Booktopia SF & Fantasy Buzz
April 2013 | Edition 3
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Welcome to the April SF & Fantasy Buzz
No you are not imagining things. This is indeed the 3rd Edition for April 2013. You see, with a piece of dilithium crystal and partial schematic of the Tardis, we have propelled ourselves forward one month to bring you news from the future, today!

Well, news of upcoming releases and the chance for you all to get preorders in anyway.

And let me tell you that is playing havoc with my reading schedule! But I have not yet given up my new year's resolution - although to be honest I am quickly forgetting what it was...

In this issue of the SF&F Buzz I review King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, and he kindly submits to answering Ten Terrifying Questions (scroll to the bottom of this email for this interview). I also present for your consideration some awesome titles for April, not to mention pointing you in the direction of the special edition 50th Anniversary Doctor Who releases, some cloth bound beauties from Harper Voyager and reissues of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books with updated covers!

What I've just read: The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett was amazing! It leaves you on a cliff-hanger (or as some have said, at the bottom of the cliff) but I loved every minute of it and can't wait for the next one.

What I'm reading now: The Grim Company by Luke Scull is a vividly rendered fantasy, I'm only at the start but I am enjoying his writing very much.

What I'm reading next: Caliban's War . I've had this one on my pile of 'The Unread' for nearly ten months. The paperback is just around the corner so it's kinda about time to get this one done.

I hope you all enjoy this edition of the Buzz, it is choc-full of genre goodness and I have ended up adding more books to my wish list (yet again).

Kind regards

Mark Timmony
Booktopia's Sci-fi/Fantasy Guru

Booktopia

Follow me on Twitter: @MarkTimmony 

BOOK OF THE MONTH
97800074390271613Mark Lawrence is swiftly cutting a bloody path towards the top of my favorite authors list. Granted the swathe he is carving is more elegant and graceful than the ruthless hack and slash favoured by his... driven... creation Jorg. Yet it works just as well.

I reviewed Lawrence's first book sometime ago, and I was quite surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did, given that Jorg can be best described as... psychotic (I think 'troubled' would be too kind). And Lawrence doesn't shy away from clearly showing the reader the darker aspects of his main character, or from the violence he lives with and deals out, on more pages than not.

The second book in the Broken Empire series (a trilogy I think but I really hope it's more than that because, ya know, these books are too short!) picks up where we left Jorg at the end of book one - and four years after. Lawrence does a nifty little dance weaving narratives of what is essentially the past, and the present, together into a cohesive thread that traces the journey Jorg has been on since his victory at the conclusion of Prince of Thorns, and how he finds himself with an army at his gates now.

I am captivated by Lawrence's world building, and the seeming ease with which he paints the picture of the lost Builders and the pieces of civilization they left behind, a world both familiar and different to the reader; not to mention his portrayal of Jorg, who is at once both repellant yet sympathetic - I challenge you not to find yourself rooting for him - despite the atrocities he and his merry band of bandits commit! Lawrence weaves an undeniable magic as again I found myself compelled to read, and enjoy, his work when this is not normally my thing at all. It is akin to passing an accident on the road and being horrified while unable to look away. This, however, is a lot more fun.

Lawrence's work is smooth whilst his subject matter is gritty and you have to wonder at the man who come can come up with such disturbing imagery, while at the same time charming you into wanting to keep reading. From the little interaction I've had with him he seems like a nice enough fellow...

I love this series; it is epic in scope and strangely economic in depiction. When I open the pages I am lost to the world and I can ask nothing more of any author whose work I pick up - but in this I case I shall.

Mr. Lawrence - I need at least 200,000 + words on the next book. And another four volumes to the series.

Please?

97800074390271613THE KING OF THORNS
by Mark Lawrence

The land burns with the fires of a hundred battles as lords and petty kings fight for the Broken Empire.

The long road to avenge the slaughter of his mother and brother has shown Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath the hidden hands behind this endless war. He saw the game and vowed to sweep the board. First though he must gather his own pieces, learn the rules of play, and discover how to break them.

A six nation army, twenty thousand strong, marches toward Jorg's gates, led by a champion beloved of the people. Every decent man prays this shining hero will unite the empire and heal its wounds. Every omen says he will. Every good king knows to bend the knee in the face of overwhelming odds, if only to save their people and their lands.

But King Jorg is not a good king.

Faced by an enemy many times his strength Jorg knows that he cannot win a fair fight. But playing fair was never part of Jorg's game plan.

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AUSTRALIAN FANTASY
Representing the Aussie contingent this month we have Duncan Lay, K J Taylor and Lee Battersby, all presenitng the second title in their new series. Don't miss out on book one of each - you can find them here: Bridge of Swords by Duncan Lay, The Shadows Heir by K J Taylor and The Corpse-Rat King by Lee Battersby.


