Fiction Affliction: September Releases in Fantasy

Thirty-two new fantasies bring their dungeons and dragons to the masses in September, even a few for adult readers. Look for new series releases, including the last Discworld novel from the late Sir Terry Pratchett, plus new additions from Erin Hunter (Warriors: Dawn of the Clans); Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass); S.M. Stirling (Emberverse); J.D. Oswald (The Ballad of Sir Benfro); Angus Watson (Iron Age); and Erin Lindsey (Bloodbound).

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

Dragon HeartCecelia Holland (September 1, Tor)

Where the Cape of the Winds juts into the endless sea, there is Castle Ocean, and therein dwells the royal family that has ruled it from time immemorial. There is an Empire growing in the east, and its forces have reached the castle. King Reymarro is dead in battle, and by the new treaty, Queen Marioza must marry one of the Emperor’s brothers. She loathes the idea, and has already killed the first brother, but a second arrives, escorted by more soldiers. Marioza’s youngest son, Jeon, goes on a journey in search of his twin, Tirza, who needs to be present for the wedding. As Jeon and Tirza return by sea, their ship is attacked by a powerful dragon, red as blood and big as the ship. Tirza clings to the dragon, and after an underwater journey, finds herself alone with the creature in an inland sea pool. She is able to talk to the beast, and understand it. So begins a saga of violence, destruction, and death, of love and monsters, human and otherwise.

Hunter (Hunter #1)Mercedes Lackey (September 1, Disney-Hyperion)

Young Adult. Long ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were ripped open, and it’s taken centuries to bring back civilization in the wake of the catastrophe. The luckiest Cits live in enclosed communities. To Joyeaux Charmand, who has been a Hunter since she was a child, every Cit without magic deserves protection. She is called to Apex City, where the best Hunters are kept to protect the most important people. Joy soon realizes that the city’s powerful leaders care more about luring Cits into a false sense of security than protecting them. The Cits have no sense of how much danger they’re in. To them, Joy and her corp of fellow Hunters are just action stars they watch on TV. When an act of sabotage against Joy takes an unbearable toll, Joy uncovers a terrifying conspiracy in the city. There is something much worse than the usual monsters infiltrating Apex. And it may be too late to stop them.

Lady of Magick (Noctis Magicae #2)Sylvia Izzo Hunter (September 1, Ace)

In her second year of studies at Merlin College, Oxford, Sophie Marshall is feeling alienated among fellow students who fail to welcome a woman to their ranks. So when her husband, Gray, is invited north as a visiting lecturer at the University in Din Edin, they leap at the chance. There, Sophie’s hunger for magical knowledge can finally be nourished. But soon, Sophie must put her newly learned skills to the test. Sophie returns home one day to find a note from Gray, he’s been summoned urgently to London. But when he doesn’t return, and none of her spells can find a trace of him, she realizes something sinister has befallen him. With the help of her sister, Joanna, she delves into Gray’s disappearance, and soon finds herself in a web of magick and intrigue that threatens not just Gray, but the entire kingdom.

Path of the Stars (Warriors: Dawn of the Clans #6)Erin Hunter (September 1, HarperCollins)

Discover the origins of the warrior Clans in the conclusion to this prequel arc. The Dawn of the Clans takes readers back to the earliest days of the Clans, when the cats first settled in the forest and began to forge the warrior code. After moons of strife, the forest cats have settled into five camps. But now the dangerous rogue Slash has kidnapped Clear Sky’s mate, Star Flower, and made demands for prey that the cats cannot afford to meet. Desperate to save Star Flower, Clear Sky must convince the other groups, led by Tall Shadow, Wind Runner, Thunder, and River Ripple, to join forces. As Slash’s attacks grow more vicious, one thing is clear: if all five groups can’t work together, their new way of life may not survive.

