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 consideration. 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.

Epic: Legends of Fantasy Edited By John Joseph Adams

Epic: Legends of Fantasy edited by John Joseph Adams

This anthology is quite well-named since the list of authors with stories in it is rather epic: Robin Hobb, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, N. K. Jemisin, Brandon Sanderson, Kate Elliott, Patrick Rothfuss, Tad Williams, Mary Robinette Kowal, Juliet Marillier, Michael Moorcock, Aliette de Bodard, Paolo Bacigalupi, Orson Scott Card, Melanie Rawn, Carrie Vaughn, and Trudi Canavan. It also includes a foreword by Brent Weeks and an introduction by the editor. The table of contents with the title of each story is listed on the book page on the publisher’s website (I do recognize some of these from other publications so it’s worth checking out the list to see if you have the stories already). This includes a story set in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire world, one set in Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings, one set in N. K. Jemisin’s world from her Dreamblood duology, and some others in familiar settings.

Epic: Legends of Fantasy is available now in trade paperback and ebook. If you want to sample a story from it, “The Narcomancer” by N. K. Jemisin is available to read online.

There is a sickness in the land. Prophets tell of the fall of empires, the rise of champions. Great beasts stir in vaults beneath the hills, beneath the waves. Armies mass. Gods walk. The world will be torn asunder.

Epic fantasy is storytelling at its biggest and best. From the creation myths and quest sagas of ancient times to the mega-popular fantasy novels of today, these are the stories that express our greatest hopes and fears, that create worlds so rich we long to return to them again and again, and that inspire us with their timeless values of courage and friendship in the face of ultimate evil—tales that transport us to the most ancient realms, and show us the most noble sacrifices, the most astonishing wonders.

Now acclaimed editor John Joseph Adams (Wastelands, The Living Dead) brings you seventeen tales by today’s leading authors of epic fantasy, including George R. R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire), Ursula K. Le Guin (Earthsea), Robin Hobb (Realms of Elderlings), Kate Elliott (Crown of Stars), Tad Williams (Of Memory, Sorrow & Thorn), Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle), and more.

Return again to lands you’ve loved, or visit magical new worlds. Victory against the coming darkness is never certain, but one thing’s for sure—your adventure will be epic.

The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

This young adult fantasy will be available in hardcover and ebook in January 2013. This is a debut novel, and it was a finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award in 2010.

This is the first I’d heard about this book, but I’m really curious about it now (if more than a little skeptical about the comparison to George R. R. Martin that is becoming so common now).

Tamora Pierce meets George R. R. Martin in this smart, political, medieval fantasy-thriller.

There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown’s inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.

The Annotated Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

The Annotated Sword of Shannara (35th Anniversary Edition) by Terry Brooks

The first of many Shannara books was first released 35 years ago. On November 13, a new hardcover edition will be available that contains annotations and an introduction by the author. This edition is also available for preorder as an ebook and audiobook.


Thirty-five years ago, Terry Brooks brought to life a dazzling world in The Sword of Shannara. Fourteen more Shannara volumes would follow, making the series one of the most popular fantasy epics of all time. Now comes a fully annotated collector’s edition of the novel that started it all—featuring never-before-shared insights into the classic tale, an all-new introduction by the New York Times bestselling author, and replica sketches of some of the long-lost paintings and color plates by the Brothers Hildebrandt that decorated the original edition.

Long ago, wars ravaged the world. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles. Then the giant, forbidding Allanon reveals that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord is plotting to destroy everything in his wake. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness is the Sword of Shannara, which can be used only by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the bloodline, rests the hope of all the races.

Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of evil forces, flies into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save his home, Shea must flee, drawing the Skull Bearer after him in menacing pursuit.

Thus begins the enthralling Shannara epic, a spellbinding tale of adventure, magic, and myth.

The Six-Gun Tarot by R. S. Belcher

The Six-Gun Tarot by R. S. Belcher

This debut novel will be available in hardcover and ebook in January 2013. The author won the Grand Prize in the Strange New Worlds SF-writing contest.

Buffy meets Deadwood in a dark, wildly imaginative historical fantasy

Nevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A banker’s wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyone’s business, may know more about the town’s true origins than he’s letting on.

A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn…and so will all of Creation.