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Weekly Book Buzz: The New Dead Zombie Anthology

We Review the Barry Windsor Smith Archives Vol. 1

By Tim Janson     February 14, 2010


The New Dead Zombie Anthology
© St. Martins

 

Not a big week in terms of quantity but there are some very high profile releases this week to be aware of…
 
First we have The Ruling Sea by Robert V. S. Redick, the sequel to the heralded Red Wolf Conspiracy as fantasy combines with historical adventure for a high seas blast. This is sure to be a best-seller! Also out is a double dose of Piers Anthony’s Xanth as two novels are combined into one book in Xanth By Two. Also in fantasy is David Coe’s latest Southlands novel.
 
On the horror side, fans of the TV show Supernatural can welcome a new original novel Heart of the Dragon and there’s’ a fantastic new zombie anthology this week called The New Dead, edited by writer Christopher Golden. Keep watching the Buzz for an upcoming review of this new zombie fest!
 
The 2009 Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement winners have been named and they are Brian Lumley and William F. Nolan. The award is presented to an individual or individuals whose work has "substantially influenced the horror genre." The awards will be presented at the World Horror Convention, to be held March 25-28, 2010, in Brighton, England.
 
Xanth by Two: Demons Don't Dream and Harpy ThymePiers Anthony (Tor TPB)
 
Demons Don’t Dream begins a Xanth sequence as young adventures play for the highest stakes of all: the future of Xanth--and of Earth as well!
 
Dug thought that the disk he got from his friend was just a fantasy game.  He didn't particularly like fantasy games, but he'd made a bet with Ed, and a bet's a bet.  So he loaded the game and…Within moments he had left Mundania and was standing in a forest glade in Xanth, with his Companion in Adventure Nada Naga -- a beautiful Princess who just happened to be a shape-changing serpent.  For a long time Dug thought that this was just an incredibly convincing virtual world.  Then he began to believe in Magic.  Which was a good thing, because the prize in this Game is the Power of Magic in Xanth.
 
In the next installment, Harpy Thyme, Gloha must brave a demoness and snow dragons, malevolent clouds and musical volcanoes, on a wild odyssey that takes her not only across the length and breadth of Xanth, but on journeys through Time, Space, and the perilous realms of Madness and Mundanity.
 
The Ruling Sea Robert V. S. Redick ( Del Rey Hardcover)
 
In his acclaimed first novel, The Red Wolf Conspiracy, Robert V. S. Redick launched the gargantuan ship Chathrand and its motley crew of misfits, murderers, and monsters toward a landfall that may exist only in legend. Now Redick masterfully ratchets up the suspense with deep intrigue, ancient powers, and shocking new revelations.
 
Though the immediate plans of the dark sorcerer Arunis have been thwarted, the battle for control of the Chathrand, on which the fate of empires hinges, is far from over. On board, a small band of allies bound together less by trust than by desperate need scrambles for a means to defeat the conspiracy, while the nobleborn Thasha Isiq and the lowly deckhand Pazel Pathkendle find themselves unwillingly drawn inward to the plot’s core—and into a deadly game that will force them to make hard sacrifices.
 
The wizard Ramachni has left the travelers and retreated to his own world to nurse his battle wounds, but Arunis remains at large—weakened, yet still a terrifying foe. More pressing is the conspiracy of the Arquali Emperor, his chief assassin, Sandor Ott, and the Chathrand’s notorious captain, Nilus Rose, to use the dawn wedding of Thasha and a Mzithrin prince as a signal to launch a war.
 
    With every move they make, Thasha and her compatriots find that they have more to lose—especially the deposed ixchel queen, Diadrelu, and the woken rat, Felthrup, who each harbor terrible secrets they dare not reveal.
 
Worst of all is a hidden, festering horror lurking in the hold of the Chathrand. A danger that not even Ramachni could have foreseen, it is the twisted product of a malevolent power determined to pull down the pillars of the world. 
 
    Now, as the Chathrand sets course through the uncharted waters of the vast and mysterious Ruling Sea, the fragile bonds of trust and love beginning to form between the unlikely allies will be tested to the breaking point—by unspeakable terrors, magical wonders, and shattering betrayals that dwarf anything that has come before.
 
Night's Haunting: Twilight of Kerberos Matthew Sprange (Abaddon Books)
 
Lucius Kane, has found his power in the Turnita underworld growing. His prospects seem boundless, until the Empire of Vos descends upon the city. At the same time a new cleric has taken command of the souls of Turnitia's citizens. He has promised to eradicate the thieves' guild and outlaw unlicensed magic. The Shadowmages are at the top of his list. Lucius will,once again, fight a war in the city streets.
 
Jade Man's Skin Daniel Fox (Del Rey TPB)
 
In this soaring epic, Daniel Fox weaves the ancient myths and legends of feudal China into a fantasy world of brutal war and brittle passion, immortal gods and mystical creatures.
 