97807322941991613VALLEY OF SHIELDS
by Duncan Lay

 
Cast out from his homeland, Sendatsu has used his sword-fighting talents to survive in the foreign land of the Vales. With the assistance of Rhiannon - the first human to use magic in hundreds of years - Sendatsu has helped Huw and the Velsh defeat an invading army. Better still, Sendatsu now has the key to reclaim his children.

It will mean a return to Dokuzen - a city where deceit runs deep and Sendatsu expects an unwelcome reception. How will Sendatsu and his unlikely allies, Huw and Rhiannon, know who to trust when they can barely trust each other?

And when Dokuzen comes under fierce attack, Sendatsu′s fight to survive will need to be more desperate than ever. Especially when this attack reveals who the real enemy is... 

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97807322942361613THE SHADOWED THRONE
by K J Taylor


Laela the half-breed raised in the South is now the Queen of the North. The seemingly invincible King Arenadd Taranisaii and his partner, the dark griffin Skandar, are missing. The Northerners blame Laela for Arenadd′s disappearance, but she knows the truth...

With only her griffin partner Oeka to help her rule, Laela struggles to maintain power and tensions mount with Arenadd′s cousin, Saeddryn, who believes she is the rightful ruler.

Laela is forced into a desperate fight to stay queen as the entire North is plunged into a brutal civil war. To win, she will need the help of her new friend, the odd shapeshifter Kullervo, and a surprising griffin ally from the past.

But the true test of Laela′s strength will come when the deadly Shadow that Walks returns... 

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Australian author
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97808576628971613THE MARCHING DEAD
by Lee Battersby

Find the dead a King, save himself, win the love of his life, live happily ever after.

No wonder Marius dos Helles is bored.

But now Keth, his one love, is missing. Gerd has re-entered his life, and something has stopped the dead from, well, dying.

It's up to Marius, Gerd, and Gerd's not-dead-enough Granny to journey across the continent and put the dead back in the afterlife where they belong.

But someone has the dead riled up and spoiling for a fight, and now the dead are marching. 


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Australian author
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EPIC FANTASY
This month the realms of Epic Fantasy bring us the paperback of book two of Daniel Abraham's critically acclaimed Dagger and the Coin series, a novel by the widow of the legendary David Gemmell and much more.
 
97818414989041613THE KING'S BLOOD
by Daniel Abraham


War casts its shadow over the lands that dragons once ruled. Only the courage of a young woman with the mind of a gambler and loyalty to no one stands between hope and universal darkness.

The high and powerful will fall, the despised and broken shall rise up and everything will be remade.

And an old, broken-hearted warrior and an apostate priest will begin a terrible journey with an impossible goal: destroy a Goddess before she eats the world.  

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THE GOD TATTOO
by Tom Lloyd

THE CITY
by Stella Gemmell
97805751312621613

The history of the Land may remember the slaughter at Moorview or the horror of Scree's fall, but there were other casualties of the secret war against Azaer - more tales surrounding those bloody years that went unrecorded. In the shadow of memorials to the glorious dead, these ghosts lie quiet and forgotten by all but a few.

A companion collection to the Twilight Reign quintet, these 11 stories shine a rather different light on the Land. Look past the armies and politics of the Seven Tribes and you will find smaller moments that shaped the course of history in their own way. But even forgotten secrets can kill.

Even shadows can have claws.

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97805930709941613

Deep within the rotting bowels of The City, in its rank catacombs, crumbling sewers and ancient tunnels, society's dregs and dispossessed - and those who are fleeing punishment or who simply want to disappear - struggle to survive.

Above ground, the streets and markets teem as people go about their daily lives, and the palaces of the privileged gleam in the sunlight.

Amongst the outcasts living beneath are a brother and sister with no memory of their past and an old man who wishes to keep his secret. Disaster will separate them but years later, the memory of a tattooed corpse and something akin to fate will reunite them as players in a monumental conspiracy to liberate their world.

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BITTERBLUE
by Kristin Cashore
  BANNER OF THE DAMNED
by Sherwood smith
  THE LEGION OF SHADOW
by Michael J Ward
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SWORD AND SORCERY
Gritty, noir, fantasy has become the new black these days and adding to the pile of 'something different to choose from' comes Richard Ford and Luke Scull. Two debuts that are sure to leave you begging for more.

97807553940361613HERALD OF THE STORM
by Richard Ford


An unbalanced veteran. A disillusioned assassin. A hapless apprentice. A drunken swindler. A desperate thief. During times of crisis, you don't get to choose your heroes.

Welcome to Steelhaven...

Under the reign of King Cael the Uniter, this vast cityport on the southern coast has for years been a symbol of strength, maintaining an uneasy peace throughout the Free States. But now a long shadow hangs over the city, in the form of the dread Elharim warlord, Amon Tugha.

