Twenty-one new fantasies launch in June, with political takeovers galore. New releases including series additions from, among others, Danielle L. Jensen (The Malediction Trilogy), Mercedes Lackey (Elemental Masters), Jon Sprunk (The Book of the Black Earth), Mark Lawrence (The Red Queen’s War), J.F. Lewis (The Grudgebearer Trilogy), Terry Brooks (The Defenders of Shannara), Elizabeth Haydon (Symphony of Ages), and Jo Walton (Thessaly).
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.
At the darkest hour, when all hope is lost, a hero is born. When Brann is wrenched from his family home after witnessing its destruction and the death of those he holds dear, he is thrust into a life of slavery. Miles away, a deposed and forgotten emperor seeks an instrument to use in his bid to rise once again to power. Ruthless and determined, nothing and no one will stand in his way. Brann might be the emperor’s tool, but heroes can be forged in the most unlikely of ways. (Digital; print December 2015.)
Dawn of the Dragons: Here, There Be Dragons; The Search for the Red Dragon (The Age of Dragons #1)—James A. Owen (June 2, Saga Press)
Omnibus edition. Young Adult. In Here, There Be Dragons, a murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, in London during the first World War. An eccentric man called Bert tells them that they are now the Caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica, an atlas of the Archipelago of Dreams, which contains all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale. In The Search for the Red Dragon, it has been nine years since John, Jack, and Charles had their great adventure in the Archipelago of Dreams. Someone is kidnapping the children of the Archipelago. Their attempt to save the world from a centuries-old plot is to seek out the last of the Dragonships, the Red Dragon, in a journey that takes them from Sir James Barrie’s Kensington Gardens to the Underneath of the Greek Titans of myth.
The newest adventure in the Elemental Masters series, featuring a retelling of Rapunzel’s not-so-happily-ever-after ending.
Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation. Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high. To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted.
After Tyvian Reldamar gets double-crossed by his business partner, he is affixed with an iron ring that prevents the wearer from any evildoing. Not one to be deterred by this setback, he quickly puts into motion a plan for revenge, one that will use every dirty trick in the book. But things are never simple for mastermind Tyvian, especially not after he uncovers a sinister plot: evil wizard Banric Sahand is planning to decimate the city of Freegate. Now Tyvian must learn to work with, and rely on, his motley crew of accomplices, including an adolescent pickpocket, an obese secret-monger, a fearsome gnoll, and a Mage Defender, who is also trying to get him arrested. Time is running out for Tyvian’s plan for revenge, while the fate of the city hangs in the balance. (Digital)
Falcio val Mond is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are travelling Magisters upholding King’s Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom and then began fighting among themselves. The horrifying murder of a duke and his family sends Falcio in a deadly pursuit to capture the killer. But Falcio soon discovers his own life is in mortal danger from a poison administered as a final act of revenge by one of his deadliest enemies. As chaos and civil war begin to overtake the country, Falcio has precious little time left to stop those determined to destroy his homeland. A dark, daring tale of idealism and betrayal in a country crushed under the weight of its rulers’ corruption. (U.S. Release)
Aristocratic Pathfinder Varian Jeggare and his hellspawn bodyguard Radovan (Pathfinder’s answer to Holmes and Watson) return for their fifth standalone novel. When Varian is bequeathed a dangerous magical book by an old colleague, he and Radovan are pulled into a mystery and set on the path of a powerful necromancer seeking to become the new avatar of an ancient and sinister demigod, one of the legendary Runelords. But in saving the world, will Varian and Radovan lose their souls?
Young Adult. Nym has saved Faelen, only to discover that Draewulf stole everything she valued. Now he’s destroyed her Elemental storm-summoning ability as well. When Nym sneaks off with a host of delegates to Bron, Lord Myles offers her the chance for a new kind of power and the whispered hope that it may do more than simply defeat the monster she loathes. But the secrets the Bron people have kept concealed, along with the horrors Draewulf has developed, may require more than simply harnessing a darker ability. They may require who she is. Set against the stark metallic backdrop of the Bron kingdom, Nym is faced with the chance to change the future. Or was that Draewulf’s plan for her all along?
