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Weekly Book Buzz: Katharine Kerr's Latest Deverry Fantasy

Realms of Fantasy Returns to Life

By Tim Janson     November 01, 2009


The Silver Mage by Katharine Kerr
© DAW

 

First off I want to thank Buzz readers “Myrdinn” and “Goldeneyez” for checking in with a couple of early reviews of The Gathering Storm in last week’s comment section. Let’s not stop there…please feel free to share more reviews this week and in upcoming weeks.
 
…Several months back we reported that Realms of Fantasy, the long-running fantasy magazine had ceased publication. Well I am happy to report that the magazine is back after a seventh month hiatus. And not only is it back, but for you aspiring fantasy writers, it is also open to submissions. If you’re interested in submitting a story or art, check out this link: ROF Submissions
 
Lots of new mass-market fantasy releases this week including several new titles from Wizards of the Coast. Also out is the latest hardcover fantasy from Katharine Kerr with book four in the Silver Wyrm Act, part of her venerable Deverry series.
 
 
The Trouble With Heroes (DAW)
 
These 22 all-new tales pay tribute to the true heroes-the people who enable and put up with heroes. From what it's like to be Hercules' wife )complete with an appearance by Hercules in drag) to the trials of H.P. Lovecraft's housekeeper, from the perils of being King Kong's girlfriend to the downside of dating a shapeshifter, this anthology turns heroism on its head, revealing the behind-the-scenes drama, as opposed to glorious rescues. From the Pied Piper's power trip to David acting like a giant you-know-what after slaying Goliath, these stories show heroes in all their ignominy and shine a light on the unsung faithful standing in their shadows.
 
Son of Khyber: Thorn of Breland, Book 2 Keith Baker (Wizards of the Coast)
 
Thorn infiltrates a gang of criminals with special powers–aberrant dragonmarks–trying to gain information on their leader, the enigmatic Son of Khyber. But when her orders and her experiences contradict each other, Thorn starts listening to what the Son of Khyber has to say. Featuring characters from Baker’s popular Dreaming Dark Trilogy that return to challenge Thorn.
 
The Silver Mage: Book Four of the Silver Wyrm Katharine Kerr (DAW Hardcover)
 
The Horsekin are assembling along Prince Dar's northern border, and the Deverry alliance simply does not have the men and resources to prevent their enemies from moving into the wilderness areas known as the Ghostlands. But suddenly, the Dwrgi folk and the dragons come to Dar's aid, tipping the balance in their favor and offering Dar's people a chance to defeat the Horsekin once and for all.
 
Magic in the Shadows: An Allie Beckstrom Novel Devon Monk (Roc)
 
Allison Beckstrom's magic has taken its toll on her, physically marking her and erasing her memories-including those of the man she supposedly loves. But lost memories aren't the only things preying on Allie's thoughts. Her late father, the prominent businessman-and sorcerer-Daniel Beckstrom, has somehow channeled himself into her very mind. With the help of The Authority, a secret organization of magic users, she hopes to gain better control over her own abilities-and find a way to deal with her father...
 
Heir to Sevenwaters Juliet Marillier (Roc)
 
The chieftains of Sevenwaters have long been custodians of a vast and mysterious forest-and a new heir has been born. But the family's joy turns to despair when the baby is taken, and something unnatural is left in his place. To reclaim her newborn brother, Clodagh must enter the shadowy Otherworld and confront the powerful prince who rules there...
 
The Fall of Highwatch: Chosen of Nendawen, Book I Mark Sehestedt (Wizards of the Coast)
 
Hweilan is the last of the line of Highwatch and--as she discovers--one of the last of the Vil Adanrath, a bloodline of lycanthropes left on Faerûn. Guric, her uncle and the slayer of Hwelian's family, has released a terrible evil in order to resurrect his beloved wife and gain control of the northern countries. When Hweilan escapes Guric's schemes, she is taken in by Lendri, a Vil Adanrath who has stayed in Faerûn to help guide Hweilan to her fate.
 
The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy (Ace Hardcover)
 
Whether portrayed as fire-breathing reptilian beasts at war with humanity or as noble creatures capable of speech and mystically bonded to the warriors who ride them, dragons have been found in nearly every culture's mythology. In modern times, they can be found far from their medieval settings in locales as mundane as suburbia or as barren as post-apocalyptic landscapes-and in The Dragon Book, today's greatest fantasists reignite the fire with legendary tales that will consume readers' imaginations.
 
