Whether or not you enjoyed the rather hollow cinematic translation of Eragon this past December, there’s no denying that Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Trilogy has legs. Ever since the first book’s film adaptation release, the second installment in the trilogy, Eldest, has continuously topped Amazon.com’s bestselling booklist. Trumped this week only by the 2002 board book edition of Frank Miller’s 300, Eldest is still running strong as Random House Publishing Group unloads yet another paperback edition onto the shelves.
Good day to all and welcome to this Tuesday’s Weekly Book Buzz. We’ve got a fresh batch of SF, fantasy, and horror for all of you Maniac readers out there and surprisingly a lot of the literary fare is from smaller publishers like Night Shade Books, Subterranean Press, Prometheus Books, and Meisha Merlin Publishing. The rest of our hard and soft cover releases are mostly rounded out by works from Wizards of the Coast, including yet another hardback of R.A. Salvatore’s Passage to Dawn. My god if I have to include any more Drizzt re-releases in this column…
Although not really a book in the traditional sense, I’m a big fan of the Warcraft universe so I feel obligated to report Tokyopop’s release of the final volume in the Warcraft: Sunwell Trilogy. Released on paperback, Ghostlands finishes the tale of a young shape-shifting blue dragon and his perils surviving in the war-torn country of Azeroth.
If you’re in the mood for something a little more supernatural Night Shade Books debuts Snake Moon, a chilling ghost story set during the civil war. Night Shade also released a great collection of SF and fantasy in their Best of series under critically acclaimed editor Jonathan Strahan. Not only are these collections a great way to sample contemporary work in the genre, but these paperback editions are also extremely easy on your pocketbook.
Other Books to Check Out: The Spaces Between The Lines, Keeping it Real, Gradisil, & Dreams of Inan: Stealing Life
New in Hardcover:
Passage to Dawn, R.A. Salvatore (Wizards of the Coast Publishing)
Six years. Not so long in the lifespan of a drow. And yet—in counting the months, the weeks, the days, the hours—it seemed to me as if I had been away from Mithral Hall a hundred times that number. The place was another lifetime, another way of life, a mere stepping stone to... To what? To where? I ride the waves along the Sword Coast now, the wind and spray in my face. My ceiling is the rush of clouds and the canopy of stars; my floor, the creaking boards of a swift, well-weathered ship. Beyond that lies the azure blanket, flat and still, heaving and rolling, hissing in the rain and exploding under the fall of a breaching whale. Is this, then, my home? Book ten of the Forgotten Realms: The Legend of Drizzt series.
The Spaces Between the Lines, Peter Crowther (Subterranean Press)
A very special jukebox in the abandoned saloon of a dusty deserted town plays much more than mere tunes for two weary wanderers… A traveling carnival in a post-apocalyptic world comes across the Earth's very last vampire… A chair fashioned out of the wood from the original cross provides a comfort of sorts down the ages… A lonely girl dreams of freedom, whatever the cost… A one-time orphan embarks on a bizarre bus-journey with his newfound parents… Two old men tamper with the dark arts and open a gateway that threatens the destruction of the world… A grieving widower goes to great lengths to bring his wife back from the dead only to find that she's brought someone else with her… And a man uses a roll of magical tape to halt time and save his wife's life, unaware that there are things in this stopped-clock dimension that take a dim view of visitors. Twelve more stories from the fertile mind of Peter Crowther, award-winning author of The Longest Single Note, Songs of Leaving, Lonesome Roads and the Forever Twilight SF/horror sequence.
Web of the Trident, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (Meisha Merlin Publishing)
Armed with the potent and temperamental weapon of a Goddess-in-exile, backed by a twice-born woman legend - or is it history? - named Death's Warrior, Master Thief Gem ser Edreth must lead a reluctant generation ship crew and a far too-eager band of aboriginal warriors against a climate-killing dam constructed and defended by the cream of space-going technology. Gem's clever electronic spiders, and the information contained in an old library may be the key to victory over the planet's oppressors, but Gem faces yet another problem: the ancient power residing within the Trident is waking, and it has an agenda of its own.
