Nancy Kress’ Nebula Award–winning novella Yesterday’s Kin grew into a trilogy of the same name, beginning with the expansion of this work into the novel Tomorrow’s Kin. The first third of this expansion is the previously published story of visitors from another planet coming to Earth, and the rest of the book covers the ten years following their departure—including the aftermath of the imminent event of which the aliens warned the people of Earth before they left. It shows how it hit some parts of the world harder than others and its effects on the ecosystem, and it also explores various societal attitudes toward the aliens with many blaming the messengers as the cause of the changes that succeeded their warning.

Beginning shortly after the end of the first book in the series, If Tomorrow Comes is a story of survival and adaptation that is mostly set on the visitors’ planet, now commonly known as Kindred. The United States has completed their starship and gathered a group of ambassadors, military personnel, and scientists—including Marianne Jenner, the main protagonist in Tomorrow’s Kin—to travel to Kindred with the goal of setting up diplomatic and trade relations with its people. Unfortunately, the US was not the only country to successfully build a ship capable of traveling to this solar system: the Russians, who suffered greater losses than most and are among those who hold a grudge against the aliens as the bearers of bad news, arrive and destroy the other country’s ship. Only eight of the crew from the US manage to escape via shuttle and remain alive after reaching the planet’s surface. There, they learn that the Russian ship also attacked three of Kindred’s four major cities, killing about one fifth of its people and ruining many of their hospitals and research centers—plus their own starship.

With most of their contingent dead and no ship to transport them back to Earth, this small group’s focus turns to survival: their own, as their bodies have to undergo the unpleasant process of adjusting so they can breathe the planet’s air and eat its food, but mainly that of Kindred’s people. During their space voyage, they unexpectedly jumped fourteen years and landed on the planet shortly before they will encounter the same event that had such a drastic impact on Earth. However, this will have far more dire consequences for Kindred since most of their people will not survive unless scientists can find a solution quickly—but not everyone from Earth wants to make saving the planet’s people their new mission…

Although I found If Tomorrow Comes to be perfectly readable and interesting, I did not find it as thoroughly engrossing as Tomorrow’s Kin (especially the part composed of Yesterday’s Kin, which remains the highlight of the series thus far). The ideas and science fiction elements were easily the best parts, from the exploration of how Kindred’s almost idyllic society could have come into existence to the integration of science. Yet, the novel’s execution could have been stronger in many ways, especially when it came to its characters.

The most fascinating aspect was Kindred itself: the development of the world and how its people were both similar to and different from Earth’s when faced with the looming potential end of their civilization. Even before twenty percent of their people were killed, they had relatively few people compared to Earth, all of whom lived on one continent with one culture and one government. With their smaller population and land mass, their survival has always been precarious, and a woman who led them centuries ago instituted a peaceful but strictly regulated way of life—traditionally matriarchal due to her influence—that they continue to follow. They are particularly cognizant of protecting Mother World and her resources, and they do not have a military. No one is hungry or homeless since their large family groups tend to ensure everyone is provided for, plus they distribute their wealth. Though Kindred is more harmonious than Earth, its people are not perfect and it’s not a utopia, however. Crime rates are low, but crime does exist—and the threat of extinction has a way of shaking people up, with some of the people of Kindred resenting their visitors for the other ship’s destruction of their cities.

As captivating as I found the worldbuilding, I would have liked to have been shown more of Kindred. The story is primarily centered on people from Earth, both those who recently arrived and those who chose to leave Earth on the alien starship years before, and most information about the planet is conveyed through the former explaining it to the newcomers instead of seeing it firsthand. They do, of course, interact and work with some of the local people and even meet a leader known as the Mother of Mothers, but most of their time on the planet is confined to a small area in which they conduct scientific research or a survival bunker begun by some of Earth’s former residents. These limitations do make sense since part of the conflict revolves around differences between the surviving military personnel, who want the others to remain in a secure area they can protect, and the civilians, who believe they are overreacting and want freedom to move as they please, but I would have preferred to learn less about Kindred through conversation and more through observation.

The biggest weakness, in my opinion, is that it follows a lot of characters without providing enough development for most of them. The most central character was the most interesting to read about and the only one who had an at all satisfying character arc: Leo, a marksman recruited for the expedition to Kindred. He’s an optimist who tries to make the best of the situation when they are stranded on Kindred, doing his best to learn their language and understand their culture. He believes the best course of action is to work with Kindred’s local police, and he grapples with decisions related to loyalty, obedience to authority, and the greater good throughout the course of the novel.

