I’m trying to get through a last handful of books in the next couple of months before Hugo nominations close, but I’m very excited about some of the books coming out in the next few months.
2/2 – Blood of Innocents by Mitchell Hogan
A novice sorcerer may hold the key to saving his world—or be the instrument of its destruction—in this second book in The Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, a mesmerizing saga of high fantasy that combines magic, malevolence, and mystery.
Anasoma, jewel of the Mahruse Empire, has fallen.
As orphaned, monk-raised Caldan and his companions flee the city, leaving behind their hopes for a new beginning, horrors from the time of the Shattering begin to close in.
With Miranda’s mind broken by forbidden sorcery, Caldan does the unthinkable to save her: he breaks the most sacrosanct laws of the Protectors. But when the emperor’s warlocks arrive to capture him, Caldan realizes that his burgeoning powers may be more of a curse than a blessing, and the enemies assailing the empire may be rivaled by more sinister forces within.
And soon, the blood of innocents may be on Caldan’s own hands.
2/9 – The Guns of Ivrea by Cliford Beal
A swashbuckling new sea-faring fantasy series begins! A gritty, thrilling epic that reads like a cross between Patrick O’Brian and George R.R. Martin, bringing together the tang of the sea and the taste of cold steel.
Acquel Galenus, former thief and now monk of no particular skill, indifferent scribe and even worse chorister, uncovers a terrible secret under the Great Temple at Livorna that could shiver the one faith to its core. A secret that could get him killed. A secret that could enable an older, more sinister form of worship to be reborn…
Pirate princeling Nicolo Danamis, mercenary to the King and captain of the largest fleet in the island kingdom of Valdur, has made one deal too many, and enemies are now closing in to destroy him.
And Citala, fair-haired and grey-skinned, the daughter of the chieftain of the Merfolk who inhabit the waters of Valdur, finds herself implacably drawn to the affairs of men. She puts events in motion that will end her people’s years of isolation but that could imperil their very existence…
All their fates will intertwine as they journey through duchies and free cities riven by political intrigue, religious fervour, and ancient hatreds. Alliances are being forged anew and after decades of wary peace, war is on the wind once again…
2/15 – Broken Banners by Mark Galineau and Joe King
Slaughtered and left for crows, soldiers of the King’s Army lay dead in a field. A grim reminder: the king’s law ends at the gates of the capital.
Elinor fought for what she believed and now she is an outcast. No soldier will follow her. No officer will stand with her. Yet when she finds her brothers and sisters slaughtered, she cannot turn her back on them.
Long ago, they swore an oath. Not to the king, but to each other.
And woe to those who break that bond.
2/15 – Son of the Morning: A Novel of the Hundred Years War by Mark Adler
In an epic novel that reimagines the Hundred Years War―in a world where angels and demons choose sides on the battlefield―England and France find themselves locked in a holy war, but which country has God’s favor?
England, 1337: Edward III is beset on all sides, plagued by debt and surrounded by doubters. He refuses to pay homage to the newly crowned Philip Valois of France and seeks to secure his French holdings, but he’s outmanned. Philip can put 50,000 men in the field, but he is having his own problems: he has summoned the angels themselves to fight for France, but the angels refuse to fight. Both kings send priests far and wide, seeking holy relics and heavenly beings to take up the cause of their country, but God remains stubbornly silent, refusing to grant favor to either side.
Meanwhile, among the poor and downtrodden, heretical whispers are taking hold: what if God―who has never been seen to do anything for them―is not the rightful leader of the heavens after all? And as Edward’s situation becomes increasingly desperate, even his counselors begin to believe that if God won’t listen, perhaps they can find a savior not from Heaven, but from Hell.
In a sweeping tale packed with courtiers and kings, knights and priests, and devils and angels, Mark Alder breathes fresh and imaginative life into the Hundred Years War in this unique historical epic.
3/1 – The Devil You Know by K.J. Parker
The greatest philosopher of all time is offering to sell his soul to the Devil. All he wants is twenty more years to complete his life’s work. After that, he really doesn’t care.