When his herald infiltrates the city, looking to exploit its dangerous criminal underworld, and a terrible dark magick that has long been buried once again begins to rise, it could be the beginning of the end.

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97817818513261613THE GRIM COMPANY
by Luke Scull


The grey granite walls of Dorminia rise to three times the height of a man, surrounding the city on all sides save for the south, where the Broken Sea begins. The stone is three-foot thick at its weakest point and can withstand all but the heaviest assault. The Crimson Watch patrol the streets even as Salazar's Mindhawks patrol the skies.

The Grey City was not always so. But something has changed. Something has broken at its heart.

Perhaps the wild magic of the dead Gods has corrupted Dorminia's Magelord, as it has the earth itself. Or perhaps this iron-fisted tyranny is the consequence of a lifetime of dark deeds...

Still, pockets of resistance remain.

When two formidable Highlanders save the life of a young rebel, it proves the foundation for an unlikely fellowship. A fellowship united against tyranny, but composed of self-righteous outlaws, crippled turncoats and amoral mercenaries.

A grim company.

But with the world entering an Age of Ruin, this is not a time of heroes...  


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FANTASY
As many of you know not all fantasy is epic fantasy. But all fantasy is certainly...umm... fantastical?

RAILSEA
by China Mieville

TRIO OF SORCERY
by Mercedes Lackey
97814472136731613

On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt. The giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one's death & the other's glory are extraordinary.

But no matter how spectacular it is, travelling the endless rails of the railsea, Sham senses that there's more to life. Even if his captain can think only of her obsessive hunt for one savage mole.
When they find a wrecked train, it's a welcome distraction. But the impossible salvage Sham finds there leads to trouble.

Soon he's hunted on all sides: by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters & salvage-scrabblers. & it might not be just Sham's life that's about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea.

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97807653344281613

Bestselling author Mercedes Lackey presents three exciting short urban fantasy novels.

"Arcanum 101" - Diana Tregarde is approached by Joe O'Brian, a young cop who has already seen more than one unusual thing during his budding career. The distraught mother of a kidnap victim is taking advice from a "psychic" and interfering in the police investigation. Will Diana prove that the psychic is a fake? Unfortunately, the psychic is not a fake, but a very wicked witch--and the child's kidnapper.
 
"Drums" - Most of Jennifer Talldeer's work is regular PI stuff, but Nathan Begay brings her a problem she's never seen before. His girlfriend, Caroline, is Chickasaw to his Navaho, but that's not the problem. Somehow, Caroline has attracted the attention of an angry Osage ghost. Thwarted in love while alive, the ghost has chosen Caroline to be his bride in death.

"Ghost in the Machine" - The programmers and players of a new MMORPG find that the game's "boss," a wendigo, is "killing" everyone--even the programmers' characters with their god-like powers. A brilliant debugger, and techno-shaman, Ellen discoveres that the massive computing power of the game's servers have created a breach between the supernatural world and our own. This wendigo isn't a bit of code, it's the real thing . . . and it's on the brink of breaking out of the computers and into the real world.

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BLACK FEATHERS
by Joseph D'Lacey

BRONZE GODS
by A. A. Aguirre
97808576634431613

It is the Black Dawn, a time of environmental apocalypse, the earth wracked and dying.

It is the Bright Day, a time long generations hence, when a peace has descended across the world.

In each era, a child shall be chosen. Their task is to find a dark messiah known only as the Crowman. But is he our saviour - or the final incarnation of evil?

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97804252581941613

Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work all hours in the Criminal Investigation Division, keeping citizens safe. He's a charming rogue with an uncanny sixth sense; she's all logic-and the division's first female inspector. Between his instincts and her brains, they collar more criminals than any other partnership in the CID.

Then they're assigned a potentially volatile case in which one misstep could end their careers. At first, the search for a missing heiress seems straightforward, but when the girl is found murdered-her body charred to cinders-Mikani and Ritsuko's modus operandi is challenged as never before. It soon becomes clear the bogeyman has stepped out of nightmares to stalk gaslit streets, and it's up to them to hunt him down. There's a madman on the loose, weaving blood and magic in an intricate, lethal ritual that could mean the end of everything.

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ALTERNATE HISTORY - FANTASY
97803565020141613PROMISE OF BLOOD
by Brian McClellan


'The Age of Kings is dead. And I have killed it.'

Field Marshal Tamas' coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving.

But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics and greedy scrambling for money and power by Tamas's supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.

Stretched to his limit Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing.

But they should ...

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ETRUSCANS
by Morgan Llywelyn & Michael Scott

THE EXILED BLADE
by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
97803128755101613

As the Romans expand their rule from their newly founded capital city, the civilization of their elegant forerunners, the Etruscans, is waning. Into this era of flux and change strides a young figure destined to become one of the classical world's greatest mythic heroes.

