Fiction Affliction: July Releases in Fantasy

Thirty new fantasies launch in July, with political takeovers galore and an alarming resurgence of fairy tale characters. New releases including series additions from, among others, E.C. Blake (Masks of Aygrima); C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince); Anthony Ryan (Raven’s Shadow); Chris Willrich (Gaunt and Bone); Django Wexler (Shadow Campaigns); Max Gladstone (Craft Sequence), and Joe Abercrombie (Shattered Sea).

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

Letters to ZellCamille Griep (July 1, 47North)

Everything is going according to story for CeCi (Cinderella), Bianca (Snow White), and Rory (Sleeping Beauty), until the day that Zell (Rapunzel) decides to leave Grimmland and pursue her life. Now, Zell’s best friends are left to wonder whether their own passions are worth risking their predetermined “happily ever afters,” regardless of the consequences. CeCi wonders whether she should become a professional chef, sharp-tongued and quick-witted Bianca wants to escape an engagement to her platonic friend, and Rory will do anything to make her boorish husband love her. But as Bianca’s wedding approaches, can they escape their fates, and is there enough wine in all of the Realm to help them?

DarkhavenA.F.E. Smith (July 2, Harper Voyager)

Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren, true heir to the throne, hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place. When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line? Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved. (Digital; print available January 2016)

A Murder of Mages (Maradaine Constabulary #1)Marshall Ryan Maresca (July 7, DAW)

Satrine Rainey, former street rat, ex-spy, mother of two, and wife to a Constabulary Inspector who lies on the edge of death, injured in the line of duty, has been forced to fake her way into the post of Constabulary Inspector to support her family. Minox Welling is a brilliant, unorthodox Inspector and an Uncircled mage, almost a crime in itself. Nicknamed “the jinx” because of the misfortunes that seem to befall anyone around him, Minox has been partnered with Satrine because no one else will work with either of them. Their first case together, the ritual murder of a Circled mage, sends Satrine back to the streets she grew up on and brings Minox face-to-face with mage politics he’s desperate to avoid. As the body count rises, Satrine and Minox must race to catch the killer before their own secrets are exposed and they, too, become targets.

Bell Weather: A NovelDennis Mahoney (July 7, Henry Holt & Co.)

Standalone. When Tom Orange rescues a mysterious young woman from the flooded Antler River, he senses that their fates will deeply intertwine. At first, she claims to remember nothing, and rumor animates Root, an isolated settlement in the strange wilderness of colonial Floria. Benjamin Knox, the town doctor, attends to her recovery and learns her name is Molly. As the town inspects its spirited new inhabitant, she encounters a world teeming with wonders and oddities. She also hears of the Maimers, masked thieves who terrorize the surrounding woods. As dark forces encircle the town, the truth of Molly’s past spills into the present: a desperate voyage; a genius brother; a tragedy she hasn’t fully escaped. Molly and Tom must then decide between surviving apart or risking everything together.

Beyond the Kingdoms (The Land of Stories #4)Chris Colfer (July 7, Little, Brown BYR)

Young Adult. Fairy tales are just the beginning. The Masked Man is on the loose in the Land of Stories, and it’s up to Alex and Conner Bailey to stop him, except Alex has been thrown off the Fairy Council, and no one will believe they’re in danger. With only the help of the ragtag group of Goldilocks, Jack, Red Riding Hood, and Mother Goose and her gander, Lester, the Bailey twins discover the Masked Man’s secret scheme: He possesses a powerful magic potion that turns every book it touches into a portal, and he is recruiting an army of literature’s greatest villains. So begins a race through the magical Land of Oz, the fantastical world of Neverland, the madness of Wonderland, and beyond. Can Alex and Conner catch up to the Masked Man, or will they be one step behind until it’s too late?

