Twenty-four books cross the great genre divide in May, including new titles from, among others, Michael Z. Williamson, Heather Blake, Rod Duncan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kit Reed, P.N. Elrod, and Peter Higgins. Also on tap: a new mermaid anthology edited by Paula Guran and a look at the film settings from the world of Harry Potter.
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.
A world where Custer survives Little Bighorn and becomes president goes seriously awry. Following his unlikely but decisive 1876 victory over Sitting Bull and the Sioux at the Little Big Horn, George Armstrong Custer is propelled into the White House in 1880. Two years later, he finds himself bored and seeks new worlds to conquer. He and his wife Libbie fixate on Spain’s decaying empire as his source for immortality. What President Custer doesn’t quite comprehend is that the U.S. military isn’t up to such a venture. When a group of Americans on a ship headed for Cuba is massacred, war becomes inevitable, and unless calmer, patriotic citizens and soldiers can find a way to avoid debacle, this war may be America’s last stand.
Ten soldiers on convoy in Afghanistan suddenly find themselves lost in time. Somehow, they arrived in Earth’s Paleolithic Asia. With no idea how they arrived or how to get back, the shock of the event is severe. They discover groups of the similarly displaced: Imperial Romans, Neolithic Europeans, and a small cadre of East Indian peasants. Despite their technological advantage, the soldiers only have ten people, and know no way home. Then two more time travelers arrive from a future far beyond the present. These time travelers may have the means to get back, but they aren’t giving it up. In fact, they may have a treacherous agenda of their own, one that may very well lead to the death of the displaced in a harsh and dangerous era.
Day of Atonement (Rogue Angel #54), by Alex Archer (May 5, Gold Eagle)
Trials, persecutions, false accusations, the Inquisition; for archaeologist and TV host Annja Creed, the current episode they’re taping for her show is a fascinating one. While Annja is filming the last segment in France, a vicious accident nearly kills her. It looks to be unintentional until a man calling himself Cauchon claims responsibility. The name Cauchon strikes a chord in the exceptionally long memory of Annja’s friend and mentor Roux. Discovering the old man’s secret years ago, Cauchon wanted to blackmail Roux before fate put the matter to rest. This powerful fanatic has turned from seeking out the divine to meting out justice. Vengeance. He will single-handedly resurrect the violence of the Inquisition to ensure that Annja and her friend are judged and found guilty. With so much at stake, Annja may find that friendship can be fatal.
In the war-torn wasteland known as Deathlands, desperation and destruction have replaced dreams and peace. Each day arrives with a new life-threatening challenge for wanderer Ryan Cawdor and his fellow band of survivors. Bizarre murders are taking place in a fertile farming community, and the locals are quick to point fingers at Ryan and his companions. But they know another culprit is responsible. A colony of mutants has been driven from its underground home, forced to find sustenance in the light of day. And only human flesh will satisfy their hunger. Caught between a rock and a horde of hungry cannibals, Ryan and the companions face an ultimatum, help the cannies reclaim their territory, or risk becoming the next meal. Except something far more sinister, and ravenous, lurks beneath the lush fields.
The Enchanted Village is abuzz when the old Tavistock house finally goes up for sale. Darcy’s friend Curecrafter Cherise Goodwin is hoping she will have the winning bid on the home, but Darcy can’t shake the feeling that something bad is about to happen, and her magical instincts are usually right. Sure enough, while Darcy and Cherise are looking at the property, they discover real estate agent Raina Gallagher stone-cold dead on the floor. Clutched in her hand is a gemstone amulet and, on the wall above her, a large red A. While Raina had no shortage of enemies, there’s also a dark legend about the house itself. To track down the killer, Darcy must unlock the secrets of both the deceased and the estate, and she’ll need to act fast, because revenge is a deal that never closes.
Jonah Murtag is an Acolyte on the New Bethlehem police force. His job: eradicate all heretical religious faiths, their practitioners, and artefacts. Murtag’s got problems, one of his partners is a zealot, and he’s in love with the other one. Trouble at work, trouble at home. Murtag realizes that you can rob a citizenry of almost anything, but you can’t take away its faith. When a string of bombings paralyzes the city, religious fanatics are initially suspected, but startling clues point to a far more ominous perpetrator. If Murtag doesn’t get things sorted out, the Divine Council will dispatch The Quints, aka: Heaven’s Own Bagmen. The clock is ticking towards doomsday for the Chosen of New Bethlehem. And Jonah Murtag’s got another problem. The biggest and most worrisome… Jonah isn’t a believer anymore.
