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Weekly Book Buzz: George R.R. Martin Marries
We Review The Desert of Souls
By Tim Janson
February 22, 2011
George R.R. Martin Marries Parris McBride
In the news this week George R.R. Martin has married his longtime girlfriend Parris McBride at their home on February 15th. The pair have been together for 30 years which just goes to show that GRRM apparently procrastinates in everything he does…
The other major news which you, ahem…may have heard about is Borders Books filing for bankruptcy and announcing the closing of 200 stores, nearly one-third of its total. Borders incredible failing can basically be tied to one momentously bad decision when, in 2001, they decided to allow Amazon to sell its books online rather than through their own site. Much like Blockbuster, their failing to take advantage of technology doomed them.
New In Fantasy
Serpent's Storm (A Calliope Reaper-Jones Novel) Amber Benson [Ace]
Calliope just wants to make it big in the Big Apple like any other working girl. But Callie is also Death's Daughter, no matter how much she tries to stay out of the family business. And now her older sister has made a deal with the Devil himself to engage in a hostile takeover of both Death Inc. and Heaven-once they get Callie out of the way.
The Remembering: Book Three of The Meq Steve Cash [Del Rey]
For thousands of years the Meq have existed side by side with humanity—appearing as twelve-year-old children, unsusceptible to wounds and disease, dying only by extraordinary means. They have survived through the rise and fall of empires and emperors, through explorations, expansions, and war. Five sacred stones give a few of them mystical powers, but not the power to understand a long-destined event called the Remembering.
In the aftermath of the nuclear bombing of Japan in 1945, Zianno Zezen finds himself alone, while the fate of the other Meq and his beloved Opari, carrier of the Stone of Blood, is unknown. But Z’s archenemy, the Fleur-du-Mal, survives. In the next half century Z will reunite with far-flung friends both Meq and human, as American and Soviet spies vie to steal and harness the powers and mysteries of the timeless children. With the day of the Remembering rapidly approaching, Z must interpret the strange writing on an ancient etched stone sphere. In those markings, Z will discover messages within messages and begin a journey to the truth about his people and himself.
The Raven Queen Jules Watson [Spectra]
She was born to be a pawn, used to secure her father’s royal hold on his land. She was forced to advance his will through marriage—her own desires always thwarted. But free-spirited Maeve will no longer endure the schemes of her latest husband, Conor, the cunning ruler of Ulster. And when her father’s death puts her homeland at the mercy of its greedy lords and Conor’s forces, Maeve knows she must at last come into her own power to save it.
With secret skill and daring, Maeve proves herself the equal of any warrior on the battlefield. With intelligence and stealth, she learns the strategies—and sacrifices—of ruling a kingdom through treacherous alliances. And to draw on the dangerous magic of her country’s oldest gods, Maeve seeks out the wandering druid Ruan, whose unexpected passion and strange connection to the worlds of spirit imperil everything Maeve thought true about herself—and put her at war with both her duty and her fate.
The Griffin's War (The Fallen Moon) K.J. Taylor [Ace]
After promising his allegiance to the Night God, Arenadd Taranisaii escapes death for the second time and vows to free his people. With the dark griffin Skandar by his side, Arenadd begins to gather an army and prepare for war using the power gifted to him by the Night God to move through the shadows. But even as Arenadd's strength grows his nemesis sets out for the Island of the Sun, seeking the one weapon that can truly kill Arenadd, the man without a heart.
Dead Waters Anton Strout [Ace]
Simon Canderous, of the Department of Extraordinary Affairs, is used to fighting vampires and zombies. But the strange murder of a professor has everyone stumped. And it's making some people crazy. Literally.
Broken Honour Robert Earl [Games Workshop]
The armies of Hochland are at breaking point. Beset on all sides by the feral beastmen, the safety and prosperity of the province is shattered. These are desperate times. Mercenary Captain Eriksson looks to capitalise on the conflict, buying the freedom of a group of prisoners to form a new free company. The criminals are delighted to be released, but this comes at a terrible price – to fight and die in the upcoming conflict. Eriksson must lead his makeshift company into one bloody conflict after another, putting his faith in those who gave up on honour long ago. On the battlefields of Hochland, either damnation or redemption awaits them.
The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume 5 Jonathan Strahan [Night Shade]
The depth and breadth of science fiction and fantasy fiction continues to change with every passing year. The twenty-nine stories chosen for this book by award-winning anthologist Jonathan Strahan carefully map this evolution, giving readers a captivating and always-entertaining look at the very best the genre has to offer.
New in Science Fiction
Xombies: Apocalypso Walter Greatshell [Ace]
A group of women have been discovered who are immune to the Agent X plague. The secret of their immunity can provide a cure for human and inhuman alike-unless the Xombies find them first.
Star Trek: Enterprise: The Romulan War: Beneath the Raptor's Wing Michael A. Martin [Star Trek Books]
The Romulan Star Empire engages in all out war against Earth, determined once and for all to stop the human menace from spreading across the galaxy.
Grail Elizabeth Bear [Mass Market Paperback]
At last the generation ship Jacob’s Ladder has arrived at its destination: the planet they have come to call Grail. But this habitable jewel just happens to be populated already: by humans who call their home Fortune. And they are wary of sharing Fortune—especially with people who have genetically engineered themselves to such an extent that it is a matter of debate whether they are even human anymore. To make matters worse, a shocking murder aboard the Jacob’s Ladder has alerted Captain Perceval and the angel Nova that formidable enemies remain hidden somewhere among the crew.
