Release Week: King of Thorns; Laird Barron’s The Croning; Neal Stephenson’s Some Remarks; David Tennant narrates a new sequel to Treasure Island; apocalypses and ghosts; more Stephen King; and more

The first release week of August packs a pretty big whallop, though it doesn’t bring a couple of the titles I was most looking forward to (Jim C. Hines’s Libriomancer and T. Aaron Payton’sThe Constantine Affliction— Payton is a new pseudonym for Steampunk from the brilliant Tim Pratt) it does bring an anticipated sequel, one of my “most missing audiobooks” from earlier in 2012, and two more interesting “genre in the mainstream” picks, along with a few new audiobooks of older Stephen King books, 6 books in CJ Cherryh’s Foreigner series, and a half-dozen more titles of interest out today and earlier this week.

That anticipated sequel is King of Thorns By Mark Lawrence, Narrated by James Clamp for Recorded Books. At 13 hrs and 30 mins,The follow-up to Mark Lawrence’ s thrilling debut novel Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns continues the tale of antihero Jorg Ancrath. After wresting back control of his kingdom from those who murdered his family, Jorg sees the land erupt with hundreds of battles fought by lords and petty kings. More daunting still, he faces an enemy many times his own strength. Jorg may not be able to win this battle in a fair fight, but he wields a rage and cunning that just might even the odds.”

 

The Croning By Laird Barron was originally published earlier this year in print/ebook by Night Shade Books. Barron is a familiar name to those who follow the Shirley Jackson Award, where his short fiction (and collections of the same, and anthologies featuring the same) has often been nominated and selected as the award’s winner. (He’s also been nominated for the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, World Fantasy, and other awards.) The Croning is his debut novel, here narrated by Emily Zeller for Audible Frontiers.Strange things exist on the periphery of our existence, haunting us from the darkness looming beyond our firelight. Black magic, weird cults, and worse things loom in the shadows. The Children of Old Leech have been with us from time immemorial. And they love us…. Donald Miller, geologist and academic, has walked along the edge of a chasm for most of his nearly 80 years, leading a charmed life between endearing absent-mindedness and sanity-shattering realization. Now, all things must converge. Donald will discover the dark secrets along the edges, unearthing savage truths about his wife Michelle, their adult twins, and all he knows and trusts. For Donald is about to stumble on the secret… of The Croning. From Laird Barron, Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of The Imago Sequence and Occultation, comes The Croning, a debut novel of cosmic horror.”

Some Remarks By Neal Stephenson, Narrated by Jeff Cummings for Harper Audio. “One of the most talented and creative authors working today, Neal Stephenson is renowned for his exceptional novels – works colossal in vision and mind-boggling in complexity. Exploring and blending a diversity of topics, including technology, economics, history, science, pop culture, and philosophy, his books are the products of a keen and adventurous intellect. Not surprisingly, Stephenson is regularly asked to contribute articles, lectures, and essays to numerous outlets, from major newspapers and cutting-edge magazines to college symposia. This remarkable collection brings together previously published short writings, both fiction and nonfiction, as well as a new essay (and an extremely short story) created specifically for this volume.”

 

Silver: Return to Treasure Island By Andrew Motion, Narrated by David Tennant for Dreamscape Media.In the eastern reaches of the Thames lies the Hispaniola, an inn kept by Jim Hawkins and his son. Late one night, a mysterious girl named Natty arrives on the river with a request for Jim from her father – Long John Silver. Aged and weak, but still possessing a strange power, the pirate proposes Jim and Natty sail to Treasure Island in search of Captain Flint’s hidden bounty. But the thrill of the ocean odyssey gives way to terror as the Nightingale reaches its destination, for it seems Treasure Island is not as uninhabited as it once was…. Silver is a worthy sequel to Treasure Island and a work of extraordinary authenticity and imaginative power from one of England’s greatest writers.” Motion is a Poet Laureate, and Tennant is quite well know as having played the titular doctor on Dr. Who.