When Vesi, a young Etruscan noblewoman, is raped by a supernatural being who was once human, a child is conceived. Outcast from Etruria, Vesi bears a son she calls Horatrim: a child who is dangerous both to the Etruscans and to his own father, he is gifted with arcane knowledge and supernaternatural abilities, but has a human heart.

Separated from his mother, he travels to Rome and is adopted by a businessman who changes his name to Horatius--a name that will ring down the ages. More than glory awaits the young man, however: his demon sire is pursuing Horatrim to kill him.

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97818414985081613

Venice stands victorious. It has beaten back the German emperor's army and the Byzantine navy. The Duchess Alexa's party at court is strong again. Her niece, Lady Giulietta, will be the next Regent, and possibly the next duchess. Giulietta's lover, Lord Tycho, will sit beside her.

But no one is prepared for the fury of Prince Alonzo, exiled regent and traitor to his city. No one is prepared for the harshest winter Europe has ever known. As the canals of Venice freeze and wolves cross the ice from the north, Alonzo's plotting brings the Venetian empire to the very edge of destruction.

With the Millioni family at war with itself, Lord Tycho, once a slave and a trained assassin, has to ask himself the only question that matters. How much is he prepared to sacrifice to keep Lady Giulietta's city safe? 

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NECESSARY EVIL
by Ian Tregillis
  VIDESSOS CYCLE ONE by Harry Turtledove
  VIDESSOS CYCLE TWO
by Harry Turtledove
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URBAN FANTASY
Things are going 'bump' in the night this month as our authors are playing amongst darker themes.

THE GRAIL OF THE SUMMER STARS
by Freda Warrington
  BLACK HEART
by Holly Black
  DARK MAGIC
by James Swain
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GRAVEYARD CHILD
by M. L. N. Hanover
  LONDON FALLING
by Paul Cornell
  PLAYING WITH FIRE by Justin Gustainis
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ANTHOLOGY - FANTASY
97817803399171613THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF DARK MAGIC
edited by Mike Ashley


This title features twenty-three spellbinding tales of sorcery, wizardry and witchcraft, of the ceaseless battle between good and evil.

From dark lords and epic clashes between the forces of good and evil to a child's struggle to control magical powers for the first time this wonderfully varied collection comprises stories by the most outstanding writers of fantasy including Marion Zimmer Bradley, Louise Cooper, Tom Holt, Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula K. Le Guin.


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The Mammoth Book of Dark Magic

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WARHAMMER
April sees Graham McNeill's trilogy Elves released in a striking new omnibus edition, as well as re-release of the classic Warhammer novel Gilead's Blood with a brand new cover to match the Gilead saga's newest instalment Gilead's Curse.

ELVES
by Graham McNeill
  GILEAD'S BLOOD
by Nik Vincent
 
GILEAD'S CURSE
by Nik Vincent
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SPACE OPERA
Blasting into space this month C.J. Cherryh's epic Foreigner series continues, Orson Scott Card's latest paperback is released as is Peter Hamilton's mammoth Great North Road.

97807564079881613PROTECTOR
by C.J. Cherryh

It's coming up on Cajeiri's birthday. The boy has been promised he can have the young human children he knew from his voyage sent down from the space station for a two week stay.

But there's far a darker business going on in the background--a major split compromising the Assassins' Guild, which furnishes security and law enforcement to the whole continent. Tabini's consort's own father has been barred from court, and may be involved in a new conspiracy against him.

For safety reasons, Tabini wants Bren and Ilisidi to take charge of Cajeiri, and protect him and his young guests. They themselves are very likely targets of whatever's going on, no question of it. So is Cajeiri. But having the targets separated and contained is an advantage.

It's Bren's responsibility to entertain the guests, keep the security problem secret...and let a lonely eight-year-old prince reestablish his controversial relationship with the only other children he's ever met...inside the best security they can manage.

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ASHES OF CANDESCE
by Karl Schroeder

EARTH UNAWARE
by Orson Scott Card
97807653249311613

A world of endless sky, with no land, no gravity: this is Virga. Beginning in the seminal science fiction novel Sun of Suns, the saga of this striking world has introduced us to the people of stubborn pride and resilience who have made Virga their home; but also, always lurking beyond the walls of the world, to the mysterious threat known only as Artificial Nature. In The Sunless Countries, history tutor Leal Hieronyma Maspeth became the first human in centuries to learn the true nature of this threat. Her reward was exile, but now, in Ashes of Candesce, Artificial Nature makes its final bid to destroy Virga, and it is up to Leal to unite the quarrelling clans of her world to fight the threat.

