I was planning to hold off posting this until March 13, because I know of a nice set of books that will be going on sale, but I’ll have to settle for updating it after March 13 instead, due to some nice deals to pass along which expire on March 11, which is, er, tomorrow. Ah, the life of a bargain hunter.
So I’ll start with those soon-to-expire deals, valid through Wednesday, March 11, taken from the Whispersync enabled titles among the 175 Kindle Books for $1.99 Each:
UPDATE 3/13: SEE THE END OF THE POST FOR A HUGE LIST OF FREE KINDLE TITLES WITH WHYSPERSYNC UPGRADES THIS MONTH!
Pierre Grimber’s Secret of Ji series: Six Heirs, The Orphans’ Promise, and Shadow of the Ancients for $1.99+$1.99 each, all read fantastically by the great Michael Page. I’ve talked about these books quite a few times — classic “big party” epic fantasy in a big secondary fantasy world, with some uniquely French twists up to and including metric time. Matt Ross translates this best-selling and prize-winning series, a process I enjoyed talking with him about a while back. Here’s the pitch for book one:
“The Known World is a sprawling region ruled by mortals, protected by gods, and plied by magicians and warriors, merchants and beggars, royals and scoundrels. Here, those with the gift of theErjak share a psychic bond with animals; a far-reaching fraternity unites criminals of every persuasion in a vast army of villainy; and upon the mighty river Alt, the dead will one day sail seeking vengeance on the enemies of their descendants. But for all the Known World’s wonders, splendors, and terrors, what has endured most powerfully is the strange legacy of Ji. Emissaries from every nation—the grand Goranese Empire; desolate, frozen Arkary; cosmopolitan Lorelia; and beyond—followed an enigmatic summons into the unknown. Some never returned; others were never the same. Each successive generation has guarded the profound truth and held sacred the legendary event. But now, the very last of them—and the wisdom they possess—are threatened. The time has come to fight for ultimate enlightenment…or fall to infinite darkness.”
Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond edited by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen includes so many fantastic stories: Seanan McGuire, Jane Yolen, Dale Bailey, Ken Liu, Rachel Swirsky, Jonathan Maberry, Theodora Goss, and more, but the real gem of the book for me is Tad Williams’ futuristic “The Boy Detective of Oz”. Read by Nick Podehl and Tanya Eby for $1.99+$1.99.
The Settlers of Catan by Rebecca Gable is, well, yeah. It’s a novelisation of the wildly popular board game. Translated by Lee Chadeayne, I’m not sure I would have taken it for more than a bit of a gimmick, but hearing it narrated by the incomparable Ralph Lister certainly makes me take note, and if I’m going to take a chance on a “Settlers of Catan” book, yeah, it’d have to be at $1.99+$1.99: “The year is 850. In the seas of northern Europe, the small coastal village of Elasund falls prey to marauding neighbors. Their food stores pillaged, women and children stolen, livestock destroyed, the villagers are left to barely survive the harsh winter — and contemplate a drastic solution to their recurring hardships: leaving the only village they have ever known. Foster brothers Candamir and Osmund lead their people on an epic quest to a mythic island home, but without knowledge of exactly where the island is, they must trust the gods to deliver them safely. Lost at sea and set adrift, an extraordinarily violent storm washes them ashore the island famed in pagan lore: Catan. They quickly set about building a new society but old grudges, animosities, and social orders lead to fraternal strife. As the ideals of Candamir’s Christian slave spread throughout the village and conflict with pagan law, the two belief systems clash. When both Osmund and Candamir fall in love with Siglind, the mysterious queen of the Cold Islands, things come to a head.”
Lastly, an archaeological thriller: Tears of the Jaguar by A.J. Hartley, read by Tanya Eby for $1.99+$1.99: “When a sudden rainstorm disrupts an archeological dig at a remote Mayan site, site supervisor Deborah Miller makes an astonishing discovery: a collection of rubies so precious that generations of men have died – and killed – to possess them. Some believe the jewels harbor occult power; others believe they are the key to the arms race; still others see merely their potential for profit. But Deborah doesn’t want power or money – she only wants the truth. And so she sets out to trace the stones’ complex history across four centuries and two continents, from Mexico to northern England, where the rubies once played a harrowing role in the Lancashire witch trials of 1612. But she is not the only one obsessed with the jewels; close on her heels is a notorious arms dealer who will stop at nothing, not even murder, to claim the prize for himself.”
