It’s been a bunch of fun blogging about new releases in the UK for the last few years. Sadly, circumstances have conspired against the future of the British Fiction Hitlist. To wit, this will be the last edition.
But stem the tide of your tears, please—enough milk has been spilt—and take heart that we have the latter half of March to transition into acceptance; a period of two weeks bolstered by a bunch of promising new novels, not least The Nowhere Emporium by Ross MacKenzie, which looks to scratch some of the same itches The Night Circus did. You’re also likely to have a tentacle of a time with Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory; and look out, too, for Prudence, the first volume of Gail Carriger’s Custard Protocol. Last but not least, I have high hopes that The Glorious Angels will mark a return to form for Justina Robson.
This edition of the Hitlist also features new books by Stephen Jones, Justim Somper, Lavie Tidhar & Rebecca Levene, Tom Lloyd, Mario Routi, Christopher Fowler, Arianne ‘Tex’ Thompson, Debbie Johnson, Gavin G. Smith, Chrysler Szarlan, David Wingrove, Daryl Gregory and Marie Brennan.
Dark Detectives—ed. Stephen Jones (March 17, Titan)
A stand-alone collection of eighteen tales of supernatural detective fiction, Dark Detectives features stories from Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Kim Newman, Brian Lumley and Manly Wade Wellman and more. Each tale features a supernatural sleuth whose mission it is to save the world from the forces of darkness.
A Conspiracy of Princes (Allies & Assassins #2)—Justin Somper (March 19, Atom)
In seven days, the princedom of Archenfield will be invaded by its deadly rival—Paddenburg.
Prince Jared determines to cross the borders and, in a race against time, recruit what strategic alliances he can.
As the Prince and his team rides out, his cousin Axel Blaxland launches his own bid for the throne. Each member of the Council of Twelve falls prey to persuasion and manipulation as dangerous secrets and rivalries begin to emerge. Asta Peck, newest member of the Twelve, finds herself plunged into the dark heart of court politics and conspiracy. Identifying her own allies, she resolves to fight on Prince Jared’s behalf until he is able to return home to defend himself.
In a game of power, only the strongest will survive.
Welcome back to Archenfield. Trust no-one.
The Glorious Angels—Justina Robson (March 19, Gollancz)
On a world where science and magic are hard to tell apart a stranger arrives in a remote town with news of political turmoil to come. And a young woman learns that she must free herself from the role she has accepted.
Always vivid, always full of stunning ideas and imagery, Justina Robson is the Clarke Award-winning author of some of our most exciting, yet philosophical SF. A new novel from her is a major event in the SF calendar.
Jews vs Aliens—ed. Lavie Tidhar & Rebecca Levene (March 19, Jurassic London)
In Jews vs Aliens, editors Lavie Tidhar and Rebecca Levene have gathered together brand new stories from the light-hearted to the profound, with authors ranging from Orange Prize winner Naomi Alderman to The Big Bang Theory writer/producer Eric Kaplan, all asking, for the first time, the question you didn’t even know you wanted answered: what happens when the aliens arrive, only to encounter… Jews?
Jews vs Zombies—ed. Lavie Tidhar & Rebecca Levene (March 19, Jurassic London)
In Jews vs Zombies, editors Lavie Tidhar and Rebecca Levene have gathered together brand new stories from the light-hearted to the profound, with authors ranging from BSFA Award winner Adam Roberts to best-selling author Sarah Lotz, all asking, for the first time, the question you didn’t even know you wanted answered: what happens when the Chosen People meet the Living Dead?
The Nowhere Emporium—Ross MacKenzie (March 19, Kelpies)
When the mysterious Nowhere Emporium arrives in Glasgow, orphan Daniel Holmes stumbles upon it quite by accident. Before long, the shop from nowhere—and its owner, Mr Silver—draw Daniel into a breathtaking world of magic and enchantment.
Recruited as Mr Silver’s apprentice, Daniel learns the secrets of the Emporium’s vast labyrinth of passageways and rooms—rooms that contain wonders beyond anything Daniel has ever imagined. But when Mr Silver disappears, and a shadow from the past threatens everything, the Emporium and all its wonders begin to crumble. Can Daniel save his home, and his new friends, before the Nowhere Emporium is destroyed forever?
Old Man’s Ghosts (Empire of a Hundred Houses #2)—Tom Lloyd (March 19, Gollancz)
Enchei thought he’d found a home at last—a life of quiet obscurity far removed from the horror of his military days. After a decade in the Imperial City his mistakes have been few, but one has now returned to haunt him.
As Narin’s pregnant lover comes to term, life has never been so perilous. There couldn’t be a worse time for a nightmare to be unleashed on the Imperial City, but luck’s rarely been on Narin’s side.
Once, Enchei swore he’d take his own life rather than let his past catch up with him, but now it’s not just his own in the balance. Demons, rogue mages and vengeful noblemen haunt the city—and a man’s ghosts are always watching and waiting…
Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1)—Gail Carriger (March 19, Orbit)
When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama—Rue to her friends—is given an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female would under similar circumstances… names it the Spotted Crumpet and floats to India in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea!
But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier’s wife and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis and an embarrassing lack of bloomers, what else is a young lady of good breeding to do but turn metanatural and find out everyone’s secrets, even thousand-year-old fuzzy ones?
Rebecca Newton and the Last Oracle (Rebecca Newton #2)—Mario Routi (March 19, Oak Tree)
Leylah has discovered that she is the Oracle, and contains gifts of unimaginable influence. Powerful she may be, but Leylah hasn’t escaped typical teenage growing pains. When she meets the handsome and charismatic Alexander, son of the noble Lady Felicia and Lord Leiko, the chemistry is undeniable. Leylah finds herself falling for Alexander, but does he feel the same way?