Ashes of Candesce brings together all the heroes of the Virga series, and draws the diverse threads of the previous storylines together into one climactic conflict. Blending steampunk styling with a far-future setting and meditations on the posthuman condition, Ashes of Candesce mixes high adventure and cutting-edge ideas in a fitting climax to one of science fiction's most innovative series. arcu.

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Ashes of Candesce

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97807653673651613

A hundred years before Ender's Game, humans thought they were alone in the galaxy. Humanity was slowly making their way out from Earth to the planets and asteroids of the Solar System, exploring and mining and founding colonies.

The mining ship "El Cavador" is far out from Earth, in the deeps of the Kuiper Belt, beyond Pluto. Other mining ships, and the families that live on them, are few and far between this far out. So when "El Cavador"'s telescopes pick up a fast-moving object coming in-system, it's hard to know what to make of it. It's massive and moving at a significant fraction of the speed of light.

But the ship has other problems. Their systems are old and failing. The family is getting too big. There are claim-jumping corporates bringing Asteroid Belt tactics to the Kuiper Belt. Worrying about a distant object that might or might not be an alien ship seems...not important.

They're wrong. It's the most important thing that has happened to the human race in a million years. This is humanity's first contact with an alien race. The First Formic War is about to begin.

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FIRE WITH FIRE
by Charles E. Gannon
  GREAT NORTH ROAD by Peter F. Hamilton
  JUDGMENT AT PROTEUS
by Timothy Zahn
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GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI
An action-packed noir Atompunk rip-roaring read that harks back to the days of 'te Golden Age' of science fiction.

THE AGE ATOMIC
97808576631391613
by Adam Christopher
 
The Empire State is dying. The Fissure connecting the pocket universe to New York has vanished, plunging the city into a deep freeze and the populace are demanding a return to Prohibition and rationing as energy supplies dwindle.

Meanwhile, in 1954 New York, the political dynamic has changed and Nimrod finds his department subsumed by a new group, Atoms For Peace, led by the mysterious Evelyn McHale.

As Rad uncovers a new threat to his city, Atoms For Peace prepare their army for a transdimensional invasion. Their goal: total conquest - or destruction - of the Empire State.

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SF MASTERWORKS
From the vaults these classic works are given new life in the SF Masterworks range. A must for any library, these are books that have influenced many of today's biggest names in SF.
 
97805750735791613A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ
by Walter M. Miller


In the depths of the Utah desert, long after the Flame Deluge has scoured the earth clean, the rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of knowledge.

By studying the Holy Relics of the past, the Order of St Leibowitz hopes to raise humanity from its fallen state to one of grace.

But is such knowledge the key to salvation? Or the certain sign that we are doomed to repeat our most grievous mistakes...? 

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97805751153781613THE INVISIBLE MAN
by H.G. Wells


H.G.Wells' great novel of the dangers of science describes a man cast out from society by his own terrifying discovery.

The Invisible Man tells the story of Griffin, a brilliant and obsessed scientist dedicated to achieving invisibility. Taking whatever action is necessary to keep his incredible discovery safe, he terrorises the local village where he has sought refuge.

Wells skilfully weaves the themes of science, terror and pride as the invisible Griffin gradually loses his sanity and, ultimately, his humanity.


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DOCTOR WHO
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To mark the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, the longest-running science fiction series in the world, 11 classic tales, one for each Doctor, have been released with special commemerative edition jackets. Featuring works by fan favorites such as Terrance Dicks, Dan Abnett and Gary Russell, these books are not to be missed.

Check out our Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Collection here

SF ANTHOLOGY
97817810808701613SOLARIS RISING 2
Edited by Ian Whates


Showcasing the finest new science fiction from both celebrated authors and the most exciting of emerging writers, it follows in the footsteps of the critically-acclaimed first volume, editor Ian Whates has once again gathered together a plethora of thrilling and daring talent.

From unexplored frontiers to common themes of the genre - alien worlds, time travel, artificial intelligence - this is science-fiction made entirely new in the telling. Paul Cornell, Nancy Kress, James Lovegrove, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Nick Harkaway, Allen Steele, Kay Kenyon, Norman Spinrad and many more prove once again why SF continues to be the most innovative, satisfying, and downright exciting genre of all. 

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NEAR FUTURE
So close, yet so far away...  Charles Stross, Eric Brown and Wesley Chu, amongst others, bring us mind expanding tales of a future that might be just around the corner.

THE BLOODLINE FEUD
by Charles Stross

IMMOBILITY
by Brian Evenson
97814472376171613

The Family Trade and The Hidden Family - The first two installments of the Merchant Princes series combined in one volume.

Miriam Beckstein is a successful reporter for a hi-tech magazine. So when she discovers a huge money-laundering scam, she thinks she's hit the big time. But when she takes it to her editor, not only is she fired, but she starts to receive death threats. And that's just the beginning.

