This week, we close out the very busy year of 2015 and celebrate the new year with another fairly small number of new releases. Only ten new books on the list this week. Hang in there, things pick up again in January.
What do you want to read this week? As always, leave a comment telling me the book you’d most like to win, and maybe random.org will make your wishes come true. Your choice of print or digital unless otherwise stated. International? Of course! As long as Book Depository delivers to your country, please enter. If you’d prefer the first book in a series listed here, that’s okay, too.
Ashes of the Tyrant, by Erin M. Evans, (December 29, Wizards of the West Coast)
In the wake of the war brought on by the Sundering, Farideh’s adopted father Mehen has been called back by the clan that cast him out, and Farideh and Havilar mean to go with him. Just as Mehen confronts the head of his former clan, a clutch of young dragonborn is found in the catacombs, brutally murdered, an infernal summoning circle that looks all-too-familiar to Farideh, nearby.
Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, by Lawrence M. Schoen, (December 29, Tor)
In a distant future, no remnants of human beings remain, but their successors thrive throughout the galaxy. These are the offspring of humanity’s genius-animals uplifted into walking, talking, sentient beings. The Fant are one such species: anthropomorphic elephants ostracized by other races, and long ago exiled to the rainy ghetto world of Barsk. They develop medicines upon which all species now depend. The most coveted of these drugs is koph, which allows users to interact with the recently deceased and learn their secrets. To break the Fant’s control of koph, an offworld shadow group attempts to force the Fant to surrender their knowledge. Jorl, a Fant Speaker with the dead, is compelled to question his deceased best friend. Jorl unearths a secret the powers that be would prefer to keep buried. His dead friend’s son, a young Fant named Pizlo, is driven by disturbing visions to take his first unsteady steps toward an uncertain future.
Between a Vamp and a Hard Place (Midnight Liaisons #5), by Jessica Sims, (December 29, Pocket Books)
Lindsey Hughes loves antiques and couldn’t be happier to make a living in the estate sale business. When her assistant buys an entire estate without her approval, Lindsey is forced to clean up the mess herself. Lindsey travels to the newly purchased, house in Venice, Italy, and discovers more than she bargained for. She finds a secret staircase behind a wall that leads to a strange coffin, with an even stranger inhabitant. Vampire Rand FitzWulf has been in his coffin for 600 years. Now that he’s awake, he’s ravenous, and there’s a delicious-smelling woman with a rare blood type in his basement. Lindsey has more to offer than blood: she agrees to travel throughout Europe with Rand to help him get revenge. As the unlikely pair grows closer, will the billionaire vampire be overtaken by his thirst for blood, or his thirst for love?
HEAR, by Robin Epstein, (December 29, Soho Teen)
Expelled from high school months shy of graduation, her acceptance to Columbia revoked Kassandra Black is sent to work in her great-uncle Brian’s lab at Henley University. She’s helping with his HEAR (Henley Engineering Anomalies Research) program. As she gets to know the other HEAR students, it becomes clear that she overlooked the “Anomalies” part of their acronym, these kids are here to help Brian run experiments that gauge ESP. They’ve each been selected and recruited, including Kass herself. With each new test, she finds herself more frightened. Kass really can communicate telepathically; she can even glimpse the future. When one of her fellow HEAR students is murdered, Kass must try to forget everything she knows about herself and her family and learn to trust those who share her remarkable gift.
The V’Dan (First Salik War #2), by Jean Johnson, (December 29, Ace)
The V’Dan always believed they were the chosen race, destined to make a mark on the galaxy. For the last few centuries, they interacted peacefully with other sentient species, save for the Salik. Cold, amphibious, and vicious, the Salik were set on one goal: to conquer every race within their grasp. Now that the Salik’s ruthless war has begun, the fate of the galaxy is in the hands of two strange companions: Li’eth, a prince under siege and his rescuer, Jacaranda MacKenzie. A beautiful ambassador from the Motherworld, Jackie possesses more than the holy powers of a goddess. She brings a secret weapon, a strange, wondrous, and dangerous new technology that could be her and Li’eth’s last and only hope to save their people from extinction.
