Genre is an iffy proposition for twenty-three books releasing in July. Look for new titles that straddle the genre line from, among others, Eric Flint and Walter H. Hunt (Ring of Fire), Carrie Patel (Recoletta), Victoria Laurie (Psychic Eye Mystery), Juliet Blackwell (Witchcraft Mystery), J. Kathleen Cheney (Golden City), Cindy Spencer Pape (Gaslight Chronicles), D.B. Jackson (Thieftaker Chronicles), and Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith (Crown & Key).
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.
France, 1636. It has been twenty years since King Louis took Ana Maria Mauricia, daughter of Spain’s King Philip III, as his wife, and their union has not yet produced an heir. Under the guidance of his chief minister, Cardinal Richelieu, a plan is developed to remedy that situation. Once she is with child, Queen Anne goes into seclusion to guard her health and protect her from those who would prefer that the child is never born, France’s foreign enemies as well as schemers such as Monsieur Gaston d’Orleans, the King’s younger brother and heir. When the Crown’s opponents make their move, factions inside and outside France must choose sides and help determine the future and fate of the Kingdom.
In the fantastical, gaslit underground city of Recolleta, Oligarchs from foreign states and revolutionaries from the farming communes vie for power in the wake of the city’s coup. The dark, forbidden knowledge of how the city came to be founded has been released into the world for all to read, and now someone must pay. Inspector Liesl Malone is on her toes, trying to keep the peace, and Arnault’s spy ring is more active than ever. Has the city’s increased access to knowledge put the citizens in even more danger? Allegiances change, long-held beliefs are adjusted, and things are about to get messy.
Supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly, but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden. Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service. When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life, and soon both heretics and books will burn
New Pittsburgh in 1898, the hub of American industry at the height of its steam-driven power. New Pittsburgh is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the abandoned mine tunnels beneath the city, supernatural creatures hide from the light, emerging to feed in the city known as ‘hell with the lid off.’ Jake Desmet and Rick Brand travel the world to secure treasures and unusual items, accompanied by Jake’s cousin, Veronique ‘Nikki’ LeClerque. Smuggling a small package as a favor for a Polish witch should have been easy. When hired killers come after Jake and a Ripper-style killer leaves the city awash in blood, Jake, Rick and Nikki realize that dark magic, vampire power struggles and industrial sabotage are just a prelude to a bigger plot. Stopping that plot will require every ounce of Jake’s courage, every bit of Rick’s cunning, every scintilla of Nikki’s bravura and all the steampowered innovation imaginable.
A ticked-off judge has tossed Abby in the slammer for contempt of court, and during her brief but unpleasant stay she learns the story of a condemned woman who is facing a far more serious sentence. Skylar Miller has been found guilty of murder and faces the death penalty. Everyone believes she’s guilty, including her own family and her ex-husband, everyone, that is, except Abby, whose finely honed intuition tells her this woman doesn’t belong behind bars. With the help of her husband Dutch and her friend Candice, Abby launches into her own investigation to clear Skylar and find the real killer. But after a final appeal is denied and Skylar’s attorney scrambles for a stay of execution, time is running short, and the list of suspects keeps growing. There’s no margin for error as the life of an innocent woman hangs in the balance.
Lily would like nothing better than to relax, enjoy her friends, and take care of business at her store, which is booming thanks to San Francisco’s upcoming Summer of Love Festival. But as the unofficial witchy consultant to the SFPD, she is pulled into yet another case. A woman has jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, and her apparent suicide may be connected to a suspicious botanica in the Mission District. When the police investigate the shop, they ask Lily to look into its mysterious owner, whose granddaughter also appears to be missing. As Lily searches for the truth, she finds herself confronted with a confounding mystery and some very powerful magic.
The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City—edited by Jason Blum (July 7, Doubleday)
Jason Blum invited sixteen collaborators, filmmakers, and writers to envision a city of their choosing, and let their demons run wild. The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City brings together all-new stories from such artists as Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), Eli Roth (Hostel), Scott Derrickson (Sinister), C. Robert Cargill (Sinister), James DeMonaco (The Purge), “Geist” by Les Bohem, “Procedure” by James DeMonaco, “Hellhole” by Christopher Denham, “A Clean White Room” by Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill, “Novel Fifteen” by Steve Faber, “Eyes” by George Gallo, “1987” by Ethan Hawke, “Donations” by William Joselyn, “The Old Jail” by Sarah Langan, “The Darkish Man” by Nissar Modi, “Meat Maker” by Mark Neveldine, “Dreamland” by Michael Olson, “Valdivia” by Eli Roth, “Golden Hour” by Jeremy Slater, “The Leap” by Dana Stevens, “The Words” by Scott Stewart and “Gentholme” by Simon Kurt Unsworth.
