Twenty-four new fantasies bring their dungeons and dragons to the masses in August, even a few for adult readers. Look for a brand new fantasy series from N. K. Jemisin, and series additions from, among others, Robin Hobb (The Fitz and the Fool); Kate Elliott (Court of Fives); K.J. Parker (The Two of Swords); Mark Smylie (The Barrow); Amanda Hocking (Kanin Chronicles); and Susan Murray (Waterborne Blade).
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 fierce and merciless demon has been unleashed on the world, spreading destruction and bloodshed in both the human and the elven realms. Northlander Jarl Mandred witnesses the ruthless attack on his men, and he seeks vengeance with the help of the elf queen, Emerelle. Despite Mandred’s barbaric human nature, the queen orchestrates an elfhunt joined by the two strongest warriors in Albenmark to pursue the beast. Farodin, the fiercest fighter in the land, and Nuramon, the healer, seize the opportunity to make history alongside Mandred in a life-defining series of battles waged in parallel universes.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze—the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years—collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land in the first book in the new Broken Earth series by N. K. Jemisin. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
The last survivors of the raid on the Barrow of Azharad have scattered to the four winds. For some, it is the path of noble service, as the households of great kings and warlords beckon, offering a chance to enter the fray of politics. For others, it is the path of secrets and magic, as the veil of the world parts to reveal the hidden truths that dwell in shadow and spirit. For Stjepan Black-Heart, royal cartographer and suspected murderer, it is the path of battle and sacrifice, as he is summoned to attend the household of the Grand Duke Owen Lis Red, the Earl Marshal to the High King of the Middle Kingdoms, on his latest campaign to find and kill Porloss, the Rebel Earl: lurking behind an army of ruthless renegade knights in the wild hills of the Manon Mole, a land where every step could be your last, and where lie secrets best left undisturbed.
UPDATE: Sorry, folks, as per the publisher’s note in the comments below, this release has been delayed.
Bryn Aven, unjustly charged with murder and treason, is on the run. The one person who can help is her greatest enemy, the gorgeous and enigmatic Konstantin Black. Konstantin is her only ally against those who have taken over her kingdom and threaten to destroy everything she holds dear. But can she trust him? As Bryn fights to clear her name, the Kanin rulers’ darkest secrets are coming to light, and now the entire troll world is on the brink of war. Will it tear Bryn from Ridley Dresden, the only guy she’s ever loved? And can she join forces with Finn Holms and the Trylle kingdom? Nothing is as it seems, but one thing is certain: an epic battle is underway-and when it’s complete, nothing will ever be the same.
Young Adult. Though she’s formed a tentative alliance with the Palace, Kyra must keep her identity a secret or risk being hunted like the rest of her Demon Rider kin. Tristam and the imprisoned assassin James are among the few who know about her heritage, but when Tristam reveals a heartbreaking secret of his own, Kyra’s not sure she can trust him. With James’s fate in the hands of the palace, Kyra fears that he will give her away to save himself. As tensions rise within Forge’s Council, and vicious Demon Rider attacks continue in surrounding villages, Kyra knows she must do something to save her city. But she walks a dangerous line between opposing armies: will she be able to use her link to the Demon Riders for good, or will her Makvani blood prove to be deadly?
Heroes are thought to be gone from the land. So why have the bards begun singing of them once more? The tale of a band of adventurers who come together to defend a kingdom in desperate need. The city of Brightlodge is awash with Heroes from every corner of Albion. When someone tries to burn down the Cock and Bard inn, four Heroes find themselves hastily thrown together, chasing outlaws through sewers, storming a riverboat full of smugglers, and placing their trust in a most unlikely ally. As the beginnings of a deadly plot are revealed, it becomes clear that Heroes have truly arrived, and so have villains. What connects the recent events in Brightlodge with rumors about a malicious ghost and a spate of unsolved deaths in the nearby mining town of Grayrock? Unless Albion’s new Heroes can find the answer, the dawn of a new age could be extinguished before it even begins.
The Arrows trilogy tells the story of Talia, a daughter of the repressive Holderfolk, who is Chosen by the immortal Companion Rolan to become one of the legendary Heralds of Valdemar. Companions like Rolan are mystical horse-like beings with powers beyond imagining, including the power to sense an awakening potential for special talents of the mind in certain young men and women, like Talia. Talia will learn to master her unique mental abilities of telepathy and empathy, and will grow from an uncertain and inexperienced Herald trainee to become the most important Herald of all: the Queen’s Own. Talia and Rolan will fight to protect the queen, the heir to the throne, and the entire kingdom, from dangerous conspiracies, looming unrest, vicious treachery, and even an evil and ancient sorcery beyond the magic of the Heralds themselves.