Vendetta (Deadly Curiosities #2), by Gail Z. Martin, (December 29, Solaris)
An old enemy of Sorren’s is back in town. Sariel is a nephilmancer, a powerful sorcerer able to summon the nephilim, tainted eternal spirits that watch humanity and stand in judgment. Sariel is looking for vengeance, because a century ago, during their last battle, Sorren killed Sariel’s son and helped the Alliance send Sariel into harsh exile. Because of Sorren’s long affiliation with Charleston, Sariel has decided that the city must be destroyed, and in retaliation for his own loss, Sariel vows to destroy the mortal helpers Sorren protects. To do this, Sariel must bring five of the Watchers through a portal from another realm. When all five are present, judgment will fall, and the nephilim will reap and feed on the souls of the dead.
A Fantasy Medley 3 (The Iron Druid Chronicles 0.3), edited by Yanni Kuznia, (December 31, Subterranean Press) (Anthology)
In “Goddess at the Crossroads,” Kevin Hearne shares an episode from his Iron Druid Chronicles hero Atticus O’Sullivan, revealing how one night’s encounter with the cult of Hecate served as inspiration for Shakespeare’s witches in the Scottish play. With “Ashes,” Laura Bickle revisits Detroit arson investigator and spirit medium Anya Kalinczyk as she and Hades’ Charon pursues a destructive fire elemental named the Nain Rouge. “The Death of Aiguillon” finds Aliette de Bodard exploring an episode sixty years prior to the start of her novel, The House of Shattered Wings, in which the survivors of an ongoing magical conflict in Paris eke out a grim existence, and one woman’s wish for a better life is granted at a terrible price. In “One Hundred Ablutions,” Jacqueline Carey tells the tale of Dala, a young woman chosen by her people’s overlords to be an exalted slave among slaves, and of the twining in her life of ritual, rebellion, and redemption.
Can & Can’tankerous, by Harlan Ellison, (December 31, Subterranean) (Collection)
This collection from one of SF’s leading authors showcases Ellison’s versatility. Ellison can go from anguished to zany in an instant. The first story, the 2010 Hugo-winner “How Interesting: A Tiny Man,” memorably depicts humanity’s smallness of spirit when people driven by irrational fears turn on an innocent victim. That scathing tale is followed by “Never Send to Know for Whom the Lettuce Wilts,” in which aliens plan to conquer humanity by subtly demoralizing methods such as the invention of wilted lettuce, buttons that cut thread, and the English language. Among the other eight pieces here are a modern re-envisioning of a schlock SF yarn Ellison wrote in 1957, 26 short pieces gathered as “From A to Z, in the Sarsparilla Alphabet,” and a loving tribute to Ray Bradbury.
Detours, edited by Brian James Freeman, (December 31, Cemetery Dance Publications)
Every now and then your favorite author takes a detour while writing a new novel: a chapter gets chopped, a connected short story is dreamed up, an essay about the book’s origins is composed, or an oddity is created on a day off. Collected here together for the first time are detours by Stephen King, William Peter Blatty, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Kelley Armstrong, Michael Koryta, David Morrell, Michael Marshall and Michael Marshall Smith, Chet Williamson, Poppy Z. Brite, Stewart O’Nan, and Owen King.
Hellmaw: Blind Justice, by Erik Scott de Bie, (December 31, Hellmaw)
Jaded FBI agent Maria Ruiz learns she really hasn’t seen it all. Amid the splattered blood of increasingly depraved and spectacular murders is something strange, something beyond the limits of mortal justice. Ruiz is closing in, over heaped bodies, on a serial killer: an angel of death who may not be from this world. (ebook only)
The small print: This contest is international to any place Book Depository ships. Contests end at midnight CDT U.S. on Saturday, and winners will be announced on Sunday’s blog. It’s the responsibility of the winner to contact me with their mailing info.
Now….go forth and tell me what you want to read!