Chicks and Balances (Chicks in Chainmail #7)—edited by Esther Friesner (July 7, Baen)

All new adventures of fearless women warriors in this anthology featuring original work by Eric Flint, Harry Turtledove, Jody Lynn Nye, Wen Spencer, Esther Friesner, Jim C. Hines. Elizabeth A. Vaughan, Kerrie L. Hughes, Steven Harper Piziks, Julie S. Mandala, Jean Rabe, Alex Shvartsman, Sarah A. Hoyt, Robin Wayne Bailey, Laura Resnick, Lee Martindale, P.C. Hodgell, Dean Wesley Smith, Laura Frankos, Louisa Swann, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Elisha Rex (The Dark Apostle #3)E.C. Ambrose (July 7, DAW)

Elisha was a skillful barber-surgeon, cutting hair and stitching wounds for poor peasants like himself in 14th-century London. That was before he discovered his potential for a singularly deadly magic. The witch Brigit, his former mentor, claims him for the magi. Duke Randall has accepted him as a comrade and ally. He has become a friend to Thomas, the rightful king. Elisha is beginning to understand the dreadful power within him. There is another force at work in the world that sees its opportunity in the chaos, and sees its mirror in Elisha’s indivisible connection with Death. For these necromancers, Elisha is the ultimate prize, and the perfect tool. The necromancers’ secret plans begin to bear black fruit. It appears Elisha is the only man who can stop it. But if he steps forward to save his nation once again, is he playing right into the mancers’ hands? Why does it seem like his enemies are the ones most keen to call him Elisha Rex?

Faces (Masks of Aygrima #3)E.C. Blake (July 7, DAW)

Set in a land where people are forced to wear spell-imbued Masks that reveal any traitorous thoughts they have about their ruler, the Autarch. Mara Holdfast is a young woman gifted with the ability to see and use all the colors of magic. Two other people share this talent: the Autarch and the legendary Lady of Pain and Fire. After a devastating battle, Mara and her fellow survivors have no one to turn to for help but the Lady of Pain and Fire. Mara feels that she has found the one person who truly understands her, a mentor who can teach her to control and use her power for the greater good. Living within the Lady’s castle, Mara immerses herself in her training. She can’t escape from hearing dark hints about the Lady. Yet it is not until they begin their campaign against the Autarch that Mara discovers where the real danger lies. Will Mara and all her friends fall victim in a duel to the death between two masters of magic?

Prince’s Gambit (Captive Prince #2)C.S. Pacat (July 7, Berkley)

With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master, Prince Laurent, must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot. Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow. Includes a bonus chapter (print edition only).

Queen of Fire (Raven’s Shadow #3)Anthony Ryan (July 7, Ace)

After fighting back from the brink of death, Queen Lyrna is determined to repel the invading Volarian army and regain the independence of the Unified Realm. She must do more than rally her loyal supporters. She must align herself with forces she once found repugnant, those who possess the strange and varied gifts of the Dark, and take the war to her enemy’s doorstep. Victory rests on the shoulders of Vaelin Al Sorna, now named Battle Lord of the Realm. The Volarian enemy has a new weapon on their side, one that Vaelin must destroy if the Realm is to prevail, a mysterious Ally with the ability to grant unnaturally long life to her servants. Defeating one who cannot be killed is a nearly impossible feat, especially when Vaelin’s blood-song, the mystical power which has made him the epic fighter he is, has gone ominously silent.

Renegade (Silver Blackthorn #2)Kerry Wilkinson (July 7, St. Martin’s Griffin)

Young Adult. Silver Blackthorn is a fugitive from the law. Silver Blackthorn has committed treason. She is dangerous. Do NOT approach her. A large reward is on offer. Report any sightings to your nearest Kingsman. Long live the King. Silver Blackthorn is on the run. She fled Windsor Castle with eleven other teenagers, taking with her something far more valuable than even she realizes: knowledge. With the entire country searching for the missing Offerings, Silver must keep them all from the vicious clutches of King Victor and the Minister Prime. Until now, no one has escaped the king and lived to tell the tale. Or have they? With expectations weighing heavily on the girl with the silver streak in her hair, will she ever find her way home? (U.S. Release)

Shower of Stones (Jeroun #2)Zachary Jernigan (July 7, Night Shade)

At the moment of his greatest victory, before a crowd of thousands, the warrior Vedas Tezul renounced his faith, calling for revolt against the god Adrash. In the three months since his sacrilegious pronouncement, the world has not changed for the better. The Needle hangs broken in orbit above Jeroun, each of its massive iron spheres poised to fall and blanket the planet’s surface in dust. Truces between Adrashi and Anadrashi break apart as panic spreads. The disgraced soldier Churls walks into the divided city of Danoor with a simple plan: murder the monster named Fesuy Amendja, and retrieve from captivity the only two individuals that still matter to her, Vedas Tezul, and the constructed man Berun. Churls and her companions are introduced to one of the world’s deepest secrets: A madman, insisting he is the link to an ancient world, offering the most tempting lie of all: Hope.

