.
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.