For fantasy fans, April brings a bounty of reading goodies that range from the epic fantasies of Daniel Abraham (The Tyrant’s Law) and John Marco (The Forever Knight) to Freda Warrington’s crossover fantasy (Grail of the Summer Stars) that incorporates magical realism. Urban fantasy is well represented with Rhiannon Held’s Tarnished and Robert B. Warren’s debut, Murder on Olympus, which launches a fantasy series involving a private investigator and the Olympian pantheon. Hard sf makes a strong showing with Neal Asher’s Zero Point: The Owner, Vol. 2; Chris Moriarty’s AI adventure in deep space, Ghost Spin; and Jamil Nasir’s Tunnel Out of Death, which explores the dimensions of “inner space” and the multidimensional universe. Last but not least, horror continues its resurgence with a trio of strong titles: Russell James’s Black Magic, John Llewellyn Probert’s The House That Death Built, and Robin Riopelle’s Dead Roads.
Probert, John Llewellyn. The House That Death Built: A Henderson and Jephcott Novel. Atomic Fez. May 2013. 272p. ISBN 9780986642456. pap. $24.99. HORROR
The Dark Manor, constructed atop one of England’s ancient stone circles, radiates malevolence and hostility. Wealthy industrialist William Marx built the house in hopes of connecting with the spirit world, though Marx was never seen again after he entered the house. Its current owner, Sir Anthony Calverton, contacts a pair of paranormal investigators, Mr. Massene Henderson and Miss Samantha Jephcott, to furnish him with proof of supernatural activity in the house. The inclusion of four other investigators, including Sir Anthony’s niece, her physicist husband, and a famous TV “psychic,” sets the stage for a classic horror tale with a mystery at its heart. VERDICT Probert’s debut novel presents the first full-length adventure for paranormal investigators Henderson and Jephcott, whose previous cases have been chronicled in the collection Against the Darkness. Although the setting is contemporary, the protagonists display an endearing Victorian archness. This is a delightfully scary book.
Lafferty, Mur. The Shambling Guide to New York City. Orbit: Hachette. May 2013. 368p. ISBN 9780316221177. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780316221160. FANTASY
This entertaining urban fantasy is populated with fantastical beings who narrow the gap between the human and supernatural worlds. It seems that what supernatural creatures really want is a tourists’ guide to the Big Apple—one written for the out-of-town monster, or coterie, as they prefer to be called. And that’s what Underworld Publishing has hired Zoë Norris, a native (and human) New Yorker, to do. Zoë has returned to the city after a nasty experience with her former publisher/boyfriend and is desperate for a job, even if it means her new boss and coworkers are vampires, zombies, and an irresistible incubus. Morgen, a charming and cheerful water sprite, leads Zoë on a boisterous tour of coterie hot spots. VERDICT Lafferty, a 2012 nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer, introduces a spirited, indomitable heroine who is bound to be a favorite of urban fantasy devotees.—Deb West, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA
Asher, Neal. Zero Point: The Owner Vol. 2. Night Shade. May 2013. 416p. ISBN 9781597804707. pap. $15.99. SF
Although neurologically enhanced Alan Saul has destroyed the despotic Committee and launched the Argus Space Station to the Mars colony, Earth has fallen prey to the egomaniacal Serene Galahad, the lone Committee survivor who’s seized the chance to exert total control. When an attempted assassination plunges Saul into a coma, his second-in-command, Hannah Neumann, tries to keep his condition a secret while assuming the burden of shaping Argus’s destiny by herself. Meanwhile, Var Delex, whose actions freed the Moon from rule by a madman, now faces a potential rebellion among the ranks. VERDICT Continuing Asher’s hard-sf saga of humanity’s attempt to come back from the brink of disaster, this sequel to The Departure is a compelling blend of action/adventure, personal drama, and a thoughtful exploration of the complications of advanced technology.
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The following titles are reviewed in the April 15 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
CHECK THESE OUT
Abraham, Daniel. The Tyrant’s Law. Orbit: Hachette. (The Dagger and the Coin, Bk. 3). May 2013. 528p. ISBN 9780316080705. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9780316235549. FANTASY
Held, Rhiannon. Tarnished. Tor. May 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780765330383. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781429991100. FANTASY
James, Russell. Black Magic. Samhain. May 2013. 280p. ISBN 9781619213456. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781619213005. HORROR
Marco, John. The Forever Knight: A Novel of the Bronze Knight. DAW, dist. by Penguin. Apr. 2013. 356p. ISBN 9780756407513. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101597606. FANTASY
Moriarty, Chris. Ghost Spin. Spectra: Bantam. Apr. 2013. 592p. ISBN 9780553384949. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780345526281. SF
Nasir, Jamil. Tunnel Out of Death. Tor. May 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780765306111. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466813618. SF
Riopelle, Robin. Dead Roads. Night Shade. May 2013. 312p. ISBN 9781597804639. pap. $15.99. HORROR
Warrington, Freda. Grail of the Summer Stars: Aetherial Tales. Vol. 3. Tor. Apr. 2013. 368p. ISBN 9780765318718. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781429986519. FANTASY
COLLECTIONS & ANTHOLOGIES
Ethridge, Benjamin Kane & others. Limbus, Inc.: Book I; A Shared World Experience. JournalStone. Apr. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9781936564743. $27.95; pap. ISBN 9781936564521. $17.95;ebk. ISBN 9781936564750. SF
The Other Half of the Sky. Candlemark & Gleam. Apr. 2013. 454p. ed. by Athena Andreadis. ISBN 9781936460441. pap. $19.95. SF
Varley, John. Good-Bye, Robinson Crusoe and Other Stories. Subterranean. Apr. 2013. 344p. ISBN 9781596065284. $45. SF
Ware, Danie. Ecko Rising. Titan. Jun. 2013. 480p. ISBN 9780857687623. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9781781162835. $9.99. SF