The Chart of Tomorrows (Gaunt and Bone #3)Chris Willrich (July 7, Pyr)

The poet Persimmon Gaunt and the thief Imago Bone had sought to retire from adventuring and start a family. They never reckoned on their baby becoming the chosen vessel of the mystical energies of a distant Eastern land. With their son Innocence hunted by various factions, they kept him safe at the cost of trapping him in a pocket dimension of accelerated time. The thirteen-year-old Innocence has rejected his parents and his “destiny” and has made dangerous friends. Gaunt and Bone seek to track him down, along with their companion Snow Pine and her daughter A-Girl-Is-A-Joy, who was once trapped with Innocence too. Gaunt and Bone find themselves at the heart of a vast struggle, and their own son is emerging from that conflict as a force of evil. They turn to a dangerous magical book, The Chart of Tomorrows, that reveals pathways through time. Gaunt and Bone must face the darkness in each other’s pasts, in order to rescue their future.

The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2)Mary E. Pearson (July 7, Henry Holt & Co. BYR)

Young Adult. Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia’s erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar’s interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen. Nothing is straightforward: there’s Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country, and her own destiny.

The Price of Valor (The Shadow Campaigns #3)Django Wexler (July 7, Roc)

In the wake of the King’s death, war has come to Vordan. The Deputies-General has precarious control of the city, but it is led by a zealot who sees traitors in every shadow. The new queen, Raesinia Orboan, finds herself nearly powerless as the government tightens its grip and assassins threaten her life. Placing her trust with the steadfast soldier Marcus D’Ivoire, she sets out to turn the tide of history. As the hidden hand of the Sworn Church brings all the powers to war against Vordan, general Janus bet Vhalnich offers a path to victory. Winter Ihernglass, newly promoted to command a regiment, has reunited with her lover and her friends, only to face the prospect of leading them into bloody battle. Dark priests of an ancient order, wielding forbidden magic, have infiltrated Vordan to stop Janus by whatever means necessary.

The Tattooed Duchess (A Fire Beneath the Skin #2)Victor Gischler (July 7, 47North)

Rina Veraiin has youth, beauty, and strength. She is a born warrior, able to command awesome and mysterious forces granted to her by a set of magical tattoos. As the newly minted duchess of Klaar, Rina confronts a menace that threatens her world in a divine conflict. Rina’s only chance at stopping them is to gain new tattoos that will increase her powers. She makes her quest across a bloodshed-ravaged land while war brews among the gods. Rina must learn to wield extraordinary power to save herself and her people, before powerful forces, and the savage fury of the gods, tear apart the land forever. (Kindle Serial)

Witches Be Crazy: A Tale That Happened Once Upon a Time in the Middle of NowhereLogan J. Hunder (July 7, Night Shade)

The beloved King Ik is dead, and there was barely time to check his pulse before the royal throne was supporting the suspiciously shapely backside of an impostor pretending to be Ik’s beautiful long-lost daughter. There’s only one man left who can save the kingdom of Jenair. His name is Dungar Loloth, a rural blacksmith turned innkeeper. Normally politics are the least of his concerns, but after everyone in the neighboring kingdom of Farrawee comes down with a severe case of being dead, Dungar learns that the masquerading princess not only is behind the carnage but also has similar plans for his own hometown. Together with an eccentric and arguably insane hobo named Jimminy, he journeys out into the world he’s so pointedly tried to avoid as the only hope of defeating the most powerful person in it.

 

WEEK TWO

Cold Iron (The Malorum Gates #1)Stina Leicht (July 14, Saga Press)

Prince Nels is the scholarly runt of the ancient Kainen royal family of Eledore, disregarded as flawed by the king and many others. Only Suvi, his fraternal twin sister, supports him. When Nels is ambushed by an Acrasian scouting party, he does the forbidden for a member of the ruling family: He picks up a fallen sword and defends himself. Disowned and dismissed to the military, Nels establishes himself as a leader as Eledore begins to shatter under the attack of the Acrasians, who the Kainen had previously dismissed as barbarians. But Nels knows differently, and with the aid of Suvi, who has allied with pirates, he mounts a military offensive with sword, canon, and what little magic is left in the world.