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)Sarah J. Maas (September 1, Bloomsbury USA)

Young Adult. Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire, for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past. She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Smoked (Scorched #3)Mari Mancusi (September 1, Sourcebooks Fire)

When Team Dragon rescues Emmy from the government lab, they think the future is finally safe. But they soon discover that Emmy has a secret, a secret so dangerous it could trigger the very apocalypse Connor and Caleb were sent back in time to prevent. As a dragon hunter, Connor has committed his life to saving the world. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do to complete his mission, even if it meant betraying his brother and losing Trinity’s heart. Even if it meant doing the unthinkable. But a desperate choice meant to prevent The Scorch, may become the spark that sets the world aflame once more.

The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium #2)Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (September 1, Scholastic Press)

Young Adult. Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall. It’s not easy for Call, and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc. Call escapes to the Magisterium, but things only intensify there. The Alkahest, a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic, has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends Aaron and Tamara awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes, and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.

The Desert and the Blade (Emberverse #12)S.M. Stirling (September 1, Roc)

Reiko, Empress of Japan, has allied herself with Princess Órlaith, heir to the High Kingdom of Montival, to find the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, the Grass-Cutting Sword, a legendary treasure of an ancient dynasty that confers valor and victory to its bearer. Her own inherited blade, the Sword of the Lady, was both a burden and a danger to her father, Rudi Mackenzie, as it failed to save the king from being assassinated. The fabled sword lies deep within the Valley of Death. War is building, in Montival and beyond. As Órlaith and Reiko encounter danger and wonder, Órlaith’s mother, Queen Mathilda, believes her daughter’s alliance and quest has endangered the entire realm. There are factions whose loyalty died with the king and whispers of treachery and war grow louder. The Malevolence that underlies the enemy will bend all its forces to destroy them.

The Dragon Engine (The Blood Dragon Empire #1)Andy Remic (September 1, Angry Robot)

Five noble war heroes of Vagandrak get drunk one night and sign a contract: to journey to the Karamakkos in search of the Five Havens where, it is written, there lies untold, abandoned wealth and, more important, the three Dragon Heads, legendary jewels claimed to give unspeakable power and everlasting life to those who wield them. But the Dragon Heads aren’t what the adventurers think they are, and the world has not encountered their like in generations.

The Shepherd’s Crown (Tiffany Aching #5/Discworld #41)Terry Pratchett (September 1, HarperCollins)

Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength. This is a time of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power. Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad. As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must summon all the witches to stand with her. To protect the land. Her land. There will be a reckoning. The late Sir Terry Pratchett’s final Discworld novel.

The Sorcerer of the WildeepsKai Ashante Wilson (September 1, Tor.com)

Since leaving his homeland, the earthbound demigod Demane has been labeled a sorcerer. With his ancestors’ artifacts in hand, the Sorcerer follows the Captain, a beautiful man with song for a voice and hair that drinks the sunlight. The two of them are the descendants of the gods who abandoned the Earth for Heaven, and they will need all the gifts those divine ancestors left to them to keep their caravan brothers alive. The one safe road between the northern oasis and southern kingdom is stalked by a necromantic terror. Demane may have to master his wild powers and trade humanity for godhood if he is to keep his brothers and his beloved captain alive.

Twelve Kings of Sharakhai (The Song of the Shattered Sands #1)Bradley P. Beaulieu (September 1, DAW)

Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings, cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite company of Blade Maidens, and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule. Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings’ laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings’ mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings’ power, if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don’t find her first.

UpdraftFran Wilde (September 1, Tor)

Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother’s side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city’s secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City. As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice, and may well change the city forever—if it isn’t destroyed outright.

 

WEEK TWO

A Nearer MoonMelanie Crowder (September 8, Antheneum BYR)

Young Adult. Along a lively river, in a village raised on stilts, lives a girl named Luna. All her life she has heard tales of the time before the dam appeared, when sprites danced in the currents and no one got the mysterious wasting illness from a mouthful of river water. These are just stories, though, no sensible person would believe in such things. Beneath the waves is someone who might disagree. Perdita is a young water sprite, delighting in the wet splash and sparkle, and sad about the day her people will finally finish building their door to another world, in search of a place that humans have not yet discovered. But when Luna’s little sister falls ill with the river sickness, everyone knows she has only three weeks to live. Luna is determined to find a cure for her beloved sister, no matter what it takes. Even if that means believing in magic.

