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Weekly Book Buzz: New Star Wars Novel Hits

And the latest Saint-Germain Novel

By Tim Janson     December 06, 2009


Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil by Drew Karpyshyn(2009).
© Del Rey

 

Two major releases highlight this week’s new books. First we have the latest Star Wars novel Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s new Saint-Germain tale. The one book I’m especially excited to read is Apocalypse Door about a modern day order of Knights Templar.
 
I have a review of the very cool Batman Vault, a follow up To Running Press’ Marvel and DC Vault books, which is packed with a treasure of reproduction memorabilia. A must-have for Batman fans. Look out for next week everyone…it will be the last major release week of the year and there are a lot of great books coming out so save some money for last minute shopping!
 
 
New In Fantasy
 
Muse and Reverie Charles de Lint (Tor Hardcover)
 
Muse and Reverie is an all-new collection of short fiction in Charles de Lint’s “Newford” universe—the fifth such collection since 1993, and the first since 2002. Previous collections are Dreams Underfoot, The Ivory and the Horn, the World Fantasy Award-winning Memory and Dream, and Tapping the Dream Tree.
 
The city of Newford could be any city in North America , bursting with music, commerce, art, love and hate, and of course magic. Magic in the sidewalk cracks, myth at the foundations of its great buildings, enchantment in the spaces between its people. In this new collection, de Lint explores that magic and those spaces, shedding new light on the people and places that readers of novels like Moonheart, Forests of the Heart, The Onion Girl, and The Mystery of Grace have come to love.
 
The Apocalypse Door (Peter Crossman) James D. Macdonald (Tor Trade)
 
Welcome to the world of Peter Crossman, Knight Templar Extraordinare. He’s a man with a mission…and his boss is literally out of this world.
 
Despite what is known as gospel truth, the order of the Knight Templars never really went out of business. These warriors of God still walk among us, battling evil to keep Adam’s children safe…as they have been doing for millennia.
 
Peter Crossman is a priest and a man of many talents, performing last rites with one hand and handling a flamethrower in the other. He walks with faith at his side and with his colleague, the dangerously sexy Sister Mary Magdalene of the Special Action Executive Branch of the Poor Clares. Peter is faced with a crisis of biblical proportions when a search for some missing UN peacekeepers goes horribly wrong. A very unholy object is found and may open a portal to damnation. 
 
Fortunately, demonic magic isn’t the only source of Power in the world. And Peter’s got a direct line to the biggest guns in the universe.
 
 
Who Fears the Devil (Planet Stories) Manly Wade Wellman (Paizo)
 
There's a traveling man the Carolina mountain folk call Silver John for the silver strings strung on his guitar. In his wanderings John encounters a parade of benighted forest creatures, mountain spirits, and shapeless horrors from the void of history with only his enduring spirit, playful wit, and the magic of his guitar to preserve him. Manly Wade Wellman's Silver John is one of the most beloved figures in fantasy, a true American folk hero of the literary age. For the first time the Planet Stories edition of Who Fears the Devil? collects all of John's adventures published throughout Wellman's life, including two stories about John before he got his silver-stringed guitar that have never previously appeared in a Silver John collection. Lost, out of print, or buried in expensive hardcover editions, the seminal, unforgettable tales of Who Fears the Devil? stand ready for a new generation ready to continue the folk tradition of Silver John!
 
New In Science Fiction
 
Wormwood, Nevada David Oppegaard ( St. Martin ’s)
 
Tyler and Anna Mayfield have just relocated from Nebraska to the sun scorched desert town of Wormwood , Nevada . They find themselves in a strange new landscape populated with old school cowboys, alien cultists, meth dealers, and doomsday prophets. Loneliness and desperation pervade Wormwood, and when a meteorite lands in the center of town, its fragile existence begins to unravel as many believe the end of the world is near, while others simply seek a reason to believe in anything at all.
 
Time Castaways (Deathlands) James Axler (Gold Eagle)
 
In the nuke-altered America of the twenty-first century, time conspires against survival, especially for a legendary group of warriors led by Ryan Cawdor. Born and bred in Deathlands, Ryan dares to unlock the secrets buried deep in the wreckage of a planet. Time may be the enemy in the daily struggle to stay alive, but perhaps it can reveal something better….
Barely escaping a redoubt hidden in an old aircraft carrier guarded by killer droids, the companions emerge into the backwater world of Lake Superior's Royal Island . Here, metal and salt are commodities worth killing and dying for, and two rival barons rule mutant-infested land and water with blood will. But though Ryan was hoping for honesty and fair trade, he's soon in a death race to stop the secrets of the gateways from becoming an open passage to the future's worst enemies….
 