Last First Snow (Craft Sequence #4)Max Gladstone (July 14, Tor)

Forty years after the God Wars, Dresediel Lex bears the scars of liberation, especially in the Skittersill, a poor district still bound by the fallen gods’ decaying edicts. As long as the gods’ wards last, they strangle development; when they fail, demons will be loosed upon the city. The King in Red hires Elayne Kevarian of the Craft firm to fix the wards, but the Skittersill’s people have their own ideas. A protest rises against Elayne’s work, led by Temoc, a warrior-priest turned community organizer who wants to build a peaceful future for his city. As Elayne drags Temoc and the King in Red to the bargaining table, old wounds reopen, old gods stir in their graves, civil blood breaks to new mutiny. Elayne and Temoc must fight conspiracy, dark magic, and their own demons to save the peace, or to save as many people as they can.

Nightborn (Thrones & Bones #2)Lou Anders (July 14, Crown BYR)

Young Adult. Karn Korlundsson is a gamer. Not a riddle solver. But in order to rescue his best friend, Thianna Frostborn, he will need to travel to the faraway city of Castlebriar (by wyvern), learn how to play a new board game called Charioteers (not a problem), decipher the Riddle of the Horn, and tangle with mysterious elves. Meet Desstra. She’s in training to join the Underhand, the elite agents of the dark elves. When she crosses paths with Karn, she is not all that she appears to be. Everyone is chasing after the horn of Osius, an ancient artifact with the power to change the world. The lengths to which Karn will go in the name of friendship will be sorely tested. Who knew that solving a riddle could be so deadly? The novel includes instructions for playing the board game Charioteers.

The Blind Wish (The Jinni Wars #2)Amber Lough (July 14, Random House BYR)

Young Adult. The war: The lies that started the conflict are in the open now, but the war between the humans and the jinn is as bitter as ever, and becoming far more treacherous. The sisters: Najwa and Zayele have learned they’re half-jinni, half-human twins. Najwa is now the jinni representative at the human palace, working to bring peace. Her new role comes at a price, she’s no longer allowed alone with her cherished Prince Kamal. As Zayele adjusts to life among the jinn, she discovers that she’s a magus, one of the most powerful jinn in the Cavern. She’s thrown into special training, and the strongest young men in the army are competing to be paired up with her. The wish: Once again, Zayele makes a wish. A wish that she doesn’t think can possibly go wrong. A wish that neither sister could imagine would change the outcome of the war.

The Oldest Trick (Saga of the Redeemed #1)Auston Habershaw (July 14, Harper Voyager Impulse)

Brings together the first two books in the Saga of the Redeemed. The Iron Ring: Tyvian Reldamar has just been betrayed by his longtime partner and left for dead in a freezing river. His mysterious rescuer took it upon himself to affix Tyvian with an iron ring that prevents the wearer from any evildoing. On his quest to get even, Tyvian uncovers the plans of the ruthless warlord Banric Sahand running from a Mage-Defender determined to lock him up. Tyvian will need to use every dirty trick in the book to avoid a painful and ignominious end. Iron and Blood: 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. Tyvian must learn to work with his crew of accomplices including 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.

The Two of Swords: Part Six (The Two of Swords #6)K.J. Parker (July 14, Orbit)

A soldier with a gift for archery. A woman who kills without care. Two brothers, both unbeatable generals, now fighting for opposing armies. No one in the vast and once glorious United Empire remains untouched by the rift between East and West, and the war has been fought for as long as anyone can remember. Some still survive who know how it was started, but no one knows how it will end. (Digital)

 

WEEK THREE

The First Confessor (The Legend of Magda Searus #1)Terry Goodkind (July 21, Tor)

Married to the powerful leader of her people, Magda Searus is protected from a distant world descending into war. When her husband unexpectedly commits suicide, she suddenly finds herself alone. She is ungifted herself. Without her husband she no longer has standing among her people. She is driven to find the reasons behind why her husband would do such a thing. She begins to discover that there may be more to her husband’s suicide than anyone knew. She must embark on a mission to find a mysterious spiritist so that she may speak with the dead. She discovers along the way that the war is going far worse than she had known, and that the consequences of defeat will be more terrifying than she could have imagined. As mortal peril begin to close in around her, Magda learns that she is somehow the key to her people’s salvation.