Next, 5 pairs of deals (they come in pairs!) taken from 50 Kindle Books for $2 Each, valid through the end of the month:
To Honor You Call Us (Man of War Book 1) and For Honor We Stand (Man of War Book 2) by H. Paul Honsinger, read by Ray Chase for $2+$1.99 each: “The Terran Union is engaged in a vast interstellar war against the Krag Ruthless aliens intent on exterminating humankind. In 2315, the wily Max Robichaux is given command of the USS Cumberland, a destroyer with state-of-the-art capabilities but a combat record so bad, she’s known as the “Cumberland Gap.” Capt. Robichaux’s first mission: to take his warship to the Free Corridor, where the Krag have secretly been buying strategic materials, and to seize or destroy any ships carrying enemy cargo. Far from the fleet and under enforced radio silence, Max relies only on his determination and guile…and the support and friendship of his chief medical officer, the brilliant Dr. Sahin. Because even as he deals with the ship’s onboard problems and the stress of carrying out her risky assignment, Max and the doctor discover that theCumberland and her misfit crew are all that stands in the way of a deadly Krag attack that threatens to end the war – and humanity – once and for all. A far-future story in the tradition of “ships of wood, men of iron” novels, To Honor You Call Us and the Man of War series combine the adventure of exploration, the excitement of war, and the dangers of the unknown through the eyes of a ship and her crew.”
The Palace Job (Rogues of the Republic Book 1) and The Prophecy Con (Rogues of the Republic Book 2) by Patrick Weekes, read by Justine Eyre for $2+$1.99 each: “Loch is seeking revenge. It would help if she wasn’t in jail. The plan: To steal a priceless elven manuscript that once belonged to her family, but is now in the hands of the most powerful man in the Republic. To do so, Loch – former soldier, former prisoner, and current fugitive – must assemble a crack team of magical misfits that includes a cynical illusionist, a shape shifting unicorn, a repentant death priestess, a talking magical war hammer, and a lad with seemingly no skills. This crack team of misfits will help her break into the floating fortress of Heaven’s Spire and the vault that holds her family’s treasure – all while eluding the unrelenting pursuit of Justicar Pyvic, whose only mission is to see the law upheld. What could possibly go wrong?”
Historical fiction: The Drowning Guard: A Novel of the Ottoman Empire and House of Bathory by Linda Lafferty for $1+$1.99 each. The Drowning Guard is read by Suzanne Cypress: “Each morning in the hour before dawn, a silent boat launches on the Bosphorous, moving swiftly into the deepest part of the waters halfway between Europe and Asia, where a man will die…. In a gender reversal of Scheherazade in The Arabian Nights: Tales from a 1,001 Nights, Ottoman princess Esma Sultan seduces a different Christian lover each night, only to have him drowned in the morning. The Sultaness’s true passion burns only for the Christian-born soldier charged with carrying out her brutal nightly death sentence: her drowning guard, Ivan Postivich.” And House of Bathory is read by Kathleen Gati: “In the early 1600s, Elizabeth Báthory, the infamous Blood Countess, ruled Čachtice Castle in the hinterlands of Slovakia. During bizarre nightly rites, she tortured and killed the young women she had taken on as servants. A devil, a demon, the terror of Royal Hungary – she bathed in their blood to preserve her own youth. 400 years later, echoes of the Countess’s legendary brutality reach Aspen, Colorado. Betsy Path, a psychoanalyst of uncommon intuition, has a breakthrough with sullen teenager Daisy Hart. Together, they are haunted by the past, as they struggle to understand its imprint upon the present. Betsy and her troubled but perceptive patient learn the truth: The curse of the House of Bathory lives still and has the power to do evil even now.”