With original stories by New York Times bestselling authors Jonathan Stroud, Gregory Maguire, Garth Nix, Diana Gabaldon, Tamora Pierce, Harry Turtledove, Sean Williams, and Tad Williams as well as tales by Naomi Novik, Peter Beagle, Jane Yolen, Adam Stemple, Cecelia Holland, Kage Baker, Samuel Sykes, Diana Wynne Jones, Mary Rosenblum, Tanith Lee, Andy Duncan, and Bruce Coville.
 
Corsair: Blades of the Moonsea, Book II (Blades of Moonsea) (Wizards of the Coast)
 
When pirates threaten his home, Geran is elected by the city council to track the blood-thirsty pirates to their hidden base, infiltrate them, and find a way to stop them before it’s too late. But the pirates are motivated by more than greed. Kin to his enemies, they seek a deeper revenge, one Geran only begins to glimpse when they kidnap the woman he loves.
 
Agents of Artifice: A Planeswalker Novel (Planeswalkers) Ari Marmell (Wizards of the Coast)
 
In this struggle for influence and power, for the keys to magical knowledge, everything you knew about novels based on Magic: The Gathering® is changing . . . Jace Beleren is a planeswalker who has taken the path of least resistance. He is gifted and powerful, but chooses not to push himself. Part of an inter-planar consortium that deals in magical artifacts, Jace has some power and influence. He also has a certain amount of security. That’s all about to change.
 
When Liliana, a dark temptress with demons of her own (quite literally), comes into his life, she brings with her more possibilities, but also more problems. Under attack from external interests, a friend dies because of decisions Jace made. Upset with himself and fearing for his life, Jace sets out to find who is behind this new threat. What he uncovers along the way, an inter-planar chase filled with peril, will alter everything he knows.
 
New In Science Fiction
 
Exodus: The Ark Paul Chafe (Baen)
 
The gigantic starship Ark was launched on a voyage of ten thousand years from an Earth on the brink of collapse. Its mission was to carry a portion of the human race to a new home circling another star, but, centuries after its departure, the descendants of the original crew no longer remember that they are on a city-sized spaceship, and know nothing of the Ark’s mission, nor of the starry universe outside. The Prophetsy, a theocracy based on slavery and terror, has ruled over most of the Ark for longer than anyone now living can remember, and it has just succeeded in conquering the few remaining free regions of the ship. Yet there are chinks in the monolithic tyranny . . .
 
Danil has been a slave since he was a young boy, but his spirit has never been broken, and his keen mind sees ways that the theocracy might be overthrown and envisions new weapons that could achieve that victory.
 
Annaya is the daughter of the Prophet Polldor, undisputed ruler of the Prophetsy. She is far more intelligent and strong-willed than her brother, but only a male heir can become the next Prophet. To her father, she is only a pawn, to be married off to a powerful ally. But she is determined that will not happen, even if she has to somehow overthrow both her father and the Prophetsy itself.
 
Olen,the Prophet’s son, is anxious to become the next Prophet. He will cooperate in his sister’s plans as long as he thinks they will lead to his assuming the throne and gaining absolute power, but he is a more dangerous ally than Annaya realizes.
 
These three, each with a different motive, will strive to change the course of history for the Ark. But even if they restore freedom to their artificial world, can they discover the nature of that world, and regain the knowledge necessary for the successful completion of its mission?
 
Elegy Beach Steven R. Boyett (Ace Hardcover)
 
Thirty years ago the lights went out, the airplanes fell, the cars went still, the cities all went dark. The laws humanity had always known were replaced by new laws that could only be called magic. The world has changed forever. Or has it? In a small community on the California coast are Fred Garey and his friend Yan, both born after the Change. Yan dreams of doing something so big his name will live on forever. He thinks he's found it-a way to reverse the Change. But Fred fears the repercussions of such drastic, irreversible steps.
 
Blood Pact (Gaunt's Ghosts) Dan Abnett (Games Workshop)
 
Twelfth novel in the eternally popular SF series Gaunt's Ghosts, which follows the story of Commissar Ibram Gaunt and his regiment the Tanith First-and-Only on the bloody battlefields of the far future.
 
Star Wars Omnibus: Emissaries And Assassins (Dark Horse Comics)
 
Discover more stories set during the time of Episode I: The Phantom Menace in this mega collection bridging the gap between Episodes I and II! Star Wars: Episode I Adventures is a group of four tales featuring Anakin Skywalker, Queen Amidala, Obi-Wan, and Qui-Gon all set during the events of Episode I! Then, in Emissaries to Malastare, Outlander, and Jango Fett: Open Seasons, we get a closer look at members of the Jedi Council, Jedi-slaying bounty hunter Aurra Sing, and the life of bounty hunter Jango Fett - the man without whom there would be no Clone Wars!
 
