The Weekly Book Buzz: New Wheel of Time Title (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Date: Sunday, September 20, 2009

 

With just about one month before the release of The Gathering Storm, the 12th book of the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, Tor has announced the next volume. Volume thirteen will be called “Towers of Midnight” and will be released in 2010. The final volumne, Jordan’s own title, will be called “A Memory of Light”. Of course, the final book is going to be split into three volumes which absolutely screams of Tor and Jordan’s widow of squeezing every last dime out of this series which has already gone on for far too long.
 
No major releases out this week although I do heartily recommend “Shootin’ the Sh*t with Kevin Smith” which I reviewed here a couple of weeks ago. Just an irreverent and entertaining book!
 
New In Fantasy
 
The Grave Thief (Twilight Reign) Tom Lloyd (Pyr)
 
For Isak, the time for heartless decisions and ruthless action has come if he is to save the land from its oppressors...
 
Scree has been wiped from the face of the Land in a brutal demonstration of intent. While those responsible scatter to work on the next step in their plan, the stakes are raised—all the way to the heavens—as the Gods themselves enter the fray. Returning home to a nation divided by fanaticism, Lord Isak is haunted both by the consequences of his actions in Scree and by visions of his own impending death. As the full extent of Azaer's schemes become clearer, he realises prophecy and zealotry must play their part in his battle-plans if there is to be any chance of surviving the coming years. As a white-eye, Isak has had to embrace the darker parts of his own soul, but now the savage religious fervour sweeping his nation must also be accepted and turned to purpose, in the name of survival. With the battle lines vague and allegiances uncertain, the time for heartless decisions and ruthless action has come. Two figures oppose Isak and his allies: the greatest warrior in history, who dreams of empire and Godhood, and a newborn baby whose dreams have no limit.
 
 
The Eyes of a King Catherine Banner (Doubleday)
 
Ten years have passed in war-torn Malonia since the king and queen were murdered and the throne usurped by Lucien and his rebel troops. The people believe the prince has been exiled to a far-away land, saved by a prophecy that threatened those who would harm him. But they ask themselves, Is the prince still alive? Has he actually been murdered along with his parents? A country on the brink of revolution awaits his return in silence.
 
Leo is a rebellious soldier-in-training with secret powers. When wandering home one night, he stumbles upon a mysterious black book lying in the snow. Its strange aura and empty pages both frighten and fascinate him. Soon the pages begin to fill with the stories of Anna and Ryan in England – a country that is only a fairy tale in Malonia. When tragedy strikes, Leo tries to rid himself of the book but its stories haunt even his dreams. In The Eyes Of A King, a fast-paced novel with a unique style, these three fifteen-year-old characters, and the parallel worlds of contemporary England and the dictatorship of Malonia, become increasingly entangled.
 
Dawnthief (Chronicles of the Raven) James Barclay (Pyr)
 
The Raven: six men and an elf, sword for hire in the wars that have torn apart Balaia. For years their loyalty has been only to themselves and their code. But, that time is over. The Wytch Lords have escaped and The Raven find themselves fighting for the Dark College of magic, searching for the location of Dawnthief. It is a spell created to end the world, and it must be cast if any of them are to survive. Dawnthief is a fast paced epic about a band of all-too-human heroes.
 
Evolution Expects: Pax Britannia Series Jonathan Green (Abaddon books)
 
When a deadly legacy returns, Ulysses Quicksilver finds himself drawn into that pit of despair known as Bedlam. With a dangerous masked vigalante stalking the streets of London, a monster from Jewish myth on the loose in the East End and rival gangs fighting for control of the city's underworld there may be nothing Ulysses can do to prevent a catastrophic metamorphosis!
 
Strip Mauled (Supernatural Suburbia) Esther Friesner (Baen)
 
Werewolves and the suburbs are a natural go-together. Okay, so they’re not the Obligatory/Iconic Suburban Golden Retriever or Chocolate Labrador, but they’ve got a much better chance of taking home the Best in Show ribbon than their Undead rivals, the vampires. In some suburban households, if it brings home a trophy, who cares if it also brings home bloody chunks of the neighbors every time the full moon shines? And let’s not forget one more advantage to the suburban werewolf: If his lupine side does something nasty on your lawn, his human side can come by later with the Pooper Scooper. In your face, Dracula!
 
