Weekly Book Buzz: : A Dance of Dragons is Finally Here! (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Date: Sunday, July 10, 2011


Welcome back for another big Book Buzz! The Summer heat is on and we’ve got all of your top upcoming genre releases that you’ll be seeing shortly on store shelves as well as reviews and a ton of news. There’s lots of award news to go over as we have your 2011 Locus, Bram Stoker, and David Gemmell Award winners. We’ll give you the major winners as well as a link to where you can see a list of all the category winners. 
The major news is the release of George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Yes it’s not an illusion; Martin has finally delivered the book. As you may have heard, Amazon Germany shipped some of the books early resulting in spoilers already flooding the Internet. A none-too-please Martin was quoted, "If we find out who is responsible, we will mount his head on a spike."
Bram Stoker Award Winners
Peter Straub’s novel A Dark Matter has won the Stoker award for Superior Achievement in a Novel. The short story award goes to Joe R. Lansdale’s The Folding Man.  See the complete list here: Stoker Award Winners
Locus Award Winners
Best Science Fiction Novel: Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis
Best Fantasy Novel: Kraken By China Miéville
Best First Novel: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin
See the complete list here: Locus Winners
David Gemmell Award Winners
The Legend Award for Best Fantasy Novel: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.
Robert E. Howard: The Battle for the Legacy of Conan  Tom Steward  (Hermes Press)
The first in-depth monograph about the creator of Conan the Barbarian and the inside story about what happened to the character after his creator's death, Robert E. Howard: The Battle for the Legacy of Conan details the complicated history of the legal battles and intricate story of how Howard's Barbarian made his way from the pulps, to paperback books, to comics books, and, ultimately to the big screen. Just in time for the release of the new cinematic re-imagining of Conan, this tome is packed with rarely seen photos, documentary materials, pulp covers, interior illustrations, and representative art of this great pop culture icon.
The Whitefire Crossing Courtney Schafer [Night Shade]
Dev is a smuggler with the perfect cover.  He's in high demand as a guide for the caravans that carry legitimate goods from the city of Ninavel into the country of Alathia. The route through the Whitefire Mountains is treacherous, and Dev is one of the few climbers who knows how to cross them safely. With his skill and connections, it's easy enough to slip contraband charms from Ninavel - where any magic is fair game, no matter how dark - into Alathia, where most magic is outlawed.
But smuggling a few charms is one thing; smuggling a person through the warded Alathian border is near suicidal.  Having made a promise to a dying friend, Dev is forced to take on a singularly dangerous cargo: Kiran. A young apprentice on the run from one of the most powerful mages in Ninavel, Kiran is desperate enough to pay a fortune to sneak into a country where discovery means certain execution - and he'll do whatever it takes to prevent Dev from finding out the terrible truth behind his getaway.
Yet Kiran isn't the only one harboring a deadly secret. Caught up in a web of subterfuge and dark magic, Dev and Kiran must find a way to trust each other - or face not only their own destruction, but that of the entire city of Ninavel .
Stormlord's Exile Glenda Larke [Orbit]
SHALE is finally free from his greatest enemy. But now, he is responsible for bringing life-giving rain to all the people of the Quartern. He must stretch his powers to the limit or his people will die-if they don't meet a nomad's blade first. And while Shale's own highlords and waterpriests plot against him, his Reduner brother plots his revenge.  TERELLE is Shale's secret weapon, covertly boosting his powers with her own mystical abilities. But she is compelled by the strange magic of her people and will one day have to leave Shale's side. No one knows what waits for her across the desert, but her people gave the Quartern its first Stormlord and they may save Shale and his people once again-or lead them to their doom.  This is the final volume of the epic Stormlord series.
Bloodlands Christine Cody [Paperback]
It was called the New Badlands, home to the survivors of a cataclysm that altered the entire nation. Then the vampires arrived, and it was rechristened the Bloodlands. Not because of the vampire, but because of the gun-for-hire who'd decided to slay every monster in the country by any and every means necessary.