Darken the Stars (Kricket #3)Amy A. Bartol (September 8, 47North)

Kyon Ensin finally has what he’s always wanted: possession of Kricket Hollowell, the priestess who foresees the future. Their combined power will be unrivaled. Kricket doesn’t crave the crown of Ethar, she has a desire to live life on her own terms, a life that she wants to share with her love, Trey Allairis. As conspiracies rage in the war for Ethar, Kricket’s so-called allies want to use her as a spy. Even those held closest cannot be trusted, including Astrid, her sister, and Giffen, a member of a mysterious order with a hidden agenda. Kricket’s resolve will not allow her to be used as anyone’s pawn, even as the Brotherhood sharpens its plans to cut out her heart. As the destiny prophesied by her mother approaches, Kricket will backtrack through her future to reshape it. She knows one thing above all else: the only person she can count on is herself.

The Sleeping KingCindy Dees and Bill Flippin (September 8, Tor)

The first in an epic fantasy series, featuring the best of the genre: near immortal imperial overlords, a prophecy of a sleeping elven king who’s said to be the savior of the races, and two young people who are set on a path to save the day.

Unholy War (Moontide Quartet #3)David Hair (September 8, Jo Fletcher)

Tensions are mounting after a devastating battle before the walls of Shaliyah, birthplace of the Prophet. The East is rising, bringing equal measures of hope and despair to the magical world of Urte. For some Salim’s victory is a call to arms, for others it is evidence of a world gone mad. While the armies of East and West clash in brutal conflict, emperors, inquisitors, Souldrinkers, and assassins all have their attention turned elsewhere as they hunt the Scytale of Corineus. The immensely powerful artifact is the key to ultimate power, and it’s in the hands of unlikely guardians: failed mage Alaron Mercer and market-girl Ramita Ankesharan, who carries the child of the world’s greatest mage. The fate of the world hinges on destruction should the artifact fall into the wrong hands. (U.S. Release)

The MachineryGerrard Cowan (September 10, Harper Voyager)

Standalone. For ten millennia, the leaders of the Overland have been Selected by the Machinery, an omnipotent machine gifted to their world. The city has thrived in arts, science and war, crushing all enemies and expanding to encompass the entire Plateau. The Overland is not at ease, for the Machinery came with a prophecy: it will break in the 10,000th year, Selecting just one leader who will bring ruin to the world. With the death of Strategist Kane, a Selection is set to occur. For Apprentice Watcher Katrina Paprissi, the date has special significance. Life hasn’t been the same since she witnessed the kidnapping of her brother Alexander, the only person on the Plateau who knew the meaning of the prophecy. Katrina must travel into the depths of the Underland, the home of the Machinery, to confront the Operator and discover what makes the world work. (Digital; print available March 2016.)

 

WEEK THREE

Ash & BrambleSarah Prineas (September 15, HarperTeen)

Young Adult. The tale of Cinderella has been retold countless times. But what you know is not the true story. Pin has no recollection of who she is or how she got to the Godmother’s fortress. She only knows that she is a Seamstress, working day in and out to make ball gowns fit for fairy tales. But she longs to forsake her backbreaking servitude and dares to escape with the brave young Shoemaker. Pin isn’t free for long before she’s captured again and forced to live the new life the Godmother chooses for her, a fairy tale story, complete with a charming prince, instead of finding her own happily ever after. This fairy tale retelling is a dark and captivating world where swords are more fitting than slippers, young shoemakers are just as striking as princes, and a heroine is more than ready to rescue herself before the clock strikes midnight.