With the long-chained dragon now free and the rebels’ invasion smashed by her exultant fury, the balance of power has changed. Young emperor Chien Hua is no longer struggling for survival; now he is ambitious to strike back. As treacherous General Ping Wen whispers in the emperor’s ear, not even Chien Hua’s beloved concubine or his most trusted bodyguard can reason with him. Worse, prolonged exposure to magical jade is changing him radically: His increasingly godlike powers are making him dangerously rash.
 
But with the dragon patrolling the skies above and the strait beneath, the emperor’s forces have no hope of launching a counterattack—until a goddess moves to interfere. Yet neither the clash of armies nor the opposing wills of goddess and dragon can decide ultimate victory or defeat. The fate of the war lies in the blood-deep bonds between the dragon and the boy Han, her jailer and her liberator—and in the prices both will pay for their freedom.
 
The Dark-Eyes' War: Book Three of Blood of the Southlands David B. Coe (Tor Hardcover)
 
A bitter old woman’s curse has set in motion events that have felled innocent lives across an already war-weary land. She has paid the ultimate price, and an end to the curse is at hand, but her evil has created chaos and destruction.
 
Qirsi all across the Southlands are dying from a plague that turns their own magic against them, allowing an Eandi army from Stelpana to boldly march into their territory. But magic has many faces, and the Qirsi aren’t the only ones cursed; even as Stelpana’s force wins battles, an insidious magic has corrupted the spells of their sorcerers, and what began as a military triumph is suddenly jeopardized. The future of the Southlands hangs in the balance, as the deeds of previous generations wreak terrible consequences on both sides in this misbegotten war.
 
The Empress of Mars (Kage Baker The Company) (Tor TPB)
 
When the British Arean Company founded its Martian colony, it welcomed any settlers it could get. Outcasts, misfits, and dreamers emigrated in droves to undertake the grueling task of terraforming the cold red planet—only to be abandoned when the BAC discovered it couldn’t turn a profit on Mars.
 
This is the story of Mary Griffith, a determined woman with three daughters, who opened the only place to buy a beer on the Tharsis Bulge. It’s also the story of Manco Inca, whose attempt to terraform Mars brought a new goddess vividly to life; of Stanford Crosley, con man extraordinaire; of Ottorino Vespucci, space cowboy and romantic hero; of the Clan Morrigan; of the denizens of the Martian Motel, and of the machinations of another Company entirely; all of whom contribute to the downfall of the BAC and the founding of a new world. But Mary and her struggles and triumphs are at the center of it all, in her bar, the Empress of Mars.
 
Death Got No Mercy: The Afterblight Chronicles Al Ewing (Abaddon Books)
 
Cade wasn't a complicated man. He didn't care about people. But one of the people he did care about was in trouble and he had to help. Cade travels to a post-apocalypse San Francisco - peopled with maniacs and cannibals - to find help for his companion. There he must use nothing but his two fists and a hunting knife to find the one thing that may save his friend.
 
The Complete Hammer's Slammers Volume 2 David Drake (Baen)
 
The second of a three volume run collecting David Drake's complete Hammer's Slammers series.
 
Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon Keith R.A. DeCandido (Titan books)
 
When renegade angel Castiel alerts Sam and Dean to a series of particularly brutal killings in San Francisco 's Chinantown, they realise the Heart of the Dragon, an ancient evil of unspeakable power, is back! John Winchester faced the terrifying spirit 20 years ago, and the Campbell family fought it 20 years before that - can the boys succeed where their parents and grandparents failed?
 
Preacher Book Two Garth Ennis  (Vertigo/DC Comics Graphic Novel)
 
In the continuing saga of the bizarre adventures of faithless Texas preacher Jesse Custer, Jesse, along with his girlfriend Tulip, and their friend Cassidy, the Irish vampire, head west to a party of Babylonian proportions. Then, Jesse heads for France to rescue Cassidy from the clutches of religious fanatics. His search leads him into a no-holds-barred battle against the forces of the mysterious organization known as The Grail. Also told here is the story of how Cassidy became a vampire in the first place.
 
The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology Christopher Golden  (St. Martin ’s TPB)
 
The hungry dead have risen.  They shamble down the street.  They hide in back yards, car lots, shopping malls.  They devour neighbors, dogs and police officers.  And they are here to stay.  The real question is, what are you going to do about it? How will you survive?
 
Stoker-award-winning author Christopher Golden has assembled an original anthology of never-before-published zombie stories from an eclectic array of today's hottest writers.  Inside there are stories about military might in the wake of an outbreak, survival in a wasted wasteland, the ardor of falling in love with a zombie, and a family outing at the circus.  Here is a collection of new views on death and resurrection.
 
