Saturday, April 25, 2009

In the mailbox

The poll is close to the finish now and it looks like Mark Charan Newton's "Nights of Villjamur" is the winner if major changes won't appear. Anyway you will see the winner soon lined up at my reading queue (thank you all for voting). Until then here are my latest arrivals in the mailbox:

- "The Born Queen" by Greg Keyes (through the courtesy of Pan Macmillan);

War is coming.
With the usurper Robert Dare having fled, Princess Anne has finally ascended to the throne to the Kingdom of Crothney, but it may already be too late to stop the approaching destruction. Dark monstrosities prowl the countryside, and as the holter Asper soon discovers, the Sedos power that granted humanity its freedom may now be responsible for the corruption that will eventually destroy it.
As the combined forces of Hansa and the Holy Church mass against the Queen they claim to be an unnatural shinecrafter, Anne’s mother Murielle sets out on an embassy of peace to Hansa, accompanied by the knight Sir Neal MeqVren. But, there is more to Murielle’s mission than first appears, a fact that puts both of them at the mercy of Hansa’s unstable king, and the unkillable Robert Dare.
The world has been poisoned, and only the one who gains control of the legendary Sedos Throne can heal it. Anne knows that it must be her, but as she embraces her powers, and the violent impulses they bring, she finds herself changing. Only she can stand against the forces that threaten Crothney, but the cost of her victory may be too great for the world to bear…

- "Line War" by Neal Asher (through the courtesy of Pan Macmillan);

The Polity is under attack from a ‘melded’ AI entity with control of the lethal Jain technology, yet the attack seems to have no coherence. When one of Erebus’s wormships kills millions on the world of Klurhammon, a high-tech agricultural world of no real tactical significance, agent Ian Cormac is sent to investigate, though he is secretly struggling to control a new ability no human being should possess . . . and beginning to question the motives of his AI masters.
Further attacks and seemingly indiscriminate slaughter ensue, but only serve to bring some of the most dangerous individuals in the Polity into the war. Mr Crane, the indefatigable brass killing machine sets out for vengeance, while Orlandine, a vastly-augmented haiman who herself controls Jain technology, seeks a weapon of appalling power and finds allies from an ancient war.
Meanwhile Mika, scientist and Dragon expert, is again kidnapped by that unfathomable alien entity and dragged into the heart of things: to wake the makers of Jain technology from their five-million-year slumber.
But Erebus’s attacks are not so indiscriminate, after all, and could very well herald the end of the Polity itself . . .

- "Shadow of the Scorpion" by Neal Asher (through the courtesy of Pan Macmillan);

Raised to adulthood during the end of the war between the human Polity and the vicious arthropoid race, the Prador, Ian Cormac is haunted by childhood memories of a sinister scorpion-shaped war drone and the burden of losses he doesn’t remember.
In the years following the war he signs up with Earth Central Security, and is sent out to help either restore or simply maintain order on worlds devastated by Prador bombardment.
There he discovers that though the old enemy remains as murderous as ever, it is not anywhere near as perfidious or dangerous as some of his fellow humans, some of them closer to him than he would like.
Amidst the ruins left by wartime genocides, he discovers in himself a cold capacity for violence, learns some horrible truths about his own past and, set upon a course of vengeance, tries merely to stay alive.

- "Avempartha" by Michael J. Sullivan (through the courtesy of Robin Sullivan);

When a destitute young woman hires two thieves to help save her remote village from nocturnal attacks, they are drawn into the schemes of the wizard Esrahaddon. While Royce struggles to breech the secrets of an ancient elven tower, Hadrian attempts to rally the villagers to defend themselves against the unseen killer. What begins with the simple theft of a sword places the two thieves at the center of a firestorm — that could change the future of Elan.

- "The Stranger" by Max Frei (through the courtesy of Overlook Press);

Max Frei’s novels have been a literary sensation in Russia since their debut in 1996, and have swept the fantasy world over. Presented here in English for the first time, The Stranger will strike a chord with readers of all stripes. Part fantasy, part horror, part philosophy, part dark comedy, the writing is united by a sharp wit and a web of clues that will open up the imagination of every reader.
Max Frei was a twenty-something loser—a big sleeper (that is, during the day; at night he can’t sleep a wink), a hardened smoker, and an uncomplicated glutton and loafer. But then he got lucky. He contacts a parallel world in his dreams, where magic is a daily practice. Once a social outcast, he’s now known in his new world as the “unequalled Sir Max.” He’s a member of the Department of Absolute Order, formed by a species of enchanted secret agents; his job is to solve cases more extravagant and unreal than one could imagine—a journey that will take Max down the winding paths of this strange and unhinged universe.

- "Lamentation" by Ken Scholes (through the courtesy of TOR).