Star Wars: Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil: A Novel of the Old Republic Drew Karpyshyn ( Del Rey Hardcover)
 
Twenty years have passed since Darth Bane, reigning Dark Lord of the Sith, demolished the ancient order devoted to the dark side and reinvented it as a circle of two: one Master to wield the power and pass on the wisdom, and one apprentice to learn, challenge, and ultimately usurp the Dark Lord in a duel to the death. But Bane’s acolyte, Zannah, has yet to engage her Master in mortal combat and prove herself a worthy successor. Determined that the Sith dream of galactic domination will not die with him, Bane vows to learn the secret of a forgotten Dark Lord that will assure the Sith’s immortality–and his own.
 
A perfect opportunity arises when a Jedi emissary is assassinated on the troubled mining planet Doan, giving Bane an excuse to dispatch his apprentice on a fact-finding mission–while he himself sets out in secret to capture the ancient holocron of Darth Andeddu and its precious knowledge. But Zannah is no fool. She knows that her ruthless Master has begun to doubt her, and she senses that he is hiding something crucial to her future. If she is going to claim the power she craves, she must take action now.
While Bane storms the remote stronghold of a fanatical Sith cult, Zannah prepares for her Master’s downfall by choosing an apprentice of her own: a rogue Jedi cunning and cold-blooded enough to embrace the Sith way and to stand beside her when she at last wrests from Bane the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith.
 
But Zannah is not the only one with the desire and power to destroy Darth Bane. Princess Serra of the Doan royal family is haunted by memories of the monstrous Sith soldier who murdered her father and tortured her when she was a child. Bent on retribution, she hires a merciless assassin to find her tormentor–and bring him back alive to taste her wrath.
 
Only a Sith who has taken down her own Master can become Dark Lord of the Sith. So when Bane suddenly vanishes, Zannah must find him–possibly even rescue him–before she can kill him. And so she pursues her quarry from the grim depths of a ravaged world on the brink of catastrophe to the barren reaches of a desert outpost, where the future of the dark side’s most powerful disciples will be decided, once and for all, by the final, fatal stroke of a lightsaber.
 
Ex Machina Deluxe Book Two Brian K. Vaughan (Wildstorm Graphic novel)
 
Award-winning writer Brian K. Vaughan (PRIDE OF BAGHDAD, Y-THE LAST MAN) deftly combines big city politics and superheroes in this much lauded series.  Now, the entire critically acclaimed series written by Brian K. Vaughan, one of the writers of LOST, is collected into a series of oversized, hardcover editions. In this second volume, Mayor Mitchell Hundred must make a difficult decision about his own future, becomes part of a shocking trial complicated by the unexpected arrival of an all-new superhero, and leaves New York City for the first time since his election to embark on a strange adventure. Plus, shocking tragedy strikes an Iraq War protest in downtown Manhattan.
 
New in Horror
 
Claimed by the Wolf: A Shadow Guardians Novel (A Shadow Warriors Novel) Charlene Teglia ( St. Martin ’s)
 
They guard humanity against supernatural threats from the five gateways into the world. The Shadow Guardians: a vampire, a werewolf, a demon, a dragon and a fae are united in brotherhood - and war. Shadow Guardian Kenrick is an alpha werewolf forever in his prime. When Sybil, a beautiful apprentice witch, unknowingly opens a realm to the Otherworld, there is a sudden influx of demons - and it's up to Kenrick to help her stop them. Soon their passion flares and Kenrick desires Sybil as his mate. But to form their union, Sybil faces the ultimate test: She must bind herself to the Shadow Guardians by sharing herself with all five warriors.
 
Burning Shadows: A Novel of the Count Saint-Germain (St. Germain) Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (Tor Hardcover)
 
Two decades strong, the Saint-Germain cycle is one of the most compelling works of dark fantasy and horror of our age.  Historically accurate, these deeply emotional novels have a devoted readership. 
 
In Burning Shadows, Yarbro looks at the legendary Huns from the perspective of the people who faced the brunt of their attacks.  The vampire Saint-Germain seeks sanctuary at an isolated monastery, unwilling to abandon the hundreds of terrified villagers he has led in flight from the Huns.  A few Roman soldiers and some village Watchmen are the monastery’s defense force—and they are undermined by the religious fervor of some of the monks, who argue that since everyone’s fate is in God’s hands, it is foolish to defend themselves.  In the hothouse atmosphere of the high-walled monastery, Saint-Germain must take special care when slaking his vampire thirst, for discovery of his True Nature will result in his True Death.
 