Den of Thieves: The Ancient Blades Trilogy: Book One David Chandler [Harper]
Born and raised in the squalid depths of the Free City of Ness, Malden became a thief by necessity. Now he must pay a fortune to join the criminal operation of Cutbill, lord of the underworld—and one does not refuse the master . . . and live.   The coronet of the Burgrave would fulfill Malden ’s obligations, though it is guarded by hungry demons that would tear the soul from any interloper. But the desperate endeavor leads to a more terrible destiny, as Malden , an outlaw knight, and an ensorcelled lady must face the most terrifying evil in the land.
The Devil's Diadem Sara Douglass [Harper Hardcover]
Maeb Langtofte is lucky, she knows, to have gained a position in the household of the Earl of Pengraic—one of the most powerful men in England , a man whose holdings rival even King Edmond’s. She is lucky that his wife, Adelie, whom Maeb serves, is a kind, pious woman (in contrast to the Earl, whom Maeb finds dark and secretive). But when word arrives that a plague is sweeping through Europe like a human wildfire, everyone in the Earl’s household is put on edge. It is whispered that victims of this plague are spontaneously engulfed in flames—as if the flames of Hell had suddenly leapt up to claim them. It is also whispered that the Devil himself is to blame.
As the disease spreads into England , so too does civil unrest. King Edmond calls his lords and their armies to return to London , and the Earl obeys, leaving Maeb and his family to fend for themselves. But it turns out that the Earl has been hiding far more than simple state secrets, and that his family, left alone, is at risk of losing not only their lives but also their souls. To her horror, Maeb will learn that, indeed, the Devil himself may have arrived on her doorstep. And worse, what he demands may, in fact, be running through her very veins.
Ghosts of War George Mann [Pyr]
...strange, skeletonlike creations with batlike wings that swoop out of the sky, attacking people and carrying them away into the night. The Ghost has been tracking these bizarre machines, and is close to finding their origin: a deranged military scientist who is slowly rebuilding himself as a machine.  However, this scientist is not working alone, and his scheme involves more than a handful of abductions. He is part of a plot to escalate the cold war with Britain into a full-blown conflict, and he is building a weapon—a weapon that will fracture dimensional space and allow the monstrous creatures that live on the other side to spill through. He and his coconspirators—a cabal of senators and businessmen who seek to benefit from the war—intend to harness these creatures and use them as a means to crush the British.
But the Ghost knows only too well how dangerous these creatures can be, and the threat they represent not just to Britain , but the world. The Ghost's efforts to put an end to the conspiracy bring him into an uneasy alliance with a male British spy, who is loose in Manhattan protecting the interests of his country. He also has the unlikely assistance of Ginny, a drunken ex-lover and sharpshooter, who walks back into his life, having disappeared six years earlier in mysterious circumstances.  While suffering from increasingly lucid flashbacks to WWI, the Ghost is subjected to rooftop chases, a battle with a mechanized madman, and the constant threat of airborne predators, while the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Can he derail the conspiracy and prevent the war with the British from escalating beyond control?
Monster Hunter Alpha Larry Correia [Baen]
Earl Harbinger may be the leader of Monster Hunter International, but he’s also got a secret. Nearly a century ago, Earl was cursed to be werewolf.  When Earl receives word that one of his oldest foes, a legendarily vicious werewolf that worked for the KGB, has mysteriously appeared in the remote woods of Michigan , he decides to take care of some unfinished business. But another force is working to bring about the creation of a whole new species of werewolf. When darkness falls, the final hunt begins, and the only thing standing in their way is a handful of locals, a lot of firepower, and Earl Harbinger’s stubborn refusal to roll over and play dead.