While Leylah battles with her feelings, dark forces are at work elsewhere. The Titans are amassing an army, an army big enough to take over Earth. All they need is the Sacred Flame to enable them to send their evil plan spiralling into action. To make matters worse, Zeus and the other Gods are unaware of their enemies’ plans.
Leylah, Rebecca, Bull the Minotaur and their friends face their greatest challenges ever in the Land of the White Sun and Tartarus, where they will need to go on a perilous quest: a matter of life and death for their loved ones and life as they know it. Will the newly discovered Oracle of Utopia be able to uncover the plans in time to save all the worlds?
The Burning Man (Bryant & May)—Christopher Fowler (March 23, Transworld)
London is under siege. A banking scandal has filled the city with violent protests, and as the anger in the streets detonates, a young homeless man burns to death after being caught in the crossfire between rioters and the police.
But all is not as it seems; an opportunistic killer is using the chaos to exact revenge, but his intended victims are so mysteriously chosen that the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to find a way of stopping him.
Using their network of eccentric contacts, elderly detectives Arthur Bryant and John May hunt down a murderer who adopts incendiary methods of execution. But they soon find their investigation taking an apocalyptic turn as the case comes to involve the history of mob rule, corruption, rebellion, punishment and the legend of Guy Fawkes.
At the same time, several members of the PCU team reach dramatic turning points in their lives—but the most personal tragedy is yet to come, for as the race to bring down a cunning killer reaches its climax, Arthur Bryant faces his own devastating day of reckoning.
“I always said we’d go out with a hell of a bang,” warns Bryant.
Medicine for the Dead (Children of the Drought #2)—Arianne ‘Tex’ Thompson (March 24, Solaris)
Two years ago, the crow-god Marhuk sent his grandson to Sixes. Two nights ago, a stranger picked up his gun and shot him. Two hours ago, the funeral party set out, braving the wastelands to bring home the body of Dulei Marhuk.
Out in the wastes, one more corpse should hardly make a difference. But the blighted landscape has been ravaged by drought, twisted by violence, warped by magic—no-one is immune. Vuchak struggles to keep the party safe from monsters, marauders, and his own troubled mind. Weisei is being eaten alive by a strange illness. And fearful, guilt-wracked Elim hopes he’s only imagining the sounds coming from Dulei’s coffin.
As supplies dwindle and tensions mount, the desert exacts a terrible price from its pilgrims—one that will be paid with the blood of the living, and the peace of the dead.
Dark Touch—Debbie Johnson (March 26, Del Rey UK)
It’s not easy finding out you’re a Goddess.
For Lily McCain, the move from local music journalist to being the incarnation of Mabe, Mother of Mortals was a surprise to say the least.
Thrust into a game of gods and monsters, the rules of which she barely knows, one thing is clear: if you have power, someone will try and take it from you…
A Quantum Mythology (Age of Scorpio #2)—Gavin G. Smith (March 26, Gollanz)
In the far future, many years after the loss of earth, humanity has changed. Strength is the only way to survive. And the most vicious man alive has a new con in mind.
Here and now, a man with unnatural powers hunts down a killer with impossible abilities. Infused with a barely-understood alien technology, the two are merely pawns in a bigger game.
A long time ago, the last tribes of Northern Britain face an unimaginable enemy. Demons risen from the sea, absorbing and twisting everything they touch. But there are some among the tribes who have power, who will fight.
And all of these times are connected…
The Hawley Book of the Dead—Chrysler Szarlan (March 26, Arrow)
An old house surrounded by acres of forest.
A place of secrets, mysteries and magic.
This is where Reve Dyer hopes to keep herself and her children safe. But a mysterious figure has haunted Reve for over a decade. And now Reve knows that this person is on her trail again…
In Hawley, where the magic of her ancestors reigns, Reve must unlock the secrets of the Hawley Book of the Dead before it’s too late.
The Ocean of Time (Roads to Moscow #2)—David Wingrove (March 26, Del Rey UK)
The war for time continues.
From the frozen tundra of 13th Century Russia to the battle of Paltava in 1709 and beyond, Otto Behr has waged an unquestioning, unending war across time for his people.
But now a third unidentified power has joined the game across the ocean of time, and everything Otto holds dear could be unmade…
Harrison Squared—Daryl Gregory (March 27, Titan)
Harrison is a lonely teenager, terrified of the ocean since a childhood sailing accident took his father and his right leg. One of the sensitives who are attuned to the supernatural world, Harrison and his mother have just moved to the worst possible place for a boy like him: Dunnsmouth, a Lovecraftian town perched on rocks above the Atlantic, where monsters lurk under the waves, and creepy teachers run the local school.
When Harrison’s mother, a marine biologist, disappears at sea, his attempts to find her puts him in conflict with a strange church, a knife-wielding killer, and the Deep Ones. It will take all his resources and an unusual host of allies to defeat the danger and find his mother.
Voyage of the Basilisk (A Natural History of Dragons #3)—Marie Brennan (March 27, Titan)
Six years after her perilous exploits in Eriga, Lady Trent embarks on her most ambitious expedition yet: a two-year trip around the world aboard the Royal Survey Ship Basilisk, to study all manner of dragons. From feathered serpents sunning themselves in the ruins of a fallen civilization to the mighty sea serpents of the tropics, these creatures are a source of both endless fascination and frequent peril.
Accompanying her is her young son and a chivalrous foreign archaeologist whose interests converge with Isabella’s in ways both professional and personal. Science is, of course, the primary objective of the voyage, but Isabella’s life is rarely so simple. She must cope with storms, shipwrecks, intrigue, and warfare, even as she makes a discovery that offers a revolutionary new insight into the ancient history of dragons.
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.