The other characters were not as well done. I did love Isabelle, a smart, compassionate woman gifted at understanding people’s perspectives and mediating disputes, but I was disappointed that she went from briefly being a viewpoint character to being viewed through the eyes of others: mainly through the eyes of the two men involved in a love triangle with her that I really could have done without. (That said, I did rather like that another potential budding romance became a close platonic friendship instead.) Her thirteen-year-old nephew who has spent most of his life on Kindred is another major character and succeeds at being both the most unlikable and the least interesting: he convinces himself that he has an important role in saving civilization that justifies being unethical, beginning with stealing and leading to far more despicable actions. It also follows a doctor from Earth and the previously mentioned protagonist of the previous book, neither of whom seem as prominent as the others and have “big moments” toward the end that are not particularly satisfactory for different reasons.

However, Marianne’s story especially ties into a component I rather enjoyed: the incorporation of science. This is science fiction in which science isn’t just some abstract concept that allows starships to travel to distant planets but is also a problem solving tool. When their plans for remaining on Kindred for a short term go awry, the survivors from Earth use scientific knowledge to determine the best way to adjust. The search for a solution to Kindred’s problem shows the scientific process, the frustration of waiting for an outcome then hopefully trying yet again and the exuberance that comes with seeing results. Science itself is a hero in this story that makes progress possible.

If Tomorrow’s Kin has some flaws, including some of the execution of the resolution and those previously discussed, but it has its strengths as well and offers an intriguing look at how a society like Kindred’s could have come to be—and how they could have reacted to an existential threat. Although I didn’t find it as compulsively readable as the previous volume, I am looking forward to continuing the story in Terran Tomorrow (coming November 2018).

My Rating: 7/10

Where I got my reading copy: Finished copy from the publisher.

Read an Excerpt from If Tomorrow Comes

Previous Related Reviews:

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I discuss books I got over the last week—old or new, bought or received in the mail for review consideration (often these are unsolicited books from publishers). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

Last week brought a fantasy debut that sounds excellent, but first, here’s my latest review in case you missed it last week:

  • Review of Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence — Although I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as Red Sister, I still loved it, especially the second half. I’m invested in the characters, and I also appreciated that it had characters with a variety of strengths and nuns who were badass in different ways.

Now, on to the latest book mail!

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Tasha Suri’s debut novel will be released on November 13 in the US (trade paperback, ebook) and on November 15 in the UK.

I’ve been intrigued by Empire of Sand since I first heard of it earlier this year so I was pretty thrilled when I opened a mystery book package and found a copy of it!

 

A nobleman’s daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods. Empire of Sand is Tasha Suri’s captivating, Mughal India-inspired debut fantasy.

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.

When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.

Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

Empire of Sand is a lush, dazzling fantasy novel perfect for readers of City of Brass and The Wrath & the Dawn.

Additional Book(s):

International bestselling author Mark Lawrence’s most recent novel, Grey Sister, is the second installment in the Book of the Ancestor trilogy. The previous volume, Red Sister, was one of the most engaging books I read last year largely because I was so invested in the main character and her story (and the fact that it revolved around a group of badass nuns also certainly worked in its favor!). Though I didn’t find Grey Sister quite as compelling as the first, I did love it as well and could hardly put it down throughout the exciting second half.

Other than the future timeline continued in the prologue and epilogue and the first chapter set toward the end of the previous book, Grey Sister takes place about two years after the end of Red Sister, beginning with Nona’s advancement to Mystic Class. Within the walls of the convent, she must contend with a secret that would surely get her expelled if it were discovered, a highborn novice whose mission in life appears to be getting Nona into trouble, and her upcoming Shade Trial—which seems an impossible feat for someone with Nona’s distinct eyes and lack of a shadow, as it requires hiding in plain sight among her classmates.