Alchemist in the Shadows Pierre Pevel [Gollancz]
Welcome to Paris , in 1633, where dragons menace the realm. Cardinal Richelieu, the most powerful and most feared man in France , is on his guard. He knows France is under threat, and that a secret society known as the Black Claw is conspiring against him from the heart of the greatest courts in Europe . They will strike from the shadows, and when they do the blow will be both terrible and deadly. To counter the threat, Richelieu has put his most trusted men into play: the Cardinal's Blades, led by Captain la Fargue. Six men and a woman, all of exceptional abilities and all ready to risk their lives on his command. They have saved France before, and the Cardinal is relying on them to do it again. So when la Fargue hears from a beautiful, infamous, deadly Italian spy claiming to have valuable information, he has to listen ...and when La Donna demands Cardinal Richelieu's protection before she will talk, la Fargue is even prepared to consider it. Because La Donna can name their enemy. It's a man as elusive as he is manipulative, as subtle as Richelieu himself, an exceptionally dangerous adversary: the Alchemist in the shadows ...
A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Five  George R.R. Martin (Bantam)
In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance once again--beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has three times three thousand enemies, and many have set out to find her. Yet, as they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.
To the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone--a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge yet. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.
And from all corners, bitter conflicts soon reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all…
Resistance: A Hole in the Sky William C. Dietz [Del Rey]
In this official prequel to Resistance 3, prospects are not looking up for planet Earth or Lieutenant Joseph Capelli. With the Chimera invasion in full swing, America has crumbled under the fierce alien juggernaut, its defenses overrun, millions dead, the rest left to fend for themselves. Many try to avoid the alien virus that turns humans into Chimeran killing machines.
Capelli may be a pariah to the army for killing hero Nathan Hale, but he is still a patriot fighting to save the country and its citizens. However, some soldiers are ready to shoot him on sight—not to mention that Hale’s beautiful sister has every reason in the world to want him stone dead. But Capelli’s used to being in dangerous situations and taking crazy risks. And the next move he intends to make is pure suicide.
Star Trek: Cast No Shadow James Swallow [Star Trek Books]
Seven years have passed since a catastrophic explosion on the Klingon moon Praxis touched off a chain of events that would result in the assassination of the reformist High Chancellor Gorkon, and the eventual creation of the historicKhitomer Accords. Now, as part of the ongoing efforts to undo the disastrous fallout from the destruction of Praxis and with the help of aid supplies from the United Federation of Planets, reconstruction is in progress, and after years of slow going hindered by political pressures and old prejudices, headway is at last being made. But the peace process begun by theKhitomer Accords is still fragile just as the deadly plans of what is believed to be a hard-line Klingon isolationist group violently come to fruition.
Yet the group thought responsible for the deadly attack has been dormant for decades, and its known modus operandi doesn’t match up to the manner of the strike. And further investigation leads to an unexpected revelation connected to the Gorkon conspiracy of 2293, and in particular one disgraced and very familiar Starfleet lieutenant….
Theirs Not To Reason Why: A Soldier's Duty Jean Johnson [Ace]
Ia is a precog, tormented by visions of the future where her home galaxy has been devastated. To prevent this vision from coming true, Ia enlists in the Terran United Planets military with a plan to become a soldier who will inspire generations for the next three hundred years-a soldier history will call Bloody Mary.
When the Great Days Come Gardner Dozois [Prime Hardcover]
Millions of tiny robots dismantle Atlantic City . A Luddite encounters time travelers near the moment of Singularity. A young boy may have just destroyed the entire Eastern Seaboard. By turns haunting and humorous, Gardner Dozois's acclaimed short fiction is finally collected in a definitive edition of his work. Including Nebula Award winners such as "Morning Child" and nominees "Disciples" and "A Dream at Noonday," When the Great Days Come is a must for any science fiction reader. When the Great Days Come proves that Dozois is not just one of science fiction's best editors of short fiction, but one of its best writers as well.
BioShock: Rapture John Shirley [Tor]
It's the end of World War II. FDR's New Deal has redefined American politics. Taxes are at an all-time high. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has brought a fear of total annihilation. The rise of secret government agencies and sanctions on business has many watching their backs. America 's sense of freedom is diminishing . . . and many are desperate to take there freedom back.
Among them is a great dreamer, an immigrant who pulled himself from the depths of poverty to become one of the wealthiest and admired men in the world. That man is Andrew Ryan, and he believed that great men and women deserve better. And so he set out to create the impossible, a utopia free from government, censorship, and moral restrictions on science--where what you give is what you get. He created Rapture---the shining city below the sea.
