This was a very good week. I bought one book that I’ve been looking forward to for a while, and I got 5 review copies that all look wonderful! Half are fantasy, and the other half are science fiction books. Here’s some information on them in case you want to check any of them out.
The Scar by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko
This is a translation of a Russian fantasy novel written by a husband and wife. Sergey and Marina Dyachenko are very well-known in Russia and are considered Russia’s equivalent of George R. R. Martin or Philip K. Dick according to the press release that came with my copy of the book. The European Science Fiction Society awarded them as the best Author of Europe, and they have received 80 literary awards for their books and short stories. The Scar was the recipient of the Sword in the Stone award for best fantasy novel. This novel will be released on the US on February 28 and will be available in both hardcover and ebook formats. An excerpt is available on tor.com.
I was really excited when an unexpected copy of this book showed up in my mailbox this week because I have been curious about it since first hearing about it last year. Until seeing the press release that came with it, I didn’t realize just how well received work by the authors was in Europe. Now I’m really excited about reading it! I already had a plan for the next few books to review when this showed up, but I’m hoping maybe I can fit it in sometime over the next month or two.
Reaching far beyond sword and sorcery, The Scar is a story of two people torn by disaster, their descent into despair, and their reemergence through love and courage. Sergey and Marina Dyachenko mix dramatic scenes with romance, action and wit, in a style both direct and lyrical. Written with a sure artistic hand, The Scar is the story of a man driven by his own feverish demons to find redemption and the woman who just might save him.
Egert is a brash, confident member of the elite guards and an egotistical philanderer. But after he kills an innocent student in a duel, a mysterious man known as “The Wanderer” challenges Egert and slashes his face with his sword, leaving Egert with a scar that comes to symbolize his cowardice. Unable to end his suffering by his own hand, Egert embarks on an odyssey to undo the curse and the horrible damage he has caused, which can only be repaired by a painful journey down a long and harrowing path.
Plotted with the sureness of Robin Hobb and colored with the haunting and ominous imagination of Michael Moorcock, The Scar tells a story that cannot be forgotten.
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
The first book in the Crescent Moon Kingdoms series is a debut novel by an author whose short fiction is supposed to be excellent. From what I’ve been hearing, Saladin Ahemed’s first novel is excellent as well. I’ve been hearing so many good things that I actually ordered the hardcover instead of waiting for paperback, and I’m hoping to read it really soon.
Throne of the Crescent Moon is available both in hardcover and ebook formats. The first chapter can be read on the author’s website.
From Saladin Ahmed, finalist for the Nebula and Campbell Awards, comes one of the year’s most anticipated fantasy debuts, THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON, a fantasy adventure with all the magic of The Arabian Nights.
The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, land of djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, Khalifs and killers, is at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. It is up to a handful of heroes to learn the truth behind these killings:
Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, “The last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat,” just wants a quiet cup of tea. Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame’s family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter’s path.
Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla’s young assistant, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God’s justice. But even as Raseed’s sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.
Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the near-mythical power of the Lion-Shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man’s title. She lives only to avenge her father’s death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father’s killer. Until she meets Raseed.
When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince’s brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time–and struggle against their own misgivings–to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.
The Silent Tower by Barbara Hambly
This is the first book in the Windrose Chronicles and was originally published in the 1980s. Many of Barbara Hambly’s books are unfortunately out of print, but a lot of them came out as ebooks last year. This is one of them, along with Dragonsbane, which I reviewed last year when it was re-released. I loved the fact that the main character Jenny was not a traditional fantasy heroine – not young (she’s 37) or beautiful or a very powerful witch even. It also had a very memorable ending, and I really enjoyed what Hambly did with this story so I’m looking forward to reading more by her.
A sample from The Silent Tower is available on Amazon.
The Silent Tower has two sequels, The Silicon Mage and Dog Wizard. Both of these were also released as ebooks last year.
A wizard and a computer programmer from opposite sides of an interdimensional portal must work together to save their worlds from destruction
In a world where wizards are relegated to ghettos, it is no surprise to see one murdered in the street. But for Stonne Caris, a young warrior monk who sees the killing and gives chase to the culprit, there is nothing ordinary about seeing a murderer disappear into a black, inky portal. The Archmage sends him in search of Antryg Windrose—a half-mad mage who understands the nature of these passages between dimensions.
On the other side of the Void is Joanna, a programmer as mild as Caris is deadly. She has spent her life in cubicles, staring into computer terminals, as far from heroism as she can get. But when the power that is crossing between dimensions draws her through the Void, she finds herself battling to save a world she never even knew existed.
This Is Not a Game by Walter Jon Williams
This is the first book about Dagmar Shaw in a near future science fiction series. I’ve read one book by Williams, a space opera called The Praxis (review). I rather enjoyed it so when I was offered the chance to read the latest Dagmar Shaw book, I asked about whether it would stand alone well or not. I was told it was, but the publicist was kind enough to send me all three books in the series to check out. I love the sound of it since I like books about games, and I’ll be reading this one very soon! I’m also excited to read some more science fiction since I haven’t read as much of it the last couple of years. For a while I was reading nearly as much science fiction as fantasy so I’m looking forward to getting some more science fiction mixed in to my reading.
This Is Not a Game is available both as a paperback and ebook (the Kindle version is only $2.99 right now), and a preview can be read on Amazon.
IMAGINE A GAME WITH NO BOUNDARIES – WAITING IN A PARKING LOT, SITTING AT YOUR COMPUTER, WALKING DOWN THE STREET. YOU COULD BE CALLED AT ANY MOMENT – AND YOU’D BETTER BE READY.
THIS IS NOT A GAME.
THIS IS A NOVEL OF GREED, BETRAYAL, AND SOCIAL NETWORKING.
Deep State by Walter Jon Williams
Deep State is the second book about Dagmar Shaw, following This Is Not a Game. It’s available as a trade paperback and ebook, and a sample can be read on Amazon.
By day Dagmar Shaw orchestrates vast games with millions of players spanning continents. By night, she tries to forget the sound of a city collapsing in flames around her. She tries to forget the faces of her friends as they died in front of her. She tries to forget the blood on her own hands.
But then an old friend approaches Dagmar with a project. The project he pitches is so insane and so ambitious, she can’t possibly say no. But this new venture will lead her from the world of alternate-reality gaming to one even more complex. A world in which the players are soldiers and spies and the name of the game is survival.
The Fourth Wall by Walter Jon Williams
This is the third book about Dagmar Shaw, and it just came out this past week. It’s available in trade paperback and ebook, and the first chapter is available to read online.
Dagmar Shaw got out of the game… and into the movies.
Sean is a washed-up child actor reduced to the lowest dregs of reality television to keep himself afloat. His life was a downward spiral of alcoholism, regret, and failure… until he met Dagmar.
Except Sean has secrets, dark even for the Hollywood treadmill of abuse, addiction, and rehab. And Dagmar is a cipher. There are dark rumors about her past, the places she’s been, the things she was involved in. People tend to die around her and now, she wants Sean for something. A movie, she says, but with her history, who’s to say what her real game is?