Twenty-four fantastic stories debut (or return) this December: A.M. Dellamonica presents the third of her Stormwrack books, The Nature of a Pirate; Mercedes Lackey edits a collection of new tales of Valdemar; N.K. Jemisin’s Dreamblood duology gets the omnibus treatment; and Erin Summerill’s Ever the Hunted kicks off a new YA fantasy series. And that’s just for starters! There’s plenty to keep you occupied—and indoors—as the weather gets chillier.
Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
The Queen (Fae #3)—C.J. Abedi (December 6, Diversion)
As Caroline struggles to accept her rightful place as Queen of the Light Fae, her relationship with Devilyn, son of the Dark King, seems not only doomed, but dangerous. They know their connection is undeniable, but for others, their love is an insidious threat. Trapped in a plot concocted by the Dark King Alderon and his evil associate, Puck, Caroline must search her history and develop her own powers in order to survive. And as Devilyn’s father appeals to the Dark inside his son, Caroline fears Devilyn will succumb to those Dark instincts before they can defeat Alderon. Weaving together narratives from Caroline and Devilyn’s pasts as well as their present, The Queen finishes the fight between Light and Dark. Will Caroline and Devilyn’s love outlast the war? And will Caroline live to rule as the Queen of the Light?
Monster Hunter International Leatherbound Edition—Larry Correia (December 6, Baen Books)
Reissue. Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a fourteenth story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer. It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business, and Owen is their newest recruit. It’s actually a pretty sweet gig, except for one little problem. An ancient entity known as the Cursed One has returned to settle a centuries old vendetta. Should the Cursed One succeed, it means the end of the world. With the clock ticking towards Armageddon, Owen finds himself trapped between legions of undead minions, belligerent federal agents, a cryptic ghost who has taken up residence inside his head, and the cursed family of the woman he loves.
Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners (Monster Hunter Memoirs #2)—Larry Correia & John Ringo (December 6, Baen Books)
With New Orleans out of control, Chad Oliver Gardenier, one of Monster Hunter International’s premier hunters, has been dispatched from Seattle to reinforce the beleaguered members of MHI’S Hoodoo Squad in their fight against the darkness. Chad had once taken a werewolf while wearing only jogging gear. With half a dozen or more loup garou appearing every full moon, mysterious shadow demons, houdoun necromancers, fifty-foot bipedal crocodiles showing up every couple of months and more vampires than a Goth concert, New Orleans in the ’80s gives a whole new perspective to the term “Hell on Earth.” In fact, more monsters are popping up than crawfish at a fais do do! Chad may be able to collect enormous bounties for the monsters he kills. But there’s one catch: he has to stay alive to do it!
King Breaker (The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin)—Rowena Cory Daniells (December 6, Solaris)
Reissue. The fourth and final volume of the classic fantasy series The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin, reissued in a new trade paperback edition. When Cobalt stole the Rolencian throne, Byren, Fyn and Piro were lucky to escape with their lives; now they’ve rallied, and will set out to avenge their parents’ murders. Byren is driven to defeat Cobalt and reclaim the crown, but at what cost? Fyn has sworn to serve Byren’s interests but his loyalty is tested when he realises he loves Byren’s betrothed. And Piro never wanted to win a throne, but now she holds the fate of a people in her hands.
The Nature of a Pirate (Stormwrack #3)—A.M. Dellamonica (December 6, Tor Books)
Marine videographer and biologist Sophie Hansa has spent the past few months putting her knowledge of science to use on the strange world of Stormwrack, solving seemingly impossible cases where no solution had been found before. When a series of ships within the Fleet of Nations, the main governing body that rules a loose alliance of island nation states, are sunk by magical sabotage, Sophie is called on to find out why. While surveying the damage of the most recent wreck, she discovers a strange-looking creature—a fright, a wooden oddity born from a banished spell—causing chaos within the ship. Who would put this creature aboard, and why? The quest for answers finds Sophie magically bound to an abolitionist from Sylvanner, her father’s homeland. Now Sophie and the crew of the Nightjar must discover what makes this man so unique while outrunning magical assassins and villainous pirates, and stopping the people responsible for the attacks on the Fleet before they strike again.
Dreamweaver (Dreamwalker #3)—C.S. Friedman (December 6, DAW)
Jessica Drake had no idea that investigating her true heritage would put her family’s lives in danger, and ultimately force her to cross into another world. In an alternate Earth dominated by individuals with frightening mental powers called Gifts, Jessica learned of a curse within her blood, one so terrifying that all who possessed it were destroyed on sight. She is a Dreamwalker, and the same dark Gift that allows her to enter the dreams of others will eventually destroy her mind and spread insanity to all around her. Now the deadly wraiths known as reapers, created to hunt down the last Dreamwalkers, are starting to target her family. In order to destroy them she must seek out a mysterious shapeshifting tower where the secret of the reapers’ creation—and her own Dreamwalker heritage—can be found. Her efforts to unlock the secrets of the past will soon ignite the flames of an ancient war, as the dead and the undead gather to fight their final battle against the Dreamwalkers—with Jessica and Isaac on the front lines, and the fate of her entire homeworld at stake.
The Immortal Throne (The City #2)—Stella Gemmell (December 6, Ace)
The dreaded emperor is dead. The successor to the throne is his nemesis, Archange. Many hope her reign will usher in a new era of freedom and stability. Soon however, word arises of a massive army gathering in the shadows of the north. They are eager to lay waste to the City and annihilate anyone—man, woman, or child—within it. Yet just as the swords clang in fields wet with the blood of warriors, family feuds, ancient rivalries, and political battles rage on within the cold stone walls of the City. A hero must rise up and restore the peace before anything left to fight for is consumed by the madness.
Wrath (Faithful and the Fallen #4)—John Gwynne (December 6, Orbit)
Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasures are in his possession. And together with Calidus and his ally Queen Rhin, Nathair will do anything to obtain the remaining Treasures. With all seven under his command, he can open a portal to the Otherworld. Then Asroth and his demon-horde will finally break into the Banished Lands and become flesh. Meanwhile Corban has been taken prisoner by the Jotun, warrior giants who ride their enormous bears into battle. His warband scattered, Corban must make new allies if he hopes to survive. But can he bond with competing factions of warlike giants? Somehow he must, if he’s to counter the threat Nathair represents. His life hangs in the balance—and with it, the fate of the Banished Lands.
A Season of Spells (Noctis Magicae #3)—Sylvia Izzo Hunter (December 6, Ace)
Three years after taking up residence at the University of Din Edin, Sophie and Gray return to London, escorting Lucia MacNeill, heiress of Alba, to meet the British prince to whom she is betrothed. Alas, sparks fail to fly between the pragmatic Lucia and the romantic Prince Roland, and the marriage alliance seems to be on shaky ground. Sophie tries to spark a connection between Roland and Lucia by enlisting them both in her latest scheme: reopening the mysterious and long-shuttered women’s college at Oxford. Though a vocal contingent believes that educating women spells ruin, Sophie and her friends dream of rebuilding the college for a new generation of women scholars. But the future of the college—and of the kingdom—are imperiled when the men who tried to poison King Henry escape from prison and vanish without a trace. Sophie and Gray will need all their strength and ingenuity—and the help of friends both present and long past—to thwart the enemy at Britain’s gates.
Spindle—E.K. Johnston (December 6, Disney-Hyperion)
Young adult. It has been generations since the Storyteller Queen drove the demon out of her husband and saved her country from fire and blood. Her family has prospered beyond the borders of their village, and two new kingdoms have sprouted on either side of the mountains where the demons are kept prisoner by bright iron, and by the creatures the Storyteller Queen made to keep them contained. But through years of careful manipulation, a demon has regained her power. She has made one kingdom strong and brought the other to its knees, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. When a princess is born, the demon is ready with a curse that will cost the princess her very soul, or force her to destroy her own people to save her life. The threads of magic are tightly spun, binding princess and exiled spinners into a desperate plot to break the curse before the demon can become a queen of men. But the web of power is dangerously tangled—and they may not see the true pattern until it is unspooled.
The Curse of Tenth Grave (Charley Davidson #10)—Darynda Jones (December 6, St. Martin’s)
As a part-time PI and fulltime grim reaper, Charley Davidson has asked a lot of questions throughout her life: Why can I see dead people? Who is the hot supernatural entity following me? How do I get gum out of my sister’s hair before she wakes up? But, “How do I trap not one malevolent god, but three?” was never among them. Until now. And since those gods are on earth to kill her daughter, she has little choice but to track them down, trap them, and cast them from this dimension. There’s just one problem. One of the three stole her heart a very long time ago. Can the Razer, a god of absolute death and destruction, change his omniscient spots, or will his allegiances lie with his brothers? Add to that a homeless girl running for her life, an innocent man who’s been charged with murdering the daughter of a degenerate gambler, and a pendant made from god glass that has the entire supernatural world in an uproar, and Charley has her hands full.