But the assistant demon assigned to the case has his suspicions, because the philosopher is Saloninus–the greatest philosopher, yes, but also the greatest liar, trickster and cheat the world has yet known; the sort of man even the Father of Lies can’t trust.
He’s almost certainly up to something; but what?
3/1 – The Brotherhood of the Wheel by R.S. Belcher
R.S. Belcher, the acclaimed author of The Six-Gun Tarot and The Shotgun Arcana launches a gritty new urban fantasy series about the mysterious society of truckers known only as, The Brotherhood of The Wheel.
In 1119 A.D., a group of nine crusaders became known as the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon–a militant monastic order charged with protecting pilgrims and caravans traveling on the roads to and from the Holy Land. In time, the Knights Templar would grow in power and, ultimately, be laid low. But a small offshoot of the Templars endure and have returned to the order’s original mission: to defend the roads of the world and guard those who travel on them.
Theirs is a secret line of knights: truckers, bikers, taxi hacks, state troopers, bus drivers, RV gypsies–any of the folks who live and work on the asphalt arteries of America. They call themselves the Brotherhood of the Wheel.
Jimmy Aussapile is one such knight. He’s driving a big rig down South when a promise to a ghostly hitchhiker sets him on a quest to find out the terrible truth behind a string of children gone missing all across the country. The road leads him to Lovina Hewitt, a skeptical Louisiana State Police investigator working the same case and, eventually, to a forgotten town that’s not on any map–and to the secret behind the eerie Black-Eyed Kids said to prowl the highways.
3/15 – Pieces of Hate by Tim Lebbon
During the Dark Ages, a thing named Temple slaughtered Gabriel’s family. A man with snake eyes charged him to pursue the assassin wherever he may strike next, and destroy him. Gabriel never believed he’d still be following Temple almost a thousand years later.
Because Temple may be a demon, the man with snake eyes cursed Gabriel with a life long enough to hunt him down. Now he has picked up Temple’s scent again. The Caribbean sea is awash with pirate blood, and in such turmoil the outcome of any fight is far from certain.
Free bonus novelette:
Dead Man’s Hand
In the wilderness of the American West, the assassin is set to strike again. Despite his centuries-long curse, Gabriel is still but a man, scarred and bitter. The town of Deadwood has seen many such men… though it’s never seen anything quite like the half-demon known as Temple.
3/29 – Javelin Rain by Myke Cole
The fast-paced, adrenaline-filled sequel to Gemini Cell, set in the same magical and militaristic world of the acclaimed Shadow Ops series.
Javelin: A code denoting the loss of a national security asset with strategic impact.
Rain: A code indicating a crisis of existential proportions.
Javelin Rain incidents must be resolved immediately, by any and all means necessary, no matter what the cost…
Being a US Navy SEAL was Jim Schweitzer’s life right up until the day he was killed. Now, his escape from the government who raised him from the dead has been coded “Javelin Rain.” Schweitzer and his family are on the run from his former unit, the Gemini Cell, and while he may be immortal, his wife and son are not.
Jim must use all of his strength to keep his family safe, while convincing his wife he’s still the same man she once loved. But what his former allies have planned to bring him down could mean disaster not only for Jim and his family, but for the entire nation…
3/29 – The Mortal Tally by Sam Sykes
Acclaimed author Sam Sykes returns with the second thrilling novel in his Bring Down Heaven series.
4/5 – Arena by Holly Jennings
A fast-paced and gripping near-future science fiction debut about the gritty world of competitive gaming…
Every week, Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV.
She’s died hundreds of times. And it never gets easier…
The RAGE tournaments—the Virtual Gaming League’s elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a no-holds-barred fight to the digital death. Every bloody kill is broadcast to millions. Every player is a modern gladiator—leading a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining the masses.
And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.
Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world—until one of her teammates overdoses. Now, she must confront the truth about the tournament. Because it is much more than a game—and even in the real world, not everything is as it seems.