Fiction in translation: The Greenhouse by Audur Ava Olafsdottir, translated from the Icelandic by Brian FitzGibbon, read by Luke Daniels: “For Lobbi, the tragic passing of his mother proves to be a profound catalyst. Their shared love of tending rare roses in her greenhouse inspires him to leave his studies behind and travel to a remote village monastery to restore its once fabulous gardens. While transforming the garden under the watchful eye of a cinephile monk, he is surprised by a visit from Anna, a friend of a friend with whom he shared a fateful moment in his mother’s greenhouse, and the daughter they together conceived that night. In caring for both the garden and the little girl, Lobbi slowly begins to assume the varied and complex roles of a man: fatherhood with a deep relationship with his child, cooking, nurturing, and remaining also a son, brother, lover, and…a gardener. A story about the heartfelt search for beauty in life, The Greenhouse is a touching reminder of our ability to turn the small things in everyday life into the extraordinary.” And As Red as Blood (The Snow White Trilogy Book 1) by Salla Simukka, translated from the Finnish by Owen Witesman, read by Amy McFadden: “In the midst of the freezing Arctic winter, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson walks into her school’s dark room and finds a stash of wet, crimson-colored money. Thousands of Euros left to dry-splattered with someone’s blood. Lumikki lives alone in a studio apartment far from her parents and the past she left behind. She transferred into a prestigious art school, and she’s singularly focused on studying and graduating. Lumikki ignores the cliques, the gossip, and the parties held by the school’s most popular and beautiful boys and girls. But finding the blood-stained money changes everything. Suddenly, Lumikki is swept into a whirlpool of events as she finds herself helping to trace the origins of the money. Events turn even more deadly when evidence points to dirty cops and a notorious drug kingpin best known for the brutality with which he runs his business.” (Note: If you’re up for physical media, the MP3-CD is available at a fairly ridiculous $1.64, eligible for free shipping.)
YA: Deviants (The Dust Chronicles Book 1) and Compliance (The Dust Chronicles Book 2) by Maureen McGowan, read by Tara Sands for $2+$1.99 each: “The end of the world has come and gone. The Earth is buried in asteroid dust that mutates human DNA, and 16-year-old orphan Glory and her brother are among those affected. Glory’s got a secret: once she loses control of her emotions, the intensity of her gaze can kill. If her Deviant ability is discovered, she’ll be expunged – kicked out of the dome to be tortured and killed by the sadistic, scab-covered Shredders who are addicted to the lethal dust covering the planet. But no matter how much Glory wants to be rid of her unique ability to kill with her emotions, no matter how much she wishes she could be with Cal, a newly turned spy for the authorities, Glory will protect her younger brother at all costs. After Glory’s brother is discovered, she’s determined to get him to safety, but escaping the domed city that’s been her entire world is no easy task…even for a Deviant.”
Next, a crop of deals taken from Amazon.com’s Monthly Deals for $3.99 or Less:
Brilliance (The Brilliance Saga Book 1) and A Better World (The Brilliance Saga Book 2) by Marcus Sakey are $1.99+$1.99 each this month, read by Luke Daniels: “In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible by being where no one is looking. They’re called “brilliants,” and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in – and betray his own kind.”
Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities for $2.99+$3.99 read by John Lee for Tantor Audio: “In a garden sit the aged Kublai Khan and the young Marco Polo – Tartar emperor and Venetian traveler. Kublai Khan has sensed the end of his empire coming soon. Marco Polo diverts the emperor with tales of the cities he has seen in his travels around the empire: cities and memory, cities and desire, cities and designs, cities and the dead, cities and the sky, trading cities, hidden cities. Soon it becomes clear that each of these fantastic places is really the same place.”
Julian May’s The Many-Colored Land for $1.99+$3.99 read by Bernadette Dunne: “In the year 2034, Theo Quderian, a French physicist, made an amusing but impractical discovery: the means to use a one-way, fixed-focus time warp that opened into a place in the Rhone River valley during the idyllic Pliocene Epoch, six million years ago. But, as time went on, a certain usefulness developed. The misfits and mavericks of the future—many of them brilliant people—began to seek this exit door to a mysterious past. In 2110, a particularly strange and interesting group was preparing to make the journey—a starship captain, a girl athlete, a paleontologist, a woman priest, and others who had reason to flee the technological perfection of twenty-second-century life.”
Libba Bray’s The Diviners for $2.99+$3.99 read by January LaVoy, an Audie Award Nominee, Best Teens Category, 2013: “Something dark and evil has awakened…. Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City – and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.”
Anne McCaffrey’s The Skies of Pern for $1.99+$3.49 read by Dick Hill: “Now that Pern can look forward to a future without the threat of Threadfall, the people are free to leave their protective stone holds and spread across more of the planet, as well as improve their lives with the newly discovered ancient technology. Not everyone is happy, though. Some resist the change, and consider anything new to be an “abomination”. And the dragonriders are uncertain: without Thread, what will their purpose be in Pernese society? Then a new danger – again from the skies – looms. Once again, the people must pull together…And turn to the only ones who can solve the crisis: the dragonriders of Pern!”