To distract her furious daughter, Miriam's adoptive mother unearths mementos from her real mother, murdered when she was an infant. But these reveal a secret that will ultimately throw entire governments into disarray. For what Miriam thinks is a simple locket has the power to fling her into an alternate timeline.

In this less-developed world, knights on horseback wield automatic weapons, and world-skipping assassins lurk - all on the other side of our reality.

Here, her true family runs a criminal empire - and they want her back. But Miriam has other plans.

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97807653309701613

When you open your eyes things already seem to be happening without you.

You don't know who you are and you don't remember where you've been.

You know the world has changed, that a catastrophe has destroyed what used to exist before, but you can't remember exactly what did exist before. And you're paralyzed from the waist down apparently, but you don't remember that either.

A man claiming to be your friend tells you your services are required. Something crucial has been stolen, but what he tells you about it doesn't quite add up. You've got to get it back or something bad is going to happen. And you've got to get it back fast, so they can freeze you again before your own time runs out.

Before you know it, you're being carried through a ruined landscape on the backs of two men in hazard suits who don't seem anything like you at all, heading toward something you don't understand that may well end up being the death of you.

Welcome to the life of Josef Horkai...

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THE SERENE INVASION
by Eric Brown
  SHARP
by Alex Hughes
  THE LIVES OF TAO
by Wesley Chu
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MILITARY SF
Two of the biggest names in Military SF have titles out this month, Ian Douglas offers us a new blockbuster in Deep Space, while Jack Campbell's Invicible drops in format in preparation for the the next book in the Lost Fleet series Guardian, due this May.

97800621838041613DEEP SPACE
by Ian Douglas

The fourth book in the popular Star Carrier science fiction series, Deep Space by Ian Douglas is an action-packed tale of humankind's struggle to bring down an evil empire that spans the universe.

Twenty years after the fragile truce with the Sh'daar, Koenig is now President of the USNA, and Gray is skipper of the CVS America... soon to be promoted to commander of the entire battle group, Koenig's old position, and one which he might not be ready for. The truce with the alien Sh'daar is unraveling as many predicted, and Humankind still knows little about them, or what they are. 

 
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97804252564731613INVINCIBLE
by Jack Campbell


Admiral John "Black Jack" Geary was revived from cryogenic sleep to lead the Alliance against the Syndicate Worlds. But his superiors question his loyalty to the regime.

Now in command of the First Fleet, he is tasked with exploring the frontier beyond Syndic space, a mission he fears deliberately puts the fleet - and himself - in harm's way.

An encounter with the alien enigmas confirms Geary's fears. Attacked without warning, he orders the fleet to jump star systems - only to enter the crosshairs of another hostile alien armada.

Ignoring the First Fleet's peaceful communications, this species sends its ships into battle while it guards the exiting jump point with a fortress of incalculable power.

Now Geary must find a way to reach the jump point without massive casualties - even though the enigmas could be waiting on the other side...

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ALTERNATE HISTORY - SF
Naomi Novik's beloved series returns, with Captain Will Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire once again taking to the air against the broadsides of Napoleon's forces and the friendly-and sometimes not-so-friendly-fire of British soldiers and politicians who continue to suspect them of divided loyalties, if not outright treason.

97803455228701613CRUCIBLE OF GOLD
by Naomi Novik

For Laurence and Temeraire, put out to pasture in Australia, it seems their part in the war has come to an end just when they are needed most. But perhaps they are no longer alone in this opinion. Newly allied with the powerful African empire of the Tswana, the French have occupied Spain and brought revolution and bloodshed to Brazil, threatening Britain's last desperate hope to defeat Napoleon.

And now the government that sidelined them has decided they have the best chance at negotiating a peace with the angry Tswana, who have besieged the Portuguese royal family in Rio-and thus offer to reinstate Laurence to his former rank and seniority as a captain in the Aerial Corps. Temeraire is delighted by this sudden reversal of fortune, but Laurence is by no means sanguine, knowing from experience that personal honor and duty to one's country do not always run on parallel tracks.

Nonetheless, the pair embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that force them to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Incan empire, where they face new unanticipated dangers.

Now with the success of the mission balanced on a razor's edge, and failure looking more likely by the minute, the unexpected arrival of an old enemy will tip the scales toward ruin. Yet even in the midst of disaster, opportunity may lurk-for one bold enough to grasp it. years.

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STEAMPUNK
97817808766721613PLANESRUNNER
by Ian McDonald
 
There is not just one you, there are many yous.

We're part of a multiplicity of universes in parallel dimensions - and Everett Singh's dad has found a way in. But he's been kidnapped, and now it is as though Everett's dad never existed.

Yet there is one clue for his son to follow, a mysterious app: the Infundibulum.

The app is a map, not just to the Ten Known Worlds, but to the entire multiverse - and there are those who want to get their hands on it very badly.