The VGL hides dark secrets. And the only way to change the rules is to fight from the inside…
4/5 – The Story of Kullervo by J.R.R. Tolkien
The first publication of a previously unknown work of fantasy by J.R.R. Tolkien
Kullervo, son of Kalervo, is perhaps the darkest and most tragic of all J.R.R. Tolkien’s characters. “Hapless Kullervo,” as Tolkien called him, is a luckless orphan boy with supernatural powers and a tragic destiny.
Brought up in the homestead of the dark magician Untamo, who killed his father, kidnapped his mother, and tried three times to kill him when he was still a boy, Kullervo is alone save for the love of his twin sister, Wanona, and the magical powers of the black dog Musti, who guards him. When Kullervo is sold into slavery he swears revenge on the magician, but he will learn that even at the point of vengeance there is no escape from the cruelest of fates.
Tolkien himself said that The Story of Kullervo was “the germ of my attempt to write legends of my own,” and was “a major matter in the legends of the First Age.” Tolkien’s Kullervo is the clear ancestor of Túrin Turambar, tragic incestuous hero of The Silmarillion. Published here for the first time with the author’s drafts, notes, and lecture essays on its source work, the Kalevala, The Story of Kullervo is a foundation stone in the structure of Tolkien’s invented world.
4/7 – Farnsworth’s Classical English Metaphor by Ward Farnsworth
Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric was the definitive guide to the use of rhetorical devices in English. It became a best-seller in its field, with over 20,000 copies in print. Here now is the natural sequel, Farnsworth’s Classical English Metaphor-the most entertaining and instructive book ever written about the art of comparison.
A metaphor compares two things that seem unalike. Lincoln was a master of the art (A house divided against itself cannot stand). So were Jefferson (The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants) and Shakespeare (All the world’s a stage/And all the men and women merely players). Farnsworth’s book is the finest collection of such figurative comparisons ever assembled. It offers an original analysis of patterns in the sources and uses of metaphor. It also explains the different stylistic ways that comparisons can be written, and with what effects.
The book starts by dividing the sources of metaphor into families, including nature, architecture, animals, and myth. It then shows how the best writers have put each of those traditions to distinctive use for the sake of caricature, to make an abstract idea visible, to make a complicated idea simple. The book provides, along the way, an extraordinarily wide-ranging tour of examples from novelists, playwrights, philosophers, and orators. There is interest, instruction, and amusement to be found on every page.
4/19 – Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People by Randy E. Barnett
A concise history of the long struggle between two fundamentally opposing constitutional traditions, from one of the nation’s leading constitutional scholars—a manifesto for renewing our constitutional republic.
The Constitution of the United States begins with the words: “We the People.” But from the earliest days of the American republic, there have been two competing notions of “the People,” which lead to two very different visions of the Constitution.
Those who view “We the People” collectively think popular sovereignty resides in the people as a group, which leads them to favor a “democratic” constitution that allows the “will of the people” to be expressed by majority rule. In contrast, those who think popular sovereignty resides in the people as individuals contend that a “republican” constitution is needed to secure the pre-existing inalienable rights of “We the People,” each and every one, against abuses by the majority.
In Our Republican Constitution, renowned legal scholar Randy E. Barnett tells the fascinating story of how this debate arose shortly after the Revolution, leading to the adoption of a new and innovative “republican” constitution; and how the struggle over slavery led to its completion by a newly formed Republican Party. Yet soon thereafter, progressive academics and activists urged the courts to remake our Republican Constitution into a democratic one by ignoring key passes of its text. Eventually, the courts complied.
Drawing from his deep knowledge of constitutional law and history, as well as his experience litigating on behalf of medical marijuana and against Obamacare, Barnett explains why “We the People” would greatly benefit from the renewal of our Republican Constitution, and how this can be accomplished in the courts and the political arena.
(Copies of Blood of Innocents, Son of the Morning, The Devil You Know, Pieces of Hate, Javelin Rain, Arena, and The Story of Kullervo have been provided to me by the respective publishers.)