Sunset MantleAlter S. Reiss (September 15, Tor.com)

With a single blow, Cete won both honor and exile from his last commander. Since then he has wandered, looking for a place to call home. The distant holdings of the Reach Antach offer shelter, but that promise has a price. The Reach Antach is doomed. Barbarians, traitors, and scheming investors conspire to destroy the burgeoning settlement. A wise man would move on, but Cete has found reason to stay. A blind weaver-woman and the beautiful sunset mantle lure the warrior to wager everything he has left on one final chance to turn back the hungry tides of war.

The Ciphers of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood #2)Jeff Wheeler (September 15, 47North)

Young Adult. From the moment she was banished by her father, the king, Princess Maia journeyed to seek sanctuary at Muirwood Abbey. Now safe for the first time since her cruel abandonment, Maia must foster uneasy friendships with other girls training to be Ciphers: women who learn to read and engrave tomes of ancient power, despite the laws forbidding them to do so. Maia makes a shocking discovery: her destiny is to open the Apse Veil and release trapped spirits from her world. Then she learns that her father is coming to Muirwood Abbey to celebrate the Whitsunday festival, and Maia’s estranged husband, whom she was forced to abandon, will join him. Torn between deadly political machinations and unstoppable spiritual forces, Maia must channel powers within herself to save her friends, the abbey, and the entire kingdom of Muirwood.

The Traitor Baru CormorantSeth Dickinson (September 15, Tor)

Tomorrow, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon. The Empire of Masks is coming. They’ll conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. She’ll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of empire. She’ll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free. The Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. Aurdwynn kills everyone who tries to rule it. Baru will need to untangle this land’s intricate web of treachery, and conceal her attraction to the dangerously fascinating Duchess Tain Hu. But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.

The Two of Swords: Part EightK.J. Parker (September 15, 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)

Undermajordomo MinorPatrick deWitt (September 15, Ecco)

Lucien (Lucy) Minor is the resident odd duck in the hamlet of Bury. Friendless and loveless, young and aimless, Lucy is a compulsive liar, a sickly weakling in a town famous for begetting brutish giants. Then Lucy accepts employment assisting the majordomo of the remote, foreboding Castle Von Aux. While tending to his new post as undermajordomo, he soon discovers the place harbours many dark secrets, not least of which is the whereabouts of the castle’s master, Baron Von Aux. In the local village, he also encounters thieves, madmen, aristocrats, and Klara, a delicate beauty whose love he must compete for with the exceptionally handsome partisan soldier, Adolphus. Thus begins a tale of polite theft, bitter heartbreak, domestic mystery, and cold-blooded murder.

 

WEEK FOUR

A Crucible of Souls (Sorcery Ascendant #1)Mitchell Hogan (September 22, Harper Voyager)

After Caldan’s parents are brutally slain, the boy is raised by monks who initiate him into the arcane mysteries of sorcery. Caldan vows to discover who his parents were, and why they were killed. The search will take him beyond the walls of the monastery, into the unfamiliar and dangerous chaos of city life. With nothing to his name but a pair of mysterious heirlooms and a handful of coins, he must prove his talent to become apprenticed to a guild of sorcerers. The world outside the monastery is a darker place than he ever imagined, and his treasured sorcery has disturbing depths he does not fully understand. As a shadowy evil manipulates the unwary and forbidden powers are unleashed, Caldan is plunged into a conflict that will bring the world to the edge of destruction. He must choose a side, and face the true cost of uncovering his past.

Battlemage (Age of Darkness #1)Stephen Aryan (September 22, Orbit)

BALFRUSS is a battlemage, sworn to fight and die for a country that fears his kind. VARGUS is a common soldier – while mages shoot lightning from the walls of his city, he is down on the front line getting blood on his blade. TALANDRA is a princess and spymaster, but the war will force her to risk everything, and make the greatest sacrifice of all.