New in Paperback:
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume 1, Ed. by Jonathan Strahan (Night Shade Books)
For the first time ever, award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan has assembled the best science fiction and the best fantasy stories of the year in one volume. More than just two books for the price of one, this book brings together over 200,000 words of the best genre fiction anywhere. Strahan's critical eye and keen editorial instincts have served him well for earlier best of the year round-ups in the Best Short Novels, Science Fiction: Best of and Fantasy: Best of series, and this is his most impressive effort yet.
Eldest, Christopher Paolini (Random House Group)
Darkness falls… despair abounds… evil reigns… Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspiring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems. Before long, Eragon doesn't know whom he can trust. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle: one that might put Eragon in even graver danger. Will the king's dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life… Book two in the Inheritance Trilogy.
Depths of Madness, Erik Scott de Bie (Wizards of the Coast Publishing)
The last thing she remembers is seeing her friends die. Eldritch and forgotten arcana wait within its vaults. Twisted accidents of magic prowl its halls. Sinister forces lure the unsuspecting deeper into death or madness. Its victims don’t remember how they got there. No one remembers how to get out. Now it’s her turn. A novel set in the Forgotten Realms: The Dungeons series.
Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor Volume 2, Harlan Ellison, et al (Dark Horse Comics)
Ever wonder what it would be like to walk into someone else's mind and have a look around? Well, what if that person happened to be a brilliant storyteller whose imagination has captivated millions of readers over the past five decades? In the award-winning anthology Harlan Ellison's Dream Corridor, we have had both the privilege and peril of rooting around in the eponymous fellow's noggin to see what makes him tick - and what engrossing stories have been hidden away in the cracks and crevices of his gray matter. The words of world-renowned science-fiction author Harlan Ellison are once again translated onto the page by top comics creators, including Paul Chadwick, Neal Adams, Steve Rude, Gene Colan, Steve Niles, Gerard Jones, Richard Corben and the legendary Oz illustrator Eric Shanower. Most of these stories have never before seen print!
Forbidden City, Alex Archer (Harlequin Press)
A stunning artifact holds the key to an untapped power of global destruction— While working on a dig in the California wilderness, archaeologist-adventurer Annja Creed uncovers evidence of a tragedy that's linked to Chinese miners during the days of the Gold Rush. A sudden attack on the site by shadow if gures drives Annja to if nd the connection to a mysterious buried city in China. Lured by legends of gold, betrayal and the vengeance of a Han Dynasty overlord, Annja travels on the Orient Express, battling avaricious treasure hunters and a modern-day descendant of an ancient league of assassins. Her adversaries will stop at nothing to stake their claim on the fabled lost city, where a Han leader's dark past promises doom for those who dare to reveal its evil power. A novel set in Archer’s Rogue Angel series.
Ghostlands, Richard A. Knaak (TokyoPop)
On the war-ravaged world of Azeroth, a young blue dragon's quest for a mysterious power has led him and his companions to the remote mountains of northern Lordaeron. In that frozen, treacherous wasteland, they find themselves caught in a battle of life, death… and undeath! Jae-Hwan Kim, artist of the best-selling King of Hell series, and Richard A. Knaak, the New York Times best-selling author, whisk you back to the world of Warcraft with the bone-chillingly sinister conclusion of the Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy Following 2005’s Dragon Hunt and 2006’s Shadows of Ice.