Stories of the Raksura: The Dead City and The Dark Earth Below (Stories of the Raksura #2)—Martha Wells (June 2, Night Shade)
Novella/story collection. “The Dead City” is a tale of Moon before he came to the Indigo Court. As Moon is fleeing the ruins of Saraseil, a groundling city destroyed by the Fell, he flies right into another potential disaster when a friendly caravanserai finds itself under attack by a strange force. In “The Dark Earth Below,” Moon and Jade face their biggest adventure yet; their first clutch. Even as Moon tries to prepare for impending fatherhood, members of the Kek village in the colony tree’s roots go missing, and searching for them only leads to more mysteries as the court is stalked by an unknown enemy. This world is a dangerous place full of strange mysteries, where the future can never be taken for granted and must always be fought for with wits and ingenuity, and often tooth and claw.
An empire at war. Three fates intertwined. The Magician. Horace has destroyed the Temple of the Sun. He finds his slave chains have been replaced by bonds of honor, duty, and love. Caught between two women and two cultures, he must contend with deadly forces from the unseen world. The Rebel. Jirom has thrown in his lot with the slave uprising, but his road to freedom becomes more dangerous as the rebels expand their campaign. He feels his connection with Emanon slipping away with every blow they strike. The Spy. Alyra has severed her ties to the underground network that brought her to Akeshia, but she continues the mission on her own. With Horace’s connection to the queen and the rebellion’s escalation of violence, she finds herself treading a knife’s edge between love and duty. Old alliances are shattered, new vendettas are born, and all peoples, citizen and slave alike, must endure the ravages of storm and steel.
In this anthology of all-new stories, S. M. Stirling invites the most fertile minds in science fiction to join him in expanding his rich Emberverse canvas. Here are new perspectives on the cultures, the survivors, and the battles arising across the years and across the globe following the Change. In his all-new story “Hot Night at the Hopping Toad,” Stirling returns to his own continuing saga of the High Kingdom of Montival. In the accompanying stories are fortune seekers, voyagers, and dangers, from the ruins of Sydney to the Republic of Fargo and Northern Alberta to Venetian and Greek galleys clashing in the Mediterranean. Contributing authors include: A.M. Dellamonica, Kier Salmon, Lauren C. Teffeau, M. T. Reiten, John Jos. Miller, Victor Milán, Terry D. England, John Birmingham, Walter Jon Williams, John Barnes, Harry Turtledove, Jane Lindskold, Jody Lynn Nye, Emily Mah Tippetts, and Diana Paxson.
The Red Queen has set her players on the board. Winter is keeping Prince Jalan Kendeth far from the longed-for luxuries of his southern palace. And although the North may be home to his companion, the warrior Snorri ver Snagason, he is just as eager to leave. For the Viking is ready to challenge all of Hell to bring his wife and children back into the living world. He has Loki’s key, now all he needs is to find the door. As all wait for the ice to unlock its jaws, the Dead King plots to claim what was so nearly his, the key to the underworld, so that his dead subjects can rise and rule.
Young Adult. Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake. Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that’s been laid upon him. But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth’s witch hunting past, if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she’s thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.
Rae’en has taken her father’s place as First of the practically immortal Aern, a race created by the Eldrennai as warrior-slaves to defend them from the magic-resistant reptilian Zaur. Freed from all Oaths by Kholster’s death, Rae’en decides to wage war on the Eldrennai anyway out of rage and grief. Bloodmane, leader of the now independent mystic-warsuits, has underestimated both the sheer numbers of the Zaur and their field leader General Tsan. The Zaur warlord, Xastix, launches the bulk of his forces at the Vael in an attempt to cut off all outside help. Prince Rivvek, must claim the Eldrennai throne by completing the Test of Four so that he can enact his plan to save his kingdom. His brother Prince Dolvek hatches a plot to enlist the aid of the plant-like Vael to defeat the Zaur who are in league with the decapitated head of a dethroned deity.