But as we all know, this utopia suffered a great tragedy. This is the story of how it all came to be . . .and how it all ended.
Star Wars: Choices of One Timothy Zahn [Lucas Books Hardcover]
Eight months after the Battle of Yavin, the Rebellion is in desperate need of a new base. So when Governor Ferrouz of Candoras Sector proposes an alliance, offering the Rebels sanctuary in return for protection against the alien warlord Nuso Esva, Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie are sent to evaluate the deal.  Mara Jade, the Emperor’s Hand, is also heading for Candoras, along with the five renegade stormtroopers known as the Hand of Judgment. Their mission: to punish Ferrouz’s treason and smash the Rebels for good.  But in this treacherous game of betrayals within betrayals, a wild card is waiting to be played.
Judge Death: The Life and Death of... (Judge Dredd) John Wagner [2000 AD]
Who is Dredd's Nemesis Judge Death and where does he come from? The answer to these questions and many others can all be found here! From Death’s origin through to his final destruction – killing was his business!
7th Sigma Steven Gould [Tor Hardcover]
Welcome to the territory. Leave your metal behind, all of it. The bugs will eat it, and they’ll go right through you to get it…Don’t carry it, don’t wear it, and for god’s sake don’t come here if you’ve got a pacemaker.
The bugs showed up about fifty years ago--self-replicating, solar-powered, metal-eating machines. No one knows where they came from. They don’t like water, though, so they’ve stayed in the desert Southwest. The territory. People still live here, but they do it without metal. Log cabins, ceramics, what plastic they can get that will survive the sun and heat. Technology has adapted, and so have the people.   Kimble Monroe has chosen to live in the territory. He was born here, and he is extraordinarily well adapted to it. He’s one in a million. Maybe one in a billion.
The Magdalena Curse F.G. Cottam [Hardcover]
It only takes a couple of visits to convince Dr. Elizabeth Bancroft that Adam Hunter is not just having bad dreams. He’s a child possessed.  His father is desperate: adamant that his son’s affliction is the result of a curse he incurred in the depths of the Amazon, where a badly misguided military operation ended in a terrifying and macabre encounter. There he met two women—one who placed the curse and the other with whom any hope of saving his son resides.
Mark Hunter leaves the Scottish Highlands to beg help from the mysterious woman, leaving his son in the care of Elizabeth—who is about to discover there are equally dark secrets on their own doorstep.  And in her blood . . .
In Extremis: The Most Extreme Short Stories of John Shirley John Shirley [Underland Press]
In this collection of darkly funny, disquieting stories, John Shirley brings his substantial talent to bear on human morality through the absurd, violent blunderings of his characters. In Extremis features more than twenty of Shirley’s most intense stories, including two never-before-published pieces that are sure to roil even the most hardened readers.
The Damned Highway : Fear and Loathing in Arkham [Dark Horse]
A hilarious, shocking, terrifying thrill-ride across the American landscape, The Damned Highway combines two great flavors of weird: the gonzo journalism of Hunter S. Thompson and the uncanny terrors of H.P. Lovecraft! Horror legend Brian Keene and cult storytelling master Nick Matamas dredge up a tale of drug-fueled eldritch madness from the blackest depths of the American Nightmare. On a freaked-out bus journey to Arkham , Massachusetts and the 1972 Presidential primary, evidence mounts that sinister forces are on the rise, led by the Cult of Cthulhu and its most prominent member - Richard M. Nixon!
The Secret of Crickley Hall James Herbert [Tor Hardcover]
Would you stay in a haunted house for more than one night?  Would you live in a place where ghostly things keep happening? Where a cellar door you know you locked the night before is always open the following morning?  Where hushed whimpering is heard?  Where white shadows steal through the darkness?  Where the presence of evil is all around you?
Would you?  Should you?  The Caleighs did, but they had their reasons.  They should have known better though.  As the terror mounts, they begin to regret their decision.  As the horror rises, they realize their very lives are at risk....and so is their sanity.  For the secret of Crickley Hall is beyond all nightmares.
