March 1, 2021

Wings of Fury - Wings of Fury #1

@ Emily R. King (fantasy)

From Emily R. King, author of the Hundredth Queen series, comes an epic novel of ancient Greece, Titans and treachery, and the women who dare to rise up against the tyranny of the Golden Age.

My mother told me that men would speak about the Golden Age as a time of peace and happiness for all... However, the women of our age would tell a very different story...

Cronus, God of Gods, whose inheritance is the world. Among his possessions: women, imprisoned and fated to serve. The strong-minded Althea Lambros controls her own fate and lives to honor her dying mother’s plea to protect her two sisters at all costs. Althea’s journey toward crushing the tyranny has begun. It is a destiny foretold by the Fates. And she is following their visions.

On the southern isle of Crete, hidden among mortal women who have fled the Titans, is the Boy God, son of Cronus and believed dead. He shares Althea’s destiny to vanquish the Almighty — fate willing. Because Cronus has caught wind of the plot. He’s amassing his own forces against Althea’s righteous rebellion and all those who will no longer surrender or run. There will be war. If she’s to survive to write their history, the indomitable Althea must soar higher than any god.


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March 1, 2021

Chain of Iron - The Last Hours #2

@ Cassandra Clare (fantasy, young adult)

The Shadowhunters must catch a killer in Edwardian London in this dangerous and romantic sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling novel Chain of Gold, from New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Cassandra Clare. Chain of Iron is a Shadowhunters novel.

Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade.

But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace.

Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.


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February 28, 2021

The Best of Elizabeth Hand

@ Elizabeth Hand (science fiction, fantasy, short stories)

Edited by Bill Sheehan.

In novels such as Mortal Love, Glimmering and Curious Toys, Elizabeth Hand has established herself as one of the most gifted, unclassifiable writers working in America today. Her equally brilliant short fiction has received numerous awards, setting a standard that few contemporary writers can match. The best of that fiction can be found in this generous, career-spanning volume that no one with an interest in imaginative fiction at its finest can afford to ignore.

The Best of Elizabeth Hand contains sixteen stories and novellas, along with an illuminating set of story notes. The collection opens with the World Fantasy Award-winning “Last Summer at Mars Hill,” a moving account of mortality and miracles set in a “spiritualist community” in Maine. It closes with another World Fantasy winner: Illyria, an achingly beautiful short novel that deals with family, youthful sexuality, the enduring love of theater, and the infinite vulnerability of magic in all its forms. In between these bookended moments lies a virtual treasure trove of Story.

“Pavane for a Prince of the Air” recounts, in unflinching detail, the gradual, painful dissolution of a human life. “The Bacchae” combines Greek myth with a dystopian world view that J.G. Ballard would have recognized and admired. The much anthologized “Cleopatra Brimstone” is a darkly brilliant account of trauma, revenge, and astonishing transformations. “The Have-Nots” is a charming departure in which a small-town Southern waitress receives an unexpected gift from the King himself, Elvis Presley.

Ten more memorable stories, four of them previously uncollected, round out this masterful collection. The Best of Elizabeth Hand delivers exactly what the title promises. The result is a veritable showcase by a uniquely gifted writer whose talent, commitment and singular vision are evident on every page. If you’re not yet a fan of Elizabeth Hand, this book will make you one. If you’re already a fan, then you know what to expect: strange, beautiful, sometimes terrifying stories that will linger in your mind for a very long time to come.

Contents:

  • Last Summer at Mars Hill
  • Pavane for a Prince of the Air
  • The Bacchae
  • Cleopatra Brimstone
  • Ghost Light
  • The Have-Nots
  • The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerphon
  • Eat the Wyrm
  • Fire

The Last Domain — Three Story Variations

  • Echo
  • The Saffron Gatherers
  • Kronia
  • Near Zennor
  • The Owl Count
  • The Least Trumps
  • Illyria

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February 28, 2021

The Best of Walter Jon Williams

@ Walter Jon Williams (science fiction, short stories)

Dust jacket illustration by Lee Moyer.

With the publication of his debut novel, The Privateer, in 1981, Walter Jon Williams began one of the most varied and prolific careers in contemporary popular fiction. His work encompasses cyberpunk (Hardwired), military SF (The Dread Empire’s Fall series), humor (The Crown Jewels), even disaster fiction (The Rift). But much of Williams’s best work takes place in the shorter forms, as this generous volume, filled to overflowing with award-winning and award-nominated stories, clearly proves.

With one exception, The Best of Walter Jon Williams reflects its author’s affection for — and mastery of — the novella form. That exception is “The Millennium Party,” a brief, brilliant account of a virtual anniversary celebration unlike any you have ever imagined. Elsewhere in the collection, Williams offers us one brilliantly sustained creation after another. The Nebula Award-winning “Daddy’s World” takes us into a young boy’s private universe, a world of seeming miracles that conceals a tragic secret. “Dinosaurs” is the far future account of the incredibly destructive relationship between the star-faring human race and the less evolved inhabitants of the planet Shar.

“Diamonds from Tequila” is a lovingly crafted example of SF Noir in which a former child actor attempts a comeback that proves unexpectedly dangerous. “Surfacing” is a tale of alienation featuring a research scientist more at home with the foreign and unfamiliar than with the members of his own species. Finally, the magisterial “Wall, Stone, Craft” offers a brilliantly realized alternate take on a young Mary Godwin, future creator of Frankenstein, and her relationships with the poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, culminating in the creation of a monster who would “stalk through the hearts of all the world.”

These stories, together with half a dozen equally substantial tales, are the clear product of a master craftsman with a seemingly limitless imagination. The Best of Walter Jon Williams is the capstone of a truly remarkable career. It’s the rare sort of book that the reader can return to again and again, finding new and unexpected pleasures every time out.

Contents:

  • Introduction by Daniel Abraham
  • Daddy’s World
  • The Golden Age
  • Dinosaurs
  • Surfacing
  • Video Star
  • The Millennium Party
  • The Bad Twin
  • The Green Leopard Plague
  • Diamonds from Tequila
  • Margaux
  • Prayers on the Wind
  • Wall, Stone, Craft
  • Story Notes

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February 23, 2021

Out Past the Stars - The Farian War #3

@ K. B. Wagers (science fiction, space opera)

Gunrunner empress Hail Bristol must navigate alien politics and deadly plots to prevent an interspecies war, in the epic conclusion to the Farian War space opera trilogy.

When Hail confronts the Farian gods, the last thing she expected was to discover that they were part of a race of aliens who'd attacked the galaxy long before humanity's ancestors had crawled out of the sludge of Earth's oceans.

The discovery carries with it dire news: The Hiervet, who'd once subjugated the mighty Svatir, are coming - a consequence of Hail's decision not to kill the Farian gods.

Now the fate of the galaxy is on the line and Hail will have to make one final gamble to leverage chaos into peace.


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