Meanwhile, neither the influential Tacsis family nor their hired assassins have forgotten their vendetta against Nona, and those in power are becoming increasingly desperate as the ice extends further into the narrow corridor around the world’s equator. Aristocrats are hatching plans involving using the Church of the Ancestor as their pawn, but farsighted Abbess Glass has a plan of her own—a plan that leads Nona into great danger outside the convent…

Red Sister was one of my two favorite books of 2017, so of course Grey Sister was one of this year’s releases I was most looking forward to reading. Though I loved it as well, I thought the first book was stronger and found the first half of Grey Sister surprisingly easy to put down compared to the previous novel. It was certainly readable with some compelling parts, such as the Shade Trial and the mystery surrounding Abbess Glass’ plot, but it was also unevenly paced with too much focus given to the petty, uninteresting novice who was hostile toward Nona. Many of the secondary characters could have been better developed, and the writing was occasionally awkwardly phrased (plus there were quite a few typos)—although there was also more of the great dialogue often tinged with humor as in the first book, even if it didn’t seem quite as sharply honed to me.

Yet the second part was more consistently intriguing and kept me turning the pages to find out what happened to the characters I’ve become so invested in: Nona, Abbess Glass, Jole, and a certain Grey Sister I’m going to avoid naming because it’s a bit of a spoiler. It contained some phenomenal scenes with fighting and magic, and I particularly enjoyed the theme of strength and power taking a variety of forms. Best of all, I found Grey Sister to be a book I kept thinking about long after I put it down, wondering what happens next and speculating about happenings in the future timeline. Even though I felt it could have used a bit more polish, Grey Sister also stuck with me more than most of the books I read.

Grey Sister reveals more about the Missing, the people who lived on the planet before the four tribes arrived on their ships, but also leaves plenty of questions surrounding them unanswered. It also has more focus on the Noi-Guin assassins, and as can be gleaned from the title, Sisters of Discretion with one of the more prominent characters being a Grey Sister who comes to Nona’s aid. Grey Sisters are just as deadly as the warrior order of Red Sisters, but more of their work is done from the shadows and their weapons of choice tend toward poisons, traps, and throwing stars. Nona herself does not have the subtlety of a Sister of Discretion, but like all novices, she takes Shade classes and her story also ties into learning more about the Grey Sisters. After she’s moved to Mystic Class, she faces the challenge of the Shade Trial in which the goal is to retrieve a box and open it—without being challenged by any of her classmates waiting in the vicinity knowing she’ll be attempting to do exactly that.

The school setting with its classes and array of nuns is fun, and I appreciate how the different powers are handled. Though Nona is unusually powerful even compared to most (but not all!) of the novices, she isn’t automatically the best at everything and some types of magic come to her more easily than others since the range of abilities is vast. Large, forceful, destructive magic comes more naturally to Nona than that requiring delicacy and patience, but when she succeeds, it isn’t always entirely due to her power (though it certainly helps!). As in the first book, she tends to excel by thinking outside the box and knowing herself and how to best use her strengths to her advantage. Yet no matter how powerful a single individual is, big changes ultimately come from people working together—and even with smart ideas and immense magics, Nona still would not have made it out of most of her most major or minor scrapes without her friends and the supportive bonds between them.

There are nuns who expertly wield weapons or extraordinary magic, but many are Holy Sisters who simply serve the Ancestor, including the head of the convent. Throughout Grey Sister, there are several sections following Abbess Glass as she sets a plan in motion, though the precise details are not revealed until later. The abbess is a fascinating women who does not possess flashy abilities but is still a total badass: she does not need to know how to handle cold steel because she is made of steel. Abbess Glass is politically savvy with an understanding of people, and she takes great personal risks and faces the consequences with unwavering courage and a cool demeanor.

An overarching theme is that there is a time for being upfront and forceful and one for fine-tuned deception, and despite all the violence and physical combat, there’s also an emphasis on inner strength. Abbess Glass is the obvious example of this, but though she makes mistakes at times, Nona also faces a challenge that shows some inner strength: restraining her rage when others are tempting her to give in to it and remaining steadfast in her conviction that friendship doesn’t make her weak. She’s the type of person who hates and loves with all of her heart, and although expressing hatred comes more naturally to her than love as she’s not the type to dwell on sentimentality, her actions speak volumes—she doesn’t think twice about putting herself in harm’s way when a friend needs her.

Even if I didn’t think Grey Sister was quite up to the high standard set by Red Sister, especially during the first half or so, I enjoyed reading it—and pondering it afterward—immensely. It contained a plethora of intriguing characters, and I’m looking forward to reading more about them in Holy Sister next year.

My Rating: 8/10

Where I got my reading copy: Finished copy from the publisher.

