From alternate history, to near-future thrillers, to stories of the afterlife, this week’s book launches offer a little something for everyone.
Persona, by Genevieve Valentine
This of-the-minute political thriller feels so terrifyingly true, it hardly reads like science fiction at all. Just a few years from now in Paris, Suyana Sapacki is a representative on the International Assembly, a replacement for the U.N. whose members have celebrity status, and all the trappings that entails: power, influence, problems with paparazzi, and threats of assassination. After surviving one attempt on her life, Suyana goes into hiding within a group of environmental terrorists, pulling unwitting photographer Daniel along with her. As they struggle to find out who wants Suyana dead, the two must battle conflicting loyalties and disparate political agendas in this cutting-edge, character-focused political thrill ride.
The Mechanical, by Ian Tregillis
In this clockpunk alternate history, the past twists in the 1600s with a Dutch scientist’s invention of the clakkers, clockwork mechanical beings that allow the Netherlands to emerge as the world’s dominant power. Even as the nation continues a lengthy war with France (which believes universal rights should apply to all, whether flesh-and-blood or mechanical), one clakker strives to throw off the programming that controls him.
Dead Boys, by Gabriel Squailia
In Dead City, Jacob Campbell works as a preservationist, keeping his fellow corpses looking as fresh as possible as they wile away their afterlives drinking and gambling. That is, until the day he sets off on a quest to find the Living Man, who legend has it is the only mortal to cross into the land of the dead without dying first. With companions Remington (a boy who can control other corpses) and Leopold (the underworld’s only functional lothario), Jacob searches for a way to return to the land of the living.
The Exile: Book One of the Fae, by C.T. Adams
This solo debut from one-half of a writing team that publishes as Cat Adams launches a new urban fantasy series about half-human Fae princess Brianna Hai, who runs an occult shop that sells harmless trinkets to the tourists and keeps the real goods under the counter for the truly magical (she also happens to own a painting that is the last gateway between the human and Fae worlds). When her home is attacked, Brianna learns that her father, the king of Faerie, is in terrible danger, and that she might wind up the unwilling heir to the throne. With the help of human police detective Nick Antonelli, she travels back to Faerie and is drawn into a conflict for control of the Folk.
The Fire Sermon, by Francesca Haig
Award-winning poet Haig makes her debut as a novelist with the first volume of a post-apocalyptic fantasy trilogy. Hundreds of years from now, in the wake of a nuclear conflict, every person is born as a twin, either a physically perfect Alpha, or an Omega, suffering from a deformity. The Alphas claim power and resources, but cannot ignore the crucial fact that when either twin dies, the other does too. Cass, an Omega gifted with the ability to see the future, dreams of a day when there will be equality between humanity’s halves—but her brother Zach, a powerful presence on the Alpha Council, will do everything he can to keep that from happening.
Anti-Hero, by Jonathan Wood
The third installment of Wood’s twisted, tongue-in-cheek urban fantasy series returns to the world of MI317, the British government agency responsible for protecting the nation from various beasties, betentacled and otherwise. Under siege by malevolent machines, Arthur Wallace and his fellow agents must travel to Area 51 for assistance. And that’s before the spore zombies show up.