After taking up his enchanted sword against the dark sorcerer Arcannen, Paxon Leah has become the sworn protector of the Druid order. A beloved High Druid nears the end of her reign and prepares to pass from the mortal world to the one beyond. There is little time for Paxon to mourn his friend and benefactor before duty summons him. In a distant corner of the Four Lands, the magic of the wishsong has been detected. Paxon must accompany a Druid emissary to find its source, and ensure the formidable power is not wielded by the wrong hands. Gentle traveling minstrel Reyn Frosch possesses the gift of the wishsong. His abilities have captured the interest of Arcannen, whose quest for power is exceeded only by his thirst for vengeance. The sorcerer is determined to use the devastating power of the wishsong as his ultimate weapon.
With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion. But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling, and that of Kelsea’s own soul, may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.
Violent and dark, the world is filled with the Geisteskranken, men and women whose delusions manifest, twisting reality. High Priest Konig seeks to create order from chaos. He defines the beliefs of his followers, leading their faith to one end: a young boy, Morgen, must Ascend to become a god. A god they can control. There are many who would see this would-be-god in their thrall, including the High Priest’s own Doppels, and a Slaver no one can resist. Three reprobates, The Greatest Swordsman in the World, a murderous Kleptic, and possibly the only sane man left, have their own nefarious plans for the young god. There’s one more obstacle: time is running out. When one’s delusions become more powerful, they become harder to control. The fate of the Geisteskranken is to find oneself in the Afterdeath. The question, then, is: Who will rule there?
Young Adult. Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her father’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language. Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home. Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspeare Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself. Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.
A blood curse is ravaging the Seven Kingdoms. Fugitive Osgaardan prince, Harkeld, is the one person who can destroy it. Guarded by Sentinel mages, pursued by Fithian assassins, he begins the final, and most dangerous, stage of his quest: entering the cursed kingdom of Sault, where drinking even one drop of water means madness and death. But the mages aren’t the only travelers heading east. Princess Brigitta, abducted by Fithian assassins, is also bound for Sault, unless she can escape. And in close pursuit is her loyal armsman, Karel. Young orphan, Jaumé, is also headed for Sault, where he will be forced to make decisions that will change the fate of the Seven Kingdoms forever.
Beset on all sides by the forces of the merchant emperor Talquist, the Cymrian Alliance finds itself in desperate straits. Rhapsody herself has joined the battle, wielding the Daystar Clarion, leaving her True Name in hiding with her infant son. Ashe tries to enlist the aid of the Sea Mages. Within their Citadel of Scholarship lies the White Ivory tower, a spire that could hold the key to unraveling the full extent of Talquist’s machinations. Achmed journeys to the palace of Jierna Tal, to kill emperor Talquist, all the while knowing that even if he succeeds, it may not be enough to stop the momentum of the war. As they struggle to untangle the web of Talquist’s treachery, the leaders of the Cymrian alliance are met with obstacles.Rhapsody soon realizes that the end of this war will come at an unimaginable price: the lives of those she holds dearest.
The god Apollo, living (by his own choice) a human life as “Pythias” in the City, his true identity known only to a few, is now married and the father of several children. A tragic loss causes him to become consumed with the desire for revenge. Apollo, he goes handling it in a seemingly rational and systematic way, but it’s evident, particularly to his daughter Arete, that he is unhinged with grief. Along with Arete and several of his sons, plus other volunteers, including the now aged Marsilio Ficino, the great humanist of Renaissance Florence, Pythias/Apollo goes sailing into the Eastern Mediterranean of pre-antiquity to see what they can find, possibly the man who may have caused his grief, possibly communities of the earliest people to call themselves “Greek.” What Apollo and his daughter will discover, will change everything.
Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, and, as Susannah Sandlin, the Penton Legacy paranormal romance series and The Collectors thriller series. You can find Suzanne on Facebook and on her website.