Young Adult. Two boys, separated by hundreds of years, yet together they will battle a great evil at the very heart of the world: The Child Eater. One, Matyas, resides in a medieval world. The other, Simon Wisdom, in present-day America. As a boy, Matyas is viciously beaten by his father, yet he will grow up to become the greatest magician. Simon is deeply loved by his widowed father, Jack. Matyas runs away to the capital, where he learns of a mysterious, long-lost Tarot of Eternity. Matyas and Simon both suffer the same horrific visions. When a new boy’s body is found without a head Matyas learns a terrible secret: a magician can live forever by devouring the lives of children. He is the Child Eater. Jack enlists the help of Dr. Reina. Simon realizes Reina means him ill. Is this mysterious doctor really The Child Eater and Simon is his next victim? Can the spirit of Simon’s dead mother and the power of Matyas’ Tarrot deck save him and the world? (U.S. Release)
Standalone. 1740. With Europe balanced on the brink of war, an Austrian regiment is sent to hold the border against the might of Prussia. Their garrison, the ancient house called Pokoj. Pokoj is already inhabited by a company of ghosts from every age of the house’s history. Only Drozde, the quartermaster’s mistress, can see them. As these ageless phantoms tell their stories, Drozde gets chilling glimpses of Pokoj’s past. Lieutenant Klaes pursues another mystery. Why are the people of the neighboring village so surly and withdrawn, so reluctant to welcome the soldiers who are there to protect them? The camp follower and the officer make their journeys to the same discovery, an impending catastrophe that will sweep away villagers and soldiers alike. To stop it would pit Klaes against his regiment and Drozde against the one man in the world she truly fears. Perhaps neither of them can prevail. If they do, it will be with the help of the restless dead. (U.S. Release)
Standalone. Antiquarian bookseller Walter Jessop happens upon a sheet of brittle parchment tucked inside a forgotten volume in his London shop. Written in code, it’s a cipher Jessop has never seen before. Only its title is translatable: The Master Has Spoken. Jessop enlists the help of encryption expert David Mallory. Mallory stumbles upon an invaluable clue. It opens the door to a mystery greater than either man could have envisioned, a conspiracy stretching back seven centuries to a time when the most powerful man in Europe declared war on the most powerful clan, the Knights Templar. Now, Jessop and Mallory find themselves on a global hunt for an unsurpassed treasure and this much closer to the keys to secrets that could change history, topple an empire, and bury both men alive. They’re not only the hunters. They’re also the hunted.
Even as the branches of peace are being offered, there are some who still believe those who are not human should be used as chattel. Newlywed siren Oriana Paredes has been appointed Ambassador to her home islands now that communication between Northern Portugual and the magical races has been restored. Convincing her people that the new Portuguese Prince’s intentions are honorable after years of persecution is difficult. Her husband, Duilio, faces his own obstacles among the sirens. The two hope to uncover the truth behind Oriana’s mother’s death. Evidence suggests that Spain, a country that has been known to enslave magical beings, may have infiltrated the siren authority. Oriana and Duilio must call on Inspector Joaquim Tavares to root out the truth. Even his seer’s gift cannot prepare him for what he will discover.
A modern reimagining of Gene Wolfe’s Island of Doctor Death. Young Ballou lives alone with his mother in an old house on the shore. When the mysterious Wilson arrives, Ballou’s reality tips into a world populated with characters from his pulp comic books as he struggles to understand the adults around him. (Digital)
Young Adult. Did you know that beasts called “saurs” were a part of everyday life in 1815 Europe? Did you know that Napoleon won the battle of Waterloo? Did you know that he did so by using a terrible secret weapon against the British and Prussians? Did you know that only one boy, the son of a magician, knows how to foil the would-be Emperor’s plans at world-domination? It’s all true. At least according to this head-spinning historical fantasy just in time for the bicentennial of the battle that re-shaped Europe. (U.S. Release)
President Harry Truman heeds the advice of General Douglas MacArthur, whose control of the ground war in Korea has slipped away. MacArthur recognizes a stark reality. The U.S. military has been cut to the bone after victory over the Nazis. The only way to stop the Communist surge into the Korean Peninsula is through a nuclear attack. Almost instantly, Stalin strikes U.S. allies in Europe and Great Britain. The two superpowers are caught in a horrifying face-off. The fateful global drama plays out through the experiences of ordinary people, from a British barmaid to a Ukrainian war veteran to a desperate American soldier alone behind enemy lines in Korea. For them, as well as Truman, Mao, and Stalin, the world has become a battleground. On a planet under siege, the sounds and sites of nuclear bombs become a grim harbinger of a new reality: the struggle to survive man’s greatest madness.
Rebel Mechanics: All is Fair in Love and Revolution—Shanna Swendson (July 14, Farrar, Straus & Giroux BYR)
Young Adult. It’s 1888, and sixteen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family, but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule. The family Verity works for is magister, but it seems like the children’s young guardian uncle is sympathetic to the rebel cause. As Verity falls for a charming rebel inventor and agrees to become a spy, she also becomes more and more enmeshed in the magister family’s life. She soon realizes she’s uniquely positioned to advance the cause, but to do so, she’ll have to reveal her own dangerous secret.
The Executioner’s Daughter—Jane Hardstaff (July 14, EgmontUSA)
Young Adult. The crowds at the Tower of London love a good execution. As the basket girl, it’s Moss’s job to catch the heads that her father chops off. It’s a life she longs to leave behind, but she, too, is a prisoner and there’s no escaping the Tower walls. Or is there? A hidden tunnel takes her to the shores of the great River Thames, where she meets Salter, a river rat who teaches her how to survive with her wits, and the occasional theft. But there’s a reason Moss’s father insisted she never go near the river, a deal struck long ago, and now payment is due. (U.S. Release)
Young Adult. It is the summer of 1892, one year since Sophia Tims and her friend Theo embarked upon the dangerous adventure that rewrote the map of the world. Since their return home to Boston, she has continued searching for clues to her parents’ disappearance, combing archives and libraries. Theo has apprenticed himself to an explorer in order to follow those leads across the country, but one after another proves to be a dead end. Sophia discovers that a crucial piece of the puzzle exists in a foreign Age. Theo discovers that his old life outside the law threatens to destroy the new one he has built. What he and Sophia do not know is that their separate discoveries are intertwined. There is a city that holds all of the answers, but it cannot be found on any map. Surrounded by plague, it can only be reached by a journey through darkness and chaos, which is at the same time the plague’s cure: The Golden Specific.
Young Adult. London, 1884. When Thaniel Steepleton comes home to find a new watch on his pillow, he has bigger things to worry about than generous burglars; he is a telegraphist at the Home Office, where he has just received a Fenian bomb threat. But six months later, the watch saves his life in a blast that destroys Scotland Yard, and at last, he goes in search of its maker. He meets Keita Mori, a Japanese immigrant who remembers the future. As Mori begins to tweak daily life in Thaniel’s favour, everything seems to be going well, until physicist Grace Carrow, attracted to Thaniel’s refreshingly direct, unstuffy nature, unwittingly interferes. Soon, events spiral beyond Thaniel’s control, and nothing is certain any more.
Sir Thomas Devere and Eleanor Hadrian have loved each other most of their lives, but sometimes love doesn’t conquer all. Their chance at happiness was ruined by Tom’s hasty marriage to someone else. Heartbroken, Nell left home, finding a new life as a teacher at a school for the blind. But when one of her supernaturally gifted students, Charlie, is kidnapped, Tom reappears and her worlds collide. Tom claims he hasn’t seen his wife since the day of their marriage, yet he fears the missing student could be his son. The deeper they dig, the more Tom and Nell discover: a deadly alchemist, more missing gifted children and long-suppressed feelings neither of them is ready for. A race on airship across England and India may lead them to answers, including a second chance at love, but only if all of British Society isn’t destroyed first. (Digital)
Boston, 1770. The city is a powder keg as tensions between rebels and loyalist Tories approach a breaking point. One man is willing to light the match to ensure that he has his revenge. The presence of the British Regulars has made thieftaking a hard business to be in. Ethan Kaille has to resort to taking jobs that he would otherwise pass up, namely protecting the shops of Tories from Patriot mobs. When one British loyalist takes things too far and accidentally kills a young boy, even Ethan reconsiders his line of work. More troubling is the fact that instances of violence in the city are increasing, and Ethan often finds himself at the center of the trouble. Ethan discovers that some enemies don’t stay buried, and will stop at nothing to ruin Ethan’s life. Even if that means risking the lives of everyone in Boston, including the people that Ethan loves most.
Richard Milhous Nixon lived one of the most improbable lives of the twentieth century. Our thirty-seventh president’s political career spanned the button-down fifties, the Mad Men sixties, and the turbulent seventies. He faced down the Russians, the Chinese, and ultimately his own government. The man went from political mastermind to a national joke leaving us with one burning question: how could he have lost it all? Here is the tale told in his own words: the terrifying supernatural secret he stumbled upon as a young man, the truth behind the Cold War, and the truth behind the Watergate cover-up. What if our nation’s worst president was actually a pivotal figure caught in a desperate struggle between ordinary life and horrors from another reality? What if the man we call our worst president was, in truth, our greatest?
Tells the stories of the Nightbreed after the fall of their city, Midian. Driven from their homes, their friends and family members slain before their eyes, the monsters become a mostly-hidden diaspora. Some are hunted; others, hunters. Some seek refuge. Others want revenge. Contributors include: Karl Alexander; Amber Benson; Nancy Holder; Seanan McGuire; Weston Ochse; David J. Schow; Stephen Woodworth; and many more—23 stories in all. With an introduction by Clive Barker.
To avenge a centuries-old betrayal, Gaios is hell-bent on summoning the elemental forces of the earth to level London and bury Britain. The Crown and Key Society, a secret league consisting of a magician, an alchemist, and a monster-hunter, is the realm’s only hope, and to stop Gaios, they must gather their full strength and come together as a team, or the world will fall apart.
But Simon Archer, the Crown and Key’s leader and the last living magician-scribe, has lost his powers. As Gaios searches for the Stone of Scone, which will give him destructive dominion over the land, monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane, alchemist extraordinaire Kate Anstruther, gadget geek Penny Carter, and Charlotte the werewolf scramble to reconnect Simon to his magic before the world as they know it is left forever in ruins.
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.