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Roumanian Princesses and Lords of Lies

A glance at the latest SF, Fantasy, and Horror releases

By Pat Ferrara     April 14, 2008


SHADOW GATE (Of the Crossroads Series) by Kate Elliott(2008).
© Tor Books

A slim release schedule doesn’t mean skimpy genre fare as this week’s debuts prove with big releases from powerhouse authors Kate Elliott, Orson Scott Card, and Ursula K. Le Guin along with newcomer Paul Genesse and a handful of talent from across the pond and beyond.

Kate Elliott continues the saga of the Crossroads with the hardback release of Shadow Gate, expelling more on the story of the Hundred world and following up 2006’s well-received fantasy/romance tale Spirit Gate. Tor Books is also releasing another sophomore series hardback, the previously published The Lord of Lies in David Zindell’s the Ea Cycle. Zindell, best known for his novelette “Shanidar” and 1988 novel Neverness, has been described by Gene Wolfe as “…one of the finest talents to appear since Kim Stanley Robinson and William Gibson—perhaps the finest.”

Paul Parks’ wildly popular A Princess of Roumania series comes to an end with the fourth and final tome The Hidden World out in hardcover while first-time author Paul Genesse tries to corral the Lord of the Rings fan demographic and young adult crowd with the Iron Dragon series opener The Golden Cord. Though Cord is being heralded as a lush new fantasy world, it seems Genesse’s debut is more a re-hashing of familiar genre motifs in the vein of Eragon rather than a comparable tome to the Tolkien masterpiece.

Fans of classic science fiction should take note of award-winning author Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven paperback re-release as well as Orson Scott Card’s enormous, 24-story collection Keeper of Dreams, which includes brand new introductions and commentary by the author for each individual story. Those SF aficionados looking for a bit more variety in their collections need look no further than the newest anthology produced by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Edited by husband-and-wife team James and Kathryn Morrow, The SFWA European Hall of Fame paperback brings together the top talent from Europe in what is being called one of the best anthologies in recent years. Spanning work of the past two decades, this collection boasts 16 stories, all of which are smoothly translated to titillate us English-speakin’ blokes.

New in Hardcover:

Crossroads: Shadow Gate, Kate Elliott (Tor)

The captivating, bestselling Spirit Gate swept readers into the turbulent world of the Hundred, where the peace and order of life under the protection of the immortal Guardians has given way to chaos and violence. In the face of a vast horde of marauders led by a rogue Guardian, the bravery and resourcefulness of a lone eagle-reeve and others who risk their lives for the common good have prevented death and destruction from overwhelming the Hundred. Now in Shadow Gate, the enthralling sequel, the source of corruption of the Guardians is still a mystery to the mortals who fight to withstand the forces that have turned against them. And when three new Guardians emerge, a struggle begins among the immortals, with nothing less at stake than the future of the land and its gods. With all the color, excitement, and narrative power that have made Kate Elliott an enormously popular writer, Shadow Gate weaves a powerful spell of action, romance, and magic that will entrance legions of readers.

The Ea Cycle: The Lord of Lies, David Zindell (Tor)

The Lord of Lies is the story of the Dark Angel's swift and terrible revenge against Valashu Elahad. Death and destruction surround the Lightstone in the second book of this magnificent and deeply moving fantasy epic. Valashu Elahad only regained the Lightstone in Argattha when he realized that his purpose was to guard the treasure of his ancestors so that he could pass it to the enlightened one, the Maitreya, who would lead them back to the stars. At the time he understood that the mysterious powers of the Lightstone were not his to use. But perhaps it would have been wise to seek the enlightened one before undertaking his quest for the Lightstone. Now he has it, Morjin knows where it is, and he will use all his talents to get it back. Val's victory in Argattha was only the beginning of a war with Morjin. His brothers and his father King Shamesh march out to do battle with the armies of the Dark Angel. Val alone must protect the sacred vessel won by his courage and purity of vision. But his bright sword Alakaladur cannot prevail against the treasonous plots and betrayal by those closest to him, evidence of Morjin's power to destroy him and take the Lightstone.

A Princess of Roumania: The Hidden World, Paul Park (Tor)

The breathtaking climax to Paul Park’s lyrical and mesmerizing series. The Hidden World is the concluding volume in Paul Park’s remarkable tale of Roumania, a world that is both more real and yet also more mysterious and magical than our own. After finding out that she is the lost princess of Roumania and the mythical White Tyger, Miranda’s fate is still uncertain. The ghosts of her enemies cluster about her, the insane spirit of the Baroness takes possession of her body for a time, and demons released by her mother are abroad. And through it all her heart calls out to Peter, away with the army, whom she has come to love, and her best friend Andromeda, sworn to help her and protect her. There are no easy answers; it all looks impossible. Any hope may lie in the hidden world of spirits, where death is but an inconvenience.