With stories from Joe Hill, John Connolly, Max Brooks, Kelley Armstrong, Tad Williams, David Wellington, David Liss, Aimee Bender, Jonathan Maberry, and many others, this is a wildly diverse and entertaining collection...the Last Word on the New Dead. 
 
John Constantine, Hellblazer: Pandemonium (Vertigo/DC Comics Graphic Novel)
 
Something terrifying and strange has occurred - outstanding even among horrors faced every day by John Constantine. Intelligence specialists have discovered elements of the Iraqi insurgency may be demonically possessed. No one in the intelligence agencies is qualified to handle this problem, and that means a private contractor must be employed. Databases identify only one potential candidate: John Constantine.
 
Constantine is taken from the comfort of his London home to the brutal climates of Iraq due to military coercion, but also because of his interest in a mysterious, beautiful Iraqi agent whose true allegiances are kept in shadow.
 
Hungry Hearts: Tomes of the Dead Gary McMahon (Abaddon Books)
 
When Leeds bursts into supernatural chaos, Rick, a rookie policeman must fight through hordes of the living dead to return home and protect his wife, Sally. Daryl, a loner, lives with his ill mother and dreams of being a serial killer. The apocalypse is the perfect opportunity to realise his fantasies. Sally will become his first victim. Will Rick get to her in time or will she be taken by Daryl or, worse, the undead?
 
Iron Man: The Ultimate Guide to the Armored Super HeroMatthew Manning (DK)
 
Packed with original comic book art and created in full collaboration with Marvel Comics, Iron Man: The Ultimate Guide to the Armored Hero is essential for comic book and movie fans alike. From his tragic past to becoming a superhero, explore every thrilling twist and turn in the Iron Man story. Fans will get details on Stark's scientific genius, his secret life as a crime fighter, his personal struggles and demons, his involvement in the Avengers, his role in Secret Invasion, his allies, foes, and more.
 
Reviews
 
The Barry Windsor Smith Archives Vol. 1: Conan (Dark Horse Books)
 
 
When Conan #1 debuted in 1970 it was a milestone in comic book history. Nearly 40 years after his death, Robert E. Howard’s famous pulp character came to life in comics format and has been a staple ever since. Now under the guidance of Dark Horse, those early Conan stories are in print again in this handsome new hardcover edition which collects the first 11 issues of the Conan the Barbarian comic book as written by Roy Thomas with art by budding artist Barry Smith. 
 
Smith has been around Marvel for a few years, mostly doing fill-ins on various superhero titles and with Conan, finally got a title to himself. Admittedly, this is not Barry Smith’s finest work. At this point in his young career he hadn’t quite developed his own style and was still heavily influenced by Jack Kirby, yet even here you can see the makings of a future star. 
 
Thomas adapted original Howard Conan tales along with non-Conan tales and also tossed in some of his own original tales. This book features one of Howard’s best stories, a tale of Conan’s early life, “The Tower of the Elephant” which would go on to be adapted numerous more times. It also features “Rogues in the House” another original Howard story. The colors have been re-mastered giving it a far lusher look than when originally published on the old newsprint style paper. Roy Thomas provides the introduction to this volume including relating how Marvel acquired the rights to Conan for a paltry sum as well as notes on the stories included in this volume. Re-live the birth of Conan for the first time! Grade A
 
 
Spectrum 16 The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art (Underwood Books)
 
 
Well, ‘tis the season for art collection books but if I were forced to pick only one to get each year it would be Underwoods annual collection of the best in fantastic art, Spectrum, now in its 16th volume. Each year editors Cathy and Arnie Fenner showcase the best fantastic art from advertising, book covers, comic books, concept art, sculpture, editorial and more. 
 
Joining the ranks of Spectrums exclusive Grand Master list is Richard Corben whose earthy-realistic art became a staple in Heavy Metal Magazine. A highlight of each volume is Arnie Fenner’s “year-in-review” as he looks back at the year in fantastic art and all its highlights. Gold award winners included Peter Meseldzija in the book category, Jon Foster in the comics category (For a Buffy the Vampire Slayer cover), Akihito Ikeda in the Dimensional category for his Medusa sculpture, and James Gurney’s Dinotopia painting in the Institutional category.
 
As always notes on each piece of art are including noting the title, artist’s name, and form used. A comprehensive index lists each artist’s address and/or website with contact information. This is the very finest collection of fantastic art every year! Grade A

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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Hobbs 2/15/2010 7:28:25 AM

Tim,  How could you miss Joe Hill's new novel this week called Horns?  It comes out Tuesday Feb 16th and I'm surprised not because its Stephen Kings son but because he had a pretty good ghost story called Heart Shaped Box and likes to do Graphic Novels as well.  If anyone fits into the genre/horror category its Joe Hill. 

 

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