Release Week: The Returned, The Fall of the Kings, Ice Forged, Abaddon’s Gate, Reanimators, and Shadows of the New Sun

AUGUST 21-27, 2013: It’s quite a release week haul this week: a powerful debut in the form of Jason Mott’s The Returned, the return of Neil Gaiman Presents with another full cast “illuminated production” in Ellen Kushner’s Riverside series, a pair of Recorded Books titles first published in print by Orbit Books earlier this year, a concurrent new release read by one of the best narrators in the business, and a star-studded all-original anthology set in Gene Wolfe’s New Sun milieu. And! There’s several more titles well worth checking out in the “Also Out This Week” listings, including a pair of complete series in audio for the first time (Sevenwaters and the Cleric Quintet) and the late James Herbert’s terrifying novel The Fog, read by the masterful Sean Barrett. Meanwhile, in the “Seen but Not Heard” listings this week, there’s just about as long a list of compelling titles, led by SFWA Grand Master James Gunn’s first novel in several years, Transcendental (which seems perfectly suited for a Stefan Rudnicki narration, Blackstone Audio I’m looking at you) and Billy Moon, both out from Tor Books, Ramez Naam’s Crux (which should be coming any day now), and sf author Kay Kenyon’s “first foray into fantasy”, A Thousand Perfect Things, along with a pair of tempting anthologies. The week also brings a free prologue plus first five chapter preview of the audiobook for Brandon Sanderson’s first YA novel, Steelheart, ahead of the full audiobook’s September 24 release date. As usual: Enjoy!


The Returned: A Novel by Jason Mott, narrated by Tom Stechschulte for Audible Inc. and Brilliance Audio, is being reviewed highly for both its compelling, moving story and — with no surprise as the author is a well-regarded poet with two collections under his belt — the language and composition. Mott’s debut novel (out in print/ebook from Harlequin MIRA) has been the subject of a three-week free audiobook campaign of prequel stories, and will in March 2014 come to the small screen on ABC from Bratt Pitt’s Plan B production company [trailer]. Here, narrator Stechschulte (Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Mark Van Name’s Children No More and No Going Back, Robert McCammon’s Swan Song, and Daniel Wallace’s Big Fish, among other favorites) navigates a “beautiful meditation on what it means to be human” (Booklist), centered on the inexplicable return of a long-dead child: “Harold and Lucille Hargrave’s lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they’ve settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time…. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old. All over the world people’s loved ones are returning from beyond.” I’ve already had the chance to talk to Mott about the book [interview] and look forward to ruminating over this novel with friends once I convince them all to read it — or listen to it.

The Returned: A Novel | [Jason Mott] The Fall of the Kings | [Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman]

The Fall of the Kings (2003) continues the Riverside series by Ellen Kushner after (Audie Award winning) Swordspoint and The Privilege of the Sword, adding co-author Delia Sherman. Neil Gaiman Presents returns with another full cast “illuminated production” adaptation, narrated by Ellen Kushner, Nick Sullivan, Neil Gaiman, Ryan McCabe, and Katherine Kellgren, visiting Riverside a generation after the events of the previous books: “In this stunning follow-up to Kushner’s The Privilege of the Sword and the Audie-award winning Swordspoint, co-author Delia Sherman (The Freedom Maze) joins Ellen to return to that world of labyrinthine intrigue, where sharp swords and even sharper wits rule. This time, they explore the city’s University, where a troubled young nobleman and his scholar lover find themselves playing out an ancient drama destined to explode their society’s smug view of itself.” Also this week, is running a sweepstakes which will give out free downloads of all three Riverside books.

Ice Forged: Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, Book 1 by Gail Z. Martin was published in print/ebook by Orbit in January, beginning a new world for veteran epic fantasist Martin after six books in the world of her Chronicles of the Necromancer series. Here, narrated by fellow epic fantasy veteran Tim Gerard Reynolds (Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations) for Recorded Books, Martin takes a starker approach: “Condemned as a murderer for killing the man who dishonored his sister, Blaine “Mick” McFadden has spent the last six years in Velant, a penal colony in the frigid northern wastelands. Harsh military discipline and the oppressive magic keep a fragile peace as colonists struggle against a hostile environment. But the supply ships from Dondareth have stopped coming, boding ill for the kingdom that banished the colonists. Now, as the world’s magic runs wild, McFadden and the people of Velant must fight to survive and decide their fate.”

Out from Orbit in June, Abaddon’s Gate By James S.A. Corey is the third book in Corey’s (a pseudonym for the combined pen of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) well-received space opera series The Expanse after Leviathan Wakes and Caliban’s War. Here, the book is once again narrated by Jefferson Mays for Recorded Books: “For generations, the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt – was humanity’s great frontier. Until now. The alien artifact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has appeared in Uranus’s orbit, where it has built a massive gate that leads to a starless dark. Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artifact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them.”