If Everett's going to keep it safe and rescue his dad, he's going to need friends: like Captain Anastasia Sixmith, her adopted daughter and the crew of the airship Everness.

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STAR WARS
You know about the Jedi, now learn about the Sith!

97817811661781613BOOK OF SITH
by Daniel Wallace

The Sith have existed in the galaxy for centuries, lurking, waiting for their chance to seize control.

In his quest for domination, Darth Sidious tracked down five pivotal Sith texts written by his most powerful predecessors.

Then, drawing on the knowledge within the compiled pages, he wrote a sixth text - his own manifesto.

Together, these documents shed light on the philosophy, achievements, and failures of the Sith Order. 

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WARHAMMER 40K
This month the Space Wolves are unleashed in a new series, the unstoppable battle tanks of the far future go to war, the elite Space Marines of the Deathwatch protect mankind from the alien menace and the Shadow Crusade from the annals of the Horus Heresy begins.
BANEBLADE
by Guy Harvey

BETRAYER
by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
97818497007641613

By the blessing of the Omnissiah was the Mars Triumphant born - from the forges of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the mighty Baneblade super-heavy battle tank comes to bring death and destruction to the foes of the Imperium.

During a bitter war against the orks in the Kalidar system, Lieutenant Colaron Artem Lo Bannick joins the crew of the venerable machine - as part of the 7th Paragonian Tank Company, he witnesses combat from within one of the Imperial Guard's mightiest war machines.

But even as Bannick's own dark past threatens to undo him, Mars Triumphant may have met its match in the form of a terrifying new foe...

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97818497038951613

The Shadow Crusade has begun.

While the Ultramarines reel from Kor Phaeron's surprise attack on Calth, Lorgar leads the rest of the Word Bearers deep into the realm of Ultramar.

Their unlikely allies, Angron and the World Eaters, seem blind to the true goals of the mission, preferring instead to ravage each new civilisation they come across - but where Lorgar might once have chastised his wayward brother, now he seems only to encourage the frenzied bloodletting.

Worlds will burn, Legions will clash and a primarch will fall... and the fate of the entire galaxy hangs in the balance.

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BLOOD OF ASAHEIM
by Chris Wraight

DEATHWATCH
by  Steve Parker
97818497030791613

The feral warrior-kings of Fenris, the Space Wolves are the sons of Leman Russ. Savage heroes, few can match their ferocity in battle.

After half a century apart, Space Wolves Ingvar and Gunnlaugr are reunited. Sent to defend an important shrine world against the plague-ridden Death Guard, the Grey Hunters clash with the pious Sisters of Battle, who see the Space Wolves as little better than the enemy they fight.

As enemies close in around them and treachery is revealed, Gunnlaugr and his warriors must hold the defenders together - even as hidden tensions threaten to tear their pack apart.

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97818497044651613

When they first came together, Talon Squad were a disparate group of Space Marines from various Chapters. Under the auspice of the Deathwatch, trained in an ironclad Watch Fortress, they become a kill-team.

Alien hunters, experts in xenos extermination, their first mission under the mysterious Inquisitor Sigma is a deadly one. Of all the enemies the Deathwatch face, the genestealers are amongst the fiercest, the most invidious.

Led by Brother-Librarian Karras, Talon Squad must penetrate the bowels of a genestealer lair and put the abominations to the flame or face the consequences of an entire planet's extinction.

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MARK LAWRENCE ANSWERS TEN TERRIFYING QUESTIONS
MarkLawrence 1. To begin with why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself - where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Champagne-Urbana, Illinois. My English parents were living in the States for a few years, my father working at the university in Urbana. They returned to England when I was one and I was raised in London. I went to the same school that my father did, on the banks of the river Thames.

The circumstances of my birth resulted in dual nationality, which allowed me to return to the States in 2000 and work as a research scientist near Washington DC for several years before returning to the UK once more to live in Bristol.


2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

Hmmm.

When I was twelve I wanted to be a scientist and maybe to write scenarios for Dungeons and Dragons.  The science because I wanted answers. The fantasy because I like raising questions.

When I was eighteen I wanted to be a physicist. Also a big hit with the girls. Half of my plan worked. The physics because it's the most fundamental science. The girls because of the hormones.

When I was thirty I was happy enough being a research scientist and running an international play-by-mail fantasy game in my spare time.  I don't recall having any strong wants. I knew I wasn't passionate enough about my science to do great things, but I was having success at an international level even so - enough to keep me happy. The fantasy side (the play-by-mail game required me to keep multiple interactive stories alive and sufficiently interesting to keep people paying to play) has always been required in one or other form to accommodate the overspill of my imagination.

I never wanted to be an author. Several years past my thirtieth birthday I opted to write - but publication wasn't my goal.