New In Sci-Fi
Tom Strong Deluxe Edition Vol. 1 Alan Moore (DC Comics Hardcover)
 
Comics legend Alan Moore introduces science hero Tom Strong in the first of three deluxe hardcover editions of the popular series illustrated by Chris Sprouse and many of comics' greatest artists. Tom's remarkable exploits over a nearly century-long career feature an amazing cast of characters including his wife Dhalua (the daughter of a mighty chieftain), their daughter Tesla, the enhanced ape King Solomon and Tom's robotic valet, Pneuman.
 
In this volume, collecting issues #1-12, Tom finds himself battling in different times, worlds and realms, facing off against an eclectic group of enemies like the ruthless Paul Saveen, the mechanized Aztechs and the prehuman Pangaean—in places as diverse as New York , Venus, an alternate Earth and even the past!
 
The Quiet War Paul J. McAuley (Pyr)
 
Twenty-third century Earth, ravaged by climate change, looks backwards to the holy ideal of a pre-industrial Eden . Political power has been grabbed by a few powerful families and their green saints. Millions of people are imprisoned in teeming cities; millions more labour on Pharaonic projects to rebuild ruined ecosystems. On the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, the Outers, descendants of refugees from Earth's repressive regimes, have constructed a wild variety of self-sufficient cities and settlements: scientific utopias crammed with exuberant creations of the genetic arts; the last outposts of every kind of democratic tradition. The fragile detente between the Outer cities and the dynasties of Earth is threatened by the ambitions of the rising generation of Outers, who want to break free of their cosy, inward-looking pocket paradises, colonise the rest of the Solar System, and drive human evolution in a hundred new directions. On Earth, many demand pre-emptive action against the Outers before it's too late; others want to exploit the talents of their scientists and gene wizards.Amid campaigns for peace and reconciliation, political machinations, crude displays of military might, and espionage by cunningly wrought agents, the two branches of humanity edge towards war . ..
 
Rogue Dragon Avram Davidson (IDW Graphic Novel)
 
Rogue Dragon is the latest addition to the growing New Classics of the Fantastic library, a series dedicated to bringing great Sci-fi stories to a new generation of readers. Jon-Joras came to Earth to oversee arrangements for a dragon hunt to amuse his king. The dragons, brought to Earth centuries earlier as pets of an alien race, were powerful but slow-witted - until now! Now, Jon-Joras finds himself caught in the middle of an uprising that could shake the powers of the galaxy! Featuring an Introduction by Harlan Ellison, Avram Davidson's classic, Rogue Dragon, is reprised in this attractive package.
 
Stargate SG-1: Valhalla : SG1-15 Tim Waggoner (Fandemonium Books)
 
SG-1 become enmeshed in a fierce battle straight out of Nordic mythology. Although unwilling participants, SG-1 soon find themselves fighting with the Vanir against their ancient foe - the brutal giants of Jotunheim - and feasting with them long into the night. But when dawn arrives, the team find themselves in a very different world. Although still at war, the Vanir and Jotunheim have advanced a millennia and fight with weapons of the 18th century.
 
Star Wars Omnibus: Menace Revealed (Titan Books)
 
Set between "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" and "Episode II: Attack of the Clones", discover Anakin Skywalker's earliest adventures...and see the first shots fired in the Clone Wars! This bumper, never-before-collected volume features stories including "Jedi Quest", where Anakin Skywalker works to overcome his fears; "Starfighter: Crossbones", which pits pirate against pirate, featuring the intimidating Captain Nym; a Sith assassin's last stand in The Hunt for Aurra Sing; plus "Jedi Quest", "Heart of Fire" and "Poison Moon"! A host of top creators flesh out the lead-up to the epic, galaxy-spanning Clone Wars, in a must-have collection reprinting many out-of-print and rare tales.
 
New in Horror
 
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 20 Stephen Jones (Running Press)
 
This annual collection of exceptional horror and dark fantasy fiction stories is the essential must-have for horror buffs. The 20th edition of this showcase of horror includes a comprehensive overview of international selections, an impressively researched necrology, and a list of indispensable contact addresses for the dedicated horror fan and aspiring writer of true horror.
 
Widdershins Eve Lestrange (Dailey Swan)
 
Widdershins introduces a strong female character in the horror genre-Christina Lafage, an eighteenth century french girl who sells her soul for the fierce power of the black arts. Christina's world is filled with spell casting, black magic, distant lands and intense power. The story unfolds with Christina's introduction into the black arts by a mysterious benefactor that she meets in a wooded grove. This benefactor, Madame Duchamp, takes Christina under her wing and teaches her to use the powers of the occult and bend the laws of nature to her will as they provide spells and services for the wealthy aristocrats of Paris . At first she struggles with her newly acquired power and with her own feelings of doubt and apprehension until a grave situation forces her to conquer fear and doubt. Christina's power continues to grow and explodes into an electrifying series of events that lead her to Egypt where her power is put to the ultimate test.
 