An ancient weapon has completely destroyed the city of Windwir. From many miles away, Rudolfo, Lord of the Nine Forest Houses, sees the horrifying column of smoke rising. He knows that war is coming to the Named Lands.
Nearer to the Devastation, a young apprentice is the only survivor of the city – he sat waiting for his father outside the walls, and was transformed as he watched everyone he knew die in an instant.
Soon all the Kingdoms of the Named Lands will be at each others' throats, as alliances are challenged and hidden plots are uncovered.
This remarkable first novel from an award-winning short fiction writer will take readers away to a new world – an Earth so far in the distant future that our time is not even a memory; a world where magick is commonplace and great areas of the planet are impassable wastes. But human nature hasn’t changed through the ages: War and faith and love still move princes and nations.

Thank you all very much!


kyodnb said...

Avempartha has a very interesting cover...and i guess that all the books are interesting additions to your collection :)

ediFanoB said...

The whole Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series by Greg Keyes is on my shelf - unfortunately unread like a lot of other books. Lamentation and Avempartha are on my list.

There is a lot of hype around The Stranger by Max Frei. I read the German edition some years ago and for me the book didn't work. The blurb promises things which you never find in the book. For me this book was boring and disappointing like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

Liviu said...

Agreed about The Stranger with ediFanoB; I guess it's a matter of taste - I see the book's appeal, but I read much more interesting (for me) similar books

I have a real soft spot for Michael Sullivan series - just loved Crown Conspiracy,it was a fun adventure and almost a standalone, but here in Avempartha things get deeper, it's in a way the true beginning of the series ending with the usual "To be continued" and I am really looking forward to book 3. This I will label from now as "personal favorite" just because I saw some people not liking its style - so wanna make sure people know this series I *just* love regardless of criticisms that I may agree or disagree with.

Lamentation had great promise but the characters were just boring for me; still I am interested in book 2, maybe with different character emphasis it will work better

Neal Asher - read and loved all his books, but Gridlinked is the place to start and then finish 5 novels later at Line War for the Cormac sequence; Shadow is a prequel that's ok, but not the best starting point, more a novella that works better as an interlude in between the big novels

My review of Nights comes up next week - did it a long time ago when I finished the book and just loved it - hopefully a final edited draft of book 2 will get in my inbox sooner rather than later :)

Mihai A. said...

Bogdan, indeed they are. And I definitely have to look for some more space for my books :)

Michael, I haven't read Greg Keyes' series either. But this is a good reason to start it :)

Liviu, I am with you at Michael Sullivan's series. "The Crown Conspiracy" was fun and entertaining and I like it a lot. I am looking forward to "Avempartha" and the next ones as well.
I read a lot of mixed opinions about "The Stranger" and that makes me even more curious. I have to see where I stand with this novel.
And it looks that "Nights of Villjamur" has another positive review :)

ediFanoB said...

there is always a good reason to start with a series :>)
I will think about it as soon as I have finished the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.

Anonymous said...

The Kingdoms of Thorne and Bone, was so well done by Keyes it's really a great entry in the Epic Fantasy Pantheon. I'd suggest anyone who hasn't picked it up do so. And if I hear one person calling it George Martin Lite, well I'm going to...well I probably won't do anything but I'll be annoyed.

In any case, looks like you've got your work cut out for you! Better get reading!

Mihai A. said...

Harrison, I definitely have to look at Greg Keyes' series now. And indeed I have quite some reading to do :)

Michael J. Sullivan said...

With the way the publishing and newspaper industries are going, sites like this and Fantasy Book Critic, may find themselves the only resource for thorough and fair reviews by individuals who take their subject seriously, and I am very pleased to think that I can count two of you as fans of my work.

Mr. Suciu is correct when he has stated that I am published through a very small firm that lacks the influence, resources, or capital to operate a powerful marketing campaign—they lack the resources to mount any campaign at all beyond a few bookstore signings. This leaves me with the burden of getting the word out myself. I am a writer of fiction, not a salesman. Luckily, I have been blessed with a wife of indomitable virtue who believes enough in my books to take on their marketing as a second full-time job. Yet despite her herculean efforts, my novels will never be a success unless reviewers and readers care enough to spread the word.

So while I try to refrain from making any comments at all where reviewers are concerned, as I feel it is inappropriate, and if anything—a hindrance, I do want you to know how much I appreciate your willingness to give equal time to us little guys. (Which is why I won’t be commenting on Dark Wolf’s review of Avempartha, except to say—thank you for reviewing it at all, regardless of the ultimate verdict.)

Michael J. Sullivan

Mihai A. said...

Michael, thank you very much for your comment. Indeed is a bit hard for the smaller publishers to get the word out, but they deserve to have our attention too, because we can find gems there as well. I was very happy to discover your book and I am happy to promote anyway I can.
And we are very lucky, my wife helps and supports me a lot, and I know that Robin does a great job and is a wonderful lady :)