The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review. 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.

The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

The Hydrogen Sonata (A Culture Novel) by Iain M. Banks

The tenth Culture novel was released in the US in hardcover and ebook on October 9, and it can also be found as an audiobook. It was released in the UK just a few days before that. The first chapter from The Hydrogen Sonata can be read on io9.

As of right now, I’ve read two Culture novels.  I LOVED The Player of Games and I also enjoyed Use of Weapons and have been meaning to read more of these books since then. The Hydrogen Sonata sounds especially interesting to me since it sounds like it will be delving more into the founding of the Culture.

The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.

An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they’ve made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.

Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted – dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago. It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous.

Bloodfire Quest by Terry Brooks

Bloodfire Quest (The Dark Legacy of Shannara #2) by Terry Brooks

This is the sequel to Wards of Faerie, the recently-released first book in this new trilogy. Each book in this series is going to be released six months apart with Bloodfire Quest on sale in March 2013. It will be released in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook. I can’t find a book description online for this one yet.

Hitman: Damnation by Raymond Benson

Hitman: Damnation by Raymond Benson

The prequel novel to the new game Hitman: Absolution will be released in mass market paperback and ebook on October 30. It’s written by Raymond Benson, who has written quite a few thrillers and was one of the authors of the official James Bond novels. The first 50 pages from Hitman: Damnation can be read online.

Since the devastating conclusion of Hitman: Blood Money, Agent 47 has been MIA. Now fans awaiting the return of the blockbuster videogame and film phenomenon can pinpoint the location of the world’s most brutal and effective killer-for-hire before he reemerges in Hitman: Absolution. When the Agency lures him back with a mission that will require every last ounce of his stealth, strength, and undercover tactics, they grossly underestimate the silent assassin’s own agenda. Because this time, Agent 47 isn’t just going to bite the hand that feeds him. He’s going tear it off and annihilate anyone who stands in his way.