Young Adult. Sixteen-year-old Lyric Walker’s life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race of ocean-dwelling warriors, on her beach in Coney Island. The world’s initial wonder and awe over the Alpha quickly turns ugly and paranoid and violent, and Lyric’s small town transforms into a military zone with humans on one side and Alpha on the other. When Lyric is recruited to help the crown prince, a boy named Fathom, assimilate, she begins to fall for him. But their love is a dangerous one, and there are forces on both sides working to keep them apart. Only, what if the Alpha are not actually the enemy? What if they are in fact humanity’s only hope of survival? Because the real enemy is coming. And it’s more terrifying than anything the world has ever seen.
In the divided land of England, Elizabeth Barnabus has been living a double life, as both herself and as her brother, the private detective. Witnessing the hanging of Alice Carter, the false duchess, Elizabeth resolves to throw the Bullet Catcher’s Handbook into the fire, and forget her past. If only it were that easy. There is a new charitable organization in town, run by some highly respectable women. But something doesn’t feel right to Elizabeth. Perhaps it is time for her fictional brother to come out of retirement for one last case…? Her unstoppable curiosity leads her to a dark world of body-snatching, unseemly experimentation, politics and scandal. Never was it harder for a woman in a man’s world.
At the right time, in the right place, words have the power to change the world. (Digital)
Young Adult. In the aftermath of Morgan le Fay’s war on Camelot, the once great kingdom struggles to rebuild. Vivienne, Merlin’s former apprentice, toils in secret day and night on orders from the Lady of the Lake to build an aeroship. The Lady has seen the future and promises that the ship will ensure Camelot’s knights triumph over the Black Knight in the quest for Avalon and the Holy Grail. But when a company of knights goes missing, including Owen, Vivienne’s brother, and Marcus, her beloved, Vivienne changes the plan and commandeers the aeroship for a rescue mission, altering the fates of all involved. Now, the Lady sees danger in Vivienne’s future. And for Marcus: either betrayal or death.
Born an Outcast, Talyn Batur has spent the whole of his life fighting against the prejudice of his people. An Andarion without a father is not something anyone wants to be. When his companion’s brother draws him into a plot against the Andarion crown, he finds himself torn between the loyalty to their planetary government that his mother has beaten into him and his own beliefs of justice and right. He must decide for himself to remain a pawn of their government or to defy everything and everyone he’s ever known to stand up to tyranny. It’s a gamble that will either save his life or end it. When old enemies align with new ones, it’s more than just his own life at risk. And more than just his homeworld that will end should he fail.
The Collected Short Stories of Freddie Prothero by Peter Straub: A mere child yet a precocious writer, young Freddie records a series of terrifying encounters with an inhuman being that haunts his life, and seems to predict his death. Group of Thirty by Jack Ketchum: When a horror writer on the downward slope of a long career receives an invitation to address the Essex County Science Fiction Group, he figures he’s got nothing to lose. Nancy by Darynda Jones: Though she’s adopted by the cool kids, the new girl at Renfield High School is most drawn to Nancy Wilhoit, who claims to be haunted. But it soon becomes apparent that poltergeists, and people, are seldom what they seem. I Love You, Charlie Pearson—Jacquelyn Frank: Charlie Pearson has a crush on Stacey Wheeler. Charlie will make Stacey see that he loves her, and that she loves him, even if he has to kill her to make her say it. The Lone and Level Sands Stretch Far Away by Brian Hodge: When Marni moves in next door, the stale marriage of Tara and Aidan gets a jolt of adrenaline. Whether it’s tonic or toxic is another matter. (Digital)
Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films: Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and Beyond—Jody Revenson (May 12, Harper Design)
A comprehensive look at Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, The Burrow, Azkaban prison and all of the memorable places, both loved and feared, that brought the Harry Potter movies to life, a keepsake treasury bound in a debossed leatherette case and featuring a removable poster and interactive booklet. Offers an unprecedented look at the creative process that transformed the magical locations of the wizarding world from the page to the big screen. Takes readers on a behind-the-scenes visual journey through all eight of the Harry Potter films. This stunning full-color compendium also includes two exclusive bonus inserts: a map of Diagon Alley folded in an envelope in the back of the book, and “The Paintings of Hogwarts” catalog inserted in the text.