Read an Excerpt from Grey Sister

Reviews of Previous Books in the Book of the Ancestor Trilogy:

  1. Red Sister

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I discuss books I got over the last week—old or new, bought or received in the mail for review consideration (often these are unsolicited books from publishers). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

There are just a couple of books this week—one of which I’m very curious about!—but first, here’s the latest book review since the last one of these posts in case you missed it:

  • Jade City (The Green Bone Saga #1) by Fonda Lee — I’m still catching up on some reviews from last year and intended to try to get caught up by just writing individual mini reviews of the books I read last year that I liked, including this one. That didn’t exactly work out since I ended up writing a lot about Jade City, which has a fantastic setting and interesting characters but was slow enough at times that I considered not finishing it. However, I found myself unexpectedly invested in the characters and their stories by the end.

And now, recent books in the mail!

Outcasts of Order by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

Outcasts of Order (The Saga of Recluce #20) by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

The twentieth book in The Saga of Recluce series, which is also the second book focusing on Beltur’s story after it began with The Mongrel Mage, is available now (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).

Tor.com has an excerpt from Outcasts of Order.

 

Modesitt continues his bestselling Saga of Recluce with his 20th book in the long-running series. Beltur began his journey in The Mongrel Mage and continues with Outcasts of Order, the next book of his story arc in the Saga of Recluce.

Beltur, an Order mage, discovers he possesses frightening powers not seen for hundreds of years. With his new abilities, he survives the war in Elparta and saves the lives of all. However, victory comes with a price. His fellow mages now see him as a threat to be destroyed, and the local merchants want to exploit his power.

There’s only one way he can remain free and survive―he’s going to have to run.

Saga of Recluce

#1 The Magic of Recluce / #2 The Towers of Sunset / #3 The Order War / #4 The Magic Engineer / #5 The Death of Chaos / #6 Fall of Angels / #7 The Chaos Balance / #8 The White Order / #9 Colors of Chaos / #10 Magi’i of Cyador / #11 Scion of Cyador / #12 Wellspring of Chaos / #13 Ordermaster / #14 Natural Order Mage / #15 Mage-Guard of Hamor / #16 Arms-Commander / #17 Cyador’s Heirs / #18 Heritage of Cyador /#19 The Mongrel Mage / #20 Outcasts of Order

Story Collection: Recluce Tales

Additional Book(s):

* This sounds very intriguing and I already highlighted it in one of these features earlier this year and covered it on my Anticipated 2018 Speculative Fiction Releases list at the beginning of this year.

Book Description:

FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.

Magical jade—mined, traded, stolen, and killed for—is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. For centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.

Jade City begins an epic tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.

Jade City, Fonda Lee’s third book and the first installment of The Green Bone Saga trilogy, was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel and is also one of this year’s finalists for the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Its secondary fantasy world is richly drawn and detailed, and the themes of family and legacy are seamlessly woven into the challenges the main characters face as the grandchildren of the founder of one of the city’s two major clans. Though these are strongly done, I did consider not finishing the book a few times due to the slow pacing—but when I reached the end, I realized I’d unexpectedly become rather attached to the main protagonists.

The highlight of Jade City is its fantastic setting, which comes to life through both larger aspects and smaller touches such as the holidays and food. The fictional world is partially inspired by late twentieth century Asian history and has technology that is roughly equivalent to that of the 1970s, such as telephones, automobiles, planes, and televisions. It’s primarily centered on a single city on an island, yet it still gives a sense of there being much more to this world than this one area. It’s a land with vibrant history tied to religious traditions: Kekon has a large jade deposit, said to bring the people closer to the gods who left it there long ago. This jade gives some people of the island powers, and with the proper training they can master kung-fu-like abilities such as moving quickly, deflecting bullets, and making gravity-defying leaps. It’s largely because of these Green Bone warriors that the Kekonese people were able to defeat the foreigners who had colonized their island. After the fight for independence was over, two influential war heroes had a disagreement about whether or not to open their island up to the world and divided into two clans.

Jade City is largely a family saga about the youngest Kauls, the grandchildren of one of these men: how they navigate the violence and danger resulting from the life their grandfather built, how they respond to the changing times, and how they deal with the threat of war with the other major clan in their city. There’s a focus on legacy, as the first leaders of these clans no longer have control over them and the next generation may take them in directions of which they would not approve. In the case of the Kaul family, they have always been expected to take on certain roles that may or may not be a good fit for them, and they are all fascinating characters who deal with their parts in different ways.