Lastly, two genre-leaning titles from mainstream imprints, the first and more interesting to me being The Dog Stars By Peter Heller, Narrated by Mark Deakins for Random House Audio.Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life – something like his old life – exists beyond the airport.”

 

The other of the “genre in the mainstream” books is The Black Isle By Sandi Tan, Narrated by Sarah Zimmerman for Hachette Audio. It’s about twice as long as most of the (11-12 hour) audiobooks listend above at 21 hrs and 38 mins, but it’s been a while since I enjoyed a good long haunting, and I’ve recently quite enjoyably listened to Zimmerman narrate a longish title (Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312).There are ghosts on the Black Isle. Ghosts that no one can see. No one… except Cassandra. Uprooted from Shanghai with her father and twin brother, young Cassandra finds the Black Isle’s bustling, immigrant-filled seaport, swampy jungle, and grand rubber plantations a sharp contrast to the city of her childhood. And she soon makes another discovery: the Black Isle is swarming with ghosts. Haunted and lonely, Cassandra at first tries to ignore her ability to see the restless apparitions that drift down the street and crouch in cold corners at school. Yet despite her struggles with these spirits, Cassandra comes to love her troubled new home. And soon, she attracts the notice of a dangerously charismatic man. Even as she becomes a fearless young woman, the Isle’s dark forces won’t let her go. War is looming, and Cassandra wonders if her unique gift might be her beloved island’s only chance for salvation…. Taking listeners from the 1920s through the Japanese occupation during World War II, to the Isle’s radical transformation into a gleaming cosmopolitan city, The Black Isle is a sweeping epic – a deeply imagined, fiercely original tale from a vibrant new voice in fiction.”

ALSO OUT TUESDAY:

EARLIER THIS WEEK:

SEEN BUT NOT HEARD:

LATER THIS WEEK:

  • The Outlanders by Gordon Andrews (August 8, Pen Press) — a short novel set in 2085 after an alien virus has wiped out most of humanity
  • The Blood Poetry by Leland Pitts-Gonzalez (Raw Dog Screaming Press, Aug 8)
  • Anthology: When the Villain Comes Home edited by Gabrielle Harbowy and Ed Greenwood (August 10, Dragon Moon Press) — a follow-on anthology to their 2011 anthology When the Hero Comes Home with stories from Ari Marmell, Eugie Foster, Jim C. Hines, Karin Lowachee, Todd McCaffrey, Rachel Swirsky, Jay Lake, J.M. Frey, and more.
  • Collection:Cracklescapeby Margo Lanagan (Twelfth Planet Press, August 2012) — “A presence haunts an old dresser in an inner-city share house. Shining sun-people lure children from their carefree beachside lives. Sheela-na-gigs colonise a middle-aged man’s outer and inner worlds. And a girl with a heavy conscience seeks relief in exile on the Treeless Plain. These stories from four-time World Fantasy Award winner Margo Lanagan are all set in Australia, a myth-soaked landscape both stubbornly inscrutable and crisscrossed by interlopers’ dreamings. Explore four littoral and liminal worlds, a-crackle with fears and possibilities.”

NEXT WEEK (Aug 14):

TWO WEEKS (Aug 21):

  • The Devil in Silver: A Novel by Victor LaValle (Aug 21, 2012) — LaValle takes on “the haunted house” story
  • Ghost Key by Trish J. MacGregor (Tor, Aug 21, 2012)
  • Black Bottle by Anthony Huso (Tor, Aug 21, 2012)
  • Hidden Things: A Novel by Doyce Testerman (Harper Voyager, Aug 21)
  • Genocidal Organ by Project Itoh (VIZ Media LLC/Haikasoru, Aug 21)
  • The Unincorporated Future by Dani Kollin & Eytan Kollin (Tor Books)
  • Fate of Worlds: Return from the Ringworld by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner (Aug 21, 2012)
  • Wards of Faerie: The Dark Legacy of Shannara by Terry Brooks (August 21, Random House)
  • Such Wicked Intent: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, Book Two by Kenneth Oppel (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, Aug 21)
  • Fiction: Lionel Asbo: State of England by Martin Amis (Knopf, AudioGo, Aug 21) — One which is only on my radar via Lev Grossman’s TIME column on books: “A savage, funny, and mysteriously poignant saga by a renowned author at the height of his powers. Lionel Asbo, a terrifying yet weirdly loyal thug (self-named after England’s notorious Anti-Social Behaviour Order), has always looked out for his ward and nephew, the orphaned Desmond Pepperdine.  He provides him with fatherly career advice (always carry a knife, for example) and is determined they should share the joys of pit bulls (fed with lots of Tabasco sauce), Internet porn, and all manner of more serious criminality.  Des, on the other hand, desires nothing more than books to read and a girl to love (and to protect a family secret that could be the death of him).  But just as he begins to lead a gentler, healthier life, his uncle—once again in a London prison—wins £140 million in the lottery and upon his release hires a public relations firm and begins dating a cannily ambitious topless model and “poet.”  Strangely, however, Lionel’s true nature remains uncompromised while his problems, and therefore also Desmond’s, seem only to multiply.”
  • A Guile of Dragons by James Enge (Pyr, August 24) — “It’s dwarves versus dragons in this origin story for Enge’s signature character, Morlock Ambrosius! Before history began, the dwarves of Thrymhaiam fought against the dragons as the Longest War raged in the deep roads beneath the Northhold. Now the dragons have returned, allied with the dead kings of Cor and backed by the masked gods of Fate and Chaos.”
  • The Manual of Aeronautics: An Illustrated Guide to the Leviathan Series by Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse, Aug 21)
  • Reaper (Lightbringer #2), by K.D. McEntire (August 24, Pyr)
  • Dusk Watchman (The Twilight Reign, Book Five) by Tom Lloyd (Pyr, Aug 24, 2012) — no audio news

THREE WEEKS (Aug 28):

FOUR WEEKS (Sep 4):

  • Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama (FS&G, September 4) — “Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.”
  • The Kingmakers by Clay and Susan Griffith (Pyr, September 4) — the conclusion of their Vampire Empire series which began with 2010’s The Greyfriar and 2011’s The Rift Walker — book one came to audio earlier this year from Buzzy Multimedia, read by James Marsters, and the remaining books will be coming along eventually
  • The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi (Tor UK, Sep 4, 2012) — Tor US release in October
  • Punk: An Aesthetic by Jon Savage, William Gibson, Linder Sterling and Johan Kugelberg (Rizzoli, Sep 4, 2012) — this “heavily illustrated” book is not a good match for audio, but it’s on my list anyway, well, because Gibson. So there.
  • Teen: Origin by Jessica Khoury (Razorbill, Sep 4)
  • Ashes of Honor (October Daye, #6) by Seanan McGuire (Brilliance Audio, September 6, 2012)

FIVE WEEKS (Sep 11):

SIX WEEKS (Sep 18):

  • The Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson (Tor, Sep 18)  — begins a new trilogy “that takes place millennia before the events of the Malazan Book of the Fallen and introduces readers to Kurald Galain, the warren of Darkness.”
  • Midst Toil and Tribulation (Safehold) by David Weber (Tor, Sep 18)

SEVEN WEEKS (Sep 25):

  • Alchemystic by Anton Strout (Ace, Sep 25) — Book One of The Spellmason Chronicles — “Alexandra Belarus is a struggling artist living in New York City, even though her family is rich in real estate, including a towering Gothic Gramercy Park building built by her great-great-grandfather. But the truth of her bloodline is revealed when she is attacked on the street and saved by an inhumanly powerful winged figure.”
  • Bad Glass by Richard E. Gropp (Del Rey, Sep 25) — winner of the Del Rey/Suvudu Writing Contest from the author of the powerful 2011 short story “Filling up the Void
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