Pathfinder Tales: Reaper’s Eye—Richard A. Knaak (December 6, Tor Books)
Daryus Gaunt used to be a crusader, before a questionable battlefield decision forced him to desert his unit. Pathfinder Shiera Tristane is an adventuring scholar obsessed with gaining the recognition she feels was stolen from her. When both are contacted by a sinister talking weasel and warned of a witch about to release a magical threat long trapped beneath an ancient temple, the two have no choice but to venture into the demon-haunted Worldwound in order to stop the disaster. Yet there’s more to the situation than either realizes, and neither fame nor redemption will matter unless they can first survive.
Tempest: All New Tales of Valdemar—Mercedes Lackey, editor (December 6, DAW)
The Heralds of Valdemar are the kingdom’s ancient order of protectors. They are Mindspeakers, FarSeers, Empaths, ForeSeers, Firestarters, FarSpeakers, and more. These inborn talents—combined with training as emissaries, spies, judges, diplomats, scouts, counselors, warriors—make them indispensable to their monarch and realm. Sought and Chosen by mysterious horse-like Companions, they are bonded for life to these telepathic, enigmatic creatures. The Heralds and their Companions ride circuit throughout the kingdom, protecting the peace and, when necessary, defending their land and monarch. Now, twenty-three authors ride with Mercedes Lackey to her magical land of Valdemar, adding their own unique voices to the Heralds, Bards, Healers, and other heroes of this beloved fantasy realm. Join Elizabeth Vaughan, Fiona Patton, Jennifer Brozek, Brenda Cooper, Rosemary Edghill, and others in twenty-two original stories, including a brand-new novella by Mercedes Lackey.
Gods and Monsters: Snake Eyes—Hillary Monahan (December 6, Abaddon)
Florida’s Everglades: sleepy and backwoods, beautiful, dangerous… and home to an ages-old war between the Gorgons and the Lamia. Tanis Barlas is, in no particular order, a daughter of Lamia, a snake-woman, a killer, and a hunter, collecting men to mate with her mother and continue the precious line. She hates it, like she hates her messed-up family and everything that goes with it. But now Lamia’s favourite daughter has gone missing, and it’s down to Tanis to bring her back. She is dispatched to enemy territory – the snake-haired gorgons, whose turf stars at the edge of the swamp – to find her, starting a chain of events that will change every part of her life…
The First Swords (The Book of Swords Vol. I-III)—Fred Saberhagen (December 6, Tor Books)
Omnibus. Fred Saberhagen’s Book of Swords novels have captivated fantasy readers for more than a decade. Here, now available in one volume, are the three books that started it all. For a game the gods have given the world twelve Swords of Power so that they might be amused as the nations battle for their possession. But Vulcan the Smith has had his own little joke: the Swords can kill the gods themselves. What started out as Divine Jest has become all too serious as the gods fight to recover the Swords, and mortals discover that the mantle of power is more delicious and more terrible than anything they could have imagined.
The Dark Blood (Long War #2)—A.J. Smith (December 1, Head of Zeus)
In the court of every city in the lands of Ro, a sorceress sits. And in the minds of that city’s people, each sorceress weaves a song. She and her sisters sing of the liberation of the land, the taming of the highland tribes, and the birth of a precious new race: the children of a dead god. Of course, they do not sing of the death of young Prince Christophe at the hands of that god. Particularly as his replacement dances so well to their tune. Yet all songs have an end. An ending speeded when the assassin Rham Jas Rami accepts a commission from Bromvy Black Guard, traitor duke of Canarn. The rebellion of Ro has begun.
Secret of the Nagas (Shiva Trilogy #2)—Amish Tripathi (December 6, Quercus)
At a crucial moment after the cliffhanger ending of book one, The Immortals of Meluha, the warrior-hero Shiva—the man who is the prophesied Neelkanth, or destroyer of evil—is fighting to protect his wife Sati from an invasion by the Nagas, a mysterious militaristic society. Evil forces are growing in strength all around the conflict, and Shiva’s own philosopher-guides have betrayed his unquestioning faith by accepting aid from the dark side. Even the idyllic empire of Meluha hides a terrible secret. Accompanied by his troop of warriors, Shiva travels East to the land of Branga in hopes of discovering clues as to the whereabouts of the Naga people. The journey concludes in the Naga capital of Panchavati, where a surprise awaits him that will change the balance of power…
Blood Vow (Black Dagger Legacy #2)—J.R. Ward (December 6, Ballantine)
The Black Dagger Brotherhood continues to train the best of the best to join them in the deadly battle against the Lessening Society. When an aristocratic female needs a bodyguard, new recruit and cunning fighter Axe takes the job, though he’s unprepared for the animal attraction that flares between him and the one he is sworn to protect. As Axe and Elise delve deeper into her cousin’s death, and their physical connection grows into so much more, Axe fears that the secrets he keeps and his tortured conscience will tear them apart. Rhage, the Brother with the biggest heart, knows all about self-punishing, and he wants to help Axe reach his full potential. But when an unexpected arrival threatens Rhage and Mary’s new family, he finds himself fighting against a destiny that will destroy all he holds most dear. As Axe’s past becomes known, and fate seems to be turning against Rhage, both males must reach deep—and pray that love, rather than anger, will be their lantern in the darkness.