In a future America, you are your credit score. Extreme wealth inequality has created a class of have-nothings: Subprimes. Their bad credit ratings make them unemployable. Fugitives who must keep moving to avoid arrest, they wander the globally warmed American wasteland searching for day labor and a place to park their battered SUVs. The story of two families whose lives reflect this new dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-financially-fittest America. A Subprime family has been forced to migrate east. They are soon joined by a writer and his family, slightly better off, yet falling fast. They discover a small settlement of Subprimes who have begun an agrarian utopia built on a foreclosed exurb. The little stability they have is threatened when their land is targeted by job creators for shale oil extraction. A hero emerges, a woman on a motorcycle, suspiciously lacking a credit score, who just may save the world.
American student Jeanie and her young charge, Ren, fifteen years after the EMP that wiped out Paris and sent them on the run from the undying. They find their way to Spain and the walled city of Ronda where a few dozen survivors have gathered. With their main resource, humans, bordering on extinction, the undying have weakened, retreating to their hives. A dark presence arrives, casting its shadow across Spain, reawakening the hives and creating a new breed of monster. These Shades can reanimate the undying, and possess the living. When Ronda comes under attack, Ren saves the day. He has been blessed with a special gift that makes him a perfect killing machine, and the last hope of humanity. He takes to the highways with a company of Spaniards who intend to eradicate the undying from Europe. As they approach Sevilla to face the most powerful Shade yet, Ren learns some in his company aren’t all they appear to be. (Digital)
In a coastal town on the Outer Carolina Banks, David Ribault and Merrill Poulnot are trying to revive their stale relationship and commit to marriage, and a slick developer claiming to be related to a historic town hero, Rawson Steele, has come to town and is buying up property. Steele makes a romantic advance on Merrill and an unusual 5 a.m appointment outside of town with David. But Steele is a no-show, and at the time of the appointment everyone in the town disappears, removed entirely from our space and time to a featureless isolated village, including Merrill and her young son. David searches desperately but all seems lost for Steele is in the other village with Merrill.
The corpse-jumping body mercenary Nev is used to filling other people’s shoes. When his assistant Tera recognizes the most recent waterlogged cadaver they bought off the street, though, he finds that his new body is carrying more trouble than he bargained for. (Digital)
Young Adult. It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don’t fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, has plans for the young ladies, plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war. Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. She plans to escape as soon as possible, until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads, or their hearts.
Young Adult. Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince’s clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate, and her heart, won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They cannot rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?
The Vlast stands two hundred feet tall, four thousand tons of steel ready to be flung upwards on the fire of atom bombs. Ready to take the dream of President-Commander of the New Vlast General, Osip Rizhin, beyond the bounds of this world. But not everyone shares this vision. Vissarion Lom and Maroussia Shaumian have not reached the end of their story, and in Mirgorod a woman in a shabby dress carefully unwraps a sniper rifle. And all the while the Pollandore dreams its own dreams.
Young Adult. As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, sending the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance. In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland (“landlockers”) and those who float on the sea (“damplings”), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives, offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.
On a freezing Christmas Eve in 1879, a forensic psychic reader is summoned from her Baker Street lodgings to the scene of a questionable death. Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury (named after her godmother, the current Queen of England) is adamant that the death in question is a magically compromised murder and not a suicide, as the police had assumed, after the shocking revelation contained by the body in question, Alex must put her personal loss aside to uncover the deeper issues at stake, before more bodies turn up. Turning to some choice allies, Alex will have to marshal all of her magical and mental acumen to save Queen and Country from a shadowy threat. Our singular heroine is caught up in this rousing gaslamp adventure of cloaked assassins, meddlesome family, and dark magic.
The sea is full of mysteries and rivers shelter the unknown. Dating back to ancient Assyria, folkloric tales of mermaids, sirens, rusalka, nymphs, selkes, and other seafolk are found in many cultures, including those of Europe, Africa, the Near East and Asia. Dangerous or benevolent, seductive or sinister, modern masters of fantasy continue to create new legends of these creatures that enchant and entertain us more than ever. Immerse yourself in this wonderful, and sometimes wicked, watery world. Contributing authors include: Elizabeth Bear, Neil Gaiman, Caitlin R. Kiernan and Margo Lanagan.
The United States is on the brink of total anarchy in the wake of a super-EMP attack. Gordon Van Zandt and his family have managed to beat the odds so far, but can they survive once war erupts?
Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, including the April 21 release, Pirate’s Alley. You can find Suzanne on Twitter and on her daily blog, Preternatura.