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 (usually unsolicited). 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.

Quite a few books came in the mail last week, including some that have already been featured here—and one that has been featured here that I’m currently giving away…

Last week, Julie E. Czerneda discussed The Hair from her Clan Chronicles series as part of her Against the Dark blog tour, and you can also enter to win her soon-to-be released conclusion to the Reunification series, To Guard Against the Dark, plus This Gulf of Time and Stars (US and Canada—giveaway ends October 10). You can also learn how to enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win all nine books in the Clan Chronicles!

And now, the latest books!

The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear

The Stone in the Skull (Lotus Kingdoms #1) by Elizabeth Bear

Hugo, Locus, and Sturgeon Award–winning author Elizabeth Bear’s latest novel, the first book in a new trilogy set in the same world as Eternal Sky (Range of Ghosts, Shattered Pillars, Steles of the Sky), will be released on October 10 (hardcover, ebook).

The Stone in the Skull appeared on my most anticipated books of 2017 list, so obviously, this is a book I’ve been looking forward to reading! Elizabeth Bear is one of my favorite authors because her books tend to be beautifully written and thoughtful, and I am especially fond of this world—in addition to being the setting of the Eternal Sky trilogy, it’s also the setting of the wonderful novellas Book of Iron and Bone and Jewel Creatures featuring the artificer Bijou.

The Tor-Forge blog has the first chapter from The Stone in the Skull, and has the second chapter.


Hugo Award–winning author Elizabeth Bear returns to her critically acclaimed epic fantasy world of the Eternal Sky with a brand new trilogy.

The Stone in the Skull, the first volume in her new trilogy, takes readers over the dangerous mountain passes of the Steles of the Sky and south into the Lotus Kingdoms.

The Gage is a brass automaton created by a wizard of Messaline around the core of a human being. His wizard is long dead, and he works as a mercenary. He is carrying a message from a the most powerful sorcerer of Messaline to the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom. With him is The Dead Man, a bitter survivor of the body guard of the deposed Uthman Caliphate, protecting the message and the Gage. They are friends, of a peculiar sort.

They are walking into a dynastic war between the rulers of the shattered bits of a once great Empire.

The Lotus Kingdoms
#1 The Stone in the Skull

The Eternal Sky Trilogy
#1 Range of Ghosts
#2 Shattered Pillars
#3 Steles of the Sky

Neverwhere Illustrated Edition

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman; illustrated by Chris Riddell

This lovely new illustrated hardcover edition of New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere was just released last week.

It contains the following:

  • Illustrations by award-winning artist and Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2015–2017 Chris Riddell
  • An introduction by the author
  • An edited version of the novel
  • An older prologue that was removed from the final version
  • An interview with the author
  • The short story “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back”

National Bestseller

Selected as one of NPR’S Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of All Time

The #1 New York Times bestselling author’s dark classic of modern fantasy, beautifully illustrated for the first time by award-winning artist Chris Riddell, and featuring the author’s preferred text and his Neverwhere tale, “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back.”

Published in 1997, Neil Gaiman’s first novel, Neverwhere, heralded the arrival of a major talent. Over the years, various versions have been produced around the world. In 2016, this gorgeously illustrated edition of the novel was released in the UK. It is now available here, and features strikingly atmospheric, painstakingly detailed black-and-white line art by Chris Riddell, one of Gaiman’s favorite artistic interpreters of his work.

Richard Mayhew is a young London businessman with a good heart whose life is changed forever when he stops to help a bleeding girl—an act of kindness that plunges him into a world he never dreamed existed. Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in Neverwhere—a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth. Neverwhere is home to Door, the mysterious girl Richard helped in the London Above. Here in Neverwhere, Door is a powerful noblewoman who has vowed to find the evil agent of her family’s slaughter and thwart the destruction of this strange underworld kingdom. If Richard is ever to return to his former life and home, he must join Lady Door’s quest to save her world—and may well die trying.

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