Reanimators by Peter Rawlik is out this week from Night Shade Books, a novel in the Lovecraftian bent complete with Dunwich, Miskatonic University, and “unspeakable horrors”. Here it’s narrated by Oliver Wyman for Audible Frontiers, and follows in a wonderful pattern of some of my favorites of Wyman’s narrations by beginning with: “My name is…” — OK, it begins with “For the record, my name is” but still, this is how both Pohl’s Gateway and Brandon Sanderson’s Legion, both narrated marvelously by Wyman, begin, and let’s not let mere facts get in the way of good fun, shall we? “Two men, a bitter rivalry, and a quarter-century of unspeakable horrors. Herbert West’s crimes against nature are well-known to those familiar with the darkest secrets of science and resurrection. Obsessed with finding a cure for mankind’s oldest malady, death itself, he has experimented upon the living and dead, leaving behind a trail of monsters, mayhem, and madness. But the story of his greatest rival has never been told until now.”

Reanimators | [Pete Rawlik] Shadows of the New Sun: Stories in Honor of Gene Wolfe | [J. E. Mooney (Editor), Bill Fawcett (Editor)]

Shadows of the New Sun: Stories in Honor of Gene Wolfe is an all-original anthology edited by Bill Fawcett and Bill J.E. Mooney for Tor Books, read by MacLeod Andrews (Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim, Steven Gould’s Jumper, Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart) and Amy McFadden (Liesel Schwarz’s A Conspiracy of Alchemists) for Brilliance Audio. “In this volume, a select group of Wolfe’s fellow authors pay tribute to the award-winning creator of The Book of the New Sun, The Fifth Head of Cerberus, Soldier of the Mist, The Wizard Knight, and many others, with entirely new stories written specifically to honor the writer hailed by The Washington Post as “one of America’s finest.”” The stories include: “A Lunar Labyrinth” © 2013 by Neil Gaiman; “The Island of the Death Doctor” © 2013 by Joe Haldeman; “A Touch of Rosemary” © 2013 by Timothy Zahn; “Ashes” © 2013 by Steven Savile; “Bedding” © 2013 by David Drake; “. . . And Other Stories” © 2013 by Nancy Kress; “The Island of Time” © 2013 by Jack Dann; “The She-Wolf’s Hidden Grin” © 2013 by Michael Swanwick; “Snowchild” © 2013 by Michael A. Stackpole; “Tourist Trap” © 2013 by Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg; “Epistoleros” © 2013 by Aaron Allston; “Rhubarb and Beets” © 2013 by Todd McCaffrey; “Tunes from Limbo, But I Digress” © 2013 by Judi Rohrig; “In the Shadow of the Gate” © 2013 by William C. Dietz; “Soldier of Mercy” © 2013 by Marc Aramini; “The Dreams of the Sea” © 2013 by Jody Lynn Nye; “The Log” © 2013 by David Brin; and “The Sea of Memory” © 2013 by Gene Wolfe.


Children of Fire: The Chaos Born, Book 1 | [Drew Karpyshyn] Daughter of the Forest: Sevenwaters, Book 1 | [Juliet Marillier] Canticle: Forgotten Realms The Cleric Quintet Book 1 | [R. A. Salvatore]