And a Western: The Quick and the Dead by Louis L’Amour, read by Jason Culp for $1.99+$3.99 — “When Duncan McKaskel decided to move his family west, he knew he would face dangers, and he was prepared for them. He knew about the exhausting terrain, and he was expecting the punishing elements. What he worried about was having to use violence against other men – men who would follow him and try to steal the riches that he didn’t even possess. Yet bandits were only part of McKaskel’s worries. For a mysterious stranger, Con Vallian, had appeared one night and saved his life. But was Vallian’s true interest Duncan’s wife, Susanna? And, more important, how did she feel about him? As they push on into the wilderness, Duncan must discover who is the greater threat – the thieves outside his camp or the enigmatic stranger within.”
Penultimately, of course SF Signal’s monthly ebook deal roundup turns up some Whispersync deals as well:
Sacrament (read by Chris MacDonnell, “Will Rabjohns, perhaps the most famous wildlife photographer in the world, has made his reputation chronicling the fates of endangered species. But after a terrible accident, Will is left in a coma. And in its depths, he revisits the wildernesses of his youth and relives his life with a mysterious couple who have influenced his life as an artist and a man.”), Cabal (read by Chet Williamson, “Cabal is the story of Boone, a tortured soul haunted by the conviction that he has committed atrocious crimes. In a necropolis in the wilds of Canada, he seeks refuge and finds the last great creatures of the world – the shape-shifters known as the Nightbreed. They are possessed of unearthly powers-and so is Boone. In the hunt for Boone, they too will be hunted. Now only the courage of this strange human can save them from extinction. And only the undying passion of a woman can save Boone from his own corrupting hell…”), and The Hellbound Heart (read by Jeffrey Kafer, “Frank Cotton’s insatiable appetite for the dark pleasures of pain led him to the puzzle of Lemarchand’s box, and from there, to a death only a sick-minded soul could invent. But his brother’s love-crazed wife, Julia, has discovered a way to bring Frank back – though the price will be bloody and terrible…and there will certainly be hell to pay.”) by Clive Barker, all from Crossroad Press.
Outlander: A Novel (Outlander, Book 1) by Diana Gabaldon for $1.99+$3.99 read by Davina Porter: “This stunning blend of historical romance and time traveling adventure has captured the hearts of millions of readers around the world and catapulted author Diana Gabaldon to the top of the New York Times best seller list. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love. In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. Their blissful reunion is shattered when she touches a boulder in an ancient stone ruin and is instantly transported to 1743 Scotland, a place torn by war and raiding border clans. Will Claire find her way back to her own time, or is her destiny forever linked with Clan MacKenzie and the gallant James Fraser?”
After the Downfall by Harry Turtledove for $299+$3.49 read by Eric Michael Summerer: “1945: Russian troops have entered Berlin, and are engaged in a violent orgy of robbery, rape, and revenge! Wehrmacht officer Hasso Pemsel, a career soldier on the losing end of the greatest war in history, flees from a sniper’s bullet, finding himself hurled into a mysterious, fantastic world of wizards, dragons, and unicorns!”
Lilith: A Snake in the Grass (The Four Lords of the Diamond Book 1) (read by Kirby Heyborne, “Aliens are spying on Earth from one of the four worlds that make up the Warden Diamond. But it is impossible to send agents to any of the four worlds because of unique microscopic symbionts that make it impossible for visitors to leave the Diamond.”) and The River of Dancing Gods (read by Eric G. Dove, “Joe and Marge, minutes away from death, are rescued and brought from Earth to the magical world of Husaquahr by the wizard Throckmorton P. Ruddygore to battle the forces of Hell itself!”) by Jack L. Chalker for $3.99+$1.99 each.
The Last Dragonslayer: The Chronicles of Kazam, Book 1 by Jasper Fforde for $2.24+$3.99 read by Elizabeth Jasicki — “In the good old days, magic was indispensable – it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians – but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam – and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.”
Yarn by Jon Armstrong for $3.99+$3.99 read by Mark Boyett: “From the neo-feudalistic slubs and cornfields of his youth to his apprenticeship among the saleswarriors of Seattlehama – the sex-and-shopping capital of the world – to the rarefied heights of power that Tain now treads, Yarn takes its readers on a roller coaster ride through his life.”
A Gift Upon the Shore by M.K. Wren for $3.99+$1.99 read by Gabra Zackman: “A Gift Upon the Shore is a lyrical, haunting story of two women, an artist and a writer, surviving in a dark near future. Driven by rich and fully drawn characters, this is a powerful, compelling story of a friendship that survives the devastation, only to face a more difficult test from the gift found upon the shore It is also about remaining human under the worst of conditions, and the humanizing influence of books and art, even when their existence is threatened.”
Metrophage (read by Peter Ganim) and Aloha from Hell (Sandman Slim Book 3) and Kill the Dead: A Sandman Slim Novel by Richard Kadrey for $3.99+$3.99 each — Metrophage is his cult dystopian cyberpunk classic, and if you aren’t listening to MacLeod Andrews read Sandman Slim go ahead and jump in. There’s more.
The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein for $1.99+$3.49 read by Lloyd James — “First came the news that a flying saucer had landed in Iowa. Then came the announcement that the whole thing was a hoax. End of story. Case closed.”
Dragon Keeper (Rain Wilds Chronicles, Vol. 1): Volume One of the Rain Wilds Chronicles ($1.99+$2.99 read by Anne Flosnik) and Assassin’s Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) ($1.99+$4.95 read by Paul Boehmer) by Robin Hobb — two entry points to Hobb’s epic fantasy.
Night Watch: Book One by Sergei Lukyanenko for $1.99+$3.99 read by Paul Michael — “Set in modern day Moscow, Night Watch is a world as elaborate and imaginative as Tolkien or the best Asimov. Living among us are the “Others”, an ancient race of humans with supernatural powers who swear allegiance to either the Dark or the Light. A thousand-year treaty has maintained the balance of power, and the two sides coexist in an uneasy truce. But an ancient prophecy decrees that one supreme “Other” will rise up and tip the balance, plunging the world into a catastrophic war between the Dark and the Light.”
The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe for $1.99+$3.99 read by Bianca Amato, Elizabeth Sastre, and Rich Orlow — “Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Lora’s been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she’s far more than what she seems. England, 1915. Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England’s southern coast. Iverson’s eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen. And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny. Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper-a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is.”
Dreamer: A Novel Of the Silent Empire (for $0.99+$1.99), Trickster: A Novel of the Silent Empire, Nightmare (The Silent Empire Book 2), and Offspring: A Novel of the Silent Empire by Steven Harper for $2.99+$1.99 each read by P.J. Ochlan for Audible: “It is through first contact with an alien species that humanity learns of the Dream. It is a plane of mental existence where people are able to communicate by their thoughts alone – over distances of thousands of light-years. To ensure that future generations will have this ability, human genetic engineering produces newborns capable of finding and navigating the Dream. They become known as the Silent. Rust is just one planet among many in the Empire of Human Unity. It’s nothing special, nothing unusual…except for the fact that it is home to an unknown boy who may be the most powerful Silent telepath ever born – a Silent with the ability to possess the bodies of others against their will. This mysterious child may be causing tremors within the Dream itself.”
The Light Fantastic (Discworld Book 2) by Terry Pratchett, read by Nigel Planer for $3.99+$3.49 — Surely this series doesn’t need much introduction, but it’s hilarious fantasy, read so marvelously well. (It’s a pity that book one isn’t also Whispersync enabled, as it’s also on sale in Kindle this month.)
Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin for $2.99+$3.99 read by Alyssa Bresnahan — “Highly acclaimed author Ursula K. Le Guin lends a resonant voice to a pivotal yet often overlooked character of Virgil’s The Aeneid. Born into peace and freedom, Lavinia is stunned to learn that she will be the cause of a great war – or so the prophecies and omens claim. Her fate is sealed, however, when she meets a man from Troy.”
Whew! I’m going to go ahead and publish what I have so far as those first deals expire on March 11 (tomorrow!) and I know I’ll be back here to update on or a bit after March 13 anyway. Clive Barker fans should definitely come back later in the month!
UPDATE FRIDAY MARCH 13:
When I told you I had an update waiting for March 13, it was because Crossroad Press publisher David Niall Wilson had given me a heads up that Clive Barker’s Books of Blood: Volume 2 would be dropping to $0.99 on Kindle, making it (at $0.99+$1.99) under $3 for the audiobook. As it happens, the other books in the series (narrated by a fantastic all-star cast, by the by) are also via Whispersync a sizable discount on the retail/credit price at Audible (either $3.99+$1.99 or $4.99+$1.99 each). So here you go. (Note however that books 3, 4, and 5 currently don’t show as Whispersync enabled, so I’m not including them here at this time.)
And! I stumbled my way through a huge list of “Free on Kindle” titles which have dirt-cheap Whispersync upgrades as well; here they are in gallery style:
UPDATE 3/14: One more #FreeKindle #WhispersyncDeal and one more that’s $0.99+$1.99: