New Book Roundup: Folding Space, Unlocking Death’s Door, and Diffusing a Human Bomb

raksuraWe’re highlighting 13 new releases this week, which means you have no excuse for playing Candy Crush on your phone on the train tonight.

The Fold, by Peter Clines
Mike Erickson is a genius blessed (or cursed) with perfect recall, a gift he’s done his best to avoid using as a small-town high school teacher. But then an old friend with a classified government job presents him a mystery that only Mike can solve—one that even he can’t resist: out in the California desert, scientists have invented a device they call the “Albuquerque Door.” It’s able to fold space, allowing those who pass through it to travel long distances with every step. Despite the fact that anyone who has ever read a science fiction thriller knows this sounds like a terrible idea (particularly those familiar with the page-turning techno-horrors of Clines’ 14 and his Ex-Heroes series), the scientists insist it’s perfectly safe. Mike has his doubts.

Briar Queen, by Katherine Harbour
This sequel to Thorn Jack continues Harbour’s Night & Nothing series, which puts an imaginative spin on ancient Celtic legends. Serafina “Finn” Sullivan is trying to live a normal life with her dark-fae-turned-human lover Jack, but strange events are once again afoot in the town of Fair Hollow. An evil force seeks revenge for the death of the faerie queen Finn and Jack killed in the first book, luring Finn into the dangerous realm of the Ghostlands with a promise to reveal the truth about the suicide of her sister Lily, which kicked off the whole mess in the first place. As Finn and Jack brave great danger to seek out the truth, readers will be drawn into a lushly written story of intrigue, sacrifice, and romance.

Blood of the Cosmos, by Kevin J. Anderson
The sequel to the Hugo Award-nominated The Dark Between the Stars. this middle installment of a space opera trilogy follows the raging battle between several spacefaring civilizations and a shadowy cosmic power that extinguishes life and leaves destruction in its wake. It’s a widescreen epic with a huge cast of characters and colorful SF-nal ideas, from robot soldiers, to antimatter clouds, to world trees, to alien weaponry.

The Birthgrave, by Tanith Lee
Beloved, prolific SF/F author Tanith Lee died last week. The author of more than 90 novels, she began her career with The Birthgrave, her first novel for adults, published in 1975 by DAW and now being rereleased for its 40th anniversary. In an apocalyptic wasteland, a woman awakens stripped bare of memories. From within a dormant volcano, she sets off on a quest to discover the mysterious object that will reveal the truth of her story. This edition includes the original introduction by Marion Zimmer Bradley and a new one from Lee herself.

Knight’s Shadow, by Sebastian de Castell
The second installment of the swashbuckling, Dumas-inspired Greatcoats series, after last year’s Traitor’s Blade. Falcio val Mond, a swordsman of the Greatcoats, hunts down the murderer who killed a duke and slaughtered his family. But val Mond soon discovers that he’s the one in peril, as a slow-acting poison slides through his veins, administered by one of his oldest enemies. Time is short, and he must solve the mystery before his city erupts into civil war.

From a High Tower, by Mercedes Lackey
The prolific Mercedes Lackey continues her Elemental Masters series, reimagining our oldest fairy tales in a mid-20th century, magic-infused alternate Earth. This volume moves the setting to Germany to tell the story of Rapunzel—with a twist. After a fairly traditional beginning (Taken as a child: check. Kept isolated in a tower: check), the story veers off to incorporate cross-dressing, circus life, forced conscription, a Wild West show, and a Native American medicine man. It’s another engagingly written romantic fantasy from one of the masters of the form.

Nemesis Games, by James S.A. Corey
The fifth installment of The Expanse series kicks of a new story arc in the popular, soon-to-be-a-TV-show space opera series. An alien machine has opened a gateway to thousands of new worlds, and humanity—Earthers, Martians, and Belters alike—is eager to spread out and stake a claim. But with so many leaving to explore strange new worlds, things start to fall apart in our own solar system, from terrorist attacks to disappearing ships. For the first time, this book splits up the crew of the Rocinante, as Holden and crew are given their own separate POV chapters.

Nova, by Margaret Fortune
Lia Johnson is a human bomb engineered for one purpose: to infiltrate New Sol space station, and detonate herself. But what happens to a human bomb that turns out to be a dud? After a malfunction with her internal clock, Lia must figure out whether she wants to do whatever she can to complete her mission, or figure out how to live as a regular human. DAW Publisher Betsy Wollheim called this one of the most exciting science fiction debuts she’s read in over 40 years as an editor.

The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth, by S.M. Stirling
S.M. Stirling invites more than a dozen other writers to play in his sandbox—the Emberverse, setting of his long-running series of novels taking place in a world than has undergone the “Change”: the failure of all technology, and the possible reemergence of magic. Contributors include A. M. Dellamonica, Victor Milán, Harry Turtledove, and Jane Lindskold.

The Shadow Revolution: Crown & Key, by Clay & Susan Griffith
This is the first entry in a Victorian-era urban fantasy series pitched to fans of the Dresden Files and the Iron Druid Chronicles. By night, werewolves prowl the fog-filled streets of London, hunting for prey. But by day, they have also infiltrated the highest echelons of Victorian society. Eradicating the menace will require a particular set of skills—skills like those of the team of Simon Archer, spell-casting playboy; hard-drinking magic-weilder Nick Barker; and alchemist Kate Anstruther.

Stories of the Raksura: Volume II, by Martha Wells
Martha Wells continues her Raksura series with another collection of novellas and shorter works. If you’ve never read the original trilogy (beginning with Cloud Roads), this is a fine introduction, but you really owe it to yourself to read them all. It’s quite unlike anything else in the genre—with a core cast of non-human characters, it creates an entirely fresh, matriarchal fantasy world with its own biology, ecology, technology, and magic.

The Liar’s Key, by Mark Lawrence
Mark Lawrence is a rising star of grim, violent, darkly funny fantasy. With a completed trilogy under his belt, he continues his related second series with the sequel to last year’s Prince of Fools. After a bloody confrontation, Prince Jalan Kendeth and Viking warrior Snorri ver Snagason are in possession of Loki’s Key, a magical artifact that can unlock any door. Obviously, there are plenty of others who would kill for such a treasure—and are eager to do so. All the prince wants to do is return home, but the Viking has a far more ambitious plan: to unlock the doors of death itself, and bring his slain family back to life. Meanwhile, the calculating Red Queen spins a wider web…

Dawn of the Dragons, by James A. Owen
Three men unite to solve a strange murder on a grim night in World War I-era London, and learn that they have been chosen to safeguard the Imaginarium Geographica, a guide to worlds both real and imagined in myths, and legends. All of the worlds you’ve read about in stories really do exist, and can be visited, provided you have access to a Dragonship, a vessel bound to an ancient living beast. The three set off for a series of adventures that will change their lives, and inspire two of them—the young C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien—to one day create fantasy worlds of their own. Saga Press is reprinting the first two volumes of this irresistible series, originally released in 2006 and 2007, in a beautiful new bind-up edition.

What new books are you reading this week?

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