Keeping it Real, Justina Robson (Prometheus Books)
The Quantum Bomb of 2015 changed everything. The fabric that kept the universe's different dimensions apart was torn and now, six years later, the people of earth exist in uneasy company with the inhabitants of, amongst others, the elfin, elemental, and demonic realms. Magic is real and can be even more dangerous than technology. Elves are exotic, erotic, dangerous, and really bored with the constant Lord of the Rings references. Elementals are a law unto themselves and demons are best left well to themselves. Special agent Lila Black used to be pretty, but now she's not so sure. Her body is more than half restless carbon and metal alloy machinery, a machine she's barely in control of. It goes into combat mode, enough weapons for a small army springing from within itself, at the merest provocation. As for her heart, well, ever since being drawn into a game by the elfin rockstar Zal (lead singer of the No Shows), who she's been assigned to protect, she's not even sure she can trust that any more either. Book one of the Quantum Gravity series. Hahaha, I laughed out loud reading the bit about LotR, I’ll have to check this one out.
The Great White Wyrm, Peter Archer (Wizards of the Coast Publishing)
From out of the clouds it comes, breathing ice, terrorizing those who live by the seas of Krynn. It is a terror beyond belief: the Great White Wyrm. And for centuries, a dedicated band of elves known as Dragonsbane has pursued it. They've finally brought the dragon to bay, but a fanatical captain dedicated to the beast's destruction and driven by revenge threatens to bring ruin upon them all. The third novel set in the Dragonlance: Champions series.
Habeas Corpses, Mark Simmons (Baen Books)
Mark Simmons, who never met a wisecrack, pun, or pop culture reference he didn't like, explores different degrees of deadness in his latest Christopher Cjesthe novel. Poor Chris ... if he's not being made unwilling ruler of the vampires, he's discorporated and floating through walls. Lupe the Werewolf, Suki the cat/vampire, the voluptuous Deidre, and, oh yes, Teresa's head ... all are back for this lates event-packed romp through a vivid world that leaps into existence every time we open a Simmons book. Book three in the Halflife Chronicles.
Snake Moon, Ray Manzarek & Rick Valentine (Night Shade Books)
The year is 1863. Deep in the backwoods of Tennessee, farmer Boone Dillard and his family live in ritualistic harmony with the earth and its seasons, content to eke out a living from the land, unaware even of the Civil War that engulfs the nation around them... that is, until Boone is seduced by a mysterious traveling peddler's dulcet promises of fame, fortune, and glory. As Boone and his hulking yet childlike brother-in-law set forth in search of their destiny, they set into motion a haunting and disturbing chain of events that threatens to tear the family apart, awaken restless ghosts and alter the course of their lives forever.
Forge of the Mind Slayers, Tim Waggoner (Wizards of the Coast Publishing)
Living in the war-ravaged realm of Eberron, assassin-turned-priest Diran Bastiaan and his half-orc sidekick, Ghaji, make an unlikely pair. One looks like the stuff of nightmares, while the other is "a conduit through which the holy force of Good could work its will in the physical world." Together, they have traveled throughout the archipelagic Lhazaar Principalities sharing numerous wild adventures, but none were as dangerous as the one they currently face. When a gang of bloodthirsty pirates kidnaps Diran's former lover (a beautiful ex-mercenary killer named Makala), the priest of the Silver Flame and his half-bred wingman vow to get her—and countless other abductees—back no matter what the cost. But the seafaring raiders are no ordinary criminals; they're led by the infamous vampire Onkar, who in turn serves a being unfathomably more evil than himself… Book two in the Eberron: The Blade of the Flame series.
To Sleep with Evil, Andria Cardarelle Hayday (Wizards of the Coast Publishing)
Desperate to escape the terrors of Ravenloft, Marguerite came to Lord Donskoy's castle full of hope for the future. Instead, she found herself betrothed to a mysterious purveyor of flesh whose secret past, like the dead, refused to stay buried. Now Donskoy's marriage has invoked a dark curse, and Marguarite into a web of fear and passion. A novel of the Ravenloft Covenant series.
Gradisil, Adam Roberts (Prometheus Books)
Gradisil is an epic space opera of family revenge and the birth of a nation. Not very long from now, if you are wealthy, space can be yours, space to grow. New technology has seeded a rebirth of the pioneer spirit. A new breed of adventurer has slipped the bonds of gravity and begun a fresh life in orbit, free from interference by government, free from the petty concerns of earth. Who wouldn't want such freedom? Who wouldn't want to escape from society's tangles—from the claws of the corporations, from the stifling love of family? But tradition, fear, and revenge carry a murderous weight, a gravity that is not so easy to escape. The death of Gradisil's grandfather, floating high in the uplands above earth, was only the beginning. And now the US government is looking up at the new nation above our heads with jealous eyes.
Danger Boy: Dragon Sword, Mark London Williams (Candlewick Press)
Twelve-year-old time traveler Eli Sands continues his search for his missing mom, encountering new characters and trying to save the free world from tyrannical rule. In Dragon Sword Eli's time-traveling talent leads him to his missing mother's location: San Francisco at the start of World War II. Unfortunately, Margarite Sands is deeply involved in efforts to keep time-sphere technology away from the enemy, and once again Eli is thrown into the thick of things. He and his fellow time-adventurers, Clyne and Thea, are hurled far into the past, where they find new allies in the legendary King Arthur and his wizard, Merlin. Together, they must do whatever it takes to keep the powerful sword Excalibur from falling into Nazi hands. Hitch a ride through time on the Danger Boy adventures! These rich, action-filled fantasies about a reluctant time-traveler and his unusual sidekicks will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Illustrated by Michael Koelsch.
Passage At Arms, Glen Cook (Night Shade Books)
The ongoing war between Humanity and the Ulat is a battle of attrition that humanity is unfortunately losing. However, humans have the advantage of trans-hyperdrive technology, which allows their climber fleet, under very narrow and strenuous conditions, to pass through space almost undetectable. Passage at Arms tells the intimate, detailed and harrowing story of a climber crew and its captain during a critical juncture of the war. Cook combines speculative technology with a canny and realistic portrait of men at war and the stresses they face in combat, a classic novel of military science fiction.
Dreams of Inan: Stealing Life, Antony Johnston (Abaddon Books)
Nicco Salarum is a good thief, a stealthy gentleman burglar who makes his dubious living on the rough streets of Azbatha, nicknamed the Pit-On-Stilts: a dangerous, overcrowded and corrupt city in the island nation of Turith. But Nicco is in trouble after he ditched an expensive stolen shipment rather than kill a security guard. That shipment belonged to a local mob boss, and now Nicco must repay the value of the goods. When Xandus, a magus from the other side of Turith, offers Nicco a seemingly easy task–to steal the magic necklace of a visiting dignitary for an enormous amount of money, Nicco thinks his prayers have been answered. But the job is not all it seems…
New in Audiobook:
Beyond the Gap, Harry Turtledove (Tantor Media)
Count Hamnet Thyssen is a minor noble of the drowsy old Raumsdalian Empire. Its capital city, Nidaros, began as a mammoth hunters' camp at the edge of the great Glacier. But that was centuries ago, and as everyone knows, it's the nature of the great Glacier to withdraw a few feet every year. Now Nidaros is an old and many-spired city; and though they still feel the breath of the great Glacier in every winter's winds, the ice cap itself has retreated beyond the horizon. Trasamund, a clan chief of the mammoth-herding Bizogots, the next tribe north, has come to town with strange news. A narrow gap has opened in what they'd always thought was an endless and impregnable wall of ice. The great Glacier does not go on forever… and on its other side are new lands, new animals, and possibly new people. Ancient legend says that on the other side is the Golden Shrine, put there by the gods to guard the people of their world. Now, perhaps, the road to the legendary Golden Shrine is open. Who could resist the urge to go see? For Count Hamnet and his several companions, the glacier has always been the boundary of the world. Now they'll be traveling beyond it into a world that's bigger than anyone knew. Adventures will surely be had... Unabridged edition.
Okay that’s it for this week’s edition of the Buzz. Be sure to check back next week for all the latest news on current sci fi, fantasy, and horror book releases. Questions or Comments? Hit me up at PFerrara.firstname.lastname@example.org.