Reviews
 
The Batman Vault Robert Greenberger & Matthew K. Manning (Running Press Hardcover)
 
 
Looking for a special gift for the Batman fan on your Christmas list? Here’s the perfect choice…This is Running Press’ latest release in their “Museum-in-a-book” series. The Batman Vault is hardcover, spiral bound, and gift book-sized. The book is a historical look at the Batman character from his creation right up to the present. So what is the deal with the Museum-in-a-book feature? Well the book comes packed with several pieces of reproduction memorabilia. These pieces all come in plastic sleeves for protection although you can easily take them out to examine the pieces. More on this later…
 
The authors begin with a look at what inspired Bob Kane’s creation including a pulp story called “Bat Man” from 1936. Greenberger and Manning have uncovered rare documents that are reprinted in the book such as Bill Finger’s original script to Batman #31 from 1945. The first piece of memorabilia you encounter is the uncolored cover to Detective Comics #60, credited to Bob Kane but actually done by Jerry Robinson and Fred Ray. For those unfamiliar with Batman’s early days, Batman was often “ghosted” by other artists but Kane was given the credit. Included in this early look are movie poster and rare lobby card reprints from the Batman film serials of the 1940s. There’s even a vintage photo of a 1940s theater marquee that was showing the Batman serial.
 
For baby boomers, the book includes several rare promotional photos and ads for the 1960s Batman TV show including Adam West, in full costume, posing with Mr. TV Milton Berle who portrayed villain Louie the Lilac on the show. This sections memorabilia item is several pages from a 1960s Batman color-by-number coloring book as well as a reproduction 1966 cardboard Batman mask that kids could remove from a book. 
 
Sections that follow include a look at Bruce Wayne and his Family, Gotham City, Batman’s Allies, and his villains. Throughout the book there are never-before-scene pieces of artwork, some finished and some just sketches, including rough design work from the various Batman films. Other reproduction pieces included a batplane that you can assemble and fly, a Robin mobile, Batcave Poster, Anton Furst Sketches for the 1989 Batman film, and a 2003 Catwoman sketchbook by Darwyn Cooke. The book is a lot of fun and, at $49.95 fairly reasonably price for the quality of the material. Grade A-
 
 
Hatter M: Mad with Wonder Frank Beddor (Automatic Pictures Publishing)
 
 
I was quite taken by surprise when I read the first volume of Hatter M a couple of years ago. Here was a modern, revisionist take on the Alice in Wonderland theme…Think of it as Wonderland on steroids and “R” rated…or at least PG-13. Wonderland as written by Lewis Carroll was always darker than portrayed in the Disney Cartoons but Frank Beddor takes the story to even grimmer shores. 
 
Hatter M, i.e., Hatter Madigan is a member of the Royal Bodyguard of Wonderland. He has left Wonderland to go in search of the long lost Princess Alyss who disappeared while escaping a coup attempt by the murderous Queen Redd Yet his search is constantly hampered by forces from within who don’t want the Princess to be found…ever. The Royal Bodyguards are not without their own resources…they wear special backpacks which hold a variety of deadly bladed weapons which can fire weapons, slash like swords, or whirl in a circle creating full-metal death. Madidan also wears a large top hat, which can be thrown like a boomerang, again having a series of blades, which issue forth.
 
This volume finds Hatter M tracking Alyss first in Paris in 1857 and then through Civil War-era America. He thinks he has finally located her amongst the people of a sideshow. When bandits kidnap the girl, Hatter and the sideshow freaks join forces to track her down as he faces off against a whip-wielding villain who is working for the evil Red Queen of Wonderland. Latter Hatter is captured by Confederate soldiers and imprisoned in an insane asylum.
 
Sami Makkonen provides the art and his style is a dead-ringer for Ben Templesmith’s, who was the artist on the original book. It might have been nice to see a different style of art but it does maintain the book’s consistency. Hatter M is a strange and fascinating storyline. It can occasionally be a little to abstract and weird for its own good but there’s a dark elegance to its story and art that is rarely seen in comics today. Grade B+
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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DarthDuck 12/7/2009 7:56:05 AM

I am super excited for the new Darth Bane novel.  The first two were fantastic.  Here's hoping we'll get something in the future to bridge the gap from Bane and Zannah to Sideous.

dbrock06 12/9/2009 5:58:10 AM

I loved the Darth Bane books.  I can't wait to start reading this.  It will automatically go to the top of the pile.  If you have not picked up the first two books, I highly reccomend that you do.

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