Dragon Spawn (A Novel of the Lupi #13)—Eileen Wilks (December 6, Berkley)
Lily learns she was right. Tom Weng—a powerful sorcerer allied with the Old One who keeps trying to take over the world—is still alive. But that’s not the worst. Weng is a dragon spawn, the product of a botched hatching given a human form in an attempt to keep him from going mad. A failed attempt. Meanwhile, Lily’s husband Rule is facing a Challenge to the death. Then there’s the possible reappearance of another sorcerer. But none of that matters when their enemy strikes out of nowhere in the worst way possible. Lily must face a nightmare and return to a place she never wanted to see again. The place where she died…
The Girl on the Liar’s Throne—Den Patrick (December 13, Gollancz)
Mixing Machiavellian intrigue and the high fantasy of authors like Scott Lynch, Den Patrick’s fantasy novels, with their Renaissance Italy-like setting, have brought an enticing new flavor to the fantasy genre. In a castle that is, itself, reminiscent of Gormenghast in its size and brooding presence a collection of young, flawed but resilient outsiders find their way in a dangerous society teetering on the brink of dramatic change, even as it learns the fantastical secrets of its past. Anea is the Silent Queen and she is struggling to bring change to the ancient society of Landfall. Vested interests and dark magics alike are determined to hold onto power and in a society where the loyalties of many are fluid and the true nature of the players is hidden the game of politics can be a lethal one even for those close to the throne.
Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5)—Morgan Rhodes (December 13, Razorbill)
Young adult. Magnus and Cleo are forced to test the strength of their love when Gaius returns to Mytica claiming he’s no longer the King of Blood but a changed man seeking redemption. Lucia, pregnant with the child of a Watcher, has escaped the clutches of the unhinged fire god. Her powers are dwindling as she goes forth to fulfill a prophecy that will keep her baby safe … but could mean her demise. Jonas treks back to Mytica with a plan to overtake Amara, but fate takes hold when he runs into the beautiful Princess Lucia and joins her on her perilous journey. Amara has taken the Mytican throne, but with no way to unleash the water magic trapped within her stolen crystal, she’ll never be able to seize glory and get sweet revenge. And what kind of darkness will descend—and who will be safe—after Prince Ashur reveals the dangerous price he paid to cheat death?
The Dreamblood Duology—N.K. Jemisin (December 20, Orbit)
Omnibus. The city burned beneath the Dreaming Moon. In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers—the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe … and kill those judged corrupt. But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh’s great temple, Ehiru—the most famous of the city’s Gatherers—must question everything he knows. Someone, or something, is murdering dreamers in the goddess’ name, stalking its prey both in Gujaareh’s alleys and the realm of dreams. Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill—or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.
City of Ice—K.M. McKinley (December 27, Solaris)
An ancient city. A wondrous invention. A perilous journey. The epic sequel to the debut novel The Iron Ship. Deep in the polar south stands a city like no other, a city built aeons ago by a civilisation mighty and wise. The City of Ice promises the secrets of the ancients to whomever can reach it first. It may prove too little knowledge too late, for the closest approach of the Twin in 4000 years draws near, an event that has heralded terrible destruction in past ages. As the Kressind siblings pursue their fortunes, the world stands upon the dawn of a new era, but it may yet be consumed by a darkness from the past.
Ever the Hunted (Clash of Kingdoms #1)—Erin Summerill (December 27, HMH Books for Young Readers)
Young adult. Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, a legendary bounty hunter—that is, until her father is murdered. The alleged killer is none other than Cohen Mackay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a force to be reckoned with.
Dreams of the Eaten (Children of the Drought #3)—Arianne Thompson (December 27, Solaris)
After trials by fire and thirst, Appaloosa Elim’s quest to bring home the body of the crow prince is finally nearing its end. But the coffin is missing, the funeral party is hopelessly scattered, and the fishmen are hell-bent on revenge. Worse yet, the pilgrimage has disturbed an ancient power – and the earth is crumbling in its grip. As the ground shakes and the crows gather, the final reckoning promises to unite the living and the dead in a battle for the land itself. One way or another, blood debts will come due, Elim will face his judgment, and the World That Is will be forever changed.