Glitter & Mayhem

  • Exorcising Aaron Nguyen (The Millroad Academy Exorcists) by Lauren Harris (Aug 22, 2013)
  • Anthology: Manifesto UF edited by Tim Marquitz and Tyson Mauermann (Angelic Knight Press, August 26) — “From angels to vampires, dragons to wizards, Manifesto brings together twenty-three stories full of action, snark, and unadulterated badassery. Featuring stories from Lucy A. Snyder, Jeff Salyards, William Meikle, Teresa Frohock, Zachary Jernigan, Betsy Dornbusch, and more.”
  • Anthology: Glitter and Mayhem edited by John Klima, Lynne M. Thomas, and Michael Damian Thomas (Apex Books, August 26) — “Welcome to Glitter & Mayhem, the most glamorous party in the multiverse. Step behind the velvet rope of these fabulous Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror tales of roller rinks, nightclubs, glam aliens, party monsters, drugs, sex, glitter, and debauchery.”
  • Collection: Celestial Inventories by Steve Rasnic Tem (ChiZine, Aug 27)
  • Transcendental by James Gunn (Tor, Aug 27, 2013) — SFWA Grand Master Gunn’s first novel in several years: “Riley, a veteran of interstellar war, is one of many beings from many different worlds aboard a ship on a pilgrimage that spans the galaxy. However, he is not journeying to achieve transcendence, a vague mystical concept that has drawn everyone else on the ship to this journey into the unknown at the far edge of the galaxy. His mission is to find and kill the prophet who is reputed to help others transcend. While their ship speeds through space, the voyage is marred by violence and betrayal, making it clear that some of the ship’s passengers are not the spiritual seekers they claim to be.” — there’s also an excerpt up at
  • Billy Moon: A transcendent Novel Reimagining the Life of Christopher Robin Milne by Douglas Lain (Tor, Aug 27, 2013) — a magical realism weaving its way through the turbulent streets of Paris in 1968: “In Douglas Lain’s debut novel set during the turbulent year of 1968, Christopher Robin Milne, the inspiration for his father’s fictional creation, struggles to emerge from a manufactured life, in a story of hope and transcendence.”
  • Crux by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot, Aug 27, 2013) — sequel to hard sf thriller Nexus
    — was scheduled to be a Brilliance Audio concurrent release, but this seems to have slipped
  • A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon (Premier Digital Publishing, Aug 27) — “In this epic new work, the award-winning Kenyon creates an alternate 19th century with two warring continents on an alternate earth: the scientific Anglica (England) and magical Bharata (India). Emboldened by her grandfather’s final whispered secret of a magical lotus,Tori Harding, a young Victorian woman and aspiring botanist, must journey to Bharata, with its magics, intrigues and ghosts, to claim her fate. There she will face a choice between two suitors and two irreconcilable realms.”
  • The Crown and the Dragon by John D. Payne (WordFire Press, Aug 27, 2013) — “The land of Deira burns. Two decades of war have laid waste to this once-green paradise . . . but even more destructive than rampaging armies is the wrath of the dragon—an uncontrollable living weapon unleashed by the invaders. Some brave rebels struggle against impossible odds. Others turn outlaw just to stay alive.”
  • Cast in Sorrow (Luna Books) by Michelle Sagara (Aug 27, 2013)
  • The Time of Contempt (The Witcher) by Andrzej Sapkowski (Orbit, Aug 27, 2013)
  • Spirits From Beyond (A Ghost Finders Novel) by Simon R. Green (Aug 27, 2013)
  • Chosen (ALEX VERUS) by Benedict Jacka (Ace, Aug 27, 2013) — feature of today’s Big Idea piece on Scalzi’s Whatever log: The Big Idea: Benedict Jacka
  • Saxon’s Bane by Geoffrey Gudgion (Solaris, Aug 27)
  • Collection: Tell My Sorrows to the Stones by Christopher Golden with an introduction by Cherie Priest (ChiZine, Aug 27, 2013)


Babayaga Tales of Jack the Ripper

  • Kingmaker By Christian Cantrell, Narrated By Will Damron for Brilliance Audio — Release Date: 08-28-13
  • Babayaga by Toby Barlow and Dan Miller (Tantor Audio, Aug 30, 2013) — “By the author of Sharp Teeth, a novel of love, spies, and witches in 1950s Paris—and a cop turned into a flea.” — out in print from FSG on August 6
  • Anthology: Tales of Jack the Ripper edited by Ross E. Lockhart (Word Horde, August 31)


  Channel Zilch book cover




Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer Southern Reach trilogy the-girl-in-the-road-monica-byrne