3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

These are all good questions! I guess I'd say it would be the belief - conviction in fact - that I could change people's minds on a subject by logical argument. Not only do I not hold that belief any more, I would say that it almost never happens. Changing anyone's mind on anything is extraordinarily difficult and generally depends on the power of charisma rather than the quality of one's argument.


4. What were three works of art - book or painting or piece of music, etc - you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

I've never been good at pointing the influence finger. All I can do here is name examples I like and assume they must have exerted some influence. I could easily make all three works novels, but that would be less interesting than choosing a book, painting, and piece of music. So . . .

i) Book: Lord of the Rings . A dull answer perhaps, but my mother read it to me when I was seven and it made a vast impact.

ii) Painting: Probably 'Night and Day' by M.C. Escher, with 'The Triumph of Death' by Pieter Bruegel close behind. Escher is a master of illusion and presenting different perspectives - both important in literature. Bruegel is a master of unfettered imagination and grand scale epic scenes.

iii) Music : Arrrg. It gets harder to pick just one as we go on. So I won't. 'Love will tear us apart (again)' by Joy Division. The entire Tubular Bells album by Mike Oldfield. The Court of the Crimson King, by King Crimson. The first captures incredible emotion (for me) without reaching for it. The second is a work of clinical beauty that deconstructs itself, showing how layer upon layer of sound build to something extraordinary. The third is a wonderful example of storytelling in song lyrics, mixing weird fantasy images.


5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I'm not sure that many of those avenues were really open to me. Talent dictates direction to some degree. I'm tone deaf, can't sing, can draw well enough to copy but not create, lack the rhythm for dance, and am so far from being able to act that I don't even know what it is I'm missing there. Writing/story telling may well be the only creative thing I'm good enough at to derive satisfaction from. Science is a sort of very constrained storytelling. It's coming up with ideas to explain the world and seeing if those ideas can be framed and tested within the language of mathematics.


6. Please tell us about your latest novel...

My latest novel on the shelves is the follow up to Prince of Thorns. King of Thorns is a longer and more complex book that unfolds the story of Jorg Ancrath as he pursues his ambitions and inadvertently starts to grow up along the way. The scope of King of Thorns is more epic than Prince of Thorns but it's still a very intimate book where Jorg and his personal demons are at the centre of the tale. A large portion of the book focuses on Jorg's wedding day, he's eighteen and a huge army is about to swarm his castle. Much of the rest of the book concerns events leading up to this day across the preceding four years, many of which have particular relevance to the conflict ahead. And yes, Jorg retains his ... hard edge.


7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I've never been a fan of heavy handed message-writing. Any revelations or insights I might offer are on the small scale, wrapped in a line or two, my books aren't guides to better living. I hope readers come away with a sense of excitement and an appreciation for the power and the beauty that I try to instil into my lines. I always strive to make my words earn their keep - the prose isn't a story-delivery mechanism - it's there to be savoured in its own right. That perhaps flies right past a lot of readers, but hey, it makes me happy.


8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

In the same way I'm not a message-giver in my writing, I'm not a message-taker either. I read for the writing, not to be instructed or inspired. As such I've rarely had any interest in authors in their own right. The author is just a name-tag on a body of work. It may be heresy but I've never read an interview of this type to find out more about an author whose work I've enjoyed.

So that reduces the question to what book/sets of books by an author do I like most, and why. I'm a fan of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. I'm impressed by the breadth of his world, the strength of his characterisation, and his ability to reinterpret a character as we see more of them or see them from a new point of view. I also very much like Robin Hobb's work as she understands people and presents them with rare skill. Peter V Brett is another author I've enjoyed recently. His work is great fun and expertly crafted. Outside the genre I'm a fan of William Golding , John Irving, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and many others, basically anyone with sufficient genius to look deep into the human condition and shine a spotlight on something I had only dimly perceived before.


9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

I don't really have any. I wrote before people wanted to publish me. I will go on writing after they cease to want to. I exceeded my own expectations that day a couple of years ago when I heard the words 'book deal' on the phone.

I would like to see a Prince of Thorns graphic novel and to play a part in its construction. I'd love to see a Prince of Thorns film. But these aren't goals, just pipe dreams. If the wind carries them off ... so be it.


10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Don't aspire. Do.

--

Mark Lawrence, thank you for playing.

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In This Issue

Book of the month

Australian Fantasy

Epic Fantasy

Sword and Socery

Fantasy

Alternate history - fantasy

Urban fantasy

Anthology - fantasy

Warhammer

Space opera

Golden age sci-fi

SF Masterworks

SF Anthology

Near future

Military SF

Alternate history - SF

Ten terrifying questions with Mark Lawrence
 

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Discworld novels have been revamped for a new generation of readers... Or old fans who need new copies...

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