The Obsidian Temple: A Desert Rising NovelKelley Grant (July 21, Harper Voyager Impulse)

After a harrowing escape to the desert, Sulis Hasifel finds her calling is not yet fulfilled. Traveling to the Obsidian Temple, the site of an ancient divine battle, Sulis is tasked with mentoring Ava, a young girl with a troubled past. They join a group of magically gifted warriors to re-make the fabric of the universe. The fate of the world hinges on whether Ava can harness her power, and some trials cannot be overcome. Returning to Illian, Sulis’s twin Kadar finds that his lover, Farrah, has abandoned their newborn daughter for the revolutionary cause. Not willing to give up his dream of a family, Kadar vows to stay by Farrah’s side. When he finds that Farrah is willing to anger the gods to aid the Forsaken caste’s uprising, and as she steps farther down a violent and dark path, Kadar must decide if he will help her, or let the world spin out of control. (Digital)

 

WEEK FOUR

Half a War (Shattered Sea #3)Joe Abercrombie (July 28, Del Rey)

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. She must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge if she is to reclaim her birthright. The deep-cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has raised the greatest army since the elves made war on God, and put Bright Yilling at its head, a man who worships no god but Death. Some, like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith, are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others, like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver, would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her iron wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness.

Shades in Shadow: An Inheritance TriptychN.K. Jemisin (July 28, Orbit)

From the shadows of the greater stories, away from the bright light of Sky and wending ’round the sagas of the Arameri, come three quieter tales. A newborn god with an old, old soul struggles to find a reason to live. A powerful demon searches for her father, and answers. And in a prequel to the Inheritance Trilogy, a newly-enslaved Nahadoth forges a dark alliance with a mortal, for survival, and revenge. Return to the world of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms in this triptych of short tales. (Digital)

The Dinosaur Lords (The Dinosaur Lords #1)Victor Milan (July 28, Tor)

A world made by the Eight Creators on which to play out their games of passion and power, Paradise is a sprawling, diverse, often brutal place. Men and women live on Paradise as do dogs, cats, ferrets, goats, and horses. But dinosaurs predominate. Colossal plant-eaters like Brachiosaurus; terrifying meat-eaters like Allosaurus, and the most feared of all, Tyrannosaurus rex. Giant lizards swim warm seas. Birds (some with teeth) share the sky with flying reptiles. A place that for all purposes mirrors 14th century Europe with its dynastic rivalries, religious wars, and byzantine politics except the weapons of choice are dinosaurs. During the course of one of these epic battles, the Dinosaur Lord Karyl Bogomirsky is defeated through betrayal and left for dead. He wakes, naked, wounded, partially amnesiac, and hunted. And embarks upon a journey that will shake his world.

The Good, the Bad and the SmugTom Holt (July 28, Orbit)

New Evil. Same as the Old Evil, but with better PR. Mordak isn’t bad, as far as goblin kings go, but when someone, or something, starts pumping gold into the human kingdoms it puts his rule into serious jeopardy. Suddenly he’s locked in an arms race with a species whose arms he once considered merely part of a calorie-controlled diet. Helped by an elf with a background in journalism and a master’s degree in being really pleased with herself, Mordak sets out to discover what on earth (if indeed, that’s where he is) is going on. He knows that the truth is out there. If only he could remember where he put it.

SavagesK.J. Parker (July 31, Subterranean)

An unnamed man wakes to find himself facing the loss of everything that matters most to him. Against all odds, he escapes with his life and heads out into the turbulence of the wider world, recreating himself, step by step, as he goes along. That wider world is dominated by an empire that has existed for decades in a state of near perpetual war. A host of colorful characters will help to shape the destiny of the empire, and its constantly shifting array of allies and adversaries; among them, a master military strategist, a former pacifist who inherits his father’s moribund arms business, a beautiful forger and a very lucky counterfeiter. Each of them, together with corrupt bureaucrats and the nomadic ‘savages’ of the title, plays a part in a gradually unfolding drama of conflict and conquest played for the highest of stakes.

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.

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