Followed by FrostCharlie N. Holmberg (September 22, 47North)

Young Adult. Seventeen-year-old Smitha has the wealth, status, and beauty that make her the envy of her town, until she rejects a strange man’s marriage proposal and disastrous consequences follow. Smitha becomes cursed, and frost begins to encompass everything she touches. Banished to the hills, hunted by villagers, and chilled to the very core of her soul, she finds companionship with Death, who longs to coax her into his isolated world. But Smitha’s desire for life proves stronger than despair, and a newfound purpose gives her renewed hope. Will regrets over the past and an unexpected desire for a man she cannot touch be enough to warm Smitha’s heart, or will Death forever still it?

The Broken World (The Ballad of Sir Benfro #4)J.D. Oswald (September 24, Penguin)

Queen Beulah has killed one sister and ordered the assassination of another. The Inquisitor Melyn journeys though the north-lands of Llanwennog in a merciless bid to overthrow King Ballah. Now in possession of Brynceri’s ring, his power seems indestructible. Captured by the travelling circus, Sir Benfro cannot shake their control, more powerful than Magog’s malign influence. Errol Ramsbottom follows the trail of his friend’s captors, only Benfro holds the key to Errol’s beloved Martha’s whereabouts. But both sides are set on a path of destruction, dragon against dragon, king against queen, man against man. As the ancient spell that split Gwlad begins to unravel, it may be easier for Benfro and Errol to travel to Gog’s world now. But what will happen when the barriers between the two worlds fail entirely. (Digital)

Fated (Servants of Fate #3)Sarah Fine (September 29, 47North)

Aislin Ferry and Jason Moros have only days until they will be called to account before the Keepers of the Afterlife. Yet as they race to restore order and make their case, their worlds fall into total disarray. Mutiny within the fractured Ferry family threatens Aislin’s hold on power and role as Charon. The fearsome Lord of the Kere has family trouble of his own. Someone is unraveling the fabric of fate, and Moros suspects one of his supernatural siblings is behind the terrible bid to unleash Chaos. Aislin and Moros each need the other to escape the wrath of the Keepers. It becomes clear that protecting their respective empires is not the endgame. With the fate of all humanity dangling by a thread, Aislin and Moros must surrender completely to one another if they are to fight their common enemy. Someone must make the ultimate sacrifice.

Last Song Before NightIlana C. Myer (September 29, Tor)

Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth. That name she has forsworn. Now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings or risk imprisonment and even death. On the eve of a great festival, Lin learns that an ancient scourge has returned to the land of Eivar. Long ago, magic was everywhere, rising from artistic expression. In Eivar, the power was lost. Forbidden experiments in blood divination unleashed the plague that is remembered as the Red Death. Eivar’s connection to the Otherworld from which all enchantment flowed, broken. The Red Death’s return can mean only one thing: someone is spilling innocent blood in order to master dark magic. Galvanized by Valanir Ocune, greatest Seer of the age, Lin and others set out to reclaim their legacy and reopen the way to the Otherworld, a quest that will test their deepest desires, imperil their lives, and decide the future.

Reign of Iron (Iron Age #3)Angus Watson (September 29, Orbit)

Caesar’s soldiers have murdered, massacred and pillaged their way through Gaul and loom on the far side of the sea, ready to descend upon Britain, with them are an unstoppable legion of men twisted by dark magic. Somehow Queen Lowa must repel the invasion, although her best general is dead and her young druid powerless. She faces impossible odds, but when the alternative is death or slavery, a warrior queen will do whatever it takes to save her people.

The Bloodforged (Bloodbound #2)Erin Lindsey (September 29, Ace)

When the war began, Lady Alix Black played a minor role, scouting at the edge of the king’s retinue in relative anonymity. Though she’s once again facing an attacking Oridian force determined to destroy all she holds dear, she is now bodyguard to the king and wife to the prince. Still, she is unprepared for what the revival of the war will mean. Erik is willing to take drastic measures to defend his domain, even if it means sending Prince Liam into a deadly web of intrigue and traveling into the perilous wild lands of Harram himself. Only the biggest threat to the kingdom might be one that neither Alix nor Erik could have imagined, or prepared for.

Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, with a new novella this month in the anthology Dark Secrets. You can find Suzanne on Facebook and on her website.

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