New In Horror
 
The Dead That Walk: Flesh-Eating Stories (Ulysses Press)
 
Of all the monstrous threats to humanity, zombies are the most horrific. That's because they are not uncommon or alien — they're human. (Or more correctly, were human.) Anywhere that there are humans, there are zombies, and they can never be completely annihilated because by breeding more humans we breed more zombies. In The Ultimate Book of Zombies, these decomposing monsters are demolished, decapitated, and destroyed. The gore flows as humans and zombies dispatch each other in blood-curdling battles fought in big-city alleys, high school playgrounds, and even suburban living rooms. In addition, the living dead are fully deconstructed in these wide-ranging and fascinating stories. More than just brain-eating assaults and acid-bath retaliations, the tales in this book explore all elements of zombie existence and their interaction with the humans they live among.
 
Frankenstein Mobster Book 1: Made Man Mark Wheatley (IDW Graphic Novel)
 
When policeman Terry Todd died, he became a monster with a body patched together from three ruthless mobsters. Now he fights for inner control against their evil souls in a conflict that could take this corrupt, haunted city and dump it deeper into hell. Unless his cop daughter stops him first. This massive tome includes additional art and comics, new story pages, and detailed behind the scenes information as well as deviant art by Adam Hughes, Mike Wieringo, George Freeman, Mike Oeming, Scott Morse, Angelo Torres, Alex Nino, and Bernie Wrightson.
 
New in Non-Fiction
 
The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure (Abrams)
 
Academy Award-winning writer/director James Cameron, the maker of Titanic and the creator of the Terminator series, has been crafting Avatar for over four years. The film follows the story of an ex-marine who finds himself thrust into hostilities on a distant planet filled with exotic life forms. As an avatar, a human consciousness in an alien body, he finds himself torn between two worlds, in a desperate fight for his own survival and that of the indigenous people. The Art of Avatar, the companion book to this epic 3-D action adventure, explores the developmental and conceptual art used by the creative team to create the original world of Avatar.
 
With over 100 exclusive full-color images including sketches, matte paintings, drawings, and film stills, The Art of Avatar reveals the process behind the creation of set designs for the imaginative vistas, unique landscapes, aerial battle scenes, bioluminescent nights, and fantastical creatures. Interviews with art directors, visual effects designers, animators, costume designers, and creature makers bring insight into this creative process. The Art of Avatar brings readers behind the scenes of this unprecedented moviegoing experience.
 
A.I. Artificial Intelligence: From Stanley Kubrick to Steven Spielberg: The Vision Behind the Film (Thames Hardcover)
 
Reveals how the project originated and how it was brought to fruition through the efforts of two great movie directors. Film is the medium of the modern age, and in this spectacular, large-format publication, one of the pinnacles of contemporary moviemaking is celebrated. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) was a collaboration between two cinematic giants: Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg. Here, the directors’ combined visions and sensibilities are presented along with the work of their remarkably talented colleagues—above all, Chris Baker, the film’s conceptual artist.
 
At the heart of the book are Baker’s drawings, many never before seen. Commissioned by Kubrick and used in Spielberg’s eventual production designs, the drawings display Baker’s imagination and rare technical skill. Accompanying the drawings are extracts from Kubrick’s notebooks, stills from the finished film, and photographs of behind-the-scenes action, highlighting the use of pioneering special effects, animatronic work, and the “virtual studio.” 300 color, 100 b&w illustrations.
 
Reviews
 
Child of Fire Harry Connolly (Del Rey)
 
 

Joining the likes of Harry Dresden and John Taylor in the urban fantasy arena is Harry Connolly’s Ray Lilly. Lilly however is more blue collar than those other magical-users, and, in fact, is a mere ex-con driver here for Annalise Powliss. Powliss is a powerful member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group that hunts down rogue sorcerers. So there we have somewhat of a parallel to Jim Butcher’s White Council. Ray and Annalise have a rather tense relationship to say the least…seeing as how she wants to kill him for a past betrayal…this helps keep things interesting between the pair.

 
Annalise’s latest mission takes them to a town called Hammer Bay where a magician is practicing against the rules and having a detrimental effect on the local townspeople. In a bit of a turnabout, the sidekick Ray will have to take over when Annalise is injured, and track down this magician. Ray isn’t your average hero…he’s tough, but not clichéd tough. He’s a bit of a ruffian which lends to his charm. 
 
The plot moves smoothly and doesn’t feel 350 pages long. There’s some under development when it comes to some of the supporting and tertiary characters but for a debut novel, Connolly strikes enough of the right chords. Grade B

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