Keeper of Dreams, Orson Scott Card (Tor)

This huge new collection of the short stories of one of Science Fiction's most beloved and popular writers is sure to please his millions of fans. The volume contains 24 stories, Card's new introductions for each story, and commentary on his life and work. Like the earlier Maps in A Mirror, this collection is a definitive retrospective of the short fiction career of the writer that The Houston Post called “the best writer science fiction has to offer.”

Iron Dragon: The Golden Cord, Paul Genesse (Five Star)

Death comes from above in the plateau world of Ae'leron, where griffins and dragons prowl the sky. The people of Cliffton live on the edge of an abyss of clouds that surround the plateaus and block the view into the Underworld. Cliffton's most dedicated guardian, Drake Bloodstone, confronts his enemies when a pair of Drobin arrive at the gates. His world becomes a whirlwind of change as he guides the Drobin on a suicidal journey to the lair of the Dragon King.

New in Paperback:

The Lathe of Heaven, Ursula K. Le Guin (Scribner)

In a future world racked by violence and environmental catastrophes, George Orr wakes up one day to discover that his dreams have the ability to alter reality. He seeks help from Dr. William Haber, a psychiatrist who immediately grasps the power George wields. Soon George must preserve reality itself as Dr. Haber becomes adept at manipulating George's dreams for his own purposes. The Lathe of Heaven is an eerily prescient novel from award-winning author Ursula K. Le Guin that masterfully addresses the dangers of power and humanity's self-destructiveness, questioning the nature of reality itself. It is a classic of the science fiction genre. Vibrantly repackaged in a stunning new format, this classic science fiction novel offers "a rare and powerful synthesis of poetry and science, reason and emotion" (The New York Times).

Call of Cthulhu Fiction: The Strange Cases of Rudolph Pearson, William Jones (Chaosium)

Step into the past…where timeless horrors exist. After the Great War, a terrifying threat is discovered in New York City. For countless years it lurked unseen. But when a professor from Columbia University unravels a dark secret, a centuries' old mystery awakens...

The SFWA European Hall of Fame, Ed. by James & Kathryn Morrow (Tor)

This is the best book of its kind in at least two decades. It is a literate, intelligent book of powerful SF stories from across Europe. These tales are representative of the best writers and stories of the last twenty years, written in most of the major contemporary European languages. The SFWA European Hall of Fame includes some of the biggest SF names in Europe, including Joanna Sinisalo, Andreas Eschbach, Elena Arseneva, and Jean-Claude Dunyach. The appeal of this anthology rests first upon the venerable SFWA Hall of Fame imprimatur, and secondly on the sterling reputation of co-editor/writer James Morrow. Morrow and his wife Kathryn spent years arranging for translations of the best in European SF, and working with translators to achieve sharp, polished, and entertaining English versions of the stories. James Morrow has written a thought-provoking introductory essay, as well as informative story notes throughout the collection. This anthology joins the canonical SFWA Hall of Fame books that have sold hundreds of thousands of copies over four decades, and belongs in every library of SF, personal or public.

The Samarkand Solution, Gary Gygax (Paizo Publishing)

The governor is dead! While vacationing in the treacherous city of On, Magister Setne Inhetep - personal wizard-priest to the Pharaoh and part-time detective - stumbles upon a scene of murder by magic at the highest levels of government. With suspects ranging from the high priest of Set to a consortium of merchants and wizards from across the world, Inhetep must piece together the mystery before more luminaries are killed in a plot that threatens the Triple Kingdom of Agypt!

New in Audiobook:

Edge of Eternity, Randy Alcorn (Treasure Publishing Abridged)

Imagine Being Pulled Into the Hereafter…While You’re Still Alive. A disillusioned business executive whose life has hit a dead end, Nick Seagrave has lost loved ones to tragedy and his family to neglect. Now, at a point of great crisis, he unbelievably and inexplicably finds himself transported to what appears to be another world. Suddenly he’s confronted with profoundly clear views of his own past and personality. At the same time, he’s enabled to see, hear, taste, and smell the realities of both heaven and hell; realities that force him to face dangers and trials far greater than any he’s known before. Pitted against flying beasts, a monstrous web that threatens to hold him captive, an evil, brooding intelligence, and undeniable evidence of a spiritual world, Nick must finally consider the God he claims not to believe in. Walking between two worlds, Nick Seagrave prepares to make decisions that will change his life forever, as he stands on the Edge of Eternity.

Check back next Monday for all the latest info on current sci-fi, fantasy, and horror book releases. Questions or comments? Hit me up at Pferrara.mania@gmail.com.

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