Creepy Archives Volume 10 [Dark Horse Hardcover]
In this new, cranium-cracking hardcover collection, Dark Horse's award-winning Creepy Archives run continues to bring classic Warren horror anthology stories to modern readers! Featuring a terrifying cover by acclaimed horror and fantasy illustrator Sanjulian, this latest excursion into terror brings us face to fang with the bizarre concoctions of Richard Corben, Doug Moench, Reed Crandall, Tom Sutton, Jerry Grandenetti, Jose Bea, and other familiar monsterminds and fan-faves. This archival edition will also reprint all color covers, color "Loathsome Lore" stories, fan art pages, letter columns, and essays from the original magazines, making this series essential for hardcore horror collectors and new readers alike.
Supernatural: Coyote's Kiss Christa Faust [Titan Books]
A truck full of illegal Mexican immigrants slaughtered with supernatural force is found by the side of a road. Trying to find answers, Sam and Dean are plunged into the dangerous world that exists along the Mexican border.  They encounter a tattooed, pistol-packing bandita on a motorcycle who seems be everywhere they go before they get there. Xochi Cazadora draws them into a whole new world of monsters...A Supernatural novel that reveals a previously unseen adventure for the Winchester brothers, from the hit TV series!
Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: "Race to Death Valley" (Vol. 1) Fantagraphics
Most of us know Mickey Mouse as the lovable face of the Walt Disney Company and one of the most iconic characters in the world. But before he became famous, little Mickey was an adventurous mouse…kind of the Indiana Jones of the mouse world. And it all too place in the pages of the Mickey Mouse comic strip of the 1930s at the hands of Mickey’s greatest cartoonist, Floyd Gottfredson. Fantagraphics…always a publisher you can count on to rescue classic comic material from oblivion, has published a gorgeous 288 page hardcover archive edition of Mickey’s earliest serialized comic strip adventures and he’s quite a different character than we know today…a little rambunctious, a little mischievous, and a whole lot of fun.
This book takes readers on a glorious ride through depression-era adventures as Mickey battles villains, becomes a fireman, visits a circus, and meets his faithful pup Pluto for the first time. The action gets started in the books title adventure “Race to Death Valley” which ran from April to September 1930. Minnie inherits an estate from her late uncle and Shyster the lawyer tells her its worthless and offers to buy it from her for next to nothing. A mysterious cloaked figure named The Fox warns Mickey and Minnie not to sell. When Minnie refuses the offer, Shyster hires a group of thugs led by Mickey’s archenemy Pegleg Pete. The gang tries to scare them out of the estate but The Fox arrives to help and hints at a secret in the house. The secret turns out to be the map to a treasure in Death Valley. In a race that includes trains, plains, automobiles, horses, and even a donkey, Mickey battles against Pete to try and get the treasure. In the end, the Fox’s mysterious identity is revealed. The story is pure brilliance. This is the epitome of sequential story telling and Gotfredson paces the strip like a film director.   It’s full of cliff-hanging moments and shows just how tough Mickey can be. 
Another great story is Mickey Mouse vs. Kat Nipp from 1931. Mickey meets the new cat in town and the two square off in a back-and-forth battle very reminiscent of Mad Magazine’s Spy Vs. Spy strip…only this came 30 years earlier. Pluto the Pup is a shorter story but obviously important as the first time Mickey meets his pet-to-be although he had appeared in the cartoon short “The Moose Hunt” a couple of months earlier.
Besides the many great comic strips, Fantagraphics has filled the book with a ton of supplemental material including articles on Gotfreddson, as well as some of the other talents who worked on Mickey like Roy Nelson and Jack King. This is an absolute must-have for any Mickey Mouse fan. Grade A
Joe Simon: My Life in Comics Joe Simon (Titan Books Hardcover)
Stan Lee is a true living legend in the realm of comic books. That is undeniable. But there’s a guy that’s been in comics for even longer than Stan. In fact this is the guy who mentored Stan and gave him his first work at Timely/Marvel Comics way back in 1941, and that man is Joe Simon, alive and well at the age of 97. Joe Simon co-created Captain America along with his partner Jack Kirby. He also created the Golden Age Sandman while at DC and helped create the early adventures of the 1940s Captain Marvel. Simon, in fact, has been working in comics since before there were comics and this is his story in his words. This isn’t one of those “as told to” biographies. This is Joe Simon telling his story of over 70 years in the comic book business.  