On Grail—or Fortune, rather—Premier Danilaw views the approach of the Jacob’s Ladder with dread. Behind the diplomatic niceties of first-contact protocol, he knows that the deadly game being played is likely to erupt into full-blown war—even civil war. For as he strives to chart a peaceful and prosperous path forward for his people, internal threats emerge to take control by any means necessary.
Gears of War Vol. 2 Joshua Ortega [Wildstorm Graphic Novel]
This new GEARS OF WAR collection bridges the gap between the Lightmass Bombing at the end of the fi rst Gears of War game and the start of the second game. Don’t miss a moment in the brutal adventures of Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad’s battle against the Locust.
Deus Ex: Icarus Effect James Swallow [Spectra]
In the near future, with physical augmentation gaining ground and nano-cybernetics only years away, the dawn of limitless human evolution is just beyond the horizon, and a secret corporate cabal of ruthless men intends to make sure that humankind stays under its control. But two people on opposite sides of the world are starting to ask questions that could get them killed.
Secret Service agent Anna Kelso has been suspended for investigating the shooting that claimed her partner’s life. Anna suspects that the head of a bio-augmentation firm was the real target, and against orders she’s turned up a few leads concerning a covert paramilitary force and a cadre of underground hackers. But the cover-up runs deep, and now there’s a target on her back. Meanwhile, Ben Saxon, former SAS officer turned mercenary, joins a shadowy special ops outfit. They say they’re a force for good, but Saxon quickly learns that the truth is not so clear-cut. So begins a dangerous quest to uncover a deadly secret that will take him from Moscow to London, D.C. to Geneva, and to the dark truth—if he lives that long.
The year is 2027; in a world consumed by chaos and conspiracy, two people are set on a collision course with the most powerful and dangerous organization in history—and the fate of humanity hangs in the balance.
Cloneworld (Combat-K) Andy Remic [Solaris]
Junks, an evil alien scourge, are flooding Quad-Gal with terror and Combat K are sent on a mission to find an elusive alien retrovirus which can be used against the enemy. SLAM-dropped to Cloneworld – a planet ravaged by violent civil war – not only are Combat K hunted by elite junk assassins, but they get caught in a global conflict between augmented mechanised war machines and genetically modified humans who have the ability to clone themselves. Combat K must fight their way to victory to save the Four Galaxies. But how can they possibly succeed, when their main foe are their own elite and deadly clones?
New in Horror
The Infection Craig DiLouie [Permuted Press]
Five ordinary people must pay the price of survival at the end of the world. A mysterious virus suddenly strikes down millions. Three days later, its victims awake with a single purpose: spread the Infection. As the world lurches toward the apocalypse, some of the Infected continue to change, transforming into horrific monsters.
In one American city, a small group struggles to survive. Sarge, a tank commander hardened by years of fighting in Afghanistan. Wendy, a cop still fighting for law and order in a lawless land. Ethan, a teacher searching for his lost family. Todd, a high school student who sees second chances in the end of the world. Paul, a minister who wonders why God has forsaken his children. And Anne, their mysterious leader, who holds an almost fanatical hatred for the Infected.
Together, they fight their way to a massive refugee camp where thousands have made a stand. There, what's left of the government will ask them to accept a mission that will determine the survival of them all--a dangerous journey back onto the open road and into the very heart of Infection.
Creepy Archives Volume 9 [Dark Horse Hardcover Archive]
The latest volume in Dark Horse's award-winning Creepy Archives hardcover run will shake, rattle, and obliterate your sanity, as the stories from issues #42-#45 of Warren Publishing's landmark horror series arrive as perfect antidotes to seasonal melancholy. In the early 1970s, comic-book legends like Bruce Jones, Gardner Fox, Richard Corben, Dave Cockrum, and Mike Ploog conspired to bring readers wonderfully mixed anthologies of terror and suspense! This volume also features a cover by celebrated fantasy and horror illustrator Sanjulian and a brand-new foreword by comic-book historian and writer Richard Arndt.
The Desert of Souls Howard Andrew Jones (St. Martin’s Hardcover)
So much of today’s fantasy literature is stuck in modern times with some sort of wizard/monster hunter or it is usually based in medieval type settings. It’s nice to see a book come along that takes fantasy outside of the box and that’s what The Desert of Souls does. It’s backdrop of an Arabian Nights style setting is much welcomed. But this isn’t just a take on the Arabian Nights but it is part mystery, part thriller, part adventure, all woven expertly by Jones to create a tapestry of vivid imagery and excitement.
In fact, what Jones has effectively done, or so I hope, is to create a Middle-Eastern version of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. This could be the beginning of a wonderfully series of adventures for the duo of Asim, Captain of Master Jaffar’s guard, and the wise scholar Dabir who is in love with Jaffar’s neice. Set in 8th century Baghdad, Asim and Dabir undertake a mission to find the origins of a strange relic that is stolen from Jaffar. This will lead them into a series of flashing sword adventures across mysterious lands and to the lost city of Ubar.
The character’s are as lively as Leiber’s to be certain and the action is fast-paced and draws you in from page one. This is the kind of pulp adventure novel that ranks ups there with writers like Robert E. Howard, Talbot Mundy, and H. Rider Haggard. Fun and fresh! Grade A