Lan, the oldest, is now the Pillar of the clan like his grandfather once was, and his elderly grandfather never lets him forget that he’s not the man his deceased father was. He’s a thoughtful person who made a good peacetime Pillar but may not have the ruthlessness required to successfully lead the clan if it comes to war, and he struggles with finding the line between compassion and strength as the head of the clan. Lan was immediately my favorite character since I particularly enjoy reading about reflective people trying to do their best in difficult circumstances, especially when they’re in a role that doesn’t necessarily come naturally to them.

Hilo, his younger brother, is their war leader and their grandfather has always been hardest on him even though he’s the one who seems most devoted to the clan. He’s a hot-tempered, emotional, passionate person who is a great fighter but can be too impulsive. Though Hilo is the most predictable of the characters, I also thought he was the most fleshed out of all and had some interesting complexity when it came to leading. He’s excellent at looking at those under his leadership as individuals and inspiring loyalty, but he doesn’t seem to be able to care enough to apply the same principles to individuals when it might be in his best interest to try to be diplomatic.

Shae, their sister, was always their grandfather’s favorite and was expected to head the business side of the clan, but after graduating from the academy, she left the country with a foreign man. She returns to her homeland at the beginning of the novel after having completed business school and broken up with her boyfriend, but she’s determined to forge her own path without jade or the help of the Kaul family name. Shae’s view shows the difficulties that women face in becoming Green Bone warriors: though there are some women in the clan, they often have to work harder to achieve their goals. After having finished Jade City, I found Shae’s story to be the one I’m most looking forward to continuing in the next book since it ends up going in some interesting directions, and she also proves to be rather sharp.

Anden, the youngest, is usually referred to as the Kaul sibling’s cousin, and Lan took him into the family after his parents died. He’s nearing the end of training at the academy and has a natural mastery of jade, but he has concerns that having his mother’s affinity for being a Green Bone warrior means he also inherited the same difficulties with handling jade that led to her death. Of the four main perspectives, Anden’s is the most heartfelt. He feels like an outsider in many ways since he was not born into the Kaul family plus he’s biracial and gay, and the other students remind him frequently that his father was not Kekonese.

The characters have flaws but they also make decisions that seem reasonable given their circumstances and personalities, and there are consequences including bad things happening to main characters. Though it’s mainly focused on the Kaul family, there are occasionally other viewpoints, and there are also some intriguing glimpses of some of those who do not get much page time or their own perspectives. I’m particularly interested in learning more about the Pillar of the other major clan since she is coldblooded and ruthless but also has explanations for her actions that make sense.

While the world is amazing and the main characters are well developed, I found the writing and plot to be weaker aspects of the novel. The plot hinges around the introduction of the drug shine, which allows even those without Kekonese blood to use jade, and focuses on the threat of conflict with the other clan. There are some great scenes involving fights, politicking, and talking—but there are also some rather dull parts involving fights, politicking, and talking. The narrative is filled with flashbacks and explanations showing every little relevant detail and thought without leaving much to the imagination, which does show a clear picture but also doesn’t leave much room for subtlety. Although I did find the history interesting and especially enjoyed the brief interludes about the gods and heroes of old, there are also times it provided too much information such as the rules of playing a sport that wasn’t relevant other than to let us know that sporting events existed. In addition to being a little too straightforward at times, the narrative was also sometimes a little stilted with short sentences. However, the prose did occasionally contain some nicely phrased lines, and I did think that the dialogue was smooth and natural.

As a whole, I thought Jade City seemed like a lengthy prologue as it introduced the world and characters and got various players into place, and I did consider putting it and starting another book on multiple occasions. However, I did finish it—and once I reached the end, I found myself far more invested in these characters than I’d initially thought and eager to continue their stories in Jade War (scheduled for release in 2019).

My Rating: 7/10

Where I got my reading copy: ARC from the publisher.

Read an Excerpt from Jade City

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I discuss books I got over the last week—old or new, bought or received in the mail for review consideration (often these are unsolicited books from publishers). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I spent last weekend working on another blog post. In case you missed it, here are the new blog posts since the last one of these features:

And now, the latest books in the mail!