Kenhodan has no last name, because he has no past. What he does have are a lot of scars and a lot of skills and a purpose. Wencit of Rm, the most powerful wizard in the world, knows the answers to Kenhodan’s questions. He can’t or won’t share them with him. Except to inform him that he’s a critical part of Wencit’s battle to protect Norfressa from conquest by dark sorcery. Bahzell Bahnakson, champion of Tomank, doesn’t know those answers and the War God isn’t sharing them with him. Except to inform Bahzell that the final confrontation with the Dark Lords of fallen Kontovar is about to begin, and that Kenhodan is one of the keys to its final outcome. Wulfra of Torfo doesn’t know those answers, either, but she does know Wencit of Rm is her implacable foe and that Kenhodan is one of the weapons he intends to use against her. In the city of Belhadan, a girl knows the answers to all of Kenhodan’s questions, and dares not share them with anyone. It’s not easy to face the future when you can’t even remember your past. If saving an entire world from evil sorcerers, demons, devils, and dark gods was easy, anyone could do it.
Young Adult. It’s been two six-days since a falling star crashed into the marshes beyond Port Sapphire, putting the wilds off-limits to Hadara, a loss she feels deeply. She’s eager to join her mother beyond the city limits to gather illegal herbs and throw off the yoke of her religious schooling. Hadara and her mother have ignored the priests’ many warnings about their herb gathering, secure in knowing their tropical island is far from Nihil’s critical gaze. Two powerful high priests arrive from Nihil’s home city to investigate the fallen star, insisting it harbors an unseen demon. This sets off speculation that an evil force is already at work in Port Sapphire and brings one of the holy men to Hadara’s doorstep. He chooses Hadara as a guide into the wilds. She sets off a chain of events that will upend everything she’s been taught about the sacred and the profane.
In a world of turmoil, following the king’s death, the traitor Vasic is struggling to secure his rule over the combined Peninsular Kingdoms whilst the exiled queen, Alwenna, has taken refuge with freemerchant community whose elders fear her dark power. Mistrust rules the day with bribery, drugs, trafficking of children, and murder rife throughout the kingdom. As the priestess’ plot for revenge continues, Alenn a leaves to seek the outcast group of loyal kinsman. Marten attempts to restore Alwenna to the throne but as the priestess closes in, will he succeed?
Fitz and the Fool changed the world, bringing back the magic of dragons and securing both the Farseer succession and the stability of the kingdom. The Fool is near death, maimed by pale-skinned figures whose plans for world domination hinge upon the powers the Fool may share with Fitz’s own daughter. Distracted by the Fool’s perilous health, Fitz lets down his guard, and in a horrible instant, his world is undone and his beloved daughter stolen away by those who would use her as they had once sought to use the Fool, as a weapon. FitzChivalry Farseer is not without weapons of his own. An ancient magic still lives in his veins. He may have let his skills as royal assassin diminish over the years, such things are not so easily forgotten. Enemies and friends are about to learn that nothing is more dangerous than a man who has nothing left to lose.
Jeryon has been the captain of the Comber for over a decade. He knows the rules. He follows the rules. He likes the rules. Not everyone on his ship agrees. When a monstrous dragon attacks the Comber, his surviving crew, vengeful and battle-worn, decide to take the ship for themselves and give Jeryon and his self-righteous apothecary “the captain’s chance:” a small boat with no rudder, no sails, and nothing but the shirts on their backs to survive. Jeryon and his companion discover that the island they’ve landed on isn’t quite as deserted as they originally thought. They find a rare baby dragon that, if trained, just might be their ticket off the island. But as Jeryon and the dragon grow closer, he begins to realize that even if he makes it off the island, his life will never be the same again. In order for justice to be served, he’ll have to take it for himself. (Digital)
Graynelore is a brutal, lawless world, where a man’s only loyalty is to his grayne (his family). Murder, blackmail, theft and blood-feud are all part of daily life. Faerie tales are myths, strictly for the children. Why then is Rogrig Wishard, a hardened fighting-man who likes to solve problems with his sword, suddenly hearing voices and seeing faeries for real? What makes him embark upon a seemingly ridiculous quest to restore a Faerie Isle to the world? Is he mad or simply faerie-touched? If he’s going to make any sense of it he’s going to have to go right to the source, the faeries themselves. But that’s easier said than done when the only information he has to go on is from bards and myth. (Digital; print available February 2016)
Young Adult. Sixteen-year-old Beckan and her friends are the only fairies brave enough to stay in Ferrum when war breaks out. Now there is tension between the immortal fairies, the subterranean gnomes, and the mysterious tightropers who arrived to liberate the fairies. But when Beckan’s clan is forced to venture into the gnome underworld to survive, they find themselves tentatively forming unlikely friendships and making sacrifices they couldn’t have imagined. As danger mounts, Beckan finds herself caught between her loyalty to her friends, her desire for peace, and a love she never expected. This stunning, lyrical fantasy is a powerful exploration of what makes a family, what justifies a war, and what it means to truly love.
As the most valuable asset in the kingdom of Wilhaiim, Malachi Doyle has many responsibilities: protector, assassin, detective, and King Renault’s righthand man. And until he met Avani in the cursed village of Stonehill Downs, he believed he was the last of his kind: a magus who can communicate with the dead. Wilhaiim is left vulnerable when Mal and his page, Liam, are kidnapped and ferried across the Long Sea to a warring kingdom in search of its own magus. A springtime plague is rapidly spreading, and beneath the earth the sidhe are preparing for war. With Mal missing and presumed dead, Avani reluctantly takes his place as Wilhaiim’s magus. But her powers are unreliable and untested, her many allies are treacherous, and she is certain Mal is alive. Will she be able to keep Wilhaiim, and herself, safe? (Digital)
Young Adult. Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But at night she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multi-level athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best competitors. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between a girl of mixed race and a Patron boy causes heads to turn. When a scheming lord tears Jes’s family apart, she’ll have to test Kal’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a powerful clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.
It is Midsummer Day, the beginning of the year 700, in the city of Benign. All the children born in the year 684 celebrate their joint sixteenth birthday by passing in front of the statue of the blind goddess Caprice, but only one will become the Chosen and join the Seventy who govern and guide the city. Irona Matrinko, one of the many children of an impoverished fisherman, is chosen. Irona 700 moves into the palace and recognizes and cultivates her great talent for guiding wars. As Irona gives her life to the city, an ancient enemy, Maleficence, attacks again and again, corrupting Irona’s friends, destroying her lover, and continually defeating her grandest plans for peace and harmony. Along the way, Irona becomes a masterful politician, a shrewd judge of character, and, even at great cost to her personal happiness, a true heroine.
Young Adult. Who cut off Medusa’s head? Who was raised by a she-bear? Who tamed Pegasus? It takes a demigod to know, and Percy Jackson can fill you in on all the daring deeds of Perseus, Atalanta, Bellerophon, and the rest of the major Greek heroes. So get your flaming spear. Put on your lion skin cape. Polish your shield and make sure you’ve got arrows in your quiver. We’re going back about four thousand years to decapitate monsters, save some kingdoms, shoot a few gods in the butt, raid the Underworld, and steal loot from evil people. Then, for dessert, we’ll die painful tragic deaths. Ready? Sweet. Let’s do this.
Young Adult. Set in the world of Muirwood, eighteen-year-old Maia is the exiled princess of Comoros and heir to the throne. As a result of her father’s ceaseless need for authority, she was left disinherited and forced to live as a servant in her enemy’s home. When the king invites chaos into the land by expelling the magical order known as the Dochte Mandar, Maia finds herself on a perilous quest to save her people. To survive, she must use magic she has learned in secret, despite the fact that women are forbidden to control it. Hunted by enemies at every turn, Maia realizes that danger lurks within her, too. Her powers threaten to steal not only her consciousness but also her sense of right and wrong. Can she set herself free and save the realm she loves, even if that realm has forgotten her?
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)
Young Adult. One girl is kept in a room where every day the only food she’s given is a poisoned apple. Another is kept in a room covered in needles, and if she pricks her finger, she’ll die. Then there are the brother and sister kept in a cell that keeps getting hotter and hotter. A sinister kidnapper is on the loose in Kate’s world. She’s not involved until one day she heads to her grandmother’s house in the woods, and finds her grandmother has also been taken. Already an outcast, Kate can’t get any help from the villagers who hate her. Only Jack, another outsider, will listen to what’s happened. Then a princess is taken, and suddenly the king is paying attention, even though the girl’s stepmother would rather he didn’t. It’s up to Kate and Jack to track down the victims before an ever after arrives that’s far from happy.
Rodrick is a con man as charming as he is cunning. Hrym is a talking sword of magical ice, with the soul and spells of an ancient dragon. Together, the two travel the world, parting the gullible from their gold and freezing their enemies in their tracks. But when the two get summoned to the mysterious island of Jalmeray by a king with genies and elementals at his command, they’ll need all their wits and charm if they’re going to escape with the greatest prize of all-their lives.
Dun-Cadal has been drinking his life away for years. Betrayed by his friends, who turned their back on their ideals in favour of a new republic, and grief stricken at the loss of his apprentice, who saved his life on the battlefield and whom he trained as a knight in exchange, he’s done with politics, with adventure, and with people. But people aren’t finished with him, not yet. Viola is a young historian looking for the last Emperor’s sword, and her search not only brings her to Dun-Cadal, it’s also going to embroil them both in a series of assassinations. Because Dun-Cadal’s turncoat friends are being murdered, one by one, by someone who kills in the unmistakable style of an Imperial assassin. As Dun-Cadal comes to realize, none of these developments has been the result of chance. (U.S.)
The hotel Artemisia sits on a fantastical 72nd Street, in a decade that never was. It is home to a cast of characters, creatures, and creations unlike any other, including especially Zelda Fair, who is perfect at being Zelda, but who longs for something more. The world of this extraordinary novella, a bootlegger’s brew of fairy tales, Jazz Age opulence, and organized crime, is ruled over by the diminutive, eternal, sinister Al. Zelda holds her own against the boss, or so it seems. But when she faces off against him and his besotted employee Frankie in a deadly game that just might change everything, she must bet it all and hope not to lose.
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.