Joe is probably the last living creator who was there at the very beginning of the business. His incredible memory paints a picture of an exciting but simpler time. Joe had already been working in the comic book business for several years before joining Timely and becoming their first editor. Captain American #1 was Timely’s biggest selling book up to that time yet Joe talks about how he and Kirby got almost nothing of the royalties they deserved. To his credit, Simon isn’t a ‘bitter old man’ about it. He points out his facts as a matter of record. It was Simon who gave a sixteen year-old Stan Lee his first writing assignment…a two page text story that ran in Captain America #3. Simon also gave longtime DC artist and editor his start in comics.
Simon reveals that he and Kirby accepted positions at DC Comics while still working on Captain American. When the bosses at Timely found out, they fired Simon and Kirby on the spot. Simon claims that Jack Kirby hated Stan Lee until the day he died because he thought that Stan had been the one to tell the bosses, after all, Stan was the nephew to one of the owners. Simon is more diplomatic and thinks that they could have found out by other DC creators who were jealous of the salaries that Joe and Jack got at DC. Wow! Talk about a tell all book!
Joe goes on to relate his incredibly long and diverse career in comics. Joe worked for just about all the major publishers and worked in just about every type of genre including superhero, war, horror, romance, humor, detective…you name it.   It was Joe Simon who created Sick Magazine as an alternative to MAD in 1960. He also relates his time in the military in the Combat Art Corps. 
Joe scored an important win for comic book creators everywhere when new copy laws allowed him to seek control of the first 10 issues of Captain American that he and Jack created. He eventually came to an agreement with Marvel so that he and Kirby get a byline in every Captain American comic published and one suspects that there is more to the agreement although he can’t discuss specifics.
It’s wonderful to see how Simon has stepped back into the spotlight in his 90s. With the big screen Captain America film coming out, Simon has been deluged with interview and appearance requests and he seems positively overjoyed to be able to meet his new legion of fans. A fascinating book by a true living legend! Grade A
The Graveminder Melissa Marr (William Morrow hardcover)
Melissa Marr has made a name for herself through her young adult novels, notably her Wicked Lovely series but this his her first adult novel and it’s a commendable first effort. The Graveminder combines suspense with urban fantasy and a touch of “Twilight” style romance. The town of Claysville is one where the weird is a regular part of life but most people don’t notice it. The town employs a Graveminder and an Undertaker to make sure the town’s dead stays dead. Claysville has a strange law that anyone who was born in the town has to be buried there an buried there within 48 hours. Rebekkah Barrow returns home to Claysville her step-grandmother’s funeral. This also means she will see Byron, the man with whom she’s had an on-gain, off-again relationship over the years.
Rebekkah soon begins to learn of the town’s dark secrets and its ages old pact about the dead of Claysville. Her step-grandmother Maylene had been the town’s Graveminder. Rebekkah discovers that she is expected to inherit the duties of Graveminder while Byron is expected to become the new undertaker. The problem is that no one has prepared them for their roles and when the dead begin leaving their graves they have to try to find out who or what is behind it and how to set things right.
Marr has a nice feel for keeping a plot moving along briskly from her days as a writer of young adult novels. To her credit she does a nice job of hooking the writer quite early on and keeping them within her grasp. The town of Claysville is richly-imagined and fleshed out. Her two main characters are not quite as strongly developed however. There is an over-reliance on simplistic romantic plotting that drags Graveminder somewhat. Again, this seems to be a carryover from her young adult novels and plotting for teenaged girls. If you’re going to write an adult novel try to make it for a complete audience, not just one segment. At just over 300 pages there’s not a lot of meat to the story but overall its an enjoyable read. Grade B-