A Gift of Griffins by V. M. Escalada

A Gift of Griffins (Faraman Prophecy #2) by V. M. Escalada

This epic fantasy novel will be released on August 7 (hardcover, ebook). The publisher’s website has an excerpt from Halls of Law, the first book in the series.

 

The second book in the Faraman Prophecy epic fantasy series returns to a world of military might and magical Talents as Kerida Nast continues the quest to save her nation.

Kerida Nast and her companions have succeeded in finding Jerek Brightwing, the new Luqs of Farama, and uniting him with a part of his Battle Wings, but not all their problems have been solved. Farama is still in the hands of the Halian invaders and their Shekayrin, and it’s going to take magical as well as military strength to overcome them.

Unexpected help comes from Bakura, the Princess Imperial of the Halians, whose Gifts have been suppressed.  As the Voice of her brother the Sky Emperor she has some political power over the Halian military, and she will use it to aid the Faramans, if Kerida can free her from what she sees as a prison. But whether Kerida can help the princess remains to be seen. If she succeeds, Bakura may prove their salvation. But should Kerida fail, all may be lost….

Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton

Salvation (Salvation Sequence #1) by Peter F. Hamilton

Peter F. Hamilton’s upcoming novel, the first book in a new space opera series, will be released on September 4 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). The Verge has an excerpt from Salvation.

 

Humanity’s complex relationship with technology spirals out of control in this first book of an all-new series from “the owner of the most powerful imagination in science fiction” (Ken Follett).
 
In the year 2204, humanity is expanding into the wider galaxy in leaps and bounds. Cutting-edge technology of linked jump gates has rendered most forms of transportation—including starships—virtually obsolete. Every place on Earth, every distant planet humankind has settled, is now merely a step away from any other. All seems wonderful—until a crashed alien spaceship of unknown origin is found on a newly located world eighty-nine light-years from Earth, carrying a cargo as strange as it is horrifying. To assess the potential of the threat, a high-powered team is dispatched to investigate.  But one of them may not be all they seem. . . .

Bursting with tension and big ideas, Peter F. Hamilton’s Salvation is the first book of an all-new series that highlights the inventiveness of an author at the top of his game.

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman

This trade paperback edition of Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders is available now. The recently released movie How to Talk to Girls at Parties starring Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning was based on a short story in this collection with the same title.

The publisher’s website has a sample from Fragile Things.

 

Two teenage boys crash a party and meet the girls of their dreams—and nightmares . . .

A mysterious circus terrifies an audience for one extraordinary performance before disappearing into the night . . .

In a Hugo Award–winning story, a great detective must solve a most unsettling royal murder in a strangely altered Victorian England . . .

These marvelous creations and more showcase the unparalleled invention and storytelling brilliance—and the terrifyingly dark and entertaining wit—of the incomparable Neil Gaiman. By turns delightful, disturbing, and diverting, Fragile Things is a gift of literary enchantment from one of the most original writers of our time.

Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg

Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg

This debut novel will be released on June 26 (hardcover, ebook).

 

A love story set in the eighteenth-century London of notorious thieves and queer subcultures, this genre-bending debut tells a profound story of gender, desire, and liberation.

Jack Sheppard and Edgeworth Bess were the most notorious thieves, jailbreakers, and lovers of eighteenth-century London. Yet no one knows the true story; their confessions have never been found.

Until now. Reeling from heartbreak, a scholar named Dr. Voth discovers a long-lost manuscript—a gender-defying exposé of Jack and Bess’s adventures. Dated 1724, the book depicts a London underworld where scamps and rogues clash with the city’s newly established police force, queer subcultures thrive, and ominous threats of the Plague abound. Jack—a transgender carpenter’s apprentice—has fled his master’s house to become a legendary prison-break artist, and Bess has escaped the draining of the fenlands to become a revolutionary.

Is Confessions of the Fox an authentic autobiography or a hoax? Dr. Voth obsessively annotates the manuscript, desperate to find the answer. As he is drawn deeper into Jack and Bess’s tale of underworld resistance and gender transformation, it becomes clear that their fates are intertwined—and only a miracle will save them all.

Confessions of the Fox is, at once, a work of speculative historical fiction, a soaring love story, a puzzling mystery, an electrifying tale of adventure and suspense, and an unabashed celebration of sex and sexuality. Writing with the narrative mastery of Sarah Waters and the playful imagination of Nabokov, Jordy Rosenberg is an audacious storyteller of extraordinary talent.