  • The Swords of Good Men by Snorri Kristjansson (Jo Fletcher Books, January 7, 2014) — a “Viking fantasy novel” by a new Icelandic author
  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.J. Carey (Orbit, Jan 7, 2014) — “Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her ‘our little genius’. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.” — link to cover
  • Rex Regis by L. E. Modesitt (Tor, Jan 7, 2014)
  • Fury of the Demon by Diana Rowland (Jan 7, 2014)
  • Work Done for Hire  by Joe Haldeman (Ace Hardcover, January 7, 2014) — novel about an ex-sniper turned sf screenwriter turned reluctant hitman; I’ve hear Haldeman read from this novel in draft and am very much looking forward to its release
  • Love in the Time of Metal and Flesh by Jay Lake (Prime Books, January 7, 2014) — “Markus Selvage has been bent by life, ground up and spit out again. In San Francisco’s darkest sexual underground, he is a perpetual innocent, looking within bodies – his own and others’ – for the lost secrets of satisfaction. But extreme body modification is only the beginning of where he will go before he’s finished…”
  • Rex Regis (Imager Portfolio)  by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. (Jan 7, 2014)
  • 1636: Seas of Fortune  by Iver Cooper (January 7, 2014)
  • Black Arts: A Jane Yellowrock Novel  by Faith Hunter (Jan 7, 2014)
  • Darkest Fear (Birthright) by Cate Tiernan (Jan 7, 2014)
  • Watchers in the Night (Guardians of the Night) by Jenna Black (Jan 14, 2014)
  • The Man Who Made Models: The Collected Short Fiction  by R.A. Lafferty (Centipede Press, January 14, 2014)
  • Dawn of Swords (The Breaking World)  by David Dalglish (Jan 14, 2014)
  • Dirty Magic (Prospero’s War) by Jaye Wells (Jan 21, 2014)
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (Tor, January 21, 2014) — book 2 in The Stormlight Archive after The Way of Kings
  • The Book of the Crowman by Joseph D’ Lacey (Jan 28, 2014)
  • A Darkling Sea by James Cambias (Tor, Jan 28, 2014)
  • Maze by J.M. McDermott (Apex, January 2014)
  • Leaving the Sea: Stories by Ben Marcus (Knopf, January 2014)
  • The Emperor’s Blades (The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #1) by Brian Stavely (Tor, January 2014) — “follows siblings Valyn, Kaden, and Adare, who are in different parts of the world when they learn about the assassination of their father, the Emperor. All of them are in danger of being the next targets, and all of them are caught in the maelstrom of conspiracy, intrigue, treachery, and magic that sweeps through Staveley’s auspicious debut novel.”
  • Reign of Ash (Book Two in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga) by Gail Z. Martin (Orbit, January 2014) — follow-on to Ice Forged
  • Annihilation (Southern Reach, Volume 1) by Jeff VanderMeer (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, Feb 4, 2014) — the first of a trilogy of “Southern Reach” novels being published in 2014 — “For thirty years, Area X has remained mysterious, remote, and concealed by the government as an environmental disaster zone even though it is to all appearances pristine wilderness. For thirty years, too, the secret agency known as the Southern Reach has monitored Area X and sent in expeditions to try to discover the truth. Some expeditions have suffered terrible consequences. Others have reported nothing out of the ordinary. Now, as Area X seems to be changing and perhaps expanding, the next expedition will attempt to succeed where all others have failed. What is happening in Area X? What is the true nature of the invisible border that surrounds it?”
  • Like a Mighty Army (Safehold) by David Weber (Feb 4, 2014)
  • The Crimson Campaign (The Powder Mage Trilogy, Book 2) by Brian McClellan (Orbit, February 2014)
  • Like a Mighty Army (Safehold)  by David Weber (Feb 4, 2014)
  • V-S Day: A Novel of Alternate History  by Allen Steele (Feb 4, 2014) — narrated by Ray Chase
  • Empire of Men by David Weber and John Ringo (Feb 4, 2014)
  • The Waking Engine by David Edison (Feb 11, 2014)
  • The Judge of Ages (Count to a Trillion) by John C. Wright (Feb 25, 2014)
  • The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison (Feb 25, 2014)
  • Dreamwalker by C.S. Friedman (February 2014)
  • Night Broken (A Mercy Thompson Novel)  by Patricia Briggs (Mar 4, 2014)
  • Ghost Train to New Orleans (The Shambling Guides) by Mur Lafferty (Orbit, Mar 4, 2014) — sequel to The Shambling Guide to New York City
  • The Tropic of Serpents: A Memoir by Lady Trent (A Natural History of Dragons) by Marie Brennan (Mar 4, 2014)
  • Hope Rearmed by S.M. Stirling and David Drake (March 4, 2014)
  • Blood and Iron (The Book of the Black Earth) by Jon Sprunk (Pyr, March 11)
  • Resistance by Jenna Black (Mar 11, 2014)
  • Working God’s Mischief (Instrumentalities of the Night)  by Glen Cook (Mar 11, 2014)
  • Mentats of Dune  by Brian Herbert (March 11, 2014)
  • Lockstep  by Karl Schroeder (Mar 25, 2014)
  • The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher (Mar 25, 2014)
  • Anthology: The Time Traveler’s Almanac by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer (Tor, Mar 18, 2014)
  • City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (Crown/Broadway and Recorded Books, April 1, 2014) — “a second-world story of spies, subterfuge, and statesmanship set in a nation of dead gods.”
  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (April 1, 2014)
  • Cauldron of Ghosts (Crown of Slaves) by David Weber (April 1, 2014)
  • Baltic Gambit: A Novel of the Vampire Earth by E.E. Knight (April 1, 2014)
  • Shipstar  by Larry Niven and Gregory Benford (Tor, April 8, 2014)
  • Transhuman  by Ben Bova (April 15, 2014)
  • The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes (Gollanz UK, 17 Apr 2014) — from the author of Tome of the Undergates
  • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (Hodder & Stoughton, April 2014) — “The Nigerian megacity of Lagos is invaded by aliens, and it nearly consumes itself because of it.”
  • The Moon King by Neil Williamson (Newcon, April 2014) — Debut novel: “The story of The Moon King grew out of its setting, the sea-locked city of Glassholm, which is a thinly veneered version of Glasgow, Scotland where I live. Glasgow is a city of mood swings, brilliant with sun and warm sandstone one minute and dour with overcast and rain soaked tarmac the next. Summer days are long and filled with light. The winter months pass mostly in darkness. Living here, your spirit is tied to the city’s mood. As soon as I hooked that almost bipolar sense to the idea of natural cycles, the story blossomed. In Glassholm, the moon never sets and everything, from entropy to the moods of the populace, is affected by its phasing from Full to Dark and back to Full again. I wanted to know what would life be like there, what quirks nature might throw into the mix. And what would happen if it was discovered that the cyclic euphorias and depressions were not natural after all.”
  • Immolation (Children, #1) by Ben Peek (Tor UK, Spring 2014) is “set fifteen thousand years after the War of the Gods. The bodies of the gods now lie across the world, slowly dying as men and women awake with strange powers that are derived from their bodies. Ayae, a young cartographer’s apprentice, is attacked and discovers she cannot be harmed by fire. Her new power makes her a target for an army that is marching on her home. With the help of the immortal Zaifyr, she is taught the awful history of ‘cursed’ men and women, coming to grips with her new powers and the enemies they make. The saboteur Bueralan infiltrates the army that is approaching her home to learn its terrible secret. Split between the three points of view, Immolation‘s narrative reaches its conclusion during an epic siege, where Ayae, Zaifyr and Bueralan are forced not just into conflict with those invading, but with those inside the city who wish to do them harm.”
  • Unwrapped Sky by Rjurik Davidson (Tor, Spring 2014) — “Caeli-Amur: a city torn by contradiction. A city of languorous philosopher-assassins and magnificent creatures from ancient myth: minotaurs and sirens. Three Houses rule over an oppressed citizenry stirring into revolt. The ruins of Caeli-Amur’s sister city lie submerged beneath the sea nearby, while the remains of strange advanced technology lie hidden in the tunnels beneath the city itself.”
  • The Furies: A Thriller  by Mark Alpert (April 22, 2014)
  • Authority: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy) by Jeff VanderMeer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, May 1, 2014)
  • The Sea Without a Shore by David Drake (May 6, 2014) — Lt. Leary series
  • Graphic novel: All You Need Is Kill: The Graphic Novel by Nick Mamatas, Lee Ferguson, Fajar Buana, and Zack Turner, based on the novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka (VIZ Media/Haikasoru, May 6, 2014)
  • The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne (Random House/Crown, May 2014) — “traces the harrowing twin journeys of two women forced to flee their homes in different times in the near future. The first, Meena, is a Brahmin-caste student whose odyssey takes her from the coastal city of Mumbai toward Djibouti across a futuristic but treacherous bridge that spans the Arabian Sea. The second, Mariama, escapes from slavery as a small child in Mauritania, joining a caravan heading across Saharan Africa toward Ethiopia.”
  • The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones (Greenwillow, Summer 2014) — “Fans of the late writer Diana Wynne Jones – who died in March 2011 – are in for an unexpected treat. In the summer of 2014, Greenwillow will publish a new title from the acclaimed science fiction and fantasy author. Titled The Islands of Chaldea, the book is a standalone novel unconnected to any of the author’s earlier works. It is also the result of an unusual, asynchronous collaboration between the writer and her younger sister, Ursula Jones.”
  • The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman (Viking, August 2014) — book three after The Magicians and The Magician King
  • The Chaplain’s War by Brad Torgerson (Baen, 2014)
  • Colossus by Stephen Messer (Random House Children’s Books, 2014)
  • The Broken Eye (Lightbringer #3) by Brent Weeks (Orbit, 2014)
  • The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin, translated by Ken Liu (Tor Books, 2014) — the first of an announced trilogy of translated editions of this 400,000-copy-selling Chinese sf series
  • Frostborn (Thrones & Bones #1) by Lou Anders (Random House Children’s Books, August 2014) — longtime Pyr editor Anders’ debut novel, a young reader book which “introduces Karn, who would rather be playing the board game Thrones and Bones, and Thianna, half-frost giant, half-human, who team up when they are chased by wyverns, a dead Viking sea captain, and a 1200-year-old dragon.”
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