New in Non-Fiction
 
Shootin' the Sh*t with Kevin Smith: The Best of the SModcast Kevin Smith (Titan books)
 
Following on from the New York Times-bestselling My Boring-Ass Life, Kevin Smith is back!
 
In freewheeling conversations with his friend and producer Scott Mosier (as heard on their top-rated podcast, known as SModcast), we discover — to pick just four random examples of the riches therein — the genesis of Stalin’s Monkey Soldier army, the horrifying tale of Kevin vs. Steak Tartare, how to make bukkake eggs, and how Kevin was once willing to let Alanis Morissette get mugged... Defiantly lewd, crude and hilariously rude, Shootin’ the Sh*t with Kevin Smith is a must for all his fans! Adults Only!
 
Reviews
 
By Blood We Live Edited by John Joseph Adams (Night Shade Books)
 
By Blood We Live is a massive anthology of vampire fiction clocking in at 500 pages and nearly a quarter of a million words. The book features stories by some of the top names in horror/fantasy literature including Stephen King, Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman, Harry Turtledove, Tanith Lee, Brian Lumley, and more. However despite the star-power of the authors it fails to escape being labeled “uneven” as is the fate of so many anthologies with such a diverse group of authors. 
 
Adams, who edited Night Shade’s “The Living Dead” has proven himself to be a capable anthologist and he presents many outstanding stories culled from over the past few decades (although most are fairly recent). Stephen King’s “One for the Road” is the oldest story in the collection, originally published in 1977 and collected in King’s “Night Shift”. It is a short side story to King’s vampire epic “ Jerusalem ’s Lot ” relating the tale of a battle with vampires on a lonely road during a snowstorm.
 
Harry Turtledove’s “Under St. Peter’s” is one of the more interesting stories in the book although not as controversial as some claim. The master of the alternate history genre presents a tale in which Jesus did not die on the cross but rather became a vampire and is imprisoned beneath St. Peter’s Basilica.
 
Norman Partridge’s “Do Not Hasten to Bid Me Adieu” is a sequel/continuation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and deals primarily with the character of Quincey Morris, the Cowboy who helped kill the vampire in the original novel.
 
“Child of an Ancient City ” by Tad Williams looks at the vampire mythology from a different stance. William’s vampire is from the Middle Eastern mythology and a far cry from the seductive, sexy vampires of most modern tales.
 
By Blood We Live’s strength is its diversity of tales ranging from the Gothic to the Sci-Fi themed stories of Garth Nix to the revisionist fairy tale of Neil Gaiman. Many of the stories here have been oft-reprinted so there’s a good chance you’ve encountered some of these along the way. A few too many of the hunky sexy vampires for my taste but a solid anthology overall. Grade B
 
 
Captain Action the Original Super-Hero Action Figure Michael Eury (TwoMorrows Publishing Hardcover)
 
Among the old photos I have is a black & white picture from the 1960s. It’s Christmas morning and my older brother is proudly holding up the new Captain Action set he just received from Santa…err…mom and dad. Captain Action was one of the great toys of the 1960s and history of the toy line is related in this fantastic book, filled with outstanding photography, and written by comic book historian Michael Eury.
 
Ideal was one of the iconic toy companies of particularly the 1950s through the 1970s. In an effort to compete with Hasbro’s GH.I. Joe, Ideal created Captain Action in 1966. Like G.I. Joe Captain Action was an articulated, 12” action figure but it had one thing that made it unique to G.I. Joe and that was Captain Action could become anyone of a number of different comic book characters. Through the issue of uniform sets, complete with alternate heads, Captain Action could become Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Captain America, The Lone Ranger, Sgt. Fury, Spider-Man, and more.
 
Eury traces the evolution of the development of the toy through vintage Idea; documents from the 1960s and interviews with various toy executives including creator Stan Weston, who also created the initial concept of G.I. Joe. Weston provides insight on went what right and what went wrong for the toy. The highlight of the book is Eury;s look at all of the different Captain Action uniform/alter identity sets which include a history of each character, the accessories that came included, uniform variations, and common defects with each set. Thus the book not only works as a detailed history of the figure, but also a tremendously useful guide to toy collectors who will value the information about the accessories and variations.
 
The book also has chapters on Captain Action’s arch-enemy Dr. Evil, the various female action figures introduced, accessories and vehicles, and fan-created custom outfits. A ton of fun and a classic toy! Grade A


Series: